July 22, 2003

Damned Kids, Get Offa My Lawn

Hans points us all to this illogical stockpot full of spurious assertion stew by, sadly, a conservative in Illinois. I know, I know, you say - is it possible for conservatives to argue illogically? Yes, sadly, it is.

Joyce Morrison is pissed. She's pissed that the highways of Illinois (HER highways, dammit) are sometimes populated with, gasp, CYCLISTS! Let's give her a moment in the sun, here, ladies and gentlemen, before we break down to a proper paragraph-level fisking.

    OPINION -- Beware of bicycles - they could be hazardous to your health.

    There are 55 bicycle trails in Illinois.

    In fact, within "bicycle distance" of where we live is the Chain of Rocks bridge. This bridge crosses the Mississippi River, which connects the Illinois bicycle trail beginning at Pere Marquette State Park near Grafton, Illinois, to the well-known Katy Trail in Missouri. The Chain of Rocks Bridge was recently renovated especially for pedestrians and bicycles and was paid for by we the taxpayers.

    With that wonderful recreational provision, why would 4,500 bikers (mainly from St. Louis) choose to make a 100 mile bike ride on roads already heavy with tourist traffic that are two lane, curvy, hilly roads under construction?
Okay. There's the argument. With all o' those trails, why are you on the roads? First, Trailnet sponsors road rides. You know, sponsor, with cars driving by periodically checking on the riders to ensure they are all right. Second, because roads are for bicycles, also. Third, what, silly, do you think all FIFTY-FIVE of those bicycle trails are accessible by every citizen of Illinois/Missouri at all times? Um, might I remind you that Illinois is a STATE. It is a state of 57,918 sq.mi. You do the math.

    That is what Derry Brownfield of the Common Sense Coalition would call "ignorance gone to seed."
Can we examine this? Ignorance means "lack of awareness." Ignorance: The condition of being uneducated, unaware, or uninformed. Joyce, silly, ignorance is YOURS. Claim it. Because you draw some pretty broad-stemming conclusions based on something you've OBVIOUSLY NOT DONE. (More soon...suspense.).

    Last Sunday on our way to church, we had the "privilege" of having our patience tested. We were behind one batch of these bikers going up a normally busy road with a steep winding hill, blind curves, no road shoulder. And these bikers were not about to budge out of the way. To top it off, the road was freshly milled in preparation for a new surface.

    To see these two wheelers peddling up the hill with rear ends stuck in the air in tight fitting britches is a humorous sight. But it wouldn’t have been funny to have seen one stretched out along the road with tire marks across him. These Sunday road warriors were literally risking their lives to prove they had the right.
Joyce, honey. Tight-fitting britches. That's a compound modifier. Please get it right; you're the professional writer. And, please allow me to explain. Those tight-fitting britches save a cyclist's skin from blistering/chafing - all of those unplesantries from extended periods of exercise. And, humorous? Strange, maybe. In a country where most people can't fit their fat asses INTO these "tight fitting britches" (sic), I bet it is funny. Joyce, you're making fun of what you do not know. How...six year-oldish.

    We were in our car. We had our seat belts on as required by the law - our insurance and license fees were paid. We had paid fuel tax when we purchased our gasoline. Now wouldn’t you think that would give us a bit of a priority?

    What was that biker’s investment that would give him the right to go down the middle of the highway? Bikers have no license, no vehicle insurance, no seat belts, no fuel tax. They are not making any contribution into the local economy in the way of tourism dollars. They had their own manned rest stops that furnished them with food and water, and they certainly can’t pack home much from the local shops on the back of their bikes or in those tight britches.
Waaaaaa! Fuel tax? I don't get it. Please explain. How is it again that bicycles and riders, weighing very little, tear up the road to the point that it requires maintenance? And, at least last week, fuel tax was for, um, FUEL? Forgive me, I promise this is as left-wing as I'll ever sound, but, really, people, logic. Joyce would have us believe that none of these cyclists pay fuel tax. Um, no.

And "they are not making any contribution into the local economy by way of tourism dollars." Okay, brace yourselves. On July 4th of this year, I had the pleasure of riding in and around Millstadt, IL. I was enraptured by the small town that reminded me much of the town in which I grew up - so much so that I plan to return and visit its Bed and Breakfast someday. People were home, largely because of the holiday, and many stopped to wave at our posse of four. Drivers honked and waved (oh, yes, without fingers extended). Our cycling group communicated, falling into single file at first sign (visual or aural) of a car. We visited the town store and purchased food and beverages.

So, Joyce, how is it that you KNOW all of these things - no contribution into the local economy. Obviously, you would not have proffered forth such a strong statement without, GASP, proof or firsthand knowledge.

    Maybe we should blame the route sponsor and not the bike rider for being guilty of this stupidity, but if these people cared about their lives, they should have just said "no - I won’t go on this unsafe route." Whatever spared someone from being run over - or these bicyclers causing a vehicle to have an accident - must have been God’s hand of protection, because it wasn’t their common sense.

    For a number of years bikers have made riding on our twisting, dangerous roads, putting themselves and others at risk, a common weekend occurrence in our area.
Okay, a route with construction - eek. I would not do that. So I'll yield you a point. Score one for Joyce. But you get a minus one for throwing God into the equation. Tsk. And, you know, if the roads are so dangerous, perhaps you should consider an alternate route. Just caution speaking.

    Bikers have the reputation of having an attitude of superiority and are not popular in rural communities. Many are very rude. They choose to take the middle of the highway as their right-of-way, disregarding local residents who are trying to get to their destinations... and they refuse to budge. They appear to be saying, "I just dare you." They readily ask for help when they have a problem but show little appreciation.
Haven't I addressed this "not popular in rural communities" theme? I think so. Maybe my tight-fitting britches make me cuter than you.

    They demand the government to provide and pay for their "entertainment and recreation." The government must provide parks, paths, scenic areas, fishing and boating opportunities, tourism, and all kinds of free outings. To accommodate these provisions, the property is many times taken from private property owners to make public areas. Then, these "recreational demanders" choose not to use those areas but to infiltrate areas not intended for their use.
Wow - there's a stretch, from cycling to FISHING. I knew we could get there. Come on, everyone, repeat after me. A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle. So THAT's what this is about. You know, Joyce. I didn't ask for the parks, but since they're there, and, as you have so aptly stated, and they're FREE, WHY NOT USE THEM? Oh, wait, I haven't demanded anything...what should I demand so Joyce can have another point?

    I don’t know about you, but our recreation and exercise is not paid for. For one thing, we have little time for recreation these days trying to earn enough to pay the taxes that pay for bike trails which bikers choose to avoid. Our exercise comes from our work.
Journalism...exercise. Uh, no. Minus one for Joyce. Oh, and if you're lacking for recreation, try working smarter and not harder. I know some great trails if you want to start an exercise program.

    Are these groups really into recreation and exercise, or are they being mentally trained for the Sustainable Communities where bicycles will be a way of life?
What the hell? I own a bike; therefore I'm a hippy? Amazing.

It goes in crazy directions from here. If I gave this to a fifth-grader and said, "find the main idea," I think the only possible response is, "wow, this woman hates bicycles and doesn't know much about them."

She concludes.

    Bicycles have been around for a long time and brought joy to many. If used responsibly, a bicycle is a wonderful source of exercise and recreation. But are we being prepared to be forced to use bicycles for our major mode of transportation? Could it be this activity is purposely being placed into an elitist status with no restrictions and licensing in an effort to lure people into this mental mode?

    If you are a biker, please ride responsibly on a trail that has been provided for your entertainment, and for your own safety and the safety of others, please keep off the highways.

Joyce. Shut your seed-cracking beak.


Posted by hln at July 22, 2003 09:59 PM | Cycling