A Snapshot of Cycling in Upstate New York

An Albany newspaper takes a look at cycling in the Capital District: cycling is up, and advocacy groups are working to take advantage of it.

"The average American spends an hour each day in a car, and that number rises to one and a half hours a day for people ages 35 to 44. Even though 41 percent of trips are less than two miles long, Americans use cars to carry out the large majority of them, according to a 2003 study. All of this motorized transport contributes to health problems that cost the country $22 billion a year, according to the League of American Bicyclists. In addition, driving has caused a host of social and environmental problems, from air pollution to suburban sprawl. Claire Nolan, a member of the Albany Bicycle Coalition and New York Bicycling Coalition, says, 'The automobile is only 100 years old, and in those 100 years, it's pretty much destroyed everything.'"

"Among the many advantages touted by cycling advocates, they report that it saves them money. "I'm certainly not as impacted by the increase in gas prices," says Joshua Poppel, the executive director of NYBC. A cycle commuter for the past eight years, he says he can go at least six weeks without filling his car's gas tank."

Albany, and its sister cities, despite housing a number of cycle-friendly nonprofits, has been slow to adopt pro-bike measures. For many, bad roads are the main inhibitor, although concerns about safety and suburban sprawl also prevent many from cycling.

Thanks to Franny Ritchie

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