Four things that were better in 1899

Gibson print

It's no accident that the 1960 film adaptation of The Time Machine opens with host HG Wells welcoming four friends to a dinner party in London on January 5, 1900 to recount events that had occurred since he last met them, on New Year's Eve, 1899. What year could be more symbolic of the end of an era, for good or ill, than 1899? Since Americans worship at the altar of progress, we hardly need … [Read more...]

Seven reasons bikes are for everyone—not just “cyclists”

Bike Family

Traveling the world’s great bicycle cities, I fell in love with cycling. The ease, safety, convenience… (dreamy sigh) But as my six-month love affair came to an end, I began to realize the reason for my infatuation: cities like those in Denmark and Holland simply make themselves lovable. They don’t just build cycle tracks; they inject fun, whimsy, compassion, and even romance into … [Read more...]

The bike as a lens

bike tweed

Culturally we believe that the car is a symbol of personal freedom. But the truth is that car ownership can be oppressive on several levels. Personal mobility represents freedom to the individual, but it's the form it takes that tells the story of freedom. Susan B. Anthony said: Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the … [Read more...]

Is our future our past?

Chock

If there's one thing most post peak oil commentators have given too little consideration to it's how goods will be moved and how farms will function in our scary and fast approaching future. Sure there's the fraternity that talk about bicycles and walking and they're on the right track, particularly if you're lucky or wise enough to reside in a city or village. However a means of energy or … [Read more...]

Freeways for bicycles, as in the old days

Richard Register's sketch of an elevated bikeway

Corresponding recently with Shin-pei Tsay of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, some interesting transportation issues came up, first around Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) vs. rails, then a little known factoid that freeways – elevated even! – were first for bicycles and only forty years later for cars. (I’m proud to relate I drew pictures of elevated bicycle freeways 20 years before I knew … [Read more...]

A ticket to ride

transport-revolutions-new

BOOK REVIEW Transport Revolutions: Moving People and Freight Without Oil by Richard Gilbert and Anthony Perl New Society Publishers, 430 pp, $26.95 I know a textbook when I see one. This feels like a textbook without the homework, unless you include constantly referencing the many footnotes throughout the text. Advertised as a book for the general reader and the transportation planner, … [Read more...]