Yes, of course, we need bike racks because it will encourage more students to make use of their bicycles. Absolutely. But I think the more pressing issue, as this picture clearly illustrates, is simply that indoor parking is getting crowded.
See, I used to carry my bike up three flights to my office. Admittedly, there was something kind of cool about seeing my bike there beside me all day, leaning against my bookshelves. Then I got lazy and started hauling it up via the elevator. Then I got really lazy and started leaving it downstairs, locked to the staircase. I like to tell myself I’m only doing it to raise awareness.
Well, it doesn’t matter why I’m doing it because now there’s someone infringing upon my space. I wandered downstairs the other day and was shocked to find this blue mountain bike cozying up to my Gary Fisher. Initially, I was excited to see that someone else had ridden her or his bicycle, but then it occurred to me that if we’re not careful, this will draw the sort of attention we don’t want. The institution might decide to ban bicycles altogether. That would force me, in turn, to start stashing my bike in my office again, only this time it will be contraband. I’d have to hide it behind a plant or something. All of a sudden, with virtually no warning at all, riding a bicycle would become an act of sedition. It would be rebellious behavior. It would be counter-cultural. Oh, wait, we’re more or less already there. Never mind. Park your bike wherever you like.
Maybe someday, when we do get the bike racks, we’ll regard them as symbols of the right to free assembly.