Thursday, May 29, 2008

Dominated by the Unwitting: How I Lost the Great NYC Commuter Race

Yesterday I happened to notice that this morning would see the 7th annual running of the Transportation Alternatives Great NYC Commuter Race. In it, a cyclist, a subway rider, and an automobile driver would compete head-to-head in a contrived test of wits and endurance designed to prove to the world what we cyclists already know--that a bike is the fastest way to get around the city.

At first I was dismissive, but then I realized something: hey, I could win this thing! Granted, I hadn't been invited to participate in the first place, but that has never stopped a true champion. Plus, I haven't won a bike race since I was about 12, and after sizing up the competition I decided this might be my only chance to quench my epic-length victory drought.

According to the TA site, the race would begin in Fort Greene, Brooklyn at the Connecticut Muffin on Myrtle Ave. at 7:40am and end at Union Square in Manhattan at 8:10am. It was immediately obvious to me that the biggest challenge would be the early start time. It may come as little surprise to many of you that a person as bitter as myself requires a lot of alone time in the morning in order to come to grips with the fact that I am a) alive; and b) must once again eventually interact with other people at some point during the course of the day. Having to be in Fort Greene at 7:40 would mean that I would lose precious morning sulking time. Not only that, but I moved not too long ago (by which I mean within the last five years) and to this day I refuse to adjust for the extra 20 minutes it now takes me to get anywhere. As such, I'm always 20 minutes late to any destination or appointment.

But this was a race! I would have to rally and move. And rally I did. I left my house early, and when the 7:40 start time rolled around I was ready to go. Unfortunately, I was still about 10 minutes from Connecticut Muffin. Instead, I was here, on the wrong side of Atlantic Avenue:



By the time I got to Connecticut Muffin it was about 7:50 and I knew I was in trouble since the only people around were from News 12. If I was even later than a shoddy news operation like that, what chance could I possibly have against a bunch of bright-eyed and bushy-tailed TransAlt eco-nerds?



Still, though, I was determined to press on. Unfortunately, I soon hit a wall in the form of my own indecision. Which bridge should I take, the Manhattan Bridge or the Williamsburg Bridge? In theory, the Williamsburg Bridge seemed the faster route. In practice, though, I'm scared of it because of all the graffiti and fashionable young people. However, I didn't wake up early to be thwarted by my own personal demons. So I finally stopped riding around in circles on Flushing Ave. and headed towards my fate...
...only to be confronted by another delay: temptation, in the form of my secret bike-washing spot. My bike was pretty dirty, and there wasn't even a line at the pressure washers. But no! I would press on!




There it looms, the dreaded Williamsburg, like a giant hypodermic needle mainlining trendy 20-somethings right into Manhattan's bloodstream:



As I approached the bridge, I was confronted with the horrifying specter of the Hulk's ghost bike:




More delays! Will misfortunes never cease?!? In the steel cage match of trenditude that is riding the Williamsburg Bridge bike path, I am stuck behind an Old Crappy 10 Speed and a maintenance vehicle:



Finally! Manhattan! Oh, Village Voice, you're incorrigible. You won't find that kind of wit in the suburbs:



As I approach the run-in to Union Square, I suddenly realize hope is not yet dead. It's only just 8:10! Could it be possible that I would...? No, I dare not think it. Just keep my head down and pedal.



Promptly-ish at 8:10-ish I arrive at Union Square, only to find a media frenzy already taking place. Dammit, that could have been me basking in all that glory! I could even have given a pro cyclist-style interview: "It was super hard today, but I felt super strong and my team was super." Yada, yada, yada.


Grudgingly, I congratulate the winner, cyclist Jamie Favaro, who graciously poses for a photograph:


And there it is. I've lost the Tour de France of commuter races. I think the subway guy was already there, too. I milled around for a few minutes dejectedly and talked to a friendly bike messenger with facial tattoos to rival David Clinger's, and then I finally left, my head hung low in shame. Oh, well, at least I beat the car.

96 comments:

Anonymous said...

lost the first post race too

wishiwasmerckx said...

Stage win!

Peter said...

bam

MeganEnterprisesInc said...

yay 1st- didnt even read it yet.

MeganEnterprisesInc said...

wow- i stand corrected- tough to be 1st here

leroy said...

Yeesh, all I did was a lap around Manhattan this morning.

Those other folks can have the podium.

I'm afraid of heights.

Anonymous said...

It was super hard today, but I felt super strong and my team was super and I'd like to thank them for my second first post win

wishiwasmerckx said...

Anon 10:05 = doper.

Polygraf said...

So the cyclist won?

Jonathan said...

top 10??

BikeSnobNYC said...

Polygraf,

Sorry, yeah--I've edited the post to clarify that.

--BSNYC

Anonymous said...

like a giant hypodermic needle mainlining trendy 20-somethings right into Manhattan's bloodstream

What they don't live in Chelsea anymore?

g said...

Just think, next time there's a Major Taylor statue unveiling, you will have something to compare to the challenges of his life!
Congrats on your misery and suffering, no matter how small and insignificant.
I think that the cyclist is at a decided disadvantage having to carry the flowers and all...
good for her!

CarbonMan said...

tighter trousers and a faux messenger bag would have secured the win for sure. There's always next year.

Anonymous said...

she ic cuet

Bret Moss said...

Sounds like an Alley Cat.

Has the soul of the messenger race been hijacked for commercial purposes?

Is the Shark still in the water?

Anonymous said...

You quench your thirst, but I think you just end a drought.

Anonymous said...

BIKE SNOB!! Now I know who you are!!!
From your long time reader and commenter,
j
(aka Jamie Favaro)
ps- If I had known it was you I would have said something bsnyc-ish. But now I know youuuuuu.

BSNYC's Secret Assistant said...

Jamie,

Alas, your enthusiasm must be curbed. BSNYC/RTMS is is smart enough to have lackeys like me pose as stunt doubles during these moments when his identity might become known to his readership.

PS - can I have your phone number?

Frederick said...

Pack Fill!

8^(

Frederick said...

Pack Fill!

8^(

Frederick said...

Pack Fill!

8^(

g said...

i was wondering if j's discovery would lead to one of 2 scenarios:
1."Superman - Lois Lane" BSNYC/RTMS and J hit the sack and he keeps her mouth shut
2."And now I have to kill you" kinda speaks for itself.
Glad to hear we don't have to explore either one of those.

Anonymous said...

Jamie Favaro is like Vicky Vale to BSNYC's Michael Keaton...uh Batman.

Anonymous said...

har har har. that's some b.s. i can smell from a mile away. it's okay, your secret is safe with me.
j

ps- of course. ...you already have my email. yeah, that's me sending you pictures of cops parked in bike lanes...

Vegimite said...

It was a virtual emotional roller coaster served up yo us today, and for that I give thanks.

nolucker said...

Don't know what you look like, but she deserves to win, hands down-congrats, Jamie (even if you did a Rosie Ruiz)

Judi said...

Beat by a girl....

Anonymous said...

jamie is so awesome.

Commiecanuk's Secret assistant said...

If I reveal commie's true identity, this cyanide pill in my left molar will explode.

daddo.one said...

I'm in a happy thing already but if one of you who isn't doesn't ask, demand, cajole, or beg Jamie to go for a ride with you, you're ALL losers

let the asking, demanding, cajoling, begging contest begin!

Kristopher said...

You know ... I am sure you get this a lot, but you are an excellent writer. Very imaginative imagery.
Keep up the good work!

Ka_Jun said...

I'd like to quell the rumors of the Hulk's early demise. He's still alive, the ghost bike was actually that of Green Lantern.

Leaf said...

Maybe this has been covered before... but how does the snob take pictures while riding?

I'm constantly impressed with the on-bike photography sie whips out.

Ka_Jun said...

Man, I smell a craigslist bike connection, or is that just soiled lycra?

Anonymous said...

Bike Commuters Rule! Which is almost as cool as saying Slide Rulers Rule! Anyway, a similar race was conducted in London by the BBC show Top Gear. This was a four-way race including a car, boat, bicycle, and public transit (bus and tube). The race was across central London from Kew Garden to City Airport. They arrived as follows:

1) bicycle
2) boat
3) transit
4) car

Story: http://www.bikeradar.com/news/article/bicycle-wins-top-gear-race-13142

veloben said...

leaf,

It's called stopping. Easier to do if you have a brake.

Anonymous said...

bikes are cool.....if you are 12.

Anonymous said...

beware rtms. the zinn will strike you down for blasphemous linking of bikes and pressure washers. his huge lanky feet kicking you with near-perfect, round strokes. strange, thin forearms moving about in seemingly disjointed yet graceful, floating, mesmerising beauty. huge, almond-shaped black eyes reaching deep into your very soul...... um...what time is it? was there an owl just on my deck.....

johnb said...

I'd love to beg Jamie for a date, but I kinda live in a far off place. Are you into long distance relationships?

Anonymous said...

Oh my Gosh! I made biksnob today!!! Neat!!!

Thanks I guess for the congrats!

- Jamie

the evil ken said...

anon @ 1:16
motor-vehicles are cool, if you like sitting in traffic, idling away the last days of peak oil.
“Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.” -orson welles
-just cuttin' and pastin'

bonechilling said...

The winner's pretty cute. I hope you got her number, Snob.

Anonymous said...

Seattle's PistaDex=$600
http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/bik/695751886.html

Anonymous said...

check her out on fox news. http://www.myfoxny.com/myfox/pages/Home/Detail?contentId=6651658&version=1&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=1.1.1 I think I'm in love.

Leaf said...

But, veloben, does that mean the snob stopped... on the bridge!?

I'm horrified.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Leaf,

If the picture was taken at an intersection (or there's a smiling person in front of me), I was probably stopped. If it wasn't, I was probably riding. I did not stop at the bridge for fear of attack.

--BSNYC/RTMS

Anonymous said...

this may be a silly question, but was the bicyclist rule bound by traffic laws? did she run stop lights? did she ride the wrong way on one way streets?

what about other bicylinng do's and dont's? did she wear a helmet (it looks like she did)? did she salmon against traffic?

did the media frenzy ask these hard questions?

broomie said...

I thought it was Green Arrow's bike?

Oh, the race was dramatic. I can't wait to get the DVD with expanded commentary and the interactive maps.

Sycophantic Backstabber said...

Anonymous 2:14, those are hard questions for a softie.

All she needed to do was spin it to pedestrians jay-walking; not respecting traffic/pedestrian lights and cars going over the speed-limit; burning reds; not signaling; I could go on and on, but I won't.

I shouldn't put myself in these imaginary situations, but I do.

erik k said...

if there were more women like Jamie ridding around, I think we might see allot more people ridding to work. Is it possible beautiful women can save the world?

-well at the least it would make the city a nicer place to be

Sycophantic Backstabber said...

Yay beautiful women!

Hip! Hip!

amir said...

Jamie, I think I saw you in Central Park once.

Call me!

upperclass said...

Ladies watch out....tends to be a bunch of creepy dudes on this site.

I enjoy laughing at them.

Anonymous said...

anyone check craigslist missed connection for bsnyc and jamie?

bikesgonewild said...

...upperclass...

..."i enjoy laughing at them"...w/ the money you pay for that expensive shrink, do you ever let him see the 'contributions' you post (which are very indicative of 'some' of yer problems) or are the sessions all about the dresses, the locked in yer room thing & yer need for mommies approval ???...

...just askin', but hey, don't worry...like one big happy family, we're very accepting here...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the birfday wishes yous guys.

With the exception of a lil' reality check, it was a kick ass day!

Man, I never won the comments race before, and to do so on the same day that frilly OK'd Snob to be Judd to her Molly . . . WOOOOWWW!!!

Best gift ever.


A
(not just anon) 5/28/08 12:50

bikesgonewild said...

...btw...big props to jamie on the annual commute race...

...she once again proved that bicycles rule, whether your 12 or 82...

frilly said...

A 12:50-

Glad I could be part of your special day.

Mwah! (Late birfday kiss.)

bikesgonewild said...

...frilly...go to pez, scroll down to the "search" box on the left...type in " csc ttt "...two stories come up & it's obvious from there...

...figured this way was easier than typing out a long ass web address...

...ciao...

daddo.one said...

"the dresses, the locked in yer room thing & yer need for mommies approval"

- that sounds hot

leroy said...

Wait a second, BSNYC, it just occurred to me from your pictures that you rode down Washington Street and didn't stop at Tom's Diner for waffles and a cherry lime rickey this morning.

That sort of will power deserves a place on the podium.

Your mettle has been tested.

For the rest of us brave enough to gaze in to the dark abyss of temptation, I note that TA is giving away baked goods and reflective armbands at the Queens side of the Queensboro Bridge this evening.

A bit of a detour to Brooklyn perhaps, but -- other than those among us with super human will power -- who can resist free muffins and reflective armbands?

P.S. to Jamie -- congratulations!

Anonymous said...

jamie and her serotta are the hottest cyclist on this site since caroline moves a plant on her de bernardi.

Anonymous said...

Watched the video on Fox-- Jamie Navarro rules!!

Clarence Jr. said...

WOW, I have Bike Snob on video!

Anonymous said...

BSNY -
apparently the "cycling bug" is catching all over -- I'm sorry to be a hater, but some guy who solely rides central park thinks he'll be ready for a tour stage in 6 weeks? A Cervelo will only do so much...I'd love some BSNY wit on this...
http://theclimb.blogs.nytimes.com/

AMRcyclist said...

"check her out on fox news. http://www.myfoxny.com/myfox/pages/Home/Detail?contentId=6651658&version=1&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=1.1.1 I think I'm in love."- anonymous 1:53

How come Specialised didn't buy the rights to advertise their S-Work with elastomer Zertz inserts machines before the news story?

Yeah, and she can ride a bike... You should ask her out.

So, BSNYC had a stunt double riding the bike for him...

AMRcyclist said...

Serotta?
Now, that is class!!!

Andy Pandy said...

Hey BGW good to see you have your spark/ spunk back and charming the women folk ( must be the funk evaporating off your overdose amount of Hai Karate) but you are overlapping my wheel and that will end in distaster. Cheese research is a heady, time consuming and difficult master

Soviet Russian said...

In SOVIET RUSSIA, cheese researches YOU!

Anonymous said...

Fox link

bikesgonewild said...

...whoa, master andypandy, "the eddy merckx of cheese research"...didn't mean to gap, overlap or crap on yer efforts...

...pez cycling is my favorite amongst the cycling news web-sites & i'm sure you'll attest, richard pestes (& crews) coverage of the big euro-races has a participatory "you're here w/ us" feel you don't get from v-& c- news...
...great effort by a serious cycling enthusiast up in canuck-land...

...so, now to be honest, w/ all those heady 'hai karate' fumes swirling in my brain, i was going all bb king..."the frill(y) is gone" & i guess i couldn't he'p myself...

...hey, no one went into the barriers & nobody picked up any roadrash, so as you kids say "it's all good"...

Pedal Strike Force Agent Down said...

...Kind of a shame about the Green Lantern.

pinchfinger said...

Snob, today you are an incomprehensible slut.
This confirms my oft stated belief that there are more then one of you.
At least edit some of the sometimes shit you allowed to be posted by ghost writers.

pinchfinger said...

Snob, today you are an incomprehensible slut.
This confirms my oft stated belief that there are more then one of you.
At least edit some of the sometimes shit you allowed to be posted by ghost writers.

frilly said...

BGW and Andy Pandy

Easy boys, you're going to make my head swell. The frill is not gone. We finally had a rain-free day here in St. Louis. So, I had to toodle down to the park for a few laps & my legs are killing me. And, I'm about to fall asleep between all that fresh air and our late night escapades last night.

Anyhoo-Found it! I luvvv that pro stuff.

Somebody needs to tell Zabriskie to shave. He looks a gazillion times better without that whatever he's got going on there.

And, Fabian...la machine.

80 kph, what is that in mph's? 30 or 40? Yeah, I know, my American is showing. Among other things.

veloben said...

Blogger Leaf said...

But, veloben, does that mean the snob stopped... on the bridge!?

I'm horrified.

May 29, 2008 2:04 PM
BikeSnobNYC said...

Leaf,

If the picture was taken at an intersection (or there's a smiling person in front of me), I was probably stopped. If it wasn't, I was probably riding. I did not stop at the bridge for fear of attack.

--BSNYC/RTMS


Leaf from your lips to Snobs ears. And an answer ripe with meaning and complexity! Many ask, few are answered.

What can be learned from this midrash? That intersections are for stopping, yes. More importantly, so are smiling people. This is doubly reinforced by the story of Jamie. Jamie in her happy smilingness with flowers came to know the Snob. (book of Jamie 1:34)

This poses a conundrum and yet also reveals the complexity and depth of the Snob’s being. The way of the Snob is bitter. All who follow the Snob work to Bring Bitter Back yet Jamie, of the flowers and first place amongst Connecticut pastries and reflective arm bands, came to know the Snob from her happiness.

How wondrous is the Snob in his mysterious ways, now manifold his gifts of Bitter herbs and questions unanswerable(Fridays mostly).

It is also revealed that there are bridge trolls in Brooklyn or Manhattan.

Anonymous said...

Clarence,

Please when you make your vid of today's festivities point out to all of us who you think bike snob is with a bright lipstick red arrow. I look forward to seeing your movie on streetsblog tomorrow in the am.

Cheers

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the kiss, frilly!

So you dig the City Museum in St. L?


A

bikesgonewild said...

...whew !!!...sigh of relief that was heard from norcal to st loo...

...& i bought up all of fox5's extra news footage & paid them to destroy it, so no perusing & trying to id the peripheral players at the scene today...

...like santa clause & the tooth fairy, snob's secret is safe unto only himself...

Anonymous said...

HI MOM!!!!

frilly said...

A-

You are welcome. I haven't been there in a really long time, 'cuz its kinda touristy but its cool.

Did you get a chance to check out Forest Park? Its where the zoo, art museum, & science center are. And they have tons of biking and running paths. I am a "frilly" chick, believe me, however I also really like being outside. How else would I feed my roadie lust?

Amore-glad to hear your sigh. You might be stuck with me now since I have fallen under your fake bake domed, disco boot wearin', hai karate scented spell.

bikesgonewild said...

...ciao, come sta ???...

...never let it be said that i don't like to mix it up...sometimes i get wild & swap the 'hai karate' for some 'brut'...hate being static but always tryin' to be classy...

...just sayin'...ciao...

bricoleur said...

that's nothing, anonymous, pdx pistadex=$900
http://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/bik/700665670.html

girl in asia said...

Snob, you have inspired me to take more photos when I ride...I can show you the Asian sites.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Girl in Asia, it is my duty to inform you that, regrettably, "Asian photo sites" have nothing to do with cycling.

Frey said...

re:anon 3:25pm

I think I found it!
http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org
/mis/691744584.html

I've always imagined bsnyc/rtms as a pabst drinking, tall bike rider with moves like Michael Jackson.

girl in asia said...

wishiwasmerckx....
Then why do we tour? I guess I'll give up and ride my trainer. I can get just as much exercise, and a lot more TV time in. You are totally right.

Anonymous said...

frilly-

Know FP well, lived in St.L from 98-05. Was artist in res @ CM, built MonstroCity and other steel delights.


A

Anonymous said...

"So I finally stopped riding around in circles on Flushing Ave. and headed towards my fate..."

did everyone miss that???

shit.

Helmet Fascist said...

She should be yelled at from across a wide street for not wearing a helmet.
No, I'm not envious nor do I think she's really cute and personable. Not. True. No.

ashhar said...

Thank you for the wonderful effort

إني تذكـرت والذكرى مؤرقـة * مجـداً تلـيدا بأيـدينا أضعـناه
أنَّى اتجهتَ للإسـلام في بـلـدٍ * تجْده كالطيرِ مقصـوصًا جناحـاه
كـم صرفتنا يـدٌ كنـا نـصرفها * وبات يـملكنا شعب مـلكناه
بالله سل خلف
بحر الروم عن عرب *

بالأمس كانوا هنا واليوم قد تاهوا
وانزل دمشق وسائل صخر مسجدها * عمن بناه لعل الـصخر ينعـاه
هذى معـالم خرس كـل واحـدة * منهن قامت خطيبـا فاغرا فـاه
الله يعلم ما قلبت سـيرتهم يومـا * وأخطـأ دمـع الـعين مـجراه
يا من يرى عمـراتكسوه بردته * الزيت أدمٌ لـه والكـوخ مـأواه
يهتز كسـرى على كرسيه فرقـا * من خوفه ، وملوك الروم تخشـاه
يا رب فابعث لنا من مثلهم نفـرا * يشـيدون لـنا مـجدا أضعنـاه

ashhar said...

Thank you for the wonderful effort

إني تذكـرت والذكرى مؤرقـة * مجـداً تلـيدا بأيـدينا أضعـناه
أنَّى اتجهتَ للإسـلام في بـلـدٍ * تجْده كالطيرِ مقصـوصًا جناحـاه
كـم صرفتنا يـدٌ كنـا نـصرفها * وبات يـملكنا شعب مـلكناه
بالله سل خلف بحر الروم عن عرب * بالأمس كانوا هنا واليوم قد تاهوا
وانزل دمشق وسائل صخر مسجدها * عمن بناه لعل الـصخر ينعـاه
هذى معـالم خرس كـل واحـدة * منهن قامت خطيبـا فاغرا فـاه
الله يعلم ما قلبت سـيرتهم يومـا
* وأخطـأ دمـع الـعين

مـجراه

يا من يرى عمـراتكسوه بردته *

الزيت أدمٌ لـه والكـوخ مـأواه

يهتز كسـرى على كرسيه فرقـا * من خوفه ،

وملوك الروم تخشـاه

يا رب فابعث لنا من مثلهم نفـرا * يشـيدون لـنا مـجدا أضعنـاه

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