Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Knee-Jerk Reaction: All Out of Proportion

I'm in the market for a new road bike. Do I need a new road bike? Of course not. However, as a bicycle cyclist I know that riding the undulations of consumer trends is even more important than riding the actual bicycles. So, even though my current road bike is almost exactly like the new road bikes, and even though like most non-professional road cyclists I'm profoundly slow, it's essential that I spend many thousands of dollars on a new "steed" that reflects the subtle changes in head tube diameter and decal design that drive the bicycle cycling industry.

But which bike to choose? Well, there's a bewildering array of road cycling bicycles available today, and even though most of them come out of the same factory it can be very difficult to decide which one best expresses my own unique brand of sucking at bike racing. Therefore, I found myself in quite a quandary--until I remembered that I write for the world's leading bike magazine, which is, of course, "Bicycling." So I reached for the latest issue, in which I read the following words about a road bicycling bicycle cycle called the "Bianchi Oltre Super Record:"

On my second ride, climbing a small hill, I stood and smashed on the pedals. The Oltre leapt forward as if shocked, so I kept going. The bike craved the speed, asking me for more. For three hours, I kept pushing. The Oltre carved corners, mowed down rollers and zipped through long straightaways. On dirt sections, the whip-thin seatstays helped me float over washboards and winter potholes. It's no surprise that in Italian the name of Bianchi's top-of-the-line road model means "beyond."

No sooner had I finished reading that paragraph than the $11,000 (!) which this cycling bicycle costs practically leaped out of my pocket, grabbed me by the "pants yabbies," and dragged me to my LBS. I mean, this bike sounded perfect. The truth is, like most roadies, I actually hate cycling, so the idea of a bicycle that does most of the work for me is very appealing. Also, $11,000 isn't actually that much money, since the review specifically mentions that the bike also "mowed" stuff. That means I won't have to buy that $11,449 John Deere X748 Ultimate Tractor I've also had my eye on, so when you really think about it I'm actually saving $449 bucks! (In case you're wondering, I plan to spend that money on a Garmin, which might help me finally tell my ass from my elbow.)

I wonder if they'll have a Bianchi Oltre Outre Super Duper Deluxe Record (presumably at a stand equipped with an artisanal Fred drool-collecting vessel) at the New Amsterdam Bicycle Show, which takes place in New York City this coming Saturday:

I'm not sure why people find the retro-grouchey "New Amsterdam" appellation charming. I suppose they forget that, back when New York City was Dutch, it wasn't full of bicycles--actually, it was full of slaves. There's nothing charming about that. Anyway, the promotional email I received concerning this event said that the New Amsterdam Bicycle Show "kicks off Bike Month NYC 2011," and given the current cycling climate here in New York this should be the most awkward and uncomfortable Bike Month to date. At best, Bike Month NYC 2011 will evoke that one Thanksgiving just after your parents announced that they were divorcing, your brother showed up with a prostitute who kept excusing herself from the table to "use the bathroom," and your sister reported she just flunked out of Bard. (Obviously this is a fictional scenario, since it is completely impossible to flunk out of Bard.) I wonder if any of the exhibitors will get ticketed by the NYPD for rolling their bikes across the sidewalk and into the venue, or for not having lights and bells on them, or for handling them without wearing "helments." Other cities may treat bike shows with a certain degree of respect since they're sources of revenue, but in New York City a bike show generates about as much tax revenue for the city as a single Carrie Bradshaw wannabe shopping at Barney's during her lunch hour, so I expect the New Amsterdam Bicycle Show to be received about as warmly as Critical Mass.

Meanwhile, cyclists who oppose bike lanes like to claim that "the Man" wants to herd us all into them like they're some kind of "bicycle ghetto," and while I used to scoff at this I'm beginning to think there may be something to it. Via the Twitter, it seems like the latest phase of the NYPD's "bicycle crackdown" involves ticketing cyclists for straying from the bike lane:

Sure, it's not quite as bad as the old "block the bike lane and then ticket cyclists for leaving it" flim-flam, but it's still pretty irritating--especially since it's not illegal. Nevertheless, I do think we need to have compassion for the individual officers. I'm sure these directives are coming from somewhere "on high," and I'm also sure at least a few of these officers joined the force with an honest desire to "serve and protect," only to become disillusioned when they discovered only three avenues were open to them:

1) Ticket people on bikes for not doing anything wrong;
3) Escort celebrities like Puff Daddy or P-Dandy or Fluff Daniels or whatever his name is now:

That last one really must sting, especially when you consider Muff Caddy's fortune is built at least in part on producing drug dealing primers like the "Ten Crack Commandments."

Then again, maybe ticketing cyclists does qualify as "serving and protecting" the general public, for according to the New York Post* 24% of cyclists don't stop at red lights:

*I am no longer linking to stupid New York Post bicycle articles since I don't want to contribute to their website traffic; instead I will simply reprint these articles in their entirety.

Bicycles built for boors
April 26, 2011

New Yorkers take it as a given that far too many bicyclists are clueless, boors or bullies -- and City Hall's ill-considered decision to cede them wide swaths of municipal boulevards has reinforced that conviction.

It seems that three-fifths of bikers are willing to obey traffic laws -- and the rest are still ripping around town like hell on wheels.

A week-long Post investigation in cycle-friendly SoHo found that more than 40 percent of bikers at one location blew through red lights -- imagine that! -- and committed other serious moving violations, too.

Observing the 7,182 cyclists using the well-worn bike lanes at Lafayette and Prince streets, Post reporters found:

* 1,759 bikers ran red lights (24 percent of traffic there).

* 1,111 rode the wrong way or swerved in and out of bike lanes (15 percent).

* 81 rode on the sidewalk (which is illegal for adults).

Those violations are no joke -- there were close scrapes and near-collisions every 15 minutes during the week.

But police handed out not a single ticket -- despite the 2,951 violations The Post witnessed.

All that came in an area where Mayor Mike and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan remade the roadway in an effort to make streets safer.

But the fact is that bikers are indeed boors -- and Sadik-Khan's sacrifice of miles of city traffic lanes for their benefit hasn't made them any better behaved.

Bike activists (hey, New York has all sorts of activists) claim cyclists have been the victims of an unjustified NYPD crackdown lately.

Unjustified?

If you ask us, the cops can't crack down hard enough.

They need to keep it up.

The spuriousness of this "investigation" aside, I'd say 24% non-compliance is actually pretty damn good, especially when you consider that roughly zero percent of motorists observe any of the stop signs in my neighborhood, and that, during a seven-second walk signal on Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn, at least two or three cars will typically blow through the red at full speed.

But yes, by all means, let's crack down on the cyclists. Apparently the Department of Transportation agrees, since, as I mentioned yesterday, they want us all to take a "Bike Smart Pledge:"

At the very least, they could furnish us with a more realistic oath. I propose something like the following:

I want to help keep cycling in New York City remedial. I pledge to:

1) "Rock" a crabon front wheel that costs more than the rest of my "tarck" bike;

2) Pen an impassioned screed on Craigslist when aforementioned "tarck" bike is stolen while I'm getting drunk in a stylized dive bar;

3) Make sure at least 25% of my posterior crack is exposed at all times;

4) Hire a coach to help me upgrade from Cat 5 to Cat 4;

5) Wear a full-face helmet and body armor when riding my downhill bike on Prospect Park nature trails.

I'm proud to report we're already at near-100% compliance.

At any rate, if asking us to take a "pledge" weren't ridiculous enough, the DOT is also embarking on a "Don't Be a Jerk" cycling PSA campaign:

Now, there are certainly some really bad cyclists out there, many of whom might qualify as "jerks," but for the most part these really bad cyclists are just hurting themselves. And yes, while the cyclist who runs a red light and gets killed by a car is ultimately responsible for his fate, I think calling him a "jerk" is in rather poor taste. At the very least, as an entity that should be looking out for people, I don't think the DOT is in a position to be calling anybody a "jerk." Maybe I'd be okay with it if they insulted motorists too, but I went to the DOT's website and all I found there was advice on how they can park and avoid traffic. That's just unfair. If we're going to have insult-based PSAs, they should cover everybody, and the invective should be commensurate with the amount of damage the vehicle is likely to cause. This would mean that if cyclists are going to get "Don't Be a Jerk," then motorists should get something like this:

Sure, it's a bit harsh, but I've also never heard of a cyclist losing control of his bicycle on the 59th Street bridge and plowing into a check cashing place.

Speaking of Craigslist, Prospect Park, and plowing into things, as the spring arrives in New York City the "missed connections" become increasingly "flambullient:"


Beautiful Goddess in the park - m4w (Prospect park)
Date: 2011-04-26, 10:53PM EDT

I was riding my bike tonight in prospect park, getting my sweat on, and there you appeared: A vision of Olympus, you beautiful black Goddess. I nearly crashed my bike into the jogger a few feet ahead of you trying to crane my neck back to get a better look at you. Your round ass was God's best work for whatever decade you were born.. I'm guessing it was the 70s. Your voluptuous breasts were mouth watering. You were walking with someone else.. they looked like a pile of dead raccoons next to you. You had long hair.. I think it was extensions of some sort. It has been nearly an hour since my encountering you and all I can think about is motorboating your ass cheeks. My God that ass was madness...madness I tell you!


I wonder if this is what the DOT means about being a jerk.

75 comments:

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

No comment!

ervgopwr said...

early podium. I'll take it.

ervgopwr said...

my brother, ervgopwr for third too.

mikeweb said...

Podium?

Anonymous said...

Top ten yahoo!

Anonymous said...

It’s lonely up here….

le Correcteur said...

Top ten! Finally!

Ride or Pie said...

Top ten? Btw, P. Diddy should be commended for the environmentally sound choice of motorcade over helicopter!

mikeweb said...

I have serious GC aspirations this week.

Anonymous said...

first!

ervgopwr said...

Snob, please forward your cocksucking PSA to your DOT. This needs to be said more often: bikes are life machines, cars are killing machines.

MOTR BOAT

mikeweb said...

A little response I wrote to the editorial desk of the NY Post yesterday:

Very nice one-sided editorial!

I wonder if the NY Post also had a radar gun to see the percentage of vehicles that were speeding? It's too bad that those big bad cyclists are the only ones 'blowing through' red lights. I'll remember that the next time I'm almost killed by a driver blowing through a red light, which by the way, happened to me two days in a row last week. When cyclists break the law, the biggest danger they pose is to their own safety. When a driver behind the wheel of a 3000-6000 lb automobile breaks a traffic law the biggest danger they pose is to everyone else: mainly pedestrians and cyclists. The statistics overwhelmingly bear this out.

The NYPD's 'crackdown' on cyclists is the traffic safety equivalent of trying to lose weight by switching to to diet soda but continuing to eat mass quantities of fast food and half gallons of ice cream in one sitting.

Anonymous said...

nerds! top 20.

Anonymous said...

-Inside the time limit. Headtubes and decals, well done.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Funny, funny post today bsnyc. Glad you are back.

What a coincidence, I just got a new road cycling bicycle. You may be relieved to note that it's not a recumbent. I'm gonna use it to dominate the local rail trail.

Brother John said...

She wasn't a hooker- she just needed to borrow a few bucks and loves to party. oh yeah, she also loves turkey and stuffing, and fucking.

ant1 said...

ant1st!

Anonymous said...

What What?!?!?!

Stiveaux said...

Snob, you are doing God's work here, especially when you're revealing the out-of-bounds DOT stuff and kicking literary ass while doing it. Pulitzer!

g said...

I don't want to appear racist, but doesn't that 40-something with the big ass, tits and weave sound like a hooker to anyone else? I think the pile of "dead raccoons" next to her was a pimp in a fur coat.
But maybe I'm just being a jerk...

Pile of dead racoons said...

Fuck you, Craigslist!

Anonymous said...

I spotted the tri-retro-fred in the Sky Mall catalog on a flight yesterday. Keep up the good work, y'all.


balls.

JERK said...

I'm one with the road
I'm edgy
I'm gonna Biker my Cycle!

Marcel Da Chump said...

The NY Piss, er--Post can't hide its anti-bike bias. The fact that there are no bike racks anywhere near their office building, 1211 Ave. of the Americas, speaks volumes to their bicycle cycling animosity. Their building covers 47th and 48th streets and has not a single bike rack. Pathetic, when you consider neighboring bulidings have multiple bike racks.
I'm in no mood to rip Rupert again. Why spoil my day? It's springtime and the ladies look lovely.

Matthew Ruscigno said...

Angry posts are my favorite!

samh said...

Oh snap. DON'T BE A COCKSUCKER

Bad Lawyer said...

That last Craigslist-missed-connection listing makes me think that R Crumb is now a cyclist.

hillbilly said...

awesome!!!! don't be a fucking cocksucker, love it!

ps - I may not have flunked out of Bard, but I was placed on social probation for smoking pot.

Velo Shitstorm said...

Road bike? Join the dark side Snobby
http://veloshitstorm.blogspot.com/2011/04/whats-with-this-shit-product-review.html

Bad Lawyer said...

Yeah, yeah, "Don't Be a C%$ks&%#er," he said smugly.

Grump said...

Snob, be careful reprinting articles. Just last week, there was a piece on NPR (Nationwide Pubic Responsibility) about how some lawyers are making big bucks with lawsuits from blogers who reprint without permission.

I suck less engine said...

You don't need a new bike, just a new bike computer. One that says "You suck less" instead of your current one that says "You Suck".

Anonymous said...

"getting my sweat on"

on what?

Anonymous said...

funny missed connections who hasn't thought about motorboating someones ass cheeks.

You should consider a giant defy advanced 3 compact. under $2k, full crabon and shimano 105. if you suck at bicycle cycling like the rest of us there is no need to spend $11k when you can suck just as well for $9k less.

fuck the police and fuck bloomberg.

mikeweb said...

@marcel,

Correct. I work right across 47th st. from "The Deathstar" as I call it. Eventhough there's a law that buildings must provide protected bike parking for residents and/or employees, I'm sure they've found a way around it. Or maybe they just fire anyone who inquires about it.

mikeweb said...

Why spoil my day? It's springtime and the ladies look lovely.

I think we found the source of the CL missed connections ad.

Anonymous said...

Panties! Panties!
Panties!

Phred said...

Do all NYC bicycling cyclists ride around like those douche bag triple rushers ?
how rude...

Marcel Da Chump said...

Hell yeah!
She was one bad mamma jamma!

Regarding the "Death Star", I know whereof I speak: I'm at the Time&Life Building.

mikeweb said...

I figured you were in the 'neighborhood'.

Coincidentally, I was riding in PP myself last evening and I'm pretty sure I saw the fine lady who was the subject of that silver tounged screed. I concur - minus the motor boating part though.

mikeweb said...

Wow, this is too good not to share (via the velominati)

The motto at the top of the page is hilarious.

ce said...

The catchphrase of a well known Australian PSA found on billboards and TV a few years ago went: "If you drink, then drive, you're a bloody idiot". It's a pity DOT didn't commission the same Aussie advertising agency to rustle up something for NYC. "Don't Be a Cunt" would have captured the hearts and minds of the cycling menace for sure.

Heinrich said...

Who decided that Bicycling is the "worlds leading" bicycle mag?

Isn't Olympus a dude?

Radfahren Macht Frei

yogisurf said...

He said Motorboat...hee hee.

Pontius Pilate said...

HAIL CSZR

-P.P.

bikesgonewild said...

...two talents in one...nothing like a good 'fucking cocksucker'...

...key word, 'good'...

...i like a well rounded woman...

Salty and Sore said...

So, about that NYDOT new PSA....



..really?.....

Not sure I agree.. but anyway.

"given the current cycling climate here in New York, this should be the most awkward and uncomfortable Bike Month to date."

And isn't that what makes us crazy road bicycle cycling bicycle cyclists so angst-y and great? (hahaha... eat it hipsters...)

Anonymous said...

Dear mikeweb 3:04pm, oh my god-- the champion, the power, his tool. One tool Mario clearly kept forgetting, though, was his helmet. Speaking as one of the ladies, he does not look better without it on, just more stupid. Snobby-- can you do a special blog entry in honor of this video?

Hard to say which part was my favorite, but I liked the shots of Mario, helmet-free, rocketing down the road, interspersed with footage of a waterfall. I kept hoping he would go careening over it. Maybe he did-- I lost interest before the end...

Salty and Sore said...

@BGW-

My point exactly! Thank you.

And "Don't be a Dick" doesn't work either. Dicks don't deserve the insult.

mikeweb said...

Maybe the DOT PSA for drivers should be called "Don't be a manslaughterer".

bikesgonewild said...

...salty n' sore...you can't beat talent & enthusiasm, no matter what the activity...

...& attitude & enthusiasm can make up for a lack of talent, while at the same time developing it...

...just observin'...eyes wide open...

Twistyface said...

Mario with no 'helment'? Obviously this wasnt filmed in NYC then...

trailerparkcyclist said...

I thought Diddy was taller.

Journal of Illustrated Science said...

i did not know asscheecks could be motorboated. huzzah!

Anonymous said...

care to comment on the absurdity of limiting bikes to 10mph on the Golden Gate bridge for "safety"?

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/04/23/BAKE1J669E.DTL

g-roc said...

Wow, anon 4:18, I didn't quite get your point. Maybe next time try being a little more self-righteous.

-helmetridingbicyclecylistpartlybecausemygummintsaysihaveto

Twistyface said...

Wonder if the 'Missed Connection' lady will feature in an episode of 'rare ass roller'?

I Go Around and Around said...

Nice day in Central Park today. I stopped for two little old ladies who wanted to cross against the light, albeit at a crosswalk. As they went across the street in front of me after I assured them I was not going to hit them, one of them said to the other, "See, they don't stop for people here either."

WTF.

Anonymous said...

@I Go Around and Around.. I think what they meant is that if you have to tell them you won't hit them, then you know many cyclists at that point won't stop and just might hit them. You did the right thing by them and for the cycling community, but people only remember the bad, never the good. So as long as there is one person who runs red lights and stop signs, no pedestrian will ever feel safe.

Anonymous said...

This 'blog' is rapidly becoming the 'go-to' destination for the literary equivalent of a bit of great daily 'stand-up'.
'that KILLED Jerry, it just KILLED!'

Anonymous said...

chuckling like a madman while reading BSNYC. It doesn't get much better...thanks.

Chazu said...

Daily Dose: Ingested.

Thanks Snob.

Osterreich said...

Aw, this was a really great post. In theory I'd like to write like this also - taking time and real effort to make a good article... but what can I say... I procrastinate alot and never seem to get something done.

I Go Around and Around said...

@anonymous 7:36PM - I am sure you are right. In fact, I know you are right because I have seen pacelines go through the park at a fairly high rate of speed with nary a pause. On the other hand, I've gone by people with at least 20 feet between me & them and heard, "Oh my god, he almost hit me!"

I think New Yorkers just like to bitch. It is how they know they aren't dead. Yet. But it could happen. In fact, just the other day, I almost......

leroy said...

President in NYC tonight, only way to avoid grid lock is on a bike even if all the additional cops standing around with nothing to do but stare at cycling bicylist doesn't inspire warm and fuzzy feelings of good cheer.

How about for bike month the NYPD and the NY Post ratchet down the stupidity factor.

How can you have a bike month and a war on the terror that is cycling?

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

...leroy...you ought to e-mail bloomberg something along those lines...no joke...

...there's only a few more days to implement your positive message before 'bike month' starts on monday...

...i live thousands of miles away & the only way it will affect me is through what i'll read here but i'd love to see you create a positive effect...

...it's gotta start "at the top" but it seems as if nyc cops are "over the top" in how they handle cyclists...

...either way, good luck...

Anonymous said...

Here what i found -> vision correction

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Labia Major Taylor said...

artisinal white people love "New Amsterdam" because it means they could own negros (slaves) who, most likely, spoke DUTCH in addition to-- depending on where in the 17th through early 19th century we are-- whatever bits of their respective African dialect remained.

Anonymous said...

art-is-anal of course

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Fixie Bikes said...

Diddy should be able to buy his own escorts.

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