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What Has Two Wheels, Two Pedals and Can Boost the Economy?

January 9, 2014
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What Has Two Wheels, Two Pedals and Can Boost the Economy?
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Cycling can solve local and national economic problems.

Cycling is a great way to stay in shape, but building a more bike-friendly society can make budgets and the economy healthier too. In her new book Bikenomics, Elly Blue makes the case for bicycles as the next big solution to help cities and the nation as a whole get healthier and wealthier. Blue breaks down plenty of numbers, to show how big of a difference low-cost commuting and traveling by bike can make. At almost $10,000 a year, most families spend more on transportation than on groceries, and cycling quickly slashes that budget. She also examines national and global spending, like the 22% of the world’s oil supply that the U.S. uses, ⅔ of which we use on our auto-based transportation system. She argues for the opportunity to “save the economy” by using bikes more extensively and more effectively than ever, steering the nation and especially its biggest cities away from depending on oil and relying on automobiles. Blue admits that bikes won’t single-handedly turn the economy around, but argues that they’re an effective and efficient (not to mention healthy) solution to the problems we can see coming from our current spending and car-dependent habits. She writes, “The bicycle may not be able to save either the economy or the world we have now. But it is one means by which we may be able to get through whatever comes next with grace and meaning.” (And as a bonus, think about how much stress you’ll save yourself by skipping your daily driving commute!)

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