A reader writes:

I'm all in favor of bikes and didn't buy a car till I had my first child.  But Drum's description of the useful niche for Volt strikes me as right on target, in the light of several significant advantages of a car over a bike:

1. Cargo capacity.  In particular, carrying items for repair or dry cleaning, and being able to leave your purchases in the trunk of your vehicle while you go on to another store, instead of having to carry everything with you.  This is really significant.

2. Shelter from the elements: rain, snow, tropical heat.

3. More wardrobe flexibility. The ability to go places without getting sweaty and without having to choose between wearing skin tight expensive cycling gear versus having one's clothing drag one down in the wind, get caught in the frame, get greasy from the chain, etc.

4. Ability to climb steep hills

5. Superior safety after dark. And for us aging boomers, safety in general; the sort of injuries one gets in falls from a bicycle start to be a significantly more serious hazard even for healthy, fit, active individuals after 65 or so than they are for younger folks.

Another:

You can't take a date out on a bike. If this wasn't a cultural fact, I think bike use would be much more prevalent.

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