16 October 2006

Bicycling in the City

The city where I live is flat and really perfect for cycling. However, I'm not doing it. Why? because I haven't found a bicycle that is comfortable to ride. Because what I would like is a city bike for 'utility' cycling. The only bicycles that are available for sale in the city are racing and mountain bikes.

I enjoy slow biking. I'd like to sit upright in the saddle and enjoy the view. I don't need 25 gears, I'm not interested in being an athletic hi-speed cyclist - I like to be able to use a cycle to go to work ... very simple one would think. But all this is really quite outside of our local cultural frame of reference. We seem to be geared towards speed only, and therefore also city council planning for bicycle lanes, etc. is only geared towards speed cycling.

Unfortunately, cycling will never be what it could be: a great, healthy and non-polluting way of moving around in urban areas. What a shame! Unless, we start changing our cultural obsession with speed and start appreciating slow modes of transport ...

There are some great city bicycling cultures, like in the Netherlands or Japan. See a great website on utility cyclism at http://utilitycyclism.blogspot.com/.

1 comment:

Al in Kyoto said...

Hello Christoph.
Alan here in Christchuch ( not in Kyoto now )
I wrote http://utilitycyclism.blogspot.com/
Are you the only other person in New Zealand who thinks like I do about 'urban utility cycling' ?
I can't even find another cyclist who understands why I loved cycling in Japan .......Hmmm ????

You probably know already, but just in case you don't , you can get that bike that you've got a picture of on this weblog , from here: