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Resurgence . . .

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Philip, Oct 3, 2007.

  1. Philip

    Philip Speeding Up

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    According to a number of newspaper and magazine articles, cycling as a means of mainstream transportation is in resurgence in the UK. This is not a BMX or 'being-a-messenger' fashion. It is well heeled professionals who have sold their cars and bought bicycles.

    The freedom and convenience of cycling is more meaningful in the lives of todays '40 somethings'. These people no longer aspire to own a family car with a prestige badge. Cars are perceived as a poor investment and unfriendly to the environment. Hiring a car only when you need one is practical, cost effective, common sense.

    But it is much more than a purely financial or environmental decision. People are rejecting consumerism (and its very ugly sister 'celebrity'). Life cannot be bought, it must be lived. And riding a bicycle is one way in which people are doing just that. I still have great memories of adventures whilst riding my bike to and from school everyday.

    With the resurgence of cycling in the UK, the govenment now gives a large tax break on the purchase of a bicycle that will be used for commuting and employers are being encouraged to provide facilities for cyclists. Given these incentives and positive publicity cycling is growing rapidly in other social groups.

    This is a link to an interesting video talking about the changed image of cycling in the UK, and its increased relevance in mainstream transport now.



  2. chazzer

    chazzer Speeding Up

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    UK cycling

    Phil - you are right, these are boom times for cycling back in blighty. London is absolutely full of them, a lot of fashion statements as well as bad behaviour too that is attracting some bad press plus adverse comments from the likes of Jeremy Clarkson who says that as cyclists pay no tax then he is entitled to simply run you down if you happen to be in front of him. What a petrolhead tosseur I say !!

  3. Phil

    Phil Maximum Pace

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    Haven't been back to London in years, but I've sort of been following the bike boom there on the Web and especially the Bike Show podcast (apparently in hiatus at the moment, unfortunately). There seem to be similar booms happening in the US and Canada as well, especially in west coast cities such as SF.

    It's a pity something similar isn't happening here in Tokyo (or is it, and I'm hopelessly out of touch here in the 'burbs?). For all the mama-charis and transportational bicycle use here, there seems to be very few efforts by government or others to improve cycling infrastructure... With its density and short distances, Tokyo would be a great candidate to be Amsterdam-ed. Think of how many of those poor sardined train commuters live within 25km and a good brisk bike ride from their office!
  4. Andrew Deane

    Andrew Deane Speeding Up

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    Two Wheels Good, Four Wheels Bad!

    Yes, I have to agree. Cars are a necessary evil where I live in Canada because there is little or no public transport and distances are vast. But, the money I shelled out on my last car - a Toyota 4Runner - would have bought me 4 or 5 Trek Madone 6.9 Pro bikes! Funny thing is, we don't seem to think twice about financing a car over 4 years at vast rates of interest, but we cringe when we think of investing $3,000 or 4,000 on a bicycle. Lord, what fools these mortals be!

    However, in cities, bicycles make real sense financially and from a health perspective, not to mention their speed through congestion and ease of parking. I used to drive to work in Canada, but nothing on earth would enduce me to share the claustrophic and smelly Tokyo subways with all those comtose salarymen, keitai denwa zombies and otaku ogling porno manga.

    What you say about quality of life is interesting, too, Philip. More people are opting for lifestyles that return a modicum of control to them. Cycling does that, I believe. It's an independence that smacks of a mini act of rebellion, a retort to all those mega industries that thrive on our gullibility.

    I wonder what eorge Orwell would have made of the real 1984!

    Looking forward to the ride home :bike:,
  5. Edogawakikkoman

    Edogawakikkoman Maximum Pace

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    We were in London in 2003 and had a hotel in Bayswater across form Hyde Park.
    Due to jet lag we were up around 5 a.m and the number of cyclists was impressive...all day even riding in the rain or wind, all kinds of bikes and gear... the cars were very friendly to them as well.
    I also wish Sydney car drivers would go easy on cyclists. Must be one of the most deadly places to ride a bicycle.
    Japan is very good in the car sense...most cars don't mind waiting or giving way t a cyclist. You just have to make sure they see you.

    If I drive to owrk, I feel sick, if I ride I feel excellent. 5 extra kms by bicycle for safety and that only costs me an extra 10 minutes commute. People at the high school I work at think it's crazy to ride for an hour before work.... I 'know' they are crazy though.

    It will be hell though when there is no oil and the streets are overcrowded with bicycles...

  6. gmason

    gmason Warming-Up

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    The sad point is when the oil runs out the OEM's will be forced into running biofuel! (or other nore eco friendly alternatives - they are out there just too expensive at the moment) Sorry to say it guys but I work in the car industry (it's a living and somebody has to do it ) - the 4 wheeled behemoth aint goin nowhere! They will be cleaner though - so no more coughing your guts up at stop lights!


    I do realise the wider implications of fossil fuel depletion, but bring it on i for one like to breathe AIR!!!!
  7. evan06

    evan06 Warming-Up

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    I wish more effort was being made in America to make roads more bicycle friendly. Additionally, that drivers would be more receptive to cyclists sharing the road with them, yet this is not the case. I can't even count the number of times while living in Southern California that a day did not go by that I was yelled at, had stuff thrown at me, squeezed to the side of road, being cutoff when traveling at a good speed, and numerous other instances.

    I would agree Andrew about cringing forking out 3000 or more for a good bicycle. I am in that process right now as I decide which bike to purchase next. I think this psychological effect is based upon several facts. First, there really is not much to a bike ( no air conditioning, comfortable seats, sound system, and numerous other amenities). Second, riding a bike requires work, which unfortunately many Americans cringe at...work in the form of exercise...are you crazy. Maybe if Americans relied less on cars, they could possibly make a greater impact on the obesity crisis within America. Third, materialism and image. Americans love to live out of their means. One only needs to look at the massive debt people take on just to live comfortably (in their minds eye). Then, as Andrew alluded to, the amount people will pay for a vehicle to present an image. Honestly, why would anyone pay over 10,000 for rims, sheesh.

    I read an interesting book, How To Live Well Without Owning A Car, which presents ways to save money and live healthier without purchasing a car which is a poor investment. According to the website:

    How To Live Well Without Owning A Car is a new nonfiction book by award-winning journalist and author Chris Balish. The book suggests taking a different path -- a car-free path. The program in this book will show you how to live a full, active life without owning a car. And without a car to pay for, practically anyone can get out of debt, save money, and even achieve financial freedom. The truth is that tens of millions of working Americans do not need to own a car.

  8. Andrew Deane

    Andrew Deane Speeding Up

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    Urban Myth?


    I read somewhere a few years ago that it takes more barrels of crude to produce a car than the car will consume in its lifetime. I don't know if that's true.

    But, I would welcome less polution in any form. Trouble is, I recognise my own hypocrisy here: I LOVE cars! the faster and more luxurious, the better. But I am fortunately a poor man, so I will not be contributing too greatly to the healthy propagation of the four-wheeled behemoth (of the Volvo, BMW ilk)...

    Anyway, Greg, enjoy the commute" up the side of Fuji-san! Let me know how it went.
  9. Wolfman

    Wolfman Speeding Up

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    Was back in London a couple of weeks ago and noticed the increased numbers of people on bikes.

    Have to say, my urban riding is still a bit corrupted by the aggressive riding :ninja: I picked up from cycling to work in London back in the late 90s. Sometimes this is a bit out of place in Japan.

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