Saturday, June 21, 2008

Share a bicycle

In Xianne, Rose, Cheyenne and Ruby, accustomed to day-long hikes, walked twelve miles to neighboring Central Village, but they might have enjoyed a bike trek just as much. Bicycles are the perfect vehicle for a rural, village-centered population.

Imagine a phalanx of well-maintained bicycles available in key locations for any villager to pick up and ride away. Sound far-fetched? From Amsterdam to Austin, cities around the globe are doing just that. Take a look at the Big Apple's fledgling bicycle-share program.

From community isolation problems, to obesity, to air pollution, to war, there are so many problems this country has that can be solved if people would just get out of their cars and ride bikes more.

Probably the first U.S. bike-share program was Portland's Yellow Bike, launched in the early Nineties. From that low-tech trust-and-ride to the high-tech Washington, D.C. program launched in April this year and modeled after the Paris Velib (means bicycle freedom), cities seeking answers to congestion, pollution and high energy costs are jumping on the two-wheeled bandwagon and heading out. To learn more, Google "yellow bike." On YouTube, search on "bicycle sharing."

In the wholistic world of Ordinary, the sound of the bicycle bell is likely to become as common as birdsong. Ching-ching!

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