Please note that I don't mean to disparage a worthy cause. I'm simply referring to the vexing relationship most Americans seem to have to recreational bicycle-cycling, and I think the aforementioned 75% would benefit enormously by reading this:
(The one on the top, not the other pieces of crap.)
Anyway, New York City. There's a lot to love here: the world-class museums you never bother go to, the manicured parks crowded with assholes and tourists, the renowned cultural institutions you can't afford to visit... Maybe you live here and you're addicted to the fast pace and the heady mélange of people from all corners of the globe. (Yeah, right.) Or, maybe you don't live here, yet you're still smitten by the romantic manner in which the city has been portrayed in film over the years: a town of nebbishy intellectuals pontificating entertainingly as they perambulate, yet one that is also not afraid to roll over and show you its seedy underbelly.
One thing's pretty likely though, which is you probably don't think the best thing about New York City is that it's a great place to eat while sitting in your car:
Anywhere else, breakfast might have had to wait. But, in a land where a bouquet of daffodils, a clubbing outfit or a box of Pampers can be summoned in the flicker of a smartphone screen, the solution was simple. Thus began Mr. Diaz’s habit of having his morning sustenance delivered directly to his car. “I have the whole works,” said Mr. Diaz, a shoe salesman. “Bacon, eggs, home fries, toast. I have a real breakfast in my car. It smells like a restaurant.”
This is one of the most depressing things I've read in weeks. "It smells like a restaurant." There's something so tragic about that quote. There are about 900 restaurants per block on the Upper West Side, yet this guy sits in his Mitsubishi "hotboxing" bacon, eggs, and flatulence. It's like coming home to find your wife waiting for you in lingerie and saying, "You know what, honey? I'm gonna take a pass and go wank off in the car."
Also, if your most cherished indulgence is eating in your car, why not reduce your cost of living by like a million dollars a month and move to the Midwest? Not only would you be able to upgrade that Mitsubishi SUV to some other piece of shit SUV with bigger cupholders, but you could take all your meals at Sonic and never have to sit around waiting for the street sweepers (or streetcleaners if you prefer) to make their rounds ever again.
Of course, the key to dining dans la voiture in New York City is the bicycle, a machine nobody wants to have fuck-all to do with while they're driving unless it's bringing them a sandwich:
John Hackett recalled biking uptown from the Financial District four summers ago when he witnessed a police boat heading straight to the East River shore.
“I thought they were going to be jumping off like a SWAT team or something,” Mr. Hackett said.
But there was a man on the bicycle waiting. “The next moment, the boat kind of kissed the shore. There’s a policeman there reaching over the railing of the esplanade and getting this bag of evidently Chinese food, and handing money back to the delivery guy,” Mr. Hackett said.
And then? “Everybody went their own way,” he said.
I can't believe the police boat had to head all the way back to land just to pick up some food. Where's Water Fred when you need him? Maybe after his "successful" (in that he didn't sink) Hudson River crossing he too will move here and become the city's first seafaring food delivery person:
(Water Fred, aka "Pontoon Weenie," probably being heckled by a boater to "Get a freaking dinghy already.")
Speaking of water crossings, somebody wrote an opinion piece in the Times about how there should be a pedestrian-and-cyclist-only bridge to Governors Island:
“O HARP and altar,” marveled the poet Hart Crane about the Brooklyn Bridge. But if you don’t love it as he did, don’t worry. With bridges, as with everything else in New York City, you are spoiled for choice. More than 2,000 bind this metropolis.
Still, let’s build one more — a pedestrian and cyclist bridge from Brooklyn to Governors Island to Lower Manhattan. Let’s call it the New Bridge.
Actually, I think a better name for this bridge would be the Trans-Harbor Clusterfucktacular. The idealist in me loves the idea of New York City having the most majestic bike-and-pedestrian span in the world, yet the realist knows I'd want to jump off of it to my death if I ever actually tried to use it. If you've attempted to cross the Brooklyn Bridge by foot or by bicycle you can only imagine what a night-terror traversing this bridge would be.
Anyway, it's probably not even worth thinking about it, since the All-Powerful Bicycle Pontoon Lobby will never let it become a reality:
Here's more proof that the writer of the opinion piece has not thought things through:
Making the New Bridge won’t be easy. A bridge high enough to allow large ships to pass would require long approaches, set well back from the waterfronts. We could build such a bridge all the way from Manhattan to Brooklyn, with access down to Governors Island via sweeping or spiraled ramps. Or we might build two spans: a low bridge from Brooklyn to Governors Island and then a second, movable bridge — there are many options, from a typical drawbridge to an elegant tilt bridge — onto Manhattan. We must also consider the company this bridge would keep. It must be beautiful, day and night.
Spiraled ramps? Are you kidding?!? Has this person ever ridden on the George Washington Bridge? There's one (1) sharp turn on the bike path ramp that eats Freds for breakfast, and all it takes is a single wobbly, timid tridork getting wedged in there and the entire span backs up all the way to Hackensack. In fact, I'm pretty sure there's actually one stuck in there in the satellite photo:
If they had a spiraling ramp to Governors Island--from Brooklyn no less, which is home to the city's most incompetent cyclists--the Coast Guard would have to airlift cyclists off the "New Bridge" by helicopter on an hourly basis for traffic to move at all.
And in news of professional cycling, Dave Zabriskie, the rider who has managed to parlay a moustache and talking slowly into what some people consider "comedy," is retiring:
"It's been an interesting 13 years. But there's a time for everybody, nothing lasts for ever, even cold November rain…," he said with his usual dry sense of humour.
Yeah. I get it.
So what's he going to do?
"Cycling is what I know so I'll pursue something along those avenues. I've got a few ideas. I'm still going to ride bikes."
Cycling fans love Zabriskie's laconic I'm-actually-falling-asleep-while-I'm-talking-to-you bon mots almost as much as they love Jens Voit's goofy Teutonic "Shut up, legs" Schwarzenegger lite catchphrases, and so it seems pretty obvious to me that they're going to replace Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen:
Voigt: Froome has good legs today.
Zabriskie: "He's got legs, he knows how to use them." Heh.
Voigt: "Shut up, legs."
Zabriskie: Shut up, Jens.
And so on.
Either that, or, more likely, Zabriskie will release a line of gravel bikes, because if there's one thing cycling needs it's more gravel bikes. So entrenched has the totally ambiguous gravel category become that you can now even buy a "beginner gravel" bike that will teach you how to ride a regular gravel bike:
“It’s made for a rider who isn’t comfortable with a drop bar, so this gets them started,” a Giant rep explained about the AnyRoad.
How does this "get you started" with a drop bar? Either a bike has a drop bar or it doesn't. Anyway, everyone knows the proper way to learn how to ride a gravel bike is to start with sand, since the grains are tiny. Then, you slowly work your way up to full-size gravel chunks.
Of course you'll need a beginner sand bike for that, but that's something else.