Friday Funny: Denmark vs. U.S. in an Epic Rap Battle Between Bike Advocates

A cartoon by Streetsblog blogger John Greenfield imagines a fictitious rap battle in the style of the popular YouTube channel, "Epic Rap Battles from History"—except the rap battle is between two luminaries of the bike advocacy movement.

November 21, 2014, 6:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Rap Battle

John Greenfield / Forester vs. Colville-Andersen

On one side is Mikael Colville-Andersen, CEO of Copenhagenize Design Company. Copenhagen, of course, is looked upon as the worldwide leader in bike infrastructure and a style of urbanism not completely modeled on the car. Thus, many bike advocates are smitten with the benefits of living in Denmark, and Colville-Andersen tours the world, sharing lessons of Copenhagen's successes.

On the other side is John Forester, a Californian who helped write the book on "vehicular cycling." Literally, he wrote the book Bicycle Transportation: A Handbook for Cycling Transportation Engineers, which provides much of the legal and technical background for the advance of bike infrastructure in the United States.

Two luminaries, two strings of "insults" lobbed at each other's way of doing things. Surely, both figures are a bit of a proxy for bike movements on either side of the Atlantic Ocean—with Forester's safety accouterments and Colville-Andersen's impeccable attire called to task, among other barbs.

The cartoon was drawn by Streetsblog Chicago blogger John Greenfield with lyrics by Greenfield, Tanya Snyder, and the Streetsblog staff. Greenfield was kind enough to allows us to share the cartoon here (the original cartoon was published on Twitter), and even sent along these outtakes from the drafting process that got left on the cutting room floor (consider this post a bonus-feature-packed DVD):

Forester:
8 to 80, I say that's whack
If you don't look great in Lycra you can't ride in my pack

Mikael:
If you're impressed with US cycletracks I'd say you are mistaken
You gotta come and take a look at what we do in Copenhagen

Forester:
Who's Isabella? I don't know that demographic
I just hang with folks who like to ride in traffic
[Isabella is People for Bikes’ poster child for protected bike lanes: http://www.peopleforbikes.org/green-lane-project/pages/build-it-for-isa…]

Mikael:
Come to Copenhagen, I'll show you Cycle Chic
You won't need that helmet, bet you wear it when you sleep

Forester:
Euro-style cycle tracks cause me pain
You don't need a bikeway, just a wide curb lane

Mikael:
Cars and bikes sharing the road -- are you some kind of ding-a-ling?
"Gotta keep 'em separated," just like The Offspring

Forester:
You think you need a dedicated lane to save your tush?
I'll tell you what I think about that [Smoosh]

I'm sure there are politicians in city halls all over the country who would be surprised that there are nuances to the agenda of the "All Powerful Bike Lobby," or, for that matter, that bike advocates have a sense of humor.

[If you're confused about the "Epic Rap Battles of History," please visit the YouTube channel that made such debates possible.]

Kids

Opinion: Aging Population, Declining Fertility Requires Long-Term Investments

Faced with the dire consequences of a one-two punch of aging populations and declining birthrates, one writer has suggestions for how policy can help ensure a better future.

August 9, 2022 - Financial Times

Fracking

The Surprising Oil Tax in the Inflation Reduction Act

President Biden has made reducing gas prices paramount in his administration, so it was likely a surprise to hear a Republican senator last Sunday warn TV viewers that a revived and increased oil fee in the climate bill will increase their gas costs.

August 15, 2022 - Bloomberg News

People gather on a street with no cars during the L.E.A.F. Festival of Flowers in the Meatpacking District of New York City.

The Tide Has Turned Against Open Streets

Once a promising development for advocates pushing for a less car-centric future in cities, the open streets movement has ceded significant ground to cars since the height of the pandemic.

August 14, 2022 - The New York Times

110 Freeway

Opinion: Los Angeles Transportation Plan Will Increase Driving

L.A. Metro’s plan to add hundreds of miles of new traffic lanes is projected to increase carbon emissions by 10 million metric tons.

August 18 - Los Angeles Times

Flooding at the Whitehall Street station, New York

How Extreme Weather Threatens Transit Systems

As weather events become more intense and unpredictable, transit agencies must take steps to protect their aging infrastructure from flooding, storms, and extreme heat.

August 18 - Next City

Close-up of car tailpipe emitting smoke

Federal Rule Would Require Regional Emissions Reduction Targets

A rule shelved during the Trump administration would require states and metropolitan areas to set targets for reducing tailpipe emissions, but advocates say it doesn’t go far enough to mandate results.

August 18 - Governing

Assistant or Associate Professor of Urban Design

Harvard University Graduate School of Design

Professor of Urban Planning

Harvard University Graduate School of Design

Professor of Urban Design and/or Urban Planning

Harvard University Graduate School of Design

New Cityscape Explores Methods of Measuring Blight

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

2022 National Cohousing Conference

Cohousing Association of the US

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.