The cycling life

Grist has a really good article on DC’s popular new(ish) bikeshare program, arguing that a “bikeshare system can make fundamental change happen in a city.” Also see this article: “The Real Reason Why Bicycles Are the Key to Better Cities.”

I used Capital Bikeshare for the first time the other day and thought it was great. Over the last 3-and-a-half years I’ve typically walked to work, but our new place is a bit farther from my office, requiring about a 45-minute jaunt. Using the bikeshare though, I can hop on a bike at a station one block from our house and be at work in under half an hour. I hadn’t been on a bike in nearly 10 years and had forgotten how much fun it is.

Friday Links

I spent the day hanging out with my family, so these are coming a little late…

–Why Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal is neither brave nor serious.

–Free-range meat isn’t necessarily “natural.”

–A case for universalism from the Scottish evangelical preacher and biblical scholar William Barclay.

–A review of a recent book called What’s the Least I can Believe and Still Be a Christian?

–The WaPo reviews a local prog-metal band called Iris Divine (here’s their MySpace page).

–Do Americans love war?

–Speaking of war, April 12 marks the 150th anniversary of the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter and the onset of the Civil War. I’m thinking of marking the anniversary by finally tackling James McPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom this spring.

–As I write this, it looks like the two parties are getting close to a budget agreement that will avert a government shutdown. But I still wanted to note that a shutdown would have a major impact on the District itself, shutting down a number of basic city services. This is something that hasn’t gotten much attention.

–The AV Club continues its feature “Loud”–a monthly review of the latest in punk, hardcore, metal, and noise.

D.C. = most walkable

Lucky for me as I walk pretty much everywhere I go. I might take the Metro once or twice a week, but we’re lucky enough to live in a neighborhood where pretty much all the necessities (and several of the luxuries) of life are within a couple blocks’ distance. Of course, we pay for that nice location in our expensive (and small!) apartment. But I love living somewhere that allows me to walk most places. I paid some serious commuting dues in the early 2000s living in the San Francisco Bay area and driving 1+ hour to work each way for over two years. So, I feel like I’ve earned living in a walkable city. 😉

To make a broader point, creating walkable communities should surely be a priority for our future, shouldn’t it? Pick your poison (obesity, peak oil, global warming, social anomie) and getting people out on the sidewalks and on their feet is at least part of the solution. Obviously many of our cities and suburbs (not to mention rural areas) simply aren’t designed to accomodate pedestrians, and to some extent that can’t be helped. But surely if we can subsidize the auto industry with all that concrete infrastructure we ought to be able to do something to make our communities more pedestrian-friendly.