ALL IN ALL, IT'S JUST ANOTHER BEIGE RECTANGLE IN THE WALL. Long ago I wrote a little rant about a heinous yet prominent architectural feature of downtown Denver: WALL OF NOTHING. Then this summer I noticed that augmentations were being performed on the behemoth surface and figured I'd better update its status. As you can see here, the wall that used to be painted entirely the color of Dick Cheney's forehead and known as The Wall of Nothing should probably be called The Wall of Huge Beige Rectangles until further notice. Each rectangle is approximately the size of a city bus, but twice as soothing.

HURST CAN COMPLAIN ABOUT ANYTHING. In other downtown abominations, check out these new racks, which have plates welded where one would most like ... to stick ... one's ... lock. I should be happy you say, grateful that these things are being installed -- racks is racks right? I mean, they are still useable. Unfortunately I can't get past the sheer stupidity represented in these curious artifacts. Every time I am compelled to use one I find myself grumbling, so I avoid contact.

As the sticker there proudly proclaims, they are brought to you by the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District, an organization which until now has seemed to view bicycling as a hindrance to business, something to be stamped out rather than facilitated. These pants-suited business boosters never exhibited any appreciation for potential customers on bikes, or the workers downtown, from lawyers to dishwashers, who use bikes to get to their jobs. They certainly had little appreciation for the messengers who served their tenants, I mean overlords. Then the cycling renaissance of the '00s took the BID by surprise. What are all these people doing riding bikes around down here? Now they present these awkward racks to their friends the cyclists with the prime rack area welded shut to create a place to put their sticker or some other form of advertisement. Am I on hidden camera here? This is a bit like getting a delicious sandwich with a huge bite taken out, and a sticky note there with 'Brought to You by Mo's Deli' written on it. And of course the racks are popping up everywhere -- except where they would be most useful. That's about a D+ for execution, BID.

These faulty racks are a tiny insignificant example of what happens when the decisions about bike accomodations are made by folks who don't ride bikes and don't really understand how to use the facilities they're providing. Today it's a dumb rack, next year it might be some bad law or hideous mandatory facility. We'll continue to get shafted unless real, experienced bicyclists assert themselves more on the planning side of things. I don't blame you for not wanting to get involved though: bike advocacy is full of lunkheads.

HURST IS SKILLED AT ANNOYING. I picked up a copy of the (now outdated) July/August Momentum magazine ("the magazine for self-propelled people") at the Rocky Mountain Bike Show, where several builders were offering super beefy Pugsley-style snowgoing mountain bikes, and saw a nice review of Cyclist's Manifesto in there. It's a re-publication of a web piece by Andy Cline on his excellent blog CarbonTrace.

This review is probably my favorite yet as it says I am "skilled at annoying nearly everyone at least once in any given text." Nearly? Once?

MIONSKE FOR IDAHO STOP. Another thing I should have mentioned a while back is Bob Mionske's endorsement of the Idaho Stop law in his column/blog in Bicycling Magazine ((Mionske is a former racer turned lawyer who has written extensively and rationally on bicyclists' many legal issues, for Velonews and Bicycling and in his book Bicycling and the Law, which I recommend):


Of course, it's ridiculous for scofflaws of one stripe to point accusatory fingers at scofflaws of another stripe, so why do they do it? Because it allows them to rationalize their own beliefs and behaviors. When a driver says that, "cyclists don't stop at stop signs," it's invariably said in support of the driver's real argument-implicit or explicit-that cyclists don't belong on the road. One could well point out that, by that standard, motorists don't belong on the road either, a logical conclusion that escapes the motorists pointing accusatory fingers at scofflaw cyclists, because they're offering up a rationale for their beliefs and behavior, rather than a rational argument. ...

... By altering the legal duties of cyclists at stop signs, we would be encouraging several positive effects, while continuing to penalize negative behavior.


And not only could we continue to penalize negative behavior ('right of way theft') under the Idaho Stop law, we could focus more sharply on it than is possible under current useless laws. Mionske is right.