Charity cycle ride from Portland Oregon to Portland Place London, from April to July 2013
As the Portland to Portland (http://www.portlandtoportland.org ) team continue to progress on their quest to find strategic responses to the increasing demand for cycling to be considered as a credible way of transport within our cities, the world seem to be doing the same
I too am a cyclist-architect living in London’s and I can only applaud initiatives that encourage all citizens to use their own strength to move across the city and experience it rather than whiz through it.
For years, I have followed with interest the development of sustainable transport strategies in places like Bogota ( view Bogota Change at http://vimeo.com/25521307 ) which have both helped the quality of life of its citizens as well as the local economy as cycling is a cost effective way of transport in more ways than one. You can easily buy a second-hand bicycle for less than you would pay for a monthly bus pass and, in an increasingly sedentary society, the benefits that, what I call, built-in exercise brings to your life are enormous.
Bicycles present an opportunity for a democratized/ leveled society, to a certain extent, where your own effort takes you to places and common courtesy is expected from fellow cyclists. Dutch society is a very good example to illustrate this point. However, despite this, in Britain specially, it seem to be the professional “classes” who have been driving the change and one can only hope that ways will be found to shape the urban fabric in such a way that the benefit of it extends beyond the “invisible” layers of society.
I have read many quotes of Enrique Peñalosa, the former major of Bogota that illustrated the topic beautifully and these are my favorite: “In a developed city, even the rich use public transport.” “All citizens are important to a city, not just those traveling in cars… This is not welfare, but treating all citizens as persons of value, offering the same services and the same opportunities.”
Bearing in mind that densification of urban centres is already taking place and the need for change is unquestionable, it fills me with excitement to imagine a future for our cities when infrastructure serves rather than dictates urban planning .
See on www.portlandtoportland.org