Bike More = Live Longer

This guy has it figured out.

Since we are on the subject of health, I can’t resist adding that my health care reinvention would include a lot more cycling. Because a new study reconfirms the blindingly obvious: biking reduces obesity and cardiac disease (along with pollution), and saves money:

A study published in the scientific journalEnvironmental Health Perspectives shows that swapping your car for short trips and replacing them with mass transit and active transport provides major health benefits. The study will be presented to the American Public Health Association in Washington, D.C. $3.8 billion per year are saved in avoided mortality and reduced health care costs for obesity and heart disease by replacing half of the short journeys with bicycle trips during the warmest six months of the year.

The researchers calculated that an estimated $7 billion including 1,100 lives from improved air quality and increased physical fitness can be saved each year by applying these measures.

But would cycling a lot more be too “European,” too?

Bicycle Economics

I’ve (half-) joked about bicycling saving the world. But I keep coming across more and more analysis to back up the claim. Elly Blue, over at Grist, has been posting some good stuff on bicycle economics, which help make the case (though I hold no illusions about how far rational argument goes in our completely dysfunctional political culture).

Here’s what she has to say about the cost savings associated with moving from cars to bikes:

Imagine getting a $3,000 to $12,000 tax rebate this year. Now imagine it coming again and again. Every year it grows by around a thousand dollars.

Imagine how this would change your daily life.

Sounds like a teabagger’s wet dream, but it’s actually a conservative estimate of how much you’d save by ditching your car, or even just one of your cars — and getting on a bicycle instead.

Read the whole thing, which has links to some good studies. I’ll leave you to ponder the power of Bike-o-nomics with this graphic (click image for larger version).

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Dept. Of Inevitable Ideas: Bicycle City

I’ve been waiting for someone to promote a city concept built around bicycles not cars, and someone (actually a group of someones) has got it going on. It’s called, amazingly enough, Bicycle City.

Better make it a dirt bike...

Here’s the backstory:

Founder and co-developer Joe Mellett hopes to begin construction “this summer or fall” on homes situated on the 160-acre tract of land that he and his fellow investors purchased for nearly $1 million. The company has the option to purchase an additional 600 adjacent acres.

“There are other industries—solar, wind, what have you—that address the individual components of climate change, but Bicycle City puts it all together into one home,” says Mellett.

Bicycle City’s homes, which will be up to 1,600 square feet, will be constructed according to one of two eco-friendly building guidelines—the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certifications or One Planet Living’s 10 principles. Lot price tags will range between $25,000 and $35,000, with individual homes clocking in just north of $100,000. Plans for “bicycle taxis” are also in the works.

“The beauty of that is that if you want to live next to your car, you buy a lot on the perimeter of the community and you’d be within under a minute’s walk to your car,” says Mellett.

Judging from the fact that the lest news was posted in 2008, it seems that the world is not flocking to reserve housing, so maybe we are talking about more of an outpost than a city. But every idea has to start somewhere. And personally, I think the better way to get where Mellett is going is for bikers to try and take over an existing city that is amenable to getting beyond cars, like perhaps Portland, Oregon.

Bike Lane Built for Two
Image by K_Gradinger via Flickr

Anyhow, here’s how (and why) you head in that direction. First bike lanes, then the streets! (Yes, I love to feed the conspiracy wingnuts)…

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