Transportation war: The bicycle

In this city, all forms of transportation are not made equal. Our writers discuss the ups and downs of three popular forms of transit.

Last spring, money got tight and fueling my car became more important than feeding myself. That’s when I decided to buy a bike.

It sat in my humble kitchen for a few days until I fought my fear of the street and took my first citywide ride. After that, my mind immediately changed — it was so liberating to pedal freely from points A to B at no cost. I didn’t even end up as a hood ornament.

Riding a bicycle throughout the city is all about confidence — especially confidence in your safety, which is why it’s important to buy a helmet. Kryptonite Locks named Philadelphia the No. 1 city for bike theft in the United States, so pick up a lock before you ride. Campus Police offers free locks for students who register their bicycles.

On the lighter side, Philadelphia is loaded with bike lanes. Spring Garden Street is a recommended passageway with a bike lane that spans from the easternmost point of Philly to University City. From there, lanes shoot off at Sixth Street, 11th Street and 22nd Street, all heading south. These lanes are very helpful for navigating the city. Make eye contact with drivers before crossing any major intersection, heed all signs and traffic lights and remember that a bicycle is considered a vehicle, so you can’t just whiz through stop signs.According to Bicycling magazine, Philadelphia is one of the top 10 bike-friendly cities in the United States. It’s no surprise, then, that 25 percent of Philadelphians safely commute on bicycles.

Be sure to check out Lauren Macaluso’s pledge for SEPTA, and Aaron Stella’s love for his car.

Rachel Nichols can be reached at

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