Wednesday, July 30, 2008

When hippies attack.

I have a bicycle, albeit a crappy one. I ride it pretty much every day. (I'd ride it a lot more if it had an ashtray and a beer holder, but that's neither here nor there...)

Living where I live, in an extremely bicycle-friendly neighborhood, in an era of $4/gallon gasoline, I'd have to be crazy to not ride a bike. I mean, seriously, the nearest grocery store is only a couple blocks away; it would be silly to take the car unless it was, like, twelve degrees outside or peeing down rain.

Apparently, because I have a bicycle, I need to wrap myself in spandex and grow a martyr complex. I need to gather in huge mobs, block streets, and act like some kind of weirdly self-righteous, anorexic, granola-breathed biker gang member; a heck's angel, if you will, and terrorize yuppie commuters in little Japanese cars. (I wonder what would happen if the frustrated and cut-off person had been named Billy-Bob and was driving a jacked-up 4x4 instead of an Impreza?)

Now that I know all the stuff involved, maybe I'm not ready to be a cyclist. I'm apparently entirely too laid-back, for one thing...

41 comments:

Shermlock Shomes said...

Ha! When bicyclists attack:

Motorist robbed by 2 men on bicycles

fastbike said...

You know you can add the beer holder and ash tray, right?

Based on some of the riders I've seen, being anorexic is optional, not required.

og said...

Og can fix.

here. Put this on bike

http://www.rankinsaddlery.com/images/Picture%202081.jpg

fill with Winchester 73

Og fix.

Big lever loop make smelly hippies more afraid.

Ahab said...

Yeah, I call bullshit on those Critical Mass people being peaceful. I've had the...opportunity to witness some of their protest rides or whatever you call them, and they're usually quite hostile and confrontational. It wouldn't surprise me at all if they had surrounded that guy's Suby and started pummeling it with their bikes, rocks, you name it.

SayUncle said...

In NYC, hippies get face-planted:

http://www.theagitator.com/2008/07/29/ow/

Now, being a douchebag is typically not a face-plant worthy offense. Still, I'll crack the faintest smile while wagging my shaming finger at the office involved.

-SayUncle

jimbob86 said...

Well........

" If it looks like a rabbit, and acts like a rabbit, it will be treated as such: Prey for all Predators. "

Being forced off the road and cornered by a bunch of tree-hugging bicyclists......

Anonymous said...

"Now that I know all the stuff involved, maybe I'm not ready to be a cyclist. I'm apparently entirely too laid-back, for one thing..."

These people aren't "cyclists", they're leftist agitators on bikes.

I'm a fairly serious cyclist, riding upwards of 2000 miles a year (year round, regardless of temps, just as long as it isn't pissing rain). These people are nothing like me or the folks I ride with regularly.

What really makes me sick about this whole thing are my fellow cyclists on various boards who defend the CMers and vilify the folks in the car merely because the CMers were on bikes and the others were in a car. I've known cyclists who've gotten mixed up in a CM while in a car and even they were verbally attacked afterwards by cyclists who know them. To many "cylists" merely being in a car is a crime in their eyes. It's a shame and almost makes me want to hang up my bikes. It's also one of the reasons I don't get active in advocacy groups because so many of them are raving nutcases.

Chris

phlegmfatale said...

This sounds like a prank from one of those insane Japanese hidden-camera tv-shows. Critical Ass, is more like it.

wolfwalker said...

Now that I know all the stuff involved, maybe I'm not ready to be a cyclist.

Well, do you like to ride your bike on roads that have neither shoulder, curb, bikepath, nor sufficient width for two cars to pass in opposite directions while still avoiding you by a safe margin? Do you act as if you're going to pull to the side to let a car pass you, then zig back out into the pavement at the last second so he has to STOP for fear of hitting either you or the oncoming car on the other side of the street?

If your answer to either of those questions is 'no,' then you're right: you aren't cut out to be a bike rider.

Breda said...

Tam, you're a very attractive woman...but no spandex. Not even for you.

pax said...

a heck's angel, if you will,

*snortle*

Thanks, Tam.

uh.. ToAsTy.. said...

i used to ride Critical Mass in San Francisco in the mid - late 90's. It was a different time, originally critical mass was a group of riders who commuted together home from downtown. It started to get a little more political with bicycle rights and with that crap eventually it got out of hand. i stopped after 300 or so got arrested. It was a crazy ride..

But my main comment is about the lycra, i've never owned any, and my excuse is 'i'm sponsored by cotton.'

og said...

Tam looks just fine in jeans. Spandex would be gilding the lily.

Some things only your lover should know about the shape of your body.

Tam said...

Breda,
"Tam, you're a very attractive woman...but no spandex. Not even for you."

Yes, I have the dignity to realize that my spandex days are at least ten years gone. And with that, I believe I'll have a beer. :D

Anonymous said...

FWIW, spandex is a performance choice, not a vanity one. Street clothes are fine around the block or up to a couple miles, but are totally unsuited for longer distances or challenging conditions. Street clothes bunch up, chafe, catch wind and flap around, don't wick sweat properly, etc.

There is no way I'd go on a 50+ mile ride in anything but proper bike attire, just like I wouldn't shoot without hearing and eye protection.

Chris

Tam said...

"There is no way I'd go on a 50+ mile ride..."

Says it all for me, really. ;)

aczarnowski said...

The CMers are doing the same for bicycles as the loud-pipes-save-lives morons are doing for motorcycles. Stop tarnishing my hobbies you idiots!

Bike Snob NYC is probably right up your alley Tam.

Brian J. said...

Don't forget that one of the things on the bicyclists' political agenda is a tax cut for people who ride bikes.

Because they're better than you, they're smarter than you, and doggone it, people should live like me!

Anonymous said...

"Because they're better than you, they're smarter than you, and doggone it, people should live like me!"

You don't like lower taxes? I mean, it's not like they're advocating raising your taxes for not riding bike.

Oh, I get it, tax breaks are only good if they benefit you directly.

Chris

Tam said...

Well, in theory the road use tax is "pay-at-the-pump"...

A counter argument would be a tax increase for riding my bike on public roads. Just playing devil's advocate to stimulate some discussion...

joe said...

Since when *should* the tax code be used to promote behaviors that we might like? What happened to "equal protection under the law?" Yeh, I know stupid question. I'm generally against ALL tax breaks for EVERYTHING, including home buying and child care. I guess I'm just a heartless ogre.

As for "bicycle attire," I generally wear "normal" (for me) street clothes with the addition of helmet, gloves, and cleated shoes (once you get used to cleats, you'll never go back). This includes long distances up to about 65 miles or so, for about 1800 miles a year. Oh, I did pick up a jacket designed for biking for use in the winter. I found that the only jackets with sleeves long enough when my arms were stretched out were size XL and otherwise fit like a parachute.

Anonymous said...

"Well, in theory the road use tax is "pay-at-the-pump"...

A counter argument would be a tax increase for riding my bike on public roads. "

The problem I have with that is threefold (is that a word?):

First, how would you collect it and who would pay? Does the person who uses their bike for basic transpo once every 5 years get taxed? What about the bike commuter who doesn't own a car? How do you determine the level of taxation.

Second, bikes don't present the level of wear on a road that cars do.

Finally, if you tax me, then I'm going to expect and demand access to those roads and legal protection when a driver mistreats me while I'm using the roads for which I am taxed (under Virginia law, I can do that now).

"Since when *should* the tax code be used to promote behaviors that we might like? What happened to "equal protection under the law?" Yeh, I know stupid question. I'm generally against ALL tax breaks for EVERYTHING, including home buying and child care. I guess I'm just a heartless ogre."

I have no problem with that as long as we simplify the tax code and reduce the rate. As it stands now, I'm taxed more because some politician thinks I should pay more (vs me paying more due to my own activities and purchases), so I should be able to recoup some of that money based on choices and actions. Besides, the "tax cuts" I read about amount to a measly $5000 to companies for installing showers and facilities to encourage bike commuting. The showers can be a multipurpose addition for folks who might want to exercise before, during, or after work and for safety purposes (think chem spill or something). The other tax cut was $15/month for biking to work 10 or more days.

Chris

the pawnbroker said...

yeah, well billy-bob ain't the only one who finds it hard to "fail to yield"...

our little town of sebring, fl has a dedicated many-mile bike path surrounding a large lake and accessing shopping, hotels, and restaurants as well as the old downtown and a 5-mile spur to the state's oldest state park which itself features miles of safe, beautiful riding trails.

so the sometime hundreds-strong bike clubs that swarm here from the coastal cities are drawn by and utilize those great trails, right?

fuhgeddaboutit...these often arrogant, self-righteous, unfriendly pricks just love to ride in roadclogging packs virtually daring anyone presumptuous enough to want to access their chosen route by motorized vehicle to plow through their little convoy...or at least clip a handlebar with a mirror...and one of these days i might just accomodate them...and should they at any point and for any reason make the fateful decision to surround and attack my vehicle and/or family?

well, i am likely to respond somewhat differently than those folks in their priuses (priusi?)...and i don't even drive an f-250.

jtc

p.s. tam, you might try attaching a hookah and sippie-tube equipped beverage holder to your bike helmet...you do wear a cool bike helmet, don't you? oh, yeah...forgot who i was talking to...

LabRat said...

As our local-newspaper conflict with the cyclists of the town demonstrated rather clearly, the problem with the mindset behind Critical Mass and other bike-advocacy organizations is that they're extremely concerned with their road rights but not so much with their road responsibilities- or the laws of basic physics.

Yes. You have a right to the road and all the state and local ordinances say you do. That doesn't mean jack shit when I come around a blind mountain curve at 50 mph (the speed limit) on a shoulderless road with a fucking cliff dropoff on one side and oncoming traffic on other, and get to have a fun surprise bicyclist smack in the middle of the lane.

Suggest bicyclists maybe shouldn't ride there regardless of the laws and listen to the howls for your blood...

Oldsmoblogger said...

CM doesn't mess with Billy Bob in the 4x4 for the same reason PETA doesn't go to Sturgis to throw blood or paint at people wearing animal products: They're looking for approbation from their mob, not a Darwin Award.

Kristopher said...

Now that might be amusing ... watching Critical Mass 'tards part like the Red Sea in the face of an outlaw biker club rally riding through ....

Anonymous said...

"or at least clip a handlebar with a mirror...and one of these days i might just accomodate them..."

Which is exactly how CM got started. You (not you specifically) had to get in a pissing match and they responded with the only weapon they had: numbers.

Thanks.

Probably wasting my time, but I hate the ones that take up the entire lane and ignore traffic signs as well. I don't do that and I expect others to do the same. FWIW, the cyclists in this region tend to stick pretty close to the side of the road and ride in single or double file.

Chris

Stingray said...

I'm slightly partial to the mobile hood-ornaments if only because they allowed me to become a hate criminal. (ok, I know it's old stuff but in my defense we got less than a tenth of our current traffic per day when those went up, and it's germane to the discussion.)

And just to be crystal clear, I really have no issue with the cyclists riding around in town. Or at least I wouldn't if they'd follow the same traffic laws as the cars do. For literally the first time in years I saw a cyclist stop at a stop sign a week or so ago, and I was so floored I actually had to stop and thank them.

Also, I'd like to thank the excellent engineers at Mopar who designed a braking system that can take a 9000lb truck from 55mph to "don't hit the idiot" speed in such short order.

E said...

There are at least 2 sides to every story:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/30/nyregion/30about.html?_r=1&scp=4&sq=jim%20dwyer&st=cse&oref=slogin

Yep, lots of "rights" without responsibility. On the other hand, YOU try maintaining your composure when a cab sideswipes you on purpose, and then claims you: 1) deserved it, and 2) have no right to be on the road after a reasonable approach for an apology and a broken headset.

Sorry pal, I'm legally traffic and will take an entire lane if I feel it's the safest course of action for myself. And I WILL yell at stupid pedestrians out of their marked lane, wandering around with their head in the air. I've got a scar to show for a collision with the b'klyn bridge instigated by an idiot tourist. (I refused to give way and also refused to hit him).

As a semi-regular NYC cyclist, BikesnobNYC cracks me up on a regular basis.

Wear what you need to. The purpose determines the tools...
I commute in half work dress, but time-trial in spandex.

Joe said...

It's not just motorist that they seem to hate. Every December, I volunteer for the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation when the have their annual Holiday Express fundraiser excursions based out of Oaks Park in Portland. Sometimes my duties include holding a "slow" sign on the bike/pedestrian trail that runs parallel to the tracks at the station set up, and while most of the bikers who pass by are friendly and inquisitive about the old steam engines we use, some are just douchebags. I personally haven't had to deal with that fact very much, but some of these wonderful people completely ignore your warnings and polite requests to pass through the area safely and nearly run over some of the people taking pictures of the train.

E said...

if I may be so bold as to summarize:

some people are a**holes, no matter what they're "driving", and they identify with their conveyance.
They piss off those who identify with other "competing" types of machinery. (I drive a wrangler when I'm off my bikes, just for the record)

Spandex: only if you have to.

Beer: good

also,
Beer: good

Oldsmoblogger said...

More beer: better.

Boundary condition: So long as it's good beer.

Ben said...

I have nothing against the average bicyclist. I'm pretty much live and let live unless provoked in general.

That being said, there are a large number of cyclists in Charlotte who pack together in a certain upscale area of town. They ignore stop signs and yield signs. I have no bloody sympathy for them at all when I hear one of them was hit by a car because I've witnessed first hand -in the days when going to and from work took my through that area- what complete morons they are. Selfish, whiney, entitled, crap doesn't stink, yuppie, dirtbags. Yes, folks, bicycles have the right of way over motor vehicle traffic, but those stop signs, yield signs, and traffic lights are for you too.

(Tall attractive blondes with rifle scabbards on their bikes obviously don't fit that profile of course.)

TBeck said...

Yeah, the cyclists (as opposed to bikers) in St. Pete, FL are obnoxious, too. Maybe it has something to do with the impotence caused by those narrow little seats, I dunno.

But I have to wonder if they know that some of us are watching them...while calculating the Deathrace 2000 score.

Anonymous said...

Heh.

Try Portland, Oregon.

The current mayor is the former chief of police. And a member of Critcal Mass.

Like the time one of those shits tried to block a city bus. So a guy gets off the bus. Grabs the asshole's bike and throws it off a bridge into the water. The bus riders cheer. And just happen to forget what the "bad" guy looked like when the mayor's goons came around to investigate.

Protesting can work in mysterious ways.

mts said...

When I worked in Chicago, I spent a lot of time there, and most of my traveling was on a bicycle. People do gun for the cyclist. There's not one cyclist who has any serious miles who hasn't been badly injured by an idiot motorist.

Yeah, the last Friday of the month a number of fellow cyclists get together in Daley Plaza for "even up the score with the cagers" day. We spend our month getting our fair share of abuse dealing with assholes who harass people on 10 pound bikes with their 2000 pound cars (cabbies and bus drivers are the worst), and one day we all gather in numbers which allow us to even up the score by snarling traffic.

I got involved with CCM for libertarian purposes - keep your hands off of my cycling rights as much as you should keep them off of my gun rights (maybe if there was a concealed carry permit for cyclists, Chicago wouldn't need a Critical Mass ...) - but my fellow CCM'ers are totally nuts on the loony left. We agree on one thing - show the muscle of the cycling community, that one day of the month it's a little harder to push us around than the other 30 - but I can't stand the lot of them in every other respect. Except for the bike messengers - those guys have courage in 5 gallon buckets to do what they do. They have dispensation to be jerks, though their rule breaking is just getting from here to there in the most efficient way possible.

Tam - loose cargo shorts should serve you quite well for your shorter rides. Keep your stuff buttoned in the lower pockets in plastic baggies, and they'll stay bone dry. People who bicycle commute and actually go to destinations don't do spandex - we need to be dressed normally for where we go. Spandex is for the weekend rides that you pay $30 to get a commemorative t-shirt for.

Anonymous said...

"Tam - loose cargo shorts should serve you quite well for your shorter rides. Keep your stuff buttoned in the lower pockets in plastic baggies, and they'll stay bone dry. People who bicycle commute and actually go to destinations don't do spandex - we need to be dressed normally for where we go. Spandex is for the weekend rides that you pay $30 to get a commemorative t-shirt for."

Good point. I use the baggy bike shorts (they still have the padding, but look like regular shorts) for mountain biking and short road rides, especially if I need to look "normal" when I get to my destination, but even they bug me on rides longer than 30-40 miles.

Performance Bike's Mesa short is pretty good and inexpensive. It has a small velco closable pocket on the right side that is just about perfect for a medium sized tactical folder and the pockets are big enough to carry a j-frame in an Uncle Mike's pocket holster. ;)

Chris

Carl H said...

A couple of non-spandex sites

http://www.copenhagencyclechic.com/

http://www.copenhagenize.com/

http://amsterdamize.wordpress.com/

DirtCrashr said...

They've been pulling this shit in San Francisco for the past ten years and they LOVE a confrontation, it's not "Peace" they are trying to spread it's their own egotistical sense of entitlement.

dr mac said...

Oh Hell, just get a tractor. Low on gas, has a cup holder for the brew, and you can put a ashtry on it. If the bikers get too close just turn on the lawnmower blades.

Lergnom said...

When I bike-commuted to and from work, it was on a bike built from junkyard parts by an old friend. I think the Brooks saddle was the most expensive part on the thing, even counting the Kryptonite lock. Brooks saddles, btw, do not produce that agony typical to other bike seats.
During that time, I regularly educated motorists on the local traffic laws, especially the Caddy driver who shouted 'get back on the sidewalk where you belong!' and the idiot who heaped abuse on me for stopping at a light.