Bikes for Peace


Fifth Estate # 402, Winter 2019

Bikes have no power until bodily given

and given, give back at higher gear.

Being mounted, being ridden

without armor plating, they’re

light in their taking

and being taken where.

Not that bikes can’t be taken, and take

to war: the U.S. in Havana, the British

against Boers, the Japanese in Shanghai,

and Germans in France, the V.C. and

Viet Minh, all pedaling down some

variety of Ho Chi Minh Trail.

And the Paratrooper TM U.S. Military Bike

folds 3x3x1 foot small, without the use

of tools and weighs

a mere 29 pounds of F.I.T.

(Folding Integrated Technology). Today on

the modern battlefield, with thermal and acoustic

signatures read, the stealth and efficiency

of the military bike is an advantage lost

on no command.

And yet.

In historical accounts of these bicycle brigades

again and again soldiers on bikes

have been greeted with Laughs.

There’s something about enlisting the bike to kill

that seems fundamentally wacked.

The Paratrooper TM folds 3x3x1 ft small,

but most bikes go to peaces better

(there’s endless kinds of peaces, see,

and some might even turn Clausewitz

upside down on Kaiser-spiked head to

quip, Peace is the Continuation of War

by Other Means, best waged Light-weight

and quick, by bike).

I’m not so sure. When it’s war it’s only

war you ride and are ridden by:

square wheels de rigueur, and

derailleurs that shift smooth

from nothing to nothing

to less than naught.