June 4, 2013

"The Paranoid Style in Bicycle Politics: A Bicoastal Freak-Out."

"When Dorothy Rabinowitz implied that New York's bikeshare program is totalitarian, she was channeling rhetoric heard on the West Coast, too."
If the critics were merely expressing their personal displeasure at the prospect of cities better suited to bike travel (or doubts about the efficacy of a particular policy aimed at making cities more bike friendly) that would be fine. Instead they co-opt the language of freedom and oppression, as if orienting cities toward automobiles is natural and libertarian, while bike shares and bike lanes are harbingers of tyranny. 

71 comments:

TosaGuy said...

Second comment on the page:

"meanwhile no one gives a shit"

rhhardin said...

Bicycle advocates are usually assholes.

Why are the assholes winning, is the question they're confronted with.

Methadras said...

Why is there even a bike share program in NYC to begin with. That place is a deathdrome for cyclists.

Walt said...

Here in Portland, I don't recall ever having an opportunity to vote on anything having to do with bicycles, yet not only are lanes of travel on public roads taken for bicyclists, but huge concrete bridge overpasses are built for the cyclists, and on and on, all using public funds.

Oh, and I remember the public bike scheme, where bikes would be available for free. The bikes were bought, distributed around the city, and they were all gone very soon thereafter. No vote, but all with public funds.

edutcher said...

The Lefties have been "co-opt(ing) the language of freedom and oppression" for years.

Now they're mad about somebody else doing it?

rehajm said...

I call straw man. Rabinowitz was largely objecting to the bike share program and the ubiquitous Citibank logo plastered all upon as well as placing kiosks in most inconvenient places for everyone except bike share cyclists. The fact she complained about the excessive political clout of the bike lobby with Bloomberg was secondary at best.

Methadras said...

rehajm said...

I call straw man. Rabinowitz was largely objecting to the bike share program and the ubiquitous Citibank logo plastered all upon as well as placing kiosks in most inconvenient places for everyone except bike share cyclists. The fact she complained about the excessive political clout of the bike lobby with Bloomberg was secondary at best.


Right, so she would rather have seen no logo's or rather possibly the MTA NYC logo on them instead. Where the hell does she think the money comes from? Oh wait.

Jeff Teal said...

By massively driving up the cost of DOT compliance in roadbuilding and vy their arrogant ways bicyclists have earned the average voter and drivers eternal enmity.There is nothing I can do to change that policy but I will oppose the damn aristos with every breath in my body.

Big Mike said...

I agree with Methadras. At the school attended by son for undergraduate studies the campus was criss-crossed with bike lanes that were nowhere near cars. At his present campus the bike lanes are about 2 feet wide and painted along the edge of busy, relatively narrow, streets.

He's already lost a classmate.

And New York is worse. Much, much worse.

Craig Howard said...

as if orienting cities toward automobiles is natural and libertarian, while bike shares and bike lanes are harbingers of tyranny

Well, orienting cities toward automobiles is natural and libertarian if the majority of the citizens prefers automobiles.

Jeff Teal said...

Just one mile down the road from my place of business our one confirmed stimulus project spent $10million to rebuild one intersection with pretty little bike paths and fancy little doodads.They began in 2009 and finished just this year.It sits in front of a Pritzier owned property.Perfect marriage of corrupt politicians,bureaucrats,crony capitalists,and entitled greenies.

Broomhandle said...

"while bike shares and bike lanes are harbingers of tyranny."

Because liberals want them, and they are invariably fascist douchelords. It's not rocket science.

Paco Wové said...

"Bicycle advocates are usually assholes."

Advocate... activist... asshole... there's a reason all three start with 'A'.

madAsHell said...

The Yellow Bike Program in Portland, Oregon. They put yellow bikes out on the street. Just take the bike, and go. Leave it when it is no longer needed.

From the portlandwiki.org...

Portland's Yellow Bike Project was an amazing publicity success, but proved unsustainable initially due to theft and vandalism of the bicycles.

Success, and unsustainable in the same sentence. Who would have guessed THAT outcome?

David-2 said...

It isn't that "bike shares and bike lanes are harbingers of tyranny", it's that they're unmistakable signals from our "betters" that they know what's good for us and we don't.

Here in Seattle any Mayor who would just fix the damn potholes and keep them fixed would get enough votes in perpetuity to get reelected until he died in office, an old man.

But that'll never happen, because anyone around here who is competent to be a politician is much better occupied working at some major company, building a startup, or anything productive at all, which means that the only people that run for office in this area are do-gooders of the "we know better than you" variety. And those people are all of the "bikes good, cars bad" religion.

P.S. Plus what rhhardin said.

Amartel said...

Well, I'll give a San Francisco perspective. Cars are the enemy within the City gates. Pedestrians and bicyclists rule the road. They constantly disobey traffic laws but, if injured by an evil car in the process of doing so, the laws favor them. I cannot go into specifics on current cases but it is implicitly presumed in court that the car is strictly liable. The car paranoia came in very handy when the City Kings and Queens were setting up the red-light cameras. There's also a monthly Bicyle Freakout (called "Critical Mass") where a huge horde of bicyclists, including and especially messengers, triumphantly takes to the streets, blocking intersections, thumping on motor vehicles, and being a nuisance. This is viewed favorably.

Methadras said...

David-2 said...

It isn't that "bike shares and bike lanes are harbingers of tyranny", it's that they're unmistakable signals from our "betters" that they know what's good for us and we don't.

Here in Seattle any Mayor who would just fix the damn potholes and keep them fixed would get enough votes in perpetuity to get reelected until he died in office, an old man.

But that'll never happen, because anyone around here who is competent to be a politician is much better occupied working at some major company, building a startup, or anything productive at all, which means that the only people that run for office in this area are do-gooders of the "we know better than you" variety. And those people are all of the "bikes good, cars bad" religion.

P.S. Plus what rhhardin said.


It's the same here in San Diego. The tyranny is beginning with our newly elected douche bag mayor Bob Filner. A repugnant political opportunist if there ever was one. The first shot over the bow is the extended and expanded bike lane projects to 'protect' bikers from those evil, murderous cars. Spend untold million to comfort the human powered two-wheeled aggrieved because as a parasitic mayor you can take a photo-op with all of the bikers that will high-five you, but fix a pot hole? No fucking way, why that would actually be doing something and he can't have that. Besides, how can you get a photo-op with a pothole?

bandmeeting said...

That place is a deathdrome for cyclists.

Not really. I ride in NYC all the time and feel pretty safe. I can't back that statement up with a deaths per 1000 for you, and I'm far too lazy to try and find it. The scariest thing in NYC for me is the insanity of the cab drivers. The are out of their minds.

Bike Snob covered the Rabinowitz statement yesterday. He's very good at attacking. I wouldn't want to be the object of one of his eviscerations.

I think it would be a fairly useful thing for someone who had one of the citibike stands near both their apt. and work. Otherwise, not really. I've used the same program in Montreal and you no more than get the bike before you have to start thinking about getting it back to a rack or you will start going into over charges.

Just get your own bike and have fun. Riding is a great way to get around.

bandmeeting said...

I should add: Please people, do not ever get a "One Less Car" t-shirt.

Smug on a stick.

Methadras said...

Amartel said...

There's also a monthly Bicyle Freakout (called "Critical Mass") where a huge horde of bicyclists, including and especially messengers, triumphantly takes to the streets, blocking intersections, thumping on motor vehicles, and being a nuisance. This is viewed favorably.


Yup, the critical mass fuckwads here in San Diego do the same thing. Shutting down roads, being fuckwads on the streets, and all with police protection. I lived and worked in the bay area and I rarely went into the city unless I had too, but when I did, I took my F150 there. Used to visit friends up near Gracy Cathedral all the time. The little street snobs hated my truck. I caught one little bastard trying to slash my tires once. I'll just leave it there.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

I don't get it. It must be a big city thing. Here we have bike paths on the roads. They are just painted on the side of the road. I'm sure it cost a little bit of money to do the painting but c'mon its can't be that much. Of course no one ever rides in the fool things. I may see one or two people a week riding in the bike lines.

But I guess some politician felt good or got a nice contribution.

Methadras said...

bandmeeting said...

That place is a deathdrome for cyclists.

Not really. I ride in NYC all the time and feel pretty safe. I can't back that statement up with a deaths per 1000 for you, and I'm far too lazy to try and find it. The scariest thing in NYC for me is the insanity of the cab drivers. The are out of their minds.

Bike Snob covered the Rabinowitz statement yesterday. He's very good at attacking. I wouldn't want to be the object of one of his eviscerations.

I think it would be a fairly useful thing for someone who had one of the citibike stands near both their apt. and work. Otherwise, not really. I've used the same program in Montreal and you no more than get the bike before you have to start thinking about getting it back to a rack or you will start going into over charges.

Just get your own bike and have fun. Riding is a great way to get around.


I'm sure your experience may vary. However, even the NYT and NYC Dot disagree with you.

The NYC murder rate is higher, but not by much.

Methadras said...

By the way, I lived in the upper west side (80th/columbus) for a year in the 80's. The only way, back then to even navigate safely through traffic was early in the morning between 3 and 6 am. Small window. Otherwise, your point count went up throughout the day. :D

Carol said...

This is a man who favors stop-and-frisk, racially profiling and spying on innocent Muslims,

WOW, Bloomie for president!

bandmeeting said...

Methadras--

I live 3 blocks from where you lived--been there since '79. NYC is not that bad of a place to ride and--hey, I'll actually use facts this time.

A. Most streets are one way.
B. Most streets have two parking lanes. This allows a rider to often not even be in the driving lane. Yes, that leaves the rider vulnuerable to being doored. Gotta be careful there.
C. Most of the bike craziness is being caused by delivery guys. Worst of all is the delivery on those battery powered bikes. I think they go about 18 MPH and those dopes are perfectly happy to do it against traffic and on the sidewalk without in any way shape or form acknowledging that what they are doing is dangerous.
D. Traffic in NYC tends to only go about 25 MPH. The rest of the time it's not moving at all.

Lastly, DIE CRITICAL MASS, DIE NOW!

ironrailsironweights said...

Loss of vehicle parking is a major reason behind the opposition to NYC's bike share program. On-street parking is already very scarce, and the bike stands take up a significant number of spaces.

Peter

Jim said...

I was trying to get 180 acres zoned to build an industrial plant in a midwestern city. On the elevator up to our weekly circle j...meeting, I said to my colleague, "what is the over/under on how many minutes we will spend talking about the bike trail?" In the back of the elevator came a voice from one of the city council person's staffers, "I wrote the bike path ordinance." She wasn't smiling. We have a world where the bike nazis use zoning leverage to pay for crap that they could never get if they had to tax the residents of the city.

Methadras said...

bandmeeting said...

Methadras--

I live 3 blocks from where you lived--been there since '79. NYC is not that bad of a place to ride and--hey, I'll actually use facts this time.

A. Most streets are one way.
B. Most streets have two parking lanes. This allows a rider to often not even be in the driving lane. Yes, that leaves the rider vulnuerable to being doored. Gotta be careful there.
C. Most of the bike craziness is being caused by delivery guys. Worst of all is the delivery on those battery powered bikes. I think they go about 18 MPH and those dopes are perfectly happy to do it against traffic and on the sidewalk without in any way shape or form acknowledging that what they are doing is dangerous.
D. Traffic in NYC tends to only go about 25 MPH. The rest of the time it's not moving at all.

Lastly, DIE CRITICAL MASS, DIE NOW!


Nice. I completely agree with you on all points. Up where I was and you know this, back then it wasn't so bad. I used to ride into mid-town from the west side into Lincoln square, end up in Hell's Kitchen and hook a left east down into and through the garment district. I always felt I was taking my life into my own hands, but I survived. I used to see the usual crew of other work riders and a few weeks apart a couple of them I didn't see anymore and found out they were killed biking. It was sad. You made friends down the way.

Methadras said...

OpenID ironrailsironweights said...

Loss of vehicle parking is a major reason behind the opposition to NYC's bike share program. On-street parking is already very scarce, and the bike stands take up a significant number of spaces.

Peter


I had a very good friend, very well-to-do, who owned an apartment building which had his own garage on the ground floor. That was one lucky motherfucker. Sometimes people used to tag his garage door with graffiti that called him a Garage Fascist. Jealous bastards.

Titus said...

Dotty is a major hag. Have any of you taken a look at her face?

But I digress.

I hate bikers. They are everywhere here and they ride like maniacs. I have seen them smack a car with their hand, scream profanities at drivers and be real dicks.

I walk about 15 blocks to work in fab Cambridge. Julia Child's mansion is on my way. Those fucking bikes fly everywhere and they are always conducting some protest or petition signing for more fucking rights. Fuck you! The worst is when they have the little side seat with Jackson and Madison riding in it. The thing is impossible to get around. Every square in the city has those fucking bike carts now too and I fucking hate them. I have thought about burning them down.

tis and thanks.

Pettifogger said...

David-2 is correct. The clerisy finds affluence of hoi polloi distasteful, and pervasive automobile ownership is a manifestation of that affluence. Better that hoi polloi be encouraged to ride bicycles, reserving automobiles for the clerisy themselves. That is more fitting given our relative stations in life.

David-2 said...

BTW, I case anyone thinks I'm being unfair about Seattle, two points of evidence:

a) Bike Boxes, and while you're there, check out the menu on the left side where you can read about Seattle's $36 MILLION of bike improvements over 4 years,

b) And on the other hand, here's how our street department does their improvements. Check out all 4 photos. Don't get me started on their masterful way of dealing with our (admittedly rare) snowfalls.

Kylos said...

Methadras, I agree 100% on the Critical Mass-holes.

However, auto drivers can be just as bad. I was on a cross-state ride in here in Michigan last summer where a bicyclist stopped by the side of the road for a minute and left his bike laying on the gravel shoulder, when some jerk in a truck veered off the road and intentionally crushed his bike.

A little bit of tolerance would go well both ways.

Kylos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Palladian said...

Sunday, before I left New York, the Citibikes were out in force. The streets were packed with people riding them. It made it quite precarious to walk around in certain neighborhoods because, like many bicyclists, the Citibike riders weren't obeying the rules or paying attention to the traffic signals. I was nearly hit by one guy who came flying through an intersection in Chelsea, right through a red light, and I saw a near-miss involving an old woman with a walker trying to walker herself across the street.

Thank God I got out of that pit for the summer.

Palladian said...

I think young men on bikes are quite sexy, though. Something about that saddle jammed in their crotch...

Chip Ahoy said...

The bike program is cool I wish you would stop ragging on it. There is a bike rack half a block from here and another one directly across from the Buckhorn Exchange. That means...

The bummer about bikes is they're constantly stolen. I had mine up here in my way for two years, fixed it up took it downstairs, locked it up and it was stolen in less than one week. Bastards just out there stealing bikes. Two nights ago I heard someone yelling, "Hey fucker quit stealing that bike! and I wondered why they didn't just call the cops. To not have to own one and carry it around and put out on the balcony lock it up all the time is a tremendous relief and the whole plan is a great idea.

Today driving caused me to become positively misanthropic. I hated every other driver and they hated me. If my truck had a penis I would tell it to piss on all the other cars, I hate them so. The jackassery today was incredible. Right off the bat and then one after the other and throughout at each turn someone would pull out directly in front of me then f the dog for miles then when they exited I'd shout in my truck, "Thanks for getting the f off the road!" And so it went all day long until I came home. Whereas the bicyclists and pedestrians were all perfectly nice.

chrisnavin.com said...

You out there in Portland, and the Bay Area, and NYC, you're telling me my own dream here in Seattle.

David-2-Mike McGinn is a genius, former bicyclist and renaissance man.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Amartel, agreed re: Critical Mass in SF. They save the ride for Friday afternoon rush hour, for maximum irritation.

OTOH ... my husband used to commute by bike from our place in Novato to his school in San Anselmo. (If you know Marin at all well, you'll realize that it can't be done "as the crow flies," by car or bike -- you have to go far south into San Rafael and then turn back north and west.) It was 12 miles each way, and he loved biking it (when it wasn't raining). But there were dangerous stretches -- in particular, narrow streets lined with parked cars, where you were likely to be awarded what cyclists call a "door prize."

It wasn't a door that clobbered him when he did get clobbered; it was a guy in a truck making a left turn and not checking his mirrors. (Unusual, that -- usually the turning cars/trucks that clobber cyclists are turning right, and just don't realize that there might be someone on a bicycle at the same traffic light, just to their right. This is complicated by the fact that if you're on a bike and pull up to the crosswalk, you can't see whether the car next to you has a turn signal on or not.)

My husband was fine (well, relatively so -- a broken big toe hurts like hell and takes ages to heal).

Meanwhile, I -- who don't drive and bike very little -- have several times been nearly hit (and once actually hit) by drivers who simply weren't paying attention.

Look, there are clueless and/or obnoxious cyclists. (Don't get me started on the Novato lot -- most of the city has nice, wide bike lanes painted in, but much of the populace prefers the sidewalk, and doesn't care whether it's going with or against traffic. If you're a pedestrian, having to step into the frickin' bike lane because the guy on the bicycle is using the sidewalk get a bit old.) But drivers can be arrogant, too, and they're much more dangerous to non-drivers than we are to them.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Chip Ahoy,

I had mine up here in my way for two years, fixed it up took it downstairs, locked it up and it was stolen in less than one week.

I wiped out on a bike ride in the Berkeley hills once when I was an undergrad -- didn't up-shift fast enough and lost control. Damage to me, not so bad (fractured cheekbone, lots of road rash). Damage to bike, totaled front wheel, some frame twisting. I wasn't terribly keen to hop right back on it, so asked the girl I was staying with that summer if I could leave it on her balcony. She agreed.

Well someone stole it, crippled though it was. The best part was that the "balcony" was interior to the apartment building -- the thing had a central courtyard of sorts, and all the apartments had balconies overlooking it.

Virgil Hilts said...

Can't remember if I saw this first on Althouse, but one of my favorite bicycle videos! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgCqz3l33kU

Henry said...

I guess Boston is some kind of mixed-use heaven. The bicyclists and the drivers all seem to get along. Oh sure, there's some general yelling and horn-honking and rude gesturing, but nothing exceptional.

Palladian said...

Oh sure, there's some general yelling and horn-honking and rude gesturing, but nothing exceptional.

True, there's nothing exceptional about Boston.

Tim said...

Amartel said...

"There's also a monthly Bicyle Freakout (called "Critical Mass") where a huge horde of bicyclists, including and especially messengers, triumphantly takes to the streets, blocking intersections, thumping on motor vehicles, and being a nuisance. This is viewed favorably."

I ride a bike. Love doing so.

But, I've been caught in a "Critical Mass" road stoppage, late on a Friday afternoon, on Harrison Street approaching the Bay Bridge. Light after light after light changed from green to yellow to red, and no cars moved.

The cops?

Assholes did NOTHING.

To this day, I'm stunned no motorist hasn't gone all Michael Douglass in "Falling Down" on these assholes.

If there was ever a group begging for vigilante justice of 2X4s or Louisville Sluggers upside the head and golf clubs thrown through the spokes, it's these assholes.

madAsHell said...

David-2-Mike McGinn is a genius, former bicyclist and renaissance man.

I'm in Seattle. McSchwinn is chasing the Obama bigger stupid award.

rcommal said...

What I tell my kid:

1) Assume at all times when out in the physical world that no one is watching out for you; it is for you to pay heed, pay attention and be mindful at all times of your own place in space and time and keep yourself safe,

and

2) Assume at all times when out in the physical world that no one is watching out for himself or herself; it is for you to pay heed, pay attention and be mindful at all times of your place in space and time **as well as that of others** and and make it your bounden business to keep yourself safe from lawsuits and other pernicious shit that might come your way if you do not.

I kid you not. That's what I have done, and I still do.

It's a jungle out there, and for that reason I do not apologize for doing 1 + 2.


rcommal said...

You should see, for example, that kid wield a shopping cart in a clogged parking lot here even in the height of after-work, stop-by grocery shopping by other people! He's a marvel, and well he should be, given the practice.

Success.

: )

rcommal said...

(Unusual, that -- usually the turning cars/trucks that clobber cyclists are turning right, and just don't realize that there might be someone on a bicycle at the same traffic light, just to their right. This is complicated by the fact that if you're on a bike and pull up to the crosswalk, you can't see whether the car next to you has a turn signal on or not.)

Neither the cars/trucks in your first sentence nor the bicyclist in your second sentence are being mindful (much less are they paying heed or paying attention). Both are out on the streets in their own bubbles. And I get how people want to be in their bubbles even out on the streets. But they shouldn't, you know. And the sharp ones know that and therefore get more...well, mindful. For example.

Methadras said...

Kylos said...

Methadras, I agree 100% on the Critical Mass-holes.

However, auto drivers can be just as bad. I was on a cross-state ride in here in Michigan last summer where a bicyclist stopped by the side of the road for a minute and left his bike laying on the gravel shoulder, when some jerk in a truck veered off the road and intentionally crushed his bike.

A little bit of tolerance would go well both ways.


Okay, now that's just fucked up. Intentional destruction of someones property is bullshit and worthy of a serious beatdown.

Methadras said...

Tim said...

I ride a bike. Love doing so.

But, I've been caught in a "Critical Mass" road stoppage, late on a Friday afternoon, on Harrison Street approaching the Bay Bridge. Light after light after light changed from green to yellow to red, and no cars moved.

The cops?

Assholes did NOTHING.

To this day, I'm stunned no motorist hasn't gone all Michael Douglass in "Falling Down" on these assholes.

If there was ever a group begging for vigilante justice of 2X4s or Louisville Sluggers upside the head and golf clubs thrown through the spokes, it's these assholes.


I love riding my mountain bike on trails. I stay off the streets if I can avoid it and even then if I can I'm on the sidewalk.

It's coming dude, it's coming for those critical mass motherfuckers.

Methadras said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dante said...

Roadways ought to be built for the average "worst conditions." Like when it rains, snows, etc., and bicyclists aren't bicycling to/from work.

From that perspective, adding lanes is a luxury. That's fine, so long as they have a use fee to reimburse the costs.

Kirk Parker said...

chrisnavin,

Mike McGinn is a blight; let him go Bloomberg himself in NYC.

David said...

The writing in that column is atrocious.

He should take writing lessons from Dorothy Rabinowitz.

gerry said...

Auto = freedom of movement = LIBERTY.

Proles threaten elitist sensibilities by having LIBERTY.

Make things difficult, expensive, taxed, make fuel scarce, anything to imprison the proles.

Marshal said...

Bicoastal Freak-out

Friedersdorf would be more readable if he didn't routinely employ emotionalistic overreaches while complaining about emotionalistic overreaches. Describing compaints as a "freak-out" says a lot more about him than those who complain about bikes.

Balfegor said...

Ah, urban bicyclists. How I hate them! Here in DC, they are a menace to all pedestrians.

Henry said...

True, there's nothing exceptional about Boston.

How 'bout them Rangers!

wyo sis said...

Let them buy their own bikes at least. Where does this idea that there must be free bikes come from?

Henry said...

gerry wrote: Auto = freedom of movement = LIBERTY

And bicycles also. Bicycles offer freedom of movement to anyone too young to drive (that's when I became a life-long rider), too poor to own a car or a parking space, or cognizant of the fact that getting around a dense city in a car is incredibly inefficient. In the Rush Hour race staged in Boston, the driver came in last, behind the runner, cyclist, in-line skater and MBTA rider for whom the race was rigged.

For all the talk of green elitists, many riders are college students (who may be green elitists, but less powerful ones). Anyone who lives in poorer parts of a city will also get to know the laborers who get around on beat up wheels.

Scott M said...

But Bloomberg IS an autocratic mayor with a tyrannical mindset.

Peter said...

"That place is a deathdrome for cyclists."

I don't know about all of NYC, but Manhattan is only 12 miles long (north-south) and 2-3 miles wide. Which is well within bicycle distance even for a lardass.

And except in a few places, traffic is not a problem- not all that many drive in Manhattan because parking is unavailable or costly.

But I'd think theft would be a major concern if/when you can't park the bike indoors.

Balfegor said...

Re: Henry:

Busses. The answer is busses. I ride the bus all the time. I am a bus-evangelist. At least until I am wealthy enough to hire a car and driver. Maybe that won't work outside of the cities, but this Critical Mass rubbish is all about inflicting the foul scourge of bicyclism on the urban masses anyhow, not suburbia.

Mitch H. said...

Any pundit that name-checks "the Paranoid Style" has put himself under the interrogation lamp under suspicion of being a fundimentally un-American conspirator in the plot to disarm citizen oversight of their betters.

And yes, the plot to dis-mount the American motorist is as oppressive & tyrannical as ongoing schemes to disarm her. To quote P.J O'Rourke:

But cars didn’t shape our existence; cars let us escape with our lives. We’re way the heck out here in Valley Bottom Heights and Trout Antler Estates because we were at war with the cities. We fought rotten public schools, idiot municipal bureaucracies, corrupt political machines, rampant criminality and the pointy-headed busybodies. Cars gave us our dragoons and hussars, lent us speed and mobility, let us scout the terrain and probe the enemy’s lines. And thanks to our cars, when we lost the cities we weren’t forced to surrender, we were able to retreat.

Broomhandle said...

"David-2-Mike McGinn is a genius, former bicyclist and renaissance man.

I'm in Seattle. McSchwinn is chasing the Obama bigger stupid award."

McGinn is the Duke of Douche. After Biden he just may be the stupidest person in public life.

Henry said...

@Balfegor -- Know what is better than a bus? A bicycle and a bus. Many city buses (at least around here) have a bicycle rack on the front.

My main commute is by train and folding bike. With a folding bike I can ride both ends of the train run (or, I could sign up for bikeshare). The bike keeps my commute to about one hour. Driving to the station, taking the train, then the MBTA would shoot my commute to about 90 minutes.

The critical mass people sound like idiots, but I question why these local, periodic idiots are defined as the oppositional benchmark.

I question only rhetorically. I know they answer. They're defined as the benchmark because their idiocy makes them an easy target.

Balfegor said...

Re: Henry:

The critical mass people sound like idiots, but I question why these local, periodic idiots are defined as the oppositional benchmark.

Well, as you say, because they're highly visible.

But in fact I loathe bicyclists because in DC they are the worst. Plowing through knots of pedestrians, refusing to get off their bikes when the signs direct them to walk their bikes, blowing through red lights when people are in the crosswalk. They're an absolute menace. The Critical Mass people may be extreme, but it's a difference only of degree, not of kind, from the inconsiderate scofflaw bicyclists one encounters as a pedestrian in DC.

Sam L. said...

Well, it's The Atlantic. They do wailing and teeth-gnashing.

Sigivald said...

Instead they co-opt the language of freedom and oppression, as if orienting cities toward automobiles is natural and libertarian, while bike shares and bike lanes are harbingers of tyranny.

They sure seem to be, in that a vocal ultra-minority uses the power of the State to make life harder for everyone else, to feed their desire for More Bikes Because Bikes.

In other words, exactly what Walt said.

(I'm from Portland.

Bike-politics is stupid as hell here, perhaps second only to the local desire for More Trains Because Trains, regardless of how patently stupid and wasteful a scheme is.

This means you, WES...)

Sigivald said...

Methadras said: I lived and worked in the bay area and I rarely went into the city unless I had too, but when I did, I took my F150 there. [...] The little street snobs hated my truck. I caught one little bastard trying to slash my tires once. I'll just leave it there.

I think they might explode if they saw my truck (an F-250 long-bed) ... and it's not even As Truckish As Possible.

Then again, I'd never even consider trying to take the thing downtown, anywhere. Not worth the aggravation.

ken in sc said...

I once got promoted to squadron commander because the previous commander ran into a jogger on a bike path and broke his own neck.