Power of the Busycle

Ah, the Busycle. Just saying the word, even just now typing it, brings a smile to my face and joy to my heart. Nor am I alone in this sentiment. Ask anyone who has been exposed to it here in Palo Alto, California, one of the nation's most highly regarded bicycle cities, what they think of the Busycle, and always you will see the shift to happiness that its memory invokes. Everyone who has pedaled it in the regular demonstration rides we give, takes with them an internalized understanding of the power of community. This as all those who just see it in action are touched by the joy they watch it spread as it moves its happy pedalers from one destination to the next.

At the end of the 2006 summer, the Busycle helped us here, at the National Bicycle Greenway (NBG), celebrate the last stop on our 5th Annual National Mayors' Ride - San Francisco. It allowed people from all walks of life and different abilities to vicariously participate in the completion of Scott Campbell's bike ride from Boston in a way they will never forget. And as it did so, it let them own a piece of our dream of a network of bikeable roads and paths that we would like to see interconnect the Nation .

As a work of art, this attention getting, human powered people mover shows that a glorious phoenix can truly arise from the ashes of a scrap heap. As a subliminal message it celebrates the fact that we can use the bicycle to heal the planet of many of the woes the automobile has caused it to suffer. As a harbinger of joy, its benefits are many.

It causes people to long for the kind of healthy connection a Busycle ride represents. The happiness they see it produce seems to suggests that maybe their metal and glass boxes are keeping them from being more a part of what makes life fun - Casual Exercise - Easy Conversation - Fresh Air!

And as the group mind wanders it does not take anyone long to see the connect between Busycle fun and National Bicycle Greenway fun where all the same joy producing variables apply. Because it does not judge the value of any one person’s contribution, the Busycle encourages people to give of themselves in a way that keeps the fun meter running at high. And in such a way, it opens doors to people and resources that we here at the NBG never knew existed.

The emphatic words of one festival goer in Berkeley, CA where we participated in a parade with this pedal bus, sum up the power of the Busycle. Caught up in the excitement it brought to his city, a man demanded, “Why doesn’t our city have one one of these?” No sooner had he asked that than he exclaimed,

“Every community should have a Busycle!”

Martin Krieg
NBG Director
Awake Again author

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