Again with the tax nonsense

idiotic_pollSomehow I missed this one when it was posted, and it took one of Biking in LA’s great posts to bring it to my attention. Continuing this month’s trend of bashing media outlets, SFGate has given me more targets with their latest “weekly poll.”

Is it time for bicycle riders to pay to use the roads just as motorists do through vehicle license fees and gasoline taxes?

This assumption that our roads (the ones cyclists actually ride on) are funded entirely by gas and vehicle registration taxes is just plain wrong. In fact, it would be wrong to say that even a majority of the funding is coming from these motor vehicle specific sources.

The truth is, if you compare the amount of road surface I take as a cyclist, add in the amount of damage I do to the infrastructure resulting in the need for maintenance costs, and compare that with a car, you will find that as a cyclist I am not only paying my fair share, I am actually subsidizing the very group that is demanding increased taxes from me.

What Lois Kazakoff should have had in her survey was another line item:

No. Cyclists already pay more than their fair share. Instead, bicycle related products should be exempt from state sales tax to compensate for this disparity


Just be nice…

Photo by Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious
Photo by Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious

There is a scene in the movie Roadhouse where the main character is telling the bar staff at a rather rough bar to just “be nice.” If you haven’t seen it – it is a classic. Go watch it. If you have, stop rolling your eyes at me…

Anyhow, it struck me today how great the advice from this scene is for all of us bicycle commuters out there. There is far to much confrontational thinking where none is needed. Sometimes it is motorists thinking we are complete asses, and sometimes it is us assuming motorists are complete asses just out to kill us. But I had three separate incidents in the past two days that have turned me back on to the idea of “just being nice.” Keep reading →

Life is a crit, not a stage race

There are so many clichés about it. Buddhism and Hinduism both teach the concepts of the circles we travel through the course of our life. Bands have devoted entire albums to the concept. And for most of my life I thought this was all total crap.

I always looked at life as more of a meandering journey. To me, life was like a stage race. Each day is different. Sure – there are general categories. Some stages are for sprinters, like first love: long hours waiting and preparing in the peloton until a final, quick culmination in sheer joy for a few, bitter defeat for others. Some stages in life are long grueling climbs punctuated with decisive, strategic attacks (*ahem* my professional life). Of course the climb is then followed by blistering fast descents where your tires are barely holding on to the edge of the tarmac – sounds like high school to me.

10683671_709453322442017_4224128923658989640_o Keep reading →

This is gonna be good

I waited until I got home and had a beer in me before reading it. The headline kinda says it all: Why You Hate Cyclists. I mean – with a title like that how couldn’t I expect something, um… inspiring. I’m an opinionated guy, thus I’m always on the lookout for fellow opinionatedees. And this was going to tell me why I hate cyclists. Clearly I don’t hate cyclists, so right off of the bat I’m assuming the article is targeted towards motorists. Yea. This is gonna be good… But then I read it. And reread it. And it actually wasn’t terrible, nor terrific. In fact, I’m still not sure what I think about it, or its author. According to his bio he’s an attorney and a writer. Oh yea – and according to his own article he’s a cyclist. And kind of a jerk. Keep reading →

If May was bike month, what is June?

May is bike month. We all know it, and many of us go on about it. We get bike to school day, bike to work day, and in addition a whole bike to work week! Local coffee shops, bike shops and assorted business get the excuse opportunity to set up tables along popular bike routes and paths giving away free swag and looking very bike-friendly. This should be a month for me to rejoice – to share enthusiasm and passions with the greater cycling community. A time for us to pat ourselves on our collective back and take stock in how far advocacy efforts have come. And May is action packed with a lot more than just advocacy and riding to work. On the racing front, we had not only the grand american race Tour of California, but also the Giro d’Italia.  The Tour of Cali was especially engaging for me this year, as I watched one of my personal favorites – and fellow old guy – Chris Horner appear to struggle through the Time Trial with an anchor on his bike. The setback would have crushed the spirits of other folks. But the drama unfolded in the final significant climbs of the race as Horner, Jens Voigt (another personal favorite and fellow old guy) and others took a flyer off the front. Slowly riders from the break away dropped one by one, until Chris Horner had actually made back all the time lost in the TT and then some.  He climbed his way into first place on paper – as Phil Liggett likes to say – and had me on the edge of my seat. Unfortunately the herculean effort was not enough and he was eventually caught. But what a way to highlight what bike month is supposed to be about – enjoying all aspects of bicycles. Rolling the cruiser, commuting to work, or ripping the peloton apart.

Unfortunately, this time around all Bike Month managed to do for me was remind me that the other 11 months are not bike month.  June came this year to punch me in the gut and drive the point home. June has brought us the apparent implosion (again) of what should have been the best team in the peloton – RadioShack Nissan Trek. Andy Schleck has been plagued by … something … all season. There are already rumors of the Schleck boys leaving the squad. When the team announced their Tour de France lineup, Chris Horner was not on the list. This lead to all kinds of speculation and drama as to why that happened. Shortly thereafter, it was announced that the presumed Tour de France GC contender Andy Schleck was not going to make it due to injury. Ahh, but poor Bruyneel wasn’t done with bad news yet. Just when we thought it was over, Bruyneel and Mr Armstrong find themselves in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Yup – doping allegations again. What is a cycling enthusiast to do.

But hold on a second…

I once again started my commute on a bicycle this morning in beautiful San Francisco. I passed numerous folks doing the same thing. I continue to ride my bike and enjoy it. And despite the fact that folks are predicting a guilty finding for Armstrong would “destroy cycling” my bike will still pedal and roll regardless of a USADA decision regarding Armstrong.

So that’s what I’ll do. I’ll let June suck for Bruyneel and Armstrong. Come July, I’ll be keeping track of the Tour de France and enjoying it. Bike Month is irrelevant to me, honestly. I don’t have a bike month, or even a bike year. I have a bike life, and plan to until I can’t turn my pedals any more.

Season starts with more doping nonsense

Headline:  “Cycling has another week riddled with news of doping and not much else”

Well, at least that is what you’d think if all you read is the mainstream press, or even the mainstream cycling press.  We’ve already had racing action this season.  First in Australia with the Tour Down Under, and the Tour of Qatar just started.  Now honestly though – how many folks do you suspect actually know the standings of the early season races?  I’m betting a fair sight less than the number that know that 1) Lance Armstrong is off the hook, and 2) Contador has been stripped of his 2010 wins – including the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia.

And this season is promising to be a great showdown.  The combination of some of the riders from both Leopard Trek and Radio Shack into one team.  Renshaw free to clash sabers in the sprints without having to focus on delivering Cavendish to the front.  This is real racing drama – happening now.  Armstrong doesn’t race anymore – remember?  And now Contador won’t be racing this year until the Giro either.  So let’s focus our attention on the people out there trying to beat each other on the roads and single tracks – not in the court rooms, press rooms and headlines.

If only we could get as much coverage of our race winners as we do the doping circus…  Just one man’s opinion.