Thursday, September 22, 2005

Happy World Car Free Day!

Today is World Car Free Day. But I didn't need to look at a calendar to know that. On my 2.5-mile ride to work this morning, I shared the streets with hundreds of other cyclists. All sorts of people were on all sorts of bicycles, including several Free Spirit 10-speeds, still covered with dust from decades of slumber in the dark corners of Savannah's garages.

Bicycles were everywhere. In fact, the only motor vehicles I saw were the local bike shops' support trucks slowly prowling Habersham Street. The trucks were soon parked and the air compressors, tools and other repair gear transferred to a fleet of Xtracycles, from which volunteer mechanics continued lending aid to cyclists whose long-neglected rides weren't quite prepared for the morning commute.

Shops and restaurants all over town were brimming with customers. Unencumbered by the need to find suitable storage places for their automobiles, they easily wheeled up to bike racks that had been deployed in advance of today's event. And they didn't even worry about locking their bikes. A wave of goodwill had spread among the cycling citizens, making the prospect of theft very unlikely.

Around 8:30 a.m., President Bush announced in a press conference that he wanted all spending on new road construction, included in the $286 billion federal highway bill passed in July, redirected to fund mass transit and to begin modification of our nation's roadways to safely accommodate bicycle and pedestrian traffic. In an announcement that shocked just about everyone, President Bush said, "It's sort of like I've been born again, again. I now realize that continued spending on automobile-exclusive infrastructure only digs us deeper into a hole from which America would never emerge."

After the press conference, Bush hopped on his mountain bike and rode from the White House to Capitol Hill to discuss his epiphany with legislators, who were also commuting to work by bicycle.


My 2.5-mile ride to work looked pretty much like it did yesterday. I saw a city worker headed south on an old blue Schwinn. I saw man riding against traffic on a child's bike. I saw a handful of SCAD students cycling to class. I saw a Trek road bike being loaded into the cargo hold of a Chevy Suburban. I saw one other bicycle in the rack outside my office.

On a more positive note, here's this and this.

1 comment:

Nathan said...

Fantastic post! You had me 'til "support trucks". Looks like Bush's bike ride would be about two miles taking the scenic route.