Note: this article was originally published on February 19, 2013 for Mismanaging Perception.
The list of bias and hostility that many motorists project towards the cycling community seems to never end. If it weren’t bad enough that those who choose to commute via bicycle have to contend with risking our lives amid a sea of boat-sized SUVs, we also have to tolerate a tsunami if ignorance from auto-centric minds about the ways our road infrastructure is funded.
Case in point – at last week’s Columbia River Crossing hearing in Salem, Oregon, two concerned citizen cyclists made the over 100 mile round trip journey from Portland, OR by bike to testify against the nightmare 12 lane freeway expansion. They did so not only to show that our transportation times are a’ changin’, but that commuting on a bike isn’t something restricted to inner cities. While their testimony was well received and admired by many, afterwards an aging gentleman yelled angrily into the microphone, accusing “bikers” of being “freeloaders” who should “pay their fair share of the CRC” so that motorists could avoid tolls. Apparently he’d forgot what mode the 12 lanes were for, or maybe he’d simply forgotten to take his meds.
At the conclusion of the hearing, it was announced that a second public proceeding would take place the following Monday, during which more testimony would be heard. I was so inspired by the two who pedaled to Salem that I contacted one of them, my friend Michael Hernandez, to ask if we could organize a larger group to ride the 100 mile trip together. He accepted. Monday, February 18th, 2013 at 9:00AM in a tiny coffee shop in Southeast Portland, six determined men gathered with gear and signs to ride into battle against the Columbia River Crossing.