David has some interesting musings up on the Dutch bicycle, the sublime, and the pros and cons of wearing a helmet whilst cycling. Personally, I’m a helmet guy. However ineffective helmets may be, I still appreciate the contents of my skull enough to do whatever I can to protect them, including donning the rather clumsy foam and plastic encasement even at the risk of forsaking the “sublime.” Then, too, I’m a parent and one who doesn’t subscribe to the “do as I say, not as I do” approach to parenting. When it all comes down, I’d prefer to see my daughter wear a helmet when she’s of a biking age.
The “Dutch” bike after the jump…
In San Francisco, Chicago, and Brooklyn, supposedly the American urbanists’ urbanisms, the cyclists’ cyclists pedal with their backs parallel to the ground. The Dutch Bicycle, by contrast, is designed for cyclo-flanerie, for the aimless, unsporty civilian. Its riders thrill to the beautiful, not the sublime, even if the beauty of a busy city seen at a not-quite-pedestrian ten miles per hour is a bit unstable.
Hard to make biking a real option until we make cities bikeable. I know we’ve made real strides in some parts of the country, but we have a long ways to go. To simply get to the University here is not terribly difficult until we attach the baby-trailer to the back – then stairs and train crossings become somewhat more difficult. I remember living in Vancouver and biking everywhere. That city is far more amenable to the cyclist.