The Chainlink

http://www.salon.com/2011/12/04/are_urban_bicyclists_just_elite_sno...

I know it's a well kept secret that we ALL ride around town on our $2000 public bikes and $200 Chrome bags while sipping Lattes at stop lights.

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Are people just reading the title and not the article itself? This piece is NOT anti-bike, it's actually evenhanded and makes a lot of good points, while maintaining a certain pro-bike feel.

Reading the comments sections of articles, I find it interesting that people who support better biking, walking, and public transportation options are called "elitist", while people who want greater driving options (when cars cost tens of thousands of dollars to purchase and own) are apparently supporters of the downtrodden.

Kinda sad to say that the downtrodden value private automobile ownership over bicycles and infrastructure.

It's Not Just Hipsters on Bikes...

Cycling is for rich white people?  Census data shows cycling is most popular with urban poor folks, particularly the Latino poor:

"And this points to one of the biggest myths about bicycle commuting and alternative transportation in general — in reality these are predominantly commuting modes of the less-privileged. The Census Bureau has the numbers to prove it....

"The ethnic group most likely to bicycle to work in America is Latinos, not non-Hispanic whites. And white people are the least likely to walk to work. This, too, should be no surprise. The white population in the United States is less urbanized than other ethnic groups, so white Americans are less likely to use city-friendly modes of transportation.

"What is true is that when it comes to bicycle facilities, just like many other municipal services, there is a tendency to shortchange low-income neighborhoods with inferior infrastructure. That's deplorable. But systematically downgrading a whole metro area's bicycle facilities — or murdering cyclists at random — in favor of a more car-friendly transportation system is going to disadvantage a disproportionately disadvantaged population in favor of the more affluent class of car owners."

Actually, I think the continued reference to cyclist's "smug sense of superiority" is a perception created entirely the drivers who don't ride.  I certainly don't feel superior to anybody when I am riding in traffic.  It's hard to look a Mack Truck straight in the grill and feel superior.  The fact that, as the author alluded, we are enjoying ourselves and are more able to avoid congestion makes the common commuter jealous.

Marc 

There is obviously a big difference between those who "Choose" to cycle as a means of commuting, and those that have to.  When you are poor, and I have been as poor as they come, you covet the things you can't have. If your a vegetarian by choice, you are perceived much different than a person who can't afford to buy meat, and has to grow their own vegetables.

Ad in the fact that those who make the choices for upgrade of urban area's, IE bike lanes or infrastructure, are politically driven, they are trying to get the most mileage politically out of their decisions.  The "have to ride a bike to work" doesn't want bike lanes, they want JOBS, so they can eventually drive to work.  Politically, a bike lane isn't going to influence their vote. Even if they do commute via bike.  However, the person who could drive to work, but chooses not to, their vote will be influenced by a nice new bike lane in their neighborhood.  Isn't hard to see how someone who can't see both sides, would get it wrong, and consider them Upity.

I couldn't agree more with Marc.  I have never met a cyclist who acted with a "smug sense of superiority"  I believe people mistake a person's passion, and conviction, for arrogance.  I gave up trying to explain my passion for cycling to people a long time ago.  Other cyclists get it, no need to explain. Non cyclists will never get it, no matter how long I try to explain. So I don't bother trying.

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