Cycling can be a battle. If you race, you do battle with the course and with other riders. If you commute, you do battle with traffic. If you're a randonneur (or, in English, a "rando-nerd"), you do battle with fatigue and the elements. And if you're a recumbent cyclist, you do battle with common sense. For this reason, generally speaking we cyclists tend to be docile, peace-loving people when we're off the bike. Not only have we already fought our battles while riding, but we're also just tired. For this reason, I was disappointed to learn that I've been unwittingly entered into the "Battle of the Blogs:"
I don't know what the "Battle of the Blogs" is, but my best guess is it's some kind of battle involving blogs. I also don't really understand the point of fighting against other blogs, especially when those other blogs really have nothing to do with your own. My blog, as you've probably figured out by now, is about cycling, whereas Brooklyn Vegan is about music. Here's a recent entry featuring a picture of Pete Seeger, who is celebrating his 130th birthday:
Now, I don't know who is organizing this "battle," or what they expect will take place. Are we supposed to lay down the metaphorical linoleum and take turns breakdancing? I have no intention of fighting with any blogs (except possibly "The Climb," though I think Robert Mackey probably abandoned cycling shortly after his final post), and I especially have no interest in fighting with a music blog. Moreover, I'm assuming Brooklyn Vegan is a vegan blog (judging from both the name and the absence of recipes involving animal by-products), and vegans are supposed to be peace-loving people just like cyclists are, so they probably don't want to fight me either. (Of course, the meekest of all people are vegan cyclists, who can be beaten into submission with stalks of steamed asparagus.)
So in the spirit of peace, century-old folk singers, and limp asparagus, I'm turning the other pannier on this so-called "Battle of the Blogs," and so if for some reason you're inclined to vote I encourage you to vote for Brooklyn Vegan. Hopefully that will put an end to the cycle of virtual violence, these people will stop bothering me, and I can go back to having real altercations with actual people while I'm riding.
Speaking of asparagus, a reader was recently at a Whole Foods in some part of the world, where he spotted this compelling brake lever setup:
A SCMNABL (or "Single Centrally-Mounted Non-Aero Brake Lever") is a rare sight indeed and I'm very grateful to this reader for sharing it. If someone at Brooklyn Vegan is reading right now, I hope they can somehow get word of this to Pete Seeger, who would doubtless be inspired to write a song about it. (It wouldn't be too hard; he could just take "If I Had a Hammer" and replace the word "hammer" with "Single Centrally-Mounted Non-Aero Brake Lever.") And as if the SCMNABL weren't inspiring enough, it's clear from the photos that the rider also palps a complete set of "wheel eyebrows:"
While much has been made of the "fender debate," the truth is that when it comes to "fenguards" not everybody takes a side. Some people are perfectly happy to ride a fenderless bike in good weather, and to rub a bike with fenders when conditions are poor. (You can run, rub, or palp fenders, but under no circumstances can you "rock" them. "Rocking" fenders is like "slaying" asparagus, or like a vegan being hungry enough to eat a horse.) If you're one of these craven ambi-fenderous wafflers, you probably check the weather forecast frequently so you can decide which bike to ride, and here in New York City it looks like it's definitely going to be a wet week:
At this point, Monday and Tuesday look like they're both going to be "wheel eyebrow" days, though things might dry out a bit on Wednesday so there's a chance you may not need them by then. However, rain will return later in the week, so I'm issuing a Peter Gallagher Wheel Eyebrow Advisory for Thursday and Friday:
Trust me, a PGWEA is not something you want to take lightly. You may even want to put some "wheel eyebrows" on your Land Rover for good measure:
But while you certainly can't count on dry weather in spring, you can at least count on the bridges being free of snow and ice, which is why I've been able to suspend the BSNYC Bridge Report (sponsored by Ragtote). Even so, there are occasionally other types of hazards on the bridge, so if you're still feeling apprehensive before setting out you can always check the NYC Bridge Report on Twitter, apparently brought to you by Transportation Alternatives:
I opined on Friday that the "bike community" can't work together, but clearly I've been proven wrong. Not only is it reuniting people with their lost eyeglasses, but it's also helping its members thwart the law. I guess the truth is that the "bike community" can work together, as long as "working together" means reminding people of things that are completely obvious yet stopping short of telling them that they're being stupid. Yes, of course the NYPD is ticketing cyclists for running lights and riding on sidewalks. Of course unlocked bikes are getting stolen. Still, the indignity cyclists feel when their unlocked bikes get stolen is rivaled only by the rage they feel when they're ticketed for breaking the law. Maybe next the NYC Bridge Report can issue a "schluffing advisory," or else remind local cyclists that the Williamsburg Bridge continues to connect Manhattan and Brooklyn. (Though Transportation Alternatives reminds you that they "assume no responsibility" for the Bridge Report and that it is "wholly advisory in nature," so if you cross the Williamsburg Bridge and somehow wind up in Jersey, or if you don't see a "schluffing advisory" and then get arrested for Hasselbecking somebody because you thought it was safe to ride on the sidewalk that day, don't go crying to them.)
But while the "bike community" may not believe in personal responsibility (in the "bike community," cyclists are always right as long as they're wearing helmets), the "triathlon community" is beginning to demand some accountability from its members. A reader has forwarded me this scathing article, in which a triathlon coach berates triathletes for their poor bike-handling skills:
Frankly, I'm pleased to see that somebody from the triathlon community is finally addressing this problem out in the open. Surely, one day triathletes will be able to conquer the stereotype that they can't handle their bikes. Similarly, one day people who wear short shorts and mustaches will no longer be unfairly stereotyped as people who can fix bikes:
Guy in short shorts who fixed my bike chain in williamsburg (Somewhere near the Bedford Stop)
Reply to: [deleted]
Date: 2009-05-02, 5:55PM EDT
I stereotyped you as someone who knows how to fix bikes because you had short shorts on and a mustache. Anyways, I feel really stupid doing this right now but you seemed interesting, so let me know if you remember me!
Actually, I'd never heard of this stereotype, but there must be some truth to it since it seems like the mustachioed person was in fact able to help the poster. I wonder if people with thick eyebrows can also fix bikes:
If so, I'd give mine to Peter Gallagher any day.