This past Friday, as I was crawling through the bowels of YouTube for Friday Fun Quiz wrong answer videos, I came across an anti-veloist rant that had recently been posted by one Laura Weintraub:
In it, she travels the streets in an automobile expressing her disdain for cyclists and her desire to run them over. It was pretty much exactly like the Keith Maddox thing--if, instead of being a living caricature of an Alabamian, Maddox were a stereotypical Southern California bottle blonde being chauffeured about town by a willing "himbo."
Anyway, I tweeted about the video, and other people did too. Then somebody pointed out that, in addition to being a demonstrable idiot and possible sociopath, Laura Weintraub was also a reserve police officer, and it wasn't long before the cycling "Twitterati" figured out that the department she "served" was that of the city of Santa Paula. Armed with this information, I sent them an email bringing their attention to the video, and presumably numerous other velocipedists contacted them too.
In the meantime, Laura Weintraub deleted her YouTube video as well as the "tweet" linking to it. (As I recall, the tweet said something like, "I can't be the only person who feels this way, can I?") However, the video lives on, because the Internet never forgets.
By Saturday, Keith Maddox's SoCal alter-ego had been "placed on leave:"
"Meet Laura Weintraub, horrible person, incompetent videographer, and utter moron," said a Twitter poster with the handle bikesnobNYC who linked to the video.
Uh, "a Twitter poster with the handle..."? Wow, the Los Angeles Times is really out of it! The appropriate attribution for someone of my stature is "the internationally-acclaimed cycling blogger and author." Southern California is truly a cultural wasteland.
Laura Weintraub also issued an apology:
I would like to apologize to all those who have been offended by what was intended to be a satirical video on cyclists. It was never meant to be hurtful or harmful in anyway, I am a human being, I made a mistake, I have learned from this and ask for your forgiveness. The responses have shown me overwhelmingly just how hurtful my comments were to some and that is not at all what I intended. As soon as I knew, I removed the video immediately.
Translation: "I'm a soul-less person with a feeble intellect who is desperate for fame and would sell my mother to be on a reality show. I really do hate cyclists, but because my video didn't get the response I wanted I'm taking it down. I may have strong opinions and beliefs, but none of them are stronger than my borderline psychotic desire for favorable attention. I will move on to baiting other groups of people who are less social media-savvy."
And now she's resigned:
Santa Paula Police Department
The purpose of this post is to advise the community that I have accepted the resignation of Volunteer Reserve Officer Laura Weintraub. Her resignation is effective today. I believe that Ms. Weintraub did the right thing for everyone involved and wish her nothing but the best for her and her family.
Chief Steven McLean
I've seen some griping on the Tweeter that she should have been charged, but public embarrassment and subsequent resignation precipitated entirely by a bunch of pissed-off cyclists feels pretty good to me.
So go ahead and smack your screen in a great big virtual collective high five for a job well done.*
*[Please note that BSNYC Industries, LLC shall not be responsible for damage to your computer, tablet, or smartphone device.]
Indeed, the good news with regard to Ms. Weintraub was merely the cream cheese on the bagel of what was, for me, a lovely weekend of bicycle cycle riding. On Saturday I rode a bike with the curved-type handlebars like they use in the Tour de France, and on Sunday I rode a rugged all-terrain bicycle with knobbly tires and dick breaks--all without crossing bridges, utilizing automobiles, or dealing with any other inconvenience:
One day I'll write a glowing testimonial to my little corner of New York City and how it affords easy access to some of the best bicycle cycling in the tri-state area, though probably not until it's time for me to put my mansion on the market and move to the countryside, where I will open a do-it-yourself "farm to table" restaurant called "U-Bludgeon." (We give you a pig, a hammer, a grill, and a bottle of our delicious artisanal barbecue sauce, and you do the rest.)
In the meantime, hopefully the Freds of New York stick with Brooklyn and their hour-long slogs to the George Washington Bridge as they're beset by herds of tridorks with aerobars heading inexorably towards Nyack like migrating elks:
Speaking of New York City and old-timey chicanery, here's a New York Times profile of a man who practices the dying art of pocket-pickery:
If you're unfamiliar with picking pockets, it's basically an artisanal form of embezzling whereby you actually appropriate paper money by hand:
And as it happens, the subject of the profile plans to stop picking pockets and become a bike messenger:
He is a slight man but has long, insistent fingers, and eyes set wide apart. Pickpockets call each other “shotplayers.” Asked to reflect on his career, Mr. Rose said, “Shotplayer — I don’t even want to hear that word anymore.”
After his release, he vowed, he will reform. “I’m done with this life,” he said. “I’m going to buy a bike and become a messenger. That’s what I’m going to do. I want a job.”
In other words, he's basically leaving one obsolete and moribund profession for another. Historically speaking, this is a lateral career move, and at that rate he might as well just become a cooper:
Though I'm sure there are three or four thriving coopersmiths on Bedford Avenue already.
I imagine wooden barrel-like "bidons" would go over rather well in the trendier precincts of the city, though there's still nothing more "cycle chic" than climbing a hill while "scarfing" a baguette:
You riding a bike and eating a baguette sandwich- love you girl! - m4w - 39 (Midtown)
age : 39
I saw you go by on 47 and 2 by the park- you were heading up the incline and scarfing the baguette... I shouted out "yeah girl"
If you ever want to ride bikes with a good looking bike boy who is fun- let me know.
Sounds like a good way to choke on some breadcrumbs.