Holiday Sale at Western Bikeworks

With U.N. plot conspiracy, bike-sharing gets national media spotlight

Posted by on August 4th, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Dan Maes

The growing number of bike-sharing system consultants and vendors must be jumping for joy right now as comments by a Republican gubernatorial candidate in Colorado have thrust them into the national media spotlight.

In his campaign for governor of Colorado, Tea Party favorite Dan Maes has raised questions about Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper’s bike-related policies. Here’s the full scoop from The Denver Post (emphasis mine):

“Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes is warning voters that Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper’s policies, particularly his efforts to boost bike riding, are “converting Denver into a United Nations community.

“This is all very well-disguised, but it will be exposed,” Maes told about 50 supporters who showed up at a campaign rally last week in Centennial.

Maes said in a later interview 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.”

Maes reportedly feels that Denver’s recently launched B-cycle bike sharing system is part of a conspiracy that puts the environment above citizens’ rights. Maes made his comments after learning that Denver was a member of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), a group that shares best practices among cities.

Here’s more from Maes as reported in the Post:

“At first, I thought, ‘Gosh, public transportation, what’s wrong with that, and what’s wrong with people parking their cars and riding their bikes? And what’s wrong with incentives for green cars?’ But if you do your homework and research, you realize ICLEI is part of a greater strategy to rein in American cities under a United Nations treaty,” Maes said.

A poll that’s running with the Post’s story shows that over 17% of the nearly 4,000 respondents take his opinions on this matter “very seriously.”

It will be interesting to see if Maes gets any support from other Tea Party candidates and/or if this idea gets picked up by other leaders who don’t agree with public spending on bike-related projects. We’ll keep you posted on how Maes does in the primary.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

50 Comments
  • patrickz August 4, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Yes, Jonathan, keep us posted on how well this will do in the primary…or in The Onion..
    Unbelievable.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Rithy August 4, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    “converting Denver into a United Nations community”

    Its amazing how so much of this statement and a lot of the statements from Tea Party candidates are masked statements of racism. It is even more amazing no on calls them on it.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Anonymous August 4, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    A poll that’s running with the Post’s story shows that over 17% of the nearly 4,000 respondents take his opinions on this matter “very seriously.”

    Since you took that screenshot, the “very seriously” crowd (as of this comment at 2:08pm) have gained ground…

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • valkraider August 4, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    A poll that’s running with the Post’s story shows that over 17% of the nearly 4,000 respondents take his opinions on this matter “very seriously.”

    Since you took that screenshot, the “very seriously” crowd (as of this comment at 2:08pm) have gained ground…

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Velocentric August 4, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    OMG wake up peoples!

    First Denver, then pretty soon the whole USA will become part of the U.N.!

    oh wait…

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Jerry_W August 4, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    This country is going nuts! These people are Republicans, register to vote and vote against them.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Val August 4, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    So Portland must be fully and completely under UN control by now, right? How’s that working out for you?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • matt picio August 4, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    “it could threaten our personal freedoms” – apparently by providing more personal freedom to others, they limit their own.

    How does promoting bikes and transit (not restricting cars, mind you) reduce choice? Or threaten cars? How does gay marriage threaten marriage? (another popular Tea Party position)

    If you don’t want a gay marriage, don’t get one. If you don’t want to ride the bus or a bike, don’t ride one. Stop telling people they can’t do things just because YOU don’t want to do them.

    BTW, the biggest threat to marriage is divorce, and the biggest threat to cars is population growth.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • matt picio August 4, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Val – seems to be working pretty well. Next up: Beaverton, Hillsboro, Gresham and Oregon City.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Tony H August 4, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    There must be a group ride theme in response to this nonsense. I remember seeing signs saying, “Get US out of the UN” a long time ago (on billboards in rural conservative areas). Maybe now it could be “Get US on bikes!”, or something like that.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Hart August 4, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    As the BluePrint America series has clearly shown, Denver is full of right-wingers that love their sprawl. I think it says a lot though that 67% of the people who voted don’t take this teabaggers comments seriously at all.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Glenn August 4, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Hart, not sure where you get your right-wingers comment about Denver – perhaps it’s tongue-in-cheek? Colorado has arguably the most pro-bike Governor in the country and the most pro-bike large city Mayor (and soon to be Governor). Sprawl is certainly an issue in Denver – not many cities are as fortunate as we are here – but the Denver area also recently approved funding for 110 miles of new light rail. I’m generally impressed with how far that region has come. Plus, if the GOP keeps putting up unelectable candidates like this guy, Colorado should be in good shape.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Jack August 4, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    From denverpost article: “there are valid reasons to be worried”.

    This is the closest thing to an explanation that is given for connecting bike-policy to a conspiracy.

    By that reasoning, bike-policy may also be responsible for the holocaust.

    When will we start teaching some basic logic in school so that the next generation of voters isn’t as gullible as the current one.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Chris August 4, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    I think Denver’s B-cycle bike sharing bikes are painted flat black with no visible markings of any sort – very suspicious!
    First the mysterious black helicopters, now these bikes!
    Put on your foil helmet, they are coming for you Mr. Maes!!!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • hank2125 August 4, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Dan Maes, where is your tinfoil hat ?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Michael M. August 4, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    The John Birch Society lives on.

    I told all my Trilateral Commission buddies that our bike plot would be exposed, but I just didn’t know by whom. Here I was thinking that Terry Parker might be the first to see through it, but no, it is Dan Maes. Curses! Foiled again!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • PDXbiker August 4, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Those cursed cycling promoters. Just a front for modern day Illuminates. This paranoid idiot should pair up with Sarah Palin.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Evan August 4, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    Next he’ll say the sky is blue because of a Democratic Party conspiracy.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Paul Tay August 4, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Yes, I still believe in Jim Jones too. Where da Purple Kool-aid at? Twiiiiiiiilight Zoooooone!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • A.K. August 4, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    matt picio (#8):

    Exactly, I don’t understand the position of cars = freedom, especially at the expense of other transportation modes. I get that this feeling is deeply rooted in the American psyche, but it doesn’t make sense. I understand that in a historical context that yes, owning a car opened up the world to you, but that seems outdated now.

    Extensive planning and construction for the use of the automobile has essentially enslaved people to the use of this mode of transport, because to do without it means everything takes longer and requires more planning.

    The “convenience” factor of the automobile masks its direct and indirect costs: first, you need insurance to drive it, then you need fuel to power it, which means you need land for gas stations and all the oil -> gasoline infrastructure.

    Next, you need parking… LOTS and LOTS of parking, everywhere.

    Finally, you have the environmental impact, and the death toll from traffic accidents, not to mention wasted time in traffic jams and general stress over driving conditions.

    If you provide OPTIONS, like biking, you are GIVING people a personal freedom to choose to skip all that, not taking a freedom away. I have to drive far more often than I would like for work reasons, but I LOVE my time on the bike more than anything for the FREEDOM it gives me to easily go almost anywhere I want, without the stress of driving.

    Sorry, I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but I’m so sick of people who “love freedom” when it makes a good sound bite, but then actively work to erode the personal freedoms of others.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • isaac harris August 4, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    most times, the onion isn’t this funny.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • old&slow August 4, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    Go teabaggers!
    I don’t seriously know how anybody can be a cyclist and a Republican these days.
    Locally Lars Larson says a lot of the same stuff.
    They are just a bunch of gasbags who cannot comprehend that the world is changing and old fat white men are not calling all the shots.
    The last gasp of a dying party, unless everyone gets so complacent they let these idiots in power again.
    I get tired of defending Obama these days to even my liberal friends who don’t think he is doing enough, etc.
    If you don’t pay attention guys like Maes will be in office and guys like LaHood (who is the best transportation secretary we have ever had), will be gone.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Joe Rowe August 4, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    Don’t forget: The Denver bike share program has painted their bikes RED! As in Pinko!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Joe Rowe August 4, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Mr. Maes may have just handed bikes a huge gift. There’s good news about tea party candidates in primaries. They often win the primary and become repulsive to independents and democrats who could potentially vote republican. The tea party candidate who wins a primary almost ensures a democrat in office.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Opus the Poet August 4, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    I read the comments section, and it has been a long time since I read so much funny, both intentional and accidental

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Pat Franz August 4, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Paranoia is a powerful source of creativity, no other way to explain it. But how to explain the 17+% figure? Are there that many people that willfully believe such stuff?

    I keep hoping they are just more likely to make noise and make their opinions known. Unfortunately, they are probably more likely to vote, too, so the rest of us need to get off our butts and make sure we drown them out at the polls. No excuse for not voting these days!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • chrehn August 4, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    …Good Lord! I had no idea that I was part of a United Nations plot…I have been duped…

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Todd Boulanger August 4, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    I read the title and lead in to this article and then the full content – i am not sure our industry members will be jumping up and down for joy.

    Generally for mass market adoption of transportation mode you want both sides of the aisle to use it and invest in it year on year as they trade committee seats vs. standing on it as a soap box to get to the ballot box.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Todd Boulanger August 4, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    …it is often hard enough to get new bike infrastructure to be adopted without polarizing politics.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Todd Boulanger August 4, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    correction…

    …it is often hard enough to get new bike infrastructure to be adopted even before polarizing politics starts.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • bobo August 4, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    “converting Denver into a United Nations community.”

    I’m not even sure what that means, but somehow not surprised by his rhetoric.

    Almost 1 of 3 people take this guy at least a little seriously…

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • bobo August 4, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    “converting Denver into a United Nations community.”

    I’m not even sure what that means, but somehow not surprised by his rhetoric.

    Almost 1 of 3 people take this guy at least a little seriously…

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • lc August 5, 2010 at 7:42 am

    To those who think that Denver isn’t full of right-wingers just because Hick is mayor: believe, brothers and sisters, believe. Having lived and biked 20-some years in Portland and moved here six months ago the difference is stark. This town is full of tea-baggers, and cycling in town is not easy. Hardly any bike lanes, hostile drivers, etc.
    The good news is I see the B cycles out and about regularly. They are priced for short trips, and there are depots all over close to downtown. They are red, btw, but nonetheless invisible to haters.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Jeb August 5, 2010 at 8:22 am

    As long as someone restricts Maes’s freedom to wear that tie in public, I’m all for it.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • John August 5, 2010 at 8:34 am

    Normally I’m all for diversity of opinion and civil discourse but lets be perfectly honest about this guy (and the 30.645% of survey respondents that even marginally agree). Paranoid gee-shucks dimwit(s).

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • lc August 5, 2010 at 9:42 am

    The beauty of all this is it’s really great for bike-friendly Hickenlooper’s run for governor. Maes and the other Republican in the primary are so whack that Tom Tancredo (‘memba him?) had to jump into the race as an independent. These crazies will split the vote, helping Hick’s election. Then we can hope that leads to even more of these communist bike policies.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • chelsea August 5, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Not sure if I should laugh or cry.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Joe August 5, 2010 at 10:45 am

    #15 lol.. love it

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Bob August 5, 2010 at 11:51 am

    TEA-induced dementia and paranoia.

    An army of blue-helmeted UN troops invading Colorado, taking away guns, SUVs and forcing the locals to marry illegal immigrants!!!!

    I would say that “you can’t make this stuff up” but …… they do!!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • J.R. (Business Manager) August 5, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Mr Dan Maes, I have a domain name for sale you really must acquire to get your message out and to thwart the Left.

    TBAG.US

    I am the rightful owner (do a whois search) and I offer it to you and any other Tea Party members interested in using it for issues like the one written about above.
    Reasonable offers considered. Please contact me though the email link in my name or at the address listed in the domain name registry.

    It’d be a great rallying point…think of our history! Think of our future! Your time is now!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Sam August 5, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    “Start taxing bicycles!”
    I think more Tea Partiers (who don’t like taxes) would agree with this than with the weird ramblings of Mr. Maes. It’s telling just how eager many of your posters are to malign the whole Tea Party movement because of Maes’ off the wall comments (or to take the off-topic route to talk up their own pet issues). Great way to marginalize yourselves.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • spare_wheel August 5, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    “almost ensures a democrat in office”

    oh joy.

    more war and looting while they mollify progressives (whom they despise) by supporting a few meaningless wedge issues.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • tonyt
    tonyt August 5, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    That man has no upper lip.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • G.A.R. August 5, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    Maes is a velodromer. Note the similarity between Maes’s last name and the name of the tried and true shape for track bars: the Maes Bend. Folks, this is genetic. We have here a person who cannot tolerate brakes and derailleurs. QR skewers give him panic. But force him to argue against a “cycle track” and his head will probably explode from the force of existential contradiction.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Elliot August 6, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    For anyone interested in other recent news about the Colorado gubernatorial race, specifically Dan Maes’ main opponent in the GOP primary, and Tancredo’s third party run: Colorado gov. candidate makes deal to repay money.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • CaptainKarma August 6, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    One word:

    Fruitcake

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Eileen August 7, 2010 at 2:33 am

    Seriously? No, seriously, this wasn’t a story in the onion? Really? Either the tea party is about to fall down the silly hole and become a charming blip in history, or they are about to become really, really scary.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Supercourse August 7, 2010 at 7:06 am

    Be careful folks if anyone starts handing out Tea bags on your morning commutes….. could cause brain damage and … flats!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Shelley August 11, 2010 at 9:44 am

    Update… Mr. Maes won last night’s election. It was only a primary so he isn’t yet the Governor, but…

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Glenn August 11, 2010 at 10:19 am

    Maes won’t be governor, thankfully. He’s, uh, nuts. Here’s a quote from last night. Maes says that if he is elected Governor, he will “enroll the state in a program that deports illegal alien criminals.”

    You know, he’ll just sign the state up and all of those terrible illegals will be gone, shipped out on their bikes. Sadly (fortunately for those on the left?), Maes winning the primary gives us a pretty good idea of the general wackiness of the tea baggers and Repubs.

    Recommended Thumb up 0