Willie, Adele and the ‘War On Cars’

James Corden and Adele

James and Adele are ‘hanging out‘ in his automobile (Range Rover?) doing a bit of ‘karaoke singing‘. At one point James asks Adele if her relative ‘happiness‘ might not inhibit her ability to write ‘smash hits‘. I wondered too about that sort of thing.

In fact over the weekend I ‘binge-watched‘ the awarding of the Library of Congress Gershwin Award to Willie Nelson. At one point there was an admission that most of the songs for which he will be remembered were written in a one week span. Wow!

Finding A Way of Maintaining Your Passion

My name appears on many a Democratic Donor list. I tend to support lots of causes with my checkbook. Some of those organizations I try to ‘rip a new one‘ every chance I get. Why? I guess for the same reason I have a hard time with guys like Mr. Combover. I actually hope he wins because I think his party deserves him. And I for one would find at least his first four years in office payback for the horrible treatment of President Barack Obama in his eight years in the office.

But let’s be honest. The emotions that keeps movements going are ‘two-fold‘. The first is to convince those who are would be donors and activists that the other side is ‘out to get you‘. Evangelical Christians (of which I am a member) are spurred on by the idea that somehow the current president is either a Muslim, Gay or at the very least a ‘threat to the way of life‘ of Biblical Christianity.

But lest you think only the Far Right and the GOP are guilty of this, think again. The Urban Cycling Movement has its ‘arms up to the elbows‘ soiled by the muck of self-pity. The Far Right has its ranchers who overtake protected lands out west and stage a protest intended to elicit an armed response on their part.

But there are people who like myself simply hate the hypocrisy that comes from wallowing in staged self-pity. We cyclists have a rather shallow trick that we play. We run over pedestrians in the crosswalks of America and then hold annual Rides of Silence in which we studiously avoid mentioning that some of those pedestrians we killed were also cyclists. In fact we go nowhere near the places where they died. It would appear that unless you die riding your bike while colliding with an automobile, your death is not valuable to our movement as a means of bringing in yet more donations and sympathetic feelings.

For Cyclists Hating Automobiles Is Nirvana

I have no idea what the GOP and the Tea Party are going to have to do to satisfy their orgy of self-pity and loathing once Barack Obama walks away from the thankless position he has held as the nation’s first Black President. They certainly won’t have any more ‘birther‘ moments unless of course Mr. Combover loses to the ‘Canadian birther‘ who has suddenly discovered that your American heritage descends through the womb of the woman who gave you life.

But sometimes we cyclists have to admit that we too are a bit more shallow than we wish to admit to being. Take for instance that video of Adele and James. You really cannot do karaoke quite as well on a bicycle as you can inside a plush 4WD SUV. Come on you really do have to admit that is the case.

The Truth Will Set You Free

Important Update:
We have made the decision to cancel the bike ride and stewardship portions of the event tomorrow due to a windchill advisory until 12pm tomorrow and dangerously frigid, cold temperatures throughout the day. Our first priority is keeping our extended community safe and our second priority is providing an enjoyable experience. We are confident we are all better served by rescheduling both the ride and the stewardship activity.

PLEASE NOTE: We are still hosting the event tomorrow, with a Meet & Greet at 9am and the Program at 10am at the National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum. We will drive together in a caravan over to Big Marsh for a brief visit to the park at 11am. Then, REI will provide lunch back at the Museum. While there, we will also enjoy a lively discussion about Slow Roll Chicago’s homage to Dr. King through our work to achieve mobility as a civil right, advance a policy priority around bike equity, and utilize bicycles as vehicles for social justice in Chicago.


Bravo to groups like Slow Roll Chicago who can admit that sometimes an automobile is the only good way to get around. The bitter cold here in Chicago prompted this change in plans for the celebration of the life of Martin Luther King. Some will say that what should have been done was to take Mass Transit down to the Pullman Porter Museum. But I am guessing that the next leg of the trip to the Big Marsh area would be difficult if not impossible while relying solely on Mass Transit.

So have we lost our souls for admitting that cars are the best answer in this instance? Not at all.

Making America Great Again

Mr. Combover‘ has appropriated this theme from ‘The Gipper‘. And he justified using it by pointing to the Iran Hostage Situation that followed the illness of the Shah.

America has been buffeted for most of its lifetime as a nation by threats to its ability to maintain an even keel with regards to social debates. Slavery was the social issue that got Evangelical Christians to willingly participate in the Abolitionist Movement. But when one issue gets resolved other causes flood in to keep the coffers of the activists groups full. And that is the way of the world.

Getting beyond this willful submission to fear and loathing is something that nobody seems to take seriously.

Rather than pull together we seem determined to pull apart.

The Urban Cycling Movement Has A Powerful Threat To Its Existence

That threat is technology. If cars are taught to drive themselves and become the darlings of safety this means that bike lanes are no longer as urgent an issue.

What is even being more hotly discussed is whether a fleet of autonomous vehicles could replace cabs, buses and even private cars. These are early days in that debate and only time will reveal to us what technology holds in terms of ‘safety‘ and ‘sustainability‘.

But clearly a world in which the vehicles are autonomous and electric-powered would leave a great deal of egg on the face of the hard-liners in the transportation wonk universe. What indeed do you do when cars no longer have to be parked because they are circulating between users on a nearly full-time basis.

And what indeed happens if a very small enclosed car-like vehicle replaces E-Bikes as a means of getting around? Have no doubt that something like this is in the pipeline. Progress is about as inevitable as the sunrise.

Where Will Our Replacements Come From?

In the midst of all the fundraising that I see going on (as countless groups send me requests for money) I keep wondering where all the ‘new recruits‘ will come from. My best guess is that the ‘driving community‘ is the source. School age kids are more likely than not to be seduced by the neat automobiles in our future.

But adults who are tired of sitting in traffic might find a bicycle a welcome respite. That of course means that BikeShare would be an ideal answer to their needs. But how do you attract folks from the driving world with this kind of rhetoric:

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 12.15.49 PM

It would seem that we have decided to adopt the rhetorical style of the ‘Mr. Combover‘ to help win over new converts:

But as I said before there is nothing particularly outrageous about the rhetoric that passes for activism these days. After hearing the blather day in and day out you get to the point where you sigh and hit delete to the stuff coming through your inbox.

So What Is Essential?

If you look inside the Urban Cycling Movement you will find it like every other movement chock full of inconsistencies. There are the ‘basic transportation‘ members who cannot abide cycling kits. They refer to those who wear such outfits as ‘Freds‘.

There is of course the group that hates what they consider ‘victim blaming‘. Anything that appears to be legislation that requires cyclists to:

  • Wear helmets
  • Wear reflective clothing
  • Use lights and flags

is twisted to imply that we are being asked to ‘clean up our act‘.

And of course there are those who simply refuse to use automobiles for transportation and rely instead on bikes and mass transit. What is problematic are the accusations against those who do use automobiles.

Chicago's Cycling Movement Issues A Leftist Manifesto

Chicago’s Cycling Movement Issues A Leftist Manifesto

My grandfather was born on the actual birthday (15 January) of MLK. I would like to think that his generation was wiser than ours. They had more important aspirations for themselves than accepting bike lanes from a corrupt political system which most values its ability to shoot violators with impunity.

Parking In The Bike Lane Do As We Say, Not As We Do

Parking In The Bike Lane
Do As We Say, Not As We Do

I believe that in their own way both these men have a bit higher purpose in life than calling our automobiles parked in the bike lane.

Call me crazy but I figure that if bicyclists, automobile drivers and mass transit users joined forces we would get more done as a society than any BikeShare station could possibly afford us.


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