Are cyclists naturally superior?
Seems like there may be an obvious answer to this one.
It’s never a challenge to find some willing patsy in the wide world of the media and beyond who is happy to declare themselves for the anti-cycling lobby. The simple basis of their argument will run along predictable lines. Cyclists think they own the road, they skip red lights, they should pay road tax, they think they’re superior… All well reasoned and carefully considered arguments no doubt.
But maybe these arguments merit some consideration at a deeper level - beyond, if you can imagine, the level of a phone-in radio show. That doesn’t mean we’re going to start with the standard he said, she said rigmarole.
Perhaps the most contentious of these arguments, which is rarely addressed, is the last, cyclists think they’re superior.
This is not a statement to be taken lightly, and we must consider the context. Trapped in a small metal and plastic box, with no interaction with nature, other than mowing down the occasional badger, the motorist must be pitied. Slow in traffic, grinding in queues, battered on all sides with a head pumped full of radio trash, compared with the lithe, graceful, natural freedom of the cyclist, at home in the sights, sounds and smells of nature, the apparent superiority of the cyclist is an obvious projection for the motorist to make. However, is this superiority a reality?
Let’s take a (reasonably) unbiased view of the situation.
Firstly we must define superiority, this can be broken down into four essential parts, physical capability, mental agility, sociability and general life well-being.
Physical capability. This much is obvious. Astride a self-propelled transportation device at a fraction of the cost - vastly superior.
Mental agility. Einstein, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and, most appropriately, H.G. Wells ‘Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I have hope for the human race’, all cycling advocates. Enough said.
Sociability/responsibility. As remarked upon recently most people would rather date a cyclist (road.cc). In addition cyclist choose not to clog the city streets, not to add to pollution, but to be part of a dynamic, responsible community.
General well-being. It can be no more aptly described than by author Elizabeth West - ’ When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments. Here was a machine of precision and balance for the convenience of man. And (unlike subsequent inventions for man’s convenience) the more he used it, the fitter his body became. Here, for once, was a product of man’s brain that was entirely beneficial to those who used it, and of no harm or irritation to others. Progress should have been stopped when man invented the bicycle.’
So, in conclusion, we can prove that the cyclists deserve to feel superior, because they are, inherently, inevitably, superior. Just bear this one thing in mind:
‘Let a man find himself, in distinction from others, on top of two wheels with a chain… and his vanity begins to swell like his tyres’ Leon Trotsky.