We've been in Buffalo for about half a year now, but I (Andy) grew up in nearby Lewiston, so it's more like a return to the region. If you find yourself asking the question, what do couriers do? We learn a lot about how bikes and cities go together while we're on the job. Here's some of what we've learned as bicycle couriers during our years in Boston:
- We all know that Buffalo's population is about half of what the city is designed to hold, but Boston feels more like there's twice as many people as it was designed for. Congestion is a major problem there, and more and more people are realizing that bikes are the solution. You can get anywhere in town easily without getting stuck in traffic. When you're encased in a giant metal box or crammed into a train you feel isolated, but when you're riding around you tend to spot friends and chat or roll by a new store you've been meaning to check out or take a minute to grab a coffee at your favorite cafe without worrying about parking a big car or having to wait for another bus. Cities are more fun on bikes, and you get a better chance to look around and enjoy all it has to offer when you're not all stressed out speeding towards the highway. You meet a lot of new friends, too!
- It's easy to see why many people don't own a car in Boston, with such high property values (and really expensive parking) combined with such a renowned public transit system, but did you know that about 30% of Buffalo households don't own a car either? The great thing about cities is that you have a lot of options for getting around, and most of what you need is within a reasonable distance. Plus, you get more spending money when you aren't wasting it on massive car payments and repairs, which is good for local businesses!
- Personally, I think the weather in both cities is about identical, give or take some lake effect or hurricanes. And it's possible to bike in pretty much anything! Minneapolis tends to be far colder, and they have a very healthy year-round cycling culture. Let's talk about something besides weather, because it's not easy anywhere!