found: bicycle culture in america

One of the things I love most about Europe is its bicycle culture. Bikes leaning against canals in Amsterdam. On wobbly cobblestone roads peddled by pradas in Italy. With a pain au chocolat bouncing in its basket in Provence. Cheap, self-rented Velibs in Paris.

we shipped my bike from Italy when we returned to the States, so it has cruised both sides of the Atlantic.

So,when we returned home, it’s not by chance that our family chose to put down roots  in a Northern California university town that is known for its biking culture.

the official symbol of our city greets both visitors and residents

Our small  city is a national pioneer in  bicycle friendly roads and traffic systems, and has apparently been named the most bicycle friendly small city in America. We have more than 100 miles of paved bike paths that run through our neighborhood greenbelts, and we are home to the US Bicycling Hall of Fame. Any family garage is likely filled with more bikes (various types depending on child age, like bike seats, burleys and tag alongs) than cars. (I love it.)

So recently I was thrilled when I stumbled upon a new outdoor art installation near my daughter’s school.

Our kids like to choose which color is their favorite. (I like lime green).  While I am grateful for art like this, I am even more grateful for living in a city – an American city – where you can still ride and see bicycles everywhere.( Some say we have more bikes than people here.) Even if suburban-like  streets replace cobblestone  (cobblestone hurts more when you fall, just ask me) and the women wear dorky (but safe!) bike helmets instead of fashionable shoes.

What is your favorite bicycle-friendly city?


2 responses to “found: bicycle culture in america

  1. I love bicycle culture! D-Man and I always agree that it is necessary for there to be easy bike access, wherever we decide to settle down. We’re doing pretty well right now, as we live very close to the river paths, which have bike paths for miles that stretch out towards other towns, the Sierra, and the main city of Granada (which unfortunately isn’t very bike friendly, though a lot of people do ride bikes there). I’m so glad you wrote this post, as I feel that there aren’t very many cities in the U.S. with great bike paths. One of the main reasons I LOVED living in Santa Barbara for 5 years before moving to Spain was the fact that you could ride your bike almost anywhere if you knew which routes to take. I really miss that.

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