Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Spike Bike (a little healthy escapism)

I shouldn't read the comments. I know this, and yet... and yet I keep reading the comments.

I mean, of course, the comments on any article about cycling, or bike lanes, or sharing the road. I know I shouldn't look, because I'm just going to run into an ugly stream of vitriol, anger, and threats of violence. On both sides. Cyclists will be accused of being smug and self-righteous, and the cyclists in turn will proceed to prove those accusations right by telling drivers that they're fat, lazy, and polluting the planet. 

But then, I came across a comment thread that was getting the full back-and-forth flame treatment (you've all seen the kind of thing that gets said by anonymous jackasses) and someone, bless him, said something along the lines of, "Alright, I submit here the only possible response, for your reading pleasure," with a link to this archive.

Spike Bike. "In the year 1998 [this was written in 1989, on one of those old BBS boards], one man fights the tyranny of the automobile. . ."

It was just what I needed. Hilariously overblown Mad Max ultraviolence. A little fantasy fulfilment that takes the whole us-and-them hyperbole that always erupts in these comments, and extrapolates it. Here's your 'war on bikes,' and your 'war on cars.' Besides, it has a wry sense of humour that really endears it to me somehow. It catches the lunatic feel of 80's road warrior movies, and just in case you've ever fumed silently and helplessly as some jerk cut you off or buzzed you or hollered out their window trying to startle you into falling... this is guaranteed to be way more violent than anything you might have pictured yourself doing. And it's funny.

The paragraph that won me over:

My weekly raid on the old Joliet Arsenal yielded what I
 needed:   a bazooka and a couple of crates of armor-piercing
 rockets.  As usual, the morons the  Army  has  watching  the
 place  didn't  see  anything.   All  the  approaches  to the
 arsenal are pretty well guarded, but nobody expects a guy on
 a  mountain  bike  sneaking up from the river bank.  I slung
 the bazooka over my shoulder,  stuffed  all  the  rockets  I
 could  carry  into  a  set  of  panniers and a backback, and
 slipped away unnoticed. 
Back in the garage, I set about converting the  bazooka
 and  some  old Reynolds tubing into a bikezooka.  When I was
 finished, it looked pretty  much  like  any  other  fat-tube
 bike,  except  your  every-day Kleins and Cannondales aren't
 capable of firing antitank rockets out both  the  front  and
 back  ends.   The  bike handled a little funny, but I wasn't
 going to do any criteriums on this baby.
If you have a moment, it's worth it for the chuckles. And the bikezooka.

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