Saturday, November 3, 2012

Trek Profane

In Bob Mionske's article in Bicycling Magazine, innocent cyclists get tazed, unjustly accused by a road/roid raging constable, then vindicated in court after an unnecessary ordeal.

First off, incident occurred in political swing state Ohio, where absurd, even unholy events can happen, do, and dopes like Double-You get reelected. That's almost enough to explain it all. But Mionske forgets to mention prima facie evidence: You don't need a license to ride a bike, thus traffic codes never apply. Sure, you ought to be courteous always, but rude isn't yet illegal. According to the United States Constitution, nobody can technically restrict your right to self propel along any public thoroughfare. Yet they routinely do so on highways and interstates, ostensibly for safety's sake. Often there's no way across rivers except for highway bridges; how are you supposed to ride or walk to your destination? Cyclists forfeit convenience and time so motorists can speed along; any notion they ever impede traffic ludicrously opposes logic. Poor road design impedes all users alike. If you can't drive faster, it's your DOT's fault or God's will.

The Patriot Act allows officers to detain and question anyone, but surely sanity behooves them to target trucks and vans within which criminals and terrorists can hide contraband and loot, rather than cyclists, who anyone with the least intelligence can assess as innocuous at a glance and dismiss forthwith. In practice, enforcers instead take the easy route. Why not arrest some unthreatening crank for no reason, rather than pull over an armed driver in a huge tractor and search its 45 foot trailer for dangerous cargo after getting a judge to sign a warrant? Laws favor criminals and foster victims. In a complex world, control freaks want to revert to medieval standards of morality and obligations for everyone but themselves. Such tactics turn back the calendar on hard earned freedoms. Who says time travel is impossible?

English psychedelic rock band Hawkwind had a minor hit in 1972 with "Sliver Machine". Lyrics by Brock/Calvert were inspired by an Alfred Jarry (1873-1907) 'pataphorical essay "How To Construct a Time Machine", a device which resembled a bicycle frame of antimagnetic ebony brazed with copper. Song instead referred to own new silver colored steel racing bike.

This planet's 1 billion bikes are ubiquitous space-time machines, traits they share with pop tunes, but do they become invisible to relentless duration when riders freeze in a track stand or twirl around a velodrome? Temporal means both profane and timely. Trek might connote an odyssey or pilgrimage. Bicycling feels visceral and worldly yet often effects attitudes profoundly and spiritually. Bikes have gyroscopic elements, obviously extend lives and time in which trips occur, and thus warp reality in subtle ways as does electromagnetism, friction and gravity, each of which you'll directly experience on every ride. Cycling is sensual, motoring obscene. For short spells cyclists find themselves in innocent times, while motorists repeatedly seek to violate manmade and natural laws with impunity.

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