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Today’s Washington Post reports on how WMATA is making it easier for commuters to combine bike trips and subway rides, cutting down on the need for traditional vehicle parking. Sensible goal! But reporter Ann Scott Tyson wants you to know that it’s really hard to ride your bike to the nearest Metro stop. She leads off:
With packs on their backs, reflective neon straps around their ankles and sometimes even headlamps, they are the proud few who brave traffic, rainstorms and thieves to bicycle to Metrorail stations.
And there’s pretty much no reason to do it besides practicality:
Bike riders say they are motivated to mount up each day by necessity, a desire to save time and money, or, in the case of Ryan Buchholz, guilt.
Tyson then talks to “die-hard” cyclists who stop only when there’s ice on the roads, and recounts their struggles with theft. Only at the very end does she include a perspective on why someone would actually look forward to their morning cycle commute: “It gives you a view of the city,” [one cyclist] said, and besides, “it’s energetic, fun and youthful.”
I’ve got to roll my eyes at the portrayal as bike commuters as hardbitten road warriors who brave adverse conditions either out of necessity, ideology, or simple masochism. Sure, some people stick it out through the winter, and have less bike-friendly routes to suburban stations, which can absolutely be improved. But as the weather has warmed up, I’ve seen more bicyclists on their way to work in the morning than ever before, many of them compromising not one bit in their style choices (I’ve got nothing but admiration for ladies pedaling in heels). Really, it’s not some task out of reach to all but the toughest among us—it’s just an alternative (and one that’s a lot less stressful than sitting in rush hour traffic). I think the Post needs to find another frame.