So, I’ve been out of touch for a month and I am starting to feel really guilty about it. I think the main reason I haven’t posted is that I haven’t been riding nearly as much. There are a million reasons why (vacations, work, life, the list goes on.) One reason is that I’ve been busy getting our house prepared to put on the market, so we can move downtown and make it easier to commute by bicycle. So, I guess I don’t feel so guilty about that part.
More news to share in the bicycle department – I am now the proud owner of a vintage Raleigh that I will be quickly rebuilding to my specifications. I’ve already put together my Velo Orange wish list and I’m eyeing a black Brooks B17 ladies saddle. I’m also planning to replace the handlebars, stem, cables, tires, and brake levers. Fortunately, I have some handy friends that have offered to help me put this thing together. This project will definitely take me a little deeper into the world of bicycle mechanics, which I am very much looking forward to! Stay tuned for updates!
Recently, while reading a post from the Lovely Bicycle! blog, I came across the terms Pro-VC and Pro-Infrastructure. These terms were intriguing to me since I had been thinking about the different views on city cycling and now had an easy way to label them. In case you’re unfamiliar with these terms, Pro-VC (vehicular cycling) was coined by John Forester and describes an integrated approach to cycling where cyclists share the road with cars and follow the same traffic rules. Pro-Infrastructure describes the practice of building cycling infrastructure like bike lanes and protected paths with the goal of keeping cyclists and cars separate.
With Indy committing substantial resources to build the cycling infrastructure, including a Bikeways plan to create more than 200 miles of bike lanes in the next 12 years, it would seem that the City supports a Pro-Infrastructure approach. This isn’t surprising considering that this seems to be the preferred method across the United States, while many European cities adopt the Pro-VC approach.
While I understand the benefits of both, I lean towards a Pro-Infrastructure view. As a commuter with a fitness bike (that lacks the speed of a typical road bike), I like the safety that the bike lanes and paths like the Monon, the Central Canal Towpath, and the Cultural Trail offer. I’ll admit that I even get a little annoyed when I see cyclists on roads like Mass Ave. while the Cultural Trail is wide-open…though it’s possible that my annoyance is really just jealousy that I can’t comfortably ride on the road with cars yet. Either way, some part of me wonders if the City will continue to put resources into bike lanes and paths when people choose to use the roads instead.
On the other hand, a Pro-VC approach would likely create a change in culture. If cars were forced to share the road with cyclists, one would assume that it would increase awareness and create a safer space for everyone. I think it would take years, maybe even decades, for our commuting culture to make this pro-cycling shift. For now, I think I’ll stick to the bike lanes and let the road bikers choose their own path.
What’s your view? Do you think we should continue to build the cycling infrastructure or move to a public awareness approach supported by Pro-VCers?
This is probably my favorite photo from the Tour de France so far. Though I know the riders probably don’t get to enjoy the scenery much, the views are absolutely spectacular! Makes me want to pack my things and head to Europe for my own cycling tour!
Sport Science Clothing – Another cycle style discovery coming your way. Simplicity is their goal and they’ve accomplished it with their line of basic moisture-management clothing. This modest collection of basic tees is good for those of us on a budget.
While I love living in Indiana, specifically in Indy – with its growing bicycle culture, I sometimes dream of living in a place like Portland. Recently, I discovered the Portlandize blog, authored by Dave Feucht (an “average citizen” of Portland,) which offers an intimate view of his progressive, cycle-friendly city. Check it out and let me know what you think. Is Indy on track to become as cycle-friendly as Portland? What’s your dream cycling city?