Saturday Evening in America

My wife and I rode downtown for dinner-and-a-movie last night. We’re liking this new promotion.

We saw many other bicyclists on our 2.5-mile trip. I would even say there were “lots” of them. What I mean by “lots”: There was almost never a moment in 2.5 miles that we could not see another bicyclist. That’s huge. That’s different from just two years ago.

We ate at Big Whiskey’s on Park Central East and arrived to find two bicyclists already enjoying the outside seating area. As is now typcial of a weekend evening, most of the downtown bicycle racks were either full or had at least one bicycle parked.

The Square was packed with bicyclists listening to a free concert. By “packed” I mean there was no point of view from which I could not see either parked bicycles or people standing with, or sitting near/on, their bicycles.

We even saw a few bicyclists on the road on the way home at 10:30 p.m. They even had lights!

One of my favorite authors, Robert Pirsig, wrote that if there is to be meaningful change in the world it will happen by individuals making quality decisions for themselves. Those decisions tend to radiate outward and affect the decisions of others until there comes a tipping point. I don’t want to claim we’ve reached such a point in Springfield. I have no way of knowing that. I only know what I see on the road these days. I see that we bicyclists are now far from alone.

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Comments 6

  1. Abhishek wrote:

    Pirsig is my favourite author too. I am currently slaving over Lila.

    Posted 22 Jun 2009 at 7:32 am
  2. Andy Cline wrote:

    Shek… I enjoyed Lila, too :-)

    Posted 22 Jun 2009 at 9:08 am
  3. robert wrote:

    Andy,

    Can I assume that these were mostly younger people?

    We have a small but very, very vocal group of critics in Columbia.

    Most are 50-60 years old. Younger people tend to NOT equate car ownership with being a good American or success. It seems to me that many baby boomers seem to have an almost religious relationship with the automobile.

    What have you noticed in Springfield? What have you noticed with your friends?

    Posted 22 Jun 2009 at 12:11 pm
  4. Andy Cline wrote:

    Robert… I’m seeing mixed ages. The two guys at Big Whiskeys were 40s maybe early 50s riding nice machines. On the Square I see mostly young people and most of them are men. The Springfield downtown bicyclist stereotype is 20s to 40s with a cheap mountain bike and a ball cap. I’m starting to see more women cyclists.

    My friends are mostly boomers like me. And most of them ride for recreation, although a few are coming around to the whole utility thing — at least for short trips when the weather is nice.

    What we really need is some serious demographic work. The committee has started discussing this by e-mail recently — prompted by the discussion of the Columbia harassment ordinance on Carbon Trace.

    Posted 22 Jun 2009 at 12:40 pm
  5. Alexander wrote:

    So, do you say hi? Talk much to the other cyclists? or do you kind of ride by doing your business as we might on foot?

    Posted 22 Jun 2009 at 2:00 pm
  6. Andy Cline wrote:

    Alex… That question has come up before. I’ll sometimes nod and smile. Mostly, people just go about their business.

    Posted 22 Jun 2009 at 2:57 pm