Naked bicyclists, folding bikes, balloon bikes, and more — enjoy this bicycle photo tour of Barcelona.
The third B in a row, Barcelona is next on this list of great bicycle cities (right ahead of Basel, Switzerland and Bogota, Columbia). As a dense city with a wonderful climate, Barcelona is naturally a wonderful place for bicyclists. However, a lot has been done to make it more so. The biggest carrot encouraging bicycling, by far, is Barcelona’s relatively new bike sharing program — Bicing. This is perhaps the best or second best bike sharing program in the world. It is one of a new generation of sophisticated, smart bike sharing programs. Read more about it on page 2.
Beyond Bicing, the city is also working on creating new bicycling routes and bike parking and it hosts fun Bike Week celebrations every year in May. Also, it has been creating better infrastructure for bicyclists due to so many more people bicycling within the past few years. It is transforming itself into a truly world-leading bicycle city.
I’m going to take the opportunity and use this article to delve into why this list is on EcoWorldly in the first place.
Bicycling is super green and clean. It is perhaps the most efficient mode of transportion. On the energy contained in one piece of pizza, a car could travel 100 feet, a person could walk 3.5 miles, and a bicyclist could bicycle 10 miles! Depending on a person’s diet (vegetarian, average US citizen, or something in between), a bicyclist gets between 196 and 104 miles per gallon (of fossil fuel input).
The greenhouse gas emissions of bicycling are very low — oh, wait, essentially nothing! And the space (or concrete infrastructure) needed is quite minimal compared to other larger vehicles. A car needs 10-15 times more space and money for parking than a bicycle, and the space needed on the roadway is even greater. Several water quality and air pollution problems could be solved, and millions, billions, or even trillions of dollars could be saved, by investing in bicycle transportation more than other modes of transportation.
In the US, 40% of trips in metropolitan areas are 2 miles or less and 89% of those are made by car. These are ideal distances for bicycling. With just the personal decision to switch modes, many people in the US could do it today. With help like the Bicing program or the transformative efforts previously mentioned in Bogota, millions more people could switch to this greener transportation choice.
Beyond the environment, bicycling is one of the best ways to ensure you remain fit, healthy, and don’t fall into the larger and larger percentage of the population that is obese or overweight. It is also psychologically beneficial and can help prevent against depression.
Bicycling is also a great community networking activity and a way to feel closer to the environment and even the people who live around you.
So, remember, bicycling isn’t just for fun (although, it is a lot of fun!) but it’s a great way to help the environment, build community, help your local economy (by saving money on infrastructure), and help yourself to be healthy!
Now, a place where we all wish we could bicycle and visit — Barcelona!
Image Credit 1: elrentaplats via flickr under a Creative Commons license
Image Credit 2: metamorphosis via flickr under a Creative Commons license
Image Credit 3: SlapBcn via flickr under a Creative Commons license
Image Credit 4: lcrf via flickr under a Creative Commons license