Saturday, June 03, 2006

Riding in New York

Cycling is booming in New York, while automobile usage is on the decline. Recent data released by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles show that automobile ownership has declined more than 10% citywide since 2001. At the same time, bicycle use is at record levels with 120,000 daily cyclists in New York City, up from 75,000 just ten years ago.

Like dogs, bicycles are social catalysts that attract a superior category of people. Their slow speed vis-a-vis Lear jets makes them anathema on the fast track; on your bicycle you'll be spared encounters with the upwardly mobile segments of society, because they are put off and bewildered by a machine whose character is essentially populist, not to say horizontal. (The upwardly mobile prefer to spend Friday nights trying to cross the Triborough Bridge in so-called luxury sedans.)
At a deeper level, city riding is a continual lesson in feminine principles, in particular the art of being vulnerable. A confrontational, macho aesthetic spells calamity. You must learn to yield, to dodge, to seek harmony. You are obliged to mind the web of interrelations, that complicated mesh of interests, conflicts, intentions: (Read full article)

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