TED Talks (TED: Technology, Entertainment, Design), are conferences held all over the world under the slogan “Ideas Worth Spreading.” They address a wide range of topics in science and culture, and often involve an element of storytelling from the speaker. You can find TED Talks on nearly any subject, and in the last few years, videos from the conferences have become wildly popular resources for forward thinking ideas.

Several TED Talks involve alternative transportation, bike infrastructure, and even cycling anecdotes.  Here are some of our favorites from over the years.

How To Build a Better Block: Jason Roberts at TEDxOU

Jason Roberts shows that sometimes you need to take initiative on your own to enact change in your community. Doing everything “by the book” and dealing with bureaucratic red tape won’t always work. Jason and a group of friends changed his community in Dallas’ Oak Cliff by re-purposing abandoned spaces, starting pop-up businesses, organizing events, and encouraging alternative transportation all on their own. Instead of waiting for permission, they just started doing. They started a Bike Friendly Oak Cliff advocacy group, and even painted their own bike lanes on underutilized streets. Surprisingly, their ideas were wildly successful, and many have become permanent fixtures in the neighborhood. There are some great lessons to be learned here.

Bicycle Culture by Design: Mikael Colville-Andersen from Copenhagenize

This is an amazing talk pertaining to urban planning to encourage bike usage. In the opinion of Mikael Colville-Anderson, traffic engineers have been failing miserably over the last 80 years. Building infrastructure just for cars has resulted in a myriad of commuting problems for many cities. Historically, streets are human spaces and just like other consumer products, they should respond to the needs of the consumer; the desires of the citizens. True human cities should be designed not only by civil engineers, but by architects, designers, and the people who live in them.

Mikael Colville-Andersen is an urban mobility expert and CEO of Copenhagenize Consulting. He is often called Denmark’s Bicycle Ambassador, and with and his team he has advised cities and towns around the world regarding bicycle planning, infrastructure, and communication strategies. He applies his marketing expertise to campaigns that focus on selling bicycle culture to a mainstream audience. His famous Cycle Chic brand has also brought a more casual elegance to cycling. Listen to this talk for a perspective from one of transportation cycling’s key figures.

Biking revolutionary Janette Sadic Khan about the most important asset of the city – streets

New York’s streets are not so mean for bikers and walkers any more. As a New York city commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan doubled bike lane number during her first year from 29 miles in 2006 to 63 miles in 2007. In the following five years additional 254 miles of bike lanes were painted. She also installed the city’s first parking-protected bike lanes on 9th Avenue. “Streets are some of the most valuable resources that a city has, and yet it’s an asset that’s largely hidden in plain sight.” Click play for more insight.

Arend Schwab: Why Bicycles Do Not Fall

Have you ever wondered how a bicycle works? Why doesn’t it just fall over? How does it balance on its own? The seemingly simple bicycle is actually quite complicated when you start to consider the mechanics behind it. In this fascinating video, Arend Schwab gives you look at the science behind the bicycle, and what the future may hold.

Arend did his BSc in Engineering at Dordrecht (1979), and his MSc (1983) and PhD (2002) at Delft. He runs the bicycle mechanics lab and teaches mechanics.

Jeff Speck: The Walkable City

Designing cities is really like designing peoples lives. Jeff Speck talks here about the impact of walk-able and bike-able cities on the health and wellness of it’s residents. Such cities encourage people to walk or bike where possible; and they ultimately lead to healthier residents and a better quality of life than citizens of non walk-able/bike-able cities. The proof is here!

Shimon Schocken: What a Bike Ride Can Teach You

When a university professor gets out to the wilderness for some mountain biking with teenagers from a juvenile correction facility, the magic of cycling takes over. The program Shimon Schocken started in Israel was not an easy venture for him or the kids he sought to help, but in the end lessons were learned by both parties, and cycling provided a platform for that learning.

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