There is so much emphasis on bike riding in cities in the United States that to address small towns as a great place to ride a bike seems like a discussion that is long overdue. Yes, some people in small towns do ride bikes, but very few do so for transportation. Let’s face it that small towns have slower pace than American cities. Could be downright boring for some people even if bike riding adds a little juice to daily life.
There are some gems out in the heartland because the residents have made them so. Why is it that a place like Boulder Colorado, a college town, will have great bike riding and then Ames Iowa, another college town, appear as a dead weight? It could have everything to do with the stake that residents have in their community. Boulder has independent retailers whereas Ames is predominately corporate retail. Boulder has corner stores whereas Ames has a dying inclosed Mall and outlying strip malls. The University really is the town in Boulder while in Ames the University is segregated from the town.
So, what is it about a small town like Ames that actually prevents residents from bike riding when the distances are short between home and school and work for many, many people? What I’ve written in a previous post this year is that the typical American does not want to exert themselves. Without a desire there is no will. Do people in Colorado physically work to feel good and look good? Or is the reason because Boulder does more to plan and explore intent with living closer to the outdoors? Is it true for small town people whose perception of physical exertion to be synonymous with work, especially in the south? West Virginia, for instance has an outrageous obesity epidemic. Does the blame solely rest on generational behaviors and lowered expectations, which have grown to gargantuan proportions in the past two decades?
Bike riding is the tale of two cities; either people get it done with intent or they don’t. If there is one thing that a person can do for their small town it would be to start riding a bike. The system of bike riding verses the system of car driving begins with an intent and if propelled forward with planning. Small town living does not have to imply small thinking. Look around at your neighbors. Are you going to continue your 20th century addiction to car driving when really a bike will do? Let’s hear what is good about bike riding in your town. Or if you are into hating where you live then tell us where you want to go to make your life better.