Secondly, I'd like to congratulate most of my fellow New Yorkers for staying in "full retard" mode with regard to bike share. As I mentioned yesterday, various douchebags in the wealthier pockets of town are suing over the placement of bike share stations outside of their buildings. Indeed, their attorney has called it "the epitome of governmental bullying," which is pretty funny when you consider that 1) the bikes will make their lives better and B) the government recently bulldozed a bunch of homes to build a basketball arena just a few blocks away. Anyway, here's a typical bike share Internet comment, this from Brooklyn's gentrification blog of record:
Good, I hope they win. The City is really a PITA with certain things. This bike thing is probably a burden to the residents of this building.
It is just like the million trees, the city plants them in front of you place of dwelling, then leaves you to have to clean water and car for them.
Our City sucks.
I hate this whole bike sharing thing. I have my own bike, I store it in my basement of the building.....
This was just in TV this morning on bank Street, residents are complaining it is taking up too many parking spaces.
this is America, not Europe, people seem to forget this.
Wow. Public bikes and trees? This is actually what people in Brooklyn complain about now. He is right about one thing though, which is that this is America and not Europe--which is a damn shame:
Frankly I'd rather share the road with her than with some New Jersey yenta in an SUV who's too busy on her phone not to run me over, though I realize that's a singularly un-American point of view.
By the way, I apologize for using the word "retard," since I realize it's inappropriate. "Ass-tarded fuckstick" would have been much more fitting in this case.
So let's try that again:
Thank you, my fellow New Yorkers, for staying in "full ass-tarded fuckstick" mode throughout the implementation of this whole bike share thing.
So what is it about Americans, anyway? Where did we go wrong? We weren't always this stupid. Consider this article, for example:
His first publication in 1897 for the railroad was “Cyclist’s Paradise,” which identified scenic routes and hotel locations. It was so successful, an information panel notes, that during that summer, “the L.I.R.R. reportedly transported 150,000 bicyclists (and their bikes) to tour and photograph the Long Island countryside.”
Can you imagine? Long Island a "cyclist's paradise?" A century or so later and the L.I.R.R. doesn't have so much as a single bike hook, and you can only take the your bicycle on the train between 4:00 and 4:14am on alternate Sundays.
No, the "cyclist's paradise" now is Portland, where you can even participate in a "disaster relief" competition:
The 2013 DRT will have slots for 40 riders which will be split into three classes. They'll set out on a 30-mile course that has been designed to "demonstrate and challenge the cargo bike’s capabilities in a disaster response situation." Last year, the event attracted a range of set-ups from the tradition bike trailer to longtails, cycle-trucks, "bakfiets", and others.
In other words, it's a disaster-themed alleycat, and in pretending to save imaginary people from make-believe disasters, Portland has officially transcended smugness and attained the rarefied state of transcendental wankery.
Still, what's worse? New York-style ass-tardedness, or Portland-style transcendental wankery? It's tough to say. Probably the saddest aspect of the ass-tardedness is that the Department of Transportation has to go through the motions of appeasing the ass-tards who think bikes are the greatest threat to public safety since cholera. For example, last week I rode from my home in wherever it is I live to Brooklyn, a trip of something like 15 or 20 miles. My journey took me through three boroughs and pretty much every type of neighborhood you can think of: industrial, commercial, residential, suburban, wealthy, poor, and so on. Along the way, I saw people using all sorts of different modes of transportation: cars, bikes, buses, subways, skateboards, their own two feets... And many of these people did stuff that was illegal--sometimes harmlessly so, sometimes stupidly so. Most people manage to make it work, and a few people fuck it up. When the drivers fuck it up it causes by far the most carnage. But that's the way it is.
So what's being done about it? Well, on my ride of two hours through a vast cross section of the city, there was this one (1) intersection in the East Village where one guy was holding a stop sign and reminding cyclists to stop at the red light:
While across the street his friend was holding another sign telling people not to salmon:
I realize he's actually holding the sign the wrong way and is effectively "sign-salmoning," but he was actually holding it the right way until I took the picture, at which point he probably turned around to look at somebody's ass. (It was a nice day, and nice days mean ass-gawkery, especially if you're a municipal employee. It wouldn't surprise me if the other side of the "wrong way" sign says "nice ass.")
Should cyclists stop at red lights? Sure. Should they ride with traffic? Ideally. Even so, it all seemed so laughably futile. Is there any other reason for this other than to humor the oddballs who complain about reckless cyclists while drivers run down children on a weekly basis? And it's not like the sign brigade was all over. They were just in this one spot. (I mean, they may have been elsewhere, but in three boroughs and two river crossings this was all I saw.) It seems like putting a Band-Aid on a papercut while a tiger is chewing your leg off.
Also, it was just plain humiliating! I was totally going to stop at the red light, yet as I rolled up to it the guy holds the sign up at me as if to say "I know you're not going to stop, but now you have to, because, you know, this sign." This of course made me want to run the red light I was originally planning to obey. But I didn't run the light, I just stood there feeling embarrassed as he continued to shame me with the sign.
I mean no offense to the sign guys, by the way. They're just doing their jobs. It's just silly is all, and if the DOT is going to spend money on futile gestures meant to assuage kooks then they could at least put the no-salmoning guy in a big fish costume:
Really, it's a sad state of affairs. We get bike share (maybe) but in return they get to shame us with signs.
Lastly, while I'm on the subject of cycling in New York, if you're a bike messenger with tattoos (a rare combination to be sure) you totally missed out on a chance to get laid:
Holy shit I am stupid. You were so cute and I enjoyed our brief elevator ride conversation :) and I completely didn't get your number or give you mine. (As I said, I'm a wimp). Your smile is killer and the tats got my attention too.
Describe me so I know it's you and let me take you out for a drink or something?