The Pedaling Revolution: on being a spoke on wheel

While I watch the snow fall, the wind blow and the streets ice over yet again, I am taking time to read whatever I can to try and understand why at this moment I have become obsessed with biking again.

Our town has a committee called Safe Routes whose history and information I will write about in a later post. In attempting to re-energize it since a number of people responsible for it have moved, I told one of our town council members that I believe that there are lots of people interested in this. (What remains to be seen is if they will come on board this committee) I am not radical. I am not starting something new. I am more like a spoke on a wheel that’s been turning and is gaining momentum.

I have been thoroughly enjoying Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists are Changing American Cities, by Jeff Mapes. It is an excellent read, really well-written. I am learning a lot.

Like, New York City is pioneering a new kind of street that allows bicyclists to pedal mostly separated from cars and trucks. In 2007 NYC began consulting with Jan Gehl  a legendary planner considered the father of Copenhagen’s livable city movement.c

So while I was happily pedaling away in Tucson in the 1990’s enjoying how good it felt to get around by bike to work and play, a revolution was happening in transportation funding in Washington DC. It was combined efforts of  people who had been biking for a long time and had developed connections and political acumen to bring bicyclists to the political table.

As I read and savor this book I am thinking about how revolutions are not necessarily violent overthrows, as we may think of them.  Revolution comes from revolve, a turning. Like wheels on a bike, this pedaling revolution can grow and create a healthier society by spinning a little more each day.

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