The 2017 video, Why We Cycle, was offered for free streaming for one day, yesterday. Though the freebie is over, I highly recommend you watch the video; at $4.99 it is still a great deal. This video has brought joy to me in ways that I haven’t felt in a while, and I think it will do the same for you.

So if you can push the car out of the city grid, leave it at the edges, and go walking further, it’s an enormous advantage for health, for clear air, for interaction.

Sjoerd Soeters

Though the bicycling infrastructure in the Netherlands has received the greatest notice in the US, this video is only secondarily about the infrastructure, instead focusing on cultural capital and transformation.

My own commute is cycling, that’s because I live cycling distance from work, but that is not a coincidence, that is why I live there.

Erik Verhoef

The video demonstrates the long list of benefits to a cycling culture (note that the video unapologetically uses the term cycling, without the cultural baggage of spandex and Strava and high priced bikes that the term carries in the US):

  • convenience: the bike is often the quickest way to get somewhere
  • economics: the bike is far less expensive than private motor vehicles, and even than transit
  • health: an active life brings measurable and significant benefits to the individual and to society in health care costs
  • cognitive: because bicycling requires people to be aware and interact with a large amount of information, there are clear benefits to cognitive development and maintenance
  • creativity: bicycling increase creativity, while on the bike and in life
  • reduced absenteeism: work absenteeism is lower for people who bicycle, and presumably for school as well
  • freedom to move: people are much freer to go where they want to go, when they want to go, on a bike
  • diversity: bicycling exposes people to diversity that they would not be if driving, to meet the ‘other’, to actively negotiate the flow with others

It’s the story of living in a city that is human scaled, that allows me to engage with the social/spatial environment… the intangible effects…

Marco te Brommelstroet

Data on bicycling trips clearly pointed to the conclusion that choices were often governed much more by the senses than the coldly logical plans of traffic designers, even causing people to leave the safe but sometimes boring cycle-ways for more interesting routes.

I noticed in the video, and it was commented on by one interviewee, that some signals have all ways for bicyclists at the same time, a bicycle scramble, so to speak. Because bicyclists have so much experience with negotiating with each other, it just works!

… it relates to the culture of mutual shared respect, but also the culture of trust; instead of infrastructure, by the users of infrastructure

Fariya Sharmeen

The adolescent social area can be the whole city, not a limited area close to the home. It’s about fun, being together. The video highlighted schools where nearly every student walks or bicycles, such a huge contrast to the US.

Dutch children are the happiest children in the world, just because they can go farther and farther from their homes…

Cycling is a good metaphor for a good education.

… to put the priority in relationships between people, then we support the cycling, we support freedom for children. Priorities for children and for bikes are good priorities for a happy politics.

Leo Bormans

A better world is possible, and we can achieve it if we work together and insist that each decision we makes moves us towards that end, and away from the car supremacy under which we have suffered, and died.

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About Dan Allison

Dan Allison is a Safe Routes to School Coordinator in the Sacramento area. Dan dances and backpacks, as much as possible.

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bikeability, livability

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