The Myth of the Open Road

I bike pretty much everywhere in the city these days. But I also have a driver’s license and 16 years of driving experience. And occasionally I still drive. Like the other day I ended up driving across town to run an errand. Now, if you live anywhere near a city, you know that the driving experience is not exactly as advertised:

Myth of the Open Road

It’s a little bit more like this:

Myth of the Open Road

Which is not a good advertisement for cars. But this is exactly what I found myself driving in.

After my errand, I decided I wanted to stay out. I was hungry and there are great restaurants downtown. And some shops too. (I know, because I discovered them all by bike.) But in a car, I realized that I couldn’t casually go to any of them. I was trapped…

Myth of the Open Road

…and had to pass them by. It was like I was carrying the weight of the car rather than it carrying me. And I was tired. So I went straight home instead. Cars are useful, but driving in a city is kind of like trying to thread a needle while wearing a boxing glove.

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62 Comments on "The Myth of the Open Road"

Ian Brett Cooper
October 12, 2012

I’ve been ‘personally’ car-free all my life, though I often cadge a ride from relatives and friends (AKA suckers). Hey, why would I turn down what is essentially free air-conditioned chauffeur service. They can’t even ask me to share the driving, because I never learned to drive, LOL.

My wife drives pretty much everywhere, and I keep urging her to give it up, because it stresses her out, but she won’t – she fears the loss of mobility (another myth). She tried teaching me to drive back in the 1990s, but it was too stressful. Nowadays, she’s given up asking me to learn, because my attitude is that I’d need to be paid big bucks AND have a lobotomy to take on the hassle of driving a car on today’s roads. The ‘myth’ of the open road is absolutely right – just one of the many myths of ‘motorist freedom’.

At least most motorists don’t try to fool themselves about the cost of motoring – they all know it’s a HUGE money pit.

My attitude: anyone who learns to drive in today’s world deserves all the hassle that’s coming to them.

October 12, 2012

This (collectively) is outstanding … How true to reality!! Thanks.

(My car is ‘relegated’ to fetching friends, or visiting ‘biz’ associates and their luggage to and from the airport .)

October 12, 2012

… whereas all the other ads are entirely truthful. For example, those for beer and deodorant – both of which are guaranteed to exert an irresistible pull on the opposite gender.

October 12, 2012

That doesn’t work for you? Maybe you’re using the wrong toothpaste.

Ethan Fleming
October 12, 2012

Hey Bikeyface.

I know I have developed a reputation for saying a lot of negative things about cars and the people who use them as their ONLY form of transportation. This comic makes me feel like you read my mind when it comes to a few of the reasons why I hate cars.

I don’t mean to be negative about the people who use them as their ONLY form of transportation. I just feel sorry for them. Cars create more problems in the world than they do solutions.

October 12, 2012

I do a lot of highway driving for work and weekend pleasure, but it is increasingly rare to find me driving in the city. If I do, there’s something or someone along with me who can’t be handled with a bike and my trailer. You hit it spot on again Bikeyface. Thanks!

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