Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Every Time You Break A Spoke, An Angel Gets Her Wings

Cover of report on economic impact of biking in Iowa.
Last Saturday, I noticed a compelling story in the Gazette on the “money” page called “Biking ROI.”

The article covered a study on the economic impact of biking in Iowa.  The numbers are pretty staggering.  Around 150,000 recreational bikers inject more than $360 million into the state’s economy each year, and save around $74 million in healthcare costs.  Here is a link to the full text of the study.

Every time you break a spoke, an angel gets her wings.  Or at least, that’s what it feels like, a little.  I recently got into a minor tiff on the KCRG web site, when I commented on a news story and stated something about bike commuting, which drew the usual oaf-behind-the-wheel whining about me “cheating” by not paying taxes by biking.

Ha.  I’m keeping the air cleaner, causing less wear and tear on the streets, saving healthcare costs and boosting the state’s economy as part of an important and lucrative activity.

This year, I’ve already replaced my chain, a spoke, a tire, a tube—and purchased an MMU biking jersey, as well as signing up, and paying an entry fee for, RAGBRAI.  This summer, I’ll eat (and pay) my way across the state as part of a roving hoard of bikers who give the state valuable PR and millions of dollars.

Clearly, my decision to peddle my way to work and enjoy weekend riding is based on selfish motives.  I bike because I like to bike.

But, also clearly, I’m benefiting all of Iowa.  Not by hundreds of millions myself personally, but biking is an important activity for economic, ecologic and health benefits.

So it’s true.

Every time you break a spoke, an angel gets her wings.

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