Monday, 16 January 2012
Riding a bike
Riding a bike
The League of American Bicyclists has brought out a new map of the USA, which lists the ten most important bicycle cities in the US. The criterion for this is not leisure-time cycling but the number of “bicycle commuters” each place has. These are the people who really use their bicycles as serious means of transport, for instance travelling to and from work. The places leading the list are Portland, Minneapolis and Seattle, but number six—and this is something of a surprise—is New Orleans, coming ahead of Washington D.C., Philadelphia and Boston.
I had heard of friends there who ride bicycles, and it certainly makes sense: the terrain is wonderfully flat and the traffic unhurried. So when I am in New Orleans I ride my bike as well. But most of the other cyclists, I note, are not en route to anywhere in particular but, in an almost anarchistic way, are just cycling around the area. So I am both surprised and pleased by that, because New Orleans is known above all for its respected culture and traditions, and rather less for the modernity and creativity that it also has, cycling being for me a part of this.
The daily New Orleans Times Picayune has now again run a little photo competition under the motto “NOLA from your bike,” open until 31st January 2012. And for this there is also a photo gallery here, one of the items included being a photo of the park bearing the name “the Fly.”
But today, also in New Orleans, there will not actually be too many casual cyclists riding around because it is Martin Luther King Day, one of the few national holidays, when federal, state and other public institutions, schools, universities and so on are closed.
Translated by John Manning