The Rapha-ication of cycling has resulted in a proliferation of self-styled semi-ironic bike racing teams who launch multi-media Internet reports of all-day (or multi-day) mixed-terrain adventures, which might lead you to believe that the vast majority of cyclists have nothing else to do besides design kits for themselves, customize their handmade bicycles, and fuck off for rides. The reality however is that most of us have responsibilities--I mean I don't, but you probably do. (Sucker!) Therefore, we must take our riding opportunities as they come, and somehow extract the baronial from the mundane, which is what I did yesterday.
It was a beautiful day, and what I really wanted to do was ride. However, I first had to get my kid to the Apple factory (I depend on the $.40 an hour they pay him to attach touch screens to iPhones with toxic adhesives), and then I had pressing business in Brooklyn which would take me all day to complete. (Gotta finish that Last Supper tattoo back piece!) So I loaded up the Wagon Queen Family Truckster and off we went:
(The Wagon Queen Family Truckster)
After dropping him off I had a brilliant idea: "Instead of going back home and switching bikes or catching a train, why not just keep riding this thing all the way to Brooklyn?" Sure, the last time I did that it was a bit of a disaster, but that was because it was like 20 degrees American and I got trapped on a greenway that was completely covered in brie:
(Tell me that doesn't look exactly like brie.)
It took me 36 hours and 1,500 boxes of Carr's Table Water Crackers to eat my way out.
This time though I knew it would be different. It was one of those perfect spring days, the sort that makes you want to spread a blanket out in the park and eat a reasonable amount of brie. So I pointed the smugness flotilla downtown and off I went:
Anyway, it may not be the Dolomites, but I maintain that almost 20 miles each way on a bike that weighs as much as a subway car qualifies as a baronial commute--especially because I didn't even bother to take the WideLoaders off:
This added a thrilling element of danger, because weaving through Manhattan traffic on a bike this wide can be tricky, and also because I kept expecting to nail jaywalking pedestrians in the Achilles tendon.
Then, on my way back home that evening, I saw a wondrous sight when someone came screaming down the Manhattan Bridge on a brakeless BMX (freewheel, of course), tried to slow himself with his feet, wiped out on the sweeping curve, and slid right into a concrete wall.
Sadly I have no photographic evidence of this, but it was the best thing I've seen since 2010, when I was present as a brakeless fixie rider's rear tire exploded as he attempted to slow himself coming off the Williamsburg Bridge. (Never has the sound of scraping aluminum sounded so sweet.) I didn't get a picture of that either, but I did manage a shot of the rider carrying his bike afterwards:
Speaking of the Manhattan Bridge, it actually experiences a bicycle rush hour now. Moreover, I was heading into Manhattan when everyone else was headed out of it, and thus I was able to witness Cat 6 racing in reverse, which is the best way to watch it since it allows you to sort of reverse-engineer the action. Here are some action shots of riders descending the span after the KOM:
Nothing but pure speed:
Can you say "aero?"
If not take your fist out of your mouth and try it again.
Also, most New York City bike commuters these days are wearing big clunky helments that are invariably poorly fitted and slightly askew, though some still forego the helment, and there are even those who forego both the helment and the shirt:
Pro tip: a high viscosity tanning oil can prevent road rash, though it can also cause you to slide for blocks before finally coming to a stop.
Here's the middle of the span where the peloton comes back together again after the climb, and where riders stuff copies of La Gazzetta dello Sport into their jerseys before beginning the descent:
Here's an attack towards the top of the slope:
The rider on the Citi Bike is clearly a pro, because the best way to compensate for the high weight and rolling resistance of a bike share bike is to nestle yourself in the huge slipstream of a bike with a kiddie seat. It's the next best thing to motorpacing.
On the lower portion of the slope the attacks come fast and furious:
And the helments come oversized:
This Citi Bike rider has the group strung out at the base of the climb, the chainlink fence creating the effect of a no-holds-barred Cat 6 cage match:
And here I arrive at the Manhattan side as riders continue to stream onto the bridge:
What awaits them on the other side of the span? Glory, happy hours atop bars of reclaimed wood, and a fitful night's sleep before tomorrow's stage back into Manhattan, where they will continue be the number one menace to pedestrians in this city. Just kidding! No, that would be the drivers:
I'm confident the police will catch the driver and he'll be quickly exonerated to the fullest extent of the law.
Speaking of shitty drivers, Jan Ullrich is one, but only when he's drunk. Some years back he drove his Porsche into a bike rack, and this time he's managed to overturn a Citroën:
Swiss police gave him an alcohol test at the scene, which is said to have given a result of 1.4 pro mille, or 1.4%, which is above the Swiss limit of 0.05%. He was then given blood and urine tests, and his driver's licence was taken away.
According to Blick.ch, Ullrich approached an intersection Monday evening at about 8 pm., with a car stopped at a stop sign. He was unable to brake in time and hit the car, a Citroen, which rolled over and landed again on its tires in a field. Ullrich also hit an Alfa Romeo, which stayed on the road. Ullrich was not injured.
This is quite a feat, since it takes at least 20,000 Diminutive Frenchman Units (DFUs) to overturn a Citroën:
From which we can conclude that 20,000 DFU is equal to one (1) Drunken Jan Ullrich (DJU):
(20,000 DFU = 1 DJU)
Anyway, Ullrich has apologized, so everything's fine now:
Ullrich apologized for the accident. “I am sorry. Thank God there were no deaths. I was in stress, coming back from a meeting and wanted to get home as quickly as possible. My God, that can happen to anyone.”
Though there are a few holes in his story, such as:
--What could Ullrich possibly be having a meeting about? The guy hasn't worked in seven years;
--If Ullrich was actually the sort of person who worked and had meetings, he'd know that you rush to get to the meeting on time, not to get home from the meeting afterwards;
--What can "happen to anyone" exactly? Getting drunk and crashing into people, or minding your own business and getting rammed by a trashed Jan Ullrich?
--If Ullrich had been able to translate stress into blinding speed during his career he might have won a few more Tours de France.
Next time Ullrich might want to employ the old drinker's rule of thumb: If your beer stein is bigger than your face, then you're probably drunk.