Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Green City Diaries: Motorless meditations

Photo by Marvin Shaouni
(originally published 6/12/12 in Model D)

There’s something about cycling in this city.

Getting around Detroit by bike isn’t exactly new; it started, in fact, in the late 19th century, and has remained an affordable transportation option for resourceful Detroiters for decades. But as in other US cities reimagining themselves with sustainability in mind, the current moment feels, well, momentous. More widespread adoption, greater visibility, and tentative infrastructural developments have all aligned in recent years to suggest that in Detroit, cycling is on the rise and here to stay.

In our previous diary entry, we focused on people who choose to get around Detroit on foot or by bus. Some of the reasons they mentioned included getting to know their city better, the fact that these modes of transit are more social and humanizing than driving, and the regular exercise they provide. Those reasons all apply to cycling too. But urban cycling is a unique transportation experience, and with its apparent local boom, we thought it deserved an entry all to itself. Our subjects this month are three Detroiters who choose to bike the Motor City. Their stories and perspectives are distinct, but united by the shared conviction that when it comes to getting around Detroit, bicycling is often best.