Saturday, February 4th 2017 at 12:51PM GMT
“A revolution on the roads is approaching,” claims the back cover of Bike Nation. “Is it time for drivers to Give Way?” Written by The Guardian‘s Peter Walker, Bike Nation is evangelical about the social, health, economic and planetary benefits of getting more people on bicycles, more often. Indeed, it is sub-titled: “How Cycling Can Save the World.”
The 242-page book is the one “I wanted to write,” states British Cycling’s Chris Boardman, who appears in the text a number of times. London cycle advocate Dr. Rachel Aldred also makes frequent appearances – Bike Nation is packed with the very latest academic findings about cycling and cycling infrastructure.
The installation of London’s protected Cycle Superhighways get star billing in the book, but Walker has also visited and talked to advocates and academics in New York, Montreal, and the Netherlands. Perhaps the strongest evidence for “build it and they will come”, suggests Walker, is the section in the book on the (almost overnight) installation of separated cycling infrastructure in Seville, Spain.
Walker writes about his own personal transformation from a weedy child to somebody with muscular legs and life-entending lung capacity, but cycling isn’t something for wannabe athletes, he stresses, it’s something for everybody. Where cycling is considered normal, and where it’s done by 25 percent of more of the population, people are healthier, happier and richer, demonstrates Bike Nation.
In effect, Bike Nation is a “Go Dutch” polemic and, says Boardman in a blurb plugging the book, “it should be compulsory reading for anyone in a decision-making role.”
He concludes: “I have yet to meet anyone who has come back from Copenhagen or Amsterdam and remarked, ‘Nice place, I just wish there had been a few more cars about.'”