If the newsletter below doesn't appear to be formatted properly (or doesn't appear at all), you can read the newsletter online at: http://BicycleAustin.info/newsletters

Car-Free Austin
alternative transportation news & views

Sept. 27, 2001
Email | BicycleAustin.info
Read Back Issues

Contributors: Corvus Corvax, Cycle Messengers for World Domination, Michael Zakes, Patrick Goetz
Research/Tips: David Bench, De Clarke, Robert Farr
  Editor: Michael Bluejay




  UPDATE: Chevy NOT bragging about wasting oil

  Pointless honking?

  What to do if you got two copies of the newsletter

  How to respond

  Why they honk


  TONIGHT: Bike-In Theatre


  SAT. NIGHT: Annual Moonlight Cruise

  A cyclist in Manhattan tries to find his cyclist wife after the attacks



  Help researchers by filling out an online survey


From the Editor

Chevy NOT bragging about wasting oil. In our last newsletter (9-21) we pondered whether Chevy was really bragging about wasting oil in its television commercials, with their reference to "moving over 10 million gallons of Texas tradition". This seemed too bizarre to be true, even in Texas, so we asked Chevrolet for a clarification, but they wouldn't respond. However, a couple of readers pointed out that the commercials were in fact referring to one million Texans wearing 10-gallon hats. Sorry we missed the joke. But we stand by our point that the Chevy Suburban gets really pathetic gas mileage, as you can see from a visit to the EPA's FuelEconomy.org.

Did you get two copies of the newsletter? If you got two copies of this newsletter, send a blank email to austin-bike-news-unsubscribe@topica.com. That will remove the duplicate subscription, so then you'll only get one copy in the future.

back to top

Rides & Events

TONIGHT (Thursday the 27th, 8:30pm): Bike-In Theatre  by David Bench, sirbench@hotmail

Every Thursday during the summer, Waterloo Cycles hosts Bike-In Theatre -- movies and shorts projected onto the side of the building. Tonight's lineup is:

  • Twisted Shorts
  • Cinematexas Shorts
  • Twilight Zone
  • And the feature, the Sergio Leone classic Once Upon a Time in the West.
  • The rock band Stinky del Negro will take the stage after that.

    Waterloo Cycles, 29th and Guadalupe, 9/27, 8:30 PM

THIS WEEKEND (2:00 am Sat. night, aka Sun. morn.): Annual Moonlight Cruise

This is a huge, unofficial annual ride attracting hundreds of cyclists, and it's been happening since 1983 (according to the fliers). It typically attracts 300-1000 cyclists. It used to meet at Palmer Auditorium, but for 2001 it was set to meet at the new Lamar Bike/Pedestrian Bridge.

Remember that a headlight and rear reflector or light is required by State law (and it's crazy to ride at night without lights anyway).

Pfluger Bridge, Lamar at the River, 9-29 night (9-30 morning), 2:00am

back to top

Cycling Survey

Researchers need cyclists to complete an online survey about their cycling habits. Here's a link to the survey.


back to top

Dealing with Honkies

Pointless honking?

"Has anyone else had the experience recently of having a motorist (for some reason, particularly SUV drivers) honk at you for no apparent reason? I mean, you didn't break any traffic laws, you're not even in their way, you didn't cut them off or interact with them in any way and they're still honking at you? A couple of weeks ago some guy in a black SUV honked at me near the intersection of Speedway and 43rd. When I caught up to him at 43rd and Duval I pulled up along side intending to ask him why exactly he had honked at me and noticed that he already had a handgun lying on the passenger side seat, perhaps in preparation for some kind of confrontation. I decided not ask, since I was already late for work and having to break his neck in order to avoid getting shot would make me even later." -- Patrick Goetz

How to respond

"When motorists honk at me, I wave and grin like it's a long lost friend that I haven't seen for years. The more they honk the more vigorous the wave. That way you defeat their purpose of trying to intimidate you, and every once in a while you will give rise to a pang of conscience on their part. This also keeps you from flipping off friends accidentally." -- Michael Zakes of Waterloo Cycles

Why they honk
by Ross, from Humidity, May 2000, as republished on Cycle Messengers for World Domination

Between the road construction, the recent weather and the new stadium, Houston traffic is starting to look like New York. On a couple of recent evenings it's been so gridlocked I had to get on the sidewalk just to get through. And what's with the honking? All these people sitting in their cars seem amazingly angry about it.
What could they possible have to angry about? They're sitting in a plush, leather armchair, a kickass stereo within reach, thick pile carpeting under their feet and a lot of them have a cold beer at their elbow. Sounds pretty comfy, especially when I'm outside getting soaked and blown around and hailed on in a "20% chance of thunderstorm(s)". I mean, it seems like they could be pretty relaxed, like sitting at home in your living room, so why the honking?
I think it's because they're angry. Not just summer electric bill angry or even got a speeding ticket angry. We're talking deep-seated, all the way to the soul, pissed off. Why? Because their entire value system, the basis of their strongest held beliefs, the foundations of their entire life are being shaken, and they are scared.
When Mr. Honker was very young, about five or six, his dad took him over to the neighbours' to admire the neighbours' new car. Can you smell the new? Pop thought it was a great thing to have a new car and so it must be good. About the time Mr. Honker was 14, he started collecting car magazines and advertisements, picking out what kind of car he wanted and trying to match it with his self-image. A sports car, a pickup truck, a Mercedes? What car would best show the world his personality? When he was older, he went to the car dealer and signed the papers and agreed to give GMAC a quarter of his income for five years and drove away in a new, shiny machine. And after 60 easy monthly payments, it was dirty and rusty and didn't work very well any more. But during the evening news, there was an advertisement for a new one. This one offered driving excitement, performance for type-A people, the biggest in its class. So he went back to the dealer and agreed to give up another quarter of his income.
He's done this a couple of times but he has an empty feeling deep in his stomach. He is starting to realize he's been lied to. He spent all that money and bought this thing and it didn't change his life. He's still working in a cubicle, playing golf on the public course and can't afford season tickets. When he saw the TV ad for this car it was pulling up to a great restaurant with valet parking. It was full of beautiful people. Didn't they promise if he bought the car, he would become rich and well-endowed? They lied! Everybody's been lying, even Pop! It didn't work, something is wrong!
And then some courier scum flies by his gridlocked car, on a damned BICYCLE! How much did that damned thing cost? 200 dollars? Spent 40 grand on this truck and some damn kid on a bicycle flies by, like he has some special right or something. Make him get back here, make him wait on the traffic with me, how dare he, he's not even making payments!

back to top

Bikes & the WTC Attacks

by Corvus Corvax | as posted on alt.mountain-bike, 9-11-01

My wife is running a little late for work this morning. She gets her messenger bag together and heads out the door with her bike. "Ride safe," I say, and go back to reading the paper. I have a light breakfast and decide on a morning ride. I'm still feeling a little wonky from the century, so something strenuous like the Palisades doesn't appeal. A nice, easy ride is the ticket. I'll just head down to the World Trade Center. It's a gorgeous, calm morning.
I bike uptown to the top of the Hudson River Path at 125th Street. Just as I cross from the street to the path, a police emergency van screams by, headed onto the Hudson Parkway. I figure it's another accident on the Parkway, looks like a bad one. I can see the helicopters hovering further downtown. As I ride downtown I wonder why there's no traffic to speak of on the Parkway. If there's an accident, it should be backed up all the way to Westchester by now. Funny.
It isn't until around 72nd Street that I hear the news. A green Parks Department pickup truck sits with its doors open and the radio playing the news. I ride by and do a double-take, turn back and get the news from bystanders that the WTC has been hit by a plane. I look up and for the first time see the plume of smoke over downtown. Oh, fuck. My wife is down there.
Irrationally, I hop on the bike and barrel downtown, trying to work out the timing in my head. Her commute takes her directly beneath the towers. It would have been close. My cell phone is out, and I can only assume the whole phone grid is down. (I am wrong about this.) I try to stay calm, not do something stupid and get hit by a garbage truck or something. Ambulances and fire trucks are pouring down the West Side Highway, and I begin to see the refugees from the financial district walking uptown on the bike path. I have a clear view of the burning towers as I fly by Chelsea Pier.
I don't even really know what I'm doing. I figure maybe I can get further downtown then cut across town and down to the east end of Wall Street, where my wife's office is. If she made it to work, she'll be fine. I want to see her. I am also driven by a morbid fascination at the sight of the towers in flames ahead of me, growing larger in the sky with each block I ride. Nobody stops me. There are no police. Nobody tells me to turn around. The crowd thickens and my pace slows to a crawl through the mob headed uptown. Why am I headed downtown? I don't know. Still nobody stops me. Finally, it is clear that it is suicide to continue. I am on the riverbank less than a half mile from the towers, burning serenely overhead.
So I stop. I sit on my bike, and try to reach my wife with the cell. I finally get through, but all I get is her voicemail. I leave a message. The scale of the disaster is so huge that it looks almost calm. I can clearly see the fires throughout the top floors of the North Tower. The South Tower, partially obscured behind the North, is clearly more heavily damaged. Occasional small explosions hit, tiny puffs of orange and black which must be huge given the scale. Debris swirls and corkscrews down through the air like paper. A police helicopter flies precariously close to the top of the North Tower, nearly touching the roof. F-15 fighters are buzzing downtown like something out of King Kong.
Then a huge grey ball erupts in the top third of the South Tower, and then the building disappears completely, drops from the sky. The sound of the tower as it collapses is a quiet, gentle whoosh, like snow falling from a roof. The smoke billows out barely two blocks from where I am standing. I watch, transfixed. It is horrible and almost beautiful.
But it is not beautiful, and I leave when they start to jump from the North Tower. I watch four or five of them go in quick succession, falling not at all like the debris. My stomach knots, and I return to the world and ride north, shaking. The bike path is impassable, so I hit the streets and wind through trucks and pedestrians and emergency vehicles up Greenwich Street. I hear a gasp from the crowd on the street, and then that soft sound of snow falling from the roof again. The North Tower has gone.
I ride to 14th, then over to 10th Avenue and up the west side. Once I hit midtown, I am the only thing moving. Traffic is at a dead stop. I swerve through the useless metal. I break my neck for home. I still don't know where my wife is.
When I get home, I find she has left me an email. She made it to work okay. She rode under the towers barely fifteen minutes before the planes hit. I am tense and distraught during the hours until she arrives home, her bike covered in ash. The smoke was so thick that she had to ride with a wet towel over her mouth. Thank God she had her bike, or she'd still be out there somewhere.
We're okay, me and my warm, beautiful alive wife.

back to top

Publication / Subscription Info

General Info: Car-Free Austin covers alternative transportation, especially bicycling. We're not opposed to cars, we're opposed to the car culture. CFA is published sporadically, and may be discontinued at any time without notice. We currently have over 600 subscribers.

Contact info & author/research credits are here. Articles are by the editor if uncredited. Articles by others may have been edited for grammar, clarity, conciseness, superstition, or just for the hell of it.

Back Issues are here.

Subscribe or Unsubscribe at BicycleAustin.info.

Questions: Before writing with questions, please check the website to see if your question is answered there. Here are some shortcuts:

Thanks for reading this far. Ride safely! :) -MBJ-

back to top

Put this calendar on your website! Copy and paste the following code:

To link to the calendar on its own page, use the address: http://BicycleAustin.com/calendar

I've tried without success to get local groups to add their events to this calendar (Bike Texas, the Yellow Bike Project, City's Bicycle Program, Bike Austin, etc.)
If you'd like to help edit the calendar, or at least add your group's events to it, then please let me know!

Another site by Michael Bluejay...

Michael Bluejay explains slot machines.  I know about more stuff than just bikes.  My explanation about how slot machines work is probably the best you're gonna find anywhere.'

Entire website ©1995-2019 by Michael Bluejay