Classes start at the University next Tuesday (the law school has already started) and the town is once again flooded with students. The school has about 30,000 students, the influx of which at the end of every August really throws me off. Surprisingly--and happily--many students seem to be choosing bikes for transportation. So. Many. Bikes. (Unfortunately, many still choose cars and can't figure out our--supposed--excess of one-way streets. Watch out bikes!)
The numbers of people riding by my house every morning has significantly increased, as well.
On my commute to town.
The combination of amazingly cool weather for an Indiana summer, the high gas prices, and, I like to think, the sight of others using bikes as part of their daily lives, have conspired to get people out on two wheels.
I hope that the numbers of bikes will help convince the city council to create more bike lanes. The large numbers of cars and bikes on the narrow roads around downtown can only bring disaster (especially when you include the cyclists who refuse to follow traffic laws and patterns; a post for another day).
How would I characterize current Bloomingbike Style? Super Casual. The over-all bike style is influenced by three factors: (1) the riders are mostly young college/graduate students; (2) most people do not ride bikes with chain guards and fenders, thus making them reluctant to wear nice clothes on their bikes; (3) many riders about town are hippie/punk/alternative types that prefer goodwill style in shades of black or green (or tie-dye). This casual style, I think, is fairly typical of people in general in Bloomington.
Category 1: typical cyclist in Bloomington: Helmet, backpack, and mountain bike.
A second category of cyclists in Bloomington: bike of choice--ten speed, no helmet.
Another example of the milk crate/kid cargo system.
The bikes of choice tend to be ten-speeds or mountain bikes. Helmets are not that common, but you do see them on some of the older commuters. Interestingly enough, I notice that the older commuters are also less likely to commute to work in regular clothing. They tend to wear sports gear.
I think the tendency for people to assume that bikes are a transportation alternative for young people, casual dressers, or unstylish commuters may be part of the reason we do not see more bike commuters around town. You will also notice a dearth of photos of girls on bikes. The vast majority of cyclists are men. I think this is partly because the ladies don't quite associate bikes with style.
A lady rider on my commute home.