Wheel of Misfortune | Bleader

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Wheel of Misfortune

Posted By on 02.09.10 at 09:30 AM

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woebike.jpg
Chicago Tribune, August 1, 1897.[Click on the clipping above if you can't make out the fine print.] A lot of bicyclists today pride themselves on their manifest moral superiority to the benighted "cagers" in their wasteful and dangerous automobiles. This is not unlike the smug glow that warms the hearts of many Canadians when they look south at the barbarians across the border. In both cases, it's largely a rationalization of relative weakness. Of course, it's historically nonsensical to imagine Canada existing in the absence of the U.S., but there was a time when the bicycle was the top predator of the urban traffic food chain. It didn't look so virtuous back then.

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"Runaways" here means runaway horses, and has nothing to do with angry teenagers or Joan Jett.

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"Scorcher" here means a cyclist who goes too fast for safety, and has nothing to do with hot summer days or '80s roots rock bands.*

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"Smartness" here means stupidity, and has nothing to do with being smart.

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"Teamsters" here means guys who drive teams of horses and move heavy loads around the city, and has nothing—absolutely nothing whatsoever— to do with Gary Numan.

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In the spirit of full disclosure, I've excerpted the above passages from a way longer article that spreads the blame around just a little wider than to just the damned scorchers (who must be annihilated!). But you get the general idea from the last paragraph above.
In the spirit of fuller disclosure, I've been bodily struck down by bicycles three times in my life. It hurt— especially the time my leg was broken.

Here's some accompanying art, hand-tinted for your viewing pleasure. Ride carefully, kids.

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*Did you get Ringenrolled? Sorry.

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