Freedom used to be a car and the open road. But lately, a seismic shift toward bikes has shaken automakers as new generations peddle toward an alternative culture.
As many millennials migrate toward urban hubs, a recent study shows that 56% prefer walkable cities. Walkability and bikeability also emerge as important city selection criteria, and forces urban planners to make more compulsory bike lanes and implement programs like shareable bikes, for example: NYC’s City Bike and Cincinnati’s Red Bike.
Statistics tell us that car ownership has fallen 30% among 18-34 year olds from 2007-11 (AAA), and only 54% are even applying for driver’s licenses by age 18. Used bikes are also in demand because sharing and swapping used and vintage things is so popular in what has become known as the “circular economy.”
Considered among enthusiasts as a more socially engaging form of transportation, enthusiasts favor biking as a healthier and more ecologically correct lifestyle choice. No-car economic benefits including savings on insurance, maintenance and fuel costs increases disposable income to spend on travel and outdoor activities.
Even formerly biker-unfriendly towns like New York City have changed. According to Jeanette Sadik Kahn, former NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner, “Over the last decade, we built nearly 400 miles of bike lanes and ridership quadrupled while the risk of serious injury for cyclists fell 35%.”
New York City also created the country’s largest bike share program, City Bike, with over 6,000 bikes and 330 stations. Cyclists can also enjoy the scenic Hudson River Greenway, a protected pedestrian path that runs 11 miles along the City’s West Side waterfront.
Besides NYC, other great biking cities are Portland, Oregon; Boulder, Colorado; Washington, DC; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Tucson, Arizona; and Austin, Texas.
As the trend toward bike wheels replacing steering wheels seems to grow, fashion gradually morphs toward biker style. To be sure, biker gear is widely available, spanning serious racing to more casual commuting needs. Brands like Ornot, Mash, Rozik, and Machines4Freedom illustrate new biker apparel trends.
According to Jacob S., Bay Area, CA, who is a Rozik customer, “Dudes, you can’t appreciate it until you wear them, but the gusseted crotch is awesome. It sounds stupid, but I seriously was sitting at my desk repeatedly thinking, damn, these are so comfortable. I am not lying when I tell you this thought has NEVER crossed my mind about any item of clothing I’ve owned, ever.”
Books: Available at amazon.com. Click on title to order.
StreetFight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution
by Janette Sadik-Khan
Hello, Bicycle: An Inspired Guide to the Two-Wheeled Life
by Anna Brones, 2016
Bicycle: The Definitive Visual History
by DK, 2016
Mash SF has some cool street bike and other videos
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