Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hold the Mayo: Good Times, Bad Times

Like most cyclists who don Lycra and straddle "roading bikes" from time to time, I have a short route of which I avail myself when I have an open window for recreational bicycle cycling, but not open enough that I can undertake a so-called "epic." While flatter than Levi Leipheimer's personality my route still beats doing laps in the park, and while the NĂ¼-Williamsburgers have recently discovered it as a way to get to the beach, during the off-season the bicycle traffic remains light. So it was with just such a window that I perched myself atop my Ritte van Vlaanderen roadular-style bikecycle and pedaled off into obscurity.

This time, though, something was amiss, and as I reached the water I noticed a cyclist wearing a bib displaying the dreaded Transportation Alternatives logo. And then another. And another. Soon the streets were awash with Freds and that's when I realized it:

I had been trapped in the New York City Century Bike Tour, and they were going exactly where I was.

Letting out a mighty scream, I ran through my options. Change my route? Sure, but where? There was nowhere else to go but into the sea. Seek shelter in an Applebee's and wait it out? Possibly, but at the pace the Freds were riding that could take days, and by then I'd have died of cholesterol poisoning. Surrender and go home? Never!!! So I resolved to grit my loins, gird my teeth, and bear it.

Now, I may have overreacted a bit, but the truth is I have some baggage where the New York City Century Bike Tour is concerned. A good many years ago, I actually took part in it. My principal recollection is sitting through a big speech at the start about how the streets were open to traffic and as such we were to obey all lights and traffic signals. Not wanting to besmirch the good name of cyclists everywhere, I took this admonition to heart, but apparently nobody else did, because at the very first red light I encountered I stopped, the people behind me didn't, and my rear wheel was transformed into a 700c taco. If it wasn't for a helpful marshall who was handy with a spoke wrench, my Fred-tastic adventure might have ended right then and there.

Of course, the what makes the New York City Century Bike Tour the New York City Bike Tour is that it never actually leaves New York City, beyond which you can actually find some very lovely roads. This makes the New York City Century Bike Tour the Fred ride equivalent of riding your trainer inside your apartment on a beautiful day--though you do get to see a great deal of the city, even if some of it is arguably better seen from inside an elevated subway train.

Anyway, the worst part of getting trapped in the New York City Century Bike Tour was the return trip over the bridge, which meant that I had to go against the flow of Freds. I might have taken a different bridge, but there simply wasn't time, and so even though it was technically a two-way path I effectively became a "Fred Ride Salmon." If you're ever forced into becoming a Fred Ride Salmon, here are two things to remember:

1) When Freds see oncoming cyclists, their handlebars begin to shake uncontrollably and they start weaving;

2) In the Fred World, there is no compassion or mercy, and Fred will attack Fred as soon as there's any hint of elevation. This means that, if you're Fred Ride Salmoning on a bridge, your path will be blocked by aggressive oncoming Freds who are sprinting with their hands still on the bar tops.

Given these two immutable laws of Fred physics, I stopped for a bit, grabbed a handful of guardrail, and waited for a big clump of Freds to pass. I'm glad I did, too, because the action evoked an Alpine pass during the Tour de France. First came the breakaway:

Then came the chase:


Followed by the maillot jaune himself:



As well as the maillot jaune:


Miss the yellow jersey while watching the Tour de France and that's it; miss him while watching a Fred ride and you can be sure at least 20 more will be along shortly.

As I watched, I wished I had bits of newspaper to hand to the riders for the descent--or, failing that, perhaps even some musettes full of mayonnaise. Speaking of mayonnaise, you may have heard by now that somebody is opening an "artisanal mayo shop" in Brooklyn:


Yes, apparently there's a "condiment revolution" going on, and here's how the mayo purveyors themselves describe the endeavor:

Luxury mayonnaise, exciting exotic flavors designed by Chef Sam Mason, managed by designer Elizabeth Valleau.

Indeed, these are the times that try men's souls. As the "condiment revolution" continues to lay waste to tables everywhere, it remains to be seen whether fortune will favor the Hellmann's loyalists, or if the forces of artisanal douchery will ultimately prevail. Personally, I predict that "condiment culture" will soon reach its apotheosis with the opening of this store and then begin inevitable its downfall, finally "jumping the shark" with the release of the Hollywood feature film, "Premium Relish"

Meanwhile, not too far from the location of the [it even hurts me to type it] luxury mayonnaise shop, it seems that iPhone theft is on the rise:

While I abhor theft, it's also comforting to know that there's an overall balance that governs the universe, since I imagine douches of all stripes flocking to the area to acquire luxury mayo and being relieved of their iPhones in the process. Of course, the smart iPhone owner knows to protect his or her investment, which is why I know my new theft-proof iPhone skins are going to be a huge success. My design camouflages your iPhone as something nobody could possibly ever want to steal, and that's a paperback copy of Marcel Proust's "Swann's Way," volume one of his seven-volume novel, "Remembrance of Things Past:"


Note the exquisite artisanally-curated etching, designed to appeal to the luxury mayo set:

Simply retract the cover and use your iPhone as you normally would. It functions in portrait mode:

As well as landscape:


Rest assured your iPhone's functionality will not be limited in any way, and you can use it for all the things you normally would--including downloading and reading electronic books:

Just don't attempt to read the iPhone skin itself, as ocular contact with paper can damage your vision irrevocably. Just ask App*e, G**gle, and Amaz*n.

In any case, this iPhone theft uptick was brought to my attention by Stephen Arthur, who you may recognize as the cyclist who got hit in the head by a brick hurled from an overpass. He informs me he also spoke at the aforementioned council meeting:

Cyclist Steve Arthur was at the meeting to give a statement regarding an incident on August 12 at the Navy Street pedestrian overpass, which connects the Walt Whitman and Ingersoll housing developments. He was biking home from work around 6:30 p.m., when a brick was thrown from the overpass, hitting him in the face and puncturing his cheek.

Apparently, though, flying bricks is of less concern to our society than smartphone theft:

This might be another case of “kids being kids,” Inspector Tasso said, adding that he had not received many more complaints about the area.

In other words, "Bash our heads in, just don't take our iPhones!" Fortunately though, there is a solution to the brick-hurling in the works:

Councilwoman Letitia James stepped in to say that she has spoke with the New York City Department of Transportation and they have agreed to renovate the area in the next year, raising the height of the overpass and asking neighborhood children to paint a mural.

Now, I'm no physicist, but wouldn't raising the height of the overpass just make all those bricks fall even harder? As for the mural, I'm not sure what that's supposed to do either. I guess the idea is that it will be so lavish that it will draw potential assailants in with its beauty and make them forget what they were doing. "Hey, let's bash that guy's...wow, that brushwork is absolutely sublime!" [Teen assailant drops brick, begins tearing slightly, and...scene. Cue music.]

Or, as Diego Rivera famously said, "More murals, or Ima fucking kill you."

Anyway, given the state of affairs in New York, it's no wonder people post comments like this one on yesterday's post:

disgrutled said...

Snob, your blog has 99% convinced me to never visit NYC again. What twits.

September 21, 2011 11:28 AM

While New York City is nevertheless a wonderful place to visit, I can't say I blame him, and if you'd prefer not to bother you can just ponder this map instead which will show you what you're missing:

Strange days indeed.

118 comments:

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Nice!

Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...

done

PawnShop said...

Damn

Kenny Banya said...

top ten

Anonymous said...

5th is better than nothin'

screaming skull said...

I remember Proust!

Anonymous said...

yay i finished!

Anonymous Coward said...

top ten

Anonymous said...

Top ten

Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...

", because at the very first red light I encountered I stopped, the people behind me didn't, and my rear wheel was transformed into a 700c taco. If it wasn't for a helpful marshall who was handy with a spoke wrench, my Fred-tastic adventure might have ended right then and there."

Snob, that was YOU!!!!????

Ha! right on 5th - like at 85th or 79th, right? wow - I was on your left - also stopped and also pissed that guy hit you. by the way, if you hadn't stopped, a Cab coming out of the Traverse, with the right of way, was going to flatten you.

db said...

Century rides in general bring out the ass-hats, not just in NYC but everywhere.

While I like the idea of charity rides, their execution is usually hampered by folks who really should not be riding bikecycles in traffic. I've had more close calls in the first five minutes of a couple centuries than I have in years of every-day commuting.

Jasper said...

Still jet-lagged? I'm not complaining mind, as I get to read this before having to start work

Anonymous said...

I'll take 12.

cycle

Dave said...

Snob, an extra 's' before Diego Rivera. I don't usually offer edits, but I think the second 's' may change the meaning of what you were trying to say. I mean Diego Rivera may be a jerk but....

mikeweb said...

Maillot meh.

rct FTW!!

Uncle Thurston said...

Buffy, could you pass the luxury mayonnaise, please? There's a pet.

Jasper said...

Okay, having read it and still not needing to be at work, I have to say "Remembrance" - only three 'e's, just like the guy from the Happy Mondays - and tsk, it's not a nacho, it's a madeleine, named because it looks like that mountain they are always doing in the Tour.

Anonymous said...

Whoa!! Top Twenty?
[way to go, RCT!!]

grog said...

recumbant reading with my babe.

JB said...

Was ist das?
Das ist ein Kugelschreiber.

Just sayin' said...

Jasper, the nacho reference was a joke. A subtle one, sure, but that's why the Lobbites are gathering momentum as Hipsterism fades.

Jolene said...

Ah ain't wearin' no clothes!

Anonymous said...

LOB BITE

LUXO MAYO

MASS FRED

Amy said...

I also laughed out loud at the Transportation Alternatives admonition to follow all traffic laws...I saw some of the worst behaved cycling I'd seen in a long time...pretty much everything except salmoning. The NYC Century was interesting but having seen more of the Bronx and Queens than I'd ever imagined I'd ever need to see again, I don't think I need to repeat the experience.

Cortelyou Anquetil said...

Snob--

You might not have had time to do so but instead of coming back over Marine Parkway Bridge, heading to the Cross Bay gets you away from douche peloton.

Also, speaking as someone who actually ** GREW UP ** on Beach 86th St, I hope the re-(tard) "discovery" of the Rockaways is soon buried with "fixies," "REM," and "pet rocks" among cultural detritus best forgotten.

Coming back via Broad Channel, Howard Beach, East New York, Canarsie is a blast btw-- there are other cyclists but they're mostly harmless weirdos and the black dudes who long rides to Hempstead or wherever further out on Long Island.

If only "Transportation Alternatives" existed when I was growing up I'd know how to get around better.

Big Charlie said...

A guy on a recumbent passed me today and I thought to myself "I wonder if he is married to recumbabe?" And then I laughed out loud.

So sad what is happening to me.

Marcel Da Chump said...

A la recherche du temps perdu?

Fuggedaboutit!!!

rural 14 said...

ant 2nd!

Personal best!!

The rural family is comin' to New York for a visit. If you see a happy guy on a bike friday tandem w a fiercely pedaling 8 year old on the back (doing all the work) - don't taco my wheel! Will the red carpet be rolling out?

BikeSnobNYC said...

Jasper,

Misspelling "remembrance" was an accident, but the nacho thing was on purpose.

--Wildcat Remembrance Machine

Mitt Jagger said...

Manhattan Mit Mayo! Da!

bacycles said...

TOp 30. Best that an Aussie can do. It's the middle of the freakin' night!

Anonymous said...

The city's response to someone throwing a brick off an overpass at someone is exactly the kind of crap that pisses me off. Damn, Another crappy mural, an expensive and pointless public work project that does nothing to solve the problem.
And the likes of Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann have credibility problems?

OBA said...

I spent a portion of the TA century near a rider in a Toga kit with "Bike Snob NYC" on the back of his jersey -- you're now so ubiquitous that you are actually part of the Fred uniform.

Anonymous Coward said...

I love the pained/puzzled expression on th first malloiet jaune as well as his tentative brake lever grasp.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I live out here in California. I keep hearing about "the Climb" in Prospect Park. How big is this climb? Everytime someone mentions it they make it sound as though it's brutal, I've never seen a photo of the NYC area that makes they area look anything but totally flat.
Anyone?
Anyone?

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 12:18pm,

It is quite formidable, requiring a moderately fit cyclist to downshift by as many as two (2) cogs.

Or, in "fixie" terms, you may have to get out of the saddle, and the keys hanging from your pants will jingle slightly.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

mikeweb said...

@anon 12:18,

Behold the epic-ness.

Anonymous said...

"Preminum Relish" holy crap Snob I spewed Snapple on my dell.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

I like the clouds in the "freds-crossing-bridge" sequence. Looked like a nice day for a ride.

I notice clouds when I ride my recumbent bike.

Isolation Helmet said...

There is no "climb" in Prospect Park. There is a bit of a hill but it is not steep and it is not long.

Nogocyclist said...

Artisanal mayo?

Flavored mayonnaise is just Salad Dressing. No matter what you call it, it's still just simply Salad Dressing.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 12:18pm,

Your next question is probably, "Is there a KOM jersey for it?" Yes. Yes there is.


--Wildcat Rock Machine

skink said...

Hey, everybody!

Let's get naked with Jolene!

Sram Tweed said...

Distance 0.4 mi

Avg Grade 3.6%

Lowest Elevation 89 ft

Highest Elevation 163 ft

Elev Gain 76 ft

Holy Shit! Out West here, we have some railroad grades that aren't even that steep!

Thanks, Mikeweb.

City Feller said...

Jolene, does this mean you have a computer and an internet connection at home now, or is your local libary a more interesting place than I had imagined?

Anonymous said...

Here's the chips for your artisan condiments...

http://www.fritolay.com/our-snacks/tostitos-artisan-recipes-fire-roasted-chipotle.html

Cortelyou Anquetil said...

@12:18--

There are steeper climbs even in Brooklyn than the Propsect demi-bump tho' I won't say where here to keep the idiots away.

Ask a local to take you to upper Manhattan or the Bronx for some genuinely impressive gradients.

First "fixie" douche ** down ** Fort George Hill or Fairview Ave (Manhattan) or W. Kingsbridge Rd (BX) "wins" something (besides a likely ambulance ride).

Spome random physicist said...

Snob, as for the speed of the brick, I have two words for you: "terminal velocity."

wishiwasmerckx said...

So among all the bullshit and the snide comments, I still have two unanswered questions:

Why don't cyclocrossers wear gloves?

and

How the hell do you pronounce "Ritte?"

ant1 said...

ant1st!

leroy said...

Dear Anon 12:18

Messrs WRM, mikeweb and Isolation Helmet are being modest.

The uncategorized Prospect Park Climb is truly epic.

Its base is jealosuly guarded by a really, really large racoon with a penchant for purloining portable provender. Tary not after the beast extracts his due.

At the summit, you are still miles from an artisianal mayo musette hand-off.

Those who know, call it the Alpe d'Huez of Albemarle.

Charlton Heston said...

"Artisanal mayonnaise is seee...men! ...semen!"

CommieCanuck said...

Chuck H is right. Never touch the stuff.

crosspalms said...

Break out the Skittles.

Random Trespasser said...

That Prospect Park climb is even more demanding than Lance Armstrong's driveway.

Anonymous said...

Yeah "Premium Relish" got me too.

And the people said "A-meh!"

Jolene said...

I'm jes house sittin' fer the naber lady. Ain't sposed to be on the computer but I learnt how to browse in cogneto. She gots a yard man too. He don't speak no english but he sure knows how to fertilize things. I wisht Red and Ricky could watch and maybe learn a thing or two, but thered probly jes be a big fight and I wouldn't get to house sit no more.

Anonymous said...

< she has spoke with >

With grammar like that, she could easily get a job commentating on football in Scotland.....

"...he's went for tae get the ba'..." sticks in my mind for some reason!

hey nonny mouse

Anonymous said...

After dying on the 5 borough ride last year, I can say that biking in New york is like biking thru hell but with less friendly people. I've done a lot of centuries and organized rides over the years but that one was the only one where everyone seemed to be having a lousy time.

cycle

Anonymous said...

After dying on the 5 borough ride last year, I can say that biking in New york is like biking thru hell but with less friendly people. I've done a lot of centuries and organized rides over the years but that one was the only one where everyone seemed to be having a lousy time.

cycle

BikeSnobNYC said...

Wishiwasmercxk,

I don't know and I don't know.

Speaking for myself, I generally only wear gloves if my hands are cold, and I just assumed it was RITT-uh. I suppose I should ask them.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

xyxax said...

@Mikeweb:

37.1 mph?

Grump said...

As for your "falling bricks" story, wouldn't be a lot cheaper to post a sign that says "Do not throw objects larger than 3 inches in diameter......Violators will be shot"
.
.

Marcel Da Chump said...

Cortelyou Anquetil,
I appreciate you giving the Bronx some credit. Too bad the 5 Boro tour just goes thru the unremarkable flat part.

JB said...

I didn't get out my calculator, but you're not going to get a brick up to terminal velocity from overpass heights. Greater height will get greater brick speeds, but also less accuracy for the tosser. A cheaper alternative would be a tall-ass fence.

Anonymous said...

the nice thing about the end or summer is when the Fast Freddies pack up their gear, train indoors or skate ski. Cold weather is coming and with that winter Biking and BBQ on the Weber. More cold/less bike Freds.

The Bike Douche' said...

Attn: Snob

How about sponsoring a 'Slacker Metric Century'?

Ride 100 meters then a huge bada$$ rip roaring PARTY!!!!!

YESSSS!!!!!

wishiwasmerckx said...

So now Ritte either rhymes with tittie, tit, or wouda/couda/shouda?

Maybe we should also reopen the debate about how you pronounce Joop Zoetemelk's last name.

CSPC said...

Anon 2:07, The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends against indoor use of the Weber grill for indoor BBQ'ing in the wintertime.

mikeweb said...

@xyxax,

Yeah, maybe someone with their bike on the roof rack? Or a 50 MPH tailwind? Motorpacing? Gruber assist? I'm at a loss.

This one is even more supernatural. I specifically like the heart rate for the KOM on that one. That guy's a beast.

CommieCanuck said...

Falling bricks are olde school. In Toronto, we solved this problem by replacing brick buildings with glass ones.
Now just sharp glass falls on the street, ...like every fucking week.

xyxax said...

Will the Fred's be opting for the Mayo jaune?

@Mikeweb

so it's come to people blatantly Stravaricating?

CommieCanuck said...

CSPS..get big guvmint off my back. I can grill my pork wherever I want to.

xyxax said...

oops, a catapostrophe.

bikesgonewild said...

...sounds like you guys is makin' mountains out a' mole hills...

...just sayin'...

bikesgonewild said...

...btw...good podium today...

Anonymous said...

No... THIS one:

http://app.strava.com/segments/268861

or maybe THIS one:

http://app.strava.com/segments/726336

Seven artisanal mayo dwarves said...

aioli, aioli,
it's off to work we go-li

Remedial Freducation said...

Red means stop. Green means go.

Anonymous said...

The rendering of Manhatten in pink makes it look like a meat missle penetrating the loins of Brooklyn and Newark (hipster girls names?), thrusting it's way towards Staten Island, with the Bronx being the ball sack slapping Queens in the forehead. Just sayin....

Don Lycra said...

This ain't no leisure suit baby!

Kenneth Buttercup said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BILF said...

Throw bras, not bricks!

Mayo Jaune said...

Rides

wishiwasmerckx said...

So that's it. Thanks, mayo jaune.

Rit-tuh.

I am an impressed engine. said...

"While no one suffered injuries in that case, reports suggested some glass shards ended up on the plates of diners outside on King Street restaurant patios."

Those wild and crazy canadiens, take just about everything in stride, nonpulsed even on this.

Nebraska bike commuter (non-DWI edition) said...

Proust summarized.

Nebraska bike commuter (non-DWI edition) said...

I'd like to thank the commentariat for leaving me that low-hanging fruit.

Anonymous said...

Very nice post, Snob. Thanks.

leroy said...

Note to self: gotta get spell check for posting from phone. Yeesh.

leroy said...

If I had any pride, I'd be two ashamed to attempt a lead out.

leroy said...

Of coarse, pride goeth before a fall.

leroy said...

Or so I have read.

leroy said...

I mean "red".

Jasper said...

Well I know the nacho thing was a joke, but ah ain't got no sense of huma.
Actually I think it can only be a matter of time before the artisanal cupcake people turn their attentions to the madeleine. Sigh.

Marcel Da Chump said...

Nebraska bike commuter (non-DWI edition),
thanks for that, and for voicing my first comment.

Zoetemelk said...

wiwm - never mind that, how do you pronounce Joop?

skink said...

Uncle Thurston,
the orphanage named me
after one of your songs.

Blog Drafter said...

This taco humor is too subtle for me...please explain. Just a hint maybe, if you don't want to give away any trade secretse.

(Three e's on purpose, mind you.)

Blog Drafter said...

Oh, what the hell...100!

Finney said...

I can't take this artisanal crap anymore.
Same goes for anything curated.
I'VE HAD IT UP TO HERE WITH ALL
THAT ARTISINALLY CURATED GARBAGE,
PUKE, EXCREMENT, DUNG, PISS, PUSS
DIRT, SNOT, CUM, MANURE
ENTRAILS. JISM, VOMIT, GOOK
AND ESPECIALLY...MAYONAISSE!

I'm TIRED OF IT AND I'm NOT GOING
TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!

Finney said...

Actually,


I'M MAD AS HELL!

AND I'M NOT GOING

TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!

Anonymous said...

22:17!

Anonymous said...

Ritte

Joop

Zoetemelk

Wildcat Rock Machine

Podium Girl Jr. said...

I'm Junior Podium Girl. I only do winners. Top Podium guys. Do a Schleck! My Mom did 'The Cipo'! I mean really!

Anonymous said...

mayonnaise looks like pimple puss I'll never eat that shit. never will.

Anonymous said...

taco=pussy; it's time you guys met

Best non-local at Lou Maltese 2011 said...

http://inhabitat.com/revolights-leds-act-as-headlights-and-unique-visibility-lighting-for-your-bike/

Also see link to Kickstarter page within the article

Eclogite_ATX said...

"Rest assured your iPhone's functionality will not be limited in any way, and you can use it for all the things you normally would..."

Odd then, that your phone says "No Service". Perhaps that's the way you normally use your phone...

yogisurf said...

Red Lantern. Premium Relish.

Anonymous said...

Brooklyn Cyclist, Victim Of Brick Attack, Speaks Out
Stephen Arthur's Case Is Just One Of Many That Have Been Unresolved
CBS TV News Segment
http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2011/12/16/brooklyn-cyclist-victim-of-brick-attack-speaks-out/

Anonymous said...

News 12 Brooklyn TV News Segment Video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upE9d9R4hww&feature=g-upl&context=G277a0bcAUAAAAAAAAAA

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Fixie Bikes said...

I generally dislike mayo in my sammichs.

Kugelschreiber Pink said...

Das ist ein Kugelschreiber. ... kugelschreiberpink.blogspot.de