For the Love of Bikes

By
From the May 30, 2013 edition

“Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the human race.” — H.G. Wells

“Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring.” — Desmond Tutu

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John Bannon likes to say a bicycle saved his ass during a difficult time in his life, which is why he saves so many old bicycles.

A few years ago, Bannon’s truck broke down, and he couldn’t afford to get it fixed right away. So he biked to work with an old bicycle he had sitting around unused.

Since then, he’s bought several bikes to restore and rides almost everywhere he can in the city. His entire social life has also been transformed, with bicycles — and friends he’s met through bicycling — claiming most of his free time.

“I look at these bikes as great, functional machines that have helped me, and I try to help them out and keep them going, too,” he said.

During my own research into Columbus’ bike scene, this theme kept arising: Bicycling is, for many, a love affair. As you’ll see throughout this week’s cover story, bicycles have played and are playing an integral role in the development of this city, from getting more women to ride to providing welcoming social structures to being a force for economic development and even as outlets for creativity. And with Columbus set to launch a bike share program in July, the time’s never been more perfect to join the movement.