Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Cyclists' Manifesto

As an avid recreational and commuter cyclist, I believe more and more in these modern times that bicycles will be more and more important in the emerging green economy. You know, the economy that will rise from the ashes of the one thats currently collapsing - the last remnants of the exuberant "shop til you drop" 80s & 90s consumer mentality.

How can I be so positive about such things? I mean, here we are, in the middle of one of the worst recessions in US history. The DOW has been a rollercoaster, trillions of paper investments have been wiped out overnight, and housing prices have plummeted, along with many losing theirs in foreclosures.

Yet I have been on a pilgrimage of sorts, having visited Europe a few years ago. What I saw there, the culture - the culture of the city, which is something that simply does not exist in this country, in my opinion. I see the nascent formulations of one in Portland, which is very exciting - people who walk, people who bicycle, people who go to art shows or the bars or watch movies in the city, it is a beginning. People aren't just working in town and vacating it at 5pm... and there is a growing critical mass of what I term "normal people," those of the middle classes, so to speak - who are not afflicted with severe mental illnesses from wars past and are begging for money.

This post is rather much of a rant, but I had to start somewhere.

I believe in The City. I believe that by making it a place for people to live, that it will generate a self-sustaining economy around a new American culture.

And I believe that the bicycle will be one of its key ingredients.

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