Reactionaries hate bicycles

Critical Mass, SF

After perusing a rather bizarre Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal the other day on the issue of bicycles as instruments of totalitarianism and being reminded of the idea that bike paths are part of a "new world order'', I've been asking myself, what is it that right wingers have against goddamn bicycles?

Is it because riding a bike means consuming no gasoline and that their mouthpieces have been paid oil company hacks for so long, it's reflexive? Or because the paragons and heroes of the American right tend to be as far removed from physical exercise as their rank and file is from mental health? Or because pedaling people somehow intrude on the divine right of the sacred automobile?

I figure it's got to be a bit of all of these plus the idea that people getting around by self-propelled two wheelers is, well, European, hence evil. Which flys in the face of everything conservatives are supposedly in favor of: self-reliance, personal responsibility and ingenuity. 

Yet the human propelled bike itself may be disappearing with the advent of an electric one whose price isn't that steep. Like an electric car, it has a 40 mile radius on its charge, but unlike a car, you can turn the engine off and make it go yourself. As lots of riders that are less than fanatical may not care to brave SF's steep hills on every trip, this could mean an enormous new wave of riders, making Critical Mass almost a daily event.

Damn right I'm for it, too. Yeah, watching out for bikers while driving takes more concentration and sometimes cyclists stray out of their lanes and wreak havoc. But compared to the noise, stink and glut of the car (and in a city where parking is almost impossible), this is a great development--regressives be damned!



Much better to ride a bike -- you know how long it takes to get somewhere.

Posted by tim on Jun. 04, 2013 @ 4:03 pm

blatantly and arrogantly breaking traffic rules.

Two pedestrians have been killed by cyclists in SF in the last two years.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 6:05 am

Cyclists causing the deaths of two pedestrians last year is another instance of what this article refers to as "pedaling people somehow intrud[ing] on the divine right of the sacred automobile."

Someone stop these mad dog cyclists before they start emitting carbon monoxide!

Posted by PedXing on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 10:09 am

way as they complain that cars treat them.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 10:24 am

Yes, two cyclists caused two pedestrian deaths in the last two years. In that same time, about 38 deaths were caused by cars. In 2012, automotive drivers injured 954 pedestrians and cyclists by colliding into them.

Posted by voltairesmistress on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 11:26 pm

Something is wrong with the mentality of these law-breaking cyclists if the death of a pedestrian is even a remote possibility.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 06, 2013 @ 6:34 am

Well said.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 25, 2013 @ 2:00 pm

Is it because riding a bike means consuming no gasoline and that their mouthpieces have been paid oil company hacks for so long, it's reflexive?"

I think so. i, and we, should all stand firmly with Johnny Angel on this one.

Posted by Bert on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 6:50 am

Though their riders might try being a bit less sanctimonious about saving the world. If they follow the rules of the road, then we're all good. If not, then I suspect my 2 tons of German steel will win every conflict.

Posted by Chromefields on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 7:24 am
Posted by lillipublicans on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 7:48 am

Hit the cyclist deliberately with your "German steel" and you'll be sued into oblivion, if not jailed.

What is with you RW knuckerholes and these "Dirty Harry" fantasies that none of you would ever dream of doing on terra firma?

Posted by JohnnyW on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 8:06 am

Actually, Johnny, if U want 2 get away with murder in the USA you're best choice of weapon is an automobile.

Posted by pete moss on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 10:55 am

Yes, this is a problem. There's a certain attitude that some, not all, cyclists have like they're getting away with something. I think Portlandia did a great bit on the attitude.

But there is a lot of automobile-based based bad behavior, too.

Posted by Hortencia on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 3:27 pm

yesterday, on top of the two pedestrians killed by cyclists in the last 2 years.

Something is seriously, badly wrong with cycling in SF, and their arrogant attitude doesn't help.

Time for mandatory testing, licensing, registration and insurance for cyclists, perhaps?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 3:47 pm

You immediately assume intent where there is none. My point was that if, say, a cyclist breezes through a red light into my right of way, and I can't hit the brakes in time, then the cyclist will certainly get the worst of it. Jeez, calm down already. Go ride your bike or meditate or something.

Posted by Chromefields on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 9:04 am

Chromefields kneals
To German Steal
A myth he needs
To the roots of his heals

Posted by pete moss on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 10:52 am

You know it's kneels, steel, and heels -- don't you? I truly don't mind being made fun of by illiterates, but this was an embarrassing display even by your standards. Put your whole vagina into it next time, instead of just your clit.

Posted by Chromefields on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 11:13 am

Misogyny much?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 7:12 pm

If that had been your point, it would have been posted that way--speaking of bikes, if you backpeddle any more furiously, someone else's 2 tons of steel is gonna flatten you.

Posted by JohnnyW on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 9:12 am

You seem cranky today; did someone forget to refill your sippy cup with Scotch? I hate to pick on the poors, but maybe this new McJob is one McBridge too far for you?

Posted by Chromefields on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 10:23 am

who perceives himself becoming ever more irrelevant, and yet who placates himself with the myth that he is someone whose words will be heeded for no reason other than that he once screeched cacophonous chords to a drug-addled audience.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 10:36 am

Chords are played, not screeched. Vocals are screeched.

And it's "aging".


Posted by JohnnyW on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 10:58 am

Excellent. We're making progress here.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 11:02 am

I defer to your obvious experience and expertise. Who would know more about failure than yourself?



Posted by JohnnyW on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 11:22 am

It's "aging." The punctuation goes inside the quote. But no biggie. It's just the internets.

Posted by Chromefields on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 11:06 am
Posted by anon on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 11:10 am

I never knew that Link Wray, Eddie Cochran, Phil Spector, Sky Saxon, Sonny Bono, the Velvet Underground, Iggy Pop, the MC5, Blue Cheer, the New York Dolls and Ramones were British!

The things you learn!

Posted by JohnnyW on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 11:24 am

talked less and listened more.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 11:27 am

American American or British American in either place. The Oxford English Dictionary follows that convention, but perhaps that isn't good enough for you?

Sonny Bono was a punk rocker?

Posted by anon on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 11:31 am

... these sobriquets among others ... of this most prolific and intellectually bankrupt SFBG fascist graffiti artist.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jun. 06, 2013 @ 8:16 am

Thanks for clearing that up.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 06, 2013 @ 8:58 am

Critical Mass is the reason bike riders are so disliked. The official salute of Critical Mass is the middle finger - which is always returned.

Posted by Richmondman on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 9:47 am

Johnny knows a lot about the bike world. And a lot about the pop culture world too

Posted by Timothy on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 11:10 am

The writer makes it easy on himself by singling out right-wingers to rebuke. As a more or less liberal Democrat, I don't "hate bikes," whatever that means, but I do think redesigning our streets on behalf of 3.4% of the population to the detriment of more than 90% is bad/dumb public policy. Why doesn't Wendell look into that---and the Polk Street uprising---instead of picking an easy target?

Posted by Rob Anderson on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 11:11 am

all the goodies that come from being a squeaky wheel, while the silent majority who drive or take Muni are getting shafted.

Cyclists are typically affluent white males who know how to play the system. Probably not a coincidence.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 11:26 am

Honestly, to all the neo-cons out there or those who fret about Saudi or OPEC oil. Well imagine if just 10% of the American populace who drove to work used a bike instead? That's less oil, which equates to less demand and potentially lower petroleum prices. This is a no-brainer, people, and I'm friggin' disabled and I'm for more folks using bicycles!

Also, imagine the health benefits. Ride a bike, lose weight. Heaven forbid that obesity rates drop, eh?

Posted by Johnny Venom on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 12:36 pm
Posted by Guest on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 12:45 pm

Well said, JAW. Sitting through their WSJ editorial video, I kept thinking, yep, I got it, and yet these two, neither of whom looks they have been on a bicycle for decades, kept going on and on. Their key points? Yep. they hate young people. Yep, they hate Mike Bloomberg. Yep, they think the bike lobby is all powerful. (Huh?) Yep, they think bikes are a fire hazard. Yep, bicycles are ridden by pedestrian killers. (Actually cars are the killers, ladies.) Yep, they think that bikes are part of the new world order. Yep, they hate tourists. Correction they hate foreign tourists. Sheesh.

As a former Yorker and a longtime bicycle commuter in NYC, I think New York could take a few lessons from London and Paris. A few more bikes and a few less cars is a good thing. Less congestion, easier parking, cleaner air, more exercise. And I do believe that bike riders need to observe the rules of the road-- no running red lights and clipping innocent pedestrians.

So what is the problem again? Oh, I forgot, the original video editorial is from the Wall Street Journal editorial page-- all reactionary, all the time.

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