Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Indignity of Commuting by Bicycle: The Park-and-Ride

So I was checking my Twitter while eating my Froot Loops this morning when I saw this:
My next riding partner could be a drone?  Wow!  You mean Levi Leipheimer is coming over to ride with me?


(Levi Leipheimer: totally a drone.)

Excitedly (if you can call anything related to Levi Leipheimer "exciting"), I clicked on the link, but the article was actually about flying mechanical Fred drones that will soon be able to ride with you:


The design would incorporate two drones, one to fly in front of the bicycle and the second to fly in rear, to improve the visibility of the cyclist. The system would be equipped with a camera—“the original idea was to record accidents, but you could make a whole movie of your ride,” Eubanks says.

According to Eubanks, the design is three to five years away from being a viable product.

I say if they come up with a pair of drones that can help a triathlete mount a bicycle then they've got themselves a winner.

Speaking of riding while under surveillance, you may recall that last Friday I finally tested the Fly6 integrated tail light camera.  Well, this morning as I was getting ready to ride my kid over to the Apple product child labor factory I decided to try it out again.

This time, I had no mounting issues whatsoever, since my Big Dummy offers plenty of real estate for lights and other gewgaws, and I was able to easily strap the Fly6 right onto the bridge of Dark Helment's nose.


Thus affording the device a panoramic view:


You can't tell because it's only a screenshot, but I am bombing the fuck out of that hill at my kid's request.

Unfortunately, what comes down must go up:


It may not look like much of a hill, but a Big Dummy complete with human child weighs more than a Volkswagen Beetle, and it's just when I'm going anaerobic that the aforementioned child decides to assail me with questions such as "What is the earth made of?" while kicking me in the calves.

Alas, there's not much in the way of motor vehicular mayhem in my part of town, though you should never underestimate the danger posed by elderly drivers:


(There are no elderly drivers in this photo, but they're lurking, believe me.)

Obvious threats such as yellow cabs are one thing, but the insidious "slow burn" of a driver born during the Taft administration emerging from a CVS parking lot is infinitely more terrifying.  They don't turn, they don't stop for signals.  Instead, they just creep inexorably forward like a Panzer tank across the Sudetenland, flattening anything in their path

Depending on my mood, sometimes I actually prefer the mayhem of midtown Manhattan to quiet residential neighborhoods, in the same way you might prefer dying in a hail of bullets to being slowly crushed by the trash compactor in "Star Wars."

Anyway, we successfully negotiated the blue-haired minefield, and then I dropped the kid off at the Apple factory so he and his fellow laborers can assemble the new iPhone.  Next, I headed for the train station, and on the way an apartment shuttle pulled the old gun-it-as-the-light's-changing thing:


This underscored the shortcoming of only having a rear camera, but if I were to get one for the front too then I'd have to hire a grip and deal with the teamsters, not to mention the 36-hour editing sessions after every ride.

Arriving at the train station, I parked the Big Dummy someplace where it could enjoy a pleasing view in my absence:


Here's "Your's Truley," walking around the bike to get the up-locking supplies from the bike's cargo bags:


Note I'm wearing my Brooks "Inspector Gadget" jacket.  Say what you will about the price (I suggest "Are you fucking kidding me?") and some of the goofy features (the blue straps so you can hang it off your back are particularly superfluous), but I have to say that I wear this thing all the time, on and off the bike, and it's phenomenal.

Also, the soothing tan color helps mollify the blue-hairs.

Next, I locked up the bike, and as the chain enters the camera's field of vision you can see that I'm not messing around:


And then I turned off the Fly6, revealing, as always, that I have at least one "bat in the cave," not to mention a nose hair thatch to rival that of any blue-haired driver:


Hey, at this time of year there's always going to be lots of mucus happening, no matter how often I wipe my nose on the sleeve of my Inspector Gadget jacket.

Finally, I pocketed the Fly6, took a parting shot of the Big Dummy, and headed down to the platform:


As I rode the train, I read the following:


The new bike-share system has endured a brutal first winter, and it shows.

So far in February, Citi Bikers have taken only about 7,500 trips a day. That’s down from nearly 10,000 a day in January, which was a pretty nasty time to be outside, too.

I don't know, that does't sound so low to me.  Frankly, given the winter we've been having, I'm surprised anybody is riding the goddamn things at all.  So, upon disembarking in Manhattan, I decided to subject the Fly6 to further testing by taking a gratuitous Citi Bike ride.

Sadly, as you can see, there were only two bikes at the nearest station:


One has the reversed saddle that is the universal symbol for "bike's busted," and the other was simply out of order.

I was about to give up on the whole Citi Bike thing, but at that very moment fate smiled upon me when a woman returned one of the coveted azure corporate clunkers:


In mere seconds I mounted the Fly6:


Switched it on:


Swung a leg over the bike:


And took off.

The first thing I noticed was that the bike was pretty wonky, and I could feel the pedal spindles wiggling underneath my feet.  The seatpost clamp was also a bit loose, so if you watch the Fly6 video the camera's sort of wagging like it's on the tail of a mildly pleased dog.  I'm sure I was wreaking havoc with by biomechanics, and had I been using a Shark saddle no doubt it would have been sending sharp warning pains directly into my anus.

Still, the bike worked, and that's all that mattered.  Plus, as I entered the bike lane, I had the added assurance of the camera:


Just try it, you fuckers.

In fact, between my Inspector Gadget camera and the Fly6, I was positively brimming with confidence and weaving through traffic as though it was standing still:


Mostly because it was, in fact, standing still.

By the way, if you've lived in New York City for more than three days you've almost been killed at least seventeen times by a vehicle from "C.C. Rentals:"


Incredibly this one in particular didn't encroach on me, but as far as I can tell, patrons of C.C. Rentals are under strict instructions to attack cyclists.

Then, this guy tried to erect a hasty barrier in the bike lane, but I was too fast for him:


After which I took a daring inside line in order to pass a Doritos truck:


You should never take the inside line when passing a Doritos truck or indeed any truck, but I'm a semi-professional bike blogger equipped with both a Fly6 and an incredibly expensive Inspector Gadget jacket, so I can pull it off.

I can also cut off taxi cabs:


Deal with it.

At the next intersection, I found myself in front of a twin-pronged threat that will be immediately familiar to any New York City cyclist, that being the Access-a-Ride car and the fucked-up van:


Complete with license plate affixed to bumper with dental floss:


(Almost as threatening as a Pennsylvania license plate, which is the most threatening of all delivery van license plates.)

Both of these vehicles will not hesitate to run you over the moment the light turns green, which is why you should always give yourself a head start whenever possible:


But not too much of a head start, because they'll get you for running a red light if you're too obvious about it:


It's all part of "Vision Zero" or something.

Finally, I arrived at the Citi Bike station:


Where I docked the bike with much determination:


Switched off the Fly6:


(Dr. Wildkatz-Rockmanstein, proctologist.)

And left the wonky Citi Bike with its siblings:


By the way, check out the paparazzo on Rollerblades looking to snag a celebrity:


Good thing I was wearing my Groucho glasses, because he totally missed me.

105 comments:

Anonymous said...

(oYo)

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...isn't it nice that assholes and cunts are next door neighbors?

semi serious cyclist said...

i was going to post first, but why?

Anonymous said...

Up there . . .

vsk

charlie brown said...

charlie brown

Roille Figners said...

The Shark is cumming for your ass!

Bike Dude said...

Toooo slow top ten?

Tetanus the Clown said...

top ten?

Freddy Murcks said...

Skimmed it. Much too late for the podio.

Roille Figners said...

And who needs friends when you've got DRONES

samh said...

Dr. Wildkatz-Rockmanstein, Assman.

Anonymous said...

Hey 40th + 5th, my work naybahood !!

vsk

Lori Freiberger said...

That's LORD Dark Helment to you!

No hey really it's ME said...

WHAT NO ASS!!!

top 20 suckkas!

WPVelo said...

Hey where's all the probing psyclo-bloggery that we've all become used to, once we relax?

Wade's Dog said...

Jiminy Crickenheimers, it's simply surreal to come here and not read about buttaciousness at all.

Recumbabe where are you?

dnk said...

Funny fucking post there, Dr. Widkatz-Rockmanstein. The little rear-camera thingy is catapulting you into new levels of bike blog hilarity. Or maybe you are catapulting it.

Can't wait until someone sends you the first bike-buddy flying drone to try out....

Roille Figners said...

OK if the drone has a laser that goes PEW! PEW! and you can shoot stuff, then I'm in.

Yeah Cleveland! said...

1000 whatevers for a jacket? Are you fucking kidding me?

Etherhuffer said...

So shoot me. The drone thing is kinda cool in a sci-fi sort of way. Dang, they got me.

Roille Figners said...

PS yes that is a smart tan jacket there Dr. Rockmanstein.

Spokey said...

wow put in a missing shipment notice and boom, can't even get in the top 20ish.



5982324 1822

Regular guy said...

I can't wait to see my first Fred riding with his drone "riding buddies". Sad.

I've finally mustered up the guts to comment on yesterday's post, which frightened me and kept me up most of the night.

To paraphrase a friend of mine: "Sometimes you jump the shark, sometimes the shark humps you."

le Correcteur said...

Late. Pack fodder due to your late posting.

30 8988665

Suggestion Filled Commenter DaddoOne said...

you know, can POST THE ACTUAL VIDEOS , instead of just stills from them, right?

mikeweb said...

Can't help but notice that there's plenty of room left on the big dummy for a second child portaging helment device.

db said...

"Fred Drones" is my new punk guitarist name....

BikeSnobNYC said...

Suggestion Filled Commenter DaddoOne,

You want to watch 15 minutes of rearward-facing camera footage of someone dropping a kid off at nursery school?

--Wildcat Rock Machine

BikeSnobNYC said...

Mikeweb,

I've got the kiddie seat "slammed!"

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Anonymous said...

When my drone can shoot down your drone, I'm buying two.

cycle

Anonymous said...

Send in the drones. Don't bother they're here.

cycle

Anonymous said...

Of course CitiBike rides are down. Did the article mention how many of the racks downtown got plowed in and then froze? Assholes.

Anonymous said...

Isn't that the time-traveling t-shirt-wearing retro-Fred from the planet Tridork chasing the drones? Nah, guess not. It's his brother Ted...

ps. I AM TOO a robot. Death to the flesh bags!

Anonymous said...

nice 3 minute ride on the citibike. I also am getting a kick out of the Fly-6 stuff. At first I thought teh Fly-6 was a pretty stupid idea, well I still do, but liking the fly-6 video commentary. Keep up the good work.

ASSEX said...

Fist assfin!

Sir Kenelm Digby said...

If I had a drone, what for would I need my stupid bike?

McFly said...

Spaceballs AND Star Wars AND National Lampoon's Vacation....well played, Sir.

Perenium said...

RTMS, you are turning into Lucas Brunelle.

Commentorbat9000 said...

"...creep inexorably forward like a Panzer tank..."

You are stuttering, panzer means tank (or it could mean armour, if it was not creeping.)

Funny though.

DB said...

I'm with dnk, Snob.
This new camera reportage is the best stuff since the Great Hipster Silk Route and the Hasids.
Funny stuff.

Roille Figners said...

DRON WARS

RoadQueen said...

Add me to the pool that wants to see at least a small snippet of video along with the stills. The stills are hilariously commentated upon, but sometimes I want to feast my eyes on something that moves for like, 30 seconds. Ya know?

Congrats to the podio winners! XXX

DB said...

Hey, Crosspalms:
I see that there is an opening for Drug Lord in Mexico.
Come up with an alias and lets do it.
El Crosspalms.

crosspalms said...

The part of my brain that knows the Fly6 faces backward refuses to talk to the part of my brain that looks at the pictures and says "you're going the wrong way." I doubt I should be trusted with drones.

Anonymous said...

Awesome post. Would have been awesomer if you would have said "a Tiger tank rolling over the Sudetenland."

Dick Hertz said...

I'm going to buy a Shark seat, send it to Viet Nam to be replicated at an inhumanly small cost. Then I'll brand it as a woman's saddle, and name it after my cousin (who is my biggest investor). Introducing, the world's first women's finned bicycle cycycling saddle, THE BUSTER HYMAN!!!

Anonymous said...

So what happened next!?!?

Did you make the return journey? Did you get a less wonky blue bike for the return trip? Did the paparazzo catch his prey? Did you surreptitiously shoot video on the train you're not sharing with us? When you "swung a leg over the bike", the bike appeared to be fully upright, necessitating a flamboyant airing-of-the-scanus to mount the bike, is this an appropriate display in public?

And lay off CC Rentals -- not only did they not encroach on you, you encroached on them! You're so close to the bike lane marking line it's embarrassing.

Anonymous said...

When I turn fifty, I'm going to get the shark procto-logic saddle and a Fly-6 camera. Cheaper than a colonoscopy.

Anonymous said...

WCRM can you skitch off of CC Rental vans with your Big Dummy? If not then Brunelle still has one on ya'

Anonymous said...

That Brooks coat is tits!
If I were Alec Baldwin I could totally afford it, and move out of NYC immediately.

jaybo said...

" Yeah Cleveland! said...
1000 whatevers for a jacket? Are you fucking kidding me?

February 25, 2014 at 1:34 PM"

no shit; that's like $1,668.08 American to look like a flying ace.

Tom Morley said...

Is a thousand euro jackett a fred thing?

crosspalms said...

DB
The local paper's headline on El Chapo was "Feds Nab Chicago's Public Enemy No. 1." I think the city has a website where international criminals can upload resumes to fill the spot.

Not sure I'm up to it, even though I was eating tamales from a food truck when I saw your post. I think I'd call myself La Marmota for Harold Ramis, and each time I was hauled off by the feds I'd growl "I'll be back."

DB said...

Ha! Jaybo. I am a few minutes behind you. I just checked that jacket out and figured it at 1669.50$.
That's more expensive than Rapha.

crosspalms said...

You can get a similar jacket for less than half that from Rivendell, and it's very nice. What would half the rank of an Inspector be: Detective Gadget? Sergeant Gadget? Officer Gadget?

Jed said...

Snobby ALL up on 'at funnybone today. Coffin dodger crawl on point like a sunshine state snowbird.
It's posts like this that could benefit from a 'buy snobby a beer' button. I woulda' clicked.

crosspalms said...

Whoa, now that you've translated it from gold-pressed latinum to yankee, the Riv jacket is almost a quarter of that.

DB said...

La Marmota:
I'll start digging the tunnels until you change your mind.

Anonymous said...

For a guy with so much disdain for fancy cycling products, you sure seem fascinated with this camera.

Unfortunately, we are not...

Fredder said...

It is a nice looking jacket. A bit steep at € 1000.00. Semi-professional bicycle blogger swag?

Anonymous said...

Jed,

It'd have to be; "buy snobby an expensive exotic boutique beer" button to go with the jacket.

Tal F said...

I am loving these new Fly6 posts. I hope they are paying you lots of money because it is really making me want to get one.

Dooth said...

Gogulski and Schlanger calling Wildcat's Citi Bike ride:

S: The Bike Snob has just emerged from Grand Central...looking for a Citi Bike.

G: He's a semi-professional bike blogger with a HUGE, er, following.

S: He's at the Citi Bike station on 43rd st.

G: Just two there, but both inoperable!

S: Oh, a woman... just about to park...

G: Timely.

S: ok, now...he's going west on 43rd, crossing Madison .

G: Goodness! There's a CC Rental van!

S: Deftly avoided.

G: Such skill...

S: Now he's on Fifth Ave.

G: Packed with vans, taxis and god knows what.

S: It appears he's looking for another station on 40th St.

G: He's done. Short but sweet, but he's slain that dragon of NYC traffic once again.

Spokey said...

good lob

lay off wildcat youall. I'd certainly rub it in all your faces if I could sit in my underwear eating frooty loops and get expensive free stuff.

Yer all just jealous. I know I am. I never got paid anything for porting a kid to school. Well nothing beyond the obvious peace of mind after dumping the little bastards on the system for free baby sitting.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, the classic Sudetenland reach around.

JLRB said...

Is this the famous bespoke jacket from London?

Anonymous said...

Big laughs per minute today snobby.

Anonymous said...

Are you fucking kidding me? I hope that funny "€" symbol means "much much less than."

JLRB said...

if bicycles get drones, cars will have bigger drones to knock our bicycle drones out of the way

mikeweb said...

I give it another month or two before Snobby gets bored and straps the Fly6 to the top of his shoe pointing up and then tries to get into the same elevator as Dorothy Rabinowitz.

Hope nobody out there was eating lunch when they read that.

mikeweb said...

Then again, I think he likes the camera and wouldn't want to risk it possibly spontaneously bursting into flames.

Anonymous said...

Can't imagine a dryer image than a DR upskirt

Bama Phred said...

Lovin these fly6 commentaries. Waiting for the video clip of Snob getting the finger after he cuts someone off.

Anonymous said...

Oops ... 'drier', I meant 'drier' ... must have been thinking about Dorothy

JLRB said...

Back before the ass age this blog once talked about S&S coupled bikecycles. Why the shark asdell would anyone strip one down this much to pack it?

McFly said...

That dandy jacket looks ideal for the flashing of the young ladies. And the MILFS. Lord knows they appreciate it more.

Spokey said...

mike @ 3:53 PM

please put the warning before the body of text. Oh, and add a warning being the middle of swallowing a mouthful of coffee.

I've gone and ordered a new laptop. I'm thinking of sending you the bill.



robot ffeldry spars when it read that post. I think robot wants some other warning too but is still gagging too much to articulate.

JB said...

How long until the Fly6 is left on a CitiBike? That's what I would do.

Spokey said...

Mcfly

stay away from Mike. Between the two of you, snobby will be flashing DR while filming it.

Ragnarök will be the result



robot sez Illumina acuster. Dan Brown taught him that.

babble on said...

Yeah, but maybe Liz will join Levi when he comes to visit, and it will all be worth it... anything's possible, right?

I like the idea that I would never have to ride solo again. Um. But I'm not the smartest crash test dummy in the peloton, and so naturally I'm confused. Doesn't somebody have to pilot a drone? If you can get your buddy to pilot the damned thing while you go for a spin, why wouldn't you just have him join you for a ride instead?

Anonymous said...

http://bellingham.craigslist.org/bik/4349014356.html

The coolest bike ever built, and it happens to be a cyclocross bike, the second most practical type of bike after a touring bike.

Leather everything. Squirrel skull. Vole (?) jawbones. Mayan calendar water bottle. There is nothing more to say. Except there is also the most amazingly great rattle free mini tool attachment.

Serious offers over $1000 will be considered.

JB said...

Babble, the drones would follow, or stay ahead of, some sort of GPS beacon that was on your bike.

Spokey said...

babs

insightful thought about the drones.

But . . . They could put an RFID sticker on you that your drones lock on to. They now know where you are and their internal radar/sonar gps and garmin maps give them all they need to stay on the road but slightly ahead / behind (shark seat or not) of you.


robot loved the legovest file scenes in that movie.

Anonymous said...

The street with the CC Rentals truck in it looks exactly the same as the southern end of Phillip street Sydney when viewed facing south.

I propose a sister street relationship between the two streetscapes be established.

babble on said...

Ah. So it's a hand-in-glove fit for stravaddicts like me. That's great. Fabulous.

You'd better just shoot me now...

Biking the Live Fantastic said...

Yeah, yeah, whatever. I wish I were a drone!

DB said...

Meeting Mikeweb for beers in Brooklyn around July 20th. Clear your calendars and join us.

Nacnud said...

Those drones are the stupidest idea I've heard since the last stupid idea I heard.

OK, I get the 'lock on' RFID thing , but how does one get those things out of and into the house at the start and end of one's ride?

And imagine the fucking chaos at triathlon transitions (or anywhere more than one person uses these useless pieces of landfill).

A solution very much in search of a problem methinks.

Anonymous said...

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-road-rage-cyclists-20140224,0,3954098.story#axzz2uO0TG7Ih

check out this article! What a fucking bitch!

McFly said...

If I could train the drones to attack High Velocity Low Profile Missle Dogs that are indigenous to the Tenn countryside I may actually be down with it. I could nickname them Ass Monkey 1 and Ass Monkey 2.

Anonymous said...

I wanna see a poop stain on that saddle fin: shark fin poop.

Officer Flossy said...

Hill bombing with kids! I laugh (ha) at the 15mph recommended limit printed in my co-pilot's user-manual. And folks ask why I don't use a front mounting child seat or trailer.

Bats in the cave should eventually, if properly dried, deal with the nose hair problem.

My only interaction with CitiBike is tootling down SF's Embarcadero once a week and observing the almost always full racks. After months and months, I'm not sure I've ever seen more than 2 or 3 bikes gone, even on the nicest days. Way to go NYC!

ge© said...

Hang on, if you strap that camera to Dark Helment's nose, can you still use the Schwartz? Because if it interferes with the Schwartz that's a major downgrade.

mikeweb said...

DB,

July the 20th should be just fine.

Liz the Jizz said...

Babble all I have on me is a moneyshot.

Have Cab, Will Travel said...

"I can also cut off taxi cabs. Deal with it."

Cabs still have trunks and bodies still get dumped in marshlands.

More Babes, Less Sperm said...

Babble, Road Queen and now Lori. Estrogen levels are once again climbing. Now if only FrillyTush would come back.

O'Canada said...

CC, calling CC, come in please.

DB said...

99

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Comment # one-zero-zero.

JLRB said...

Favorite line from this one:

"wagging like it's on the tail of a mildly pleased dog"

Platinum

Anonymous said...

Lick my shark fin, bitch

BackPackR said...

Omg, this drone idea is something straight out of a sci-fi movie. It would be strange, especially if I would ride past another biker and get hit in the head by his drone :)

Anonymous said...

Regarding the LA times opinion piece, the author says mistakes (ha!) were made on both sides. What mistake did the cyclist make? Talking to a stranger?

Unknown said...

Ooo bitrot on two photos. I hope the overwriting isn't causing sectors of memory to go bad - usually a symptom of low-quality memory.