Thursday, March 12, 2009

Yay, Me!

Woo hoo, I got the first, and right, answer to Cyclelicious' inaugural Tuesday Transit Quiz!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bicycle Bumper Stickers

If bikes had bumpers on which to stick things, I would plaster mine with some of the following phrases, inspired by innumerable micro-moments I've experienced while commuting back and forth to work. The sub-title to this could be "Retorts to the (mostly unsaid) thoughts of car-drivers, as implied by their driving and/or emotive glares from behind the windshield."

1) "Thanks, but I *do* own a car; I choose to bike instead."
2) "I sure hope you weren't planning to apply for a job from me (yes, I'm hiring!)"
3) "Why no, I do not believe your [penis|breasts] appear larger when you [insert sophomoric car-driving action here]."
4) "Yes, thanks, I do like to think I own the road (at least the tiny piece I'm occupying, over here on the edge of it.)"
5) "I'm sorry, I didn't notice that your [Hummer|Porsche|BMW|PoS] is secretly an [emergency vehicle|tank|starship|jet fighter]."
6) "So exactly what part of my six blinking lights, bright yellow vest, and innumerable reflectors did you not see?"

Feel free to tack "you selfish pork-face" on the end of any of these!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Bicycle Culture Wars

Some interesting intersections of life and commentary lately:

- Last week, whilst on a ride with Randy and Mike, we stopped for coffee in Boulder Creek, charming little hamlet in the Santa Cruz mountains. A fellow stopped by and asked if we rode on the local 2-lane road (the only one that goes through Boulder Creek) and then launched into an unprompted diatribe about how cyclists didn't belong on the road, as they got in his way and slowed him down.

- Later in the week I came across this article discussing the issues of how bike riders are perceived by different layers of the social strata; the working hypothesis being that spandex-clad roadies are thought of by their antagonists as frivolous road-cluttering impediments to those who work for a living, who ditched bikes as a mode of transportation as soon as they could afford to do so... Although this doesn't account for the behavior of the selfish pork-faces driving expensive SUVs around here, the article frames the issues of class and cycling nicely, and is a good starting point for further thought and discussion.

- And finally, John Murphy just posted his own insights on why being an apologist for other cyclists' poor behavior is a futile disservice to the community, in that it legitimizes the opinion that riding a bike (well or poorly) is somehow an abnormal fringe activity.

But I really, really liked how Murph summed it all up:

My tactic with anti-bike people is to put them on the defensive with the absurd. "These cyclists get in the way of traffic". Answer? "Well, do you run them over?". "No". "Why not? They got in your way, get them out of your way - run them over". 75% of the time the angry cretin starts to shift and look very uncomfortable, this was not the fight they were trying to pick.

So, what to make of all this?

Well, I try my best to ride carefully and responsibly, and not do anything to tick off the car drivers... and while I continue to be distressed on an all-too-regular basis by drivers who seem out to get me, I've decided that I'm going to try harder not to react to them. It's the same logic as dealing with bullies: react, and it only reinforces their bad behavior. Give that driver the finger after they willfully cut you off, and they'll only feel legitimized in having done it; arguing with them at the stoplight about the vehicle code won't convert them.