I like to walk in the morning. Enjoy a brisk hike around the National Mall. Lifts my spirits. Gets my blood moving. Clears my head. Almost inclined to close my eyes and meditate. Then.
Goddamn evil bike strewn across my path. Neon lime paint barely piercing the morning gloom. Such cute little buggers.
Potato - Resist the invaders by retreating to the safety of your couch. Tomorrow is Super Sunday - what better way to defeat the bikes than to resolve to a less active, downright passive, lifestyle. Dieters and fitness shows enforce their own form of domination, so this is nothing more than fighting fire with fire. Or, perhaps, fighting inferno with smolder.
Jean Fits Right In!
Git 'Er Done - Get off the couch and apply yourself without exerting a lot of energy. Fire up the Bobcat and clear the sidewalks of discarded LimeBikes. Scoop up any Mobike, Spin, Ofo, and JUMP offenders that happen to lie about too. All originate in some far-off land that means us harm. Problem is, Bobcats are not household items in DC, but I'm sure there are contractors around who could be persuaded to take out there aggression and exert their patriotic instincts with a cold beer.
Normally there's a current, real news story behind these periodic rants. But this time I can't even aspire to fake new. This is personal.
And based on a months-old story from Asia, which foreshadows our current sad state. Here's what Recode (your guess is as good as mine) had to say:
"After seeing great success in places like China and Europe, dockless or free-floating bike-sharing has started to expand aggressively into the U.S. — but with that comes staunch opposition from incumbent players and, in some cases, the very cities they’re trying to court."
So, what I had originally thought to be a thoughtless act of domestic terrorism - the hazardous abandonment of a free, hippie bike treated with the respect that its price commands - is really the first wave of an invasion from a nation-state. And not just any nation-state either. The next superpower.
Our malefactors have attached themselves to a singularly weak link in our national DNA helix. Americans, from Walmart groupies to yard sale junkies, are cheap. Something in the Yankee, puritan ethic that started it all and, in spite of the popular stupidity that new arrivals can't be infected by our national ethos, seems to prevail almost universally. Hence, free bikes, even those cast about without regard for condition or road-worthiness, are joyfully lifted up by passers-by who slip into rush-hour traffic streams with a care for neither life nor limb.
All's I know is that when I see one I get pissed, which is probably the reaction our Asian friends are looking for in an old dude like me. More likely to get me with a heart attack than a traffic accident.
So, when I stumble across them I do the American thing. I pick them up and heave them into the nearest parking lot. That's the nearest I can come to a stiff arm to hold off the onslaught.
But there are other things that patriotic Americans can do. Here are some of them:
Recruit - This is war and there's room for even the smallest to play a part. Put a couple boulders in that bucket and this thing will trash any disposable bike. And kids will LOVE it! I'd love it! So sign the kids up, give 'em some rocks, and a dollar for every tire they bring back.