Friday, December 14, 2007

The Indignity of Commuting by Bicycle: Falling Down In Public

(the Brooklyn Bridge this morning)


As reader, insightful commenter, and pun enthusiast Leroy pointed out in the comments on the last post, if you rode over the Brooklyn Bridge this morning, chances are you paid for your poor choice by falling down at some point--especially if you tend follow the roadie's guide to negotiating snow and ice, which is as follows:

1) Panic!
2) Stiffen your entire body
3) If your wheels should start to slip, apply your brakes forcefully
4) Fall and break your collarbone (Roadie collarbones break like Bontrager steerers at Paris-Roubaix. Every time a roade fractures his clavicle triathlete hem lines get a little higher. Why do you think they show so much skin?)

Now I'm not saying I fell today, and I'm not saying I didn't. But I will say that falling during a commute is much worse than falling in a race--not because it's any more severe, but because there are lots of people around. A fall during a race is in context while a fall in the city is just embarrassing. If you do happen to fall, here are some ways to pull it off:

--Stay down. Make it look as though, while you certainly didn't mean to wind up on the pavement, you're kind of happy you did. Go into your bag, make a few phone calls, maybe eat something. Or else just fold your hands behind your head, relax, and gaze wistfully at the sky. People respect people who take life as it comes.

--Make it count. Once you realize you're going down, maximize the shock value. Send the bike sliding for a few yards. If you can, take a few other riders with you. Then get up and finish your bike off like Pete Townshend laying waste to his guitar at the end of a concert. Maybe even take out a car windshield too. Clumbsiness is embarrassing--carnage is awesome.

--Be hostile. People might ask if you're OK, but they're really just gloating. You know what's good for wiping the smugness off some self-satisfied good samaritan's face? A snowball.

--Jump right up and shout incredulously. "Holy crap! Did you see that?!?"

--Accost and blame a diminutive, non-English speaking tourist.

--Breakdance!

Here's what not to do:

--Try to pretend you're not hurt when you are. I've seen this one before. That's when someone has an awkward fall, is obviously injured, but is to embarrassed to acknowledge it so refuses help and just rides off in obvious agony. Not only is that unwise, but it just doesn't look good. It's kind of like Pee Wee Herman leaving the biker bar. Falling over because you couldn't get out of your pedals may look stupid, but getting back on too soon, riding the wrong way down a one-way street, and getting run over by a Fresh Direct truck looks really, really stupid.

--Say "I meant to do that." Again, it was funny in "Pee Wee's Big Adventure," but it's lame in real life.

--Bang your seat back into place with your palm. Why do people do that? It's not a race--take two seconds, use an allen key, and do it properly.

--Attempt to commiserate with passers-by over equipment damage. "Look! See that? The brake lever's all bent now!" Nobody cares.

--Cry

So remember, it's getting messy out there. If you can't be careful, at least be dignified. And stay off the Brooklyn Bridge after bad weather.

129 comments:

erik k said...

Victory is mine!

Anonymous said...

Show

Anonymous said...

tercero?

Thuull said...

registered still got 4th!

Anonymous said...

i remember getting my tire stuck in some old train-tracks running diagonally across a poorly paved road and eating pavement, all to avoid going over some black ice.

i chose to take the "holy crap! did you see that!?!" route with the only pedestrian nearby, all while scrambling to move my scattered lights out of oncoming traffic.

Frank R. Elia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bartender said...

Comments are competitive?

Excellent tips BikeSnobNYC!!!

erik k said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TOMMY GUN said...

UCI points!

erik k said...

its sounds like all you New Yorkers should invest in some serious studded tires. Then all the fixed gear free stylers can have an ice rink skidding contest at rockefeller square, "Hipsters on Ice" oh the irony

Anonymous said...

it's kind of like hitting a patch of "hard" air on your bike at 2 a.m. after closing the bars in atlantic beach florida. Especially since I'm from the thin air state of Colorado. several of my friedns are probably laughing right now

judi said...

--Stay down. Make it look as though, while you certainly didn't mean to wind up on the pavement, you're kind of happy you did. Go into your bag, make a few phone calls, maybe eat something. Or else just fold your hands behind your head, relax, and gaze wistfully at the sky.>>>>

***************
BSNY-

Thanks for making me laugh so hard I cried at work today.

Crashing is serious, but when it's not so serious, it's hilarious.

Judi

P.S. You ride on cx tires?

Niki said...

I currently have cyclocross tires on my fixed gear commuter. And I once competed in a skid contest using cyclocross tires. I think I went the shortest distance out of anyone there.

But at least my tire made a cool "Zip!" sound.

Anonymous said...

I prefer the act-not-hurt-when-I-obviously-am option. It creates the uneasiest atmosphere.

Josh Nadas said...

imma take someone down with me next time.

i took my buddy rene down the other night coming back from a snow ride. it was awesome. black ice what.

erik k said...

kind of like the annoying braking nose peoples bikes make when they are rolling on zipps?

Anonymous said...

If I lived in Florida I would explain to you that it never snows there, but I don't so I won't.

I remember once when I was about 12 years old I was riding my beach cruiser (remember when the bars were all covered with hypalon like they used on the huffy 10 speeds) and I went to bunnyhop a little pothole and both of the tattered grips gave way and my hands flew off the bars, the bike went into the pothole and I went over the bars. Somehow I was able to jump over the bars and land on my feet, There was a group of people standing nearby and I think my exact words were "RAD! did you see that" like I had intended to do it.

Sadly, none of them were fooled and they mostly shook their heads.

bikesgonewild said...

...while i'm finding that commenting on bsnyc can be like riding on an icy bridge to nowhere, i do give props to those of you who ride in the ice & snow...

...rain is a simple challenge compared to the deep freeze stuff...

KP said...

After an unintended dismount a good "tuck and roll" across the asphalt can put you back on your feet with enough time to throw your arms up in the air and yell "Touchdown!" Just remember, once you get to the End Zone, act like you have been there before.

Anonymous said...

I try to land on my feet after the first bounce off my fat ass, hips, gut, etc.

Tank said...

am i reading too much, or are you giving that goddamn canuck a nod there? ;)

Anonymous said...

Anyone cross the Manhattan Bridge this morning? The ice was so bad I had to walk a bit.

On the bright side! There was a photo shoot of a girl in a bikini. She must have been freezing.

Brian said...

I'm shocked that turd Leroy hasn't yet commented on this piece.

There are virtues in not posting a blog daily, mainly avoidance of putting literal diarrhea such as this out there. Trim the fat, bikesnob.

16th!!!

AnnaZed said...

A few years ago I was freewheeling downhill on a rainy night. I was the only cyclist that I saw on my longish commute I might add. (People in SoCal do NOT commute in the rain I have learned, but I had just moved here so I didn’t know. Heck, I grew up in New Orleans where if you didn’t ride in the rain you just didn’t ride and I lived in NYC for a few decades and rode everywhere.) So, anyway I hit the paint stripes on the crossing and unlike the sensible paint used in New York that has grit in it these paint stripes are very slippery when wet (another thing that I didn’t know) so I went down – very hard in the crosswalk.

I went for the “I am very badly hurt and can’t quite get back up” act – except it wasn’t an act. My arm was fucked and I cracked my front teeth – blood was coming out of my mouth.

There was a car stopped at the crosswalk and I will never forget trying – and it took a while – to get back up and get my bike and limp to the curb while cradling my arm in the driving rain with blood dripping down the front of my high visibility yellow slicker while the driver of that car sat and watched me with his blinker ticking impatiently. As soon as I was reasonably out of way (not quite to the curb yet actually) he was out of there like a bat out of the gapping maw of hell.

I had about four miles more to go. Not easy with just one functioning arm.

Good news is that the bike was pretty much ok after I banged the seat back into alignment with the heel of my hand. Bad news is that I still have hairline cracks in my front teeth from that incident.

True story.

Only in LA would that happen. People not in cars on the street are viewed as possibly homicidal or insane – think Anne Heche on a bender.

Now in New York I would have been helped up and spoon-fed matzo ball soup by strangers. I know. I’ve experienced that too. Embarrassing maybe, but at least human.

Anonymous said...

brian is a literal douche

gttim said...

My favorite crash was on a BMX track. I had spent a few days explaining to my whiny 9 year-old stepson that you do not always need to cry if you wreck your bike, fall down, lose in wrestling to your little sister, or get yelled at by your wife. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and walk it off. Act like a man.

So there I am laying on the ground with a cracked helmet and some serious soft tissue damage after a really ugly jump. I wanted to cry I hurt so bad. I look up and see my step-son staring down at me. I jumped up, said "I'm fine," and proceeded to hobble around in a circle like I was walking it off- without crying. But I really wanted to cry. Really, I did.

The best time to wreck however, is right after you call a buddy "Loser." Preferable while you are holding an "L" sign with your hand in front of your forehead.

Yeah, good times.

clayton said...

annazed, i believe hairline cracks drastically raise the risk of tooth abcesses. you should really get those closed up.

clayton said...

also, i witnessed a great crash last winter. some ass riding full speed on the sidewalk on his MTB in williamsburg went off the curb into the intersection and apaprently ate shit as a result of the edge-of-the-sidewalk ice. he slid across the entire intersection and did the "i'm not hurt!" bit while half the people he'd nearly mowed down offered assitance. the other half either laughed or ignored him.

AnnaZed said...

I know clayton, but bike shop wages, college aged children and dentist phobia mixed with laziness have prevented me from doing that for what I now realize is a very long time.

Anthony said...

This has been the worst week in a long time, but I just got back from a hard ride, and being able to sit down here and laugh is awesome. Thanks BSNYC.

tommy said...

Pete Townshend? How about a drug-crazed Bjarne Riis?.

Polygraf said...

1995 First learning clipless, I was attempting to trackstand because I couldn't unclip, well you know the rest. It gets better while I'm on the floor and realize I'm still clipped in and couldn't disconnect. Its raining, I'm late and very confused but then two very cute NYU vixens see me on the floor and helped me up, I then took my feet out of the shoes.
We were all laughing and distracted enough that I got the digits of one of them.
They helped me stay upright(he he) until I was in my shoes again and with a lil push I was gone. When a fall leads to some booty its all good.

aaron said...

My worst crash ever was not in a race but commuting last winter. I was running late early one morning and blazed through a virtually-red light tring to beat the signal. I completely overcooked the corner and slid into a curb at nearly 30mph. Super-man style over the bars between a lightpost and parking meter; a very ugly landing.

After many years of racing I have the spring-up-and-smack-the-seat-and-bars-straight move down pretty pat, but it took me a solid minute to even move into a sitting position. After vomiting into the gutter I pulled out my cell to call my wife for a rescue.

The damage:
-Broken hand
-3 cracked ribs
-folded front wheel
-shattered carbon frame (that was the last time I EVER commmuted on a nice bike)

Yup, it pretty much sucked.

ryank said...

My usual coffee shop ride takes me over a bridge to Portsmouth, NH that is never plowed. So it's fun going there, not knowing if there's asphalt under the snow or an inch of ice.

Many, many falls on that bridge. But, thankfully, doing it in bibs and tights slightly cushions the blow.

Hoss said...

Ugghh, the frozen Brooklyn Bridge.

In the early 90's, when I was a messenger in NYC, I was coming home to Brooklyn with a fat paycheck (winter always paid best, but you paid for it), and a couple beers in me. I was happily riding up towards Brooklyn, watching that damn time/temp clock that the Jehovah's have up there. It was very misty, a light drizzle almost, and I saw the temp change from 30 to 29 degrees between the alternating time/temp readings. I think it was 7:18. I said to myself, man, that's below freezing. I wonder when these wood planks will turn icy, and WAMMMM. I hit the ground so fast. It was pure ice. No one was around to laugh at me, which was even more amusing when I fell again trying to get up. It was so icy I had to shuffle 30 minutes to get to the 'summit' (where in '93, the risk of crack fueled payday bandits always lurked). I then was able to skate down the other side with both feet flat on the ground, and my loins uncomfortably perched atop my cold top tube. More like a frozen wedgie than a saddle. The slide down was much speedier, and I managed the descent with only two total wipeouts. Except for being wet, it actually got to be a bit fun. Too bad those top tube pads hadn't been in vogue back then.

Daniel said...

I'm shocked that turd Leroy hasn't yet commented on this piece.

He has to, or else I won't be able to continue collecting data for my Leroydex. I count the total number of words in BSNYC's daily post, add his (usually small) input from the comments section, and note the result. Then I total Leroy's output and divide the first sum by the second. Take a look at some examples:

Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Hoodwinked: The Wild World of Cycling Sweatshirts
BSNYC: 2053 words
Leroy: 470 words
Ratio: 4.36

Monday, December 10, 2007
Worst of NYC Craigslist Bike Ads #33-#37
BSNYC: 1520 words
Leroy: 730 words
Ratio: 2.08

Tuesday, December 11, 2007
The BSNYC Tuesday Fashion Fun Quiz!
BSNYC: 465 words
Leroy: 384 words
Ratio: 1.21

As you can see, the ratio is coming closer to 1:1 each day. Soon Leroy's daily output will exceed BSNYC's, which makes me wonder--does he review haiku for a living?

But in all seriousness, how does that make him a, uh, "turd?"

Jim said...

Brian, I find your comments are no longer as piquant as they used to be, or are they as substantial. Mere "this place sucks now" critiques are as commonplace and pedestrian as "REM *used* to be good" and "I haven't liked the Stones since Mick Jagger died and was replaced with a robot."

If you fail to improve the substantiality and originality of your vindictive, bitter attacks on others, I will be forced to refer you to blogspot's Quality Commenter Oversight Board for further action. I suggest you take the next month, look deep into your soul, and step up your performance. If you fail to respond with really vile, ingenious attacks on your fellow commenters, the Board will be forced to send you to political discussion BBS'es for retraining. Capisce?

delta said...

If you plan to commute all winter, and it tends to be icy where you are, studded tyres are the only way to go - a pair of tyres is much cheaper than a bunch of medical bills.

I swear by Nokians, the Finns know how to make a studded tyre.

erik k said...

there seems to be allot of unnecessary hostility going around right now on this comment board. Many of the perennial commenters have come under fire first there was prollygate, then bikesgonewild got upset and hated on, and now we are referring to leory as a turd. When will it end, lets not let the comments section on this great site get to degraded to lowest forms of internet bashing and name calling that plague so many other internet sights. This site is ONE about people who ride bikes, and as bikers we should all stick together and TWO about being funny. I read this story on CNN yesterday and it somehow seems to put things into perspective, love your brothers or the worst possible things can happen

Matt said...

Went down once this morning, once last night (and I think once earlier in the week) on that damned bridge - in the same place! CX tires and all... I'm just not coordinated/smart. I'm glad to hear the Manhattan bridge was no better, I wonder if i can outrun the cops in the battery tunnel.

Prolly said...

only rookies fall...

BikeSnobNYC said...

If you don't fall you're not riding hard enough.

--BSNYC

AnnaZed said...

Only rookies think that they will never fall.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Paris-Roubaix incident...was Georgies steerer alloy or carbon? I remember there being a story behind it, aside from catastrophic structural failure.

judi said...

If you don't fall you're not riding hard enough.

*************

Guess I am not riding hard enough then.

I hope to hell I don't jinx myself, but I have yet to crash since I started riding again last summer. Even learning to clip in. Everyone said I'd tip over at a light, but it never happened.

I have been doored in SF back when I was a messenger but that was just one time.

OTOH my b/f crashes A Lot.

Anonymous said...

Brian -

The high frequency of BSNYC postings means he lets slide a fair number of typos at times, but don't be fooled: the humor quotient remains pretty high.

I'll take today's post over no post anyday.

Clumbsiness is embarrassing--carnage is awesome.

That kills!

Anonymous said...

Plus today's post inspired all these great crash stories from readers. A fine read all around!

-Anon 3:16

leroy said...

BSNYC -- All good suggestions on what to do after a crash.

Much better than doing impressions.

"Oh Auntie Em, I had the strangest dream...."

Daniel -- A Leroydex? What a great idea! I'm so flattered. Hey, can we wager on what it will be tomorrow? I'll give odds.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 3:15pm,

It was an aluminum steerer--Trek claims it was due to a number of factors including a crash earlier in the day:

http://tinyurl.com/2cjsgw

Foolishly Hincapie did not follow proper Trek post-crash protocol by immediately visiting a Trek retailer and purchasing a new fork.

--BSNYC

AnnaZed said...

"Regarding the Paris-Roubaix incident...was Georgies steerer alloy or carbon? I remember there being a story behind it, aside from catastrophic structural failure."

What IS the story with that bike? It looked very strange on that low-ez vid. Any link to a pic?

Anonymous said...

Right on Brian!

That guy Leroy really bugs me.

Why he's so dumb, I bet he'd flame himself anonymously.

Oh dear. Ignore that.

What I meant to say was:

Right on, dawg! Love your work on Family Guy.

You do your own stunts?

richard said...

I hear falling is the new track stand. There is no ice to slip on here in L.A. It almost makes me want to move to Le Apple just to get in on this, record myself falling and post it on Youtube. Wait! This is totally going to spawn a clothing line just for falling off your bike!

Sorelegs said...

We are all between falls. That is unless you are falling as you read this.

clayton said...

leroy's absent because the leroydex is to close to one.

also, erik k, shutup. asshat.

burrrnn.

mr.complaint said...

"Hipsters on Ice" = kittens in the snow.

Funny thing about all the cx tires in the winter. They're for dirt, dirt and water, frozen dirt, and snow and dirt.

Try Panaracer Paselas (which are like retro gumwalls) or T-Servs (colors, colors, colors, including black). They come in nice fat 700x28 or 32s. They are great on pavement, wet pavement, frozen pavement and snow on pavement. And what a nice cushy ride. They are also great on dirt roads.

Then you can make fun of yourself for being a Randonneur.

But wood is slippery and topsider does not make tires.

bikesgonewild said...

...still wanna buy post-discovery team treks for 10g's a pop ???...

...annazed...almost amazed that the driver didn't give you a "yer in my way" honk...not untypical behavior on the left coast...

...eric k, yer absolutely right...although i find it hard not to respond to certain ,what i feel are egregious situations...
...like the gentleman on the subway, i wouldn't foolishly risk getting hurt in order to help out someone in trouble but i'd look for a way to help...
...here, it just slows up the post...

...again yer right, in that it's a great cycling blog...guess i felt justified in defending the honor of one of the all time great racing cyclists, warranted or not...

M. Weed said...

Yeah, carnage IS awesome! Great post.

Pete said...

Erik K,
I think you've got it right. Hostility. It seems to be expressed most easily in cars, but it's everywhere -- and it's getting worse.
As bike riders we're the abused children of the road. It's no wonder we're not nice to one another.
Still, it makes me sad.

curmudgeon said...

Under what NOT to say, you should have added the phrase that's heard after all bike crashes which become news stories:

"The city needs to do more to make bicycling safer"

After all, it could NEVER be the cyclist's fault.

erik k said...

-clayton ok, but what exactly is an asshat?

AnnaZed said...

bikesgonewild - word on the honking. If I had taken any longer he probably would have the shit.

WTF was that asshole thinking?

~and sorry, the leroydex makes me giggle~

Thomas said...

--Jump right up and shout incredulously. "Holy crap! Did you see that?!?"

...ive done this.

M. Weed said...

Annazed,

That's like a time about 5 years ago when I wiped out because my front tire got stuck in a trolley track (I live in Philly). I went over the bars and blacked out when I hit the ground --- laid in the road for anywhere from 30 secs to 2 minutes (not sure). Traffic just piled up and nobody bothered to see how I was... I think I "woke up" because cars were honking at me. I had laundry in my backpack and it was all over the road, I had to dodge cars to pick it all up.

Anonymous said...

erik k

maybe you've never read through the RANTS & RAVES section on craigslist, but asshat was a very popular word for a couple of years.

http://www.brainshavings.com/images/asshat.jpg

leroy said...

Annazed --

The leroydex make me giggle too!

I just can't figure out why no one wants to wager on what it will be for the next post.

AnnaZed said...

Jeez, M. Weed - City of brotherly love, what!

That actually made me feel sort of weepy for a minute there, you and your laundry. A lot of people think that people on bikes, people who might commute on their bikes or people who might - God forbid -have laundry in their backpacks on their bikes are somehow inferior beings. I really hate that.

Grrrrr.........

Daniel said...

Daniel -- A Leroydex? What a great idea! I'm so flattered. Hey, can we wager on what it will be tomorrow? I'll give odds.

I'll take your bet: you write the content and I'll calculate the ratio. If my math's as good as your comments...

But seriously, let's make a friendly bet the ratio won't exceed 2:1. The loser will have to buy a BikesGoneWild a new . key. The old one can't be long for this world.

todd said...

since it doesn't exactly snow here in los angeles, i just thought i'd share the LA equivalent of getting taken down by a patch of ice.

a few months ago at the corner of hollywood and vine (arguably one of the most disease riddled intersections in our fair country) i started off from the light and within a couple of pedal strokes i got taken out by a greasy slick of left over garbage juice from a street sweeper that'd just been though.

i slid for a good 20 feet before coming to a stop in a trash filled gutter. i managed to eek out an 'i meant to do that' to the folks waiting at the bus stop.

the two mile ride home was the longest of my young life. i was covered from head to toe in garbage juice and dry heaving the whole way. after a 200 degree show i spent the rest of the day getting vaccinated down at the free clinic.

good times.

Dirt Monkey said...

When I fall, I shout "SNIPER! SNIPER!" People freak out and it I hides the fact that I can't ride for shit. "Carnage Rules!"

Jim said...

Regarding the Paris-Roubaix incident...was Georgies steerer alloy or carbon?

The funniest thing about the whole incident - other than the nicest bike racer in the world being reduced to tears yet again by The Queen of All Races - was the Pez or VeloSnooze tech video that had been posted on the Thursday or Friday before the race. In it, one of the Discovery mechanics is taking the intrepid reporter on a tour of the Trek P-R bikes' special technology. He made a point of bragging on the forks, saying "these are actually commuter bike forks. They're super strong with an alloy steerer so we use them on the Paris Roubaix bikes."

The unintentional comedy meter actually shattered on the Monday when I went back to watch that video again. Good times.

Anonymous said...

Hold on - what's the big difference between "Holy crap! Did you see that?!?" and "I meant to do that"?

Am I missing something? And you're not supposed to cry YET you're not supposed to hide your agony? All too confusing.

Anyway - whatever the question - the answer is "Nokian".

leroy said...

Daniel --

Good lord, man, I can't take that bet. No way can I write twice as much as BSNYC.

But if you meant that I don't write half as much as BSNYC, you're on.

(Notice: This offer does not apply to BSNYC quizzes that are more graphics than text. Void where prohibited. Winner must take title by April 15, 2008. Do not operate heavy machinery while participating in wager.)

But I won't make you send BGW a new "." key for Festivus. A macro for "..." ought to make him smile.

AnnaZed said...

Hoss, your story makes me think of back when my boyfriend and I used to cross the Williamsburg Bridge in the early 80’s (it was SO not hip then, let me tell you) and there was this bike thief that waited in the exact same place in the dogs leg of the bridge on the Brooklyn end.

He knocked my boyfriend off his bike and took it … once … and a few weeks later again … then a third time. Time three boy friend tries to fight back and gets cut (not too bad, but still). I wasn’t there or I would have melted down on the spot and beat the guy to death with a U-lock. This guy is big with a very distinctive scar on his face, unmistakable as a public building.

Weeks go by and a phone call comes from the cops. They have a guy; will boy friend come have a look at him? So down to the cop-shop he pedals (on the fourth bike he’s had to buy in a year and still with a bandage on his chest). He walks in and there in the hall, handcuffed to a bench is scar face. His first words - “Hey you, I didn’t steal your fuckin’ bike!”

Bright criminal there, steal the same stuff from the same people at exactly the same spot over and over while sporting your distinctive mug – good plan!

Ahem, sir – the only time we’ve ever met was when you were stealing my bikes!

This was one of those crimes that even the Brooklyn crime squad was able to crack!

I can also recall how icy and cold that damn bridge was in the winter – jeez.

However, I’m thinkin’ that it’s probably a tad chilly at Rikers as well.

Anonymous said...

I bike throughout the icy, snowy, and sandy winters here in Minnesota. I have not had a bad fall related to winter but a couple months ago on a rainy morning I was commuting to work. I was going straight at about 20mph when I got t-boned by a car. My bikes frame got mangled, two tacos for wheels, a bent crank arm, and a saddle ripped from the post and found ripped up some 20 feet down the road. At first I did not feel like I was too injured and I got a ride home from someone that saw me get my ass handed to me. After I got home I realized I was bleeding from both shoulders and both knees. I ended up gimping around for about a week and was off the bike for almost two weeks. Awesome.

nick said...

Oh Snob, you slay me.

I now live in New Mexico, but grew up and raced around NYC. I remember one weekend morning taking something (St. Nicholas?) and making some left to get onto the GW bridge. That's when I hit an oil slick. Yeah, like something out of Speed Racer, a friggin' oil slick, right smack at the apex of a turn. Being (at the time) the neurotic, paranoid p.o.'d New Yorker, I knew some Mother Effer had poured this oil out last night after a shaved ice and rum bender, so that some pale spandexed moron like me would crash. So I as I got up a looked around at all of the apartment windows as if to say, "yeah, f. you too." I opened up my brake quick release (bent spoke - back when you had more than a dozen per side) and went on with my ride anyway!

AnnaZed said...

Anonymous 6:26 PM – Jeez, I hope that there was some serious insurance money involved there.

Nick – you are my hero, and yes (never ignore your senses) there was definitely a Snidely Wiplashish sort looking out of his window saying “foiled again!”

Anonymous said...

My most memorable experience with a car was the time a lady decided to veer into the bike lane and slam on her brakes. I couldn't brake in time and ended up on top of her car. The driver didn't even get out of the car and as soon as I drug myself off her car, she drove off at top speed. I treated other motorists to a long and confusing string of swear words and curses which they had trouble sympathizing with because as far as they could tell I had fallen over for no reason and was irrationally angry about it.

Daniel said...

(Notice: This offer does not apply to BSNYC quizzes that are more graphics than text. Void where prohibited. Winner must take title by April 15, 2008. Do not operate heavy machinery while participating in wager.)

Hey, no caveats! I'm beginning to think I might lose this bet!

joby said...

ahem,

left out "to" in "if you tend follow"

clumbsiness = clumsiness

missed an "o" in "but is to embarrassed"

this is not to be nitpicky. this is to begin the presentation for my theory that bikesnob is actualy 2 maybe three different people.

one of them is funnier than the rest, one of them is not as good with checking their grammar, one is designated "commentor", etc.

the person they got to do the phone interview a while ago was a completely unrelated straw man. (i.e. said nothing funny) as was the bogey they installed for the bicycling magazine photo shoot.

anonymity is the perfect cover for a tightly networked cabal of bloggers having the last laugh.

this is a loose, undeveloped theory i admit. but i believe it has merit.

no?

AnnaZed said...

I think not. Very singular vision here at BSNYC.

aaron said...

OK, 1 more crash story but race-related rather than commuting -- hilarious nonetheless.

Back in the early 90s I was watching the cat 3 field at some no-name crit in Albany and there was an amputee racing (he had an STI and a bar-end shifter on the same side of the bars). The amputation was just above the elbow so he had a stump of 6 or so inches.

Anyhoo there was a pileup in one of the corners and Mr. 1-arm ate it. He slid on the same side as the stump and scraped the hell out of the end of said stump. He stood up with raw flesh and blood at the end of the stump and this poor woman spectator saw it and went into sobbing hysterics. That's right: She thought he lost his arm in the crash.

I nearly peed myself I was laughing so hard.

erik k said...

haha, man thats pretty fucked up
and there is definitely only one snob

Bluenoser said...

Ice-Snob,

Have you ever noticed that when ice is involved the falls never seem to inflict as much damage? Hit the floor in the summer and you are looking at serious injuries or rash.

It seems when you lose control on ice everything seems to go quickly forward, stop, then down. Usually landing you on your ass/back.

Glutes and back muscles are big tough stuff and seem to be made to take the grade. That and the slide.

If you can slide towards a curb, hit, come back up and continue on like nothing happened. To do this you need to hang onto the bars.

Just watch hockey players when they hit the floor. They have had a lot of years to practice the recovery and add some style.

-B

Bluenoser said...

Ok, that's the last time I comment without reading to the bottom.

Jim, that was just too good.

To whoever said tyres, when reading a New York blog it's tires. When in Rome...

-B

Joel said...

I saw a guy fall on a visit to San Francisco about a year ago.

The guy was obviously hurt: he was bleeding and I think maybe his wrist was broken.

He was writhing around clumsily and moaning real loud. He looked so goofy instead of feeling sorry all I could do was hope I don't act like such a dork if I ever get hurt on a fall.

ainsley said...

this post was amazing!
i have learned many of these lessons the hard way- i fall a lot, i mean A LOT. makes me wonder if there is such thing as bike related vertigo?
i even fell down the stairs this morning carrying my stupid bike out of my building!
i took a corner a few weeks ago and slid through the intersection/black ice at varrious angles that ended with me flat on my side. it wouldn't have been so bad if i had noticed i was falling over! i just kept peddling my fixie and wondering why everything was looking more sideways as i was finishing the turn. some ladies were killing them selves across the street, i jumped up and padded my self down, made sure i wasn't dead and got back on- i realized at the next light my bars were sideways my arm was bleeding through my leather jacket, and i had slammed my face on my bars so hard i put my tooth through my lip.
At work we now write detailed accounts, on the tip jar, of how and why i fell. that way none of us have to explain the slings, bandages, black eyes and fat lips- we just reap the bennifits of pity.

gttim said...

Jump right up and shout incredulously. "Holy crap! Did you see that?!?"

Of course, down here in the south people frequently shout before they crash in a horrific fashion. The correct shout is "Hey ya'll, watch this!"

'least i'm enjoyin the ride said...

erik k,

I agree. Of course then prolly opens tha can of worms, "only rookies fall" ...hahahaha!

Also, I think "asshat" refers to having your head so far up your ass that if you doffed a hat it would sit on your ass.

Daniel, i believe the "leroy index" tomorrow would be 0 as the Snob enjoys his weekends. No need for a calculator.

The most freaking hilarious ice wipeout occured with our korean/american mtb club when I was stationed in kunsan korea. we were going down a steep paved left turn section of the park when the lead pair went down followed by the other ten. Due to the angle of the turn and descent we all kept sliding on our asses for a good 25-30 yards and wound up in the same ditch of icy water (did I mention that koreans fertilize with natural excrement?). fortunately nobody hi-sided and the worst was some minot bruises.

Anonymous said...

what's the deal, snob? more typos in todays post than in all your others combined.




lame.

bikesgonewild said...

...leroy & daniel...jeez, i hope the leroydex tops the charts now that i have a vested interest...

...i'll be on pins & needles until festivus day/night(?)...do i leave out some milk & cookies ?...a good aged single malt ?...

...daniel, i appreciate the concern for my dot-thingy key & leroy, that is brilliant...a custom triple dot-thingy key...i'm excited...
...you should be an inventor, or ummm, at least in customer service...

...one question/concern...do i have to be like 'good' or 'well behaved' until this festivus happens, cuz as you know, i have a predisposition for ranging a little free & loose ???...

Anonymous said...

anon 12:12 wrote:
"what's the deal, snob? more typos in todays post than in all your others combined. Lame."

um, dude, that should be today's post. lame. bsnyc is incredibly generous with his talent and while i, for one, certainly feel the dearth of his sharp wit and good heart come weekends, nonetheless i am truly grateful for the circa 5k words a week he does serve up, errant syntax notwithstanding. you sir, are a twit.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see I wasn't the only one whipsawing around on an icy bridge like a fool today. I made it over the 59th St. and Pulaski Bridges at 3am without going down, but I damn well should have. 'God protects fools and drunken bums...' At least I resisted the temptation to ride in style & took the beater this time. Your wisdom must be starting to rub off on me.

Anonymous said...

joby,

i don't know about bsnyc, but i think most writers appreciate having typos, errant syntax, homonyms, etc. being brought to light (assuming of course it's done politely).

but consider the daily volume of seriously good shit published here daily. it's amazing there aren't more remnants of 'the man behind the curtain.'

Anonymous said...

You grammar fetishists are being too hard on BSNYC. Didn't you read the post? He was probably typing on a bunch of Vicodin with his arm in a sling!

Anonymous said...

The "I'm not hurt" act analysis is so true:

I once saw I guy rip into a parking lot coming off a hill trying to impress (well, other male riders - but whatever), he lost his chain, spilled the bike and ended up sliding to a stop on his bare back (did I mention he was trying to impress us). We rushed over to help, the roadies checking on him, the MTB'ers checking the bike.

His back looked like it went 10 rounds in a tag team between a cheese grater and a box of glass shards.

Concerned we asked if he was okay and, despite the tears welling in his eyes, he tried to play tough guy and say he was fine (again, I did say he was trying to impress men).

He hobbled to his car dragging his bike in tow. As soon as he was out of earshot everyone laughed. Just goes to prove: a macho guy with a bleeding back is all it take to get a bunch of roadies and MTB'ers to put aside differences and share a laugh.

If only we could find a way to make that work in the Middle East.

bikesgonewild said...

...jeez dude, be reasonable...peace in the middle east ???...whats gonna work over there w/ all that sand ???...

...surly pugslys, right ???...maybe there's a few hannabrinks hidden away in garages, but basically it's gotta be surly pugsleys...large marge rims, endomorph tires...

...ta meet those demands, you wanna stress out a cool buncha bike dudes solving that mess ???...

Anonymous said...

If you don't wear a helmet, which not wearing one is stupid in retrospect,and you hit your head on the ground when you crash you could pretend that you blacked out and don't remember what happened.

Anonymous said...

FYI, an asshat is the hygenic paper tiolet-lid liner commonly dispensed in public bathrooms...many such dispensers in the Western town where I grew up also the carried common grafitti'd label "Free Cowboy Hats."

Anonymous said...

i like the free cowboy hats...

but "least i'm enjoying the ride" was correct about asshat

this page traces the etymology, it's a blog called Mother Tongue Annoyances... not BSNYC caliber, but humorous

http://www.mtannoyances.com/?p=341

Bluenoser said...

100.?

-B

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9-NqDyhnAs

vote Ron Paul

Anonymous said...

bgw,

i find your light-hearted jesting about the war-torn middle-east extremely insensitive. innocent children and families of all faiths are being killed and maimed by the geopolitical clusterfuck and here you are joking about it on a public forum. for shame.

or wait, hm, maybe, hm, letta me rethink this

... ...

happy festivus, (airing of grievances) ;>)

happyReader said...

BSNYC,

I really like your photo-verite of commuting in NYC. The picture of the Brooklyn Bridge with ice is totally compelling.

Your creativity is dazzling , your wonderful prose is at once generous and rapier-like, and your talent and industry as researcher-editor and compositer sets a seriously high benchmark for what a blog can be.

bikesgonewild said...

...anon 11:42pm...no problem...in fact, swing by for festivus celebrations...
...gefilte' fish falafels, chow mein burritos, bbq rib pizza, pork sushi...
...i want everyone to be included...
...can you feel the spirit ???...

bikesgonewild said...

...ooops...minus one minute & counting...

Anonymous said...

I jump back up and look head on into the bike, examining it for trueness. Acting all concerned about the bike works for me.

Lee said...

Great story again, BSNYC. My favorite fall was as a teen following my friend as we rode our ten speeds on a country road. I was on his left rear wheel as he decided to swerve. Of course, his axle nut took out all of my spokes on one side of my front wheel causing an immediate collapse. Nothing broken, but very sore for a while.

Andy Pandy said...

Did someone put something in the water in the Ol' US of A. Now form a circle, arm around the persons next to you ( irrespective of bike brand, gearing , colour, sexual persuasion) and

....... Group Hug.
Now don't we all feel better for that. I do.

emcb1230 said...

Posting everyday is so PRO

Anonymous said...

bikesgonewild: NO MORE ELLIPSES! just try, once, to construct a complete sentence without trailing off or (as wikipedia would have it) "indicating an intentional omission." please, it's not so hard.

marlo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

joby-
that would be "checking his grammar"

Anonymous said...

Joby: The concensus among Old Testament scholars is that it has 4 distinct authors. I never expected that same level of analysis applied to this site.

joby said...

anonymous 11 12
there is the one true blog and its url be BikeSnobNYC.blogspot.com. thou shalt have no false blogs befor it.

anonymous 9 52
my grammarcizing reveals it! i am one of the hidden bloggers! all bow befor me.

Anonymous said...

George Hincapie and Mike Barry should read this.

You forgot, blame the invisible car, as in "didyaseethatasshole!?"

Hoss said...

Hey Annazed, glad they got your scarface. I was in Williamsburg in '90, slightly different scene then. That bridge was a nightmare. Between the holes, and the bandits, I felt like Snake Plisken trying to outrun "The Duke" in Escape from New York. Some scary shit. I actually felt safer trying to bomb the actual roadway, or when lucky, (one time) hopping on the back of a flatbed truck.

Anonymous said...

worst crash of last year? i thought you would never ask! riding in sneakers carrying a fresh cup of coffee back two blocks from the local joe dealer. i was wearing sneakers on a pair of egg beaters. next thing i know if am sliding down the road on my face at like 20k an hour! as my eye-socket is grinding along the pavement i can think nothing but how my new hot cup of joe is spilling down my arm as i am still trying to keep it upright. God Damn-it!

I get up fast and as my head is swinging upwards back to vertical i see blood. alot of it! stream out my nose like a slow motion sequence out of rocky.

And what do i scream out? I F*CKNG Spilt my COFFEE!

The two college kids that had witnessed the whole thing started to run

Sandwiches said...

We don't get snow in the Phoenix-Metro area, but we get really slick sidewalks when it rains as a result of the rainwater kind of stagnating for days at a time, wearing the concrete to a smooth surface. Well, during one such rain session I was riding my bike ever-so-carefully across campus, making absolutely sure to stay balanced and not take any sharp turns so that I didn't succumb to the terror of the concrete that dominates ASU. I was pacing some walkers when, BAM, I ate shit. My front wheel lost traction and I just shot out from underneath me. On my way down I managed to utter a "shit" before I awkwardly hit the ground. Even though I was going less than three miles per hour, I managed to fall about five or six feet from my bike. I guess I accidentally flung it while trying to come unclipped and almost took out a couple of people next to me. About 20 people saw me fall and a few of them asked if I was okay. My knee was pretty banged up as I had torn through my jeans and was only wearing a t-shirt and a hoodie, so I was soaked as well as limping. After struggling to my feet, I thought about hopping back on my bike and jetting away to show how cool I was, but then decided that the likelihood of falling in the same way before I got out of sight was too great and too embarrassing, so I just walked the rest of the way to class. Thank goodness for lugged steel.

Next time I'm going to try to take out more people.

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