2 June 2008
This Could Be You
In the US, according to the Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey:
- 25 percent of all trips are made within a one and a half kilometre [1 mile] of the home.
- 40 percent of all trips are within 3 km [2 miles] of the home.
- 50 percent of the working population commutes 8 km [5 miles] or less to work.
Yet more than 82 percent of trips 8 km [5 miles] or less are made by personal motor vehicle.
The figures are not far off the European averages. Basically, as we've been waffling on about for ages, distances aren't an issue. They are quite accessible. Which is a fantastic point of departure for encouraging people to get onto bikes. Sure, we often hear people say "I live much farther than that from work... so I can't ride my bike..."
Surely there must be ways to divide up the trip. Put a bike rack on your car, find a secure place to park it within cycle striking distance of your work and ride the last leg. Or ride to a train station nearby and take the train part of the way. Get a beat up old bike that nobody wants to steal, in case you're worried about theft.
Suits are no hindrance, even in 28 degree heat, if the distances are as reasonable as stated above. It's Style Over Speed, after all.
Bring a bottle of juice along for the ride.
Another Copenhagen Supermum in action.
And here's a stat that's interesting from the same study at the top:
60 percent of the pollution created by automobile emissions happens in the first few minutes of operation, before pollution control devices can work effectively. Since "cold starts" create high levels of emissions, shorter car trips are more polluting on a per-mile basis than longer trips.
New York Times & The Guardian
Just a little addendum. We were sent this link to T-Magazine, a supplement of the New York Times about Copenhagen. A shocking lack of bikes, but still cool.
Then there is The Guardian's 'I've Been There' feature - great for collecting readers' tips about traveling to various cities. Here's the Copenhagen intro.
Copenhagen is an aesthetic capital that is content with its laid-back, cool attitude and rather unimpressed with the delusions of grandeur suffered by other European cities. The city centre is a charming labyrinth of cosy streets peppered with trendy cafes and boutiques. The surrounding neighbourhoods are relaxed areas where the Copenhagener can be seen in its natural environment.
If "big is better" is your thing, then Copenhagen will disappoint. Upon seeing the Little Mermaid statue on her rock on the harbour generations of puzzled tourists have uttered the same remark: "But she’s so SMALL!" Upon hearing this a Copenhagener will merely shrug and remark, "She’s life-size". All with a crooked smile and a twinkle in the eye,
Which would be an ideal motto for Copenhagen. Life-size. An ego to match any other capital but an ego which is wrapped up in a Nordic coolness that makes any visit to the city a calming, groovy and aesthetically appealing experience.