Monday, December 5, 2011

Elite Snobs?

Elite (Merriam-Webster): The choice part.

Writer Will Doig asks, "Are urban bicyclists just elite snobs?" in an very interesting column at

It looks like thousands have commented; I just read the first page of (predictable) comments. Doig: "Railing against bikes, in fact, [is] a great way to sell papers. A hundred years ago, newspapers ginned up scare stories about the threat that hapless women on bicycles posed to pedestrians. Today, old-school tabloids like the New York Post have found that the bicyclists-versus-everyone narrative still resonates."

Never discuss politics, religion, guns, or bicycles at the family holiday party! haha

Doig believes that cyclists need to turn the attitude down a few notches, because they're often unintentionally rubbin' people the wrong way. "Jeff Mapes, author of 'Pedaling Revolution,' thinks the smugness factor is almost accidental: 'I know a lot of cyclists who say their commute is the best part of their day' — not exactly the kind of thing that the co-worker who just spent an hour in gridlock wants to hear at the water cooler."

He writes from the big-city (Manhattan) perspective... feels that drivers feel threatened as their infrastructure is shrunk to make way for bicycle infrastructure. I know we have some of that resentment in less-populated Boise, but it's not felt as acutely, I'm sure.

Do I feel "elite" because I ride a bicycle? Heck yes! That makes me totally superior to those losers in their cars! But if I wear it on my sleeve, maybe I'm doing more harm than good. Besides, I'm not sure I'm part of the "elite snob" demographic, which Doig portrays as "young people and newcomers," encroaching on the establishment. Heck - I was cycling before most of those "trendy hipster" cyclists were even born, and I've been here for the duration. (My contemporaries are the ones who are complaining about those whippersnappers on their velocipedes.)


Clancy said...

I wish Boise Bike Week would change the "One Less Car" shirts. Most people are hypocritical when they wear those shirt. Worse is the further those shirts go to widening the rift between cyclist and motorist. I would rather TVCA adopt - "One More Bike" for the annual event as that is what Boise Bike Week is all about.

Scott said...

You see elitist attitudes from any group who considers their ability to meet some criteria "elite": Alma mater, neighborhood, income, type of motorcycle, profession, etc.

I get a lot of comments from people amazed that I ride my bike to work. They're made admiringly, even the ones implying I have a screw loose for trying such a feat in a developing country. I always play it down as not being a big deal, being the best part of my day, being my "me time". If it's no big deal, I keep hoping more people will give it a try. So far, not a lot of success on that front.