Photo by solominviktor/Shutterstock. Badge by Sam Woolley. Annotation by Joanna Rothkopf.

I grew up in Washington D.C., went to college in Vermont, and now live in Brooklyn, all places where bicycles are ridden by the very proud. Sorry, but I’ll never be impressed that you can balance on two objects—that’s what feet are for.


If you say, “bicycles can get bent,” to a bicycle enthusiast, they will counter that a bicycle has many virtues. It’s faster than walking, they’ll say—but so is running, scooting on a scooter, or traveling by boat. I want to reduce my carbon footprint, another might yell—so do I, which is why I’ve stopped importing my beef, and also don’t fart. I want a five-inch plastic rod wedged into my bottom creases during my daily commute, they might add—that’s fine, but I don’t. Also, it’s easy to die on one.

Some advances that would impress me:


  • Add two more wheels.
  • Give it a roof so you don’t get wet.
  • Add airbags in case you get hit by something or tip over.
  • Make it fly.
  • Power it by some kind of engine or motor, instead of legs.
  • It’s a car, or an airplane.

I would never be caught alive on a bicycle. A bicycle is just a broken taxi cab, or a way to humiliate your newspaper delivery boy—who is, by the way, a minor. A bicycle is like owning a boring metal dog, who cannot snuggle with you or defend itself in a fight. A bicycle is a a reason to say, “Sorry, I can’t take you home—I’ve got my bike.”

My rating:

Two wheels out of four.


Thank you for reading Joanna’s Ratings.