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kneel to the commuting gods!

By enelson
Monday, May 15th, 2006 at 7:39 pm in Bicycling.

In all of commuterdom, there is no single group quite so god-like as those who pedal to work or school.
Consider the facts: Bicycle advocates representing a scant 37,000 of the Bay Area’s several million commuters managed to get a bike lane hung from the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge. If you don’t believe me, just look out from your SUV at the new concrete skyway the next time you’re crossing the rickety old steel eastern span. It’s that skinny slab on brackets hanging off the side, not far from the little ledges built for the cormorants, which will be displaced from their niches on the old bridge.

How can they do this? It’s because they worshipped in transportation circles. Bicycling doesn’t pollute. It’s healthy, if you discount all the obligatory diesel-exhaust sucking, and it doesn’t take up much room, if you don’t count bikes on your apartment elevator or BART.

But seriously, even with their small numbers, bike commuters outdo carpoolers, who still pollute, bus riders, whose vehicles still generally make pedestrians choke and cough and rail commuters, who don’t get nearly as much exercise. Prius drivers got nothin’ on cyclists, face it.

So on Thursday, the rest of us ordinary commuters are going to attempt to harness our inner divinity by rummaging around in the storage locker, straightening out those handlebars, pumping up those flat tires and pedaling to work in honor of the Bay Area’s Bike-to-Work Day.
MTC Bike-to-Work Day.doc

I, personally, plan to take my $69 10-speed (remember them?), pedal it to my local train station and trundle it onto the Capitol Corridor.

Maybe I’ll pay the exhorbitant extra charge to go all the way to Jack London Station so I can pedal the 14 blocks to work. It would be sort of against the spirit of the observance to put my bike on BART and take it to the same block as my office. If you think I’m pedaling from Richmond, think again, unless MTC is handing out oxygen bottles along with the drinks, snacks and other freebies.

Like most of my fellow commuters, I’m only mortal.

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4 Responses to “kneel to the commuting gods!”

  1. Michael Cunningham Says:

    I’d argue that the success of bike advocates is due less to the fact that bicycling is “worshipped” as an ideal transportation mode and more due to the impressive organizational and lobbying work that bike advocates have done. If drivers or BART riders were as well organized and as hard working in their advocacy, you’d see the results there as well. It’s just too bad that the most visible result of all of that effort is the Bay Bridge bike path, a monstrously expensive project that will never function as more than a recreational route (albeit a very nice one).

  2. Helmut Wong Says:

    Bicycle commuters leave more parking for the rest of us.

    Bicycle commuters lower the demand on gasoline, which lowers the prices for the rest of us.

    Bicycle commuters stay off the freeways, which means less congestion for the rest of us.

    Yay for bicycle commuters! Try not to run them off the roads.

  3. Jim Stallman Says:

    The Golden Gate bridge is a pretty fine example of doing it right. Providing for bikes and peds is, after all, just doing it right. People might want to contemplate what things are going to be like when gas becomes scarce.

    I was never a fan of Bike To Work Day but it does have the effect of getting many people to discover that getting around on a bike is something that can be added to one’s mobility options.

    One or two generations in America have succumbed to motorized wheelchairs as an almost exclusive way to get around for short trips. I presented information at a High School Earth Day Fair in my neighborhood and did an informal survey while students were checking out Peak Oil (and snacking on chocolate which I brought to snag some of the foot traffic). 19 of the students out of 35 did not own a bike. Only 1 ever rode a bike to school. Talk about dependency on oil!

  4. Paul Dorn Says:

    Bicycle advocates are effective because they are motivated. Cyclists in the Bay Area, like those across the U.S., have been deprived of adequate resources for our commute mode. The effectiveness you’re witnessing is the result of pent-up demand for equitable treatment in our transportation system. I’d like to see pedestrians equally angry: “I’m mad as hell and I ain’t gonna take it anymore!”

    And lots of motorists are also supportive, because they hunger for an alternative to life-sucking, money-wasting automobile dependancy.

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