Auto Manifesto

February 21, 2008

Beyond Biking to Work, Part 1

Besides using my bike to commute, I also use it for fitness/recreation, and I’ve also used it on occasion for other transportation. In the DC-area there are miles and miles of bike trails, as well as bike-able roads. Some trips I’ve taken include going to the grocery store, doctor, bike shop, post office, bank, and even Target.

Keep in mind however that I live close to everything. Still, I only use the bike for errands occasionally. The thought has crossed my mind to sell my car and get a Zipcar membership but when I worked out how little it costs me to keep my car (paid for, not depreciating any more, very low property tax and maintenance, liability insurance only, etc) it’s more convenient for me just to keep it.

Anyway, the reason I still have a car is because I regularly go on overnight trips. But if I just stayed in town biking, combined with car sharing, would probably work very well. It would be even better if two things would happen: Bicycle transportation was made more user friendly, and bicycle use could be extended.

What I mean by making bicycle transportation more user friendly is for communities to endorse and support it with meaningful changes, some small and some more ambitious.

For example, it’s difficult to go shopping by bike because while finding a place to lock it is easy, there’s often no place to store your gear (helmet, backpack, etc) while there. Bike racks and lockers would be a great start. I would also get a set of panniers to haul groceries. Those saddlebags would be useful for lots of things, yet easily removed for times when you don’t need them. These are small changes that would increase bicycle use by people who already use them to commute, people like me.

The second part of it is to make bicycle transportation a viable alternative to other modes of transportation for the masses. I’ll cover that in a post tomorrow.

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