20 Years ago Holland seemed to be the only country to hold a civilization capable of biking more than driving. The feeling was amazing and uniquely romantic. In the midst of the technological revolution the Dutch streets and alleys were packed with bikers riding old classic style black bicycles.
The 90’s were hopefully the last peak of unawareness in terms of urban growth: More cars, more highways, more buildings, more plastic, more waste all around. Yet Holland kept it clean. Some of us had this sort of utopian wish that other cities in the world could follow this path but it really felt like something unachievable; specially in big cities like New York, Mexico, São Paulo or Buenos Aires. In this world where the industry and politics walk so tightly hand in hand, you cannot expect a politician to lead a philosophical change towards the industry. Not if there isn’t a new trend that leads to a new business model, regardless of the environment of course.
So who’s to take that lead in a massive fashion on these matters? Artists.
In the past 20 years we were very fortunate to have had the influence and the enormous body of work and brilliant campaign that David Byrne has spread around the globe. He started biking towns a few decades ago when he traveled the world with the Talking Heads enjoying the most beautiful way to experience a city: on a bicycle. He wrote his bicycle diaries throughout the years and the result was a massively successful book. It is witty, funny, romantic, ironic all around and so deeply connected with each and every aspect of the visited places that it can easily compete with The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.
As a result of a huge communication effort and not letting the book be only a sales success on Amazon, David accompanied it with a constant campaign on how can biking change the people’s quality of life in so many aspects. The growth of bike paths in the above mentioned cities is absolutely unbelievable, being part of a new political and business trend; which of course helps for the change to happen.
If you still haven’t had the joyous time of reading it, a beautiful two wheeled trip is waiting for you.
Enjoy! (and get a bike).