Note to reader: I am not endorsing riding on any street when I say this. The reader must use common sense and avoid high speed and high traffic areas. Always follow the rules of the road and use all safety precautions when riding a bike on the street. Read the warning labels that come with your bicycle about proper usage. If possible, use the bikeways and residential streets in your area.
I have a background as a bike mechanic, having worked at several bike shops. I have witnessed an unspoken bias when it comes to certain types of bicycles that come in and out of the shop for repairs. Once I even saw a bike mechanic tell someone that their bicycle was not worth fixing and that they should get a new bike. The customer had a Schwinn mountain bike with a flat tire. The mechanic convinced the customer to donate their bicycle and buy a new one from their shop. Later he set their bicycle by the dumpster. I was shocked and appalled at the treatment that both the customer and their bicycle experienced. It has always stuck with me and is one of the reasons I would like to clarify these misconceptions which can easily be perceived as "bike-snobbery" by people who just want to ride a bike without emptying their savings account. The goal of bicycle stores and commuters should be to encourage people to ride a bike, and not discourage people by saying their only option is to opt for an expensive and uncomfortable bike. I hope this article dispelled some common misconceptions about what constitutes a cheap and an expensive bicycle.