This past weekend, while riding my all-terrain recumbent in the forests of suburban Long Island, I saw a turtle:
The end. That's it. I'm sorry if you were expecting more to the story, but the fact is that I don't lead an exciting lifestyle, nor do I inhabit a part of the world teeming with all kids of fancy-pants nature stuff, so seeing a turtle that's not in a bucket in Chinatown is exciting to me.
Oh, no, wait, there was something else about the turtle. I almost forgot that a woman came along and peed on it:
(Sepia + Larry King = Safe For Work!)
Though something that commonplace hardly even bears mentioning.
Speaking of the part of the world that I inhabit, it is called Brooklyn, and as someone who inhabits Brooklyn I sometimes read stuff about Brooklyn to find out what's going in in Brooklyn. I also happen to be in the market for a $3 million townhouse to purchase with cash because semi-professional bike blogging has made me disgustingly rich. (Bikes + Turtle Porn = $$$!!!) So I was reading this Brooklyn real estate blog called "Brownstoner," and on it was an interview with a local real estate developer:
Which I only mention in the context of this blog because of his answer to the following question:
BS: What’s the most striking change you’ve seen in South Brooklyn in recent years?
GOC: The increase in the amount of bicycle traffic.
This is a remarkable answer. South Brooklyn has changed profoundly over the years in so many ways, that the fact that somebody with a lifelong perspective on the neighborhood would identify the increase in bicycle traffic as the most striking of all these changes is telling. What does it tell? Well, it tells you that a whole lot of people in South Brooklyn are riding bikes now. The end. That's it. I'm sorry if you were expecting more insight into that, but what do you expect from someone who thinks spotting a turtle while he's riding a bicycle is noteworthy?
Anyway, I was thinking about Mr. O'Connell's observation during my visit to South Brooklyn this past weekend, during which I was blocked by a bus:
And not just any bus, but the "Trans Sex Express" bus:
I immediately knocked on the door and demanded that the driver get that heap out of my way, at which point it burst open and out came three "ladies" who chased me away in a hail of wild finger-snapping:
("Oh no he didn't!")
Incidentally, Patrick Swayze's character in the above movie was of course called "Lady-Man Gel Flow:"
Though his "manganese tube" was a lot bigger than seven millimeters:
Rail: Manganese Tube Ø 7 mm
Also, another word for a "manganese tube" is a "pagina:"
When it comes to gender-bending saddle technology and the science of accommodating increasingly complicated 21st century genitalways, Selle Italia have always been on the cutting edge.
Anyway, I don't live in South Brooklyn. I used to live in South Brooklyn, but late one night the Hipster Gestapo knocked on my door and told me I wasn't cool enough for the area anymore, after which they handed me a new lease with an extra decimal place in the rent and I was forced to join the Great Uncool Diaspora. Nevertheless, I still visit South Brooklyn pretty frequently, and it's true, the huge increase in the number of cyclists is always one of the first things I notice:
(It wasn't always thus.)
The next thing I notice is that people are becoming increasingly creative with their bikes in this part of town. For example, a few years ago having colorful tires or a top tube pad was considered creative. Now, you've got to go a bit further if you want to stand out, and one way to do that is by outfitting your bicycle with accessories made from anthropods:
Yes, that is indeed a case made from horseshoe crabs:
By next year everyone in Brooklyn will have one, and in three years you'll be able to buy one from Nashbar. That's why I plan to get a jump on the trend and start using a horseshoe crab as a helmet, or maybe even as a saddle:
If you don't mind inner thigh lacerations or being impaled in the taint by that pointy tail, a horseshoe crab makes for an ideal posterior perch. I certainly don't, especially if it makes me cool enough that they'll let me move back into South Brooklyn.
Furthermore, the next time I find a turtle, instead of peeing on it, I'm going to turn it into a hardshell saddlebag.
Nevertheless, despite the explosion of South Brooklyn "bike culture," there are still growing pains. For example, it's great that so many people are riding bikes, but it's not so great that they don't know how to park them:
The above is of course the bicycle equivalent of this:
Though it's not quite as bad as taking up half a bike rack for an entire year for your stupid "urban experiment:"
I'm still waiting for the next one in which they document how long it takes for a bunch of pigeons to eat a stale bagel.
The worst part of this bad parking job was that it put me in an awkward position, because even though I tried to park my bikes perpendicularly and leave room for others, with this one already there it proved to be impossible. So instead I parallel parked mine as well and simply became part of the problem:
(I always carry a spare bike with me, it's a lot easier than changing a tube.)
Thus parked, I tended to my business (a brief sightseeing tour of Brooklyn aboard the Trans Sex Express bus, obviously) and, being a certifiable wussbag, I was afraid that when I returned to the rack some smug South Brooklyn cyclist with an armadillo for a pannier and horn made out of a conch shell would be waiting to chide me for my selfish parking. However, this was not the case, and indeed after unlocking my bike the owner of the first bike suddenly appeared to claim it:
I might have explained his faux-pas to him, but I figured it was probably pointless since he lives his life according to what he believes is a higher authority. Plus, as I mentioned, I'm a certifiable wussbag. Then again, maybe I should have said something anyway, since it's not like he's going to learn about bike etiquette by reading the Internet.
In any case, it's ultimately heartening to see Brooklyn becoming so bikey--though I can't help being nostalgic for the old days, like before you could buy color-coordinated fixiebikes in bulk at Walmart:
(Photo by Urchin)
Still, I wasn't quite nostalgic enough to pine for San Francisco in 1988, since I was never there in the first place--though thanks to a reader I practically feel like I was:
I'm going to go ahead and assume this is 100% accurate.