[*BCM*] Horrifying editorial in the TAB

David Hammond dabbotthammond at comcast.net
Mon Jul 19 16:00:22 EDT 2004

Please, folks, if any of you attempt to respond to this, make your response
at least as funny.  A parody substituting huge SUV drivers for bicyclists
might work.

Righteous indignation, though warranted, will just make the cycling
community look like humorless, self-absorbed curmudgeons (a.k.a.
Lycrazoids), which does nothing to reduce the motorist assault rate (petty
and otherwise) against us.

Perhaps Gradijan experienced a Critical Mass outing?

David Hammond

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Max Harless" <mharless at wesleyan.edu>
To: <list at bostoncriticalmass.org>
Sent: Monday, July 19, 2004 2:20 PM
Subject: [*BCM*] Horrifying editorial in the TAB

> Can someone please respond to this? I have to pack. It appeared in
> last week's Allston-Brighton TAB (and maybe other TABs as well?)
> -max
> Steer clear of two-wheeled treachery
> By Dave Gradijan
> Friday, July 16, 2004
> Ready or not, it's time for a pop quiz.
>        If you find yourself sitting at the back of a miles-long
> traffic jam, the cause of the backup is most likely:
>       A) A multi-car accident.
>       B) One of those rare Massachusetts earthquakes that opened up a
> 22-foot chasm in the roadway, and in the process revealed Whitey
> Bulger's hideout.
>       C) A band of raucous youth that stole an ice cream truck and
> finally got nabbed by police, who are waiting for backup officers to
> get the chilling scene under control.
>       D) Seven bicyclists who are riding along the street, side by
> side instead of single file, thereby occupying each lane of the
> heavily traveled road.
>       Certainly answer A is a logical guess, and I could hardly blame
> you for going with B or C because, hey, weirder things happen every
> day, like when people cheer for the New York Yankees.
>       But in my own experience, I wouldn't hesitate to go with the
> final answer, as Regis Philbin would call it, because nary a day
> passes in this wondrous summer season when I don't see some dude
> riding a bicycle who doesn't appear to realize that it's unadvisable
> to play chicken with a FedEx driver who absolutely, positively has to
> be there overnight.
>       Kudos to anyone who can pedal away for miles on a daily basis,
> because to me the activity is only a wee bit more enjoyable than
> jogging, which in my book is almost as silly an idea as putting
> pineapple on a pizza. Think about it: Have you ever seen a jogger
> giggling or even breaking a subtle smirk as he huffs and puffs his
> way into physical oblivion? More likely, he appears as if he is being
> jabbed in the gut with an ice pick.
>       But I digress. What bicyclists need to realize is that, even
> without their presence, the roads are already replete with legitimate
> hazards such as potholes, Whitey Bulger hideouts and drivers who
> believe the turn signal is supposed to be saved for emergencies.
>       Alas, many fail to understand that it simply isn't safe to use a
> bicycle to navigate your way along a narrow, winding road that can
> barely fit two average-sized go-carts. All it takes is one zipperhead
> with a driver's license to come barreling around the corner at 60
> mph, and the cyclist who is occupying a third of the skimpy lane is
> likely to get himself killed, maimed, or at the very least see his
> Schwinn Super Sport land in that Great Bicycle Rack in the Sky.
>       Worse still are the biker groups who ride two or more abreast,
> casting aside those all-important "single file" lessons we were
> taught in elementary school on our way to the cafeteria to consume
> our peanut butter and jelly du jour.
>       Even if an accident doesn't result from this neglectful
> strategy, a lengthy line of frustrated drivers who are unable to pass
> the cyclists most certainly will. Cars that are capable of going from
> zero to 60 in 2.7 nanoseconds will instead be progressing so slowly
> that you'd think they worked in state government.
>       Occasionally I spot a bicyclist actually using the sidewalk,
> where one is present, to ensure his or her own safety, which I
> usually respond to by giving that biker dude a thumbs-up or a
> pumped-fist "Rock On" sign to demonstrate my approval. Most also
> deserve credit for wearing bright-colored, albeit dorky-looking
> apparel and being sure to use a helmet, which virtually nobody on a
> bicycle wore when I was just a little lad.
>       Summer is prime cycling season, to be sure, and no amount of
> whining on my part is going to deter enthusiasts from taking to the
> streets, so we drivers have to be all the more aware as we motor our
> way about town, especially on those narrow roadways where you often
> can't see beyond the oak tree 8 feet ahead.
>       But the bikers themselves also need to remember that, while the
> activity can be fun and serve as excellent exercise, it is important
> not to strap that helmet on so tightly that your brain ceases to
> exercise common sense as you're pedaling away.
>       If you actually take my advice, well shucks, I might even foot
> the bill so you can get some cooler-looking clothes.
>        Dave Gradijan can be reached at dgradijan at cnc.com.
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