I commute via bike. I do it because I enjoy it, because I’ve lost 2-4 pants sizes in the past five months, and because it’s a just-plan-good time.
Although I just started biking seriously again in June of 2007, I had a ton of experience as an urban and distance biker. I’m pretty defensive (and I write that knowing that in doing so I’ve very likely written something that can be used as an ironic coda by some jagoff in the event of a mishap in the future), because when biking in the city, everything you do can kill you, and everything you don’t do can kill you, and everything someone else does or doesn’t do can kill you.
Which was what I worried about last spring, when I saw hordes of new bicyclists joining us out on the road. You could tell lots of them were newbies; I saw lots of telltale signs of the less-experienced biker; innocuous ones like coasting down long hills (better to keep pedalling, even if it’s just freewheeling, to keep your muscles from cooling off), and serious ones, like zoning out on busy streets. I joked with a few other bikers that we could expect a heavy toll of accidents among all those newbies out there.
Sadly but inevitably, that’s pretty much what happened.
Being a conservative and a biker, I get plenty of flak from both sides; some conservatives take the car culture as a matter of pride (as do I – or as would I, if I had a cooler car) and take a lot of really dumb rhetorical swats at bikers; many bikers are pretty chauvinistic about their left-centeredness.
There’s a big, important story in there; bikes are different than cars. Some cities – like Boise, Idaho – recognize that bikes are not just spindlier looking cars, and have changed their laws (bikes can regard stop signs as “Yields”, and stop lights as signs). The changes will do doubt piss off drivers – although they shouldn’t, since people who follow the laws will never run afoul of each other anyway. There are good, health and safety-related reasons for these changes. Which doesn’t change the fact that some bikers are just plain dumb and/or inexperienced (above and beyond the whole “Democrat” thing), and some conservatives say really dumb things about bikers.
No big surprise there, right?
Of course, given a choice between a real story and a dumb sideshow, the local alt-media knows what to cover.
Emily Kaiser caught Anti-Strib being un-PC:
The latest from the Anti-Strib blog is sure to get hardcore bikers and Sen. Barack Obama fans riled up. After recent reports of deaths and injuries due to the increasing numbers of commuters taking to their bikes for a primary mode of transportation, the Anti-Strib blog says it might help Sen. John McCain win the election.
Gosh. Hyperbole. Hardly new at Anti-Strib – or the City Pages, for that matter.
Not that it matters; I haven’t read a dead-tree edition of the CP in years, and doubt I’ve willingly patronized one of their advertisers in even longer.
But the comment section was where things got
interesting mildly loathsome. “Scottsdale Woman”, proprietor of local deranged-nutbar hangout “Mercury Rising”, wrote:
Oh, and by the way: A heavy-duty cyclist of my acquaintance [I couldn’t help but laugh when I read that “heavy-duty cyclist” bit, picturing a 400 pound guy on a recumbent – Ed.] wants you to know two (2) [Two (2)? You mean deux (II)? Please be more specific – Ed.] things:
1) Your comments are being reported as terroristic threats to the Minneapolis and Saint Paul police departments, and:
This is, of course, the same whinging crone who responded to my call for vigilance of anti-RNC protestors by calling me a “provocateur”. But let Tracy Eberly take a joking swipe at her 400-pound friends, and suddenly she’s Ms. (?) Law and Order?
(And if there’s anyone at the metro police departments would could pass this “forwarding” on, that’d be much appreciated).
And I loved this bit:
2) A growing number of cyclists now carry handguns.
I’d go to Mercury Rising to see how Scottsdale Woman stood on the Minnesota Personal Protection Act, but that’d involve…well, going to Mercury Rising. That’s just crazy talk.
But it’s ironic, isn’t it, that Wes Skoglund was partly right? That there are people out there who will turn traffic accidents into shootouts? Of course, like Scottsdale Woman, they are lefties and Obama groupies, not actual gunnies. Not that that’s a surprise.
And while as a long-time carry-permit-reform activist I would never dream of confirming or denying anyone actually carries anything, and stipulating that it’s very hard to find a good carry rig for biking (yet another reason to eschew that skin-tight lycra crap), I have to ask – how in-freaking-credibly stupid is this “woman?”
She’s taking it on herself to remind the car-driving public – even the a**holes who don’t like bikers – that some of us might be carrying?
Thanks for nothing!
“She” also does a drive-by outing of Tracy Eberly’s place of employment. Which brings us to a modest proposal.
This city is clogged with anonymous bloggers, invariably lefties, who make scabrous claims and gutless ad-hominem attacks from behind pseudonyms, taking big, brave (and usually fact-challenged) swats at peoples’ ethics, personalities and histories. Some of these attacks – like “Scottsdale Woman’s” in the City Pages – are direct attacks on peoples’ livelihoods.
I can’t help but think that some of these people would be a lot more polite if they – like most of us conservative bloggers, Hinderaker and Johnson, Morrissey, Brodkorb, Banaian, Eberly, Tucci and, er, yours truly – had their real names out there.
So maybe it’s time to abolish the anonymous leftyblog; to find, and “out”, the most egregiously gutless, the ones that attack from cover and skitter away behind their anonymity.
Not to say it’d be easy; it’s not that hard to cover your tracks in the world of blogs.
But if there’s one thing conservative bloggers are good at, it’s finding things we’re not supposed to find. And if there’s one thing anonymous leftybloggers are good at, it’s having stuff we’re not supposed to find.
No, I have no idea how. Just saying.