("No Dial Tone" should replace "In God We Trust" as our national motto.)
I love Citi Bike.
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:
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?"
Hi, Mr. de Blasio.
If elected, will you ever bike to work?
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.
***Gratuitous reminder you can now order a Walz/BSNYC Hat-'N-A-Book Combo for the holidays, get used to it!***