I was never wild about George Carlin, although I have to admit he once uttered one of the very few lines I can remember any comedian having delivered: "Why is it that we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway?”
As a former journalist, I'm easily fascinated by quirks of the English language such as that, and have long wondered about another one. Let me be the first to admit this seems petty, but why do we always use the terms "drive a car" and "ride a bike?" Shouldn't it be the other way around?
Or at least give bicyclists credit for "driving a bike." After all, a passenger is a rider, right? Doesn't riding connote passivity, as in “going along for the ride?” We ride roller coasters. We ride trains. We ride horses. (Does anyone really want to argue that humans ultimately control those huge, powerful creatures?)
I'll admit (grudgingly) that people “drive” cars, although I'm not impressed by the physical exertion necessary to do so. A mild flex of the right ankle on the accelerator pedal and a little elbow-bending or wrist-twisting and "voila!" You're driving.
Sorry, motorists, but it's those "horses" in your engine that are doing all the work. Driving a car really takes very little drive at all, now, does it?
Maybe it's time to tweak the language a little and start crediting bicyclists with driving, not just riding.
So, try this on: "Hey, Jen, I saw you driving your bike to work yesterday," or "I'm going to drive my bike to work tomorrow." Yup, that sounds more like it to me. And who knows? Maybe someday we'll correct those parkway/driveway quirks, too.