Editor’s Note: This is a guest submission from John Addison, Publisher of the Clean Fleet Report.
After bicycling for 152 miles in 6 hours and 23 minutes in Beijing’s smoggy air, the gold medal was determined by a fraction of a second.
Spain’s Samuel Sanchez willed a supreme effort to out-sprint the world’s great riders like David Rebellin and Fabian Cancellara. Although Sanchez could ignore pain and exhaustion during the 152 miles, he could not hold back his tears while listening to Spain’s national anthem being played in recognition for his gold medal victory.
Fifty-seven million U.S. citizens ride a bicycle, at least, on occasion. Over one billion globally use bicycles, famously including millions in our Olympic host nation. For all of us “Everyday Olympians,” the pace is gentle as we enjoy exercise and fresh air. For some of us, the bicycle is a practical part of our commuting and reaching other destinations.
Gary Bulmer often commutes 25 miles round trip to and from work with breathtaking rides through San Francisco and across the Golden Gate Bridge. He is a master chef who enjoys great food, yet never gains a pound because of all his bike riding. He and his wife Sue live in beautiful Sausalito, a community located where the Marin Headlands reach down to the Bay, and both work in San Francisco.
Nichole Cooke survived the intense Olympic bicycle race in rain that made downhill hairpin turns dangerously slippery and caused four great riders to crash. She is proud of her first Olympic gold medal. She is no stranger to great victories. Paris has acclaimed her for twice winning women’s most demanding bicycle race, La Grande Boucle Féminine (the women’s Tour de France).
Thanks to what started in Paris, 5 million Europeans in 16 cities are now members of Cyclocity® with locations near major public transit stops, large buildings, and near major employers. Paying an average of thirty euros per year, members do not need to own a bike. They simply use a bike for less than 30 minutes without paying a premium. Members use their smart cards to unlock a city bike at a transit center, ride one way to the Cyclocity® bike rack nearest their destination and lock the bike. The same bike is used by various members for up to 50 times per day.
Our nation’s capital, the District of Columbia, is starting with 10 stations and 120 bikes. But D.C. officials are eager to expand it quickly if the response is good. Proponents say the program easily could be expanded to more than 1,000 bikes at more than 100 stations within a year.
(c) Copyright 2008 John Addison.
John Addison publishes of the Clean Fleet Report.
The image is copyright © 2001 by James F. Perry and is hereby made available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution – ShareAlike 3.0 license