It’s time we ended this mendacious cycling hysteria

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

It’s time we ended this mendacious cycling hysteria, Alexander Boot says:

When bicycles first appeared in the 19th century, they revolutionised Britain’s country life. Suddenly farmers acquired an easy means of courting girls in other villages, thereby reducing inbreeding and improving the nation’s genetic stock.

Cycling quickly became essential transportation for some, entertainment for others, a competitive sport for others still. So far, so good. Now fast-forward to our own time — only to observe that cycling has become downright pernicious.

Rather than simply being good exercise and a cheap way to travel, it has claimed something to which it isn’t entitled: moral ascendancy. Cycling has taken a place next to wind farms, solar panels, public foreplay with trees and hoodies, not smoking, not driving after a pint, not using private medicine and other merit badges of PC modernity.

Overnight a Londoner riding a bike to work stopped being an irresponsible miser willing to risk his life to save a few pennies, or else a health freak prepared to die for stronger leg muscles, or perhaps an impatient chap outracing a bus in rush-hour traffic. He’s now a secular saint doing his bit for environmental and personal health.

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