Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Make Way: The Future's So Green I Gotta Wear Rollerblades

Commuting in a big city can be stressful.  For example, a New York City cyclist might, in the heat of the moment, resort to foul language and complain that his progress is being impeded by some "fat tub of shit from New Jersey."  Well, one might argue that such anger is excessive--regardless of whether or not it is indeed an accurate description of a typical driver from west of the Hudson.  But what happens when that cyclist is quite literally being blocked by a fat tub of shit from New Jersey?


This was the case for me this morning as I traveled along a "protected" bike lane in Manhattan:


I apologize for the foul language, but if you can come up with a better way to describe this vehicle I'd like to hear it.

Speaking of being full of shit, yesterday I mentioned the 45-year-old Fred who got busted for doping at the New York Gran Fondo and who, hilariously, rides for a team organized by a website that is pathologically obsessed with the prosecution of Lance Armstrong.  Well, further to that post, a reader had the following to say:

Anonymous said...
http://www.thefreemanonline.org/features/the-common-sense-of-progress/


"If today in the United States or western Europe the relatively poor can have a car or a refriger­ator, an airplane trip or a radio, at the cost of a reasonable part of their income, this was made possible because in the past others with larger incomes were able to spend on what was then a luxury. The path of advance is greatly eased by the fact that it has been trodden before. It is because scouts have found the goal that the road can be built for the less lucky or less energetic. What to­day may seem extravagance or even waste, because it is enjoyed by the few and even undreamed of by the masses, is payment for the experimentation with a style of living that will eventually be available to many."


tl;dr


...unless those rich amateurs keep on buying those carbon race wheels, *we* (the ordinary plebs) won't be able to buy them for $100, 20 years down the line. FACT.

An interesting point to be sure, but progress?  I'm not sure it's fair to compare home refrigeration becoming available to the masses with crabon fiber race wheels getting blown out by Nashbar.  It seems to me that the difference between having refrigeration and not having it is life-changing, whereas the difference between having wheels made out of metal and wheels made out of plastic is negligible.  (Not to mention the fact that the plastic wheel is arguably inferior to the metal wheel for most riders, even amateur racers.  Have you watched one of them try to stop lately?)  Plus, it's the "ordinary plebs" who are buying the crabon wheels now, right alongside the monied masters, so there's no reason for the manufacturers to bring the price down anyway.  That's why crabon bicycles are more expensive than ever despite having been around for decades.  It's also why the bicycle racing marketplace doesn't follow the ordinary laws of economics, and instead remains a bubble of delusion and stupidity.

Also on the subject of doping, yesterday I made the following inane comment on Twitter, because I am an inane person, and because Twitter, to paraphrase George Mallory, is just "there," waiting to have stupid words put into it:

I assumed it was obvious that I was joking, but one member of the Twitteroni was filled with indignation:


Which naturally inspired me to continue flogging a joke that really wasn't even funny in the first place:


Which in turn only made the Twitterono even more indignant:


I actually think anybody who supports any Kickstarter campaign should feel outraged and betrayed, but despite this I actually began to think about the fake question I had posed.  Let's say I were to launch a Kickstarter campaign for my cross-country bicycle tour, in which I'd cycle from New York City to Los Angeles while wearing a chicken suit in order to raise awareness for salmonella poisoning.  Would it indeed be wrong to resort to performance-enhancing drugs in order to complete my ride?  It's not like I'm breaking any rules, since as far as I know there are no rules when it comes to riding across country in a chicken suit.  Sure, it lacks dignity, but arguably I dispensed with dignity when I started asking for money on Kickstarter--and I definitely divested myself of it when I donned that chicken suit.  So what's a little EPO in the mix?  It's certainly less dangerous than salmonella.

Anyway, as I pondered all this, the Twitteroni had a moment of sympathy for me and my phony predicament:


So there you have it.  It is actually possible to finish a century ride without drugs.  Who would have imagined?  Let that be a lesson to all the 40+ fondo Freds out there looking to wring all they can from their crabon wheels.  (Though reading it again it's possible she means she finished two centuries and one triathlon back-to-back on the same day, which is actually pretty impressive, especially without drugs.)

Speaking of Kickstarter, some people desperately need your money so they can show movies outside:


The word "visionary" gets thrown around so much that it's now almost completely devoid of meaning, which is why I feel comfortable calling these people visionaries.  Here's their vision:

Last summer, we did some pretty simple math that ended up spawning (in our personal opinion) one of the most fun and memorable days of the summer. Written out, the equation looked something like this: 

Summer + Bikes + 80’s Movie Nostalgia = A damn fine summer evening.  

In July 2011 we teamed up with the Brooklyn-based food blog and supper club Forking Tasty for a unique, modern twist on the classic American Drive-In experience: the Bike-In-Theater. Hundreds of riders sat and watched a movie on the Brooklyn waterfront, while munching on snacks from the Forking Tasty kitchen, including five unique gourmet-flavored popcorns. The free event was designed as a way to celebrate summer and bike month in NYC. 

In 2012 we’re expanding on the success and demand created last year. With the help of the Kickstarter community, we’re attempting a bi-coastal tour that will start this summer in NYC and end in October in San Francisco. Please help us launch the 2012 Bike-In-Theater tour. It’s your passion, enthusiasm and backing that will help us to make this reality.


And here's the video:




I'm not sure it's fair to call showing a bunch of movies that are on cable 14 times a day "curating," but then again the word "curate" has been even more diluted than the word "visionary" so I shouldn't complain.  Also, there were cookies:


("Curating" now means "putting snacks in metal tubs for stoners.")

So why do they need $24,000 to show movies on a brick wall?  Well, in addition to cookie funds, they also need money for chalk:


Also, according to this guy, they need "proper rights for movies:"



Which would make the organizers of "Bike-In-Theater" the only two people on the face of the planet Earth who take those anti-piracy warnings seriously.  Really, they could save us all a lot of money if they'd just screen some bootlegs they bought on the subway.  Anyway, Brooklyn becomes more like San Francisco every year, so it's good to see two entrepreneurs working hard to make them completely indistinguishable.  

In other smugness news, are you one of those people who advocates cycling because it's "good for the environment?"  Well, I've always felt this was a dangerous argument, since it leaves the door wide open for some other more ecologically friendly modes of transport to take away all our hard-fought gains.  For example, I don't know about you, but I don't want to get sandbagged by a bunch of Rollerbladers:


The above Rollerblade advocacy article was forwarded to me by a reader, and of course it includes the requisite pro-Rollerblade infographic:


Sure, Rollerblading may be "greener," but as far as I'm concerned this is the only infographic I need:


That's the Rollerblade equivalent of "cycle chic."