DOT workers are colloquially known as "New York's Strongest," though in this particular instance a different superlative came to mind. In the time it took me to get over my shock, withdraw my camera, and set up my tripod, he finally deigned to remove them, which is what you see him doing above. Nonetheless, it was a poignant reminder of where I stand in society's transportation heirarchy.
Nonetheless, even the relentless flow of smelly, slippery garbage water cannot erode my faith that things will get better for us. It just so happens that the ten finalists in the Department of Transportation's CityRacks Design competition have been announced. Certainly, cleverly-designed racks are just what this city needs in order to improve its cyclists' quality of life, though I must confess I was disappointed by the designs they chose, since most of them seem to put form ahead of function. Lowlights include:
Brilliant. Fortunately, New York City bike thieves have yet to unlock the mystery of the quick-release skewer, so a bike rack to which you can only lock your front wheel should prove highly effective;
This one bothers me because they failed to take the design all the way:
By stopping with their "Almost-spoke" concept, the designers missed the opportunity to seize upon something truly great. Personally, I'd like to see a variety of bike racks throughout the city based on various stupid wheel designs --sort of a real-life Retarded Wheelset Hall of Fame;
I'm beginning to detect a theme here, and that theme is "front wheel locking only." Is there some sort of conspiracy going on here? Granted, I guess it is possible to lock both your frame and your wheel to this particular rack, but it's also possible to do that with a street sign. So basically this rack has all the disadvantages of a regular pole (ugly, room for only two bikes) with none of the advantages (conveying to the public useful street-cleaning information).
The fact is that the judges would have been well-advised to take the many designs I submitted a bit more seriously. I mentioned a few of them not too long ago, my favorite being the pirate rack, which Erik K was kind enough to render as it would appear if it were installed in front of the Chowdah Shop:
Besides those, I also proposed using real-life ex-cons to guard people's bike:
Not only are ex-cons intimidating, but many of them are looking for ways to re-integrate themselves into society, and I think it's more socially responsible to offer them gainful employment than it is to spend money fabricating inanimate objects and bolting them into the ground. Also, tattoos and body piercings are so hot right now. (This particular individual has a bright future ahead of him as an urban bike polo player, according to the guidelines put forth by John Kennedy of the U.S. Bike Polo Association.)
I also provided my "spin" on more traditional designs, like this one:
Sure, at first glance it might look like a giant hairball, but upon closer inspection the advantages of this design are obvious. Apart from its superior capacity, it also rotates, so you don't have to walk around and around it looking for your ride. It's sort of a hybrid of a berry tree and a tie rack.
Whatever. I'm not one to cry over spilt garbage water. I've got more pressing concerns, chief among them the fact that I've been "tagged" by Fat Cyclist, whatever that means. I guess it's a "thing." My first impulse was to just ignore it, since I'm generally not into "things." Also, I figured if I'm going to play tag now I might as well play the way I did when I was a kid, which is to give the tagger a dirty look and just stand there. But in many ways Fat Cyclist is the Patron of cycling bloggers, so I figured I should play along for my own good. Not only that, but I kind of wanted to answer some of the questions. So I figured I'd do it, but I'd do it my way. And since my way involves doing things late and half-assed, I'm only going to answer a few of the questions like a day and a half after he tagged me. So here goes:
If you could have any one — and only one — bike in the world, what would it be?
A custom steel five-person tandem road/mountain/track/cyclocross/commuter bike. Then I'd saw it into five bikes. Ha! In your face!
Do you already have that coveted dream bike? If so, is it everything you hoped it would be? If not, are you working toward getting it? If you're not working toward getting it, why not?
Dream bikes are for dreamers and work is for suckers. I'm a realist and I'm not working towards anything. All my bikes are reality bikes. And they're all I hoped they would be, which isn't much.
If you had to choose one — and only one — bike route to do every day for the rest of your life, what would it be, and why?
Around and around Prospect Park, because thanks to the local race schedule that seems to be what I do anyway and I don't think I'd notice.
Do you ride both road and mountain bikes? If both, which do you prefer and why? If only one or the other, why are you so narrowminded?
Both. I prefer mountain bikes though, because even though mountain bikes are no good on the road the last time I took my road bike through a rock garden I really regretted it. Also, there are roadies on the road.
Suppose you were forced to either give up ice cream or bicycles for the rest of your life. Which would you give up, and why?
Ice cream is the world's most overrated food. I could take it or leave it. In fact, I'd give it up for nothing if you asked me nicely. Ice cream is for people who are easily amused. Sure, it tastes slightly better than some other foods, but when you're a true crank like me it takes more than some frozen lactose to make things tolerable. I'm not lactose intolerant, but I am lactose indifferent.
What is a question you think this questionnaire should have asked, but has not? Also, answer it.
Okay, now I'm supposed to tag three other bloggers, so I've chosen three of my favorites:
Trackosaurusrex (home of the 1:1 word/exclamation point ratio)
I now feel like taking a scalding hot shower and scrubbing the "dork" off me with steel wool. Of course, if you have a blog feel free to join in, and all the best to FC.