Friday, April 4, 2014

Betray Fain

This blog expands upon topics in book, to which is appended hundreds of blog entries no longer hosted on-line. If you don’t believe in bicycling culture after 1500 pages, you’re either hostile or misinformed. Willing to grant that automotive culture exists, modeled directly on preexisting bicycling. Even lament collision fatality of Paul Walker who starred in those car adoring, death defying, mayhem manifesting Fast&Furious flicks. Ironically tragic. Modernity kills to assert itself. What of the hundreds of souls on Malaysian 777 gone missing? Challenger and Columbia shuttle disasters? What is society doing to analyze risks and prepare for inevitable failures? They would fain sacrifice you, who they value least, than proceed proactively.

On Amazon you’ll find hundreds of bicycling books… now. A small fraction were around in the ‘90’s when Bike&Chain was written. Internet has been inundated with anti/pro commentary. Yet B&C remains relatively unknown despite a decade of circulation. Does pro-bike literature enhance bike sales? Record spikes occurred every 5 years since 1985, then dipped slightly. This tracks an average bike’s duty cycle. Seems to indicate a stable ridership replacing worn out units at predictable intervals. World production of bikes hasn’t equalled cars since 1965, rather has grown to more than triple in 1985 and at least double thereafter. Estimates suggests there are a billon of each present worldwide.

Still dissatisfied, bike retailers ask what can be done to boost sales, but won’t find simple answers because culture, habits, infrastructure, government, limitations, and vested interests conspire against. Blogs and books may not convince, but economy and example do gets others off their duffs. Naysayers spread pedaling paralysis. Gollum of Tolkien’s Middle Earth, Mordred of Authurian legends, peddler Padan Fain of Jordan’s graphic novel Wheel of Time, and those so seduced by fear and greed betray friends and themselves. How can cyclists feel so lonesome surrounded by a billion others?

Strangers don't want to help or know you. When you try to hook up by saying email addresses or twitter handles, results can be lame. You have to repeat 3 times using military call letters (alpha, bravo, charlie...), but how is that different from phone numbers? Later they can't read hurried scribble, lose your business card, or recall you only as easily forgettable. Every attempt to ease access to you spurs a further disconnect. Barriers were erected both to consolidate wealth and keep out rabble, stalkers and thieves. But hope springs eternal that enough cyclists will crank outdoors to make motorists realize they have to respect others, speed less, and take care.

Living at an intersection on a street that doesn’t cut through with SLOW CHILDREN and STOP signs, watch dozens of cars and trucks race through every day. Hasn’t changed in 3 decades. Cops could fill their monthly ticket quotas right here in a few hours. Where can kids learn to ride? Not going to encourage them without controlling scofflaws. Despite federal and state initiatives made law 15 years ago, officials lack the will to prevent harm. This rant will rage until carnage retreats, velorution retakes streets, or when Labann retires, whichever comes first. Neither a negative nor positive note appears to affect anything.

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