June 29, 2017

Anti-cyclist rant by Adam Parks of Victorian Farmstead Meat in Sebastopol

Below are excerpts from the recent “I hate cyclists” blog post by Sebastopol meat company owner Adam Parks. I read this on his site on Saturday. It’s no longer up, but I can post excerpts and my responses to this despicable rant in which he suggests running cyclists off the road and jokes about the “Tour de Speedbump.”

My initial comment, under the name SoCo Cyclist, is at bottom, following the excerpts I can legally post from Parks’ screed.

m-bike-08-12Here’s an excerpt from my comment posted last Saturday: “Let’s not forget who’s vulnerable – it’s the person on two wheels with no metal casing or airbags to protect him or her. In 30+ years of cycling (including a trip across the US) I’ve been run off the road by 18-wheelers, shouted at, had people throw beer bottles at me and been threated by gun-toting assholes. All while abiding by local laws and traveling in a way that’s not polluting.”

Read excerpts from Parks’ diatribe below with my comments interspersed, or see the Press Democrat story about the post the heated reaction to it. Here are my responses to Parks:

 

Cycle of Life, posted  March 12, 2015 by Adam Parks

Parks: As a rule, I don’t like cyclists. There… I said it. Big, sweeping generalization that probably throws some good, law-abiding people under the proverbial bus. Nonetheless, I really hate cyclists.

Shapiro: Well, you’re certainly clear about your feelings.

Parks: Cyclists … are usually astride a $10,000 graphite-framed bike that is lighter than a can of beer. Their $500 spandex onesie has more advertisements than a NASCAR driver. How do you know if someone is a cyclist??? Don’t worry… they’ll tell you.

Shapiro: No, we’re not all as arrogant or wealthy as you think we are.

Parks: What doesn’t make sense is these entitled fools mucking up a perfectly fine drive on a narrow, two lane back road in the country. … Get out of the way!

Shapiro: Cyclists have as much right to the road as cars; we’re not invading your God-given territory. Irony is you talk about how entitled cyclists are but you’re the one who’s entitled, unwilling to share the road.

Parks: The rare single cyclist is bad enough. This is usually the newbie that decides he’s going to try out his new steed in “the middle of nowhere so I won’t bother my fellow cyclists”. Usually stopped (as there is nowhere to pull over) going uphill on a blind curve, you can actually feel this one questioning his life’s choices as you lay on the horn to move him into to the ditch and out of the way.

Shapiro: You think it’s amusing to joke about forcing cyclists into the ditch. I’ve had this happen to me while on a bike several times and it’s not funny – it’s life-threatening. I had a good friend whose brother was struck by a hit-and-run driver while cycling, and left in a ditch where he died.

Parks: So, as usual, I have some suggestions for these Tour de Speedbump contestants. First, anyone not in single file and/or on the right side of the solid white line is fair game.

Shapiro: Really, you think you own the road, and that a cyclist who has a legal right to share it is “fair game.” I know you said after the fact you were just kidding but that doesn’t make ok to threaten people.

In the latter half of the blog post, Parks talks about his mistake going up a narrow road on the Peninsula and getting into an angry exchange with cyclists, even though he acknowledges he was the one who shouldn’t have taken an RV up that steep and winding road. I won’t post it here because I don’t want to risk violating fair use rules and can’t link to it because unfortunately he’s taken down his blog after the firestorm of protest.

Below is an excerpt from the comment that Parks posted after some angry responses to his blog entry, as well as a comment I posted last weekend in response. Parks initially was defiant and said he’d “never apologize,” but that’s what he did a couple of days later, perhaps because he’s concerned about the affect his diatribe could have on his struggling meat business:

COMMENTS

Note: below is an excerpt of Parks’ response to about a dozen angry comments on his blog post – I’ve deleted these comments. -Shapiro

Adam Parks says:
March 14, 2015 at 9:22 am
Wow, that touched a nerve! Thanks everyone for your comments. I never apologize for what I write and I won’t start here. However, what is clear is that I did a poor job of using sarcasm because many of you certainly didn’t read it that way. I guess if you read it literally, then you should be offended. Other than that, lighten up! Nobody is looking to hurt anyone.

Michael Shapiro (SoCo Cyclist) says:
March 14, 2015 at 12:14 pm
Adam, You screwed up, got on a road with an oversize vehicle that you shouldn’t have been on, got stressed and blamed your frustration on cyclists. Let’s not forget who’s vulnerable – it’s the person on two wheels with no metal casing or airbags to protect him or her, not the guy driving the RV.

In 30+ years of cycling (including a 4,300-mile trip across the US) I’ve been run off the road by 18-wheelers and RVs, shouted at, had people throw beer bottles at me and threated by gun-toting assholes. All while abiding by local laws and traveling in a way that’s not polluting. And by the way, I don’t have $500 onesies or a $10k bike.

Re your comment telling everyone to “lighten up,” that’s like telling people you were just joking after saying “Kill all the —-ers” or whatever other people you hate. Saying “Hey I was only kidding” is no defense. There’s a big and clearly evident difference between satire and thinly veiled hatred – read Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” if you want to understand the difference.

Like many cyclists, I’m progressive and support local business that provide products like locally raised meat. I’ll continue to do that but won’t spend my money at your place.

Finally, you should know that cyclists have as much legal right to the road as motor vehicles – if you want to see the laws, click: https://calbike.org/bicycling-in-california/sharing-the-road/

 

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