Armed with legal training, the ‘Bike Swarm’ plans petrol protest

Posted by on February 27th, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Event flyer

The PDX Bike Swarm is alive and well. Since we last checked in with them, they’ve been holding regular meetings and have swarmed on a number of occasions.

On Wednesday, the bike swarm plans to take a major role in Occupy Portland’s “F29” protests. Specifically, the swarm plans to use their bikes to “blockade” and swarm local gas stations. According to organizers, the goal is to, “bring awareness to the fact that BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Shell made over $73 Billion in 2010.”

Here’s more from the Swarm’s Facebook page:

“Join PDX Bike Swarm for an unprecedented paradigm shift, a display of velocipede direct action techniques, and also a dash of preposterous tomfoolery as we spread a jovial message of a lifestyle free of the combustible engine.”

The Bike Swarm’s “Tour de Petro” is part of a larger day of action aimed at a shutdown of major corporations. Occupy movements in 70 cities around the country are planning a variety of protests.

Last week, a group of Bike Swarm regulars got an education about how to protest by bike. Local lawyer Charley Gee informed the activists about their legal rights while bicycling.

Bike swarmers listen as lawyer Charley Gee outlines how to bike in protests without breaking the law.
(Photos © Katherine Ball)

Bike swarm organizer Katherine Ball says they discussed tactics they can use to ride within the law, but also prevent and slow down traffic from entering gas stations. One of the legal tactics is called the “chainsaw.” They’re keeping the strategy secret, but given my understanding of chainsaws and pacelines, I assume it would be performed by constantly rotating a line of riders that takes up a lane and blocks vehicles from passing through.

Check out PDXBikeSwarm.org for more info on the Tour de Petrol. You can also join them in the big march planned for 1:00 on Wednesday that leaves from Waterfront Park.

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Jerko
Guest
Jerko

It’s kids like these that make me not want to be a part of the portland bike community this is really immature.

Hart Noecker
Guest

No, immaturity would be breaking the law. Maturity is learning how to combine cycling with protesting safely and legally.

middle of the road guy
Guest
middle of the road guy

Maturity would be how to influence someone’s thought process in a constructive manner and without causing a hazard.

This is just childish – the only thing it is only to do is built anti-bike sentiment and start a confrontation. Someone is going to be a beating…..and likely they will have earned it.

You don’t like gas stations….fine. You make that issue someone else’s problem? Good luck with the result.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

And yet this protest is trying to turn an act of pure irritation in to something good.

It’s like going out and yelling “BIKE MY SHINY METAL ASS!” and expecting happiness, cooperation and rainbows to appear.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Sorry “BITE MY SHINY METAL ASS!”

middle of the road guy
Guest
middle of the road guy

We need a frame builder named Bender

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Now I want to see a steel frame made of one continuous tube with no welds.
Extra points if doesn’t weigh as much as a battleship but is still durable.

Jerko
Guest
Jerko

Also makes one wonder what would happen if a bunch of drivers blocked the entrance to your local bike shop to prevent you from buying petroleum based tubes, tires, and brake pads.

Uncle Muscles
Guest
Uncle Muscles

I can’t think of a worse way to exacerbate already-strained bike/car relations in Portland. These protests aren’t the way to get people to start using alternative modes of transport in the city. It’s only outcome will be pissing people off at bikes for weeks and having absolutely no impact on the global oil market. Fantastic

Jerko
Guest
Jerko

I have to agree with Uncle Muscles.

Indy
Guest
Indy

What a horrible horrible idea. This will eventually get people killed (needlessly) that think they are doing something progressive.

This just isn’t the right climate to hold this type of protest.

The political alignment of Occupy protesters and bikers that want better biking facilities doesn’t seem quite on the same level.

Quentin
Guest
Quentin

Blocking access to local gas stations is not an effective way to decrease fossil fuel dependence. This will only serve to antagonize and annoy drivers and reinforce negative stereotypes about cyclists. It is infuriating that oil companies make obscene profits while holding our transportation infrastructure hostage, but blocking cars with your bike is just plain juvenile.

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

Indeed. So, is this swarm going to be smart enough to target a corporate-owned station, or is it going to in fact hurt a local small business owner who just happens to own a franchise? To that end, does the swarm even care?

I think those people need to take a hard look at their own lives before they get all self-righteous on folks pulling into the station to fill up. I wouldn’t take lightly to some smug arsehole trying to tell me what to do – you know nothing of my life, what I do, or why I might be choosing to drive on a given day. And frankly it’s none of your business, either.

Further, I would *love* to read a well-written analysis of the gas industry, pricing, distribution chain, and so on from someone participating in this. I’m sure it would be a HOOT. The website is, sadly, devoid of any sort of deep-thought analysis on this subject. Shocker.

TonyT
Guest
tonyt

“I wouldn’t take lightly to some smug arsehole trying to tell me what to do – you know nothing of my life, what I do, or why I might be choosing to drive on a given day.”

Bingo.

middle of the road guy
Guest
middle of the road guy

These people probably boycotted Arizona Iced Tea, also.

TonyT
Guest
tonyt

Specifically, the swarm plans to use their bikes to block access to local gas stations. According to organizers, the goal is to, “bring awareness to the fact that BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Shell made over $73 Billion in 2010.”

Actually you’ll just bring awareness to the fact that some people on bikes can be self-centered jerks.

Seriously, this is a horrible idea.

Hart Noecker
Guest

Hey, if petroleum is so great, let’s have the free market decide. No more subsidies, no more corporate welfare. Let’s see how long people keep driving when the REAL cost of $15.00 a gallon is on the sign at the gas station. On F29 we’re riding our bikes in opposition to A.L.E.C. corporations attacking climate legislation while promotion oil-hungry sprawl development. If you’re not down with that in a town like Portland, I hear there’s some nice property over in Vancouver for sale.

Indy
Guest
Indy

Link to that? As far as I know there are few subsidies for oil production, but there are many for driving/road building. Europe and the rest of the world pay a lot for gas because they are taxed heavily. The United states is a tax-hatin’ place that means increased taxes = political suicide.

Hart Noecker
Guest
Hart Noecker

Oil corporations receive between 4-10 billion dollars a year in welfare subsidies.

indy
Guest
indy

So not even a blip on the radar in terms of all the money that is involved in energy production. Hardly seems worth worrying about it given our current deficit is 15+trillion.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

A 15 trillion deficit that has accumulated over many, many decades (and much of it due to un-payed for tax breaks and medicare programs). If you were to multiply 10 billion (inflation-adjusted dollar) by 20 you would get a more relevant comparison to national debt. And why does tax-hatin’ capitalist america feel the need to subsidize some of the wealthiest corporations on this planet. Especially since these very same companies repeatedly underestimate the enormous risks of oil production (at tax payer expense).

Scott
Guest
Scott

Which is one quarter to roughly half of the agricultural subsidy. Please ride you bike away from Portland and Swarm Iowa. You are doing the same thing the Oregonian does in creating a rift. No middle ground can be found in a rift.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

Logical fallacy. Agricultural subsidies are in no way relevant to this topic.

Scott
Guest
Scott

If the goverment is paying money to keep crop prices down and they are paying money to keep gas prices down, explain the difference.

Uncle Muscles
Guest
Uncle Muscles

I work in the alternative energy industry and so I get to do a lot of study regarding government subsidies by source type. While it is true that subsidies for oil and gas are much higher than those for other sources, they are only higher because oil and gas make up a much greater percentage of total U.S. energy usage. If you look at proper statistics like subsidy $/mWh then you would see that oil and gas subsidies are some of the lowest. The biggest culprits are actually biofuels and clean coal while solar and wind remain somewhere in the middle. Of course, the issue is that oil and gas are not renewable and some of these other options are. We can’t eliminate subsidies just yet because they’re aiding technological development in the field of alternative energy.

Tl;dr: don’t make local gas station owners bear the brunt of your selfish need for attention

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal
middle of the road guy
Guest
middle of the road guy

when you consider that that total is for worldwide consumption, it’s not so large.

middle of the road guy
Guest
middle of the road guy

Same could be said for healthcare……

Andrew Kaiser
Guest
Andrew Kaiser

I’m all for protesting. Heck, I’m all for protesting right in front of a gas station. However, blocking access to said gas station is a REALLY bad idea. All it will do is create anger and resentment.

dirt_merchant
Guest

I agree it’s a poor idea. Not much bang for the buck here, and you can BET YOUR LIFE that the local media will give this all kinds of overhyped car/bike war coverage.

Simply riding your bike is the best solution here.

Anthony
Guest
Anthony

Cool! I was JUST trying to think of a way to get more drivers to harass me on my daily commute. Thanks Bike Swarm!

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

The best way to “protest petrol” is to smile and wave as you ride past your local gas station. Blocking access is just going to piss people off. Most drivers already understand that the oil companies make obscene profits. Only the most ignorant, extreme right-wingers think that “greenies” are responsible for the high pump prices. This will accomplish absolutely nothing.

Zaphod
Guest

Please re-think. I need the streets to be safe as I ride for business, for pleasure, for transport of my children. It seems, from posts here, that not only will you anger motorists you will also alienate those you’d assume are inherently on your side: cyclists.

BikeEverywhere
Guest
BikeEverywhere

I’m just an average middle-aged woman trying to getting to work and back safely on her bike.

Please stop making me look bad.

Suburban
Guest
Suburban

“Fear” is one threshold required for PPD to use crowd control tools. They may have already received reports that Anarchists with weapons will be among those protesting… It is reasonable to be fearful of Anarchists with weapons; so.. that’s how it goes.

Dan Kaufman
Guest

Hey, I totally get the concern here. Last thing we want to do create any more animosity. We can leave that to the Oregonian.

I won’t speak for the swarm but let me clear things up as I understand them.

First, and for the record, the plan is not to blockade. This will not be antagonistic. It WILL be clever. Swarm can and will move on. So, FEAR NOT! We will not be putting gasoline companies out of business on F29. It just won’t be business as usual.

BikeF29

If you’d like to discuss your concerns further please join me for #BikeCheck at 9pm on CrankMyChain.tv you can call 503 683 1666

Andrew Kaiser
Guest
Andrew Kaiser

yes, but the PDX Bike Swarm says, “PDX Bike Swarm will be blockading local Portland gas stations to bring awareness to the fact that…”

So if you guys have no intention of blockading, why does your website say otherwise? The language you are using on your own website is enough to give fodder to the anti-bike crowd. Maybe your actions will end up being clever, but so far your words aren’t very well chosen.

Hart Noecker
Guest

Maybe we can call it an ’embargo’? Would that be more appropriate ?

Scott
Guest
Scott

Emabargos are voted on. So yes, please call it an embargo and open it up to a mass vote. Perhaps we could even get Jonathan to facilitate the vote.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

You obviously don’t speak for the swarm, because they clearly state that they will be blockading, while you claim they won’t.

Barney
Guest
Barney

Dan you say that the plan is “not to blockade” the stations. The article states that:

“Specifically, the swarm plans to use their bikes to “blockade” and swarm local gas stations”

Either the article is wrong or you are spinning the intent of the action. Perhaps because of the overwhelming negative response that is being demonstarted here you are trying to put a happy face on the action.

Do what you need to do to satisfy your personal political needs but think of the others that your are also affecting. Regular people who commute to work, school or for recreation will all be impacted negatively by what you are doing. If you are okay with tarnishing the image of cyclists in general and the negative affect it will have on future cycling programs then go for it. You sound just selfish enough not to care!

Doug
Guest
Doug

Why not just swarm gas stations with hybrids?

Elliot
Guest
Elliot

That’s funny, the people in the photo look like they’re in their 20s and 30s… I got over this stuff when I was 16. I guess these folks didn’t ever finish working out their childhood angst.

This is a waste of time that will only create more divisiveness between everyday people. ***deleted by moderator*** tactics like these will turn potential allies into enemies.

If you really want to get people out of their cars, how about striking up a conversation with people at the pump about how expensive gas is, then hand them a coupon to a local bike shop?

Elliot
Guest
Elliot

Oops, didn’t realize that word would be too harsh. Didn’t mean to name-call. I meant to say I think that these are “rude and unfriendly” tactics…

Hart Noecker
Guest

America is addicted to oil. It’s time for an intervention. It’s okay, America, we love you, but we need to have a little chat about all that petroleum you’ve been abusing.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Yes, and we need to raise the gas tax. Raise the gas tax, and consumption will decrease. More people will look for alternatives. I don’t see how this blockade is going to help with that cause.

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

This can be boiled down to doing what is “right” vs. what is “easy”. Doing the HARD WORK of convincing the state to change the way it taxes gas is a true uphill battle. Applause to anyone engaged in that battle.

On the other hand, you can miss a little work, ride to a little protest, and pat yourself on the back for “making a difference!!” at the end of the day. That is doing what is easy.

Commuting to work via bike and not bragging about it or making a spectacle of yourself, leading by example and living with a bit of humility? That’s the style I think is best, but others may not agree.

Geoff
Guest
Geoff

I agree 100%. Just like the Occupy Movement, meaningful change will not be accomplished unless “protest energy” is translated into “political energy”.

middle of the road guy
Guest
middle of the road guy

The market will make that decision for us soon enough…..and the reality is, that is the only thing people will react to.

Peri
Guest
Peri

If all y’all haters want to change bike swarm tactics, get off your asses and come to bike swarm.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I have a job.

Hart Noecker
Guest

So do we.

peri
Guest
peri

Obviously your job (like mine) isn’t so time consuming that you don’t have spare time to waste dicking around on a comment board. I’m sure you’d find you have time for bike swarm if you wanted to. I’d love to see you there.

J_R
Guest
J_R

Seems like a good way to make even more motorists hate cyclists even more than they already hate oil companies. Seems like a really great strategy for making friends.

The bike swarm will be letting motorists with “Share the Road” llicense plates through, won’t they?

Giro Protagonist
Guest

If people can’t stop for one second to consider why they should’t buy gasoline then how can we expect them to consider it any other time. We will end up block”AID”ing the gas stations by buying gas and tipping the attendants. We aren’t terrorists, take a chill pill folks.

rain bike
Guest
rain bike

Careful. I’ll have to check the Patriot Act, but suspect that an act is not defined as “terrorism” by the perpetrators, but by the targets.

Zed
Guest

The presentation is improving, the word may need some rewording, but the cause was always inspiring:

awareness to inequality.

I imagine more of you will be joining us this summer at $5 a gallon.

In fact, you should even do it better in true Portland ethos.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I will be extremely happy to see $5 per gallon gas this summer. I sincerely hope that it happens. I won’t be protesting at a gas station, though. I will be riding my bike to work, and encouraging as many people I know to ditch their cars and start commuting by bike.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Every dollar the gas goes up gives even less of a reason to do a protest like this.

Scott
Guest
Scott

Despite making more than enough to buy cars at will, I gave up driving when I was 18. Not because of some oil dependancy chalk talk, but because I wanted to have two slices of cake after dinner instead of one. This is not going to be a problem soon. The market is going to make more people choose bikes, and then we will see the line between rich and poor turn into a gap.

Your over-educated enaction of white male privelidge is serving no greater good. It is only fanning flames.

Kiel Johnson (Go By Bike)
Guest
kiel johnson

Looking forward to it!

kernel loose-nut
Guest
kernel loose-nut

EVERYTHING IS FINE. YOU DAMN PROTESTERS NEED TO SHUT UP AND GET JOBS.

DO OUR STRUGGLING ECONOMY SOME GOOD: GO SHOPPING.

EVERYTHING IS FINE, GO BACK TO WORK.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Lie back and think of England

twistyaction
Guest
twistyaction

Counter bike-swarm if you care enough to not have these people on bicycles represent you as a cyclist.

o/o
Guest
o/o

O.O

Tourbiker
Guest
Tourbiker

Critical Mass v2.02 …bad Idea regardless of legality.
Swarm OPEC if you need to revolt.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Or swarm the refineries to try and shut them down. That will drive the prices up. That would involve leaving Portland, though.

meh
Guest
meh

Anyone want to carpool?

J_R
Guest
J_R

Apple made billions of dollars last year, too, and its the largest company in the world. Apple’s market capitalization is $460 billion with Exxon Mobil in number two spot with market capitalization of $396 billion. Check it out at: http://www.theonlineinvestor.com/large_caps/

It seems bike swam should go for Apple stores.

-sent from my iPhone

rain bike
Guest
rain bike

Great idea. Even more to the point, that whole industry relies on “conflict minerals” such as Tantalum. Mining is a messy business too. All those users of iThingies are contributing to armed conflict in places like the Congo with each tweet.

middle of the road guy
Guest
middle of the road guy

yeah, but that would require a rational thought process and self-reflection. These ding-dongs like to point out the shortcomings in others while willfully ignoring their own.

peri
Guest
peri

Yes, J_R, bike swarm should. I stand in solidarity with you. I’ll swarm the gas stations tomorrow, and hope to see you at the next bike swarm event to work out your Apple swarm idea.

Randall S.
Guest
Randall S.

Honestly, this seems a little to me like trying to solve the crack issue by blocking access to crack dealers. I understand the problem, I understand the urgent need to fix it. This isn’t the fix.

Stretchy
Guest
Stretchy

Can’t wait to see the swath of graffiti, vandalism and, broken windows that always seem to accompany these occupy protests.

Hart Noecker
Guest

PDX Bike Swarm Tour de Petro solidarity demonstration with #F29 National Day of Action Against ALEC (A.L.E.C.)

On Wednesday 29 February 2012 concerned cyclists and Occupiers in Portland, OR will take part in a coordinated National Day of Action to Shut Down the Corporations:

http://www.shutdownthecorporations.org

http://www.pdxbikeswarm.org

The bike swarm has specifically chosen area gas stations as their target. No station local or corporate will be ignored by the swarm. Locally-owned stations may, however, “get off easy”. The bike swarm will be demonstrating within its legal rights and with no plan for an illegal blockade.

Occupations have been preparing a variety of decentralized actions in response to Occupy Portland’s call to target the American Legislative Exchange Council.

We specifically call on people to target corporations that are members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The biggest corporations in America, like ExxonMobil, Bank of America, BP, Monsanto, Pfizer, and Wal-Mart use ALEC to buy off legislators and craft legislation that serves only the interests of corporations and not people. They then duplicate and spread this corporate legislation in Washington, D.C. and in state legislatures across the country.

http://occupywallst.org/article/f29-occupy-portland-nati

ALEC has worked on behalf of oil companies to undermine climate change proponents (Source)

See here for more about why we protest corporate power and how ALEC seeks to erode our democracy, undermine workers rights and attack unions, destroy our environment, obstruct efforts to address climate change, undermine public education, pursue destructive agricultural practices and fuel the prison industrial complex:

Feb 29th: Shut Down ALEC from Kontra on Vimeo.

Contact Hart Noecker: Phone 517.202.1322 or e-mail the swarm at pdxbikeswarm@gmail.com

Follow on twitter @PDXbikeswarm and hashtag #TourDePetro

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Can you swarm some of the gas stations out by my work in outer-east Portland? I think a critical mass might make drivers more aware of cyclists and make the roads a bit safer. “No station will be ignored” Right?

131st and Sandy
165th and Sandy
181st and Sandy
Costco on NE 138th

NF
Guest
NF

Seriously. I’ve always thought Critical Mass could come back to Portland in the form of Outer East Portland bicycling awareness campaign. Imagine a mass of bicyclists occupying a lane along 82nd avenue, as a form of protest for the lack of bicycle facilities along the street.

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

I’ve occupied a lane on 82nd by myself quite a few times… you get about 1 angry driver every couple miles…

ric
Guest
ric

Can you please not swarm the gas stations I pass on my commute. I’d rather not be mistaken for one of you.

NW Biker
Guest
NW Biker

I sincerely hope that my car engine isn’t “combustible.” I’d be very unhappy if it caught fire while I was driving. 🙂

Lance P.
Guest
Lance P.

This is just a bad idea. This is just going to add to the ‘O’ bike vs. car flame. Is this really want you want? How will this help the city or the progress bikes have made over the years? How about a better idea. Don’t by gas, ride your bike to work/store/play and then talk about how peaceful and stress free it can be. Do this enough and some of those people buying gas may join you/me one day.

Stretchy
Guest
Stretchy

I’d also like to point out that the headline for this post begins with the words, “Armed with…” This is hostile language and serves only to raise the tension between cyclists and drivers for the sake of a gratuitous headline.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I do think that Jon was fishing for a lively discussion here, but honestly, how many “drivers” as in, people that only drive cars, do you think read this blog?

meh
Guest
meh

you call it fishing others call it inflaming.

last week it was “carnage” now its “armed’ just report without the sensationalism.

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

What better way to perpetuate the “Us vs. Them” conflict between cyclists and drivers than to deny drivers their transportation fuel with a taunting, gloating cycle dance. All the better that many of “them” will be bandana masked like criminals. This campaign of annoyance will not even put a blip on the radar of the oil companies, but it will disrupt the lives ordinary schlubs (“Us”) You could not do better to turn hapless housefraus and feckless office-men into bike haters if you wrote editorials for the Oregonian.

For the fun of it, run your swarm at a gas station on 82nd st in Clackamas County, That is the epicenter of Portland’s car culture. It would be too easy to swarm the Chevron in the liberal, guilt ridden NW at Lovejoy and 21st.

Stretchy
Guest
Stretchy

This whole thing reminds me of those, ‘Nobody buy gas on Feb 29, that’ll show those evil oil companies we mean business’ emails that circulate every so often. They never suggest to do anything to reduce your actual consumption though, therefore having no effect on the big evil oil companies bottom line.

So, if you blockade the gas stations, drivers will still buy gas. Except, they’ll actually be burning more gas while they sit idle in the roadway trying to get into a gas station. So, instead of buying 10 gallons from the big evil oil company, they’ll be buying 10.1 gallons. That extra little bit of gas burned while idling will further contribute to global warming without actually producing anything of value (ie. moving someone from point A to point B.) The big evil oil company will reap just a few more pennies in profits that I’m sure they’ll use to back republican candidates and, do other nefarious things.

So, congratulations on helping get Dick Cheney elected “oil dictator for life” in 2012.

DK
Guest
DK

“bring awareness to the fact that BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Shell made over $73 Billion in 2010”

-Really?
-So what!

It’s not illegal for a business to make a profit. If you want to protest
-the destruction of our environment through the burning of fossil fuels
-or the security issues that arise from dependence on foreign oil imports
-or the inequities in our transportation infrastructure
-or the tax incentives given to the already profitable oil industry…these issues carry weight.

Protesting a business’ right and ability to make a profit…Ridiculously silly.

Andrew K
Guest
Andrew K

I really like one of the ideas mentioned above.

Instead of going out and annoying drivers, why not head to gas stations and hand out coupons for commute bikes? PDX Bike Swarm could partner with a local bike shot (or several…) and hand people a coupon for 10% off a commute bike.

So instead of of coming accross as compative you instead gain friends and people sympathetic to your cause. Even if someone just crumples up the coupon and throws it in the back seat they aren’t going to drive away thinking, “what jerks!” In fact I imagine most people would put some real thought into it if they’ve just spent $50 or more putting gas in their car and then suddenly get presented with an opportunity by a friendly person handing out a coupon.

Even if only one or two people end up taking the coupon and buying a bike for the first time it will have more of an impact over annoying everyone.

As an added bonus it would drive some business to bike shops improving our local economy. It would be a win/win all around!

It’s not too late to change your strategy guys.

bikeyvol
Guest
bikeyvol

YES! This a great idea, IMHO! Less antagonistic, helps the local bike shop community, maybe gets another bike commuter or two!

Lazlo
Guest
Lazlo

Thanks for the advance warning, I’ll make sure to fill up my tank today.

TonyT
Guest
tonyt

If shifting perceptions and enlightening people is the objective, this completely unscientific forum/focus group should demonstrate that this action will entirely miss the mark.

Those planning this can dismiss the naysayers or they can see us as giving you a pretty good idea of how this will be received.

This is a PR effort. On this forum the swarm folks should be able to rally support pretty easily. But somehow the vast majority of people here find this idea misguided at best.

Rethink this. I’m off to ride my bike to work. In my opinion that’s the best PR possible.

Merckxrider
Guest
Merckxrider

Is it possible that these people are provocateurs on the payroll of Fox News or the Oregonian?

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

The thought of an astroturf campaign of epic proportions did cross my mind. But that would just be silly. Wouldn’t it?

Dan
Guest
Dan

bike swarmers: if this is how bikeportland.org readers respond to your protest plans, imagine how poorly understood your message will be at the gas stations tomorrow. please come up with a more positive way to communicate your thoughts on this issue. the oregonian & tv stations don’t need more us vs them fodder. thanks.

kerry
Guest
kerry

I hope y’all plan on writing a note to Big Oil because I assure you, they won’t notice this. The 99% will, though. You know, the little guys. How is irritating people supposed to help?

I second the motion to protest at gas stations with signs focused on the price, and bike shop coupons. “Tired of $50 a gallon? We can help!” What if we doubled our bike share this summer? Big Oil might actually notice that (probably not, but a girl can dream)

Ultimately, though, campaign finance reform. When they can can use their profits to buy politicians and stop transpo options, or anything else for that matter, we the people will NEVER succeed in changing anything.

Blake
Guest
Blake

This bikeswarm idea is the worst approach. I don’t even think I can think of a more effective way to make drivers be rude and inconsiderate and feel justified doing it than this.

Dan Kaufman
Guest

Reminder: There is perpetual war going on over energy resources. It is also directed against our environmental and economic well being. It’s directly caused by seriously ignorant and corrupt energy policies/practices that WE ALL play a large role in.

The Obama administration, Governor Kitzhaber and The Oregonian, and many the commenters here may like to wringing and waving hands about it. I am done waiting quietly. Peak oil HAS happened, climate change and massive species die-out ARE real!

Reminding people of our energy disaster is a not a public relations campaign. It’s shock therapy. Don’t like the swarm tactics? Do it better!

——- IF YOU ARE COMING TO TOUR DE PETRO——
Consider bringing a gas can. Many of us will be (GOD FORBID) buying gas in an act of cognitive dissonance and civil obedience.

Andrew K
Guest
Andrew K

Interesting that you refer to what you are doing as Shock Therapy, a medical practice that has proven over and over to be innefective as a treatment.

Seriously, we agree with you that oil companies suck. We also agree with you that our government isn’t doing much to fix the problem. However, your current approach isn’t going to be effective either. In fact, you are becoming part of the problem!

When it comes to protests, you need to be inclusive not divisive. Otherwise you are just preaching to the choir and turning people off to your message.

Dan Kaufman
Guest

Andrew, you are cordially invited to come along and help make sure it’s not too divisive. Regardless of weather you can attend, I will take that into consideration tomorrow. Thanks for the advice.

By the way, shock therapy is still used with varying degrees of success. I can tell you what we ARE currently doing IS NOT working.

Seriously, if you think this is such a bad idea help us come up with something better. I have seen several constructive ideas so far, thx.

Andrew K
Guest
Andrew K

I’ve given you a far better idea in my posts above.

I have no desire to align myself with your protest in its current form. I consider myself incredibly liberal in my political leanings but one thing that annoys me to no end is events like this that do far more harm than good. You wonder why politicians are doing nothing, and yet you are handing them all the excuse they need to run far away from our causes.

The outcry of people on this forum telling you how terrible of an idea this is should be a major wake up call for you. Your efforts should be spent inviting people to ride bikes, not making them feel bad for driving a car. Any guilt a person might feel will quickly turn to anger and frustration at the bike community. Is that fair? No, of course not, but it will.

Dan Kaufman
Guest

Andrew, go right ahead and do your liberal and polite bike ride. Those are fun, too.

Fred
Guest
Fred

Would it be less effective of a protest for your movement if you just called it a swarm and made the title sound more open to everyone and sound less like “bike riders vs. whatever we don’t agree with”. Not trying to be negative or get anyone upset just trying to brainstorm.

Hart Noecker
Guest
Hart Noecker

The title of our action is Tour de Petro. It’s gotten a highly positive response.

craig harlow
Guest
craig harlow

BIKE SWARM, PLEASE RECONSIDER.

This is a blatantly aggressive bike vs. car activity, as the riders are provoking motorists who are trying to access a gas station.

Riders are using their soft bodies to try physically blocking out 2-ton steel rolling machines. There is high potential for lots of BAD to come of this. You may feel that you have your legal bases covered, but that assurance will be no consolation if/when one of the swarm is swatted by a car.

Josh C.
Guest
Josh C.

And we wonder why individuals are throwing carpet tacks on the Williams street bike route.

Merckxrider
Guest
Merckxrider

I’m not starving and it would be worth $50 for me to ride my bike past this lame attempted blockade to whip out the Visa and pay for someone’s gas–just to annoy the hippies.

Jesse
Guest

I keep hearing the same “arguments” set up towards Occupy and protests like these, but I think people are failing to realize that these are protests and in particular protests of the civil disobedient type.

They are not suppose to be 100% legal, they are not supposed to be pleasant, they are not supposed to be specific. People are mad, we are being ripped off and this is a way to show our anger and show people that a LOT of people are angry and then maybe you’ll ask why are there so many angry people. Once you get that through your head, arguing that protesters aren’t doing things legally or nice is moot. It’s not the point.

Arguing that the bikes to be used to block gas stations have petroleum products in themselves is a false argument called deflection. It’s matter or scale, anyone reading this website should know that. Just because a person can’t be 100% petro-free doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try to reduce.

Arguing that “they’ll make biking look bad” is also a false argument because it brings up the idea that all cyclists are the same and have some sort of cycling dogma, club passwords and secret handshakes. Some of us ride bikes for fun, commute and necessity. Others do it for all those reasons and as a way to reduce carbon use. And some of THOSE might be angry enough at some of the largest corporations in the world raping the earth may decided to be angry and protest them directly. Anyone who is mad at ALL cyclists because of these few are idiots. Anyone who wants to play it safe and stop this sort of action because of the perceived blow-back shouldn’t leave their house then in order to avoid life, action and consequences.

Brad
Guest
Brad

You assume that the majority of people stop to deeply reflect on the bigger issues when they see a protest like this. That assumption is wrong. Tomorrow, someone (perhaps many) will go to gas up and get blocked or delayed, they may then be late for work, an appointment or getting a child to school and be angry about it. What is their likely reaction – “Wow! Big Oil and Wall Street really are hurting the planet and its people.” or “I hate those %&$# bike riders!!!”?

If the Bike Swarm massed at gas stations (without blocking it) with a positive message about “A Better Way”, I would wholeheartedly support it and it might even gain converts as fuel prices rise rapidly. Sadly, seeing some of the names attached to this group and its most vocal supporters here, it will be a collection of rebels without a clue looking for edgy “bike fun”. This is less about effective citizen activism and more about attention whoring.

Jesse
Guest

You’re first paragraph was valid, but your second getts a little derailed and insulting, which isn’t productive. To your first point: I don’t assume that at all. Movements tend to be a collection of actions and energy and not just one bike swarm protest. A LOT has been going on over the past few months with Occupy and related efforts. Eventually, I hope, people will actually stop a moment in their anger and somehow see that, “well fuck, a lot of these things are happening, nearly every week…” But maybe not, the dicks will be dicks and blame ALL cyclists for ALL problems.

To your second more name-calling words: aren’t protests about attention? And I’m sorry but you can’t assume you know anything about the organizers. Hell I don’t, I’m not one of them, but I support the actions and understand they can’t all be perfect nice actions.

Hart Noecker
Guest
Hart Noecker

Tour de Petro is gonna be the least of your worries if you’re concerned about being late to work tomorrow. There’s a whole lotta streets that are getting blocked on F29.

Straybike
Guest
Straybike

Nicely said.

ric
Guest
ric

Your third argument ignores that to many non-cyclists, all cyclists are the same, regardless of how or what they ride. We can tell the difference between the kid on the fixie running red lights wearing a bandana over his face and the guy bringing home his groceries with his cargo bike, but the average driver, the kind likely to be angered by this blockade, may not see the distinction.

KRhea
Guest
KRhea

It’s amazing how much good this misguided energy might provide if directed in different direction. It’s more than obvious that these folks want to be on the 6pm news with their acts of civil disobedience instead of doing something that might just really throw a drivers mind into a tail spin like handing them a coupon and saying “have a nice commute to work”. Sometimes the softest sound makes the loudest noise…
And now to read that he’s asking everyone to bring to gas can with them…wow, anyone else think that one of the “fringe” riders might get the “cool” idea to light one of those or throw it or drop it and let it run into the closest drain etc etc.
Does anyone remember the quiet acts that raised the most awareness like, simply sitting at a lunch counter or merely riding in the front seat of a bus or going to school or drinking from the wrong fountain or even driving after dark. None of those acts “screamed” anything. They were quiet ways of doing normal things that made a point loud and clear.
A couple days ago this site was crazy over the Oregonians headline targeted at bikes/cyclists. Many folks said how it would continue to cause friction between drivers and cyclists and maybe even up the ante so to speak. We were all up in arms ready to rally against “the man” and here we are a couple days later getting ready to interfere with folks who are doing their best to survive, driving to a job they feel lucky to have in this economy in order to provide for their family(s) in a car that requires gas from stations who are legally selling it. They want to get to work on time so they don’t get fired or reprimanded and they need $5 worth of gas to get there and they’re dealing with folks on bikes “circling the wagons” in an effort to slow them down. Wow. Doesn’t make any sense to me to affect innocent people’s lives to make your statement.
As someone mentioned way back in this thread, it’s legal to sell gas, it’s also OK if you choose not to buy it or use it.
I’ll be sure and thank the swarm the next time I’m riding home, in the bike lane, with a front and rear light, helmet on, using hand signals, not running stops signs and I STILL get yelled at or called a name for simply riding my bike due to your freakin’ swarm.
To the person who had the coupon idea , nicely done, you should be leading the swarm…in the right direction.

Hart Noecker
Guest
Hart Noecker

Why on earth would you assume we don’t already plan to do those positive things? Have a little faith that we share as much imagination as you do.