Okay, so there's a group of kids walking along the sidewalk--young ones, with ages in the single digits. They're with an adult, let's say a teacher, and suddenly a passer-by starts screaming at the teacher like a character out of a Mel Gibson movie:
"KILL THEM! KILL THEM ALL RIGHT NOW! KILL THE LITTLE BABIES!!!"
Would you say that at this point it would be reasonable for an officer of the law to fire a tranquilizer dart into the passer-by's ass and drag him to a mental institution? Because I would. Yet strangely pretty much this same thing happens every day and nobody seems to give a shit.
Indulge me, if you would, in briefly pondering the following actual situation I witnessed yesterday.
It was a lovely, springy day and I was approaching an intersection with a four-way stop near a school. In the crosswalk ahead of me were a bunch of little kids, crossing the streets with some adults. A driver was inside the intersection, waiting them to finish crossing so he could complete his turn. Behind him, a second driver was waiting also, except "waiting" is not the right work, because he's LEANING ON HIS GODDAMN FUCKING HORN THE ENTIRE TIME!!!
This is a perfectly normal sight in New York City, but as I was watching it yesterday all I could think was "This guy is a fucking psychotic!" The most charitable explanation for his behavior is that he wants the little kids to hurry the fuck up, which is only moderately psychotic, and the most disturbing (and likely) one is that he simply wants the driver in front of him to plow through the kids on the crosswalk, which is fully psychotic. Either way, people like this need to have fucking darts fired into them, then they need to be placed in padded rooms for psychological evaluation, and the results of that evaluation notwithstanding they need to have their fucking licenses revoked for all of eternity.
Really, the only difference between my hypoallergenic scenario and the real scenario is that the nutjob is in a car, and of course when you're in a car you're allowed to be as crazy if you want. This is America, and the rule is that if you buy (or lease) something you get to be as batshit insane as you want while you're inside of it. It's sort of a commercial force field. The passer-by is recognized for the lunatic that he is, but the driver just has a little innocent "road rage," and when it finally gets the better of him and somebody dies all he has to do is say he mistook the pedal for the brake and he'll live to drive another day.
Anyway, my ride yesterday took me through pretty much the entire length of Manhattan, and all I could think the whole time was, "You have to be a fucking idiot not to realize that drivers are deranged." Do pedestrians wander into traffic while staring at their smartphones? Sure. Do cyclists on brakeless fixies salmon through red lights at busy intersections? Of course, brakes and stopping are for "woosies." But only a driver will watch a light turn red in the busiest city in America and then stomp on the gas and launch a three-ton vehicle through it as hundreds of people have already begun to cross the street.
All I'm saying is, give me a bike, a tranquilizer gun, and a straight jacket and I'll have the streets safe in no time. "Vision Zero" sounds cute and all, but people are dying for fuck's sake, so how about a new motto?
Then on the way home that night I was overcome by motorcycle salmon on whiny crotch rockets who decided they didn't want to ride around the block in order to visit the gas station. I almost said something, too, but fortunately I remembered that they were probably off-duty police officers who would be all too happy for an excuse to beat me with their helments and instead adopted a dignified countenance as I slowly wet my pants.
Meanwhile, in Columbus (that's in Ohio, right?), a local news channel right out of the movie "Anchorman" reports bicycle infrastructure is BLEEDING THE CITY AND THE TAXPAYERS DRY!!!
Or, as far as I can tell, the city put in some bike racks, then a bunch of NIMBYs stopped the bike lane that was supposed to go with them, so now nobody's using them:
Evidently, at a cost of over $500, or one pair of Assos bib shorts, these three racks are now bringing Columbus to its knees.
Wow. Journalistically speaking, this news report is basically the equivalent of honking at the driver in front of you to drive through a bunch of babies.
Then again, I know nothing of the bicycle infrastructure in Columbus, so maybe the whole thing is a poorly-conceived shit show, what do I know? If you have any insight, please share it in the comments, but make sure to pepper those insights with the word "scranus."
The big revelation to me though was that in Columbus people apparently lock their bikes to garbage cans:
"I'll lock 'em up to a garbage can, or a tree, or a fence..."
That doesn't sound like a great idea, and if Hal "Jorts" Ruzal of Bicycle Habitat were to come across something like that in his latest bike-locking video he would have totally plotzed:
Hal Grades Your Bike Locking 2014 (Part IV) from STREETFILMS on Vimeo.
Basically, if you don't want Hal to strangle you with his dreadlocks, you need lock your frame, your wheels, and your saddle:
I like to think my own locking technique would pass muster with this revered mechanic who bears an uncanny resemblance to Tom Hanks about 75 minutes into "Castaway," and my own saddle-securing trick is a piece of old bicycle chain wrapped in inner tube:
Though you should also keep a novelty turd in your bag at all times:
That way, if you don't have a chain (or you want to enhance your existing security security) you can simply place the novelty turd on top of your saddle as a theft-deterrent.
For maximum effect, I also like to plant a little toothpick flag in it warning would-be saddle thieves that I carry a fecal-borne disease:
Though this has been known to backfire, like that time when I returned to find my saddle gone and my flag modified:
I'll never eat in that Dunkin' Donuts again, I can assure you.
Plus, I've got to watch my figure just in case I decide to come back from retirement, which is why I've also been studying up on racing technique. In fact, I was just reading Chris Horner's instructions on how to shed a wheelsucker:
If attacking or yelling doesn’t work, try this: As you drop to the rear of the paceline, Mr. Deadwood will likely open up a little gap in front of him and allow you the privilege of slipping in front of him, thus preventing him from ever rotating to the front (Figure 6.2). When you get in front of him, slow down. A lot. Allow a huge gap to open in front of you. Let it grow as large as you can. Wait for Mr. Deadwood to jump around you to close the gap. If he wants to stay with the breakaway, he’ll eventually decide to go around you. When he goes past you, jump on his wheel and let him tow you back up to the group. This is a complex tactic that requires a unified effort by everyone in the breakaway to help out. If you’re the only one who’s concerned about the freeloader,
this tactic will not work.
All riders in the breakaway must do the same thing to Mr. Deadwood every time they rotate to the back. That is, take him off the back and make him chase to regain contact. This requires him to work very hard to stay in the break, or die trying. Not literally, of course. We don’t want anyone to die in pursuit of a pair of socks and a TGI Fridays gift card.
Of course, to fully enjoy Chris Horner's book you really need to be up on pro racing lingo. For example, "Mr. Deadwood" is peloton slang for "guy who's been cooperating with USADA."
For the rest of us, the best way to shed a wheelsucker remains a well-timed burst of flatulence.