Activists, advocates…scabs

activists advocates scabs

I have a vested interest in writing this: too many so-called bicycle advocates belong to a category my unionist forebears would have called scabs. More polite but less accurate are words like a dilettante, outsider, amateur, or non-professional. Some are doctors—how I would love to establish free try-your-luck surgeries next door to theirs! Some are engineers—gee, … Read more

Canberra: the post-ceremonial city

Canberra the post-ceremonial city

A nice processional route, like the avenue of Rams on the way to the temple of Karnak, is handy in a city. Ditto for set pieces, like the piazza framing views of St. Peters in Rome (hi to all of the students who have come with me to that spot to analyze Bernini’s fine tricks … Read more

Design new cities around cycling to make mothers’ lives easier

bicycle urbanism in a free market

My box bike (or bakfiets in Dutch) can go where no pedestrian or vehicle can go. It could traverse slopes that would hurt peoples’ ankles if they walked. It can fit through gaps that vehicles are unable to fit through. It is safe enough and clean enough to be ridden indoors. And it can shrink spaces that … Read more

New York set to see some Italian style cycling

Italian style cycling

As one of the few cities I’ve ever lived in long enough to require a non-tourist Visa or enroll my children in school, I have a sense of how things could play out in New York when their city-bike scheme has had time to shake down. I’ll be there in a month to welcome an envoy … Read more

Bike Plans For Cities That Cycling Forgot

cities that cycling forgot

A renaissance in urban cycling is forging ahead in many cities, generally, ones that are dense, flat, and that have a wealth of building stock predating the age of basement garaging. But what if the city you live in isn’t like that? What if your city happens to be one of the thousands worldwide that grew late, … Read more

Living car-free yet using more cars—how we can solve this dilemma

Living car-free yet using more cars

If you haven’t read my blog in a while (or ever), the last few posts explain my decision to work within the literary genre of Utopian writing. Utopian visions have always precipitated new paradigms in urban planning. It is unimaginable that such a thing as a purpose-built bicycle city could even come into existence without … Read more

Imagining Plato’s Ideal Republic of Cycling

Imagining Plato’s Ideal Republic of Cycling

Books have been written about the wild enthusiasm with which the architectural community approached the possibilities presented by cars in the twentieth century (1, 2, 3). None, though, have mentioned a gaping hole in one piece of their logic that doesn’t tally with their espoused claims about rationalization. Whether designing a town plan, a house, … Read more

Bicycle-tech: architecture, planning, clothing and customs


Whatever happened to raincoats? On rainy days when I was in school, all the kids turned up in yellow. All our houses had hooks in the laundries or inside the front doors, loaded with yellow plastic raincoats for all of the family. Another must-have in everyone’s wardrobe was a huge pair of Wellies or gum … Read more

How will office buildings adapt to more cycling?

How will office buildings adapt to more cycling

First, a little extraneous background to the history of the office building as a type. We could go back to the Greek stoa or Roman basilica, but that would be stupid. The earliest critical interval of significance to the evolution of the office building as we know it today was the rebuilding of Chicago in … Read more

Healthy Green Transport for a Small City. 2.

Healthy Green Transport for a Small City

Map all the existing and potential routes for bike paths that are nowhere near cars against the redundant industrial sites those bike paths could unlock for bicycle-oriented redevelopment. For about a year now, I’ve hypothesized that that is the first planning step toward making bicycling oases in cities otherwise overridden by cars. The cities we … Read more