So I got one of those emails everyone's talking about. You know, the ones from the Internet? Here's what it said:
Get ready: May 27th is Citi Bike’s very first day. We’re launching with a preview week for Annual Members who already have their member keys. Keys for members who signed up before May 17th are in the mail now, which means they should arrive before the 27th.
I am ready. So where's my fucking key already?!? I need to put it on a key ring with a bottle opener on it, because everybody who rides a bike has a key ring with a bottle opener on it.
Oh, also, Citi Bike is having a party.
Save the Date!
Join us on June 2nd on the north side of Union Square in Manhattan from 11 am – 3 pm to celebrate the launch of Citi Bike. We’ll have music, food, a Citi Bike Street Skills learning zone where you can beef up your bike riding skills, plus some other fun special surprises.
Hmm. A four-hour party? Given the program's price structure, if you "share" a Citi Bike for the Street Skills learning zone and all the rest of it, this little shindig is going to cost you at least $96.
I wonder if the Street Skills learning zone will feature Citi Bike polo or even Citi Bike jousting to help people hone their bike-handling skillz. Regardless, Bike Snob Daily News should definitely partake, since she seems to have a pretty hard time riding these things. (Hint for BSDN: The Citi Bike is like your SE Draft, only less shitty.)
As for me, I'm a masterful bike-handler and all-around cyclist who is grace personified when falling off my bicycle into my own urine or simply taking a header off my folding bike while placing a phone call, so I don't need to visit the "Street Skills" learning zone. In fact, I now get to tell other people what to do, and to that end I've even recorded a whiny PSA-type lecture that will make you cringe:
Urban Cycling Hall of Fame? Yeah, it's going to be Allan Cumming, Brian Lehrer, and me. As for Shawn the Cabbie, if you were wondering why yellow cabs suck so much his advice should provide you with an explanation. I particularly liked when he said this:
"You have no space to...drop the passenger off safely. There is no way," to which he adds, "You have the same responsibility we have."
Actually, we don't have the same responsibilities you have, since you have a special license to drive people around the city in exchange for money. This places additional responsibilities on you, including dropping passengers off safely, as inconvenient as that may be:
(c) Pickup and discharge of passengers by taxis, commuter vans and for-hire vehicles.
Operators of taxis, commuter vans and for-hire vehicles may, in the course of the lawful operation of
such vehicles, temporarily stop their vehicles to expeditiously pick up or discharge passengers at the
curb in areas where standing or parking is prohibited. Taxis, commuter vans and for-hire vehicles,
while engaged in picking up or discharging passengers must be within 12 inches of the curb and
parallel thereto, but may stop or stand to pick up or discharge passengers alongside a vehicle parked
at the curb only if there is no unoccupied curb space available within 100 feet of the pickup or
discharge location; however, picking up or discharging passengers shall not be made:
(1) Within a pedestrian crosswalk.
(2) Within an intersection, except on the side of a roadway opposite a street which intersects but
does not cross such roadway.
(3) Alongside or opposite any street excavation when stopping to pick up or discharge
passengers obstructs traffic.
(4) Under such conditions as to obstruct the movement of traffic and in no instance so as to
leave fewer than 10 feet available for the free movement of vehicular traffic.
(5) Where stopping is prohibited.
(6) Within a bicycle lane.
(7) Within horse-drawn carriage boarding areas.
Furthermore, your passenger is also responsible for following New York State law with regard to exiting a vehicle into traffic, and you might want to remind them of that:
Opening and closing vehicle doors. No person shall open the door of a motor vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so, and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.
So, yeah, obviously we're not stupid and we're going to look out for you, but technically a lot of this stuff actually is your problem. I realize you think we're supposed to treat you like emergency response vehicles and stay out of your way, but keep in mind you're not putting out a fire. You're just taking someone to the airport.
Meanwhile, in Portland, a reader tells me that the "anti-fluoride lobby" has managed to keep the stuff out of their water, even though they've apparently got the shittiest teeth in the nation:
Oregon has one of the highest rates of tooth decay in the nation, and yet, the state's biggest city will remain an outlier, thanks to the remarkable efforts of the anti-fluoride lobby, a non-partisan alliance of paranoiacs. "It’s as if an Occupy protest, a talk on artisanal cheesemaking, and a Tea Party rally were all accidentally booked at the same hotel ballroom," Marty Smith wrote in the Willamette Week. Relying on a handful of inapplicable research studies and the testimony of dubious experts, the anti-fluoridians have managed to keep scientific reality at bay. (For more on the scientific controversy, read Jake Blumgart's piece at Slate.)
Though in Portland it's not called having "shitty teeth." It's called having an "artisanal smile."
In fairness to the kooks though, it may not be just the lack of fluoride in the water that's wreaking havoc with their grills. It's also worth noting that people in Oregon love crystal meth, which isn't exactly great for your pearly browns either:
I won't link to any photos of crystal meth mouths, because the preliminary image search I did made me violently ill. So instead, here's a naked lady on a recumbent:
In any case, with Portland's Pedalpalooza right around the corner, I'm waiting for the bad teeth theme ride. I don't see one on the schedule yet, though there is a Dave Matthews ride in the offing, which is almost as sickening:
Or, if you prefer an ironic urban veneer over your blindingly white music-themed ride, you can opt for this one instead:
RUN-D.M.C. VS. BEASTIE BOYS
SE 50th and Division
7:00pm, Rolling out @ ~7:30
Calling all B-Boys & Fly-Girls!
Yes, yes y'all and we don't stop!
Kicking off Pedalpalooza with a bang for the 2nd year!
This is a Slow rockin' ride BUMPING my favorite Run-DMC and Beastie Boys jams along with some Funky Fresh Old School Hip-Hop (think NYC early-mid 80s) plus a couple of G-Funk bangers thrown in for good measure as we roll around the "mean" streets of P-Town.
SLOW pace with occational dancing stops.
R.I.P. Jam Master Jay (Jason Mizell) & MCA (Adam Yauch)
End of an era Baby . . .
Break Dancers: BYO Cardboard
Bring Lights! Rock ADIDAS! Ride at own risk!
In Portland, a "B-Boy" is a Bard graduate.
And these are "fly girls:"
The Portland "fly girl" scene has yet to produce its Jennifer Lopez, but that's not for lack of trying:
Portlanders' libidos have been so sublimated by bikes that they find lengthy trackstands far more arousing than robust posteriors.
Anyway, if neither of these theme rides are for you, you can also just ride around eating random vegetation and hope you don't die:
Vera Katz Statue, SE Eastbank Esplanade and Main St
5:30pm - 8:00pm
Learn about wild and freely available domesticated food available around Portland.
We recommend bringing collection bags and scissors and/or a knife. Most of these plants (and fungus, if we're lucky) will need to be cooked before you eat them, so don't rely on this ride for immediate dinner. Our route will depend on what's in season, but plan to cover a lot of ground.
I predict the Food Foraging! theme ride splits off into two subgroups: the Tripping Balls! theme ride, and the Race To The ER! theme ride.
Lastly, in pro cycling news, Belkin (presumably the company that makes the routers and crap) may take over sponsorship of the team that was Rabobank:
"We have serious interest and indeed see the opportunities to increase our brand awareness through cycling and to show what the world we do. It is premature to say that there is an agreement,” a Belkin spokesman told De Telegraaf.
I don't know what kind of company would possibly put money into pro cycling team sponsorship in 2013, so I can only assume someone at Belkin ate some ambiguous fungi while food foraging.