... for the day. A quote taken from the latest read, "Consumed - How markets corrupt chlidren, infantilize adults, and swallow citizens whole" by Benjamin R. Barber. "...play without spontaneity, acquisition without purpose, certainty without doubt, life without responsibility, and narcissism into old age and unto death without a hint of wisdom or humility. In the epoch in which we now live, civilization is not an ideal or an aspiration, it is a video game."
That was the response I got at the local precinct. I planned to post about a trip to Rye NH.,but yesterday's commute home provided a couple detours. The irony was starting my morning playing catch up on the favorite blogs since I've been computer free for a week. The last blog was stuck in my head as I pedaled to work, 'the friendly cyclist'. One who waves to drivers, has conversations while waiting at lights, smiling at pedestrians...... 'yeah', I thought to myself, 'I'm a friendly cyclist'. I'm not riding to stand on a pedestal, I FULLY understand the car culture that is woven into America's daily life. I've been an active participant for years, I CAN talk the car talk, I'ld like to think now though that I'm a little more ENLIGHTENED. I ride because it's fun. It's my form of protest to oil speculators and companies profiting excessively and controlling the government. And I ride to be seen by others so they may feel encouraged to ride, and MAYBE, EVENTUALLY, the streets will be safer for my kids so they can enjoy riding bikes. And it's a relaxing way home after a stressful day, or so I thought as I left work.
Half way home, hugging the shoulder during rush hour, I pass the ghost bike. The one that inspired me to get involved in bicycle advocacy, after a friend was intentionally run down. Listening to the traffic behind me, "Whhhhaaaap!". I get hit in the helmet by a cup thrown from a passing cargo van. It can't be! ARE YOU SERIOUS? I see three punks turned around laughing at me as they drive on. And of course it's uphill. At the top of the hill I see them stopped at the light. I race towards them. 'What to do?'. At 6'2" and 230 lbs I can actually approach ALMOST ANYONE I want, but rarely am put into the position where I have to. I roll up to the back of the van just as the light turns green, so my only opportunity is to give them the finger and yell a few thoughts. They simply speed off laughing. I got the plate number and noted the street they turned down, and continued on my way. Now throwing things intentionally at people out of a car window HAS to be illegal. Right? So as I see the precinct, I pull in and lock up.
"Can I help you?" Yeah, someone hit me in the head with a cup as they passed me. "Well, I don't think we can really do anything." I have the plate number and can give a description. "We don't know if it's a vehicle from this city." Yeah, well it has our state plates on it! Can't you look it up? "It's not really worth our time" OK, so it's not illegal to throw things out the window at people? "Well, you're not really hurt...." So if I'm bleeding, or have a bruise, then it's assault? "Yes, then we'll investigate, but you......" Only have bruised pride? "well, ....yes." So if I catch them at the light and pull them from the car? "well, then YOU would have the problem." OK, and if I find the van around here on my own and decide to..... "don't tell me, because I don't want to know!" So the next time it happens I should just pull up along side of them... AND SAY THANK YOU!? "Call us if you are injured, sir."
AWESOME! So on the way home I picked up something everyone should own. Valve stem core remover. Four for $1.99. A valve stem replacement is less then a dollar. So I won't be slashing some white Ford E-150 van's tires. Just removing $2 worth of valve stems. Maybe I should check with the police if you can be cited for vandalism if the damage is under $2? Hopefully it'll just fall under the 'it's not worth our time' catagory. It's funny how BIG people get when they're behind the wheel. We're all someone's child, brother, sister, parent, neighbor, co-worker. Until the views of society change and laws are written and enforced, cyclists will continue to be a marginalized second class citizen.
to me as you buzzed me while in a bike lane! come on, it's in the morning, no one's out on the road, and i haven't had enough coffee for this. Riding down the middle of a five foot wide bike lane and you feel the mirror race past your elbow, I'm already battling the endless headwind, and all I can do is mutter 'asshole' as i watch the tires ride the white dividing line. In the distance I can see the right turn, same one I take, but probably getting on the highway. A couple minutes later I round the corner to work. And there it is! If they're here this early, they must be stopping in for a minute, so I wait, and start planning what to say. You never get THAT chance! And I wait, I guess I WON"T get that chance to confront an asshole driver outside of thier 'saftey zone' of 4,000 lbs. All I can do is leave a note, that I waited for them. And I'll be watching for THAT car again. Nine hours later, as I leave, the note is still flapping in the breeze.
After fighting for a lane and continually dealing with aggressive drivers, someone turned me on to a slow route to work through the neighborhoods. I started carrying my camera because the drivers there are just as bad, but ALOT slower. Kind of like dealing with really drunk freshmen, you can see them coming from across the bar, and already have your witty insult or defensive move planned. But this? You can never be prepared for the "coming up behind you, but I'm not even on the road!". Well, fate decided I needed to spend another 2 minutes getting a water bottle. Otherwise, I'ld be sprawled out across the picnic table. To add insult, she probably wouldn't even get a ticket if there was a bike under that car...
Stoked 3. March 2011
Injustice for All. UAG, March 2011
Dead Presidents Lounge. January 2011
Last Call. Marketplace Gallery, December 2010
Send2 Show. UAG, November 2010
The Wine Bar & Bistro. November 2010
Dead Presidents Lounge. November 2010
Townsend Cafe. October 2010
unDead. UAG, October 2010
Townsend Cafe. September 2010
Members Only. UAG, August 2010
Danger!. UAG, July 2010
People's Choice. UAG, June 2010
Marketplace Gallery Fundraiser. May 2010
The Yellow Show. UAG, May 2010
ConTEXT. UAG, April 2010
Rosen Gallery. April 2010
SLICK. UAG, March 2010
Infinity & Beyond. UAG, Febuary 2010
ARTributes. UAG, January 2010
Small Works. UAG, December 2009
Art for Animals. Spencertown Academy, November 2009
Fresh Produce. UAG, November 2009
Myth Conceptions. UAG, October 2009
Tag! UAG, September 2009
Utopia. UAG, August 2009
Off the Wall. UAG, July 2009
People's Choice. UAG, June 2009
Vacant Artist Project. TNO, May 2009
Grand Tour. UAG, May 2009
Loose Threads. UAG, April 2009
Issues. UAG, March 2009
The Blue Show. UAG, Febuary 2009
New Beginnings. UAG, January 2009
Stokes Gallery Show, December 2008
50/50. UAG, December 2008
Futura. UAG, November 2008
Buried City. UAG, October 2008
Dream Wheels. UAG, May 2008
Dirt Rag/Rays MTB Park
-photo contest finalist
I sold my car. I ride my bike where
I need to go. I take pictures. I say dumb things when I manage to get one of my big feet out of my mouth. I'm
about 3 cases of beer shy of entering in the clydesdale class. Technology
challenged, a retro-grouch. Bad luck
follows me everywhere. Don't ride close, you might flat after me.
libertyonbikes (at) aol.com
This next year?
I swear I'll:
A. drop some weight
B. make a few more races
C. offend another ten percent
D. keep putting my feet in my mouth.
E. find a jersey that fits properly