Cars are boring; bikes are cooler. Here are the top 10 reasons why.
10. Cars are for stuff
People from the pre-computer era have books, DVDs, TVs, stereos, big photo albums, board games, and playing cards. They need cars to transport their stuff.
Cool people have digital stuff. They can fit their entire music collection in a bicycle pannier.
9. Cars are for suburbs, and suburbs are boring.
Why buy a car in order to commute to a suburb that's miles away from clubs, museums, galleries, theatres, indie movie houses, parks and all the other things that make life worth living?
People don't need big houses in the suburbs any more any more (see point 10 above).
8. Bikes are a guy thing.
Seventy-one percent of Canadians who bike to work or school are men. (The same pattern - the masculinity of cycling - is found in the 2009-10 Canadian Community Health Survey data, and in international studies).
As feminist scholars such as Nancy Fraser have argued, androcentric social norms "privilege traits associated with masculinity". There is "pervasive devaluation and disparagement of things coded as 'feminine.'" Translation: guy stuff is cool.
7. Hawkwind wrote a song about a bicycle.
6. Bikes are dangerous.
Only about 1.4 percent of Canadians cycle to work or school, but cyclists account for 2.7 percent of traffic fatalities in this country.
There's a real chance of getting killed on a bicycle. That makes it kind of thrilling.
5. Cycling requires skill.
Technology is slowly taking the skill out of driving a car - automatic transmissions, automatic parallel parking, automatic braking, automatic everything. Cars that drive themselves may soon become a reality.
No one is looking to develop a driverless bike any time soon.
4. Cars are stupidly expensive.
Hundreds of dollars for insurance. Hundreds or thousands on maintenance, or hundreds or thousands on depreciation. Gas. Parking.
Twenty-somethings are struggling with student loans. They're trying to establish themselves in a tough job market. A car is an expendable expense. Yet when cars become the province of the middle-aged, they lose their cool.
3. Bikes are fixable
A moderately skilled person can fix her own bike. The parts are standard and interchangeable. There are no computer diagnostics; just nuts and bolts, dirt and grease.
2. A bike of one's own
Many people share their cars - with the other drivers in their family, with passengers, with whoever needs to be transported from A to B. But one's bike is one's own.
1. Bicycles could save the planet
Cycling is more energy-efficient than any other form of transportation, even walking.
Then there's the wind in your face - or your hair, if you ride without a helmet (see point 6 above) - and the joy of riding with no hands on the handlebars.