And it happened in the capital of our country where good ideas are supposed to be born to serve as a model for our nation to progress. Yeah right.
I can tell you this: Washington, DC and the areas around it are woefully deficient of good bike paths, and the attitudes of their drivers are stuck in the dark ages--as evidenced by the gross display by commentator Tony Kornheiser from ESPN.
The announcer who is known for his controversial thoughts, said he thought Washington, DC was turning into another Beijing because it was creating bike lanes on Pennsylvania Ave--where currently no cars are allowed anyhow. He also openly advocated for punishing cyclists by knocking them down with a car.
But this time he went too far, and got bitch slapped through Twitter by Lance Armstrong who finally took a stand for cyclists' rights on the road by responding with outrage. "Listening to Tony Kornheiser's comments/rant on ESPN radio re: cyclists. Disgusting, ignorant, foolish. What a complete f-ing idiot," wrote Armstrong on Twitter.
Armstrong has long maintained that his primary goal in life now is to raise funds for fighting cancer through his not-for-profit Livestrong. Responding to questions at Interbike in 2008 he said he does not have time to help make cycling safer in the U.S.. But this time, the slight may have been too grave for him not to step into the fray.
Kornheiser's comments were followed by more outrage, which lead to the man --who seems more like a village idiot than a paid journalist-- apologizing publicly to Armstrong, and Armstrong going on his show the following day to discuss cycling with him.
Kornheiser said he is "sorry," said Armstrong's Twitter page.
Among the insults, Kornheiser publicly called for knocking cyclists off the road. His co-host agreed, arguing not to kill them but to cause them to lose a limb. "Just take down the one," said Kornheiser, arguing that cyclists should stick to the "little lane on the right."
Kornheiser also stated that the roads are for big cars like his, and he owns the road.
It's amazing to listen to this kind of ignorance among grown men in this society with supposedly responsible jobs. When I visited D.C. a month ago, I tried to ride ONE MILE on the roads, and I was pushed straight to the curb. I was scared out of my wits. Mind you, I am a New York City rider. This was like riding on a god d--n highway, and it was a small suburban side road.
Not one single driver acted as if I belonged there, and not one gave me the space to ride. I stopped as quickly as I could to ride on the sidewalk, and then took a trail that even though was okay, was covered in mud, and did not take me to my destination.
I think people in this country deserve more from their leaders in the capital, and from their spokespeople on large, public sports channels. What should be done with Kornheiser is obvious: he should not be allowed to ever again speak in public, except perhaps as the crazy person he is, on a soapbox in the middle of a desert.
Below is a close approximation to a word for word of his show which you can listen to on Youtube:
(Male Host) The center of Pennsylvania Ave., from the White House to the capital may be reserved for just two things, the president's inauguration, and PEOPLE RIDING BICYCLES.
(Male Host) When I read about this early this morning...and I thought that a bike lane would be one lane on the right hand side...and they never use them. Then I learned that these things were going to be used to remove an entire lane for automobiles, and the last time I looked, the roads were MADE for automobiles. And they are going be in the middle and not on the sides and we are going to be dominated AS IS THIS WERE BEIJING by hundreds of thousands of bicyclists.
(Kornheiser) I think this is a terrible, terrible idea, , I mean I don't mind those one lanes, but you get in Rock Creek Park, and these people are three or four of these people start riding abreast, and I swear it is all you do to NOT RUN THEM DOWN, like wiley coyotes, RUN THEM OVER.
I mean (they should) stay on the right, stay on the right. I am happy to share the road, but by share the road I mean, get over on the right, ...GET THE HELL OUT OF MY WAY. Am I right on this?
Another host says (unidentified woman)...
Here is the problem I have is give them the bike lanes and open ..it's so congested already.
(Male host) These chesty cyclists I mean they take the right lane and they are already moving over to the middle of the road...they are just so annoying
(Kornheiser) And My God with the little water bottles in the back, and their stupid hats, and their shiny shorts...
(Male host) Look at their filthy packages bulging...
(Kornheiser) They are the same disgusting poseurs that come out in the middle of a snowstorm cross country skiing on your block. RUN THEM DOWN.
(Male host, rhetorically) Really?
(Kornheiser) I have no problem with that...
(Male host) Or they can ride on top of the curb, they're a ballsy group
(Kornheiser) I dont take my car and ride on the sidewalk, because I understand that's not for my car. Since when, why do these people think these roads were built for bicycles?????
(Male Host) Because they are crunchy granola, they just want us to live in a cleaner world.
(Kornheiser).Someone is going to hate me for this, but am I wrong?
(Male Host) Well they already do
(Female Host) The bike sponsors are cutting off right now... You know if everybody truly shared the road, I am all for people getting more exercise...
(Male host) They don't share it now
(Kornheiser) They don't share the road, they DOMINATE the road. They DARE you to run them down.
(Male host) Yes they do...
(Kornheiser)...And if you do (run them down) they get angry, WHAT IS THAT ABOUT?
(Male Host) If you honk they slow down right in front of you
(Kornheiser) And so you TAP them, (big cackling laughter all around) I don't mean kill, I mean tap them, tap the one
(Male host) You make them take a spill, not a fatal spill but just a limb losing spill.
(Kornheiser) If you are not rubbing you are not racing, so you just tap them a little bit and see what happens
(Male host) It is so annoying. This is a Fenty move, he is a big bike guy
(Female host) With a security detail of course
(Kornheiser) But again, what is wrong with the little lane on the right?
(Male host) then you got the Sequeways...
(Kornheiser) I don't drive in the little lane on the right.
(Female host) Here is the argument that they would make, is that the little lane on the right is covered up by cars parked at the wrong time of day and buses that pull over....
(Male Host) TELL THEM TO TAKE METRO, we have a subway system that works
(Kornheiser) Really? Well they can be around a little bit, my objection is when they ride in the middle of the road, they give you the finger, they do it all the time, because they think they you think you own it. I don't think I own it, I OWN IT. I have a car, I HAVE A LARGE POWERFUL CAR, compared to YOUR STUPID LITTLE BICYCLE.
(Male Host) It seems discriminatory to me, I mean what about unicylists? Why don't they get a lane?
(Kornheiser) They can use the same lane on the right, anything with less than four wheels, or three wheels, they take the bike lane
(Male host) And if there isn't one they can take the metro.
(Male host) What about a Sequeway? (Lots of mockery and cackling laughter ensues)
(Kornheiser) So the whole city is just going to be for bicycles?
(Male Host) Under siege.
(Kornheiser) It's going to be like Beijing, just buses and bicycles, that's all there is going to be
(Male Host) There are plenty of pads (?)
(Male host in background) What's next, eating dogs (?)
(Male host) The capital crescent takes you to Georgetown and you can take the Metro from there..Get on a bus
(Kornheiser) Yes! What is your problem?
(Male host) Feed the economy
(Kornheiser) What did you call them, Granolees?
(Male Host) They are a crunchy group
(Kornheiser) They don't shave their legs
(Male Host) Many of them are men, they don't shave their legs
(Kornheiser) Actually I think they do, the women don't shave their legs..for those bicycle shorts so they can glisten as they ride
(Male host) They throw water on themselves and they aren't even sweating.
(Kornheiser) Well we trashed them pretty good, huh?
(Male host) yeah.
(Kornheiser?) You feel good about that.