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Apple founder Steve Jobs once wanted to call the Macintosh computer “the Bicycle”. He was that amazed by the two-wheelers’ efficiency. He was right: bikes are incredible machines. You can cycle five miles expending as much energy as it would take you to walk one. Bikes don’t pollute our air. They don’t clog our roads. If our cities had more bikes, they would be cleaner and safer. We would be fitter. Our neighbourhoods would be more sociable, because you can stop for a chat on a bike in a way that you rarely can in a car. Yet somehow we have convinced ourselves that cyclists are the enemy. “The moral superiority of cyclists has to stop,” read one UK headline this week. “I can’t keep abreast of what cyclists want,” ran another. Years of similar coverage have contributed to a general contempt.
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