Little is known about the All-Powerful Bicycle Lobby (APBL). In fact, until the Wall Street Journal’s Dorothy Rabinowitz made a video last Spring lamenting the APBL’s efforts to “begrime” New York City with Citi Bikes, few people (if any) knew that the group existed. Exactly who they are and the extent to which they influence the world’s affairs remains unclear. But, I had the rare opportunity to interview the APBL and help shed light on their dark conspiracy. In it we discuss their history, their slow and steady reshaping of the free world, their end game, and much more.
Your shadowy organization remained a secret until Dorothy Rabinowitz exposed you in her screed against New York’s bike share this year. How did she discover the truth?
We think it might have had something to do with the 6,000 bright blue bicycles we placed on just about every corner of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Wealthy New Yorkers can ignore all kinds of things—from homeless children to the fact that most of the city’s public schools and hospitals are being demolished and replaced with luxury condominiums—but apparently bicycles are a bridge too far. Looking back, we realize we could have taken a more subtle approach in our attempt to secretly turn New Amsterdam back into Amsterdam. But it’s like Oprah always tells us at our weekly poker games, “Go big or go home, shitheads.”
How long has the APBL been asserting its influence on the world?
We don’t have official records, but we recently uncovered research proving that the Shroud of Turin was actually a towel that Jesus used after he completed his first century ride. (When anyone tells us that biking in sandals isn’t safe, we typically tell them that we actually know what Jesus would do.)
To give you a better answer, have you seen Christopher Nolan’s “Batman” trilogy? Let’s just say that we’re like Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Shadows. Only instead of martial arts we use bicycles to destroy and then rebuild society from the ground up. For example, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake was just part of our long game. Seriously, have you seen Market Street today? Same with the Great Chicago Fire. It was a means to an end: paving the way—pun intended—for Divvy Bikes. Some people say we couldn’t have invented Janette Sadik-Khan if we tried, but they’re wrong. We tried really hard. There were at least 36 other Janette-Bots before we made one that was lifelike enough to fool Michael Bloomberg. That guy can spot a fake a mile away. Rahm Emanuel is tougher to fool, which is why we had to deactivate Gabe Klein and put him back into storage.
Of the many conspiracies you’ve perpetuated—the roving death squad that is bike share; training bike-riding Agenda 21 shock troops; Portland, OR—do you have any favorites?
We’re not especially proud of this, but convincing the automotive industry, AAA, oil companies, Tea Party supporters, tabloid newspaper columnists, and run-of-the-mill NIMBYs that a group of people who are disproportionately represented among traffic injury and fatality statistics constitute some sort of all-powerful political force capable of instituting a totalitarian New World Order is a trick we’re not even sure we know how we accomplished. We’re sorry so many people have had to die, but if Washington, DC has .0000001% fewer parking spaces for cars thanks to our efforts, it will all have been worth it.
We’re especially proud of our recent foray into reality TV and hope you’re enjoying “The Rob Ford Show.” Although it’s only airing in Canada right now, it’s getting great ratings, and we’re hoping we can sell the international syndication rights by recasting the lead role so that it’s location-specific to the particular city in which it airs next.
Why, given your omnipotence, does bicycling still kind of suck in so many American cities?
You can’t motivate average citizens to take up your cause if they’re complacent about the status quo. Americans need something to complain about that affects them personally or they can’t be bothered to care. Look at the Dutch with their bakfiets, cheese wheels so big you could sleep on them, and weed-smoking nuns. Seriously, their prostitutes give directions to lost police officers! Let that sink in for a second. Do you think the average Amsterdammeronianist knows how good he has it or how easily it could all be taken away? If the canals of Amsterdam flowed with oil instead of stagnant water, Dick Cheney could have forgotten the disaster that was Iraq and invaded the Netherlands himself, armed with no more than a butter knife.
What is the APBL’s endgame? What will our cities and towns look like once you’ve completed your mission?
Like all totalitarian regimes, we have no endgame other than the complete and utter transformation of every corner of society into a utopian world of our own creation, if you’ll allow us to brazenly misuse “totalitarian” and “utopian” in the same sentence. And while we’re not sure what your cities and towns will look like, exactly, we do know that citizens will be thinner, healthier, wealthier, and more attractive. I’m sure to most Americans that sounds terrible, but unfortunately it’s just the way it has to be. As a compromise, we will allow each city or town to choose from one of two different new names: Amsterhagen or Copendam.
Who is the All-Powerful Bicycle Lobby?
Nobody sees the All-Powerful Bicycle Lobby, but that is no sign that there is no All-Powerful Bicycle Lobby. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. A better question might be “Who isn’t the All Powerful Bicycle Lobby?” The only safe answer is Dorothy Rabinowitz.