Bicyclists and suburbs are an uneasy fit. I donít mean the racing bikers who swarm like neon-colored beetles, hogging the middle of the road. Iím talking about the guys without helmets, on beat-up mountain bikes: restaurant workers wearing windbreakers over white dress shirts and ties; men in sweatshirts and baseball caps riding home from the store, plastic shopping bags hanging awkwardly off the handlebars.
Such sights are evidence of a valiant adaptation to a hostile environment. For immigrant workers, as with so many of us in the suburbs, life boils down to the job, the bed and the travel between. But when you live in a landscape designed for cars, and you are poor, and it is too far to walk to work, and thereís no bus to take you there, the only option is two wheels. This is what is cheap and effective. It can also be deadly.