I’m waiting with bated breath for the “out the door” temperature to be 33 or above, soon, so I can start biking to work again. I’ve missed it terribly (and didn’t get to do nearly enough last season). It just plain makes me feel good.
Of course, as I pointed out a few years back when I was interviewed in the Utne Reader, it’s really not a political thing for me. It’s just one of few forms of regular exercise that don’t bore me stiff.
Unfortunately, both left and right have opted to politicize biking. Smart conservatives attack the political cronyism, payoffs, and mindless noodling with urban geography that Big Bike is trying to wreak on cities like the Twins. Not-so-bright conservatives attack people who ride bikes because they ride bikes.
But for every conservative chowderhead cyclophobe, there’s a small cloud of two-wheeled human smugginess that proves the theory.
John Gilmore noted the uproar of a biker, Marcus Nalls of Minneaopolis. Or as the “biking community” knew him, a guy on a bike assassinated by a car:
WCCO-TV had a fascinating online report about the “memorial” which focused on Nalls’ means of transport much more than the actual human being. “More than 200 riders made their way from Loring Park to the sidewalk along Franklin [where Nalls died]. There, in a solemn procession, they walked their bikes past the “ghost bike,” which is a memorial bicycle that’s painted white.”
All cults need icons and what better, more effective icon than one associated with death? A ghost bike? Was this some sort of sick joke? No indeed, as I found out to my amazement. Such sorts of “remembrances” take place throughout the country when a biker dies. There’s even a disconcerting website: http://ghostbikes.org/
Naturally, what is really going on is the narcissism of the biking community being put on prominent display for the public to see but mostly for themselves. One white bike after another: no individual, just the hope that bikers still living won’t die in a similar fashion. White bikes are the crucifixes for the secular, “spiritual but not religious” types in our midst. The dislocation of religion into environmentalism and Portlandia lifestyles is relentless.
Gilmore mentions Portlandia.
That’s one of the funniest things about that series; knowing that grimly serious people live out the parody every day.