(I guess I was a journalist for the two seconds it took me to snap this photo last night.)
Every now and then people send me messages electronically. Sometimes these electronic messages contain a question. Sometimes they even contain multiple questions. Here's an excerpt from an electronic message containing multiple questions I recently received from a reader in Chicago:
In the wake of Sandy there's been a lot of coverage of the auto, subway and bus systems in New York. People are reported to be walking over bridges, sitting in traffic, and waiting for shuttle buses, among other things. I'm not surprised to find little coverage of people choosing to bike to work but that sure seems like a great alternative at the moment. Do you have any anecdotal information to share? Have you seen bike shops with lines out the door? Noticed a great deal more bikes on the streets?
These are all excellent questions--for a journalist. Unfortunately, I'm a blogger and not a journalist. Basically, the difference between a journalist and a blogger is that a journalist goes out into the world and investigates stuff, whereas a blogger merely reports from his own tiny bubble. Yes, it's true that you can be a journalist who happens to report via blog, but I'm a pure blogger, which means the only place I really investigate is the recesses of my own posterior. (Or, colloquially, I have my head up my ass at all times.)
Anyway, not only do I report exclusively from my own tiny bubble (or my own ass, now that I've mixed metaphors it's getting difficult to keep track), but in these post-Sandy days my bubble/ass has shrunk considerably. This is because I'm really only making trips that are necessary, and any pressing business I had elsewhere in the city has been postponed for the time being. Moreover, the woman I tricked into marrying me can't go to work because there's still no power in her office, and my two year old child doesn't even have a job at all, shiftless layabout that he is. (Yes, I actually have 17 children, but the other 16 have grown up, had families of their own, retired, and moved to Phoenix.) All of this means that, as a family, we've been sticking pretty close to home.
Nevertheless, judging from the accounts of actual journalists (not to mention my own past experiences with blackouts and transit strikes), I'd venture so far as to say that, while more people than usual will certainly take to their bicycles, Sandy is not going to suddenly transform the largest city in Canada's cargo pants into Amsterdam or Copenhagen. Sure, part of this is because of our deeply-ingrained transit habits, but it's also because lots of people in New York have pretty long commutes, and the simple fact is that someone who hasn't been on a bike in 20 or 30 years is not going to suddenly ride 27 or 17 or even seven miles to Manhattan. And all of this results in what city planners call "a gigantic clusterfuck."
But again, please keep in mind that I am a bubble/ass-dwelling blogger who is extremely lucky to live in a part of the city that has fared pretty well in the storm, so any words I write about it aren't worth the ass from which I pulled them. Plus, in portions of the city where there is still no power it seems people are making industrious use of bicycles:
I say the city should attach the entire CRCA to the power grid and make them pedal around the clock until this whole thing is over. It's time for the Freds to finally start giving something back.
Also, while there's no better vehicle than a bicycle in times like these, it's still important to keep in mind that post-disaster New York City is probably not the ideal environment for the novice cyclist. No, you need to be a seasoned urban rider, like Russell Crowe:
Who, as a Tweeterer informs me, was making Australian meat pies of the paparazzi in New York in the days before the storm:
11.6 of his communist miles is 7.2 Jesus miles, and if he did 7.2 Jesus miles in 30 minutes then he was traveling at the blistering speed of 14.4 miles per hour. Of course, as we all know, 46 miles per hour is the speed at which a Fred goes "Woo-hoo-hoo-hoo," and now we also know that 14.4 miles per hour is the speed at which Russell Crowe gets all self-congratulatory--though it's not surprising he's so fast given how hard he trains:
At least he has the good sense to dismount while smoking.
Speaking of America and the USA and Jesus and how awesome we are in comparison to the rest of the world, a Velonews editorial makes the case that it's now up to us to lead the "global fight against doping:"
Right, because all our other global fights have been turning out so well. Honestly, it's pretty difficult to have faith in this great nation of ours when our college students can't even keep their heads out of their u-locks (via another Tweeterer, and turn the volume down because the music will make you want to kick your cat):
I sincerely hope he was expelled immediately for being a complete idiot.
You know who would never be dumb enough to put a u-lock around his neck? Mario Cipollini. (Though if he did do it he'd probably be able to slip it right off again thanks to all the grease.) However, he does like to put cycling socks on his "downstairs parts," and here he is being fitted for a pair (as forwarded by another reader):
("I think you're going to need an extra extra large.")
So why cycling socks? Well, because he wears them during coitus because the wicking properties make him even more fertile, and his goal is to populate the entire world with little Cipos and Cipettes.
There will never be enough sawdust for a future that unctuous.