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Will America turn to the bicycle?

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Will America turn to the bicycle?

Old 10-18-04, 11:32 AM
  #26  
MichaelW
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Part of the problem is that the whole urban environment built since the 1950s is based on premis of universal car ownership and cheap fuel. A few urban professional may live in reclaimed inner city areas within cycling distance of the centre, and small university towns can be cycle friendly, but the large, low density urban/sub urban areas have car use factored in. Places are spread out to leave room for all the cars.

In London, which is a large city, the suburban areas are grouped around transit stations and everyone lives within a walk or short bus ride from a station. The central area of London is too compact to allow for car use, there is barely space to park any cars. That is the prime reason for excluding cars using a congestion charge.

You will have to re-engineer your cities to make A and B closer together for cycling to become a reality for most American. (That and a massive oil crisis/economic downturn/asteroid collision/martian attack/all of the above)
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Old 10-18-04, 12:37 PM
  #27  
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I already have. Its rare that I drive anywhere now days. I commute 6.5 miles one-way to work. My office is in a shopping mall. Have a nice little "ma/pa" grocery store near my home. The only time I drive is when I must for work.
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Old 10-18-04, 12:38 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by ad6mj
Americans drive cars. Bicycles will never be anything more than a recreational activity to most Americans.
And VERY few Americans @ that!
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Old 10-18-04, 12:51 PM
  #29  
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One problem is that the average US state is bigger than the average Eurpean country and some states are almost as big as the entire European continent (ok, slight exaggeration) and our cities are much more spread out. I have to travel almost 50 miles if I just want to get to the other end of the entire Phoenix metroplex. As fuel prices climb I think alternative transportation use will climb as well but in reality the automobile will never be replaced by the bicycle on a very grand scale.
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Old 10-18-04, 01:13 PM
  #30  
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We're on our way!
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Old 10-18-04, 01:20 PM
  #31  
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Hybrids, and hydrogen and biodiesel-fueled vehicles will emerge in america when the cost and availability outweight straight gasoline vehicles. America hates change, but love the bottom line. Economics drive consumer choice. America will turn to bicycles when the last available energy supply is food.
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Old 10-18-04, 01:29 PM
  #32  
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Two things will cause Americans to lessen the use of cars..1- We have bankrupted our country with its balance of payments and the dollar is not accepted in the rest of the world. or 2..It takes longer to wait in line for gas at the service station, than it takes to commute to work.
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Old 10-18-04, 01:45 PM
  #33  
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It's interesting to prognosticate so I will. As the US economy becomes more service based with manufacturing headed towards lower cost countries we'll see much more telecommuting. Our predominate interface with other humans will be via the computer screen, at least for business transactions. I personally provide my engineering consulting service via my home office and only occasionally have to be at the customer site. Bills and invoices are e-processed. Hand written letters have been replaced with email(I now have more interaction with family and friends than ever before). I buy 90+% of my needs (personal and business) other than groceries off the net...............The need for travel itself is slowly being diminished and transformed My car sits days at a time without use. My bike too, but for other reasons
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Old 10-18-04, 02:16 PM
  #34  
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Are you aware that recreational vehicles are selling like crazy? There's no way majority of American people turn into bicycle for their transportation. They only complain about the high gas prices, but do nothing what they can do, wishing somebody else fix the problem. The nature of American people is to keep buying what they like even if they know it has a problem and keep wishing "they" fix that very problem. Did I see a post in thread saying keep buying Volks Wagen even though he knows they have peoblem with reliability? They will never fix the reliability problem unless it starts hurting their sales. Wait and see hybrid RVs start showing up on the street near you.
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Old 10-18-04, 02:45 PM
  #35  
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Boyze. A country that makes nothing has nothing to sell..Nothing to sell and everything is imported, your dollar has no value; since exports is what fills the bank vaults with cash..US bank assets are hardly in the top 100 of large world banks for reserves.
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Old 10-18-04, 02:56 PM
  #36  
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Most suburban Rent-a-Wreck places will pick you up and drive you to the lot. You could just rent a minivan or something for the long drives; I suspect the cost would be far south of ownership.
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Old 10-18-04, 03:00 PM
  #37  
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Americans drive cars. Bicycles will never be anything more than a recreational activity to most Americans.
I had a reck a few days ago in my mom's car. I emailed a friend when I got home after the accedent. He knows that I ride my bike everyday to class and to get around town many days. His first response to the email was "You mean you don't have a trasportation to get around town?" Bicycles are just toys to most Americans. When I pull up on my bicycle with panniers and mirrors on my helmet people are in awe. Yet they wont look twice at a car with 2 rear mirrors. Also, I took my bike to the LBS. They had a new mechanic. He looks at my bike an said, "Is that a horn?" He obviously had never seen an Air Zound before. Yet he would't think it odd for a car to have a horn. But a bicycle with a horn is a novel concept. Strange.
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Old 10-18-04, 03:13 PM
  #38  
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toyota carolla, toyota scion xb
Yes they both get good fuel economy, no neither of them is a large car. He had a Golf already, its bigger than the xB, and probably has more room than the Corolla - if you want a car in this class, wait a year and get the new mkV Golf TDI. It'll be sick, but seeing as how you are a dubber already - you know that! (I'm on VWVortex too, btw SN: Chronogoof89).
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Old 10-18-04, 05:35 PM
  #39  
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I'm thinking it can start at a citywide level. That's what Davis, CA did. Yep, I live here. I was raised in the Bay Area though, and had a permit as early as possible, and a car at 16. But my son and neice, both raised here in Davis don't even want to get their car license. About 50% of my son's friends don't either...they can and do bike everywhere. My son thinks it's expensive, and a hassle, and has no 'motivation to' get a license. He bikes 6 miles round trip to school, rode to work, likes to ride in rain and wind. So 'the youth' can change that mindset, if given the infastructure to do so. However, we DO have a car, so at night, in storms, etc...I drive them. I commute, shop, do anything in town on a bike. But the Pearl Izumi outlet and Costco are 40 miles away, and my family is 1 hour away.

So not cold turkey, for me, going carless, although I dream about it when I pay registration/insurance/gas. But I CAN cut down, and I do.
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Old 10-18-04, 05:51 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by catatonic
Got a date....bah just use a taxi...shows you got money when you can drop $60 for a 12mi round trip.
Got a date - make sure she's on a bike too!
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Old 10-18-04, 06:08 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by overthere
I'm thinking it can start at a citywide level. That's what Davis, CA did. Yep, I live here.
Is that considered to be part of America?
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Old 10-18-04, 06:09 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by cyclezealot
Boyze. A country that makes nothing has nothing to sell..Nothing to sell and everything is imported, your dollar has no value; since exports is what fills the bank vaults with cash..US bank assets are hardly in the top 100 of large world banks for reserves.
Couldn't agree more. But just because manufacturing in the literal sense is moving off shore where physical and low skill labor (in the training sense) is less expensive doesn't mean we still don't create value and have something to sell. Just a few examples of value we create and sell: inventions, intellectual knowledge, higher education, chemical formulations, basic R&D, software algorithms, mechanical designs, computer chip designs, medical procedures, movies, defense, oil exploration ................ I suspect we're no. 1 or 2 in each of these and the list is by no means comprehensive. As products/services become more commoditized they will always end up where they can be done/made the cheapest - global capitalism at its best. We as comsumers want nothing less I would prefer to be at the intellectual end of the product/service cycle versus the commodity end
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Old 10-18-04, 06:10 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by HereNT
Got a date - make sure she's on a bike too!
datsmahkindathinkin'
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Old 10-18-04, 06:15 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by boyze
they can be done/made the cheapest - global capitalism at its best. We as comsumers want nothing less I would prefer to be at the intellectual end of the product/service cycle versus the commodity end
Boyze..Sort of nice if you are on the top of the intellectual heap..Sort of like Switzerland w/o watches or chocolate..But, our problem we have all these undereducated masses w/0 a means of being productive and nothing to make..But, then most in the future will live in gated communities.
Biking is sort of tough through the slums.
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Old 10-18-04, 06:53 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by boyze
Couldn't agree more. But just because manufacturing in the literal sense is moving off shore where physical and low skill labor (in the training sense) is less expensive doesn't mean we still don't create value and have something to sell. Just a few examples of value we create and sell: inventions, intellectual knowledge, higher education, chemical formulations, basic R&D, software algorithms, mechanical designs, computer chip designs, medical procedures, movies, defense, oil exploration ................ I suspect we're no. 1 or 2 in each of these and the list is by no means comprehensive. As products/services become more commoditized they will always end up where they can be done/made the cheapest - global capitalism at its best. We as comsumers want nothing less I would prefer to be at the intellectual end of the product/service cycle versus the commodity end

Problem is that thought can be outsourced as well. Once the muscle goes, the thinkers will too. IT being outsourced is a good example of this....I used to get Yahoo IMs constantly from "IT workers" in India who didn't even know how to use what they were assigned to. Now It's somewhat understandable to offshore to save money, but to let some guy who isnt even qualified do it to save cash is an insult. It also shows that many corporations have no cares about their employees whatsoever.

Myselof I would rather be at the boardlevel of the company than anywhere else, since then I am assured of a certain degree of job stability so long as I dont screw up too badly.
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Old 10-18-04, 06:59 PM
  #46  
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We're all screwed
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Old 10-18-04, 08:00 PM
  #47  
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I think its getting better... check out what our city just published for the first time ever...

Includes a section on traffic laws and safe commuting as well.
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Old 10-18-04, 08:19 PM
  #48  
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very cool Seely.

Yeah, SJ has had a proposed bike lane bit going on for years now....apparently they never get around to it since....oh dear...they have to fix potholes.

Great to know sunny cali with its far lower pothole count than indiana cant get a silly lane added but they can spend 24-7 fixing potholes /sarcasm.
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Old 10-18-04, 09:06 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by ad6mj
Americans drive cars. Bicycles will never be anything more than a recreational activity to most Americans.
I agree, but bicycling as a "recreational activity" is becoming a killer argument. Where I work, there's been a definite increase in the number of us cycling to work (all three of us in my office, for example). The reason isn't gas prices-- it's the need for exercise twice a day. I believe there is a growing awareness of the obesity problem and fitness problem, and those of us on the road bike commuting every day are planting seeds in the minds of others. "Hey, I can get exercise every day just doing that, and heck he's even doing it in the rain."

Maybe we'll never get out of single digits percentage-wise, but every rider counts as far as I'm concerned.
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Old 10-18-04, 10:31 PM
  #50  
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Exactly...health benefits are just one angle...for urban folks, once they relize that a bike is in most cases as fast if not faster than a car, that also buys them over. Then add in how inexpesive cycling can be (the cheapest mtb the LBS offers + slicks and lights), and that will also gain some interest.

Really folks think it's hard, and that's what kills it. If they get a good quality bike, and are properly fitted and taught to use it right, then you very well could have a cyclist for life.

I've still been trying to get my mom into cycling, but her boyfriend keeps trying to have grudgematches with me over fit...despite the fact a) he never rides, and b) he has absolutely no knowledge on bikes whatsoever, let alone fit....he slaps on the largest most obscenely padded seat on his bike he can (a mtn bike), then wonders why it hurts to ride for more than two miles....all I have to do is get him to listen for a change... That's part B of getting folks into cycling, some just dont listen to advice and screw things up for themselves, then think cycling is painful....they just need to listen to people...experience is worth a little bit if anything
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