A new ‘Golden Age’ of Bicycling?

The following article popped up in our news feed and on our Facebook page over the weekend — a Salon article interviewing bike activist and author Elly Blue on her new book Bikenomics:

It’s hard to deny that bicycles are having a moment. Last year saw New York City, Chicago, Salt Lake City and Columbus all get bike-share systems of their very own — joining Boston, London, Paris, Dublin, Moscow, Hangzhou, Montreal and many, many other cities throughout the world. Increasingly, people are talking about bikes as a replacement for cars (and even trucks), debating the best ways to design bike lanes and bike-friendly intersections, dreaming up futuristic bike paths and, above all else, taking to the streets on two wheels.

But bicycling’s recent rise to the spotlight isn’t just a passing fad, argues writer and bike activist Elly Blue. Instead, she says, growing numbers of people are beginning to recognize the tangible benefits — to themselves and to their cities — of trading in cars for self-powered transportation. And the research is backing up their experiences. Blue’s new book, “Bikenomics,” draws on a growing body of academic work, along with her own involvement with the country’s bicycle movement, to make the economic case for bicycles. As for the people who insist, in the face of such evidence, that bike commuters are a scourge on humanity? Blue maintains they’re just bitter from spending so much time stuck in traffic.

Read the rest of the article by clicking here.

I hope she’s right, that using a bike for transportation will be old news within five years…What do YOU think? Are we finally in a new “Golden Age” of bicycling? Is the pro-bicycling momentum finally self-sustaining to where more and more cities will jump onboard with infrastructure and the like? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.


  1. Steve in Boise

    “Is the pro-bicycling momentum finally self-sustaining … ?”

    I’d say it probably is in Portland, where Ms. Blue lives… or in Boulder CO or Davis CA, where it is long-established. Maybe not so much (yet) in Houston or Los Angeles or Phoenix. For most of us, we’ll have to be part of the ongoing momentum. Politicians want to make “popular” decisions, and bicycle infrastructure and bike-friendly policies will evolve as an increased demand is perceived.

    If the price of gas keeps going up 50 cents per gallon per year, that too will contribute to an ever-increasing demand for viable bicycle transportation. (Especially if the overall economy remains stagnant.)

    As individual bicycle commuters, we can strive to be “part of the solution” rather than “part of the problem”! Far too many road-going citizens see bicycles in a negative light, because they focus on the scofflaws who disregard traffic laws, ride against traffic, 3-abreast, at night with no lights, etc. “We have met the enemy, and it is us!” When motorists see me, I want them to see somebody who’s doing his best to NOT cause delays or put their hearts to pounding!

  2. Graham

    I agree, bike through Appalachia and then tell me that bicycles are entering a Golden Age. You’re still likely to have someone sic their dog on you or be gunned down by a truck in parts of the country.

    I think that some communities are making excellent use of bicycles, but (I believe) trip share in the U.S. is still well below 1%.

  3. Charles

    A new “Golden Age” of bicycling? I cannot say, but as far as my city Seattle, more and more people begin to commute with bike.

    If you can save a lot of money on gasoline, and get know more about your city, and you just like it, why not transition from car to bike?

  4. BluesCat

    I dream of a time when bicycling will be just a normal way of getting around.
    Unfortunately, I agree with Graham, that most Americans are still stuck in the Automobile Age, and it will be a very long time before my dream comes true.
    Until then, I’ll just have to be satisfied with riding around on my ‘bent, enjoying the experience while being viewed as a radical old duffer.

  5. Ghost Rider

    Yeah, I think that claim is unrealistically optimistic. Sure, there are cities that “get it” as far as making bicycling a valid transportation option…but a lot that don’t at all. Add in rural communities and the suburbs and the 5 years claim seems like a pipe dream.

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