How Cycling Can Save the World

Cycling is more than a pleasant hobby: it has the potential to revolutionize the infrastructure, air quality and public health of the world's cities. Avid cyclist Peter Walker (who lives and rides in London) is on a mission to bring bikes back to urban areas--not to flood the streets with Lycra-wearing fanatics, but to introduce more people to the joys of life seen from a bicycle seat. A former courier who now runs the Guardian bike blog, Walker explores how governments can make the roads safer for cyclists--and how nearly anyone can benefit from hopping on a bike--in his aptly named first book, How Cycling Can Save the World.

Walker begins his journey in cities such as Utrecht and Copenhagen, where cycling is unremarkable, except to visitors. The vibrant cultures of these and other bike-friendly cities didn't happen by accident: Walker recounts years of infrastructure changes and political battles, interviewing public figures who have championed cycling in places such as London and New York. He also emphasizes other benefits of life on a bike: better health, knowing and appreciating one's neighborhood, fewer car emissions (and costs).

Although Walker acknowledges hazards (including hostile drivers and traffic accidents), his overall tone, like his title, is positive. "At the risk of sounding borderline messianic, cycling makes your life better," he says. Packed with thoughtful research and inspiring anecdotes, How Cycling Can Save the World inspires readers to take to the streets on two wheels. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

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