It’s a story that until I saw this doco last night I had only ever heard from tour guides in Rome, with their inimitable talent for making everything dreary. Never mind the history being contested. This is a good yarn, with a moral for us cyclists as well.
Rome’s ruling class, the Patricians, were ripping off the Plebs—as a ruling class will—but then the Plebs (or Plebeians for long) threatened to leave the city entirely and start up another city elsewhere. Profiting as they were from the Plebs’ labour, the Patricians came up with some new rules to give the Plebs rights and keep everyone happy. Thus was formed the Senate and the People of Rome (Senātus Populusque Rōmānus, or SPQR), that went on to big things.
So next time a tour guide in Rome-ah, makes you stop by a grate-ah, and gives you this story, relax-ah! All it is is a story about a big strike-ah. Like the strike I propose for the world’s cyclists. Can you imagine the global mayhem if every bike commuter in every rich country stopped work on the same day, and threatened to do it again until all the world’s governments passed laws guaranteeing a quarter of all transport related budgets be given to the creation of bike infrastructure? A 25% modal share seems fair, in any nation. So 25% of all transport budgets seems fair as well.
There aren’t many life-and-death causes facing the developed world any more. But this, surely, is one. All we need now are some rabble rousers to get this happening in a coordinated and global fashion. For a title, I suggest something that will keep them all guessing, like SAR (Senātus Ascensores Rōmānus). My apologies to Wall Street, etc..