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Bikes Not Bombs mess in Georgetown this morning.(32 posts)

Bikes Not Bombs mess in Georgetown this morning.MB1
Mar 20, 2003 6:59 AM
On cold, rainy days like this I get an early start to avoid as much traffic as possible going into downtown. Now I am not going to go into my political views but as a cyclist I like to be as invisible as I can while commuting. I figure just go with the flow and stay out of every ones way it the safest long term riding style for a bicycle commuter.

Anyway on my way through Georgetown traffic was a mess. Right out of the house traffic was in gridlock mode. Of course on a bicycle I got right through it and found the problem.

There were maybe 50 marchers and 20 cyclists that appeared to be fairly peacefully going down the sidewalk surrounded by hordes of police in cars, on motorcycles and on bicycles. Three of the protesters had a great big banner that read "Bikes Not Bombs".

Now I generally approve of police on bicycles and these looked really professional and well set up. They were riding nice looking white Trek "Police" mountain bikes well equipped with racks, lights, bags and such. The police were wearing helmets, nice rain gear and bright vests.

The bike riding protesters on the other hand were a sorry looking lot and in my opinion an embarrassment to cyclists everywhere. It looked to me like some folks who wanted to protest the war dragged ancient toy-store bikes out of their parents garage, strapped flags on wooden sticks to the frames and rode off without even inflating the tires. It was cold and wet and they were clearly not prepared to ride in rain. Their blue jeans and sweatshirts were soaked through and the bikes looked very unsafe-good thing they were only moving at a slow walking pace and were not in traffic.

So why am I reporting this and what do I think about the whole thing?

#1 if you are going to protest in the name of bicyclists you ought to be a bicyclist. These folks clearly were not and as a cyclist it somewhat offended me.

#2 Bicycling is by far the best way to get around a city. The traffic mess only slowed me down a little bit-anyone driving or taking a bus was stopped for at least an hour.

#3 what are the protestors thinking? All they succeeded in doing was to really annoy commuters who are after all just working folks.

#4 has the world forgotten about fenders? I was the only one out there on a cold, wet morning with fenders on my bike. Even the well equipped police who are out in all kinds of weather didn't have them. What were they thinking?
what were they thinking? they weren't. nmJS Haiku Shop
Mar 20, 2003 7:03 AM
Think about this...merckx56
Mar 20, 2003 9:11 AM
"It is the soldier, not the reporter who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who gives us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag."
~Father Dennis Edward O'Brien, Sergeant, USMC
Think about this...Mel Erickson
Mar 20, 2003 9:22 AM
It is the Constitution that guarantees us these freedoms. Without it the soldiers may not be so benevolent.
Think about this...nukeprooof
Mar 20, 2003 9:58 AM
i'm no civics major, but I do believe that it is the Constitution that provides any person the above mentioned rights.
true, but...merckx56
Mar 20, 2003 10:44 AM
The Constitution is a piece of paper. It was written by men who asumed a leadership role AFTER a war for independance. Without those who are willing to serve, you may be able to sit on your computer and type whatever is on your mind. Without those who were willing to serve, you may be goose-stepping down a promenade on a Saturday morning, instead of riding your bike. Think what you want about the reasoning of this action in the Middle East, but never doubt the courage and conviction of those that protect your freedom!
You miss the pointMel Erickson
Mar 20, 2003 12:12 PM
Without the Constitution there would be no freedoms to protect. In fact, we could easily be goose-stepping down the promenade, not because we were subjugated by the Germans but because we were forced to do it by our own rulers. The point being, it's the Constitution that holds those that would subjugate us in check. It's the Constitution that established our system of checks and balances and our institutions. We owe our freedom to that wimpy piece of paper because without it there would be nothing to hold the military (government) in check. That's what the framers of our constitution were concerned about. That's why there's a second amendment. Our founders understood full well the power of government and much of the Constitution was written to protect us, as individuals, from that power. They understood that power could be wielded against us as well as for us.
no, I think you didmerckx56
Mar 20, 2003 12:24 PM
The initial post of mine was to remind folks that the soldiers are far away, doing was they sacked up to do. No one had to force them to go. They knew what they signed up for and what they are protecting. You don't owe your freedom to the Constitution. Last I checked, they don't roll it up and go around wacking people with it. You owe your freedom to those very soldiers who have left their friends and families behind to do what has been asked of them, just as they have always done! Without them, the Constitution isn't worth the paper it is written on. The sharp end of the sword is what allows you to wake up and have coffee every morning.
Without the might of the American military, a very different set of rules may very well be the rule of the land, not the Constitution.
I think you meanMel Erickson
Mar 20, 2003 1:44 PM
Without the Constition a very different set of rules may very well be the rule of the land and that might be the military. What I think you fail to understand is that those good men and women in the military have been sent there by our political leaders. They didn't spontaneously decide to hop on a plane with their own weapons and take on Hussein. I admire their courage and their willingness to serve but they are over there because our political leaders sent them there. Our government, the government established by the Constitution, sent them there. The main difference between the United States and Iraq IS the Constitution. Without it our nation would be subject to the same hegemony that Hussien wields over Iraq.

Don't forget, that sharp sword that allows me to wake up and have coffee every morning has two edges. It is the Constitution that keeps it from being wielded on me.
drop bikes on Iraq?DougSloan
Mar 20, 2003 7:12 AM
Their slogan doesn't even make sense.

I agree.

Doug
FendersAlex-in-Evanston
Mar 20, 2003 7:16 AM
MB1, have you got a pair of fenders on the Gunnar that can handle a cross tire - say, maybe a 32? I've got the older 120mm rear with canti's.

Thanks,

Alex
SKS cromo-plastic just barely work with Avocet 700X38.MB1
Mar 20, 2003 7:55 AM
I don't normally run those tires with fenders though since just about anything the tires pick up on the road gets stuck between the tire and fender.

My smaller 700X28 tires fit fine with no problems picking up junk, I don't own any 700X32 tires. I speculate that 32's would work but might still have a clearance problem with road crud.
re: Bikes Not Bombs mess in Georgetown this morning.ericdrum
Mar 20, 2003 7:17 AM
Bikes just don't have the same effect when trying to destroy a communications center as a bomb does. Most people just don't understand this. Maybe if the U.S. put some gunpowder or something inside the frame? That might work. My vote would be that the U.S. sticks with bombs if they want to resolve this conflict quickly.
There's not enough steel in those toy-store bikes ...Humma Hah
Mar 20, 2003 7:23 AM
... to make decent fragmentation bombs, and they're so aerodynamic they wouldn't be able to be rigged as precision munitions.

I say its a dumb idea. Bombs are much more effective for the present effort.

I will side with the protestors in one regard: bikes don't use gas. If more people had been using 'em for the last 30 years, the whole middle-east mess would have a lot less funding. But I really doubt they changed many minds today.
unless....el_pato
Mar 20, 2003 8:03 AM
This Bike is a Pipe Bomb.....
They aren't "cyclists"Fez
Mar 20, 2003 7:19 AM
You wrote:

#1 if you are going to protest in the name of bicyclists you ought to be a bicyclist. These folks clearly were not and as a cyclist it somewhat offended me.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Like you said, the traffic was awful everywhere. Bicycles were simply the best way for them to meet up, set up, and take up space and protest in a conspicuous manner.

But they aren't cyclists so I'm sure they really didn't care about the image it may project on cyclists as a whole.

By the way, what the heck does "BIKES NOT BOMBS" mean?
They aren't "cyclists"Seth1
Mar 20, 2003 7:53 AM
probably that we should all ride bikes rather than drive and attack other countries to support our oil dependence. Pretty attenuated. It sounds like this group wasn't the best to deliver the message.
OMG!Fez
Mar 20, 2003 8:03 AM
A ruthless dictator kills and gases his own people, supports terrorism, has stocks of weapons of mass destruction, and when we go in there to disarm, its all about the freakin oil dependence again.

Their "bikes not bombs" slogan is really weak.

If they want peace, fine. All I ask is they:

1) Propose a better solution (they never do - all they say is not to go to war).

2) Stop tying it to oil.
OMG...no fenders? what is this world coming to?sievers11
Mar 20, 2003 8:08 AM
My point exactly! "Save the World-Use Fenders!"MB1
Mar 20, 2003 8:22 AM
Now that is a movement I would support.
need them here about 5 days a year nmDougSloan
Mar 20, 2003 8:27 AM
Doug

Disclaimer: Since this is an internet forum posting, and statements here are frequently viewed other than how intended, this author disclaims any intent to be rude, offensive, or insensitive; this author frequently uses sarcasm and other forms of intended humor to make points, and those measures are also commonly misinterpreted. Therefore, please take no offense unless the intent to offend is expresly stated. Thank you.
Just think how happy you will be while riding those 5 days. nmMB1
Mar 20, 2003 8:55 AM
actually have them on the Milano and tandem. nmDougSloan
Mar 20, 2003 9:06 AM
re: Bikes Not BombsLeroy
Mar 20, 2003 8:32 AM
I heard about this driving to work - listening to NPR, naturally - I got so pi$$ed off I almost had to pull over. Stupidest damn thing I ever heard. Thank God these types aren't in charge. This will cause the angry driver/suv posts to skyrocket!
Make bikes, not warTimo Vennonen
Mar 20, 2003 8:47 AM
That's my slogan.
protest isn't supposed to be pleasantctisevn
Mar 20, 2003 9:04 AM
good for them. they have a position and they're making it known. their website which is linked to from another website that has some good ideas, makes it pretty clear they are not the full team kit wearing calfee riding type cyclist that some are.

they seem to have accomlished their task as well based on this...

#3 what are the protestors thinking? All they succeeded in doing was to really annoy commuters who are after all just working folks.

that's the point of civil disobedience and protest. to make you notice, favorably or unfavorably. You did. whether you agree with them or not, they're message got out.
All they did was make commuters hate them and their POV. nmMB1
Mar 20, 2003 9:23 AM
hate M?ctisevn
Mar 20, 2003 9:42 AM
a bit strong for something that you were able to "get right through".
I would speculate that some, perhaps a great minority, were sympathetic to their views though. maybe not. either way, their voices were heard.
Didn't slow me down much, I wasn't in a motor vehicle.MB1
Mar 20, 2003 9:59 AM
You have to understand that most folks in DC saw the Pentagon burn. Many folks knew someone or knew of someone who died there or in the WTC or in Pennsylvania. (In a side note Miss M worked in the WTC for many years and was really shook up about the attack there).

Since September 11th there have been many "Anti-War" groups in town many of whom have promised to shut the town down. I believe that locals may have some sympathy for the peace message but no empathy at all for people who want to "Shut the town down," and keep us from our jobs.

As a cyclist I was offended by a group who were clearly not cyclists carrying a "Bikes not Bombs" message. I am afraid that the only result of their protest was to make a lot of commuters a lot less friendly to cyclists.
understoodctisevn
Mar 20, 2003 10:28 AM
I empathize with your sentiments. I don't share your perception of the relevance of the sept 11 events to their actions though. I'd sooner they not set out to "shut the town down" either but such are the means of dissent.
As for their velo credentials, they're just people with bikes. they've incorporated the bikes into their fundraising and groups identity but I don't think they appear to be trying to represent cyclists at large. If they were they would have gone full kit and gotten some sponsors. err..maybe not the sponsors. they may not be portraying the image many of us would like but their message is an important one, I think.
Re:All they did was make commuters hate them and their POVTWD
Mar 20, 2003 10:12 AM
And worse yet, it makes all the motorist associate all cyclist with this group of yahoos.

I can't think of a worse way to promote alternative transportation (which is their group's stated goal) than to enrage motorists against ALL cyclist.

The average motorist draws little distincition between the "Bikes Not Bombs" crowd and anybody else on a bike.

In motorists eyes, we're all lumped into one group "those F*$*!ng bikers" Just like when the local trainig ride decides to block the road, or the local college student flies down the sidewalk then cuts across two lanes of traffic and runs a red light.
amen TWD nmContinental
Mar 20, 2003 2:42 PM