19 December 2009

And now it is winter

It's been a long time since I posted here. The cycling season ground down - too slow, and too soon. My outdoor miles squeaked just over 2,300. OK for a pedestrian, but far fewer than I like, and definitely undeserving of the name "cyclist." (A term which I have stopped accepting for myself, and never use!)

One way I've kept visiting this site is a little tally of "most recent rides/runs." Yep, runs. More on that later.

Busy, busy, busy. But with the little bit of cycling that ended the fall, I did enjoy some interesting cycling reading. Which, come to think of it, maybe I should have put off until a day like today - 3 inches of new-fallen snow, beginning to look a lot like Christmas - and ridden instead!

Pedaling Revolution by Jeff Mapes (OSU Press, 2008) is subtitled "How Cyclists are Changing American Cities." Mapes is senior political reporter for The Oregonian. He is an active cyclist (commuter and advocate). Through the book he explores the cycling culture of leading bike-friendly cities, Amsterdam, and cities where the culture is changing toward bike friendliness. Along the way he talks to, and rides with, bicycle advocates (extremists and pragmatists), politicians (my favorite, no doubt from my decade-plus sojourn in MN, is congressman Jim Oberstar, D MN - or, technically DFL, MN), city planners (both established and working on it), and everyday riders (powerful and hoi polloi). He commuted with people in his home town, and in Manhattan; he rode in more than one Critical Mass ride; he traveled to Holland and Denmark to see what they have done to shake free of the automobile, and how it those efforts are paying off.

Adding to my pleasure with Pedaling Revolutionwas reading it while on a trip to Portland, OR, my favorite cycling city, Mapes' home town, and a highly rated cycling mecca.

I am recommending the book to all who take cycling seriously, who are interested in urban planning, who love pedestrians, who endorse human-scale civil engineering, and who dare to think something can be done at the individual and community level to make a dent in our ecological jeopardy. It is engagingly written, and - this is a non-activist writing here - has been more succsessful than anything I've read to nudge me toward taking part in local and regional cycling issues.

Now, if I can just get out and ride!!

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