Cycle Advocates Should Be Cautious of Sanctimonious Elitism

RECEIVED Fri., May 5, 2006

Dear Editor,
    How very nice for Mike Wainwright [“Postmarks,” May 5] – and all the other cycling advocates who make a good and sensible idea sound bad with sanctimonious elitism – that he can afford to bicycle wherever he goes! How awesome to have a job that not only lets you show up sweaty and disheveled in the summer but also pays enough that you can afford Austin's absurd housing costs.
    It might shock the bike-or-die crowd, but the overwhelming majority of commuters don't drive their third Escalade home to a mansion in the hills; they're working-class people who just can't afford to live in Austin. Gas could be $10 a gallon and it would still be cheaper for me to have a nice house outside of Luling and commute 60 miles than it would be to rent a fleabag apartment across the street from work. "Oh, work closer to home, or live closer to work!" they say, as if it were just that easy. Must be nice.
    It must also be great to be (temporarily) able-bodied enough to even be capable of operating a bicycle. Where in the mythical car-free Austin are the elderly and the disabled? Who's going to pay for all those fast-as-a-bicycle power chairs? You can't climb up on a high horse if your legs don't work.
    More people who can bike should, but being an ass about it isn't going to encourage them to do so.
Jason Meador
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