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In an era of steep gas prices, snarled traffic, catastrophic climate change, and a yearning for a higher quality of life, interest in bike-friendly public policies is surging nationwide. A surprising array of political organizations, visionary politicians, and colorful individuals powers this movement and a growing number of bike enthusiasts are taking to the streets. From the night rides of Critical Mass to the dumpster-diving Rat Patrol, this book shows the eccentric side of the bicycling universe even as it illustrates the mainstream efforts of politicians like U.S. Representative Jim Oberstar and plain folks like “Biker Mama” Jane Healy. Dedicated to the idea that biking is an ongoing act of nondestructive living, Pedal Power shows why the dominance of the automobile is yesterday’s idea and edges us closer to a more democratic, multimodal transportation system so essential in the age of global warming. The bike, regarded as irrelevant to the 20th century, is making a comeback in the 21st. Pedal Power takes us there and suggests that the most compelling thing about riding is that it changes the way people experience the world and, therefore, the way they think.