Vegetables and Bicycles: The Red Menace

With the exception of a few oddball blog posts, I would call myself a fairly normal person. I work, I raise my kids. I enjoy books and movies.

At Christmas we enjoyed watching “It’s A Wonderful Life,” but I was distressed to find out later that according to the FBI, it’s a bunch of communist propaganda. One of its memos complained, “this picture deliberately maligned the upper class, attempting to show the people who had money were mean and despicable characters.”

George Bailey, suspected communist.

When I’m not being brainwashed by agitprop, I exercise by riding my bike and going to the gym. I try to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Apparently that also makes me a pinko. A red. A foot soldier in the coming socialist revolution. You think I’m exaggerating, don’t you? Think again, comrade friend.

When Rob Ford was sworn in as mayor of Toronto (despite various controversies including a DUI, and a sleazy social media campaign, and calling cyclists “a pain in the ass” and saying when they get killed “it’s their own fault“), he did a classy thing by having Don Cherry come and speak.

Don Cherry wore that pink suit, saying, “I’m wearing pinko for all the pinkos out there that ride bicycles and everything.” (Okay, maybe Ford is not so classy.)

Oh, we’re pinkos! I was badly misinformed, because I thought capitalists preferred the market to take care of things. You know, like the highway system:

(Er, wait. That is a big government program.) Well, never mind. Anyhow, the point is, if you use those socialist roads for anything other than cars, you’re a pinko.

Also, eating healthy food is bad. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli sued the federal government for its health care initiative (remember: health care=bad; roads=good), because … uh … why was that, Ken?

if we cross this line with health care now—this unconstitutional line—where the government can force us to buy a private product and say it’s for our own good, then we’ll have given the government the power to force us to buy other products: cars, gym memberships, asparagus. The list goes on.

Oh, right. Asparagus. LA Fitness. Priuses. Balsamic vinegar. Mandatory subscriptions to Men’s Fitness. And that’s just not the Rush Limbaugh/Rob Ford/Don Cherry way, especially since it’s doubtful any of them could even fit in a Prius.

But Ken isn’t the only one keen to the left’s crypto-vegetarian agenda. Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia is onto them, too:

The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta said people in America are not eating enough fruits and vegetables. They want to give all the power to the federal government to force you to eat more fruits and vegetables. … This is socialism of the highest order!

Writing in Slate, Dahlia Lithwick lampooned “The dreaded broccoli uprising and other freaky GOP nightmares,” but noted that “a goodly amount of the conservative complaints about healthy food are thinly veiled slurs on women in general and Michelle Obama in particular.”

Despite the clear and present danger, I’m just going ride my bike, watch my subversive leftist Hollywood movies, and eat my broccoli. I might also write a couple of postcards to Ken Cuccinelli and Paul Broun.

The message? The asparagus is coming for you.

Fulminating against the Local Fish Wrap

The Oregonian, Portland’s big daily paper, laid an egg the other day when covering a proposed change to Oregon traffic law regarding cyclists. It’s so bad, in fact, you can’t even grasp the subtleties of the proposal. (BikePortland does a much better job.)

I was so disgusted at the newspaper’s coverage, I posted a response on the O’s public blog. If you have a minute, wander over there and add a supporting comment, eh? (Login required. It’s free.)

Fuji Suncrest, 1987 – 2008

Fuji Suncrest, 21, Beaverton, died Oct. 28 of acute frame fracture.

A remembrance will be held tonight, after dinner, over a few beers.

The Fuji was first in the possession of a bicycle shop owner in Watsonville, Calif., where he used it as a high-end mountain bike.

In 1989 the shop owner sold it to a college student, who used it as a mountain bike and as an all-purpose commuter. The student added a Blackburn rack to the bike, and rode it continually from 1989 until 1992, in place of a car. Much of this commuting was on the UC Santa Cruz campus, and some of it consisted of, arguably, one of the best 3-mile commutes in the world: down West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz, Calif.

ATIS547, via Flickr

West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, Calif. Credit: ATIS547, via Flickr

The bike was a stalwart companion, despite impressive misuse including mountain bike crashes such as one at 25 mph, and a spectacular one off a bridge into a river.  On more than one occasion, the bike carried the student and his friend home on the rear rack, when his friend was too drunk to see straight.

In 1992 the Fuji moved to San Francisco and then to Palo Alto, where it served as a light-duty commuter and weekend mountain bike.

From 1996 until 2000, also known as The Dark Years, the Fuji sat mostly dormant in a garage in Oklahoma City, an inhospitable city for bicycling.

In 2000 the bike moved back to Santa Rosa, Calif., where it was fitted with slicks and served as a short-duty commuter.

In 2004 the bike moved to Beaverton, Ore., and in 2006 began a second era of bike commuting. The commuting started out as relatively short-hop: a 3-mile ride to the train station, then a 1.6 mile ride in downtown Portland. For close to two years the bike humbly and safely conveyed the same owner on commutes and trips around town, even as he added clipped pedals and fenders (a necessity in a city as rainy as Portland), and the seat post clamp wore out, the rear axle failed, and the bottom bracket broke.

By this time the bicycle was older than some of the mechanics that worked on it. Yet these mechanics never looked contemptuously at the bike. Instead, they typically nodded, impressed at the durability of the grizzled old warrior.

In the summer of 2008, when gas prices rose and Johnny-come-lately bike commuters flooded the trains, the owner began riding the Fuji the entire trip between home and work. Once again, despite being heavy and old, the Fuji performed without complaint, even as more of its components started to fail.

On October 27 in the evening, the bike conveyed the owner the entire 13 miles from work to home, carrying him along a rough path buckled by tree roots that runs down the Willamette River, across the carved-up pavement in the Corbett-Terwilliger area, up steep hills west of the river, and out through West Portland and Beaverton, a trip that includes two wooden bridges and numerous speed bumps.

The next morning, after a ride into work on a cool autumn morning, a fracture was discovered in the chain stay, near the rear derailleur.

The bike will be donated to the Community Cycling Center, for parts.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you take good care of your own bicycle.