Friday, August 5, 2011

duly noted: bicycles and fresh bread

(via The Sartorialist)

The Twin Cites are apparently the top bicycling city(ies) in the United States. This label likely stems from our extensive bike trail network connecting the suburbs to urban centers, our hardcore winter riders, and our anarchist do-it-yourself-ers with bike powered pig roasts (no joke, witnessed it myself). Yet, there is something missing in our bike culture.

I feel like the nytimes article, "The Dutch Way: Bicycles and Fresh Bread," gets close to the heart of it.

Author, Russell Shorto writes, "The coexistence of different modes of travel is hard-wired into the (Dutch) culture. This in turns relates to lots of other things- such as bread. How? Cyclists can't carry six bags of groceries; bulk buying is almost nonexistent. Instead of shopping for a week, people stop at the market daily. So the need for processed loaves that will last for days is gone. A result: good bread."

Now this article continues with many good points about geography, urban planning, and social planning, but the connection between bicycles and good bread really strikes a chord with me. It's funny how something so seemingly obvious- when you bike, you must downsize your load- forces me to reflect on my choices and what I consider to be the "good life."

After living in Barcelona during college, I've since yearned for a daily baguette poking out of my knapsack. And for the cup of espresso ordered and drunk at the counter. And for the grocery bag on wheels that the old ladies tote through the city back to their flats.

Would I (could I) trade the comfort and ease of my car for my bike and other forms of transportation? And if I did, what might be some of the unexpected outcomes of this switch?

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