The Third Variety

The title of this article is a twist on one of favorite stories.

Long time readers know that the purpose of this blog is to discuss feelings–mine and others–regarding cycling.

Not the physics, gear ratio, nor the law, but rather the feeling one gets when commuter cycling and around the concept.

My latest quest is to generate more empathy on both sides of the windshield.

Last week, I did what I used to fear doing which was to look into the notion of the “elite cyclist”. To summarize, when a motorist says “elite” they mean one of two things.

They usually mean VC cyclist, though they know not what it is. Or they mean someone who is “taking the lane” because there are no other facilities. The later category is not creaming his (yes HIS) pants over mixing with traffic, but rather pretty scared, and if they are aware of history, a bit pissed.

I used to think that “elite” meant the whole notion of well educated, coastal, white people who actually cared for economic justice for the rest of the country. The term “elite” was used to get those people who would benefit the most from economic justice, but were duped by pointless “lifestyle” debates.

I think that this is a mixup.

Anyway, my next stage in getting closer to the windshield (metaphorically) is to realize that there is little known on the driver side of the door about the history VC cycling and infrastructure planning.

I feel that we need to make this more widely known.

This is because the world I have been living in is too much of bubble with the same stuff getting repeated. I’d like to hear some input.

Too often motorists are blamed for poor infrastructure decisions. But are the motorists ever given a chance to discuss this? Perhaps we should listen more to what motorists have to say. Perhaps there should be more back and forth.

I mean to say, instead of VC idiots and brilliant infrastructure planners arguing, we should include motorists.

Too often infrastructurists are accused of being anti-motorist. To the contrary, I want to invite the motorist to the party.

For a motorist to get started in their quest for understanding of the “elites” I suggest that they look into these informative sites:

“Ninth Avenue cycle track in New York City. Photo: Beyond DC

Despite the constant controversy surrounding Forester, one organization that wholeheartedly embraced his ideas was the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. AASHTO’s influential design guide, which serves as the blueprint for most of the nation’s bike infrastructure, echoes many of his arguments about bicycle infrastructure.

The guide, last updated in 1999, recommends strongly against putting separated bike paths near roads for safety reasons, though it doesn’t mention cycle tracks explicitly. And it leaves out many of the more innovative and promising types of infrastructure — such as buffered contraflow lanes — entirely.”

So if you are a motorist and are pissed and confused at why are there bikes on the road, here’s the start of your answer.

It would be unfair to not allow the great man to respresent himself, so I linked to the place where he keeps his big pile of rope.

He is a kind, affable guy who loves to discuss his reasoning on emails. He recently got a mixte in response to criticism that like the Pope, he wants to make the rules for a game he doesn’t play.

Still, he spent most of his life as a motorist, and he thinks it’s best to create policies that dicourage “incompetent cycling” altogether. Thus, he’d love some emails or phone calls from motorists who think it’s just dandy that they have to swerve to avoid the weekend Lances who are riding 15 MPH in the center of a 55 MPH lane.

Furthermore, like cripples and cretins, the whole VC term has gotten such a bad rap that like a snake shedding its skin, the VC movement is now calling itself savvy

That’s like me calling my riding style “Unparalleled”. Hey, I think I’ll trademark that. 🙂

So I’d like to say to the motorists out there–especially those of you with lots of bile, but not lives–welcome to the discussion. We’d love to be hearing on how much you love the VC, erm, Savvy movement. 🙂

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