Cyclists as U.N. sleeper agents?


“Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia. “
H.G. Wells, British author, A Modern Utopia, 1905

I took part in a bicycle ride Wednesday night with about 20 like-minded people, most of whom probably would like to see more cyclists than cars on the road, more fuel-efficent vehicles for those who can’t be weaned from cars, expanded public transport, and perhaps a bicycle-sharing program in Fort Worth like the one recently put in place in Denver.

Dan Maes

But that would put us in league with the mayor of Denver, John Hickenlooper, whose bike-friendly policies have roused the ire and piqued the paranoia of Dan Maes, a Tea Party Republican who is running for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. Hickenlooper is seeking the Democratic nomination. Both the Democratic and Republican primaries are Aug. 10.
“These aren’t just warm, fuzzy ideas from the mayor,” Maes said of Hickenlooper’s environmental initiatives, which include the bike-sharing plan to move people around central Denver. “These are very specific strategies that are dictated to us by this United Nations program that mayors have signed on to.”

Hickenlooper tries to shoot a basket from a B-cycle before a Denver Nuggets game on April 1. (AP photo by David Zalubowski)

Maes, speaking at a rally July 26 in Centennial, Colo., was referring to Denver’s membership in the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, an association that promotes sustainable development. More than 1,200 communities around the world — 600 of them in the United States — have joined the group. Denver became a member in 1992, more than a decade before Hickenlooper became mayor.
Maes told The Denver Post that he once thought the mayor’s efforts to promote cycling and other environmental initiatives were harmless and well-meaning. Now he realizes “that’s exactly the attitude they want you to have.”
“This is bigger than it looks like on the surface, and it could threaten our personal freedoms,” Maes said.
At the rally in Centennial, Maes criticized Denver’s bike-sharing program, saying it was promoted by a group that puts the environment above citizens’ rights.
The B-Cycle program, launched on April 22, Earth Day, places a network of about 500 red bikes for rent at stations around the city. Funded by private donors and grants, the program includes encouraging employers to install showers so more people will ride bikes to work and also creating parking spaces for fuel-efficient vehicles.

Denver B-cycle station

Maes said that the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives is affiliated with the United Nations and is “signing up mayors across the country, and these mayors are signing on to this U.N. agreement to have their cities abide by this dream philosophy.”
Bicyclists as sleeper agents for the United Nations? Onward to Utopia!
Now there’s some fodder for the right-wing blathersphere.

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3 Comments

Filed under Americana, Environment, Urban cycling

3 responses to “Cyclists as U.N. sleeper agents?

  1. John Vandevelde

    Jim–
    You are being brave but as a friend who happens to be a laywer, I am worried for you. I need to make sure you appreciate that by going on the record on this issue, you are placing yourself in danger of someday being called before the modern-day equivalent of the House Un-American Activities Committee to be questioned by some neo-conservative who, like Joseph McCarthy, will further a personal agenda by playing on the paranoia of the uninformed. But instead of being asked, “Are you now or have you ever been a Communist?”, you will be asked, “Have you now or have you ever been a bicyclist?” If that happens, you will be forced to admit the truth or take the Fifth. And if people like Maes have their way, either response may end your journalism pursuits.
    I am warning you so that you do not end up being what in this era I am sure will be termed “bloglisted,” because that would deprive me of the joy of reading your column.
    Be careful out there on the road and on the internet!
    –John

  2. John,
    Thanks for being a faithful reader of the blog and for your friendship.
    I guess I’ll have to compartmentalize my life: mild-manned retiree by day and clandestine cyclist and blogger by night.
    Jim

  3. Pingback: Bicycling and politics « Jim’s Bike Blog

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