by Rachel Walker
A world without cargo bikes would be like lakes without water. Whether you’re moving three kids?one in a harness seat, one on a bench seat, and one following on the attached tag-a-long?or the entire contents of your apartment to a new home, pedal-powered delivery reduces your fossil fuel consumption, provides a great workout, and is an excellent cocktail party conversation starter.
With the graceful slope of the top tube and the simple machinery of the chain and gears, a bike itself is a work of art. Artists around the world have manipulated individual parts of the bicycle to make sculptures, picture frames, clocks, and more.
Balance, as a tangible quality and also as a metaphor, is critical to living a fulfilling life. Bicycles teach us to balance?look no further than toddlers whizzing by on their pedal-free balance bikes. But riding a bike is also a daily reminder of having balance in your world?trusting the art of letting go and taking flight.
4. Winter adventuring
What’s a die-hard bicyclist to do when the snow falls and formerly rideable trails and roads are covered in ice? Switch to a fat bike, of course! Why bother snowshoeing or skiing when you can pedal through a winter wonderland?
5. Bike polo
Today’s bike polo is like Ultimate Frisbee 20 years ago: a sport comprised of devotees bordering on cultish devotion who cannot fathom not playing. Does this mean the sport will blossom into an international phenomenon and be petitioned for inclusion in the Olympics? The only way to know is to wait and see.
These open-air bike taxis aren’t just for the streets of Bangkok. Cities around the United States have pedicabs for hire. Some troll popular urban areas looking for fares; others can be reserved in advance. They’re usually cheaper than a cab and you get the satisfaction of paying someone to get their workout.
7. Food carts
Mobile food and coffee carts will have you rethinking the definition of fast food. Companies like Boulder-based Bike Caffee and Brooklyn-based Kickstand Coffee are springing up around the country, delivering tasty treats to the people.
Foot-power alone will always limit humankind. Worse, we’ll never have wings or hollow bones, which means we’ll never fly under our own power. But get on a bike, and the limitations disappear. It doesn’t matter if you’re a kid screaming along on your BMX bike, jamming in the peloton on your 30th Grand Fondo, or snaking your way down single track. A bike delivers speed, and that is always fun.
Anyone can plant carrots in the ground, but it takes a creative individual to deck out an unused bike with soil and verdant veggies or flowers. Your front porch will never look the same again.
Radball is proof that all bike riding does not have to be done outside. This gym-based game is a hybrid of soccer, basketball, bicycling, and roller derby. And it’s rapidly growing in popularity.
If you don’t yet know who Serge Huercio is, google him. Right now. Impressive, right? This French acrobat on a fixie is poetry in motion.
12. Animal training
There’s something potentially catastrophic about a dog on a leash held by its bike-riding guardian. But what about a dog on a bike? Norman the Bicycle Riding dog may have landed on Letterman because he can ride a scooter, but one look at this video of him on a bike and you see he’s completely in his element. Check out his website for training tips. Turns out animals on bikes are not just for the circus!