Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Regular Movements: Ordinary is the New Revolutionary

When we talk about a social movement, we generally mean (as Merriam-Webster defines it) "a series of organized activities working toward an objective." Consider for example the American Civil Rights Movement, or the Women's Movement, or the American Labor Movement. These were the plate tectonics that shifted our cultural landscape and transformed us into a more enlightened and egalitarian society.

Of course, now that (some) workers can collect a fair wage, and women can wear pants, and black people and white people can urinate side-by-side in perfect harmony in public restrooms all over America, it's only natural that we should enter into a period of "movement depreciation." This is because all the big battles have all been fought, and so now we're down to little skirmishes. Consequently, just like matching your grips to your saddle now qualifies as "curating," pretty much anything that's more than one person is doing at the same time now counts as a "movement." This includes riding a bicycle in regular clothes, as you can see in this article about the "Slow Bike Movement" which was forwarded to me by a reader:

Apparently, the Slow Bike Movement consists of "those who eschew speed and spandex in favor of sitting upright and slowly making their way through town in whatever they happen to be wearing that day." In other words, they're people with no agenda whatsoever doing nothing that's even remotely remarkable.

That's all great, but how is it a "movement?" The Freedom Riders of the 1960s were part of a movement, and I suppose the Klansmen were also part of a movement (albeit a twisted and reprehensible one), but the average schmuck who just sat on his couch watching "Mister Ed" and didn't really care one way or the other was not. Today, however, he'd be part of the rapidly-growing "Indifference Movement," and would be the subject of fawning feature articles about these brave preservationists with the courage to maintain the status quo by doing fuck-all and not giving a shit.

It's "passive resistance," only without the resistance.

Of course, like any modern movement, the Slow Bikes Movement is not so much an actual movement as it is a marketing demographic, which is why its spokespeople are bike company owners:

"When I think about the Slow Bike Movement, I think of bikes that allow people to sit upright, see your surroundings, be more visible to your environment that you're riding," says Public Bikes' Dan Nguyen-Tan. "As a company, we're in the middle of this wave of growing numbers of people incorporating a bike into their daily lives."

This is great news, since it turns out that I'm not just a regular schlub when I'm going to the store to pick up bagels. I'm actually a member of the Slow Bike Movement, and this makes me feel vastly better about myself. I guess I'm also a member of the Slow Running Movement by default, since sometimes when I go to get bagels I don't even bother with the bike. Slow runners are those who eschew high-tech shoes and Lycra running shorts in favor of slowly making their way through town in whatever they happen to be wearing that day. This is also sometimes called "walking." When I think about the Slow Running Movement, I think of shoes that allow people to stand upright, see their surroundings, and, most importantly, feel really good about themselves for no reason whatsoever. It's a wave of growing numbers of people incorporating footwear into their daily lives.

And finally, when I eat the bagels, I'm a member of the Slow Eating Movement. Slow eaters are those who eschew speed and special headbands in favor of sitting upright and consuming their sustenance in whatever they happen to be wearing that day:

Though I will occasionally "Cat 6" someone at Subway by trying to eat my sandwich faster than them.

I suppose the "movement" appellation isn't totally unwarranted, though, since it's true the average sub-Canadian has trouble understanding the bicycle when it's not being used as a piece of sporting equipment. In this sense, riding a bicycle in whatever you happen to be wearing actually is something of a countercultural act, which is a sad commentary on Americo-Canadian society. If only we could all move to Vilnius in Lithuania, where the mayor crushes bike lane-blocking cars with tanks, then maybe we'd finally get some respect:


Here's video of the crushing, which transcends "publicity stunt" and goes all the way to "smugness porn:"



“I wanted to send a message” Mr Zuokas told the media. “I want to point out that if you have a car and more money it doesn’t mean that you can park it everywhere. Recently there’s been an increase in this type of parking violations, and it shows a lack of respect for others”.

This is a fascinating concept, though it goes against everything I've been taught as a sub-Canadian. "Respect," as I've always understood it, is something you only use in lieu of money, like food stamps. Then, once you actually have money, you're supposed to use that instead of respect. I didn't think it was legal or even possible to pay people both money and respect. Isn't that a conflict of interest? Once you can afford it, I thought it was your responsibility to treat people poorly and to buy expensive stuff with logos on it. Those logos are basically de facto permits, and they allow you to do stuff like this:

Where's the mayor of Vilnius when you need him? I'd even settle for Mayor Bloomburg on a Big Wheel.

Meanwhile, in Australia, a reader informs me that cyclists are now being punished for getting in the way of people's car doors:


“We have seen a number of incidents recently, particularly in the St Kilda Road area, where cyclists have collided with opening car doors," Senior Sergeant Huntington said.

Naturally, then, the police are cracking down--on the cyclists. This seems akin to punishing a shooting victim for getting in the way of a bullet, but perhaps it's a southern hemisphere thing. Anyway, this is for the cyclists' own protection, since when you have an accident on your bike there's "no second chance:"

"There's no second chance for a bike rider. When involved in an accident it's always going to be a serious incident."

Right, because it's completely impossible to have a non-serious accident on a bicycle:



Laugh if you will, but he died of his injuries only hours later.

Yes, it's essential to keep up the illusion that cycling is a suicidal endeavor, for it allows your local authorities to discourage it altogether and then punish you for your own protection if you have the temerity to do it anyway. The truth is I'd much rather be involved in a boneheaded bicycle crash while I'm on a Slow Bike Movement-style bagel run than a car crash on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, but that's only because I tend to forget it's impossible to get hurt in a car but riding a bicycle is certain death.

Speaking of doorings, I wonder if you're likely to fare better against a car door if you're riding an "incumbent bicycle:"

The above image was forwarded to me by a reader, and while I don't know about the dooring scenario it does turn out that these so-called "incumbent bicycles" do raise visibility issues:

Incumbent Bicycle Car Crash In Oregon And Washington

Having handled many bike crashes (involving cars) in Oregon these last 17 years I know bikers get the bad rap. Often in bike versus car crash and this applies equally well to incumbent bike car crashes. Incumbent bikes are designed to ride lower to the ground making visibility often a recurring issue in bike car cases whether involving settlement or litigation of the injury case.

Biking laws in Oregon and Washington do not differentiate between incumbent bike law and non incumbent bike law so the regular rules of the road apply. I have seen more serious injuries involving incumbent bikes versus non incumbent but I have also seen a much higher knowledge of bike rules and biker expertise of those who ride incumbent bikes.


I still don't know what an "incumbent bicycle" is, though the Peterson Law Office's use of the term does make me doubt their expertise. Perhaps this (forwarded by a reader) is an "incumbent bicycle:"


Or maybe the builder just wanted to know what it would feel like to be a pair of "pants yabbies."

139 comments:

Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...

winnah!

Anonymous said...

HA.

mikeweb said...

Here there. Care to rent my Tank?

Anonymous said...

PODIUM

Anonymous said...

Topical Tentacle

Anonymous said...

Contador

Anonymous said...

Ah, there you are.

hey nonny mouse

Paul Bowen said...

Top X!

Anonymous said...

I like zucchini.

le Correcteur said...

Shit! Paused to read; could have been first;

A great line:

"It's "passive resistance," only without the resistance."

Amy said...

the movement is the message!

Kenneth Buttercup said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
I am a fast engine said...

fast bikes, slow bikes, now woo hoo is woooooooooooo hoooooooooooo

leroy said...

Movement? Piffle.

Wake me up when they got a whole symphony.

OBA said...

the dog ate my embrocation

Anonymous said...

Who knew that I was part of a movement? I thought that I was just slow.

ant1 said...

ant1st!

Grump said...

Everyone knows that in incumbent bike is a Serotta that is being ridden by John Kerry.

Neil said...

Isn't an incumbent bicycle one that was elected in the last election?

xyxax said...

Right then, we'll be needing an incumbabe.

g said...

I know when I skip the cheese and load up on broccoli, I am part of a very regular movement. Not sure if it's revolutionary, though.

GhostOfTyrone said...

No more incumbent bicycles!

Violently Bisexual Space Lizard 2012!

Stop wasting your votes on candidates who are all cool with the extraheterestrials on other worlds. He is also cool with back people peeing anywhere they want!Mannish up, America!

Kenny Banya said...

meh

Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...

I know if I DON'T HAVE a movement, I'll ride slowly.

Anonymous said...

say it loud, I'm back and I'm proud.

Anonymous said...

And the glass gets swept into the bike lane just like in the good old Canadian chamois.

ptfe said...

Reading this blog made me part of the Slow Work Movement, which also focuses on inclining in one's chair and rebibing alcoholic beverages at mid-day.

fantasm said...

can we see recumbabe eating one (or more) of those hotdogs?

huh,

can we?

leroy said...

My dog is trying to break into the bike review business and asked me to post his writing sample.

I like carb bikes and I can not lie
You other brothers can’t deny
That when a frame rolls by with monocoque tubes
And cogs by Dura Ace
You get sprung, longer than Voeckler’s tongue
‘Cause you note that derailleur is hung
With shifting that’s ‘lectronic
I’m hooked and I’m total chronic
S Works, I wanna get with ya
And take your picture
My home boys tried to drop me
But now I ride just like Fausto Coppi.

I'd tell my dog not to quit his day job if I could figure out what exactly he did.

Anonymous said...

Why are there bike lanes in Lithuania, it doesn't seem like there are any cars?

crosspalms said...

There I was, urinating side-by-side in perfect harmony when I realized I'd forgotten the part about the public restroom. I tried to tell people we were just writing our names, but no one bought it. Now we've started a Kickstarter "help us post bail" page.

petrus said...

Slow Bike First!

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

I feel it incumbent upon myself to issue a statement here today: Lob help us!

Leroy that dog of yours is a real renaissance dog.

WRM said...
"In other words, they're people with no agenda whatsoever doing nothing that's even remotely remarkable."

Hmmm, that sounds like most of the commenters on this blog.

I've been riding slow to and from work but it's because its so damn hot.

Anonymous said...

Someone get Wildcat Rock Machine some bran flakes. He forgot the most important movement of all!

Anonymous said...

So sick of these incumbent bicycles; considering starting a petition to impose term limits.

Anonymous said...

"(...)using a troop carrier to crush a junked Mercedes W140, just like the Soviets used to."

Yeah, it was the 3rd most popular sport in the USSR, right after marathon vodka swilling and Jew-hunting.

Anonymous said...

Back is beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Once you go back you'll never go ba...

Oh, never mind.

streepo said...

I was going to write something either terrible or terribly witty but I feel a movement coming and I need to go.

JB said...

I had "movement depreciation" once, until I inreased my (not-crabon) fiber intake.

crosspalms said...

But with term limits, incumbent bicycles become lame duck bicycles. That can't be good.

sorry but i got to ask said...

is there an

incumbent conspiracy as well?

wp

Bill Smith said...

I enjoyed the smugness porn.

Teemac said...

I can't imagine how one could ever true the wheels of an incumbent bike... They'd never fit on my truing stand.

We are Team UstaB said...

an incumbent bike cant be responsible for any accidents involving other vehicles, as, clearly, they were there before!
And already assuming crash position....

db said...

"Leroy's Dog 2012!"

Anonymous said...

That's either a dicycle or a mobile sex swing.

I half expect to see that at recumbentp-rn.com.

yogisurf said...

Wiiillllllber

Amega said...

I've always referred to my participation in the "Slow Bike Movement" as "Taking it easy because I'm not in a hurry." Awesome! I'm in a movement!

David Henderson said...

Has anyone actually read the article, "Cyclists face fines as police get tough". It's not too outrageous. (The fines seemed a bit high).

There were recent cycling deaths & injuries and they are trying to prevent more. They don't list the particular details of the accidents that caused these deaths, but they were focusing on enforcing laws concerning riding in the dark without lights, reflectors or wearing helmets.

Oh, and apparently dooring was a serious issue (again... night riding without lights or a helmet).

Anonymous said...

An "Incumbent bicycle" is what the mayor of Vilnius will need to be able to ride very fast because that mobster who's car he squashed with his tank is about to have him whacked.

Anonymous said...

51!

Anonymous said...

well, 53!

Naughty Rabbit said...

I'm a naughty rabbit. I know you want to discipline me - just look at you.

I can tell.

Anonymous said...

A much more interesting article.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=%2Fc%2Fa%2F2011%2F07%2F31%2FDDID1KFEE3.DTL


The really slow movement

http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/columnists/ct-x-brotman-outside-if-you-go-20110720,0,2459309.column

I have been to Vilnus, that is by far the stupidest publicity stunt ever performed. Considering that most of those cars are owned by crime bosses with Russian bazookas, you will be hearing about the mayors death shortly.

Stupid Name said...

A much more interesting article.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=%2Fc%2Fa%2F2011%2F07%2F31%2FDDID1KFEE3.DTL


The really slow movement

http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/columnists/ct-x-brotman-outside-if-you-go-20110720,0,2459309.column

I have been to Vilnus, that is by far the stupidest publicity stunt ever performed. Considering that most of those cars are owned by crime bosses with Russian bazookas, you will be hearing about the mayors death shortly.

Benny Kanya. said...

ant3rd!

Nebraska bike commuter (non-DWI edition) said...

I had a nice movement this morning, but I'm too late to the comments to say anything new funny about it.

the turdistan carcrusher said...

i consider every slow bowel movement as revolutionary.

Anonymous said...

Just did my daily 8 miles!

Marcel Da Chump said...

I'm visualizing Big Daddy Kane rapping: MAKE LIKE ROY ROGERS AND SLOOOW DOWN.

the bike dork said...

In spite of my new carbon bike and Lycra pants, I am still part of the slow bike movement. Just plain slow!

bikesgonewild said...

...the noted russian composer, shitagorski once played, whilst constipated, the whole second movement of his latest concerto...

...the critics raved, "...a brilliant piece played by a true virtuoso..."

...later, while acknowledging the accolades, the humble shitagorski commented "...it was nothing compared to my first regular movement of the day"...

Hewwey 'Figg'g Newton said...

BACK POWER!

bikesgonewild said...

...it should be noted that bsnyc/rtms/wcrm's first paragraph is truly both literature & quite brilliant, lest it be buried in our usual crap (regular movements) here in the comment section...

...just sayin'...

JDH said...

Once again, I got nothin'.

Anonymous said...

Riding slow since 1970 (give or take a year or two)! And to think, I was part of a movement all along and didn't know it.

Panties!

Anonymous said...

Back cock is bigger.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

@BGW
I had no idea you were such a cultured and knowledgeable gentleman.

Its one thing to be friends with Zappa's touring band but the Great Shitagorski!

Bravo!

Nesta said...

Exodus!

Movement of Jah People!

Self-obsessed and Sexee said...

that incumbent cycle

is right up my

alley.

Anonymous said...

Ha. Best post in a while. Love the bullshitification movement stuff and all the respect/logo truisms as well. Very accurate here in new York anyway.

SingleSpeedMark said...

Love the Mayor video, stunt or not. Can you imagine Bloomberg doing this?

Anonymous said...

Brilliant! I just became a member of the slow dump movement. It involves eating a whole lot of cheese, but the time I get alone, sitting upright is fantastic!

Mick Jagoff said...

I SEE A RD DOOR AND I WANT TO PAINT IT BACK

Anonymous said...

Obviously an incumbent bicycle is the one you have now, that you're kind of bored with. The one that, a year from November, you would like to replace with what you (possibly mistakenly) believe to be a better crabon one.

Pink Lobster

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Snob for the car crushing mayor story. FuGg'N AWESOME!!!

Could you spear-head a campaign to bring him and his tank to New York? I'm ready to donate. Just tell me where to send the check.

ce said...

MOVE MENT

ce said...

SLOW CRAP

ce said...

You could say that cycling is almost six times safer than living in general. It wouldn't be the most correct interpretation of the statistics, but it sounds catchy. I think the assessment would have to compare "fatalities per million hours of cycling" to "fatalities per million hours of generally living in the age bracket of the average cyclist" to be a more true comparison. Or something like that. Unfortunately, data wasn't available for "fatalities per million hours of illegal parking in Lithuania".

ce said...

SMUG NESS

ringcycles said...

Every summer I ask myself, "should I take a jaunt on the p-far or relax on the recumbent?" If I had an incumbent bike,I'd never have to choose again! Thanks Wildcat Rock Machine!

Bikewritercat said...

I don't believe it's possible to read this article any faster than I did. Not in the bike lane, anyway.

EVIL KIWI said...

How come the only bike in the bike lane in Vilnius is an electric "bike", which is to say, a motorcycle?

Anonymous said...

You should check that video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzE-IMaegzQ

SF Sailor said...

They say there is no such thing as bad publicity. As someone who has been advocating slow biking for years, I have gotten more interest in the past few months now that it is "cool" Who cares why, more people safely operating bicycles, can only be a good thing.
For what it is worth I live in the smallest house on my street. Do not worry that sound you just heard was my wife slapping the smugness out of me.

petrus said...

yawn.

Anonymous said...

...and no one's going to comment on the random unexplained boobs in the Lithuanian Tank Man screenshot?

Am I taking crazy pills?

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Fixie Bikes said...

Tank mayor is awesome.

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