I'm posting this because I want to get some input on an initiative that I'm working on. I work as an urban planner, and the community I work for is looking to do its part in promoting the use of bikes as a viable mode of transportation. I'm also a roadie myself.
The issue is this: the location is one in suburban NYC. It's a dense, walkable environment, but one that has been decimated in large part by 60s era urban renewal and post WWII car culture. It's located in the Hudson River Valley, in an area where there are lots of hills. It's very scenic and the Hudson Highlands begin just north of here. As soon as you step out of your front door, you're either going up or down a hill. There are no flats here. The result of all this is a community in which no one rides bikes... except for yours truly, but I'm an anomaly. There are other communities in the area in which people do ride bikes... this one just happens to have excessively steep topography in comparison. Surveys have revealed that the difficult topography is the main reason for the use of cars instead of biking and walking. That, and the 45mph arterial roads crisscrossing the municipality.
Is bike culture something that can be cultivated in a place like this? I really welcome any thoughts on what I can do to make this happen. I'm writing a grant proposal for a federal program called Safe Routes to School, which is designed to promote this sort of thing.