Monday, February 23, 2009

Love - Hate : What's your purpose?

A conversation I shared with EB a while back revealed his purpose behind Pedal-Omaha. It's intended purpose was to bring ALL cyclists together as one collective voice, but with varying perspectives. As EB titled this Blog...a place for roadies, dirties, commuties and cuties. Regardless where we live or what we ride we all need to come together as a community of cyclists who want change. I'm an opinionated person and I respect others opinions even when they don't mesh with mine. I also like to see people who express themselves directly and aren't afraid to ruffle others feathers. It's this Love / Hate passion that keeps the fire in our belly. However, there is one thing that can be counterproductive and set us back, and that is pinning cyclist against cyclist.


bryan said...

I love my bike. I love it when other people love their bikes.

I dislike being judged by where I live, or how I ride my bike. I live where I live because it's the best place for my family. It's quiet and safe and has access to good schools. There is zero compromise, in my mind, on this. If I have to choose between my family and "ethical living," sorry ethical living -- you're out. I won't think twice.

You like your bike, I like mine. We both need streets to be safe and open to cyclists -- no matter where they live.

RD said...

i have feeling the opinions on this will be directly related to one's age/place in this little game called life. The older you get less time you have things that you "want" to do. You get more responsibilities /family/job/travel etc. Main thing is people find way to do what they love/like ride bikes how/where/what kind of bike you ride is secondary..we all make different choices were not totalitarian society do what you like... Arguing about niche markets/type won't get us anywhere the real success is when whole family will choose to ride their bikes somewhere as normalcy and that place is still far far ......
did i mentioned far.... away

EB said...

We all need to have Dinner and a Movie. The Flick would be,"Night of the Hunter",with Robert Mitchum.

This is good though, we need to be open and honest. I love all of you guys and gals, its great to have my dreams come true so to speak.

Meaning: This is what I have always wanted, A community of friends that pedal.

Thanks to All of You, From the Bottom of My Heart.

munsoned said...

Yeah, we're kind of an industrialized nation. It's pretty much impossible to live ethical in all aspects of life. Some people would say it's unethical to wear or use anything leather (saddles, cycling shoes) or eat animal flesh(delicious bacon).

If you looked at any and everything you own (computers, clothing, furniture, etc) it's probably not made in America and most likely made in a factory with less than ideal conditions. That's the global economy for ya. I doubt there's a way to change it, even if hundreds of thousands of people buy ethically. Everyone would have to revert back to tribal ways to really live ethically.

But of course, all this is just my opinion. Your pedal strokes may vary.

Steve said...

There's nothing wrong with a little self-examination among us cyclists. Although Erik's choice of words might have been a bit harsh, he is correct that supporting sprawled-out suburbs by living in them reinforces the car-centered culture that continues to cause the problems we claim to want to solve. In addition, the view that suburbs provide an extra amount of safety is shortsighted. In the long run they wreak havoc on our (and the next generations') environment and the urban flight associated with suburban growth tends to lead to increased segregation along the lines of race and wealth. The latter (and the former really) can have quite a detrimental effect on community health.

Of course I realize that many factors go into choosing a place to live and that it is not easy to just pick up and move a whole family even if one desires to do such a thing, but where and how we live does have a direct impact on the bicycle-related issues we discuss in this forum. And while I'd rather not spend too much time reading and writing about this divisive issue here, I don't think it should be off limits either.

erik said...

"pinning cyclist against cyclist."

well done.

my objection earlier was to the gendered discourse that goes on here, i'll return to that at the end of this post.

My deleted post, as i too felt it wasn't appropriate for this site, stands there in your post--improperly posted, it was removed for good reason. It is entirely accurate in its own regard, if offensive to those its calls out. Everyone may criticize what one will about it, but i believe those things stated hold much support from city planners, scientific study, anthropological investigation and my own personal experience. Living in suburbia is destructive, disposable bikes are crimes against our fellow man and planet. The personal is political, and these things must be challenged.

Do what you will, as will I. Talking about the suburbs is talking about what is most damaging in contemporary society. Douglas, you might be a nice enough fellow, but it really is shitty to live out there. City planners, science, empirical and phenomonological study can't all be wrong about that. Sorry.

For what it's worth, I'm certainly no "hippy-philosopher" (though I did get a BA in philosophy and intend to pursue the study of language in graduate school, with a specialization in cognitive neuroscience).

I imagine cycling as an ethical obligation, and the cycle chosen as an ethical dillema with a right/wrong choice. Steel is reasonable--carbon/aluminum/titanium almost always is not. We've abandoned the most important and beautiful aspects of the bicycle, just as our larger society has abandoned so much of its own humanity for the sake of growing profit margins. I see the growth of suburbia as hard to separate from that same historical progression.

Douglas, your post was out of place. It should've been addressed to me in person. I am out of place on this website any longer.

I leave you with this final observation. Why are there no women on this website? Certainly, they also cycle. Many are incredible active on the internet as well. Perhaps it has to do with the gendered discourse thrown about without reflection to its denotative, or at best connotative, meanings. Perhaps it has to do with making fun of a girl for not knowing mr. armstrong's first name was lance and making an honest mistake. Not everyone is a hardass jock racer, in fact most cyclists in other cities aren't. If we want people to pedal, those things must be left aside. They aren't, and that is my primary objection to this site. It is also why I have no desire to affiliate myself as a contributer here any longer. I may come back to comment occasionally if I have news to post, but this is not my community and it is certainly not that of so many others in omaha who feel the same (I can think of at least 5 off the top of my head in my little corner of the neighborhood).

I am not alone, and i look forward to the day when Omaha truly begins to catch up to the reality of the world in more ways than just a sheer number of bikes on the road. There are more differences between Omaha and a place like Portland than simple cycle infrastructure.

The personal is the political. At a certain point, we must make a stand for our beliefs--our world is quite literally upon a precipice from which I hope we do not slip. This motivates me to confront those issues, I do my best (and didn't ask for that post to be restated for a reason, though again it stands as accurate).

I like so many of you very much, but won't be taken to bother any longer about this.

I wish you all the best.

erik said...

it is further notable that douglas did not include the entirety of my post, thereby destroying much of its intending meaning.

erik said...


EB said...

Erik: We need your voice my friend. I'm sorry for what was posted, it was an unwarranted attack, and Douglas should have let it go.

But Please put it behind you my friend!

We are a community, and that includes everyone. Lets celebrate our differences,we've done it before.

In spite of what is said in the comments, Everyone respects one-another. I know this from talking with many of you.

Now Lets Move On!

The weather is gonna be epic the next two days, perhaps all we need is another day of Pedaling?

RD said...

i would be down for some sort of ride after work wed night... yes I would be

The Douglas said...

Agreeing with EB, we need your voice. Regardless of where or what we ride or what our world philosophy is, we need everyone who rides to be present, vocal and supportive of cycling culture in Omaha. I'm only suggesting that we be careful not to 'call out' fellow cyclists by criticising their choice of bicycle or neighborhood. I'm sure once we're pedal to pedal we'll get along quite well.

EB: "Now Lets Move On!"
Moving on!
I respect your decision to edit my post.

Ride? How about Tuesday afternoon..say, 2-3ish? Any takers?

The Lucas said...

** I started posting before last one came in. Whatever!

Riding a bike solves no real problems in a community as a whole. Just like recycling, you can only do your part and give others the notion by perhaps leading by example. I live in a house turned apartment and I am the only one that recycles. I am not going to do any more than what I can do.

I can hardly believe some of the arguments I have been reading today. It matters what your frame is made out of? Does that include a fork? I mean really? Bicycle material prejudice? I've got one of each, what does that make me?

If you shake a finger at where someone lives, someone else can shake a finger right back at you for where you live pretty much no matter what. Suburbs are the only way to support a growing community. -- Go back in time and places west of 90th was a suburb. Go back further, and you'd find Dundee in the same boat comparing it to the original Omaha, why do you think it has it's own name? You can't pile people on top of one another in Omaha, so you have to venture out. I don't necessarily like it more than the next Joe, but thus is life. Are we gonna start yelling at people pulling kids in trailers because they brought another person on to the already heavily populated planet? Um no. What good will it do -- at least they are riding a bicycle.

A cycling community should be above location. It's about a passion that should see no boundaries. There will be purists, and techno-bunnies. We all like the same stuff no matter what form it's in.

There are some sensitive souls out there, but I have yet to see anything on here that would offend anyone of the average bear. I can think of lots of reasons there are no female contributers on this blog, and not one of them has anything to do with what has ever been said on it. Like it has been said before, we are looking for female voice. I wanna hear it.

Oh, the Neil Armstrong thing--- I never knew it was a girl, and that is only happenstance. I only skimmed the article and found out it was a female later. It was an honest mistake, just a funny one -- That's why I posted it! No demeaning properties, no reading between the lines.

Oh, one thing I couldn't ignore. Hard-Assed Jock Racer? Broken down a Jock is simply a very big enthusiast of a given activity. There are computer jocks and book jocks and gardening jocks. How one chooses to ride a bike is only their unique way of showing their personal passion toward the activity of pedaling. Some people need competition in their lives. Others can do without. I believe all of us fall into some area of this no matter what.

I can see some strong will here and think it's great. I hope it continues as the wheels go round. There's no need to grudge like people do in pro sports, I know we are all above that -- we ride bikes.

erik said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve said...

I should have differentiated between poorly-designed suburbs well-designed suburbs in my above post. I concede that it is possible to have salubrious suburbs, but we don't have any newer ones around here as far as I can tell.

Everything we do matters (and the issues of where we live and what things we buy matter to our claimed shared purpose here), and it does no good to get defensive and threaten to criticize back. The original point that suburbia as it exists here is generally bad remains standing.

Sure, we could all do more, and not one of us is perfect; but it is important that we do examine (and at least attempt to take action in) our lives and how all the things we do impact the goals we have set forth.

It might be that biking is not enough to hold us all together. Bicycle commuting and its culture are very different from bicycle racing and its culture. I like biking because it exemplifies ideals I hold dear in life. Biking in and of itself is not everything.

Just some thoughts. This whole thing is silly, but kind of serious at the same time.

Scott Redd said...

My wife is a girl, and she is a fair weather bike commuter. If the temperature is above freezing, the trails clear of snow and ice, and it's not dark out, and if she doesn't have to run any errands before or after work, she will ride seven miles to her part-time job and then ride home a few hours later.

We'll also use the bikes for joy rides together, dinner out, or grab the grocery panniers and stock up at the local markets.

She's not interested in any scene or community. Heck, she doesn't even read my own blog. However, she's gracious enough to listen to me drone on and on about cycling affairs. :)

She's just into it for the exercise and the joy of riding. Being a busy person, she sees the 14 mile ride as a way to combine active living with the commute to and from work.

johnny said...

I love my bike, I love it when others ride. I feel like the more that ride and share the word the more that ride the more that share the word ect ect. I am 40 I have evolved over the years from a parent attacking socialist spouting human to a conservative idealogist. We all evolve that is life. I have been around the world as a Soldier and have found without a doubt Iraq, Europe, South America, and US. 95% of all people are great. I love this site and the discourse. I can ride tomorrow 2pm. Where??

JPF said...

"It's for you, and for those who approach life in a certain way, and that's fine."

Erik, I agree with your argument, but please don't paint with such broad strokes as to include everyone in the lifestyle you are berating. "You" (third plural) includes all authors and readers of the blog...a dangerous pronoun indeed.

erik said...
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erik said...
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RD said...

let's put this to rest everyone arguing on internet solves nothing it just bruises people's well being and gives you metacarpals. Plus are we going to end up like these poor santas you might need to fast forward to act 3

The Douglas said...

I'm waiting to hear back from EB & Lucas as to where we're meeting and at what time. They're downtown, I'm in Bennington. We're thinking sometime at or after 2pm. Check back in a few hours and we should have something posted.
Anyone else want to join us on this 50+ degree day?

Funny how you've morphed this into an attack on you, when it was you who attacked suburban cyclists who own carbon or aluminum. You labeled us "unethical" among other things. This was in a thread where we were all discussing the downtown meeting we (not you) attended regarding improvements to downtown. I, a suburbanite, attended this meeting to help improve an area you live in, which you chose not to attend. Strange. Then, having not even participated in this meeting decided to launch a judgemental attack on those who don't live downtown and own bikes made from anything other than steel. Those who went out of their way to attend this meeting should be offended, not you. Rather than extending a hand in gratitude for those who attended this meeting you author a post that calls some of us "unethical" who ride "fucking carbon fiber atrocities made in mass in some ravagingly destructive factory, by a sweat-shop laborer".

Just so the records straight, You (Erik) were not attacked. You were the one who attacked other cyclists on this thread. Had you not retracted this post it would be clear for everyone. And you chose to launch this attack in a discussion about a meeting that suburbanites attended to help improve your environment. You are welcome. Now....let's grab our bikes and go for a ride. We're meeting today around 2'ish. Check back and lets go ride and let the BS dissolve. I forgive you.

Steve said...

Let this personal crap go.

erik said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bryan said...

ethics = a system of morals of a particular person, religion or group.

So then "ethical living" is a decision made on a personal level. It cannot be forced upon society. If your definition of ethical living works for you -- you being Erik -- that's great. It doesn't work for me.

Telling me, and others, that it's "shitty to live" where they do isn't a good way to convince others to think about your viewpoint. If anything, it's a turnoff. Any "ethical responsibility" to not contribute to a problem relies solely upon personal ethics, not the ethics of the person who speaks the loudest.

So to answer your "relevant ethical claims," here they are:

My personal ethics include recycling as much as possible, using no chemicals on the lawn, watering conservatively (if at all) in the summer, using bio-degreaser for my bike, using cloth bags for all shopping, making short trips by bike, keeping the thermostat as low (or high) as possible depending on the season and donating as much as possible to local charities. I do my best to educate others on the benefits of everything above. Chastising and insulting people doesn't work. Encouraging them does.

I do all of that to try to offset the miles I drive to work. I ride to work when time and circumstances allow.

And yeah, I ride a carbon-fiber bike sometimes. I race my bike. And I'm good at it. And I live in NW Omaha. The two miles surrounding our neighborhood has everything we need. We wanted to move to midtown a couple of years ago, and we found no affordable housing in an area that met our needs (schools, daycare, groceries). No amount of steel-bike riding is going to fix that.

Your attitude toward the decisions of fellow cyclists offends me. You've given zero consideration to each person's reason for residing, cycling and, let's be honest, living they way they do. I sure hope you're up to all of those "ethical living" standards you're touting.

Hey, who made your computer, by the way? Hopefully nobody in an Asian factory. I hear the chemicals they use (arsenic, PVC, mercury) aren't environmentally responsible.

EB said...

Pedal today 4ish

Meet at the 114

erik said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bryan said...

whew. at least you're not being a dick about it.

erik said...

Bryan. Satire, not sarcasm.

JPF said...

cmon all, lets stop.

erik said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MOD said...

WOW, you guys are still 20 comments shy of the record.

I find it really interesting that the "real" instigator of this has yet to truely appologize for his action. Sad at best.

Regardless, I am underwhelmed with the general lack of vision. Are we not bigger than bikes? We bag on people that don't ride them. We bag on people that do ride them. However, what is the real threat?


Anything that keeps cars off the road will improve the life of a cyclist. Be it a trolley, a bus or a carbon fiber bicycle.

Alternative transport good. Single driver automobiles bad.

I've read alot about people "being the change they wish to see" here. The real hero's are folks like Scott's wife. Doing her thing for things sake. No platform, no soap box, just ride. So ride everyone...please...ride.

erik said...

That which cannot be said directly must be passed over in silence--l.w.

Apologies that such conversation is so difficult in these realms and offenses rendered.

MOD said...

Erik, keep doing what you're doing. I enjoy the style and flavor you bring. Hopefully we can ride again soon. I've got some good randonuer rides mapped on the CB side