Green Lines are our friend
As a spoiled cyclist I expect the green lines to be there when I look at a map. In preparation for a family visit I arranged to borrow a bike. I looked at the city on Google maps and found no green lines.
At first I thought my settings were messed up but no, there really are almost no bike lanes in Worcester Mass.. This is how spoiled I am. I just assume that all cities are as bike-friendly as San Francisco.
I must admit that Worcester isn’t a cyclist’s dream anyway. It has hills. We’re talking San Francisco would proud to have these hills. And for half the year those hills are covered in ice and snow.
However, in researching this rant I discovered that in the late 1800’s Worcester was a center of cycling activity. There were several bike factories there and hundreds of people pedaling up and down Main street. Major Taylor even moved to Worcester to escape the discrimination of the mid-west.
So what happened? Well, cars of course., and trucks and trains ans so-on. But that happened in San Francisco as well. And look at Minneapolis, it’s a frozen wasteland yet they are very bike-friendly.
So it seems there are two factors at work. The first is that Worcester appears to have had a decent bus system and a lack of wealthy close suburbs whose residents seem to be the most successful bike advocates. These are of course huge generalizations.
So how does one prepare to ride in an urban environment were bikes are not usually welcome? First, the bright yellow vest is definitely coming with me. It’s a vacation so I plan to sleep through the morning rush hour.The rest of the day I’ll just have to risk it.
The other problem is that instead of a road bike I’ll be on a mountain bike which isn’t as likely to keep up with the traffic. Though its ruggedness does make it more likely to take a hit without breaking.