Guest post: How can bicycles change the world?
The following essay comes from one of Bicycle Colorado’s youngest supporters, Elliot Marks. Elliot lives in Boulder, Colorado, and wrote his essay, How can bicycles change the world?, as part of a project for his eighth-grade studies. Elliot chose to focus on how bicycles can be an effective form of transportation, and we couldn’t agree with what he has to say more!
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Bicycles can have a great impact on the world. Ever since the invention in 1817, they have been improving people’s lives by creating more freedom for women and giving people an easy way to access far-away places. And although the car is the dominating transport method of this era, the bike is still a great system for improving the population’s health or cutting down the busyness of cities. And just like any technology, the bicycle will improve in the future, maybe even becoming one of the most efficient transportation systems ever produced.
To start off, the bike is already a spectacular system. But why? First, it is amazing for your body and all-around health. Many studies, including one by Harvard, have shown that riding is especially good for your heart and brain, two of the most important parts of your body. Another great benefit is the effects on the city. According to an article from the Queensland Government Department of Transportation, the Australian government spends an average of $27 million every day, fixing and maintaining roads. Bikes do a lot less damage to roads than cars, and reducing road congestion is very helpful to the city.
However, if all of this information is true, and bicycles are really this wonderful and all efficient system, why have they not already taken over cars? First of all, as technology improves, bicycles will become more and more convenient. Bicycle rideshare programs are on the rise, and pretty soon all you will need is a phone to pick up and pay for a bike. You will just have to find a bike, pay for it, and ride. Navigation` on your phone will take care of directions, and if you get an e-bike, you can go long distances without the physical strain. When you are done, you can just return your bike and go on with your day. No need for parking or locking it up. This provides a sense of convenience and simplicity to anyone riding.
Second, they are much more eco-friendly than other transportation systems out there. They take less power to make, leading to fewer fossil fuels being burned. And as they start to take cars off of the street, they also reduce the quantity of carbon emissions emitted every day. Moreover, with global warming becoming a more apparent and well-known issue, people need to start taking environmental action more than ever.
Now you might be asking yourself, where can we go from here? How could this near-perfect system possibly get better in the future? Looking at the previous iterations of bikes compared to the ones now, there are a few things that stand out. One of them is the weight. Back when bikes were all wooden, it was hard to ride or get up hills. Fast forward 75 years and bikes are so much lighter and easier to maneuver. With the introduction of carbon fiber and other lightweight and sturdy sturdy materials, there is no doubt that bikes will keep getting better in the weight aspect.
Another direction bikes could take(pun intended) is the electric path. E-bikes are easy to ride, can go long distances and still are good for the environment. The only issue: they are very expensive. To get a good electric bike, you have to pay over $1000 dollars. With technology becoming cheaper and more efficient, E-bikes might be a good option for the future of transportation.
All of this evidence, whether it is environment, health or simply convenience related, supports why bikes are the cars of the future. They may be even the most convenient transport system ever created.