I really found this article thought provoking about the relationship between (macho) individualism and bicycle commuting on hostile streets. I love this line :
"...policy is not to make cycling safer but to encourage more people to be brave"
The author goes on to suggest that by making cycling safe and boring though separated facilities, it is opened up to a broad cross section of people who don't want to have to be alpha and aggressive every time they ride out their front door, just to survive.
I find it interesting that she cites a study that women tend to ride closer to the curb, more reluctant to take the lane, perhaps to make things easier for passing traffic. Unfortunately it also makes them much more vulnerable to right and left hooks than riding in the lane. There are all kinds of issues of social conditioning to get along and be compliant and not ruffle feathers that women internalize and bring to their bicycling, but that's not really the point. The point is that it should be safe for anyone. Dull, boring, bicycle as appliance, normal method for getting from point A to point B with the least amount of fuss and no worries.
The secret is, that even if biking was "dull", it would still be wonderful! Don't tell the cagers how much fun it is to ride, they'll start clogging up the bike lanes!!