Returning our focus to the common man, where it belongs

Enough! Enough about sharrows! Enough about sidewalk stencilings! Enough about bike racks! Government waste. That’s what it is. When are we going to get back to the people. It’s about the People, people. What about the common man? You know, the common man:

Lifeblood of America. The people who built this country.

Why don’t you tell us what’s really going on out there, Mr. Eugene Bicyclist? Perhaps you haven’t noticed what’s going on, you elitist Eugene Bicyclist. Well, we’ve got news for you.

The common man … he is pissed.

You might think this guy would have a little more color in his legs by this point of the summer. But no. Why? Because he is white with rage. He’s got his socks pulled up and his leather work gloves on and he is ready to go to work. Building America.

But no. He is being forced to wait for something as wienie-like and Euro-pe-an as a train. I think his body language is clear. It is saying … maybe … well … It’s definitely saying “consternation.” Maybe even something stronger.

And that’s because populism is ascendant. There is anger simmering gently on couches in living rooms across the land. And at train crossings, too.

Here we are, all of us, just sitting around, waiting for trains, when we could be out starting businesses and hiring out-of-work Americans — well, except maybe that one in the harlequin Lycra and the funny shoes.

They can’t even run these trains competently. On Wednesday, I got stopped at this very same crossing at Fifth and High — but on the south side. The particular freight train that day may well have been the longest freight train in history, longer than the line at the nacho stand at a summer tea party rally.

And when it finally screeched and banged to a stop, it turned out to be five-and-a-half cars too long — at least, that is, if you happened to be waiting at the crossing at High Street, like I was. So, this precipitated an exodus of cyclists and pedestrians:

Down the gravel railroad bed we went, unwilling to wait for the incompetents to get the wienie train out of the way.

It was a gorgeous day:

And if you look way up in the background, you can see, silhouetted high against the stunningly beautiful sky, a Pedders Express courier, who had been sitting right behind me when we were waiting for the train to pass.

But when the train stopped while still blocking High Street, he chose to double back and muscle his way up and over the bike path on the viaduct, instead of doing what the rest of did. And now that I think about it, that was probably easier than portaging one of these …

… down the gravel and over the tracks (to grandmother’s house we went).

This guy had to use his cratie-cross skills, as he finally reached the end of the train and negotiated the rails:

For Pete’s sake. What can the oppressed common man expect next? I’ll tell you what. Next, they’re going to start coming to take away the horses of good, hard-working, all-American, bow-legged cowboys.

And they’ll make them ride bicycles instead.

This country is going to hell in a handbasket all right.

Or maybe it’s going to hell in a basket like this:

What a sweet ride! It looks like a virtual picnic on wheels. Ah, but don’t be fooled. That’s just the thing they’d use to take the country to hell — so nobody would suspect anything until it was too late! They want to lull you into comfort and complacency, just like they do with Social Security checks.

* * *

Hey remember that wacky post about how we should encourage bicycle racks to be created that also function as public art? Well, a diligent reader recently sent me this picture of a cool rack he spotted over the mountains in Sisters:

(He blamed his iPhone camera for the unusual blueness of this image.) I have to say I puzzled over the fact that the rear wheel of this sculpture wasn’t actually a complete circle. Then I realized that it looks like “CO.” Was this purchased secondhand from Colorado? No. Perhaps this is a memento of some sort from some past Cycle Oregon tour. (Uh, duh, I just clicked on that link, and I see that this is the actual Cycle Oregon logo). Cycle Oregon is going on as we speak over in the northeast part of the state: Enterprise, Pendleton, etc. Looks as though they are having some fun. Wish I were there. Maybe next year.

* * *

Finally, let’s take a moment to introduce the Eugene Bicyclist Classified Ads, which are sure to be another death blow to the newspaper industry. Not sure if this one is still available, but this lovely retro three-speed is a steal at $100!

Got a bike you’re trying to sell. E-mail me a photo at No charge!

6 thoughts on “Returning our focus to the common man, where it belongs

  1. Whoa! I got stuck waiting for that same train I bet. Wed afternoon around 4:00 I got stuck behind the longest train ever heading north on Van Buren near 1st, right by the defunct Revolution Cycles.

    1. Revolution Cycles is defunct!? Did not know that. Rode past just a few days ago, but it was late evening, so I wasn’t expecting it to be open. I didn’t look very carefully, but I noticed the sign still there.

      Too bad.

      The train I got stopped by was in the morning, about 9 a.m. I think. But yeah, it seemed to go on forever. Maybe they’re making them longer for some reason.

      1. Yup, they went out of business close to a year ago now, I think. The property owner seized it and all the gear inside due to non-payment of rent and auctioned it off. Shane moved to Alaska. My buddy ordered a bike there a few months before they went out of business – he never got it or a refund. :(

  2. I find that getting stuck behind trains is the best excuse for being late for work ever. Especially when you take out your cell phone and call as the freight cars are rumbling by–it’s as good as calling in sick when you have the nastiest cough ever, the audio effects over the phone are terribly dramatic.

  3. I encountered that train at High Street on the way home — rode 5th all the way down to Jefferson and up across the pedestrian overpass before it ever stopped moving. Nothing like letting a bike take you where the cars can’t pass!

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