“Racking My Brain”

Below is a terrific post on bike racks originally published on Reader Area Development and reposted here with their permission.

Racking My Brain

by readerareadevelopment

a kid’s view of the importance of bike riding.

I remember when I got my first bike, it was a present, a great day for any kid. I spent most of my younger years riding my bike to something, whether it be into town, to baseball practice, or over to a friend’s house. Not too long ago bike racks used to be everywhere but have since been dying off. While taking the dog for a walk over to the local school to let him run around this past weekend, it came to me why less children that bike don’t turn out to be adults that bike.

I’ve been wondering why it is that, what was once a prized possession and one’s most memorable present growing up has lost its luster. We as a society have been so auto-focused (unless you live in Austin, Minneapolis, or Portland) that this mentality has trickled down to our schools and our youth. The bike rack that is pictured above (black and white to add to the drama) is a symbol of this one-sided way of life.

No kid in their right mind looks at this as a fun and exciting thing, granted, but if we could make something that is now a rusty artifact into something more artful and youthful, we will be able to renew kid’s interest in riding their bike’s again. When the school and students take ownerships of a bike rack it adds something more than a hunk of metal to lock your bike too. Some schools and communities have already started this movement, but it’s time this gets fully adopted.

The need for more bike riders boils down to more than it just being “fun,” but impacts our children and in turn, our communities in more ways than one. First, the obvious, that it is a healthy choice and provides that needed exercise every kid needs. Secondly, by more kids riding to school, it should in theory reduce the amount of kids on the bus. If less kids are riding the bus, there is a possibility to reduce the amount of stops, gas, and buses needed in total. It could even reduce the amount of parents taking their kids to school in their own personal vehicles. Lastly, if children of all ages, ranging from elementary up to high school were to use this as a viable means of transportation we could explore substituting gym with a different class.

Why haven’t we made this a top priority? I guess it comes down to adults don’t view it as a viable means of transportation. Most parents, teachers, and school board members are stuck in the auto rut. Once you get your license and the supposed freedom that goes with driving, you begin to look at bike riding as child’s play or something to do for leisure. You think you will get your exercise elsewhere, that children riding to school is dangerous, and you don’t have to be worried with the city budget.

These are all easy claims to make, but we aren’t doing anybody any favors by continuing this way of thought. Riding a bike is certainly cheaper than owning and operating a car. Our streets are dangerous because of the amount of cars travelling on them, and how we have created them to go as fast as possible. Cities have been held back from growth because they are shackled with the rising costs of transportation and everything related to it continues to rise.

Sometimes solving our problems are “As Easy As Riding A Bike.” It was and still is one of every kid’s favorite presents growing up. Before you got your license it was the freedom of owning a bike that made you independent. If we remember that now as adults maybe we can help future generations break the brain drain that comes with letting cars rule our lives. Teachers could be the leaders of this movement, parents could assist, and schools could reinvest in something other than more of that ugly black pavement.

even kid’s can see where the importance lies…
This entry was posted in art, Bicycling, cities, culture, entrepreneurship, fun, health, new urbanism, placemaking, planning, transportation, urban planning and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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