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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Across The U.S., Bicycle Commuting Picks Up Speed

As bicycling goes, America is far behind Copenhagen, the promised land where roads look like bicycle highways as people pedal to work. But commuting by bike in the U.S. is catching on — though geographic, income and gender disparities persist.

In Chicago, busy Sheridan Road is the start of the Lakefront bike trail on its north side. That's where you can find plenty of bicyclists commuting to work early in the morning.

"I'm one of those year-round warriors, unless the weather is really bad," says Louise Graham, one among a steady stream of backpack-wearing bicyclists getting on the path.

Graham works in sales downtown and travels about 20 miles round trip. The same is true for David Michaels, who works at a digital marketing firm and rides four to five days a week. If he rode a train to work, he says, he'd be buried in his phone.

"If I'm riding, I'm active," Michaels says. "I'm riding down the lakeshore path, which is gorgeous and it's a ton of fun."

It's also a lot cheaper than driving, many bikers say.

Brian McKenzie, a sociologist with the U.S. Census Bureau, says most people still depend on their cars to get to work. But the bureau's first ever survey of people biking or walking to work, Modes Less Traveled, does show some change.

[Continue reading at NPR]

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