Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cardiac Deficit Disorder

A couple of weeks ago the Columbia Tribune reported that results from infrastructural changes to our city completed with a $22 million federal grant intended to promote bicycling have been a "mixed bag" which provoked quite a lively response from readers.  This claim was based on the fact that one particular day in mid-September 2008, the number of cyclists that went through the Forum/Stadium intersection during a two-hour period was 50% less that the number that went through the same intersection on the same day in 2009.  This appears to be the grand total of the negative findings by which the author of the story, Ms. Janese Heavin, wrote the story's byline stating "Fewer using site altered for bikes." 

Here's a picture of Ms. Heavin:

This is like hypothetically observing that on September 14th, 2008 from 2:00 PM until 4:00 PM, bars in Columbia sold less beer than between those same hours on September 14th, 2009, thus prompting a conclusion that beer consumption is on the decline in Columbia, which I seriously doubt.

But based on this assumption, one reader (by the name of 'FatDaddy') made the following observations in his response to the article:

"-The controversial legislation and general condescention proffered by the activist lobby has alientated more people than the campaign has encouraged."
"-Our carbon footprint is exactly where it was"
"The obese fraction of the population is exactly where it has been"
"There were no decreases in the diagnosis of cardiac deficit on a percapita basis"
"22 million dollars were, for the most part, wasted"

I would like to take a moment to respond to his assertations using the exact same logic that the original article was based on, i.e., a sample size of one.  I have not been alientated by the new bike-friendly legislation, and my personal carbon footprint has absolutely been lowered by my increase in commuting this year, my body weight is actually lower this year than it was last year, and I don't feel as though the 22 million was wasted.  So based on examining a sample population equivalent to what the aforementioned study used in their examination of a single intersection on a single day of the year,  I hereby statistically refute each of his claims.  The only claim of FatDaddy's I cannot refute is the so called decrease in this mysterious condition he refers to as 'cardiac deficit' which would mean in medical terms, the condition of possessing no heart at all.  In fact I have to agree with him - I think there are MORE heartless people in COMO this holiday season now than ever before.

My evidence?  We need not look any further than the comments posted in the end-of-the-week Trib Talk in response to this article and other articles regarding the traffic in Columbia.

TribTalk comment #1:

"I just read in the GetAbout Columbia report that bikes on the MKT trail have increased 400 percent - sure thing.  And half of these riders shoot by without warning, nearly knocking pedestrians - who were there first - off the trail.  Put that in your report, you self-congratulatory bike fanatics."

TribTalk comment #2:

"I read with interest the interest the GetAbout people are going to report to the federal governement the numbers of bike riders and pedestrians using the new trails through town.  That makes about as much sense as a bunch of prisoners and convicts reporting about how many members of prisoners are assaulted or smuggle in illegal drugs each month."

TribTalk comment #3:

"...if some fool maniac with a bat jumps on the hood of your car, double-tap to the cariovascular triangle and fight back until the threat is eliminated.  These are counterinsurgency response procedures in place across the world, and this guy is what the Second Amendment is all about.  God Bless America."

What with all of this talk of "double-tapping" people's triangles, and cyclists who ride the trail being "fanatical" and "self-congratulatory" and "cardiac deficits" on the rise, how can one not think that COMO is becoming a heartless place and begin to despair.  It was just when I was having such dark thoughts on my commute home last night that I saw this car parked in a parking lot which then warmed my gloomy heart.

Scrawled on the back of this car's rear window was the phrase "I HAVE THE BEST BFF EVER".  In consulting with the Urban Dictionary, I learned that 'BFF' is an acronym that seemingly stands for "Best Friend Forever".  But that wouldn't make sense with its use in the above sentence, reading "I HAVE THE BEST BEST FRIEND FOREVER EVER."  If the writer wanted to cannote the typical meaning of BFF, he or she would have simply written "I HAVE THE BFF", correct?  Anyway, he or she can't have the BFF ever, because Fast Freddie Rodriguez of Rock Racing actually has the BFF ever as seen in a photo taken at a publicity event to market the new official sports drink of Rock Racing: the R3 Power Elixir.

I wonder if Freddie is getting his triangle double-tapped here?

So clearly the car-graffiti artist must have been referencing a different 'BFF' acronym.  Methinks he/she was referring to the Bicycle Film Festival that is making its way around the world (currently in New Orleans, Houston and Washington DC) but somehow managed to miss Columbia completely.

How can Columbia not play host to the BFF?  We have the True/False film festival, the Citizen Jane Festival, the Third Goal Film Festival.  Plus we have the perfect venues for such an event in RagTag and the Missouri Theatre.  Talk about heartless!  Consider this my impassioned plea to all those above to bring the BFF to Columbia so that we cycling fanatics can become even more self-congratulatory, but perhaps in the process help grow the size of our hearts exponentially.

Pedal On!


  1. There is a thread on that has a bunch of people complaining about how the BFF ran the show. Worth reading!


    COMOPOLO member

  2. WOW - sounds like the BFF directors have also been stricken with a serious case of cardiac deficit disorder. Consider my impassioned plea for the offical BFF recalled. We could host our own unofficial BFF though with a portion of the profits going to COMO POLO, PedNet Coalition and other bicycle-related charities! I heard a documentary on COMO POLO is in the works? Can anyone comment?

  3. Actually, my story began with this:

    "It’s just too early to tell whether efforts to promote nonmotorized transportation in Columbia are working, advocates say. Early counts, though, show a mixed bag of results."

    The line you referenced about fewer using the altered site was actually a sub headline written by my editor.

    Just wanted to clarify.

    -- Janese Heavin

  4. I remember hearing a story about the supposed decreased use of the stadium-forum intersection on KBIA a while back. I too was confused about their conclusion that non-motorized transportation has decreased at that intersection. I'm not sure whether the professor who helped GetAbout is at fault for not knowing anything about statistics and how to gather data or whether GetAbout was just lazy and started making assumptions with a poor data sample. Either way, I appreciate you pointing this out, PooBah, since I too was puzzled.
    I'm not really sure why Janese at the Tribune was singled out, though, since GetAbout has been touting those numbers as gospel for weeks now.


  5. Well said Cody. Thanks for the input.