Friday, May 27, 2011

Cycling Seattle - The Culture

For those of you who've been following this blog over the last few weeks, it is no secret that I recently visited Seattle.

I've had a few weeks to ponder that epic adventure. Seattle forever changed my view of the term "bicycle friendly".

There were hooks on the light rail for hanging your bike.

There racks on the buses for mounting your bike.

There were storage lockers for keeping your bike safe.

There were bike racks on every side of every block for securing your bike.

There were bike paths exclusively for you to ride your bike.

There were bike sharrows to protect your right to ride a bike on the road.

There were signs to direct you where to ride your bike.

All of these things were strange and wonderful to behold. Yet I would maintain that these were not the things that made my jaw drop the lowest. It was something more intangible...more subtle...far more powerful.

I spent nigh on 12 hours in the saddle in Seattle and during that time...

I was not honked at once.

I was never cut off.

I was never yelled at to get of the !(-/@&$ road.

When the bike path crossed a road, cars stopped for me.

When I was taking up the lane, cars went around me.

When I came upon pedestrians on a narrow bridge, they leaned over the edge to let me pass.

It was all about the culture. No single group claimed ownership of the roads. Everybody: Cars...Bikes...Buses...Cabs...Pedestrians...They all Coexisted in perfect harmony.

You can't legislate that into existence.

You can't infrastructure that into being.

It's something that is slow and imperceptible, but real.

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