With Good Reason

Pedal Power
September 14th, 2013

Image via Flickr user Juliancolton

Image via Flickr user Juliancolton

Call it affordable, sustainable transportation. Call it public health. Ralph Buehler (Virginia Tech) has looked at who is riding bikes and why, and the infrastructure cities need to make cycling safer and more convenient. Buehler’s book City Cycling emphasizes that bicycling shouldn’t be limited to those who are highly trained, extremely fit, and daring enough to battle traffic on busy roads. Also featured: In an effort to curb pollution and congestion, cities across the U.S. have adopted bike share programs, and now colleges and universities are following suit. Eddie Hill and Bridget Nemeth started a bike share program on the campus of Old Dominion University, which offers free bikes to students. And: The electric bicycle, or e-bike, is growing in popularity and creating jobs. Jerry Franklin (Danville Community College) takes us on a spin through the world of e-bikes. Plus: Many runners today are taking off their shoes in favor of barefoot running. Silvia Blemker (University of Virginia) is mapping the muscles to learn how running barefoot compares to running with shoes.

Later in the show: Psychologist Andrew Velkey (CNU) describes the foraging behavior of men and women drivers searching for parking spaces. There are the “perchers” and then there are the “soarers.” Plus: The song “John Henry” is one of the most popular in American history, but for years nobody knew whether the legendary railroad tunneler was a real person or simply a tall tale. Scott Reynolds Nelson (College of William and Mary) discovered a historic record of a railroad worker named John Henry, who was buried secretly by the Richmond Penitentiary.

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Earlier this year, New York City rolled out the largest bike share program in the nation.  But American cities still lag behind Europe when it comes to bike infrastructure.  Allison Quantz reports.