Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Plan on Pedaling

One of the ways Maryland is trying to improve transportation is to support bicycle riders and pedestrians, especially in the more populated towns and cities. There is a lot of progress to be made, since Maryland ranked 39th in the nation for bicycling when the O'Malley administration decided to do something about it. What they came up with is a 20-year plan with the vision that "Maryland will be a place where bicycling and walking are safe, practical, and inviting ways for people of all ages and abilities to complete their everyday travel."

Much of what they are doing deals with bikeway construction. You can use the interactive map to find roads that are good for cycling. There aren't that many in my area, but one way for me to use the map is to find bike roads in populated areas where I might need to spend a day and take my bike along for intracity travel, rather than worry about parking costs or bus fares.

Regardless of how many bikeways there are now or in the future, bikes are going to be a primary means of travel and roads less and less dangerous as gasoline becomes more scarce. In the upcoming rearrangement of our economy, bikes will be more valuable than gas-powered cars. Until then, stocking up with bicycles and bike accessories would be a good investment strategy.

I'm not talking about gathering a collection like that of the late Robin Williams. He loved bikes for recreation and sport, but utility will be, by far, the value proposition for bicycles in the coming age. In that vein, there is a class of bicycles known as "cargo bikes" that will be used for short haul cartage in lieu of cars. There are enough makes and models of cargo bikes to make any collector happy, though they tend to be expensive.

My dream machine would be an electric-power assist bike like Felt's Tote'm. You might fall for it, too, by watching Felt's short video. My closest distributor is Parvilla Cycle up Annapolis way.

Before I shell out four grand for an electric bicycle (which may eventually prove essential with all the hills in my neighborhood), I will try to work my carrying capacity up by putting a front and rear panniers on my comely, but heavy Schwinn Wayfarer.
 Image result for Schwinn Wayfarer
A step up would be to get a lighter weight cargo bike.

Yes, there are alternatives to cars. We aren't going back to the stone age.

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