Pedal On, Mates!

photo: John Vidumsky

“A culture of cycling,” where parents serve as examples for their children, is one reason Cambridge is bike capital of England. Some 20% of all trips there are on bike and, indeed, bikes are used by everyone. (In Philly, 2.1% of commuters are on bike, the highest rate for a major city.)

Of course, Cambridge has something else going for it. In a city of 120,000, some 43,000 are university students. That’s more than 1 in 3. In Philly, it is more like 1 in 13. And yet, 110,000 students is enough to shape policy. Undergraduates at Cambridge universities aren’t allowed to have a car except under special circumstances. While that’s unlikely to be adopted here, its worth thinking about bicycle amenities to be aimed directly at the student set.

From yesterday’s Possible City: How Philly cycling stands up to Global cities

About the author

Hidden City co-editor Nathaniel Popkin’s latest book is the novel Lion and Leopard (The Head and The Hand Press). He is also the author of Song of the City (Four Walls Eight Windows/Basic Books) and The Possible City (Camino Books). He is senior writer and script editor of the Emmy-winning documentary series “Philadelphia: The Great Experiment” and the fiction review editor of Cleaver Magazine. Popkin's literary criticism appears in the Wall Street Journal, Public Books, The Kenyon Review, and The Millions. He is writer-in-residence of the Athenaeum of Philadelphia.



1 Comment


  1. Other possible factors–the huge number of young, impecunious artists. They all bicycle. And the street scape–er, would you really dare to bicycle in New York? I’m not as scientific as you; no stats. Just saying.

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