A House Divided…

Background Reading

Summary

Chris Kegel

Chris Kegel

From the Desk of Chris Kegel

Life-long cycling advocate, President of Wheel & Sprocket

Spreading my passion and knowledge for cycling has been my life’s work. Next week, our state is moving to remove legislation that could have drastic negative consequences. Today, I want to take a moment to ask anyone who cares about cycling in the state of Wisconsin to  consider the following:

First Issue: Bike Partisanship

Many issues divide our country, but biking should not be one of them.

I am often asked where my political alliances lie. My response is simple: I am bike-partisan.

Bikes are good. Whether you are young or old, rich or poor, bikes are good for your health and good for our environment. Liberals and conservatives alike can enjoy riding bikes. Your political background has no affect on your ability to love bikes, and it does not make sense to turn this into an issue that divides us.

Even if you do not like riding bikes, bikes are still good to you. More people riding bikes eases traffic and reduces noise and air pollution. More bike infrastructure in your hometown increases property values and encourages more young professionals to stay in your city.

Bikes are good for the economy. In Wisconsin alone, bicycling is a 1.5 billion dollar industry and supports 14,000+ jobs, including 100+ full time Wheel & Sprocket employees.

Bikes are good for your community. Installation of bicycle infrastructure has a positive return on investment. In fact, I have seen it here in my local community. Ozaukee County has invested in 30 miles of paved bike trail that connects Mequon, Thiensville, Cedarburg, Grafton, and Belgium together to form the Interurban Trail. To this day, city leaders tell me this is the best investment they have ever made with tax-payer money.

It does not make sense for cycling facilities and investments to become political. These additions benefit all members of society, and they are smart investments for our future.

Everyone should be bike partisan.


TakeAways

Many issues divide our country, but biking should not be one of them.

First off go and read the entire letter from Chris. He is a man of integrity and honor and I consider him a friend. And like him I believe that Cycling should not be a source of division in our country. But it is. And I believe that being a ‘bike-partisan‘ person is becoming more difficult with each passing day.

There is a problem that is not going addressed within the Urban Cycling Community that should not be allowed to fester. That problem is the linking of political and governmental approaches with the pure and wonderful act of bicycling.

We are being asked to adopt an approach to cycling that mirrors that in other countries where Socialism is the norm. And while many of the defenders of the approach that the Urban Cycling Community is taking are aware of this trend and even support it they are wary of openly acknowledging their agenda. They should come clean and like Bernie Saunders be ‘plain spoken‘.

I think Americans can and will be open to debating the kinds of changes that many Urban Cycling Movement members are aiming for. Trying to sidle up to the debate is a bit disingenuous.

But even more to the point is the fact that those of us who like ‘love cycling‘ are going to have to ‘take a stand‘ at some point and realize that the activity we love is in fact under assault as something other than just a fun and healthful activity. It has become a pseudo-wedge issue.

What is silly however is that we are often not even aware of this. We are blithely pedaling along on our bicycles and wonderful what all the fuss is about. Well let me put some context on the problem.

Suppose you were pedaling along on your high-wheeler a century and a half ago and someone stuck a pen in your face and asked whether you thought that your state should be ‘Slave or Free‘. And not wanting to feed the growing tensions in the country you decided to be as diplomatic as possible.

Your response was to deflect actually answering the question with a simple ‘slave‘ or ‘free‘ and instead said something along the lines of:

‘I am for improving the working conditions of the Slaves to the point that they get three good meals a day, can send their kids to a plantation school, and are given a nice warm stove in their sleeping quarters.’

Anyone reading your response in the paper the next day would probably whether they were on the ‘slave‘ or ‘free‘ side think to themselves that they too wanted the same things.

Except the fundamental problem with this sort of ‘bi-partisanship‘ is that it ignores the fundamental issue of Slavery itself. Black folks have known for the entirety of their stay here in the Colonies that when it comes to ‘plain speaking‘ not many of their captors understand the problems associated with trying to by-pass the harder questions.

No matter how great your circumstances as a Slave you are still a slave. You are a piece of property and that means that you, your spouse and any of your children that the Master chooses to sell can be sold.

And yet that great statesman Thomas Jefferson had the audacity to write the following:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

In the ‘Real World‘ there is no place for ‘bi-partisanship‘ if your only two choices are Slave and Free.

Our Choices Today

Those in the Urban Cycling Movement are really members of a religion that is a harsh and unyielding as anything help forth by the Tea Party. They would like to have it be the case that your mode of transportation not be a personal choice but be dictated by the State.

They would love to practice on a street-by-street level an eradication of automobiles as they see fit. And they openly declare that what exists in Amsterdam and Copenhagen should be the model. And of course like the good ‘bi-partisan‘ they offer up