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Gear Prudence: I strongly support biking in D.C. I bike every day and encourage my friends to do the same. But, secretly, I love to drive. There’s nothing I love more than a long road trip, jamming out to my music as I drive to somewhere new. I don’t even own a car but will rent one every few months to get my fix. As a dedicated cyclist, I feel guilty about my four-wheeled secret. Is my interest in automobiles a betrayal of my biking bona fides? —Cyclist Admiring Revving
Dear CAR: GP imagines you picking up the rental and heading for the open road, but fretting over the possibility of your bike friends seeing you. Do you cut two eye holes in the paper bag from the McDonald’s drive-thru, risking facial burns from the residual french fry oil, rather than be identified doing something so befouling and unnatural as driving a car? It must be so fraught!
The truth of the matter, though, is that you should feel no shame. There’s nothing contradictory about loving both bikes and cars. While GP (ironically) isn’t much of a gearhead, there are a ton of bike obsessives who are just as likely to swoon over [insert fancy car type here] as [insert fancy kind of bike here]. Some develop the bike love first and acquire the taste for automobiles later, but maybe even more fall in love with bicycling well after their love of cars bloomed. Some folks are just into rolling objects (ATVs, luggage carts, BB-8), and they don’t think it’s necessary to feel guilty about their ecumenical tastes. And neither should you. You can take both the bike and the car to the Fantasy Suite, and there’s not going to be any crying in the back of a limo because they’re inanimate things and not people.
Bikes and cars are just tools, and you should think of them in this context. You can still love pocket knives even if you also love power saws. And while they both cut things, you wouldn’t use them interchangeably or think you’d have to forsake one to select the other. You simply pick the one that’s best for the job at hand.
Use a bike for when it makes sense (like short distances in an urban setting) and use a car when it makes sense (like a road trip to Florida or attending a Fast and Furious sequel at a drive-in theater). Bask in your comfortability with both. Not everyone is as flexible. And regardless of whether you go by bike or car, common rules of courtesy and human decency apply. Also, if you can throw a bike rack on the car, that’d be extra cool. —GP