After perusing a rather bizarre Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal the other day on the issue of bicycles as instruments of totalitarianism and being reminded of the idea that bike paths are part of a “new world order”, I’ve been asking myself, what is it that right wingers have against goddamn bicycles?
Is it because riding a bike means consuming no gasoline and that their mouthpieces have been paid oil company hacks for so long, it’s reflexive? Or because the paragons and heroes of the American right tend to be as far removed from physical exercise as their rank and file is from mental health? Or because pedaling people somehow intrude on the divine right of the sacred automobile?
I figure it’s got to be a bit of all of these plus the idea that people getting around by self-propelled two wheelers is, well, European, hence evil. Which flys in the face of everything conservatives are supposedly in favor of: self-reliance, personal responsibility and ingenuity.
Yet the human propelled bike itself may be disappearing with the advent of an electric one whose price isn’t that steep. Like an electric car, it has a 40 mile radius on its charge, but unlike a car, you can turn the engine off and make it go yourself. As lots of riders that are less than fanatical may not care to brave SF’s steep hills on every trip, this could mean an enormous new wave of riders, making Critical Mass almost a daily event.
Damn right I’m for it, too. Yeah, watching out for bikers while driving takes more concentration and sometimes cyclists stray out of their lanes and wreak havoc. But compared to the noise, stink and glut of the car (and in a city where parking is almost impossible), this is a great development–regressives be damned!