Certainly he won't get an argument from many urban planners and big-city mayors. Across the country, municipal leaders are promoting bicycle use to reduce traffic congestion, cut oil consumption, clean up skies, and slim down a flabby populace.
More practically, urban leaders view bikes as an inexpensive way to move people around in an era when it is getting harder and harder to convince taxpayers to fund anything – subways, roads, or even pothole repair – as well as pry money out of Washington. Since bike lanes take up only a fraction of the space needed for cars, it's appealing to promote commuting by bicycle rather than trying to garner funds for more blacktop.
"Our principal job is to make sure that people and goods can move through the city," says Roger Geller, bicycle coordinator for Portland, Ore. "If all the new residents coming into Portland drive at current rates, nobody is going to be moving."
Some of the burgeoning interest in pedal power is generational. Biking appeals to many of the nation's younger mayors, such as Anthony Foxx of Charlotte, N.C., the newly appointed head of the US Department of Transportation.
"There is a new class of mayors who understand urban systems better," says Shin-pei Tsay, who follows cities and transportation for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in New York. "They are asking what is the most efficient way to move people."
States are pushing alternative forms of transportation, too. In 2006, California passed a "sustainable communities" law that requires every metro area to come up with ways to reduce greenhouse gases related to travel. It is forcing cities to consider both more pedestrian and bicycle facilities.