Wednesday Words: Bicycle Quotations on Life and Civilization

Many thanks to QuickRelease TV for providing a few of these.

Life and Civilization

When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. —H.G. Wells

Riding bicycles will not only benefit the individual doing it, but the world at large. —Udo E. Simonis, Emeritus Professor of Environmental Policy at the Science Centre, Berlin, 15th January 2010

The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart. —Iris Murdoch, The Green and the Red

…The future mode of transportation for this weary Western world. Now I’m not gonna make a lot of extravagant claims for this little machine. Sure, it’ll change your whole life for the better, but that’s all. —Bicycle salesman, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia. —H.G. Wells

Few articles ever used by man have created so great a revolution in social conditions as the bicycle. —US Census Report, 1900

The most vital element for the future of our cities is that the bicycle is an instrument of experiential understanding.

On a bicycle, citizens experience their city with deep intimacy, often for the first time. For a regular motorist to take that two or three mile trip by bicycle instead is to decimate an enormous wall between them and their communities.

In their cars, the world is reduced to mere equation. “What is the fastest route from A to B?” one will ask as they start their engine. This invariably results in a cascade of freeway concrete flying by at incomprehensible speeds. Their environment, the neighborhoods that compose their communities, the beauty of architecture, the immense societal problems in distressed areas, the faces of neighbors… all of this becomes a conceptually abstract blur from the driver’s seat.

Yes, the bicycle is a marvelously efficient machine of transportation, but in the city it is so much more. The bicycle is new vision for the blind man. It is a thrilling tool of communication, an experiential device for the beauty and the ills of the urban context. One cannot turn a blind eye on a bicycle – they must acknowledge their community, all of it.

Here lies the secret weapon of the urban renaissance.

—Kasey Klimes, The Real Reason Why Bicycles are the Key to Better Cities

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One Comment to "Wednesday Words: Bicycle Quotations on Life and Civilization"

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