Years ago I remember being struck by a statement from one of my history professors. She pointed out that during the second world war the bicycle become a symbol for the resistance to the Nazis and has become something of a meme for resistance ever since. There are, of course, very practical reasons for this in terms of the history of modern war. An occupied territory is likely to have their gas supply rationed severely so the best and most efficient way to get around would be by bicycle.
Yet it strikes me that the bicycle really does represent resistance in our culture in a larger sense. Seeing people who use a bike for transportation subtly suggests that just maybe in our culture, there is a better way to do things. All sorts of things. From running errands, spending money on a gym membership, designing roads for all users, not just automobiles, valuing something slightly simpler and cheaper over complex and environmentally and economically draining.
One of the many reasons I am so entranced with the bicycle as a tool, is that even a small shift in attitude in choosing a bicycle for practical purposes even once or twice a week over the automobile would have extraordinarily drastic changes in our health and economically. Imagine a 5-10% drop in gas usage within the U.S. if this was done. Imagine the drop in healthcare costs if our particularly sedentary population made a sustained shift in lifestyle by hopping on a bike a couple times a week instead of getting in a car.