Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Louver or Leave It: The Future of Urban Cycling

Further to yesterday's post, while New York City may be a "bike culture" backwater, at least when it comes to whimsical signage we refuse to be outdone:


Yes, the Department of Transportation's "Curbside Haiku" program has now been implemented, and I must admit I don't understand either the point of the program or indeed the content of the poems themselves.  It's all maddeningly precious and cutesy, and if we have to have signs like these I'd much rather see something more prosaic:


Sure it's a bit brusk, but maybe if the signs would say it then we wouldn't have to, and the streets would be a friendlier place.

Speaking of discourteous behavior, last Saturday I rode my bicycle to the New Amsterdam Bike Show.  Now, even though I "curate" a bicycle-themed blog, the fact is I gave up cycling a long time ago and now travel exclusively by chauffeured limousine.  However, the smugmongers at Transportation Alternatives actually dispatched a pedicab instead of a Town Car to pick me up, and there's no way I'd be seen traveling about town in such an undignified manner.  Therefore, I deigned to ride an actual bicycle for the first time in years, and like a complete idiot I chose to ride over the Brooklyn Bridge.

I immediately regretted my decision, for this storied landmark was positively swollen with tourists and other disoriented perambulators with no respect for the integrity of the bike lane.  Nevertheless, while I did make frequent use of my bell, I remained civil and reduced my speed.  After all, the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most iconic structures in the world, and it affords one a breathtaking view of one of the greatest cities in the world.  Therefore, it's unreasonable to expect visitors not to be agog as they stroll across it on a Saturday afternoon.

However, ahead of me was a rider who was less understanding, and at one point I witnessed him actually slap a tourist on the back as he passed.  Here is that rider:


And here is his "filth prophylactic" which is jauntily askew:


As far as the recipient of the slap, if you're wondering how I know he was a tourist, it's because he didn't immediately kick the cyclist off his bicycle as any sensible local would do.  Sure, it's infuriating when people walk in the bike lane, but the Nü-Fred pictured above ceded the high ground as soon as he made physical contact.  However, problems like these may soon be a thing of the past--if Bill Nye the Science Guy gets his way, that is:



A reader forwarded me the above video, and in it Nye imagines a dystopian future in which the laundry industry has run amok:

"There'll be a place to take a shower when you get to work.  Furthermore, there'll be laundry services, small businesses that come into being that service people who change their clothes when they get to the office."

I'm not sure what he means by "service people," though I'm guessing the laundry people will provide you with a "naughty massage" while you're naked and waiting for your clothes to come out of the dryer.  He also imagines a series of tunnels so you can ride all over the place without getting wet:

"Bicycle arterials that were...weathertight.  Roofs and tunnels and passages where you wouldn't get soaking wet everywhere you rode.  You wouldn't be subject to headwinds everywhere you went."

I think he may be on to something there.  In fact, I think it would be even better if they laid tracks in these tunnels so that some kind of futuristic subterranean train could run through them.  They could call it something like a "Sub Way," or an "Under Ground," and people could use it to travel efficiently and cheaply over long distances--even if they didn't have bicycles.  Sure, that wouldn't leave room for bikes in the tunnels, but you could always ride those on the surface roads (assuming we still have them in Nye's apocalyptic future), where maybe they could have bike lanes, which are a lot easier to implement than a series of freaking bike tunnels.

Then, once we've become mole people, Nye thinks we can create a permanent tailwind down there via the judicious application of louvers:

"You could have bridges with louvers that direct wind through tunnels and everybody who rode either way through the tunnel would have a tailwind.  This is a crazy idea."

This is indeed a crazy idea, which I'm assuming Nye dreamed up while cruising around stoned and enjoying the breeze in his IROC:


(Louvers, baby.)

Presumably the ceilings of these bike tunnels will be festooned with fuzzy dice as well.

Anyway, here's Nye hoisting himself out of his t-tops in order to wolf-whistle at a passing "hottie" and invite her into his automobile:



("Gas, Grass, or Ass, Nobody Rides for Free" is an immutable law of physics according to Bill Nye.)

Either that, or he's miming being a subterranean cyclist poking his head out from beneath the streets to see if the weather has cleared.

Speaking of science, when I was in Los Angeles for my BRA I witnessed an ingenious invention that made it quite clear to me that the future is now:


Here's a closer look, which reveals that this rider has Velcroed some sort of homemade smartphone bracket to his helmet:


I'm assuming he's using this to make a video, though I suppose he could be using the mapping feature or simply viewing the world through the camera function so he can pretend that he's some kind of dork-tastic cyborg.  Then, he could have a futuristic laser fight with this guy:


I should mention that these photos were taken during CicLAvia, which coincided with my appearance at Orange 20 Bikes, and which featured all manner of flambullience, much of which frightened me deeply:


Of course, this being Los Angeles, beyond CicLAvia there weren't too many people walking or riding around, though what few pedestrians I did see really made it count:


Incidentally, I'm not sure what would happen if the pedestrian pictured above were to encounter his nonplussed East Coast anti-doppelganger, but I'm pretty sure the world would explode:


The bike, by the way, is for sale, as you can see in this Craigslist ad, which was forwarded by another reader:


$2,000 may seem a bit steep, but you best give him what he wants.  Or else.

101 comments:

Anonymous said...

hmmm

Jasper said...

Early doors

One-Leg Chris said...

3

Jasper said...

Pipped by a bike throw. Obviously I need to learn to type faster

Kenny said...

AND THAT'S HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW!

g-roc said...

top meh

g-roc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
McFly said...

These top tens are making me thirsty.

Bassho said...

After all, how many syllables in AYHSMB?

Dingbat said...

fuck yeah Maine

Dan said...

where am I?

RANTWICK said...

I don't need no bike tunnels. I don't need nuthin'. Take all that money and just give me some smooth pavement

RANTWICK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Flambullient said...

Who would want to ride in a bike tunnel, louvered or not, when everyone has just been eating epic burritos?

Anonymous said...

What the fuck douche bag
Swim up the river salmon
Dude, ride the lightning

A haiku

le Correcteur said...

Top twenty today; clenbuterol, I thank you.

le Correcteur said...

Brusque, Snob, brusque. Brusk? Some kind of Scandinavian rye bread stuff you eat with fish eggs?

Anonymous said...

I second Flambullient. What would the farting policy be in these watertight tunnels?

Anonymous said...

Farting policy in tunnels: you'd need an igniter (and they could be sold by the service people) that bolted to the back of your saddle rails. On cold days, this would warm the tunnel; on hot days it would prevent the worst of the stink.

singlespeedwaster said...

Top twennyish, surely

streepo said...

scranus

Anonymous said...

Of course, there is a company that is ready to build bicycle tunnels: Sustainable Transportation Systems, Inc.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Nice patch Snob, that would look sick on your messenger bag.

Captain Hardbread said...

Wolf Whistle

McFly said...

1) I am pretty sure Bill Nye is Andy Schlecks dad.

2) I am pretty sure Bill Nye the Science Guy is High.

3) OH FUCK YEAH IT'S ABOUT DAMN TIME THERE WAS AN IROC-Z ON THIS BLOG! 5.7 Liters of Tuned Port Injection.

Anonymous said...

IROC:
Italian Retard Out Cruising

doctor_chainsuck said...

Poor Bill Nye,

Trapped in the "Let's promise those weird bicycling cyclists their own separate ghetto that will never get built so I don't have to be bothered by them."

I once had the exact same conversation with the transportation head of a giant public university. He was selling separate paths, bridges and tunnels. There's no way a budget would appear for this utopia so nothing got done. And that was by design.

I was an practical, but zealous noob selling sharrows. It was a short meeting.

Still no bridges, paths or tunnels or sharrows. Lots more parking at the university though...

Serial Retrogrouch said...

Bill Nye, just imagine the upcoming 5Borough Bicycle (Race) Tour in your tunnels! It would be like a real Bike Kill extended over 40 miles.

doctor_chainsuck said...

That half-baked story about the university was about 20 years ago.

More Z28 porn or I'm a gonna stop my subscription.

Anonymous said...

Marin can suck my balls
Marlins can suck my ball

HEAD WIND

Anonymous said...

I don't know who is the more interesting person pictured today:the guy from Maine selling the bike after putting the owner through his wood chipper. Never stop to ask directions in the backwoods of Maine.

Or is it the tri-dork on the Cervelo, wearing tank top, arm warmers, no socks, but toe covers. He scores an extra 20 points for having 3ft of dangling earbud cord, ready to rope some parking meters?

Anonymous said...

Is that Lou Vega strolling in the cross walk? you never said you saw a real celebrity.

Anonymous said...

East Coast anti doppelgänger is actually from L.A., Maine... Lewiston-Auburn

smoker@bong.pot said...

Looks like Wednesday Weed came a little early this week...

Stupid Name said...

Making fun of Bill Nye is off limits, but making fun of his dog is not.

Anonymous said...

These "bike tunnels" would need a magical robot controlled water propulsion cleaning device.

It would be used to hose down the copious amount of urine from bums, drunken fuckheads, and dudes in general.

Added bonus would be that it would rain on those living in the "tunnel," causing discomfort.

Anonymous said...

Given the vintage of that IROC, the big question is when the Science Guy is doing his curbside crawl, and we know that Van Halen is on the radio, is it Sammy Hagar, or David Lee Roth?

Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...

I know a woman who dated Bill Nye

She claims he knew absolutely nothing about tunneling

Anonymous said...

@12:49 "I can't drive 55!" Definitely Hagar as the lameness of the car would elucidate.

Double Deletion said...

This comment has been removed. Reinserted. Then removed again.

What? said...

It must be 420 by now

crosspalms said...

I think in that last photo of Bill Nye, he's using his invisible "apers" in the bike lane.

ringcycles said...

Is it just me, or does Bill Nye look a bit like a taller, dorkier, eyeglass-less David Byrne from the "Once in a Lifetime" video?

leroy said...

I too rode to the Nu Amsterdam Bike Thing on Saturday by way of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Of course, it was crowded. It was a beautiful weekend afternoon.

And of course there were tourists in the bike lane. Anyone who has crossed the bridge on foot, two wheels, paws or perched in Recumbabe's lap (I've told my dog that's not going to happen)knows to expect that.

But even my dog knows it's extremely poor manners to yell at guests.

Of course, I still have to stop him from selling visitors maps to the stars' homes. (Honestly, you'd think folks would be more skeptical about claims that Bjork lives with a band of pixies in a hollowed out tree trunk in Prospect Park or that David Byrne sleeps in his car at Floyd Bennett Field.)

As for Bill Nye, the future of while-you-wait laundry service for commuters arrived in New York years ago.

http://www.zazzle.com/play_golf_free_while_having_your_suit_pressed_poster-228888740581935459

Dennis Hopper said...

Don't forget to put food on the Hoppers table.

Anonymous said...

You know, pictures of the front of people are usually more interesting then their backs.

You suck at taking pictures.

Anonymous said...

i buzz or outright ram idiot pedestrians in the bike lane all the time. it is beautiful.

McFly said...

I just noticed that guy is running the arm warmer/bibs set-up reinforced by a double ass canon WITH an MP3 bonus. He may have hit the trifecta of tri and is set to dethrone Bret. Times are so uncertain.

Anonymous said...

Louver come back to me!

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 1:29pm,

Usually, but not always.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

grog said...

So head wind is a bad thing?

grog is agog with high nye
perching and lurching
in a lap made
by Recumbabe

Anonymous said...

Don't hate the haters, Snobby.

cycle

e-scaper said...

Its Gary Fisher in the crosswalk!

JAT in Seattle said...

Bill Nye probably envisions tunnels because he comes from a rainy-ass place. He's a pretty regular cyclist, when he's not stopping crime.


http://youtu.be/4e6h4zLC5U8

Ln Wf said...

Mh!*


* minimalist Meh!

Marcel Da Chump said...

A Nü-Fred bitch slaps tourist

standing in bike lane:

Lost handle, lowers the bar.

DerZoots said...

MAINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pinecones!

jno62 said...

Bill Nye is from Seattle.

We get tired of riding in the rain.

That's it.

Leslie Wong said...

I'm pretty sure the Specialized Alley (sic) belongs to the guy who slapped the seller on the back as he was walking on the Brooklyn Bridge. It's obvious he wasn't going to let him get away with it.

John Morse said...

Obviously, I hate myself.

Anonymous said...

BRILLIANT! You've done it again!

Jasper said...

Done what again?
Come on, be specific or you are just wasting pixels

Anonymous said...

That Specialized was epic before epic was epic.

bikesgonewild said...

...this is all mikeweb's fault...he deigned to mention, whilst bsnyc/rtms/wcrm was attending to personal biz, the wearing of armwarmers by tank topped tri-geeks & thus, we're now subjected to the viewing of one...

...

Artisanal Pain said...

Done this:

Made us laugh

our asses off!!!!

Salty and Sore said...

LOOOOVE BILL NYE!!!

Been a huge fan since the eighties when he was still doing stand-up and sketch comedy in the local clubs (okay, no, I couldn't get in, but I did have the Cable Access.... I miss '80s Cable Access). Bill was all legit' and stuff too, though.

...and now Seattle is building it's network of tunnels...

Okay, now that that's outta the way...

The problem with idyllic bike tunnels is not the usage by the homeless and whatnot (let's face it, this is the dystopian future where you do your job and function in society or you discreetly disappear). It's that you get soaked (in Seattle) heading to them, so the gentle tailwind is a recipe for bitter cold.

Don't like that at all.

But yes, I still love Bill Nye.

Haiku's are great shit.

Buffalo Bill said...

Armwarmers and bib-knicks are the new little black dress, or something like that.

the bike dork said...

The plump time trialist was there in front of Orange 20 for at least 2 hours. He kept pretending to leave and then never did. I took in your BRA, (very enjoyable) had lunch and a couple of beers and he was still there. Maybe there was a TT portion of the cicLAvia that I missed. Thanks for the visit.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

@leroy 1:12 - "or that David Byrne sleeps in his car at Floyd Bennett Field."

Right who the heck would belive that? Slap that dog.

CommieCanuck said...

"Gas, Grass, or Ass, Nobody Rides for Free" was actually a physical law defined by Sir Issac Newton. Scientists in the 1600s got 'tang all then time.

Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Bill Nye is describing "The Time Machine" by H.G. Wells or at least Bill Nye's fan fiction version of The Time Machine.
The bicyclists, in their tunnels, will evolve into the Morlocks.
The "surface dwellers" - bankers and their sexy fashion model girlfriends - will evolve into the Eloi.

You've all seen the movie/s so I don't feel the need to describe the entire plot.

Nye is certainly onto to something here - cyclists,already considered second or third class citizens, have only a short bike lane to travel to finally be relegated to the underworld where they belong.
As far as bankers and their sexy model girlfriends go, I think we should begin hunting them for food as soon as possible. Who's with me?

CommieCanuck said...

[waving arms all science-like]

I see a future where bicycles will have 4 wheels for stability, a motengine to relieve the legs and will be covered by a glass and metal rolling structure to keep off the rain.

Oo... and cupholders. And DVD players for porn-to-go.

CommieCanuck said...

"As far as bankers and their sexy model girlfriends go, I think we should begin hunting them for food as soon as possible. Who's with me?"

Not me, I like some meat on the bone, and silicone tastes like KFC...soo...

McFly said...

Anon 4:14,
Weena was so feakin hot. Also, sex.

bikesgonewild said...

...i may have to step away from cycle blogging the next few days to monitor some tapes to help provide for a secure & mo' better america...

...please...don't thank me...it's a selfless task but i'm willing to be of service for the sake of all...

CommieCanuck said...

Is that guy with the Allez Izzy Mandelbaum?
Drop your purse, Honey, and pick up the medicine ball.

Anonymous said...

Bill Nye's furtuistic vision has already been tested on hamsters:

http://www.habitrail.com/

High Que said...

Granpa is Strong

His prostate will kill him

How sad

bikesgonewild said...

... here's a little facebook info on our charming 17 year old lamborghini boy & here's a little followup on the poor lovelorn teenagers criminal proceedings which began about 6 miles from where i sit...

...kid was living large & had a great start to an 'almost successful' career in crime but thankfully got shot down at 17...

...now he can go to jail to get that hard edge he really needs...

Anonymous said...

CicLAbia is more like what you describe from those pussies in LA.

Anonymous said...

Few comments contain
a proper haiku poem
most suck balls with glee.

High Cute said...

Pleasingly, she worked

stroking me lovingly said,

"must suck balls with glee".

Anonymous said...

Haiku is so velly much ovalated. Preese me to recite iambic pentameter.

Shawr I compale thee to a summoa's day?
Thou aht moaw rovery and moaw tempolate:
Luff winds do shake the dalling buds of My,
And summoa's leathe hath all too showt a date:

Anonymous said...

How do I love thee?

Let me count the ways.

Ok, I count three...

McFly said...

BGW,
Big Bubba is going to wade max off itno Max Wade's bunghole.

The Karate Kid said...

Lend me your arms,

fast as thunderbolts,

for a pillow on my journey.

nochain said...

http://www.myfoxaustin.com/dpp/video/APD-to-Crackdown-On-Cyclists20120501-ktbcw-#axzz1tfTpNIbP

snob,the city of austin posts this article two days after an 85 year old kills a cyclist in austin, hitting him from behind, on a road with a 6 ft shoulder and the motorist is not even cited. wtf snob!

bikesgonewild said...

...mcfly...yep...the first few months in juveee are gonna be a piece of cake for our tough guy but when that 18th birthday comes along, young max is suddenly gonna be bubba's little shower room romance...

...i inadvertently hadda drive by his alma mater, redwood high school today & i thought to myself - "...holy shit, that dude was trippin' !!!"...

WPVelo said...

"three ways"

good one.

wrt counting ways of course.

wp

Anonymous said...

Last arse

SadddleAmericana said...

Come on Mister Snob
Get your syllables correct
This shit's serious

McFly said...

Aero Bar

Greg LeMond innovation

Laurent Fignon eight seconds

sleepEATwork said...

hey all I'm from Australia and I'm visiting New york for a few days. I'd love to hire a bike a cycle around (is there any good cycle maps?) or join a tour.. can you guys recommend any stores that hire out bikes or do great tours?

thanks

john morse said...

dear bike snob - i came across your may 1st post on "curbside haiku" and read the comment section. one entry, at may 1, 2:23pm, portends to be from "John Morse." i am John Morse, the creator of the project, and this comment is not from me. may i respectfully request that you delete the comment (and please not publish this comment/request)?

if you need confirmation of this post's identity, please feel free to contact my studio at 404 405-7055, visit my studio website at www.stardogstudio.com, or write to the studio director at ross@stardogstudio.com.

btw i found your writing terrific and the comments some of the more witty i've seen on a blog -- nice class of readers. and, for the record, i think your photos/illos are cool.

thank you, john morse

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Robert said...

Bill is a scientist, he totally knows more than you.

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