With motorised traffic presenting at best a headache and at worst a danger to cyclists, we could be forgiven for dreaming of a future in which the world revolved around pedal power rather than the internal combustion engine.
That perhaps fanciful notion may soon be a step nearer reality in South Carolina, however, where property developers have unveiled plans for a community in which cars are banned and the bicycle reigns supreme.
Known as Bicycle City, the proposed community near Gaston in Lexington County is believed to be the first of its kind in the United States, reports The State newspaper, and instead of tarmac roads will have bike trails, as well as eco-friendly house, and ponds for those who enjoy boating.
The newspaper says that according to land records, developers have spent $1 million buying up 140 acres, and adds that they have engaged the services of community designer Ozzie Nagler.
One of the men behind the scheme, Joe Mellett, co-founder of an internet business sold to Monster.com for $17 million and based in Cincinatti, Ohio, said “it could become an eco-tourism destination” ahead of a meeting earlier this week where plans were presented to Lexington County Council.
He said that he came up with the idea after noticing how many communities were build around golf courses and concluded that while golfers were well catered for in that regard, cyclists were not, and devised a number of criteria including climate, air quality and rail access to identify a suitable location.
The first phase of the plans comprises ten homes and 4.5 miles of trails on a 14 acre site, with sizes ranging from 800 to 1,600 square feet, and prices would start from $200,000.
Co-developer Newton Boyklin said: “This is new, and we’re stepping off a cliff, so we want to do the right thing, even if it means moving slow.”
Germany already has a bicycle-only community, Vauban, which was built five years ago and is home to 5,000 people, while a similar scheme is planned in Oakland, California.
Of course, in reality, most adult cyclists are car drivers themselves, and the developers propose building a car park on the fringe of the community where residents would leave their cars parked outside the community, and use bikes or walk to their homes – although to us, it seems like there is a perfect opportunity to incorporate within the plans the cycling monorail that we reported on earlier this year.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.