Friday, November 13, 2009


Once I have this hammered out the way I like it I'm going to send it to all the bicycling sites I can find on the web and get heard, since Paul doesn't exactly stand at the center of the average bicyclists’ media universe. It's come to that.

Yeah, I've been here before. There, in fact vvv

I'm gonna go there again.

This past summer was a beautiful one here in the PNW. Absolutely gorgeous. Unbelievably gorgeous. We spent a lot of time out on the road. Travelling was a joy.


Are you a bicyclist? Then you do this or you have done this. Yes, you have. None of you are the magic exception to the following. You all need a goddamn wake-up call because you simply do not comprehend the concrete reality of the following FACTS:

1. On any road, but particularly on the freeway, in a showdown between your 7 lbs of recycled beer cans and my Buick, you are going to lose. Maybe I was driving poorly. Maybe an unforeseen obstacle up ahead caused a sudden, unavoidable hazard. Maybe a strong side wind blew you in front of me. THAT DOESN'T CHANGE THE FACT THAT YOU ARE GOING TO LOSE.

Are you in deer country? How about dog, cat, possum, raccoon, skunk and/or squirrel country? Is there blowing trash or dust? Silage? Something being harvested nearby? Is there bad weather? No shoulder? Are there signs that say 'Strong Side Winds Next 5 Miles'? Are there drunk drivers on the road? How about semis? Loaded log trucks? Nigerian cabbies? Finally, are you riding one of those stupid recumbent things?

If the answer to any of these questions is 'yes' then YOUR PLACE IS ON THE SIDE OF THE FUCKING ROAD. STAY OUT OF THE TRAFFIC LANES.

2. In a showdown between your 7 lbs of recycled beer cans and my motorcycle, YOU ARE GOING TO LOSE. Yeah, that never occurred to you did it. It doesn't seem to occur to most of you.

2a. Don't think that simply because we are both on two wheels that you can split a lane with me. You can't and you shouldn't. And there is more at work here than greater mass and power vs. an exhausted vegetarian on a kids' toy. For example, if you come up from the right along beside me, YOU WILL GET BURNT-BADLY- by my exhaust. Chances are I will have sped up to get well ahead of your sweaty ass which is something I do for safety's sake( only one vehicle per lane here, Paco...that’s the law.) Therefore chances are good that I'll never know it happened. Again- this is not because I'm an asshole and don't care, although I am and I don't. It's because I am operating a motorized vehicle in a safe and orderly manner on a system of roads designed for motorized vehicles, and I am already a mile away.

3. You all seem to think that simply because you find yourselves in a rural setting, or at least between major towns and not riding on a multi-lane highway, you can ride all over the goddamn road any which way you want, singly or in large groups, not paying any attention whatsoever, because you are in 18th century fucking France.
This is not France.
This is not the 18th century.
Rural American roadways carry more large motorized commercial vehicles and agricultural implements more of the time than do the major highways. Why? Because actual WORK is being done here, and summertime is the time when most of that work is being done. Summertime does not mean that Pierre hitches up the oxcart and merry peasants go dancing down the road with baskets of cabbage balanced on their heads. It means that local business people fire up the semi, the tractor, the raspberry processor, the silage harvester, the combine, the manure tanks and the hay baler and drive them from one field to the next. They are working against the clock just like any other businessperson. Furthermore, there are special laws that allow agricultural vehicles to use lower-grade, smoky fuels, travel at speeds other than posted, and for underage operators to drive them.


Remember too: they are also subject to the same laws of physics as cars, motorcycles and you-

Tiny frail objects traveling slowly get turned into nasty bloody confetti when their paths cross those of large heavy objects traveling rapidly.

4. If you are operating a bicycle in an urbanized area, particularly where there is on-street parking, stay out of the traffic lane. PERIOD. I don't care what the law says you can and cannot do. In this case any law allowing you into the flow of motorized traffic is a bad one and should be changed for your safety and mine. You simply cannot accelerate as quickly, maintain posted speeds or stop as quickly as a car can. That this statement pisses you off or that you disagree does not in any way take away from its truth. Get over yourself.

4a. DON'T BRING YOUR LITTLE KIDS ON THEIR LITTLE WOBBLY BIKES OUT INTO TRAFFIC WITH YOU. Every single one of you who thinks that they're 'training' their children to ride in town by doing this should be cited for gross child endangerment. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen the following scenarios:

SCENARIO A: Mommy hippie, daddy hippie and three little child hippies are waiting at the corner for the light to change. Once it does, mommy and daddy hippie pedal right off, followed by oldest child. Second child, not wanting to get tangled, waits for the pack to get going before taking off, and struggles to come up to speed, and by now the light is halfway over. Smallest child has been looking at a fire truck and only realizes at the last minute that its time to ride, and drops the bike, then gets back up on the bike and begins to trying to pedal, struggling to get up to speed.
And the light changes.
And smallest child is in the middle of the intersection.

Try and make it through any neighborhood in urban Portland or Seattle and count how many times this happens. Honest to snot. These are probably the same parents that wouldn't dream of giving their children processed sugar or letting them walk alone to school, and yet it seems perfectly OK to let them chance getting squashed by a goddamn ambulance.

SCENARIO B. A giant pack of bicyclists (including a lot of little kids on little bicycles) waits at an intersection for the light to change. The light changes and the ones who aren't deep in conversation or using their cell phones or getting a blowjob take off slowly, trying not to get tangled. Kids drop their bikes, freeze like deer in the headlights, or take off in random directions at random speeds. The rest of the pack straggles off slowly, some riders jumping off halfway to push their bikes, some running into the others, some swerving out into oncoming traffic as they try and go around the cluster-fuck. The whole mess continues to meander across even after the light has changed. Now traffic is backed up. Cars are gunning their engines and honking. Meanwhile more bicyclists hurry to tag themselves on to the last stragglers in the pack, which is now mainly comprised of little kids and assholes. At least one of them (generally an 'adult') flips me off.*


Roads are designed for motorized vehicles.
You, on a bicycle, are not a motorized vehicle.
The moment you go out onto the street you are at a disadvantage and that’s simply a fact. If there are designated bicycle lanes in your town, USE THEM EXCLUSIVELY. Particularly if you are riding with children.
If there are no bicycle lanes, pull you head out of your ass and operate your goddamn bicycle DEFENSIVELY.

*OO. Scary bicyclist. One day, scary bicyclist, you won't be flipping off the lady laughing at your sad antics from inside the Buick. You'll be flipping off an undercover cop, or a delivery truck driver in a hurry, or my buddy Chris, who'll flat stop his car, jump out and beat you into a screaming, crying pulp with a jack handle. He is OUT there. And he doesn't care. You already made him late.