Don’t Be Spooked by These Five Myths

renee moore bikearlington program manager arlington county
Renée Moore Tweet Us @bikearlington@bikearlington October 22, 2019

Renée Moore is a former Program Manager for BikeArlington.

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There are lots of myths that scare people away from biking. We're dispelling a few of those myths to get more people on bikes.

I live in Ward 8 of DC in Anacostia. It’s hilly. I work in Rosslyn, VA. It’s hilly, too. So last year I treated myself to a new-to-me (used) Pedego electric assist bike to make my commute to and from work easier. I excitedly told one of my friends who drives a Ford F-150, and he said, “e-bikes are cheating.”

I wanted to defend my choice and explain why e-bikes aren’t cheating. But I realized this isn’t the only myth people believe that scares them away from bicycling. I’m dispelling a few commons ones I’ve encountered over time.
People biking and walking through an intersection in Arlington Virigina

E-bikes are Cheating

Cheating who? That’s my question. It’s not a race. E-bikes are great if you live in a hilly area. They help flatten out roads that you may not usually bike because of the hill. E-bikes can help replace your car, because you can go farther than you might want to go on a regular bike. It helps people with mobility issues to continue riding longer. And if you really think it’s cheating, there is the option to ride one by turning off the pedal assist.

Bikes are for Recreation Not Transportation

I’ll admit I was in this category. I rode on trails on weekends. I participated in triathlons and bike races. I never once considered my bike as a form of transportation. Now it’s my main form of transportation throughout the week and even on the weekends for grocery shopping or going on a date. There is always free parking for bikes. You don’t have to sit in traffic. Bikes can go on Metro or the bus if you get tired of pedaling. In general, bicycles are fun to ride for transportation and recreation.

Roads are for Cars

This is a common myth I read on social media and in comments when a journalist writes about bicycling. The truth is paved roads are the result of bicycle advocates from the late 1880s. Prior to 1880, roads were gravel and unpaved making it difficult for the affluent to ride their bicycles. They formed the League of American Wheelmen—now known as the League of American Bicyclists—which helped to advocate for paved roads.

Bicycles are for Kids

Bikes give kids a taste of freedom. They can go places and explore on their own or with friends. But why should kids have all the fun? As an adult, you can ride to the library, grocery store, your place of worship, or to work. You can explore local businesses that are too difficult to find parking for when you drive. You can even ride your bike with your kids and show them the fun of biking doesn’t end just because you grow up.

Biking is Dangerous

This is one of the more common myths people have about biking. I only biked on trails, because I thought it was too dangerous to bike on the road. I was worried about cars and buses not seeing me when I was on the road, so I bought lots of lights to make sure I was visible. The best thing I did was learn the rules of the road and how to navigate traffic by taking a City Cycling class and discovered biking wasn’t as dangerous as I suspected.

Grab Your Bike, Go for a Ride

Now that we’ve dispelled some common myths, go for a ride. If you want to learn how to bike or become more confident when you ride, join us for our fall bike classes.

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Photo Credit:

Sam Kittner/

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