According to Jody Rosen, a writer for The New York Times, we live on a bicycle planet.
Across the world, more people use bicycles — for transportation, recreation, and their livelihood — than any other vehicle. In his new book, Two Wheel Goods: The History and Mystery of the Bicycle, Rosen attempts to ‘de-quaintify’ the bike, from its invention in 1817 to its current status as a virtuous machine that can save cities and the environment.
If the book piques your interest, please check out The War on Cars, an excellent podcast about the epic, hundred years war between the car and the city. A chat with Jody Rosen is one of over 80 podcasts you can listen to at your leisure.
Win a ‘You’d be Happier Biking’ T-shirt
We have some War on Cars merch to give away. If you’d like to win the T-shirt pictured above, please leave us a message at the bottom of the page.
Is a desire to shift away from personal cars in the zeitgeist?
Whether or not the 20s come to be defined by a global move towards active travel remains to be seen – perhaps future generations will find it hard to believe that individuals were permitted to drive private cars into towns and cities at will, just as today’s teenagers are surprised their parents could once smoke cigarettes on planes and in cinemas.
Bristol, Edinburgh and Manchester are among cities trying to solve the air pollution crisis, reduce road danger and promote liveable streets through car-free days, bans on diesel vehicles, blocking off zones to traffic for certain hours of the day and imposing charges. A series of experiments to redefine what is important to our lives in towns and cities – unfortunately, with little political will or budget from central government, there is no consensus.
The Dutch have a 50-year head start on us in this regard and yet they see their work to promote alternatives to car use in urban areas as an ongoing project.
The Dutch Fietsersbond (Cyclists’ Union) represents the interests of cyclists in the Netherlands by lobbying, and working with, all levels of government on urban planning, policies, and laws to improve cycling conditions and make Dutch cities, towns and rural areas safer and easier for anyone who rides a bike: approximately 5 million Dutch folk ride every day out of the country’s total population of 16.8 million.
Fietsersbond spokesperson Vim Bot, told us: “For us it’s clear that we must further reduce the speed of cars in cities. There’s no real room for cars in cities. They are not made for cities, cities are not made for cars. So we must make more of the space available for pedestrians and cyclists.”
Watch the documentary about road danger Stop Killing our Children
Stop Killing our Children examines how road danger damages us all, whatever our age and however we travel, and questions our collective blindness to both its cause and remedy.The 40-minute, crowdfunded film is narrated by the BBC’s John Simpson and features interviews with Chris Boardman, Dr Rachel Aldred, Dr Ian Walker, George Monbiot and the founders of the Stop de Kindermoord movement amongst others. Please help turn the tide against road danger. Please watch and share the film Stop Killing our Children
The ethical choice
The ETA was established in 1990 as an ethical provider of green, reliable travel services. Over 30 years on, we continue to offer cycle insurance , breakdown cover and mobility scooter insurance while putting concern for the environment at the heart of all we do.
The Good Shopping Guide judges us to be the UK’s most ethical provider.