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Why the U.S. Lags the World in Urban Cycling

A Euro cycling guru says we think of biking as exercise, not transit

In an interview with Business Insider today, European urban cycling guru Mikael Colville-Andersen weighs in on what’s wrong with the U.S.—and it’s not just the usual rigmarole about bike lanes.

The big difference, he says? Americans see cycling as exercise, not transportation. And well-meaning, spandex-clad advocates may be part of the problem.

"It's like having race walkers doing the talking for pedestrians," he told the business blog.

Coleville-Andersen’s consulting firm, Copenhagenize, which designs cycling infrastructure for cities, just released its list of the world’s 20 most bike-friendly cities, none of which were in the U.S.

He goes on to fault America’s car-centric culture (no surprise there) and poor urban planning (ditto), but the meat of his argument is that an activity—cycling—made marginal by design, isn’t seen as it should be: a convenient way to get around.

While it’s certainly easy to take the cynical position that Colville-Andersen is trying to drum up some American business, it’s hard to deny he has a point. Now, about those bike lanes

Read the rest of the interview at Business Insider.

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