Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Unveiling their true feelings

This morning's Oregonian includes a very revealing story about an issue being held close to the vest, er, chest.

Sorry about the puns, but the O started it with this headline: "Nude cyclists expose lack of bike lanes."

It seems that the free-wheeling exhibitionists, er, cyclists, didn't like the fact that the St. Johns Bridge — which has been undergoing a $38 million renovation for the last two years — would not have more room for two-wheeled transportation. The bridge will continue to offer two lanes in each direction, with sidewalks on either side; the bikers wanted the bridge (which is a prime transportation route for trucks going to the North Portland industrial sites) reduced to one lane in each direction, with bike lanes in place of the other two vehicle lanes.

Thus, the 14-person protest was intended "to literally demonstrate the naked vulnerability with which [the Oregon Department of Transportation] expects us to travel this bridge," according to a Buff on the Bluff protest letter. (The Bluff is an area not far from the bridge, where the University of Portland is located; as they were "preparing" for the protest, a UP security guard asked if they could do so in another location. It sounds like the guard was very polite, and the bikers were happy to oblige.)

As an aside, wouldn't a "literal demonstration of the naked vulnerability" of cyclists feature one of them being drop-kicked across the bridge by the bumper of an 18-wheeler? Possibly, the letter-writer was thinking of a "figurative demonstration," as Wall Street Journal writer James Taranto has opined (last item). But I digress.

Here's my favorite quote from the O's story:
Clumped together, the protestors took up a full lane both ways across the bridge. Aside from a few annoyed motorists, [organizer Allan] Folz said, the cyclists mostly received cheers and honks of support. A couple of cops standing in front of North Precinct clapped and waved, he said.
Yeah, I'm sure those cheers and honks were intended to support their cause. It had nothing to do with the fact that they were STARK RAVING NAKED!

Oh, by the way, Folz said "you can't even tell the difference" between clothed and non-clothed cycling. In case you wanted to know. Of course, it was about 80 degrees the day they rode — I'd like to see them make that protest in January.

Strike that. I wouldn't want to see anything of the sort.


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