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Can 2008 Bicycle Save the Planet, Or is it all Just Spin? by Robert Drinkwater

at 8:41 pm posted by Molly

Editors note:
The following is a column by the highly-esteemed automotive journalist Sandor St. Hughes. Mr. St. Hughes typically reviews luxury and sports automobiles for newspapers that subscribe to the Richmond International syndicate. However, an unfortunate “incident” at a staff party has resulted in his “promotion” to reviewing economy vehicles. As few sponsors could be found for the economy section this week, Mr. St. Hughes’ column is being supplied for free to worthy newsletters.
Can 2008 Bicycle Save the Planet,
Or is it all Just Spin?
By Sandor St. Hughes
  I must admit to you that I was somewhat indignant when my editors informed me that I would not have the responsibility of test driving the newest Jaguar XJ-12 this month. After all, who but a skilled professional could inform you, the discerning automobile customer, about the subtle differences between using Argentine or Spanish calf leather for dashboard trim?
  Still, I swallowed my pride and realized that not all of you out there can afford top-of-the-line craftsmanship, an On-Star GPS, or refrigerated cupholders. I asked myself, should that mean you deserve less than the best in automotive reporting?
  But not this month, I said. Bring on this year’s Volkswagens, I shouted. Send me your Hyundais and Toyotas, I exclaimed with gusto.
  My enthusiasm grew when our reception desk informed me that the 2008 Bicycle had arrived for me to review. Bicycle? Never heard of it. Must be new, I thought. How exciting!
  I immediately went outside to the parking lot to look for it, but I couldn’t find a vehicle with such a name. I concluded that it must already have been stolen, so I returned to the building, sat at my desk and was in the process of telephoning the police when I spied an unusual piece of machinery leaning against my desk.
  The 2008 Bicycle. Oh how my heart sank!

  I tried to stay positive. Bicycle’s design is innovative, I told myself. It saves weight by dispensing with an outer body and only having two wheels instead of four. There is no steering wheel—only a steering bar. Very economical!
  But maintaining my sunny disposition in the face of such impossible cruelty couldn‘t last. Bicycle didn’t even have a radio, for heaven‘s sake. There was only one cupholder, and it was mounted at an angle! How stupid could the engineer possibly have been?.
  I regret, dear reader, that I cannot even tell you where Bicycle is made. You see, most reputable automobile companies provide reviewers like myself with plane tickets so we can meet with spokespeople who answer such questions. (This may sound inconvenient, but spokespeople are usually based in pleasant places like Hawaii or Vale, so it’s really not really so bad.)
  The makers of Bicycle, on the other hand, didn’t even include instructions on how to start the thing. Fortunately, I was able to observe as one of our office interns left on her Bicycle at the end of the day. The method for starting the motor—and I know this sounds crazy—is to place your feet on the foot platforms while spinning your legs clockwise around and around. This got me started alright, but whenever I stopped moving my legs, I coasted to a stop. Bicycle’s motor is clearly unreliable.
  The next serious difficulty I encountered was where to put the gas. I thought it might be underneath the seat, but it wouldn’t move when I tried to lift it. I pushed the only button that was there, but that just made the brake light flash. Amazingly, I never ran out of fuel during the entire test period, which I suppose is proof enough of Bicycle’s efficiency.
  Climate control? None. Safety systems? Minimal—Bicycle’s crash protection system consists of a crash helmet!
  Bicycle has a few plusses, despite it’s many faults. Parking is a breeze and usually free, although be prepared for condescending looks from valets. It also has a lovely horn that produces a charming dingley-dingley noise when you flick a switch on the steering bar. I’ve asked my Mercedes dealer if such a horn could be installed on my S-Class, but sadly, the technology appears to be proprietary to Bicycle.
  The best plus, however, was something I didn’t even notice until the last day of my test drive. I’d been so busy cursing Bicycle’s shortcomings that I hadn’t bothered to see all the other Bicycle drivers on the road. They nodded jolly greetings to me from across intersections, or said hello if they passed me.
  Motorists mostly give each other the finger, but Bicycle owners clearly have a sense of community.
  I’m not saying you should rush out and purchase a Bicycle for yourself. My suit got sweaty one day, my loafers got wet on another, and the crash helmet always mussed up my hair. Still, a new Bicycle costs less than what you’d pay to fix a fender on a Honda Civic, and used ones are cheaper than some drinks I‘ve ordered.
  My happiest Bicycle experience happened during the final hour of my test drive. It happened to be a Friday at the end of the month, and I encountered a group of several dozen Bicycle drivers who were holding a parade. They invited me to join in, and it ended with all of us cheering and lifting our Bicycles into the air.
  It was delightful.

-Robert Drinkwater-

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