Monthly Archives: October 2016

Raising the Interest and Reducing the Concern

Contemporary cycling in the United States is largely viewed by the public as a recreational endeavor. However, it was not always this way. For distances greater than that easily covered on foot, bicycles were the preferred mode of local transportation prior to the early 1900s when the automobile came into wider use. During the next half decade, bicycles were seen primarily as children’s toys. The 1970s and 1980s brought a new boom in bicycle sales for adult recreational purposes and this was augmented by the “Lance effect” in the early 2000s, introducing a large number of people to performance cycling.

As a result, most infrastructure built in the latter half of the 20th century was geared around this recreational aspect of cycling, primarily off road paths in parks, “rails to trails” efforts and even mountain bike facilities. It is only in the last 10 years that urban areas have started to look again at bicycles as part of their transportation strategy and to construct suitable infrastructure to implement it. By most measures these efforts have been fairly successful in increasing the numbers of transportation cyclists, but still not to a level of places like the Netherlands where there is upwards of 30% bicycle mode share. The United States will likely never achieve that kind of mode share if for no other reason than our systemic land use issues, but in areas where the land use patterns do support bicycle transportation, we can get to more modest shares like that of Portland (7+%). What actions can be taken take to increase this mode share?

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close finish

2016 Frigid Digit

The weekend started out with a lot of rain in the Mid Atlantic on Friday, but at least we knew we wouldn’t get blown out like last year. However, while the wind forecast for Saturday looked pretty good, it promised to be very light on Sunday. There are two conditions that always remind me of the Frigid Digit: Cool, wet, foggy Nor ‘easter-like and bright, brisk, cool northewester after a cold front-like. Both are tricky conditions to sail in with different challenges. This year’s event was no different with the Nor ‘Easter-like version for Saturday.

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