Yesterday, I took issue with the fact that Bicycling has declared New York City to be "America's Best Bike City." However, I must admit they totally nailed it with the cover:
Also, remember this fathead?
I have lived in West Islip most of my life and my personal feeling is that no one who lives in our hamlet or for that matter in Suffolk County should ever ride a bicycle or a motorcycle. I cannot tell you how many constituents over the years have told me that they are taking up bicycling for pleasure and exercise. I have told them not to do so but they usually do not listen – 90 percent of those people eventually were hit by an automobile many like your mother with serious physical injuries.
I have heard the suggestion of bicycle lanes and additional signage but unfortunately this would do little to solve the problem. Suffolk County is a suburban automobile community—drivers expect to see other drivers on the road not bicyclists and motorcyclists.
Well, it turns out that Bicycling has also declared Suffolk to be the worst place to ride a bike in America:
("The worst, Jerry! The worst!")
At first glance, this designation would appear to be justified, what with idiots like this in charge out there:
("I have something up my ass and I like it.")
However, when you really think about it, this makes no sense. Suffolk County is indeed, as Fathead points out, "a suburban automobile community." And guess which city it's a suburb of:
(Hint: it ain't Cleveland.)
So shouldn't the fact that New York City's suburbs include the worst place to ride a bike IN ALL OF AMERICA negatively impact New York City's ranking? How is it fair to carve Suffolk out, treat it like a city, and give it its own ranking? As much as David Byrne might like to pretend otherwise, New York City does not exist in a vacuum. The city's character is influenced by its suburbs and vice-versa. Every day the city swells with commuters from the surrounding counties, and if you're a New York City resident who rides recreationally you're probably doing a good deal of your riding in those same counties. Plus--and this is important--lots of NYPD officers live in Suffolk County.
Here's how it works:
You're riding your bike in New York City. A driver from Suffolk County who's pissed off and impatient after sitting in LIE traffic all morning whips into the bike lane in order to beat the light, sideswiping you in the process. Assuming the driver actually stops, a police officer who also lives in Suffolk County eventually arrives on the scene (in a car, it hardly warrants mentioning) and takes a report. Now one of these things is not like the other. Guess which:
(Hint: it's the pussy on the bike.)
That's why all a driver has to say to his neighbor the police officer is "He swerved into me" or "He came from outta nowhere" and he's free to go.
Therefore, it's only fair to fold the suburbs into New York City's ranking, and by virtue of Long Island alone we should fall to at least 20th place.
Speaking of cycling in New York City, remember my comprehensive test of the State Bicycle Co. "Saturday Deluxe?"
Of course you do, it immediately set the new "gold standard" for bicycle reviews.
Anyway, on my way home from that test, I was crossing the Manhattan Bridge from Brooklyn into Manhattan at dusk, when I saw a light:
I've come out in defense of bright bicycle lights in the past. However, this was bright. Like light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel, near-death-experience bright. And as it got closer it only got brighter:
"What the fuck is behind that thing?," I asked myself. "The second coming of Christ?"
("I'm back, you assholes.")
Well, not quite. It was just some guy on a folding bike:
So I guess it's fair to say that people with insanely bright lights are overcompensating for the size of their bicycles.
Then when I came off the bridge I took a picture of a person taking a picture, which is one of my most favoritest things to do:
After which I took a picture of a Cat 6 racer getting "aggro:"
Crackdown schmackdown, he's ignoring that red light like Thomas Barraga ignores his physician's repeated warnings not to insert household objects into his rectum.
Now, I should clarify once again that, while I may have my quibbles with New York City being the number one bike town in Canada's uvula, I do love living and riding here. For example, where else do you get to mingle with the maillot à pois at an intersection?
Also, miles and miles of bike lanes create lots of opportunities for "sharing" them with pedestrians:
And is there a more beguiling sight than the lights of the city at night?
No, there isn't:
Wait, sorry, yes there is. You said "beguile," but I thought you said "bagel."
Forget everything I just said.
Anyway, a few blocks later I said "Fuck it" and took a commuter train home, wondering for the umpteenth time why they can't put a single bike hook on these goddamn things.
I expect better from the number one cycling city in America, but then again I'm an idiot. In fact, I'm so stupid I'm still watching that Ryder Hesjedal conspiracy video, and try as I might I can't un-see a motor. I know everyone's saying the road is banked, he pushed the bike as he unclipped, yadda etc. and so forth, but come on--the bike's here:
And a tiny fraction of a second later it's here:
That shit's just gone baby!!!
Meanwhile, attempts to debunk the conspiracy theory are coming fastly and furiously, but I'm not convinced. Here's one which proves conclusively that if you lay a bicycle down very gently on a smooth, flat surface it will break dance:
And here's one that has formulas, so you know it's true:
If I'd been there for that presentation I'd have immediately wiped the white board clean with my Damp Chamois of Denial.
Hey, the truth is that, as a group, we cyclists just ain't that smart. Consider those riders who drank laundry detergent because they thought it was an energy drink:
Six riders ended up clean inside and out at a Norwegian mountain bike event on Friday August 29 after drinking laundry detergent that they mistook for energy drink.
Organisers of the FredagsBirken long-distance mountain bike race in Rena near Oslo were handing out samples of Omo Activ And Sport liquid detergent, but hadn't anticipated riders would mistake it for sport nutrition.
Not for nothing, but you gotta be pretty dumb to do that:
Come on, it has the freaking measuring cap, for chrissake!
Actually, maybe one of Hesjedal's breakaway companions made the same mistake, spat it out, and that's what made the road so slippery.
Now that's an explanation I'm willing to believe.