Part of my desire to live in any place has always been how easy it is to get around on a bike. I got a small taste of the "bicycle lifestyle" when I was a college student in Athens, GA. I purchased my first "real" bike at that point in my life, and I rode it everywhere - to class, to eat, to the gym, downtown, you name it. When I graduated from college in 1996, I spent some time in Atlanta working my first job. But the whole time I lived there, I yearned to be out west, in the wild blue yonder; somewhere I could ride my bike, and have a beer while looking at snow-capped mountains. Atlanta was a horrible place to live if you wanted to ride a bike, or do much of anything outdoors for that matter.
Things didn't ever materialize quite like my romanticized vision of The Western Life, but I've done well in meeting my goals of living in some highly desireable American locales. And whether or not it was ever conscious, I have always made a big part of choosing where I live around how bicycle friendly that place is. The places I've lived since leaving Atlanta have been Marin County, Boulder, Colorado, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and now Chico.
As I've gotten to know Chico and the North State on bicycle, I've noticed quite a few bicycle-focused civic improvements, and much more bicycle-friendly evidence that I haven't yet photographed, but will as I have time. I only wish I'd have taken more digital photos along the way in all the places I've lived!
I've also noticed areas that could use improvement, and I've been to and lived in towns that outright suck if you want to ride a bike.
Along this train of thought, this evening I created a couple of groups on Flickr to begin this little exercise of documenting the bike friendliness of the two places I live and ride - and the suck factors as I find them. Without further adieu, may I introduce:
the Bicycle Friendly Flickr Group
and the Bicycle Unfriendly Flickr Group
If you have photos, or should go take photos of things that you think relate to these two topics where you live, I invite you to get out there, ride around, take some pictures, and submit them to the groups! And keep in mind - this isn't political! This is fun!