Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Peoples Front of Judea - Except Bikes

Familiar with Monty Python's "Life of Brian"?  If so, read on.  If not, go away forever.

From the blog for the book, Roads Were Not Built For Cars

REG: Cyclists have bled us white, the bastards. They don’t pay road tax, they run red lights. And what have they ever given us in return?
XERXES: Pneumatic tyres.
REG: What?
XERXES: Pneumatic tyres.
REG: Oh. Yeah, yeah. They did give us that. Uh, that’s true. Yeah.
COMMANDO #3: And ball bearings.
REG: Yeah. All right. I’ll grant you pneumatic tyres and ball bearings are two things that the cyclists have done.
MATTHIAS: And the roads.
REG: Well, yeah. Obviously the roads. I mean, the roads go without saying, don’t they? But apart from pneumatic tyres, ball bearings, and the roads…
COMMANDO: Lightweight steel tubing.
XERXES: Chain driven differential gears.
COMMANDOS: Huh? Heh? Huh…
COMMANDO #2: Dust-free highways. Tractors. Automobile advertising.
REG: Yeah, yeah. All right. Fair enough.
COMMANDO #1: And central Government administration of roads.
COMMANDOS: Oh, yes. Yeah…
FRANCIS: Cars and planes.
REG: Cars and planes?
FRANCIS: Yeah, America’s first car was built by the Duryea brothers: they were bicycle builders first. And powered flight, Reg, that was developed by the Wright Brothers: they owned a bike shop and built bikes.
REG: All right, but apart from the pneumatic tyre, ball bearings, differential gears, roads, motoring, car ads, and aviation, what have cyclists ever done for us?

If you are a fan of Monty Python or the People's Front of Judea, or even the Judean People's Front,  you will recognize this conversation which originally took place about the Romans, since it was hard to ignore that they had done a couple of good things along the way even if you hated them.  So what's the point?  That cyclist-hating drivers are wankers.

This clever bit of parody was written by Carlton Reid, an editor and writer who is producing a book called, "Roads Were Not Built for Cars," which explores the original bike boom and the advent of motoring around 1880-1905.  The rest of Reid's blog post gives the historic background for all of the statements above and is well worth reading:  And, if you like what you see, sign up for information on the book which is yet to be printed.

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