When Dan Schleifer sent me a link to a site called Tree Hugger, running a story called “Why do Republicans Hate Bicycles,” my first reaction was, “I am not going to touch this with a ten foot pole.”
I am not a citizen of this country, therefore I cannot vote, and I usually stay as far away from politics as I can. My feeling is, I am a guest in the US, and as such it is not proper for me to voice an opinion on American politics.
However, I will say this much. I hate extreme politics on both sides, and here you have the two extremes. On the one side, a site called “Tree Hugger” with the subtitle, “Unchecked Environmentalism.” (The very epitome of Liberalism.)
On the other side, a video of a republican politician going off on an anti-bicycle rant, simply because the bicycle is seen as something “green” and left wing, and therefore is open to ridicule.
The two extremes cancel each other out; people on opposite ends of the political spectrum reading the article and viewing the video are not going to move an inch towards each other’s point of view. In fact, stuff like this drives the two sides further apart.
I hate that the bicycle is made out to be something political. I have stated here before, if automobiles ran on pixie dust and had zero carbon emissions, I would still ride a bicycle. I am a cyclist, and riding a bicycle is a love and a passion.
Forget the burning of fossil fuel for a moment, even if we overcome that issue; the bicycle is still a more civilized form of transport. It eases congestion; one person on a bike is taking far less space on the road than one person in a car who is taking up the space of four to six people.
It is less dangerous to other road users, and more bicycles on the road, with the resulting less cars would make it safer for everyone. It is a wonderful form of exercise, and it is fun. When is driving a car fun?
These are the real benefits of cycling. Riding a bicycle to ease the dependency on foreign oil is not what the majority of Americans want to hear. If we think, everyone in the US is going to dump their cars overnight and start riding a bike, either to save the planet or save America, think again. It is not going to happen.
Sell the idea that cycling is fun, and it is good for you, not keep cramming the green, environmentally friendly idea down people’s throats. All that does is it makes people feel guilty, and that makes them angry and sends them off on an anti-cycling rant like Representative Patrick McHenry.
I am sure all republicans don’t hate bicycles; even George Bush rides one. But if the Democrats make cycling a political issue, then naturally the Republicans are going to oppose and ridicule the idea, because that is what politicians do.
In the long run, is this going to help the cause of cycling?