Are Bikes Political?

I always thought so, even if I never gave it a deliberate thought. Cyclists choose food over petroleum; activity over sedation; self-reliance over technology. Bikers are also fearless, as anyone watching from the sidewalk of the narrow Philadelphia streets can confirm.

Charles Hugh Smith, self-described “novelist and economic commentator,” has elaborated on this notion in great detail, in an article for Business Insider: The Bicycle is a Mighty Machine and Metaphor. An excerpt:

The bicycle is both a mighty machine in its own right, and a mighty metaphor for solutions which are already well within our grasp. The debt-dependent Central State/Corporate Cartel Status Quo would have us believe that the ‘solution” is always more of everything that just so happens to cement their power over our minds, incomes and lived world.

Smith’s though experiment continues by listing the ways the powerful stay powerful, including the cycles of technology, debt, roads, cars and houses. Again:

The bicycle represents the efficiencies and benefits of using less of everything. A bicycle doesn’t become obsolescent, and it is easily repaired. Some parts corrode or break with wear, but they consume a small amount of resources to repair or replace.