When you think of urban transportation, you probably have visions of freeway gridlock as thousands of commuters cram their cars onto a roadway intended for a fraction of the vehicles that actually use it each day. Or perhaps you are a bit greener in your thinking, and the first thing that pops into your head is the network of trains and buses that ferry multiple passengers around the city non-stop. Depending on where you live you might even consider an actual ferry boat as a form of urban transport. But one thing you may not immediately hone in on is bicycles. And while the reasons for this are pretty clear (they expose riders to the elements, they require physical effort to use, and they simply don’t go as fast as other forms of transportation….well, except in gridlock), there is one group that’s trying to change the way people feel about this eminently eco-friendly form of transportation.
The folks at bikestorming.org are an innovative bunch, and in their bid to greenify the way we move they’ve launched an internet campaign to get people trading in their car keys for a bike lock and helmet. In fact, their main goal is to get 51% of the population riding bikes as their main form of urban transportation by 2030. But there’s a lot more to their philosophy than simply busting up the car culture that currently permeates our society (and indeed, most of the world). The initiative was dreamed up by La Vida en Bici, a Buenos Aires based group that already works to promote the use of bicycles throughout the world. But in launching bikestorming.org they have started to build a collaborative platform that has the potential to reach a global audience and encourage individuals all over the world to get involved and carry the banner of bicycling in their own communities.
And there are several underlying goals involved in the movement. Of course there is the environmental aspect. Bicycling creates no carbon emissions, which means that putting half the world on bikes could drastically slow the progression of climate change. Plus, this sustainable form of transportation could vastly improve travel time for urban drivers that constantly find themselves beset by gridlock and spending far more time in the car than is necessary (pumping exhaust into the atmosphere all the while). On a bike they could zip through traffic and get around much faster. Then there is the health factor. Not only could removing the automobile congestion on roadways clear up the air we breathe, but getting out and exercising will improve one’s overall state of fitness.
But that’s not all these cycling enthusiasts are looking to accomplish with their campaign. They also propose that pulling half the population out of their cars and putting them on bicycles will help to promote social equality and community spirit, two things that are sorely lacking in many of the world’s largest urban centers. However, it takes many voices to affect change, and since a strong infrastructure is needed to support a cycling community, it is up to individuals to form their own groups within a city and call for action. In this “click here” age of instant gratification, the best way to get people on board with any initiative is through digital means. And La Vida en Bici has embraced this mentality wholeheartedly by launching bikestorming.org.