What a wonderful way to start the day – seeing Let’s Go Ride a Bike on style website extraordinaire Copenhagen Cycle Chic.
Trisha and I are working on Copenhagenizing Nashville and Chicago, one bike ride at a time. Using a bike for transportation is easy as pie and can be done by almost anyone – without a great level of physical fitness, death wish, fancy bikes, or expensive gear. So why don’t more Americans do it? The greatest obstacle is that most Americans simply don’t know this. We have few examples to follow.
That’s why Copenhagen Cycle Chic is so important. Images from the other side of the world work their way instantly to America and provide a radically different perspective on how to use bikes. Although the images portray the ordinary, every day lives of Copenhageners, the ideas they present to Americans are revolutionary. The more people see them, the more they understand: there is another, better way of living. And “hey city government, why aren’t you helping me use public spaces in a more peaceful and safe manner?” And “yo federal government, how about performing some legislative acrobatics to ensure that federal highway money induces states to address alternative transportation needs?” Because only when our streets are safer for cyclists – both subjectively and objectively – will any true Copenhagenizing be possible. Until then, look out for Trisha and me – we’ll be the-easy-to-spot odd birds, cycling around in dresses and high boots.
So much good stuff in one day! First, of course, is Obama as our new president!! I’m still pinching myself, it seems almost too wonderful. (Hey, shocker, we at Let’s Go Ride a Bike are liberals!) On November 4, 2008, I had a ticket to Grant Park and it was a magical night. After Obama’s speech, my bike and I joined an impromptu parade down Michigan Avenue, a street I never ride on due to the high speeds and heavy traffic. Tonight on my way home I stopped to take a picture of the pretty city lights over the park and only then realized the “OBAMA” lights. Perfect.
Cold Weather Cycling Outfit
Second, today was Chicago’s Winter Bike to Work Day, organized by the Active Transportation Alliance (formerly the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation). I wore my work clothes on my bike (except I later changed from the snow boots to knee-high black suede flat boots) – a red turtleneck, black and white checked knee-length skirt, argyle knee-socks, wool leggings, and wool overcoat. A photographer from the Tribune took my picture and wrote down my name and age, so maybe I’ll make it into the paper again. That would be fun.
The turnout was much smaller than I expected, with no more than 15 people while I was there (including the volunteers). The summer Bike to Work day rally had hundreds of participants, with a speech by Mayor Daley. This confirmed what I’ve been noticing the past 2 months – the amount of commuters drops drastically once the cold rolls in.