Saturday, 23 March 2013

Pumping up the pressure: has City Hall aired again?

Oh here we go again. CTV news and the Province newspaper decided to wind the city's angry, frustrated, deluded motorists up tight, and then set them free on cyclists.  Not that this is in any way unusual. It's their favourite sport.  They used the classic bully tactic, too, of accusing their prey of having the very characteristics they themselves possess.  They are claiming that two bike pumps are the "latest bit of profligate nonsense from the activists who have seized control of Vancouver's $1.1B city budget."

photo stolen from UBC
OK. So for sure if you lived in Toronto and you elected some florid nutbar for Mayor and he stuck his foot in it at every turn, even running afoul of the law... just as the corruption inquiry in Quebec starts sniffing the stink in the winds from its next door neighbour to the west... erm....well then you might have an actual reason to complain that someone with dark intent had somehow seized control of the city coffers, but puh-leeeeeeeeeeease.  This is Mayor Robertson's second mandate. And besides, Vancouver's commitment to being a progressive, live-able and sustainable city runs deeper than any single mayor, anyway, and that's unlikely to change any time soon.  Why would you want it to?!

Which brings me to the point.  The cold, hard truth is that the real, dangerous and scary "seizing of control" is happening on a global scale by energy and finance interests which have nothing at all to do with humanity's best interests.  It's a sad, sorry reflection of how smart we're not that we remain oblivious to the grand larceny we  daily bear witness to, and resolutely blind to the error of our ways.

And our illustrious media are certainly complicit in the deception, the hypnosis of the masses, if you will.  If you believe otherwise, honey, it's well past time to wake up. has the scoop, along with a collection of the twitterati's contribution to the debate.  Thankfully, it's not as nasty as the comments raging over on the CTV...

Cyclists aren't subsidized by taxpayers. Motorists are.  You don't believe me? Here's a helpful infographic from Rob Baxter of the twitterati:

The spending on bicycles is so small it doesn't even register.  (This diagram is true to scale.)

 As someone who has chosen bikes over cars for twenty-five years, I've put a helluva lot more into automotive culture than any motorist out there has ever, ever put into cycling infrastructure.  The next time some dumbass driver wants to complain that they're subsidising my cycling infrastructure...

 well, they can just step right up and lick my pink canoe.  

As if any cyclist anywhere has ever endangered the way of life of a motorist, any motorist, anywhere. 
As.  If. 
No how, no way, Jose. 

Fer fooksake. 

And it's not as if I'm attached to those great gleaming pumps, either.  

Snobber doodle doo sez "Lob helps those who pump themselves," and of course he's right.

Really... I mean, what's the likelihood that you'll get a flat convenient to one of two city-wide pumps? If you just want to top up a low pressure tire, chances are pretty good you have a pump at home, right?  And if you're a serious cyclist, you probably carry your own.  Having said that, when we arrived at the pumps the other day, some guy was changing a flat there, so apparently it does happen at least once in a while... yeah, yeah... no photo, no proof it happened. You'll have to take my word for it.

Even if I never ever need one of those pumps, I'm still happy that they're there.  Anything which removes barriers to, and raises awareness and acceptance of cycling is a good thing.  The health benefits and cost savings to society when someone takes up cycling are significant and measurable  but more importantly, the price we're all going to pay for this blind, deluded devotion to cars is astronomical.

And that`s not just some pumped up rhetoric designed to sell newspapers and appease the powers that be, either.  Here's something to think about:  How about if for the next three decades or so we reverse the trend, so that every dollar we now put into supporting automotive culture is instead invested into cycling infrastructure, education and support, and everything we normally invest into cycling will now be earmarked for the automotive industry?

Wouldn't that be fun?  Those pumps don't look extravagant any more, do they? If drivers had to carry the full costs of their poisonous habits you can bet you'd find a lot more of them smiling along with us in the bike lanes...
after all, life is better here.

Go on.  Get on your bike.  You know you wanna.


  1. Crikey! I have two bicycle pumps with tools just on my university campus, and they cost about 3000 dollars (for both!!) and I raised the funds through grants and flogging entertainment books. They cost a paltry sum compared to say, two car parks. It is all about education. Yes it is soul destroying to have haters all around, but what to they want? No cyclists? YOU parking in their usual spot because you had the energy to get up early and get there first? Sometimes I think about getting a parking permit, putting it on my bike and taking a whole space.

    1. I love that you are making such a difference in your community, Dee.

      If you tried that here, you might return to find your bike under a car. Some days it amazes me just how much animosity for cyclists which drivers manage to muster. It takes energy to feed hatred.

      Why can't we find a better way?

  2. I think bike pumps are great and all, but my dog read your piece and he's been singing Elvis Costello's "Pump It Up" for the past hour.

    He can't carry a tune in a bucket. (My dog, not Mr. Costello.)

    And he's already full of hot air. (Again, my dog. Not Mr. Costello.)

  3.'s an 'interesting' dichotomy wherein something as relatively inexpensive as those two pumps situated in a public place, do, to paraphrase you, "...remove barriers and raise awareness & acceptance of cycling...", which, as you mention is beneficial for the public good from both a health & thus ultimately financial aspect & yet something so simple as those pumps are inadvertently being used as a catalyst for the naysayers & i wonder for what real purpose ???...'s despicable that such a positive & healthy force as cycling could be used as a political football & yet we're seeing more & more of that...

    ....both toronto under the 'leadership' of robblotto ford & new york city with it's upcoming mayoral election being prime examples & now it would seem your city of vancouver with it's already sound cycling infrastruture is suffering...

    ...there was a time when my naivete' had me believing (or wanting to believe) that every step forward regarding cycling's social acceptance, political maneuverings, infrastructural construction, etc., would be a step in the right direction but all too often, it's two steps forward & one or two steps back...

    ...anyway, babble, it would seem your local media outlets are more interested in creating cycling controversy & whilst you describe it as their favorite sport, again, i wonder for what real purpose ???...

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I think the purpose and intent is blatantly obvious... it's to maintain the profitability of the energy and finance industries which benefit from our addiction to petro-chemicals.

    3. IS about mega-corp control in this day & age, isn't it ???...

      ...& i'm quite sure the preparatory steps for the future are much more advanced than even you or i might imagine or extrapolate on...