Thursday, October 8, 2009

An Illuminated Travesty

I write to you today with a heavy heart.  A great injustice has been heaped upon Columbia, Missouri by the hands of the cycling community.

Did someone get right hooked? No.

Was it another case of Spandex Rage? Not this time.

Was someone caught in a lewd and lascivious act with a bicycle?  Not even close.

While the entire COMO CYCO staff was blissfully rocking the night away at the Blue Note to the Decemberists last evening, a tempest was in fact, battering upon the mainframe of the Columbia Daily Tribune over what can be described as nothing short of a travesty.  The Tribune, it seems, released a story yesterday regarding some apparently inequitable practices by our very own Columbia police that occured just last week that may drive a schism between motorists and cyclists that no bridge will ever be able to span.

What was this injustice reported by the Tribune that had prompted 56 readers (at the time of this release) to respond to the article?  It came in two acts:

Act 1: The Police were issuing warnings to cyclists riding in the evening without lights on their bikes.
Act 2: Volunteers from the PedNet Coalition then issued the cyclists a free light with installation.

Yes, I know.  It's hard to believe.  The Columbia police and The PedNet coalition in support of the Columbia Bike Club were caught working together in handing out free lights to those cyclists riding without them in a shameless attempt to improve cyclist education and advocate safety.  How low will this community stoop?  I ask you.

And the readers have responded:

"Tammy" says:  "I just have to ask if my taxes are again helping out 1 specific group of people that in my opinion can buy their own damn light for their bike...."

That is correct Tammy.  Even though the lights were supposedly provided by volunteer organizations that cyclists support monetarily, I'm guessing that 100% your tax-payer dollars are specifically funnelled into the financing of handlebar acoutrements for speciality groups.  Sorry to break it to you.  By the way, cyclists have to pay no taxes at all.  Didn't know if you knew that.

"Puck" says: "Sounds cozy, nice and special" (referring to the comment, "since Monday, PedNet volunteers have been riding with Columbia police during regular evening shifts.")  Then goes on to say, "Police officers giving out presents to law breakers.  When does an Automobile Association of America volunteer get to ride with CPD and give out big foam fingers to us motoring sports fans to wave at our bicycle comprades?"

I'm with you on the "cozy and special" sentiments, Puck.  I hate it when cyclists get all "cozy and special".  But regarding the 'big foam finger' pointing comment....that one may not be safe.  Remember what happend to Thor Hushovd in the bunch sprint at the end of Stage 11 of the 2006 Tour de France? 

Thor hit one of those big foam PMU finger thingies going about 45 miles an hour and it sliced up his arm really....oh wait a minute, Puck - I get it now.  Cheeky monkey - you!  Yeah - that'll show those cyclists with their blinky new free lights.  Mwuaaaa ha ha ha!

That crazy Puck continues:

He refers to bicycling and walking as "two inconvenient, impractical and seasonal modes of exertion." And then suggests an alternative way to spend the Federal grant money COMO recently secured for cycling advocacy.  "Now if 25 million were given to Columbia for health programs which included...a bit of Richard Simmons / Jane Fonda workouts....I'd be much more in accord that addressing obesity is properly being funded."

Son-of-a-gun!  I think he's on to something!  Mayor Hindman - how much would it cost to get Richard Simmons to COMO to skinny us all up?  Screw this cycling and walking shit!

Pedal on!
P.S.  Would someone please get MinionJoe a freaking light already?


  1. I'm pleased to announce that after the posting of this article, someone has offered to send me a free bicycle light!

    They wouldn't give me their name, but if I give them my home address and wire a small good-faith fee to Zimbabwe, they'll mail me the light!

    Or maybe I should just wait and see if PedNet ever replies to my e-mail...

    Then again, it's getting darker earlier every night...

  2. Reading the Tribune comments gives me the same exact feeling that I get when someone screams "Get off the fucking road!" at me.

    I get that enough without going out of my way to look for it.

    I will say that I don't think I get so much of that anymore. This is not a quantified observation so either 1) it's all in my head, 2) my habits have changed so I'm not on the same roads at the same time as most of the road ragers or 3) the GetAbout education programs are really starting to make a difference.

    I have also noticed more cyclists using turn signals, taking the lane to make left turns, and even stopping at stop signs. Again that is not a quantified observation. And again perhaps for similar reasons as above.

  3. Minion Joe could walk in to the PedNet office and get a set of lights if they still have some. I'd be glad to buy him a set just to shut him up.

    I thought things were improving in Columbia but after being assaulted by a motorist a few weeks ago I have a hard time thinking so now.

  4. MinionJoe: congrats on your soon to be arriving new lights. Shine on you crazy diamond.

    Melalvai: I hope you are right.

    Mupedalpusher: Did you get his plate number? Let me know if you want to form a posse and get medieval...

    Thanks all for your comments and for continuing to ride in spite of some ugly personalities....don't stop.

  5. Insane that people think that they should suddenly be entitled to a FREE light for their bicycles. Who rides around at night without a light anyway? My commuter has a generator which powers my head and tail lights as well as a couple of battery powered blinkies, not to mention lots of reflectors and reflective tape. I'm fond of motorists being able to SEE me at night, since I'm not all that fond of dying.

  6. PooBah...I did not get plates, just a description and that wasn't even really good. I'm sure you'll be surprised to hear that the chicken-shits hit me and took off fast!
    You read about it here:

  7. Pedal Pusher: I read your post on your blog. Thanks so much for sharing and for your honesty. It is incredibly scary...I've been the recipient of similar treatment myself. I left you a response there...Keep spinning.

  8. Thanks PooBah, I am back on the bike, I love riding too much to let these idiots stop me. Thanks for you well wishes and comments.

  9. PedNet answered my e-mail to say that both they and GetAbout are currently out of lights. Seems like a bad time of the year to be out of lights, since it's getting dark so early these days.

    But Tribune poster circle88 had an extra kit from a previous GetAbout event and gave it to me last Friday. It even came with batteries!

  10. Thanks fot this post, very nice :)