This week I hit one-thousand miles of bike riding, at least since I started keeping track on DailyMile last November. In one respect, this is a post to commemorate a milestone in my bicycling career. In another respect, it's to explain why I've ridden so many miles in the past five months.

(from Flickr user arkiss)

Almost none of my miles have been purely recreational, or in other words, all thousand miles have been accumulated because I used my bike to get from one place to another.

The reason I've biked so many miles in the past five months is because I live in sprawl.

True, my neighborhood is relatively dense, in theory. If you divide the number of people living in University Heights by the square mileage of the city, it comes out to more than 7,000 people per square mile. The problem is that the zoning regulations are egregious. It's not possible to walk out of my door and then to a store right around the corner. For a lot of things, it's not really easy to walk - but it is generally easy to bike, and so I have.

These miles add up quick. How many people tack 15,000 miles onto their car and then at the end of the year wonder how they did it even though they didn't use the car for any cross-country trips? The same idea exists here.

Now, most people who live in my neighborhood cite such sprawl as evidence that the "need" to own a car and drive it everywhere. I don't see it the same way, obviously, but I am confident that if I lived in a denser or mixed-use development, close to school and work, that I would have biked about half as many miles as I have. Or, at least, that recreational miles would have made up a much larger proportion of the total.

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