Sunday, September 02, 2007

SUV-enthusiast embraces cycling

Image of bicyclists on beach at Daytona BeachFrom the Daytona Beach News-Journal, 09.02.07:

Pedaling reduces car congestion, saves fuel

I have a dear friend in South Florida whom I used to describe as the most anti-walking and anti-bicycling demographic imaginable. He drove a large SUV occupied by only him, thought anyone who rode their bike was a "treehugger" and always scoffed at the thought of riding a bicycle or allowing his daughters to ride their bikes beyond the walls of his private upscale community. For years I begged him to join me on one of my many cycling adventures throughout the country and world, but to no avail.

However, the most amazing breakthrough has occurred during the last two years that I still can't believe: His cuter-than-a-button daughter now has him riding his bike with her to and from school that is located well outside his subdivision. I spoke with him on the phone a few days ago as he was getting ready to leave his house to meet his daughter for their ride home from school and he mentioned it was about to rain.

"Why don't you just drive to school and put her bike into the back of your vehicle?" I asked. His response left me stunned.

"Are you kidding me?" he replied. "Marisa would be crushed if she couldn't make the return home on her second day of school."

Here, my macho, 6-foot-plus, tough-guy, SUV-driving friend was reduced to riding his bike home in the rain because he didn't want to let his young daughter down, and rightly so.

Children have a way of influencing their parents with little more than a smile and a steady resolve, and as a result, my friend is on the verge of being hooked on riding his bike. (Read more.)
In addition to this encouraging account of personal transformation, this article by the state director of the Rails to Trails Conservancy includes an enthusiastic endorsement of the Florida Department of Transportation's "Conserve By Bicycle" initiative, which is studying how to encourage more bicycle use and reduce bike and pedestrian fatalities.

Image: Web update
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips


patagoniacommunity said...

enjoyed reading your commuting tips on your web page. i just started commuting regularly. i go about 5 miles each way on an '07 specialized sirrus. i've found some great tips online including your site. best wishes.

JHop said...

Your friend and other South Floridians would be welcome at Green Mobility Network -- a new advocacy group for bikers, walkers and runners.