The fact that so many have mourned the closure of Borders is a sign that people consider bookstores important. Elly Blue, who is on a month-long Dinner & Bikes tour around the western U.S.. proposes that bikes could play a part in bringing back the neighborhood bookstore. At a stop in affluent Santa Monica — which is full of bike enthusiasts but very short on bookstores — Blue describes the tour’s traveling bookstore, which contains books about bikes, urban gardening and radical movements. Writes Blue:
The demand we found in Santa Monica for independent bookstores and underground publishers means it’s only a matter of time before someone rises to fill the space left after the big-box crash. It’s a trend that parallels the rise of the bicycle movement: As society and individuals stagger under the ever-escalating costs of building and maintaining roads, filling up our gas tanks, and suffering the health and social consequences of auto-centric suburbs, many of us have turned back to the simplicity of the bike.
You could say that cars killed the independent bookstore: They fell prey to the same nexus of industrial, financial, and political maneuvering that created our car-oriented landscape. But bicycling could help bring them back. Right now, it feels good to know our tiny rental car carries both bikes and the promise of a new iteration of urbanism — one where everyone can afford to both travel at will, sit, and read a good book.
Could bikes help bring back bookstores at a local level?
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