Check Out The New Trailer

OK, so the first one had a few problems 🙂 Here’s an edited version that fixes:

1. A sound issue.
2. A couple of bad cuts.
3. A copyright issue.
4. Cuts long riding sequence.
5. Adds interview segment that explains things.
6. General tightening.

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Comments 49

  1. Ian Cooper wrote:

    I liked the old version, but I like this one too. If I had a criticism, it would be that the voices at the start, advocating Dutch cycling, are not too clear (although I’m having hearing trouble at the moment, so that may be why), and you calling ‘bullshit’ (which I love by the way), doesn’t come after a clear message showing the BS you’re arguing against. But then again, this may be because these are just excerpts, and not representative of how the finished film will be cut.

    Posted 04 Jul 2012 at 9:47 am
  2. Kevin Love wrote:


    Nice bike! What kind of bicycle are you riding?

    What the video is really showing is that Springfield is a much smaller city with a much lower population density. According to the 2010 USA census, the population of the Springfield Metropolitan Area is 436,712 people, making it the 112th largest city in the USA.

    In comparison, the Greater Amsterdam conurbation has a population of approximately 7 million, making it the largest urban area in The Netherlands.

    Yes, in the big cities, there is a lot more traffic on the streets and people are less polite to each other. And some people are obnoxious jerks. Not just in Amsterdam, but also in cities in the USA such as New York.

    A Dutch city that is much more comparable to Springfield is Groningen. Not only comparable in size, but Groningen is also a university city.

    Here is a video taken in nearby Assen. That’s where I would rather be cycling!


    Posted 04 Jul 2012 at 6:03 pm
  3. Ian Cooper wrote:

    If the city of Groningen allows cyclists to ignore all bicycle facilities and use the road if they prefer to do so, and if cyclists there are considered to be vehicle operators with the exact same right to use the road as motorists, then I would rather cycle there than Springfield. Unfortunately for your argument, it does not. Bicycle facility use is mandatory on many roads throughout the Netherlands. Missouri has no such requirement.

    Posted 04 Jul 2012 at 6:27 pm
  4. Ian Cooper wrote:

    Also, I don’t think Andy’s main point is to make a comparison of two similar-sized cities. I think his overriding point is that there are many places in the US that are easier (or just as easy) to cycle in than the so-called bicycle utopia’ that is the Netherlands.

    People hold the Netherlands up to be this cycling paradise, when there are clearly many problems with cycling there that are glossed over by advocates of bicycle facilities – problems that would be very much disliked if they were brought to the US – the loss of road rights is a big one.

    Posted 04 Jul 2012 at 6:48 pm
  5. Andy Cline wrote:

    Ian… Yes. That is exactly my point. The trailer shows bits of a ride I took a few mornings ago — a weekday — from 7:00 to 9:30. All of it looks exactly like you see there. What need is there of bike lanes or tracks on such streets? None! Yet advocates point to Amsterdam and say “Give us that!” The reason more people are not riding bicycles on our well-maintained, quite streets (with largely polite motorists) is because our culture says it is an odd thing to do. No amount of infrastructure will change that. That’s where this film is going.

    Also re: sound quality. It would have been better if I had asked someone with a deep voice to do the typical movie trailer thing. I had to settle for my speaking then editing the pitch 🙂

    Posted 04 Jul 2012 at 9:24 pm
  6. Ian Cooper wrote:

    Maybe you could get James Earl Jones to reprise his Darth Vader role (with some altered dialogue):

    “I find your lack of faith (in Netherlands bicycle facilities) disturbing”

    Posted 04 Jul 2012 at 10:07 pm
  7. Kevin Love wrote:


    There are many roads in Missouri in general and Springfield in particular from which cyclists are banned by law. For example, I-44, the James River Freeway and the Schoolcraft Freeway.

    I suggest that you do enough research to familiarise yourself with a place before you post information that is just plan wrong.

    Posted 05 Jul 2012 at 6:13 am
  8. Ian Cooper wrote:

    Kevin, everywhere in the world has limited-access roads and high speed motorways that cyclists are prohibited from using. That’s not the same thing, and you know it.

    The Netherlands has many low-speed non-limited-access roads on which cycling is prohibited. You ought to know that too. In pretending that’s not the case, and in trying to equate limited access highway restrictions to what is the case in the Netherlands, you are doing precisely what you were accusing Andy of doing – i.e. equating apples with oranges.

    Posted 05 Jul 2012 at 7:52 am
  9. Robert wrote:


    Bicyclists in Springfield aren’t banned from any of those roads. They are banned from the travel lanes of the Interstate but not the shoulders.

    There is no state or federal law that prohibits them from the freeways, but Springfield may have it’s own law that I’m not familiar with.

    Posted 05 Jul 2012 at 8:06 am
  10. Robert wrote:

    I should mention that they are “banned” from the travel lanes by way of a minimum speed limit, but not because there is a special ban on bicyclists.

    Most people think that bicyclists are banned from Interstates by federal law. Not true. It’s left up to the states to regulate it. Missouri has never made it illegal and so it’s perfectly legal to ride down the shoulders.

    People assume that it’s illegal because they’ve seen signs posted along on-ramps that say that bicyclists are prohibited…….but they’ve never seen those in Missouri.

    Posted 05 Jul 2012 at 8:09 am
  11. Robert wrote:


    I enjoyed the preview.

    I must say, however, that I agree with Ian’s criticism that you are showing two completely different environments.

    You’re also staying inside of the urban core of Springfield, which is a tiny portion of the metro area.

    Perhaps you could prove how easy it is to bicycle in Springfield by showing how to ride from……

    Downtown to the library on Campbell, from there to the Nixa City Hall and then to Wilson’s Creek to the Walmart on Kansas Expressway and back downtown. I think that would really *prove* your point.

    All of those places may well be available via streets that looked like those in your video. That would be great and add a lot to your video.

    Posted 05 Jul 2012 at 8:23 am
  12. Khal Spencer wrote:


    Woo….at 1:51 when that truck popped in behind you, I jumped and uttered a four letter word that I won’t print here.

    Not much difference between Springfield and Los Alamos. We are a lot like a university community in that we have a very large employer (10k people, roughly) with many of us holding advanced degrees in science and engineering. We have very good road connectivity and a generally peaceful population (bomb-building notwithstanding). The lack of a large mode share of bicyclists is strictly cultural. Sadly.

    p.s. The first ten seconds or so of the video clip sounds like an old 45 rpm single played at 33 1/3. That dates me, eh? Otherwise, sound is good. I’m going to embed that video on LA Bikes with the same question: why is our mode share so low?

    Posted 05 Jul 2012 at 9:30 am
  13. Ian Cooper wrote:

    I think the point is that Springfield is as bike friendly as some places in Holland. Now I’ve cycled in Rotterdam (which – judging by the parts I’ve seen – is about as close to a cyclist’s version of Hell as anyone is likely to get), and I can assure you that almost any city in the US is as bicycle friendly as Rotterdam.

    In 1984, when I was first in the Netherlands, things were better. If I recall correctly, I took the Zeeland Bridge – on the road. Perfectly good road, no bike path. Now they’ve narrowed the road, stuck a bike path next to it, and I’ll bet they don’t allow bikes on the road anymore. So everyone loses – motorists are forced into a lane so narrow that they can barely squeeze by oncoming traffic, and cyclists no longer have access to the road. This is the reality of the Netherlands ‘Cycling Paradise’. They create a transportation Hell and call it Utopia.

    Posted 05 Jul 2012 at 9:36 am
  14. Andy Cline wrote:

    Robert… Again, I am NOT making a specific comparison. See the credits for the fake film company “Apples v. Oranges Documentary Films.” Hahaha! That’s a joke and a clue. What I am getting at is that American advocates ought not have a knee-jerk predisposition to the kinds of facilities we see in Amsterdam. I’m trying to show that Springfield is already a good place to ride a bicycle.

    Further, let me finish the documentary. I’ll be showing the good, the bad, and the ugly in Springfield — all over Springfield. The trailer, like all such things, was cherry-picked 😉

    Kevin… My bicycle is a Redline R-530. I added the Axa lock, BMX pedals, and Hobson seat.

    Posted 05 Jul 2012 at 10:51 am
  15. Mighk Wilson wrote:


    I hope your film will be an effective antidote to the dangerification of cycling in this country. When I was growing up in Ohio and touring the backroads and arterials every day during summer vacations in the 70s, nobody told me bicycling was dangerous. When I moved to Florida in 1979 I was introduced to that idea, both by my Floridian friends and by the handful of jerks who insisted on harassing me for being different. Since then the idea that cycling is dangerous has spread to virtually every corner of the land. Mostly by “bicycle advocates.” A couple years ago a woman from Iowa was complaining to me of how dangerous cycling is there. Really?! Iowa?!

    Our culture is working out a self-fulfilling prophecy:
    Step 1: tell everybody bicycling is dangerous
    Step 2: rely on the occasional jerk to threaten cyclists based on that belief that you have to be an idiot to bike on the road since it’s so dangerous (so you deserve to have the crap scared out of you)
    Step 3: bicyclists react by choosing coping strategies which actually make cycling riskier (wrong way, sidewalk riding, demanding facilities which put them into more conflicts with motorists…)
    Step 4: crashes and scary conflicts increase, reinforcing Step 1.

    Posted 05 Jul 2012 at 11:30 am
  16. Khal Spencer wrote:

    Interesting video here. The numbers resonate with analysis I’ve seen elsewhere.

    One can dissect numbers various ways, and bicycling doesn’t come up as more dangerous than motoring (more dangerous per mile than motoring, less dangerous per hour than motoring). So why is bicycling portrayed as “dangerous”? Its mythology. A bicyclist looks more vulnerable since he/she is not wrapped in an SUV, but we have become a nation of paranoids.

    Posted 05 Jul 2012 at 12:16 pm
  17. Khal Spencer wrote:

    Whoops. Forgot the link.

    Posted 05 Jul 2012 at 12:17 pm
  18. Andy Cline wrote:

    Mighk… Exactly. When I was a kid we used to ride all over northern Delaware. I was riding into PA to go to an amusement park and a flea market regularly by age 12. And at 16, I was riding all kinds of roads all kinds of places without mishap. No one told me it was dangerous. And if they had, I would have laughed.

    The video of my ride around Springfield the other morning is EXACTLY what it’s like in the urban core. Robert is correct to point out that the suburban areas are a bit more problematic, but nothing the savvy cyclist can’t handle 😉

    I’ve had people mention already that I’m not wearing a helmet in the trailer. Why would I? Anything about that ride look dangerous? 🙂

    Posted 05 Jul 2012 at 2:42 pm
  19. Khal Spencer wrote:

    One of the things that drives me nuts is conflating helmets with danger. One wears a helmet not because bicycling is dangerous, but because one could suffer a fall (for any number of reasons not having a thing to do with cars) and a head injury is particularly worrisome. I had a bad bike crash in 1979 and it took me out of grad school for six months from concussion side effects. Once in 33 years is enough, thank you. I could have used one recently when I got out of my car and walked into an overhang. Talk about dumb things happening…..

    One is far less likely to use one’s helmet while riding a bicycle than when, say, playing football or hockey, activities proud parents push their kids into. Its simply a matter of what level of precaution one is willing to take. In the cost/benefit analysis of wearing a helmet, its a trivial concession to safety, and my wearing a helmet doesn’t mean I think riding a bike is dangerous. Its that my willingness to suffer another bump on the head (far more likely when I ride my mountainbike on singletrack than when I ride my road bike) is pretty close to zero.

    I last used up a helmet during a USCF team training race in 1990. No car involved. I overlapped wheels with a teammate at high speed and went down hard (kinda like that Stage 4 crash yesterday where Cavendish went down in a pile of bikes). The deep gouges on the helmet were fortunately on the helmet rather than the side of my head. The broken collarbone and road rash were a bitch.

    There was a funny academic angle to that crash that Andy might appreciate. My wife was giving an English 100 final that day at her college, and half the students didn’t show up on time. She was getting pissed off and finally they came straggling in. Their excuse was that the (only) road into town from the east was blocked by an ambulance picking a bike racer up off the deck. Then her office phone rang….

    People make too much of helmets. Fer gosh sakes, if a helmet makes you scared of bicycling, then don’t wear the damn helmet!

    Posted 05 Jul 2012 at 4:46 pm
  20. Steve A wrote:

    Comment here AND at Los Alamos Bikes:

    So how come I had to go to Los Alamos Bikes to be able to watch Andy’s trailer? Is this some sort of WordPress evilness?

    Watching it, I’ll take Texas…

    Posted 05 Jul 2012 at 5:36 pm
  21. Steve A wrote:

    In theory, it is perfectly legal in Texas to ride down the middle of the RH traffic lane on the LBJ Freeway in heavy, fast traffic. In practice, it isn’t. Fortunately, most of the Texas freeways have “service roads” that work great for cyclists.

    Posted 05 Jul 2012 at 5:42 pm
  22. Andy Cline wrote:

    Khal… Interesting point. I’m a selective helmet wearer. I’ve written about this before. I wear it when I think there’s an increased chance that I might fall, e.g. darkness, bad weather, post-happy-hour, etc.

    Steve… Another iPhone issue?

    Posted 05 Jul 2012 at 5:51 pm
  23. Steve A wrote:

    I can see the video Khal posted on your site, and your trailer on his site. It might be an iOS issue since the symptoms are the same with an iPad. All I can see of your trailer on this site is a big, empty white space.

    Speaking of which, there’d be little conflict in Amsterdam if traffic were as light as in your Springfield video. And, they’re looking for a cycling coach at MSU, but you might not want to move to Wichita Falls. 😉

    Posted 05 Jul 2012 at 6:46 pm
  24. Steve A wrote:

    BTW, those comments about riding in suburbs are merely urban bigotry. Suburbs with grid street patterns are dirt simple to ride. Even for people relatively ignorant of good cycling practices.

    Posted 05 Jul 2012 at 6:49 pm
  25. Andy Cline wrote:

    Steve… Yes. From what I saw, the facilities are adequate to handle 2/3 less bicycle traffic. You can ride long stretches of tracks/lanes with nary another bicyclist in sight (at certain times of the day), but the intersections are often snaggled up.

    Perhaps it’s a Vimeo issue. Hmmmm…

    Posted 05 Jul 2012 at 6:50 pm
  26. Khal Spencer wrote:

    When I rode from Amsterdam to The Hague in 1986, both bike and car traffic was light to moderate. Andy’s video looked like nothing I saw in the countryside, and didn’t much resemble what I saw when I was visiting Vrije Universiteit in downtown Amsterdam. But a lot has changed in 26 years, as I note in the mirror…

    Posted 05 Jul 2012 at 9:43 pm
  27. Andy Cline wrote:

    Khal… My experience on the outskirts of Amsterdam was quite pleasant. I role along the Amstel River for quite a ways taking over a greenway and a 1-lane country road with bicycle lanes. The lanes were totally unnecessary, but they also caused no problems. And I rode on some suburban infrastructure to the north of the city that reminded me of the stuff I’ve seen in David Hembrow’s videos.

    Inner-city Amsterdam was a mess, IMO.

    I do have much video showing nearly deserted mid-block travel the farther from the center I went, but nearly every intersection collected bicycles. And there’s not nearly enough room at the intersections. So many people just blow through red lights rather than stack up in a bunch.

    Posted 05 Jul 2012 at 11:00 pm
  28. Kevin Love wrote:

    A better comparison for Amsterdam would be other major urban conurban cities like Toronto or New York City. These cities have serious car traffic congestion issues and are increasingly turning to bicycle use for transportation.

    Toronto saved billions and billions of dollars in the 1960’s and 70’s by not building a USA-style expressway system. As a result, if someone wants to drive a car, they are not going very fast. See:

    It’s all about infrastructure. In this case, discouraging car use by not building segregated car-only freeway infrastructure.

    This allows cyclists to zip by the going-nowhere car drivers so that cycling is by far the fastest means of urban transportation in Toronto.

    The result is that where I lived in the Riding of Toronto Centre, car mode share was down to 26% and falling fast. See:

    Is Toronto perfect? Even the notoriously-polite Canadians still have their share of obnoxious jerks. Toronto City Council recently boosted the fine for parking in the bike lanes to $150 for a very good reason. Fortunately, that seems to have been effective in controlling the jerks.

    The steadily declining use of cars in Toronto is due to one major factor: infrastructure. Not building a US style expressway system results in a situation where it is very slow to drive a car anywhere. Not building car parking means that it is very expensive to park a car, and the car parking a car driver does manage to find will probably be very inconveniently far from his destination.

    On the other hand, it is possible to get anywhere quickly and easily on a bicycle, and both on-street and protected in-building bike parking is readily available and usually free of charge.

    Infrastructure: It makes the difference in Toronto, Amsterdam and other major cities.

    Posted 06 Jul 2012 at 3:28 am
  29. Kevin Love wrote:

    Andy asks, quite reasonbly, why more people don’t cycle in Springfield.

    Springfield may reasonably be compared to Groningen in The Netherlands. Both are medium-sized university towns. Both are relatively flat, with few natural barriers to cycling.

    Yet in Groningen, over 60% of all trips are taken by bicycle. In Springfield, the car is king. Why is that?

    Is it something in American vs. Dutch DNA that makes the Dutch like cycling? Evidently not, for it is easy to find a large number of cyclists in Groningen who really, really do not like cycling, particularly when it is raining.

    So why do they do it? In one word: Infrastructure. In Groningen, cycling is the fastest, easiest and most convenient way of getting from A to B for almost all destinations. The downtown is car-free, and the rest of the city is divided up in to cells.

    To use a car to drive from one cell to another it is almost always necessary to drive straight out of Groningen to the ring road. Then drive around until the driver is opposite the cell he wants to go to. Then drive back into Groningen at the cell. And good luck finding car parking!

    On the other hand, one can usually cycle straight from A to B, with ample, convenient bike parking. This ease, speed and convenience is why Groningen has such a high cycle mode share, including among people who really don’t like cycling.

    Springfield, on the other hand, spent billions and billions of dollars on car infrastructure to make cars the easiest, fastest and most convenient way of getting from A to B. This includes very expensive segregated car freeways, where cyclists may have a theoretical right of acccess, but the actual amount of cycling is approximately zero since no sensible person would cycle there.

    This car infrastructure includes very expensive car parking and very expensive traffic control devices.

    All of these billions and billions of dollars spent on car infrastructure makes car driving the fastest, easiest and most convenient method of getting from A to B in Springfield.

    Here are a few videos from Groningen and its suburbs. Wouldn’t you prefer to cycle in these conditions?

    Here’s a school letting out in Kloosterveen. Does your school look like this, with virtually all students walking or cycling to school?

    Here’s the Groningen City Centre in the rain. Note the lack of traffic lights. Very expensive, and not needed in the car-free zone.

    Here is some “before and after” video showing how Groningen was a car-dominated city in the 1960’s and 70’s. Then the same area is shown today. Quite a change!

    The moral of the story is that if Groningen can change from being a car-dominated city to a 60% bike mode share, then so can Springfield.

    Posted 06 Jul 2012 at 4:36 am
  30. Khal Spencer wrote:

    My friend Cliff Slater (Honolulu) suggested something similar to Kevin. He said the city should repeal its zoning requirements that ensured adequate car parking (hence that land could not be used for other purposes) and let the price of parking become unregulated. He also suggested that motorists should pay for any additional roads they required as toll roads, rather than get a tax subsidy. His point was similar to Kevin’s–people drive because it is the easiest thing to do.

    Posted 06 Jul 2012 at 6:22 am
  31. Keri wrote:

    To Khal’s point, this is where we are failed by both the car culture and bike advocates. No one is willing to make people pay appropriately for the infrastructure needed to move and park massive motor vehicles. We carve out inadequate and conflict-ridden gutter space for bicyclists while continuing to subsidize storage and throughput of cars. As if somehow that’s going to attract a significant mode shift of people away from cars and onto bikes. Also, I suspect that in American cities, it’s more likely attracting its mode shift away from transit.

    Posted 06 Jul 2012 at 8:31 am
  32. Khal Spencer wrote:

    Cliff wrote a lot of articles on transportation from the free-market perspective and one of his essays involved the value of time, to wit, we tax ourselves more heavily on time spent waiting than on time doing something. If you are stuck in traffic, you are wasting time, but you can compensate to some degree with the A/C, radio, cup of coffee, etc. Time spent waiting for transit is painful, but is compensated by time spent on (good) transit getting things done such as reading or doing work on the laptop. Time spent bicycling has no time penalty if you enjoy bicycling, and only a small or no time penalty if car speeds are similar to bike speeds.

    By not continuing to build for car space, we can, through market forces, encourage cycling. I think the present model, which posits that we continue to throw money at driving and at the same time try to throw money at cycling as a secondary activity, we ensure cycling will be fringe. Face it, for most people, if driving is not a chore or prohibitively expensive, its the easiest thing to do. The costs are integrated into our culture.

    Car became king for a reason. Back in the fifties and sixties, we were awash in domestic crude oil and had a huge industrial base that had to be put to use doing something, and that coupled with cheap land outside the city made for a perfect match–highway development, suburban development, and car travel. Not to mention, a lot of jobs were blue collar and those guys were tired after a hard day at the plant. My stepdad worked his whole life in a Chevy plant where they built transmissions, first on the assembly line and then as a machinist. When I was little, we lived in the inner city of Buffalo. As soon as he and my mom could put enough money together, they bought a small place out in Alden, N.Y., where he had lived as a kid on a farm. Frankly, compared to life in the inner city, life in Alden was glorious.

    It is only as we tapped out our domestic reserves, doubled our population, recognized the problems with pollution, became more sedentary as industrial jobs like my father’s evaporated, discovered sprawl and congestion, and developed chronic balance of payment issues that we saw the problems with trying to continue a paradigm that worked fifty years ago. Europe saw that problem long ago–it never had oil gushing out of the ground and had to rebuild in an era of frugality after the war. Following the oil embargos of the late sixties, perhaps it was easier for them to reverse course and build cities that penalized automobile use. We never had that jolt, until recently. I don’t think such a paradigm shift would have had a chance in Hell of being done here. That part was cultural, with the culture driven by how our nation was structured. Car was king for a reason.

    Posted 06 Jul 2012 at 8:49 am
  33. Ian Cooper wrote:

    “People make too much of helmets. Fer gosh sakes, if a helmet makes you scared of bicycling, then don’t wear the damn helmet!”

    I agree. I wear a helmet, I even advocate wearing a helmet. But too many people seem to think that me saying “Helmets are great, I think they are a good safety feature and can mitigate injuries and potentially save lives” equates to “Helmets are NOT optional, they WILL save your life, you MUST wear one!”

    There’s a disconnect there somewhere. I don’t know whether it’s the well-known ability of the internet to make perfectly innocent pronouncements sound angry and combative, but somehow, my message gets lost in translation.

    And I don’t even wear a helmet primarily for safety’s sake – after all, in 40 years I’ve never come off my bike while cycling on the road. I wear it primarily because my wife insists on my wearing it, and secondarily because it holds my mirror. Safety comes a distant third.

    Having said that, I do consider safety when buying a helmet. After all, I wouldn’t want the helmet itself to pose a danger. So I buy the most spherical helmet I can get, to reduce the known problem of rotational injury. I also consider comfort, since so many helmet critics say they found them uncomfortable. If I found mine uncomfortable, I wouldn’t wear it either. Fortunately, the one I have now is very comfortable – fits my head like a glove – so much so that I often forget I’m wearing it.

    Posted 06 Jul 2012 at 12:24 pm
  34. Khal Spencer wrote:

    I think that old Bell V-1 Pro was the nicest helmet I ever had. Too bad they still don’t make them. Comfy, light, semi-spherical, tough as nails. Still had that Snell sticker, too. That was the helmet that I was wearing when I took the 33 mph fall mentioned in the post above.

    Bike racing and technical singletracking increase your opportunities for a crash because there is more going on, much of which is pretty close to the ragged edge. What mitigates the crash possibility is that one is normally concentrating fully on the task at hand.

    Normal daily riding isn’t the same as riding in a criterium. But I tend to occasionally space out thinking about whatever is going on today, as I am sure others do, and I also don’t assume anyone else is going to know what they are doing. My workday helmet holds my mirror, much as Ian’s does, and my weekend helmet has a nice sun visor for those pesky New Mexican sunny days.

    In my case, having once suffered a pretty bad concussion (flew over a VW and landed smack on my bare forehead; the nausea, double vision, unplanned outbursts, and dizzy spells came and went for months), there is the added problem of deja vu when I sense a tight situation at hand. Granted, if I had my thoughts on bicycling rather than on my upcoming research proposal defense back in ’79, and my hands on the hoods and had I practiced an instant turn on my new ten speed, I would not have needed the helmet. But we are human, we get distracted, and shit happens. Occasionally.

    Helmets are cheap insurance against that once in a lifetime life-changing injury. It doesn’t have to be on a bike Heck, I could trip and fall during a trail running episode with the dog! My very first head injury was on my swingset back in the early sixties!

    Both Ian and I apparently wonder why the thought of a helmet holds so much baggage. Maybe its because so many people see a symbol and don’t think much about what the message really is. Maybe they see a helmet and think crash. No helmet, no crash? That’s sadly superficial. No seat belt, no crash???

    Posted 06 Jul 2012 at 1:35 pm
  35. Andy Cline wrote:

    Khal… I find the “cheap insurance” argument fascinating. For what other activities could we make the same claim?

    To everyone — again, I am NOT making a direct comparison of Amsterdam to Springfield. I am claiming that the kind of infrastructure that concentrates too many bicyclists into too little space is not what we want in a place like Springfield.

    Kevin… How did that infrastructure get in Groningen? Culture. The Dutch valued bicycling and demanded it. Americans won’t do that. We don’t value bicycling. You can’t build it here because no one will pay for it. We’re the richest country on the planet and we can barely get people to pay for minimal basic services for the poor and the sick. Americans will be interested in building infrastructure for bicyclists the day that someone figure out how to weaponize a bicycle 😉

    Posted 06 Jul 2012 at 2:03 pm
  36. Ian Cooper wrote:

    “Americans will be interested in building infrastructure for bicyclists the day that someone figure out how to weaponize a bicycle…”

    Not even then. Prior to Vietnam, the US military commissioned a report regarding the usefulness of the bicycle in war. The report was made, it basically told the military how military units had, in WW1 and WW2, used the bicycle successfully in conflicts where those units were denied technological superiority due to impassible conditions. The report showed how bicycle troops could multiply ground troops’ maneuvering speed by a factor of three. The biggest success of the bicycle was in Singapore, where the Japanese used bicycles to out-maneuver the British and force on the Empire the largest military defeat it had ever suffered. The report went on to suggest how the bicycle might be used for reconnaissance and in what we now call ‘low intensity warfare’

    The report was ignored.

    In Vietnam, a decade later, the US military was fought to a standstill by forces that, among other low-tech tools, used bicycles, laden with up to 600lbs of supplies each, over mountains, and through jungles and swamps, to supply their troops.

    The bicycle has been used in wartime – always successfully, yet its abilities have never been fully exploited, understood or officially recognized, and the lessons it has taught have always been forgotten before the next war.

    Posted 06 Jul 2012 at 2:55 pm
  37. Khal Spencer wrote:

    Before the Ho Chi Minh Trail became a superhighway late in the war, it was a multiuse path. As Ian said, 600 lbs of stuff per bike. Now that was weaponization.

    Americans will embrace the bike when it comes with a digital remote control….

    Posted 06 Jul 2012 at 3:12 pm
  38. Mighk Wilson wrote:

    …and a motor, and air conditioning…

    Posted 06 Jul 2012 at 3:16 pm
  39. Ian Cooper wrote:

    “…and a motor, and air conditioning…”

    Funnily enough, the bicycle that’s currently in use with the US military (Montague’s ‘Paratrooper’) has an electric motor. I have to assume that this was part of the US military’s specification requirements.

    I don’t know if it was ever ‘officially’ adopted by the US military, but troops are using the bikes, either on an official or unofficial basis. From what I’ve read, the troops prefer the un-motorized version, because it’s (of course) quieter and less prone to breakdown. Pity the persons who demanded the motor didn’t figure this out – the bike might have cost less.

    Posted 06 Jul 2012 at 3:54 pm
  40. Ian Cooper wrote:

    There is a fantastic book – just re-released as a revised edition – that tells the story of the use of bikes from the 1860s until today. It’s called “The Bicycle in Wartime” by Jim Fitzpatrick. It’s a very good read – one of my favorite bicycle books – I learned a huge amount of military cycling history from it.

    Posted 06 Jul 2012 at 3:59 pm
  41. Brian wrote:

    Nice job, Andy. I don’t exactly buy your argument, but you make it well. So, yeah, Springfield looks pretty nice. I totally agree that many U.S. cities are way more bikeable than their inhabitants think they are. So why don’t they bike more? It’s not irrational fear; it’s PARKING. In most of the U.S., unlike smaller European cities like Groningen, it’s really easy to park a car pretty much anywhere. Until that changes, I don’t think people will give up the considerable comfort advantages of a car — for instance, here in Greenville, NC the temperature has been over 90 degrees F (with humidity over 75%), and often over 100, nearly every day for the last three weeks. I have biked as I always do, but it definitely has not been comfortable, and when I walk into a shop dripping with sweat, people do get agitated. If I want to buy food, I have to think ahead and bring a cooler full of ice — otherwise, it’ll all be wilted before I get home. Why, exactly, would mainstream people want to have these problems?

    Here’s another thing, too: while I haven’t biked in Amsterdam, I have biked in dense European cities like Florence, Budapest, and Oxford, as well as dense American cities like Boston, Philadelphia, and New York. While the crowding may seem annoying to somebody who’s used to Springfield, in fact it’s good for both bike use (see parking, above) and bike safety. A lot of what you’re showing in the Amsterdam video looks like an urban environment where cars do not rule — and therefore everybody else can afford to behave a lot less rigidly. I like that a lot better than the strict discipline of vehicular cycling (though I do it, in order to stay alive in my town), and I think most people agree with me. Most people want biking to be more like walking, and they want both biking and walking to be anarchic. You can’t fight it (believe me, I’ve tried).

    Posted 06 Jul 2012 at 7:05 pm
  42. Kevin Love wrote:

    Those who are interested in the military use of bicycles would be interested in the D-Day landings of June 6, 1944. On that day, the Canadian Army, together with some of our brave allies, began the liberation of Western Europe – with bicycles.

    See this photograph series:

    Posted 07 Jul 2012 at 5:43 am
  43. Kevin Love wrote:


    I do not think it is money per se. Cycle infrastructure is enormously cheaper than car infrastructure.

    My own personal opinion lays the blame on form of government. Which also ties into your comments on the inadequate US health-care system.

    I believe that the US would be much better off as a Canadian-style parliamentary democracy. The USA’s present form of government does a very poor job of reflecting the will of the people and is dominated by money and wealthy people.

    Health care is a good example. The USA’s present system discourages people from starting their own companies. I know many people who have an entrepeneurial bent. They want to start their own company. But a pre-existing medical condition prevents them from starting their own company.

    The same with bizarre laws that allow companies to gamble and lose with their employees pensions. In Canada, a company’s employee pensions are managed by insurance companies that are government regulated and government guaranteed. Nobody loses their pension due to Wall Street tricks.

    All this tends to widen the gap between rich and poor in the USA and ensure that it is very difficult for new people to break into the ranks of the rich.

    And, of course, the US government massively subsidises modes of transportation used by the rich. From cars to airplanes, it is socialism for the rich all the way.

    Posted 07 Jul 2012 at 6:32 am
  44. Ian Cooper wrote:

    “Cycle infrastructure is enormously cheaper than car infrastructure.”

    Rubbish. It costs more because it’s unnecessary, and it gets added to bicycle infrastructure that already exists, by which I mean the road.

    Total bike path or bike lane cost = the road cost + the cycle facility cost.

    You can’t just assume that the bike facility part is the only cost. The only time a bike facility costs less than a similar length car facility is when the bike facility is not next to a road. If it’s next to a road, the cost of the road has to be included.

    Bike facilities on roads and next to roads are extremely expensive and they are a folly, because it’s a lot cheaper to teach cyclists how to use the road.

    Posted 07 Jul 2012 at 9:05 am
  45. Ian Cooper wrote:

    “June 6, 1944. On that day, the Canadian Army, together with some of our brave allies, began the liberation of Western Europe – with bicycles. ”

    Thank goodness they were not led by modern-day bicycle facility advocates. If they had been, they would have been stuck on the beaches. After all, Europe didn’t have bicycle paths or bike lanes in 1944.

    If a similar invasion were attempted today, the first wave of bicycle troops would comprise of tarmac trucks (for the bike paths), road striping equipment and colored paint and brushes (to mark the bike lanes). After all, the road is too dangerous.

    Posted 07 Jul 2012 at 9:23 am
  46. Andy Cline wrote:

    To all … I stand corrected re: weaponizing the bicycle 🙂

    I sure do appreciate all the interest in this. I’ll be posting bits of video, observations, and questions as I go. This will become something of a crowd-sourced effort.

    Posted 07 Jul 2012 at 10:39 am
  47. Kevin Love wrote:

    In his article “The high cost of free parking,” Donald Shoup reports in his Los Angeles case study that the cost per car parking space installed in the 1977-1991 time period is $36,600.


    page 8, adjusted for inflation since 1994 by the inflation calculator at:

    Mr. Shoup has since expanded his article into a book, which I highly recommend.

    In Toronto, the cost of a car parking spot ranges from $35,000 to an eye-popping $100,000. The median cost of renting a car parking spot in the City is $336.25 per month.


    Municipal governments in the USA routinely mandate “free” parking requirements for stores, office buildings and other destinations. Of course, these are not free, but are paid for by the people who do not drive cars.

    Car parking is not the only piece of expensive car infrastructure. Other car infrastructure ranges from expressways to traffic lights and other traffic control devices. All of which is hugely expensive

    In urban car-free zones, a large amount of money is saved by not providing this car infrastructure. See, for example:

    Saving huge sums of money on not providing “free” car infrastructure not only leads to higher cycling rates, but is also one of the major reasons why ordinary people in Canada and similar European countries enjoy such a sharply higher standard of living than their counterparts in the USA.

    Posted 08 Jul 2012 at 7:31 am
  48. Andy Cline wrote:

    When I was in Nottingham, England recently I was pleased to see a thriving city center served by trams, buses, and cabs. A few people even rode bicycles. The one thing I did not see: plenty of car parking. It appeared to me that bringing a car into the city center would be a huge hassle. Consequently, Nottingham has a pleasant and thriving city center. So, yeah, I’m down with the parking thing. In Springfield, we continue to accommodate cars in the urban core, but we’re also building more bicycle parking. There’s now talk of building a few more bicycle corrals now that the first one is so successful.

    Posted 08 Jul 2012 at 11:54 am
  49. Kevin Love wrote:

    I see that Pashley is manufacturing the “Parabike,” their take on classic WWII combat bicycles. See:

    Posted 08 Jul 2012 at 10:51 pm