Bike Month rolls around every May, sallying in on spring weather and renewing hopes for cleaner air.
This year’s Bike Month, though, arrives with a certain urgency: Gasoline is at $4 a gallon and travel by car is becoming more of a burden to Americans already pinched by stagnant salaries, sharply rising medical costs and higher food prices. We’ve got a tank full of costs and urban centers choking on ozone, particulate and greenhouse gas pollution. So this year, instead of looking like a “nice to have,” bike trails are increasingly vital to any urban or suburban redesign. Climate change “believers” already see it that way. They know that every time someone bikes, walks or takes mass transit to work they’ve lower their carbon impact, and contributed to cleaner skies for all of us.
Every Sunday, more than a million people in Bogota join what has become a weekly ritual: congregating on the city’s main roads temporarily turned into a network of bike paths known as the “Ciclovia”. In a city of 7 million people, Sunday mornings are not for cars, they are for exercise. More than 120 kilometers of highways are closed. In many locations, there are free aerobics, yoga and exercise classes. This 36-year success is now being copied in several large cities around the world. Producer Zulima Palacio recently spent time on the paths and prepared this story:
Move over Seattle, Portland, and Austin and other green heavyweights — make room for some like-minded, newcomers.
Columbus, Ohio; New Orleans, La., Syracuse, N.Y., and Louisville, Kty., residents might not be wearing Birkenstocks and basking under solar tubes. But they are living in some of the growing number of mid-sized, Middle American cities that are making impressive green strides, changing their attitudes and getting smarter about eco-choices.