Urban Cycling: a List of Books to Get you Started
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It only takes a weekend trip to Amsterdam, where cyclists rule and 87% of trips under four kilometers are made on bicycles, to be convinced that two-wheelers are the way to go in a city. Babies, children, friends, cats, dogs, and furniture are all transported on sturdy Dutch bikes, with bouquets, lampshades or an ornamental copper bowl balancing on the handlebars. Barring crazy metropolises like Jakarta, Mexico City, or Cairo, in cities where people more or less follow the rules and traffic is still manageable; it should be possible to implement this urban transportation strategy. The Dutch, first through activism, which, over time, led to a national strategy, today have a sustainable, cost-efficient form of transportation. Many cities in Europe and North America have installed bike-sharing systems and have improved bike lanes as city dwellers become aware of the benefits, whether it’s for health reasons, escaping the crush of public transportation, avoiding traffic jams and thus getting to appointments on time, or simply feeling the wind in their hair when cycling over a bridge and that inexorable sensation of freedom…Following is a list of books for wannabe or confirmed urban cyclists. And if you're really worried about your attire, this article might be useful too.
top photo Marc van Woudenberg
The bicycle has been my means of transportation since 1999. I've commuted to work in both Paris and London, brought my children to school and back, my cat to a specialist vet across the city, and have transported furniture, books, and kilos and kilos of groceries on my bicycle. My first acquisition was a forest green, second hand Dutch model. If you’ve never ridden one, at first it’s quite an adjustment. You feel very tall and regal and slightly ridiculous. Then you become addicted to the comfort of sitting up so straight, with this sturdy, decidedly un-racing-like contraption under you. It’s the perfect city bike. But others may prefer options that are more sleek. In the end, to each his own, but what is universal is that nothing beats the feeling of glee when you sail past angry people stuck in their cars, all the while taking in the countless and fascinating details of your city.