Why I Rolled With Byko's Safe Ride
Editor's note: Seeing photos of Byko's Safe Bike Ride on social media over the weekend, we texted longtime friend of the site (and full disclosure, advertiser) Michael McGettigan of Trophy Bikes the question that had bugged us from the moment of the ride's announcement: Was Daily News columnist Stu Bykofsky, who's regularly trolled the entire city with any number of racist/sexist/xenophobic/generally reactionary columns since before you probably even lived here, using the Philly bike lobby to make him look, at long last, like a decent person? What follows is McGettigan's considered response.
BY MICHAEL MCGETTIGAN
Stu Bykofsky, infamous among Philly cyclists for his criticism of bike lanes and for coining the term "pedalphile," recently teamed up the Bicycle Coalition and Alexandria Schneider (of Philly PopeRide fame) to present Byko's Safe Bike Ride. This fund-raiser, Stu declared, would obey all traffic regulations, somehow thereby proving that all bicyclists can survive — nay, thrive — without ever doing the South Philly Slide again. Word of the ride unleashed an online bleepstorm, which could be summed up as, "Stu hates cyclists. He's using us. Why roll with Byko?"
Well, our bike shop sold Byko a helmet (at full retail), ordered him to cycle at least three times a week before his planned 11-mile jaunt, dished him some advice on street riding, and did our tiny bit to make sure his event came off smoothly. We lent him a Brompton folding bike — the compact frame was vital because at 74, Byko slings epithets easier than he tosses a leg over a top tube. And we rode along to keep an eye on things, because, like, for a while, anyway, Byko was a Fellow Cyclist.
Frankly, we also did it 'cause it would get some mentions for Trophy Bikes in the DN. Print media may be declining, but it is falling from a great height; the News still prints more copies a day than most local bloggers' clicks combined. We also did it because we knew it would have Mr. Stu Bykofsky cycling Philly streets about a thousand per cent more than his usual never. We also got to see Byko PEDALING (for maybe half of the time) inside BIKE LANES, rolling through a RED light (he thought we were waving him through, ha!), and SMILING as he looked back and saw he was getting ahead of the peloton–pardon, the clump–and in general putting his old bones on the line. Finally, though we didn't personally witness it, multiple sources confirm that Byko gave the finger to a raging motorist trying to push through his group on Pine Street.
Sure Stu wanted some attention–doesn't every columnist? Cynics may mock us for pedalling with the enemy. But who made the bigger stretch, us or Byko? Hard to say. Who's next up?
Michael McGettigan is the director of Trophy Bikes. (Full disclosure: Trophy Bikes is a Philebrity advertiser.)