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Cycling vs. Driving

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Cycling vs. Driving

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James E. Burnside (Austin Chronicle's "Postmarks", 7-17-98, p. 8)

As a commuter cyclist, I support Ms. Babich's tilting at windmills wholeheartedly. For those of us who do choose the bicycle as our preferred mode of transportation, city of Austin policy (or lack thereof) can have some minor effect on our daily lives. More bike lanes, no parking in bike lanes, maintenance of bike [lanes] and bike trails, etc., are of value, and we are taxpayers and have as much right to safe transportation as any automobilist.

To believe, however, that these policies will have any effect other than continued antagonization of those addicted to automobiles is naïve. No one will give up their car and take up cycling because of some slight shift in city policy. The conversion of motorist to cyclist is not political. It is spiritual. Cycling will never be as convenient as getting in a two-ton, 200-horsepower, gas-guzzling machine so you can pick up a pack of gum at the convenience store on the commercial break of the latest Seinfeld rerun.

Cycling takes discipline, thought, effort, and courage -- qualities of character that most people would rather not develop. Such qualities would only inconvenience those who are trying to suck up as much of the earth's resources as they can before they die.