Today Denverites Ride Public Bikes. Tomorrow They’ll Speak Esperanto.

The Colorado governor’s race was always going to be one for sustainable transportation advocates to keep an eye on. The likely Democratic nominee, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, has built a solid resume of support for transit and bicycling. But recent events suggest the green transportation/livable streets stakes may be waaaaay higher than expected.

maes.jpgDan Maes: Don’t count him out of Colorado gov’s race just because he’s crazy. Photo: Denver Post

It turns out that Dan Maes, an insurgent with Tea Party cred vying for the GOP nomination, already has his sights trained on Hickenlooper’s transportation initiatives and their sinister origins.

The week after Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Hickenlooper, and a few other guys in suits saddled up to try out Denver’s new bike-share system, B-Cycle, Maes weighed in on what this advance in transportation really means. Read all about the paranoia in the Denver Post:

Maes is warning voters that Hickenlooper’s policies,
particularly his efforts to boost bike riding, are "converting Denver
into a United Nations community."

"This is all very well-disguised, but it will be exposed," Maes told
about 50 supporters who showed up at a campaign rally last week in

Maes said in a later interview that he once thought the mayor’s
efforts to promote cycling and other environmental initiatives were
harmless and well-meaning. Now he realizes "that’s exactly the attitude
they want you to have."

"This is bigger than it looks like on the surface, and it could threaten our personal freedoms," Maes said.

I work in the shadow of UN global headquarters and, being an enterprising journalist, I’ve seen a draft of this plan. It goes like this: First they lull you into submission with the public bikes. Then they nullify the Bill of Rights, outlaw the English language, and strip away your American citizenship. Then they seize your SUV.

Anyway… Before you dismiss Maes as a fringe character who just showed too much of his crazy side to gain statewide public office, consider this. Three days ago he was edging out his competition in the race for the GOP nomination. If he’s elected, he’ll basically control Colorado DOT’s billion-dollar annual budget. So, all you global government-supporting bike riders out there, there’s no guarantee this will be a laughing matter in November.

  • Dave Wiley

    There is definitely a two-edged sword. The nutty GOP candidate will be easier to beat in the fall, but heaven help us if he wins.

    Now where do I get my beast mark?

  • This is insane. What is wrong with people these days?

  • Maes: “…it could threaten our personal freedoms.”

    Where does he get such ideas? From Monty Python:

    “Eventually you get evil-smelling flocks of huge soiled budgies flying out of people’s lavatories infringing their personal freedom.”

  • This does not square with (among other things) the UN’s failure to allow a bike path to go by its headquarters along the East River.

  • Be careful, Ben. I know some of these conspiracy theory types, and they’ll take your mocking admission as evidence that this UN shadow government exists.

    Anyway, Tancredo’s 3rd party run will split the GOP vote in Colorado.

  • The more crazy Maes gets, the better. Hickenlooper will win, especially if Tancredo gets in the race. But with the crazy on parade, hopefully it will really turn out the Democrats to make sure Hickenlooper wins, and the Dems take the Senate race on the coattails.

  • This response, for a completely unrelated issue, fits perfectly. Just replace the first name

    Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson responding to Republican Kurt Kelly

    “Kurt Kelly thinks the stupider he sounds, the more Republican votes he’ll get.”

  • Larry Littlefield

    “The nutty GOP candidate will be easier to beat in the fall, but heaven help us if he wins.”

    What do you mean “us.” Are you from Colorado?

    They’ve got a dynamic, tech oriented economy in Colorado, where there a lot of winter sports. We used to have a dynamic, tech-oriented economy in Upstate New York 100 years ago. It snows there too.

    If the Governor of Connecticut can host a meeting for hedge fund companies after New York State threatened to make them pay taxes like everyone else, to try to get them to move, then…

  • When the oil pipeline dries up, bikes will be their personal freedom.

  • Dexter Wong

    Does Dan Maes believe that public transit is a communist plot? I hope he doesn’t claim that they’ll never pry the SUV keys from his cold dead hands.

  • Clarence Eckerson Jr.

    HEY! Lay off Esperanto. I started learning a little in my spare time a few years ago. It’s an awesome language…

    The best film ever made in Esperanto featured William Shatner. “Incubus” it is sort of like an extended Outer Limits episode.

    Of course, it is also the ONLY film ever shot in Esperanto. 🙂

  • poncho

    Bikes take away personal freedoms?!?!? Yeah tell that to anyone without a car in suburbia… you know, like at least a good third of the population of suburbia who is practically under house arrest with the only option for recreation being playing video games and eating Doritos.

    Kids used to be able to hang out with friends on their own at their own will, then we started warehousing kids alone isolated in auto-centric subdivisions well away from their schools, friends and activities. Maybe this is why the Millennial Generation has little fondness for the automobile and suburbia.

  • ZA

    What a world they have there, under the rocks from where they live.

  • God bless the GOP; these old men are still living in a world in which if you’re not buying gas to get you from one place to another you’re a pinko-commie… the world has no use for the likes of Dan Maes.

  • Mark

    Maes is right! I found proof:

  • Mark
  • john

    Great image Mark!

    The link between carbon consumption and personal freedom is more prevalent in the public’s mind than many realize. Alternatives (like mass transit and cycling) to automobility are often described as major steps toward socialism and should never be supported. Just a month ago, another car dealer alerted me to the plot between Obama and the UN to take total control of planet Earth.

  • MAT

    Right on, Larry! If the people of Colorado (and Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and other Western states) want to elect these nutty Tea Party jokes, let them. We in New York State will always be ready to welcome back our former residents and their jobs as they’re chased away by the xenophobic conspiracy theorists that populate the right-wing.

  • MRN

    This is insane. Can Maes explain how offering public bikes to rides somehow limits the freedom of… anyone?

  • Suzanne

    What wrong with you all? Don’t you know environmentalism = communism? As does gay rights, the right to protest, women’s rights, the right to eat food that’s not going to kill you or drink water that’s not going to poison you.

    If there’s something out there that interferes with your right wing program, just red-bait them and run them over with your SUV. It doesn’t matter how crazy it is – I mean, these are people who don’t believe in evolution, after all. Rational thinking is not exactly their strong point.

  • Martha

    We are coming…on unmarked black bikes wearing baby blue helmets. Beware.

  • I learned Esperanto before Esperanto was cool. Mi lernis Esperanton antaux Esperanto estis mojosa.

  • Mike

    If he was a real patriot, he’d promote cycling:

  • ?u Esperanto estis mojosa?

  • Let’s try that again: Ču Esperanto estis mojosa?

  • At 75, a lover of bicycles and speaker of Esperanto since my teens, I’m glad to be counted among the folks who really scare Dan Maes.

  • Omri

    The sad thing is that neither Maes nor any of his followers will get the joke in the headline. Maes is probably enough of an opportunistic politcal hack that he could come up with a similar dose of scaremongering about a conspiracy of esperantists, AND keep a straight face. And his followers would believe him.

    So, Esperantists, what say you should set one of your next confabs to be in Denver?

  • john

    What’s frightening? After over 14,000 responses to the question “How seriously do you take this warning?”, 36% take it “very seriously”, another 13% take it less so.

  • Ferdinand Cesarano

    Amuzas tio, ke ja estus treege bonvena la mondo imagata de la frenezuloj dekstremaj, ekde McCarthy ghisnune.

    It’s funny that the world imagined by the right-wing nut-jobs from McCarthy on down tends to be one which would really be rather welcome.

    Mi laste biciklante en la Bronkso pasigis la precizan lokon kie mi anta? dudek jaroj unuafoje eklegis Esperantan libron, benkon trovinghantan apud la Parko Joyce Kilmer.

    During a recent bike ride in the Bronx, I passed the precise spot where, twenty years ago, I first read an Esperanto book, a bench near Joyce Kilmer Park.

    Al Clarence: se vi volas daurigi (a? rekomenci) la lernadon de Esperanto, vi libere skribu al mi, per .

    To Clarence: if you want to continue (or restart) learning Esperanto, feel free to write me, at .

    biciklante kaj Esperante,

    Ferdinand Cesarano

  • Ferdinand Cesarano

    “a?” = “au”

  • If the Tea Party is supposed to be about small government, they should love embrace bicycling as a mobility solution that doesn’t require massive government spending to build, say, an interstate highway system or fund a mass transit system or do business with terrorist-harboring nations in the Middle East.



Get Ready for Streetsblog Denver

I’m pleased to welcome the newest member of the Streetsblog collective: Starting Monday, you can get news and commentary about safe streets, effective transit, and walkable development in the Mile High City by pointing your browser to Streetsblog Denver. Streetsblog Denver arrives at a pivotal moment. The city is growing at an incredibly rapid pace, and it desperately needs […]

A Message from Copenhagen: Climate Plan Must Include Walkable Urbanism

The energy-saving benefits of transit aren’t limited to the transportation sector. Image: Jonathan Rose Companies via Richard Layman. At a panel discussion yesterday at the Copenhagen climate summit, American policymakers and transit experts delivered a clear message: Walkable urban development must be part of any effective plan to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. Thanks to […]

Thursday: Bike-Sharing Launches in Denver

Earth Day is coming around the bend, and cities are timing their new green initiatives to coincide with the public’s heightened eco-consciousness. Here’s one we’re partial to: In Denver, Mayor John Hickenlooper and city leaders are using the occasion to launch their 500-bicycle, 50-station bike-share system. It will be the largest bike-share system in the […]