Recently, in the St. Louis Beacon, there was an article about St. Louis being a bike friendly city, despite the high accident rate. No matter which way you spin it (as in STL cyclists are better educated to report accidents) there is no disputing that almost half of the reported bike accidents in Missouri last year happened in the St. Louis area.
I’ve lived here with only a bicycle for transportation, and found the environment unfriendly. As such, I tend to avoid busy roads and overall have had a relatively good experience biking in St. Louis. However, after visiting a city like Toronto, you begin to realize what a bike friendly city really is.
We are a country that is defined by the car. While I don’t believe cycling to be a political statement (it’s good exercise and fun) that doesn’t mean other people won’t project that concept onto me. If there is smugness or superiority, I believe it’s misread. Once you step away from a certain lifestyle and realize you can succeed, it’s easy to feel proud and congratulatory. Living without a car is hard and not for everyone, but the experience can be rewarding as you pedal into work on a breezy summer morning, or slog home in a winter sleet. Besides the benefits of improving your health, and saving money, cycling also allows you to engage with your surroundings, and see the city from a different perspective.