Tag Archive for P.J. O’Rourke

Morning Links: A bike hate blast from the past, take your baby skid lid back, and ready answers to bike myths

Thanks to a couple of new or renewing members of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition yesterday, we’re now up to 21 people who’ve joined in the first-ever May BikinginLA LACBC Membership Drive.

Which means we need just three more people to sign up or renew your membership today to make it 24 new members by May 24th.

As you’ll see below, the bike coalition is active in getting political candidates on the record for their support for bicycling, as well as getting you discounts at businesses throughout the county. And if you sign up through this site, you’ll get some great bike gear to wear when you vote or chow down.


Clearly, bike haters are nothing new.

My Altadena-based friend Tim Rutt sends proof in the form of a 1987 column by political satirist P.J. O’Rourke, in which he calls for an examination of “the actions necessary to license, regulate or abolish entirely” the bicycle menace.

Our nation is afflicted with a plague of bicycles. Everywhere the public right-of-way is glutted with whirring, unbalanced contraptions of rubber, wire, and cheap steel pipe. Riders of these flimsy appliances pay no heed to stop signs or red lights. They dart from between parked cars, dash along double yellow lines, and whiz through crosswalks right over the toes of law-abiding citizens like me.

In the cities, every lamppost, tree, and street sign is disfigured by a bicycle slathered in chains and locks. And elevators must be shared with the cycling faddist so attached to his “moron’s bath-chair” that he has to take it with him everywhere he goes.

On the other hand, his skills at prognostication leave something to be desired.

Bicycles are quiet and slight, difficult for normal motorized humans to see and hear. People pull out in front of bicycles, open car doors in their path, and drive through intersections filled with the things. The insubstantial bicycle and its unshielded rider are defenseless against these actions. It’s a simple matter of natural selection. The bicycle will be extinct within the decade. And what a relief that will be.

Actually, we’re still here.

So deal with it, P.J.


If you bought your baby’s Schwinn bike helmet at Target, take it back; the infant helmets have been recalled due to a choking hazard. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.


A new British bike website provides instant answers to refute any bicycling myth bike haters and NIMBYs can throw at you.


The New York Times looks at the movement to call collisions crashes instead of accidents. But doesn’t promise to make the change themselves.


VeloNews asks if Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk can hold onto the pink leaders jersey in the Giro d’Italia.

The financial fallout from pro cycling’s doping scandals continue, as another team will fold at the end of this year for lack of sponsorship.

Who says the men’s pro tour is too tough for women? A Ukrainian woman will team with a group of 13 other riders to take on every stage of the Tour de France one day before the men get there.

CiclaValley looks at the fun side of last week’s Amgen Tour of California.

A comment from tdf65 suggests we should continue to link to stories about bike races here, but withhold the actual results, since some people record the races and don’t get to view them until later. However, I’ve always assumed it was safe to mention winners and losers, since the daily nature of this site means we’re at least a day behind the race’s finish.

But what do you think? Are we spoiling the fun by saying who won, or do you want to know now?



The Expo Line may be convenient, but it still doesn’t beat a bike from Downtown to the beach.

The LACBC posts a response to their candidate survey from County Supervisor District 4 candidate Janice Hahn, who promises to follow through with the county Bicycle Master Plan.

The LACBC also talks with the bike-friendly owner of Uli’s Gelateria in DTLA, who offers a discount for members of the bike coalition. Just one more reason to click that link above and sign up today.

CicLAvia posts a great collection of photos from the recent Southeast Cities CicLAvia. Which only makes me more disappointed that I had to miss it with a bad back.

Los Angeles Magazine looks at plans for Metro’s coming bikeshare program in DTLA, as well as a system — not a network, since there are no east/west routes currently planned — of protected bike lanes.

A Pasadena group considers the possibilities if Caltrans would kill the unneeded and unwanted extension of the 710 freeway, and build a sequel to the city’s popular Old Town instead. Maybe we could even see bikes running through there instead of semi-trucks.



The San Diego cyclist paralyzed in a drug-fueled wrong way collision is suing the city for maintaining dangerous conditions on Fiesta Island where the wreck occurred.

A San Diego letter writer suggests drivers are entitled to be rude to bike riders because we’re all scofflaws and cyclists are just a middle-class affectation. No, really.

Damien Newton’s latest podcast talks with Dave Campbell of Bike East Bay, sponsors of what may be the “biggest, baddest Bike to Work Day in the world.” Newton also offers advice on how to make a Livable Streets presentation to little kids.

The Sunnyvale actor accused of nearly killing a Berkeley bike rider while high on weed finally turns himself in to face charges.



US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx sees a gradual shift away from car culture. Which can’t come non-gradually enough.

Seven tips for how to teach a child to ride a bike. All of which work for adults, as well.

A Cincinnati councilmember says a parking protected bike lane can stay, but needs improvements to avoid the city’s easily confused motorists.

If you drop something on the railroad tracks with a train coming, just leave it there for crying out loud. Seriously, nothing you own is worth dying for. Things can be replaced, lives can’t.

Sixteen-hundred Buffalo bike riders take a leisurely slow roll around the city to support a plan for 300 new bike lanes in the next ten years.

A New York letter writer shows just how much she doesn’t get it, insisting that bike lanes don’t help pedestrians and that Queens Blvd was not intended to be a playground. Because obviously, no one ever rides a bike to actually get anywhere or anything. And bike lanes really do slow traffic and improve safety for everyone, while providing a cushion to protect pedestrians from motor vehicles.

Call it the not-quite naked Pittsburgh bike ride.

Philadelphia will host a national conference next month on how to improve equity in bikeshare systems.

A DC website says if you’re crushing on a fellow bike commuter, try crashing into ‘em. Or just, you know, talk to him or her.

NASCAR champ Jimmie Johnson is one of us, finishing a 103 mile South Carolina ride with a 10,000 foot elevation gain in just over six hours.

A Mississippi bike camp helps children with disabilities learn how to ride a bike.

A bighearted stranger insists on buying a Florida boy a new bike his parents couldn’t afford, after learning the child was recovering from heart surgery.



Fashion designer Paul Smith is one of us as well, as a new book features his extensive collection of classic cycling jerseys.

Nothing like finding a secret Canadian cycle track hidden in plain sight on the roadway.

A London cyclist has started an online gallery of no- and lo-viz bike riders to capture the archetypical inner city road user.

Brit cyclist Chris Boardman says the country needs to invest more than the price of a cup of coffee to boost bicycling in the county.

A group of friends are riding over 1,500 miles from Brighton, England to Lagos, Portugal to honor a popular 21-year old British surfer who drowned riding the waves in Bali.

Maybe you should take your next family bike vacation in the Netherlands. And bring me with you.

A writer says if you plan to ride your bike in Zagreb, Croatia, bring five locks and a security guard if you’re going to leave it outside. Sounds a lot like LA, too.

Caught on video: Adventure cyclist Rebecca Rusch rides and climbs 19,341-foot-tall Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise funds for World Bicycle Relief.

A Kiwi man gets just 13 months for a drunken attack on two separate bicyclists, despite a whopping 118 previous convictions; he claimed he punched them repeatedly because he was fighting off wasps.

An Aussie Roads Minister says a high number of bicycling tickets proves bike riders aren’t doing the right thing, while only four tickets for unsafe passing means drivers are. On the other hand, it could just show that police are targeting people on two wheels and ignoring more dangerous violations by the ones on four.



Your next ebike could be solar powered, if you don’t mind riding with a couple of massive solar cookie sheets attached. No matter how close a driver cuts you off, don’t follow him home and stab his spare tire to death.

And if you successfully escape from a halfway house by bicycle, just keep going next time.


Your weekend linkathon, including a wacky anti-bike diatribe from a witty right-wing writer

Conservative humorist and provocateur P.J. O’Rourke spread his anti-bike joy on the pages of the Wall Street Journal, asking whether bike lanes will soon be followed by pavement set-asides for hop scotch and pogo sticks.

Personally, I haven’t seen such wit since Denver Post sports columnist Woody Paige, then writing for the Rocky Mountain News, once compared the world-class cyclists competing in the legendary Coors Classic to little kids riding with playing cards clipped to their spokes.

Then again, it’s nothing new for him.

O’Rourke wrote a similar piece all the way back in 1987, calling on officials to “license, regulate or abolish entirely this dreadful peril” posed by the Bicycle Menace. And that was back before bikes were popular.

Pity such a talented writer has his head so far up his own posterior.

Or was it just a day late for April Fools?


Metro introduces its first Human-Powered Commuting Awards for this year’s Bike Week, and asks for your nominations in several categories. Just two more weeks before Streetsblog’s 2nd annual Eco-Village fundraiser. LADOT officially adopts a new bike rack standard. L.A. officially awards $5.4 million in Measure R funds for biking and walking plans, including a comprehensive Safe Routes to School plan. Join a group ride to CicLAvia on April 10th; Downtown News offers a list of Downtown bike shops to help you get ready. Flying Pigeon now has the very odd-looking, but very cool Pedersen Bicycles. Irvine is asking for public input on their new Bicycle Transportation Plan.

The San Diego Bike Union forms for cyclists who ride in comfortable shoes, with a goal of normalizing cycling; you mean it isn’t? In response to the death of a Sacramento State student who was riding without lights, local bike advocates will be distributing free lights. A Patterson CA woman charged in the fatal hit-and-run of a Sacramento cyclist last year has been ticketed for driving with a suspended license just two weeks after losing her license; it’s her 4th citation in three years, not counting the hit-and-run charges. Santa Rosa scales back its bike boulevard “experiment.” A statewide crackdown on texting and hand-held cell phone-using drivers begins on Monday; I’ll be the one applauding every time I see a driver pulled over. The California Bicycle Coalition offers their monthly report, including a push for more representative Caltrans standards and news of proposed legislation to require that drivers pass cyclists at a minimum three-foot distance, and no faster that 15 mph over the cyclists speed of travel.

A new film says bikes can change the world, one life at a time. An insurance company needs your input on a proposed accident insurance policy for cyclists. An interview with cyclo-crosser and unlikely bike advocate Tim Johnson. Registration opens for October’s Viva Bike Vegas. Two days before Corvallis WA Bicycle Collective planned to celebrate their re-opening, their new location is condemned. The Chair and members of the Greater Albuquerque BAC question why a driver wasn’t cited in the broad daylight death of a cyclist. Kansas passes a three-foot passing law, along with a dead red provision. Missourians rise up against bike lanes if it means losing parking. The New York Times asks whether a bicycle is an engine-less car or a pedestrian on wheels. Oddly, the same paper that made room for O’Rourke’s diatribe also made space for a story on bespoke bikes and high-fashion bikewear. New York’s crackdown on cyclists is bad for bike business.

Ex-Guv Arnold and London Mayor BoJo ride Boris Bikes. Evidently, the UK’s Transportation Minister doesn’t know he already eliminated the country’s Cycling England program; I suppose that means he also doesn’t know what he threw out with it, or the good it has done in its short life. A UK Parliament Member says all road users must be held accountable, including cyclists — even though UK drivers who kill cyclists often aren’t. English community nurses are up in arms over plans to require them to travel by bike, while Estonia plans to use a payment for emissions credits to buy 35,000 bicycles for their civil servants. By the time you read this, you may have already missed one of the world’s greatest one-day classics. The New Zealand Herald says continued dooring of cyclists is an outrage; maybe they could have a talk with P.J. O’Rourke.

Finally, a colorful solution to the pothole problem. And after a now paralyzed cyclist received a bill to fix the guard rail that impaled side in a horrific crash, local officials say it was just a boo-boo.

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