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Ban Cars and the Bikes Will Come

Chicago Closes Lake Shore Drive for Cyclists

Chicago’s Bike the Drive 2009 on Vimeo – Watch more Videos at Vodpod.

18,000 riders show up

Two women in Chicago have a great blog Let’s Go Ride a Bike – City Cycling with Style Since 2008 – that’s on my daily must-read list.

Dottie posted an account of Chicago’s annual Bike the Drive event held May 24. The city closes Lake Shore Drive, the main scenic highway that parallels Lake Michigan, to motorized vehicles and opens it up to cyclists.

An estimated 18,000 riders showed up. That’s about half the population of my home town.

You can read the whole story here.

A major highway covered with bikes

At first I thought, whoopity zoopity. Big deal. Then I watched the video. Several times.

It blew me away to see a major highway covered in bikes.

It just goes to prove the old Fields of Dreams adage: build it and they will come.

If bikes had even a fraction of the infrastucture devoted to motorized vehicles, can you imagine the impact it would make?

Bike beats train and cab in NY

Oh, yeah, and for the fifth consecutive year, cycling beat out the subway and taxi in the Transportation Alternative’s annual commuter race.

This year the race took off from Sunnyside, Queens and ended in Columbus Circle.

It took librarian Rachel Myers 20 minutes and 15 seconds to pedal the 4.2 miles during the morning rush.

Subway rider Dan Hendrick – who hopped the No. 7 in Sunnyside and transferred to the No. 1 at Times Square – arrived 15 minutes after the biker.

A yellow cab rolled up to the finish line with a finishing time of about 47 minutes – nearly half an hour after the cyclist — and costing passenger Willie Thompson $30

6 comments to Ban Cars and the Bikes Will Come

  • George P

    Looks like fun. I wonder where they could set up a similar ride here in Palm Beach County. I’m not sure ever-popular Flagler Drive would cover enough miles.

    The skeptic in me says the Chicago event looks great, but remember this is a once a year thing. You’d never get that kind of turn out on a workday or regular basis. How many workplaces have showers for cycling commuters?

  • Chicago has lots of year-round commuters. They have enough public transit that workers from the burbs can take a bus or train until they get close enough to ride.

    The gals who have the website that did the video are commuters.

    No, Flagler Drive wouldn’t be enough distance to make it worthwhile.

    I can just hear people whining about blocking it off for bikes, though, even though it seems like it’s always blocked for Sunfest and every other thing you can imagine.

  • When will the world wake up to the fact that private motor vehicle transport is not sustainable. I have seen an increase in the number of bicycles around my home town of Sydney, Australia (I live out in the South-Western Suburb of Fairfield). However, There are few practical cycle-ways around. Many of them are more aimed at recreational cycling than the use of bicycles as a practical means of personal transportation. However, there have been some good developments such as the construction of a cycle-way along the whole length of the Liverpool to Parramatta Transit Way. I believe that Transit ways like that are the future of public transport and the bicycle is the future or personal transport.

  • My hometown built a four-mile recreational path that follows a creek bed.

    It’s arguably the most-used facility in town and it’s a great way to get from one end of town to the other without fighting motorized traffic and hills. It’s popular to a fault with cyclists, joggers, dog-walkers, rollerbladers, walkers, etc., etc.

    On the other hand, every time a pissing match over “cyclists taking over the road” breaks out in the local paper, bikers are beaten over the head with that blasted trail. “Why don’t they stay on the bike trail where they belong?”

  • Phil

    I’ve even argued that with bike lanes the gasoline that the bicyclists saved would free up more gas for the car-people to burn. You’d think that that would make them happy and we’d have bike lanes all over the place.

  • Logic plays no part in this discussion.

    Ever heard people complaining about how those lousy buses slow them down.

    Even the buses that have signs on them that say, “It’s either me or 50 more cars in front of you.”