“Just Buy a Bike!”: or Why Some New Yorkers Think the Bike Share Is for Communist Poor People

Look at our commie mayor and his socialist bikes.
  • c/o Mariela Lombard/ New York Daily News
  • Look at our commie mayor and his socialist bikes.

So, you know this new bike share program that we have which is sponsored by a huge bank and is actually something of an experiment that will only continue if it turns a substantial profit? Well, apparently this bike share is actually an exercise in socialism (the word “share” is right there in the name!), brought to us by our billionaire mayor. Or, at least, that’s what the editors of the New York Observer think in their absurd editorial “Just Buy a Bike!

Yes, that’s right, New York. The editors at the NYO want you to know that they think “cycling is a wonderful option for those energetic souls who prefer pedaling to a bus, cab or subway” and all, but, if you really want to ride a bike, you should buy one! After all, “the cost of a bike is relatively cheap as well—you can get a decent bike, one that will last you many years, at a local shop for less than the price of dinner for two at some of the city’s finer dining establishments.” Did you hear that, guys? Instead of spending $95 for a year of free riding, you can spend several hundred on a bike that only maybe will get stolen when you have it locked outside because there’s absolutely no way a bike can fit into your tiny apartment. Which, really, isn’t that the solution to every problem? Just throw money at it! Want to ride a bike but don’t want to share things because you’re not in kindergarten and/or communist Russia? Spend a bunch of money and you’re set!

The Observer editorial team is incredibly opposed to New York’s bike share program which it compares to the ones that exist in “urban thought leaders such as Madison, Wis., and Minneapolis,” which, fuck you, Observer. Haha, it’s so funny to mention liberal Midwestern cities only to mock them, when there’s no way that it is unknown over in the Observer offices that bike share programs have been successes in cities like London, Paris, Washington D.C., and Boston. Furthermore, the “rightfully mocked empty thoroughfares known as bike lanes” that the Observer mentions? Who exactly is mocking them for being empty? I’ve heard people complain that the bike lanes are too busy, but mocking them for being empty? New Yorkers overwhelmingly support the bike lanes, and biking in general. It’s not a perfect system yet—we’re not Amsterdam—but the increase in bike ridership has hardly led to some sort of biking apocalypse or anti-biker mass exodus from the city.

Besides, you know what could stand to be a little emptier? The streets that are glutted with car traffic. The Observer feels though that “rather than encourage business to develop creative solutions to gridlock, the government has imposed its own solution.” Which, ok. Now they’re obviously just trolling us, right? I mean, THE GOVERNMENT IS SUPPOSED TO TAKE CARE OF THE ROADS. That is absolutely not the job of private enterprise. Who does the Observer think is in charge with regulating traffic, operating bridges and tunnels, and, you know, building those bike lanes? It’s the government and that’s one of its primary functions.

Finally, the Observer seems to think that everyone who participates in the bike share is just doing it to “feel superior” to those that don’t. This is ridiculous. First, no one would ever feel superior to anyone when tooling around on one of those 50-pund bikes. Smugness is not the point. Convenient, affordable transportation is the point. But also, I’m sorry that the Observer has such an inferiority complex. I guess that’s what happens when your company’s owner is related by marriage to Donald Trump. It’s gotta be hard to go to work every day knowing that.

Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen

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