Archive for the ‘Mind and Spirit’ Category

Create Your Own Reality Cycling

November 2, 2013

I think that sometimes cyclist spend so much time trying to promote cycling to motorists that they forget how to promote cyclists to themselves.

I wrote previously about how I’m turning my back on the victim/blame game paradigm, and I’m struggling to examine, experience, and hopefully eliminate the last vestiges of anger that I have.

Often anger is created when our expectations for other people are broken. Thus, one way out is to NOT have expectations.

This is my biggest break with the whole Savvy/VC style of riding. Since it’s full of expectations for both motorists and for cyclists, there are bound to be multiple times, daily when people break these expectations and thus this whole philosophy is a recipe for anger, depression, and will probably stop people from riding in many cases.

What is the way out?

Create you own reality.

By this, I don’t mean to embrace positive thinking, which is bunk, nor do I think that I’m entitled to my own facts.

However, I do think that there are many ways that I can keep myself happy in ways that both the VC and motoring paradigm denies me.

Why did I start cycling in the first place. Besides being cheap and easy in Philly, it also allowed me to escape the nightmare that defines many people’s lives, our land use, and even our foreign policy to an extent which is the morning commute.

To quote the band MGMT:

“What else is there to do?
Get jobs in offices,
and wake up to the morning commute?”

Note how commuting in and of itself is seen as a shitty thing.

But I _love_ my morning commute.

So all ready, I have created my own reality in terms of how I get around. Hate becomes love.

But cycling is so dangerous?

Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. Worrying about this nonsense is not the route to happiness.

But if we don’t wear helmets, obey the law, and constantly obsess over safety then you’ll die a swift and painful death.

Again, maybe so, maybe not. But I have been commuting for over a decade, and so far, things have only gotten better. Why is this?

I don’t know but “safety” has not been a big part of my life. Originally, I only got into safety to flip the script on stupid Vehicular Cyclists when I realized that they were LYING about safety.

Otherwise, I cycle for irrational reasons. If I rode a bicycle for excercise or to save the environment, I would have quit years ago.

Instead, I continue to enjoy my commute more and more everyday.

This is cycling is all about the experiences I have and the feelings that it gives me.

Thus, I would make no sense to be into cycling and just talk about death and bullying motorists.

The reason that many cycling bloggers don’t focus on their feelings about cycling is because it’s really difficult to convey in writing. Plus, our society has a bias for rational thinking over irrational thinking eventhough we make most of our decisions for irrational reasons. Also, it’s impossible to make any pure rational decision without being grounded in some irrational beliefs and values.

These beliefs and values are what make up my own reality.

One of my beliefs is that I would like to live my day to the fullest. This means re-living my childish fantasy of riding my bicycle twice a day instead of acting like an “adult” and wasting my time getting angry at traffic and cyclists.

This is one of the reasons that there is so much anger at cyclists from motorists. They live their adult lives in their adult world. They are good people who pay the road tax.

Then comes some asshole who spends less money, has a better body, and to add insult to injury, he’s happy. What an asshole.

Angry motorists are externally centered and they need to live in a world where everyone follows their own rules. Ditto for the Vechicular Cyclist. If we don’t then “something bad will happen.”

This unpredictable, vague, and future punishment is the only thing that motorists have in trying to force cyclists to get back in line: to get a car and to live a shitty, miserable adult life like they live.

Since it drives them CRAZY that there are people who don’t follow their rules but are happy and successful, they waste their time muttering about how dangerous cycling is and they troll articles and forums whining about running stop signs and not paying their fare share.

This is why I try not to argue with motorists and I don’t do individual advocacy. Because it’s not worth my time.

Instead of wasting my life arguing with others, I’ll spend my time RIDING MY BICYCLE.

This is why I think it’s stupid to wear a helmet because a motorist said so. They need me to wear a helmet because it will get them their reality back that cycling is dangerous and foolish. When I refuse, they have to try to force me to see how wrong I am. I find that pointing people at the research is the quickest way to end a conversation.

Not because I need them to agree with me, but because I want them to shut up and leave. And they do. EVERYTIME. I never saw a single person read some stats and change their mind. This means that the argument wasn’t about the helmet at all, it was to dominate me with their view of reality.

Same thing goes to us having to follow motorist laws to get motorist respect. More and more cyclists are telling motorists to fuck themselves with their controlling laws and attitudes. If they want to run us over then DO IT. Don’t joke about it. Just kill us. We don’t give a fuck!

Until then, we’ll live in our own world where every commute is an adventure. Where I smile while riding on my bicycle every day of the year.

Celebrate your reality.

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Anger Cycling

October 31, 2013

As I said before, I had recently read a mind opening book by bell hooks called _The Will To Change_ [https://cyclingunbound.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/the-will-to-change-cycling/]

This opened my mind to many new concepts, and one of them is anger.

A few years ago, I thought that I had gotten all my anger out of my system, or most of it, and I could move on to other tasks such as eliminating guilt from my mind.

After my recent reading, I realized that not only was this not the case, but perhaps this anger is more destructive than I thought.

I guess part of the problem was thinking of myself as being over my anger than realizing that this is going to be something that I’m going to need to deal with every day of my life.

One thing I liked about the bell hooks book was that it talked about how anger is one of the few emotions that a male is allowed to display in public.

However, I feel that this display of anger is highly destructive. Not only does it make us look worse, no matter how powerful we feel, but it robs us of our freedom to act. When I’m angry, I feel like I have less options and I have a narrower view of the situation.

This is probably because often anger covers up other emotions. I said this before, but I believe that ALL of our emotions are useful. This means that anger does have a productive place in our lives. I don’t want to be an emotionless Vulcan. But I do think that anger is addictive especially when I find myself getting bored, sometimes, and actively searching for things to be angry about.

Instead of doing this, I’m going to make an effort to _be_ bored.

Although it happens occasionally, usually when someone buzzes me or a stream of cars blatantly run a red light, I do get angry on the road, this is getting more and more rare. I get more angry when I am talking to motorists. DELETE ANGRY COMMENTS. Haha, I just did it.

The point is, I need to realize that this conversation will never go well. And almost all the bad experiences and reactions I got from people happened when I either spoke or talked from a place of anger.

This is where I really need to do a lot of work because for a long time, I thought I was getting places that I was getting good at talking to ANYONE. Now I realize that this complacency has driven me down the wrong road again. Assaulting someone with logic, reason, AND anger never goes well. πŸ™‚

And I realize that ultimately the problem stems from my need to cling to the truth and to be right about things. It hurts to hear such blatant, self-serving misinformation.

But anger is a poor salve to this pain.

I’m going to shut up, sit still, be wrong, and suffer the pain.

Cult of Death Cycling

October 10, 2013

I have to confess that, with a few exceptions, I have completely stopped reading cycling blogs because all they talk about is how shitty motorists bully and kill cyclists.

While I still maintain that these bloggers are saints because we do need to have coverage of these things which are so common as to not be “newsworthy” anymore, I don’t want to read them on a daily basis. I know that there are bad people in the world, and that cyclists are dying. Dwelling on this, day in and day out, was just depressing me and making me sad.

Also, I find that my day to day commute does NOT resemble any of these blogs. I don’t see much death nor do I get harassed very much. I’d like to say not at all, but overall, I don’t really pay attention too much to stupid shit motorists do. It just doesn’t serve me to do so.

As I have posted earlier, during my cycling commute, I strive to constantly pay attention to what happens around me and to meditate. For me, the meditation is not a distraction, but rather it’s part of the ride. Sometimes I’m focused on the sounds in my environment, other times I’m making sure I’m not tensing my body, and still others I’m praying for the well being of all those around me which is mostly motorists. When I lose myself, I’m sprinting up a hill with anger or I’m composing, in my mind, a cycling blog post. I try to do the latter activities as little as possible.

Still, it’s tough to write, day in and day out, blog posts about how happy I am. People don’t seem to want to hear it and motorists, especially those who hadn’t been on a bicycle since they came of motoring age, don’t want to believe it.

Plus, nobody is going to learn much if I keep repeating myself.

But I just want people to know that despite all the media hype, cycling is just fine. This does not mean that we should not make VAST improvements to our infrastructure. I do NOT expect people to have to play Buddha in order to ride a bicycle. I’m far from Buddha–I still have flashes of anger at a system which priortizes hunks of metal and plastic over human flesh. I’m well aware that if someone slashes the tires, they will throw the book at someone (as they should) but if a car kills someone then getting justice is not so assured.

But worrying about these things take away from what really matters in life.

I do think about death everyday, but I try to make these thoughts positive, to think about how I want to look back on my life.

When I die do I want to do so with a smile on my face or with anger?

Cycling should be about celebrating life to its fullest. Everyday that I ride, I feel incredibly lucky that I have the luxury. I’d love to share this experience and feelings with everyone.

Long live cycling.

Plastic Road Cycling

August 14, 2013

It’s almost a cliche by now, Anicca, or impermanence, is one of the three marks of existence.

“The term expresses the Buddhist notion that all of conditioned existence, without exception, is in a constant state of flux.” [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impermanence]

Despite this being a pretty obvious idea, many people say phrases which show a complete denial or ignorance of this simple concept. Here are a few:

1. The roads were made for cars.

2. San Diego is too spread for cycling to be “practical”.

3. Careful what you wish for; if we make bad infrastructure, we’re going to be stuck with it for a long time.

Let’s examine these foolish phrases one by one.

First of all regaring how the roads were designed: assuming that the roads were made for cars assumes that the roads of San Diego are finished forever.

In reality the roads are constantly being changed: widened, resurfaced, and changed.

As the title implies, our entire city is not only plastic aka subject to change, but the change is inevitable. Even if we do nothing at all, the roads will crumble, and we’ll have the libertarian paradise where the road upkeep is zero, and the only “practical” way of getting around is by mountain bike.

Also, the statement is in the passive voice, which is often a red flag that the speaker is trying to hide something. In this case, the doer, the builder of the road is hidden with the phrase “roads were built.” This makes it seem as if we don’t have a choice, it gives the road construction a sense of impersonal inevitability rather than pointing out that humans have made the decisions for the current road design.

The next phrase, about San Diego being “spread out” is similar to the first. Again, it’s as if we came across this city built by aliens and we’re just doing the best to get by. Again, it also fails to acknowledge that humans made decisions.

It also fails to realize that San Diego is growing and we’re going to have to start living closer together because we are running out of empty space to pave over. Also, like other people have pointed out, the Ponzi scheme that is continuous flight into the country side is nearing its end.

Finally, this phrase denies the reality that people ride their bicycles for transportation all ready. Thus, this phrase is flat out wrong.

Finally, we get to a big sticking point for even cyclists who are in favor of infrastructure. It’s easier to fight it and wait until we get something perfect. Otherwise, if we get something bad, we’ll be stuck with it for decades.

This is not true. Any bad design can be shut down and eliminated in a day or so. Certain streets have all ready gone through a couple of iterations since I started blogging. Even sharrows, which I initially did not like, are getting wiped away and people are asking for something better.

So let’s all say it together, anicca: nothing is permanent. All is in flux. Let’s let our thinking, planning, and building reflect this simple fact that is ignored all the time.

Cycling and the Abusive Uncle

July 9, 2013

LTRs may skip.

I feel really conflicted about this story:

http://invisiblevisibleman.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/free-speech-tweeted-threats-and-angry.html?m=1

On one hand, I agree that people should not threaten others. It’s super-weak.

I believe that the idea of a threat is a rehersal for future violence. I think that threatening people makes one feel better like killing makes a serial killer feel better. There are some people, in our world, who should feel bad not good. Nobody really thinks that people should ignore all their other values to make themselves feel good.

I’m also super-disappointed that the Powers That Be don’t use their spying powers to investigate these “killers in their minds”. We have the tools and whether or not people like it or not, we’re using them to harass people of certain ethnicities and religions. Why not go after some people who are known to kill? Motoring is the biggest threat to cyclists. Building dangerous roads, ignoring threats, and not following up on people’s deaths is to act as a collaborator in their demise because we set up the circumstances where we know, for certain, bad things will happen when we could have averted them.

However, I also feel that we should not have revenge in mind, and seeking justice is often a proxy for seeking revenge. I was inspired by that Amish family who met with the motoring killer of their son and forgave him, telling him that “God brought their families together for a reason.” I seek to emulated this and to always forgive even though it’s way, way harder for me.

But there’s an even bigger elephant in the room: Vehicular Cyclists. I know that talking negatively about any cyclist “hurts the community”, but by ignoring the damage that the Vehicular Cyclists, we are letting them run rough shod. This is like an abusive uncle who’s crimes are covered up so we don’t “make the family look bad.” I say let’s out these abusive bastards and let everyone know what they are up to. And these are not my words, but EVERYONE I HAVE EVER MET HATES VEHICULAR CYCLISTS. THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO THINK IT’S A GOOD IDEA ARE BRAINWASHED BY THE CLASSES. (See my post on tripods). That’s why I call taking a class “climbing in my tripod.”

Most people think that whatever they learn in a class is awesome. For example, I took a class on NACTO and I think it’s awesome. If taking a single class on something makes you an xpert, then I’m an expert on NACTO. πŸ™‚

But things go deeper than just denouncing Vehicular Cyclists. The problem is that I have friends who ride a bit too far in road and do other dangerous things, and I don’t know how to talk to them about it. Then they get into problems like getting buzzed which only happens to me when I go on high speed roads that don’t have a bike lane (go figure). Since I don’t want to be a preachy asshole, I remain silent. I also remain silent when they complain about road side harassment. I don’t want to “blame the victim.” But where’s the line between blaming a victim and preventing harm? For example, if a toddler wants to jump into a shark pool should I let him?

Look at how badly Rob Ford was treated when he talked about “swimming with sharks.” But wasn’t this partly true? I mean, I don’t want to ride on a road with trucks on it. I’d rather be in a much safer cycle track. So how do I mention this to people without looking like a condone bad behavior? I don’t. I hate douchy cyclists AND douchy motorists. I hope they build cycle tracks soon so I can turn my back on the mess and let the motorists and cyclists fight it out. I mean, bikes have been around for over 100 years. At what point in time are they going to be “expected and accepted” if we spent a whole century working on “mixing it up”?

When motorists talk to me about bad cyclists, I agree with them. I let them know that I never “take the lane” and I strongly disapprove. We both walk away from the conversation feeling better about one another and I might add more respectful which is all the muderous motorists above want.

WHEN PEOPLE GET VIOLENT IT’S USUALLY BECAUSE THEY FEEL DISRESPECTED. RIDING IN THE ROAD IS DISRESPECTFUL TO MOTORISTS. THUS, RIDING IN THE ROAD MAKES MOTORISTS VIOLENT.

Yes, the motorists should contain themselves. Yes, we should not harass people. Yes, I should be less angry and more forgiving.

But this is not the real world. In the real world, we have to deal with real people who have not changed in 100 years. I have found a way which works for me, but I have to continue to stand silent while my friends, who are confused by asshole vehicular cyclists, suffer.

Thanks VC assholes.

The Authoritarians: Why Do Motorists Hate Bicycles and Bicyclists and Vehicular Cycling In One Book

June 27, 2013

If you ride a bicycle for more than recreation and you talk to enough people, you’ll find that most Americans especially those outside of big cities have their heads filled with all kinds of silly and uniformed notions of bicycle commuting. I had explained previous articles on how I thought that the media did bicycles a disservice by using a bicycle as a symbol for loser as well as using lazy and cruel anti-cycling humor, only, instead of giving us a more balance, well researched, and more interesting view of cycling.

But the media can’t be the only driving force, can it? After all, bicycling is one of the oldest forms of transporation which is still extant and thus it is far from being a radical and new idea. If we have a conservative hankering for the past, we would all tolerate cycling especially those who are most conseravative. Instead of an old timey feel about bicycles, like we get about antique cars, there’s this passionate hatred which goes beyond a metal frame and two little rubber wheels. What’s going on.

Recently, I had a huge break through when I began reading the book _The Autoritarians_ [http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/]

It talked about how there’s this subset of people who are uncontrollably obsessed with authority. At once, I found an explanation for both a rabid cycling hatred as well as Vehicular Cycling. All in one book!

Who are these authoritarian followers who hate bikes. There are three measurable characteristics: conventionalism, submission, and agression.

First is conventionalism which means that they want to appear “normal”. Since there is no cycling infrastructure and there are few people cyling, cyclists are NOT seen as normal. The fact that there are silly things like naked bike rides and Tour De Fat Bike Beer festivals which encourage even more crazy looking behavior, it’s easy to see that someone who rides a bike is doing something transgressive.

This explains such phrases that they say when they see me riding a bike to work, “You won’t get me a bike.” I did NOT say to them, “you won’t get me in your SUV” because I don’t think their choices affect mine nor do they undermine my choices.

The reason why they think that they want them to ride a bike is because they want ME to drive a car. Since they go around trying to impose their lifestyles on others, it’s natural to think we are all like them. We aren’t.

Second is submission, where they submit to the “authority”. In this case, since the government spent almost a trillion dollars of public money and we spent billions of private money creating a system which is optimized for one form of transportation, only, this is the “authority”.

Finally, there’s the notion of agression. This means that authoritarians are quick to see an ambigious threat as a serious and grave one. This explains how one motorist thought that cyclists were threatening his existence by (foolishly) “taking the lane” and why they thought that cyclists standing up to go faster was actually taunting “shaking their asses at him.”

They also are quick to excuse any violence done by an authority EVEN IF IT’S ILLEGAL. And they are more prone to victim blaming saying things like “Roads are made for cars. If you ride a bike, you swim with sharks and you’ll eventually get bit.” That is, if someone does something transgressive (in their mind) like riding a bicycle, they are not likely to have sympathy when something bad happens to the person. “Never should have worn that dress,” is something that only an authoritarian would say.

Finally, Vehicular Cyclist leaders tend to be authoritarian. They know that cycling, which is really a mechanical way of walking a bit faster and not so much like motoring, is strange. Thus, they seek to get everyone to believe that “cycling works best when cyclists act and are treated as operators of motor vehicules.” In other words, cyclists are normal because they drive vehicules. And vehicules are normal, right?

This explains the VC obsession of keeping the word “bicycle” out of the law. They are often in favor of laws which just “happen” to help cyclists, but they don’t say the dreaded word. Instead, they like us all to be under the uniform of vehicle which legally doesn’t mean that much because there are distinctions fo all kinds of “vehicles.” I can’t drive a semi with my driver’s license, for example.

But under the VC regime, we must be “expected and accepted” or “part of NORMAL traffic”. See the urge to disappear into the mass instead of standing out? See why the are so ungrateful when the state recognized and celebrates our difference by building instrastructure just for us? This expains while Cycling Savvy confusingly advocates for mixed use paths (for all of us normals, no weirdos here) and is against bicycle, only, paths and lanes.

There’s far more in this paper, but this is a good start. I feel a whole lot better now that this case is cracked.

Guest Post: Her First Ride

June 26, 2013

My friend/neighbor convinced me to try a long bike ride out of the city on Saturday. We took our bikes to Angel Island via the ferry which seemed like a really long and nauseating ride – too many drunks on a sunny day. Oh well.

So I took my bike out of my room, down 4 flights of stairs and rode from North Beach to the ferry terminal. It was my first time riding in the city. I was terrified but my friend is very experienced and knowledgeable so she led the way. It was a little scary navigating in between cars who were trying to park or speed up so I steered to the side and waited till they passed. I even rode from the ferry building back home to part of North Beach. Decided to walk my bike on the really crowded and busy streets for peace of mind. In all we did all the trails twice on Angel Island Saturday which probably was 10 miles.

I was really proud of myself considering it was my first time in an urban environment. Most of my riding has been on paved trails or empty parking lots. So this was the real thing and it was really fun minus some hiccups and frustrations at Angel Island. Too many people who were walking and didn’t hear me shout that I was coming or kids who were just standing there and I was riding so I ended up turning to the side and waiting. I almost rode straight into the crowd – sunny days meant more crowds at the Island.

There are a lot more classes I want to take on city riding, safety and bike tune ups. There were also some strong winds Saturday and steep downhills so I’d like to add to my knowledge about riding in different weather conditions. I did fall after stopping on the trail. As I was getting off the bike my legs were tired and I ended up getting caught with the bike and landed on the trail. A slight bruised tailbone and some scratches on my knee but all is good. I have a good feel for when to shift gears and balance … only steep downhills scare me but otherwise I feel like I eased right into it nicely.

My friend told me her first time she was riding on trails she was so frustrated and angry because everyone else was ahead of her. She was so angry with herself she tossed the bike into the woods and sat there sulking. She decided to get back up later and start riding again. It’s good perspective knowing a lot of seasoned riders experienced challenges at first but overcame those and stuck with the bike.

You and Unbound are my inspiration for taking the bike on longer trips. I also noticed the owner of a Chinese restaurant in my neighborhood has a crate mounted to the back of his bike for take out deliveries. He delivers to all over the city on his bike.

I do wish there were less cars in the city especially big ones … that would ease some of my fears. But for now more practice and different terrains. Oh and the bike sharing program is coming to my neighborhood in August!

So in short I’m slowly building up my riding skills. I am really surprised at how quick of a learner I was from class to real life without any lengthy training or practice. I just dived right in.

Urban Futurism

June 14, 2013

Since I started this blog, I have been thinking of how various values of mine have been perverted by groups which pretend to be in favor of these things.

For example, SOHO isn’t really about saving “heritage” but rather property values. The Sierra Club is basically looking for a good place to camp.
And both of their agitation has made things worse for cycling.

I have all ready talked about how CEQA is a nightmare with it’s stupid LOS “suggestions” which impede good urban design. At the end of the day, kowtowing to these organizations is not only bad for our cities and bad for nature, but it’s also bad for our imaginations and bad for the future.

When we enact something like CEQA or we preserve a building, we need to think of the long, long term. What’s going to happen to this building, which is made of fragile materials, in the far flung future? What benefit does it have, ultimately? And when do we stop? When do we decide that we have enough old buildings? If we continue to create “historic sites” we’ll eventually cover our entire country with buildings, from different eras, which we consider to be “jewels”. We won’t have anywhere to live nor can we make anything better, ever again.

Same thing with in filling which we are against due to our urban phobia. If we keep growing our population and we keep taking up open spaces, what happens when we “fill it all in”.

Why are we not asking these questions now rather than later?

And why do we keep creating denser and denser urban spaces and they say that we “hate” them? If everyone hates them, why do we build them? Why don’t we keep a single house in the woods? Why do we follow this person and build our houses until we wind up with a dense environment? Either we’re stupid or perhaps we’re onto something good?

The downtown is a reflection of the collective values of a given city. If most people say they “hate their downtown” and “never go there”, what does that say about our self-worth? A city is a creation of the human mind; the center of a city should reflect her highest values.

I think that too much, we hate ourselves and each other. This is why we hate the cities which are products of our values; why we don’t think that it’s a good thing to spend public money to make ourselves comfortable outside of our autos. It’s why we cling to the past and to the work of the dead rather than trusting ourselves to build better buildings. The building of tomorow should be more worthwhile than of yesterday. And humans should be trusted to be an active partner in making nature and the environment _better_ than if we restrict human’s visting hours and try to “lighten our footprint.”

Manipulative Cycling Advocacy

June 12, 2013

Recently, when I wrote my four part series to defend the great unwashed masses who wanted bike lanes and cycle tracks, I noticed that the Saavy VCers (sic) had used a great number of manipulative techniques.

Wanted to get in on the fun, I loaded up the wikipedia page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_manipulation

“Psychological manipulation is a type of social influence that aims to change the perception or behavior of others through underhanded, deceptive, or even abusive tactics.[1] By advancing the interests of the manipulator, often at another’s expense, such methods could be considered exploitative, abusive, devious and deceptive.”

This is something that I can not do as I seek to be honest as well as to give more than I take.

Damn! πŸ™‚

I know that this is a big charge to be making. Why would they want to do this?

The reason is because they know that most people want bike lanes and that most people are not reponding to traditional VC propaghanda. The one thing that is refreshing about Forrester is that he is actually quite honest in his approach. Many see this as off putting, but I actually do like his honesty. He’s also fun in that he creates funny situations like calling people “unthinking cyclists” which is awesome since he’s an “uncycling thinker.”

But cycling saavy has gotten to the next level in propaghanda. They are not going away; they are getting more clever.

Let’s unmask some of what they are doing. Note, I like these things and don’t think that the list below is sinister:

1. Get some older people, younger people, minorities, and more attractive people to ride bicycles, in traffic with normal clothes and sans helmet. Note that they are still working on a few things on this list. πŸ™‚

2. Stop pushing the notion that a child can ride in high speed traffic. (Yes, this is a great step forward).

3. Approach people from the point of view of their feelings and beliefs instead of boring us with loads of facts.

But here’s where things go dark. Since they are not getting results on getting many people to ride in a world in which they allow the traffic engineers to ride rough shod over common sense and basic human decency, the Saavy are turning to manipulation to fill the gaps.

1. “Lying by omission: This is a very subtle form of lying by withholding a significant amount of the truth.” Example is not telling us how many people die in door zone accidents. Another is saying that one is for “some types of infrastruture” then we learn that, behind closed doors, they torpedo all infrastructure projects that does not match their imaginary “conflict points” theories.

2. “Minimization: This is a type of denial coupled with rationalization. The manipulator asserts that his or her behavior is not as harmful or irresponsible as someone else was suggesting, for example saying that a taunt or insult was only a joke.” When we hear that the VCers are getting rid of Forrester, or the groups are “turning over a new leaf”, we have to forget the years of damage that cycling has suffered. We just need to “forgive and forget” even while they NEVER APOLOGIZED FOR THE DAMAGE THEY DID. Nor do they have any plans of doing things better in the future. And yet, outsiders insult us by insisting that we “work together” with these Quisling assholes.

3. “Selective inattention or selective attention: Manipulator refuses to pay attention to anything that may distract from his or her agenda, saying things like “I don’t want to hear it”.”

Anytime there’s a valid argument against helmets, vehicular cycling, or any other kind of nonsense, these objections are NEVER addressed as if by ignoring things they will go away. (Hint: they won’t.)

4. “Diversion: Manipulator not giving a straight answer to a straight question and instead being diversionary, steering the conversation onto another topic.”

Again, this is done in so many ways, I can’t even start to name them.

5. “Covert intimidation: Manipulator throwing the victim onto the defensive by using veiled (subtle, indirect or implied) threats.”

When I first attended some advocacy meetings, I recall biking away from the meeting thinking that if we weren’t “careful” then cycling would be totally banned. Later, I learned that this was bullshit. Nobody said it, but I somehow felt this impression anyway.

6. “Guilt trip: A special kind of intimidation tactic. A manipulator suggests to the conscientious victim that he or she does not care enough, is too selfish or has it easy.”

We often hear how we are “elitist” or that most people agree with us all ready when we fight for infrastructure. If things are easy and people like what we say, this is a good thing. Instead, they try to make us feel guilty for it.

We also hear, ad nauseum, how they fought to defend “rights to the road” as if by letting road conditions to deteriorate for cyclists while pushing for us to ride on dangerous and high speed roads, they did something we should not be grateful for.

7. “Shaming: Manipulator uses sarcasm and put-downs to increase fear and self-doubt in the victim. Manipulators use this tactic to make others feel unworthy and therefore defer to them. Shaming tactics can be very subtle such as a fierce look or glance, unpleasant tone of voice, rhetorical comments, subtle sarcasm.”

Every time I hear about how my questions and facts are a “temper tantrum”, I realize that they are trying to manipulate me into silence. (Note: does not work on me.)

8. “Vilifying the victim: More than any other, this tactic is a powerful means of putting the victim on the defensive while simultaneously masking the aggressive intent of the manipulator.”

We often hear about how “scofflaw cyclists deserve to die.” This is also blame bicyclist first (BBF).

9. “Playing the servant role: Cloaking a self-serving agenda in guise of a service to a more noble cause, for example saying he is acting in a certain way for “obedience” and “service” to God or a similar authority figure.”

We hear about how some people “served on committees for years because they care about the community.” To quote the Clash, “if you’ve been trying for years, we’ve heard your song.” So shut up.

10. “Feigning innocence: Manipulator tries to suggest that any harm done was unintentional or that they did not do something that they were accused of.”

For years, I have complained about racist comparisons between infrastructure, and real world harms to groups of people. Each time they are called out on it, they pretend to not understand what all the fuss is about. Guess what group is being used by old white guys to promote their insane and dangerous cycling “rights” (sic).

11. “Playing the victim role: Manipulator portrays him- or herself as a victim of circumstance or of someone else’s behavior in order to gain pity, sympathy or evoke compassion and thereby get something from another.”

We see this when those who fought infrastructure for years now flaunt their years of service and their old age as if they are some poor innocent victim rather than someone, for years, who has spoken, in secret, against the wishes of the community, all the while knowing that this is wrong. Now we are supposed to feel sorry for them because they are miserable failures at getting people to ride in their crazy style which nobody wants. Boo-hoo. You should have embraced the community, been honest about what you wanted, and more trusting that the government was going to work with you to create a better world of cycling. Or you could have STAYED HOME AND WE WOULD HAVE NICER THINGS.

There are many more tactics.

Overall, what I’d prefer, instead of all this nonsense is:

1. Better studies with better data for how to get cycling to be more efficienct, more comfortable, and safer.

2. An honest statement of one’s intention. If one wants to ride in traffic because it’s faster, personally, and to keep cycling marginal and unpopular so one can feel like a special super hero, just say so. I’m perfectly honest about wanting my world to be set up so I can meditate all the time and not really pay too attention to what I’m doing safety wise.

I don’t want to wear a helmet because it’s uncomfortable and it’s a mood killer. Let’s get others to just as honest!

3. Leave people alone who want to be left alone.

I don’t know how many people told me to wear a helmet, take a class, get off the sidewalk! Give me a break. I like the way I ride. I’m perfectly happy the way I am. I would like to see a cycle track from house to my job. THAT is the type of help I need. If you can’t offer that to me then buzz off.

Mohist Cycling

May 29, 2013

Not to be confused with “Maoist” though both notions come from China.

Who is Mo?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohism

“It evolved at about the same time as Confucianism, Taoism and Legalism, and was one of the four main philosophic schools during the Spring and Autumn Period (from 770 BC to 480 BC)[1] and the Warring States Period (from 479 BC to 221 BC). During that time, Mohism (ε’¨ Mo) was seen as a major rival to Confucianism (ε„’ Ru).”

Now I don’t think that Moism is perfect as he did believe in supernatural causes as a large basis of success or failure but to his credit his credit he did acknowledge a connection between one’s own actions and one’s successes and failures.

Again, for LTRs this seems obvious, but there’s an amazing amount of belief in fatalism today especially concerning cycling.

What is fatalism?

It is the belief that one’s actions don’t really have an effect to enact change. Here are some examples of fatalism:

“It’s unfortunate that there isn’t a safer solution for parking your vehicle when you visit your local gym.”

LTRs know that this is plain silly. Of course there are better solutions. One of them would not to have parallel parking in an area where the average traffic speed is 50 MPH. Duh! Yet, instead of looking for safer means, the AAA believes that there is a mystical reason for why roads are deadly.

This foolishness and sadness is killing many.

Here’s another example, Sierra Club, “It looks nearly hopeless to me…No one seems to care. Such is our climate predicament and its relationship to our young people. The gunman is currently at 400 PPM.”

Um, many of us care, but if the leading environmental organziation has all but given up what are we do to?

Many, many things.

First of all, we must defund these fatalist organizations. They are leading us to ruin.

From Mo:

“Instead of wealth, they get poverty, instead of large population, they got a small one, and instead of order, they got chaos. Fundamentally, is to lose what is desired but to get what is disliked. What is the reaon? It was due to the large number of fatalists among the people.”

I totally agree. Instead of understaing traffic collisions as preventable problems created by human activity, we call them accidents as if they are an act of God. I believe that God gave us our vast intelligence in order to make ourselves safe, and I don’t blame him when humans, working in a human designed system, hurt and maim other humans. Such a belief is to give all your power away.

“Fatalists say that when fate decrees a country will be rich, it is rich. When fate decress a country will be poor, a country will be poor.”

See the similarity between the notion of accidents and the idea that they “just happen”?

“[With belief in fate,] what use is there in exerting effort? With this doctrine [fatalists] tried to persuade the rulers to preventcommon people doing their work. Therefore, they are not men of humanity.”

Again, like Mo, I believe that these do nothing organizations are not only useless to solving the problems they pretend to want to solve, but they are actively getting in the way by not demanding strong action because they decieve us into believing that we can’t stop these very human created problems.

Let’s stand up to fatalists and instead of listening to their time sucking and energy draining nonsense, let’s think big and implement some real change. Fatalists have the choice of either following us or by shutting up and getting out of our way.

Real change happens in our minds first; if we are afraid to dream big, to plan big, and to spend big, we’ll be poor and impotent.