GOOD

Biking in Good Company

Get involved with inspiring organizations that are making it safer, easier, and more fun to bike.


This post is in partnership with the CLIF Bar 2-Mile Challenge



Spend some time cycling and passion has a tendency to take over. Sometimes that passion is all about the benefits of cycling. Other times it spurs the need to participate in cycling events or to lend a voice to issues that impact cycling, like safe streets and bike paths. Don't believe us? Check out some of these awesome national and state organizations created by ordinary bike enthusiasts just like you who are making a difference in the world.

Chicago cyclists will want to check into Active Transportation Alliance programs. “We host events like Bike the Drive with tours of the city, pointing out history, parks and architecture along the routes,” says Director of Marketing, Ethan Spotts. “We also push for new facilities and infrastructure on the streets – bike lanes, trails, sidewalks, safer intersections – that get more people biking and walking.” Additionally, ATA fights for (and helps pass) legislation such as Must Stop for Pedestrians. They’re currently doing a big push against distracted driving.

Those needing that extra nudge off the couch and onto a bike need merely listen to Allison Mannos, Urban Strategy Director of Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, speak about cycling’s benefits. “Not only does cycling make you feel better and whole as a person, but you start to see your community more closely,” she says. The organization develops campaigns, programs, resources and events to support bicycling-related advocacy, education, outreach and fun all around Los Angeles County.

In Northern California, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition members have several goals they’re striving towards, including an annual Bike to School Day “Our action plan is to literally connect the city with 100 miles of bikeways,” says Executive Director Leah Shauhm. Events include. Says Shahum, “Our mission is to make sure bicycling is inviting and safe for people of all ages and skill levels.”

Education, outreach and advocacy play a big role in Seattle’s Bicycle Alliance of Washington. Their programs are for all-ages. “In elementary schools we promote safe cycling routes to school and teach the parents of students how to encourage their kids to ride safely,” says Josh Miller, Program Manager for BAW’s Go By Bike Program. “At several universities we’re helping them develop bicycle curricula in their physical education and health programs.” BAW also gets involved with legislation like the Vulnerable User Bill, which increases disciplinary actions for drivers who injure or kill cyclists and pedestrians.

Climate Ride hosts two annual events: a charitable five-day rides from New York City to Washington, DC and another ride from Sacramento to San Francisco. Funds raised support sustainable solutions and environmental causes. “Our participants get to enjoy scenic bicycle rides that celebrate the best of America that you can see on two wheels,” says Climate Ride co-founder and director, Caeli Quinn. “They also have the opportunity to hear important perspectives from respected thought leaders. All of this contributes to an extraordinary event - action, learning and life-changing experiences—all on a gorgeous bike trip.”

As a national, state and local advocacy organization since 1880, the League of American Bicyclists has initiated several key programs including the Bicycle Friendly America Program, which promotes bicycle-friendly state, community and business programs. Additionally, they sponsor bicycle and safety education Smart Cycling programs and National Bike Month.

There’s pride in Keith Laughlin’s voice when he speaks about how Rails to Trails Conservancy has converted unused railroad corridors into trails. “When we started [25 years ago] there were only a couple of hundred miles of rail trail, now there are 20,000,” says the RTC president. “It’s amazing to see that what started out as a good idea has become a national movement and it was all done by working with people at local levels.” RTC’s goal for 2020 – that 90% of Americans are living within three miles of a trail system so they can build cycling into their daily lives.

Read more about urban biking in our GOOD Guide to Biking for the Planet.

Articles

Looking back, the year 1995 seems like such an innocent time. America was in the midst of its longest streak of peace and prosperity. September 11, 2001 was six years away, and the internet didn't seem like much more than a passing fad.

Twenty-four years ago, 18 million U.S. homes had modem-equipped computers, 7 million more than the year before. Most logged in through America Online where they got their email or communicated with random strangers in chat rooms.

According to a Pew Research study that year, only 32% of those who go online say they would miss it "a lot" if no longer available.

Imagine what those poll numbers would look like if the question was asked today.

RELATED: Bill and Melinda Gates had a surprising answer when asked about a 70 percent tax on the wealthiest Americans

"Few see online activities as essential to them, and no single online feature, with the exception of E-Mail, is used with any regularity," the Pew article said. "Consumers have yet to begin purchasing goods and services online, and there is little indication that online news features are changing traditional news consumption patterns."

"Late Night" host David Letterman had Microsoft founder and, at that time the richest man in the world, on his show for an interview in '95 to discuss the "the big new thing."

During the interview Letterman chided Gates about the usefulness of the new technology, comparing it to radio and tape recorders.

Gates seems excited by the internet because it will soon allow people to listen to a baseball game on their computer. To which Letterman smugly replies, "Does radio ring a bell?" to laughter from the crowd.

But Gates presses Letterman saying that the new technology allows you to listen to the game "whenever you want," to which Letterman responds, "Do tape recorders ring a bell?"

Gates then tells Letterman he can keep up with the latest in his favorite hobbies such as cigar smoking or race cars through the internet. Letterman shuts him down saying that he reads about his interests in magazines.

RELATED: Bill Gates has five books he thinks you should read this summer.

The discussion ends with the two laughing over meeting like-minded people in "troubled loner chat room on the internet."

The clip brings to mind a 1994 segment on "The Today Show" where host Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric have a similar discussion.

"What is internet anyway?" an exasperated Gumball asks. "What do you write to it like mail?"

"It's a computer billboard but it's nationwide and it's several universities all joined together and it's getting bigger and bigger all the time," a producer explains from off-stage.





Culture
via The Howard Stern Show / YouTube

Former Secretary of State, first lady, and winner of the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, sat own for an epic, two-and-a--half hour interview with Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show Wednesday.

She was there to promote "The Book of Gutsy Women," a book about heroic women co-written with her daughter, Chelsea Clinton.

In the far-reaching conversation, Clinton and the self-proclaimed "King of All Media" and, without a doubt, the best interviewer in America discussed everything from Donald Trump's inauguration to her sexuality.

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Politics

The healthcare systems in the United States and the United Kingdom couldn't be more different.

The UK's National Health Service is the largest government-run healthcare system in the world and the US's is largest private sector system.

Almost all essential health services in the UK are free, whereas in America cost can vary wildly based on insurance, co pays and what the hospitals and physicians choose to charge.

A medical bill in the US

One of the largest differences is cost. The average person in the UK spends £2,989 ($3915) per year on healthcare (most of which is collected through taxes), whereas the average American spends around $10,739 a year.

So Americans should obviously be getting better care, right? Well, the average life expectancy in the UK is higher and infant mortality rate is lower than that in the US.

RELATED: The World Health Organization declares war on the out of control price of insulin

Plus, in the U.S., only 84% of people are covered by private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. Sixteen percent of the population are forced to pay out of pocket.

In the UK, everyone is covered unless they are visiting the country or an undocumented resident.

Prescription drugs can cost Americans an arm and a leg, but in the UK, prescriptions or either free or capped at £8.60 ($11.27).

via Wikimedia Commons

The one drawback to the NHS system is responsiveness. In the UK people tend to wait longer for inessential surgeries, doctor's appointments, and in emergency rooms. Whereas, the US is ranked as the most responsive country in the world.

RELATED: Alarmingly high insulin prices are forcing Americans to flock to Canada to buy the drug

The New York Times printed a fair evaluation of the UK's system:

The service is known for its simplicity: It is free at the point of use to anyone who needs it. Paperwork is minimal, and most patients never see a bill. … No one needs to delay medical treatment until he or she can afford it, and virtually everyone is covered. …

According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States spent 17.2 percent of its economic output on health care in 2016, compared with 9.7 percent in Britain. Yet Britain has a higher life expectancy at birth and lower infant mortality.

Citizens in each country have an interesting perspective on each other's healthcare systems. UK citizens think it's inhumane for Americans have to pay through the nose when they're sick or injured. While Americans are skeptical of socialist medicine.

A reporter from Politics Joe hit the streets of London and asked everyday people what they think Americans pay for healthcare and they were completely shocked.

Health