Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bike-Coastal: A Tail of Two Cities

Greetings this fine Wednesday morning from my virtual Stumptown! I can't tell you how much happier I am since I pretend-moved to Portland. Actually, I can. I'm this happy:



Or, for you rural folk, I'm this happy:

Really, telling people how aaahsome things are is the best part of "living" in Portland, for as we Portlanders say about life, "If everybody doesn't want to punch you in the nuts then you're just not being smug enough." Sure, I have occasional hourly crying jags, and sure all the indigent people who live under the bridges are kind of depressing, and yeah, I suppose if you really pressed me I'd admit that Portland is like a big Williamsburg only without a real city around it. But there are plenty of bike lanes, and of course the goddamned coffee is fantastic, and what else do you need, right?

Right?
Yes, every day it's another shade of grey in the land that reality and diversity forgot:
Things are looking up briefly around 1:00pm though.

Meanwhile, "back East" in New York City (where my physical presence resides slumped in an armchair like a character from "Inception"), it looks like the Mayor's office is trying desperately to rehabilitate the bike lane network's negative public image:

Ironically, a key component of this propaganda campaign involves making the network seem utterly insignificant by downplaying its size:

The memo cited improvements to street safety and played down the growth of the lanes, noting that 255 miles had been added in four years, a small fraction of the city’s 6,000 miles of streets. In the past, the city has bragged about its swift expansion of the bike lane network.

You might think that "swift expansion" would be positive. After all, when it comes to transportation networks and public projects, "swift" and "expansive" are good, while "sluggish" and "limited" are bad, right? Wrong. These are bicycles we're talking about. People hate bicycles. Therefore, the general public needs to be reassured that this is just another ineffectual project that the city is approaching in a typically half-assed fashion and that will ultimately come to nothing.

Consequently, the city is now selling the lanes like a self-effacing Viagra salesman: "Yeah, it's technically erectile dysfunction medication, but look how tiny the pill is, and I promise it'll hardly make your penis move at all."

This is also why, as much as pretend-living in Portland is increasingly making me want to tear my own face off in boredom and frustration (is that why so many Portlanders wear beards?), I'm not sure I could ever go back to acknowledging that I live in New York. New York hates cycling so much that Robin Williams can't even ride in a balaclava there. That's right--I was reading The New Yorker in the bathroom recently, and in the "Talk of the Town" section the hirsute comedian and über-Fred related the following anecdote:

"This morning, I biked up the George Washington Bridge. It was cold, so I put on my black Army balaclava, covering my face. A cop stopped me and asked me to take it off."

Granted, he could have been joking (without that hairy forearm applause meter thing he does it's tough to know for sure) but I have a feeling he's probably serious, especially given the fact that the NYPD has managed to almost completely rid Central Park of cyclists:

On the surface of it you'd think a bunch of local taxpaying businesses complaining about the loss of revenue might actually influence the city to ease up on the "crackdown," but when you consider that all the bike shops in Manhattan probably generate about as much taxable income as a single hedge fund operator then you start to realize what you're up against.

Yes, everything's outsized in New York, which is why normal reasoning rarely applies. Consider these tips from my Freds friends at "Bicycling" magazine about how to keep your bike from getting stolen if you don't have a lock with you:

Rig the chain
As you're coasting near your stopping point, shift into the big-ring/big-cog combo. When you stop to park your bike, shift just your shifters (don't pedal) into the small-ring/small-cog combo.
Thief jumps on, tries to pedal, gears go crazy, chain drops off, thief freaks out and splits.

Loosen the rear
Open the rear quick--release skewer.
Thief pedals for a bit, wheel starts to wobble, bike eventually becomes unrideable, thief drops bike and runs.

Secure it secretly
Use the straps on your helmet to "lock" your bike to a secure object.
Thief grabs bike, straps stop thief, thief fumbles with helmet, gets frustrated, leaves.

Use your mini-tool
Loosen the side pinch bolts on your stem and turn your bar 90 degrees; loosen your seat clamp bolt and turn your seat backward.

Thief looks at bike, thinks he's losing his mind, wants nothing to do with it, thief moves on.


It goes without saying that all of these methods would be laughably ineffectual in New York, and I don't even think the thieves in Portland are easily vexed enough to be hindered by them. The last one about turning the bars around 90 degrees is especially ironic considering that's how most people's Walmart Mongooses (Mongeese?) are set up anyway. I'm surprised they left off the old "leave some fake poo on the saddle" trick--or my personal favorite, "The Riddle of the Spinx," in which I leave a note on the bicycle explaining to the thief that he may keep the bike, provided he solve a cunning brain teaser. Yes, many's the time I've emerged from the store only to find a thwarted thief still puzzling over a real head-scratcher like "What bleeds for five days and doesn't die?" (Answer: A hemophiliac with a really tiny papercut. Duh.)

Yes, we New Yorkers (or former New Yorkers) love to pride ourselves on our "street smarts." Indeed, that's what's behind the proliferation of bike messenger movies and concomitant boasting about urban survival skillzzz. Then again, being a bike messenger in New York can be very difficult--at least when compared to being a bike messenger in Los Angeles, which mostly just involves modeling:



Though this is not to say it isn't also possible to take a potentially dangerous wrong turn when working as a bike messenger in LA. However, instead of, say, getting hit by a truck, you're more likely to fall victim to the unsafe-for-work world of messenger-themed porn:

Guess he was a little late on that "triple rush."

Speaking of porn, I can't help noticing that many of VeloNews's "Training Center" articles are are at least mildly suggestive:

You can see this when you implement the old "add 'in bed' to the fortune cookie fortune" trick:

Then again, maybe I'm watching too much messenger porn.

Finally, speaking of bicycle delivery and things that are sexually suggestive, a reader informs me that a woman in San Francisco will rendez-vous with you in order to give you some hot pie:



These days you can get your cupcake-sized pies delivered by bicycle if you live in the right San Francisco neighborhood, or can convince Natalie Galatzer of Bike Basket Pies to schedule a rendezvous because you can't live without her apple-cheddar, shaker orange or sweet potato-chard mini-pies.

Yes, pies are apparenty the new cupcake:

In short, pie seems to have hit a tipping point similar to the one that propelled the lowly cupcake to pastry superstardom.

Right. Because up until a few years ago, cupcakes were totally obscure.

Anyway, I visited the Bike Basket Pies website, which led me to this video:




From it, I learned that the proprietor "started this when I didn't have...I wasn't doing any other kind of like, inspiring...work?" Actually, that's exactly the same, like, reason I'm starting an artisanal "squirrelrito" bicycle delivery service in Portland:

As it happens, I was watching an episode of "No Reservations" last night in which Anthony Bourdain was eating squirrels, and given the "Americana backwoods revival" movement I think the next urban dining trend is going to be Ozarkian cuisine--though I'm giving it a twist by serving it in burrito form. Naturally, my enterprise will be totally sustainable for two reasons:

1) I will deliver your "squirrelrito" by bike;

and

2) Those little fuckers are everywhere.

I also think it's going to be way more successful than the failed "ratrito" joint I previously launched in New York City:

Not only did they make a tasty subway snack, but they also delivered themselves right to your mouth while you were sleeping.

I have no idea why it never caught on.

104 comments:

Anonymous said...

Podium!

theEel said...

firsttt!!??

Anonymous said...

Bbbbb

mgmt said...

snob please use your sarcastic wit on gas545's youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/gaz545

black/jewish irish male seeking latin/asain/mideastern female

le Correcteur said...

Damn! missed podium by seconds!

Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...

smile!

Fingerbang Assistant said...

I woke up in a sprint.

mikeweb said...

Booby traps = bad

Boobies = good

Paul Bowen said...

Top 10!

mgmt said...

i will not type shit next time, its like riasing your hands and falling off the bike 2 feet before the finish line. I had but gave it away to some sucking deuchebags

rfalso said...

Acada-meh Award

hillbilly said...

booya

Anonymous said...

what bleeds for 5 days and doesn't die?

DUH

Women!

thelonious monk said...

wait... I thought seattle was famous for coffee, not portland???

Anonymous said...

Mustache!

ant1 said...

ant1st!

I am a hungry engine said...

http://bicycling.com/blogs/roadrights/2011/03/28/the-bikelash-continues/

See its all about a police commissioner and his bruised ego.

MMMM. Squirrels and Pie

Everything Bourdain does seems yummy.

Anonymous said...

"deuchebags" - translates as 2 French douchebags?

Dan O said...

Top 20 !!

Anonymous said...

anything that cuts down on the squirrel population is a-ok by me.

Anonymous said...

I like trapped boobies...

Twistyface said...

Deluxe Squirrelrito anyone? Mmmmmmm: tasty, low in fat, highly nutritious and cute! There is an idea that (literally) has legs!

Ratrito can go on the 'saver' menu?

And when the brand goes global, you can run Catrito and Dogrito for the Asian market ( the way Italians have Peroni and espresso in McDonalds). Serve 'em up with a little collar and nametag to hold the roll closed?

Recumbabe @ 1:00PM said...

One day, we are all gonna have to pay the pie-per

grog said...

It's 1pm and I'm enjoying a recumbaburrito.

Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...

the recumbataco is good too.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

AAAH SOME

Nogocyclist said...

The last time I had squirrel I regretted it. It was spicy hot. I ate it, but had to use every trick I knew to handle it, mainly sugar, cucumbers, and of course a beverage. It was OK.

The next morning I woke up and made a trip to the artesanal outhouse. Lets just say, the squirrel then got its revenge.

Flaming Hemroids from Hades!

wishiwasmerckx said...

Snob, I will send you my grandmother's recipe for Burgoo (Appalachian squirrel stew)to use for your burrito filling.

JohnVeloBlake said...

Arguing over bike lanes during this wild snowy winter is like arguing over glasses of water during monsoon season. Of course they seem pointless right now.

Marcel Da Chump said...

The dropped-chain while pedaling scenario played itself out when my bike was stolen from me at knife-point, back in the good ol' 70's.
Thelonious Monk, play "Epistrophy" for me!

ringcycles said...

I'd like to place an order,
1 deluxe squirrel'rito
2 possum pita pockets
1 basket of raccoon rings
oh, and can I get a jug of hooch with that? Red is coming over for vitils.

P.S. Nogo: you should know that extra hot squirrel always bites back in the end.

mikeweb said...

I have to say, I've been avoiding Central Park since Kelly's army has been busy there. I live much closer to Prospect Park, but still would like to hit CP for a change of scenery once in a while, but not now.

Anonymous said...

You might not be able to get people to eat them, but if you made seat covers with matching squirrel-hide grips... $$$


balls.

3G said...

HAIR PIES

mikeweb said...

The mini-pie is the flower box 2.0

ricky said...

i been bowhuntin squirrells this year but i allus thro the little fuckers away

if you wants i can mail em up to you

they should be plenty ripe when they gets there

Deutchbag Donnie said...

I go squirrel hunting all the time.

rigtenzin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I've noticed the recumbent lady has tiny nipples. This interests me.

Also, cannibalism is legal in the Ozarks. Anthony better watch out or he'll be on the menu next.

Etherhuffer said...

Perhaps the delivery folks can deliver squirrel and beaver.

ringcycles said...

rigtenzin: Are you suggesting that Snob might not be serving certified free-range 100% squirrel?
Little Bike Shop of Horrors?
Arsenic and Old Spoke Lacing?
The Road (cyclists)?

Anonymous said...

I'm from SF and I was dissapointed to learn that Natalie the Pie Lady is on vacation until mid-April. :(

However, she'll be teaching a pie-tastic workshop at the Brooklyn Brainery (?!?) on April 9th.

Sen. Clinton said...

DVNE BTCH

Bend over boys!

Martin Erzinger said...

Ouch,

I think you nailed it.
One banker/Investment Adviser makes more (and gives more to Bloomburg) than all of the bike shops in NYC combined.

Guys in Lycra or Spandex are easy targets, If they try to evade you, you just run them down.

If you ticket stock brokers in their Mercedes in the park, they may be tempted to move to Vail, or Aspen, or Boulder, or Portland (The Nike part of town)

Anonymous said...

Do not put a mini-pie in my flowerbox

mikeweb said...

Some flower boxes prefer mini-pies.

At least that's what I hear on Bravo channel.

Terre Haute Karl said...

Loosen the rear
Open the rear quick--release skewer.


Not so sure this is a good idea. My nephew had his frame/front wheel chained up to a rack and someone stole his rear wheel. Needless to say he was not very happy.

Neil said...

Say what you will about NYC, at least it's not Toronto...Rob Ford not only hates bike lanes; he also wants everyone looking like the people in Wall-E.

Salty and Sore said...

Hahaha...

Squirrelri-to...

...a tail on two cities....

Excellent post...I'd be laughing out loud, even if it wasn't Wednesday!

Salty and Sore said...

BTW,

I thought eating squirrel was illegal in some states.

And wiwm-
Snob's cool and all, but really? Sharing from your own Grandma?

D. Hawerchuk said...

Tudo Você Haters Chupar Minhas Bolas!!!!

BigBill said...

Yo SmugThug BSNYC, you might put some armidillo on your Osarkian menu, them backwoods revivalists love their possum on a half-shell

Morally Turgid said...

By the way Snobby, you have to turn your acid gaze towards Beaverville, er, Beaverton. Phil Knight, master of third world sweatshops, is worthy of a line or two. Thinks those buck a day workers get Portlandesque grade coffee?

Anonymous said...

I fucking love Clamato!
It is always difficult to find six chicks on different cycles.

-angry dragon

Yoda said...

Preparing squirrel for human consumption, correctly, you are not.

JDH said...

Top 54!

JDH said...

Shit,57!

Anonymous said...

History of the PDX beard.

So it all really started with the more strip clubs.
You could go to Mary's for lunch with your parents and get a sweet butterfly tattoo'd beaver in your face.
Women started shaving their muffins.
Even the gals that weren't 'dancers'.
This created a massive polar shift in hair. Men started acting like mice. Unaware, wimpering and hanging out in the alleys of Powells.

Men of PDX started reconstituting there own being and found out muff on the chin was a liberating way to say...'I like pussy!' or 'I like dick van dyke!'

I feel positive now that the hair can stay on the lisps.

-angry dragon

Donald McGuinty said...

"Williamsburg only without a real city around it" = Seattle, and my god does it suck here.

ricky said...

im tellin you

that angry dragon feller is some dooshbag who is like 50 years old

bald and fat and aint got no pussy for who knows how long

hes jest shittin you fellers

Anonymous said...

I like douching
And yes that is why I live in PDX

Yep folks I am happy when it rains.

Getting cryptic on your ass

-angry dragon

Anonymous said...

So we get commie cannuck, samh and angry dragon.

I wiLl put all my bills into BGW's belt...or purse, or whatever that thing is.

chaucer said...

I prefer to free trapped boobies.
And watch squirrels climb up trees.
My bike rides nice, check one.
My bike rides nice, check two.
And you don't stop
'til the light turns red.

Anonymous said...

Holy smokes Ricky
Maybe you should get rad?
Panties in a bunch?
You need to start thinking straight.
Otherwise known a a massive penis.

Ricky change you your name to Roger.

Roger that...military code to check out that beaver.

-angry dragon

Anonymous said...

Hairy bushs' are sweet!
Like cabbage into sour kraute
Gotta love the tang..

Anonymous said...

You can eat about anything, as long, as you put all the right
fixies on it.

g-roc said...

Hey at least jizz-nostrils breaks up the sausage fest.

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

mgmt 12:34, someone in the comments mentioned gaz545 a couple month ago, so I had a look and actually found his videos pretty entertaining in a strange way. Not as entertaining as messenger porn videos of course... where a "MILF" is a "Message I'd Like to Fax"; where "ATM" stands for "Assignee To Messenger" (not the way nature intended it!); and where "POV" is... actually that's pretty close to what gaz525 does.

ce said...

That was comment 69, of course.

ce said...

Sorry gaz545, not 525. gaz525 is the one with the lawn mower mounted camera who gives opinions about how the grass is growing and so forth.

Anonymous said...

so he drops me 'cause i don't own a tool now i know i mean i knew it!

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Fixie Bikes said...

"Or, for you rural folk, I'm this happy:" lol that made me smile

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