Thursday, July 31, 2008

1 week of biking

I biked to work every day this week but one so far. I have not run any stop signs or stop lights I have a helmet on and plenty of lights on my bike. I love it even if the ride home is a pain. 

So here is my latest Bike Spotting encounter.

I stopped between third and fourth on main at the park. I relaxed there in the shade and I learned a few things about Portland. 

1. Way up in the tree in the middle of down  town Portland is a family of Racoons. I saw them way up there peeking down at me.  No one else was looking so it's my little secret. 

2. Idiots on bikes don't like this entire LANE system. Walking down to the corner of salmon and fourth and looking back up into traffic towards PSU I was able to see just how many bikers were using lanes and how many thought that the white line was a lane unto its own.
   Twice I saw a bus and once a delivery truck hemmed in on both sides by bikers squeezing between moving vehicles. One incident a bike pulled over in front of a bus making it stop had that driver swerved even a fraction the bike on the other side of the bus would have been knocked into the bus stop on the corner.
You have got to love bikers forcing 20 ton vehicles into other bikes. How safe is that.
So a three lane road is really a 7 lane road when you throw in the bikes. Nothing to fear there. No possible problems to the biker.

During this week I have interviewed a few fellow bikers to get their opinions of things. Lets see how they break down.

1. Functional Biker: Small distance commuters, day time. They admit that bikers are a problem but give that issue a pass. They focus on what they do and for the most part they do follow the law.  They are not part of any bike movement, push, gatherings. These are just people riding bikes. They will attend a bike rally or two. They believe that it would be nice to see more bike lanes and bike racks but they are happy as things are. 

2. Bike Enthusiast: This biker is in love with biking. Though not an overt crusader they fully embrace only the good image of bikes. They bike out of preference and constantly spout things about pollution and saving the earth. They acknowledge that bikers break the law but they believe that education and love will change what bikers do. They want more of everything for bikers. Many of these people own cars, maybe even have many cars.

3. Bike Activist: This is a bikenazi JR. Grade. This person feels that biking is their way to save the world. They reverse every point you can make to some other form of transportation. In other words "They break the law so we can break the law" They dismiss any proof that bikers don't comply with the law. They believe that bikers are all on the crusade and if you question this then you are part of the problem. They believe that bikers don't have to change the city has to spend more money on bike roads. They don't just want more like a number 2 they are demanding more. This person will admit they are into the bike culture of Portland. They frequent bike gatherings they read bike post they are a "True Believer" A few of these people have cars but most do not. 

4. Bike Anointed: Watch out cause here is the high priest of biking. They believe that human law can circumvent the laws of physics. They don't turn arguments around they dismiss them out of hand. They do not believe that bikers have any issue, it's all everyone else's fault. They are organizers of bike gatherings, blogs, what have you. They act as if every one else who drives (non-bike) vehicles have their hand around a kids throat and is strangling them and only BIKE'S can stop this.  To them its not about educating bikers its about educating everyone else in the world. They believe in the pure innocents of bikers and the automatic guilt of everyone else, they will not admit this but all their arguments are from this point of view. full on bike Nazi.

I am still talking to bikers to see if there is another classification but so far four seems to cover it. Here is the problem most bikers give a pass to Biker's abusing the rules of the road, either by focusing on their own issues or denial or by being an apologist. That that are active in the Bike Community are more focused on the world changing for them, rather then having bikers follow the law. 

 bike True Believer argument

1. Bikes save the world 
2. We are going to use political activity to attain more for bikes
3. If you oppose us in any way you do not want to save the world

They suppose that anything and everything they want is right and that if you oppose them in any way you are Wrong.

I say lets let Portland and ORegon decide.

Lets put some of this idiotic things up for the voters to have their say on.

Like those silly green boxes. Lets let voters have a say on those. 

Now that would be interesting.

Lets see if Portland and ORegon really loves bikers or are they fed up with them.


Well that's it for today. Have to run.


Karl said...

From Wikipedia: An Internet troll, or simply troll in Internet slang, is someone who posts controversial and usually irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum or chat room, with the intention of baiting other users into an emotional response or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion.

Why would want to do that? It cheapens your message and makes you look like a froth-at-the-mouth fool.

Paul Peterson said...

By the way, you spelled Finland wrong in your links.

Kiitos ja hyyvää yötä.

Anonymous said...

I think you misunderstand a basic concept. While it may be generally unacceptable to flail in the subway with your fists, it is infinitely more unacceptable to flail in the subway with a gun in your hand. Cars require that much more care than do bikes since they can cause much more harm just as bikes require that much more care than walking since they will cause more harm. When I break the law on a bike (which isn't very often) I do it knowing I am very unlikely to cause any harm. My running a stop sign after looking poses less danger than a car driving at 70mph in a 55 zone since fatalities are far more likely at that speed.

Clearly bikers have problems, I would not deny that. But, Cars are relatively safe--they have their space and only other cars pose a danger to them. Pedestrians have their space and only other pedestrians pose them danger accept when a biker decides to ride unsafely on a sidewalk or they are crossing a street. Bikers ride their 30lbs bike on roads with multi-ton cars. At 25mph, a biker can be killed by a car. I think it's pretty obvious why Bikers worry a lot more about their facilities than do car drivers or pedestrians.

I don't really understand your vitriol and maybe you are trolling... but, I hope you will learn to understand bikers and their differences... because 4 pegs is not enough. I think you will find the some of the most dedicated pro-bike activists are far more sane than just some casual bikers.

--A biker works in a shop fixing kids bikes and teaching them safety

Philistine said...

You go GIRL. Most of Portland is behind you, just too wimpy, er, uh, polite to ever stand up for themselves.

Unfortunately Americans have been brainwashed to avoid conflict (besides the likes of fringe sociopaths like the bikenazis). It is not surprising that a person from another country would value our freedoms more than we do ourselves. We are ripe for the plucking, for a totalitarian regime. Heck, even the French office workers will go out and turn over cop cars and set things on fire when you tell them to work a little harder. People here should be more pissed, but they are all pushovers allready.

I would love to see some you tube links to some funny vids of bikies crashing and breaking the law. I see it EVERY DAY, so it shouldn't be hard to come up with some real footage of our own bike mob at their best.

John said...

I read your latest blog entry, as painful as it was.

First off. In order to get people to even pay attention to your points, you must type structured, readable sentences.

Second off. In order for people to agree with you, you must know what the hell you are writing about.

I could go on, but you probably have already lost all readership through your abuse of my first two points.

I suggest you bitch less, and pedal more. Maybe it will make you a more pleasant person (this opinion of mine that you are unpleasant is taken entirely from what you have written here, and in other comment sections that I have read)

Leave the writing to those who can

Philistine said...

Typical empty argument John. Shut up because you are a stupid foreigner. Nice pal. Try to beat her with logic not nanny nanny boo boo semantics. You can't, as your post shows.

She's not telling anyone not to bike, just not to get THEMSELVES killed and endanger each other, along with the rest of us, and be so fucking smug about it. The bikie behaviour of late is much like that of a pack of skinheads. You included.

Last I checked, this is a free country with free speech. Your side, John, is the only one in the fight that uses mob violence to silence dissent. Maybe the bikies should just do a Crystal Nacht on all those who oppose the new order? Eh, John?

boriskat said...

Firstly -- as a Jew, I am horrified by your use of a Nazi symbol to represent what a number of people have already told you is a fringe population. Please take it off.

Secondly -- your Dutch friend who was horrified by Portland bikers' behavior is correct. Bikers in Portland don't ride like they do in Holland because there are many millions fewer cars on the road there. I have been to Amsterdam a number of times, and oh, how I wish we could have a bike culture here like they do there. But until Americans learn to let go of their shiny playthings, it's not going to happen. It's a cultural thing -- but comparing bikers here to bikers in Holland really is like comparing apples to oranges.

Thirdly -- those who are criticizing Myra's grammar and spelling? I'd like to see you go to a foreign country and start a blog. Mind you, I completely disagree with what she is saying, but -- as the quotation goes -- I will defend to the death her right to say it.

Fourthly -- those commenters who are making an attempt at excusing bikers' bad behavior (as Myra sees it, mind you) by citing examples of bad motorist behavior are missing the point. It is not acceptable for EITHER bikers OR motorists to break the law or engage in reckless behavior. You are correct in saying that when motorists do it, it often results in death or severe injury, but bikers who break the law are not making it any easier for motorists to obey the law. I would much rather yield to a car on the street than end up all over that car's windshield -- whether that car is being driven by an oblivious moron or not. But when I stop at a stop sign, I am letting all of the cars (and pedestrians) around me know that I am obeying the law, and they can rely on my actions to know how they can, likewise, proceed in a safe manner.

Why is that so hard for some bikers to do? A very nice guy who works at a grocery store that I frequent has said that he breaks the law (in so many words) on his bike because he wants to change attitudes. I told him the other day, "We gave China the Olympics with that same premise in mind, and they haven't done anything about their human rights record..." Breaking the law on your bike really is only going to result in endangering yourself and others around you.

And for you, Myra -- why are you so angry? Bikers have just as much right to be on the road as every other road user does -- whether that is transit or cars or even people walking down the road because there is no sidewalk. Those people have families and people who love them, and if you are going to threaten them with bodily harm, well I hope you enjoy the American legal system as much as you enjoy driving your car.

John said...

"Shut up because you are a stupid foreigner"

Where did that come from? Who is a foreigner? Me, or the author of this blog?

Absolutely nothing I wrote had to do with anyone's race, point of origin, or anything of the sort.

I have no idea the nationality of the author of this blog, where they live, or who they actually are.

My comments are based on her(?) (as shown here and in other places) obviously skewed view of cycling in Portland, and of cyclists in Portland. And of the place bicycles have on the road.

I have valid points in my comment.
I know, when it comes to bikes,and writing, exactly what I am talking about.

As soon as you can contest what I have to say with validity, I will pay proper attention.

Philistine said...

John, Johnnie boy...

"Leave the writing to those who can"

You are, in effect, calling the blogger an ignorant dolt who should shut up, and take an English class in the mean time.

Second: When you decide to actually read this blog, then you should comment.

How's that you ignorant dolt? Your only argument so far is that other people can't write and commenters shouldn't comment on your post.

She clearly states that a) she's a woman, b) she's from Holland.

Try reading the whole thing, reactionary you.

richard said...

@boriskat: the swastika is obviously intended as a joke. Come on. Otherwise, you present a sound argument: breaking the law -- regardless of who's breaking it, regardless of how much damage they could cause by breaking it -- is dangerous and degrading to society. Offenders should be punished. End of argument.

But you're also an idiot. "But until Americans learn to let go of their shiny playthings, it's not going to happen." People, generally, don't like change. So how do we modify behavior? We modify behavior by making and changing (and effectively enforcing) laws. We change the conditions relevant to current behavior to encourage different, desired behavior. The desired behavior, in this case, is more attentive users of calmer, mixed-use roads. Thus bike boxes -- those big green things in front of too few intersections around town that give preferential treatment to cyclists. Thus tickets for cyclists who run stop signs and lights (enforcement should be better).

Amsterdam wasn't always the way it is today. Portland won't always be how it is today. And, at least for those who resist it, change can be annoying. Hence outlets like this.

I'm pretty new to Portland myself -- I've only been here since February -- and part of the draw was the bike culture. I haven't owned a car in two years. When I see a cyclist blow past a signal I want to scream. But reactionary piss like this blog make me more want to become a bikenazi myself. Or start attending city hearings. Whichever works.

John said...

Oh, Philistine, one more thing...

You typed "Your side, John, is the only one in the fight that uses mob violence to silence dissent."

You have no idea what my side even is! And you also type that, including me, the actions of cyclists are the same as the actions of skinheads!

You chastise me when you ENTIRELY and INCORRECTLY assume I am making these comments because the author of this blog may be a foreigner.

Then you basically call me a skinhead who uses mob violence to silence dissent.

I think you may need counseling.

Maybe you and Myra can get a group rate somewhere...

John said...

I read the blog, but for some reason did not catch that she is from Holland. Maybe it was the ludicrous statements that followed that information.... Quite distracting.

Still my comments had nothing to do with race, they had to do with how to get your point across.

Could I have been a little more pleasant about that? Yes.
Instead I was blunt and to the point.

Could I have gone on and on attacking the rest of what she wrote, on the basis of content, intent, and lack of understanding?
Yes. Easily.

Instead I chose to make a couple of basic points. Simple and to the point.

T Williams said...

What a cute wittle bwog! Euro Grrl vents - quaint - though your message and intelligence do share a lot with Mr. Lars Larson. You MUST be smart: you've linked to JPL!

I sincerely wish you the best of success in turning the tides of the Great Unwashed as 'Merika sloughs off car culture and switches to a far more practical method of transportation.

I will frequent this blog so I can watch you become increasingly frustrated. I do so hope that your posts continue and you don't get bored. It's like the best & worst of pulp fiction genre: titillating but vapid and without substance.

Tee hee! Fnck weg! De Nederlanders zijn hoe dan ook waardeloos!

John said...

Actually, I just reviewed the post I read (the recent one, I did not read the past posts since my doctor told me to try and keep my anxiety at a manageable level) and in it no where does it say where she is from at all.

I am vindicated!!!

Happy happy, joy joy!

John said...

From her personal profile: (the emphasis on her wording, native, is mine)

"Portland NATIVE Who Won't Sit Down For Being Bent Over By The Bike Nazi's"

Sexy Bike Chick said...


I am also a Jew and find your use of the term, 'Nazi' to be offensive.
I don't care what you think of Portland or our great bike community, which allows us low traffic and clean air, mind you.

But, to compare a few snobs on bikes who break the law with a group of germans who executed thousands of people is deplorable.

Bicyclists who break laws only hurt themselves, and certainly are not vicious killers.

Please stop complaining. People don't like whiners and complainers. It certainly will not make you a happier person, as biking will!

Anonymous said...

You incoherent, ignorant fucking bitch.

Anonymous said...

It is really unfortunate that you are taking this position. It's not bicyclists who are the problem. It is the general attitude of some folks who like to point fingers and blame others instead of focus on how they themselves may become better commuters.

It doesn't matter if I am on my bicycle, running down the street, or driving my car. I see people breaking the law in every aspect of transportation. I see people breaking the law everyday when they cross they jay walk against the light or not at a corner. I see people break the law when they drive 5 miles over the speed limit or stop in a crosswalk while they wait to turn against the light. I see people break the law everyday when they pedal through stoplights.

Instead of pointing the finger, and becoming what you hate in others (trying to force your opinions and viewpoints so you can control transportation options)... why not blog about what YOU can do yourself to help others be safe. HOW DO YOU each day behave so that others are safer in the world. Do you keep that speedometer on the correct mark? Do you cross the street where you are supposed to?

It is so sad to see someone hating Nazi's and turning into one in the process. RESIST POINTING THE FINGER . Because it allows you to turn focus away from yourself.

Anonymous said...

I am already laughing at the fact that a few blogs from now you guys will realize this is fake and the reverse psychology got you all riled-up and disconnected with reality for nothing....
...going for a safe legal bike ride.

Oregon007 said...


Maybe you should read this article,

It is a good article.

Oh, and your post about the RQTC, the cars don't go through because it is not meant for them to go through. Sure, the cyclists should not be going through there and they are not following the law, but I dare to ask where you would say that kids will die from what their parents are doing. People make their own choice and rarely do they do exactly what their parents did.

My father never uses a turn signal, yet I always use mine (on the bike and in my car). Do you use your turn signal every time you should use it? Do you know when you are supposed to use it?

The State of Oregon needs to educate motorists by re-testing drivers and not just giving out a drivers license and never retesting when news laws are always coming into play, and yes, they also need to educate cyclists on their rules.

The question remains, when will you blog about how bad the drivers are in this city?

Oregon007 said...


Where are you from? If you are not born and raised in Portland, then you are NOT a native.


You need to read and re-read the blog, the Oregon drivers manual, and make sure you know what you are talking about before typing it.

Both of you should do some research on Nazis and what they did before you go throwing around similarities between one group and them.

Caroline said...

Your arguments are idiotic. If you want someone to actually engage with you in them, spend some time in school, learn spelling, writing, listening, then argument.

You come off as an angry, bored, and possibly stoned 16 year-old.

Alternatively, this site is a parody or a hoax.

It's hard to tell.

John said...

One classification of bikers you forgot was the person who got too many DUIs and lost their liscense to drive. It's nice that you're trying biking! Also, your website is great! In college I belonged to a club :"republicans for a bike free portland." It was sort of tounge in cheek though.

Philistine said...

None of you ever knew a single skinhead or saw their tactics.

I have been around all kinds of gangs and they were the worst- because of the very type of behaviour that bikies exhibit when smashing a car up they don't like.

First: surround the victim. Next, any move the victim makes is a provacation, thereby justifying the beat down. Next you silence the witnesses into not cooperating with the cops. Any statement made to the cops, falsely no less, is backed up by those on your side. It's a mob mentality and will lead to death eventually.

The recent altercations in the news: a)here with the bikie City of Portland worker, and the reluctant witnesses who coincidentally were gathered to mob the car driver, and b) the critical mass beatdown of the man, with his family present, after they surrounded him- DEPRIVING HIM OF HIS CIVIL RIGHTS.

Yes this is skinhead behaviour, and you fucks defend it. When was the last time 10-20-30 car drivers surrounded a LONE bikie and proceded to the beat down?

Another bigot maneuver is the moral equivalent argument- lots of Jews went to the ovens because the Germans bought the propaganda - LARGELY BASED ON MORAL EQUIVALENT BULLSHIT. "They robbed us- we take it back". For you all: read about chrystal nacht and tell me I am wrong.

How hard is it to kill someone with a bicycle? About as easy as with a baseball bat and boots. We're just waiting for the first one.

And before you start in on the moral equivalent argument about cars smashing up bikies- NOT ONE death has been attributed to an angry violent attack via car. Just unfortunate accidents and dangerous biking around very heavy vehicles. Any road rage violence on behalf of a car driver, and there has been some, HAS NOT INVOLVED A DANGEROUS MOB MENTALITY AND INTENT TO COVER UP BY INVOLVED CAR DRIVING PERSONS.

Nazi=skinhead=mob. Don't let it equal YOU.

You will notice I am not linking ALL bicyclists with this, just the ones who surround victims and beat them down like a pack of jackals.

Paul Tay said...

ROFLMFAO! Love your blog. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Hey I've got a 5th bike type. TYhe "Leisures". These are folks who ride on the weekends and maybe to work once a week or for other local trips. like into local retail district to walk, shop, sip coffee.

Oh and maybe a 6th type, "Children"
These folks often commute to school, or take a trip to a friends house. They may understand the rules of the road (if their parents are responsible bikers probably from type 1-4) or they may not know the rules.

I was a child bike commuter to school, Today You'd probably generalize me as a type 1. I am skeptical of the intent and doubtful of the awareness of pretty much all the people I come across regardless of mode of transport. When I'm on the road I tend to pay attention as best I can and respect others. I tend not to spend my time stereotyping people as lawless cyclists, or vapid car drivers, or unaware pedestrians (though the temptation is there). I do my best to stay safe and not impede on those around me. Multiple times daily I see egregious safety hazards, carelessness, and violations of law by pretty much everybody out there (bike, car, ped, cop). Whether I'm walking, running, biking, driving, or just sitting looking out the window. Sometimes I make a mistake too. So far my mistakes haven't made news, I'm hoping to keep it that way.

Good luck to all.

Stay safe, calm, and clear minded.


Anonymous said...


You are a blithering idiot...

Anonymous said...

Interesting posts... but I have to agree with Eagerdrone(?) - there are other types of cyclists. My husband and I like to ride for fun and exercise. We bring our two young daughters with us in a bike trailer and we follow the laws as best we can and would never knowingly put ourselves, our girls or even someone in a car in danger. Yet despite the fact that we are polite bikers and follow the rules of the road, many drivers of automobiles do not. A perfect example occured just this weekend on an organized group family ride. We all rode single file, obeyed all laws of the road and yet I cannot tell you the number of cars that either passed at excessively high speeds and/or did not give a 2-3 foot berth. And we had our most precious possessions in a clearly marked and flagged child trailer! In addition to this, there were other families there that had young children riding alone and I am sure were a bit intimidated by the proximity of these vehicles. Come on people - if we are doing all we can to stay safe and follow the laws, why can't you as a driver? I drive a car too and I understand the frustration when a cyclist breaks a traffic law, but maybe you could be a bit more cautious when you see families out.

neurophyre said...

Biketard arguments:

1. You are in the wrong and no one will pay attention to you anyway because you place yr apostrophes stupidly. *ripple dissolve* 40 COMMENTS LATER...

2. OMG I am a Jew and you said Nazi. You are disgraceful and no one should even bother to dignify you with a response. Here is a 500 word point by point refutation of your arguments, BTW.


Eric Steen said...

another biker type:
"Walkers" are those who started walking because they are too embarrassed to to ride bikes anymore, don't want to be associated with the pretentious law-breaking bike riders, and because they enjoy life and have found that walking is a wonderful leisure.

Anonymous said...

Either you cycle responsibly, but without any pretension about the special role bicycles serve in the revitalization and overall revolution of urban life, or you're one of three grades of some kind of bike-nazi?

I don't drive a car, never intend to as long as it's my choice, and I think the benefits of cycling go well beyond personal pleasure, financial- and health-benefits. However, I obey the law, not without exception, but because I understand it's what makes transportation work. I get upset when I see punks who blow-red lights, or who don't signal when crossing into motorized traffic (unless there is no one around and it's reasonable to believe that the cyclist knew this too). In short, I get upset over people who make the road more dangerous and less trust-worthy, especially for would-be cyclists. I am not above the law, but I consider myself a bike-activist (not per your rubric). That said, most laws that punk cyclists break that annoy people like me and you are not critical to bike-activism (i.e. they are pragmatic and not a point of discrimination).

All in all, there is far more nuance to Portland bike-culture and bike-culture and activism in general than your picture paints.