This past Friday, thousands of people around the country broke out onto the roads to celebrate the annual Bike to Work Day. Now, any reader of this page can tell you that bikes are not only the cleanest form of transportation in the world (aside from human feet), essentially freeing the rider from costly gas-powered vehicles and the various expenses associated with them, they are also fantastic for personal fitness.
The idealist would say that everybody in the world should shun their cars and ride bikes everywhere they can. The MSTie should remember the future depicted in Time Chasers, where there is not a car in sight.
But let’s be frank. Idealism doesn’t get us as a society anywhere. Although it is nice to dream, a dream must be worked towards. It can’t simply happen. There must be practicality before the ideal can be achieved, and even the conservative Texan knows that.
Fortunately, the author always likes to think of the practical in a topic that leans so much toward the ideal.
Only 85 people showed up at the Bike to Work Day event in Sundance Square to talk about the wonders of the bike commute. A number like that would make the author jealous. But the last census in 2010 revealed that Fort Worth has a population of 741,206 people, with recent estimates putting the population at 767,560.
If the number of attendees is accurate to the number of people who bike commute, that means that less than 1/100th of the total population actually bikes. And that’s not counting the millions upon millions of people who live in the surrounding suburbs!
The reason this number is so low, the author thinks, is because of the fact that things are so spread out here. A car is necessary to get from one place to another, and very few people live close to where they work. Suburbs are cheap, safe, convenient, and built with the working middle class in mind; whereas the cities are expensive outside of the slums, and dangerous everywhere you go. A bike is, quite simply, not practical nine times out of ten.