The ride was very enjoyable, but on the way there I had a chilling encounter:
Yes, right there, in the middle of the bike path, was a skunk:
At that moment I realized how completely ill-suited I am to life on this planet, for until then I had never in my life encountered a living skunk and I had no idea what to do. Will it attack? Could it be rabid? Do they fly? What if it sprays me? Does Rapha make an unguent for that?
So I stood there, frozen in fear.
As I waited, it sort of lumbered around in a way that should have been accompanied by the something-wacky's-going-to-happen music from "A Christmas Story." First it trundled into the leaves, then it sauntered back onto the path, and then it started coming towards me! For a moment I hoped it was just a cat that had gotten some wet paint on its back like that one in the Pepe Le Pew cartoons, but no, there was no denying it, this was a skunk if I'd ever seen one. (Which I hadn't.) So, after soiling myself, I clipped back in and rode away frantically, looking over my shoulder with each pedal stroke like a French rider in a solo break about to be overtaken by the peloton in the final kilometer of a Tour stage.
It was the scariest thing that has ever happened to me in my life ever.
Of course, the irony of city life is that while I encounter life-threatening situations while riding on a daily basis without so much as batting an eyelash, a mere polecat is enough to send me into a paroxysm. And sadly, while New York City does its best to lead the charge when it comes to traffic violence, it would appear that London is doing its best to catch up--and while Mayor Boris Johnson may not be "finger-pointing," he certainly seems to be wagging it in the general direction of cyclists:
Discussing the deaths in a radio interview on Thursday morning, Johnson said that while there could be "no question of blame or finger-pointing", cyclists had a duty to obey the laws of the road and heed signals.
"Some of the cases that we've seen in the last few days really make your heart bleed because you can see that people have taken decisions that really did put their lives in danger," he told Nick Ferrari on LBC 97.3.
This is very unfortunate, but I can at least offer you Londoners some hope, which is that until the police actually tell you to walk around with a flashlight so you don't get run over all hope is not lost:
Yeah, that's right: to combat the problem of drivers running down pedestrians (often on the sidewalk), the NYPD is telling New Yorkers to wear reflective clothing and carry flashlights, and to avoid walking at night or during bad weather.
So that's it. It's all over, and the cars have won.
Can't wait until the next curb-jumping incident: "The victim was not carrying a glow stick. No criminality suspected."
Speaking of mayors, while Boris Johnson isn't looking too good right now, he'd have to run down a cyclist himself to outdo those Robs Fords:
You should make sure to watch the video, because holy crap, it's exactly like a Johnny LaRue skit on SCTV:
(Wow, that gay joke sure is dated.)
There are also some great anecdotes in the article, my favorite being the one where he humiliates a cab driver by harnessing the awesome power of cocaine-fueled racism:
Sometime after 11 p.m., Mr. Ford and the others took a taxi to the Bier Markt, a downtown restaurant and bar, while Mr. Ransom initially stayed behind to summon other aides to the bar. According to the police, Mr. Ford called the cabdriver a racial epithet, mimicked his accent and threw business cards at him.
Mr. Ransom, who arrived later, and other witnesses said that Mr. Ford and two young women were seated in a private room and that it appeared they were using cocaine.
I don't know what's more disturbing: Ford's behavior, or that Canadians are so damn polite that they haven't managed to get the guy out of office yet:
In any case, stepping away from municipal matters for a moment, Ethan Hawke with the voice of Cary Elwes in "The Princess Bride" wants you to give him money so he can sell you plastic "SnapClips" for your bike:
If you're familiar with the Chip Clip, the SnapClip is basically just that for bikes, and if you're not familiar with the Chip Clip it's simply a paper binder clip but for chips.
Anyway, this particular clip has been thoroughly tested in irregular surfaces:
Too bad they conducted the test on a bike with a suspension fork, which renders the test completely meaningless.
Anyway, we'll see if clip guy gets his eleventy zillion pounds--though the world of brightly-colored bicycle portaging of small items is a cutthroat one, and he'll have to compete with the inventors of the Zip Tray, who have made the most irritating Kickstarter video ever uploaded:
I didn't go to business school, but even I know that asking for $18,000 while playing a song that makes you want to FUCKING KILL SOMEBODY is an exceedingly bad idea: