Can our cities be “Saved by Bikes”?
A bicycle is not just a bicycle to Steve Inniss. It’s our future.
away in one of Canada’s busiest office towers in downtown Toronto,
Inniss has just opened a new store that aims to change the face of
North American commuting and make us all greener – one bike at a time.
Aimed at commuters, or city dwellers whose storage
space may be limited, the STRiDA bicycle is made up of a unique
rustproof triangular construction, which folds and unfolds in 5 seconds
flat. Instead of a chain, it has an oil-free belt made from Kevlar, so
those wearing their good office wear need not worry. GO Transit has
approved the folding bike to be allowed on its trains, since the clean
belt will not mark up the seats. The bikes also fit snug on buses,
streetcars and the subway.
and more urban centres in North America are grappling with out of
control infrastructure deficits and congestion costs. Inniss believes
it doesn’t have to be this way. “Demands on the budgets of North
American cities to support the auto-infrastructure are too enormous to
sustain,” he argues. “To say nothing about gridlock, opportunity cost,
stress from commute times, and parking costs.”
Along with the
bicycle is savedByBikes.com’s unique new concept store and website,
which targets people whose commute currently involves automobile use
for all or part of the time.
The company’s mission is to help people consider a greener, more
environmentally friendly alternative. For some, part of that
consideration involves borrowing a bike overnight to try their own
commute; a service the company offers at no charge. With high foot
traffic and unique location at First Canadian Place, Inniss has found
huge interest in his cause. “People believe it is an important and
timely business idea – taking the risk to bring solutions directly to
commuters, via the bike shop in a bank building,” he says. “Quite a few
want to know if there is any room for investors. I think it stems from
the fact that it is the right thing to do.”
Bicycle use is often seen as a visible indicator of a modern, diverse city, enhancing the
culture of the city itself. Thinking globally, but acting locally, is
the intention. “We must change our ways to reduce emissions and help
strengthen our planet’s ability to deal with stress,” Inniss says.
STRiDA is sweeping Europe and Asia by storm where it’s been referred to
as the rolling miracle. Can our society be ‘Saved By Bikes?’ Perhaps it