The War On Cars Will Require F•Bombs

Yep, fuck cars. Fuck them all. Fuck Fords. Fuck Hondas. Fuck Subarus. Fuck your hatchback, your van, your truck, and your station wagon. They’re loud, they stink, they hog the road, they fuck up the air, they kill people and wildlife. Cars make us lazy, unhealthy, selfish, uncaring, reckless, and worst of all, unimaginative.

Now that cars have mutilated cities they’ve moved on to bigger prey: the entire Earth. The planet that gives us our very lives is being slaughtered just a little bit more with each new Expedition that rolls off the assembly line. Automobiles have waged a war on us. Now it’s time to fight back.

‘Oh, but hybrid cars!’ you say. ‘Oh, but Green Cars!’ you moan. Fuck that. Fuck your Prius. You’re just offsetting the point of pollution. ‘Um, but solar-powered cars!’ Stop it. Solar powered cars would be just a dangerous as one running on gasoline. Quitting fossil fuels is a delusional fantasy for the current rate of Western energy consumption, to say nothing of how hybrids are predicted to make sprawl even worse.

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If I sound angry it’s because humankind used to live in harmony with this planet. We used to have a human population that was sustainable. We used to enjoy cities where we could walk, mingle, shop, play and mingle in the street like we were meant to. Then we flushed all that down the toilet, imprisoning ourselves in suburbs solely accessible by motorized cages that deliver us to shit jobs we hate just to afford the very vessel of our incarceration.

So, yeah. Fuck cars.

I’m exhausted by excuses from those who insist riding bikes is a fad for hipsters on track bikes or Parrot-heads on recumbents. From listening to 15 years of lame defensiveness, these auto-addicted cycle-haters seem to break down into three types: the Lazy, the Self-important, and the Insecure. Below is an example pulled from the green-washing ‘lifestyle’ site Treehugger’s Facebook page.

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Home Depot: where banality meets The Labyrinth.

There you have it. You clearly CAN’T use a bike if you’re old, have children, want to visit a friend, or buy groceries. NOR can you ride a bike if it’s hot or cold. Don’t even try. It’s physically impossible. Oh, did you need to haul some lumber, or hell, how about literally everything you own? Sorry, can’t be done!

So there’s your in-a-nutshell Lazy and Self-important categories: ‘Can’t be done because I’ve never done it’, or ‘Can’t be done because my life is more important/busy/complicated than yours’. It’s doubtful this type personally knows anybody over the age of twelve who rides.

Obviously, you can figure out how bikes can facilitate all the activities listed above by simply thinking on it for longer than it takes to write a dimwitted comment on the world wide web.

The third set of insecure haters usually have experienced direct cyclist contact. From whatever behavioral limitations malign their lives, they’ve concluded bicycling an absurdity because it looks enjoyable. Call it jealousy, call it self-imposed social isolation. Whatever. They hate seeing people having more fun than they are, and instead of attempting a prison break from their insecurity shell, they instead choose to hate bikes and the sexy people riding them. Examples below.

This was a comment I left on BikePortland years ago gathering the cringe-worthiest reader responses from the always anti-bike Oregonian in typical body-shaming, knee-jerking, car-crazy fashion after witnessing the famed World Naked Bike Ride.

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Because what’s more anti-Christ than God’s own image?

Bear in mind, this isn’t some debaucherous Sodom and Gomorrah orgy of two-wheeled Bike Smut. This is the largest and most popular ride that happens in Portland, with thousands of riders packed densely for miles. WNBR is permitted by the city and assisted by police who close the route to cars for the safety of all riders, and is entirely funded through private donations. If driving your car around matters more to you than stripping bare as you dare while pedaling with thousands of other naked cyclists, well then, fuck you. And fuck your car.

Look, we all have insecurities. You have them. I have them. That’s fine. Maybe the sight of a bunch of butt-nekked people on bikes makes you self-conscious, maybe you hate having fun, maybe you just like wandering endless aisles of big-box stores. If that’s the case, that’s fucked – but that’s what’s called a YP – not an MP.

It doesn’t have to be this way. It’s not too late to liberate yourself from the socially-stunting cage you’re driving. It’s still possible to drop the smug attitude about needing a car for your job or your litter of Mini-Me spawn. Even if you have a legit physical condition that precludes cycling, I can virtually guarantee there’s a way around it and onto a bike. There’s a local hero here in Portland with amputated legs named Brian S. Wilson. He rides a bike daily. Not far away lives an entire Car-Free Family, in the suburbs no less.

If you’re reading this rant as somebody who’s already kicked your car addiction and embraced bike-liberation, I applaud you. Now it’s time to help liberate somebody else, I’m confident you already know how. If you’re merely a fair-weather rider who still drives when it’s cold or raining, well, you should know better. Don’t be like Hitler. Fuck Hitler, and fuck cars.

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16 comments

  1. Recently I stumbled across this video, and while not “on a bike” – it showed someone having a hell of a good time and having spinal bifida doesn’t seem to slow him down from being bad ass. His name is Aaron Furthington and he’s tearing up the bmx and skate parks like a mofo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUUVfPy0UgI

    If he ever comes into the indoor bike park that I work at, I’d be more than thrilled to serve him because he does the wallride better than I could ever do on a bike!

  2. Man, this is so good. I’m going to send it to my Prius-driving lefty friend who actually drives more now that he has a hybrid. That doesn’t stop him from smugly informing me that bikes are “impractical” and “extremely dangerous.” Meanwhile he’s stressed to the point of hypertension from driving so much and complains about it incessantly. Cars = death boxes. Fuck ’em.

  3. You are so fucking right!!

    However, I’m not sure confronting peoples ingrained prejudices with words is gonna work in most cases – I think that you have to show people what’s possible, not tell them. Words sound like they’re changing your thinking which we resist, whereas things you see yourself you can allow to become ‘your idea’, part of your identity.

    Particularly like the Hitler poster!

  4. I have used a bicycle as my primary transportation for decades. I have not owned a car of my own since 1990. I understand and agree with many of the arguments expressed here.

    But what I find so frustrating with this very aggressive anti-car approach is that it seems to be largely the realm of the young and healthy, and of those who are well-positioned to live close to where they work. What lies beneath the vision of a world somehow redeemed by the end of cars feels slightly insidious to me: subtle hints at some unspoken assumptions that suggest:

    –a collapse of consumer-based economies as fewer and fewer workers can get to their jobs at malls very far away from where they can afford to live;
    –rationing of remaining health-care services for those who have outlived their physical vigor and can no longer self-propel (on foot or by bicycle);
    –shorter life-spans for everyone since no quarter will be shown to the elderly and infirm (there WILL still be elderly and infirm after the “revolution” at least for awhile), or to those who slowly starve as a result of the collapse of consumer-based economies and societies.

    As I get older, and much begin to deal with the very real aches, pains and fatigue associated with my personal aging processes, I am fascinated by how much rage — and how little practical, long-range thinking — is exercised by the most aggressive anti-car advocates. Everyone loves to imagine, even glorify, revolution, but hardly anyone wants to get down to brass tacks and talk about What Comes Next. That is what makes op-eds like this look like little more than the angry ramblings of the healthy and/or entitled young. Sorry, but I need more substance and a longer view than that expressed here.

      1. The Stroad video! Yep, it’s a catch 22. Wider roads for more cars for wider roads for more cars. Fuck it all.

  5. Funny, as I get older I think how much this all very badly needs to h appen–that we are not the generation cursed by their descendents as to the mess we’ve made of things. To speak to h ousing affordability, the free market in real property needs a leash around it’s neck, and needs to be tamed in the interest of not forcing a long commute burden on working people.

  6. If a car is giving you a hard time, just take out your u-lock and smash a window. It will pull over and cry.

  7. I don’t drive. I don’t even know how. Nonetheless, I do not feel everyone who drives and has accommodated their lives to the material realities (job, housing, family) created by cars (and capitalism!) is equally free to buck them. When I was forced to look for a new place to live, the prospect of biking or taking a MAX in from East County (where virtually all affordable housing is to be found in the region right now) to my job in downtown Portland was not one I was eager about.

    We can encourage individuals to break through their concerns or habits about going from cars to bikes, if they seem superficial or specifically addressable, but not all are superficial or all that within the control of the individual to over-come without unduly bearing other burdens that come with living in capitalist society. We should be forced to recognize the difficult, alienating and destructive realities that cars allow us to ignore and work around, but if that burden is born too unequally I don’t think it’ll serve building the kind of movement you advocate.

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