Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Indignity of Commuting by Bicycle: Bike Month Round-Up

We're only seven days into Bike Month NYC 2008 and already the city is fairly bursting with sweet, juicy, bikey goodness. Everywhere you look people are either riding, talking about riding, or hoping to sell something to people who ride. So, in the spirit of the season, I dusted off the old cardboard disposable camera and took a few snapshots around town so you non-New Yorkers out there can experience the joy right along with us:


If New York City were a giant grade school, local news channel NY1 would be its morning announcements. (And Williamsburg would be that little area where all the kids with band t-shirts and eyeliner hang out between classes and smoke.) It's also sort of like that screen in the movie "1984" in that it's something that's always on in the background, except instead of showing the menacing countenance of "Big Brother" it features a smug Canadian anchorman. At any rate, this morning NY1 did a little Bike Month piece and interviewed none other than DOT Commissioner Janet Sadik-"Wrath Of" Khan along with Transportation Alternatives Executive Director and serial flasher Paul "Steezy" Steely "Dan" White, both of whom had the good sense to wear their interview helmets in case of microphone-related mishaps. Apparently next Friday is Bike To Work Day here in the city, which, while well-intentioned, alienates a significant portion of the cycling community as it leaves most Williamsburgers with no destination.


OK, not a photograph, but speaking of the news media, The New York Times has also been in on the Bike Month action. Recently, they posted this video about bike lane activists. Now, if you're expecting me to make some cheap joke about this guy's name, you can just forget it. I don't sandbag in races and I don't go for the cheap laugh. I'm just going to take the high road here and applaud Tim and his cohorts for their efforts. So remember, if you see Doody in the bike lane, make sure to swerve or else things could get messy.



Of course, until Doody and his team manages to clear those bike lanes, cyclists will continue to be forced to improvise. Here's invertebrate-namesake and local celebressenger Squid flouting traffic laws in order to deliver a tubular object of some kind in a timely fashion. Interestingly, as email continues to replace many forms of enveloped correspondence the typical messenger's load is now much more likely to be unwieldy and misshapen. (You can't email a set of blueprints or an outfit for a fashion shoot.) Perhaps this will lead to messenger bikes becoming more utilitarian. Then of course non-messengers will adopt the utilitarian look too as they did the track bike. Might we see a day when the new form of hip urban transport is the trike? God I hope not.


With bicycles enjoying such popularity in New York these days, more and more bike shops are springing up to service them. Recently, as I entered Manhattan on its eponymous bridge, I happened upon this sign. Intrigued, I deviated from my course in order to check it out. Here's what I found:



I was dismayed to find the shop closed despite the fact that the hour was in the double-digits. I was also confused by the name. Maybe they meant it like "'Da," as in "You 'da man," or "Yo, pass me 'da Torah so I could get my brucha on." Or maybe they mean something else entirely. In any case, I'm always supportive of a new shop, so I'll just wish them all dah luck in dah world and leave it at that.

On the other end of the retail spectrum, bag maker Crumpler is getting into the Bike Month spirit with this ebullient window display. I don't know if "BIKE!" here is meant as a noun, or a verb, or both. Frankly, if it's the latter, I don't appreciate store windows demanding I do something, even if it's something I actually like to do. Generally, if someone insists I do something, my immediate inclination is to do the opposite. Perhaps that's why Philip Seymour Hoffman's stunt double over there decided to PAINT! instead. I'm not sure what he's painting though. There is a park across the street, but it's filled with pigeons and winos. Should be a colorful painting--if vomit is a color.


Ah, what could say "Bike Month" more articulately than a tandem sighting on the Brooklyn Bridge? Tandems definitely fall into the category of "freak bikes." However, unlike other freak bikes like recumbents and tri bikes tandems make you happy when you see them instead of angry. They're kind of like seeing antique cars in that you can't help pointing and waving--until you get stuck behind one, of course, at which point they do become pretty annoying.


I took this picture outside of an Equinox Fitness Club. If I've got a bicycle and some time to kill on a beautiful day and I'm looking for a workout, my inclination is to ride. The last thing I'd want to do is go to a gym. Then again, I do have an irrational fear of gym equipment-bourne illnesses, and some people's fitness goals are different from my own. (Especially since mine don't exist.)



But I was particularly amused by the juxtaposition of the bicycles here. The one on the right looks like it belongs to a cyclist who's repurposed an old road bike for city use. Nothing wrong with that. As far as the overpriced circus bike on the left, though, it looks like it belongs to an entirely different breed of gym rat:


90 comments:

Anonymous said...

Win!

Anonymous said...

And win #2!

Amir said...

I am number ONE

Amir said...

I am number ONE

Anonymous said...

Sorry Amir, #3.

Anonymous said...

6th!

Anonymous said...

You people are idiots.
-Bianchi

Anonymous said...

yeah, Top ten!!

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:16-

You're just jealous.

-Winner Pro

Amir said...

anon 12:15
Amir is always number 1

Anonymous said...

I pooped in my sleep last night

mr.complaint said...

Fixed Tandem!

Dah!

http://tinyurl.com/53gfqf

Anonymous said...

Thank you Richard Simmons for the inspirational cheer leading.

"I dusted off the old cardboard disposable camera and took a few snapshots around town so you non-New Yorkers out there can experience the joy right along with us"

Does he really swing around NYC cheering you onward to better health?

Anonymous said...

This is DAH best post in DAH world!

Pappy said...

Is that actually Richard Simmons? I'd pay money to see him riding that Cinelli Vigorelli down Madison Ave.
Hey - its Bike Month in Caronto as well.

sd said...

What is with the glowing rear wheel on the city bike? I feel a little drawn to it....

I used to see a guy in DC/VA commuting in the winter alone on a fixed tandem. BADASS winter training.

Anonymous said...

Mr Complaint -- what a great video clip! Thanks!

Jim said...

DAH is part of a guerilla marketing campaign for the new Shimano gruppo, Dura Ace Hellaspensive (DAH). It will feature electronic shifting, will weigh less than a SRAM engineer's lunchbox, will work pretty well, and won't have any clear reason to exist. This makes it the ideal companion piece in the Shimano line for the Dura-Ace-priced Ultegra SL, which is a little lighter than Ultegra Classic, a wee bit cheaper than Dura Ace Original, and living in the component equivalent of a pup tent in No-Man's-Land. Some critics have placed DAH in the Shimano spectrum as above Dura Ace, but below Alivio, reasoning that if you think Dura Ace just isn't good enough, that you probably aren't smart enough to notice the difference between D/A and Alivio, and you're more likely to go with Alivio anyhow due to the big red plastic derailleur pully.

urchin said...

Can't help noticing Steezy's skid lid appears to be on backwards. Honest mistake, or edgy anti-helmet commentary?

you report, you decide..

bikesgonewild said...

...howdy, doody...

Golzy said...

My theory on Dah Shop is that it's run by former Chicago Bear coach, 'Iron' Mike Ditka - also known as Dah Coach. Or - maybe it's a Superfan Chicago transplant...

erik k said...

I often find my self smiling upon the site of tandem, or even trandems? but even that wasn't enough to save these guys from the wrath

Anonymous said...

12:28...(winner pro)

um...

desk-jockey crits are stupid, so I said as much.

I'm not anon. either, it's called a name.

-Bianchi

roomservicetaco said...

..."Nothing wrong with that."

Am I on the right blog?

Anonymous said...

ohh Erik K I think i love you... in a completely straight man love sort of way

Max said...

too good today

Anonymous said...

I'm be pretty mad if there was Doody on my television set.

Anonymous said...

Erik K --

Absolutely hysterical!

(Enter Pseudonym) said...

what's up with the radioactive rear wheel on that tommassinni?

Anonymous said...

In Erik K's photo 2 of the riders have their feet down -- which is why the goose has to discipline them.

Anonymous said...

Dah Shop is Tyrone Williams' new bmx shop. There are some pics of it on the fit site.

PAPA WHEELIE, yO!

bikesgonewild said...

...the 'guy' on the back of the bike in erik k's photo looks like he's been goosed 'w/ approval' one too many times...

...just sayin'...

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:18 (err, Bianchi)-

I didn't realize that you are actually a brand.

-Winner Pro (does anyone even get this?)

PS- Don't call people stupid in an internet forum, you're just shouting at a mirror.

Commiecanuk said...

Pappy, bike month in Caronto means only 20 minutes free parking in bike lanes, and only five allowed minutes of baton beating by some obese corrupt cop at 52 division. killing a cyclist is 4 points off your license instead of the usual 2 points.

Toronto bike cops are the only ones in the world that are so f-ing lazy, they take the subway uptown to avoid the brutal 1-2% gradient, then coast to patrol downtown, stopping at every donut shop.

wishiwasmerckx said...

O.K. Snob stalkers. For those of us in the hinterlands who examine each post for clues to the Snob's identity the same way a shaman examines chicken entrails, we need some help from you Manhattanites in interpreting today's post. Which one is the "eponymous" bridge? If Snob has a day job, why was he crossing it at a "double digit" hour? Could it have been Shabbat, and the newly-minted bike shop was closed because they truly were "getting their brucha on?"

smartypants said...

anon 12:18:

If you have a name, then "it's called" you picked the wrong radio button.

Benjamin said...

I love the "Safety = Success" sign in the pic of Squid.

Good stuff.

iTod said...

Dah shop is a BMX and single speed shop that is co owned by tyrone Williams.

might be to BMX for you bike snobs to enjoy the atmosphere..

smartypants said...

Maybe Squid there is pulling a classic fixed-gear stunt and riding backwards? In which case he wouldn't be violating the one-way, would he?

Anonymous said...

Squid started out on 8th Avenue when he made up a name called the "Get Fresh Crew."

Anonymous said...

Glowing rear wheel = reflective sidewalls + flash
Schwalbe and others make tires wid'em.

Where are the fixtkids with track tandems?
http://www.prodigalchild.net/Bicycle3.htm
For couples? For combining budgets to actually get that NJS componentry so necessary for credibility?

Dah-hem.... I'm waiting!!!

Anonymous said...

ELVS, Bitches

overtorqued_nut said...

And speaking of bike lane shenanigans, I plagiarized a patented BSNYC metaphor a dozen posts down in this thread http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?p=4413394 and the results were just hilarious! The op defended his dangerous riding habits like people used to defend not wearing a seatbelt. He even starts to show a bit of closet racism on the second page!
BSNYC your words really have the power to infuriate!

Anonymous said...

And after he's finished rappin', Slick Rick is up next!

Anonymous said...

"...Philip Seymour Hoffman's stunt double..."

Fucking hilarious!

Prolly said...

Not ELVS, it's a reflective sidewall on the tire. ELVS aren't that bright because ELVS is a film, not a painted bead.

Come on Snobby, that's the best you can do to cover Bike Month? You should get a guest commentator to do some reports from the "inside of bike culture"...

:cough:

Jim said...

That screen cap is so visually jarring that all I could think of was "Oh, it must be BikeDork to Weak Work." There's nothing like putting the cycling community's best foot forward, to convince others to ride to work. Or to rid etow ork, as I prefer to think about my bike commuting.

What, wasn't CHUNK 666 available to represent us with some flaming tall bike action? "Hey, it's ride a burning bike to work week!" Was Tammy Thomas busy? ("Commute faster... unnaturally faster... grow better moustaches too.") Couldn't Tyler Hamilton's dog's doping phantasmagorical fetus-in-fetu twin be located in time for a couple soundbites?

Riding is one of the best things in the world but I wonder if we're not all somehow livin the dream ike the friggin' Simpsons' Comic Book Guy sometimes... Best... Sport... Ever.

Anonymous said...

Wishiwasmerckx,

Good question.

Do you think the signed photo of Richard Simmons AND a professed lack of any fitness goals in the same post is also particular?



A

Anonymous said...

Elves' bitches?

331miles said...

DAH! I should have never used burnt umber as the base color for this pool of homeless dude vomit! I must start anew.

Anonymous said...

That 'Da Shop' is totally not a real bike shop. It's more like two young kids who must have shit load of money cause they have a couple skateboards and fixies in there. They should call it 'Style Shop'.
They had no knowledge of history, only style.
Apparently that's all you need.

Anonymous said...

wishiwasmerckx

Teachable moment, look up eponymous and then look at a map of the City. Check where the east end of said bridge terminates. You may find an extra clue.

New York runs on a 24 hour beat. RTMS may work, if he works (how can you be sure of anything on the internets?), an afternoon/evening shift.

It could be Shabbat, maybe BSNYC is on his way to a downtown/midtown temple to make up a minyan for early Friday evening services. But the way he pronounced brucha was kinda frum so maybe he's orthodox and then it could be any time of any day but Shabbat because he's riding and that's not kosher on the day of rest and study.

Pascii said...

Both of their helmets are on backwards AND in the pulled back "lobotomy" style

just perfect

Commiecanuk said...

Jim said...

Riding is one of the best things in the world but I wonder if we're not all somehow livin the dream like the friggin' Simpsons' Comic Book Guy sometimes... Best... Sport... Ever.


"Pishaw! come back!, those are prescription lycra bibs!!"

BSNYC stickers are fine, but what we REALLY need are limited edition (by limited, I mean limited by how many you can sell) BSNYC figurines that we can keep in the box in mint condition. Each action figure should be anatomically correct (factoring in the bris), and attached accessories should include a top tube protector, a pie plate, a custom craigslist love ad and a tiny chrome Pista.

The plastic package bubble will have a special flavor coating that when licked will confirm the obvious...bitter.

erik k said...

but what will the actual figurines look like, & what will they wear? The jumpsuit from the bicycling photo and the support 69 hat?

leroy said...

Hey, I just bought an eponymous bridge into Manhattan!

Sweet! But it gets even better....

I got the seller to throw in a neighboring bridge at a deep discount. First upgrade will be a barrier between the bike and pedestrian lanes -- in honor of Bike Month of course.

I can't wait to tell all those folks who thought I'd never amount to anything.

(BSNYC -- very funny, an instant classic.)

Bianchi said...

Smartypants 2:13,

Tooch, I stand corrected.

Winner pro 1:52,

Well, it has been a name waaay longer than it has been a brand.
You should meet my brother, Coppi.
That's not a brand, right? ;)
I kid, I kid. His name is Colnago, no wait! Lemond (ok, bad choice). How about tommas......ini (I'm sorry, I can't help it.) Pinarello? Merckx? Fisher? Steelman? Bontrager?
Oops, those are all brands, not peoples' names.

PS. yes, yes, "love and hugs for all"
Geez, I thought we were "bringing back bitter".

PPS. All done in fun... :)

marypoppins said...

why don't bike messanger have a bike basket and a rear rack?

lepeloton said...

Ding dong the Mapei Colnago paint job is dead...riding ernesto's old dream machine now with flat bars, and then locked in front of the gym? Sinner.

lepeloton said...

For the record baby green "bianchi", tooch is the name you can give a 14cm long poodle with a shavejob, touché.

Bianchi said...

But it is sooooo much more fun to say (and write) "tooch"! :)

wishiwasmerckx said...

Anon 3:30, I hope that he does not get his phylactery caught up in the spokes.

lepeloton said...

tooch!

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

said.

erik k said...

Commiecanuk... Im really counting on you to get those into production, I've spent allot of money on this prototype

Anonymous said...

The bigwigs in this Bike Month kickoff picture look like a special ed class. (And yes, I'm all for more bikes in special ed classes!)

JimmyNick said...

Do Portland and Oberlin have "Drive to Work Month"?

JimmyNick said...

Oh, and by the way: It's spelled "douche"!
New campaign: Bring Back Douchebag!
(BBD)

A Godforsaken Wasteland said...

We call tandems "divorcycles" where I come from....

-kw said...

never stop drowning!

ayendeewy said...

isn't that cinelli kanye's bike?

Anonymous said...

ayendeewy, kanye's bike had black risers and a black wheel set but they sure look similar. maybe the apocalypse is here when rappers start selling their track bikes which then get upgrades by confused gym rats. Look for lamas.

Anonymous said...

This is the place for spinning...

http://www.soul-cycle.com/

wedest said...

This brightened my day!!

Judi said...

Love the NYC pics. Great post!!

Andy Pandy said...

Isn’t he in that 70’s band full of long haired dope driven hippies, the Doody Bros. I am happy to take the cheap shots and head butt my way to the front like Robbie Mac

sh said...

It's the lines like this

Apparently next Friday is Bike To Work Day here in the city, which, while well-intentioned, alienates a significant portion of the cycling community as it leaves most Williamsburgers with no destination.

that keep us comin' back.

I just mentally sub Portland for Brooklyn, and snicker just that little bit.

Anonymous said...

wishiwasmerckx,

Well if NYC cyclist keep an eye out, you can't hide phylactery under a long sleeve jersey, well maybe he wears a old 'hairnet' helmet to pass.

http://www.helmets.org/history.htm

Anon 3:30

dreaming over the ocean said...

do your best to check out this craigslist posting here in vancouver, canada.

http://vancouver.en.craigslist.ca/bik/671519853.html

Blogless said...

The last thing we want is someone from 'inside the bike culture' commenting on bike culture. !

Olly said...

4 days to until I hit NYC for the week. Any suggestions from locals for good bike shops to pick up components/clothing etc from............?

Anonymous said...

Yeah olly, Dah Bike shop near Dah Manhattan Bridge. There's really not much else.

Anonymous said...

BSNYC-

Great post.

-Dah guy who called you bitter (among other things) the other week.

iTod said...

"That 'Da Shop' is totally not a real bike shop. It's more like two young kids who must have shit load of money cause they have a couple skateboards and fixies in there. They should call it 'Style Shop'.
They had no knowledge of history, only style.
Apparently that's all you need."


couldn't be further from the truth..
I konw there is no money being a sponsored pro BMX rider. it is a bike shop. it's brand new. (opened the 26th of april.) and caters to BMX kids that ride near there. (china banks, brooklyn banks. etc.)

they are legit or we wouldn't have opened an account for them..

Anonymous said...

Must be legit, who else could afford such great signage?

Anonymous said...

"That 'Da Shop' is totally not a real bike shop. It's more like two young kids who must have shit load of money cause they have a couple skateboards and fixies in there. They should call it 'Style Shop'.
They had no knowledge of history, only style.
Apparently that's all you need."


'Dah Shop' is owned by two friends who were assistant managers at the bike store chain 'Metro'. for over 8 years. one being Tyrone Williams a brooklyn native and bmx pro. they quit and invested whatever money they had to open that spot. it's rough around the edges, but a work in progress. maybe you should've tried to talking to them. and like what was said before is primarily a bmx and single speed shop.

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