I recently took a trip over to Amsterdam. It was a short trip but it allowed me enough time to soak in some European sensibilities and culture. It also refreshed my hope in the bicycles ability to save humanity.
The power of the bicycle is immense. It can be the key to a sustainable future, it can solve complex societal problems and it can help us fight off or placate our inevitable alien/zombie overlords during their invasion in the late 21st century. Oh bicycles, let me recount the ways I love you…and how you can save the planet.
Escape device to outrun invaders
Another way of define the saviour of humanity would be the preservation of humanity. One way to preserve humanity would be to evade any threats to our existence imposed by those undead or intergalactic anti-social nuisances. And the perfect tool for escaping is a bicycle. This can be seen through middle-aged men using cycling to evade their responsibilities.
Bicycles can be used to whizz off into the woods, subtly sneak through urban areas un- detected and travel off the grid. This will be perfect when escaping invader and creating a post-invasion subterranean culture of survivors. Just remember, lubricants with PTFE are the best to avoid cave dwelling induced chain rust. A breakdown of society, death of all relatives, and a crippling anxiety of human extinction from alien overlords is no excuse for regular bicycle maintenance.
Reduced congestion, better air quality
Congestion is an indication of the inefficiency of road traffic for transport in a city. It exacerbates many of the negative impacts of traffic, particularly on public health and the environment, including air pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions – Sustrans, 2016
It’s clear to see that our daily travel habits and not working and bringing transport to a halt. The increase in private car ownership, higher demand on heavy goods delivery and reaching our roads capacity has resulted in ever increasing congestion levels throughout the country. With this also comes drastically reduced air quality which takes us well beyond safe limits of pollution. It would be naive to think that everyone can ditch the motor vehicle because certain industries or individuals rely on it for carrying out their jobs. By this, I mean delivery vehicles, ambulances, essential services etc. However, looking at the travel habits of Amsterdam-ers you can see how short journeys can easily be done by bicycle. The layout of their city is allowing more people to make easy and safe short journeys.
Also, the Amsterdam inspired ‘mini-Holland’ in Walthamstow has objectively shown how improved built environment leads to increase in sustainable transport usage and subsequently improved air quality and reduced congestion. Who doesn’t want that? (rhetorical question, please don’t answer).
Touring bicycle makes good self-powered weapon carriers
The time has come. Our alien/zombie overlords have arrived and they are starting to hassle you. If you are one of those tolerant types you might be tempted to speak to the zombie’s, get to know them on a un-human level, make friends, and live in harmony. This is generally a good motto but not in this situation. Zombie’s will feast on your brain and you will always end up having to work for the conversation, while they give one-word answers and show little interest in a two-way chat.
So there is one option left. Load up the bicycle hunting machine, stay mobile, and remove the heads or destroy the brains.
Increased mobility and access to the city
Cities built for bicycles are cities built for people. This creates more accessible public spaces, calmed traffic, and a welcoming environment.
Fort Street in Auckland is a good example of a change of purpose to a minor road which results in positive change for pedestrians and a more welcoming environment for residents.
After that very brief and poorly written summary, you should be feeling adequately perplexed about why the bicycle can save the world. It just can ok? Get out on the bicycle, be awesome, and eternal glory for all of humanity will not doubt follow.