Bike maths: why to ride a bike and not to park it

I have always thought that riding a bike was a better choice than parking a bike. And now I know for sure. It’s all about numbers, all about mathematics.

The main thing that kept bothering me for a while is that a bike is in essence a beautiful artefact, but it tends to get rather ugly when you see many of them packed together at stations or other places of interest. Unlike flowers, more bikes seem to be less favourable. The same holds for riding bikes.

However, I figured that there was no simple mathematical relation between the number of bikes and the experienced emotions; no straight line from being happy with one bike down to being unhappy with many bikes. So I ended up drawing the relations for riding bikes and parked bikes. Note that they are a bit personal.Maths - riding bikes

The lonely cyclist is usually quite happy, enjoying the silence of nature, watching birds, concentrating on the tarmac. But he likes it more when there are some others around to share the experience. With too many others are around it decreases the feeling that he is exotic, because only a few likeminded people exist. From that point on, more cyclists make him not just less happy but unhappy. They make him annoyed, they increase danger of crashing, and, eventually, he experiences it as an utter chaos.Maths - parked bikes

The lonely bike parked against a bridge or a lamppost is usually seen as decorative, it often figures in romantic pictures. Some more bikes are still decorative, but then quickly the feelings about parked bikes deteriorate. They are soon experienced as messy. A nice building turns into an ugly place with many bikes parked against it. And, eventually, it becomes an utter chaos.

My conclusion is that, given that everything ends up in an utter chaos anyway, you can better ride your bike than park it somewhere. The maths prove it.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


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