Charles Hurt’s Bikeshare Rant is Sexist, Too
Everyone's read Charles Hurt's totally batshit column about Capital Bikeshare for the Washington Times, right?
If you haven't, Martin Austermuhle at DCist very capably broke down just how batshit it is. But while Hurt's argument that Bikeshare is a Communist plot is exceptionally virulent, the public-transit-is-for-pinkos point isn't an entirely new one.
What is particularly chafing to me, as a woman who rides a bike, is Hurt's derision of anyone who's not a heterosexual, cisgendered dude and his subsequent assumption that those people are the sole demographic of Bikeshare riders:
For a small membership fee, users can pick up a bike at any of 165 such docking stations and proudly pedal themselves to work, school or to pick up Chinese food. The little black wire basket on the front is sturdy enough to carry a briefcase or a carry-out order of tofu. The bikes are shaped like the old-timey “girl bikes” without the crossbar, making them suitable for un-liberated women in skirts as well as these so-called “metrosexual” males everybody keeps talking about in these parts.
Those "girl bikes" are step-through frames that encourage riders to sit up straight so that they can see traffic. The step-through style also makes it easier to hop on and off a bike—convenient while you're wearing a skirt, but also convenient while you're wearing dress pants. And putting metrosexual in quotes, let alone even using the word? It only makes it seem as if Hurt just really wanted to write "homosexual."
Hurt's presumption that Bikeshare riders are a bunch of anti-American pansies isn't just stupid, it's sexist. Of course, he also thinks tofu is effete. I trust him less than I trust the Russians.
Photo by Flickr user DDOTDC under Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0) license