START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x

Which Country is Suddenly Crazy for Bicycles?

Which Country is Suddenly Crazy for Bicycles?

Written by A.K. Streeter

If you hadn’t already guessed from the photo, it isn’t any of the places we generally think of as bike-friendliest – the Netherlands or Denmark. It isn’t China, which has the fastest growth in bike sharing but is also embracing the automobile in massive proportions.

It’s Italy, that boot-shaped nation that brought to us pasta, pizza, the movie The Bicycle Thief, and a big bunch of bike culture.

By the turn of the 19th to the 20th century, Italy was already crazy about biking, with well-known brands – Bianchi and Olympia – and lots of popularity, especially in the Northern areas of the country. Italy copied France’s success with the Tour de France and created its own Giro d’Italia. A number of Italian champions have dominated the sport side of cycling, and many of the most famous racing bikes are Italian.

Italy’s cycling glory years, says Ellee Thalheimer in her book Cycling in Italy, were the time of fascist rule and the period immediately after WWII. Eventually, city dwellers rejected urban cycling – just 90,000 Italian secondary kids under the age of 10 ride their bikes to school, in a nation of 60 million.

Edoardo Croci/CC BY 2.0

But now, for the first time in nearly 50 years, Italians have purchased more bikes in a year than cars. In 2012, 1.65 million bikes found new Italian owners versus 1.2 million new cars.

Italy has suffered economically since 2008, and more Italians have bought bikes to deal with high gas prices and less disposable income. Fiat’s chairman Sergio Marchionne called the drop in car sales “Carmaggedon.”

Commuter bikes are now Bianchi‘s fastest-selling segment, and the company is branching into e-bikes.

But bikes are not universally embraced – in Milan a bike sharing scheme is popular, but in traffic-clogged Rome bike sharing failed completely.

This post was originally published by TreeHugger.

 

Read more: , , , ,

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it

84 comments

+ add your own
6:55PM PDT on Jun 20, 2013

I think it's wonderful that a country's leaders can practice what they preach - for the photo op anyway. I think it would have a better picture if some of these men and women (yes, there were two I could see) would have smiled, at least for the camera. I wonder how many were back in their 4-wheeled vehicles after this photo was shot?

It will be fantastic if a week from now we find out that at least some of these men and women are still on two wheels. Always nice when politicans set an example, thus becoming true leaders.

7:11PM PDT on Jun 17, 2013

cool I just rescued 2 bikes from the trash yesterday and will fix them up for neighbor kids.

5:36AM PDT on Jun 17, 2013

Thanks..

4:25AM PDT on Jun 17, 2013

Noted

3:50AM PDT on Jun 17, 2013

Fascinating and interesting. Bicycles are certainly a delightful form of travel. Seeing many sights as one is in less of a rush...for the most part.

3:04AM PDT on Jun 17, 2013

I never knew that

2:08AM PDT on Jun 17, 2013

tyvm...

1:16AM PDT on Jun 17, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

9:49PM PDT on Jun 16, 2013

Sounds great....thanks!

9:40PM PDT on Jun 16, 2013

Way to go Italy! Thank you for sharing.

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

Care2 - Be Extraordinary - Start a Care2 Petition
ads keep care2 free
CONTACT THE EDITORS

Recent Comments from Causes

Sadly we don´t see that we only see the product

I love the way he went back to sleep when it finished. Loved his voice as well.

Be careful what you sow, for one day you will reap the harvest.

ads keep care2 free

more from causes

Animal Welfare

Causes Canada

Causes UK

Children

Civil Rights

Education

Endangered Wildlife

Environment & Wildlife

Global Development

Global Warming

Health Policy

Human Rights

LGBT rights

Politics

Real Food

Trailblazers For Good

Women's Rights




Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.