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Old 01-02-08, 04:21 PM   #1
randya
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Anticyclist or just anti-roadie?

From The TimesDecember 27, 2007
Whatís smug and deserves to be decapitated?
Matthew Parris: My Week
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/com...cle3097464.ece

A festive custom we could do worse than foster would be stringing piano wire across country lanes to decapitate cyclists. Itís not just the Lycra, though Heaven knows this atrocity alone should be a capital offence; nor the helmets, though these ludicrous items of headgear are designed to protect the only part of a cyclist that is not usefully employed; nor the self-righteousness, though a small band of sports cyclists on winterís morning emits more of that than a cathedral at evensong; nor even the brutish disregard for all other road users, though the lynching of a cyclist by a mob of mothers with pushchairs would be a joy to witness.

No, yet another cyclist-generated horror Ė and a new one Ė has come to my attention this Christmas. Theyíre chucking their empty cans of hi-energy drinks into hedgerows as they pass.

Bin-liners in hand, a group of us, infused with the seasonal goodwill that illuminates this column, of course, decided to walk a mile of a pretty and winding lane that had become particularly badly littered this winter, and collect it all. Itís amazing how much of the stuff there is when you start looking, and we ended up with a whole sackful. And what was the principal offending item? Plastic bottles and empty cans of Lucozade, Gatorade and other blood-sugar-boosting products were lodged high in hedgerows at cyclist level. Forgive me, but pedestrians were not the culprits here.

What is the carbon footprint of a panting, sugar-gulping, chocolate-chewing, Lycra-clad leisure-cyclist? a) His or her journey is totally unnecessary; b) whole convoys of cargo boats steam the Atlantic to bring the molasses to be energy-intensively refined for them; and c) the chemical processes that generate the vile materials that clothe, shoe and helmet a cyclist Ė not a man-made fibre among them Ė will be poisoning entire provinces of China.

But itís the bad manners one cannot forgive. Driving or walking, donít you just hate the way that, riding two or three abreast, they shout and curse at you or whir their angry little bells, as though itís your problem that they need to clear the way? In just one little posse of these monsters there are levels of self-satisfaction that could power a small religious crusade.

Does cycling turn you into an insolent jerk? Or are insolent jerks drawn disproportionately to cycling?
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Old 01-02-08, 04:34 PM   #2
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50% anti-roadie, 50% anti-cyclist...because I doubt many people distinguish between types of cyclists, so it rubs off on everyone else.
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Old 01-02-08, 04:47 PM   #3
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Just by sending in the letter, it looks like he's demonstrating some of the same characteristics he accuses others of having on the road.
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Old 01-02-08, 04:53 PM   #4
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Any journalist with any kind of audience who would, even tongue in cheek, suggest stringing piano wire across roads to decapitate cyclists is simply an *******. Oh, sorry, it's The Times. Make that an arsehole.

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Old 01-02-08, 06:04 PM   #5
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Although I dont agree with the tone of the article
I would agree that roadies are the gateway into
hating all cyclists. Arrogant roadies have done more to
hinder our efforts to gain respect than all the critical
masses and wrongway liteless bum bikers have, combined.
It might even be a small percentage of them, but its the
image that stays.
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Old 01-02-08, 06:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogBoy View Post
50% anti-roadie, 50% anti-cyclist...because I doubt many people distinguish between types of cyclists, so it rubs off on everyone else.
100% some homicidal idiot ranting, and using anything as an excuse to air his personal grudge. Notice that he never said he actually seen any cyclists throw those bottles, just that they were "cyclists hight".
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Old 01-02-08, 06:32 PM   #7
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Right back at'cha, Matthew Parris.

Quote:
...yet another motorist-generated horror – one that has been with us since the first car rolled down the, then unpaved, road. They’re chucking their empty cans of beer and liquor bottles into hedgerows as they pass.

Bin-liners in hand, a group of us, infused with the seasonal goodwill that illuminates this column, of course, decided to walk a mile of a pretty and winding lane that had become particularly badly littered this winter, and collect it all. It’s amazing how much of the stuff there is when you start looking, and we ended up with a whole sackful. And what was the principal offending item? Glass bottles and empty cans of Budweiser, Schlitz, Bass Ale and other intoxicating products were lodged high in hedgerows at motorist level. Forgive me, but pedestrians were not the culprits here.

What is the carbon footprint of a panting, beer-swilling, fast food-chewing, diabetes-prone motorist?
a) His or her journey is usually totally unnecessary by car; b) whole convoys of cargo boats steam the Atlantic to bring the petroleum to be energy-intensively refined for them; and c) the chemical processes that generate the vile materials that manufacture their vehicles – not a man-made fibre among them – will be poisoning entire provinces of China.

But it’s the bad manners one cannot forgive. Cycling or walking, don’t you just hate the way that, speeding at ten or more miles per hour over the legal speed limit, they shout and curse at you or blare their angry little horns, as though it’s your problem that they need to clear the way? In just one little posse of these monsters there are levels of self-satisfaction that could power a small religious crusade.

Does motoring turn you into an insolent jerk? Or are insolent jerks drawn disproportionately to driving?
Now, I know that not all motorists are like this. Which is why I don't do this kind of childish, broad brush generalization. However, very nearly all the trash I see on the shoulders of the roads is attributable to motorists. There simply are not enough pedestrians and cyclists together in this area to generate that much garbage.

Keep at it, Matt. One day you'll learn to write, and think, above a 3rd grade level.

Last edited by CommuterRun; 01-02-08 at 07:04 PM.
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Old 01-02-08, 06:52 PM   #8
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For me, I was pretty much an insolent jerk before I got into cycling. But if I was more insolent, or even more jerkier, then perhaps I could be writing for the Times today.
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Old 01-02-08, 06:55 PM   #9
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I don't think it's anti-cyclist, per se, because so much of what is mentioned seems to be aimed at the stereotypical roadie. Lycra was mentioned several times, and he also mentioned helmets, which around here are pretty much worn by roadies and children.
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Old 01-02-08, 07:00 PM   #10
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I dunno, I wasn't as much of an insolent, road-hogging jerk before jack-ass motorists taught me to be that way. The author does bring up some very valid criticisms of your average Yuppie tool roadie, though. Generally the cyclists who are into thinking Green and the ones who want the latest carbon fiber trinkets don't agree on much.
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Old 01-02-08, 07:33 PM   #11
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I'm guessing he doesn't commute to the office by bike.....
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Old 01-02-08, 10:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CommuterRun View Post
Right back at'cha, Matthew Parris.



Now, I know that not all motorists are like this. Which is why I don't do this kind of childish, broad brush generalization. However, very nearly all the trash I see on the shoulders of the roads is attributable to motorists. There simply are not enough pedestrians and cyclists together in this area to generate that much garbage.

Keep at it, Matt. One day you'll learn to write, and think, above a 3rd grade level.
Well done response!
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Old 01-03-08, 07:16 AM   #13
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Chucking trash - not good.
Piano wire - not good
Too much time reading this - not good
I'm going riding - that's good
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Old 01-03-08, 09:08 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -=£em in Pa=- View Post
I would agree that roadies are the gateway into
hating all cyclists. Arrogant roadies have done more to
hinder our efforts to gain respect than all the critical
masses and wrongway liteless bum bikers have, combined.
It might even be a small percentage of them, but its the
image that stays.
You still haven't gotten over your prejudices I see. You need to broaden your observations and realize that road cyclists have done a lot to further the acceptance of cycling. Many go to city meetings and arrogantly demand bike facilities and improved laws. I don't see the bums there doing that.

Al
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Old 01-03-08, 09:59 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
You still haven't gotten over your prejudices I see. You need to broaden your observations and realize that road cyclists have done a lot to further the acceptance of cycling. Many go to city meetings and arrogantly demand bike facilities and improved laws. I don't see the bums there doing that.

Al
Thank you, Al!
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Old 01-03-08, 10:25 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CommuterRun View Post
Right back at'cha, Matthew Parris.



Now, I know that not all motorists are like this. Which is why I don't do this kind of childish, broad brush generalization. However, very nearly all the trash I see on the shoulders of the roads is attributable to motorists. There simply are not enough pedestrians and cyclists together in this area to generate that much garbage.

Keep at it, Matt. One day you'll learn to write, and think, above a 3rd grade level.
Excellent!
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Old 01-03-08, 10:31 AM   #17
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Matthew Parris has now apologised after 200+ complaints to the Press Complaints Commission:

Quote:
I offended many with my Christmas attack on cyclists. It was meant humorously but so many cyclists have taken it seriously that I plainly misjudged. I am sorry.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/com...cle3123486.ece

The editor (James Harding) of the Times penned the following in response to a number of complaints:

Quote:
Thank you for taking the time to write to me about Matthew Parris's article (My Week, December 7).

As someone who regularly rides to work and who likes to go on cycling holidays, I shared your alarm, initially fearing that Matthew had it in for me too. But I think it was immediately clear that he was exaggerating for effect - and for a good cause: cyclists, as much as anyone else, must share his determination to protect the natural world from litter and pollution.

I have received many similar e-mails and take note of the heartfelt indignation. You may also have seen the piece that ran in the paper on Monday in defence of the cyclist. While I admire the passion of the cycling lobby and count myself one of their number, I think we do ourselves no favours when we lose our sense of humour and I hope that you, like me, will continue to enjoy Matthew Parrisís excellent writing. That said, two wheels good etc.
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