Every kid (except for my spaz little brother) loves to ride bicycles. When you’re a kid, bikes are great; they’re fast, fun and provide endless opportunities to harm yourself and scare the beJesus out of your parents. But for most Americans that’s where our love affair with two-wheeled transportation ends. Why do Americans (with the exceptions of messenger boys, Tour-de-France aficionados and homeless dudes) ditch their bikes the second they can get behind the wheel of a car?
On a recent trip to Germany I was amazed to see a hundred bikes locked up at every train station throughout the countryside. Granted, in Europe it’s certainly easier to get around on a bicycle in most places, and things aren’t nearly as spread out as they are Stateside. But the size of our country can’t be the only reason.
In China, bicycles are everywhere! That makes sense of course, because if everyone in China were driving there would be a cloud of pollution hanging over the country…oh wait. Anyway, there are 300 million Americans and that doesn’t stop us from driving.
So what is it? Why aren’t bicycles as big of a part of American culture as they are in other places? I have no clue! I hope you didn’t come to “The Spin” looking for a sociological study. I don’t get paid nearly enough. What I do have however, are some suggestions on how bicycles might be made more popular in the USA.
- Put bike racks at fast-food restaurants.
What do we Americans love more than fast food? Uhm, nothing. So, why not encourage people to ride on over to their favorite burger joint? Take a quick spin to McDonald’s so you can smile even more at your Happy Meal.
- Make helmets cool.
Not dying is cool. So by extension bike safety should be as well. Yet, so many people refuse to wear helmets or won’t even get on a bike if they have to wear one. But what if there were some awesome helmets out there? I’m talking like really awesome. Then everyone would want to ride a bike.
There should helmets with deer antlers for hunters, or ones with a horn for people that like Unicorns. Maybe the NFL could do a promotion that allows you to buy the helmet of your favorite player. Or maybe, you have lots of enemies on the bike paths, so wouldn’t you love a helmet with an iron spike that you could use to attack people?
Just throwing some ideas out there. Anyway, safe travels everyone!