"IN SOME WAYS, the bicycle seems profoundly unsuitable as a political lightning rod," observes Jordan Michael Smith. "True, zero-emission transport is a kind of liberal dream, but the bike is also an icon of self-sufficiency, designed for use by individuals who rely on themselves for upkeep and mobility. Republican Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush all were photographed on their bicycles."
"But as health and government officials have begun peddling bicycles as healthy, environmentally responsible alternatives to cars, and cities and towns spend money on new bike infrastructure, conservatives have started to sense a new target," he explains. "They have begun to deploy 'the bike' as a bogeyman in political debates—cast in a role anywhere from physical annoyance to a genuine threat to the American way of life."