I'm willing to get behind a mandatory helment law, but only if we also pass a law that says all pet cats and dogs must wear helments as well at all times--and that includes indoor cats, because you never know when a potted plant is going to fall off a windowsill and clock Mittens right on the bean. However, I'm willing to bet that a pet helment law will never happen, since while non-cycling New Yorkers are perfectly happy to demean cyclists by forcing them to wear foam hats for no reason, they actually tend to treat their pets with some measure of dignity.
Speaking of helment laws, another reader tells me Felix Salmon (who is not a cartoon character) is also against them--and he's actually smart, so in your face:
First of all, consider this chart:
Then consider this:
The x-axis shows bikers as a percentage of total commuters, while most bike trips in New York are not home-to-work commutes at all. If you included all New York cyclists, New York would have a higher ratio of cyclists, and fatalities per cyclist would go down. Put it this way: the chart is taking the total number of bike fatalities, and dividing it by the total number of bike commuters, rather than the total number of bicyclists as a whole.
Yeah, I didn't understand any of that either, and that's how you know this Felix guy is one clever Salmon. All I know is that I'm pretty sure the "X-Axis" is a new mountain bike pedal from Time, though I'm not sure what that has to do with cycling fatalities, unless that chart is just showing the float/release curve.
But here's the part I did understand:
Liu is also pushing to make helmets mandatory; I’m not such a fan of that idea. For one thing, I have yet to see any empirical data showing that mandatory helmets increase safety. And in general, insofar as a mandatory helmet law would reduce the number of cyclists, it would also reduce the safety-in-numbers effect.
To that I would like to add an emphatic and articulate "What he said." I also appreciated this little bit of irony:
Liu also wheeled out the media-relations guy from AAA New York, of all people, to say that the best way to prevent cyclists incurring serious injuries is to force those cyclists to wear helmets. That’s just depressing: one would hope that a car-drivers’ organization might at least pay lip service to safer driving, rather than putting the onus entirely on the bikers.
Taking bike safety advice from the AAA media-relations guy is like taking new car advice from David Byrne:
("The Huyndai Elantra is the obvious choice. It comes in lots of pretty colors and the cupholders are awesome.")
By the way, if you want more cycling tips from America's premiere motoring club, just watch this instructional video:
This video tells you pretty much everything you need to know about riding a bike along the skidmarks of Canada's soiled underpants. First of all, there are only three (3) acceptable reasons for an adult to ride a bicycle, and those are:
--"It's a great form of exercise"
--"It's good for the environment"
--"It's fun to ride"
So remember, if you ride for any other reason--like because it's practical, or because it's less expensive--you are a godless communist and should take the next steamship back to Amsterhagen forever.
Also, make sure you're highly visible at all times to ensure that you're readily identifiable as the freak you are. Acceptable attire includes Tridork:
And of course Chalk Outline:
Just kidding about that last one. Police only use chalk outlines at crime scenes, and everybody knows that in America it's perfectly legal to run over cyclists.
In any case, even Felix Salmon does have some concerns about the bike share program, those being:
Meanwhile, my biggest fear is that we’ll see the opposite: a bunch of people who have no idea what they’re doing, riding on sidewalks, salmoning, and generally causing chaos.
I particularly enjoyed that Felix Salmon used the term "salmoning," though it's unclear if he means it in the "riding against traffic" sense or the "riding while interpreting data" sense.
Also pertinent to yesterday's post is this comment, which was appended to it by a reader:
I actually feel for someon who has had their bike, or any other hard earned property, stolen. I wish I could be as cavalier as you wild cat but then again I don't own a stable of expensive artisinal bikes for every occassion. It don't think it's comparable to a serious crime but it still sucks hard.
June 26, 2012 4:32 PM
First of all, I don't own a stable of artisanal bikes for every occasion, and I'm conspicuously lacking a handmade lugged 650b brunching porteur with a handlebar-mounted French press. Secondly, as for wishing he could be as cavalier as me, my response to that is "You're welcome," because my "job" is to be cavalier about this sort of stuff so that you don't have to be. Here is an extensive, though by no means complete, list of bike-related stuff I feel duty-bound not to give a shit about:
--When someone's ugly bike gets stolen, as in yesterday's post;
--When that same person gets his ugly stolen bike back because he constantly kisses the asses of a bunch of music dorks on Twitter, and then writes an article in "Salon" about it;
--Helments, and the wearing or non-wearing of same;
--The new Dura Ace and how it compares to the old Dura Ace;
--The latest crabon bike and what some reviewer writes after sitting on it for five minutes;
--Amateur bike racers' results, data, and race reports. (This is because being good at amateur bike racing is not a talent. At best, it's a dubious skill, like being double-jointed and grossing out girls in the school cafeteria.)
Fortunately, if you want to hear people giving a shit about these things, you're in luck, because it describes the entire rest of the cycling Internet. And if something bike-related is not on the above list, it's safe to assume I also don't give a shit about that either--unless it pertains directly to me, in which case I care about it passionately.
Speaking of yesterday's post (and myself), in that post I remarked that I couldn't believe how much free time the people involved in that stolen bike recovery had. Well, ironically, that very afternoon I suddenly found myself with a small yet enticing window of free time, during which I resolved to ride a bicycle. Now, ordinarily when cycling for enjoyment I'd put on a bunch of stretchy clothes like the latent Fred that I am, but given the small amount of time this seemed even sillier than it usually does. Plus, awhile back I read this book buy this guy:
In it, the guy says it's OK to ride a bike in your underpants, so I decided that's what I was going to do. (Though I also had clothes on over my underpants, because I'm just self-conscious that way.) Then, for the first time since returning from Italy and the puzzlingly-named Full Bike Day, I removed my detachable travel chariot from its case and reassembled it. I'm pleased to report that even after being molested by baggage handlers in four countries (I'm referring to the bike bag, and not me, though I suppose if I'd been molested by baggage handlers in four countries I'd have a potentially lucrative lawsuit on my hands) it was still in good shape. The only maintenance I needed to perform was taping the bars--though when I say "tape the bars" I obviously mean this:
New handlebar tape is for effete roadies and one percenters.
I also schmeared overpriced cream cheese on the underside of the saddle Eric "The Chamferer" Murray made me, because he said if I didn't he'd fucking kill me, and then he put his chamfering knife in my nostril for emphasis:
By the way, one might say I haven't quite earned the "World Traveller" sobriquet, but if riding from a hotel to a book signing and back again and then ordering room service in four (4) countries (one of which isn't even English-speaking) doesn't qualify me as a world traveller then I don't know what does.
Anyway, thusly equipped, I rode until I wound up at the beach:
I should add that, in addition to wearing underpants, I also wore a fanny pack:
There was a time, many years ago, when I would often ride this very same route clad in a t-shirt and a fanny pack, simply because I didn't know any better. Then came the stretchy clothes, and the clicky shoes, and the aversion to "junk miles," and before I knew it I had to read a book to remind me of how much fun I'd been having back in the fanny pack days:
Anyway, I didn't have much time to hang around and relax, so instead I took a picture that made it look like I was hanging around and relaxing in the hopes that doing so would convince me that I was actually relaxing:
I suppose taking a contrived relaxation picture is the underpants-and-fanny-pack equivalent of Strava.
Speaking of world traveling, the guy who made this movie forwarded me this movie:
And you'll either be relieved or disgusted to know that people still haven't tired of parading themselves in front of the poor people of the world on their fixiebikes:
Apparently, our cities are no longer "edgy" enough, so in order to feel special they have to travel to places like this:
("I'm gonna gentrify the fuck outta this town.")
Then, they have to act like drinking coffee is a big deal:
At first I thought the smiling guy on the left was under the mistaken impression that he was actually watching the filming of a real TV show or documentary, but then I realized he was probably smiling for altogether different reasons:
Anyway, hats off and underpants on for the filmmaker:
And lastly, from North London comes this cockpit:
Which incorporates Grip Shift nubbins to stunning effect:
Strangely, the reader who sent me these pictures called the setup "subtle," though I guess that's just the British spelling of the word we here in Uh-merica spells as "suttle." He also speculated that the setup was designed "possibly to accommodate an extra pair of tiny t-rex hands."
I'm inclined to agree.