Saturday, November 11, 2006

More like the Crap Courier.

Four days a week, I ride my bike to Cap College in North Van. Among other things, I'm involved with the Environmental Issues Committee, which allows me to give bikers on campus a voice that can be heard. I'm known there to be a bike nut, which would be an understatement. This semester, the school newspaper - the Cap Courier - contracted a dude to write a weekly article on Vancouver bike culture. Not such a bad idea; in fact, a great idea, I thought.

This story starts at the last Midnight Mass of September. Skylar, Nick, and myself had arrived pretty early, and ended up being the first ones there. We congregated at the north side of Grandview Park, waiting for people to show up. A few did... and then, by himself, an extremely drunk guy named Mike - bragging about how much he'd drank already. Don't get me wrong - I have no problem with drinking and riding. However, I'm not one to show up to an event where I don't know anyone in a state such as I've just described.

That night we headed west, along the south side of False Creek, ending up at the east end of Jericho Beach. We stopped near a concession building to hang out for a bit. Some people climbed on the roof of the building: DRP, and, I was told, that drunk guy. Shortly thereafter, Vancouver's finest showed up. The officer was very civil in informing Simon and myself that people lived in the concession building. We apologized and gathered the group to head eastward.

At this point you're probably wondering why I went on such a tangent, so I'll cut to the chase.
The next issue of the Cap Courier had a great looking cover that was a bike wheel shaped like a heart, and a headline about bike culture. At quick glance, I noticed there was an article on both Midnight Mass and Critical Mass. The introduction states that he was given the task of writing articles about Vancouver bike culture; being a regular at both the aforementioned events, I was stoked to read it. However, it turns out that the guy writing the articles is the inebriated moron named Mike who I'd met at Grandview Park.

The Midnight Mass article is a bunch of bullshit. He talks about how, since he'd seen a picture of someone with a flask on the Midnight Mass blog, he'd come to the conclusion that it was a drunkfest. He notes the highlight as his camaraderie with DRP. The guy went incognito to the ride, and didn't even talk to the organizer or prominent attendees about what it was all about. Way to go, champ. Great coverage of the ride. Way to miss the point that Midnight Mass is a group of friends who are very open to meeting new people, and like to explore the city on bikes.

Next up was the article on Critical Mass. For anybody that happened to be there, Mike was the guy handing out the "Attention: Critical Mass Cancelled" fliers. I thought the gesture was funny at the time, but it turns out that I'd misinterpreted his message. The article goes off with his opinion that Critical Mass isn't good for bike culture, blah blah blah. I do agree that it's a debatable topic, but this clearly pre-conceived anti-Critical Mass position was not what I was expecting in an article covering the event.

Now, I don't work for the Cap Courier, but was I wrong to anticipate objective articles about these events rather than the ignorant and sensationalized pieces of garbage that were published? Furthermore, his subsequent articles have deteriorated to the point that the most recent one wasn't even about bikes (though he mentions that it should have been). As a cycling advocate who is actively involved in bike culture, I'm disappointed in the inaccurate portrayal of the bike scene by the Cap Courier. Not only does it reflect poorly on bike culture, but on the paper as well. This entry to the blago-blogo-webo-sphere is a longer version of a letter that I'll be sending to the paper. If anything else comes of it, I'll be sure to report back.

Morgman out.


Simon said...

dude, you should apply for his job.


john smith said...

I tried tracking with it but it never reported this as a valid consignment. So, I went back to the service station. delivery