cycle paths vs psycho-paths

Bike Lane Art
I've been wrestling with why bike paths, hell riding bikes, are so controversial. On the face of it bike riding would seem to be the most harmless activity in the world. Fresh air, exercise, sunshine! What's to hate.
But for some reason commuting by bike draws more angst than anything else in the city after the streetcar.
It got me to thinking about society and laws. Because what else binds society together besides rules, spoken and unspoken? And the unspoken rule is apparently that contributing members of society have to own and drive a car. I don't make up the rules but too many people have told me that my friends and I need to grow up and buy a one.
Could it be as simple as the entire issue is sour grapes over cyclists getting out of the car payment and road rage game?
Bike Lane Art
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  1. I'm sure that the anti-bicycle [and anti-pedestrian] attitude is common in many places, but I've never gotten as strong a sense of it as I did in my almost 9 years in Cincinnati. Even when I was in graduate school in the suburbs of Detroit, I felt it but not nearly as rabidly as I did in Cincy, where drivers sometimes literally swerve into bicyclists or pedestrians [as a joke scare? I have no idea]. Or honk, like, "Hey, you, get off the sidewalk and into a car like a normal person!" Even in dense, walkable area like downtown, Over-the-Rhine and Clifton Gaslight...

    When we first lived to Cincy and I got my corporate design job on the outskirts of the city, I was the first and only person in the office to use my pre-tax dollars to buy a monthly bus pass. HR was so annoyed to have to learn how to process this, and coworkers eyed me with dismayed suspicion. It was really bizarre. The only thing I can think of is that they were wondering what was wrong with me, or what I had done, that I couldn't drive. Ha! After I quit, I saw the job posting for my replacement, and it required a valid driver's license and car [for a job that entails sitting in your cubicle all day, every day!].

    Not that Indianapolis is all that progressive, but it's surprisingly bike-friendly. It's so flat that there's probably just been more of a bike culture, even before it really became a "thing" that people and city governments thought about. The bike trail network is awesome, and there are bike lanes as well. Mostly, though, I've just been impressed that drivers don't lose their shit about having to share the road.

  2. People who will never graduate from college and people who consider high school graduation a real accomplishment seem to think buying a car is a real sign of adulthood, maturity & responsibility. As those people tend to not make as much money as the better educated, it's also a status symbol of what wealth they do attain.
    I get it from that particular social class, but why are young, well educated mayor adopts such an attitude is beyond me.

  3. When I first started there, the "getting to know you" chit chat centered around high school, and I quietly freaked out, thinking that the editors, creative director and other designers hadn't gone to college. When I finally had to answer questions about my own background, I seemed to be met with suspicion, like there must be something wrong with me that I've moved over the years. To me, it was weird that these people had never lived outside the area at all.

    These social signifiers mean vastly different things to different people. My coworkers seemed to look down at me because I'd come into work, talking about whatever book I'd been reading on the bus, and putting my lunch in the fridge because I didn't want to eat chain food in Kenwood. They drove in from the 'burbs, all excited about having gotten a pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks, and I silently judged them for it. There was no common ground at all.

    1. Right? When I start on community building or the latest place to drink everyone turns and looks at me like I'm babbling in Klingon. How do we bridge that communication gap?
      Also, on one of the Cincy politics pages a guy is arguing that bikes are luxuries. Wow, I never thought of them that way, but I guess if you have a double mortgage paying off riding lawn mowers and table saws and your garage is packed full of shit you don't need, maybe a bike is a luxury.

    2. Well, I have read that bicyclists are often Caucasian, highly educated and have a higher income than average. That's one group, at least, and I suppose you could call that a luxury in a sense -- they're probably more likely to have nice bikes and specialized gear. They're pretty much nonexistent in my neck of the woods. The other would be the people who can't afford a car and bike instead -- I see a lot of that in my new neighborhood. The third group, which you hardly see in some communities, would be the hippies and eco-warriors. I see a few of them around.

      As for bridging the communication gap -- beats me! I tried to mention interesting art exhibits or whatever, thinking that any creative person must surely be curious about creative stuff, and they gave me same looks you described. I ended up working 7-3 to be off-schedule from everyone, eating lunch at my desk while I worked, and keeping my head down. After a year, I couldn't take the soul-suck anymore and quit without a Plan B. That's not a solution, just a coping mechanism!

  4. And, why does Cranley hate bikes?? Childhood trauma?