On Dec 30, 2008, at 3:01 AM, Simon Baddeley wrote:
> The other big condition is that while I am carfree and glad of it
> - our household is not. My wife still has a car which I borrow
> rarely to
> carry heavy stuff. I also use it with her driving if we go out to
> Linda does the main shopping.
Good points about civic layout, but we can't really wait for the
powers-that-be to change the world for us. We have to change our way
of living first, and create a demand that they will eventually fill.
Government is generally reponsive (if you're lucky) rather than
proactive--and then, of course, you have to fight against the big
noise of corporate lobbying that usually overwhelms the voice of
I did all the shopping for a family of three for years on a standard
bike. New and relatively cheap bicycle tehcnologies--particularly
longtails--are becoming available that are specifically designed to
replace cars for families. I am myself considering buying a German-
made Yuba Mundo (well below US$1K) for hauling my business inventory
around, which i now do rather inconveniently by bus or standard bike,
or on foot. This bike can carry up to 400 pounds/180kg. I mention it
because it's the cheapest readymade solution (originally designed to
provide cheap goods transport to poor African communities). All
these longtails were inspired by the Xtracycle attachment which
converts a standard bike to a cargo carrier.
These have been taking off in Los Angeles, of all places--Ground Zero
of Carmageddon--and the burgeoning use of bikes here has made bicycle
accommodation a normal part of civic planning discourse. This
"softens the target" for eventual carfree districts. We are making
our own history here, in effect. Guerilla signs pop up denoting bike
crossings at difficult intersections; they are eventually taken down,
but then discussion has actively begun on converting certain streets
to "bike boulevards," in which car travel is severely restricted
while bicycles have through travel rights.
At the corner of Heliotrope and Melrose, sings indicate a "bicycle
district." They are on commercial rather than public property--
several bicycle-oriented businesses are there, including the Bicycle
Kitchen--and so they remain. And now, there are suddenly 16 bike
parking racks in a 30 meter stretch--installed by the city!
Small things, but most beginnings are.
Yuba cargo bikes: http://www.yubaride.com/index.html
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