Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bicycling on CBS' Sunday Morning

One of my favorite programs on TV is Sunday Morning on CBS. It's basically a good news program with features on graphic arts, literature, music, and human interest stories. Charles Kuralt was the host for many years. Charles Osgood took over a few years back.

I had to work last Sunday so I wasn't able to watch the program. Thanks to EcoVelo for pointing out the feature from last week's show on the many people who have started bicycling for various reasons: environmental, economical, and health.

A child carrier bike at Clever Cycles of Portland was shown (as an aside, Clever Cycles is closed until August 11: "Why? Because we are sold out of nearly all our most popular products! (Bakfietsen? Xtracycles? Child seats? Certain Bromptons, Retrovelos etc…) It’s a combination of some of our suppliers being sold out themselves, and others being simply too far away for timely resupply. Sales have exceeded our most confident hopes; thank you!"). Portland is featured prominently, including their new bike boxes which allow cyclists to congregate in front of motorists at certain intersections.

The Bicycle Riding School in Somerville, Mass. is featured (see our previous post that included another clip on the school). Portland's first bike coordinator issued this challenge: "I'll just challenge your viewers to think about substituting one trip a week that they normally take by car, try it on a bike," Birk said. "Try a short trip that's 2 miles or less."

According to a recent federal study, that's 40% of all urban trips in America.

This was a great feature they broadcast. I hope it continutes to get lots of "airplay" around the net.

Thanks for posting again.
I am always appalled at the short distances people will drive. I'm not used to it, really.

One of my favorite stories from being a teenager was the night I had to take the "late bus" home. I lived in a small town in MA. They dropped us all off on the Common, which was not near myhouse. I had been playing an away tennis match and had gotten beaten and was tired and I just didn't feel like walking a few miles home. So I called my dad to come get me.

When the bus dropped me off, he was standing there on the Common, no car in sight. He had a bike bottle with water for me that my mom had sent. I asked him where the car was and he shrugged and said, "Why would I drive just a couple miles?" We did not have sidewalks, btw, we just had to watch as we walked (or biked) along roadways and we'd all gotten pretty good at that. He figured I just wanted someone to carry my racquets and gear. Driving never occurred to him. Gosh, I loved my dad for that. Some of my fondest memories of childhood were all the places he and I would walk.

As an adult, I am so grateful to have had parents who made me walk or bike and who didn't dump me off here and there by car. I walk,I run, I ride my bike as a first choice, and the car is what I take out only when I really, really need it.

Also, I don't 100% buy the parental alarmist attitude as an excuse for over reliance on cars. When I was a really little kid, I lived in the NY burbs. And we walked and rode bikes everywhere then, too.

I so long for communities with better walkability and bikeability. That's a real challenge in NoVA. I insist on going out and walking and biking, though. I'm happy to have more company doing that lately, if only because gas prices had hit the roof in July. I hope some people got hooked on moving under their own steam after trying it.

The more of us who demand facilities for bikes and peds, the better off we are. And some of the fixes are not all that difficult. In Fairfax, there is still a great pro-car bias. It's a habit we can choose to kick.

I couldn't agree more. I think one of the reasons that I don't rely on a car to get around is that when growing up I spent a lot of time in England, riding the bus and walking. I never drove in high school and neither did most of my classmates. We learned how to get around by bus and subway (tube).

I also agree with your comment about parents being too concerned about kids walking or biking. Shouldn't they be more concerned about teaching their kids to rely on a car to get around? Many car crashes in this area involve teens. I think car crashes are the leading cause of death among teens. And childhood obesity will eventually be the cause of many more deaths. Why not teach them the lifelong benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle that includes getting exercise on a daily basis by walking or biking.

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