New York has everything, right? That’s pretty much true, including progressive thinkers who want to see a healthier population and a cleaner planet. One of the many ways New Yorkers are trying to accomplish these goals is through bike sharing, specifically through a company called Citi Bikes. The business is simple and really a no-brainer in a busy city that requires commuting. A new report suggests that conservatives are making it really tough to do the healthy thing in NYC, though.
Citi Bikes is super simple, with a minimal three step process:
1. Unlock a bike from any station by paying for the rental.
2. Ride the bike wherever you want.
3. Return the bike to any station when you’re done.
Riders don’t have to invest in a bike, they don’t have to search for a place to lock up a bike, and they don’t have to store a bike in a notoriously small New York apartment. They also get exercise and do not leave a carbon footprint behind. When I see these units set up in other cities, my first response is, “wish we had these.”
While this simple plan could literally reverse so many of our country’s health problems, some groups have found a way to deter such a great program. Mayor Bloomberg has already caught flak for trying to reduce soda sizes in his city, and apparently the complaints don’t stop when Americans feel they might be pressured into riding a bike instead of sitting in an expensive, fume-emitting cab.
New York Magazine reported that complaints regarding the bike share were as “dramatic” as a commuter running five minutes late due to a return station issue. Never mind the fact that running five minutes late in New York is par for the course. It starts to feel that people just want to be fat, sick, and live in a world that is littered with pollution.
Additionally, the report showed that Citi Bikes was catching heat from several angles. The story said the conservatives dislike the program because they dislike Bloomberg, environmentalism, sharing, healthy living, and finally because it looks like a French culture invasion. While the story was a little tongue-in-cheek, it made valid points.
Hopefully the riders will ignore the close-minded haters and keep pushing those pedals. A typical commute pace can burn up to 500-700 calories an hour! Cyclists use nearly all their major muscle groups when they pedal and, due to the bike, riders get a great workout without putting much impact on their body. This means more years of healthy living.
If your city has a bike share, use it. Show the naysayers that they’re wrong and our voice can be much louder.