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biking in the apocolypse

I just happened to notice that the National Bike Summit in Washington, D.C. is going on this week. Where bicycle enthusiasts from all over the country gather and support pro-bicycle legislation. Through the Minnesota Bicycle Pedestrian Alliance, I was asked to represent Minnesota a few years back, with another woman from Duluth to listen in on meetings, give advice on improving bicycle transportation, and to meet senators and lobbyists; however, this trip was dependent on receiving a stipend for anyone to go, so sadly I didn’t get a stipend, and I didn’t attend. I didn’t really care that much, nor do I think the summit does any real change or impact – but how would I know?

The amount of time, money, effort, and concerted city planning for feasible bicycle transportation in the Twin Cities is second to none. It helps that the former mayor of Minneapolis, R.T. Ryback was a staunch supporter of urban mountain bike trails which started the legacy of the Theodore-Wirth park trail, and other dirt trails off the beaten path around some of the Minneapolis lakes, that sometimes requires memory and landmarks to get to again. Minneapolis was just announced the second-highest bicycle commuter to car commuter ratio in the nation, an impressive feat considering the winter elements here.

I also just found out that the new 35W bridge is going to have a tunnel for pedestrians running underneath the bridge, and I am very excited about this. It represents the level of priority given to alternative transportation and the feeling of growth and continuance felt for the city and its dedication to alternative transportation funding. But really, I guess it is just a tunnel. It is actually kind of out of the way, taking the trip under the freeway, compared to routes most people take that already circumnavigate the bridge.

The Midtown Greenway bicycle “superhighway? is also a shining example of an unused space put to good use by the city planners of Minneapolis. The coalition is underway right now putting in a bike shop across the trail from the Midtown Exchange building, with bike and clothes lockers, bike repair, and maybe a warming house in the winter.

The point of all this is that the future state of affairs concerning our world is forcing us to consider alternative transportation. The precarious consequences of peak-oil, and global warming predicaments ; a fight against obesity and the corporations that profit off of it, and a seeming reluctance for kids to voluntarily play outside anymore; and ecoadventure conservation (I guess you might call it) more important and positive forces to the scary changes happening to our world. I ask myself daily is this fight against the destruction of our Earth, our carefree way of life (albeit in the U.S.), and the ever looming apocalypse really specific to our time, or are we “fighting? a different form of resistance that people have been resisting for centuries? Everyone thought they were going to die at any moment in the Cold War too. What I mean is, is the world really going to end soon if we don’t shape up? Because that’s the message I am getting. It’s confusing and scary, I’m just glad that there is support for an alternative way of life (bicycles replacing cars – it will never happen), however insignificant all these urban planning changes may seem.