Local News

Bicycle Commute Saves Time and Money

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The bike is a must-have item in Japan.
NAGANO — It's rush hour in near blizzard conditions in Nagano City. Even with several inches on the ground, amid the tangle of four-wheeled vehicles, the two-wheeled warriors are there.

Believe it or not, the main parking lot to Nagano station is filled with a sea of look-alike bikes. There are close to 1,000 bicycles. It's by far the most popular form of transportation. That's because owning a car and paying for insurance costs a small fortune. Riding the bus can take forever.

One biker says it can take around an hour to make two stops. For most people, that's very inconvenient. Each bike is registered like a car with the city. Most have locks, but rarely is one stolen. People try to park in the same general space so they won't lose track of their transportation.

Most bikes have baskets to carry your things, while some have makeshift covers to protect the seat. There's nothing to protect a commuter from the cold weather and the battle against traffic.

Other bike riders are on the bandwagon because it is good for the environment. It's also good for your health, except of course, when there's a snowstorm outside. It takes a special breed to hold the handle-bar with one hand and an umbrella with the other. Watch Jim Payne's reports from Nagano every night at 11:00 p.m. throughout the Olympic games.


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