Many years ago, I was bombing my Zoke-Z1-equipped Klein down a trail in Ohio’s Caesar Creek park when I took a wrong turn and found myself heading towards a farmer’s field. I saw a flash, a glint, in midair fifty feet ahead of me and I jammed both brakes, coming to a heaving halt an arm’s length away from a brand-new bit of barbed wire strung across the trail, presumably at the farmer’s property line. It was at about the right elevation to catch me across the chest, but it would have caught a child at the neck.
Lacking a tool with which to cut the hazard down, I twisted up two large branches in the wire so it would be obvious to the less attentive then went on my way, my general contempt for man’s inhumanity to cyclist freshly reinforced. When I quit racing bikes and started focusing on cars, I figured I’d never see anything like that again. It would appear I was wrong.
The idea that environmentalists in this country are waging a “War On Cars” has gained some currency within the right wing in recent years, fueled by the Obama Administration’s increased emphasis on public transportation and cycling. Of course, statistically speaking, the car is proving more than capable of defending itself, as sales and ownership levels remain improbably robust (in per-capita and per-GDP terms) despite the recent “Carmageddon.” But GM waded into the fray anyway, running the anti-cycling ad seen above in several campus publications (via bikeportland.org), likely in hopes of fighting against the kuruma banare phenomenon that began with Japanese youth abandoning cars and has progressed to a full-blown national love affair with bicycles. But cyclists are a passionate bunch, and GM’s ill-advised ad prompted a torrent of Twitter protests (see for yourself), eventually causing the automaker to apologize and pull the ad.