Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Indignity of Commuting by Bicycle: Doing the Right Thing

In yesterday's post, I mentioned an eBay auction for a disembodied crabon bicycle frame headtube, which you can see here being sensually caressed by a disembodied hand:

(A headtube in hand is worth two in the bush.)

Well, apparently my mentioning it generated considerable interest, for this morning I noticed the following question:


Q: Do you know if this item is fixable? Can it be ridden?

A: No I'm afraid it would not be ridable in it's present condition, you could email calfee for a quote on repair, let me know if you need high resolution pictures to send them....

While I suspect the question was posed in jest, I also have no doubt that Craig Calfee would gladly accept the challenge of restoring this poor headtube to rideability. Most likely he would graft it onto a bamboo frame, though it's possible that the bamboo tubing might not accept the transplant due to the unsustainable nature of the crabon and the incompatible smugness blood types of the two materials. I can imagine the poor frame on an operating table, the EKG showing disturbing patterns as Calfee in full surgical scrubs attempts to defibrillate it. "Why, why?!?," he'd cry, pounding on the operating table as the EKG flatlined. "We did everything we could," he'd then explain to the distraught owner, presenting the headtube to him like a veterinarian returns a dead hamster to a weeping child.

Speaking of yesterday's post, I also mentioned the NYPD's ongoing bicycle crackdown:

And the local snarkrakers at Gothamist now report that a rider has been ticketed for not wearing a helmet:


Of course, children and commercial cyclists are required to wear helmets in New York, but non-commercial, non-child adults are still free to forego their "safety kippahs" and bare their pates to the almighty Lob on high. Now, it's possible that the officer was confused by the law which requires all motorcyclists to wear helmets, but it's also possible he was just an idiot, and indeed his ticket "curation" would support the latter hypothesis:

Either that, or else New York City is so determined to discourage cycling that it's inventing new components and accessories, making them mandatory, and then punishing us for not using them. If this is the case, then by the springtime you can expect to receive tickets for any one of the following infractions:

--Not wearing a helment;
--Not having a belb or other aubidle signal on your hangledabs;
--Failure to signal before executing a relft turn;
--Missing or poorly-maintained zummers, flunnels, spazzims, sneedles, or fizzamawizzamadills;
--непривлекательными или отсутствуют гениталии

Meanwhile, yesterday afternoon I was also afforded a unique opportunity to test the NYPD's alleged ruthlessness. My route took me through Brooklyn's Prospect Park, and as I exited the park I encountered a police car waiting at a red light:

"Ah-ha! Expect me to run the light, huh? Well, you won't catch me that easily," I foolishly thought, not yet having learned of the new helment law. In fact, not only did I not run the light at which the police were sitting, but I also didn't run the crosswalk light like 50 feet away, so successfully have I been gelded by the "man:"

As I sat there scratching my flunnels and musing about nothing in particular, a hipster or hipster-like being rode past me on a Pista. "This should be interesting," I thought as he approached the police car:

Once at the red light, he performed what appeared to be a botched trackstand:

And then, spying his opening, he ran the light right in front of the police and entered the Centrifuge of Death that is the Grand Army Plaza traffic circle:

I braced myself for the flashing of lights, and the whooping of sirens, and the booming of the loudspeaker. "You on the bike! Pull over!," the officer would demand, knocking the hipster to the floor and beating him about the zummers and sneedles. But it was not to be. In fact, the police were utterly disinterested in both him and the salmon who you can also see to the left of the vehicle:

This perplexed me. On one hand, the painfully smug denizens of Streetsblog and the Tweeter hashishtag "#bikenyc" have been crying harassment for weeks now, yet I counted at least four declined invitations for harassment on the part of the hipster. On the other hand, the NYPD has claimed that the crackdown is for the cyclists' own safety, yet there are few things less safe than running a light into Grand Army Plaza, which is a deadly churning maw of Flatbush dollar vans and Park Slope Subarus and Crown Heights "Mitzvah tanks" that would make even David Byrne (who doesn't own a car) say, "Fuck it, I'm leasing a Kia." Meanwhile, I'm waiting at a red light in front of an empty crosswalk like a schmuck, wondering, "Just what the hell do you have to do to get a ticket around here?!?"

Equally perplexing was this bumper sticker that I saw a little while later:

"Share the road with motorcycles," it said, and I thought to myself, "A-meh to that, my two-wheeled sibling!"--until I noticed that he was sitting in the bike lane and that as far as he was concerned the bicyclists could go fuck themselves:


Sure, it's not as incongruous as the classic "fixie" with a "One Less Car" sticker on the back of a Mercedes:

But it was vexing nonetheless.

From there, I navigated onto the Sands Street bike lane, a raised and protected affair that was supposed to herald a new era of bike-friendliness when it was installed back in 2009, and which as of yesterday was obstructed by one cable company van, one unmarked police car, and a salmon:

Apparently the salmon could not be bothered to travel the additional three feet to the other side of the bike lane, nor was he ticketed by the police--though I think the Time Warner guy may have hooked him up with free cable.

So what is the reward for cycling through the slush-filled, contradictory streets of New York? Well, if you simply love to ride then the riding, however irritating, is ultimately its own reward. However, if that's not enough for you, there's also the approbation of the "We're so special!" set. Last week I mentioned that Time's Up were giving fake tickets and congratulating cyclists for crossing the "Big Skanky," and indeed I received one of these spurious and saccharine summonses on my own return trip yesterday. My first warning was this banner:

And then came the officers in the shiny hats:

I asked them why I warranted all this attention, and while I couldn't hear their response due to the rumblings of the subway train overhead I did hear something about how I was "Doing the right thing" by riding my bike. I'm not sure why from a moral standpoint I was any more "right" than the people on the train currently passing above us, but I suppose it probably had something to do with the "environment"--which is ironic, since the entire purpose of my trip into the city had been to burn tires and kill ducks. Anyway, while they congratulated me for doing absolutely nothing, their colleagues posed by this banner:

Then, the light changed and I headed onto the Sands Street bike lane, which of course had a police car sitting in it:

I braced myself for a ticket for consorting with environmental activists in shiny hats, but it was not forthcoming, and when I got home I examined my "Token Ticket of Love:"

Clearly they gave me the wrong ticket, since even though I was wearing Rapha pants with "epic" babyfood stains on them, under no circumstances do I "look great on a bike." In fact, I plan to contest this ticket in smugness court and at least get the charges knocked down to "shlubby dork on a Scattante." The ticket also included an invitation to their "dance party," which I will be attending just as soon as I complete a Grand Tour "grand slam" on a unicycle:

Also, they included non-kosher, non-Hanukkah gelt chocolate coins in the JFK presidentway, presumably as an implicit protest against their arch-enemies, the bike lane-hating Williamsburg hasidim:

I hope that foil is sustainable.

99 comments:

  1. Liked today's post. Next week I go to Texas - can you ride a bike there ?

    ReplyDelete
  2. "PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE CURTAIN BEHIND THAT MAN!"

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm glad I still have the sneedles on my bike, but like any cyclist worth his smug I removed the zummers the day I bought that fucker.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I see your schwartz is as big as mine...

    ReplyDelete
  5. my russian is rusty, but something about genitalia

    ReplyDelete
  6. Panties! Top Twenty?!

    ReplyDelete
  7. PortlandpeopleeaterFebruary 8, 2011 at 11:33 AM

    Thanks for the chuckles.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Share the public roadway.
    THNK SNOB

    ReplyDelete
  9. "burn tires and kill ducks" made me laugh out loud. Thank you Snob.

    Stay ticket free!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Sorry I'm late. I couldn't find my helmet.

    ReplyDelete
  11. All you haters suck my unattractive or absent genitalia.

    ReplyDelete
  12. My hangledabs are itchy. AYHSMH.

    ReplyDelete
  13. It's weird that nu freds are being prosecuted for looking like self righteous idiots by cops. Every summer in crown heights i see thunderdome style gangs of helmetless guys on dirt bikes ride right past cop cars. I ride my bmx bike on the sidewalk around bad intersections so i dont get run over by a car service driver. I don't think i need a ticket for endangering pedestrians when the alternative is negotiating the empire blvd entrance of prospect park.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Spotted this earlier on.

    http://s1236.photobucket.com/albums/ff453/cog_17/Odds%20and%20ends/?action=view&current=Snob01.jpg

    hey nonny mouse

    ReplyDelete
  15. Yesterday's link to Hold Fast made me write this. Thanks Snob.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Sorry, should've said; it's a photo of an Edinburgh bus with a relevant number plate.

    hey nonny mouse

    ReplyDelete
  17. I always carry a pack of Helmentos to freshen my breath for conversations with local law enforcement.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Must be a busy day at Bike Snob World Headquarters, since usually the sight of a hipster fixie on the back of a $50k Mercedes SUV would warrant half a column or so.

    ReplyDelete
  19. What is the current NYC fine for riding without a "helment"?
    I couldn't tell from looking at the attached photo...

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'm Hellment on Spazzims

    ReplyDelete
  21. That headtube is being FELT up. Get it--Felt, felt? Ha ha haha ha ha haaaaaaaa. If only someone would feel up my headtube. Besides me, of course.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Haven't been on my bike since December, so today's post
    was a vicarious ride. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  23. anon 12:36,

    You could always 'head' over to the Manhattan Bridge. I hear they love head tubes there.

    gigitty.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Anon 12:31

    He already did, Junish 2008.

    1LES SCAR

    ReplyDelete
  25. Oh now I see what I did wrong yesterday.

    I came home over the Manhattan Bridge around 9 last night in the light rain.

    I thought the early bird just got the worm (and in Florida, a dinner discount). I didn't know the expression applied to chocolate hipster gelt too.

    But here's what I really want to know: If NYC is so bike friendly, where are the bike lanes in the car washes? No one ever talks about that.

    ReplyDelete
  26. 1. helments cramp my style.
    2. Steve Tilford sleeps on cardboard.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Missing or poorly-maintained zummers, flunnels, spazzims, sneedles, or fizzamawizzamadills.

    Truly Seussian!

    Anyone know where I can get a sneed in the bianchi celeste colourway?

    ReplyDelete
  28. I am the hungry engineFebruary 8, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    Hipster tickets are less important than donuts.

    Mmmmm. Donuts.

    Next time plan your route with many donut shops to distract the fuzz.

    ReplyDelete
  29. how come mr Mercedes fixie with a Brooks saddle is in such dire need of hydration? Two water bottles?

    OML. Can no one can go for five minutes without being an arm's length away from at least three liters of fresh water?

    ReplyDelete
  30. The gelt is totally kosher, Snob. Check out the "OU D" on the obverse of the coin. Hasidim wouldn't eat it though because it's not cholov yisroel, so that part you got right.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Shmaltz Herring,

    I did not notice that, I guess Vito can eat them after all.

    --RTMS

    ReplyDelete
  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Is gimbling in the wabe still a misdemeanor?

    ReplyDelete
  34. Wash down the chockolate with He'Brew?

    Love this blog but months of reading and seeing folks blowing red lights is causing me some despair with a dash of ennui tossed in. Cars still weigh 3000 pounds and F=ma.
    The sound of a smug bamboo frame breaking under wheels or are those femurs popping?

    ReplyDelete
  35. Hmm snob, some readers understand russian...

    ReplyDelete
  36. I think what anon 1:31 meant to say was

    Хм сноб, некоторые читатели понимают Россию

    ReplyDelete
  37. непривлекательными или отсутствуют гениталии
    I thought you could only cop that ticket in Portland.

    ReplyDelete
  38. My Russian is not rusting, so I am saying you and the goat having sex with.

    ReplyDelete
  39. The other day a lady drove her mercedes the wrong way through grand army plaza. She didn't notice everybody honking at first - she was too busy staring at me as I crossed the traffic lanes to the bike path while the street was empty.

    Ha.

    ReplyDelete
  40. stopping at lights and following all traffic laws negates the main benefit of biking in NYC, getting from point A to B faster than any other way. I guess there also is the "environmental benefit". But I'm fairly sure that the factories that make bikes and all of their components aren't powered by hamsters on wheels and indeed consume fuel and omit carbon and the negligible carbon offset between a mass transit commute and riding a bike is more than swallowed up by the aforementioned energy consumption and GHG sputum. I still commute by bike but opt not to follow laws that are really only meant for motorized vehicles, thereby retaining the main benefit. You just have to be careful and not do anything too blatent in front of a member of NYC's Laziest.

    ReplyDelete
  41. anon 2:28
    sounds like a good way to get from point A to point Sayonara, too

    ReplyDelete
  42. No crackdown where I live. In my experience, one of the primary sources of friction between cars and bikes is competing for the same sliver of real estate. Where is this conflict most accute? At intersections, of course. I do not see (safely) running red lights as being a scofflaw. I see it as an ack of keeping the peace, and will continue to do so whenever I can.

    ReplyDelete
  43. @wiwm,

    From your lips to Lob's ear.

    ReplyDelete
  44. @2:28 - what is it about stopping and allowing other people to proceed without having to worry so much about some jackass T-boning them that is "only meant for motorized vehicles"? You look both ways, see that it is clear, and then pull out and get smashed by the cyclist that you didn't see. Running lights is ultimately anti-cyclist and anti-pedestrian, because you break their bones instead of just denting their hoods.

    ReplyDelete
  45. "burn tires and kill ducks" I embarrassed myself on the coach over this, I hope you are satisfied. Are you sure there's no English blood in you? The humour is black enough. Excuse me while I 'choose an identity' hem hem.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Wouldn't it be funny if Anon 12:12 and Anon 2:28 were the same idiot?

    Oh wait, he is! I'm saw him yesterday, here in the nor-Smug-west!

    ...and then again today, now that I think about it...

    Where are they ticketing Freds, again?

    ReplyDelete
  47. If the cops run the bike "crackdown" like all the other NYPD headline-driven enforcement efforts, it'll remain focused in a few spots that regulars will eventually all know about and just avoid or be wary of, so only the unlucky or uninformed will get ticketed.

    ReplyDelete
  48. I Go Around and AroundFebruary 8, 2011 at 4:25 PM

    Had a nice conversation with a woman cop in Central Park today. She pretty much admitted that the only tickets they were writing were for cyclists, nothing else. Field day for purse snatchers I guess. There was another cop flying around the park and popping out at red lights just in case I didn't stop. They've also screwed with the light sequence on the western side of the park. It used to be if you hit the light at the bottom of the northwest hill, you were green until about 81st. Now the lights don't make any sense.

    Spring can't come soon enough.

    ReplyDelete
  49. HAIL CSZR

    -P.P.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Sieg Heid!
    (nd I mn wht I sy)

    ReplyDelete
  51. JNGL BELB

    DEAT HMAW

    SHIN YHAT

    KILL DUCK

    ReplyDelete
  52. @I go around-

    I think the goal of the NYPD is to turn the CP loop into a giant Roulette wheel. Black? Evens? Red? Don't matter - the house always wins. Though in this case, I think they'll be collecting only selectively. Just plead not guilty, assuming your ticket even makes it into the system within the 65 day time limit.

    This is someone's bright idea from 1PP. You seriously think the average cop got into the NYPD to hand out f-ing tickets to f-ing cyclists?? That explains why they give you an apology with the ticket. Don't worry, if they are angry, it's probably not with you, it's with the nit-wits they work for. Trust me, they'd much rather be doing 'real' police work.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Is it true that cyclists in Russia can be ticketed for unattractive-or-absent-genitalia??

    ReplyDelete
  54. I Go Around and AroundFebruary 8, 2011 at 5:17 PM

    @Mikeweb

    Definitely. The cop I spoke with was very nice. She definitely expressed her own frustration with the whole thing. But she also rightly pointed out that some cyclists are not careful, and that the threat of a ticket was having an effect. She is a good cop on a band-aid's errand.

    I also know from other conversations that this isn't entirely the NYPD's idea. This is basically a political effort to take some of the pressure off the mayor's office for the installation of bike lanes in certain vocal neighborhoods.

    So I'll play along. Eventually it will decrease and by June when crazed touristic cyclists overwhelm the park with their rental battering rams on wheels, things will calm down.

    ReplyDelete
  55. I Go Around and AroundFebruary 8, 2011 at 5:19 PM

    @Joe Beeton

    Da.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Hey Snob,
    The VW Golf with the share the road sticker had the following thought process when purchasing the sticker:
    1. Bike lane look good for park car;
    2. Bike lane on road;
    3. Sticker let me share road with bike;
    4. Now me share road with bike.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Maybe Critical Mass can show up as decoys for more sane cyclists. CM is the best reason I can think of for not having your car's brakes serviced and then testing in same said car.

    ReplyDelete
  58. I got a ticket off a copper while driving in the City of London some years ago. I was stopped on Cornhill, right under a street sign advertising the name of that thoroughfare. The ticket gave the location as Corne Hill.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Riccardo Ricco (Mr "check out my mega glasses) did it again. But this time, he nearly died...

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/other_sports/cycling/9391538.stm

    ReplyDelete
  60. Snob are you playing stupid? You are that afraid? I can't imagine more than 10 cops are actually assigned to bike duty any given day during this crack down. The other 35,000 will only ticket you if the offense is egregious and blatant. Relax, maybe try to take less popular routes where bike duty cops aren't staked out. You really think you'll get a ticket on Coney Island ave?

    ReplyDelete
  61. jimmynuetron,

    Absolutely--in fact I've been ticketed on Coney Island Avenue. There wasn't even a "crackdown" going on at the time.

    --BSNYC

    ReplyDelete
  62. getting a ticket on CIA is like getting spanked for eating glass.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Are there any gay people in Portland?

    ReplyDelete
  64. Haha he gonna be apprehended by that cop.

    ReplyDelete
  65. OML! The freestylin' sceener on a fixie that got busted by Inside Edition for stealing a lap top!

    ReplyDelete
  66. Parting shot. Outside Mag. Sweet disembodied hand shot. Don't say I didn't tell ya!!

    ReplyDelete
  67. This crackdown has me looking over my shoulder every time I approach a light in Prospect Park. The cops around the park seem disinterested but I just don't feel like getting a second ticket (after the one I received in Central Park a few weeks ago, during a snow storm).

    ReplyDelete
  68. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeNX682giOY

    ReplyDelete
  69. So I'm sitting here thinking? I want to grow a Charlie Chaplin moustache.

    Think that Hitler thing has died down enough where I could skate on this one?

    Any help from fellow snobophiles would be much appreciated. Thank you in advance for your help.

    ReplyDelete
  70. Not that the Bike Snob comments section is a likely hub for people planning on attending a Times Up party, and not that anyone will really ever read this, but DJ Suggested D is a guy named Thadeaus who has been known to be violent and abusive and who has evaded any attempts at accountability brought about within his community. There is more info at http://thadeaus.wordpress.com/

    ReplyDelete
  71. "A bike part’s relative importance is, as ever, directly related to the proximity and effect on genitalia (as is literally everything else in life)."

    I know it's not on topic, but that never seems to matter. At any rate, this (and plenty more) from Charles Manantan on CN:

    http://pezcyclingnews.com/?pg=fullstory&id=9082&status=True&catname=Latest%20News

    ReplyDelete
  72. Forgot to read this yesterday whenI got home. Was nearly in tears from laughing bout the 3rd or 4th paragraph. This one goes into the Greatest Hits edition.

    ReplyDelete
  73. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  74. That's 7 lob references in recent days. Is there a lob-dex or are you just getting fun-duh-mental?

    ReplyDelete
  75. Have you seen this slovenian video wighing the pros and cons of biking vs driving?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJ06S6G6YWw

    ReplyDelete
  76. 1. People will always salmon on Manhattan one-way Avenues. Forever. Unless they get made two-way for all traffic.

    2. Chocolate needed to be organic and Fair Trade for high ethics-to-smugness ratio.

    ReplyDelete
  77. Fred likes to use aerobars!

    http://www.velosaddles.com/brands/wrap.html

    ReplyDelete
  78. NYC roads are terrible during the winter time.

    ReplyDelete
  79. greeting all his. before him I am very grateful, I am personally very pleased to be able to come here.
    I also want to ride a little specific information there may be no one interested in his friends with the news that I cross right here.
    Alat Bantu Sex merupanan sebuah benda yang di buat untuk membantu meningkat kan rangsangan seksual.
    Berbagai macam alat bantu sex wanita dapat di temukan di toko jual alat sex wanita.
    Selain alat bantu seksual perempuan, Ada juga alat bantu sex pria juga banyak di jumpai toko alat bantu sex pria.
    Mainan sex.
    Sek toys.
    Alat Onani.
    Alat bantu wanita.
    Alat pembesar penis

    ReplyDelete
  80. In this organization there is no area for mistakes, if you use a low level SEO that may turn up to be incorrect for you, you can toss away cash, decrease a while to even get your website penalized because of black hat SEO techniques your SEO might have used along the way. artesia museum

    ReplyDelete