Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hopefully only a temporary feature

Citizen Rider has joined the other cycling bloggers providing a link for interested parties to Chip In for ChipSeal, as Rantwick has said. The link goes to a PayPal account set up to collect funds for the legal defense expenses of Reed Bates, a cyclist in Texas being singled out for extraordinary enforcement attention because he is exercising his right to take the lane to enhance his safety while cycling on the public roadway we all pay for with our taxes.

I hope this feature will only have to be up a short while. I hope such efforts will not be needed again. I don't like to link any monetary appeal to this blog because I want it to be about ideas, free and clear. But sometimes you have to pledge at least some portion of your life, your fortune and your sacred honor in support of the cause of freedom.

Quite simply (and completely unfortunately),the debate over cycling on the roadway will determine how this nation defines that roadway. Is it a speedway? A race track for survival of the swiftest? Or is it the descendant of aboriginal paths, the link by which everyone gets from place to place by the means they deem appropriate?

I believe some Americans are afraid of cycling. Not only are they themselves afraid to ride, they are afraid to see a lot of other people ride, because they fear it will make us a backward nation. What has happened in other nations as soon as their economic status rises? They quit pedaling and get something motorized.

Cycling carries various stigmas, of backwardness, poverty or incurable quaintness. It's all very well for Denmark or the Netherlands to promote cycling. They're cute little countries, not backward, but not to be taken seriously in a world of Superpowers, past and present.

Cycling is fine for Europe. Let them put up with riding clubs and stage races that choke the roads. Whoever gives a crap in America can watch video of that BS on the Internet or some obscure cable channel. Just don't go turning Anytown, USA in Bay-Jing, buddy. Or try to make us like some cuckoo-clock little toy country in Yoo-rup. We drive CARS. BIG CARS with BIG ENGINES for a BIG COUNTRY.

The patriots of motorization are right about one thing. Transportation cycling can really help someone of lesser means enjoy a higher standard of living because they are not enslaved by the expenses of a motor vehicle. So maybe if you let the lowlife ride bikes everywhere, everyone will lose their ambition. We will become a nation of pedaling slackers and fall even further behind the rest of the world we claim still to dominate.

In truth, many transportation cyclists also keep motor vehicles around for the times when they are more appropriate. I don't mind having and using a car. It is more convenient than sharing one. I get to maintain it as I see fit. It's there when I need it. But, by using a bicycle a great deal for transportation I save buckets of money on motor vehicle expenses. As fuel prices inevitably climb, I am grateful to be able to use less of it. As the auto industry and the motoring mindset continue to pump more vehicles onto the road, they and I are both glad that I am saving them one more parking space. That should be another motto of the cycling revolution, alongside One Less Car: One More Parking Space.

Motorists should be strewing rose petals in our path. One More Parking Space. 1500 More Gallons of Gasoline for You to Waste. By reducing petroleum demand, we force the oil companies to LOWER PRICES.

Pound that message in the media. It will get through eventually.

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