Bike riding is an essential way of getting around in Japan, and it's no different for me. Since I don't have a car here, I have to bike anywhere I need to go; for work, shopping, going to a friends house, going to the post office, etc. It's something I probably wasn't really prepared, I never so much as got out of the neighborhood back in elementary school. I'm sure that by year's end, I'll have ridden further than I had in all my prior years combined.
Let's do the math. I teach at two elementary schools and a junior high, the elementary schools I work at are 4.6 and 2.8 kilometer bike rides away from my apartment, while my junior high is 3.2. Combining all of the roundtrip distances for the school year, I will travel 1,312km, or 815.24 miles, by March 2011. That's more than the distance from Atlanta, Georgia to Dallas, Texas, and this is just to go to work, not including when I got anywhere else.
And I'm not the exception. If you go to any train station in town, there are little to no parking spaces for cars, but ample space for bikes. At the big one in town, Fuji Station, there's two-level bicycle parking as well as underground parking with an automatic conveyer belt for taking your bike up the stairs and 24 hour security, it's spectacular.
I'm sure that my commute is far huge compared to a lot of peoples' around the world, but it's part of good evidence on the differences between Miami's huge reliance on driving and Japan's on bicycles and public transportation.