May is National Bike Month (and Asthma Awareness Month, and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Awareness Month, and National Smile Month (UK), and National Masturbation Month), which means America's mainstream publications need to publish their glut of bike-related articles before the end of the month, like Nashbar blowing out half-shorts for the autumn. This, of course, is how I made it into the New York Times this past weekend:
Response to the piece was overwhelmingly positive, and my announcement of it prompted supportive comments such as this one:
Watered down tripe for the masses and not the usual vitriol that we've come to know and love. Looking forward to your upcoming feature in Teen Beat on how to avoid 'helmet head' on a bicycle involved 1st date. Ahh... The things we do for money.
May 24, 2014 at 3:42 PM
You want vitriol? I got your vitriol right here:
"Save it, dickwad."
--Wildcat Rock Machine
That vitriolic enough for you? Of course it's for the masses. It's a freaking newspaper! Would I have enjoyed publishing something like this in the New York Times?
Sure. However, that's not the sort of thing the Times publishes, so expecting to find it in there is about as reasonable as buying a copy of Juggs magazine for its piercing literary insight:
(Ezra Pound indeed.)
See, you don't get to just write your blog in a newspaper--and why would you even want to? ("You" is obnoxious for "me.") When you're a literary guest in someone's home you have respect their rules, or else you shouldn't bother coming over. If they want you to take your shoes off you take them off, you don't insist on keeping them on and then do a little dirty-foot dance on their sofa. Sure, I could have denied the invitation in the first place, but then I would never have gotten to see what their bathroom looked like. Plus, while I can write whatever I want whenever I want on my blog, the Times is constrained by "facts," which results in thrilling graphs like this:
Yep, that's right, people get old and die.
Now you know.
Perhaps equally obvious is this report that bikes are useful for getting around, which appeared in the same august newspaper (August is Cataract Awareness Month, by the way) at about the same time as my piece, presumably as a part of the same bike content purge:
“Your housing options change when you buy a bike and use it,” said Lyon Porter, a sales and leasing director of Town Residential, who relied heavily on a fixed-gear Dutch cruiser when living in Williamsburg several years ago and continues to cycle frequently around the city. “People get so much more for their money in this tight, compressed market,” when freed from the need to be near a train line, he said. “Your definable boundaries are different on a bike.” Without one, he said, “your map changes.”
Here we see in action the Times's rigorous adherence to facts, to wit:
FACT: Bikes help you go places.
FACT: Real estate is cheaper when it's not near the subway.
FACT: Using a bike can potentially obviate the inconvenience of being far from the subway, thus allowing you live someplace less expensive.
As for Lyon Porter's claims that he got around town on a "fixed-gear Dutch cruiser," however, I find this highly spurious, as it sounds like just the sort of boast someone who lives in Williamsburg would make, i.e. "I was riding fixed-gear Dutch bikes before they were cool." (Which, I might add, they never were, and hopefully never will be.) My best guess is that: a) someone who knows nothing about bikes confused "one speed" with "fixed-gear," or 2) Lyon is lyin'--though I would like to think that someone from the paper personally inspected Porter's Dutch cruiser before the story went to print.
This photo also raised my suspicions:
That's some serious high-vis, even by London standards. (FACT: They love their high-vis over there.)* Therefore, judging from his attire, I'm fairly certain he is not gut-renovating his Red Hook townhouse, and is in fact in the process of constructing a DIY subway line.
*[On my blog, if I say it's a fact, then it's a fact. My imagination is my fact-checking department.]
However, bike commuting does come with its own set of challenges. For example, if you're going to ride in the winter, you'll need some "gloves coated in beeswax:"
Pedaling along the Hudson on a breezy spring day is one thing. Relying on a bike as your main mode of transportation is another. There is a resoluteness required to ride in the sticky summer heat, in the wet months of spring and as temperatures drop below freezing in winter. Gear — whether it be fleece-lined bicycling tights or gloves coated with beeswax to make them water-resistant — is important. So is a place to change once you get to work.
Uh, what? Is this the New York Times or the Rivendell Reader?
Fortunately for today's army of bicycle-borne gentrifiers, Brooklyn is literally buzzing with artisanal apiaries.
Speaking of current events, here's a headline for you:
BIKE BLOGGER RIDES BIKE OVER HOLIDAY WEEKEND
Yep, it's true, I fact-checked it and everything. Check out this photo of the bike in question, right in front of a waterfall:**
**["Waterfall" is roughly 70% sewage and urine.]
In light of this monumental event, it seems as good a time as any to update you on my relationship with the Brooks Cambium, of which I took delivery back in October. As you can see, it still looks like new, even though I've been rubbing my scranus all over it for over half a year now:
Of course, you should keep in mind that as a bike blogger, cycling enthusiast, and internationally published bike share apologist, I have many bikes, and that I don't ride this one exclusively since frankly it would be indecorous to do so. This means that, in my case, scranular wear is spread out over multiple ass pedestals, so half a year isn't really all that long. Nevertheless, this bicycle does see its fair share of use, so that should count for something. I also still find the saddle to be very comfortable, especially on irregular surfaces (I'm referring to the road surface, not my scranus), which is when I tend to use this bicycle. (It's also still quiet since I figured out where that tiny creak was coming from.)
It also cuts a dashing figure from behind:
Which nobody sees ever, since I am resolutely and eternally "off the back" at all times.
Lastly, the NYPD is unleashing one of its much-needed bicycle crackdowns:
Presumably this will put an end to the murderous rampage cyclists continue to inflict upon the city's streets.