[This is the part where you all go, "How out of it are you?"]
I'm so out of it that I'm now finding out about things from Bicycling magazine. For example, I'd never seen this video until they linked to it:
I know this sort of thing makes the typical Fred pitch a boner tent in his chamois, but I just wanted to shove their dainty little Rice Krispies treats right down their throats--which really isn't that mean, since that's what they're doing with them anyway.
Moreover, not only did I learn about this video from Bicycling, but I learned about it from them in the context of a parody:
So basically Bicycling is covering parodies of videos I didn't even know existed. This makes me even more out of it than Lift Propulsive Pedaling guy.
In other professional cycle doping news, the commenter who operates under the nom de plume "CommieCanuk" recently sent me an email concerning this:
I take issue with the Leipheimer quote in the headline. He's clearly confused. The truth is that nobody wanted to hear from Leipheimer before all this doping stuff, when he was the most boring rider ever to throw a leg over a bicycle. Remember the whole "Let Levi Ride" thing?
Of course you don't remember, because nobody cared. "Let Levi Ride" was a fake grassroots campaign hatched by the Great Trek Bicycle Making Company back in 2008, after Astana (Leipheimer's team at the time) was banned from the Tour de France. As you can imagine, people responded to the idea of Levi Leipheimer not being allowed to compete in the Tour the same way they would if you told them they could never drink Ovaltine again, which is to say they shrugged and then said, "Okay, whatever, I didn't even realize it was still around."
Now, though, Leipheimer actually has interesting things to say. He's got beans to spill, skeletons to let out of the closet, and other metaphors. He's also got 22 pets:
We have 22 pets at home, that are all rescues, horses, goats, llamas, pigs, sheep, and they are pretty much our children.
Here's a typical morning at the Leipheimer/Gunn household:
Now tell me that's not interesting.
Also, here's one of his cats trying to claw his balls off:
That photo is totally staged. I bet the pocket of Levi's Levi's is stuffed full of Tender Vittles.
Speaking of wildlife, remember how I saw a snake?
(I saw a snake.)
Well, I just got an email from commenter Leroy informing me that he saw it too:
And yes, obviously it's the same one because everybody knows there's only one snake in the entire New York City metropolitan area. This is why the snake is so busy--though not too busy to take a break for some voyeurism:
Fortunately, I didn't see any snakes on my commute to Brooklyn yesterday--nor did I ride a Citi Bike like I did last week, because to be honest the fleet is looking a little bedraggled:
Still, just because I chose not to ride a Citi Bike doesn't mean I didn't want to look like a total goofball. (Or use a fuckload of double-negatives.) Also, trains have air conditioning. So instead I rode a folding bike:
(Pie plate being menaced by a valve stem that looks like a wang.)
I've ridden a lot of different bicycles in the city over the years: fixies, road bikes, cargo bikes, Scattantes... You know what's most different about each them? It's not the geometry, or the drivetrain, or even the clothes you wear while riding them. No, it's how people react to you in crosswalks. For example, if you're riding a fixed gear bicycle, pedestrians will often hesitate as you approach, even if you're stopping for the light. This is because fixies are idiotic contraptions that cannot coast, and coasting puts people at ease, whereas not coasting makes them think you're going to keep going and run them over. Road bikes elicit a similar reaction, because you ride them hunched over the bars and dressed like a human suppository that will not stop until it finds a gigantic anus in which to burrow. Could it be theirs? Pedestrians are not about to cross your path in order to find out.
Folding bikes, on the other hand, intimidate nobody. Pedestrians laugh. Little children laugh and pelt you with Girl Scout Cookies. And every other cyclist, no matter what they're riding, shoals the fuck out of you. I was egregiously shoaled yesterday by a woman on a Citi Bike fully loaded with shopping bags from Banana Republic, and she did so repeatedly and violently. I suspect that if folding bikes were the only bicycles on earth then the "bike backlash" as we know it would not exist. Even Dorothy Rabinowitz and Delia Ephron, both of whom think the bicycle is the most deadly object since the Scud missile, wouldn't give you a second look as they jaywalked in front of you to catch a cab from Bergdorf.
Speaking of stopping at lights, our current police commissioner is a well-known crackdown whore, and so I wasn't taking any chances with running lights, especially when cops were present. Other cyclists are not so prudent. Consider this scenario:
The guy in the far background simply ran the light, the guy across the street got of his Citi Bike and walked it, the rider in front of me stared unwaveringly at the police car's bumper, and I stopped before the crosswalk like a good little sycophant and then wrote a whiny blog about it later.
I probably shouldn't have worried though, since Bratton's biggest concern seems to be the graffiti that taunts him as he drives home from the Hamptons:
He announced with satisfaction the arrest last week of a Long Island man accused of routinely spray painting on highway overpasses and walls in Queens. (Graffiti along the Long Island Expressway has come under particular scrutiny from Mr. Bratton, who gets a close view of the vandalism as he returns from his weekend home in the Hamptons.)
I'm glad to see he's got his priorities straight:
Mr. Bratton has also grown quieter about Mr. de Blasio’s signature public safety initiative — reducing traffic deaths.
Basically, it's totally fine to get mowed down by a car, but you should never have to look at unsightly graffiti while driving one.
Something else I noticed is that cyclocross is the hot new trend in Cat 6 racing:
Above is the little shortcut people take at the Manhattan Bridge approach on the Brooklyn side in order to excise this gentle yet time-consuming sweeping curve:
This shortcut has become increasingly worn in since I left Brooklyn a year an a half ago, and I can only attribute it to the increased popularity and importance of Cat 6 racing. After all, saving three or four seconds could be the difference between crushing or getting crushed by that formidable rival on the mail order single speed with the exposed ass crack. In fact, as I passed the dirt path, an intense three-rider move was ascending it, but I only managed to catch the last rider as he transitioned to the pavement because I had to unlock my phone:
I should also note that an unusually high percentage of riders seemed to be on Citi Bikes, possibly because they'd also decided to augment their commutes with air conditioned train rides. Here's a typical garden variety Citi Salmon in the new "protected" bike lane on Lafayette Street:
Note the look of defiance common to all salmon, but also infused with obvious contempt for my folder:
Seconds later, I was double-shoaled by a brace of Citi Bikes:
I tried to intimidate them by folding and unfolding my diminutive bicycle, but to no avail.
A short while later, I managed to capture a textbook example of classic fixie rider red light crosswalk-circling behavior, and I will let the photos speak for themselves:
In all honesty though I was a bit crankier than usual. See, about 15 minutes prior to this I had popped a Benadryl, owing to what I suspected might be the onset of an attack of hives. Fortunately, the hives did not manifest themselves, but unfortunately I was beginning to feel quite drowsy and extremely irritable, which is what happens when you take an over-the-counter drug with sedative properties in 90-degree heat. That's why there's a warning on the package to "be careful when driving a motor vehicle or operating machinery," which is incredibly stupid advice, because when shouldn't you be careful when driving a motor vehicle or operating machinery?
All of this is to say that maybe I was more irritated than I needed to be, because while I was seething Mister Purple Shorts was perfectly content to suck on a cold beverage and not give a shit:
Finally, the light turned green, whereupon I encountered a family of salmon:
(Salmoning brings families together.)
To be honest, I'll take salmoning over red light fixed-gear crosswalk-circling any day, and at this point they should probably just make all the bike lanes two-way and be done with it. And if you don't believe bike lanes are traffic-calming, just look how much safer the streets are for overloaded shopping cards:
You've heard of "everything but the kitchen sink." Well, this is everything including the kitchen sink:
Also, if it wasn't for bike lanes, how would pedestrians get around construction sites?
Sure, they usually create a little temporary sidewalk, but you always feel like a brick is going to fall on your head if you use it. Therefore, even in my Benadryl-addled state I didn't really mind the pedestrians. I was, however, furious that this guy was wearing the exact same outfit as me!
"I look way hotter, bitch," I hissed as I rolled by.
What can I say? It was the Benadryl talking.
Then I weaved around Captain Cargo Shorts:
And back into the bike lane proper:
Where the little buffer area serves as the de facto salmoning lane.
Meanwhile, the bike lanes themselves are simply Cool Beverage Refreshment Lanes:
Meanwhile, the bike lanes themselves are simply Cool Beverage Refreshment Lanes:
Maybe the DOT should make it official. Just modify the stick figure bike guy, put up a few signs that say "Refreshment Only!" and you're done!
In case you couldn't tell, he's carrying a tray full of daiquiris, though I realize it also looks like he's about to hurl a bunch of dynamite. Hey, what do you want from me? I don't even have Photoshop! If you want this site to look professional just send me $100,000 and I'll get right on it.
Speaking of grates, the city stealthily incorporates them into the bike lanes so that Benadryl-addled bike bloggers riding inherently unstable clown bikes one-handed while taking photos are more likely to fall down:
See how they do their best to camouflage them?
Still, I managed to stay erect:
That's "erect" as in I didn't fall off the bike, not as in some embarrassing side-effect of the Benadryl.
And no sooner had I negotiated the grates then this walked right out from in between a pair of parked vans and did his best to do what the grates could not:
I'm happy to say he failed:
And thus I lived to fold and kvetch another day.