Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Ethical Quandaries: Running Lights and Walking Dirty

[lame attempt to engage readership]Hi!  How are you?  I'm pretty good.[/lame attempt to engage readership]  As you certainly know by now, NASA successfully landed this Rover thing on Mars which is already sending sick "edits" back to Earth:

This is a crucial first step in the gentrification of the "Red Planet," and at this rate it should only be a couple of years before people move there with their fixed-gears and start complaining about how there isn't a velodrome.

Meanwhile, here on Earth, Randy Cohen's New York Times opinion piece in which he explains why he runs red lights on his bicycle by evoking the philosopher Immanuel Kant (that's pronounced "I'm annual CUNT") has generated a great deal of discussion.  In fact, even noted columnist Felix Salmon (that's pronounced "FEE licks SAM-min'") has weighed in to say that Cohen's defense is "one of the weakest ethical defenses imaginable:"


Like Cohen, Sammin' makes some excellent points, though I disagree with some of them, including these:

One of the weirder parts of Cohen’s essay is that he extols Amsterdam and Copenhagen, which are cities where, to a first approximation, all cyclists always stop at all red lights, and don’t go again until the light turns green. Doesn’t he understand that in order for New York to work as a cycling city, cyclists will have to stop taking the law into their own hands? “Uninterrupted motion,” he writes, “gliding silently and swiftly, is a joy.” Well, yes, it is. Uninterrupted motion is quite nice for car drivers, too, but they stop at red lights. And even pedestrians generally wait until the way is clear before they cross the street.

If riders in Amsterdam and Copenhagen don't run red lights, it's almost certainly because there are so many of people on bikes, which means they don't have to "take the law into their own hands" like we sometimes do.  I think this is because Amsterdam and Copenhagen have long ago reached what the bike advocates refer to as "critical mass."  (Not the ride you do on your old crappy ten speed as an excuse to look for a date, but the actual state of having lots and lots of bike commuters, which is what ultimately makes cycling safer.)  At the same time, because there are so many people on bikes in these cities, they couldn't all run red lights even if they wanted to, since they'd just get hopelessly snarled.  Most of all though, I resent his false claim that drivers in New York City stop at red lights, because it's simply not true.  (And forget about stop signs.  Yesterday a driver beeped impatiently at another driver who actually stopped for me at a stop sign.  See, in New York City you're not supposed to stop at a stop sign, especially if there's a cyclist in the intersection.)

In any case, I only hope Cohen responds to this, because I'm looking forward to a protracted no-holds-barred dorky newspaper columnist bike etiquette slapfight.

Of course, there are also those cyclists who believe that red lights mean "go faster," and they're called "messengers:"



If you want to see the complete documentary, the filmmaker is holding it for ransom, and you'll have to give him the $60,000 he wants in order to finish it:


This may sound like a lot of money for a movie about messengers, but keep in mind the centerpiece of the film is a death-defying alleycat race from the northern tip of Manhattan to Battery Park between Randy Cohen and Felix Salmon, and I hear the scene where Cohen skitches off of a Subaru Forester for the entire length of the Henry Hudson Parkway while comparing and contrasting various normative ethical theories is breathtaking.

Speaking of ethics, you know what's not so ethical?  Looting ghost bikes for parts:


Though I suppose there's a crucial difference between unethical behavior and stupid behavior:

Belcher also got a tip when a thief tried to sell a stolen ghost bike — placard still attached — to a bike shop.

That sort of desperate behavior can usually be attributed to drugs, so perhaps it was the Gran Fondo Doping Fred looking for his next hit of EPO.

Meanwhile, in other doping news, Stevil Kinevil and others have informed me that an Olympic walker has tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs:


This surprised me for two reasons.  Firstly, I had no idea walking was an Olympic sport.  Secondly, I wouldn't think a race walker would resort to EPO, since it seems to me as though the best way to increase your walking performance would be to run instead.  In any case, I wonder where race walking coaches go to scout for talent.  They probably spend a lot of time in the lobbies of office buildings watching people hurry to the elevators.  One minute you're walking briskly to beat those closing doors, and the next you're getting the tap on the shoulder of your oxford shirt that changes your life.  Soon you're trading your loafers for racewalking shoes, you start competing professionally, and the expression "A walk in the park" starts taking on a completely different meaning.  Then one day the stress of competition becomes too much for you, you start taking EPO, and suddenly you're the hottest walker since Charlie Chaplin.

But as tragic as all this is, the saddest is when the amateur race walkers start cheating too.  It's just not fair to the rest of us.  The other day, I just missed a subway train by a mere second, and as I watched it pull away it occurred to me that the guy who managed to get on just before me was probably doping.  It made me sick.  (And don't get me started on those foot couriers and their blatant disregard of the walk signal.)

By the way, if you're shopping for a race walking shoe, here are some reviews:


"I'm still a big fan of the Brooks T7s... of course, I'm not doing too much RWing these days ... sort of slid back into running. But even if I was full-time RWing, I'd be wearing the T7s."

I enjoyed the part about how she "slid back into running."  I suppose the discipline loses a lot of participants due to the high number of people who eventually come to their senses and break into a jog--though I'm sure at least some of those people get winded, start walking again, and return to the sport almost instantly.  In fact, judging from what I see in the park, hundreds of people go from race walking to running and back to race walking again in the course of a single workout.  Really, if they want to keep people walking they should just legalize the "Wednesday weed," since the last thing it makes you want to do is run.

I guess the cycling equivalent of race walking would be a match sprint without the actual sprinting part, and speaking of track cycling the New York Times is now "hip" (get it?) to the "quad-off:"



Though they make no mention of the whole "moon boot" trackie fashion phenomenon:


Those will be perfect for that Martian velodrome.

95 comments:

Anonymous said...

oh hello

Anonymous said...

pbt!

Anonymous said...

POOOOODIUM?

Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...

Toid

Serial Retrogrouch said...

“Your friends love to hear about your muscles,” she wrote. “Pull down your pants to show them your strong quads and muscle definition. Make them grab your legs in public.

“We can all be winners here.”

Quad-tastic

Anonymous said...

KEEP IT PUNK OAKY?

Serial Retrogrouch said...


Quad-tastic

ervgopwr said...

Top 10. back to read

MARS RULZ

theEel said...

weed.

tridork said...

Got distracted placing an order for my walking helment. Still managed a top ten.

McFly said...

Track cycling is a lot like teenage sex:

1)It's over very quickly

2)You really need help getting started

3)6,000 people immediately know if you suck at it

Anonymous said...

Rofl my twat waffle!

thegock said...

RECM BABE

Serial Retrogrouch said...

i knew that article would be in this post, so i quickly read it, html'd it, copied and was ready to paste it... DaddoOne and his goons were doing EPO and walking fast and clocking me.

but hey, "we're all winner here."

Serial Retrogrouch said...

that's 'blocking' me...

old hipster said...

The expression "take the law into your own hands" means to enforce the law, not to break the law.

PatrickBateman said...

I can tell you what i take into my own hands. But i won't, so you'll just have to guess. Clue: it wears a purple walking helmet.

MeJa said...

That's a road bike!? Headline: "Moon boots get UCI approval sticker for World Tour 2013."

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Get Your Ass To Mars!

grog said...

Top XX.
Babe XXX.

samh said...

Snob, we all know John Cleese is the grand master of walking, not Charlie Chaplin.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

A popular cycling advocate injured out in Portland.

I hope she gets well.

http://bikeportland.org/2012/08/06/coventry-cycles-owner-marilyn-hayward-badly-injured-in-collision-75572

McFly said...

Those space nerds in that first image have their HFA(High Five Alignment) horribly askew. I predict a double forehead smack. LOLZNerds

Anonymous said...

In Copenhagen (and even more so in smaller Scandanavian cities I have visited) pedestrians also mostly wait for the walk signal, even absent imminent lethal threat from cars. That's part of the picture.

Meanwhile, if we're going to have this conversation, the fact is NYC drivers do in fact stop on red and wait for the green, even at otherwise deserted intersections. The persistence of this oddly civilized custom actually puzzles me (though the big caveat is that there is a generous interval after the light has turned red which drivers generally consider a sort of grace period, or gentleman's amber, during which they can speed through and kill people).

As for stop signs, on the other hand, they are indeed a joke. If I were pretending to be from NYC I'd say fugeddaboutit, or whatever that thing is, bit since I'm actually from here, I'll just say I could tell you stories …

Jimboner said...

Your quads make my ass hurt.

OBA said...

STRAVA ALL THE COMMUTES!

Serial Retrogrouch said...

@Anon1:22,
you're right... every time i travel to europe i'm quickly reminded that i just left new york because i'll be standing in the street with a don't-walk signal, looking for cars, then suddenly i realize i'm being stared at by peds standing patiently ON the sidewalk.

i've stopped doing that because it really annoys me as a cyclist that those impatient cunts are on the street and in my way... and more dangerously, in the way of tons of metallithic giants.

Anonymous said...

1:53....exploding yellow crabon weals

WEAL BOOM

T.I. said...

Snobbb: why aren't you talking about Victoria Pendleton?!

She's like the female Cipo!

Anonymous said...

SR 1:37 :

How 'bout when the peds do that whilst pushing a baby stroller(!) -- I see that happen just about every time I'm in NYC.
Unbelievable.

Paul Bowen said...

7/10 golds at the vdrome. Disappointing but I guess it means there's plenty of blue sky to aim at next time.

Insert London/Rio blue sky availability joke here:
____________________________________________________

bk jimmy said...

No pedestrian insists on the right to walk down the middle of the road at any time of day or night, and to be respected by drivers while doing so.

Clearly this guy has not spent much time driving in Brooklyn.

Television_writer said...

McFly!

UCI's elite Track show barely gets 500 seats filled in most parts of the world.

What velodrome has 6000 people watching weeknight/weekend training races?

Still, track racing can be lots of fun and generally safer cycling.

Too bad it's loaded with high-strung, Type-A personality dopers. See USAC's 2011 Masters Track Nationals doping positives to get a clue.

Don't race, just do the training rides and enjoy!

Hmmm. How about a variation of Weeds with a character selling PED's.

Paul Bowen said...
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Paul Bowen said...
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Paul Bowen said...
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Paul Bowen said...
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Anonymous said...

Steve Tilford has ethics too.

Anonymous said...

This blog post was all

Bike Advocacy
BIKE ADVocacy
BIKE ADVOCACY!

Then it got funny.

Nice work.

Marcel Da Chump said...

There Kant be a winner
in a bike etiquette
slap-fight.

Anonymous said...

the problem in NYC (where i live) and many other cities is that too many people rush around thoughtlessly, on foot, bike and car, out of habit, breaking many laws along the way because they can't take their self-entitled heads out of their smug asses long enough to see that there are other people in the world for them to consider. Until that changes, which it never will, we will continue to have these debates. fuck. now I'm grouchy.

McFly said...

TW,
The Olympics have 6,000 people watching. I heard 'em said I did.


They should hold the 2013 National RunWalk Championships in a Velodrome. They could start off marking each other real sloth-like then ramp it up and break out of the draft coming out of turn 4....I am getting excited just thinking about it.

Cohen said...

Shoulda, coulda, woulda, there you go, consider this the slapdown.

Louis C.K. said...

Hey Paul Bowen give it a minute...it's going to space.

I am a confused engine said...

Bike racing has enough acceptance problems with the public, the big quad off, the big calf off, and now "Flash Gordon boots". Obviously cycling wants to keep it weird.

Build a Velodrome, and they will come, no wonder the english are so good at it.

McFly said...

And furthermore you know what the winner of the 2013 National Run/Walk Champioships could get? The living fuck smacked out of him...that's what.

bk jimmy said...

How about that epic double-barrel trispoke failure at 1:53?

Go messengers!

Anonymous said...

"introduced the sports world to the term “quad-off,” might be one featuring two cyclists in their underwear with shorts around their ankles, their thunderous thighs prominently displayed."

I bet they have weak ankles, and weak wrists, not there is anything wrong with that.

Why do "journalists" hate bikes so much?

bk jimmy said...

From the kickstarter page:

It was the summer of 2001 when I began a journey that has lasted over 10 years. I have followed and documented the rise of an underground subculture with its own language, code of conduct, mysteries, heroes and dreams.

So this whole messenger thing started ten years ago? Help me out--was that before or after the invention of fixies?

Okay, I'm done now.

mikeweb said...

Read the post, AND all the comments.

They have doping in bowling too. It's called drinking beer and smoking cigarettes, AND they do it between every frame.

g-roc said...

Snob, the hilpsters may be heading to Mars in a few years, but the Freds are already there. Curiosity's frame is a
Litespeed
.

Anonymous said...

Did Police Inspector Javert ride his Drasine to the river's side?

Anonymous said...

Dutch cyclists definitely do run red lights all the time.

PS: Mr Snob, please don't turn into a 'cycling advocate'. Ugh.

Anonymous said...

I like how the two writers are cashing in on the controversial cycling issues.

I, of course, will simply make up my own mind on how to behave and skip the infotainment.

crosspalms said...

At least John Cassidy hasn't cracked open his walnut glovebox of derision on this red light business.

leroy said...

Sorry, I simply will not listen to anything Mr. Salmon has to say until he acknowledges that BSNYC coined his name.

Credit where credit is due I say.

In the meantime, I plan on a short excursion up River Road and back this evening. I'll be leaving the NJ side of the GWB around six-ish if anyone wants to join.

I'll be the guy on the bike.

My dog says the pace will be half fast. At least I think that's what he said.

Jesse Smith said...

I'm shattered. All those great walking performances that had fans leaping from their seats were a fraud. The fans and media are not without blame. We worship the tape measure stride and the monster heel strike. We look upon men like Alex Schwazer, Nathan Deakes, and Denis Nizhegorodov as Gods. Every child in China holds Yu Chaohong as their role model. We all post videos of our kids first steps. We send our kids to summer walking camp to give them a head start. College coaches to roam our high schools trying to recruit the next Francisco Javier Fernandez. Maybe this is a wakeup call for us as a society. We need to consider there might be more important things in life than breaking 1h 20min in the 20k.

CommieCanuck said...

A guy is riding his bike with another guy (both cunts)and they approach an intersection with a red light, the one guy runs the light and the other says "whoa!, that's wrong".
"don't worry, my brother does it all the time".

Another two blocks alter, another red light, and he runs it again, "don't worry, my brother does it all the time".

A few blocks later, they approach a green light, the guy screeches to halt, the other guy banging into the back of him and getting generally fucked up.

"Why...why... did you stop at the green light?"

"I was worried about hitting my brother."

ba-bump. Thank yew. I'm in town to thursday, try the veal.

Fran said...

That Mars rover is actually a LiteSpeed bicycle:

http://www.nooga.com/156621/chattanooga-bicycle-company-helped-create-mars-rover-curiosity/

CommieCanuck said...

I'm not getting into cycling at the Olympics until they introduce either women's beach cycling or synchronized women's cycling with makeup and G-strings.

unsafe for work.

CommieCanuck said...

That Mars rover is actually a LiteSpeed bicycle

Which is why the first man on Mars will be a fat dentist.

CommieCanuck said...

Shit NASA, I had money on you guys finding this on Mars. balls.

CommieCanuck said...

check out these sweet babies I just ordered from Competitive Cyclist.

Quilled and Lugged said...

Was there a Kickstarter for that self-indulgent 'let's film everything' trip to Mars with a Litespeed? I must have missed it.

leroy said...

Well now, this is odd.

My boots were made for walking.

There goes my career as a track cyclist.

Dooth said...

these boots are made for cycling
and that's just what they'll do
one of these days these boots
are gonna cycle over you

Anonymous said...

I think Felix Salmon has it right. It's about respect and doing what is right and what is safe.

You say it's a false claim to say that drivers in NYC stop at signs/lights... of course it happens, but what does that have anything to do with whether a cyclist should stop at the light? The point is they both should, and the car that doesn't is in the wrong the same as the cyclist. Thinking some form of "he didn't stop so I dont' have to" will just create chaos.

Another problem is the frequency of cyclists running lights seems to me to be much higher than with cars, and perhaps as importantly, a car running a red light knows it's illegal/wrong and they do it anyway for whatever stupid reason, but a lot of cyclists I talk with (and this article indicates) don't see it as wrong when they run a red.

Salty and Sore said...

Judo Chop!

Would love to take in an Austin Powers feature with this chap. Too bad 30 days from Wednesday may include the Olympic Games.

leroy said...

Sometimes legal wrong doesn't equal common sense wrong or practical wrong or ethical wrong.

And sometimes aesthetic wrong doesn't equal legal wrong even though there ought to be a law. Kind of like arm warmers on a sleeveless jersey.

And of course, we know that two wrongs don't make a right on red except when they do wrong, wrong, wrong, they do wrong, wrong.

I'm going riding. It would be wrong to waste such a beautiful day.

Ray Sexlight said...

Giant quads are the new Brooks saddle.

Paul Bowen said...

Louis CK @2.22 and everyone else, espesh the proprietor - sorry about the multi posts. Totally involuntary on my part - can I blame electric train/satellite feedback loop?

Anyway, apols.

Comment deleted said...

Maybe if I quad off less, I'll get more done.

Anonymous said...

Put all of NYC's bike messenges on a raft in the East River.
Then chop their bikes and sell them for parts.
Then sink the raft.

Anonymous said...

I can't speak for Copenhagen, but in A'dam and the NL as a whole, cyclists are complete and total scofflaws. Because they a)have the power of numbers; and b)know that the car that hits them will ALWAYS be at fault. Anytime I ride with friends in the NL, I am left behind waiting at the light, or stopped at the stop sign. They think I am a total dork. Or worse: German.

Anonymous said...

What happens when a race walker gets chased by Samurai.

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/899632/world_speed_walking_champion_attacked_by_samurai_will_he_run_aw/

Latex Salesman said...

Million to one shot, Doc. Million to one!

Anonymous said...

The cycling equivalent to race walking: riding a bike with training wheels!

Alan Vega said...

Whoo!
Retrosexual soundtrack!

David said...

Those moonboots will surely convince at least two of the remaining three people in the world who don't already think cycling is for sissies to reconsider their views. I mean, I get why leather studs wouldn't be aero, but were'nt they available in hot pink?

Kenneth Buttercup said...

Rarámuri have to deal with those cartel fuckers

Emily Batty said...

I seem to have misplaced my pearl necklace. SEVERAL guys in the olympic village have offered to "hook me up" with one which is odd because there are no jewelers in the village. They say I need 3 or 4 in case I lose one. Silly men, they would become entangled.

Anyhoo, Robert Frostherman is coming by around 11 tonight to bring one. He said he will make it by hand while I wait...then cracked some joke about the MASTER race.

Fran said...

Submitting the Mars LiteSpeed in advance to Snob's next cockpit contest. When is the next contest? C'mon, when?

Anonymous said...

cum quads nos eiecerunt

Anonymous said...

The article also forgets to mention that the guy that has deformed his body with massive thighs loses most of his races. Hahahahaha

Grump said...

Comparing race walking to match sprints without the actual sprinting part, was F'n funny.

Thank yew.
.
.

Bobby said...

Canuck! I think I read somewhere that those boots are SPD compatible too. Simply shag-tastic, baby.

Bobby said...

I heard that the Curiosity rover has some knog lights on it, just in case there is some Martian traffic.

Just sayin'

Anonymous said...

"… a crucial first step in the gentrification of the 'Red Planet.'"

I hate to admit it, but the douchebag cracks me up.

Anonymous said...

Bike Snob NYC makes fun of race walking? I'm disappointed! Not only old and boring but also stupid.

Why don't you next crack hilarious jokes about silly swimmers who use butterfly or back stroke? Would they still refuse to front crawl if they saw a shark approach them?

jams run free said...

I met a couple of those bike messengers. One of them is a complete douche. The director of the documentary does a good job of identifying him.

Anonymous Coward said...

@Anon 3:32am
Please accept the fact that race walking is dorky. Dorkier in fact than cycling. Your desire to not have it made fun of, does not in fact make it less so.

The Tashkent Error said...

Moon boots go nicely with Cosmic wheels.

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obd2s said...

Are you referring to my advice?not all of it, no. Most of it I agree with. What caught me odd was your comment so if new injector cleaner tester spark plugs don't fix it then consider a bad coil a good possibility. I would rather find the fault, to fix the fault, then consider what maintenance to do. One dollar or fifty it really does not matter. Money is hard to come by these days and I would do things a bit different is all. Your advice was good , at least, I agree with most of what you said. It is a brand new day.

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