Thursday, December 12, 2013

Anals of Commuting: The Indignity of Trying to Share a Bike



("No Dial Tone" should replace "In God We Trust" as our national motto.)

I love Citi Bike.

In theory.

In practice, however, I'm trying really hard not to fucking hate it.

Consider yesterday.  It was cold.  Cold enough to freeze your bike's nuts off:


Though I don't use mass-produced nuts on my bike.  Instead, I "curate" my own artisanal bicycle testicles from veterinarian-quality Neuticles:

(Yeah, that's a fake dog ball.)

In any case, all of this is irrelevant, since I didn't have my bike with me yesterday.  Instead it was just me, a pocket full of Neuticles (sung to the tune of this hateful song), and various errands to run.  Things were going well--for awhile.  Then, I got greedy, and attempted to shave a few minutes by taking Citi Bike instead of the subway.

Well that was a mistake.  First of all, I didn't have any gloves with me, which I certainly can't blame Citi Bike for, but I will anyway.  (You know, because they're blue.)  "Big deal," I said to the pedicurist as she tended to my cuticles.  "I can ride for ten minutes without any gloves."

Minutes later, I was flying down 5th Avenue, one frozen hand on the bars and the other in my pocket, thawing and fondling my Neuticles.  Then, once it thawed, I'd put that hand on the bars and thaw out the other one.  The worst part about all of this alternating was that whenever a cabbie cut me off I didn't have a hand available with which to give him "the finger."

By 23rd Street or so my game of rolling pocket pool was no longer working and the only way I was going to thaw out my hands was either by going inside, or else by slicing open a dog and warming my hand in its guts.  Scanning the sidewalks for unattended dogs tethered to street signs, I didn't find any, and fortunately for just about everybody I eventually made it to my destination and immediately remembered why I hate Citi Bike, which is that there's never anyplace to put the fucking things when you're done with them:


So there I was with a pair of frozen hands and a goddamn stupid Citi Bike, unable to go inside.  But then--a Festivus miracle!--I noticed an empty dock:


So I docked the bike.  It didn't take.  I docked it again.  No good.  I rammed it and rammed it and screamed, "Take it!  Take it, you fuck!"  But alas, it was broken, possibly the victim of vandalism judging by the condition of its touchpad, and certainly no better now for all the ramming to which I'd subjected it:


So back on this stupid piece of shit bike, and off to the next dock, which was also full:


And by the time I found an actual functioning station with an actual functioning dock that was actually empty I was nowhere near where I needed to be and I'd spent more time that I would have on the subway--which, it should be noted, is also toasty warm, and the only people playing pocket pool are the perverts.

Again, I love Citi Bike in theory, and it seems to remain extremely popular, so I hope they keep it and expand it, which probably they won't.  But at this point I can't imagine I'm going to renew my membership, because apparently I'm the unluckiest schmuck on earth when it comes to Citi Bike, and I get dockblocked and flim-flammed pretty much every time I attempt to use it.

In fact, the sad irony is that I'd have had an easier time parking an actual car than I did docking that fucking Citi Bike, and I'd have wound up much closer to my destination to boot.  It's important to note that I don't feel this is the way it should be; rather, it's just the way it is, because the city, state, and country subsidize and masturbate motorists at the expense of everybody else.

Also, we've got all these bike lanes now, which means there's plenty of free parking for cars at all times:


But I should stress yet again that I remain pro-Citi Bike.  I mean, even if I don't renew my membership and never use it I still want it there.  More bikes is more better, after all.  I feel the same way about nature.  I like trees and animals and stuff, but that doesn't mean I want to fuck around with them.  Sleep in a bag in a tent if you want, but I'll stick to my mansion, thank you very much:


(I find the scent of chlorine soothing.)

Meanwhile, over in London, Barclays is going to pull the plug on their "Boris Bike" sponsorship:



Barclays is preparing to ditch its controversial sponsorship deal for Boris Johnson's flagship bicycle hire scheme, delivering only half the £50m the London mayor had claimed the bank would pay.

The bank's logo has covered thousands of "Boris bikes" since the scheme began in July 2010, for a promised total payment of £50m, in an arrangement that has drawn criticism over the manner of its awarding and the modest sums raised for widespread branding across the capital.

Barclays' decision comes in the wake of increased public concern about cycle safety in London, with a mounting death toll. In July, Philippine De Gerin-Ricard, a 20-year-old French-born student became the first person to be killed riding a Boris bike.

But don't worry, British cycling clothing company Rapha is in talks to take over the sponsorship.  However, this will necessitate some reduction in the system, which will go from 570 stations with 8,000 bicycles to three (3) custom steel race bikes, as well as one (1) grainy video per annum.

By the way, it's been remarkable to see how completely Rapha have taken over the Fred market, and when I venture out onto 9W (the local Fred corridor) I never cease to be amazed at how that vaguely fascistic-looking arm band has become the new US Postal jersey:


You can't tell me you haven't noticed.

Anyway, since we're talking London, I'm not sure why the bike share system can't just be Dumpsters full of folding bikes placed every half-mile or so.  Londoners are mad (mad, I tell you!) for folding bikes, and since the bicycles themselves occupy a place in the material spectrum somewhere between umbrellas and actual bicycles I think having what amounts to giant communal umbrella stands all over the city would probably work out pretty well--provided they also offered the requisite high-vis vest:


(Mad, I tell you!)

And yes, I can assure you people would not be tempted to keep the bikes.  Take it from me.  I have a folding bike, and I'm about as attached to it as an empty MetroCard.

Alas, I can't say I'm too optimistic about the future of everyday bicycle cycling in big cities, particularly here in New York:

For the city's bike culture to continue to grow, Mr de Blasio's administration must not only be as supportive as the Bloomberg administration but as competent. There are doubts, not least because Mr de Blasio received strong support from the taxi lobby. But if the bike lanes are allowed to fade, there will be a reaction from the increasing number of city cyclists and their supporters. While attention is now focused on who will head the police department, and then education, a large group also awaits word of Ms Sadik-Khan's replacement. In the meantime, they're watching the writing on the road.

Yeah, we're screwed.  De Blasio is totally a lackey of the leg-severing taxi lobby, who actually have money, and he knows that all you have to do to get the bikey vote is give them spoke cards, since they're mad (mad, I tell you!) for spoke cards:


Ironically, 75% of people riding around with Vision Zero spoke cards are still registered to vote at their parents' houses in Connecticut.

Really, my question isn't whether or not de Blasio will let the cyclists down, because I'm reasonably sure he will.  Instead, what I really want to know is, "Can I have your mountain bike?"

TinkTailSold 

Hi, Mr. de Blasio.
If elected, will you ever bike to work?

deBlasio 

Unfortunately not, but let me tell you a story and I'll explain why I give you that answer. In 1990, I was in Seattle with my brother Steven, and we both bought mountain bikes, and we went on an amazing bike trip through western Montana, which is a really beautiful place… best seen by bike. Then I brought my bike back to Brooklyn, and although there were a few years when the kids were younger when I used it a lot, in recent years I almost never have used my bike. That's the sad truth. So I don't think it's likely I'll be using it to get to work, although I really appreciate and admire people that do, And I want to make it easier for people who do.

I mean, come on, it's not like you're using it.

Lastly, awhile back I declined to accept a pair of pants from Swrve, and evidently they still haven't gotten over it:


A while back, we saw the Bike Snob suffered yet another crotchal region blow out of his cycling jeans (they weren’t from us) and thought we’d blow his mind with the amazing prowess and durability of our Cordura Jeans so we tweeted him an offer for a free pair. As longtime fans and purveyors of his books, it would have been an honor to know he was roaming his new suburban home in a pair of our jeans.

But alas, he declined in favor of a cycling kit kilt and we’ve been stuck with a pair of jeans of in need of a home ever since.

So come on down to our pop up shop and win the jeans* the Bike Snob didn’t want!

Wow.  So my apparent loss is your gain, but anybody who would be honored to have me in their pants is deranged.

Anyway, I didn't mean anything personal about it.  I've just reached that sad point in life when I can no longer get excited about pants.


95 comments:

theEel said...

weed!!!!!

Dan said...

balls!

Anonymous said...

podio!

Serial Retrogrouch said...

mouse malfunction!

Anonymous said...

scranus

McFly said...

Excellent TaunTaun reference.

Yeah Cleveland! said...

Not the P

Schisthead said...

This seems like a rather long lull in the 'recently dismembered/killed riding' coverage.

Are motorists kinder and gentler because of Festivus?

Marcel Da Chump said...

Dock blocking blues.

Anonymous said...

I'm excited about your pants.

mikeweb said...

Dang! Read it first and forfeited a podium finish...


And WTF(!) that pop-up shop is only open 4 days??

Anonymous said...

I'm in there somewhere. vsk top 20

Anonymous said...

Herbal remedy

mikeweb said...

Snob,

Glad you figured out that Citibike totally sucks for any purpose other than tourist-y joyrides. I came to that conclusion the first time I used it.

They are truly the 2-wheeled versions of those lumbering double decker tour buses, minus the creepy tour guide on the mic and the occassional decapitation scares as the bus rolls under a low overpass or traffic signal.

Buffalo Bill said...

I have specialized(tm) balls

leroy said...

Took a Citi Bike this AM to work in case I didin't feel like riding home tonight.

Too tired. My dog couldn't sleep last night and kept poking me awake to ask "No really, what does the fox say?"

Too cold. My dog doesn't have the guts to keep my hands warm.

First bike station not working. Got last bike at next station.

grog said...

Wouldabin fifth, but read the blog. Can I have your jeans?

Kenny Banya said...

DOCK BLOK

Gaffer Smythe said...

You said anals.

P. Bateman said...

tooop twennty

Comment deleted said...

Too much blue in today's post stealing my focus.

McFly said...

According to Mark Parisi a set of testicles are worth $70,000.

Regular guy said...

What was it about those jeans that made them "the pants we wanted to give to bikeSnob?" Were they customized in some way? Did the pockets contain something of particular interest? Were they stained?

the Jimboner said...

great. now I got that shitty spin doctors song all crammed up in my Krampus.







itlnente 1211
huh, that is exactly how internet is pronounced in Brasil

Anonymous said...

the beige monstrosity is a S"AAB". The ridiculously expensive 9-7X shared its core mechanicals with the departed Chevy Trailblazer.

ABBA SAAB

Anonymous said...

You're not laterally stiff yet vertically compliant enough to get in my pants.

Name said...

Jimboner,

I thought it was pronounced internetee

Anonymous said...

Your loss, Swrve pants are bombproof

dnk said...

Today I rode the Citi Bike thing twice. From my office across from Grand Central up to Columbus Circle, and back. Yes it is true the bikes suck, especially the wide wide wide wide handlebars which make navigating midtown traffic difficult. But I loved it.

The other day I had a meeting at 55th and Broadway, and came out to find an empty CitiBike rack. I walked several blocks south: another empty rack. Then several more blocks to find yet another empty rack. It was snowing and slushy, perfect for the fat bike tires and fenders -- but a bummer to find no bike.

babble on said...

How can you talk London not get excited about PANTS?!?

And you're singing my life with your words again. I've tucked a communing-with-lob glomitten in the waistband of my PANTS :D to warm my freezing fingers a few times this week. OMG there were crazy frosty road sparkles out there today...!

Anonymous said...

Wildcat,

you mentioned yesterday that we can swap out the BSNYC cap in the Walz book/cap combo, can we also swap out the book? Thanks

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 1:45pm,

I already have pants, I lose nothing.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

mikeweb said...

A couple of things:

Why would anyone put a bomb in a pair of pants?

That watery boudior looks like a sadistic behavioral therapists idea to cure somnambulism.

ge Roubaix™ said...

Great news! As soon as Rapha paint over that horrid Barclays blue London will be safe for tourists again. Such a beautiful city ruined by blue.

Anonymous said...

when did the Bronx become a suburb?

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 2:29pm,

It's a suburb of Yonkers.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Bama Phred said...

Cycling can be anal? Who knew?

Tee Kay said...

Oy vey De Blasio didn't really explain why he doesn't bike to work.
Also, he's right about Montana (I live here) Its fucking awesome on a bike. But so is everywhere else, unless your getting run over or your leg severed. We might as well have bikeshare here in missoula, with all the drunk kids who leave their bikes unlocked in parks, on lawns and on campus. the best part about that, no docking and no membership!

Bama Phred said...

Forgot to mention nice disembodied leg shot, was the rest of it trying not to laugh at your frozen neuticles?

McFly said...

That water bed would be sweet for when you finish the sexuals and you don't want to do the silly mini-half-shower-whore-bath routine. Just dive in and give it a quick once over and let chlorine work its magic.

trama said...

@dnk 1:46pm,

Wide handelbras are what, 1-2" different than most others? so you do what exactly when you ride around? I am confused.

RoadQueen said...

It's so cold today I saw a teenager pull his pants up.

It's colder than a well-digger's ass.

It's colder than a witch's tit in a brass brazier.

Balmy 16 degrees now. Started out at 4 with -5 wind chill. My hat is off to you guys that can stand to not only be in this weather for more than 2 minutes, but also hop on a bike and create an even greater wind chill factor than already exists.

*SALUTE!*

FUCK COLD
NEED WARM
WITC HTIT
BRAS SBRA
FRZN DGTS

mikeweb said...

RQ,

It was a balmy 22 degrees non-celsius when I began my pedaling to work this a.m.

I also went ice skating today in the park at lunch time, so:

"It's so cold the Zamboni got stuck to the ice."

Tee Kay said...

When are they gonna start making oversized vulva or ovaries, or tits, for us ladies to hang off our bikes. Wildcat! People listen to you, or at least read your shit, how about a call to oversized female genitalia to hang on our desk chairs, bikes or whatever-the-fuck...

mikeweb said...

McFly,

Isn't that what the bathroom sink is for?

RoadQueen said...

#1: Tee Kay: I'll get on that band wagon. I'd love to have a big realistic looking pair of fake tits to hang off the front of my bike's handlebars.

#2: mikeweb: Soldier on man. 'Cause - Fuck. That.

Maybe I just don't own enough/the right kinds of clothing. Or maybe I'm just a big sissy.

The Grinch said...

Thanks for the spoke card - pie plate porn

MS meh 122

ChamoisJuice said...

I like to shove fake dog balls up my ass and then go out for a longish ride. The fake dog balls stimulate the prostate for maximum riding pleasure.

dnk said...

@trama 2:54 PM

I like the Nitto Bosco bars that are turned back at the ends instead of being spread out. Or even regular rode bike handlebars.

I find the Citi Bike bars a little too wide for my taste in jammed midtown traffic.

babble on said...

Mikeweb ++ :D Non-celsius indeed. Sadly, our little cold and clear snap is already thawing. Back to rain tomorrow.

TeeKay - do you mean something along the lines of giant golden clitoris you ride like a bull?

Regular guy said...

Nice typo, gets the imagination revved up.

Anonymous trama said...

@dnk 1:46pm,

Wide handelbras

Anonymous said...

Was that Lance's fake testicle?

Campbell Huff said...

So the French-born student was killed BY the Boris bike? Did it fall on him from great height? Isn't it more likely he was killed by a CAR while RIDING the Boris bike? Back me up people - semantics matter!

RoadQueen said...

Oh, I forgot to add: The temps that I listed are also non-Celsius.

4 degrees Fahrenheit is just stupid cold, and causes nearly instant bugger freeze.

Dooth said...

America is a cage!... Really, Wildcat? Seems to me you're as free as a bird. Freebird! Freebird!

Herschel Raney said...

Blog comments are excessively testicular today. And the request for female reproductive organs to "hang of the back of your bike" is, well, picturesque. Unfortunately ovaries and fallopian tubes and uteri were not designed for dangling. And it would look more like you raided an autopsy or a slaughterhouse. As you toodled down the highway.

Just say no.

And, yes, fuck the robot test.

McFly said...

We had a little ice Friday and a guy at work with a huge disgusting set of those TRUCK NUTS ran off into a field in his Dodge Super Blown Hemi F450 Energy Machine and his father in law, who is the maintenance supervisor, happened along and had to pull him out with a tractor.

We all told him if he cant drive on an 1/8" of ice he had to have his 4x4 castrated.

Anonymous said...

The indignity of sharing pants.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Count me in the female anatomy fanclub. Remember those rubber beer can toppers that looked just like a tit? I want a couple of those for Cramday to put on my water bottles.

Hate to admit it but I was a big Spin Doctors fan back in the day. Still got the CDs. Sometimes I get them out and listen. And then think what the hell was wrong with me. My favorite song is that one "Aaaaaaaaayeah what time is it?"

I have a couple Topeak seat bags with the little blinky loop just like that but I still ain't hanging balls from them.

Slippery Eel on the podio. Nice job my aquatic friend.

DB said...

Fallopian Utopia.

trama said...

@dnk,

We just got some of those bikes out here in sf, I like the wide-assed bars cuz the width provides great leverage when trying to pull out of the steel tracks of death running parallel to sub parallel along many of the gaddanmed streets. I mean holy crap and I used to think I was a good bike handler!

wishiwasmerckx said...

McFly, does that thing got a hemi?

wishiwasmerckx said...

Babs, "Clit Rodeo" is my word of the day (Okay, it's two words. So sue me).

leroy said...

Fooled my dog with a fake ball throw.

I know he enjoyed the joke because he gave me a pair of neuticles for Festivus.

He's throwing a karaoke party and signed me up to perform "I've got a lovely bunch of neuticles" to this tune.

He just loves the holidays.

ge Roubaix™ said...

Wow, lots of interesting typos today. instant bugger freeze erm, really?

There's like 7" difference between a narrow set of tour de francey style bars and a wide mountain bikey-cycle bar, so add a little extra for those Citi bikes and you're looking at close to a foot? An american foot, no less, not one of those commie metric foots (spondee?).

JLRB said...

the good news is the dark days are on their way out - sunset was a minute later today than yesterday (although rise was later too). I hate messing around with lights and layers to ride to work

gsport george said...

The London folding bike skips already exist:
http://road.cc/content/news/38684-brompton-bike-dock-launches-guildford-station-uks-first-self-service-brompton

Comment deleted said...

JLRB, well I'll be damned. I've been around the sun a time or fifty, and only just now did I learn that neither the earliest sunset or latest sunrise are on the Winter Solstice.

ThenQ.

Frilly Chick said...

dockblocked

*chortle*

Spokey said...

cd

sunrise around here doesn't start getting any earlier until 2014-01-09.

But solstice is still the weeniest day.

Spokey said...

I don't hang female (or even male) bits from my bicycle. But I am watching the boob tube right now.

Anonymous said...

Hey Snob,

"Riding to 2050, the San Diego Regional Bicycle Plan" just came out this week. Like most people who live here, I'm too damn lazy to actually read it so perhaps we can infer its contents by means of your mocking it or your using its positives to mock stupider bike infrastructure planning elsewhere.

http://www.sandag.org/index.asp?projectid=353&fuseaction=projects.detail

Frilly Chick said...

I don't need another set of big ta-ta's hanging on my bike. My own girls are plenty.

Friendo said...

McFly: I cant believe that you didn't try to hump those fine disembodied legs

RQ@2:59: right on.

Frilly@6:34: pics or the commentariat is skeptical.

Anonymous said...

Do you ever let them wrap around the "top tube"?

Backpedaler said...

Babs admitted to have had a lobsteresque glowmitten in her pants... Whut da fook is a lobsteresque glowmitten?

Dave said...

Dear Mayor DiBlasio - here's a cool idea that will start your reign of terror off on the right foot: hire several squadrons of homeless persons to ride bikes from full-up bikeshare stations to those that are empty. Bike sharers are happy and the homeless become fit, and maybe even can afford larger cardboard boxes. Eventually they will form some kind of amateur racing club and start using EPO and whatnot. Fake outrage ensues!

I am not a robot, but I can simulate one perfectly. Muse on that, Mr. Turing.

Oh - what was the address of that psychic dentist?

Oh yeah - 1895 Psident

Bogusboy said...

Sorry, pal, but the Walz hats are beyond gay....

babble on said...

Backpedaler: I meant glovmitten, not glowmitten. Glomittens sound like something you'd find off the coast of Fukushima.

Wmim: Right? My favourite new word of 2013: cliteracy.

ge Roubaix™ said...

Yeah, figured out a long time ago that sunrise kept getting later after the solstice, but up until last year my tunnel vision prevented me from seeing that the earliest sunset is around December 10th. Haven't got a clue how it works in 'roo land. Focussing on hydrating, I'm guessing.

Grantat - sick fuckin robot

ouabacher said...

If Leroy's dog writes a book, even a book of haiku.... especially a book of haiku, I'll buy the accompanying hat.

Anonymous said...

Tonight I walked in on my room mate while I was masterbating.

leroy said...

Dear Mr. Oubacher --

My dog asked me to post the following:

A haiku for you
Book advance check clearing now
Time to order hat

Anonymous said...

What about blow jobs? Will you still accept gratuitous blow jobs? Because I heard Kim kardashian's brother's personal assistant knows this girl who's life coach has another client who has a labradoodle who lost all it's teeth in a cancer accident that gives blow jobs that are not totally shabby if you put peanut butter (youhave to keep putting it on until liftoff) on your privates. Interested?

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Anonymous said...

Hey ladies, men are alot like dogs. We are generally happy to see you and have no idea why you are mad.

Anonymous said...

Yeah? Im in Australia and it was so fucking hot today I saw a dog chasing a cat and they were both walking .

Anonymous said...

"Alas, I can't say I'm too optimistic about the future of everyday bicycle cycling in big cities"

I think you meant to say "big cities in the United States."

Sartorialcyclist said...

The vaguely fascistic Rapha jerseys match nicely with the BSNYC Walz cap.

the Commentariat said...

Anon 8:09, it's the same thing, you eurocentric asshole...

Unknown said...

No photos of one mostly empty station to dock blue bikes?

Apparently NYC 'deciders' bought enough blue bikes to fill each and every mandatory parking dock?

Total genius! Looks like someone spent lots of money to make bikes appear as a huge hassle.

Stu Rasmussen said...

A real world and yet still a bit outlandish solution (i like the homeless joke) to dock block/empty dock problem is to hire Bike Dock-Fixer Couriers. The rebalancing vans are just too slow in NYC traffic. A bicyclist could far more quickly get to a dock block and pull out a few bikes and lock them nearby (they would have to carry cable locks with shared keys/combos with the vans). They could also bike ride Citi-Bikes from adjacent full-ish to empty stations and jog/rollerblade/folding-bike back and forth. This would be a renaissance for Bike Messenger-types who would have the funny new Job Title: Dock Unblockers.

Stu Rasmussen said...

I realize that there are bike trailer rebalancers in NYC and Nashville, but those are too slow as well.

livingjetlag said...

Up in Boston the bike share is closed for the season. The tourist market is pretty dried up. If NYC is going to leave the stations up, it could protect some bikes from weather and vandalism by hibernating, say, half of them.

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