Bike-Sharing in the Mission: Who Is Taking Whom for a Ride?

By Joe Eskenazi, Mission Local

To paraphrase something Sigmund Freud may or may not have said, sometimes a bicycle is just a bicycle. In this city, that’s a good thing to keep in mind. Bicycles have become all things to all people and two-wheeled proxies for anything and everything. San Franciscans who merely desire a cheap, efficient and healthful way to get from here to there at better-than-Muni speeds have not relished being lumped in with self-righteous cyclists who seem to think riding a bike is a political statement and a means of demonstrating moral superiority — an indicator that they are, simply, “better” people than those who do not ride.

Similarly, cyclists — many of them neither white nor wealthy — have been surprised to learn that the goofy Ford GoBikes they’ve been pedaling around town, perhaps for as little as $5 a year, aren’t a potential substitute for bike ownership without the hassles of maintenance, rampant theft, or dragging cycles onto crowded buses or trains but, rather, rolling gentrification. GoBikes have been defaced, vandalized, and even lit ablaze.

Read the complete story at Mission Local.