You Don’t Say…

Just as the ancient Romans had a god for everything, so do we have a scientist for every conceivable field, and they’re working on everything from how the Earth was created to how to keep our armpits from stinking. But when it comes to truly useless studies, few subjects have inspired more of them than the humble pursuit of cycling. Over the years we’ve learned all sorts of obvious crap about riding bikes from these science geniuses. For example, any idiot can figure out cycling is a form of exercise and is therefore healthy, but it’s is it really true until a scientist says so and the Guardian gives us all permission to believe it?

Then of course there was the stunning scientific breakthrough that bike helmets make people look like giant dorks:

See, when you’re wearing a foam hat and a neon vest and all that other crap you look like a crash test dummy, and the simple fact is that dummies don’t command respect. But we’re now a full generation into the anti-bullying movement and nobody’s allowed to make fun of anybody anymore, so as a result we need scientists to tell us stuff that we otherwise would have discovered by 3rd grade.

Now the latest study everyone’s running with this that cyclists are simply better people than drivers:

The big revelation here is that when you’re inside a car you’re isolated, but when you’re outside of a car you’re not:


Of course, you’re also isolated when you’re on the toilet, so why doesn’t taking a dump make you a bad person? I don’t know, but cyclists are better people than drivers because they boycott products, discuss politics, and write letters to the editor:

Clearly the media outlets covering this study are unfamiliar with scientific jargon and therefore misinterpreting the study. See, doing all that stuff doesn’t make you better, it makes you insufferable–so here we have it, the scientific proof we never needed that cyclists can be cloyingly smug. (By the way, speaking of writing letters to the editor, if I get another brake-splainy email about my last Outside column I’m going to have to change my address.)

Anyway, since clearly nobody knows how to read this thing, allow me to explain it to you. Here’s the study itself:

The researchers used a longitudinal multilevel analysis of annual surveys of a representative sample of the German general population:

In other words, they asked a bunch of Germans some shit, and the drivers just drove away, while the cyclists stood around talking about how wonderful they are because they’re boycotting Twitter.

That alone is clearly groundbreaking, but by far the biggest revelation in the study is this:

It’s tough to follow, but I went to college so allow me to summarize:

  • You don’t need a vehicle to walk (well fuck me!)
  • When you’re walking you can change direction, like when you see a pile of shit and go around it
  • Most trips start with walking–like when you walk to your car (MIND BLOWN)
  • Cyclists are like people who walk, only with bikes!
  • If you ride a bike a lot in the same city you eventually learn your way around it

Incredible. Give those scientists more grant money! Maybe the next study can be about how riding bikes can make you hungry.

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