Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Titles: Why Bother?

Remember when Robin Williams got stopped for riding a bike on a New York City sidewalk?

"I had a single-speed track bike and I had on a balaclava, which basically makes me look like a terrorist or a crack dealer," Williams told the panel. He said no one else was on the sidewalk and police let him go with a warning when he gave them I.D.

At the time, people whined that he'd only gotten off because he was a celebrity, but that doesn't really make sense, because they took Alec Baldwin to jail for salmoning:


(Baldwin will spill hot Starbucks on your baby.)

So in retrospect, the fact that they let him go probably says more about his good character than his celebrity.

Moving on, much has been said about the silliness of the Oregon Manifest "Ultimate Urban Utility Bike" competition, and all of it was said by me.  Apart from a bunch of needlessly exotic bikes with dubious "features" like integrated cable locks and brushes instead of fenders, perhaps the silliest thing about it is that we already live in a golden age of urban utility bikes.  On one hand, you've got bikes like your WorkCycles, and your Big Dummys--and trust me, they're both fantastic, which I know because that's what Mommy and Daddy Rock Machine ride, and we are the very embodiment of the urbane cycling family.  But those bikes ain't cheap, so on the other hand you've got plenty of genuinely functional city bikes in the sub-$500 range, some of which are merely a mouse click away from companies like State Bicycle Co.:


Who are way better than all the other mail order purveyors of inexpensive bicycles because, in addition to offering a fine product, they support indispensable American cultural institutions such as this blog:


(State's advertisement, as seen in the right-hand margin.  The bald guy is Tim Whatley from "Seinfeld" in my favorite episode, "The Crystal Meth.")

Therefore, given all this Oregon Manifest mishegas, it seemed like a perfect time to try one of their city bike offerings, and recently UPS delivered a "Saturday Deluxe" to my estate:


I should point out that, even though I am the owner of two (2) custom artisanal bicycles, I am also a sucker for cheap bikes, and if I lived in an actual house with an actual garage it would probably be full of mail order impulse buys.  For example, while my Engin was being "curated" I used the wait as an excuse to order a single-speed 29er "gap bike" from a popular mail order company.  (However, that scheme backfired, because by the time the Engin was finished I'd completely rebuilt the "gap bike" to the extent that the only original components were the frame and the brake arms, at which point the bike was no longer "cheap.")  Also, I was for some years the proud (or at least not overly ashamed) owner of a Scattante.

The point is, I'm something of an authority on this subject, because I know what it's like to get an inexpensive bike in the mail, and I get a genuine thrill from cutting open the box and inhaling the scent of toxic packing materials.

Of course, the catch when it comes to ordering a bike online is that you're at the mercy of the goons at FedEx or UPS, and by the time the State reached me the fork had sliced its way through the box:


Fortunately, the bike was completely fine, though I think a couple of bolts escaped, which I'll address shortly.

Anyway, I opened the box and pulled out the bike, and while I've experienced the excitement of traveling down to Philadelphia and accepting a bicycle that was hand-fabricated just for me by a NAHBS-winning framebuilder, there's also something a little too "adult" about the whole thing, which is why I still love me a bargain bike wrapped in plastic:


If you remember how exciting it was to tear open the blister pack of a toy when you were a kid then you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Moments later, I was assembling the thing, and only afterwards did I notice this warning:


Too late!

Within about 20 minutes or so I had the bike together except for the front rack (which came in a separate box and which I'll put on later), as well as these bolts which I mentioned earlier:


These, it turns out, are part of the rear rack, and somehow a couple of small pieces must have made their way out of the fork slits in the box while in transit.  However, in my parts bin I have a drawer containing roughly eleventy-million odd nuts, bolts, and screws, and it took me roughly four seconds to find suitable replacements.

Once I had, I snugged everything up, topped off the tires, and took the bike for a spin around the neighborhood:


Again, I have yet to put on the front rack, but it's next on my agenda.  I'm sure you'll agree it's a smart-looking bike, and so far it rides very nicely too.  In any case, I'm looking forward to conducting more rigorous testing and I'll keep you duly apprised.

Speaking of riding bikes in cities, do you remember this putz?


Just in case you don't, his name is Courtland Milloy, and he's the guy who said this in the Washington Post:

It’s a $500 fine for a motorist to hit a bicyclist in the District, but some behaviors are so egregious that some drivers might think it’s worth paying the fine.

Naturally that caused a stir, and his bosses probably liked that he got them some clicks, so unsurprisingly he's back with some more bike-baiting:


By the way, if you're going to email me something, please turn off your foul language filters, because when I replied to the person who forwarded me the above article I got this:

[Deleted] filters inbound and outbound mail for unacceptable language.  Your message has triggered our language filter and has been quarantined.
Please resend your message without the use of inappropriate language.  Thank you.

I'm not sure how anybody expects me to read an article like this and not include the world "fuck" in my reply.

Anyway, the angle here is that Milloy goes for a ride in Washington, D.C.  And guess what?  He's still an idiot:

“See that?” Davis said, after a driver approaching from the opposite direction made a sharp left turn in front of us. “He was supposed to yield.”

Perhaps. But I’d been too busy fidgeting with the gear shifts on my handlebars to notice. Of course, if I had collided with the car, the driver would have been at fault. That’s because in this bike-friendly city, the driver is always wrong.

Moreover, because he's an idiot he thinks everybody else must be an idiot too, and therefore nobody should ride bikes:

And that’s my biggest problem with bikers on D.C. streets. Too many of them bike like me. They are clueless. Wouldn’t know a “cycle track” from an Amtrak.

By the same logic, nobody should be allowed to drive either.

But by far the most offensive part of the article was when he used one of my words:

While our group was lined up single-file in a bike lane, waiting at a light, I slow-rolled my bicycle from the middle of the line to the front. “We call that ‘shoaling,’ ” Davis informed me. “It’s not illegal, but it’s rude. Like people who cut in front of the grocery line because they have only one or two items.”

I get it. When a biker cuts into a line of bikers, it’s denounced as “shoaling,” but when a biker worms his way to the front of a line of cars waiting at a light, then meanders along without letting anybody pass, it’s a right.

Ugh.  I feel so dirty.  It's like knowing someone you hate just fingered your girlfriend.

As to his "point" (if you can even call it that), getting ahead of the cars at a red light when you're on a bike is not called "shoaling."  It's called "survival."

So what's Milloy's conclusion?  That everybody should buy a car, of course!

I noticed that in some places their bike lanes are being overrun with Segway riders, rollerskaters, skateboarders and joggers. Even people using motorized wheelchairs have taken a liking to the lanes. Near the Treasury Department, the bike lanes contained manure from a U.S. Park Police horse.

Who knows? A biker just might decide that enough is enough and buy a car.

What a bonehead.  Hey, Milloy, I have a car.  Come on up to New York, strap that camera between your tits, and let me take you for a drive.  I'll show you why motorists are the biggest idiots of all.

By the way, even though he's truly annoying, there's very little in Milloy's rhetoric that is genuinely alarming, since it's clearly the work of an increasingly irrelevant "journalist" looking for eyeballs in the Internet age.  No, what's alarming is that in American society it's socially acceptable to be both physically and mentally inept and completely unable to transport yourself over small distances in an urban environment without being inside an automobile:


(Milloy in the "GoPro Manssiere.")

Consider, for example, the manner in which a grown man is terrorized by a small puddle:


No wonder this country sucks.  We need two tons of car to protect us from puddles.

Consider also the fact that he only rode a bicycle this far, and yet his employer thinks it is newsworthy:


I think his next column should be about the helplessness of the American male and his profound fear of the environment in which he lives--which is not completely unfounded, as America is full of Courtland Milloys, and therefore he's pretty liable to essentially run himself over:


We can only hope.

103 comments:

Bryan said...

winner!

Bryan said...

:pops a no handed wheelie on an incline:

1904 Cadardi said...

2?

BamaPhred said...

Almost!

1904 Cadardi said...

Nope, it's three.

Still on the podium and I only dropped in to grab the link to the fixed gear riding tagging the backhoe.

tridorkable said...

Top ten twit!

Roille Figners said...

Bard College remedial course

Flyover BC said...

Dang it, only a moment's inattention

Anonymous said...

Hey!

cycle

dnk said...

Milloy should take up NASCAR, whereby he can hone his inner manhood by capering about a dirt track and finger-banging his SpeedRacerly adversaries.

Anonymous said...

Within the ton of pelos.

vsk

Roille Figners said...

What kind of a name is Courtland(*) anyway? How can you expect anyone named Courtland to be anything but a soft, pink crybaby?

(*)Not to be confused with Cortland, home of Ronnie James Dio.

samh said...

>"By the same logic, nobody should be allowed to drive either."

Amen, brotha.

Herschel Raney said...

I'm going to have to request that BSNYC make an effort to find some non-asshole types to write about. I know, I hear you, he lives in NYC. Show me a vid of someone giving good passing distance or waving from a car. Can you find a courteous taxi driver? Or just a lovely human (either sex) not walking in the bike lane?

I need it.

Pacing next to my mailbox, waiting for my hat.

Anonymous said...

"World Fuck!"

3G said...

Ugh. It's only Tuesday

Anonymous said...

No bottle opener WCRM?

Anonymous said...

pack fodder

Anonymous said...

workcycle website is overloaded.... good work wildcat rock machine.

McFly said...

Your girlfriend called. She said a finger is nice but it is not a dick.

Bryan said...

BamaPhred, you made 3rd. Can't count me as 1st AND 2nd place, unless of course you are talking about the other version of myself that lives in my head and tells me to do evil things.
Sweet new wheels, Wildcat.
I don't email you things, but I will send a tweet your way from time to time. Maybe you read them, maybe you don't. Again, I'm only one of the little people out there.
Not sure how I am going to get through the work day when you are out in Coloraddy.

Anonymous said...

The Saturday Delux is a little too close to the Per Wee Herman side for me but I get the new bike in a box rush.

JB said...

It took me 0 comments to read the post.

PotbellyJoe said...

Curt, as his friends call him, is an asshole, as his wife calls him.

Stuart Rasmussen said...

A car is a motorized wheelchair......

JB said...

I want a new bike. Or more accurately, I want the time and temporary lack of responsibility to line up more often to allow me to ride the bikes that I have.

My captcha # was my old ATM card pin #. [mind blown]

JB said...

People are generally too stupid to operate anything at speed running into others. Therefore, we've built cars that allow for all of this running into each other. If they're not protected in a car, fuck 'em.

JB said...

"speed WITHOUT running"

I'll go now.

Anonymous said...

1964/1965? Triumph Spitfire. Loved it. Wonderful car to be 19 in. Top down, wind in your hair. If you could get the thing to start.

cycle

balls™ said...

>"By the same logic, nobody should be allowed to drive either."

Amen, brotha.


THIS

PotbellyJoe said...

http://38.media.tumblr.com/320e80dd0e8c89eac95e85fc8975752d/tumblr_mv0l0u8FCu1spy7ono1_500.gif

Courtland Milloy talking while cyclists look on...

Freddy Murcks said...

"Titties: why bother?"

I'll tell you why. Titties are beautiful and fun. kinda like bikes, only much better.




6324

Spokey said...

I'd rather have a similar vintage Sunbeam Tiger. Preferably series II with the 289

Comment deleted said...

I was bikeen the Napa Valley yesterday with my sweetie, so what did I miss? Any rape or genocide?

Also, a hot mud bath after a nice ride is pretty frickin' wonderful. If you don't mind smelling slightly of sulfur (like George Bush) for the rest of the day.

ken e. said...

in a harrison ford voice, "i hate that guy!"

CURT LAND
DOOO FUUS

Spokey said...

Anon @ 12:18

is that what that is? I was thinking that. Why didn't snobbie's bike have one? I didn't see it as an accessory so I assume it's standard. Must have slipped out with those other nuts and bolts.

Spokey said...

finally found it. $10. Hmmm maybe on the down tube underside. I've never got a cage on that

BamaPhred said...

Bryan, thanks, accepting graciously

I always lust after a new bike. Not even ashamed.

Courtland Milloy, phoning it in since 1983.

Upperclass Twit Of the Year, the scene with the mannequins, WWWWAAAHHHHAAAA, especially in our new age of Bard-driven enlightend-ness



gE said...

Oh, oh, oh, can I be the first humour-challenged commenter to point out that's not the guy from Seinfeld? Do I win? Yes. Oh wait, the meth episode. Never mind.

Benji said...

Do you need to be giving his article and site more hits? I get the need to reference your source, but you realize it's just giving the WP article more site views? Might the author mistake higher views for support of his writing, the way the WP advertisers equate clickbaity article "views" with ad "impressions"?

Roille Figners said...

I for one did not view that shit.

JLRB said...

Courtland tits - spot on!

My annoyance with his "writings" is matched only by my annoyance over not being able to get his employer to stop delivering its paper to my home.

Here is how it works Courtland - when there is a walker, jogger, wheelchair, police car, delivery truck, etc. in the bike path I don't go buy a car (or even get in the car I own) - I stay on my bikecycle and ride outside the bike lane (and enjoy the freedom of not being trapped in the lane, track, or Amtrak)

McFly said...

I love a rack that is so big it arrives seperately. Maybe it will also be busting the seems that are trying to contain it.

JLRB said...

And yes, yes, yes on the excitement of a bike showing up in a box on my front porch!

I have been able to stop my bike buying ways for a little while - none since I found the splittable traveling bike (which I rode today) on fleabay early this year. I am being tempted to buy a single speed to replace the one I gave to my (ingrateful)nephew ... NO No no - must get rid of some of the old bikes first ...

Freddy Murcks said...

gE - Tim Whatley and Walter White were played by the same actor, Brian Cranston. So it is in fact the guy from Seinfeld even if he may be depicted as the guy from Breaking Bad.





143

Anonymous said...

A profound commentary on the state of our society: "No wonder this country sucks. We need two tons of car to protect us from puddles."

BUZZ KILL said...

"You -- you alone will have the stars as no one else has them...In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars are laughing, when you look at the sky at night...You -- only you -- will have stars that can laugh,"

Anonymous said...

gE was trying to be a smartass and ended up being a dumbass.

Roille Figners said...

Who would win: Courtland or Antoine de St. Exupery?

Who would win: Walter White or Courtland? (Talking Walter with advanced cancer, not Walter whose cancer conveniently went away for a couple seasons when they realized they had a hit on their hands.)

Dooth said...

Courtland de Stupidity

crosspalms said...

To be fair, Milloy's bike didn't have fenders. A puddle would have exposed him to water and thus the danger of melting.

gE said...

I don't know who this Bryan Cranston guy is but Tim Whatley has more hair on his head and less on his face. You know, sorta looks like Hal from Malcolm in the middle. Neither Tim, nor Hal look like Walter, so I don't know what any of you are talking about. Bryan Cranston, now you're just making shit up.

Spokey said...

gE

come on. even i know who he is and i've never seen seinfeld or braking bad.

how can you avoid it?

i'm semi-hermit and i can't avoid this pop culture shit. if i log in to email, that crap is staring at me.

David said...

I thought that the Seinfeld episode referenced was "The Crystal Meh."

Spokey said...

funny that Courtland doesn't realize how incompetent he is. does he have to look at his car's gear shift when using it. if so, god help anyone near him.

Of course, if I had collided with the car, the driver would have been at fault. That’s because in this bike-friendly city, the driver is always wrong.

No. the driver would have been at fault for being wrong and not obeying traffic law and putting fellow citizen's safety in jeopardy.

i have to give the blithering idiot award to Courtland. He has earned it.

Blithering Idiot said...

yummm barley wine

Bibshort Guy Gets Plussed said...

Stop putting that assmonkey's face on my body!

BamaPhred said...

Cut Courtland some slack. It's hard being The Village Idiot

big Charlie said...

Spokey, ain't it the truth?

It drives me crazy that I can name all of Demi Moore's children, yet have no idea what to call the enormous box in the kitchen that keeps food cold.

Goddammit.

PotbellyJoe said...

I hear Coutland started a bike blog.

BikeKnobDC.blogspot.com

1904 Cadardi said...

PotBellyJoe,

That is pretty damn funny!


@Bryan, does that mean I can collect the second place prize? Sweet!

Flyover BC said...

Hey Spokey,

I lived in Albuquerque the whole time Breaking Bad was on, and I never heard of it until late 2012.

I guess I was too busy with my own life, mediocre as it was/is.

Anonymous said...

Hey my mid-life crisis RED bike looks a lot like that State model. One speed, chain guard, rear rack, fenders. Except mine is RED, with color matching rear rack and grips. Also, mine has the removable WALD front basket, which I highly recommend, especially if you live in a bring-your-own-shopping-bags place, even though you cannot buy that rack in red.

crosspalms said...

potbelly joe,
Nice!

Spokey said...

not much happening down in raritan today I guess.

PotbellyJoe said...

Or ever Spokey.

Spokey said...

Flyover BC

i guess that is it's location? see. told you i was pop culture black hole idiot.

don't knock mediocre. sounds like median. so 1/2 of those have a worse life.

Spokey said...

hey you have a decent ice cream store. they're tough to come by these days.

i used to go to vinnie's before it remodeled and went hip. when dwayne was originally there.

Patrick Crump said...

There was a kid dealer/assassin who rode a bike on braking bad and there was a kid's tricycle impounded by police that got magneted and there was a couple of Freds who rode past startling Walter White in one of the final episodes.

That's not really enough.

Patrick Crump said...

Seinfeld had a bike hanging on his wall all the time, but never seemed to actually ride it.

That's really not good enough.

Flyover BC said...

I'm not much a consumer, no cable no smart phone, so I never heard of it, even though they filmed it ABQ.

I'd see the vans, on location, but never paid attention to what it might be. They were filming a bunch of movies, at the same time.

So, nothing to see here, move along.

Bitch said...

I can bitch I can better than you it's the way that I do the things that I do

Anonymous said...

G hit the spot

PotbellyJoe said...

I never did Vinnie's But Espos is nice, if you have cash, and yes, I would put As you Like It against almost any ice cream shop. Now that Mugs is dead (and the replacement Three Olives is dead too, I think.) I'm waiting to see what goes in there.

RoadQueen said...

Wanna know why Robin got off scott-free while Alec got hauled off to jail?

I'll tell you why.....

Because Alec Baldwin is a gigantic dickhead. That's why. It's amazing how well even NYC cops will treat even a celebrity when you're not a dickhead.

Robin was a wonderful person. Who the hell would have ever wanted to give him a ticket??

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Well said RQ.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Very nice city bike Wildcat.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Once the weather gets cooler you'll look great on that bike with that foppish jacket of yours and the murdered out Walz wool cap.

Spokey said...

joe

went to school with one of the espo kids. don't remember the name. Ate there a couple times years (probably decades) ago.

Did 3 olives twice i think. ok, but not special. vinnies was originally pretty much a dive. hot in the summer. but the clams were great. went back they remodeled. maybe 5-7 years ago and it wasn't the same. too sterile for one thing

Bubba Carpacio said...

Last. At the moment anyway.
Gratuitous tri"athlete" bicycle abuse:
http://giant.gfycat.com/MildSpecificAmericancrocodile.gif

Anonymous said...

Robin Williams was my uncle and let me tell you, every year at "special anniversary" time he was real generous. Real generous, great guy.

Eurodude said...

That Saturday Deluxe is so deluxe that it doesn´t even have a front brake, only a coaster.
The "long downhill" test should be interesting...

Roille Figners said...

I dispute the Robin Williams/Alec Baldwin God/Satan duotheistic polarity. Robin Williams cheated on his wife, caught herpes & gave it to her. Or something like that.

Does it seem like the hours and hours of breathy tribute come a bit too fast? Almost like they've made retrospectives/salutes/tributes for EVERY celebrity ahead of time, and when they finally die they just pull them out the vault.

Anonymous said...

too soon.

Spokey said...

what's wrong with that?

I've given spousy herbs many times. Ocassionally some spices too



what the heck is a faid kvepan

babble on said...

Roille - yes, they do have pre-prepared obits for nearly every celebrity out there.

Don't be harsh on the man, though, K? I have lost a lot of heroes this year, and am feeling tender. Everybody makes mistakes, and since he's not up for sainthood, he's allowed his humanity. It would take a fuckload of herpes spread far and wide to put even a tiny dent in the tremendous goodness and joy that man brought to the table.

He's like our beloved snobberdoodles on super-roids.

gE said...

Nah, I'm just messin with ya. I'm fully aware that this Bryan Cranston guy is a life size replicant of some of the miniature people that live in my TV. That and he has a bike growing out of his goatee.

babble on said...

Huh. I seem to have one permanently attached to my vulvanus. Never occurred to me that it might be growing outta there...

Roille Figners said...

Just sayin exactly that: Nobody's perfect.

Postman said...

I work for the Postal Corporation of Kanadastan, and yeah, sometimes we smash up a parcel or two,but really it's YOUR fault because you should package the item better. Fork ends are sharp and a bit of cardboard ain't gonna do much to stop the ends from digging through. You people expect sooo much from us poor overworked, underpaid... oh... wait... Gotta go. It's coffee time.

babble on said...

... and yet there are definitely degrees of goodness, and self-evident contrasts - like the difference between Alec Baldwin, and Robin Williams.

Anonymous said...

Python's twit olympics. Brilliant.

paulb said...

I hope State extended the employee discount. (Coaster brake only? Not sold on that. Like to freeze the bike when stopped at a light. Otherwise, nice. Let the upgrades begin!) Did the cat remind you that Friday was World Cat Day?

Bruce Golla said...

Sell the front rack on craigslist for 40 bucks and get some food

Freddy Murcks said...

Bubba Carpacio - Thanks for that tri weenie gif. The bike handling skill of those guys is simply amazing. To say that he could stop on a dime and give you nine cents change doesn't even do it justice. Watch out Danny MacAskill, you're not the only one with the mad skillz.

Capt. Brightside said...

At least his wife will have something to remember him by.

JLRB said...

97 - quietly shifting gears

JLRB said...

98 - strapping on tit cam

JLRB said...

99 - Spokey should be shooting by in a second

JLRB said...

100?!?!

Spokey said...

congrats

no fair sprinting before 11am. haven't even sipped a coffee yet

Nick said...

You had an opportunity to use "GoPro Bro" and you went with "GoPro Manssiere". SHAME. ON. YOU!

M_Avina said...

Those poor Bike Design bikes -- why so ugly? They seem like an industrial design school project where the bastard child of Bauhaus and Corbusier decided to make bikes. These problems have already been solved. The best urban utility bike is a used steel bike from the 70s, 80s, or 90s.