Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bicycle Commuting or Bicycle Culture

Copenhagenize has a great article on the difference between bicycle commuting and bicycle culture. He brings out the difference between the work-centered approach used by cycling advocates in the United States compared to the lifestyle in areas where bicycling is ubiquitous.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Since August I have been living car-free. This both an economic and an idealistic choice. I do not think that the convenience of a car makes the cost of owning worth it. I also would feel hypocritical arguing against car-centric development while contributing to the demand for it by driving a car myself. I have to admit that a have ridden in other people's cars pretty regularly, so I am not one hundred percent there, but I have tried to bike, walk, or ride the bus whenever possible.

Living on a college campus makes that easy since almost everything I need is within easy walking distance on campus. When I have ridden off campus, I have been pleasantly surprised by how quickly I can get places on my bike. Downtown is only about twenty five minutes away, and I can beat the bus, leaving at the same time, by at least ten minutes. Overall, Grand Rapids seems to be a bike-friendly town. My one complaint is that there are not a lot of people riding, so it can feel somewhat lonely being surrounded by cars. That said, I have yet to ride and not see another bike at some point, which is way more than I can say for San Antonio, where I lived before Grand Rapids.

In San Antonio, there is a decent mountain biking scene, and there seem to be quite a few dedicated road cyclists, but definitely no bike culture in the sense of biking as a way to get around in daily life. In the U.S. we have a good cycling culture; places like Crested Butte and Moab are great examples of that, but there is no comparable “100% Lycra Free” culture, to quote Amsterdamize. The city is starting a pilot bike share program, which should help. I am hoping to try it while I am in San Antonio for Christmas. I know these have pretty much been random musings without much point, but I hope they were interesting.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

First Post

Welcome to UrbainVelo. I started it as a place to share my thoughts on pretty much anything, but since my thoughts tend to be on urbanism, biking, design, and architecture, those will probably be the focus of the blog. The name comes from my interests in all things french, urban and biking, plus the url was available, which is a plus. I will try to post at least weekly, but with school busyness and such I may not always live up to that. Thanks for reading.