[*BCM*] Horrifying editorial in the TAB

David Hammond dabbotthammond at comcast.net
Mon Jul 19 19:46:06 EDT 2004

I read Gradijan's rant and had a few good laughs - compared to Howie Carr's open advocacy of felonious assault against cyclists it was benign and balanced.  What really frosts my patootie are all the Darwin Award contenders out there who ride on the wrong side of the road, helmetless, cruising through stop signs and red lights INTO CROSS-TRAFFIC FLOW, on two-wheeled rejects from the dump-picker's ball. Oh, and doing all this at night w/o lights, reflectors or light colored clothing.  Their antics are what puts ME in danger from the fulminating geniuses in their Dodge Ram Intimidators with more testosterone than diesel in their tanks and chips on their shoulders the size of Woonsocket.

Although I live out in East Bumtickle, I DO come into the metropolis often enough to look at the Tab occasionally.  It's no stretch to surmise that the bulk of it's ad revenue comes from - guess what - car dealerships.  Now, THEY enjoyed Gradijan's tantrum, I guarantee it.  And that's the crux of my point - the cycling community doesn't need any more negative press.  Perhaps the ROI on Critical Mass just ain't there no more, folks.  Let's get imaginative in our strategy and tactics, and garner, if not positive press, then at least press that forces people to think, not emote. For instance - 

Meals On Wheels lost over 30% of its volunteers to high gasoline prices recently.  I tried to volunteer my electric-assist utility bike & myself to do deliveries, but the local coordinators were afraid of the thing (attractive-nuisance-type liability, I think).  So how about younger, more fit folks than me volunteer to do it on "normal" bikes?

If you're into civil disobedience that potentially saves lives, get yourself a case of fluorescent orange spray paint and go out marking "pavement defects" that could throw an unsuspecting cyclist into the path of an overtaking semi.  The charge is Defacing Public Property, I'm out on $500.00 bail for my 3rd such offense in as many weeks, and will be going out again as soon as the roads dry.  One hint: walk or ride a beater you don't care about, because your bike will be confiscated.

Organize a rush-hour race with your friends who drive within the 128 circumference. You on your bike, strictly obeying ALL traffic laws, will beat your motoring buddy 9 times out of 10.  Each cyclist follows the exact (non limited-access-highway, of course) route her/his buddy drives to and from work, even wearing the same type of clothes.  Let Channel 5 and the Boston Globe know in advance.  Remember Richardson, Mehegan & Barnicle, the Moe, Larry & Curly of Channel 5's Chronicle?  They used to do this race on an annual basis, using a car, a train or subway, and a bus.

That's just a few ideas.  On a more serious note, instead of Critical Mass creating more violent cyclophobes, we need a Cyclists' Defense League putting them away.  Raise money to equip club pelotons with loaner comm gear and a tagging device (paintball gun?), to identify and mark the vehicles that attack riders.  Raise more money to hire top-notch legal talent (or trade a Klein OCLV to a bicycling attorney in return for, say, 500 pro-bono hours).  Raise consciousness by surrounding the house and/or workplace of "enemies of cycling", i.e., Howie Carr, Dave Gradijan, politicians, judges and any hemorrhoids convicted of assaulting a cyclist.

So much for my derailleur adjustment - I hope now we're not all still stuck in Critical Mass gear.

Dave Hammond
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: TSmith4918 at aol.com 
  To: list at bostoncriticalmass.org 
  Sent: Monday, July 19, 2004 4:05 PM
  Subject: Re: [*BCM*] Horrifying editorial in the TAB

  In a message dated 7/19/2004 3:54:45 PM Eastern Standard Time, dabbotthammond at comcast.net writes:
    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
  dang, and all this time I thought the assault rate was due to road rage and bad drivers...it never occurred to me (until now) that it was my curmudgeonly attitude that attracted bumpers to me ass...now i see the light!  actually, DHammond raises a good point...shouldn't be too hard to write something at least half as funny as the TAB editorial.

  and sorry, folks, for the humorless self-absorbed tirade I sent back to the jerk...I will let him know immediately that I was speaking for myself and most bikers enjoy a good joke about being sent to the bike rack in the sky! after all it crosses our minds every time we get on the dang things...



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