“Spring Cleaning” post #4: Get on your bicycle!

spring cleaningAnd now, another post in the Spring Cleaning series, in which I take a lot of blog posts that have been sitting as drafts for far too long, finish them, and finally put them online! Here are links to the Spring Cleaning articles I’ve posted so far:


If you’re into cycling, this one’s for you.

I find that in the morning, before I go to work and use these machines…


My home office setup in Tampa. Click the photo to see it at full size.

…that it’s worth my while to use this machine:


My home gym setup in Tampa. Click the photo to see it at full size.

Although I’ve been travelling to Tampa on a regular basis for the past two years, I’ve been living here full-time for a mere six weeks. That means that I am, for all intents and purposes, new in town and still figuring my way around. I’ve found that the best way to get to know the area around me, enjoy the weather and get in some exercise at the same time is to hop on a bicycle and ride. It’s the most energy-efficient form of human-powered locomotion, it lets me cover more distance than mere walking but still gives me the up-close look at my surroundings that I can’t get in the car, and it has brain benefits, as the links below will show:

Here’s a video of a patient with Parkinson’s disease who experiences “freezing gait” when walking. However, put him on a bike, and it’s like magic:

It’s been noted in the video that the guy isn’t wearing a helmet. That’s because the video was shot in the Netherlands, where helmets aren’t mandated by law, nor customary. It’s also worth noting that you’re 30 times more likely to get hurt on your bike in the US than you are in the Netherlands. The differences between cycling in the Netherlands and even more bike-friendly American cities like and Chicago and Davis, California are quite notable, as this Dutch observer points out:

At TEDxCopenhagen, Mikael Colville-Andersen says that urban cycling is part of the good life, and helmets are not part of biking:

Why is biking so popular in the Netherlands? This BBC article takes a closer look.

A number of American cities are looking to the Dutch model for improving cycling within cities. To see what we can learn, take a look at From the Netherlands to America. Yes, the US is not the Netherlands, but there are still a number of good ideas to borrow from them, and it doesn’t have to be Rob Ford’s so-called “war on the car” (and really, when’s the last time he told the truth about anything?):

One point made in the video above is that bicycling also boosts economies. This is counter to what a lot of small retailers say: they tend to overestimate the need for parking, and that bicycle lanes will hurt their business. This study says that that ain’t so.

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