Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Takin' It to the Streets: Things are Schluff All Over

Once again, I am pleased to have received in the mail another book. This one came from How To Avoid the Bummer Life Proprietor, accomplished artist, and bacon apologist Stevil Kinevil. Unlike the books I received last week, this book is pre-owned and pre-read, and I can only hope that Stevil does not absent-mindedly clean his ears while he reads like I do. (It leaves an unsightly residue, but it does help with page-turning.) To make up for the pre-readedness, though, Stevil also included some novelty items with the book:


Ah yes, treats for the mind and the tastebuds. As for the book itself, at first I wondered why Stevil was sending me a copy of Floyd Landis's "Positively False":


But then I looked closer and realized the person on the cover was actually a different guy partially in shadow and with a furrowed brow. Moreover, it was someone I had seen before, so I hastened to my "Pit of Embarrassment" and found this:


I also found this:


The flying penis (which is autographed to boot!) wasn't much help, but the Cro-Mags record was, and the book is indeed the memoir of former Cro-Mags "singer" John Joseph. I look forward to reading it--that is, as soon as I finish reading "Neil Diamond Is Forever: The Illustrated Story of the Man and His Music". You may scoff, but reading about Neil Diamond at least spares you from having to actually hear him.

Speaking of stuff from the "streets" (I'm talking about the Cro-Mags, not flying penises or Neil Diamond), I was checking out Streetsblog recently. (Sometimes I experience a sharp, inexplicable craving for smug self-righteousness and Streetsblog satisfies those pangs quite nicely.) Among the various civic-minded post was this one, which discussed "schluffing".

"Schluffing" may sound like something you'd do with a loofah, or else like the last name of a Serotta-owning dentist, but it's apparently a form of half-assed riding advocated by the guy who wrote this article in the New York Times--though whether he's advocating it sincerely or ironically was unclear. So I went over to his blog to learn more:

Biking is the best way to go in the city if you are not walking. We at the Thoreau You Don't Know believe strongly in this proposition. Meanwhile, as far as bike etiquette goes, it's tough to stay off the sidewalk even thought the law and courtesy says we ought to. (A friend of the staff recently went to court for a sidewalk bike riding ticket and served some community service time.) Sidewalk bike riding is like jaywalking--who among us cannot resist, once in a while or more. Bikes, like people, are vehicles of compromise. Thus, we draw attention to the schluff, for when you absolutely have to move on the sidewalk and absolutely won't actually "ride."

First of all, I object to the term "biking." Riding your bike is called "riding," or "cycling." Do you call walking "shoeing?" Do you call driving "carring?" Do you call riding the subway "training?" (Actually, I'm not sure what you call riding the subway, but I do know that "training" is what roadies call cycling.) "Biking" is something you do in white sneakers, and it looks like this.

Secondly, what's so hard about staying off the sidewalk? It's only a few yards wide at most, and the street's always right there next to you. It's not like it's so far away that you need to ride to it. Plus, while the streets may be full of cars, the sidewalks are full of people and animals. Does weaving through slow-moving pedestrians present an irresistible temptation to some cyclists--so much so that they go to court over it and are forced to do community service? And what kind of community service must the sidewalk cyclist serve? I think being forced to pick up after people's dogs for them would be a fitting punishment.

Thirdly, why is a bicycle in particular a "vehicle of compromise?" All vehicles require compromise--except Tesco's Sky Penis. That really is the best of everything, especially when you add the Floyd Landis model testosterone patch hop-up kit.

Anyway, since this guy and his friends apparently can't keep their hybrids off the sidewalk, he's come up with this "schluffing" thing, which involves pushing the bike along like a scooter. The post also features a short instructional video. Here are some women standing around discussing where they bought their coats and how awesome it is to live in Brownstone Brooklyn:



Here's some guy on a bike who was unable to resist the sidewalk's siren call. He is "schluffing" by standing on his pedal and pushing his bike along as if this is somehow better than moving ten feet to the left and actually riding the thing:



As he approaches the women, he dismounts and stops "schluffing," as though he has any dignity left to preserve:



Here he is walking past the women, who are now now discussing how elegantly appointed the insides of their brownstones are. Note the "schluff" has apparently been successful, as they are not angry at him for riding on the sidewalk. In fact they don't even notice him:



The video points out the importance of the dismount, or "transition." In this sense, I suppose "schluffing" is similar to cyclocross. Perhaps a better name for it would be "dorklocross":

Incidentally, while the "schluff" may have succeeded in not angering the women, it turns out they did notice him. After he passes, they clearly look at him and temporarily change the subject from how nice their brownstones are to how dorky that guy was:



By the way, the video is accompanied by Irish folk music, as though "schluffing" has some sort of old-world charm about it. Frankly, if he's going to sell this whole idea, he really should try the fixed-gear video approach and go with more aggressive music. I actually muted the sound, opened a new window, played this, and watched the "schluffing" instructional with the new soundtrack. I'm sure you'll agree it works much better than the fiddles.

But even a punishing new soundtrack can't disguise the problems inherent in "schluffing":

--You can't "schluff" on a fixed gear;
--"Schluffing" would be extremely difficult with road shoes;
--"Schluffing" would be extremely difficult with toe clips;
--"Schluffing" is stupid.

And probably the worst thing about "schluffing" is that you're selling out your bike. Reducing your bicycle to the status of a scooter is like declawing a lion or de-venomizing a snake. Perhaps some of these people might actually be more comfortable on scooters than on bicycles. Actually, they'd probably be a lot happier on Mogos--then they could "schluff" all the time. Not to mention the fact that it opens the door for other vehicles to ride on the sidewalk as well. Before you know it people will be driving their cars on the sidewalk with one foot sticking out the door. I mean, people are already driving on the sidewalks as it is--not too long ago I was standing (not "schluffing") on the sidewalk with my bicycle when a car almost hit me. I even have photographic evidence. Here's the car just after it passed me, left the sidewalk, and entered the interesection diagonally:



Hey, I'll admit I've hopped onto the sidewalk to skirt a traffic jam. But if something forces me onto the sidewalk, instead of "schluffing," I just throw one of these. Nobody even knows I was there.

102 comments:

Anonymous said...

Woot! Woot!

Anonymous said...

2ND

Never Knows Best said...

Thank you helper monkey! Without you this win wouldn't have been possible.

Shram said...

aw yeah

Anonymous said...

yes!

Anonymous said...

Spike through me head.

Fantz Crazznapper said...

CroMags fuckin rock

mendacity said...

podium!

Bill said...

thanks,i've been ranting about that frickin video all week. last week he scolds me for running red lights and this week he tells me to ride on the sidewalk?? Guess i just need a cutesy name for running a red...

Anonymous said...

no one should be ashamed of owning the Cro-Mags' Age of Quarrel! If you want a quick laugh, check out John Joseph's book, and look at the pictures of him during his bike messenger days. Classic

streepo said...

Top ten. woohoo!

Surly Bastard said...

I could have made top ten but I schulffled through the post first.

SD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
William Shakespeare said...

What dreams may come, When we have schluffed off this mortal coil, Must give us pause.

SD said...

Wait a minute, I have The Age of Quarrel and that Meatmen seven inch... Are you me?

I still have nightmares about Tesco Vee smacking me in the head with a giant dildo at some show when I was 15....shudder...

Lucho Metales said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marissa said...

I really don't understand. If you're not savvy enough to dodge two people standing on a fairly wide, seemingly empty sidewalk, maybe you shouldn't be riding at all...

Just get a Vespa and be done with it.

Luck E. said...

Schluff deez nuts!


A

Anonymous said...

For some reason I never managed to like the Cro Mags. Sadly, now I've forgotten the struggle and the streets.

sibosop said...

I know this is off topic, but a new couple just arrived in my neighborhood. After they ditched the rental van, they drove up in a brand new white prius with two brand new cervelos on the roof. I'm now too terrified to go out and I spend my days peering out through the blinds.

age of quarrel said...

cromags best album! best wishes is a distant second...

Anonymous said...

pack feed again!

nothing good to say said...

.

shmaltz herring said...

Schluffing is what I do on Shabbos afternoon after eating too much chulent.

Matt said...

Perhaps running the red light could be called 'rougeing'? I thought maybe we'd stick with the German sound but then it would be 'rotting', which is what happens if you don't check for traffic first and end up flattened halfway across.

ant1 said...

ant1st!

raybeez said...

"we gotta know" opens up with a straight up mosh part, and damned if even the wussiest didnt go ape shit at a show...

Anonymous said...

All You Haters Schluff My Balls

JPB said...

"We're the Meatmen and you suck!"

Candy and pre-read books...beginning stages of a burgeoning bromance.

raybeez said...

wussiest should read woosiest.

sorry bout dat

Bill said...

NO. 3: How about we stay off the sidewalks? Why are bikers so incensed when the police hand out tickets for this? I’m only guessing, but each sidewalk biker must believe that he or she, out of all New York bikers, is the exception, the one careful biker, which is a very car way of thinking.

that bit of absurdity is from his article, um, i think he is, um, well...an asshat?

good term matt, i like it, now we can do it guilt free (after running it by our new ambassador, mr. sullivan). phew, what a relief.

Wrench Monkey said...

Maybe that schluffer didn't anger those women, but his total dorkitude sure pissed me off, albeit in a healthy, cathartic way.

Anonymous said...

schluffing up to the bike rack just 2 nights ago i cornered slightly and, having flipped the pedal over, my steel toe clip hit the ground and broke in half =[

Cool The Kid said...

WHY BUY A BIKE ONLY TO FREAKING WALK IT

ITS LIKE A LAUNDRY CART, ONLY YOU CANT CARRY LAUNDRY IN IT

SLAP THIS MAN

Fantz Crazznapper said...

The intro to 'We gotta know' turns me into a slam dancing machine. I always start breaking shit and kicking holes in the walls.

My wife hates that song.

Wes said...

Cool the Kid

WHY ARE YOU SO ANGRY?

agent detroit said...

shit! i shouldn't have drunk last night...

too bad you don't have a "real" meatmen 7"...

rumor has it that john brannon of negative approach is going to sing "nothing" as an encore with my band...http://www.flickr.com/photos/agentdetroit/3346385099/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-Gk_WuSvuc

Wrench Monkey said...

Btw, Sibosop, that rental Prius and those Canadian bikes prolly belong to none other than Commie Canuck, here in the deep south to stalk the wild Bike Snob.

BellaCroix said...

Why does "schluffing" remind me of how I used to push my mom's shopping cart through the parking lot toward her car?

I'm really hoping "Schluffing" takes off (or is that drops, god I can't keep up anymore) so I can dream about buying a crabon Serotta shopping cart and entering some race.

BSNYC/RTM, you're missing out on a huge sponsorship deal here. You could promote the first shopping cart schluffing alley cat. Just think of the spoke cards!!!

Daddo said...

Hi Marissa!

Now get off the sidewalk, please.

Daddo said...

oh yeah:

"though" should be "thought" or "thought" should be "though" - I forget which one but it needs to be fixed.

g said...

Urban Dictionary defines schluffer as: a lazy, unmotivated person.
Someone who takes the easy way out of everything.
a pointless, directionless, good for nothing. link

And I think they got this one right.

Shluffmaster said...

I had to "schluff" my way home after breaking my chain mid commute. It was excruciatingly annoying and I managed to genuinely anger and/or amuse every pedestrian I passed. One guy even wanted to beat the crap out of me. I suppose the absolute stupidity of what he was witnessing caused him to snap - he kept shouting something about "vixens of death"

TheTye said...

Isn't "Woot" over yet? I have to see it in the first 10 comments every day. You would think that after almost 2 years of a word being hip, it would go out of style....

Nick said...

BS, adding ing to modifies a word to show an active sense. Generally with nouns and adjectives. His use was correct.

I understand your job is to be snide, but you are wrong on this one.

Jay said...

NYHC 4 LIFE
TRUE TIL DEATH

718x212x516
DIVIDED WE FALL

...sorry

That reminds me, I wonder how many tattooed Suffolk County hardcore kids were pissed when the area code was changed to 631

Test Tickle said...

Yous guys give me hope for humanity. I love the fact that some of y'all know about the Age of Quarrel. It too gives me goose bumps during the intro to "We Gotta Know." Damn that shit is good. Brilliant posts the past two days, BS. Brilliant.

And yes, it's impossible to pop a wheelie, stand still or bounce up and down on a geared bike. Impossible.

carlos said...

So, what you're saying is that unless you're already grandfathered into the schluffing scene, you can't get in?

Keram2 said...

If a cruiser could write a blog, the blog it would write would be Streetsblog.

innerlighter said...

fiddy!

Anonymous said...

That's not funny!

/s
Seymour Schluffer

Jim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
member of the dork tribe said...

Shluffers are shleps.

Dorks ruel!

bikesgonewild said...

..."schluffing" is so "meh"...

...it's like they deserve each other...

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't make fun of Bloodclot either.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Nick,

It's not meant to be taken literally. It refers to any manufacturer of dairy products.

--RTMS

Anonymous said...

schluffing = next olympic speedwalking

Anonymous said...

cro-mags are for sure one of the best bands of all time. fact

A. said...

This "schluffing" is the preferred mode of travel where riding is prohibited. You can do that little sidesaddle shuffler thing that guy does to instantly walking your bike when The Authorities show up. Amazingly enough, I have seen places where The Authorities care: Whistler Village, DHMTB capitol of the world, stands out in my mind as a perfect example...

It takes the top-tube leaner move to the next level of "I'm not going to run you over"-ness...

Reminds me of carnies on a spinning amusement ride...I can't help but feel creepy when I do it.

A. said...

...when I do the "schluff," not the carnies...

oops.

kale said...

When you Schluff on a fixed gear is called a "One Leg Pedal Ride to Walk." So far nobody has dared to attempt it, or been proud enough to give it their namesake a la the Panchenco Twist.

Anonymous said...

I retract all my previous comments.

kale said...

IMHO- This is what I hear in my head when I'm mad Schluffed out.

INGO said...

Is Mogo just Ingo spelled backwards?

http://tinyurl.com/dbtck5

Anonymous said...

INGO-

A recommended video from that bike was the pinnacle of soundtrack matching...

Bandobras said...

To hell with all the schluffing and the music worries, I need me some of those smoke bombs to throw in front of cars at lights when they try to cut me off. Now that would be cool.

Morgan said...

GOTFS

Wes said...

I have a friend who shall be called "The Biscuit" (it's complicated) but I suppose really he should be called "The Postman" on account of his cycle mounting style - that is he schluffs to a suitable speed and then swings his trailing leg over the back wheel (fixsters are you getting this - NOT the front) before pedal docking and proceeding about his business - he is not a postman.

yogisurf said...

I think those ladies are discussing the beautiful car cake they made me for my B-day.

Carlos from Philly said...

A sardonic critique of something that was obviously intended to be a playfully tongue in cheek stab at the nypd isn't very becoming.

I'm pretty sure you lost some blog-cred today...

Anonymous said...

the Schluffing thing is DOA.

Anonymous said...

A., I am confused. Are you doing the carnies, or are you doing the schluffing? Because doing a carnie is just outright creepy.

JonnyFunk said...

Snob, I'm sue that car was driven by a minion of Michael Ball and that it was an attempt at revenge for the post about their anarchical campaign to undo professional cycling from the inside out.

Fierce Panties OMG said...

I like schluffing, it fuckin' rocks.

I'm stoked that the Hybrid-Biker-Community is doin' it with fierce new nomenclature.

SD
LO
AR
YK
II
NT
TU
HD
EE

Surly Bastard said...

After digesting the art of "schulffing" along with the man and the organization behind it ...

... I wanted to Thoreau Up.


THOR EAUP

Fierce Panties USA said...

Surly Bastard


Best Knucks yet!

Wes said...

Second that panties.

Knuck tats are to haiku as twitter is to blogging.

Atlatl said...

I tried schluffing to a bus stop once when the chain on my bike broke in the next town over from where I live. I didn't know it was called schluffing though, and I at least did it in the street. Oh, and I stopped after about a minute because it was stupid.

Knuckatatmemothafka said...

SCHL UFFF

yyz113 said...

Matt,
Rogueing for years w/ no blowback from authoritays here (so far).
Recently had to schluff home; crunched a bottom bracket after a winter of riding through salty muck, whereby the utter lack of chainwheel alignment threw the chain w/ any more than 1/8 of a rotation. I didn't do it on the frikken sidewalk tho'. So what to call schluffing in traffic?

Adirondack said...

"First of all, I object to the term "biking." Riding your bike is called "riding," or "cycling.""

Aw, come on- lighten up a little here. Haven't you ever been MOUNTAIN BIKING? It's not called mountain cycling, for god's sake. Cycling, riding, biking, it's all good.

Anonymous said...

Bike snob, what do you think of this?

Anonymous said...

Gad, I hate it when people call me a "biker". Do I have a Harley?! Rider, broseph.

Field Marshal Rommel said...

Biking to cycling. Like shoeing to walking?

Okay, like Bike Snob, but really also a music snob, a people snob, a sidewalk snob, a charity snob, a corporate snob, a tire snob, a fashion snob, a tattoo snob, a government snob. How about just snob?

Bike snob. Labels.

Fierce Panties said...

Adirondack,

Personally, and no disrespect meant, but I don't go mt biking.

I ride trail or rub the trail ride.

Also, I rock a xc mission, and I've been known to make loops on the local dirt jump track.

I like to cruise the local pump track (and sometimes cruise for freshmen.)

And when DHin', I've been know to slay the technical sections.

But under no circumstances do I mountain-bike or ride a mountain bike.

That's what the mainstreamers do.

Anonymous said...

someone backed up, or somehow, ran the fuck into my bike yesterday. while it was locked up on the sidewalk. *s0b*

design said...

but but but... "cycling"? Wouldn't that be like calling walking "penduluming"?

Name/URL said...

Schluffing is pretty much like skidding. Not everyone learns to ride a bike properly. Sad but true.

Luck E. said...

FP- Are those mainstreamers hanging off the end of yer riser bars?


A

kale said...

Fierce Pantaloons-

I remember the same thing with snowboarding vs riding vs skiing vs fruitboots.

And I do believe it is still called Mountain cycling when you ride a Mountain Cycle like this douchehat.

Bill said...

now i really hate streetblog, see today's where they threaten to 'expose' the snob

CommieCanuck said...

Shit. Ninja bombs..no wonder I couldn't find him.

CommieCanuck said...

"Now Bike Snob NYC, a well-regarded blog among fixed-gear fetishists and owners of $8,500 Serottas"

Ahem. $8500 is just for the Meh-vici frame and fork.

""schluffing" seems only to have managed to fire up angry mobs of pitchfork-wielding commenters"

BSNYC outed.

Otaku Network said...

how come obama didn't have the required pie plate? and he appears to have lacked the proper number of reflectors as well. he's setting a poor example to the young and impressionable children.

jimmat said...

After breaking the chain on my mountain bike I schulfulled from the trail to he ole bike shoppee, replaced the chain and rode back to the trail to finish the ride. I say that was an appropriate and fetching cool schulfulling even if I can't spell the damn word!

spencerbaker@me.com said...

Damn I love that Cro Mags album... I'll have to check out JJ's book.

Spencer

www.twowheelkarma.blogspot.com

lockhughes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lockhughes said...

Ahem... and what is wrong with scooters? I have surfed empty rush hour sidewalks over 20,000kms and 10yrs as a human-electric hybrid. Faster than rush hour traffic speeds and public transit. But you are from NYC and I am from Planet Earth...(most of the rest of the world)

First I've heard there's a name for this ("Schluffing") even though the guys riding the wrong vehicle for the job. Looks like the Victorian pedal bicycle.
How quaint!

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