Thursday, January 29, 2009

Maybe I've been doing it all wrong...

An interesting comment left by Anonymous (all the good ones always are).

no offense, but you don't deserve kudos for eschewing the automobile in LA.

use of bicycles is admirable, but not 100-percent of the time -- that's just being foolish.

all your publicity is giving cycling advocates a bad-name.

do us all a favor and move to portland already.


Firstly, I've never advocated that everyone should get rid of their car and bike around. ("I'm not anti-car, but I do believe that we need real transportation options."'s in my profile.) That's just foolish.

Hey, I'll be the first to admit, carfree might not be for everyone. You've got kids in tow or you've got a job that's 60 miles away. Fine. Some people have some constraints that they either can't change or don't want to. But at the same time, there are lots of people that hop in their car to go to a store that's less than a mile away, or work less than five miles away (a distance you could easily bike to, bus to, or walk to).

What I don't get is how all my publicity is giving cycling advocates a bad-name. How's that work? I ride like a vehicle. I follow traffic rules. I use hand signals. I'm working directly with my community to create bike-friendly events and raise awareness. I've helped educate people on how to ride safely in traffic and shown people how to commute.

I show, through my actions and not just a lot of talk, that a bicycle is a viable mode of transport.

Is it possible that a cycling advocate can ride a bike too much? Should I rent a car now and then and show that I'm "normal"? (Maybe I should write to Ed Begely Jr. to lose the vermiculture bin and solar panels cause that's too eco-friendly and he's creeping people out.)

I think we've had enough of arm-chair "cycling advocates" that don't walk the walk. Or maybe I'm just being foolish.


Anonymous said...

I wouldn't give that comment another thought. L.A. needs all the bike riders it can get!

Anonymous said...

Lame comment. You deserve all the kudos you get for opening minds. There's no question that bicycle transportation is just about perfect for a host of reasons. I rarely ride a bike and even I know that.

Anonymous said...

Rock on bro. I mean roll.

I too was once told to leave if I didn't like it. Eventually, I did. I moved to Switzerland, where I now ride my bike almost everywhere. Riding a bike is like easier, dude. Switzerland has bike lanes, traffic plans for bikes, bike routes zigging and zagging all around the country, and above all, a lot of other people also zipping around on their recumbents, electric bikes, xtracycles and anything else that doesn't use gas. It's 40 degrees and my wife just rode off to work.

Making the choice to not drive has to be done to appreciate. It's another world, like living on a boat floating a few dozen yards off Manhattan, crossing an ocean or exploring a distant land.

Randy said...

Maybe "Anonymous" can tell us foolish according to what? If your the fool living on the hill and you have a garden, water, and solar power you probably don't need a car.

Jamie Fellrath said...

Unless this troll can tell you WHY using bikes 100 percent of the time is foolish, he is to be ignored.

Anonymous said...

come on man, you're prancing around telling everyone that you ride a bike everywhere! how's that not advocating everyone should get rid of their car?

on the point about lots of people who drive someplace that's a mile away, yes, they should ride. ditto ling people a bad-name, it's because you won't people try.for fat people.

as for giving cycling advocates a bad name, it's because you've got your face in every damn magazine every two weeks. WE GET IT OK? you ride a bike, you're so cool!

Fern said...

Russ, Kudos are gross anyway--Cliff and/or Luna bars are way better(as they patch tires quite nicely and fill you with goodness). This person fits directly into the realms of lame, rude and secretly envious of all the things that he (or she) cannot do--an unsettling consequence of forever-failing to try or accept something a-typical. Pay no mind; you've been doing it all right. Some people just can't handle that.

Anonymous said...

anonymous 9:37:

obviously you didn't read my point. i agree that la needs all the bike riders it can get!

anonymous 10:30 p.m.: a lame comment? what's lame is you"rarely ride a bike"

anonymous 6:06: well said.

Randy: sorry, you'll always need a car in LA.

RussRoca said...

"come on man, you're prancing around telling everyone that you ride a bike everywhere! how's that not advocating everyone should get rid of their car? "

Firstly, I hope I don't prance.

Secondly, I do tell people that I ride my bike everywhere but not with the intention that they should take a torch to their car, it's about showing them what is possible.

There's a big difference between "look what you can do with a bike, ain't it neat! you should give it a try", to "hey dumbass, you should stick a pitchfork in your auto."

See the difference?

That would be like saying by being an advocate for civil rights of one group, you're also advocating the lynching of another.

Now, I can't help if you feel guilty. That's your own thing to deal with. You're hearing it from me:

"It's okay if you have a car. Use it. But if you've got a short errand that you can walk to, take the bus to, or ride the bike to, then give that a try. I bike everywhere, but that's my choice. I know I go above and beyond, but that's because I hope to inspire some to give it a try. In turn, you don't have to feel guilty about your choice."

Now for...
"as for giving cycling advocates a bad name, it's because you've got your face in every damn magazine every two weeks. WE GET IT OK? you ride a bike, you're so cool!"

Ok. First of all, that doesn't make sense. How does having a law-biding cyclist (I took the League of American Cyclist class and will become an LCI in the future) that works with the community giving bike advocates a bad name?

Secondly, I'm not going to be apologetic about getting the press because I think there has to be on the mind of the public another type of cyclist other than Lance Armstrong (do you go writing on his blog about how he's giving racing the French a bad name and he should stay retired?).

If you're a real cycling advocate, you know the most important thing we can do is make bicycling for transportation "mainstream." All our images of cyclists fall into two camps...1) comic foils, lame ducks, sight gags that run into car doors 2)elite lycra-clad racers.

There are few examples of just regularly dressed people riding bikes and going about their day.

Hey look. I'm no superhero. I'm sure there are many that go faster, others that go farther and some that probably carry tons more stuff than me.

I just have an interesting story and I like to share it to inspire others and get the word about what you can do with a bike (NOT that they should get rid of their car). Chances are, if someone really loves driving and their car, they're going to care less.

But, there are some people on the fence. Some people that wonder if they can get around town and do errands on a bike. My hope, is that those people might see my story and it will push them that little bit to give it a try.

"sorry, you'll always need a car in LA."

Well, I've lived 8 years without one. I have a friend that has never had a driver's license and he gets around fine. My girlfriend sold her car last year. I know an older retired couple that just got rid of theirs and they seem to manage ok.

So, really, with that attitude, god help us if you're a cycling advocate.

Justin Mullins said...

people really do get very offensive when they have any hint that someone is suggesting something different to do. Not forcing, just "hey, this is possible, maybe you'll like it."

look at religion. Some religions say you'll go to their "hell" if you aren't one of them.

I think people care way too much about what other people do and say. Why does it bother people so much that other people live differently? I wonder if it's insecurity that they aren't consciously thinking about. They feel that people that are different are bad. . . rather than different.

other issues with the same problem: abortion, "in god we trust" on coins, gay marriage. . . etc.

In this "free" society we have, it's all to easy for people to want their freedom of lifestyle, while constricting others because of their beliefs. freedom has to be mutual.

keep doing what you're doing, is what i'm getting at. and by the way : ) i love your blog, i was looking for pictures of an LHT and got here. . . somehow

Randy said...

Hey Man, I lived in CA and rode my bike everywhere. This is not about you... it's about choice and helping people find the joy that comes from being on a bicycle. I own a car and a bike. I also know that car use is linked to our current asthma and obesity epidemics. Got'll naturally be healthier. The cheap fuel era is over and climate change is here. So now we can all choose: bikes, $6.00/gallon gas, or a combination thereof.

jhaygood said...

Yeah man, that's just retarded. And as you say, some people have kids or jobs farther away, etc., but the reality for us is that as we find how much we are just happier using the bikes for our family (I've just started writing about it here: we find that it affects your choices, like maybe moving closer to your job when that chance arises, or allowing transportation to affect other choices we make.

Whoever that was is one of the many we just need to carry along. They complain and crap on those that are trying to make things better, and in five years they'll act like it was all their idea.

Comes with the territory...

Lucas said...

I think what you are doing is great. But calling yourself "eco-friendly" is little bit of a stretch. What does that even mean?

Reducing carbon emissions by riding a bicycle does not equate to being ecologically beneficial to the environment. Unless you have no negative impact on the environment, your eco-friendliness is more attitude than actual.

Lithium ion and nickle-metal hydride batteries are not "eco-friendly," neither are digital cameras, flashes, lenses, computers, photo-printers, steel/aluminum bikes, tires, etc.

I'm sorry to criticize, but terms like "eco-friendly," "green" and "good for the environment" are rarely anything close to that. Most people are sick of greenwashing - so, keep doing what you're doing, but drop the eco-friendly claim. It's more impressive when you don't make a bragging statement about it...

"The bicycling photographer" is a better name anyway.

Good photos! Keep peddling...

Anonymous said...

Keep Eco-friendly. It's cute.