Sunday, December 11, 2011

Guilty pleasures

Lucas Brunelle might be one of the biggest jackasses you’ll ever see on a road bike (and that’s a huge statement) but damn, does he make some amazing videos. As far as I’m concerned, his Drag Race NYC contains some of the coolest urban racing footage ever caught on a digital memory card. That shit makes me want to jump on a bike and go fast.

His new DVD, Lucas Brunelle: Line of Sight, is undoubtedly just as much fun to watch. Maybe more. But his videos raise troubling questions. In a new interview with Bicycling magazine (yeah, I’m getting a lot of blog mileage out of it -- it’s the first issue I’ve really read in recent months) Brunelle makes it clear he’s not interested in diplomacy. The magazine’s editors asked on Twitter last week if Brunelle is ruining cycling’s image “or just trying to save us?”

In short, Brunelle is a guy who owns a successful company and has the freedom to travel around the world and shoot hair-raising footage of alleycat races. His skills are amazing, but his selfishness appears to be off the charts. He and his buddies terrorize pedestrians and motorists, and they ignore every traffic rule in the book. Whatever your stand on the responsibilities of one’s personal risk-taking, there’s no question they subject strangers to the trauma of being hit by a bike, or having to live with the experience of fatally striking a bicyclist with a car.

Motorists who encounter his crew undoubtedly come away from the experience shaken and pissed off at bicyclists. As someone who tries to set a decent – but far from perfect – example, I find that disturbing. Brunelle wouldn’t care.

In his magazine interview, he lays it out this way: “Fuck bike advocacy. It's the cars that make shit fun. Without cars, we couldn't do skitches off SUVs. We couldn't get bruised and cut up; we couldn't commiserate. I love traffic. It's an evil river, sure, but I love the city streets.”

Brunelle might be the kind of guy I’d like to meet over a beer. But I don’t know if I’d want to stay for a second round.

Maybe that’s why it pisses me off to really enjoy watching his insane videos.


Griddle said...

Dear Lucas Brunnelle,

As a motorist, I want so say thank you for being a completely self-absorbed twat in traffic, there aren't nearly enough of those.

As a cyclist, I also want to say thank you for validating society's anti-cyclist attitude and potentially increasing the amount of harassment that I receive from motorists as I go about my business in a socially respectful and law-abiding manner.

As a pedestrian, I'll just say that if I see you coming at me like that, I will knock you off of your god-damned bicycle. As if I didn't get enough disrespect from motorists and snow plows...

Fuck you.

Debbie said...

I didn't enjoy a single moment of that video. My only hope is that when he gets hit, it kills him quickly so that his medical bills don't ultimately raise my health insurance premiums (if in fact he has health insurance) or my tax dollars don't have support him when his head injury leaves him a drooling, comatose invalid on Medicaid.

Chris said...

I've always thought of Chris McCandless in the same breath as Lucas. They both have numerous frustrating traits that work against the very things they are advocating, yet they endlessly fascinate me. Drag Race never disappoints. If nothing else, the mantra of 'ride it like you stole it' comes to mind and pushes me a little faster on a training ride.