A dearth of open minded debate

Since I first launched the world non-critical mass ride movement, on July 2011, life hasn't been easy. Suspicious packages. Being hog-tied and thrown into car boots. (Go ahead, dismiss my claims if you will!)  But I tell myself no amount of boring objections mailed to to my gmail account, even slightly diminishes, an interesting scheme. In case you just joined me, I have argued critical mass rides will be more effective, if they take to the footpath, instead of the road. Waving our bodies at cars wins us temporary satisfaction when we hold up some traffic, and a moral victory every time a cyclist is killed by a car. And those are meant to be dividends?! When I made my case for non-critical mass rides, I drew on a principle of game theory, that in strategic engagements one should always use what are called "dominant strategies". Entering battles in which you and your opponent both know that you could be killed, and that they, at worst, might be inconvenienced… ah, game theory, says that is retarded. If we ride on footpaths, however, our new opponents (pedestrians) stand to lose just as we do. There is scope in that scenario, for a victory. Perhaps they'll give us bike lanes, so we go away? Machiavelli had a head for this shit: better to be feared than loved, was his famous refrain.

Lest any of you actually feared drivers would stop loving cyclists, all due to me, the video below should assuage your concerns: as with all my suggestions, nobody took any notice. We've actually witnessed a 25% drop in the roll-up, from 4 last month, now to just 3.

You can see I don't care a brass razoo about the non-critical mass ride movement—or that you all stood me up:(  What does concern me, is the simplistic level of discussion about any issue pertaining to cycling. Discourse in the field is mostly just cheerleading. Ra ra, another new bike path. Boo hiss, an inconsiderate road sign. It is a indictment on all bicycling advocates, that none can hold a candle to the wit and curve balls thrown at us by a part-time opponent, like P. J. O'Rourke. So go ahead and boo hiss me. Tell me P. J. O'Rourke got his facts wrong, or that I have some fact wrong. But you see, that is just cheerleading. And as history unfolds, cheerleading is proving to be getting us nowhere.

4 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Small World

    Hello Dr Behooving, I am an avid reader of cycling blogs from around the world (I possibly spend more time reading than riding) and I found your blog via Copenhagenize.com. I was curious to have a look over your blog as I am a relative local, living in Singleton NSW. I have been gradually ramping up my bicycle commuting over the last few years, more recently on my Surly Big Dummy cargo bike. On my 45k round trip I very rarely see any other cyclists and most of the vehicular traffic on route is related to the big coal mines I pass. I can’t help but laugh at how ridiculous I look in this context. It is interesting anyway, and once I get past the mines and the sun has come up a little I do ride through some nice countryside.

    I first read the P.J. O’Rourke article that you reference on the blog BikeSnobNYC. The writer of that blog, Eban Weiss was a little perturbed when The Wall Street Journal published the P.J. O’Rourke article because it was chosen over an article that Weiss had submitted. I’m guessing you may have already come across BikeSnobNYC, and may or may not enjoy his brand of humour, but just in case it is of interest, here is Weiss’s version of TWSJ article for your perusal. In my opinion, Weiss’s article is as witty as the O’Rourke article and is superior in that it is communicates a reasoned argument based on real knowledge of the subject matter, rather than just play on lazy, broad brushstroke stereotypes.

    I’m no academic and I can’t be bothered trying to articulate it exactly, but I think that Weiss is a great advocate of cycling, despite the fact that he uses humour to rip off cycling advocacy among other things. For instance, I’d always assumed that Critical Mass rides must be a generally positive thing and was surprised to read his take on it.

    Anyway, I’ll check back in from time to time.

  2. Anonymous says:

    on being hog-tied and thrown into car boots

    So this was you then? http://www.theherald.com.au/news/local/news/general/mystery-surrounds-woman-in-boot/2272773.aspx, I guess it’s understandable that a cyclists legs would get mistaken for womens.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Are you thinking of doing a September one, notwithstanding? I think I could make it to one then.

    • Steven says:

      Hi Vicky, yes. Since last week, a dozen people have told me they either tried to call, or showed up and missed me. We need a system! We’ll have to do what others do, and that is, show up at 6, make hanging out for half an hour part of the event, then choof off at 6.30. I’ll spread the word.

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