Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Local and a Frenchman

By now my wide readership is probably well aware of the paltry state of bicycling in Central Pennsylvania. That is, the near-absence of bicyclists in general, not to mention bike lanes and the occasional peloton. No exception to the national average, PA commuters use bicycles on only 0.5% of their commutes (women only 0.2%!). Despite the small likelihood of meeting one of PA’s 29,316  cyclists (Census Bureau) in a given day, today I met TWO.  Is the bicycling utopia percolating?

My first encounter was only a ½ mile from the incorporated farmland that is my office. I caught up with him atop 21st Street, waiting for the traffic light below to turn green.  While we conserved our momentum I offered a hello, and we ended up riding together, talking all the while, for about a mile.  A Frenchman (a type who doesn’t end up in our population surveys), he quickly compared Central PA biking to the Parisian variety. No surprise he quickly remarked on the aggressive stance many drivers have about bicyclists. Ah Europe, with your many bicycles I've photographed!
Bicycles in Amsterdam
Dog and This Bicyclist in Arhnem

Bicycle in Copenhagen

A couple more miles into my ride and I exchanged a few words with a roady at a stop light.  We had only a couple minutes to exchange vitals: commuting distance, start and end points, how to deal with traffic. A brief but meaningful exchange.

Enjoyable as these rare encounters are, they’d be so much more common if denizens were roused from their combustion oriented life by clearly marked bike lanes, and signage that sanctions bicyclists!

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