Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic (mandatory reading for all humans), posted a Slate column on Friday in which he considers how Hollywood treats non-drivers and bicyclists. We are, apparently, a bunch of losers and creeps.
And the broader culture, apparently, is hip to this if not the source of it:
Or perhaps it’s the wider society that has trouble conceiving of life outside the omnipresent sphere of what sociologist John Urry calls “automobility,” one tenet of which is “the dominant culture that organizes and legitimates socialities across different genders, classes, ages and so on; that sustains major discourses of what constitutes the good life and what is necessary for an appropriate citizenship of mobility; and that provides potent literary and artistic images and symbols.”
But last laughs are sweet.
Just ask anyone who has been commuting by bicycle or bicycling for basic transportation for awhile. Here’s what we see all too often:
- Frustrated people stuck in traffic
- Mad dashes from far-away parking lots in the rain
- People forced to expose themselvs and their expensive machines to danger in the snow
- Road rage
- Fender benders
- Costs: loan payments, insurance, gas, oil, repairs, parking, parts
I could go on and on. But you get the idea. From the saddle of my bicycle, I feel like a winner. Behind the wheel of our 1996 Honda Civic, I feel like a loser (at this point, I wouldn’t feel any different about a luxury car).
I try not to sit there very often.