Are Bicycles replacing Cars on our Roads?

Posted by on Feb 25, 2014 in Bicycle, Bikes, biking | 0 comments

Not so very many years ago, sidewalks and roads were filled with children on their bikes, riding their way to school. Those of us old enough to remember those days remember the pride we took in our bikes, making sure that they were clean and that our precious bells were in tip-top ringing condition. Gradually, those bikes, which were also used by commuters and people running errands, were replaced by buses and cars. The scene changed from one of kids careening about on their bikes to those same children simply standing by the street corner, waiting for a bus. Commuters, too, changed their mode of transportation. Today, however, we are wondering if we are seeing another shift, one that leads us back to the two-wheeled wonders powered by whatever we ate for breakfast.

Government Agendas

government agendas

When little Jane pedaled fiercely down the road to make it to school on time just fifty years ago, she never dreamed that one day, one day in her lifetime, the United States government would be spending millions of dollars to try to encourage children to do exactly what she was doing—riding her bike to school. Even so, it is true. As part of the Federal Highway Department Safe Routes to School program, the federal government is spending millions of dollars both to provide safe routes for kids to bike or walk to school and to encourage kids to get out and use those routes. The return to two-wheels isn’t limited to kids in school. Biking seems to be a growing trend across many walks of life.

Biking Cities

roadside bike

Roadside bike rack at University of Minneapolis

Whether they are doing it for the commuting crowd, students, tourists, or people headed to the mall, many cities across the U.S. and around the world are making it more convenient than ever to leave the four-wheeled vehicles at home and start pedaling the two-wheeled ones. While biking lanes are rather common, a number of cities have gone the extra mile when it comes to accommodating bikes.

  • Fort Mason, CA. A stretch of road in this community certainly encourages bikers. The parking areas have been replaced with a bike lane, complete with cement barricades, ensuring no one mistakenly parks his vehicle in the new bike lane.
  • Japan. Not surprisingly, Japan is a mecca for cyclists, something that never really went away with the car trend. Many cities rent bikes to tourists, and some even have multi-level parking garages dedicated solely to bicycles.
  • Munich. This city offers a fascinating public transportation system, one that contains varying levels of propelling options, with cheaper rates for those that are more environmentally friendly. Renting a bike, for example, would likely cost considerably less than riding the bus with the city’s Mo-Bility system.
  • Minneapolis. Some sources point to Minneapolis as the top city for biking in the U.S. This city has gone the extra mile in increasing on-street cycling lanes and bicycle routes for tourists as well as locals.

With such an emphasis on biking, perhaps our grandchildren will laugh when they hear of all the traffic jams, school bus rides, and commuter buses of today. They’ll be busy pedaling away, protecting our earth while exercising their muscles.

Chris Turberville-Tully enjoys spending time with his wife and sons outdoors, whether biking, taking a run on the beach or an evening drive (yes, he drives a car!) through the countryside. When not enjoying the great outdoors and fresh air, Chris spends his time writing for HR Owen or traveling abroad for business. To date Chris has visited over 80 countries and has no plans to stop just yet. Follow Chris’ travels on G+.

Image credits: 1, 2

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Beyond The Training Wheels – What Your Child Needs To Know About Bicycle Safety

Posted by on Feb 9, 2014 in Bicycle, Bikes, biking, Cycling | 0 comments

A bike offers so much to a child. It promotes exploratory play; it’s a mode of transportation; it encourages independence; it develops balance; and so much more. Hence, it’s no wonder that kids, boys and girls, just love bicycles. But teaching them how to drive their bikes properly can be a challenge. They will fall and they will get scratches and bruises. Yet they will try and try because, to them, nothing is more rewarding than the day when their training wheels are removed. Still, before these are taken out and before you allow your child to drive longer distances on his own, you must explain to him what his responsibilities are as a biker so that he’ll remain safer on public roads.

bicycling

o He must have proper training. Some kids are not very good bike riders. They know how to drive straight, but they don’t know how to turn or stop when needed. Without the right biking skills, your child becomes a danger to himself and to others. Hence, assess your child’s driving abilities first.

o He must use the right equipment. Accidents on the road can happen. In order to improve your kid’s safety while on the road, see to it that he has the recommended equipment. A helmet is essential, and this must be worn each time your child rides. Knee and elbow pads can also protect him in case he falls.

o He must not ride his bike at night. Kids are independent, and your son might try to ride his bike to go to a friend’s house at night. But bicycling when it’s dark outside is very dangerous. A child is small; thus, it will be harder for other drivers to see him. Streets are also more deserted at night, and this makes your child vulnerable to attackers.

For older kids who are already allowed to bike at night, they must be required to wear the proper gear. Moreover, they must utilize items that will help in increasing their visibility while biking, such as LED lights that can be attached to bicycles and also reflective vests. Nevertheless, parents must not allow their children to go out at night especially since many accidents that involve bikers often happen between 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. These are also the times when drunk drivers are on the road.

o He must be aware of traffic rules. Bob M. Cohen & Associates believe that bicyclists have the same rights as other motorists. Because of this, cyclists, young and old, are also subject to the same traffic rules that govern all drivers. Therefore, before allowing your kid to drive his bike on public roads, he must understand traffic regulations and he must know how to put them into practice. To illustrate, a young driver must be able to identify and follow all traffic signals or lights, and he must obey all road regulations in order to stay safe.

o He must realize that riding a bike is a responsibility. A child who is old enough to drive a bike on his own must also comprehend that bicycling is not play, particularly if he is out on public roads. Hence, he must not participate in bike races or other recreational activities that might threaten people’s safety. He has a responsibility to himself and to other motorists. He must also understand that accidents do happen; and, when they do, the effects could be devastating not only to himself, but to other victims too.

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Claire Taylor is a freelance writer and a mom. Her articles are often about road safety and automobile maintenance.

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Motorcycle Madness: The Best Bikes For Your Ride

Posted by on Feb 6, 2014 in Bicycle, Bikes, Cycling | 0 comments

It takes time to discover which motorbike is best for you. When deciding on a vehicle, models are usually simultaneously similar and starkly different and your choice will usually depend on which features you will use most. While some concept cars aim to be more unique and specialised, these are mere distant dreams. Bikes are customisable in that they can be tailored to individuals and what they look for when they go riding. Are you looking for comfort? Speed? Aesthetics? Off-road capabilities? With so many different types of bikes on the market, it can be tough knowing which is best for you. Here’s a breakdown to make your choice easier.

Cruiser

The Cruiser is a favourite among many, the most famous model being the Harley-Davidson. Harvey Davidson’s are retro and evocative of old motorcycles from the 1930s. The riding position tends to be feet forward and hands up with the spine straight and erect or leaning back slightly. This is claimed to be more comfortable for long rides, but many will dispute this and it all depends on what you’re comfortable with. They typically don’t have a windscreen which means you’ll get a full blast of air if you’re riding fast down a highway. Cruisers are mostly designed with cruising in mind, thus the name, which means riding around town almost leisurely. They are relatively heavy and their handling suffers from the design, making them unsuitable for high speeds and racing.

Sports Bikes

Made for speed, these are the types of bikes you want to have if you ever find yourself at a red light with a young, cocky and smug rider revving his engine in the lane next to yours. While you’d be wise to avoid street races, it’s still nice to know that you’d win. These bikes are great for racing at your local race track, or taking on cruises with tight bends. Their handling is superior to most other bikes and they are generally very pleasing to look at. These might be too powerful for beginners, so consider this option carefully before you commit as they might be too much to handle.

Dirt Bike

If you have access to off-road trails and want to bask in the glory that is off-road biking, then you can’t go wrong with a dirt bike. Dirt bikes are designed exclusively for off-road riding. The suspensions are specially designed so that you can take jumps at high speeds. Naturally, you’re sitting higher than on normal bikes for greater comfort when you’re jumping over obstacles. These bikes are light, fast and dangerous. While they provide for a great recreational activity, beginners should have in depth instruction before setting off on their own.

Dual-Sports bikes

Combining on-road and off-road riding, this bike tries to build a bridge between the two types. They are designed to be used as standard bikes on highways and paved roads, as well as being taken to a dirt track. The flaw, it is generally agreed, is that a jack of all trades is a master of none. By this I mean that, while it can accomplish both tasks, it does neither of them particularly well. This will vary from model to model, but generally, they aren’t as good as the dedicated on or off-road bike. That doesn’t mean they’re worthless, it just means you’ll have to regularly take part in both types of riding to fully appreciate the dual-sports bikes. If you just do one or the other, I’d recommend you stick with either the sports or the dirt bike.

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Adrian Rodriguez is a freelance writer with a passion for motorcycles. He recommends that you finance your ride instead of paying it all off in one go.

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