Tea Party candidate rides a bicycle

Tea Party activist and Congressional candidate Jim Schneller of Delaware County, Pennsylvania gets around almost exclusively by bicycle and public transportation.


Jim Schneller’s independent 3rd party campaign for Pennsylvania’s 7th US House District received media attention after reporters discovered his campaign received assistance from Democratic activists as part of a strategy to split the conservative vote. It was in one of these reports that I saw these photos of Schneller walking with a Bianchi Volpe cross / touring bike, so I called up Jim’s campaign headquarters.

Jim tells me that he has run his campaign “50% on my legs and 50% on public transportation. My district is a fantastic bicycling area, and it’s a no brainer in Philadelphia because the area is so congested with traffic.” This everyday, utilitarian cyclist even biked the 100 miles to Harrisburg to file his candidate paperwork.

While campaigning, this conservative candidate likes to use his bicycle as a metaphor for smaller government. “The bicycle is just as productive and useful now as it was 100 years ago; we should bring this type of simplicity to the Federal government.”

Jim Schneller, a self-avowed Tea Party activist, walks from his campaign headquarters with his bicycle and campaign signs in Wayne, Pennsylvania, October 27, 2010. Schneller is not the type of congressional candidate a political progressive or liberal Democrat would ordinarily support. Yet Schneller quite possibly might never have become a candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania's seventh congressional district were it not for a helping hand from his opponents. To match Special Report USA-ELECTIONS/TRICKS REUTERS/Tim Shaffer (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)

“The bicycle really keeps us in touch with where we’re at and where we’re going,” Jim explains. “I object to generating a couple of cubic yards of smog just to go grocery shopping. Everybody dumps so much garbage into the air. I object to the waste of resources in our current transportation system. I’m devoted to public transportation.”

This 54 year old political candidate clearly loves biking, even in the winter time. “I’m a year rounder. I’m 54 years old so I don’t go out during snow storms like I used to, but there’s a wonderful feel to biking when there’s a quarter inch of snow on the ground. I love the granular crunch of fresh snow under my bike tires.”

Finally, he talks about bike conditions in his state. “I recommend Pennsylvania for biking. The roads are narrow so you’ll see a lot of bikes in the middle of the lane, but some roads have been getting better with wider lanes and shoulders. When people make the transition to biking, 90% of them who try it love it because it feels so good.”

Learn more about Jim Schneller and his campaign for Pennsylvania’s 7th US House District at his website.


  1. Sometimes I hear descriptions of what the Tea Party supposedly represents and I get wistful for what it could have been… now, I don’t know what *else* this guy believes in, but I have this weird hope that because he sees the world through the metaphorical window of a bicycle, it’s more complete than the insulated cage view.

  2. Oh, he’s definitely Conservative — pro-life (at both the beginning and end of life — i.e. the Roman Catholic type), anti-government spending, anti-spending, etc.

    I don’t know if he’s so much “biking promotion” as against large government programs, which the Federal Highway Administration and state DOTs definitely are. Anybody who rides a bike knows about self sufficiency and independence, which are more typically conservative values.

  3. Agree, a truly independent politician should be found on a bike instead of in the more common gas guzzling SUV. Jim claims at his web page that he challenged the Article II eligibility of Obama for office of US President, requesting injunction to remedy State and Congressional failure to screen candidate eligibility under “natural born citizen” clause.

  4. I guess I am glad to see this, but it still confuses me a bit. I can understand Mr. Schneller’s use of the bicycle as a metaphor for simpler government, but I wonder about his devotion to public transportation. Does he favor completely privatized transit, or does he concede that it is a necessary function of government?

  5. I guess I am glad to see this, but it still confuses me a bit. I can understand Mr. Schneller’s use of the bicycle as a metaphor for simpler government, but I wonder about his devotion to public transportation. Does he favor completely privatized transit, or does he concede that it is a necessary function of government?

  6. I didn’t ask about that. He told me he thinks specifically the FEDERAL government should be smaller. Perhaps he sees a valid role for local government to provide services like transit.

    Are you familiar with Weyrich and Lind’s book Moving Minds?

  7. Bianchi Volpe FTW!

    Great commuter, and in the fall you can look like a real racer at the cyclocross races.

  8. Exactly. A lot of conservatives believe that government is quite important, but it’s safer to keep things close to home, where you can control it better.

    Crazy, outlandish example:
    We need local governments to extablish roads and sidewalks, but do we need a federal sidewalk regulation committee.

  9. Wait a second, this guy doesn’t sound like a wingnut who knows nothing about politics, the Constitution or creeping Muslimification of America. This guy should be getting some headlines, not the nutters in the party. If he was out front then the world wouldn’t snort (quite so) derisively everytime someone says Tea Party.

    Oops, Jack notes below in the comments that he’s also a Birther. Darn and he was soooo close!

    But I’d still go for a bike ride with him. On a bike, I do not care what your politics are, I only care about your VO2 capacity and lactic acid threshold and even those don’t matter so much as just pedaling and enjoying the ride!

  10. OK, he may be real, but these photos are so staged it hurts. And he isn’t even ON his bike. The bike clearly just a prop. Maybe i should be blaming the press person or photographer, but I’m not impressed.

  11. Unfortunately, he got thwacked in the election with 1.1% of the vote. Guess that shows you how big the biking vote is.

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