As of today, the NYPD has launched "Operation Safe Cycle," which is a cool policey way of saying:
Here's what they'll be going after:
The initiative will target the following hazardous violations that create a danger for pedestrians and bicyclists: failure to stop at a red light, disobey a traffic signal or sign, riding the wrong direction against traffic, riding on the sidewalk, and failure to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk. An additional focus will be given to motorists who obstruct bicycle lanes, which creates a hazardous condition for bicyclists.
By the way, if you're wondering what "additional focus" on motorists who obstruct bike lanes means, it's a cool policey way of saying motorists will be encouraged to obstruct bike lanes.
Now, just to put this in its proper context, remember the white flags that appeared on the Brooklyn Bridge awhile back that had everybody thinking we were about to be invaded by ISIS?
Well, a parody Twitter account that clearly states it is a parody count tweeted a tweet that was obviously a parody:
Earlier today we hoisted two white flags to signal our complete surrender of the Brooklyn Bridge bicycle path to pedestrians.Just to explain the joke for you out-of-towners, while the Brooklyn Bridge path ostensibly has a bicycle lane, it is always mobbed by tourists, making passage by bicycle nearly impossible. So now you get it.
— Bike Lobby (@BicycleLobby) July 22, 2014
But you know who didn't get it? The District Attorney. Because guess what?
The Bike Lobby Twitter was subpoenaed!
On Monday, Twitter alerted this account that it had received a subpoena from the office of the District Attorney of the County of New York.Like really subpoenaed:
— Bike Lobby (@BicycleLobby) August 8, 2014
The subpoena from the District Attorney's office can be read here. http://t.co/U8dc53hqh7This is completely insane, especially considering they won't even subpoena your cellphone records to find out if you were behind the wheel when your car was used in a hit-and-run.
— Bike Lobby (@BicycleLobby) August 8, 2014
As for the flags, after all that it turns out that Dieter from "Sprockets" was behind them:
Mr. Leinkauf added: “From our Berlin background, we were a little surprised that it got the reaction it did. We really didn’t intend to embarrass the police.”
Yeah, but they did, and everybody knows that when you embarrass the authorities in New York City, the first thing they do is punish someone on a bike.
But back to the matter at hand, which is the crackdown:
(Crack. Down. Crackdown.)
Sure it may be misguided, and sure some people will get tickets for stuff that's not even illegal, like cycling in flip-flops, but that doesn't mean you should want to get caught in it. Nevertheless, every time there's one of these crackdowns I watch legions of cyclists roll through red lights right in front of the police. It happens every damn time, usually around places like the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges, and the riders are usually of the crooked-Bern-helment-and-brand-new-Linus variety--you know, the ones who look like they moved here last week from Oshkosh.
Furthermore, it's fairly easy to avoid getting ensnared, because generally the way the NYPD approaches these crackdowns (whether the crackdown is on cyclists, or jaywalkers, or drivers on cellphones) is that they pick various spots around town where there's lots of congestion and everybody's moving really slowly, and then they just hang out there in a very obvious way and then pick off the idiots one by one. Please note I said "generally," because yes, there are exceptions, and they will occasionally do stuff like leap out of an undercover police car disguised as a taxi and tackle your Oshkoshian ass to the street because you're guilty of some non-offense like cycling while operating a Thermos. Still, for the most part, the crackdown will mostly consist of a cop hanging out at an intersection in plain sight and then pointing at you after you ride through the light right in front of him, so don't be that idiot.
This has been a Bike Snob NYC Pubic Service Announcement.
Meanwhile, in more Fredly news, the dick-breaks-on-Fred-bikes debate rages on:
(A dick break on a road bike.)
Apparently, one of the main concerns about introducing road dicks to pro cycling is that they may work their way off and decapitate the riders or something:
Safety is a genuine concern. Disc rotors are sharp, like spinning knives that have been heated in a 500-degree oven. They can easily slice flesh, and will burn on contact after a hard stop (“at least you’ll get cut and cauterized at the same time,” Brown joked).
Riders are understandably concerned, as it is their flesh that is on the line. For Garmin’s Nathan Haas, safety is the only factor that really matters. “Do you know how hot a disc brake gets under braking? If you crashed on one with your face, your face is going to melt,” he said. “Keep it out of the sport. It doesn’t belong. Just don’t do it.”
After reading this, I've decided that I want the UCI to allow road dicks immediately--not because I want to see anybody hurt, far from it. No, what I want to see is the entire Tour de France peloton wearing full flame-retardant body suits with full-face helments. That way they'll all look like those Eurotrash twins in Daft Punk as they fly down those Alpine descents.
Furthermore, a wholesale adoption of dick breaks can only mean those old rim job components will get cheaper, which means deep discounts on stuff like high-end hubs with "obsolete" spacing and axle diameters for the rest of us who are mostly content to live in the recent past when it comes to cycling equipment--or who already consider what we have to be dick breaks:
Speaking of retrogrouchy tendencies, last week I mentioned the surprisingly complex process of aligning your saddle, and a reader by the name of Randall sent me what he calls the "Original 1960 "Scranus" Campy Alignment Tool"
Catalog #14. Printed for the year-end trade shows. Included are the Record road and track groups comprising Record cotterless crankset (151mm bolt circle) and Gran Sport bottom bracket, small and large flange Record alloy one-piece hubs, seat post (now all alloy), Gran Sport headset, Record front derailleur, Gran Sport rear derailleur, Gran Sport pedals. Also in the catalog are the Gran Sport Group (includes Record front derailleur), Sport Group, Gran Sport cottered bottom bracket (note that there is no accompanying cottered crankset), Gran Sport track pedal with and without teeth, wood-boxed tool set, the Saddle-Line alignment tool and the Acciaio (steel) small flange hubs.
You never know when your saddle may move out of alignment after a fall, so I always carry two of these babies in my saddle bag.