Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Indignity of Commuting by Bicycle: Being On the Lookout

As I mentioned in my previous post, yesterday I (or, more accurately, my Scattante) was the victim of a brazen cockpit theft. Well, I'm pleased to report that yesterday evening I performed approximately 20 minutes of cockpit reconstruction surgery on the victim,and it has now been restored to full rideability. Furthermore, thanks to my ability to operate simple tools (roughly on par with that of a capuchin monkey) as well as my substantial cache of bicycle crap, the procedure cost me nothing apart from the subway fare I incurred in transporting the victim home. (I briefly considered simply leaving the Scattante where it was, returning later, and performing the surgery in situ, but I prefer to "wrench" pantsless and didn't want to end up in prison--or worse, on some schlocky local news blog like Gothamist.)

Once again, I will use this opportunity to reiterate that when commuting in New York City or any similarly theft-prone environment one should be reconciled to the loss of one's bicycles or bicycle components prior to setting out in the morning. If you are, then the theft is simply an inconvenience rather than a gut-wrenching loss. In this case the incident was only marginally more irritating than incurring a flat and not having a tube or patch kit, and I only wish I had had the foresight to carry a spare cockpit with me. Actually, after seeing the following video which was forwarded to me by the filmmaker I'm now considering traveling with a spare bicycle at all times:

Bridging the Gap Vol.1 from Joseph Lobato on Vimeo.

Notice the rider is "saving the track bike" by reserving the BMX for tricks.

Still, while I was only slightly bothered by the purloined cockpit incident that does not mean I'm not on the lookout. One reader has forwarded me the following Craigslist posting, which might offer a clue:

Bike Steerers - $1 (Greenwich Village)
Date: 2010-03-08, 4:53PM EST
Reply to: [deleted]

Can you help me it wont fit on my bike and I cant ride without it on there that well. Im looking for trade for a necklace with a crystal or maybe a coupon for something or if youre chill with it i have a bike seat and a copple of petals too. i also found a brake handles on it as well but they come as is because i dont think they work too well. HOT HOT HOT looking to sell real quick. A bike is the best way to go in the New York City if you know whats up. Coem to visit and you wont regret it. I have a coppel of other bikes as well because im a busness man and always looking for good deals. Call to book a reservation I can meet you or you can meet me but i really cant bring too many bikes because i can only ride with like 2 at a time. Ok the steerer is looking like the one in the photo but it says Tompson on it and the boss at the bike shop says its PLATNUM plated and the best you can get its what Lanse Armestrong uses on the Tour it feels real lite. Also I think the bars are mountain bike bars with gripts of rubber so you can ride off road if you are a mountainbiker. the second picture is of anothe r bike if you want to trade for the steerer that goes in there ill bring the price down.

Thansk for looking and happy bidding!


I'm assuming this posting is fabricated, but then again one should never overestimate the literary prowess of the typical Craigslist seller. Could the stem that "says Tompson on it and the boss at the bike shop says its PLATNUM plated and the best you can get its what Lanse Armestrong uses on the Tour it feels real lite" be mine? Could the "mountain bike bars with gripts of rubber" be mine too? Am I mistaken in thinking "grips of rubber" sounds vaguely Dylanesque, like "Spanish Boots of Spanish Leather?" Since the seller was interested in a coupon I did send a reply offering an expired voucher from Jiffy Lube good for one free car wash, but unfortunately my email bounced back to me. I guess I may never know.

Elsewhere in the Craigslist universe (but having nothing to do with my missing cockpit) was this $40 "vintage single speed," forwarded to me by another reader:

Vintage Single Speed - $40 (Humboldt Park)
Date: 2010-03-06, 8:41PM CST
Reply to: [deleted]

Up for sale is a stripped Allpro 10 speed bicycle converted to a single speed. Features: Orange/Blue New Your Knicks colorway, spray painted blue wheels and seat post, JUN stem, Schwinn seat, Trek grips, cut&flipped bull horn style bars, mid-city gear setup. Bike is in working order with (1) working front brake, tires that hold air and tight components. Ready to ride and a perfect commuter for a great price. Get your ride on while the snow is gone!

ATTN: This is a cruiser style bike with 26x1 3/8 tires! Not a Road Bike or Fixed Gear! Please read description closely!

Wheels: 26in.
Size: M (fits rider 5ft 6' to 5ft 9')
Standover height: 30in.
Gear: 42x15

Big pic here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/riskyrax/4412701460/



Really "feeling" the "New Your Knicks colorway" and the "epic" blue pie plate, but otherwise the post was little more than a hastily spraypainted cul-de-sac.

Since Craigslist was no help I realized I had to turn my attention to the real world, and as any good detective will tell you, anything out of the ordinary can be a potential clue. (Actually, I've never spoken to a detective, but it seems like something one would say.) For this reason, I paid special attention to this truck:

While a less savvy person might not think the phrase "Follow this van for the freshest fish in town" has anything to do with bicycles, I knew immediately that "fresh fish" is criminal underworld slang for "hot bike parts," and so I gave chase. Unfortunately, only moments later, I lost the vehicle in the wilds of Grand Army Plaza (a highly dangerous place where the Audis and Subarus of Park Slope do battle with the "dollar vans" of Flatbush and the Hasidim-filled minivans of Crown Heights) and so I now have no choice but wake up early one of these mornings, don my noseplugs, and hit the fish market.

Admittedly, I was disheartened, and like so many who lose faith in the real world I turned to The Great Lobster for guidance. Visiting me in a dream, He told me that if I turned my Oracular Jake Gyllenhaal Pie Plate upon the Great Skanky and peered through it, I would find that for which I seek. So, the next morning, I did just that:


At first nothing happened, but after a few moments I became kind of queasy (like I had just eaten some tainted peanut butter) and saw this:



I'm not sure what it means, though I suspect the so-called "Nonplussed Journalist" may be trying to tell me that my cockpit was stolen by two men wearing green pants.

Once my revery subsided I grabbed hold of my newly-installed cockpit and continued to pilot my Scattante into Manhattan, where I not only looked for the Green Pants Gang but also gazed longingly at other cockpits. (I generally don't recommend staring at other people's cockpits, but if you absolutely must do it at least try to be discreet.) Here's one in the classic "snake fangs" configuration:


Here's the less common "double joystick" setup:

It seemed as though everywhere I looked there were bizarre cockpits. However, there were no men in green pants--though I did see a woman in a pink helmet riding a bicycle on the sidewalk with her dog:

As you can see, the dog is wearing a jacket. Since it was a warm day and this is right around where I saw that hawk I'm guessing the garment was intended to protect the dog from airborne attacks. Presumably it's also lined with kevlar to prevent it from being pierced by razor-sharp talons.

Speaking of menacing creatures stalking the streets, a short while later I found myself sharing the bike lane with an inline skater:

(All You Haters Skitch Off My Backpack Straps)

At one point, the light in front of him turned red and a gaggle of people in sensible suits began to cross the street. However, instead of stopping or even slowing, the skater simply kept going and charged right through them, leaving in his wake a whitewater of nonplussed expressions. While I've seen innumerable cyclists do just this, pedestrians have a special look when the perpetrator is using inline skates. The reason for this, I believe, is two-fold. Firstly, unlike a cyclist, an inline skater is practically a pedestrian too apart from the fact that he's wearing shoes with tiny wheels, and so the failure to stop amounts to a betrayal. (The skater is able to commingle with pedestrians yet at the same time move much more quickly than the traditionally-shod. In this sense, inline skates have the power amplify a pedestrian's prickishness in the same way a microphone allows a bad singer to suck even louder.) Secondly, the fact that the skater is just so dorky makes the whole thing just that much more insulting.

Here's another view of the menacing skater:

Notice the fleece pullover, which is to inline skaters what a leather jacket is to a Harley rider. By the way, I feel as though I should make it clear that in principle I have nothing against those who like to have wheely-feet, for I too have felt the thrill of wearing shoes that roll. Granted, it was many years ago in the relative safety of Hot Skates, but that made it no less intoxicating. Indeed, just as fast brakeless cycling is often best performed in the velodrome, perhaps Mr. Greenfleece should consider "hitting up" the roller rink. (Though hopefully he doesn't wind up terrorizing some 10 year-old's birthday party.)

Alas, it would seem that my stolen cockpit would not reveal itself on this particular commute, and that I had come to a dead end--much like this bike lane Guangzhou (wherever that is) which was sent to me by another reader:

I guess you're supposed to use the manhole.

89 comments:

nombeu said...

word

Jefe said...

Podium

Nogocyclist said...

P
o
d
i
u
m
!


Now everyone can skip down to comment #11.

nombei said...

damn. can't even spell my name

erik k said...

woopie

Anonymous said...

?Hey there!

Fingerbang Assistant said...

podium?

Andrew said...

woooo!

Fingerbang Assistant said...

crappy group sprint crash 1km before the finish...

10,000 Aches said...

nice!!

Astroluc said...

FIRST (of the 2nd top 10?)

Pontius Pilate said...

HAIL CSZR

-P.P.

Anonymous said...

sorta surprised you didn't mention this from today's Times 2.0, they didn't forget to mention you...

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/09/a-bike-theft-in-the-time-of-twitter/

Fritz said...

Gothamist=Schlockly local news

Exactly

Krupp said...

Top 20!

hillbilly said...

boy howdy

sufferist said...

hey....

brother yam said...

Cockpits? Manholes?

Snobby, this trip isn't down a rabbit hole! It's a trip down the sewer. How dare you insult my tender sensibilities like this.

Harumph.

kale said...

I'm pretty sure you've been victimized by the Lobster God's arch-nemesis The Coconut Crab. He's been known to be covetous of shiny baubles belonging to Lobsteratti. Consider searching in areas of high density of Thai and Caribbean-fusion restaurants, preferably with bodegas that carry the omnipresent 'Vita Coco'.

YATE said...

STLN STEM

That's balls.

leroy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jefe said...

That video is not as good as the doctor from Portland who acted out his entire commute to Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin's breathless narration of a Tour du France stage finish. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CI7T2iuGjjc&feature=player_embedded

Dan said...

my cockpit got lost in a manhole

leroy said...

No one ever asks me if that's a Chris King headset in my pocket or am I just happy to see them.

Too often, the queries concern the cause of a drooping chamois.

Honestly, uninvited cockpit attention never ends well.

mikeweb said...

"...shoes with tiny wheels...", "wheely-feet", "shoes that roll"...

All much more PC than 'froot-boots' I suppose.

Ryan said...

Manhole! thats funny.

Nogocyclist said...

Don't follow a truck to fresh fish looking for a bike. You will find really fish.

Anonymous said...

that bmx track guy should change his commute to the bmx track to inlude a little cyclocross action, while while portaging the track bike and bmx. thus completing the turducken of bicycle commuting. that would be da balls.

Nogocyclist said...

Oops.

Should have been really fresh fish.

ervgopwr said...

COCK PITT

GOES INDA

MANN HOLE

Snob/Bro-Yam, see what you've started?!

ervgopwr said...

KNOT THAT

THRS ANYT

HING WRNG

WITH THAT


SUMM BODY
PLSE STOP
MEEE EE:|

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grog said...

Great Lobster in a fish truck!
Didn't George Burns do that?

Anonymous said...

You might look to hire an existential detective

Anonymous said...

Presumably it's also lined with kevlar to prevent it from being pierced by razor-sharp talons.

No. Kevlar is bullet proof not "talon" or "knife" Proof. Its basically ballistic nylon with an interwoven mesh pattern that will stop a dull object but not a sharp pointy one.

Anonymous said...

Unable to post ... why?

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 3:10pm,

Uh-oh. I guess that dog is screwed!

--RTMS

CommieCanuck said...

The dog is pooched. (get it?...uhhh)

Raccoons in NY all carry shivs. And they can steal a seatpost and saddle in seconds.

"Follow this van for the freshest fish in town" is equivalent to a white van with "Free ice cream for little boys" written on the side.

That pervert/molester is targeting lactose intolerant children.

See what you can learn from Greg Lemond's website?

Anonymous said...

Bikesnobnyc,
Yes, but now it may also get yoinked by the hawk. 3:10 later.

g-roc said...

Last night I had a dream I was fixing my bike, wearing white pants and getting them all greasy - I don't own white pants! Today, I learn that RTMS likes to "wrench" pantsless. OMG! This is like totally a sign! (and I'm not even a teenage girl!!!) As Lobster is my witness, I will never wear pants while "wrenching" again.

Cat 4 said...

Man, no legs today after yesterday's twilight crit. Got to find out how these Cat 3's do it.

Anonymous said...

The twins riding the bikes in green pants are the Keno Brothers -lovers of original American antiques and 1970s era Schwinns. Really.

Anonymous said...

3:10-
next you're going to tell me that teflon is just for cooking

Matt said...

Hot Skates??? Perhaps a clue about where you're from? You must really be a local...way to represent!

I am the engine said...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-475244/Stab-proof-school-uniforms-sale-protect-pupils-knife-attacks.html

Apparently, the english make stab proof kevlar?

A. Franken said...

I swear I hate you fucking right-wing bastards.

Lawrence of the Labia said...

RIDE ABLE

SELL QUIK

FEEL LITE

HAWK COAT

SUCK LOUD

Bradley said...

The track/bmxer is Hern, of "I only do it for the hipster pu$$y" fame. LAfixed 4 life.

Courtney said...

We call roller blades "fruit boots" and those that wear them, "fruit booters".

Marty D. said...

hybrid mountain/BMX bike:

http://sydney.gumtree.com.au/c-Stuff-for-Sale-sports-leisure-fitness-Single-speed-Mountian-bike-W0QQAdIdZ190369775#

Nogocyclist said...

Cat 4.

The secret to getting on the podium is simple.

Cheat!

This afternoon I got two steroid shots. Don't know why the doctor did them in my shoulders though, how will that make me a faster cyclist? Since I am on the podium with the same time as nobei, the yellow jersey winner, it must work.

Coxondod said...

I believe that manhole is the entrance to a secret underground hipster track (or tarck).
Notice the eerie resemblance of the bicycle symbol to a track (or tarck) bike.

E. Massa said...

Cockpit, manhole? You guys are gay.

Chris Green said...

54th!!!

Anonymous said...

the "Orange/Blue New Your Knicks colorway" bike reminds me of that one "where the wild things are" bike from awhile back...does anybody remember that one?

Test Tickle said...

FABU LOUS

POST 2DAY

and the track/bmx'er is pretty f'in good. can't diss those dirt skills.

balls.

urchin said...

Someone mention my name?
Way to go with the meandering, photo-based post. I miss those early ones comparing bikes to insects, pets, or household objects.

Do some more or I'll haunt your dreams....

flynn said...

Inline skate nerds can hammer. There's a dude who skates RAGBRAI, and pacelines with all the serious people; holds his own. Come to think of it I'm pretty sure he was palping fleece

jet said...

Guangzhou - China :) where else has place names like that?

jet said...

Guangzhou - china, where else? ;)

Anonymous said...

Scrodium.

Snobs, you shoulda kept the new Sca-tainty.

Nogocyclist said...

Racing a bike without a free hub actually looks fun.

Watch this race

Anonymous said...

...In other news, one of your favorite retrogrouches being interviwed...

kerry said...

commuter dreams video - :D and I thought it was just me, hehehe

wiggysaurus said...

i smell a jumping shark, but it smells awesome

ant1 said...

ant1st!

ant1 said...

sorry for being late guys. i had jury duty yesterday. some dude was being accused of stealing a blue folding bmx. i went with not guilty.

ant1 said...

isn't a manhole a type of cockpit? womanhole being the other.

g said...

Ant1,
I suppose we shouldn't leave out 'handhold' as another. Did I just reveal too much?

ant1 said...

g,

i guess there's other, less conventional (not that there's anything wrong with those) type of cockpits.

The Chort said...

What kind of weird strap-on inline skates are those anyway?

Anonymous said...

All you haters use the manhole!!

Anonymous said...

yahoo good post !

the chocolate lady מרת שאקאלאד said...

venerable!

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wishiwasmerckx said...

Tight components. They look for the same thing in bikes as I look for in women.

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iPad Bicycle / Motorcycle Mount

The new Apple iPad has Steve Jobs, the highest paid in a decade! However, the Apple iPad is lacking, rumors have it they are improving their designs rapidly! What the new Apple iPad lacks in most is a mount, something to secure the Apple iPad while on the go.

I am a big fan of going green, by riding my PEDEGO electric bicycle more. However, the only things I have really found out there to secure the new Apple iPad is a jacket, talk about all that heat! Recent E-Bay ads have slowly reached more and more options, as demands increase. I tested a bicycle mount, the only one I have found so far. I was the only bid, I think perhaps because the word is not out there yet. I have never seen anything like it before. It mounts onto your bicycle handlebars. My Apple iPad is uncrushed, undamaged, and works great on my bicycle. I now have a GPS, a Speedometer, music, the weather, the news all on the go on my bicycle. I could not ask for a better mount! I am impressed with this design. This design also allows me to turn my apple iPad 360 degrees, as well as access all the ports. Checking out e-Bay as “iPad Bicycle”, “iPad Mount”, the seller is TPFIINC.

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