Here's something you don't hear often in the U.S.: someone pining fondly for their commute. But that's just how Ozzie Zehner feels when he thinks about the time he spent doing research at the University of Amsterdam in The Netherlands. While there, Zehner, the author of the upcoming book, Green Illusions, and a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley zipped around the compact city on his bike, taking advantage of the network of lanes and streets dedicated exclusively to bikes and lightweight motorized vehicles. "Who would have ever thought that commuting could be so fun?" Zehner recalls about his time in Amsterdam.
Fun is just one of the many benefits to cities and towns that commit to making biking easy and safe. "Cleaner, healthier, quieter and safer neighborhoods," are the result of making bikeways and lanes a priority, says Zehner, who argues that even though American cities are more spread out than those in Europe, they are still great candidates for bikes. "Over a quarter of the trips Americans make are shorter than a mile (1.6 kilometers) and over 40 percent are less than 2 miles (3.21 kilometers). These distances would be well-suited for bike travel," he says. If Americans can embrace the concept it will make us more like the rest of the world; indeed, Zehner says the bike is the predominant mode of transport globally, with around 2 billion people using them.
Keep reading to see how fast buses can really be.