Bike Boom is packed with facts, but it doesn’t have any fiddly superscript numbers or a section at the back with tiny text. Instead, the book’s footnotes are here and they are online-only. I can pack in more info this way and, without academic-looking numbers littering every page, the book looks cleaner, and more readable. (I can also embed YouTube videos.)

Bike Boom was published in June 2017 by Island Press of Washington, DC.



Click the links to go directly to the chapters.

Cover image

Chapter 1: How Cyclists Became Invisible
Chapter 2: From Victory Bikes to Rail Trails
Chapter 3: Davis, the Bicycle Capital of America
Chapter 4: Cycling in Britain – from swarms to Sustrans
Chapter 5: The Great American Bicycle Boom
Chapter 6: The Rise and Fall of Vehicular Cycling
Chapter 7: Where It’s Easy to Bike and Drive, Brits and Americans Drive
Chapter 8: How the Dutch Really Got Their Cycleways
Epilogue: New York City’s Protected Bikeways: Then and Now
Appendix A: “Bike Boom” Mentions, 1896–2016
Appendix B: How the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute Was Formed from a 1970s-era Cycle Advocacy Organization
Appendix C: Vive la Vélorution!

INDEX (click “full-screen” to see it in all its flickable-page glory):

NOTE: There are no footnote numbers in the printed book or the Kindle and iPad versions – the text in bold is the start of the sentence that warrants a footnote.



The placards were real – Hudson Cyclery of San Francisco.

The image on the front of this – “Biking,” Mademoiselle, April, 1972.

Reporting on the demo – Peter Hartlaub, “What an SF Bike Protest Looked Like in 1972,” San Francisco Chronicle, August 25, 2016,



“Learn from other’s mistakes – Although Groucho Marx gets the credit for this quote, it has also been attributed to others.

I have been writing about – I started by writing for Bicycle Times. This was while I was at university, and I then went on the write for Bicycle Action, Mountain Biking UK, and other magazines. My first job as a trade editor was with Cycle Industry in 1989. (See:

And I’ve been promoting cycleways for a long time, too. As the editor of Cycle Industry I wrote about the benefits of “going Dutch”, and I continued on this theme as the publisher and editor of the family-cycling magazine On Your Bike. For the business that published On Your Bike I employed an in-house Dutch journalist, Kirsten Oosterhof. In the Spring issue in 1998 she wrote about Dutch bikes and her home town of Groningen.

In a letter in The Independent on September 14, 1997, I wrote that “enthusiast cyclists are happy to mix with motorised traffic” but that “non-enthusiasts don’t want to be anywhere near cars, lorries and buses. Many thousands of new cyclists will be created when Sustrans and their local authority partners lay down the kind of segregated cycle routes – through car-free city centres, for instance – common on the Continent. This is not ghettoisation, it is a realisation that cycle use will not grow unless truly safe routes for cyclists are provided.”

See:; also see

This pecuniary interest in – Getting “more people cycling, more often” is now a mantra wheeled out by numerous cycling organizations. It was first used by the Cycling England “quango.”

As a card-carrying vélorutionary The coinage “vélorution” is a portmanteau of vélocipede, the original French word for bicycle, and revolution. The word was first used by the French eco-activism group Amis de la Terre, “Friends of the Earth”, founded 1970.  The word was later used – and popularised – by members of Montreal’s 1970s/1980s cycle campaign, La Monde à Bicyclette. (See the appendices for an article on Montreal and my visit with Bob Silverman, one of the leaders of the campaign.) I am also a “bikesexual”: I will ride almost anything – road bike, chopper, recumbent, MTB, cargo bike, etc. etc. – and I also own, and sometimes ride, a unicycle.

That said, I have some bad – “In recent years you’ve seen the London Olympics effect and the Tour de France and there are a lot more high-end cyclists about. People are interested in cycling, but it’s not correct to say cycling is booming in the UK. In our part of the market, which is mainly mums and dads going out for a ride with the family, we haven’t seen the same effect. There’s not a massive uplift in cycling across the country.” – Jim Shears, finance director, Tandem (quoted in: Sean Farrell,  “Britain’s Cycling Craze a Myth, Says Maker of Dawes and Claud Butler Bikes,” Guardian, September 19, 2014,

The baby-boomer-fueled American – “Thousands of miles of bikeways [have been] paved, striped, and signed,” wrote Darryl Skrabak in 1975. But they weren’t very good bikeways. “The unanticipated result was difficult to accept for many riders, particularly those who had worked hard to get bikeways built. The controversy caused the destruction of some bicyclist organizations and seriously drained others.” (See: Darryl Skrabak, “Bike Law: The Bikeway Backlash,” Bicycling, September 1975; and: “Bicycle Activists: Where They Stand Now,” Bicycling, February 1977.)

A graph shows this in action – See color plates. The article “Fietsverkeer in praktijk en beleid in de twintigste eeuw” (“Bicycle Traffic in Practice and Policy in the Twentieth Century”), written by Adri Albert de la Bruhèze in 1999, was in Dutch only, and contained a cycle-usage graph that has become famous in academic and advocacy circles. This shows cycling’s modal share in nine European cities, from the 1920s to the 1990s. The graph has now been updated, with information through to 2015. The fourteen cities featured in the new book are Amsterdam, Utrecht, Enschede, Eindhoven, South-Limburg, Antwerp, Copenhagen, Hannover, Stockholm, Malmö, Basel, Lyon, Budapest and Manchester. (See: Ruth Oldenziel, Martin Emanuel, Adri Albert de la Bruheze, Frank Veraart, “Cycling Cities: The European Experience,” Foundation for the History of Technology, Eindhoven, 2016.

For instance, as the journalist Joe Dunckley – Joe Dunckley, “Updated: the Cycling Revolution,” At War with the Motorist: Our Correspondents’ Dispatches from the Front (blog), July 7, 2014,

True, there are amazingly – “[Cycling] is a very efficient way of moving people. We’re seeing a lot of activity on the cycle superhighways, and we’re getting about 3,000 people an hour in the peaks, moving along the Embankment. We’re moving 5 percent more people.” Alan Bristow, Transport for London’s Director of Road Space Management, meeting of the Transport Committee, October 11, 2016,

The reason it might appear to be – ‘Some Cycling Statistics,” in As Easy as Riding a Bike (blog), December 30, 2012,

Undoubtedly, cycling’s modal share – “Move Over Amsterdam, the London Cycling Revolution is in Top Gear,” Evening Standard, June 24, 2013,

… there are two clear and present – Dave Horton, “Who Is Cycling For?” in Thinking about Cycling: Re-making the World, One Revolution at a Time (blog), January 30, 2012,

In fact, walking tripsTransport Statistics Great Britain: 2016, Department for Transport, December 8, 2016. (See:

Bike Boom is not a rose-tinted – Installing Dutch-style cycleways along all main roads would be equitable, but it might not necessarily get as many people on bikes as some cycle advocates seem to think. Travel choices are complicated. Societal pressure to drive is immense (car advertisers are among the most spendy on the planet) and, even when stuck in a traffic jam, at least a motorist is warm, cosy and surrounded by home comforts. To many people, riding a bicycle is a hair-shirt activity – they think cyclists are either too poor to own and operate a car, or must be do-gooder tree-hugging lentil munchers.

No amount of kerb-protected cycleways will get some people out of their cars. Take, for instance, these “ballet mums”. Cargobike-enthusiast @MamaMoose_Be – who schlepps her kids in London by bike – had a conversation about cycleways with them at her child’s ballet class. “They couldn’t believe we do everything by bike in our area. They drive everywhere.”

Yet they were not petrolheads. “They hate driving,” stressed @MamaMoose_Be. “They want another way and don’t know how.”

@KatsDekker responded: “Build activity into daily life routine. Build cycleways.”

@MamaMoose_Be, a huge fan of cycleways, countered: “There is a cycle lane from where they live to the ballet studio. Still come by car. I think educating how to travel with kids might be a necessity in these parts.”

Individualised travel marketing – which involves providing tailored information and advice about alternative travel options to individual households who think motoring everywhere is the only way – is one form of education that could be deployed here. “TravelSmart” programs in the UK and Australia (1990s–2006) seemed to offer hope that it was possible to wean people off cars, but the results were mixed (typically, just ten percent of those selected changed to more sustainable forms of transport, and they may have soon lapsed back to the easiest and laziest option) and the costs of trying to influence people on such a micro-scale were found to be prohibitive (although lucrative for the concerns providing the programs).

Via: conversation on Twitter, March 15, 2017. See also: Department for Transport, 2005, Personalised travel planning: Evaluation of fourteen pilots part funded by the DfT.
Can we really tame the monster – When I say “bicycle” I mean all types of cycles, including tricycles, handcycles, unicycles, and, for cargo use in cities, perhaps even quadricycles.

Why is it that, even – Critics simultaneously describe cycling as an activity for elitist MAMILs (middle-aged men in Lycra) and something done by a freeloading underclass. In fact, despite the expense of motoring, many of those in straightened circumstances still find the money to pay for it – yes, because the road environment makes it difficult to make journeys by any other means, but also because motoring remains intensely pleasurable and practical for many people. According to the RAC Foundation, half of the United Kingdom’s poorest households – about 800,000 families – have cars and spend a quarter of their income on them. (See: “Transport Poverty,” press release, RAC Foundation, March 4, 2013,



“No one has ever recruited activists – Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature: A History of Violence and Humanity, Allen Lane, 2011. Pinker is a professor of psychology at Harvard University.

Some cities have certainly seen expanded – John Pucher & Ralph Buehler, “Safer Cycling through Improved Infrastructure,” American Journal of Public Health, December 2016.

but dig down and the impressive jumps – And the exact same thing afflicts public transit in the United States. For instance, in a Washington Post article headlined “Use of Public Transit Isn’t Surging,” three transport professors de-bunked the myth of what I’ll call the “bus boom” (even though it involves trains and trams, too).

The profs wrote:

“The American Public Transportation Association reported this month that U.S. transit ridership hit an all-time high last year. . . . But the association’s numbers are deceptive, and this interpretation is wrong. We are strong supporters of public transportation, but misguided optimism about transit’s resurgence helps neither transit users nor the larger traveling public. Transit trips did rise between 2008 and 2013. But so did the U.S. population, from 304 million to 316 million, as did the total number of trips made. Simple division suggests that, if anything, transit use fell between 2008 and 2013, from about 35 trips per person annually to 34. Many numbers look impressive without denominators, but anyone who examines transit use as a rate . . . will find that transit is a small and stagnant part of the transportation system.

“Transit receives about 20 percent of U.S. surface transportation funding but accounts for 2 percent to 3 percent of all U.S. passenger trips and 2 percent to 3 percent of all U.S. passenger miles. In fact, use of mass transportation has remained remarkably steady, and low, since about 1970. There is nothing exceptional about last year’s numbers; they represent a depressing norm.

“This is not to say that public transportation is unimportant. Most U.S. transit use occurs in a handful of dense cities, and in these cities transit provides vital mobility, especially for poorer people (particularly immigrants) who don’t own cars. New York alone accounts for a third of all transit travel.”

Sound familiar? They add:

“Resting our hopes on a transit comeback distracts from our real transportation problem, which can be summarized in four words: Driving is too cheap. . . . As a result, many of us drive more than we otherwise would. Ending this underpriced driving — through higher fuel taxes, parking and congestion charges and insurance premiums based on miles driven — is a central challenge for local, state and federal transportation officials.”
David King is an assistant professor of urban planning at Columbia University. Michael Manville is an assistant professor of city and regional planning at Cornell University. Michael Smart is an assistant professor of city planning at Rutgers University.

(See: “Use of Public Transit Isn’t Surging,” Washington Post, March 20, 2014,

Going from, say, one percent –Of course, it would be possible to have a boom in cycling even if bicycle sales remained low: people could start riding their existing bikes a lot more, or city-bike rental bike schemes could go bananas all of a sudden. However, it’s likely that in a full-blown boom, all of the metrics would be up, and that would include new bike sales.

And not all of the increases in cycling – Pucher and Buehler, “Safer Cycling.”

Suburban and rural cycling is generally – Rural cycling is important too, of course, but if getting cycleways in cities is going to be tough, that’s nothing to how difficult it will be to get infra installed out in the sticks, even though there’s often a lot of room for such infra. It’s very much worth fighting for this infra, of course. The Netherlands has had a fabulous network of such routes since the early years of the 20th century. Compared to urban roads, installing cycling infra on rural roads would be a doddle; there would be fewer junctions to negotiate, for a start. However, it’s a moot point how many people would use such infra. Existing cyclists would, of course – but newbies? “Long-distance” riding in the Netherlands and Germany has been boosted – in more ways than one – by the use of electric bikes.

Cycling as a reliable form of everyday transport – Zoom in and out of (which is based on the crowdsourced OpenStreetMap): the difference between the Netherlands and the UK appears to be stark, as is the difference between Belgium and France, countries which share the same topography at the border, and in parts the same language, but where the provision of cycleways is so different. There are also stark differences between the two “halves” of Belgium, the Flemish-speaking north (Flanders) and the French-speaking south (Wallonia). It’s also worth pointing out that the provision of cycleways doesn’t necessarily mean the cycling will be great; for instance, from the map it might seem that Belgium has more cycleways than France, but that doesn’t mean Belgium is a better cycling country than France. (Note, not all of the purple cycleways marked on this map are separated or protected. OpenCycleMap is crowd-sourced, and some data is provided by state actors but in other countries this is not the case. Plus, density of cycleways can sometimes reflect population density; see: Flanders/Wallonia,

And it’s worthwhile contrasting that map with the one below grabbed from Bicycle Facilities. This also uses OpenStreetMap. The site says there are 30,927 kms of “bicycle paths” in the UK, in addition to 2,826 kms of “greenways” and 2.070 kms of separated and semi-separated “bicycle lanes”. Many of these crap-cycle-lane–style “facilities” have been dubbed “farcilities” by campaigners.

“Cycling is just something you do – Tully Hendricks, “Opening Remarks: Question and Answer Session,” ThinkBike Workshop, sponsored by the Consulate General of the Netherlands, Miami Royal Netherlands Embassy, Washington, in co-operation with: Fietsberaad Internationaal, Miami, Florida, July 12, 2011. (Via: Bruce D. Epperson, Bicycles in American Highway Planning: The Critical Years of Policy-Making, 1969–1991, McFarland & Company, Inc., 2010.

Cycling academics John Pucher – John Pucher and Ralph Buehler, eds., City Cycling, MIT Press, 2012.

Tapping into this renaissance – Peter Walker, Bike Nation: How Cycling Can Save the World, Yellow Jersey Press, 2017.

Cycling has been written off many times – Jeff Mapes, Pedaling Revolution, Oregon State University Press, 2009

Everybody, it seemed in the early – Most of the “cycleways” were merely lanes striped with paint, not full-on “Class IV” separated cycleways, although there were some stand-outs, such as the protected cycleways in Davis, California.

(The seemingly impractical ten-speed – Omafiets means “granny bike.” The “grandfather bike” is the opafiets although omafiets is used generally for all Dutch bikes.

The phenomenal rise in bicycle sales – “National Bike Boom Bouncing along with No Letup Seen,” Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, August 25, 1972.

At this peak there were 95 – There were 15.2 million bicycles sold in the United States in 1973. The annual sales now average about 12.5 million bikes per year – but considering the population increase since 1973, the drop is more dramatic than that. The adult population in the United States has risen from about 160 million to 239 million since 1973, which makes for a per capita drop from 95 bikes per 1,000 adults to 52 bikes per 1,000.

Over the past ten to fifteen years sales – At the annual Industry Breakfast that opened the 2016 Interbike trade show in Las Vegas, the show’s vice president and organizer, Pat Hus, said that 2016 has been one of the most challenging years he’s seen in his decades in the bike industry. (See: “Interbike Says Diminished Dealer Count, Plus East Coast Event, Contributed to Lower Numbers in Vegas,” Bicycle Retailer, September 28, 2016, And the decline in bicycle sales is not limited to those countries with dire cycling infrastructure – bicycle sales are also declining in The Netherlands. “In the past 30 years [the Netherlands] has not sold so few new bikes,” said an April 2017 market report by research company GfK commissioned from industry organisations RAI and BOVAG. “Use of bicycles for commuting [has been] insufficiently stimulated,” say the organisations, and to stimulate demand they have urged the Dutch government to introduce tax-breaks for bicycle purchases. According to GfK, 928,000 bicycles were sold in the Netherlands in 2016, a year-on-year fall of nearly six percent. Cycles sales in the Netherlands have been falling for some years – in 2007, there were 1.4 million cycles sold in the country. The reduction in sales is despite a rising population. Looking on the bright side, the average sale price of a new bicycle has topped €1,000 for the first time. This is due to the success of e-bike sales in the Netherlands. E-bikes now account for 30 percent of the Dutch market, but nearly sixty percent of its revenue. (The average price of a bicycle in the UK is just €345.) However, e-bike sales – 276,000 were sold in 2016 in the Netherlands – now appear to be static. See: “E-bikes zorgen voor recordomzet in 2016, ondanks dieptepunt verkopen,”, April 3, 2017. Also see: “Bicycle sales in the Netherlands continue ten-year decline,” Carlton Reid, BikeBiz, April 4, 2017.

Jan-Willem van Schaik, deputy editor in chief of both Bike Europe and the Dutch trade magazine Tweewieler, explained the background to the Dutch sales slump. “A decline for ten years in a row is not good although there are some good explanations,” he agreed. “First of all, there was a cancellation of a tax reduction scheme which had helped a lot of people to buy bicycles. This stopped in January 2015. At the peak up to 500,000 bicycles were sold annually under this tax break. Second, the 1.4 million units sold in 2007 was a record-breaking year. At that time it was obvious that the market volume would start to decrease. Third, the increase of the average price of a bicycle was not only because of the e-bike, but also the improved quality of standard bicycles – bikes now last for years and years. Finally, regarding the poor sales in 2016, the weather last spring was not so good.”

Schaik stressed that sales may be down, but cycle usage is not:

“People are cycling more often, and cycling more kilometres. Bicycle parking lots at railway stations are overflowing. The number of people going to railway stations by bike has been increasing by about 5 percent per year in the past decade. The advent of the e-bike has encouraged people to cycle more and further. Older people are now cycling at a more advanced age than before.

“That people are cycling more is also the result of the world-famous cycling infrastructure in the Netherlands. Growing the fleet of bicycles is not the issue any more, that happened already in the past. Dutch cycling infrastructure doesn’t lead to substantially more sales because everybody already own a bicycle, and probably many bicycles. That was a sales bonus that happened in the 1980s and 1990s.” (E-mail conversation with author, April 5, 2017.)

bicycling is growing in very few places in the world – Of course, cycling cities such as Copenhagen are the exception – see the note below.

The building of cycle infrastructure – and that can mean – A report on the success of the cycleway network in Davis was published in the Congressional Record in April, 1971. Bikeways in Action, written by two of the academics who had pushed for the Davis cycleways, stressed that the time was ripe “for action to create and maintain a viable bicycle support system” throughout the United States. Robert Sommer and Dale Lott claimed that “just as one cannot have a railroad without tracks . . . one needs special facilities and regulations for bicycle traffic.”  See: Robert Sommer and Dale F. Lott, “Bikeways in Action: The Davis Experience,” Congressional Record 117, 10830, Department of Public Works, California Bikeway Planning, April 19, 1971.

For a start, curb-separated cycleways – There are many global standards and definitions for barrier-protected cycleways, including the gold-standard ones in the Dutch CROW manual. The “Class IV” standard is historic, and is the one now used by the US Federal Highway Administration in Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide. (See:

The FHWA Guide used the Urban Bikeway Design Guide, a publication of the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), as part of its source material.

The Class IV designation is now law in California:

“It is the goal of the state to increase the number of trips Californians take by bicycling, walking, and other forms of active transportation in order to help meet the state’s greenhouse-gas emissions reduction goals, improve Californians’ health by helping more people be active, and stimulate the economy. Bicycle facilities are a vital part of the transportation infrastructure that is used by many to commute to and from work and other destinations and provide alternatives to vehicles that otherwise would transport citizens across California’s roads and highways. Class IV Bikeways, also referred to as separated bikeways or cycle tracks, provide an alternative to other bikeways that may minimize interactions with other modes of travel. The objective is to foster bicycling as a means of transportation, in a manner that improves safety for all users, including motorists, transit users, and pedestrians, including persons with disabilities.” (See: Class IV Bikeway Guidance (Separated Bikeways/Cycle Tracks), Design Information Bulletin Number 89, California Department of Transportation, 2015, .)

For a large city, Amsterdam has wonderfully – This video of people on bikes in Amsterdam was shot by urban consultant Thomas Schlijper and shows separated cycleways, lanes protected with just paint, and people on bikes blithely riding in front of motorists in a way that might not happen quite so blithely outside of the Netherlands. (See:

And even on the best of Amsterdam’s separated cycleways cyclists are beeped – This video shows some great separated cycleways in Amsterdam, but check out the cyclists being beeped and buzzed by motor scooter riders and a driver of a micro-car. (See: “Amsterdam – Cars and Motorbikes in the Bike Lane,”, uploaded on June 22, 2012.) The car seen in the video is a Canta, which can legally drive on cycleways. Cants do not  require a drivers’ license. They are supposed to be for disabled drivers, but many of the people you see using them in Amsterdam and elsewhere in the Netherlands are very much not disabled. The Canta can also accommodate two people and can reach speeds of 25–30mph. The Canta was developed in 1995 by Waaijenberg together with the Delft University of Technology. (See:

There has been a substantial shift away – The “vehicular cycling” gurus are John Forester in the United States and Jon Franklin in the United Kingdom. Neither invented the term “vehicular cycling”. (See: &

Instead, in cities around the world – Many cyclists say, anecdotally, that driving standards are going down. With so many “connected” devices in cars this is only likely to escalate. While the leading “vehicular cyclists” in the 1970s said the main danger to cyclists from motorists was at junctions and that “straight-on” roads were safe, this is patently no longer the case (if it was ever true at all). Today, the motorist behind you (and this is true if you’re in a car, too) may be talking on a cellphone or texting. The roads of today are a lot different from the roads of the 1970s.

However, the provision of cycle infrastructure – The attractiveness and convenience of motoring is obvious. In real terms, cars and fuel are cheap, there’s plentiful space for parking (that’s what pavements are for now), there’s woefully inadequate traffic law enforcement, and even if a motorist crashes there’s now a much-reduced likelihood of death because cars have been designed to be crashworthy for the occupant.

As the Dutch minister of public works and water management put it in 2007: “Currently the great majority of people seem not to view cycling as a suitable travel option for them personally: even in the Netherlands . . . many people do not cycle in situations when cycling would be a highly appropriate transport mode.” (See: Sebastian Bamberg, “Understanding and promoting bicycle use: Insights from psychological research,” in Cycling and Sustainability, ed. John Parkin, Emerald Group, 2012.)

Naturally, there’s a measure of suppressed demand – New York’s recent installation of 45.5 miles of Class IV separated cycleways has increased the probability that residents would ride a bike by 9.32 percent, according to a Columbia University study. “We conclude that investments in bicycle lanes come with an exceptionally good value because they simultaneously address multiple public health problems. Investments in bike lanes are more cost-effective than the majority of preventive approaches used today.” (See: Jing Gu, Babak Mohit, and Peter Alexander Muennig, “The Cost-Effectiveness of Bike Lanes in New York City,” Injury Prevention, September 9, 2016,

The many benefits of cycling are well-known – One of the key benefits of cycling is “being in control” and not relying on the vagaries of public transport. This is also one of the benefits of motoring. Cycling has the added advantage of time control: you always know when you’ll arrive somewhere on a bicycle because traffic jams can be bypassed.

Cycling involves effort – If bike sales are the metric to use, the plug-in bicycle category is the only one that could be described as booming right now. I’ve been riding electric bikes since the 1990s. I am well aware of their many benefits. Pedal-assist e-bikes – or pedelecs – are wonderful things. They not going to replace bicycles, they have the potential to replace cars. But they are not 100 percent pedal-powered, so they are not pure bicycles. They are not motorbikes in the current sense of that descriptor but they do have on-board motors helping with propulsion – so it’s totally accurate to call them motorized bicycles. Most of the e-bikes that have taken the market by storm in the Netherlands and Germany are standard pedelecs, limited in their motorized assistance and therefore legally classified as bicycles and able to travel on cycle-only infrastructure. There’s also another category of e-bike, the so-called “speed pedelecs,”  which offers pedal assistance up to 45 kph. Up until just recently these were also allowed on cycleways in the Netherlands, but the Dutch government now classifies them as mopeds, and they are no longer allowed on cycle-only cycleways (some cycleways in the Netherlands also allow moped use). They also have to be registered and to carry number plates, and their riders have to wear helmets. Mopeds – known in the Netherlands as “Brommers” – can travel very fast, are very loud, and can be as scary as cars can be on roads. For this reason, they can deter some people from cycling on what should be safe cycleways. Speed pedelecs also have the potential to scare people off cycleways, which is why they were reclassified – and thence restricted – in the Netherlands.

Cycle in the rain and, even – According to a 1998 study, cycle usage is more influenced by the maximum daily temperature than by rainfall. A 1 °C rise in maximum daily temperature gave an approximately 3 percent increase in daily cycle usage. (See: P. Emmerson, T. J. Ryley, and D. G. Davies,  “The Impact of Weather on Cycle Flows,” report, Transport Research Laboratory, Wokingham, UK, 1998.)

There’s no roof on a bike – Of course, there are cargo bikes (I have one), and child-carrying buggies (I used to have one), but these are specialist machines known mostly to enthusiasts. After “car ownership,” one of the best predictors of regular car use is “has young children.” Because so many children are now ferried to school by car (ironically, this is often because of the danger posed by, er, motorists), many children cannot cycle, or cannot cycle very well. This is a good reason for cycle advocates to applaud any and all measures to train children how to cycle, because a child who can’t cycle will be more likely to become a motorist when old enough. However, some cycle advocates dismiss cycle training as an irrelevance, claiming that infrastructure is required first. Exactly who would ride on this infrastructure when so many people have never experienced transport cycling as children is a moot point.

And nor can you, comfortably, have sex – Note the word “comfortably”. In Kevin Wade’s 1985 romcom movie Key Exchange, there’s a sex scene which takes place on a bicycle. (See:

For instance, prior to the Second World War Christchurch – See: J. P. Thull and H. Lausterer, “Mobility Management for High School Students in Christchurch,” 26th Australasian Transport Research Forum, Wellington, NZ, 2003.

There are hard-to-shift socio-psychological – There are, however, signs that the bicycle is, in some places, becoming a high-status mode of transport. In cities where house prices are expensive, living close enough to work to be able to cycle is a signifier of wealth.

This palpable drop in status – A front-page story in the Daily Mail claimed that adding cycleways causes pollution, as if London wasn’t already plagued with particulates. The piece was headlined: “Cycle lanes lunacy!” and claimed that “more and more are being built across Britain,” adding that “the maddest thing of all [is] they’re often EMPTY.” Many roads are also empty outside of the peak but there’s been no Daily Mail cover story on that. Complaining about the cycleway on London’s Embankment, journalist Tom Rawstorne wrote that: “Traffic has been brought to a virtual standstill,” ignoring the fact that the Embankment has long been jammed with motor traffic. The cycleway along the Embankment replaced not a travel lane but space set aside for coach parking.

Why did London start building cycleways, and why were so many people getting on bikes in London? The Daily Mail gives a clue: “Traffic delays are up, while average vehicle speeds in Central London have fallen to 7.4 mph — slower than a horse-drawn carriage in the 18th century.” This drop in average speeds is caused by lots of extra traffic trying to squeeze through already congested London. If more people cycled, congestion would decrease.

But the “cycle lane lunacy” isn’t just confined to London, claimed Rawstorne. “From Cambridge to Cornwall, lanes are being marked off for bicycles, and residential streets are being turned into rat runs by desperate motorists looking for a way past the jams,” he wrote.

“Cycle superhighways will permanently impact upon ‘road supply.’ Simply, there is less road space available for normal traffic.”

And there’s the nub of the matter. In the Mail worldview, people in cars are “normal”; people on bicycles are not normal.

The article was similar to many other motor-centric pieces that have been published down through the years, written by the kind of folks who are sitting in their cars looking to blame anyone but themselves for the amount of cars in front of them, or, as satellite navigation maker TomTom put it in a 2010 outdoor poster: “You are not stuck in traffic. You are traffic.” (See: Tom Rawstorne, “Cycle Lane Lunacy! The New Blight Paralysing Britain,” Daily Mail, October 5, 2016. Note that the 0.2 percent figure is calculated thus: Miles of London’s roads: 9,197.  Miles of protected cycleways: 18.)

And the trope that cycleways are causing congestion can also appear in the “serious” press. In a list of reasons for the UK’s worsening road congestion, the second one given in a front-cover story in the Sunday Times was “the squeezing of road-space by segregated cycle lanes.” (No evidence was provided for such a bold statement.) The article went on to claim that “The worsening gridlock has been blamed on the growth of white van deliveries, caused by internet shopping, the squeezing of road-space by segregated cycle lanes, increasing numbers of mini-cabs and badly planned roadworks.” (See: Mark Hookham, “City Traffic Slower than Horse and Cart,” Sunday Times, October 16, 2016.)

Motoring is deemed to be “normal” – That motoring is considered normal and cycling is considered abnormal is true in many places in the world, even in places where there was very recently a bicycle culture, probably because there was such a culture, which is often seen as a low-status part of the past. For instance, in 2010 a 20-year old female contestant on a Chinese TV dating-show told a would-be (unemployed) suitor that she wouldn’t ride a bicycle with him. Her dismissal of cycling became a viral sensation in China, morphing into the quote: “I would rather cry in a BMW than smile on a bicycle.” Professor Jinhua Zhao of the University of British Columbia said in 2010 that in China “bikes are now for losers.” See: “China’s Censors Rein in ‘Vulgar’ Reality TV Show,” Xiyun Yang, New York Times, July 18, 2010. “The De-Bikification of Beijing,” Debra Bruno, Citylab, April 9, 2012.

In addition, cycling’s association with sport – Of course, not all motorists always want to “get somewhere.” Some still go for what were once known as “pleasure drives”. And how about those motorists driving in order to get to a gym? Would they have any right to  criticize a cyclist using the road as an outdoor mobile gym?

Cycle advocates sometimes state – “Cycling Embassy of Great Britain will be . . . representing the 97% that want to cycle as opposed to the 3% that already do.” (See: Jim Davis,, February 15, 2011,–-ambassador-responds Jim Davis is a cofounder of the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain, a grassroots campaign group.)

It’s far more complex – Academic Jillian Anable uses market segmentation to work out why some people are happy to cycle and others won’t ever even consider it. She has constructed an online quiz for people to find out which kind of traveler they are. (See: .)  I’m what she calls an “Active Aspirer” – “You feel that you drive more than you should and you would like to cut down. . . . Your most preferred alternatives are walking and cycling. . . . Cycling is also something you already do or consider to offer freedom, speed, and fitness. You are likely to be motivated by environmental issues and this gives you some extra impetus to leave the car at home when you can.”

Now, none of that is news to me, or you, but I’m an outlier. I completed the quiz again, this time giving petrolhead answers. The result: I was now labelled as a “Devoted Driver.” (“You prefer to use a car than any other mode of transport and you are not interested in reducing your car use. You do not believe there are realistic alternatives to most of the journeys you make and you do not see yourself as a bus user or a cyclist anyway. . . . You believe that people should be able to use their cars as much as they like with little restriction on this and you would like to see more roads built to reduce congestion.”)

Active Aspirers and Devoted Drivers are opposite ends of the scale – it’s those in the middle who could be persuaded to reduce their car use, and who might be more likely to do so if provided with other options, such as protected cycle infra. (See: J. Anable, “Complacent Car Addicts or Aspiring Environmentalists? Identifying Travel Behaviour Segments using Attitude Theory,” Department of Psychology, The University of Surrey,

London’s recent spike in bike use – According to Transport for London, the estimated number of “cycling journey stages” rose from 400,000 a day in 2005 to 600,000 in 2014. Cycling accounted for just 2 percent of journey stages by all modes of transport in Greater London as a whole. “Travel in London: Report 8,” Transport for London, 2015,

“The number of people using the Cycle Superhighways continues to grow,” says a 2016 report by Transport for London commissioner Mike Brown. “There has been a 50 per cent increase in the number of cyclists using the North–South and East–West Cycle Superhighways, taking the total number to 8,400 using Blackfriars Bridge and 7,000 using Victoria Embankment each day in the morning and evening peaks. . . .

Growth rates along Vauxhall Bridge on Cycle Superhighway 5 have been equally strong. Along Victoria Embankment, cyclists account for 52 per cent of all traffic during the peak, with up to 95 percent of them using the cycle track rather than the carriageway.” (See:

Where before riders used a bunch of diffuse – There’s plenty of evidence on social media for such detours. For instance, confident “roadie” Elisabeth Anderson (@velobetty) tweeted: “Blackfriars Bridge used to be pretty horrible to cycle across but now I go out of my way to cross there, with the amazing cycle lanes!” (See: September 23, 2016.)

And such diverting to get to cycle infra is consistent over time. For instance, the same was reported at the trial of experimental Cycle Routes in Portsmouth in 1975–76. A 1979 study found that 25 percent of cyclists reported taking a different and longer route in order to get to the Cycle Route. (See: S.W. Quenault, Cycle routes in Portsmouth, Planning and Implementation, Attitude Surveys, TRRL, Transport and Road Research Laboratory, Departments of the Environment & Transport, 1979.)

Sadly, there are also examples of cycleways – But what constitutes healthy? Scottish road chiefs said a new cycleway in Ayr attracted 600 cyclists a week, but that was met with guffaws at a “stormy meeting” where politicians of all stripes fell over themselves to overturn what the local newspaper called a “blunder project”:

“Cross-party political figures told residents they will lead the fight to rip up the [the Bears Way two-way cycle path]. . . . Roads chief Stewart Turner faced an angry mob of more than 200 residents. A string of cross-party political figures, in attendance at the unique meeting, seized the moment to insist they will lead the fight to rip up the road. Addressing the crowd, South Ayrshire’s SNP leader Allan Dorans said: “The SNP group will be lodging an official motion to get this ripped up.

We are not making this a political issue – it is about doing the right thing and standing up for the people of South Ayrshire.” To loud applause, Depute Provost Mary Kilpatrick (Con) said: “I don’t think Stewart Turner realises just how angry people are. “What he has inflicted on the people here is just appalling.”

(See: “South Ayrshire councillors set to launch bid to rip up Holmston Road cycle lane,” Glasgow Daily Record, September 28, 2016.)

Bike paths can be ripped out at will by politicians, as happened in Sydney.

“Duncan Gay, the New South Wales minister for transport, describes himself as “the biggest bike lane sceptic in the government.” On his journey in to the NSW parliament he has to drive past a AUS$5m protected cycleway on College Street in Sydney’s central business district which was installed by Lord Mayor Clover Moore in 2010. Gay has ordered the cycleway to be removed, leading to consternation from cyclists in Sydney who point out that the College Street cycleway carries more cyclists in peak times than motorists on the adjoining lane.”

(See: “Anti-cycling Oz roads minister to rip out protected cycleway in Sydney,” June 4, 2015,

There have also been calls for the removal of London’s protected Cycle Superhighways. In October 2016, the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry said there should be a “reassessment into the cycle super-highway scheme” and suggested that instead of kerbs there should be “an exploration into semi-segregated cycle lanes during peak hours,” but they did not provide details how this could work? LCCI chief executive Colin Stanbridge said: “I recognise that some of these measures won’t be immediately palatable to some groups. But we have made too many decisions because something seems like a nice idea, the easier route, or the most environmentally friendly idea, without really thinking through the consequences.” (Press release, October 12, 2016; see: ; see also: Carlton Reid, “Cyclist-priority markings outside school removed by local councillor,” BikeBiz, Stockton, November 19, 2014,

London’s curb-protected Cycling Superhighways are full – Of course, “empty” is in the eye of the beholder – a road with fifteen drivers sitting in cars takes up a lot of roadspace and looks “busy.” Fifteen people on bikes takes up far less room, and a cycleway with this many cyclists on it can look underused. Cycling is very space-efficient.

Motoring is one of those things – Except, of course, motoring is often very heavily sold. Car advertising, for instance, is ubiquitous. Chris Balish, in “Live Well Without a Car,” states that the automobile industry spends $20 billion every year on advertising.

And car adverts don’t just promote a particular car brand’s use as a mode transport there are many other ways to pluck at a purchaser’s heartstrings, from speed, power, and hence desirability to the opposite sex, to a car being a treasured possession capable of being loved and in need of care. Volvo used to market itself on how safe the brand was for occupants – it rarely focusses on such boring attributes today.

Terrible for the planet, and bad – “Brits bought more cars than ever before in 2015, as a new sales record was set. More than 2.6 million new cars were sold, up 6% on 2014. It’s only the fourth time ever that the UK market has surpassed 2.5m.

The new figures, published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), confirm that showrooms are awash with buyers as the economy grows, punters have more money in their pockets, and manufacturers offer tempting incentives, discounts, and deals.”  (See: “UK 2015 car sales analysis: winners and losers,”  Car magazine, January 7, 2016.)

“The UK’s new car market has recorded its strongest ever half-year performance this year, and has grown by 3.2% compared with 2015.” (Autocar, July 6, 2016.

“The DfT’s provisional estimates show vehicle traffic in the UK increased by 1.8% to 318.5 billion miles travelled between April 2015 and March 2016. . . . The DfT statistics also reveal that the number of cars in Britain has shot up by 43% in the past 20 years, from 21m in 1995 to more than 30m in 2015.” (“UK road traffic at an all time high,” Autocar, May 20, 2016,

The UK’s Department for Transport is not convinced about “peak car” and appears to be sliding back into a “predict and provide” position. The National Travel Survey, England 2015, reported: “The NTS figures relate to personal travel at the individual level. Overall volume of traffic is also influenced by population growth and commercial travel. Therefore despite the declining individual car driver mileage, which has led to a debate about whether car use has peaked, DfT traffic statistics show that total traffic levels for all motor vehicles have increased in recent years, and in 2015 reached a new peak level of 316.7 billion vehicle miles travelled. . . . Overall, the Department’s work concludes there is little evidence to confirm that car ownership levels or distance travelled per person have reached saturation. As shown by NTS data, car ownership has continued to rise outside London during the last decade (although at a slower rate than preceeding [sic] decades). In recent years, aggregate car traffic levels have resumed growth, as shown by DfT traffic statistics. (See:

According to a report issued by the UK Department for Transport:

“There have been big changes in how we use our roads over time, and will be further changes in the future. The aggregate figures are striking – after decades of strong growth the total distance travelled has plateaued in the last decade. This report looks in some detail at the composition of the changes and their drivers, including income, costs, and socio-economic changes.

“We conclude that growth will resume – income, driving costs, and the location of where people live and work are major determinants of the volume of road travel, and these are expected to drive up car use over time. We will publish updated road transport forecasts soon.” (See: Understanding the drivers of road travel: current trends in and factors behind car use, UK Department for Transport, January 2015:

In June 2015, the Department for Transport’s questionable modelling predicted that over the next 25 years, the number of journeys by train, bus, bicycle and on foot would all fall. But the number of car journeys would rise by 10 percent. In 2015, Britons made on average 22.1 journeys by bike, but this is predicted to drop to 20.5 by 2040, said the DfT model. In contrast, per capita annual car journeys are forecast to rise from 2015’s 453.4 journeys to 503.9 a year.

Over the last sixty years, planners designed for “King Car” – King car? In French, the bicycle was once known as la petite reine, “the little queen.” This derives from an 1891 book La Reine Bicyclettes by Pierre Gifford. The front cover had an illustration of a young woman holding a bicycle aloft as a sort of crown.

Since 1990, the total length of cycle paths – See: Ton Welleman, “The autumn of the Bicycle Master Plan: After the plans, the products,” Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, The Hague, The Netherlands, 1995,; The Dutch Bicycle Masterplan, 1999, Welleman is a civil engineer by training. He started with the Dutch Ministry of Transport in 1974, moving over to the study of bicycling at the Institute of Road Safety Research (SWOV) in 1976. From 1989 to 2000 he worked for the Ministry of Transport and was the project manager of the Bicycle Masterplan between 1990 and 1998.

One of the beliefs in the bicycle world – Cees Louisse, “Quantifying and communicating the effects of bicycle policy,” Traffic Research Centre, Rijkswaterstaat, The Netherlands, Proceedings of the 8th Velo-City Conference, Basel, Switzerland, September 1995.

No matter how often it’s  – A study entitled Cycling: Towards Health and Safety, commissioned and published by British Medical Association, examined all aspects of cycling in relation to health. It established that, in spite of the hostile environment in which most cyclists currently ride, the benefits in terms of health promotion and longevity far outweigh the loss of life years in injury on the roads. (See: Cycling: Towards Health and Safety, BMA, Oxford University Press, 1992; see also: Dr. Rachel Aldred, The Near Miss Project,  University of Westminster,

Despite its copious cycling infrastructure, people on bikes die in the Netherlands, too. Two hundred or so die each year. Mark Wagenbuur of BicycleDutch says: “Considering that 5 million Dutch people cycle an average of 14 million bike journeys every working day in the Netherlands this still is a very low figure.” (See:

After allowing this to sink in – John Parkin and Glen Koorey, “Network planning and infrastructure design,” in Cycling and Sustainability, ed. by John Parkin, Emerald Group, 2012.

Citing “dangerous traffic” as a reason – Pedestrians also risk life and limb by walking in the city, but the death of a pedestrian  – in some major cities – is somehow less newsworthy than the death of a cyclist. More pedestrians than cyclists die in London from being hit by trucks, but it’s fallen cyclists that generates the headlines. This is partly because of cycling lobbying groups, who are able to generate more press coverage than the pedestrian lobby, mainly because there is no pedestrian lobby.

There’s a great one-liner – And planners have been aware of this for a long time. For instance, here’s how a 1974 US Department for Transportation bikeways guide put it: “While current bike traffic volume does constitute prima facie evidence of the need for a facility . . . the need or opportunity to link disconnected facilities in a logical fashion or to serve activity centers which might be expected to attract cyclists are equally valid reasons for location of a bikeway.” (See: Dan Smith, Jr., Bikeways: State of the Art 1974,  DeLeuw Cather & Company for the US Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, July 1974.

Many of them –  Choices, choices. February 2017 findings from the Department for Transport-funded “Propensity to Cycle Tool” project show that, given the right policies and investments, Brits would choose to cycle more. (Actually, the data is for England-only, but clearly it could be extrapolated to elsewhere in the UK.) The Propensity to Cycle Tool shows almost one in five Brits would cycle to work if conditions on the roads were more akin to those in the Netherlands.

“Cycling potential,” say the academics behind the modelling tool, “is the level of cycling that can be expected under different potential future scenarios. The results show that with the right cycling conditions, cycling levels across the country could be much higher than they currently are.”

In England, only three percent of commuters cycle all the way to work. “Sometimes people assume that this is because England is too hilly or journey distances are too long,” says the findings, produced by academics including Robin Lovelace and Rachel Aldred.

”However, while our results show that while hilliness and distance do play an important role in influencing cycling levels, these factors are not everything. Some hilly places, such as Bristol, have achieved higher than average cycling despite having a modelled cycling propensity below the national average.”

The Propensity to Cycle Tool models with four scenerios: “government target,” which assumes that cycling levels double nationally, and uses trip distance and hilliness to predict which trips would switch; ”gender equality,” in which women have the same propensity to cycle a given trip as men; “go Dutch,” which draws on Dutch Travel Survey data to estimate what cycling levels one would observe if England acquired Dutch cycling infrastructure and Dutch cycling culture, but kept its current trip distances and hilliness; and “e-bikes,” which adds pedal-assist to “go Dutch” in order to encourage longer trips and overcomes hilliness.

The “go Dutch” scenario showed that if English people became as likely to cycle as Dutch people, nearly one in five – or 18 percent – would cycle to work. Under the ”e-bikes” scenario, 26 percent of commuters would cycle all the way to work, claim the academics.

According to the PCT model, Kingston upon Hull has the highest cycling potential of any local authority in the ”e-bikes” scenario, and the second highest in “go Dutch.”

“Hull already has relatively high cycling rates for the UK, with almost one in ten commuters travelling by bike,” says the new PCT report. ”But if people living in Hull had the same willingness to cycle a given distance and hilliness as people living in the Netherlands, nearly 37 percent would cycle.”

The academics add that this would take around 17,000 cars off Hull’s roads every morning. Cambridge, the local authority with, at 32 percent, by far the highest current cycling rate in England, could have higher still cycling levels in the “go Dutch” scenario.

Cycle commuting levels in hilly Leeds are currently stuck at a lowly 2 percent. In the ”go Dutch” scenario that would rise to 16 percent, and would jump again to 26 percent if commuters had access to e-bikes.

“Cycling is often seen only as something with potential to grow in towns and cities,” say the academics. “However, hilly rural areas could also see much more cycling than at present with the right policies.”

The Propensity to Cycle Tool allows policy makers, planners and advocates explore health benefits and reductions in CO2 emissions that might be generated by growth in cycling under the different scenarios. Some of these benefits come directly from cycling, while others would come from people not using a car.

PCT uses a modified version of the World Health Organization’s Health Economic Assessment Tool (HEAT) and calculates the economic benefits of the improved health that increases in cycling could bring.

Research shows that growth in cycling benefits health, mainly through the extra physical activity that many new cyclists get. If we went Dutch, English local authorities could see an average health economic benefit of £5 million per authority. Around 27 premature deaths would be averted each year in Birmingham compared to current levels of commuter cycling – an annual economic benefit of nearly £50 million.

“With the right infrastructure and policy, there is substantial potential for cycling across English local authorities,” says the PCT report.

“While all areas could see large health benefits and CO2 savings, these vary by area: more car dependent areas will see the biggest CO2 savings per person. In hillier and more rural areas, achieving high cycling levels may involve much greater use of e-bikes as well as improving cycling conditions.

“As well as showing the national-level potential, the tool can help planners identify areas and routes within local areas for priority investment.”

The institutions supporting the PCT team are the University of Cambridge:, the UKCRC Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), the University of Leeds, and the University of Westminster, London. See: UKCRC Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), Evidence Brief special (14) – England’s Cycling Potential – Results from the Department for Transport-funded Propensity to Cycle Tool project, February 2017.

Unsurprisingly, the majority of advocates  – Some academics can be sniffy about today’s “bicycle advocates” believing them to be biased. However, just because someone is biased doesn’t mean they’re wrong. “Enthusiasts” have often proved to be more accurate at sniffing the wind than “experts” – for instance, as Colin Divall, Professor Emeritus of Railway Studies at the University of York, UK, has shown, train enthusiasts during the Beeching cuts of the mid-1960s said many of the tracks lined up for the chop could prove useful in the future, and they were eventually proved right on that, with demand for rail in the UK now at record levels. See: Colin Divall, “Framing Rural Railway Closures in 1960s Britain: Lessons for Sustainable Urban Mobilities” in forthcoming book, “Large Metropolis Mobilities in Long-Term Perspective: An Ecosystemic Approach to Sustainable Urban Mobilities.”

And also consider the case of John Martin (1789-1854), the Northumberland-born painter of apocalyptic biblical scenes. He was an enthusiastic would-be engineer who came up with ambitious plans for his adopted home city of London, but who was dismissed at the time by experts. His grandiose plans for a sewerage system to be built next to the Thames and capped with a wide road were later built by Sir J. W. Bazalgette who acknowledged that the idea for the Victoria Embankment  (which now has a famous cycle superhighway on it) was originated with Martin. In 1843, the satirical magazine Punch poured scorn on Martin’s idea for a grandiose sewer-system-and-road: “Mr. Martin was affected almost to tears when he talked of his exertions to carry the manure of the metropolis to the suburbs; and his ambitious desire to construct a terrace all along the banks of the Thames is a beautiful illustration of the force of the imagination, which, in the pursuit of a cherished object, forgets the existence of the wharf, the necessity for selling coals from a barge, the propriety of allowing commerce still to exist, and the vested interests of the ordinary coal-heaver. Mr. Martin would have the banks of the Thames a series of terraces, the houses palaces, and the sewers laboratories for the practice of chemistry. This is all very well in theory, but to our own eye (saying nothing of Martin) it seems rather difficult to be put in practice … If Mr. Martin can only die happy on condition of carrying out his ideas about the Thames and its contents, we must of necessity predict what we should very sincerely regret-a miserable termination to his existence.” See:

However, being a “cyclist” is – Some cycle advocates prefer “person on a bike” to “cyclist,” believing that the word cyclist has connotations of sport, Spandex, day-glo, and helmets. In the UK, marketing agency Diva Creative plugged in to this feeling with its “Life on 2 Wheels” campaign for Transport for Greater Manchester which used posters of “real” people under the headline: “I’m not a cyclist”. (See:

And many campaigners urge that “cycling” shouldn’t be explicitly mentioned in campaigns, rather it should be be about “people friendly” streets. (See: “Have fun, take action, don’t talk about cycling.” One of the reasons for this reticence is the knowledge that cyclists are not seen in a positive light by general society, which perhaps suggests that asking for infrastructure for such an apparently despised activity might not be terribly successful. Of course, closing off rat runs with “filtered permeability” isn’t cycling infrastructure per se but can most definitely increase levels of cycling (and walking).

“Cyclists overrun the city … – James FitzPatrick, “Copenhagen: A Fitzpatrick Traveltalk,” Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1937. FitzPatrick began filming travel documentaries in 1930 with MGM later distributing the series under the umbrella title “FitzPatrick Traveltalks.” The Traveltalks were shot in Technicolor. (See: &

Copenhagen’s current high cycling – Copenhagen built at least one mile of cycle track every single year from 1912 to 1969, with just a slight hiatus between 1970 and 1974, followed by an even greater building spurt between 1975 and 1985, when five miles of cycle tracks were installed each and every year.

November 2016: “For the first time since the City starting counting traffic entering the city centre, there are more bikes than cars. Indeed, since last year, 35,080 more bikes were counted, bringing the total up to 265,700, as you can see on the graph, above. . . .

“It is a clear indication that continuous municipal policy and investment in Best Practice infrastructure pays off. The City has gone above and beyond over the past ten years. Investing 1 billion DKK (€134 million) extra in infrastructure, facilities and, not least, bicycle bridges to prioritise cycling as transport.” (See:

In 1970, Copenhagen manually counted 351,133 cars and 100,071 bikes. In 2009, the city installed its first electric bike counter, and now has twenty monitoring traffic across the city. Bicycle traffic has risen by 68 percent in the last twenty years. This is partly because Copenhagen’s population is steadily growing, with the inner city set to increase from 600,000 to 715,000 people within the next fifteen years. Copenhagen has developed a Cycle Track Priority Plan for 2017–2025 – Cykelstiprioriteringsplanen 2017-2025 – to improve and expand its cycling infrastructure.

The growth of cycle usage in – Cycle usage in Copenhagen has been steadily growing over the last 15 years but has accelerated in the last five years, partly because of population growth but also because “driving has become a pain in the ass” said Copenhagenize’s Mikel Colville-Andersen. Much of this pain has been due to the building of an underground Metro. Colville-Andersen: “Between 2012 and 2013, the modal share for bicycles (people arriving at work or education in the City of Copenhagen) exploded from 36% to 45%. Forty-five percent. A leap of 9%. That has never happened anywhere. Ever. Seriously.” See:

According to traffic surveys by the Copenhagen Municipality, cycle to work figures in the center can be as high as 56 percent (with just 14 percent of people choosing to drive). See piecharts on page 13 of this official city report:

“Cycling was ignored . . . – Cycling is no longer as ignored as it once was, and appears to many to be booming. Cycling, it is often assumed, will grow and grow. History shows is this may not happen. Cycling’s current cachet may fade away, and be as forgotten as the bicycle mania of 1896–7.

These places tend to have dense – “Car restraint” is a loaded term, one of those phrases we’re oftentimes told to avoid. It smacks of authoritarianism, reducing the mobility of a large group of law-abiding citizens doing what they are allowed – and, by design, also encouraged – to do in a free society. “Putting people first” is better, but the driverless cars revolution has yet to take place, people still drive cars so it’s not a perfect fit. In many cities around the world cars are being tamed by treating motorists as guests on roads, not the owners (which is a common view among some motorists).

This doesn’t mean cyclists instead become the owners, and nor does it mean “share the road” because the laws of physics show it’s impossible for people and fast and heavy motor vehicles to share anything truly equally – might is quickly seen to be right. But no matter what we call it, car restraint is needed, and is called for by many academic experts keen to promote cycling. Dave Horton and John Parkin wrote: “As the car system has been built at the expense of the bicycle, so the bicycle system will inevitable need to be buuitl to some extent at least, at the expense of the car.” (In Cycling and Sustainability, ed. John Parkin, Emerald Group, 2012.)

John Pucher and Ralph Buehler’s influential report Making Cycling Irresistible: Lessons from the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany said that “The most important approach to making cycling safe and convenient in Dutch, Danish, and German cities is the provision of separate cycling facilities along heavily travelled roads and at intersections, combined with extensive traffic calming of residential neighbourhoods.”

However, they add: “Separate facilities are only part of the solution. Dutch, Danish and German cities reinforce the safety, convenience and attractiveness of excellent cycling rights of way with extensive bike parking, integration with public transport, comprehensive traffic education and training of both cyclists and motorists, and a wide range of promotional events intended to generate enthusiasm and wide public support for cycling. . . . The key to the success of cycling policies in the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany is the coordinated implementation of [a] multi-faceted, mutually reinforcing set of policies. Not only do these countries implement far more of the pro-bike measures, but they greatly reinforce their overall impact with highly restrictive policies that make car use less convenient as well as more expensive.” (See:

Where cycling is prioritized – Eric Claxton, consultant to the British Cycling Bureau and former chief engineer of Stevenage, visited Västerås in 1973, and it was also referred to in the BCB publication “Before the Traffic Grinds to a Halt.”

In low-cycling cities the – The Propensity to Cycle Tool is a Github-based desire-line predictor using census data, journey distance stats and topography likely to be off-putting to cycling, e.g., hills. It was designed to assist transport planners and policy makers to work out where cycling infrastructure should be placed. It uses four models, including the full-on “Go Dutch” scenario and a scenario if people rode e-bikes. The PCT was seed-funded by the Department for Transport, and works for England only. It was created by a group of academics across a number of institutions, including Dr. James Woodcock of Cambridge University’s Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), Dr. Anna Goodman of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Dr. Robin Lovelace of the University of Leeds, and Dr. Rachel Aldred of the University of Westminster.

See: R. Aldred, B. Elliott, J. Woodcock, A. Goodman, “Cycling Provision Separated from Motor Traffic: a systematic review exploring whether stated preferences vary by gender and age,”  Transport Reviews, 2016,; see also “The Propensity to Cycle Tool: An Open Source Online System for Sustainable Transport Planning,” ArXiv:1509.04425, September 2015.

If infrastructure never attracted newbies – “A common problem for politicians is the need for relatively quick results from investment. Any less-than-significant or visible change to the number of people cycling in an area may lead to calls for a moratorium on investment in cycling.” (See: “Network planning and infrastructure design,” John Parkin and Glen Koorey, in Cycling and Sustainability, ed. John Parkin, Emerald Group, 2012.

“Soft” measures, such as cycle training – An expensive but highly effective soft measure is “Individualized Marketing,” a one-on-one marketing technique developed by Socialdata, which establishes direct contact with individuals to take them through a process that identifies the real demand for information and motivates them more easily to think about and change their behavior. Academics John Parkin and Dave Horton have said: “Extensive marketing of cycling [is needed] to entrench and develop gradual gains in both levels of cycling and its status. Such ‘soft’ interventions are regarded as key . . . by all of this book’s contributors.” (See: Cycling and Sustainability, ed. John Parkin, Emerald Group, 2012.)

Bike advocacy professional Dave Cieslewicz, a former – Dave Cieslewicz, “Is the Movement Losing Its Edge?” March 15, 2016,  Cieslewicz is executive director of the Wisconsin Bicycle Federation.

When even the New York Times felt  – “Is It OK to Kill Cyclists?”, New York Times, November 9, 2013,

A new protected cycleway in Scotland might  – “This picture shows how easy it is to bring Ayr’s unwanted cycle expressway to a grinding, crashing halt. Parking just one vehicle on the Holmston Road blocks it completely. And we can exclusively reveal that it is perfectly legal to park right on top of the cycle path. On Thursday a Volkswagen Caddy was left for hours right on the track. It was parked at one of two places where it is possible to get vehicles onto the track despite the line of bollards.” (See: “Fears over free for all protest parking campaign on controversial Holmston Road cycle lane,” Glasgow Daily Record, September 26, 2016,

And, a London magistrate told a 53-year-old investment banker – “A banker was told ‘people don’t like cyclists’ by a magistrate in court yesterday where he was fined for repeatedly failing to stop cycling for officers during a police chase across the City of London.

“Tanneguy Marie De Carne, 53, was pursued by officers from City of London Police after he swerved in front of their car … on his bicycle . . . De Carne, global head of high yield capital markets at SG Corporate & Investment Banking, pleaded guilty to dangerous cycling and failing to stop for police at City of London Magistrates’ Court . . . and was fined £2,460.

“Chair of the Bench, Catherine Hobey-Hamsher, told De Carne: ‘The offence was sustained in every possible way. A reasonable person would have stopped immediately. It is a silent danger, coming up behind people – they have no idea. And, above all, it diminishes the really rather low esteem cyclists already have. People do not like cyclists, and you are doing nothing to enhance their reputation.” (See: “Banker fled police car for 20 minutes . . . on a bike,” Kaya Burgess, The Times, October 27, 2016,

C&O Towpath – The Chesapeake & Ohio Towpath.

To many people all cyclists are the same, they are the – Low-income transportation cyclists were called “invisible riders” by Dan Koeppel in the July 2006 issue of Bicycling magazine:

“The men who pedal the streets at daybreak . . . are invisible in so many ways. Some are here without permission and must hide from the official world. They are not noticed by the cars and buses that roar past, sometimes to tragic effect. They’re not even seen by those of us who claim to love cycling. We’ll pick out a sleek Italian racing bike from across an intersection, but a dozen day laborers on Huffys dissolve into the streets.

“The Invisible Riders, for instance, log far more hours than most ‘serious’ cyclists. They do so on equipment most of us wouldn’t touch and under the most adverse conditions: at the height of rush hour on the busiest thoroughfares. Workers without documentation have no vacation or sick days, so they keep a grueling schedule.

“Dreaming of a world of smiling cyclists, of more bike paths, with less traffic congestion and coexisting modes of transportation, is easy for riders like us. But on the streets, on a cheap – yet priceless – bike, there’s little opportunity for idealism.”

Most everyday cyclists are working people, immigrants and people of color, shows The New Majority, a 2013 report from the Sierra Club and the League of American Cyclists, but it’s rare that such groups register with urban planners when they draw up cycleway plans. (See:

Cycleways tend to be installed in white, middle-class areas, not working-class, black or hispanic ones. “If all you see is white, hipster commuters in the bicycle lanes there is a silent signal being sent that that space is not for you,” argues Melody Hoffman. Dr. Hoffman argues that the bicycle is a “rolling signifier” communicating different messages as it moves through different socioeconomic and cultural spaces. While some communities may view cycling as an altruistic transportation choice even when the use of a car is available, others regard cycling as a material necessity, and might, in fact, prefer to be in a car. “Why does it seem like our bicycle infrastructure is dominated by white people? asks Hoffman. “In some instances, it was designed to be that way. Bicycle infrastructure in the U.S. has largely become a signifier of the white, middle-class.” (See: Melody Hoffman, Bike Lanes Are White Lanes, University of Nebraska, 2016; see also:,677153.aspx; see also I also interviewed Dr. Hoffman for The Spokesmen Cycling Roundtable Podcast, March 2, 2017, see

Intelligent cities will do it by – Many cities are choked with unnecessary motor-vehicle journeys. Heavy vans are used to deliver a single printer cartridge to a business; hotels get their laundry picked up and delivered because it’s cheaper than doing it themselves; and White Van Man delivers bottles for water coolers to plumbed-in offices. These deliveries could be done on sustainable, space-efficient cargo bikes.

Carmageddon awaits for those cities – “Hamburg Announces Plans to Become a Car-Free City Within 20 Years,” December 1, 2014, And Paris is extending the areas where cars are no longer welcome. A 3.3km section of an express way on the Right Bank of the river is to permanently shut to motor vehicles. Stretching from Tuileries gardens near the Louvre to the Henri-IV tunnel near the Bastille, the road was previously used by around 43,000 cars a day.

Driverless cars will work well – “Driverless Cars and the Sacred Cow Problem,” John Adams—Risk in a Hypermobile World (blog), August 16, 2016,

And compared to the costs of pandering – Up to 35:1, according to one study by the UK’s Department of Transport. (See:

Providing such infra at a national scale – That your bicycle will still be there after coming out of a shop, at the end of the school day, or following a meeting is essential, and cycle parking facilities are the “hidden” and underappreciated parts of “cycling infrastructure.” Many cycle advocates understand this, and lobby hard for such provision.

It won’t happen quickly: it – London is showing the way here. “Cyclingworks” is an initiative bringing together 180 employers – large and small, bluechip and start-up – calling for better facilities for people on bikes. (See:

And, nationally, British Cycling organized a sign-for-cycling campaign that brought together some major corporate business, such as Virgin, GlaxoSmithKline, the National Grid, Tesco and Sky, under the #choosecycling banner.

NACTO’s Urban Bikeway Design Guide – America’s – “A cycle track is an exclusive bike facility that combines the user experience of a separated path with the on-street infrastructure of a conventional bike lane. A cycle track is physically separated from motor traffic and distinct from the sidewalk. Cycle tracks have different forms but all share common elements – they provide space that is intended to be exclusively or primarily used for bicycles, and are separated from motor vehicle travel lanes, parking lanes, and sidewalks. In situations where on-street parking is allowed, cycle tracks are located to the curb-side of the parking (in contrast to bike lanes). Cycle tracks may be one-way or two-way, and may be at street level, at sidewalk level, or at an intermediate level. If at sidewalk level, a curb or median separates them from motor traffic, while different pavement color/texture separates the cycle track from the sidewalk. If at street level, they can be separated from motor traffic by raised medians, on-street parking, or bollards. By separating cyclists from motor traffic, cycle tracks can offer a higher level of security than bike lanes and are attractive to a wider spectrum of the public.” NACTO’s Urban Bikeway Design Guide, 2014, is now in its second edition and is published by Island Press; see:

“Cycle tracks, as the Ministry of Transport persists  – Cyclists’ Touring Club, Cycle paths – Our opinion, June 1963.

Latterly we now have the cycle superhighway,  although – The Warrington Cycle Campaign’s “Cycle Facility of the Month” feature, online since 2001, highlights terrible cycle infra. (See: Their website also spawned a book: David Whelan, Crap Cycle Lanes: 50 Worst Cycle Lanes in Britain, Eye Books, 2007.

Most US legislators still use the term – The bikeway classification system was developed for the California Department of Transportation based on studies of European practice, and was carried out by the University of California Los Angeles in UCLA 1972. (See: The original guidelines identified three categories of bikeways:

Class I: bike paths on rights-of-way separate from roadways.

Class II: bike lanes on roadways, separated from motor traffic by a barrier or a painted line.

Class III: bike routes on roads shared with cars or sidewalks shared with pedestrians.

Note that the Class IV bikeway was added later. The older classifications are no longer used.

Bikeways were also described as Dutch-style – Salt Lake City Deseret News, “Pedal (and Coast?),” June 1, 1973.



CHAPTER ONE: How Cyclists Became Invisible (1905–1939)


“Take care to get –  George Bernard Shaw, “Maxims for Revolutionists,” from the play Man and Superman, 1903.

“In the past few years, so few – Pete Jordan, In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist, (New York: Harper Collins, 2012).

By contrast, Hercules – Hercules was later bought by Raleigh.

By the mid-1920s, a bicycle – By contrast, a laborer in 1897 would have had to work for three months to pay a new bicycle, so cycling was out of his reach – that is, owning a bicycle had been an ostentatious indicator of wealth.

Horse-drawn wagons dominated –  Andrew Rinker, Annual Report of the City Engineer (Minneapolis, MN: Syndicate Printing, 1911), 11e–14e. Via Ross Petty, “Post boom bicycling in Minneapolis: counting transportation use,” Ross Petty, Proceedings of the 20th International Cycling History Conference, July 30–August 1, 2009.

A 1905 US census report –  Robert H. Merriam, “Bicycles and Tricycles,” Bureau of the Census, Manufactures, Part IV of Special Reports on Selected Industries, US. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC,1905.

This was exemplified by the fate – I described the building and eventual collapse of this venture in great detail in Roads Were Not Built for Cars (Washington, DC: Island Press, 2015).

Had it been built to length in 1897 – T. D. Denham, “California’s Great Cycle-Way,” Pearson’s Magazine, September, 1901.

Despite the fact the California Cycleway was a dud – “Mystery History–Solved”, June 11, 2009,

In 2005, a feature for the Pasadena Star News claimed – Pasadena Star News, August 22, 2005.

In January 2014, the architecture – Oliver Wainwright, The Guardian, “Norman Foster unveils plans for elevated ‘SkyCycle’ bike routes in London,” January 2, 2014,

An Interregnum followed – “The Automobile as a Means of Country Travel,” H.P. Burchell, The Horseless Age, 1905. Quoted in Motoring in America: The Early Years, Frank Opple, Castle Books, 1989.

“The lamps are going out all over Europe – Twenty-Five Years 1892-1916, Viscount Grey of Fallodon, Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1925.

“With the present decay of motoring – The Guardian, August 3, 1916.

IN 1916, in an attempt – “The dates for National Bicycle Week have been set, April 30th to May 7th. It is the fifth annual National Bicycle Week and will surpass all others in importance. It is the first year in which the Cycle Trades of America has been able to use the Saturday Evening Post with its two million circulation to tell the people of the country that this is the big week for the bicycle.” Official Bulletin, League of American Wheelmen, April 1921.

“The bicyclists declare that – “Bicycle week to revive interest in two-wheel vehicle,” The Washington Times, February 26, 1916.

As one observer put – Frank Berto, The Dancing Chain: History and Development of the Derailleur Bicycle,  (San Francisco: Cycle Publishing/Van Der Plas Publications, 2013).

The US Tariff Commission remarked – United States Tariff Commission, Tariff Information Surveys, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 1921.

“The BICYCLE is your best PAL!  –  Boys’ Life, May 1925.

 As historian James Longhurst – James Longhurst, Bike Battles: A History of Sharing the American Road, (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2015).

However, such cycle-specific striping – Report, March 1936.

Cyclists were labelled – Peter Norton, Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City, (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2008); Carlton Reid, Roads Were Not Built for Cars, (Washington, DC: Island Press, 2015).

The 1930 UVC stated – Bureau of Public Roads, Uniform Vehicle Code. Act IV, § 22.

A further revision in 1944 –  The UVC was created in 1926 by the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Laws and Ordinances (NCUTLO). (See: Jeremy Chapman, “Uniform Vehicle Code and State Statutes Governing Bicycling: Analysis of Definitions and Statutes,” Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2011,,%202010%20(2247-02).pdf.)

No exceptions were originally given – There are shorthand references for the 1944 requirement, such as FTR (Far to the Right) and AFRAP (As Far to the Right as Practicable).

The 1944 UVC also stipulated – The requirement to use adjacent paths was removed from the UVC in 1992.

“These rules meant that – John Forester, “Cycling Transportation Policy: How the Conflict Between Popular Emotions and Knowledge Affects the Scientific Process,” presentation before the Session for Commuter Transportation of the American Association for the Advance of Science, Pacific Division, 1994,

“THE BICYCLE of today has – John E. Lodge, “The Bicycle Comes Back,” Popular Mechanics, January 1935.

We would like to see a network  – E.B. White, New Yorker, September 2, 1933.

Possibly New York’s master builder – Lillian Genn and Ruth Carson, “Free Wheeling,”  ColliersWeekly, May 20, 1939.

In August 1938, Moses – The Van Cortlandt-Bronx-Pelham Bay route ran for nine miles, starting at the aqueduct.

Moses wrote that “we have – “58 Miles of Park Bicycle Paths Urged as WPA Project by Moses,” New York Times, August 9, 1938.

In one period photograph – A copy of the photograph can be seen at – but the original has not yet been located despite valiant efforts from Rebekah Burgess, Photo Archivist at NYC Parks.

The Rotarian stated – James Longhurst, Bike Battles: A History of Sharing the American Road (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2015).

In the Netherlands every second citizen owned one – Private cars accounted for 2.75 percent; lorries 1.47 percent and motorcycles 1.3 percent. Statistics provided to the UK’s Ministry of Transport by W. G. C. Gelinck, chief-engineer and director of Rijkswaterstaat, “Government Public Works”, 1934. See: CYCLE TRACKS: Proposed construction, 1926-1943, Ministry of Transport, MT 39/127, National Archives, London.

Cyclists dominated on – From 1912 to 1934 the county surveyor for the County Council of Durham conducted traffic surveys on the busy A1 Great North Road at Framwellgate Moor and Teams Crossing. This survey showed that even on a road increasingly dominated by motor vehicles there was a doubling in bike use in the 1930s, and this was one of the reasons for the creation of cycle tracks beside new bypasses, dual carriageways and other “arterial roads.” In 1935, the county surveyor wrote:

“Generally, the statistics show an increase in lorry traffic and in motor cars, together with ordinary cycles. . . . This year ordinary cycles have more than doubled in number the figures recorded two years ago. In this mind the committee will have in mind the recent circular of the Ministry of Transport regarding the provision of cycle tracks along the main roads . . . There is no doubt whatever . . . that the question of handling the problems created in highway administration is of great importance in the life of the community.”

Pedestrian traffic was not recorded. (See: Report of the County Surveyor to the Works Committee, January 21, 1935, County Council of Durham.)

On approaches to large – For instance, Chatham dockyards, 1939. See:

In 1935, the Minister of Transport admitted – Making the Roads Safe: The Cyclists’ Point of View, Cyclists’ Touring Club, 1937.

Despite this dominance, motorists – At the time, motorists paid road tax. In 1936, this hypothecated tax was abolished and roads were paid for wholly out of general and local taxation. Road tax had been collected since 1909 but only ever paid for a few short stretches of new “motoring” roads. It was mostly used to pay for resurfacing work, but “raids” on the Road Fund by successive governments meant less and less was spent on roads and the duty was abolished.

It is impossible to escape – Making the Roads Safe: The Cyclists’ Point of View, Cyclists’ Touring Club, 1937.

The provision of some roads – Making the Roads Safe: The Cyclists’ Point of View, Cyclists’ Touring Club, 1937.

It should be obvious – Letter from G.A. Olley, 11th March 1935, champion cyclist, quoting D.E. O’Neill, Hore-Belisha’s private secretary. (See: CYCLE TRACKS: Proposed construction, 1926-1943, Ministry of Transport, MT 39/127, National Archives, London.)

I have received letters from – Letter to Leslie Hore-Belisha, February 16, 1935, from Sir Charles Granville Gibson, a Conservative Party politician, MP for the Pudsey and Otley division of the West Riding of Yorkshire from 1929 to 1945. (See: CYCLE TRACKS: Proposed construction, 1926-1943, Ministry of Transport,   MT 39/127, National Archives, London.)

No traffic betterment – Letter to C.H. Bressey, Ministry of Transport, from W.G.C. Gelinck, Chief-Engineer & Director, Government Public Works, March 15, 1934. (See: CYCLE TRACKS: Proposed construction, 1926-1943, Ministry of Transport, MT 39/127, National Archives, London.)

Impressed, Bressey . . . (today’s A40) – Some of this still exists, but it has been much modified.

For workers traveling – Brochure of Official Opening of Western Avenue by Leslie Hore-Belisha, December 14, 1934. See: London Metropolitan Archives, MCC/CL/L/CON/02/05842

A voiceover on British Pathé cinema news – See:

A small crowd witnessed Leslie Hore-Belisha – The original 8ft 6in cycle track was made with inferior materials, admitted the Ministry of Transport. Later, 9ft ones on Western Avenue would be made with better materials, but the MoT could never escape from the mistake of botching the first one. Sir F.C. Cook, chief engineer Roads Department, Ministry of War Transport, wrote in 1941:

“[The tracks] were formed in concrete and the edges of the transverse joints of the slabs have broken away, thus impairing their riding qualities … I am afraid that these old tracks, even when the joints have been repaired, will not furnish a running surface as smooth as those which have since been constructed as the result of later experience.”  7th January 1941. See: CYCLE TRACKS: Proposed construction, 1926-1943, Ministry of Transport, MT 39/127, National Archives, London.

Hore-Belisha was no fan – See: ACCIDENTS (PEDAL BICYCLES). House of Commons Debate, July 4, 1934.

Opposition to the Western Avenue – H. R. Watling, director of the British Cycle and Motor-cycle Manufacturers and Traders Union, voiced his fear at one of the Alness committee hearings: “I think cyclists in general fear that if cycle tracks are provided in certain places the psychology of the motorist will be affected adversely . . . they will regard the cyclist as more and more an undesirable person on the road, and it may lead in some cases to an increase in the degree of carelessness exhibited by drivers of all types.”

Hore-Belisha described representatives – See:

One early track design – The Stony Stratford to Wolverton cycle track of 1934/5 was built on the former track of a steam tramway which was, in effect, in the middle of the road.

“The Club upholds the view – The Perils of the Cycle Path was a re-print from The CTC Gazette, July 1935.

In 1935, Hore-Belisha told – House of Commons Debate, May 22, 1935.

However, at another point – “Cycle Census – Great West Road”, September 18, 1937, Ministry of Transport. (See: CYCLE TRACKS: Proposed construction, 1926-1943, Ministry of Transport, MT 39/127, National Archives, London.)

On the Great West-road – “London Day by Day,” by ‘Peterborough’, Daily Telegraph, May 31, 1937.

The paths were coming, he believed – Mr. Hore-Belisha referred to the advisability of providing special tracks for the exclusive use of cyclists along the great arterial roads. Highway authorities, he said, must consider whether roads should not be systematically apportioned among classes of road users according to the speeds at which they could proceed. “And there is reason to believe that some highway authorities are not unfavourable to the idea and, given a little encouragement, would be ready to carry it out.

“. . . How soon the change will be accomplished (if it is accomplished) depends on several considerations including the experience gained as a result of a special track which the Middlesex County Council is opening this month on one of its arterial highways. Mr. Hore-Belisha advised local authorities to study carefully how that experiment works so that they can accommodate their practice accordingly. It is evident already that this innovation is strongly resented by a section of cyclists who see in it a formidable conspiracy to deprive them of their right of access to the roads. As lately as last month the General Council of the National Cyclists’ Union passed a resolution calling for a united front against ‘any attempt to curtail their rights on the King’s Highway’ and suggesting, besides monster meetings and a national petition, mass rides along highways where cycle paths are being built.” (See: “Cycle Tracks,” Western Daily Press and Bristol Mirror, December 6, 1934.)

London’s arterial roads were often used – “Driving to the ‘Super’ Roadhouse,” Michael John Law, Aspects of Motoring History, The Society of Automotive Historians in Britain, 2016, 12. See also: M. Pugh,  “We Danced All Night: A Social History of Britain Between the Wars,” 2008.

The Ace of Spades roadhouse – See: “Outer London Clubs And Cabarets – ‘the Ace of Spades’” (1933),; see also: “The Ace of Spades service station and swimming pool alongside the Great West Road (A4), Heston,” (1934),

“One of London’s richest men – Michael John Law, “Driving to the ‘Super’ Roadhouse,” Aspects of Motoring History, The Society of Automotive Historians in Britain, 2016, 12. See also: M. Pugh, “We Danced All Night: A Social History of Britain Between the Wars,” 2008.

The numbers of cyclists – “Cycle Census – Great West Road”, September 18, 1937, Ministry of Transport. (See: CYCLE TRACKS: Proposed construction, 1926-1943, Ministry of Transport,  MT 39/127, National Archives, London.)

In London’s Home Counties – The Motor Industry of Great Britain 1939, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, 1939.

As suburban car-ownership – Ribbon Development and Sporadic Building, Greater London Regional Planning Committee Report, 1929. Many of the factories which sprang up along the Western Avenue from the early 1930s were bright, white and futuristic, some of them art deco in style. Today they are celebrated. However, in his 1951 Buildings of England volume on outer London, the famous architectural critic Nikolaus Pevsner said the Hoover factory – erected in 1932 – was “Perhaps the most offensive of the modernistic atrocities along this road of typical bypass factories …”

“THERE IS a universal – “More Cycle Tracks? Minister Says Demand is Irresistible,” The Citizen, March 16, 1938.

Already the two great bodies – Anfield Bicycle Club Monthly Circular, January 1935. The club was formed in 1879. William “Billy” P. Cook, president of the Anfield Bicycle Club and vice-president of the Cyclists’ Touring Club, 1924-1936, was the cyclists’ representative member of the Advisory Council to the Minister of Transport in the mid-1930s.

Another was held – “More than 500 cyclists … cycled along the main road in club formation, and ignored the cycle path. . . . Earlier there was a meeting of the cyclists in Hyde Park at which a resolution was passed calling on the Minister for Transport not to proceed further with cycle paths, on the ground that cyclists had an equal right with others to the King’s highway.” “News in Brief,” The Times, August 26, 1935.

When asked whether cyclists used the tracks – See: “Cyclists Plan Coast Road Traffic Jam,” Yorkshire Evening Post, May 27, 1937.

 There were many other efforts at dissuasion  – Cycling, August 10, 1936.

Most of the pre-WWII cycle tracks were short – A detailed breakdown of the 1934–39 cycle tracks can [soon] be found at

They were too narrow – Eric Charles Claxton, The Hidden Stevenage: The Creation of the Substructure of Britain’s First New Town, Remembered, Book Guild, 1992.

When the committee’s report – Report by the Select Committee of the House of Lords on the Prevention of Road Accidents, 1939.

I have identified more than 80 of them so far  – For a full list see [forthcoming]

Expensive clover-leaf – In 1937, it was well understood that cyclists needed protection not just on the straights but at intersections. “The benefit of the cycle-track is lost at the intersection (just where traffic segregation is most needed).” (See: The Architectural Review, April 1937.)

(The Automobile Association – Edward Fryer, deputy secretary of the Automobile Association (an organization with 680,000 members at this time), gave evidence to the Alness committee, admitting that “the only time I was ever fined for committing a road offence was for cycling on a pavement [sidewalk] many years ago.” Note the following exchange:

Fryer: “The cycle tracks on the Great West Road are not only too narrow but they  were too rough, they were too full of manholes, there were too many crossings where the cyclist had to go up and down. . . . Our submission has been for many years that if special tracks are made, they should be of the right type, so as to attract the cyclist. The width of the cycle track should be 12 feet . . . excepting where cycle tracks are provided for big works, 12 feet would be insufficient . . . under the existing law, the cyclist and the pedestrian cannot be excluded from the King’s Highway.”

Lord Alness: “If the cycle track is there, and is of suitable dimensions, and the cyclist deliberately neglects to use it, and uses the carriage-way instead, would you favour the imposition of a penalty?”

Fryer: “I think it must come.”

Fryer also went on to show a diagram of a road of the future which included Dutch-style cycle underpasses. “The [cyclist] would pass under the carriage-way, come up on to the bank and join the other cycle track which goes continuously along the arterial road.”

AA recommended the taking of 300 feet for designing such roads, giving plenty of space for anticipated rise in motor traffic as well as protected tracks for cyclists and pedestrians.

Fryer: “You can get complete segregation of these three kinds of traffic . . .[but] it requires more land . . . more land than is the present policy of the Minister of Transport.”

“[Where] cycle tracks and footways are sometimes going over and sometimes going under, if you are going to continue to have those at a reasonable gradient, looking to the future, instead of being really steep, it does require this extra width for getting into the swing.”

Lord Alness: “A considerable time must elapse before all the road junctions in the country can be redesigned and reconstructed?”

Fryer: “We appreciate that.”

Lord Alness: “But if you are going to make it compulsory, you get the possible weekend time when between large towns you have droves of cyclists…”

Fryer: “[By] that time I hope that the extra provision of land by the side of the roads, and in certain cases even footpaths, may be used as cycle tracks … [so] the carriageway is left free for vehicular motor traffic.”

(See: Report by the Select Committee of the House of Lords on the Prevention of Road Accidents, 1939.)

The case for the fair-minded motor driver – Commercial Motor, April 14, 1939,

Six million more people – Professor Raymond Clements, chairman of the Roads and Traffic Committee of the RAC, and a member of a great many other technical committees, gave evidence to the Alness committee. He said the rise in number of private motor cars between 1928 and 1938 was an increase of 103 percent, from 884,645 to 1,798,105. On class 1 (busy) roads, a government traffic census showed an increase between 1931 and 1935 an increase of 34 percent in motor vehicle movements, and on class 2 roads, between 1929 and 1938 there was an increase of 55 percent in passenger vehicles.

Clements: “The census of pedal cycles is the most startling. The census taken on class 1 roads in 1935 shows the number of pedal cyclists recorded as 95 percent higher than in 1931. In the class 2 roads census taken in 1936, the aggregate number of pedal cycles enumerated at over 3,000 comparable points was 10,123,000 compared with 5,343,000 in 1929.”

Lord Alness: “These are very arresting, if not staggering figures?”

Clements: “They are indeed, my Lord; those are the most impressive of all, I think.”

Impressively high and indicative of mass cycling on the roads of Britain, but, as cyclists were considered to be anti-progress and proletarian this majority use was ignored.

The CTC feared that legislation – “Mr. Burgin, the Minister of Transport, yesterday gave an assurance to a deputation from the National Committee on Cycling that there is no likelihood of immediate legislation regarding the compulsory use of cycle tracks . . .,” reported Hull’s Daily Mail in 1938. “The Minister told the deputation that he himself was a cyclist and had the fullest understanding of their views. The ideal highway would be one in which every road would have dual carriageways and cycle tracks, but so far as the latter were concerned there would be no compulsion until they were of adequate length and width and had a proper surface.” (See: “Cycle tracks”, (Hull) Daily Mail,  December 6, 1938.)

A young lady who – “Are Cyclists’ ‘Lanes’ Practicable?”, By “G.H.S.” [George Herbert Spencer], Cycling, March 31, 1943.

Ministers and their mandarins  – See: Bicycling News, August 26, 1937.

Literary diarist and day-tour cyclist – John Sowerby was the pen-name of Percival Bennett. His diary was serialized in the literary magazine, The London Mercury, in 1938, and appeared in book form in I Got On my Bicycle (Frederick Muller Ltd), in 1939. He lived in Surbiton and mostly rode alone, frequenting tea shops in the Surrey hills. “Cannot think how people can get through life who do not cycle,” he wrote. “There’s nothing else like it and bicycles are the most wonderful thing ever made . . . Feel there is no real peace to be found except on the road.” See: Michael John Law, The Experience of Suburban Modernity: How Private Transport Changed Interwar London, Manchester University Press, 2014.

The following exchange – In 1926, under the pen-name of “Robin Hood,” Stancer wrote in the CTC Gazette:

“Those of us who oppose the construction of cycle paths alongside English country roads firmly believe that any such paths would be inferior in quality to the roads, and would generally be neglected, on the ground that ‘anything will do for push-bikes’; that the presence of such paths would imply . . . that cyclists were banished from the carriage-way; that coroners, judges and jacks-in office everywhere would be inclined to censure a cyclist who was involved in an accident on the road when a path has been provided for him; and that in the end we should forfeit the rights that were won for us by the pioneers of the pastime in days gone by. All these fears may be groundless, but they will not be easily removed. The advocates of cycle paths, with few exceptions, are the most violent enemies of cyclists. . . . ”

Cyclists, said the report – Similar to US-style “jaywalker” laws. These laws were introduced in 1920s America after concerted anti-pedestrian campaigns by the all-powerful motor lobby.

The Alness report – derided by – William Leach, the Labour MP for Bradford Central. (See:

It was easy for politicians – In 1937, the British Road Federation – HQ: 120, Pall Mall, London – had 51 member organizations, including the Asphalt Roads Association, Associated Road Operators, Association of British Chambers of Commerce, British Road Plant Manufacturers Association, Commercial Motors Association, Petroleum Distributors Committee, and the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders. Neither the Cyclists’ Touring Club nor the National Cyclists’ Union were members, but then nor were the Automobile Association or the Royal Automobile Club. However, the chairman of the BRF was Earl Howe of the AA and the secretary was Gresham Cooke of the RAC.

In 1958, Professor Sir Colin Buchanan – Colin Buchanan, Mixed Blessing: The Motor Car in Britain,  (Leonard Hill Books, 1958).

This was stressed by a Ministry – Interim Report of the Committee on Road Safety, Ministry of War Transport, H.M.S.O., 1944.

Some modern bicycle advocates suggest –  David Arditti, “1934: The moment it all went wrong for cycling in the UK,” July 30, 2011. See:

Post-war austerity meant – Many of the CTC and NCU officials were elderly in the 1930s but could remember the halcyon days of cycling on car-free roads in the 1890s. There was a strong belief from the cycling old-guard that the right to the use of the highway had been so hard to win that it should not be given up. However, organized cycling’s main fear was that only a very few highways would be segregated, the width given over to cyclists would be too narrow, and that motorists would then consider the rest of the (unsegregated) road network to be off-limits to cyclists.

In 1939, during the House of Lords debate welcoming the Alness Report, the Marquess of Reading worried:

“I find it extremely difficult to accept the doctrine put forward on behalf of the cyclists that in some peculiar way segregation and degradation are synonymous words. You have a highway, and the cyclist says, “It is my right to use that highway.” Does the highway consist only of that part of the road upon which motor cars proceed, or does it include that part of such roads as may be reserved for cyclists and that part reserved for pedestrians? Does any sane pedestrian expect . . .  that he should be allowed to walk upon the middle of the Great West Road on Sunday morning, and say that unless he is allowed to do so he is being deprived of the right to use the King’s highway? One wonders what would be the attitude of cyclists if, in a place where there was a cycling track, a motorist suddenly took it into his head to proceed along that cycle track. Yet, if the cyclists have a right on the motorists’ road, why, on similar terms, have not the motorists a right on the cyclists road?”

The use of the phrase “motorists’ road” is telling.

(Many of the 1930s cycle tracks still exist – See:

In Britain, just as in America … In short, motorists wanted cyclists off the road, and cyclists wanted cars, a rather vicious circle.


CHAPTER TWO: From Victory Bikes to US Rail Trails (1940–1969)


“Do not fear to be eccentric – Bertrand Russell, “The Best Answer to Fanaticism: Liberalism,” New York Times Magazine,  December 16, 1951.

“If in the United States workers take to the bicycle – New York Times, April 1, 1942. William Peirce Randel was a professor of English at the University of Minnesota in 1942. Later he authored notable books about history, including The Ku-Klux-Klan: A Century of Infamy.

According to a cycling trade body, the bicycle in – “Preliminary Statement on Relationship of Bicycle to National Defense,” Bicycle Manufacturers Association of America, April 29, 1942.

Private motoring was discouraged – The poster was commissioned and distributed by the U.S. Government Printing Office for the Office of Price Administration’s Automobile Rationing Branch. It was created by American painter Weimer Pursell in 1943 in a propaganda effort to encourage rationing and conservation of resources. The image depicts a suited man driving an open-top car with a phantom-like silhouette of Adolf Hitler in the passenger seat, captioned with “When you ride ALONE you ride with HITLER! Join a Car-Sharing Club TODAY!” The OPA’s Automobile Rationing Branch urged patriots to pedal instead.

… there is a growing demand for home-to-work – Via: James Longhurst, Bike Battles: A History of Sharing the American Road (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2015).

Workers who cycled “would permit – “Preliminary Statement on Relationship of Bicycle to National Defense,” Bicycle Manufacturers Association of America, April 29, 1942.

The month after his letter in the – “Offers Bicycle Traffic Plan,” New York Times, March 7, 1942. The idea was from real estate developer Arthur Nordvall of Rockford, Illinois.

However, showing how far cycling had fallen – “War Increases Bicycle’s Popularity Among Women,” New York Times, January 13, 1942.

Later in the shoot, he rode – “Leon Henderson, Price Boss, Is Never Afraid to Stick His Neck Out,” Life, January 26, 1942. (See:

Press reports projected that – Ibid.

To the skeptic who says “Bosh! The – “More Bicycles to Keep Nation on Wheels,” New York Times, March 22, 1942.

A report from Britain’s Ministry of War Transport – Ministry of War Transport, Design & Layout of Roads in Built-up Areas, HMSO, 1946.

As a result, postwar Americans associated – James Longhurst, Bike Battles: A History of Sharing the American Road (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2015).

In 1948, a newspaper called for – “The Traffic Program,” Southeast Missourian, December 28, 1948.

“Some 15-year-olds continue to ride – Percy Bidwell, “What the Tariff Means to American Industries,” Council on Foreign Relations, New York, 1956.

Admitting that he was often described as – “He’s Our Chicagoan of the Future – A CYCLIST,” Chicago Tribune, July 7, 1963.

“The United States today is on the biggest bicycle binge – Burlington Free Press, December 12, 1964.

“DR. WHITE did more for bicycles – Ray Caparros, advertising manager for Schwinn Bicycles of Chicago.

Dr. Paul Dudley White’s numerous promotional campaigns – Today’s National Bike Month, run every May by the League of American Bicyclists, was formerly American Bicycle Month, also run in May. It was organized by the industry-owned Bicycle Institute of America from 1956. Originally aimed at children, the event started to promote cycling to adults as well in the early 1960s, using Dr. Paul Dudley White as a figurehead. “This day marks the beginning of American Bicycle Month, dedicated to expanding bicycle riding facilities in our Nation . . . that is, bicycle paths, trails, tracks, and better places to ride,” Dr. White said in an address read into the Congressional record. (See: Congressional Record 110:2, May 4, 1964, A2223-4.)

When Dr. White “recommended cycling for those with cardiac – Lebanon (Pennsylvania) Daily News, November 6, 1957.

Appointed as President Eisenhower’s physician  – Thank – or blame – Dr. White for the low-fat, low-cholesterol diet, abstinence from smoking, the maintenance of normal blood pressure, normal body weight, normal blood sugar, and an exercise program to prevent heart disease. This approach – radical for the time – was developed by Dr. White in the 1940s.

The president preferred golf to bicycling – Tony Hadland, Raleigh: Past and Presence of an Iconic Bicycle Brand (San Francisco: Cycle Publishing/Van Der Plas Publications, 2012).

“Dr. Heart”, as many called him, led a “five-mile bicycle safari – “A horde of cyclists, young and old, gathered at Holyoke, Mass., for the official opening of ten miles of packed-dirt lanes, the town’s ‘Healthway Bicycle Paths.’ On hand for the inauguration ceremony was Dr. Paul Dudley White, 77, or ‘Dr. Heart’ to countless Americans.” (See: “Cardiology: Pedaling to Health,” Time, August 2, 1963.)

“Dr. White was joined by Shane MacCarthy – “Heart Specialist, 72, Leads Bicycle Safari,” Rochester (New York) Democrat and Chronicle, May 10, 1959.

White stressed that “bicycling … cannot be of much – “Dr. White Leads 10 in Drive for Bicycling Renaissance,” The Bridgeport Post, July 26, 1957.

There is no advantage in anyone’s improving his heart condition – The (Guthrie County, Iowa) Guthrian, June 25, 1957.

In 1973 he told National Geographic: “I’m in – Noel Grove, “Bicycles Are Back – and Booming,” National Geographic, May 1973.

Homestead’s network of “bike boulevards”, meant that  – “Homestead, Fla., has established bike routes all over town and adults as well as school children ride on safe ‘bike boulevards.’” (See: LIFE Magazine, May 10, 1963.)

Cycling was “so popular and well organized – “Florida’s ‘City of Bicycles’: Homestead Will Host Bikers’ Convention in Coming Week, New York Times, March 5, 1967.

The bikeways had been the idea of George Fichter – “The Great Outdoors: Cycling on the Enemy’s Turf,” New York Times, April 16, 1972.

We had the stage and podium set up and she actually arrived on another part of Krome – “Hollywood Legend West Dedicates Nation’s First Bikeway in Homestead,” South Dade (Florida) News Leader,  1961.

The adults have their roads to enjoy and young – “What Pupils Want: Bike ‘Cycleways,’” Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, New York, May 13, 1964. The school was the Martin B. Anderson School in Rochester.

I am doubtful as to whether the advantages of thoroughgoing – Jane Jacobs, The death and the life of great American cities, (New York: Random House, 1961).

He told reporters gathered at his campaign HQ – “Buckley Proposes to Cut Cars in City,” New York Times, October 28, 1965.

He clearly didn’t rate his chances of winning – Republican John Lindsay won the election.

Paul Rasmussen of the Department of Development and Planning produced – “Guidelines for a Comprehensive Bicycle Route System,” Department of Development and Planning, City of Chicago, 1967,

(Very extended – Chicago’s current 2020 plan calls – Chicago Department of Transportation, “Chicago Streets for Cycling Plan 2020,” Also see:

The plan was largely created to link recreational areas – Some of the “bicycle safety routes” were eventually opened in 1971, and they led to an increase in cycling, said Laura O’Connell of the Department of Streets and Sanitation. “We estimate that, before the routes about 300 people bicycled into the Loop each day. Now about 1,000 go to work on a bike. . . . We are still evaluating the bike route system, and thinking about devices such as protective bike lanes marked off with stripes.” (See: “Bike Accidents Rise; Police Lower Boom,” Chicago Tribune, August 19, 1971.)

Furthermore, noted the report, bicycles were used to great effect – Vietnam Magazine, June 2012, also: Bicycle Troops, Advanced Research Projects Agency, R.S. Kohn, September 1965. (Bicycle Troops is available in full online. It’s a really good history book! Finally, see: “ARPANET and the Origins of the Internet,”

(Incidentally, patriotism, pedaling, fuel frugality – See:; see also:

Published by the Outdoor – Outdoor Recreation for America, A Report to the President and to the Congress by the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission, Laurance S. Rockefeller, Chairman January, 1962. National Park Service Archives, Harpers Ferry, ORRRC Files, 1-10.

Led by Secretary of the Interior Stewart L. Udall  – Udall served as secretary of the interior from 1961 to 1969 under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

In May 1964 Udall told a meeting attended by – Caption on an Associated Press photo of the bike ride that followed this meeting: “After addressing a meeting of public service organizations, Dr. Paul Dudley White of Boston, second from left, and Secretary of the Interior Stuart Udall, right front, join with a group of congressmen to the Capitol in Washington, May 1, 1964. At left is Rep. Carton R. Sickles (D-Md.), with Rep. Dante B. Fascell (D-Fla.), riding between Dr. White and Udall.”

“The automobile has become – “Udall Urges More Bicycle Paths,” New York Times, May 2, 1964. The meeting was also attended by leaders of the bicycle industry, and was held as the kick-off event for American Bike Month.

Along with Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring Carson’s famous and influential 1962 book was the first to awaken what would become known as “environmentalists” to the personal and planetary dangers of pesticides. It was popularized by a series of articles in New Yorker magazine, extracted from the book. At the time the usual and only metric for the use of pesticides was crop yield, but Carson forcefully argued that too many pesticides could be harmful, and that other metrics should also be considered, such as measuring the amount of birdsong in an area. Where too many pesticides were used, too many insects were killed, which led to less food for birds, an unintended consequence. The absence of birds led to the silent spring of the book’s title, which was also a metaphor for the general despoliation of the planet. Carson emphasized she wasn’t against the use of all pesticides, just the excessive use of them. The overuse of pesticides made them into “biocides”, killers of all life.

Carson expert Patricia Hynes says: “Silent Spring altered the balance of power in the world. No one since would be able to sell pollution as the necessary underside of progress so easily or uncritically.” See: H. Patricia Hynes, The Recurring Silent Spring (New York: Pergamon Press, 1989).

The creation, in 1970, of the United States Environmental Protection Agency is usually credited to  Carson and her influential book.

This, Udall wrote, “would lead to the building – Stewart Udall, “The Last Traffic Jam,” Atlantic Monthly, October 1972,

“We would encourage the States . . . and the cities – Nationwide Trails System Hearings, 90th Congress, first session, on H.R. 4865 and related bills. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1967.

In a 1968 letter to the Texas congressman, President Lyndon Johnson  – Nina Dougherty Rowe, “This Congressman Commutes,”  Bicycling, March 1980.

“This is a great city for bicycling – “Commuter Cycling Picks Up Speed,” Carl Bernstein, Washington Post,  June 14, 1970. See also: “A Guide to the Robert C. Eckhardt Papers, 1931–1992,” Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin,

Cyclists, hoped the commissioner, would be – “City to Designate a 50-Mile Trail for Bicycles,” New York Times, February 10, 1968.

By 1976, Stanford University law professors – Ernest Del, Lawrence C. Moss, Thomas Z. Reicher, A Handbook for Bicycle Activists, Stanford Environmental Law Society, 1976.


CHAPTER THREE: Davis: The Bicycle Capital of America


“Never doubt that a small group . . .  – The full quote is: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” This is cited in Nancy C. Lutkehaus, Margaret Mead: The Making of an American Icon,  Princeton University Press, 2008. Naturally, she may not have said it, and the quote can be problematical in other ways, too.

There are many things that can change the world besides small groups of citizens. Think natural disasters, for instance, or wars, or technological revolutions. And changes wrought by “small groups of citizens” are not necessarily benign. Think about the rise of fascism in early-twentieth-century Europe, for instance, that was a small group of “thoughtful” citizens (just not thoughtful in a way that we now consider at all rational or pleasant). And it’s obvious that change can also be brought about by large groups of people, such as the 17.5 million Britons who voted to take the United Kingdom out of the European Union in 2016.

Founded as an agricultural research station in 1907 UC Davis – See:

The development revolutionized the ketchup industry – Within five years, 32,000 farm workers had lost their jobs.

Unlike Sacramento, twelve miles to the west – In 1963, the UC Davis Long-Range Development Plan stated: “The Davis campus is characterized by the universal use of bicycles.”

The bicycle-loving chancellor directed architects – Emil Mrak, 1961. Mrak was an active cyclist in his youth. See: Theodore J. Buehler, Fifty Years of Bicycle Policy in Davis, CA, Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, 2007.

A melodramatic letter from – Frank Childs was an economics professor; Eva Childs was a dance teacher. Davis Enterprise, summer 1964. The biblical barb was from Proverbs 29:18.

In speaking of Davis the word most commonly – Bicycle circulation and safety study De Leuw, Cather and Company, San Francisco, 1972.

A 1966 photo series by the legendary landscape photographer Ansel Adams – In 1963, Ansel Adams and Nancy Newhall were given an assignment by UC President Clark Kerr to produce images on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the University of California. This work culminated in the centennial book, Fiat Lux: The University of California with bookmaker Adrian Wilson. (See: )

From the Bancroft Library’s account:

“For three years, Adams and Newhall toured the state, visiting nine campuses and dozens of the UC’s scientific field stations, reserves, observatories, and agricultural outposts. Fiat Lux was intended not as a document of the university as it was, but rather a portrait of the university as it would be. UC President Clark Kerr asked the artists to project through words and photographs, as far as possible, “the next hundred years” – impossible, of course, but a provocative invitation that the artists embraced. The Fiat Lux project was a massive endeavor, producing 605 fine prints and over 6,700 negatives, far more than the 1,000 images stipulated in Adams’s contract. After Adams’s lifetime devotion to Yosemite, Fiat Lux was probably the biggest single project of his life.”

(See: )

In 1964, Senator Pierre Salinger – Davis Enterprise, October 8, 1964.

We liked to do our daily travel around town by bike – Dale Lott, quoted in the Davis Enterprise,  August 2003.

“I was on the edge of my seat – Lott was professor emeritus of wildlife, fish, and conservation biology at UC Davis in 2003.

The council members –  See: Theodore J. Buehler, Fifty Years of Bicycle Policy in Davis, CA, Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, 2007.

In Oxnard there’s a sidewalk-integrated – See: There’s a bidirectional curb-protected bikeway on 0.1 miles of Via Real in Carpinteria See:

The design was dropped “primarily due to the problems – Daniel T. Smith Jr., “Safety and Location Criteria for Bicycle Facilities,” Federal Highway Administration, 1976.

Produced by Nick Falbo of Alta Planning + Design the video has – Nick Falbo, “Protected Intersections For Bicyclists”, February 14, 2014,;; see also  Dave Ryan, “Davis Dutch intersection, first ever in U.S., unveiled with no drama,”  Davis Enterprise, August 9, 2015, Note that Austin, Texas, also has two protected intersections. Salt Lake City also has one, as does Boston.

While they are not as good as Dutch examples – See:

Bicycles … are as dependent upon effective environmental support as are fish in water – Robert Sommer, Bicycling, March 1972.

Historian Bruce Epperson has said – Bruce D. Epperson, Bicycles in American Highway Planning,  McFarland & Company, Inc., 2014.

… which employ positive barriers to protect the lanes – Dan Smith, Bikeways: The State of the Art, FHWA, DeLeuw, Cather, 1974.

Nevertheless, Davis still has a bikeway network, and – The Putah Creek underpass was constructed in 2000.

In the 1970s I gave illustrated lectures about bike paths – “Where have all the cyclists gone?” Bob Sommer, Davis Enterprise, May 18, 2003.

A graph from an academic study showed that cycle use – The same thing happened in the Netherlands,  in the 1990s. Students received free passes to public transport on January 1, 1991, and “from that date students have made massive use of public transport,” reported the author of the Dutch Bicycle Masterplan on 1999; “almost 80 percent of the new movements by public transport used to be made by bike.”⁠  (See: Ton Welleman, Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, The Hague, the Netherlands. Proceedings of the 8th Velo-City Conference, Basel, Switzerland, September 1995.)

This opinion is shared by Ted Buehler – Theodore J. Buehler, Fifty Years of Bicycle Policy in Davis, CA, Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, 2007. See also:; and Marc Caswell, “Re-Cycling Ideas: California’s Earliest Bikeway Planning Rediscovered 50 Years Later,”  UCLA, January 20, 2015.

Pulling on his beard, he added – Actually, that’s no longer true, said Earl Bossard, an urban-planning professor at San Jose State University, California, and a Davis resident since 1986. Davis is starting to “go Dutch,” he said. It has just built a “Dutch-style” traffic intersection, one of North America’s first. (An intersection in Vancouver, Canada, is usually credited as the first such intersection in North America, offering separation for cyclists from motor traffic.) The Covell intersection in Davis is opening soon – it was designed by the Dutch Cycling Embassy, a commercial agency of the Dutch government, and Mobycon, a Dutch “place-making” consultancy.

“Many students come from towns where bikes aren’t – Bustos was the bicycle coordinator for the town of Davis between 1994 and 2006, working in the engineering division of Public Works.

“It’s considered old-fashioned [for them] to ride a bike – “Bustos aims to make biking fun again,” Davis Enterprise, September 25, 2016.

Bustos has to work hard to keep or get people on bikes – See:



CHAPTER FOUR: Cycling in Britain – From Swarms to Sustrans (1942–1979)


“There is a great future for the bicycleJournal of the Royal Society of Arts, January 1968.

The Tweed Run is a dandy’s delight – See:

This gloriously eccentric bicycling bricolage matches top-hats – Bricolage is French for “do-it-yourself” projects, and is specifically the creation of a work from a diverse range of found objects, or a metaphor for the urban junk-heap melting-pot. In his 1962 book The Savage Mind, cultural anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss talked of “social bricolage,” the re-use of available materials in order to solve new problems. Reyner Banham said, “The bricoleur had become ‘the archetypical make-do-and-mend patcher and improviser . . . [an] alternative to science and engineering, pottering about . . . improvising, as like as not, a wheelchair of Coke cans and dismembered rollerskates.” (See: Reyner Banham, “Bricollogues á la Lanterne,” Reyner Banham, New Society, July 1, 1976.)

“Sal turned up to tea, cursing motors in general  – Bath Road News, March, 1912.

The use of cycle tracks, as in Holland and Denmark, is regarded – Herbert Alker Tripp, Town Planning and Road Traffic,  E. Arnold & Co., 1942.

According to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Tripp – Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, May 2013,

The team led by Sir Frederick C. Cook believedDesign & Layout of Roads in Built-up Areas, Ministry of War Transport, HMSO, 1946.

Wartime casualty figures led the report authors – Sadly, road travel was awfully dangerous during the war, especially at night with cars traveling with dimmed lights because of black-out rules. An astonishing 9,169 people lost their lives on the roads of Britain in 1941, almost 3,000 more than during prewar years.

Some of the prewar cycle – See:

He went on: “Bicycles came in hordes, like locusts – Thomas Sharp, Oxford Replanned, 1948.

Taylor studied three English towns – Taylor carried out the research in 1962 for his PhD and it was later published by the Road Research Laboratory. See: M. A. Taylor, “Studies of Travel in Gloucester, Northampton and Reading,” Road Research Laboratory, Ministry of Transport, RRL Report LR141, 1968. Taylor’s study was advanced for the time – it used Hollerith-style punch cards, with survey data crunched by computer. In Northampton, twelve percent drove; thirteen percent cycled. In Reading, thirteen percent cycled and fifteen percent drove. In both towns walking was by far the dominant mode of transport, thirty-seven and thirty-nine percent respectively.

The bill became the Special Roads Act – See:

“It will be a mistake for anyone to assume that the Bill . . .” – See:

This was the Tyne Pedestrian and Cyclist Tunnel – In use by contractors, that is. The tunnel – technically it’s plural because there are two separate tunnels, one for cyclists and one for pedestrians, though they are linked – was closed for refurbishment in 2013 but won’t reopen until 2018. See:

It’s a 900-foot, two-tunnel tube lying 40 feet below the River Tyne – See: Earlier cycle and pedestrian tunnels include the St. Pauli Elbtunnel in Hamburg, Germany, which opened in 1911. Cyclists and pedestrians can use twin tunnels 24/7; and cars can use the tunnel during the working day (cars descend in lifts). See:

Apart from the cycleways of Stevenage – Briton Ferry bridge crosses the River Neath in Wales. See: Google Streetview,

This was eventually built – Across the world many other places were also promised cycleways. For instance, in the 1950s the thriving black neighborhood of Black Bottom in Detroit, America, was promised “bicycle paths” and other amenities when the “Hasting strip” was demolished in 1962 to build the I-75/I-375 state highway, cutting the community in two. The bicycle paths and the other amenities were never built. For horrific before-and-after photographs of Hastings Street see:

As a fourteen-year-old, Sillitoe – pimples and all – In 2000, the then-American owner of Raleigh, without due diligence, offloaded its subsidiary Sturmey–Archer for balance sheet reasons for a peppercorn fee of £30 to a company with a dismally poor credit rating. Predictably, the operation folded, and the directors absconded. At an auction in the same year, I saw Sillitoe’s capstan lathe sold to an Asian manufacturer, and along with much of Sturmey–Archer’s plant, it was later shipped to Taiwan. See:

Bicycling’s decline had started in 1949 – Brits cycled 14.2 billion miles in 1952. This dropped to 7.5 billion miles by 1960, and was 3.4 billion miles by 1967. It is roughly 3.2 billion miles today, and has been about that since 2009. (See: “Pedal cycle traffic (vehicle miles / kilometres) by vehicle type in Great Britain, annual from 1949,” Department for Transport statistics, These are average stats for the whole of the UK. There were pockets of high cycle usage, and not just in places such as Cambridge but also Hull, York, March and others. Even as late as the 1968 census cycling usage remained remarkably high in those towns.

“Cycling levels have shown long-term decline since the 50s. Between 1952 and 1970 annual distance cycled fell from 23 billion kilometres (13% modal share) to 5 billion kilometres (1% modal share),” See: “Urban Transport Analysis,” Cabinet Office Strategy Unit, 2009.

Cycling levels fell off the proverbial cliff in 1949, and this has been tracked in oral history and diary research, too. Colin Pooley and Jean Turnbull interviewed or analysed the writings of thousands of Brits, tracking their use of getting to work. By the mid-1930s “approximately one fifth of men cycled to work, and around one tenth of women.” (See: Pooley, C., and J. Turnbull, “Modal choice and modal change: The journey to work in Britain since 1890,” Journal of Transport Geography, 2000.)

At the very time that Rolls Royce moved a bit down to the masses – Newsweek, August 31, 1964.

“Conceivably, with the disappearance of the proletarian cyclists, the Moulton  – Reyner Banham, “A grid on two farthings”,  New Statesman, November 1, 1963.

“The working class don’t ride bicycles any more – Reyner Banham, “The atavism of the short-distance mini-cyclist”, Design by Choice, Sparke, Rizzoli, 1981.

He also commissioned The Reshaping of British Railways, a now infamous 1963 report – See:

In 1960, Marples told delegates –  Ernest Marples, Conservative Party Conference, Scarborough, 1960.

There is no means of releasing existing towns from the thraldom – Journal of the Royal Society of Arts, January 1968.

“If [Mr. Marples] finds Hyde Park Corner so dangerous – Marples was an ex-minister at this point.

“Man is conditioned by original sin – This “original sin” argument was thereafter frequently mocked by Gayfer and other cycling journalists.

“What is the CTC’s present attitude to cycle paths?” – Cycle paths – our opinion, Cyclists’ Touring Club, June 1963.

And just so there could be no doubt, elsewhere the document – “Cyclists today: A statement of policy” is undated but has a cover photograph of a woman riding a Raleigh Twenty shopping bike, which was only introduced in 1968.

Elsewhere in Europe the cyclist is somebody of importance – The debate, held on November 18, 1968, was about the Highway Code. See:

Raleigh – which at this time had a 65 percent domestic market share –  The Raleigh Chopper evolved from designs that were produced “from the street” in the United States during the early 1960s, and which were later commercialized by companies such as Schwinn. The Schwinn Stingray is thought to be the bike that inspired Raleigh’s chief designer Alan Oakley, visiting the United States on business, to create a copy for sale in the United Kingdom. Raleigh has long held to the belief that the Chopper was the brainchild of Oakley. A press release written for Raleigh’s 2004 re-release of the Chopper said Oakley sketched out the design on the back of an envelope. Dr. Tom Karen has long disputed this story. Karen was managing director and chief designer at Ogle Design from 1962 to 1999, responsible for sixties and seventies icons such as the Reliant Scimitar and Bond Bug cars, folding rear car seats, and the Bush TR130 radio. Karen also designed the Aston Martin DBSV8. His consultancy business worked for Raleigh, too.

“I can assure you that I have got all the evidence,” said Karen. “I have diaries going back to 1966 and a record of 20 meetings I had with people from Raleigh, including Alan Oakley.” Karen told the Cambridge Evening News that he had written to Raleigh contesting their claims that Oakley designed the Chopper. At the time the Design Council called him “a pioneer in product design. His Raleigh Chopper bike is a design classic.”

The direct forerunner of the Chopper was Schwinn’s Orange Crate from the 1960s, itself an adaptation of bikes cobbled together by American teenagers on the West Coast to look like “chopped” Harley Davidson “Kustom Kruisers”. Nineteen-fifties motorcycle customizers in America were the first to use “ape-hanger” handlebars. But what about the use of banana seats on bicycles? traced this to US saddle manufacturer Persons Majestic, formerly he Brooks saddle importer in the United States, a company founded in 1892:

“Pearsons (sic) Majestic had developed a seat for bicycle polo. The seat was long and thin, and needed supporting at the rear by a tube hoop attached to the rear wheel nuts. [The] Californian younger brothers [of the motorcycle customizers saw] the potential of the seat – the rear support hoop looked like a motorbike sissy bar, and as motorcycles and bicycles shared a similar handlebar thickness, fitting 15-inch-high ape-hanger handlebars was easy. . . . Some unknown Californian kids back in the very early 1960s produced, in their back yards, the first bicycle to bear the name ‘Chopper.’”

This street design was picked up by Al Fritz, concept designer for Schwinn, the Raleigh of the USA. He created the Stingray, released in June 1963. Raleigh USA saw the success of the Stingray and, in 1966, brought out a lookalike, the Raleigh Rodeo. Unlike the Stingray, the Rodeo had a Sturmey–Archer three-speed rear hub changed by a gearshift stick on the cantilever frame and used the seat that would later be used on the Chopper, rather than the Persons Majestic polo seat. The Rodeo was available in the United States only.

In 1968, Raleigh USA launched the Fireball, a tougher version of the Rodeo. That same year, Schwinn fitted a 16-inch front wheel to its Stingray, keeping the 20-inch rear wheel. This was known as the Orange Krate.

According to, Oakley, was “put on a plane for the West Coast of America to have a look at what was going on, and cast a fresh, unprejudiced eye over the youth bike scene. Legend has it that Alan sketched the Raleigh Chopper on the back of an envelope on his return flight. This may or may not be true, but if the Fireball was the daddy of the Chopper, Allan Oakley was its midwife. . . .  the Raleigh Chopper is born. Not so much a Schwinn clone any more, but still having the Schwinn family trait of twin thin top tubes. [Oakley] simply squared up a Schwinn cantilever frame, fitted the Fireball seat, and lowered the headstock to fit standard 16-inch forks, for economy, to a wide front 16-inch rim.”

The Chopper seat has a metal back plate, with a registered design number stamped upon it – no. 934257 – because, says, “Raleigh were so pleased with the eventual design of the Chopper seat, they didn’’t want anyone else using it, unlike the majority of US concerns who used the Pearsons banana-seat style.”

What does say about Dr Tom Karen and Ogle Design?

“Raleigh had used the Ogle design studios to submit designs for the eventual Chopper, and despite many wild claims by Ogle’s chief designer at the time, Tom Karen, the modified Rodeo seat design was one of the few parts they actually designed. They claimed the 20/16 wheel layout, despite the bike being built to compete with the U.S. new fashion for 20/16 bikes, and also claimed to have invented the spoke guard, in order to look like a rear disc brake, despite it having been used on the R.S.W. Range of Raleigh [Shoppers] for five years previous.”

Raleigh released the Chopper in the UK in September 1969. The company sold 500 bikes to bike shops in Croydon, Newcastle, and Manchester. They sold out quickly.

“Safety issues dogged the Chopper on both sides of the Atlantic, but over in the UK reached monstrous proportions,” says

“The main item of public scorn was the seat. If you sat too far back the front wheel raised up and, horror of horrors, two young people could sit on the seat at one time! The indignation reverberated throughout the country. One legitimate safety issue, that most complainers missed altogether, was the fact that the frames were falling apart under their riders  . . . quite literally . . . the rear stays commonly came unstuck from the rest of the bike, and Raleigh dealers were kept extra busy replacing frames under warranty.”

Surrounded by controversy, what became known as the MK 1 Chopper was quietly withdrawn from sale in late 1971. “The MK2 was a redesign of the MK1, with several safety issues addressed. First, the seat had been shortened, this was accomplished by bending the rear seat stays in towards the frame, making the frame almost arrow shaped from the side view. The seat got a warning written on the white strap, telling anybody who could be bothered to read, that the seat was not designed to carry more than one rider… perhaps the most ignored warning in the history of the bicycle?”

Commitment is the name of a new group whose activities have gained press recognition – Cycletouring, CTC, October/November, 1972. See: Peter Cox, “A Denial of Our Boasted Civilisation”: Cyclists’ Views on Conflicts over Road Use in Britain, 1926–1935,” Transfers 2(3), Winter 2012.

The call for cycleways may have fallen on deaf ears  – There were some attempts to create separated infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists (mostly pedestrians) in the late 1960s and early 1970s, including the “walkways” of London and Newcastle. In Gateshead there are three 1970s elevated concrete walkway/cycleways over the A167. They must have been considered very Dan Dare-like when first built. See:,-1.6000756,3a,75y,104.09h,86.4t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sORYmDgDaNw-0yFqvOxdsPA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1

in 1971 Oxford constructed the sort of cycleway – While it has long been a “cycling city,” Oxford was also once famous for the Cowley car plant. In 1966, 46 percent of Oxford households did not own cars. Why did Cowley start building cars? Because of bicycles, of course. The Cowley plant was created by William Morris, founder of Morris Motors. Like many other motor magnates, he started his career by building and selling bicycles. He started his bicycle-repair business while a teen still living at home and opened a bike shop in Oxford in 1901, adding another store a year later. He started making Morris cars in 1913. (See: Carlton Reid, Roads Were Not Built for Cars, Island Press, 2015.)

Seen from above in the satellite option of Google Maps, Marston Ferry Road – See:

However, drop Street View’s stickman on to the road – See:

Take me, my Centaur bike, down Linton Road – While he would be later applauded for his campaigns to save old buildings, especially Victorian ones, such as St. Pancras railway station, the bicycle-riding Betjeman was at least partly responsible for some of the ravaging of the English countryside by “relief roads.” His populist travel guides of English counties encouraged motorists to explore away from honey-pot towns and cities and out into the countryside. Produced by an offshoot of the Dutch oil company, Shell, the Shell Guides were aimed at motorists. The first two in the series were written by Betjeman and published in 1934 and 1936.

The poet was sniffy about the target audience: “probably not an intellectual in search of regional architecture of the early 19th century but a plus-foured weekender who cannot tell a sham Tudor roadhouse from a Cotswold manor.” In any case, the Shell Guides went on to become a major series of guidebooks, popular for many years, and responsible for many car journeys into the “unspoiled” countryside, including the countryside around Oxford.

Despite this, cycling’s average modal share in Oxford is 17 percent – See:

The representative bodies for bicycle retailers and bicycle manufacturers – The levy was coordinated via the CMCA-NA publicity committee. See: Motor Cycle and Cycle Trader, June 1972.

The Bureau was a front for – Planned Public Relations International, Ltd., was based at Greater London House, Hampstead Road NW1 7QP. This is an imposing art deco building in Camden, noted as a striking example of early twentieth-century Egyptian Revival architecture. The building was erected in 1926–28 by the Carreras Tobacco Company and used as a factory. It was converted to offices in 1960–62. Greater London House today houses offices for the British Heart Foundation, Young & Rubicam advertising agency,, Wunderman, WPP, and

George Shallcross, national director of the retailers’ organization – See: Motor Cycle and Cycle Trader, May 1972.

Trade-magazine editor Harold Briercliffe said the plan was – See: Motor Cycle and Cycle Trader, May 1972.

A launch press release said the Bureau had sent a copy of this pamphlet – “The National Plan for Cycling,” press release issued by the British Cycling Bureau, June 13, 1972.

“All the MPs were very impressed – Claxton may have been working for the British Cycling Bureau, but on top of his £1000 annual consultancy fee (worth about £15,000 today) he was provided with a car, a Rover 2000. (See: Letter to Eric Claxton from Nicholas Cole of British Cycling Bureau, February 28, 1972.)

This approach was “enthusiastically received”  – “Components’ people being asked again to support publicity,” Motor Cycle and Cycle Trader, May 1972.

The FoE was, in part, inspired by the Paris-based – Amis de la Terre organized events in 1972 with a number of different campaign groups, including Ecologique and Comité Antinucléaire de Paris. (See: Pierre Samuel, Histoire des Amis de la Terre–1970–1989: Vingt Ans au Coeur de l’Ecologie,

The politicization of the bicycle as a “symbol of ecological awareness” was – Rob Van Der Plas, The Penguin Bicycle Handbook, 1983.

Nevertheless, the officials were glad they were – CTC AGM Special report, April 1973.

Changes that Design wished to see in the UK included separation – Design Magazine, issue 299, November 1973

In November, British motorists were issued with ration books – They were ritually torn up by many motorists in July 1975.

In February 1974, the chairman of the Transport 2000 – Tony Blackburn, but not the British DJ.

It added: “A further effect will be a reduction – The increased cost of energy – Implications for UK Industry, NEDO, February 1974.

Brachi was heavily influenced by Ivan Illich –

“Man on a bicycle can go three or four times faster than the pedestrian, but uses five times less energy in the process. He carries one gram of his weight over a kilometer of flat road at an expense of only 0.15 calories. The bicycle is the perfect transducer to match man’s metabolic energy to the impedance of locomotion. Equipped with this tool, man outstrips the efficiency of not only all machines but all other animals as well.

“Bicycles are not only thermodynamically efficient, they are also cheap. The cost of public utilities needed to facilitate bicycle traffic versus the price of an infrastructure tailored to high speeds is proportionately even less than the price differential of the vehicles used in the two systems. In the bicycle system, engineered roads are necessary only at certain points of dense traffic, and people who live far from the surfaced path are not thereby automatically isolated as they would be if they depended on cars or trains. The bicycle has extended man’s radius without shunting him onto roads he cannot walk. Where he cannot ride his bike, he can usually push it.

“The bicycle also uses little space. Eighteen bikes can be parked in the place of one car, thirty of them can move along in the space devoured by a single automobile. It takes three lanes of a given size to move 40,000 people across a bridge in one hour by using automated trains, four to move them on buses, twelve to move them in their cars, and only two lanes for them to pedal across on bicycles. Of all these vehicles, only the bicycle really allows people to go from door to door without walking. The cyclist can reach new destinations of his choice without his tool creating new locations from which he is barred.

“Bicycles let people move with greater speed without taking up significant amounts of scarce space, energy, or time. They can spend fewer hours on each mile and still travel more miles in a year. They can get the benefit of technological breakthroughs without putting undue claims on the schedules, energy, or space of others. They become masters of their own movements without blocking those of their fellows. Their new tool creates only those demands which it can also satisfy. Every increase in motorized speed creates new demands on space and time. The use of the bicycle is self-limiting. It allows people to create a new relationship between their life-space and their life-time, between their territory and the pulse of their being, without destroying their inherited balance. The advantages of modern self-powered traffic are obvious, and ignored.”

(Ivan Illich, Energy and Equity: Toward a History of Needs, Pantheon, 1974,

A true choice among practical policies  – Illich was influenced by Marxism, and this is Illich paraphrasing José Antonio Viera-Gallo, the Chilean government official who stated that: “El socialismo puede llegar solo en bicicleta,” – that is, socialism will arrive only on a bicycle.

The British Cycling Bureau was determined to change that and, in 1974, ordered – Illich also met with British Cycling Bureau’s Eric Claxton in 1974.

… reasons aplenty for preferring pedal power – Philip Brachi, “Pedal Power,” Ecologist, February 1974.

The organization’s conferences were held in cities such as New York and San Francisco – MAUDEP was still organizing conferences in the mid-1980s but by then had lost interest in cycling. A “Rebuilding America” conference, held at the Sheraton Palace Hotel in San Francisco in August 1984, discussed infrastructure provision but made no mention of cycling.

The following year, and still in partnership with the Bureau, MAUDEP staged – Report of Activities, British Cycling Bureau, September–November 1975.

IN 1975, Richard Feilden, fresh out of architecture school – With Peter Clegg, Richard Feilden co-founded Bath-based architecture firm Feilden Clegg in 1978. This was later expanded to Feilden Clegg Bradley and was named “Architect of the Year” by Building Design in 2004. Feilden was crushed and killed by a tree he was felling on woodland near his home outside Bath in 2005.

In a submission pressing the local authority – Report of Activities, British Cycling Bureau, March–April 1973.

It will be the first in Britain to introduce cycling facilities into a mature urban area – “Bikes gain priority over cars on some Portsmouth roads,” New Scientist, June 5, 1975.

According to Portsmouth FoE the trial was – See: Cycletouring, CTC, February/March 1976.

Portsmouth had been chosen because it was “geographically ideal – S.W. Quenault, Cycle Routes in Portsmouth, Planning and Implementation, Supplementary report 317,  TRRL, 1977.

It opened on November 19, 1975 – Report of Activities, Consultant’s report, September–November 1975.

“Substantial proportions of motorists did not obey the restrictions – Cycle routes in Portsmouth, Planning and Implementation, F. J. Nicholson, TRRL Laboratory report 874,  Transport and Road Research Laboratory, Departments of the Environment & Transport, 1979.

Twenty-five percent of cyclists reported taking a different –  S.W. Quenault,  Cycle routes in Portsmouth, Planning and Implementation, Attitude Surveys,  TRRL, Transport and Road Research Laboratory, Departments of the Environment & Transport, 1979.

Claxton said that retailers and residents – Report of Activities, Consultant’s report, May 1976.

The emphasis would be on promoting separated cycleways – Hudson was listed as the lead author on the book – with his name in capitals – but the other authors also did much of the work. They were: Caren Levy, John Nicholson, Richard Macrory, and Peter Snelson.

… the club has assumed throughout its long history – Cycletouring, CTC, February/March 1976.

“LCC started as an idea in a dingy basement – Now Nick Lester-Davis. He is currently a director of transport at the Association of London Government and is also president of the European Parking Association and a council member of British Parking Association Limited. See:

Number Nine Poland Street was owned – The other groups included the Low Pay Unit, the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom, the Socialist Society, and the Tory Reform Group. See:

I raise this subject … on behalf of the 80,000 Londoners – These stats are different from cycling modal share figures from Stevenage at the time. (See chapter 7.)

The major deterrent to the cyclist – House of Commons Debate, July 11, 1975, vol. 895, cc1017-30 1017,

Denis Howell, the Labour minister for – Denis Howell made a serious mistake in his speech, overstating the dangers of cycling: “Very regrettably at present – and this largely makes their case – cycling is much the most dangerous method of travelling around this country; in 1973 alone there were 4,757 deaths, of which 2,041 were of children.”

In fact, there had been about 300 deaths in 1973. From the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents:

“There have been large reductions in the number of cyclists killed on the roads since the end of the Second World War. Unlike car users and pedestrians the numbers did not rise and peak in the mid to late 1960s, but they fell sharply from just under 850 deaths in 1949 to around 300 deaths per year in the mid 1970s. Following this, the decreases in the annual number of deaths continued, although the rate of change each year had decreased and from 2000 onwards there were typically between 100 and 150 deaths every year.”

(See: )

“The need for the provision of a separate cycle network rather – Residential Roads and Footpaths: Layout Considerations, Design Bulletin 32, 1977.

The Green Paper concluded that provision – Transport Policy – A Consultation Document, (1976), was a joint document from the Department of Transport and the Department of the Environment. See:

The Cyclists’ Touring Club and the British Cycling Bureau responded to the Green Paper – The 1971 census revealed that 1 million people cycled to work. The National Travel Survey of 1972/73 showed that 1.3 million people used cycles for all or part of their journeys to work.

The response added that 467,000 bicycles – The 1 million was correct, but the Bicycle Association sales stat for 1970 was 552,299 bicycles.

This implies that a much more positive attitude – Cycling in Urban Areas, Response by “London Cycling Campaigns”  to Transport Policy – A Consultation Document,  1976.

“DB32” said weakly that the – Residential Roads and Footpaths: Layout Considerations, Design Bulletin 32, 1977.

A 1945 traffic census found that – “At many points along all the main streets and roads Committee members and many assistant workers have stood for hours taking a census of cycles and motor vehicles. The difficulty can be gauged by the fact that for ten minutes in one midday period cyclists passed the census-takers at the rate to three thousand an hour.” (See: “Council of Social Service’s Town Planning Survey,” Bedfordshire Times and Independent, January 5, 1945.)

There were some improvements – Bedford’s assistant engineer – and the engineer responsible for cycling – throughout much of the 1970s was Peter Snelson, one of the authors of Bicycle Planning by Architectural Press of London.

Two reasonably good routes – Peter Blakeman, A Short History of Cycling in Bedford, Cycle Bedford, 2012,

The “Middlesbrough Cycleway” scheme had – Local Transport Note No. 1/78, Department of Transport Circular, January 5, 1979.

FOLLOWING THE 1963 publication of Dr. Beeching’s report – See:

The UK’s current “National Cycle Network”  –  See:

That distinction goes to Michael Dower – In 1967, Michael Dower created DART – Dartington Amenity and Research Trust – based at Dartington estate, an educational facility in Devon founded in 1925. This was a research and consultancy unit in the field of countryside recreation, rural development, and conservation. Dower later became director of the Peak National Park in northern England, and after that he was appointed director general of the Countryside Commission (now Natural England), based in John Dower House in Cheltenham. The building was named after Michael’s father, an architect and planner himself who worked with the Dartington estate’s Leonard Elmhirst to create national parks between the two world wars. See:

In 1963, writing in Architectural Review, Dower – “Green Ways,” The Architectural Review, December 1963.

Written by J.H. Appleton for – J.H. Appleton, Disused railways in the countryside of England and Wales, Report to the Countryside Commission, HMSO, 1970,

Appleton stated “this common interest of users” – Appleton didn’t envisage transportation use of these former railways – for him they were very much recreational.

The British Cycling Bureau also took an interest in the potential – Report of Activities, British Cycling Bureau, August–October 1972.

Two years later cycle campaigner Philip Ashbourn – Philip Ashbourn,Planning for the Urban Cyclist: A Study of Greater Manchester, unpublished PhD thesis,  1974.

Alistair Sawday (who would go on to create – See:

“Cyclebag emerged as a constructive protest – See:

The “motor lobby” is incredibly powerful, and has been since the 1930s. Here journalist and eco-campaigner George Monbiot is talking about climate-change deniers but his comment also works for the motor lobby:

“A few billion dollars spent on persuasion buys you all the politics you want. Genuine campaigners, working in their free time, simply cannot match a professional network staffed by thousands of well-paid, unscrupulous people.

“You cannot confront a power until you know what it is. Our first task in this struggle is to understand what we face. Only then can we work out what to do.”

(See: George Monbiot,“Frightened by Donald Trump? You don’t know the half of it,” The Guardian, November 30, 2016,

Sustrans – short for sustainable transport – National Cycle Network routes were designed to go to town centers – the fact that some don’t is a fault in delivery by the local highway authority.  Sustrans was often constrained to build only on what they owned or leased e.g., the railway track bed. From the outset NCN routes were designed to be multi purpose, and suitable for leisure, commuting, walkers, wheelchair users, and equestrians. “Challenge” routes such as the C2C across England were instantly popular, and brought new people in to cycling. bringing in new cyclists The NCN is an ongoing and evolving entity, constantly upgrading and linking. The man who originally mapped and organized the C2C, David Gray, formerly of Sustrans, said: “John actually rolled up his sleeves, picked up a shovel, and helped build routes, thus shaming those who said it could not be done, would cost too much, blah blah ad nauseam” (e-mail conversation with author, November 7, 2016).

In 1995 Sustrans was awarded a £43.5-million Millennium Lottery Grant towards the estimated £200 million needed to develop the National Cycle Network.

“I’ve always seen it as critical to have – Quoted in: Lynn Sloman, Car Sick: Solutions for Our Car-Addicted Culture, Green Books, 2006.

The following year, academic John Parkin countered  – J. Parkin, T. Ryley, T.D. Jones, “Barriers to Cycling: An Exploration of Quantitative Analyses,” in: Cycling and Society, ed. D. Horton, P. Rosen, P. Cox, Ashgate, Aldershot, 2007.


CHAPTER FIVE: The Great American Bike Boom (1970–1974)


“Bicycles have come back  – “National Bike Boom Bouncing Along with No Letup Seen,” Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, August 25, 1972.

Before the Black Friday mall stampedes – The shortage of Cabbage Patch Kids dolls in the run-up to Christmas 1983 caused mini-riots in stores across the United States. (See, for example: “Cabbage Patch Kids Cause Near-Riots,” Victoria (Texas) Advocate, November 27, 1983,,7789961.


LIFE 30 July 1971
“Crowds press into Chicago’s Turin Bicycle Co-op hunting – “The Bicycle Madness,” Life, July 30, 1971.

Under the headline “The Bicycle Madness” Life’s article – See:

The Cabbage Patch Kids craze – “The Strange Cabbage Patch Craze,” Time, December 12, 1983.

Bike sales in 1970 rose so fast that Time claimed – “INDUSTRY: They Like Bikes”, Time, June 14, 1971.

This was not pleasing to all: Peter Flanigan, a Wall Street – “Bikeways Spread on Coast as More Take to Cycling,” New York Times, January 28, 1973.

Harvard English Professor Joel Porte – “Modern Living: Wheeling Their Way,” Time, July 27, 1970. (“English bicycles” were roadster versions of what we’d today call “Dutch bikes”: sit-up-and-scan machines with hub gears, flat handlebars, fenders, and dynamo lights.)

Bicycling broke through into the mainstream – There is no consensus on the dates for the boom. I’ve gone with 1970–74, but Epperson preferred 1969–1973. For sure, the roots of the boom go deep. Bruce D. Epperson, Bicycles in American Highway Planning: The Critical Years of Policy-Making, 1969–1991 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2010).

Only twelve percent of the bikes sold in 1969 were – Small Business Reporter, Bank of America, 1973.

“Both national and local governments have – By 1973, more than 250 bicycle-related bills had been introduced in 43 states to allocate federal and state monies for the construction of bikeways and more. New sources of money for these projects included the Highway Trust Fund, state highway funds, and gas taxes.

In 1973, 252 bicycle-oriented bills were introduced – Boom in Bikeways, Bicycle Institute of America, April 1974.

The Federal-Aid Highway Act of the same year – Section 217 of the Federal-Highway Act 1973 allowed (but did not require) states to use part of their highway funds for pedestrian and bicycle facilities. But most states did not divert funds from highway projects.

Governor Ronald Reagan vetoed California’s “bicycle bill” in 1972. “Bicycle bills” modeled on Oregon’s were also proposed and thrown out in Nebraska, Maryland, Washington, New York, Michigan, and Arizona.

Instead there were just small sums from the Department of the Interior’s Land and Water Conservation Fund. The Bikeway Transportation Act of 1977, co-sponsored by New York City congressman Ed Koch, was spiked in committee for being “recreational.” It planned to earmark $45 million a year for bikeway construction. Here is some of the text from the bill:

(1) $40 million may be obligated annually by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for bikeway and walkway purposes during fiscal years 1974 through 1976. The money can be spent on planning, preliminary engineering, inspection, construction, or reconstruction. No more than $2 million can be obligated to any State in a single year. The percentage of Federal funding participation will be 70 percent.

(2) Addition of bikeway provisions to the United States Code, Section 231 of the Act requires that the Secretary include provisions for bicycle safety in his uniform standards governing State highway safety programs.

(3) Section 231 requires that State highway safety programs include driver education programs which provide for research and for greater cyclist safety.

(4) Section 214 calls for a study of bikeway safety. The research is to be completed by January 31, 1975, and the study is now underway at DOT and it is expected to meet the deadline. It is to include:

(a) Evaluation of State laws, ordinances, enforcement policies, and capabilities of enforcement.

(b) Investigation of alcohol and bikeway safety.

(c) Evaluation of methods to improve State bicycle safety programs.

… the agent of its obscurity was also – Stefan Kanfer, “The Full Circle: In Praise of the Bicycle,” Time, April 28, 1975.

“Bikes are back,” claimed National Geographic staff-writer – Noel Grove was a writer and editor for National Geographic from 1969 to 1994. He helped found the Bicycle Federation of America in 1995.

This concern deepened for many, and for those “hippies” who – President Dwight D. Eisenhower used this phrase in his farewell address to the nation on January 17, 1961: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

Maybe automobile-industrial complex would be more appropriate?

Naturally, there is now a bicycle infrastructure–industrial complex. See, for example, this on Facebook: “The purpose of this page is to bring attention to the existence of the Bicycle Infrastructure Industrial Complex and the problems it creates.” (See:

“As the local citizenry looked on from the sidewalks the students marched – The car was dug up the following year, and torched. See:

The burial was one of the events staged  – The publication in 1962 of Rachel Carson’s anti-pesticide best seller Silent Spring sparked a national conversation about our (lousy) stewardship of the Earth, galvanizing the American environmental movement. An oil spill off the Californian coast near Santa Barbara in 1969 horrified activists who responded by organizing ecological awareness events, the greatest of which was Earth Day, which is still held on April 22 every year. It is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network, and is celebrated in more than 192 countries each year.

Twenty million Americans took part in a variety – Adam Rome, The Genius of Earth Day: How a 1970 Teach-in Unexpectedly Made the First Green Generation (New York: Hill & Wang, 2013).

He wrote that the purpose of a bicycle was – S.S. Wilson is not the Wilson who wrote the seminal Bicycling Science of 1974 – that was David Gordon Wilson. Both Wilson’s were at the very first Velocity conference, held in Bremen, Germany, in 1980.

(This extract, and the graph that accompanied it – See:

The simplicity of the bicycle chimed with E. F. Schumacher’s 1973 book – In the following decade author Marcia Lowe described the bicycle as a “vehicle for a small planet.” See: Marcia D. Lowe, The Bicycle: Vehicle for a Small Planet (Washington, DC: Worldwatch Institute, 1989).

Later, there were “Teach-Ins”, “Be-Ins” – There were also – cough, cough – “smoke-ins.”

“Bicycle Ecology is a  group “Bicycle Ecology Group to Pedal Idea in State St.,” Chicago Tribune, August 27, 1970.

“1,500 to 2,000 enthusiastic riders of all ages – “Pedal Power,” The Saturday Review, November 7, 1970.

An anti-car pro-bicycle protest in Stockholm – See: “Ecotactic: Bicycling to Reclaim the Air,” Village Voice, 5th October, 1972. There were other similar bicycle protests in Europe, including one in April 1972, organized by Les Amis de la Terre (Friends of the Earth) and the Committee for Ecological Liberation, which saw ten thousand riders, many in gas-masks, take over the streets for Paris, railing against “la gangrene automobile.” (See: “Bicyclists, in Protest, Jam Streets of Paris,” New York Times, April 24, 1972.) Friends of the Earth group was founded in San Francisco in 1969 by David Brower, a former leader of the long-established conservation organization the Sierra Club. Friends of the Earth International was formed in 1971 by four organizations from France, Sweden, England, and the United States. It’s now a federation of 74 groups from around the world.

Action Against Automobiles organized – “Anti-Auto Bike-In: Pied Piper on Wheels,” The Village Voice, November 9, 1972.

Riders met in Central Park and rolled – “Bicycle Ecology Group Denied Auto Show Spot,” Chicago Tribune, January 31, 1971.

Speaking to a crowd of cyclists, Gurin applauded  – Gurin was a friend of Jacobs from the early 1960s to her death in 2002. Jacobs settled in Toronto, and Gurin was deputy commissioner of the New York City of Transportation.

One of the posters he designed – See:

(In 1978, Gurin, who had been writing anti-car polemics – Gurin is now a city planning consultant. See: ; “speeding the flow of traffic” is from “New Rules Drawn to Speed Traffic in Manhattan’s Business Sections,” New York Times, March 30, 1981.

The other co-founders of Action Against Automobiles included – See:

The biketivists decided that the Triple-A name was too provocative –  Transportation Alternatives was founded by New York City Earth Day organizer and later the founder of Project for Public Spaces Fred Kent, urban planner Barry Benepe, citizen activist Roger Herz, urban planner-journalist David Gurin, and transportation engineer Brian Ketcham, who worked on the Lindsay administration’s Red Zone clean-air “transportation control plan.”

The founding event for this multi-modal – “400 Bicyclists Pedal Demands,” New York Times, April 8, 1973.

The Ride and Rally for a New York Bicycle Lane Network demo – See:

They were treated to an impromptu – See:

The following year a Bike-in parade – “At a Bike-in Down Broadway, It’s Ride On Despite Motorists,” New York Times, May 20, 1974.

Sam Oakland, a Portland State University professor – “Bike Craze Sweeps U.S.,” The Bee, Danville, Virginia, September 13, 1971.

Oakland headed a university-based campaign group – Michael Andersen, “Sam Oakland, leader of the ‘Shift of the 1970s,’ dies at 80,” Bike Portland, April 1, 2014,

The lobbying worked: – See:

This set aside one percent of state transportation spending – Oregon Bicycle Bill, House Bill 1700, 1971.

Governor Tom McCall signed the bill – See:

As long as the bicycle continues to be considered a toy – See:

Mighty oaks from little acorns grow – As IFC’s hit comedy show Portlandia often spoofs, Portland is famous for dumpster diving, locally sourced food and having a cycling modal-share of 8 percent. The city also generates 20 percent more renewable energy than the national average, and was one of the first cities to ban plastic bags.

“To avoid crossing motor vehicle traffic – Trails for America, Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1966.

Once out-of-office he was even more explicitly – “The concept of bikeways is simple,” wrote The New York Times in 1973. “Little-trafficked secondary streets and highways parallel to main arteries in both the cities and the countryside are marked out as preferred routes for cyclists wishing to get to recreation area, schools, business and shopping areas … Thousands of city commuters already have been won over to the bikeways . . .” (See: “The Great Outdoors: Cycling on the Enemy’s Turf,” New York Times, April 16, 1972.)

Give people choice – “Udall Urges Cuts in Energy Used in Transportation,” The New York Times, March 24, 1973.

Hundreds of articles in the mainstream press  – Noel Grove, “Bicycles Are Back – and Booming!” National Geographic, May 1973. Grove’s big-budget piece was accompanied by a fourteen-page feature on “bikepacking” by four cycle-tourists.

Mike Sinyard’s bike and his Bugger trailer.

Cannondale was born in 1971  – Brits fall about laughing at the name for Cannondale’s first bicycle product. Use a swear-word dictionary to find out the UK-English meaning of “bugger.”

Trek was started in 1975 from a red barn – Trek is still owned by the Burke family and is run by John Burke, the son of Richard Burke, the firm’s founder.

The world’s largest specialty bike maker – Giant makes most of the world’s high-end bikes, but is not the world’s biggest bicycle manufacturer. Volume makers Hero of India and the China Bicycle Company make many more bikes than Giant.

The company was spawned in 1972 – Giant has its own eponymously-named brand – it was named for a world-beating baseball team, the Taiwan Giants.

Eel breeding’s loss – King Liu retired from Giant at the end of 2016. Carlton Reid, “Giant’s founding execs to retire,” BikeBiz, December 19, 2016. (See:

Look at what happens to you on a bicycle – Richard Ballantine, Richard’s Bicycle Book (New York: Ballantine Books, Inc., 1972).

The instant success of the book – He followed up with Sloane’s Handy Pocket Guide to Bicycle Repair (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988) and Sloane’s Complete Book of All-Terrain Bicycles (Cambridge, ON: Fireside, 1985).

The authors of The Bicycle – That Curious Invention ended – Stephen and Sybil Leek,The Bicycle – That Curious Invention (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1973).

But it was Ballantine’s book  – Richard Ballantine edited one of my books – Family Cycling, published by Snow Books – and we would meet in London to talk over the contents, and cycling in general.

Some motorists, he said, were “authentic maniacs”, but – Ballantine was here expressing what would later come to be known as “vehicular cycling.”

“What is needed is the elimination of polluting transportation – Richard Ballantine, Richard’s Bicycle Book (New York: Ballantine Books, Inc., 1972).

You have a right to live – Ibid.

According to correspondent Roy Bongartz there – Roy Bongartz, “The Great Outdoors: Cycling on the Enemy’s Turf,” New York Times, April 16, 1972.

IN 1972, University of Montana students – The subject of bikeology wasn’t invented in the 1970s; Skidmore College for Women in Saratoga Springs, New York, had a “Bike-ology” course from about 1941. It was a safe-cycling course, “one of the most popular,” stated the Lock Haven Express, October 30, 1947.

These university courses –  “Bikeology joins traditional college course offerings,” The Newark (Ohio) Advocate, August 17, 1972.

It was used by city planner and landscape architect  – “Heads National Drive for Bicycle Facilities,” The Des Moines Register, April 1, 1973.

Also on this task force – and somewhat less enthusiastic about cycling – Also in Delaware . . . “As increasing numbers of students and adults have turned to bicycling as a means of transportation and recreation it behooves us to provide a system of bicycle routes,” said the “Urban Route Bicycle System Master Plan” for City of Newark, Delaware, September 1973. The 28-page masterplan was drawn up by “representatives from the City, University of Delaware, Newark School District, and interested citizens” and included plans for bike paths and bikeways. “The situation definitely cannot be ignored. . . . Bicycling, with its indispensable role, must be emphasized as it never has before.” The plan called for bikeways beside arterial roads because “meandering or inconveniently situated bicycle routes . . . will not normally be . . . used on a daily basis except under coincidental circumstances.” Stage one of the plan – to change sidewalks into shared-use – happened in September 1973, but this was “not as practical as originally anticipated.”

Some of the planned bikeways still exist today, but they’re paint-only – with blue signs. They’re narrow and in the gutter. The city ordinances were changed:  “Once having entered a bicycle path, no person riding or operating a bicycle shall leave such a path except at intersections.” (See:

The ads rather optimistically claimed  – “Bicycle Boom in America,” Daily Herald, May 27, 1973.

However, Friends of Bikeology was a spent force by 1975 – Bruce D. Epperson, Bicycles in American Highway Planning: The Critical Years of Policy-Making, 1969–1991 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2010).

“WHEN CLAY GUBRIC opened [Washington, D.C.’s] Towpath Cycle Shop – At this time the bike-shop-owning Clay Gubric was also the president of Washington, DC’s Potomac Pedalers Touring Club (PPTC). He provided assistance to Cory Shaw who, in 1972, set up the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA).

“One day last week,” continued the journalist, “more than – Carl Bernstein, “Commuter Cycling Picks Up Speed,”  Washington Post, June 14, 1970.

Back at the office, Woodward went – Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, All The President’s Men (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1974).

(“Bicycle theft has become – Stefan Kanfer, “The Full Circle: In Praise of the Bicycle,” Time, April 28, 1975.

To foil such shenanigans – Despite its small-town beginnings, the Kryptonite brand is mostly associated with New York City. This stemmed from a publicity stunt in 1972 when the Second Avenue Bicycle Shop locked a three-speed bicycle to a signpost in Greenwich Village – the removable parts were stripped by thieves, but the locked frame remained for thirty days. (See: ) Legendary bicycle mechanic Sheldon Brown worked alongside Kaplan in the same bike shop. (See:

Mooching around a bike shop – Magruder would later serve time in a federal prison for his part in the funding of the five burglars who broke into the Democratic National Committee’s Watergate headquarters.

[Bernstein] had picked up a profoundly – Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, All The President’s Men (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1974).

The facilities for cycle commuters in Washington, D.C. had – Secretary of transportation John A. Volpe mentioned bicycling in many speeches in 1971, particularly the speech inaugurating Transportation Week, May 16, 1971, in Washington, DC.

In fact, as Bernstein wrote in the Post, bike-boom bicyclists – Carl Bernstein, “Commuter Cycling Picks Up Speed,”  Washington Post, June 14, 1970.

A striking example of cognitive dissonance this poster – See:; Also see:

(only the Ann Arbor Ecology Center is still going – The Ecology Centers were formed in response to Earth Day in 1970 (see: Marchant Wentworth told me by e-mail: “The Washington Ecology Center was part of a network of a handful of similar efforts in Ann Arbor, New Orleans, and Berkeley among others. Although they were all different in the various issues they tackled, they shared a vision of focusing on local concerns and issues.  Bill Painter, a veteran of the Michigan Enviro Teach-in, was hired as the first Exec Director and hired me and later George Coling, who networked with the rest of the Ecology Centers.  It was a hand-to-mouth existence but we had great fun and like to think that we changed the trajectory of a number of issues including recycling, water pollution, and of course, bicycling.”

At a meeting in 1971, he encouraged  – The meeting was with people on bikes, Department of Transportation staff, city engineers, and journalists. See: Martin Weil, “150 Riders Mark Bike Day By Taking Seven-Mile Trek,” Washington Post, May 17, 1971.

Volpe warned that cities had to – “Bicycling Becoming Increasingly Popular in U.S.,” El Paso (Texas) Herald-Post, August 27, 1971.

He told the New York Times that the Department of Transportation – “With Health and Environment Trends, Adults Swing to Bicycles,” New York Times, May 17, 1971.

In 1971, the District’s council commissioned – DC’s curb cuts were largely the work of council member Tedson Meyers, who later went on to co-found the Bicycle Federation of America. The curb cuts benefitted cyclists but were mainly done for wheelchair users. “While I was on the City Council I tried to find ways to affect the legislation of the city to ensure more bike paths and pedestrian safety. I spent a day in a wheelchair with two paraplegic war veterans followed by television cameras showing the public how hard it was to get around DC in a wheelchair. The result was those curb cuts at every corner in downtown for wheelchairs, baby carriages, etc.” See: Brendan Crain, “Halting Freeways & Blazing Trails: Bike-Ped Guru Tedson Meyers,”  September 10, 2012,

More curb cuts came in 1973 under section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, and still more by the 1979 Americans with Disabilities Act.

Another favorite is to sneak into the bicyclist’s lane  – John Kelly, “A Look Back at the Early Days of D.C.’s Bicycling Laws,” Washington Post, July 21, 2014,

The provision of bikeways – and signs erected – Carl Bernstein, “Commuter Cycling Picks Up Speed,” Washington Post, June 14, 1970.

Along with “150 dedicated bicyclists” Volpe rode in Rock Creek Park – Others on the ride included council member Polly Shackleton, whom Volpe said was one of the city’s “heroes of cycling” because of her work in 1969 to establish the “East Capitol Street commuter route” for cyclists.

The winding park road – it exits at the Watergate complex,  – “New Rock Creek Roads Link to Open Artery,” Washington Evening Star, October 24, 1935.

“There is, perhaps, no city in the world – “New Parkway to Rank with Finest,” Washington Evening Star, April 17, 1936.

“This new driveway is going to be a wonderful – Ibid.

“At the first Bike-In I burned someone’s driver’s licence on network TV,” said – Marchant Wentworth, e-mail correspondence with author, September 2016.

Bernstein added – perhaps with more personal – Carl Bernstein, “Commuter Cycling Picks Up Speed,” Washington Post, June 14, 1970.

Wentworth disagrees that the one-week conversion – See:

Wayne Aspinall, the chair of the House Interior and Insular Affairs Committee – Following his congressional career, Aspinall became an advocate for the oil-shale industry, seeking an alternative energy source to end US reliance on imported oil during the energy crisis caused by the OPEC oil embargo of 1973–74. At a hearing in 1967, Aspinall was ticked off the bicycle industry’s Keith Kingbay who had said: “In each and every case where bikeways, bike trails, have been established in heavily populated areas, they have proven eminently popular.” Aspinall retorted: “This is a very important matter that this committee is engaged in now, my friend. . . . There was one time when I liked to bicycle also. I got that out of my system, though, in about sixteen months.”

The NPS report added: “The political impossibility – Barry Mackintosh, Rock Creek Park: An Administrative History (Washington, DC: National Park Service, 1985).

WABA wasn’t the first US cycle advocacy group – – The East Bay Bicycle Coalition and the the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia were also founded in 1972.

“And if the individual could cause change – WABA History (1972–1992),

The president of WABA believed this bikeway – The launch of the Soviet sputnik satellite in 1957 led to a commitment in America to improve instruction in maths, science, and foreign languages.

I plopped it down and I made this big, fat, wide – WABA History (1972–1992),

WASHINGTON, D.C. “was a very different city – Brendan Crain, “Halting Freeways & Blazing Trails: Bike-Ped Guru Tedson Meyers,” Project for Public Spaces, USA, September 10, 2012,

We met at the Golden Temple Restaurant – Lys and Dan Burden created “Bikecentennial” in 1973. This was planned to be a five-month-long trans-American bicycle tour to be held in the bicentennial year of 1976. Over 4,000 cyclists participated, split into 300 different groups. The Burdens, along with husband and wife Greg and June Siple, helped organize the two-day Tour of the Scioto River Valley in Columbus, Ohio, founded in 1962 by Siple and his father, Charles. The four cycle tourists were featured in National Geographic in 1973. The magazine was the main sponsor of their “Hemistour,” a bike tour from Alaska to Argentina.

Sales in many bicycle shops are racing 200% ahead – “Industry: They Like Bikes,” Time, June 14, 1971.

Today, almost every household owns at least one adult bicycle – By 1975, the US bicycle industry was still a one-trick pony when everyone by then already owned a pony.

In newspaper interviews at the height of the bike boom, industry leaders – Landon Y. Jones, Great Expectations: America and the Baby Boom Generation, Createspace, 2008.

“We’re not clairvoyant – Robert Rosenblatt,“Bicycle Industry Riding High on Ecology Trend,” Los Angeles Times, August 15, 1971. Rosenblatt was president of the Murray Ohio Manufacturing Company, which made bicycles.

Life magazine, in 1958, cover-headlined an issue – Life, June 16, 1958,


More than four-million babies – This was the start of a birthrate that has persisted to this day. There are about 4 million births per year now in the USA, as there was in the baby boom era. (180m population in 1960 vs. 308m in 2010). Nineteen-forty-six was the start of a huge birth boom that hasn’t stopped. See:

Diapers had been the first product to spike – The issue of Life mentioned above (June 16, 1958) had four full-page adverts for gargantuan fridges.

“A suburban mother’s role is to deliver children obstetrically –  Peter de Vries, Comfort Me with Apples (New York: Little Brown and Company, 1956). De Vries was also responsible for such bon mottes as “Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.” “Comfort me with apples” is a lovesick line from the Hebrew Bible’s sexually charged Song of Solomon (2:5). (See:

It was a perfect storm, with drop-out baby boomers – “In the late 1960s, millions of American teenagers rode their high-rise bicycles to school because they were ‘cool,’” wrote Frank Berto in “The Great American Bicycle Boom,” in Proceedings, 10th International Cycling History Conference, 1999.

By 1971, eighty-six percent of Schwinn’s sales – Former Schwinn executive Jay Townley said:

“In the run-up to the Bike Boom Arnold, Schwinn & Company introduced the Continental and Varsity – just before the introduction of the Sting-Ray.

“The Continental was a 27-inch wheel high pressure gum-sidewall, ten-speed derailleur equipped lightweight available in three frame sizes.  This was the first massed produced 27-inch, derailleur-equipped model manufactured by an American bicycle company. The Continental was the direct descendant of the Paramount that had established Schwinn as the manufacturer of the very highest-quality hand-made Olympic and competition racing bicycles – that were as good or better than any such bicycles made anywhere in the world.

“The Varsity was a step down from the Continental and was originally introduced as a 26-inch wheel, derailleur-equipped lightweight, but within a year Schwinn upgraded to a 27-inch wheel high-pressure black-wall tire.  The Varsity became the number-one-selling bicycle manufactured by Schwinn during the bike boom years – which is saying a lot when you consider that the company also introduce the Sting-Ray Krate series during this same time frame.

“From 1960 through 1974 the Continental, Varsity, Sting-Ray, and Sting-Ray Krate models created an economic foundation that increased the retail value of bicycles sold in America, and provide the financial base and opportunity for bike shops, and specifically Schwinn Franchised Dealers, to adapt George Garner’s Total Cyclery concept that Schwinn actively promoted to get bike shops out of the back-alleys and on to the main shopping streets.

“Prior to 1960, Arnold, Schwinn & Company introduced the (five-day) Schwinn Service School and by 1960 was travelling the Service School to locations throughout American with the sponsorship of the national network of Schwinn wholesale distributors.

“In 1967, the (five-day) Schwinn Sales & Management School was introduced and in 1968 [Schwinn] published the Schwinn Sales Manual as the text.  Both the Sales & Management School and the Sales Manual were based on George Garner’s proven Total Cyclery specialty-bicycle retail business.

“In 1969 Schwinn introduced and distributed to its dealers the first volume of the two-volume Schwinn Service Manual. The second volume followed in early 1970.

“At the same time – in 1969 – Schwinn brought together Stan Natanek, master mechanic, and Schwinn Service School instructor, George Garner, and what became the Park Tool Company in the persons of Howard Hawkins, Art Engstrom,

and Jim Johnson.  The synergy resulted in a torrent of service equipment and tools for bike shops that quickly increased the professionalism and efficiency of American bike shops – and made it possible to not only perform professional bicycle service – but also charge for it, adding to the financial viability and profitability of American bike shops.

“The decade from 1960 to 1969 was critical to making the Bike Boom as we know it possible. The demographic and consumer trends were favorable, but with out the national network of service-school-trained bicycle mechanics and Sales & Management-educated Total Concept Cycleries – and up-market, lightweight multispeed, and Sting-Ray Krate inspired bicycle products – there would not have been either the products or the customer service network to satisfy and sustain Americans’ demand for bicycles from 1970 through 1974.”

(E-mail from Jay Townley to author, October 22, 2016.)

“Groups of workers in some traffic-choked cities – “Industry: They Like Bikes,” Time, June 14, 1971.

Schwinn’s analysis chimed with that of safety consultant – Dr. Cross was the principal of a Southern California research firm called Anacapa Sciences. See: Dr. Kenneth Cross, Bicycle Safety Education: Facts and Issues, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, August 1978,

A great many of the impractical, not-terribly-comfortable bike boom – Seinfeld was an American sitcom that aired from 1989 to 1998. In the episode entitled “The Apology,” Jerry’s girlfriend repairs his bike, and Jerry states “. . . that wasn’t necessary, I don’t ride it. It’s just for show.” (See: In a number of the early episodes, Seinfeld’s green Klein MTB – forever hanging up – had the forks on the wrong way around. Seinfeld (himself, not the character) does ride a bike, but the show’s real bicycle geek was Michael Richards, the actor who played the idiosyncratic Kramer. Richards was a cover star in Bicycle Guide, October 1993:

“Michael Richards, who has catapulted into cult-hero status playing the single-named, manically idiosyncratic, scene-stealing ‘Kramer’ on the hit NBC comedy Seinfeld, didn’t really want to talk about his gravity-defying hair or about the showstopping, door-flinging powerslide he does into Jerry’s apartment each episode . . . What he did want to talk about was a passion of his that has been largely unexplored by the media, a passion that helped shape his childhood and feed his insatiable curiosity and creativity. It’s a passion, renewed as an adult, that was apparent the second he opened his front door, and, without hesitation or being questioned, began talking enthusiastically about bikes. “I’m the reason that that green bike is on the Seinfeld set in the first place – not the set director . . . She wanted to put a bookcase there. I said, “Put a bike there – and make it a Klein.” Klein owes me-big-time!

“That’s why it ticks me off that Klein sent Jerry [Seinfeld] the Adroit – not me. He doesn’t even ride it – because he doesn’t want to get it dirty. He’s a clean freak, and he only does yoga.

“And by the way, the bike on the set with the fork backwards . . .  is a Rascal, not an Adroit.”

Richards noticed because he owns a Rascal – and basically rides the hell out of it: a daily commute to the studio and a 2,000-foot climb nearly every afternoon up to nearby Coldwater Canyon Park in the Hollywood Hills behind his home.

“It’s 24 pounds,” he said. “It kicks ass uphill.” Climbing and the endurance it builds are what Richards loves. When he needs a break from his normal neighborhood climb, he heads out to Bulldog Run in the Santa Monica Mountains, a six-mile ascent he accomplishes “without slopping,” he says proudly. Descending is another story, however. A bad spill on Mammoth Mountain’s fabled Kamikaze downhill in the summer of 1991 and a near-fatal 40-foot plunge off a cliff soon after (he landed in a tree) cured him forever of the desire for Rock Shox. “I don’t want to go that fast downhill,” he explains. “I’ve worked too hard on this career to risk it on the downhill.”

“Before the career . . . there were the bikes. First, the too-big, 24-inch-wheeled, nameless, single-speed Christmas present from his widowed mom when he was seven . . . then at 11 the $40 black 3-speed Schwinn paperboy “hog” bike with the whitewalled tires and spring front suspension: he was to cry over that bike on a two-mile walk home one day, when it was stolen while he and his friends were at the movies. And finally, four months later, came the Royce Union 27-inch-wheeled, 15-speed superbike (“I blew everybody away on hills with that extra low gear”) that was mothballed when he began driving in high school.

“From the start, bikes were more than mere transportation for Richards. “That magic, that moment when you are first on two wheels, it’s like coming face to face with God,” he whispers dramatically.”

It lobbied for lanes and did so via a Bike to Work Ride – The lack of results from these rolling demonstrations radicalized some riders. One of those on the ride with the mayor of New York in 1970 was John Dowlin, who founded the Philadelphia Bike Coalition in 1972.

“I’ve been riding for seventy years,” the seventy-eight-year-old  – “Bike to Work Ride”, Hendrik Hertzberg, The New Yorker, September 26, 1970.

“A classic example was provided  – Richard Ballantine, Richard’s Bicycle Book (New York: Ballantine Books, Inc., 1972).

One young man “walked over to me while we were stopped – “U.S. Journal: Manhattan,” The New Yorker, December 9, 1971.

One of those on the ride with the Mayor of New York – See: Incidentally, lock company Kryptonite lists Philadelphia as one of the worst cities in America for bike theft.

He wrote to Dowlin while serving as the American ambassador to China in the 1970s – Could this be why their son “Dubya” fell in love with mountain biking when he became president?

Schwartz is now known as “Gridlock” Sam, but  – New York Times, April 27, 1980.

Ostensibly, he was in a position of power – Schwartz is the author of Street Smart: The Rise of Cities and the Fall of Cars, (New York: Public Affairs, 2015). See also:

All but bankrupt the city  – This was reversed in the 1990s, thanks in part to the so-called “broken-windows” method: that of treating petty vandalism as an issue worth tackling to prevent crime in general. The method later become controversial due to perceived and actual racism. See: James Wilson and George Kelling, “Broken Windows: The Police and Neighborhood Safety,” Atlantic Monthly, March 1982.

Attracting two-hundred-and-fifty state highway planners – “In Boston a ‘cycle sign’ marks the bike path along the Charles River for six pleasant miles, and the Committee for Safe Bicycling is laying out a 20-mile meander through Lincoln, Lexington and Concord . . .” See: LIFE Magazine, May 10, 1963.

They see nothing wrong with regular roads  –  “Bicycle Boom Pedals Onward,” (Louisville, Kentucky) Courier-Journal, August 5, 1973.

“We must make the roads and streets safe for bikes,” said – After his time at the National Parks Service, Wilkinson worked for the federal Department of Transportation on bicycle and pedestrian planning.

I strongly disagree with those – Proceedings: Bicycles USA, May 7–8, 1973, USDOT, Transportation Systems Center, Cambridge, MA.

Wrapping up the conference Hirten – “2-wheel Partisans Calling for Coast-to-Coast Bikeway,” (White Plains, New York) Journal News,  June 10, 1973.

What emerged from Bicycles USA was – David Rowlands, “Cycling Safe And Sound: Thoughts on Cycleway Systems, Bike Safety and Thief-Proofing from the Bicycle USA Conference.” Design, April 1, 1974.

The DOT’s Julie Anna Fee was dispatched – Julie Anna Fee, European Experience in Pedestrian and Bicycle Facilities,  US Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, 1974,

(When Fee married she became Mrs. Cirillo – Julie Anna Cirillo worked for the US Department of Transportation for 34 years. The first 31 of these years were spent with the Federal Highway Administration and its predecessor agencies where she was a safety researcher and then the regional administrator in San Francisco before becoming the assistant administrator and chief safety officer for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. See:

She highlighted the fact – Fee wrote that:  “London has no bicycle facilities and have none planned for the immediate future. As a result of public pressure, the Greater London Council (GLC) has been asked to develop a bicycle plan but as yet have not done so. They do foresee the need for some type of plan in the near future, but the present traffic situation in London is intolerable for bicyclists.”

The redesign of Delft was – In 1974, Fee wrote: “In addition, control of bicycles is more advanced than in the United States. Bicycle signals were in evidence in almost every city and special bicycle markings and signing were also in evidence. The neighborhood redesign as evident in Delft was studied in detail. This is a stunning example of the Dutch commitment to environmental changes for pedestrian and bicycle safety. Neighborhoods have been re designed to prohibit through traffic, reduce the number of vehicles, and reduce vehicular speeds by changes in the highway system to give the driver the conception that he is encroaching on a pedestrian area.” (See: Julie Anna Fee, European Experience in Pedestrian and Bicycle Facilities, US Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, 1974.)

In 1972, bicycles outsold automobiles by 2 million – Nina Dougherty and William Lawrence, Bicycle Transportation, Office of Planning and Evaluation, US Environmental Protection Agency, December 1974.

Of the nonbike-owners, 17 percent said – This was info culled by EPA from: Ralph Hirsch, “Bicycle Commuting into Central Philadelphia,” Philadelphia Coalition and Drexel University, June 1973.

Bikeways: State of the Art 1974 was produced for DOT by – Dan Smith, Jr., Bikeways: State of the Art 1974, DeLeuw Cather & Company for Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, July 1974. Smith also wrote a great deal of the Safety and Locational Criteria for Bikeways reports of 1975–76, produced for the Federal Highway Administration – these reports largely downplayed the chances of getting Dutch-style cycleways in the United States.

The report included information  – Mike Lydon and Anthony Garcia, Tactical Urbanism (Washington, DC: Island Press, 2015), See:

Grade separations – such as – To show how Europe carried out grade separations, Bikeways used a photograph of a roundabout in Stevenage.

One of the regions which spent the most on pandering to King Car – Aldous Huxley, Americana, 1925.

The County unveiled a Plan of Bikeways as part – Plan of Bikeways, Department of Regional Planning, County of Los Angeles, 1975.

Convenience was key: “Bikeways must – See:

The bikeway-friendly John Volpe left – However, his name lives on; the DOT’s National Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is named for him: this research and logistics center is known simply as Volpe. Its mission is to “improve transportation by anticipating and addressing emerging issues and advancing technical, operational, and institutional innovations across all modes.” Back in 1973, bicycling was one of the modes expected to increase in importance. See:

“The boom has turned into a bust,” the chairman – Stuart J. Northrop, “Statement of Bicycle Manufacturers Association of America, Inc.,” Senate Committee on Finance, Various Revenue and Tariff Bills, 128, August 24, 1976. Northrop was president of Huffman Manufacturing.

Hirten, an urban planner before being appointed – John E. Hirten, Proceedings: Bicycles USA, May 7–8, 1973, USDOT, Transportation Systems Center, Cambridge, MA.

Federal, state and city governments may have commissioned – Club cyclist Thomas May of the Pennsylvania DOT, told the 1976 MAUDEP conference (an acronym for the Metropolitan Association of Urban Designers and Environmental Planners) that “the bicycle will probably never live up to its potential as a utilitarian transportation mode in the United States . . . [those with] strong inclinations to expand bicycle facilities should temper their capital investment with the knowledge that the usage will be modest in the immediate future and for some time to come … Class I bikeways present a solution, but in addition to other problems, their adoption in most downtown American cities does not seem politically and physically practical . . . I believe this problem stifles destinational bicycling far more than is recognized and more than most potential bicyclists can or are willing to articulate. . . . Utilitarian biking at significant levels is just not around the corner.” See: Thomas H. May, “The Limited Future of Bicycling in the USA,” MAUDEP Proceedings of the Seminar/Workshop on Planning, Design and Implementation of Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities, Toronto, July 14–16, 1977.

The bike industry executives – Horace Huffman and Fred Smith, quoted in: Bruce D. Epperson, Bicycles in American Highway Planning: The Critical Years of Policy-Making, 1969–1991 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2010).

There is simply no way to create separate bikeway systems – Ibid.


CHAPTER SIX: The Rise and Fall of Vehicular Cycling


“I want to ride my bicycle – “Bicycle Race,” a song written by Freddie Mercury, from the group Queen’s album Jazz, 1978.

 Today the town is better known – Technically, Stanford University is not in Palo Alto . . . it’s in Stanford. But even though Stanford is a separate administrative area it is generally considered to be part of Palo Alto. Xerox’s PARC (Palo Alto Research Center) facility is in Palo Alto, but the headquarters of Xerox is in Connecticut.

Nearly ten percent of those living – American Community Survey 2010–2012, US Census Bureau.

Davis, 100 miles to the north – Bicycling, January 1972.

By May of that year –  “The ABC’s of Creating a Bike Route System,” Bicycling, July 1972.

“It was obvious that – Ibid.

 Palo Alto had had a twenty-seven-mile – Some 65 percent of respondents said they seldom or never used the Palo Alto signed bike route system. See: Bikeways: State of the Art, US Department of Transportation, 1974.

A month after one-man protest – “A cop pulled up beside me while I was riding on Middlefield Road and told me to get on the sidewalk. I carried on riding on the road. ‘You gonna give me a ticket?’ I asked the policeman, and he consented. I got convicted. And then fined. But I appealed. The appellate court didn’t take it on – they didn’t officially appeal but they changed the ordinance to ‘cyclists may ride on the sidewalk.’” From a phone interview with the author, November 23, 2015.

I was driving to work one morning – John Forester, “What about Bikeways?” Bike World, February 1973.

Forester Jnr, an American citizen since 1951 – John Forester’s dictum could be this: “It’s my way or the highway.” He is always right, he believes, and his articles shine with zeal. Such as this one . . .

“Among bikeway advocates are both militant motorists, who want to clear the roadways of cyclists, and militant anti-motorists, transportation reformers, and urban planners, who believe that providing bikeways will cause many motorists to switch to bicycle transportation in the belief that the bikeways will have made cycling safe. This odd mix of concepts I call the bikeway superstition.

“I know of only one valid test of a sidepath system, my own. Palo Alto instituted its mandatory sidepath system along my route to work, which I had used for several years with no problems and no incipient collisions. After I had been convicted of continuing to ride on the roadway, I was hounded by bikeway advocates saying that this system had been instituted for the safety of cyclists and that my ill opinion of it was unfounded.

“One test, properly done, is valid scientific evidence, but repeated tests are better. In this case, there has been only one test. You cannot arbitrarily throw out the data from the only test that exists because you don’t like the results.” (John Forester, Transportation Quarterly, Spring 2001,

“He can’t argue without being rude – Although, to be fair, how many nineteen-year-olds are not like this? See: John Forester, Novelist & Storyteller: The Life of C. S. Forester, self-published, 2000.

(Homestead, Florida, had – “Homestead, Fla. has established bike routes all over town and adults as well as school children ride on safe “bike boulevards.” See: LIFE Magazine, May 10, 1963.

… despite the traffic … they go to desired locations – John Forester, “Planning for Cyclists as They See Themselves Instead of as Motorists See Them,” Civil Engineering Database, American Society of Civil Engineers,

Noguchi, with the help of cycle advocate – Born in Germany to Jewish parents and evacuated to England on Kindertransport in 1938, Ellen Fletcher emigrated to America in 1946 and settled in what would become Silicon Valley, California. In Palo Alto in 1971, she became a vocal bicycle advocate after seeing the danger her son faced when traveling to school. She died in 2013, ten years after a Palo Alto road had been named in her honor – the Bryant Street Bicycle Boulevard became the Ellen Fletcher Bicycle Boulevard. Between 1977 and 1989, Fletcher was a Palo Alto City Council member, and rode to all meetings.

In 2012, she told her story to the League of American Bicyclists:

“I was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1928 and was sent to England ten years later. I don’t remember seeing anyone ride a bicycle in Berlin, but almost everyone, or so it seemed, rode a bicycle in England.

“So I started riding, too. As I grew up I enjoyed riding my bike so much I took many pleasure rides, as well as the regular rides for various errands.

“I moved to New York City in 1946 at the age of seventeen. The extreme crowding on public transit soon enticed me back on a bike, a rarity in the city in those days. I was the only one using the bike racks at Hunter College ‘uptown’ in the Bronx all year round.

“Moving to the California suburbs in 1958 with a baby, I thought my biking days were over. But it wasn’t long before I was again back on the bike, at least for short trips. But those short trips expanded greatly, partly for ideological reasons during the Arab oil boycott.

“When my son entered elementary school here in Palo Alto, I volunteered to be ‘Safety Chair’ for the PTA. That got me started in bicycle advocacy. Bike lanes, under- and over-crossings at major obstacles, bikes on trains and buses and the nation’s first bicycle boulevard.

“At one point, when the city council balked at adopting some bike improvement policies in its General Plan, I decided to run for a seat on the city council myself and served on the Council for twelve years, from 1977 to 1989.”

(See: Carolyn Szczepanksi, “The Passing of a Bicycle Visionary,”

Members of the university’s bicycle advocacy group – Bikeway Planning Criteria and Guidelines, Institute of Transportation and Traffic Engineering , University of California, Los Angeles, (UCLA-ITTE), April 1972.

In an earlier report, faculty members – Robert Sommer and Dale F. Lott, “Bikeways in Action: The Davis Experience,” Congressional Record 117, 10830, Department of Public Works, California Bikeway Planning, April 19, 1971.

Lott and Sommer were quoted – Ibid.

Sommer retorted: “It is – See: Robert Sommer, “Point of View: Bikeways, More Research, Less Rhetoric,” Bicycling, November 1973.

Importantly, this recommended – City of Davis, “Bicycle Circulation and Safety Study,” 1972.

“The laws of 36 States … and the – In the mid-1970s, 36 out of America’s 50 states had a law stating that cyclists “where a useable bicycle path has been provided adjacent to the roadway, bicyclists must use that path.” (Then as now, the definition of “useable” was an eye-of-the-beholder thing.) California was one of the states that did have this law, although some towns and cities did not. The others not to have such a law were Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Virginia. (See: Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Study, Highway Safety Act of 1973, Section 214, US Department of Transportation, March 1975.)

The DOT’s 1974 Bikeways: State of the Art study had – Bikeways: State of the Art 1974 had a section on “cyclists’ perceptions” of bikeways, based on 350 interviews with “randomly selected cyclists on West Coast bikeways.”

… experienced touring or commuting cyclists  – Dan Smith, Jr., Bikeways: State of the Art 1974,  DeLeuw Cather & Company for the Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, July 1974.

Dressed in a red-and-blue costume – Bucky, his 1940s-era side-kick, less so.

“Big man, your bike-stealing days – Urban Bikeway Design Collaborative, Sprocket Man,  Stanford University, California, 1975,

The artist also drew – The original comic can be accessed at

Saekow based the nannying side of Sprocket Man – “Darago was director of Urban Scientific and Educational Research, inc, initiator of the Urban Bikeway Design Collective and the series of Urban Bikeway Design Competitions. Taught bicycling at Stanford University. Developed the Sprocketman Comic Book, a safety education tool designed for adult bicyclists, which has sold 250,000 copies to date.” (See: Regional Workshops on Bicycle Safety: Presentations, Participant Problems, Programs and Ideas, and Recommendations, Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1978,

While studying aerospace engineering – Vincent S. Darago, Charles M. McCuen, “Urban Vehicle Design Competition – History, Progress, Development,” SAE International, February 1972,

The Urban Vehicle Design Competition was – The Urban Bikeway Design Collaborative (or Collective) evolved into a for-profit consultancy, the Urban Scientific and Educational Corporation (USER) in 1978, formed by Lyle Brecht and Vince Darago.

Bizarrely, the CPSC’s version of Sprocket Man did not – See:

(The CPSC spoilsports also – In 2002, the Stanford Department of Parking and Transportation Services went back to Louis Saekow to create a newer, updated Sprocket Man safety campaign – instead of the red and blue costume, the 2002 Sprocket Man was dressed in blue and gold. (See: Stanford University is a platinum-level “Bicycle Friendly University” as awarded by the League of American Bicyclists.

Durago’s Urban Bikeway Design Collaborative later  – Lyle Brecht and Vince Darago of the Urban Bikeway Design Collaborative/Collective also published the 136-page Bikeways Design Atlas and, via Urban Scientific and Educational Research Corporation, the 72-page Cyclateral Thinking. They were awarded a $48,000 NHTSA contract to organize bicycle safety workshops around the United States, with Katie Moran acting as NHTSA’s project manager.

In Regional Workshops on Bicycle Safety: Presentations, Participant Problems, Programs and Ideas, and Recommendations, Darago and his coauthor, John Williams, explain:

“The Consumer Product Safety Commission is responsible for the injuries which result from the use of consumer products. The CPSC National Electronic Injury Surveillance System projected almost one-half million injuries related to bicycle accidents. . . . This makes the bicycle the consumer product with the greatest frequency of injury associated with it . . . [this] made the bicycle a number one product for attention by the CPSC. . . . In 1973 the Federal Department of Transportation and the Department of the Interior took note of the bicycle problem at the Bicycles USA conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Shortly thereafter NHTSA budgeted funds for a major bicycle accident study, and CPSC began a public information effort relating to bicycle safety. In 1977 a bicycle education conference, Bike E 77, was held in Washington, D.C.”

John Williams added: “If a separated path is to be totally separate, including separated intersections, underpass or overpass structures are required. Although desirable, these structures are too expensive for widespread use.” (Vincent Darago and John Williams, Regional Workshops on Bicycle Safety: Presentations, Participant Problems, Programs and Ideas, and Recommendations, Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1978.)

State legislatures occasionally – Ibid.

The 1970s bike boom changed that – TLA, 322. The 1946 MTO repeated the 1944 UVC language, see MTO 1946, section 113 (c).

In 1973, the Department of Transportation published  – “Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Study” (Section 214), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,” Highway Safety Act of 1973.

Persons riding two abreast shall not impede – Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Study, NHTSA, 67; TLA, 324.

And even when cyclists were allowed – Bob Shanteau, “The Marginalization of Bicyclists. How the car lane paradigm eroded our lane rights and what we can do to restore them,” 2013. (See:

Under a 1944 revision  – Section 11-1205 of the Uniform Vehicle Code (UVC 11-1205) stipulates: “Riding on roadways and bicycle paths (a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right-hand side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.” (Uniform Vehicle Code, National Committee on Uniform Laws and Ordinances, Washington, DC, 1968.)

The California Association of Bicycling Organizations commented:

“[W]e believe that removal of § 11-1205(a) is by far the most important change that can be taken to insure that bicyclists have the same rights of the road as other drivers. The deletion of § 11-1205(a) is long overdue, and was first proposed by the NCUTLO Panel on Bicycle Laws in 1975. That report provided a thorough and compelling rationale (with which CABO fully endorses) for the removal of § 11-1205(a) from the UVC.”

What follows is the key finding from the 1975 report of the NCUTLO Panel on Bicycle Laws with regard to § 11-1205(a):

“UVC § 11-301(b) requires all vehicles proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing to stay in the right-hand lane, or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except when passing or preparing for a left turn. This law will effectively require bicycles to stay in the right lane (although it will not require them to stay near the right edge of the roadway) when moving slower than other traffic. This is all that is needed.”



Vehicular cyclist Bob Shanteau claims – Bob Shanteau, “The Marginalization of Bicyclists. How the car lane paradigm eroded our lane rights and what we can do to restore them,” 2013,

In 1970 an appeal was heard – Albrecht v. Broughton, 6 Cal. App. 3d 173 (Cal. App. 1st Dist. 1970),

To counter such miscarriages of justice – A Report on the Status of Bicycling in Maryland, Maryland Citizens’ Bicycle Study Committee, January 1979.

An Ohio court decided in 1975 that bicycles – Townsend v. State, 309 So. 2d 887 (La. App. 3rd Cir. 1975); Vaughn v. Cortland 1980 WL 352137 (Ohio App. 11 Dist. 1980).

A 1978 film financed by General Motors promoted – See: and

A very different approach was taken by – “Only One Road: The Bike-Car Traffic Mix”, American Automobile Association for Traffic Safety,

Historian and academic James Longhurst – James Longhurst, Bike Battles: A History of Sharing the American Road (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2015).

The Pennsylvania Department of Education issued – Of course, cyclists don’t just drive their bicycles – they power them, too. As Olympic cyclist John Howard puts it: “The bicycle is a curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine.” (Howard raced for the United States at the 1968, 1972 and 1976 Summer Olympics, and also once held the land speed record.)

Those infused with this disorder didn’t want cyclists – John Forester, Effective Cycling, 1974.

Bikeways were now surplus to requirements – “Minnesota State Bicycle Committee Report,” 13, 1977.

You can’t expect them to ask for psychological treatment – Bruce Epperson, “The Great Schism: Federal Bicycle Safety Regulation and the Unraveling of American Bicycle Planning,” Transportation Law Journal 37, 2010.

It was real fun, but on the other hand – Jeff Mapes, Pedaling Revolution, (Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University Press, 2009).

Moderates – who say both sides have valid points – That’ll be me, then.

When the congressman started arguing for it – “Authorizes the Secretary to make grants to States and municipalities for the construction of bikeways in urbanized areas. Stipulates that the Federal share of such a project shall be 75 percent of its cost. Authorizes appropriations for such grants for fiscal years 1979 through 1982.” (H.R.11733 – Surface Transportation Assistance Act, 95th Congress (1977–1978),

“When he said cyclists on the roads are – “This Congressman Promotes,” Bicycling, March 1980.

… persuaded legislators and public that merely cycling  – John Forester, Effective Cycling, MIT Press, 1993.

According to academic John Pucher “the most far-reaching impact – John Pucher and Ralph Buehler, City Cycling (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012). It’s interesting that the MIT Press published this book as well as Forester’s Effective Cycling. Pucher and Buehler note “Undoubtedly, a reason for AASHTO’s embrace of VC principles is that they don’t call for any money or roadway space being devoted to bicycling. VC demands are music to their ears: ‘You don’t have to build us any bikeways; in fact, doing so would actually harm cyclists. All bicyclists want is wide roads, smooth pavement, and modified drain covers so that our bicycle wheels won’t get caught.’”

When bicycle traffic increased in the 1960s – John Forester, “The Bicycle Transportation Engineering Organization That Ought to Be,”

As was shown in the previous chapter – The bibles of street design, the Federal Highway Administration’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices and the 1999  American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities, did not focus on protected bicycle paths, leading bicycle-friendly planners, prior to 2011, to turn to the Dutch CROW Design Manual for Bicycle Traffic. In 2011, the National Association of City Transportation Officials published its Urban Bikeway Design Guide, which includes many designs for protected bikeways. The Federal Highway Administration, in August 2013, issued a memorandum officially supporting use of the NACTO design guide. (See: The Urban Bikeway Design Guide (2014) is now in its second edition and is published by Island Press; see:

People assert that vehicular cycling – John Forester, phone interview with author, November 23, 2015.

(In fact, convenience is now baked in to Dutch – “The plan sets the average speed along the main cycle network for distances of 4 to 7 km at a preferable minimum of 16 km/h for at least 85% of journeys made. The travelling time (including stops) by bicycle to the nearest lockable bicycle parking facility . . . is preferably no more than 5 minutes, and a maximum of 10 minutes from the home.” (See: 2005–2020 Municipal Traffic and Transport Plan, Utrecht Municipal Council.)

Even though he no longer cycles – John Forester, phone interview with author, November 23, 2015.

If you don’t fight the government – Phone interview with author, 23rd November 2015.

If you’re a cyclist in America – Eben Weiss, Bike Snob (blog),

… they argue that production of bikeways – John Forester, “LAB Reform,” 2006,


CHAPTER SEVEN: Where It’s Easy to Bike and Drive, Brits and Americans Drive


“Explanations exist; they have existed – H. L. Mencken, “The Divine Afflatus” in New York Evening Mail, November 16, 1917; later published in Prejudices: Second Series, 1920, and A Mencken Chrestomathy, 1949.

The provision of a dense network of car-free cycleways – The Villages, 62 miles from Florida’s Walt Disney World Resort, is a town-sized retirement community known to its residents as the “Disney World for old people.” Few in the town are younger than 55, and more than half of the baby-boomer residents dot around on golf carts; not just on golf courses, but everywhere: to the supermarket, to the doctor’s, to the golf-cart-only petrol station. The Villages is veined with 100 miles of  “golf cart paths,” separate from the road network. The golf carts – some of which are customized to look like Model Ts, fire trucks, or Thunderbirds rescue-vehicles – tootle along at low speeds. Precious few of the 110,000 (mostly white) seniors in town ride bikes: where motoring is easy, even if the motoring is on golf-cart paths, Americans drive. (See:

The Villages is also rife with senior sex says this salacious article from 2014:  There are similar golf-cart-dependent communities elsewhere in the United States, such as Sun City, Arizona, and Peachtree City, south of Atlanta, Georgia, which has 11,000 golf carts for 13,000 households. Kids accompanied by a parent can drive a golf cart at twelve, and by fourteen, they can drive to school alone – avoiding roads thanks to an intricate network of bridges and underpasses.

In the Coachella Valley, east of Los Angeles, there’s a plan to connect some retirement communities with a 45-mile path for golf carts, linking eight towns and hundreds of thousands of people. The Coachella Valley parkway will also be open to use by cyclists (and skaters, joggers and pedestrians), but it’s anticipated that the $100-million parkway will mostly be used by oldies in their golf carts.

Equality of transport mode provision – On equality versus equity, Jeremy Dowsett has this blog posting on “What my bike has taught me about white privilege”:

“I am white. So I have not experienced racial privilege from the ‘under’ side firsthand. But my children (and a lot of other people I love) are not white. And so I care about privilege and what it means for racial justice in our country. And one experience I have had firsthand, which has helped me to understand privilege and listen to privilege talk without feeling defensive, is riding my bike.

“Now, I know, it sounds a little goofy at first. But stick with me. Because I think that this analogy might help some white people understand privilege talk without feeling like they’re having their character attacked.

“Now sometimes it’s dangerous for me because people in cars are just blatantly a—holes to me. If I am in the road – where I legally belong – people will yell at me to get on the sidewalk. If I am on the sidewalk – which is sometimes the safest place to be– people will yell at me to get on the road. People in cars think its funny to roll down their window and yell something right when they get beside me. Or to splash me on purpose. People I have never met are angry at me for just being on a bike in ‘their’ road and they let me know with colorful language and other acts of aggression.

“I can imagine that for people of color life in a white-majority context feels a bit like being on a bicycle in midst of traffic. They have the right to be on the road, and laws on the books to make it equitable, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are on a bike in a world made for cars. Experiencing this when I’m on my bike in traffic has helped me to understand what privilege talk is really about.

“Now most people in cars are not intentionally aggressive toward me. But even if all the jerks had their licenses revoked tomorrow, the road would still be a dangerous place for me. Because the whole transportation infrastructure privileges the automobile. It is born out of a history rooted in the auto industry that took for granted that everyone should use a car as their mode of transportation. It was not built to be convenient or economical or safe for me.

“And so people in cars – nice, non-aggressive people – put me in danger all the time because they see the road from the privileged perspective of a car.

“These folks aren’t aggressive or hostile toward me, but they don’t realize that a pothole or a build up of gravel or a broken bottle, which they haven’t given me enough room to avoid–because in a car they don’t need to be aware of these things–could send me flying from my bike or cost me a bent rim or a flat tire.

“So the semi driver who rushes past throwing gravel in my face in his hot wake isn’t necessarily a bad guy. He could be sitting in his cab listening to Christian radio and thinking about nice things he can do for his wife. But the fact that ‘the system’ allows him to do those things instead of being mindful of me is a privilege he has that I don’t. (I have to be hyper-aware of him).

“This is what privilege is about.  Like drivers, nice, non-aggressive white people can move in the world without thinking about the ‘potholes’ or the ‘gravel’ that people of color have to navigate, or how things that they do – not intending to hurt or endanger anyone – might actually be making life more difficult or more dangerous for a person of color.”

(Extract from: Jeremy Dowsett, “What My Bike Has Taught Me about White Privilege,” A Little More Sauce (blog), August 20, 2014,

The bus service, like some – See:

Columbia’s path network – See:

In 1973, a Maryland newspaper – The Morning Herald, Hagerstown, Maryland, April 11, 1973.

The planning for Rouse’s privately funded – “Merrily We Roll Along” of 1961 was the NBC TV DuPont Show of the Week.  At the time, DuPont owned a 23 percent share in General Motors. Historian Peter Norton believes “America’s love affair with the automobile” trope allowed “motordom” to frame motoring as something that the American people freely and gladly chose for themselves, and that any critics of motoring must be anti-American and, in effect, “enemies of the people.” Norton has said: “Beginning in 1963 the ‘love affair’ metaphor began appearing in mainstream independent commentary, indicating the success of the effort. It has remained ever since. As the ‘car culture’ thesis, it became the leading academic explanation of the extraordinary extent of accommodation of the automobile in the United States.” See: Norton, Peter, “History As a Tool of Agenda Legitimation: U.S. Urban Mobility Trajectories,” Cultural Politics of Sustainable Urban Mobility, Paris, February 2017.

Rufus Choate, Jr, continued – See:

Rouse stressed that the separation – James Rouse, letter to George Russell (Finance Committee, General Motors Corporation),  August, 1964; see:

On what was supposed to be – Rowse was shown around Stevenage and Basildon by J.R. James of the Ministry of Housing.

Rouse’s tour would have been a well-trodden one – A transport study group from Delft University visited Stevenage in November 1989 and was guided around by Claxton. The Dutch infra experts said Stevenage’s cycleway system served “the factories and links are made with each estate, each school. . . . The rule in drawing up and subsequently amending the design criteria in the light of experience has been to produce the maximum attraction and comfort as well as safety for the cyclist . . .” (Dispuut Verkeer is the association for students of the master programs Transport & Planning and Road & Railway Engineering of the faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences of Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands. (See: Dispuut Verkeer Study Tour, England–France, October 30–November 8, 1989,

There were also visits from cycle advocacy organizations such as the Washington Area Bicyclist’s Association. The WABA chairman and editor of the organization’s *Ride On!!” magazine visited in 1993, “during which they took 6 hours of tape and a quantity of still and moving pictures.”  (See: British Cycling Bureau’s Consultant’s Report, June 1973.)

According to Tim Jones, an academic expert  – Jones is a Research Fellow at Oxford Brookes University.

… provided with their own segregated junction – Tim Jones,  The Role of National Cycle Network Traffic-Free Paths in Creating a Cycling Culture, Oxford Brookes University, unpublished thesis, 2008.

Stevenage was planned by Eric Claxton – “For the four years before the war I cycled nine miles every morning and evening to and from my office, doing something like 4,000 miles a year in the Surrey Hills. . . .” said Claxton. (See: Journal of the Royal Society of Arts, January 1968.)

Construction of the cycleway network was given – Stevenage Master Plan, 1966; see:

By 1964 cycle use was down to thirteen percent – Stephen Ward, Peaceful Path: Building Garden Cities and New Towns (Hatfield, UK: University of Hertfordshire Press, 2016).

Claxton was chief engineer of Stevenage for the ten years – Eric Claxton, The Hidden Stevenage, The Creation of the Substructure of Britain’s First New Town (Leicester, UK: The Book Guild, 1992). Claxton has also written a number of articles about Stevenage.

See also: “Designing a new town for cyclists and pedestrians,” paper presented to International Federation of Pedestrians, 1973; “Designing for pedestrians and cyclists”, paper presented to the Institute of Civil Engineers’ Conference, November 1975, and reported in the Proceedings, Thomas Telford Ltd., London, 1976; “The cost of crossing the road contrasted with the price paid by the community,” paper presented to the International Federation of Pedestrians, Geiolo, Norway, 1976.

Claxton complained that he had provided – Eric Claxton, The Hidden Stevenage, The Creation of the Substructure of Britain’s First New Town, (Leicester, UK: The Book Guild, 1992).

The leaflet wasn’t for local consumption –  The 1975 leaflet was forwarded to me by Jan Ploeger, a Dutch cycle campaigner in the 1970s, who visited Stevenage on a study tour. He is now a programme manager for South Holland and gives talks at “Go Dutch” cycling conferences.

The result said the writer, incorrectly, is that – Roy Bongartz, “The Great Outdoors: Cycling on the Enemy’s Turf”, New York Times, April 16, 1972.

The borough council’s cycle strategy – Stevenage Cycling Strategy, Stevenage Borough Council, 2002. (See

Dr. Alex Moulton, designer of the eponymous bicycle – Alex Moulton, Journal of the Royal Society of Arts, January 1968.

Mr. Claxton was a keen cyclist – Eric Claxton, The Hidden Stevenage, The Creation of the Substructure of Britain’s First New Town (Leicester, UK: The Book Guild, 1992).

“I did them for people –  Richard North, “Transport for the Future,” Vole, December 1977. Vole was a British environmentalist magazine published between 1977 and 1980. It was a cross between The Ecologist and Private Eye, and shared many of the same contributors and cartoonists. It was seed-funded by Monty Python’s Terry Jones.

CTC wanted nothing to do with cycle tracks – Eric Claxton, The Hidden Stevenage, The Creation of the Substructure of Britain’s First New Town (Leicester, UK: The Book Guild, 1992).

The cycle tracks he worked on – Ibid.

“However, organised cycling changed – Eric Claxton, “Design for Pedestrians and Cyclists,” Paper 12, Transport for Society, Institution of Civil Engineers, 1975.

He gave talks in US New Towns – Eric Claxton gave a talk about Stevenage in Reston, in Fairfax County, Virginia, in 1975. Reston is an “edge city” new town development, close to Washington, DC. The town has a 55-mile network of car-free paths open to pedestrians and cyclists. Reston was conceived as a planned community by Robert E. Simon. It was founded on April 10, 1964 (Simon’s fiftieth birthday) and named for his initials, RES. See:,RecreationEvents/Pathways/tabid/418/Default.aspx.

British local authorities asked Claxton to evaluate – “Home of the Bike,” 1974 report commissioned by the Nottingham Corporation, predecessor of Nottingham City Council, and Raleigh Industries Ltd., Nottingham, Nottingham City Corporation and Raleigh Industries Ltd., Nottingham. See also: Eric Claxton, “Cycleways of Stevenage & Cycleways of Portsmouth,” Urban Traffic Research Report, Special Edition, Vol. 9: Report on the 1980 Velo City Conference, Bremen Federal German Traffic Ministry, 1981.

In 1968 Dutch architect Rob Derks –  See:

It wasn’t expanded or improved – The Cambridge Cycleways Report of 1975, penned by Claxton, said the modal-share for cycling in Stevenage in 1971 was 9 percent. But this has to be taken with a pinch of salt because the modal-share for cycling in Stevenage in the 1960s and 1970s was often combined with the moped’s modal-share, as though these two modes – one unpowered – were somehow the same. Claxton believed the two modes were complementary, and often talked of them in the same breath.

He added: “On the basis of cost-effectiveness – House of Lords debate, April 21, 1993.

Maybe a cycle-friendly New Town built in the future – I have been told that Cycling England did not know about Stevenage’s cycleways system when the quango was seeking “demonstration towns” where quick wins would lead to templates for other towns and cities to follow.

Yet despite all the best efforts – “Build it and they will come” is a favorite phrase of many cycle advocates, meaning install cycle infrastructure and people on bikes will flock to it. It would be more accurate – although not quite so pithy – to say “build meaningful, dense and well-connected cycle networks in the right places, where people want to go, avoiding where they don’t want to go, protected where necessary, and then maintain them and market them over a long period while also identifying and fixing any weak links, and they will come.”

Stevenage didn’t generate a cycling revolution – Rachel Aldred is an award-winning sociologist at Westminster University’s Department for Planning and Transport. Her quote is from e-mail correspondence with the author, February 20, 2013.

The houses for these heroes and former slum-dwellers – As originally envisaged, there was one garage per eight houses. See:

These cycle-cupboards – The conversion of cycle-storage cupboards has a modern equivalent. The Staiths South Bank housing development in Gateshead was built in the early years of the twenty-first century, and was designed by Red or Dead designers Wayne and Geraldine Hemingway as a “Homezone,” equivalent to the Dutch Woonerf. Houses were limited to a single car-parking space, and they were provided with communal bicycle-storage units. These units were emblazoned with large bicycle icons. Few today contain bicycles. See:

In 1992, Claxton warned – Eric Claxton, The Hidden Stevenage, The Creation of the Substructure of Britain’s First New Town (Leicester, UK: The Book Guild, 1992). Claxton toured the world giving talks on Stevenage’s cycling infrastructure. One of his talks in California was attended by the vehicular cycling proponent John Forester, who told me in a phone call (November 23, 2015) that the infrastructure in Stevenage “ain’t used, is it? Motoring’s too easy.”

If you create a system – See:

(Car ownership in the Netherlands is – Cees Louisse, “Quantifying and communicating the effects of bicycle policy,” Traffic Research Centre, Rijkswaterstaat, The Netherlands, Proceedings of the 8th Velo-City Conference, Basel, Switzerland, September 1995.

“Together with my colleagues, I am – Sir Reg Goodwin, Design, January 1, 1974.

Cyclists in London’s busy and congested traffic – Living with traffic, Transport in London Series, Greater London Council, 1973.


CHAPTER EIGHT: How the Dutch Really Got Their Cycleways


“It must be considered thatThe Prince and The Discourses, Niccolò Machiavelli, 1513.

those waiting are advised to Go Dutch – See:

Brides, grooms – An Amsterdammer “walking” his dog by bicycle can be seen in this short 1950 film on YouTube. It also shows the sheer density of cycle traffic at the time (there’s also a rather dangerous looking race between a bunch of bakers on bikes). “1950: Amsterdam, Stad van Fietsers & Fietsen – oude filmbeelden.” See:

At a University of Amsterdam summer school – “Planning the Cycling City,” Summer School, Graduate School of Social Sciences, University of Amsterdam,

I found myself riding behind – Pete Jordan, In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist, Harper Collins, 2012.

(Keep up to speed with – See:; see also:

“DUTCH CYCLING infrastructure is more than 41 years – See:

Another writes that “the 1970s was the decade – See:

We’re not forty or so years – Speaking academically, this chapter is a prime example of “path dependence,” a chain of (historical) events that led on from one another, domino-fashion. In short, the Dutch have cycleways because The Netherlands was the world’s leading cycle nation by 1905 and, even when motoring challenged cycling, the levels of bike use in the country was so high that even large drops in use still left high modal splits for cycling. Cycling’s die was therefore cast in the early 1900s in the Netherlands, and this led to self-reinforcement as Dutch people came to identify cycling as a national trait. Of course, there is no such thing as “cycling DNA” but the theory of path dependence suggests that cycling use can, and indeed does, cascade down the generations, with grandparents passing on their normal, everyday use of cycles to children and grandchildren and so on. Cycling became embedded in Dutch culture, normal, multi-generational, uncontroversial. In many other countries cycling’s path dependence was easier to deflect. Outside of the Netherlands motoring’s path dependence was stronger and that’s what became normal, multi-generational and uncontroversial. As well as paths taken it’s also important to understand the paths not taken. As I show in chapter 5, the United Kingdom and the United States might have developed everyday cycling cultures in the 1970s, had conditions been more favorable. These Dutch-style cultures did not develop, partly because of motoring’s path dependency and partly because of choices not taken at the time, such as jettisoning plans for extensive cycleways.

Britain’s Department for Transport started life – The forerunner to the Department of Ways and Communications was the Roads Board of 1909 and various railway bodies before that. The DOT’s ancestry goes back to the Office of Road Enquiry founded in 1893. While the federal body wasn’t created until the 1960s individual states have had their own transportation departments for longer.

The Dutch equivalent is the – It was founded as the Bureau voor den Waterstaat, the Office of Public Works, or literally the “National Office of Water”. See:

The Chinese famously take the long view of history – During Richard Nixon’s visit to Beijing in 1972, the Chinese premier, Zhou Enlai, was asked about the impact of the French Revolution. Zhou famously commented that it was “too early to say.” It’s probable that he actually misheard the question, but the answer was too apposite to debunk.

As an English author observed in 1851 – Twynihoe William Erle, A Pipe of Dutch Kanaster, 1851.

An editorial in  – “Nederlands rijkdom aan rijwielpaden,” De Kampioen, January 12, 1935.

We rarely talked to the Minister of Transport – Han van Spanje, Fietsersbond Haarlem & IJmuiden and former chair of the Stop De Kindermoord campaign, interview with the author, February 2015.

“Cycling is a fundamental part of Dutch culture – See:

Even though plenty of Dutch people self-identifyCycling and the Dutch: An ever-growing love affair, Dutch Knowledge Institute of Mobility Management, 2015.

And, according to the author of Why the Dutch Are Different, the –  Ben Coates, Why the Dutch Are Different: A Journey into the Hidden Heart of the Netherlands, Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2015.

WHAT’S NOT in doubt – London was one of the earliest cities to build great numbers of raised sidewalks (known as pavements or footpaths in the United Kingdom) – Holborn was paved in 1417. Streets directed to be paved in 1539 were described to be “very foul, and full of pits and sloughs, very perilous and joyous, as well for the King’s subjects on horseback as on foot, and with carriages.” See: “A Looking-Glass for London – No. VII. Paving, Lighting, Water, Sewers,” The Penny Magazine of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, March 18, 1837.

In 1724, a House of Commons Committee remarked that the streets of London were “very much neglected, and ill paved, and that a proper Care has not been taken of the Levels and Declivities; and the Steepness and Depths of the Channels make it extremely difficult and dangerous for all Wheel-carriages that pass through the same: That the Dirt and Soil, for Want of being properly taken and carried away, lie so thick, all over the Pavements, that the Streets are become now scarce passable for Foot-passengers.” See House of Commons Journal, Vol. 20, March 3, 1724.

In 1754, John Spranger published a plan for better paving in London because of “broken or irregular Pavements . . . Foulness and Darkness of our Streets – scarcely passable in Carriages with Safety . . . frequent and melancholy Distresses and Disasters . . . fatal Mischiefs’ daily ‘to Men and Cattle’ [i.e., horses], the ‘Quantity of Filth . . . so great, that Man and Beast, in some Places, can hardly wade through it.” See: John Spranger, A Proposal or Plan for an Act of Parliament for the Better Paving, Lighting, Cleansing…of the City and Liberty of Westminster, 1754.

Spranger’s call was picked up by reformer and philanthropist Jonas Hanway (the first Londoner to carry an umbrella, and who was much mocked by cartoonists for doing so). In a biography of Hanway it was said that: “It is not easy to convey to a person who has not seen the streets of this metropolis, before they were uniformly paved, a tolerable idea of their inconvenience and unseemliness. The carriageways were full of cavities, which harboured water and filth . . . The footpaths were universally incommoded, even where they were so narrow as only to admit of one person passing at a time, by a row of posts set on edge next the carriage way.” See: John Pugh, Remarkable Occurrences in the Life of Jonas Hanway, London, 1787.

Hanway’s promptings led to the Westminster Paving Act of 1762 which saw the improvement of streets west of Temple Bar. Responsibility for the roads and footpaths in front of houses (house-owners were “frontagers”) was switched to paving commissioners. Carriageways were leveled, sidewalks were raised above the level of the carriageway and paved with Aberdeen granite. Street lights and street signs were also erected. Houses were numbered. Sidewalk posts were plucked out. The cost for these improvements fell on a levy on those householders who benefited from them. See: House of Commons Journal, Vol. 29, pp233-8, March 15, 1762. 2 Geo. III c21 London Streets Act 1762, subsequently explained and enlarged by 3 Geo. III c23, 4 Geo. III c39, 5 Geo. III c50, and 6 Geo. III c54. All via Sidney and Beatrice Webb, English Local Government: Statutory Authorities for Special Purposes, 1922.

Once sidewalks were built it seems that pedestrians preferred them to the bumpy macadamised roads or the rutted earthen roads. Period illustrations show that roads were still treated as areas for pedestrians, and it’s likely that this street-anarchy continued right the way through until the 1920s when cars – finally – pushed pedestrians, and cyclists, aside.

As early as 1595 one-way traffic for carts – Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, December 1880.

The first cycleway in the Netherlands  – See: One of the first purpose-built cycleways in the Netherlands (the one on the Maliebaan was converted to a cycleway) is in Eindhoven, constructed in 1896. Factory owners Jacob Tirion and Robert Carlier wanted a cycleway for their workers. Their textile factory was in the hamlet of Eeneind, between Tongelre (which is now part of Eindhoven) and Nuenen. They had originally choose Eeneind because of the railway station – Nuenen-Tongelre – on the track between Eindhoven and Venlo. On June 3rd, 1896 Carlier wrote a letter to the local municipal-board of Nuenen asking for permission to create a bicycle path next to the road that runs from the railway station to the center of Nuenen. The board agreed and the track was created. It was built as a smooth path using coal-ash and clay but was also used by horse carriages, quickly rutting it. In November of the same year Carlier wrote again to the local municipal-board, this time asking for permission to place wooden poles between the road and the bicycle path. This would separate the cyclists from other wheeled traffic. Permission was granted – Carlier paid for the poles. The cycleway was 3 kilometres long and ran from the railway station to the center of Nuenen, close to where the statue of Vincent van Gogh stands. (Van Gogh often took the train from the Nuenen-Tongelre railway station.) The railway station was demolished in 1972 and from the original bicycle path only the 200m piece on the Stationsweg in front of the railway station remains. “Fietspaden van Weleer,” De Drijhornickels, December 2007, provided and translated by Aad Streng.

This gravel cycle path was created – See:

In 1898 The Spectator reported that  – The Spectator, December 31, 1898.

Later this cycling club hired its own road engineer – Anne-Katrin Ebert,  “When cycling gets political. Building cycling paths in Germany and the Netherlands, 1910–40,” The Journal of Transport History, Vol. 33, No. 1, June 2012.

Sociologist Peter Cox has said – Peter Cox, “The Co-Construction of Cycle Use: Reconsidering mass use of the bicycle,” paper presented at Re/Cycling Histories: Users and the Paths to Sustainability in Everyday Life, Rachel Carson Center, Munich, May 27–29, 2011. The Rachel Carson Center is named for the American author of Silent Spring, one of the key eco-awakenings books of the 1960s.

Six years later the bicycle total – Dr. Adri A. Albert de la Bruhèze and Frank C.A. Veraart,“Fietsverkeer in praktijk en beleid in de twintigste eeuw” (“Cycle Traffic in Practice and Policy in the Twentieth Century”), in Stichting Historie der Techniek, Hg. Mi­nisterie van Verkeer en Waterstaat, The Hague, 1999.

Cycle historian Kaspar Hanenbergh has said – Kaspar Hanenbergh is a controller at the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, based in The Hague. He is a member of Historische Rijwielvereniging de Oude Fiets, the Dutch veteran cycling club. See: Kaspar Hanenbergh and Michiel Röben, Ons Stalen Ros, Nederlandstalig, 2015.

The first was formed in March 1914 in the Gooi and Eemland region – Anne-Katrin Ebert, “When cycling gets political. Building cycling paths in Germany and the Netherlands, 1910–40,” The Journal Of Transport History, vol. 33, no. 1, June 2012.

The excellence of Dutch bike paths was featured – Radmarkt has been published since 1886, and is still being mailed to the industry today.

In each street there is . . .a specially designed “clinker” pavement– Clinker is a type of Dutch brick – a “clinker pavement” is a brick road.

We have to thank the efforts of the [ANWB] for the – Volker Briese, “From Cycling Lanes to Compulsory Bike Path: Bicycle Path Construction in Germany, 1897–1940,”  Proceedings, 5th International Cycle History Conference, 1994.

In 1921, the Times of London noted “the enormous – G. A. Pos, “Cycling. For Business and Pleasure. Ideal Road Conditions,” (London) Times,  December 6, 1921.

“That endless, unbroken row of three, four cyclists – “Het verkeer in Amsterdam,” De Telegraaf, April 15, 1922, quoted in Pete Jordan, In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist,  Harper Collins, 2012.

On main roads cyclists accounted – Bruheze and Veraart, 1999.

This would form an important basis for the ‘survival’ of – Trine Agervig Carstensens and Anne-Katrin Ebert, “Cycling Cultures in Northern Europe: From Golden Age to Renaissance,”  in Cycling and Sustainability, ed. John Parkin, Emerald Group, 2012.

“Everyone in Holland cycles,” opined – “Hollanders Keep Roads in Excellent Condition,” quoting from Christian Science Monitor, Bedford Gazette, Pennsylvania, February 22, 1924.

In 1928, an American journalist wrote – “One Land Keeps the Bicycle,” New York Times, July 2, 1928.

“In Holland, this right has remained –  “Een Duitscher in de bollenvelden,” De Leidsche Courant, April 28, 1933, quoted in Pete Jordan, In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist,  Harper Collins, 2012.

I have seen various things in my time – Via Pete Jordan, In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist,  Harper Collins, 2012.

An American travel journalist writing in 1934 wondered “if there – Travel, June 1934, cited in: David Herlihy, Bicycle, Yale University Books, 2004.

No other country has started earlier with such an elaborate – Algemeen Handelsblad, March 17, 1935; see:

(By contrast, in the same year – See:

And while Dutch cycleways were found – Federatie van Nederlandsche Rijwielpadvereningen, 1938.

The following day he was shot – Via: Pete Jordan, In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist, Harper Collins, 2012.

I had almost forgotten a bike could – “Het land der velocipedisten,” De Groene Amsterdammer, July 13, 1940. Via: Pete Jordan, In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist, Harper Collins, 2012.

“More discipline will be expected – “Fietsers rechts van de weg!,” De Telegraaf, November 29, 1941. Via: Pete Jordan, In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist, Harper Collins, 2012.

A German report marveled that “if the bicycle seizure – Via: Pete Jordan, In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist, Harper Collins, 2012.

This is the sort of infrastructure that, in the – See:

(However, a grade-separated roundabout – See:;

“You’ll think the Lord has unloosed a plague of cycles upon Holland – Sydney Clark, All the Best in Holland, Dodd, Mead, 1950.

“The visitor must . . . be careful of the countless cyclists – Nagel Travel Guide Series: Holland, 1964.

His party won a seat on the – Herman Hofhuizen, “De kleine partij,” De Tijd, March 25, 1963. Via: Pete Jordan, In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist, Harper Collins, 2012.

“Traffic cannot be constrained by half measures,” stated – Nieuwsblad van het Noorden, November 6, 1965.

“The general public particularly appreciates – Utrechts Nieuwsblad,  November 3,1966.

In the same year and the same city, and to – See:

“If we had strong political leadership – “Mindful of Oil and Ecology, Dutch Are Returning to Bicycles by the Millions,” New York Times, November 2, 1975.

“It’s natural to cycle, but – Miriam van Bree, quoted in Dara Colwell, “Riding to the Rescue,” Village Voice, August 29, 2005. Via: Zack Furness,One Less Car: Bicycling and the Politics of Automobility, Temple University Press, 2010.

1965 saw the birth of the “Provos”, a light-hearted arty anarchist-leaning group – There were other even more radical – and violent – anarchist groups in this period elsewhere in the world, including the Symbionese Liberation Army in the United States, the Red Army Faction in Germany, the first of the Red Brigades in Italy. Britain had the Angry Brigade, which in 1971, bombed (among other targets), the Biba fashion boutique. “If you’re not busy being born, you’re busy buying,” complained one of the communiques from the group. “In fashion as in everything else, capitalism can only go backwards – they’ve nowhere to go – they’re dead.”

The Provos, said the piece, were protesting  – “Dadaists In Politics,” New York Times, October 2, 1966.

There’s but one solution for the parking problem – Het Parool, May 7, 1970. Via: Pete Jordan, In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist, Harper Collins, 2012.

In a follow-up piece on the Provos in the – John L. Hess, “Avant-Garde Right at Home in Amsterdam, City of Canals and Bicycles Is Also a Hippie Haven,” New York Times, January 11, 1969.

IN 1971, Dutch motorists killed  – Simone Langenhoff was killed near her home in the village of Helvoirt on October 14, 1971. The speeding driver was given a paltry fine. Vic Langenhoff wrote his polemic the following year after having done a great deal of research on similar preventable tragedies. “Stop de Kindermoord” appeared in De Tijd (“The Time”) on September 20, 1972, and announced that a new pressure group had been founded. Langenhoff wrote: “[The Netherlands] chooses one kilometre of motorway over 100 kilometers of safe cycle paths. . . . There’s no pressure group? Let’s starts one. Parents of little victims, worried parents of potential little victims should unite!”

Led by Maartje  – van Putten was the first president of Stop de Kindermoord. She later became a Member of the European Parliament (between 1989 and 1999).

The Dutch Institute for Road Safety Research reports  – “After a rise in the 1950s and 1960s, the number of road deaths in the Netherlands has shown a gradual decline since 1973. After a number of 570 road deaths in 2013 and 2014, the Netherlands counted 621 road deaths in 2015. More than a third of the fatalities are car occupants (224), a near third are cyclists (185). Measured by the population size, relatively many fatalities occur among young people and young adults (16–24 years) and among the elderly (65+), whereas relatively few children (0–15 years) are killed in traffic.” (See:

The “Wijkgroep de Pijp” –  See:

Western Avenue had a starring role – See:

A procession of 250 strong crossed and re-crossed  – The West Australian, July 22, 1937.

The newsreel added – See:;

A poster carried by a pram-pushing woman – Daily Herald, July 29th, 1938,

A procession led by Reverend Race Godfrey filed – Edward Platt, Leadville, Pan Macmillan, 2000.

“Local people should insist that children should – The editor of De Beaver at the time was the gloriously named Mrs. Doffy Weir. The De Beauvoir Association was founded in 1967 by two journalists from the Times, Robin Young and Stuart Weir.

Residents “argued strongly” that De Beauvoir Road and – “Close De Beauvoir Rd to through-traffic,” De Beaver, Number Four, December 1971.

A plan for road closures drawn up by residents – “Road plan goes on show,” De Beaver, Number Five, January 1972.

“Let’s get ready to protest – “GIA plan delayed,” De Beaver, Number Eight, October 1972.

The banner slogans included “This road is unfit for children” and – From a caption to a photograph, De Beaver, Number 15, April 1974.

One mum replied – “Militant Mums Demand Action Now,” De Beaver, Number 16, June 1974.

Some of the roads which the campaigners – @Hackneycyclist, “41 years after the residents of De Beauvoir campaigned to close Tottenham Road to through traffic their campaign is finally successful,”

Fellow advocate Jonathan Maus – Clarence Eckerson Jr., “Groningen: The World’s Cycling City,” October 9th, 2013,

Furthermore, says Wagenbuur – “Groningen: Cycling City of the Netherlands?”, Bicycle Dutch (blog), March 8, 2016,

In 1972, there were 3.5 million cars, 1.85 million mopeds – Julie Anna Fee, European Experience in Pedestrian and Bicycle Facilities,  US Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, 1974.

BRITON DAVID HEMBROW moved to Assen with – See:

They are used [for] transportation  – Rob Van der Plas, “Some Call It Paradise: Bicycling in Holland,”  in: Krausz and Krausz, The Bicycle Book, The Dial Press, 1982.

He added that the cycleway network of Assen – H. P. Koenig, “Seeing Holland on a two-wheeler,” Chicago Tribune, May 2, 1976.

Cycling study tours of Assen – Despite the great number or rural cycleways, the center of Assen in the 1970s was nowhere near as dense with cycleways as it is today, as can be seen from this film from 1979:

“The planning of the cycleway goes back to 1973 – The three shopping streets were Prins Hendrikstraat, Witte de Withstraat and Piet Heinstraat.

(This is a complaint many of today’s cycle advocates in – Retailers in many countries believe the majority of people travel to their stores by car. Study after study has shown this to be largely incorrect. When quizzed, retailers often overstate the numbers who they think drive; and understate modes such as walking, cycling and taking public transit. Removing cars from shopping streets often increases trade. For instance, a 2015 study of Queen Street West in Toronto’s Parkdale neighborhood found that half of the local business owners estimated that more than 25 percent of their customers arrived by car. In fact, it was 4 percent. And the number for those who walked or cycled? 72 percent. (See: Chan, M., Gapski, G., Hurley, K., Ibarra, E., Pin, L., Shupac, A. & Szabo, E. (November 2016). Bike Lanes, On-Street Parking and Business in Parkdale: A study of Queen Street West in Toronto’s Parkdale Neighbourhood, Toronto, Ontario.

“After consultations … retailers were prepared – The Hague Cycleway Pilot Project, 1975–1979, Ministry of Transport and Public Works of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

But that’s not how they do it in – See:;

… separate facilities are only part of the solution. Dutch . . . cities – John Pucher and Ralph Buehler, Making Cycling Irresistible: Lessons from the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany, Transport Reviews, Vol. 28, Rutgers University, 2008,

In a 1992 referendum in Amsterdam residents voted to make car use less convenient. Parking spaces were reduced, costs for parking were increased, and politicians could openly talk about making the city center almost totally car-free. See: [TK] April 16, 1992.

The Dutch Cycling Embassy is a public-private – See:

On riding upon the cycleway – which is embedded – See:

Meredith Glaser, a cycle-infrastructure consultant – See:



EPILOGUE: New York City’s Protected Bikeways: Then and Now


Koch became mayor and Gurin became – Interview with Ed Koch:

The painted lanes – three miles in length – “Avenue of Americas and Broadway to Get a Special Bike Lane,” New York Times, July 7th, 1978.

“We want to make people realize that bicycle riding – “Mid-Manhattan Bikeways a Cyclist’s Wish Coming True: Part of Energy Conservation 200 Bicycles an Hour,” New York Times, August 7, 1978.

The newspaper said the city was “studying ways of segregating – “Koch Plans to Keep the Measures That Cut Congestion During Strike,” New York Times, April 15, 1980.

In August, raised islands started to be installed – Samuel Schwartz, Street Smart: The Rise of Cities and the Fall of Cars, Public Affairs, 2015.

The two-foot-wide islands –  “Bike Lane Bruises Some Feelings on Its Way Uptown,” New York Times, August 22, 1980.

Archival photos show that  – As well as photos there’s a film shot in 2002 which shows some of the poor quality bike infrastructure in New York. It was shot by Clarence Eckerson, then of BikeTV, now the principal of Streetfilms. See:

But Koch warned that if an unspecified “larger” number – “Koch Opens 2 Bike Lanes Already Used to Cyclists,” New York Times, October 16, 1980.

Cyclists said the lanes were infrequently used  – “Koch Says He’s Prepared to Get Rid of Bicycle Lanes,” New York Times, November 12, 1980.

“According to recent tests on the Avenue – “Koch Says He’s Prepared to Get Rid of Bicycle Lanes,” New York Times, November 12, 1980.

Gurin responded: “There always are problems – “Koch Says He’s Prepared to Get Rid of Bicycle Lanes,” New York Times, November 12, 1980.

Dressed in a suit and wearing – “Koch Opens 2 Bike Lanes Already Used to Cyclists,” New York Times, October 16, 1980.

The previous weekend he had seen – “Koch Says He’s Prepared to Get Rid of Bicycle Lanes,” New York Times, November 12, 1980.

After hearing from Transportation Commissioner  – “Work Crews Remove Bike-Lane Barriers,” New York Times, November 15, 1980.

“Wearing arm bands smeared  – “Work Crews Remove Bike-Lane Barriers,” New York Times, November 15, 1980.

THE REMOVAL of the bikeways was bad – Koch himself continued to travel around the city on his bicycle well into his eighties.

The ban would prevent the riding –“New York to Ban Bicycles on 3 Major Avenues,” New York Times, July 23, 1987.

Charles Komanoff of Transportation Alternatives – Charles Komanoff, “The Bicycle Uprising: Remembering the Midtown Bike Ban 25 Years Later,” September 2012,

Singling out cyclists, a small – See:

“Hundreds of thousands of safe bicycle riders  – “New York to Ban Bicycles on 3 Major Avenues,” New York Times, July 23, 1987.

Cyclists protested the ban – “Beyond a Bicycle Ban,” New York Times, August 1, 1987.

Stuart Gruskin, the messengers’ lawyer said – “Judge Voids Ban on Bikes On 3 Avenues,” New York Times, September 10, 1987.

She tamed Times Square and she (re)installed – Janette Sadik-Khan and Seth Solomonow, Street Fight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution, Viking, 2016.

There’s a wonderful online resource – as well as it’s worthwhile checking out city archives for photos of what streets used to look like. One of the very best is the (English-language) map-and-photo archive for Amsterdam, which lets you wander around the city street-by-street. See:


APPENDIX A: “Bike Boom” Mentions, 1896–2016


But first, let’s zoom out to look – See:

This is an online book-scraping tool – Jean-Baptiste Michel, Erez Lieberman, et al., “Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books,” Science, December 16, 2010.

Sales had increased by up to twenty-five percent – “Lays Boom in Bicycle Sales to Increased Use of Autos,” New York Times, September 9, 1925.

The newspaper added that the exhibition  – “Bicycle Boom,” Time, November 14, 1932.

When, for recreation, horses were replaced – “Business & Finance,” Time, April 30, 1934.

“From Hollywood to Park Avenue, ladies in shorts – The Literary Digest, September 28, 1935.

“The present bicycle boom has put on the road  – Lillian Genn and Ruth Carson, “Free Wheeling,” Colliers Weekly, May 20, 1939.

While many stars cycled for transportation, others –  “Big Boom in Cycling,” The State Journal, Lansing, Michigan, June 7, 1956.

“Big Adult Market is Bringing Euphoria – “Bicycle Business Is Booming: Big Adult Market Is Bringing Euphoria to Industry,” New York Times, August 15, 1971.

A “cycling boom in Japan” in 1971 was the result – Productivity News, vols. 9–13, National Productivity Council of India, 1971.

The list goes on … a new bikeway in Ft. Wayne, Ind. – “National Bike Boom Bouncing Along with No Letup Seen,” Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, August 25, 1972.

Bikeways are being built – “Bike boom in Canada,” The Argus, June 21, 1973.

“Today, bicycles are booming,” said TV presenter – “The Bespoke Bicycle”, This Week in Britain, No. 795, series produced by the Central Office of Information for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 1974. See:

An Associated Press film of 1974 also talked about  – “‪England: the bike boom,” Associated Press, AP Archive. See:

CycleTouring, the magazine from the – “Get Ready for the Bike Boom,” CycleTouring, January 1974.

Newsweek reported that injuries sustained  – Newsweek, Vol. 94, 1979.

The “bicycle boom is bringing in benefits to enterprising local – SPOKES, Summer 1981 newsletter.

“We are in the middle of a cycling boom – Municipal Journal, Public Works Engineer Contractor’s Guide, Ministry of Housing and Local Government, 1981.

A Department of Transport consultation paper puffed – “Cycling: A Consultation Paper,” Department of Transport, 1981.

“Cycling is booming in London with an increase – See:

“It’s National Bike Week and cycling – Simon O’Hagan, “The ride of my life”, The Independent, June 12, 2004.

“Cycling is booming,” said the – See:

“Cycling has boomed,” wrote the BBC’s  – See:

As the issues grow with cars, and emissions, and all – “Boris biking, the Bradley Wiggins way,” The Guardian, March 10, 2016,

Reporting on London’s bike boom – See:



APPENDIX B: How the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute Was Formed from a 1970s-era Cycle Advocacy Organization


It is often assumed that the – The main “anti-helmet” source is the Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation. See:

Today, those in favor – The “helmet issue” is a charged one. Many pro-helmet cycle advocates – such as those in WABA – lobby for safer helmets, but argue against compulsion. The main “anti-helmet” source is the Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation. See:

The BHSI was founded in December 1988, but – The cycle helmet brands were American Safety, MSR, Bell, Cooper, Nestor, Johnson, Protec, Safetec, and Shoei.

Randy Swart, a former State Department – Swart went headfirst through a taxi’s front windscreen while cycling in Washington, DC. He was wearing a helmet at the time, and this crash convinced him that even further that helmets were necessary when cycling.

“Without one, you are always in danger,” wrote  – The WABA Helmet Update, WABA Helmet Committee, vol. 1, no. 1, May, 1983. See:

In June 1980, 22-year-old Washington bicycle  – See:

While the BHSI website acknowledges that  – “While we would all like to believe that a helmet could save a cyclist run over squarely by the wheel of a car, truck or bus, that is not the case.”⁠ (See:

“Some of the manufacturers got worried  – “WABA History (1972–1992),”

But Tom went to the Library of Congress and looked – From “WABA History” plus e-mail communication with the author, September 28, 2016.

“It was reviewed in USA Today … and – Bicycling, March 1983.

WABA also paid for the production – “WABA History (1972-1992).”

He wrote to advertising associations – Ibid.

The helmet issue is one that can divide – Nobody advocates for wearing helmets while in bed, not even the sleep-walking woman who fell from a balcony. Instead of pushing for bed-helmets she advocates that people on bikes should wear helmets. “Brain injury mum’s plea over cyclists,” Glasgow Evening Times, August 11, 2014,

In a 2013 blog-posting WABA president – See:

In particular Titus wanted – Jim Titus provided this statement by e-mail (October 4, 2016):

“WABA and most cycling organizations in the United States support efforts to improve helmet quality and encourage the voluntary use of helmets, and they oppose laws that require adult cyclists to wear helmets. In 2013, an influential legislator introduced a bill to require cyclists in Maryland to wear helmets, relying in part on a longstanding claim by the federal government that helmets prevent 85 percent of potential head injuries.

“As part of WABA’s efforts to persuade Maryland legislators to not enact a mandatory helmet bill, WABA board member Jim Titus petitioned two federal agencies to stop claiming that helmets prevent 85 percent of head injuries, under the Information Quality Act, which allows citizens to challenge the publication of bad information by government agencies.”

This statistic – pointedly called – R. S. Thompson, F. P. Rivara, D. C. Thompson, “A case control study of the effectiveness of bicycle safety helmets.” New England Journal of Medicine, 1989. A debunking of this study and others can be found at:

Swart continues to claim that  –, and e-mail communication with the author, September 28, 2016.

Disclosure: Bike Boom publisher Island Press – See:



APPENDIX C: Vive la Vélorution!

With almost four-hundred – Montreal is also where, in 2009, modern big-city bike-share schemes really started to take-off. The municipally-owned Bixi (a portmanteau of “bike” and “taxi”) bike-share scheme was modelled on the Vélib scheme in Paris, and an earlier one in Lyon. Bixi was originally owned by the city of Montreal but losses eventually forced the company into bankruptcy. The international division has long been profitable and is now known as PBSC Urban Solutions, with the motto: “Changing the world, one city at a time.” (See: London’s “Boris” bikes were supplied by Bixi, and they are exact facsimiles of the muscular machines first used in Montreal which, sadly, hibernate in winter. See:

The city was twentieth – See:  Among the top cities were 1. Copenhagen. 2. Amsterdam. 3. Utrecht. 14. Buenos Aires. 18. Minneapolis. 20. Montreal. (Montreal was 14th in the 2013 list and 8th in 2011.)

Montreal’s first “stop killing cyclists” demonstration – See:

Signs on the Piste Claire-Morissette state – Morissette also worked to reduce the number of automobiles in Canada by promoting car sharing, initiating the Montreal branch of Communauto in 1994, the oldest car sharing organization in North America. She was also the founder, in 1999, of Cyclo Nord-Sud, an organization that collects and donates used bicycles from all over Quebec, repairs them and sends the bikes to developing countries. In 1994, Morissette published Deux roues, un avenir: le vélo en ville (Two Wheels, a Future: The Bike in the City).

Forward bicycles/Listen to the echoes – “Le Monde à Bicyclette”, Marche

En avant bicyclettes

Écoutez les échoes

L’a’v’nir des bicyclettes

C’est la fin des autos

Le Monde à Bicyclettes

Veut changer la planète

Le Monde a Bicyclettes

Saver la planète

Et le règne des autos

Faut que ça change bientôt

Et partout les vélos

Naurant plus peur des autos

Use novelle planète

Ou partour les athlètes

Gagneront epaulettes

Sous le son des trompettes

C’est la fin du Fléau

Et la fins des complots

Fini la pollution

Car c’est la révolution

Among other things, they campaign – See:


A Book about the Global Growth in Cycling 1905–1980