Nightly Reader: Nov. 5, 2012

1) Farm Bill Folderol: You’ll never read this 700-page legislative opus. But you should care an awful lot about what’s in it.

2) Desperately Seeking Denmark: Today I showed you what a Copenhagen “rush hour” looks like. Here’s what happens when a North American an American cyclist becomes a Copenhagen cyclist.

Hmm, see if you can pick out the North American cyclist.

3) Global Poll (FWIW): If the entire world got to vote in the US election it would be Obama by a landslide (except in Pakistan).

BONUS VIDEO (election Edition): Rory Stuart acknowledges a crisis of democracy, and makes a plea for renewed commitment to the ideal of democracy.

Cycling Can Save The World: And Copenhagen Is Leading

Check out this video of “rush hour” in Copenhagen. It is like a vision from an alternate reality. There is definitely a rush. But there are no traffic jams, and hardly any cars. If only….

Rush Hour in Copenhagen-Dronning Louises Bridge from Christine Grant on Vimeo.

Can you imagine living in a city that uses bicycles as the basic and most common mode of transport?

There are endless ways to make the case that such cities would make for a better world. One of them, the source of the video, is this article laying out seven reasons cycling is not just for cyclists.

Some of the reasons are better than others (judge for yourself). But this one should win some converts among anyone who worries about a massive cubicle-induced coronary (yes, I am at my computer but I just got back from a 20-mile lunchtime ride!):

6. We don’t have time to compensate. Most people reading this article are sitting in front of a computer. More and more of us are “knowledge workers” who sit in front of computers for much of our careers. If you also choose to use passive forms of transportation such as driving or taking the bus, doctors recommend that you compensate for your sedentary lifestyle by “working out.”

Unfortunately, I didn’t find much time in my schedule to compensate—and I wasn’t alone. The Center for Disease Control reports that 80 percent of Americans fail to meet federal guidelines for physical activity despite the $19 billion we shell out for gym memberships each year. Why can’t activity just be engineered into our daily lives so that we can stay healthy without the added chore of working out? Cycling has been the solution for me. I typically burn about 500 calories a day pedaling myself to the places I need to go, and going to the gym is never on the to-do list anymore. Having one less chore means I have more free time to spend with the people I love.

Of course, a hefty carbon tax wouldn’t hurt, either.