Friday, January 27, 2012

Bicycling and Walking in The United States

From the Alliance for Biking and Walking comes:
the Bicycling and Walking in the United States 2012 Benchmark Report. Click on the image to access the full report.

The Economic Impact of Bicycling and Walking As economic recession has impacted communities across the nation, active transportation has emerged as a promising sector for growth and revitalization. Bicycling and walking projects create 11-14 jobs per $1 million spent, compared to just 7 jobs created per $1 million spent on highway projects. A series of case studies in 2010, examining the construction of U.S. bicycle and pedestrian facilities, found that such projects created between 218 and 1,050 new construction jobs.
After an initial economic boost from construction, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure has a lasting impact on local economies. A 2009 study in Minnesota found that bicyclists on state trails spend $2.4 billion annually, supporting nearly 31,000 full- and part-time jobs. A survey of San Francisco business owners on Valencia Street found that two-thirds of merchants thought the street's bike lanes had an overall positive impact on their business or sales.
Bicycling and walking also results in significant cost savings on health care spending. If just one out of every 10 adults started a regular walking program, the U.S. could save $5.6 billion in health care costs — enough to pay the college tuition of more than 1 million students. Thanks to bicycle infrastructure and programming, the City of Portland expects to see between $388 and $594 million in health savings by 2040. Cost benefit analysis show that as much as $11.80 in benefits can be gained from every $1 invested in bicycling and walking.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Contrasting Technologies

 In recent months I had the fortune to visit the US Coast Guard installations in Elizabeth City, SC and discovered among all the hundreds and hundreds of helicopter fuselages and parts, that bikes are being used as a 0 emissions rapid commute tool between hangars. 
In our June 23, 2011 posting titled Bikes in the Airfield, we showed some tricycles in Elmendorf, Alaska next to an Alaska Air National Guard's HH060 Pave hawk.  What a contrast...
The only other simpler way of transporting yourself, stuff and others besides the bicycle is to walk. Yet as humble and as simple as the bicycle is, it has proven to be of use next to the most advanced of technologies such as aviation.
In any case, if you ever wonder, is there a place where bicycles just don't fit? Tell me and I will try to prove you wrong :)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

"This is not a Bike... (Its a machine for economic and cultural empowerment)"

As a response to the Asian tsunami of 2005, a good Samaritan corporation decided to put their expertise, their money and their desire to help to the best possible use. Bike component giant SRAM partnered with aid organizations in south east Africa to to deliver bikes and other types of aid to the affected locations. They delivered 24,000 bicycles originally to Sri Lanka. After that, the World Bicycle Relief Foundation was born. In SRAM's Kane Farabaugh's own words:
"The highest performing bike I've seen is the bike in the hands of the girl student fighting for her education or the bikes in the hands of a mother faithing for her children. There is no higher performing bike than that."
In this context, the advantage these 'machines for economic and cultural empowerment' provide access. That is the primary value; Access to education, to markets, to opportunity, to care, to emergency services, access to the world.
Along with the bikes, the program also trains mechanics of the two primary genders.

These bikes are totally locally built, creating thus further opportunities for the communities; jobs, transportation, education, etc.
"With over 96,000 bicycles in the field and 750 field mechanics trained, World Bicycle Relief is changing lives across Africa. World Bicycle Relief currently has assembly facilities in Kenya, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe and has supplied bicycles through programs in Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Southern Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe."

See more at World Bicycle and