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Bikenomics: How Bicycling Can Save The Economy

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Making the case for adopting more sustainable modes of transportation, this engaging reference explores the economic benefits of bicycling. It starts with an analysis of the real costs incurred by individuals and families in existing transportation systems and goes on to examine the current civic expenses of these systems. With critiques of modern society’s deep-rooted Making the case for adopting more sustainable modes of transportation, this engaging reference explores the economic benefits of bicycling. It starts with an analysis of the real costs incurred by individuals and families in existing transportation systems and goes on to examine the current civic expenses of these systems. With critiques of modern society’s deep-rooted attachment to car culture, this book tells the stories of people, businesses, organizations, and cities who are investing in two-wheeled transportation. Offering a fresh and compelling perspective on how people get from place to place, this book reveals the multifaceted North American bicycle movement with its contradictions, challenges, successes, and visions for the future. Please note: This paperback book is a different title with different content from the previously published zine, "Bikenomics: How Bicycling Will Save the Economy (If We Let It)." The zine is about 40 pages long, pocket-sized, and the binding is stapled.


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Making the case for adopting more sustainable modes of transportation, this engaging reference explores the economic benefits of bicycling. It starts with an analysis of the real costs incurred by individuals and families in existing transportation systems and goes on to examine the current civic expenses of these systems. With critiques of modern society’s deep-rooted Making the case for adopting more sustainable modes of transportation, this engaging reference explores the economic benefits of bicycling. It starts with an analysis of the real costs incurred by individuals and families in existing transportation systems and goes on to examine the current civic expenses of these systems. With critiques of modern society’s deep-rooted attachment to car culture, this book tells the stories of people, businesses, organizations, and cities who are investing in two-wheeled transportation. Offering a fresh and compelling perspective on how people get from place to place, this book reveals the multifaceted North American bicycle movement with its contradictions, challenges, successes, and visions for the future. Please note: This paperback book is a different title with different content from the previously published zine, "Bikenomics: How Bicycling Will Save the Economy (If We Let It)." The zine is about 40 pages long, pocket-sized, and the binding is stapled.

30 review for Bikenomics: How Bicycling Can Save The Economy

  1. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    A book like this has the tendency to go boring real fast. Economy, city planning, and healthcare? Yawn. Thankfully, Elly Blue knows how to keep your attention riveted. For starters, it's a pleasure to walk around with this book, with the stylized bike on the smooth cover, the blue chapter headers, and bikes on the inside. Say what you will, but it's very pleasant reading statistics when they're beautiful. Aesthetics aside, Elly's strength is in making a seamless case using both statistics and A book like this has the tendency to go boring real fast. Economy, city planning, and healthcare? Yawn. Thankfully, Elly Blue knows how to keep your attention riveted. For starters, it's a pleasure to walk around with this book, with the stylized bike on the smooth cover, the blue chapter headers, and bikes on the inside. Say what you will, but it's very pleasant reading statistics when they're beautiful. Aesthetics aside, Elly's strength is in making a seamless case using both statistics and anecdotes. Every chapter tackles some new point that bicycle naysayers like to point out: parking measures, road upkeep, even race and class divides. No topic is too big or too small for Elly to touch on. And since she walks the walk (rides the ride?), she's all the more credible when she cites her facts, like: "The federal transportation department estimates the economic impact of each life lost on the roads at $7 million... When a road or intersection is deemed unsafe, investment is determined in part by looking at the value of the number of fatalities, multiplied by $7 million -- and comparing that with the amount it could cost to fix it. All too often, even when we have the right ideas about safe infrastructure, they just don't pencil out." You hear that? One human is worth $7 million to the federal government. Sigh. Ms. Blue takes great care to be inclusive in her writing style, and doesn't come across as preachy. She succeeds on a topic where most of us wouldn't know how to find the information, let alone put it together into something coherent. And this book is coherent. I originally knocked a star off because I found my attention wandering at some points -- mainly because I was trying to assimilate massive amounts of data in a short period of time -- and then I realized that wasn't a good enough reason to give this book less than 5 stars.. I can see how this book would work as an oft-consulted reference for the bicyclist's home library. Because like it or not, anyone who bikes becomes an ambassador for biking, especially if you ride for transportation instead of sport. Might as well be well informed. And here's where the book really soars: it's part encyclopaedic reference, part how-to manual, and part manifesto. I came away from Bikenomics with ideas on how to approach local business to get them to support biking -- and the solid belief that this is what I want to do and should be doing, for the sake of myself and my community. Talk about a strong book! I'd recommend this for anyone who has a passing interest in bicycling as a way of getting around, for government officials staring down a pile of requests for new bike lanes, and for those of us who sometimes feel like we're all going down the tubes and we can't do anything about it. Elly Blue says we can, and I believe her.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Ciarvella

    I wish to strongly question author Elly Blue's credentials as a bike-riding hippie. There was far too much financial MATH going on here to be written by such a person. The thorough discussions of economic cost vs. reward precludes me from believing that the writer could be a soft-hearted, tree-hugging bike rider. I believe that Elly Blue is actually a brilliantly trained secret financial agent and is merely masquerading as a bike-loving hippie in order to get us all to lower our guard and I wish to strongly question author Elly Blue's credentials as a bike-riding hippie. There was far too much financial MATH going on here to be written by such a person. The thorough discussions of economic cost vs. reward precludes me from believing that the writer could be a soft-hearted, tree-hugging bike rider. I believe that Elly Blue is actually a brilliantly trained secret financial agent and is merely masquerading as a bike-loving hippie in order to get us all to lower our guard and tolerate economic discussions that don't make copious references to tofu.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Ma

    I initially picked up this book and thought that although I should read it, after flicking through the pages and seeing all the numbers and factoids referenced, I wasn't really looking forward to it. I'm glad I dug in however as it's a brilliant and succinct account of the economics of bicycles - and how more investments by cities in bicycle infrastructure can build community, improve health outcomes (both physical and mental), address economic and social disadvantage, gender and racial I initially picked up this book and thought that although I should read it, after flicking through the pages and seeing all the numbers and factoids referenced, I wasn't really looking forward to it. I'm glad I dug in however as it's a brilliant and succinct account of the economics of bicycles - and how more investments by cities in bicycle infrastructure can build community, improve health outcomes (both physical and mental), address economic and social disadvantage, gender and racial inequality and sort out the environment. But the book also interrogates how better bicycling infrastructure tends to be dominated by better off gentrifying communities - leaving poorer communities without access to public transport or cycling, and keeping them in economically disastrous car dependency. It will take a huge shift to move from from a sedentary, consumeristic, fossil fuel burning automobile centric world, to a more local, bicycle powered, community based urban environment. I think of the sprawl of outer east and outer west Melbourne and do wonder if it can be done. I thought the focus on the American economy would mean that the book would have limited insights for Australians, but on the contrary, the many experiments different cities in the states have tried regarding cycling provides a laboratory for other countries that have relatively young cities designed around automobiles. It's very relevant.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Elise

    This book offered a fun mental break in between studying these past few days. I've read some of Elly Blue's work in Grist, and much of this book takes up what she writes about online: that bikes are kind of a no-brainer solution when it comes to many of our societal woes, including environmental destruction, mental and physical health issues, the lack of cohesive communities, and our floundering economy, and I buy this argument. But, I also appreciated the author's attention to the stratifying This book offered a fun mental break in between studying these past few days. I've read some of Elly Blue's work in Grist, and much of this book takes up what she writes about online: that bikes are kind of a no-brainer solution when it comes to many of our societal woes, including environmental destruction, mental and physical health issues, the lack of cohesive communities, and our floundering economy, and I buy this argument. But, I also appreciated the author's attention to the stratifying effects of the rise of "bike culture" - that is, bike advocacy often excludes the poor and people of color, whose neighborhoods rarely see the expansion of any bike infrastructure, when, arguably, these communities can benefit the most from bicycling. She's also critical of the rise of the marketable image of bicycling, and I agree that I'd love to see the day when biking is neither the hip new thing nor a radical act, but simply a good way to get around. Reading this book made me feel very lucky to live in a place where biking is relatively safe, thanks to a pretty good (though not perfect) bike infrastructure, and where biking is very much a way of life. And, I was inspired to stop complaining already about pedaling up the hills in our neighborhood; it beats going broke on gas and parking.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    A bit self righteous. Interesting notions about the economic benefits of biking, but no realistic discussion about how much cycling, particularly as a replacement for driving, will or will not grow in the next 10-20 years. The -enomics part of the title is just jumping on the bandwagon of other popular books with -onomics in the title. Would have preferred more actual economics and less preaching.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Timothy

    could only make it a few chapters in. The writing was dry and the analysis was nothing new or interesting. I think this book probably serves best as a masturbatory experience for people who feel elitist about the fact that they ride bikes.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    I knew once I read the title that I would breeze through this book and love it. Short and illustrative read; Blue provides all the numbers and resources you need to get started on a two wheeler. Moreover, if you have thought about contributing to the bicycle movement, READ THIS BOOK!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I was browsing the library during my lunch hour, happened into the sports section, navigated to teh bikes department, and found this book and thought I would give it a try. Overall, it was worthwhile. It was easy to read, written somewhat in a coffee table conversation way, and didn't require a ton of concentration. I didn't learn that much, but it feels like a pretty accurate manifestation of my position on the role of bikes in American society. Elly Blue refers to many of the people and I was browsing the library during my lunch hour, happened into the sports section, navigated to teh bikes department, and found this book and thought I would give it a try. Overall, it was worthwhile. It was easy to read, written somewhat in a coffee table conversation way, and didn't require a ton of concentration. I didn't learn that much, but it feels like a pretty accurate manifestation of my position on the role of bikes in American society. Elly Blue refers to many of the people and concepts that I have encountered in many other bicycle urbanism texts I've read. The last three paragraphs of the book does well to explain its thesis: Whatever our challenges, we're better able to face them when we are relatively fit, healthy, happy, prosperous, confident, and on confidently equal footing with each other, and able to forge strong connections within and between communities. We need these things desperately, and an increasing number of communities are turning to the bicycle for them, with some success. The bicycle is, at this moment in history, the rare tool that reminds us that we have the power to help ourselves and each other in exactly the ways that will allow us to face the worst of the disasters we find ourselves in. What the bicycle can do--if we choose to use it this way--is help us survive and move beyond these things ourselves, to the best of our capabilities. The bicycle may not be able to save either the economy or the world that we have now. But it is one means by which we may e able to get through whatever comes next with grace and meaning. And it provides us with the opportunity to build ourselves lives, communities, and an economy that we can truly afford in the long run.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Elise Seifert

    While I agreed with this book on its overall points, there were some concepts that went too far without data to support them. Claiming that biking can cure mental health issues is an insult to people whose’s mental health is not dependent on whether they exercise or not. When she talked about the negative connotations of bike helmets I was intrigued (they connote a sport element and in countries like Netherlands are hardly worn because it is so Safe to cycle there). In the midst of car accident While I agreed with this book on its overall points, there were some concepts that went too far without data to support them. Claiming that biking can cure mental health issues is an insult to people whose’s mental health is not dependent on whether they exercise or not. When she talked about the negative connotations of bike helmets I was intrigued (they connote a sport element and in countries like Netherlands are hardly worn because it is so Safe to cycle there). In the midst of car accident numbers and stating that booing is safer there were no numbers for bike accidents or how many lives helmets save. If there had been one statement about how helmets do save lives in high speed accidents I would have been satisfied but that was disturbingly missing. And while she mentions frequently the need to include low income and minority groups in our discussions of bike infrastructure and safety, NONE of the anecdotal stories in her book were from those minority groups she kept touting were left out of discussions. Good read to get you out and cycling and thinking about different aspects/costs but still doesn’t hit home for the above reasons.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Smam

    This book was definitely preaching to the choir for me, since I already agree with basically everything about it. But it was still nice to see everything laid out in such an easy-to-understand way, with lots of evidence and sources. It looked at cycling from all sorts of different angles, which I loved! I do wish it hadn't been so dismissive of public transportation, there were some parts where it felt like she was almost putting them on the level of cars. I think the best cities have an This book was definitely preaching to the choir for me, since I already agree with basically everything about it. But it was still nice to see everything laid out in such an easy-to-understand way, with lots of evidence and sources. It looked at cycling from all sorts of different angles, which I loved! I do wish it hadn't been so dismissive of public transportation, there were some parts where it felt like she was almost putting them on the level of cars. I think the best cities have an extensive public transit network along with cycling network and walkable everywhere! But I guess this is a book about bikes, so it's to be expected. Also unrelated to the content of the book, but I got a physical copy from the library, and it was really nice quality. Like the font was different from typical, and it was a blue color instead of black, which made it easier on the eyes. Very pleasant to read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    C Pure

    Interesting read! Even though this book is now dated (it was published in 2011) I found it to be quiet interesting to learn about the social and economical impacts bike culture has had in various communities around the world. Being a woman of color, I also appreciated the talk about how bicycling is perceived across race and gender because I feel that is an important argument that is overlooked. I use to ride my bike in NYC (around 2011-2013) and it definitely did not have the safety in numbers Interesting read! Even though this book is now dated (it was published in 2011) I found it to be quiet interesting to learn about the social and economical impacts bike culture has had in various communities around the world. Being a woman of color, I also appreciated the talk about how bicycling is perceived across race and gender because I feel that is an important argument that is overlooked. I use to ride my bike in NYC (around 2011-2013) and it definitely did not have the safety in numbers vibe as it does now! Here we are 2017 and I see the change the citibike systems have had including better bike lane infrastructure. More people are cruisin the streets than ever, and it's pretty awesome. So yey for bikes!!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Edouard Stenger

    With so many bike enthusiasts in my grad school program, I had planned to read this book for quite a while. Now that I have graduaded, I thought I could take the time. This is a short (less than 200 pages), very interesting book that outlines the many advantages and positive aspects of biking. While not a panacea to absolutely all our problems, biking could solve or help solve a laundry list of issues... Full review on my blog: https://edouardstenger.wordpress.com/... Enjoy ! :)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Grondin

    If you are a new cyclist and find yourself interested in biking culture, or if you are an avid cyclist, I highly recommend this book by Elly Blue. She very eloquently makes the case for how important cycling is and how it could change the way you view a city. With the prospect of Sarnia’s first bike lanes being installed in the near future, this book reassured me of everything I already knew. It’s incredible that a leisurely activity such a riding your bike could mean so much more in the grand If you are a new cyclist and find yourself interested in biking culture, or if you are an avid cyclist, I highly recommend this book by Elly Blue. She very eloquently makes the case for how important cycling is and how it could change the way you view a city. With the prospect of Sarnia’s first bike lanes being installed in the near future, this book reassured me of everything I already knew. It’s incredible that a leisurely activity such a riding your bike could mean so much more in the grand scheme of things.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kt

    This book was, to me, preaching to the choir. I learned a lot of this stuff by the things I have read over the years - especially since I started following bike advocates on Twitter. Still, it's a good compilation with plenty of citations, and there were enough new or re-framed ideas to make the read worthwhile for me. Also, the teal print in the book was fun. I'm hoping to pass this book on to an open-minded person new to the idea that bikes are more than toys.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Marty Greenwell

    Liked it. Gave me a reason in 2020 to possibly expand my biking into more transportation within the city, such as loading up the panniers and a backpack and buying $60+ at Kroger. It is an economics tome so I feel the book could have been shortened buy 50 pp. Goes into the inequities of race and income on bike infrastructure spending. I believe in most of it when it comes to local riding vs. using small trucks. Thanks to daughter Avocet for buying it for me for Hanukkah 2019

  16. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    A well-researched book on the benefits of cycling with a ton of references, that also made me want to get out and hop onto the bike for a quick cycle at times (a problem as I usually read in bed at night). I didn't realise how much of the content was aimed at a US audience though. I would have thought it doesn't matter, but a lot of the discussions involving numbers, taxes, subsidies, etc, and the overwhelming car culture made me want to skip ahead at times. Still, interesting.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Blue is preaching to the choir in my case, but I found so much inspiration to keep on keepin' on--especially through these dreary winter days. I appreciate her well-researched and broad look at how cycling can improve the lives of individuals, families, communities, and the world.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    Highly recommended to anyone that wants to learn more about our transportation system and how we each can positively impact it, our environment, our health and our pocketbooks through human power or mass transit

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kike Rojas

    Very well written essay on the benefits of cycling as a way of transportation. A little too reiterative at times but I believe the author managed to make her message very clear.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rita

    entering year 10 of stubbornly everyday biking and this book still taught me things.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jenna Marie

    this is my mission statement.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mitch Conquer

    Made me think a lot about how bikes can be positive for the economy

  23. 4 out of 5

    Du

    I had a lot of high hopes for this book, but didn't feel that it lived up to it. I was someone enjoyable, but also somewhat pedestrian (:)).

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mizloo

    Smart, thoughtful, well-informed, but clearly biased. Although I share the biases.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Benno Lang

    Got me pretty keen on cycling again. There's a lot of great info, even if it is a bit repetitive and drawn out in parts.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jessikirk

    Fantastic bicycling manifesto I would highly recommend this to anyone who wants to be motivated to ride a bicycle. I truly hope more people will read and make the change.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    This was a very interesting read about the economics of bike vs car infrastructure, the cost of owning a car vs a bike, and the effects increased bike riding has on local businesses (spoiler: bikes always win!). As someone who loves to bike and hates to drive (though sadly, where I'm living now is particularly unfriendly to bikes), this book was kind of a no brainer to me. The thing that really drives me capital c CRAZY about bike infrastructure is that both bikes and cars want bikes to be This was a very interesting read about the economics of bike vs car infrastructure, the cost of owning a car vs a bike, and the effects increased bike riding has on local businesses (spoiler: bikes always win!). As someone who loves to bike and hates to drive (though sadly, where I'm living now is particularly unfriendly to bikes), this book was kind of a no brainer to me. The thing that really drives me capital c CRAZY about bike infrastructure is that both bikes and cars want bikes to be separated from traffic. Everyone is happier when bikes have a bike lane on busy streets or a greenway completely separate. Some people act like it pisses them off, but truthfully, all drivers want to do is drive without obstacles or distractions, and all bikers want is to be ALIVE at the end of the day. I think a lot of people would be surprised how much tax dollars are essentially wasted on maintaining roads--I say wasted because we currently don't have high enough taxes to properly maintain the roads we already have, much less build new roads, so many of our roads are in a constant state of disrepair. If we actually want to throw all our eggs in the car infrastructure basket, we should raise gas taxes immediately so that a gallon costs like $7. Political suicide, anyone? Only 4 stars because there was some weird grammatical errors and strange sentence structures in the book that were distracting to me.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Elly Blue is a columnist for BikePortland.org and well qualified to write a book about cycling's impact on society. I suppose the rationale for the title's focus on the economic benefits of more cycling is because that is what we are all supposed to care about these days, but the twelve chapters provide something more like a reader or introduction to the main social issues of increasing use of bicycles in America, from "asphalt bubble" to "whose streets?" As with most advocacy texts of this sort, Elly Blue is a columnist for BikePortland.org and well qualified to write a book about cycling's impact on society. I suppose the rationale for the title's focus on the economic benefits of more cycling is because that is what we are all supposed to care about these days, but the twelve chapters provide something more like a reader or introduction to the main social issues of increasing use of bicycles in America, from "asphalt bubble" to "whose streets?" As with most advocacy texts of this sort, the author's intense expressed enthusiasm for her position suggests to me that few cycling opponents would have any interest in reading this, so there may be a "preaching to the choir" problem. My public library purchased several copies (and presumably others did too); perhaps some folks who are in the middle or open to learning about the topic will consult it. At least for me, it hasn't been easy to find books on "cycling policy" that make for engrossing reading. I certainly didn't sit down and read this from cover to cover - eventually I read about half of it, jumping around. I knew some of what was described, but I learned a few things, too.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Phil Grupe

    Great, short read on the multiple benefits offered by a transit system based more on bicycles than on vehicles. Elly Blue makes a great case for how a transition to bicycle-first transit and development could be one of the best ways for us to make a significant short-term dent in our GHG emissions, as well as a boon to local economies. Unfortunately, many cities are still too spread out to fully take advantage of this type of development yet, and they would require major upgrades to public Great, short read on the multiple benefits offered by a transit system based more on bicycles than on vehicles. Elly Blue makes a great case for how a transition to bicycle-first transit and development could be one of the best ways for us to make a significant short-term dent in our GHG emissions, as well as a boon to local economies. Unfortunately, many cities are still too spread out to fully take advantage of this type of development yet, and they would require major upgrades to public transit, or re-thinking of development into more self-contained towns in various sections of major metro areas, in order for bikes to be a truly feasible option for most citizens. And then there are those Midwest winters.....Portland is a lovely town, and in some ways its bike-friendly infrastructure can be a model elsewhere; but year-round cycling is a totally different beast in a place like Minneapolis, Chicago, or Detroit. As a side note, the editing could have been a bit sharper, as I came across myriad grammatical errors, but they didn't usually distract too terribly from the book (unless you're quite anal retentive about that kind of thing).

  30. 5 out of 5

    Carye Bye

    Just finished Elly Blue's Bikenomics book! It's a super good read --- full of a mix of personal story and statistics. It's a thesis really showing through examples the benefits for all--- as cities and towns explore and implement specific bike infrastructure, they have experienced a growth of safety and health... and saved money. And the idea if you build it, they will come. It's covered in the book but I also learned first hand how much the Bike Share idea has changed cities. On my loop tour of Just finished Elly Blue's Bikenomics book! It's a super good read --- full of a mix of personal story and statistics. It's a thesis really showing through examples the benefits for all--- as cities and towns explore and implement specific bike infrastructure, they have experienced a growth of safety and health... and saved money. And the idea if you build it, they will come. It's covered in the book but I also learned first hand how much the Bike Share idea has changed cities. On my loop tour of the US & Canada, San Antonio & Washington DC were very easy to explore by bicycle -- maps & routes and lots of happy people biking around and the regular road traffic really accepting bikes as real traffic too. It was marvelous. The book also spends a lot of time deconstructing myths around the automobile and how much that culture relies on subsidies to exist.This book is all about bikes for sure but it's also up front and not afraid to reveal the gas guzzling empire to its true reality. http://takingthelane.com/bikenomics/

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