It powers our ships:
It delivers our messages:
And soon, it will even propel our bicycles:
Remember Shimano Airlines?
The revolutionary mountain bike shifting system that literally blew?
Well, now the winds of change are blowing right up your bottom bracket:
Yep, you can forget all about e-bikes, because air power is where it's at:
According to the inventor of the pneumatic assist bicycle, the key advantage of this system is its portability:
Which he illustrates by showing somebody carrying an ordinary, non-pneumatic fixie up a flight of steps:
Presumably another advantage is that the pneumatic bike has a "blowoff valve" that can be used to cool the rider's crotch on a hot day.
Either way, it sure gives new meaning to the term "frame pump:"
Or, if you prefer a cleaner bottom bracket junction, you can opt for this tidy bolt-on, which appears to be powered by a fire extinguisher:
The real irony here is that, even if by some miracle this system did actually catch on, the people using it would still ask to borrow your pump when they get stuck with a flat.
And if nothing else, this pneumatic bicycle would be right at home at "Bike Kill," which appears to have taken place this past weekend:
I know this is supposed to be all about anarchic fun, but I get incredibly depressed when I watch people who are physically adults behaving like a bunch of toddlers who have had too many juice boxes:
Also, there appears to be very little difference between Bike Kill and Kickstarter, inasmuch as both are basically just a bunch of amateur inventors floundering around on ill-conceived bicycles--though in Bike Kill's defense they don't ask anybody for money, and there's more jousting:
Also, Bike Kill happens only once a year, but in New York City pretty much every day is Car Kill:
An 8-year-old girl was killed and five other pedestrians were injured this afternoon after a driver jumped a curb outside a Bronx school, according to police.
According to the FDNY, the collision occurred at around 2:46 p.m. today outside P.S. 307 at 124 Eames Place in the Kingsbridge section of The Bronx. The NYPD says a 55-year-old female driver operating a blue Honda Accord was reversing westbound on the eastbound side of Eames Place when she mounted a curb, striking 6 female pedestrians on the sidewalk.
One tiny glimmer of hope in all of this is that in 25 days the New York City speed limit will officially be lowered to 25mph:
.@NYC_DOT Commissioner Trottenberg: DOT is running a public awareness campaign: 25 days to 25 MPH: http://t.co/10woidEfEd #VisionZeroWhich has inspired this New Yorker "think piece" ("think piece" = "writer basking in his own flatulence") that exhibits the sort of stodgy cultural tone-deafness we've come to expect from this hoary periodical:
— NYC Mayor's Office (@NYCMayorsOffice) October 27, 2014
Basically, the writer starts off by showing that he's in touch with the common man, because he thinks it sucks when children get killed:
A week after Halloween, a new speed limit of twenty-five miles per hour will go into effect on every surface road in the five boroughs of New York City, except where stated otherwise. The idea is to make the streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians, a particular aim of Mayor Bill de Blasio. Fourteen children were killed by drivers last year. You won’t find a citizen who didn’t wish that this number were zero.
Wow, way to lay it all on the line, Nick.
As for the 170+ adults who were killed by drivers last year, he doesn't mention them, so presumably he doesn't give a fuck.
Next, having established his humanity, he explains how rare it is to be able to speed in New York City when you're driving a car:
Since 1964, the speed limit has been thirty m.p.h., but for a large segment of the driving population it hasn’t really ever been anything at all; amid lax enforcement and vestigial lawlessness (a last gasp of that pre-Giuliani era of indifferently consumed sidewalk joints and forty-ouncers), drivers have often gone as fast as they can. Usually, that isn’t very fast at all, thanks to congestion or the degraded condition of the pavement. But now and then the traffic clears up. Smooth open road is so rare, at least in the denser parts of the city, that a lead foot can hardly resist the urge to hit the gas. In a city of lost time—there’s never enough, never enough—any chance to regain some is sweet.
This is absolutely true--when you're a New Yorker writer who spends all of your time in a small gridlocked portion of Manhattan. I'm sure Nick finds it very frustrating when he has to sit in traffic during his taxi ride home, or during one of his rare trips through the more unseemly and tragically unfashionable precincts of the city when he must go to the airport. However, the fact is there's a big city out there, and much of it is a drag strip. Consider Queens Boulevard, for example:
Boulevard of Death
The combination of Queens Boulevard's immense width, heavy automobile traffic, and thriving commercial scene made it by the 1990s the most dangerous thoroughfare in New York City and has earned it city-wide notoriety and morbid nicknames such as "The Boulevard of Death" and "The Boulevard of Broken Bones", similar to McGuinness Boulevard, Brooklyn's equivalent with the highest number of fatalities boroughwide. From 1993 to 2000, 72 pedestrians, were killed trying to cross the street, an average of 10 per year, with countless more injuries. Since 2000, at least partially in response to major news coverage of the dangerous road, the city government has taken measures to cut down on such incidents, including posting police along parts of the boulevard and doing spot-ticketing stings of jay-walkers against traffic, posting large signs proclaiming that "A Pedestrian Was Killed Crossing Here" at intersections where fatal accidents have occurred and installing more road-rule enforcement cameras. Its width is comparable to that of Ocean Parkway and Linden Boulevard in Brooklyn; the Grand Concourse and Bruckner Boulevard in the Bronx; Richmond Avenue in Staten Island; and Park Avenue and Delancey Street in Manhattan.
But why would the way most people live be of any interest to a Manhattan-centric New Yorker writer, who would rather feign urbane wit by rattling off a bunch of dumb statistics about vermin and casually dropping the fact that he is friends with someone who keeps pigeons?
Manhattan is 13.4 miles in length. At twenty-five m.p.h., plus a grace tick or two, that’s a half hour, end to end. This seems about right, considering that to the Manhattanite the default timespan of a trip from any part of the borough to another, be it by car, bus, bike, long board, or train, is presumed (often incorrectly) to be thirty minutes. So maybe the new speed limit was devised with that in mind, the same way that the standard capacity of both the vinyl LP and the compact disk suited the length of Beethoven symphonies. Twenty-five m.p.h. is also about three times the sprinting speed of a Norway rat. Cockroaches, darting for darkness, look awfully fast, at fifty body lengths per second, but get them out on the track and that’s just around three miles per hour. As for the airways, a pigeon-keeper friend writes, “Street pigeons are usually much healthier than the public thinks, but they’re not exactly athletes.” Their cruising speed, he said, is “probably around thirty, thirty-five m.p.h. when they’re really heading somewhere.”
Finally, he concludes his piece by finding the biggest lunkhead in New York City, who says "it's time to give the city back to the cars:"
The most persistent objections come from the people for whom driving is part of the job. Delivery, plumbing, construction. You’re not going to use bicycles to build the Hudson Yards. “Nobody drives around the city more than me,” a master rigger (cranes) said on Monday. “It’s got worse with the people. It’s not the cars. The cars have been going the same friggin’ speed. We have this diesel pickup, and it’s good to have a car with a big engine in the city, because when you come to a light the thing roars, and the people look up. And then they start to scatter.” He went on, “This guy thinks speed’s the problem? I think the people being clueless with their heads in their devices is the problem. People are getting hit by bikes. They’re walking into job sites, they’re falling in holes, they’re tripping on curbs. I’d say it’s time to give the city back to the cars.”
This is incredibly savvy, because it gives the typical New Yorker a genuine thrill when they discover they share a sentiment with a member of the working class. "Hey, he hates pedestrians and cyclists just like me! I'm so genuine!" It's the same delightful sensation they experience when they cast a vote for Obama.
Lastly, L'Eroica has finally arrived, because the New York Times now acknowledges its existence:
L’Eroica is a celebration of Italy’s rich cycling and cultural heritage. This year’s event was dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the birth of Gino Bartali, who won the Tour de France in 1938 and 1948 and helped rescue Jews in Italy during World War II by hiding falsified documents in the saddle of his bike.
Wow, I was there myself and I had no idea we were celebrating Gino Bartali.
I guess I was too busy stuffing my face with salami.