There has long been a thread of insistence amongst the Urban Cycling Community that says anything approaching self-criticism is anti-cycling in nature and that those who do this are expressing a ‘shit-load of ignorance‘.
- Let Me Get My Flak Jacket On Straight (BeezodogsPlace)
There is an overlap here between the Bolsheviks of the early Communist Party and today’s Urban Cycling Community. We are looking at a movement that is party politics and very much religious in the worst sense of that word.
The Urban Cycling Movement has a problem with automobiles. They after all represent the best and worst that Capitalism has to offer. On the one hand automobiles represent a clear and present display of class distinctions. If you drive a high-end German sedan you must be a Fascist. In fact if you eavesdrop on their forum conversations, those are the very words they use.
On the other hand what these folks are unwilling to admit is that when compared with Mass Transit there really is no contest in terms of flexibility. If your company transplants it operations to the suburbs (as an example) and the particular location they choose is not surrounded by lots of bus routes, you may have to walk miles from a given station to reach an office park and much of that distance will probably be on ‘incomplete streets‘.
Bolshevik Urban Cycling Community response to this obvious disparity in adaptability is to simply complain that The State is not doing enough to support the only truly egalitarian form of transportation (outside of the bicycle). But if you read the forums of these same Bolsheviks in sheep’s clothing you discover that they do not like riding Mass Transit either. Evidently they think the people sitting around them, ‘stink‘.
Well, this is Mass Transit and it supports and caters to the masses. Body odor is part of the deal.
The hall mark of groups like this (including the Tea Party) is a patent inability to broach criticism. They take it as they say as a display of a ‘shit-load of ignorance‘ on the part of anyone expressing a view that differs from theirs. But this is consistent with what transpired in the Soviet Union in the early days of the Communist Party. They spent nearly half-a-century trying to formulate state run economies and never really got it right. They could never really feed their people.
Meanwhile those fellows in the Corn Belt of the United States whose penchant was hard work and Capitalism managed to feed themselves and their neighbors and then sell grain to the starving masses in Russia, all while buying and driving automobiles.
An interesting thing about the Soviets was that they loved automobiles. They actually collected them! And I am talking about the Premier of the State.
Never Confuse The Ideals of the Urban Cycling Movement With A Love Of Bicycles
The fact of the matter is that the Urban Cycling Movement and its sister operation the Church of Urban Cycling are forms of Socialism that parade as transportation movements. They really are not.
What they are is an excuse for trying to spearhead the destruction of highways and the removal of the automobile (literally and figuratively) from our streets and roadways. In place of this will be plazas which are not a bad thing. But once you undo a transportation system it takes decades to restore it. Meanwhile the poorest of the people will have to make do with walking miles to work in cold and snow while the Bolsheviks who live and work in the city get to ride the buses free of unwanted body odor.
Very little of what we are doing here even resembles in the most meaningful ways the work already done in Amsterdam. Like the Bolsheviks we got sidetracked on the visuals. We focused on ‘bike lanes‘ as if their presence was the panacea for all of society’s ills.
But the fact of the matter is painted pavement and PVC bollards are not nearly as ‘effective‘ as a simple protected bike lane. What they are however is cheaper. But the lanes are the easy part of the solution. The difficulty is all about the intersections.
The Critical Mass Ride is their outward expression of what they envision for the rest of society.
And Now It Becomes Obvious To Even Cyclists That Things Are Out Of Hand
The account of Critical Mass Practices is written by those who actually believe in the Urban Cycling Movement. These are the words of Bolsheviks who think it is funny to tie up traffic. For them they are striking a blow against the worst the Capitalism has to offer.
A short while ago one of the blogs in Chicago tried to make the case that bicyclists paid for road just as much as did drivers. And yet the reality is that these Bolsheviks want the class of drivers to have an increase applied to their fuel purchase in order to pay for Mass Transit and the infrastructure that supports it. I guess at the end of the day not even Pravda could have believably made the claim that it was anyone other than drivers who were really paying the freight.
What is most painful however is to read of life long bicycle commuters who are suddenly realizing that things are chaotic on the MUPs and streets of the city. No one should have to suddenly give up riding the Chicago Lakefront Trail simply because newbies are unaware of proper trail etiquette when passing or overtaking others. And yet because the Bolsheviks are staunchly against licensing and training there is no chance that we will have a dissemination of Best Practices to the general population anytime soon.
And this goes to the heart of the problem with the Critical Mass Ride. It has become the only measure of on street and on trail behavioral methods for many cyclists. They are unaware of how to control their bikes well enough to avoid slamming into other cyclists waiting at red lights. In fact I am pretty certain that these Bolsheviks think it highly laudable that things like red lights not be obeyed in the first instance.
The Old Guard in the Urban Cycling Movement before it lost complete control of the situation is now reduced to having grade school students tell the message that they can no longer convey.
Do Yourself A Favor
Read. Dig around in your favorite set of forums and see if what I am saying is not true. This is a movement that has gotten out of control and has ‘poisoned the well‘. They need to be stopped.