A Misguided Stance

Background Reading


Chicago L.A.T.E. Ride - Rider Start Scene

Chicago L.A.T.E. Ride – Rider Start Scene


A short while ago a member of the Chicago ‘Whine and Jeez Club’ Cycling Forum decided to suggest that (per its usual practice) members of said forum should ‘pirate‘ the ride. When I asked why anyone would want to do this on a regular basis the excuse was given that suburbanites too stupid to realize that they could enjoy the thing for free ought to be taught that lesson.

But I responded that we ought to be welcoming to these folks since they represent the bulk of the monies collected by the Active Transportation Alliance on rides like the Boulevard Lakefront Tour, Bike the Drive and the Four Star Tour. I got nothing but disdain at the thought of how very stupid suburbanites really were.

But I protested that with the crime rate in Chicago rising as fast as it was a few years ago (when this discussion took place) we ought to be doing everything possible to make visitors welcomed and especially those brave enough to risk riding in our streets at night. The rejoinder to this was that I was lying.

Well now of course the data I was reciting is understood by everyone and it is appalling that in a city like ours we had some nearly 50 people shot over the past 4th of July Weekend.

But some of these rabid Urban Cyclist Community members are more like members of a religious group than a social movement.

Urban Cyclists Seem Doomed To A Nascent Stupidity

So a couple of weeks ago one of the members of this forum of cyclists decides to put out a piece in which the etiquette for the 606 Trail is spelled out in detail:



One of the perpetual ‘homers’ of the group wrote that my befuddlement with the lone velomobile seen on the trail being listed under DONT’S was not accurate. He declared that I need to get some Prilosec™ because in fact the mention of the velomobile had been listed under the DO’S. Shades of the discussion about the L.A.T.E. Ride a few seasons ago.

Stating the obvious is not ‘being negative‘. But evidently the hipsters of the Urban Cycling Movement are not fans of the shows where real people compete in activities like cooking and get told that they did not do well. That their flan was lumpy or their gravy runny or whatever. On the shows the tears flow and the contestants fight to retain their dignity, but the truth is the truth.

Chicago is a terrible example of a world class city. The very last thing we need to be doing is laying down bike lanes, for arrogant self-absorbed hipsters who don’t even seem to appreciate the time and effort being put into their creation. They whine that raised curb lanes are absolutely important. And yet just this week one of the ‘gang‘ questions the efficacy of their use.

Lipstick On A Pig

Lipstick On A Pig

I am about as resolutely against the creation of more bike lines as anyone could be. But not because I hate the concept. Their creation at this point in time is like trying to put lipstick, eyeliner and rouge on a pig. It just highlights the terribly underfunded school system and the horribly misfit solutions to paying down retirement funding for cops, firemen and teachers. Bike lanes are just stupid (within that context).

Now Another Bout of ‘Homerism’ Strikes

The same forum is beset by a row over the question of cyclists behaviors. One rider writes to extol the virtues of one cyclist and by comparison makes it clear that the behavior exhibited by this individual was exemplary. I agree!

As a motorist, pedestrian and cyclist I can tell you without equivocation that Chicago’s cyclists need more than just licensing and training. They need a massive ‘attitude adjustment‘. They are whiney little bastards who would probably last less than a day in a jail cell in a prison. All that blather they sling online would do them absolutely no good at avoiding being ‘somebody’s bitch‘.

But even more to the point these folks are full of ingratitude. And most important they want the rest of us (the taxpayers) to foot the bill for whatever goddam transit idea they think is grand. I would not mind that position so much were it not for the fact that these assholes simply refuse to use mass transit themselves except as a last resort.

Pointing out the truth is not disloyal it is like telling your best friend that they have spinach in their teeth.

You hate to do it because you know it will embarrass them but letting them go the whole day in that condition is worse.

We Are A Bunch of Scofflaws!

Our aim in commuting is really not to save money or gasoline it would seem (if you listen to our rhetoric). What we value most about commuting by bicycling is getting to work first. We hate to have to park our bikes a few blocks away, because walking is for chumps. We hate to have to pay for parking too. Instead we want to demand that the taxpayers accommodate our needs because well, we are the Chosen. We were placed here on Planet Earth to be its Messiah.

The Urban Cyclist "Shuck and Jive"

The Urban Cyclist “Shuck and Jive”

We like to ‘move the goal posts‘ after the game has started. All we said we wanted at the outset was to be considered ‘allowed and intended‘ users of the roadway. Now we want the Rules of the Road changed so that we don’t have to ‘lose our momentum‘. We say that we want to do Idaho Stops and treat stop signs as ‘yield signs‘. But in the case of the latter we would chose to never actually ‘stop‘.

We have been getting the ‘chuckleheads‘ in the legislatures to give us 3-Feet Laws. But we have no intention of passing that distance on to pedestrians in the crosswalk. In fact we slice through groups of pedestrians as if we were a hot knife through butter. And to make matter worse, we glorify this behavior in videos.

We will not change and that is the saddest thing about it all. It will take yet another pedestrians death (and probably that of a toddler) before anyone will have the cojones to  say ‘enough is enough‘.

But until that time the ‘whiners‘ will continue to complain that telling the truth is to ‘marginalize‘ the ‘two-wheeled heroes of the pavement‘ and other Madison Avenue-styled bullshit. If were were majority black and male and living on the south or west sides I have no doubt that something would have been done years ago. But because we are essentially a ‘white hipster community‘ whose presence signals a reversal in the white flight trend of 30 years ago everyone turns a blind eye to our behavior.

That is a stupid as we are.