Traveling the world’s great bicycle cities, I fell in love with cycling. The ease, safety, convenience… (dreamy sigh)
But as my six-month love affair came to an end, I began to realize the reason for my infatuation: cities like those in Denmark and Holland simply make themselves lovable. They don’t just build cycle tracks; they inject fun, whimsy, compassion, and even romance into cycling.
Certainly, many Cascadians love their bikes, but more of us would if we learned these lessons on cycling’s soft side from the world’s active-transport capitals.
1. Human powered is romantic. I bike home from work with my boyfriend almost every day, and it’s one of the best parts of my day. We talk about what we see along the way or what smells are coming from the Hostess Cake Factory. When it’s sunny, we sometimes stop for a beer along the way. When it’s a crisp winter night, we stop and watch the ships pass under the Fremont Bridge.
When it’s raining, we talk about what kind of soup we want to make for dinner. Biking together through the elements bonds us in a way that would never happen if we were strapped into a car. Throughout my travels, I saw all kinds of romance on the cycle tracks— teenagers kissing at stoplights in Paris, older couples holding hands while pedaling in Amsterdam, and a post-wedding getaway bicycle in Copenhagen.
A wedding party in Copenhagen.
The average US worker now spends about 48 minutes commuting each day. Despite the billions of hours we collectively spend commuting, we don’t often talk about the way our transportation choices make us feel — physically or mentally.
Maybe we should.