I was so happy the other day to find an interesting and informed article in the Wall Street Journal about cycling. No, not that one. I am referring to their handy guide to “Home Bases for Bicyclists.” Let’s take a look:
Along with the above home in Davis, CA, the article has brief profiles of homes in Minneapolis, MN and Boulder, CO (what? no Portland or Seattle?) As PJ O’Rourke knows, cycling is a hobby of the affluent. An elitist, limousine liberal affectation. These three homes would be perfect for just that kind of cyclist.
Well, reality doesn’t quite agree with O’Rourke’s view. A recent study by the University Transportation Resource Center illustrates this well.
As you can see, the poorest quartile is slightly over-represented among cyclists. Andy Cline of Carbon Trace makes a convincing argument that this data shows that cycling infrastructure should be supported because cycling is an affordable means of transportation.
I’ve held back on commenting on the P J O’Rourke essay in the Wall Street Journal. As usual, BikeSnobNYC does the best job of picking it apart. Many people have pointed out that O’Rourke is a satirist, and this essay must be taken in that spirit. However, I would disagree. Satire is most effective when it is used as a tool by the powerless to mock the powerful. O’Rourke seems to think that he is doing that: “We, the majority who do not ride bicycles, are being forced to sacrifice … so that an affluent elite can feel good about itself…” (Please check the data above. People of all income levels ride bikes.) For me, the best satire uses extreme examples to ridicule the opposing argument. O’Rourke just comes off as being whiny, ill-informed and mean-spirited. I expect that sort of writing from someone in the comment section of a small-town newspaper, but not from one of America’s largest newspapers.
Maybe I should I expect that from the Wall Street Journal. On the same page I found a link to this article of great importance:
My god, what is the world coming to where we need to start thinking about downsizing our second homes? The next thing you know, we’ll start downsizing our second cars.