Status Symbol? Or Pt. “A” to Pt.”B”

I’m a Point A to Point B kind of guy.

I have never been impressed by what people drive, but I have to admit that I was prejudiced against Kia and Hyundai cars, not because I didn’t like their looks, but for several years they broke down a lot. Not reliable. But now Consumer’s Reports says they are reliable, so I will look again.

I have a pickup truck (two actually — one has a cap) so I can get a load of stinky mushroom compost in Zellwood if I want to, or a yard of mulch for cheap. I can pick up a new oven and skip the delivery fee. I can do lots of things that people with SUV’s can’t do. Most SUV’s can’t handle sheets of plywood without ripping the upholstery. Does it handle like a sedan? But so what if it doesn’t?

I will drive what ever vehicle I need to drive to get done what I need to get done. When I go to the grocery store, the dry cleaners or the bank, the same cars waiting in the Drive-Thru, are still waiting when I come out and pedal away.

And then, sometimes, I can drive instead of riding my bike if I get lazy, or when I have to go to Brevard County to work, I don’t have to think twice about it. Life is good.

But I keep seeing cyclists who worry about 6 oz of added weight and I keep seeing Cadillac Escalades (8 MPG) and I realize we are at polar opposites of the spectrum. They are worried about image.

My neighbor bought an expensive aluminum bike. It is very nice, I know this because he let me ride it once. I think he bought it because he saw me riding all the time. How many times do you think he has ridden it in the last year?

People don’t, and I don’t think they ever will, understand why I think the way I do about cycling. It’s not about speed. It’s not about style. It’s all about lifestyle.

When I can get from Point “A” to Point “B”, find a bicycle rack, walk in the door and then walk out again while a driver is still cruising for a parking space, who wins that race?

5 replies
  1. Tom
    Tom says:

    I was a car driver full-time for many years, despite having used bicycles as primary transportation into my later teens. I returned to college when in my early thirties, and had the epiphany that I could go out my apartment door, ride a bike to school, lock the bike to a handy light post and be in the classroom in less time than it took to walk to that classroom from any of the parking lots for which I could buy a permit. This did not count the time it would take to drive to that parking lot from home and find a parking place, so it was demonstrably faster for me to ride rather than drive.

    Ever since, I’ve tried to find ways to ride to work instead of driving. A few times, I’ve hit “pay dirt,” and had places to keep my bikes while at work and employers who tolerated if not encouraged my doing so.

    Some employers still don’t get it. A recent one didn’t understand that the extra fifteen minutes it took me to get from one worksite to the other by bike actually saved them money in the long run. They tolerated it, wondered why I would ride when I could drive, and were amazed at the feat of physical endurance riding twelve miles each way represented to them (several of them were smokers…).

    Oh, well. I don’t have to work for them now. I work in a bike shop. I think the owner still fails to quite get it when I talk in utility bike terms rather than fitness/racing/club ride terms.

  2. andrewp
    andrewp says:

    Eric: I’m with you. I own a truck, and it has been the second-most practical vehicle I have owned. 😉

  3. Doohickie
    Doohickie says:

    Re: Hyundais. They are getting to be very nice cars indeed. I have a 2005 Elantra. I’m a Ford guy from way back, but the Elantra just plain beat the Focus in every way; a much nicer car for the money. It may be a one-time thing and I’ll go back to Ford, but in 2005, Hyundai was the better car.

    As far as riding to work goes, I’m pretty lucky. I started riding when I started working at a new office that was only 7 miles from home. During the two years I was there, I rode to work more than I drove (preserving the warranty on the Hyundai ;-). I recently moved to a different office and my one-way commute is now 17 miles. But the new site does have its advantages. I can’t drag my bike into a closet like I did at the old place, but access to the parking lot of this building is guarded, and there are three or four bike racks, one of which is located right next to the showers/locker room. Access to a shower at work means I can just hop on the bike and ride to work in the morning and get all cleaned up once I get to work.

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