Saturday, June 9, 2012

Bicycling stamps now available

I like the title of the news release about the new bicycle stamps: Postal Service's Bicycling Stamps Promote Healthy Lifestyle: Cycling Reduces Obesity, Heart Disease; Improves Muscle Tone, Strength
One of the nation’s most popular outdoor activities gets its stamp of approval today from the U.S. Postal Service with the issuance of the Bicycling Forever stamps. The four stamps feature a young child just learning to ride with training wheels, a commuter pedaling to work, a road racer intent on the finish line and an airborne BMX rider.

Recent surveys indicate that Americans enjoy billions of bike rides a year. Bicycling organizations around the country report increased participation in local biking activities, and nearly half of all Americans say they would like more bicycling resources, such as trails and bike lanes, in their communities. 

Bicycling also is an efficient and affordable means of transportation. These days, increasing numbers of people ride their bikes to and from work or use them to run neighborhood errands. Many travel organizations offer cycling tours, from leisurely half-day jaunts to weeks-long excursions. No matter how long the ride, choosing to bike rather than drive cuts down on traffic congestion, fuel consumption and vehicle emissions, which benefits the environment and helps improve air quality.
It's good to see bicycling represented on stamps that will be widely circulated. However, the "commuter pedaling to work" sure looks like a long-distance touring cyclist. You don't see many commuters with touring road bikes with front and rear panniers. I would say about 75% of the cyclists I see have hybrid bikes, including most commuters.

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Unfortunately all of the stamps pictured reinforce the "recreational toy" aspect of cycling that is so common in the US.

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