Anyone who’ s met me more than once most likely has a pretty good idea of how big a part bikes play in my life. I write about bikes all day at work, and actually ride them most of the time I’m not working. Most new folks I meet are a result of some connection involving bikes, but, in the off chance I’m in the company of any of my ‘non-cyclist friends’ and am introduced, it’s rare that it doesn’t follow the format of: ‘Oh, this is Kevin, he’s crazy, he rides his bike, like, all the time. Or: Yeah, this is my friend Kevin, he’s waaaay into bikes.
You see, here in America, my (to many, unseemly) ‘addiction’ to cycling (and if you’re reading this, your’s too) is a relative oddity, not an accepted, regularly encountered fact of life.
In the Netherlands though, a full 25 percent of all daily commutes are done on two wheels. In the U.S.? 1.6 percent of adults report commuting by bike as their primary means of getting to work.
Hell, only 18-percent of residents over the age of 16 even rode a bike at least once last year in the United States, let alone thought of using it as an alternate means of transportation. In Copenhagen, where a full 36-percent of the population commutes to work or school by bike, bikes aren’t only perceived as practical means of transport—they’re simply unavoidable!
In France, where ridership lags behind many of its European neighbors (but still greatly outpaces the U.S…go figure) a six-month pilot program to pay people to ride to work has begun, and is already expected to meet great success.
Meanwhile, here in the States, ask one of your non-cyclist friends or family members if they’d consider riding to work even one day a week, and the scoffing begins almost instantly.
‘I don’t even remember how to ride a bike’, ‘It’s too dangerous’, ‘I don’t like to get sweaty’, are all among the laundry list of excuses thrown out. What doesn’t get thrown out though, are the reasons why simply riding your bike to work even once a week can not only change your own life, it can have a measurable impact on the entire community.
So folks, with that I issue the call to reach out and share your love of two wheels—and more importantly—your experience, and get at least one person in your life out on a bike in the next month who otherwise wouldn’t find themselves on two wheels.
Tune up their old ten-speed that’s been hanging unridden in the garage for the past ten years. Borrow a friend’s bike, let them borrow your bike, just do whatever it takes.
And sure, while you don’t have the U.S. Government on your side, offering a fiscal incentive, that’s where we come in…get a friend out riding by June 30th, tag us in a photo of you together on Instagram or Twitter or Facebook, and we’ll send you a discount code for 20-percent off your next purchase.
It’s about time we took matters into our own hands. It’s time to start spreading the disease.