Bicycling advocates envision a future in which bikes are a widespread daily form of transportation. While many global cities are seeing the number of bike commuters increase, this future is still far away; at times, urban cycling seems to be fighting for its very survival. Will we ever witness a true “bike boom” in cities? What can we learn from past successes and failures to make cycling safer, easier, and more accessible? Use of bicycles in America and Britain fell off a cliff in the 1950s and 1960s thanks to the rapid rise in car ownership. Urban planners and politicians predicted that cycling would wither to nothing, and they did their level best to bring about this extinction by catering to only motorists. But in the 1970s, something strange happened — bicycling bounced back, first in America and then in Britain.
In the second episode in our series of podcasts on urban resilience, Infinite Earth Radio host Mike Hancox interviews Carlton Reid, author of the new book Bike Boom: The Unexpected Resurgence of Cycling. In the interview, Reid uses history to shine a spotlight on the present and demonstrates how bicycling has the potential to grow even further, if the right measures are put in place by the politicians and planners of today and tomorrow. He also explores why biking as a mode of transportation continues to lag in low-income communities and communities of color.