My sympathies to those of you residing in areas that did receive or are currently receiving the full cockwallop of the storm, but here in my woods of the neck it was something of a bust, and it skipped New York City like the march of time has skipped Cleveland. (It's still 1989 in Cleveland, which has confounded physicists for decades.) This is ironic given the unprecedented level of storm preparedness, which included shutting down the entire New York City subway system last night for the first time ever in anticipation of a blizzard:
Juno becomes first snowstorm in history to shut down MTA
New York's subways, commuter trains and roads were shut down Monday as an overnight travel ban went into effect, the first time in history that subways have been shut down due to snow, the MTA says.
New Yorkers will debate as to whether or not this was a necessary precaution or gubernatorial exuberance for days to come, especially since the trains ran all night long anyway, just with nobody in them:
The F Train appears to be running, empty, in direction of Manhattan pic.twitter.com/VSjm1jroQtSee, they have to run the trains anyway to keep the tracks clear. You just couldn't ride on them. I believe that's called dramatic irony as opposed to regular irony.
— Andrew Rice (@riceid) January 27, 2015
Even more incredibly, they closed the roads to non-emergency motor vehicles!
"I'm ordering that at 11 o'clock tonight our streets will only be available to emergency vehicles." - Mayor @BilldeBlasio. #SafeNYCAh, now that's what I call "Vision Zero." If only he could do this every day! While shutting down a train system that runs largely underground was probably unnecessary in this case, I'd argue that they should close the streets to private motor vehicles and their incompetent operators at the first sign of snow all winter long. After all, it's the dingbats who take to their cars in snowstorms who block the roads for plows and emergency vehicles--the very emergency vehicles that need to rescue them from their own cars.
— NYC Mayor's Office (@NYCMayorsOffice) January 26, 2015
It's situations like these that underscore our skewed perception when it comes to danger. When a storm is bearing down on us (or even possibly bearing down on us) our officials are willing to declare a state of emergency and close the roads to prevent deaths and injuries that might occur. However, hundreds of people are killed and thousands are injured by drivers every day, yet that's not an emergency. It's just business as usual. One death in a snowstorm caused by a driver who lacked the common sense to stay home? Not acceptable. Hundreds caused by drivers who fail to yield? No big whoop.
Oh, they also closed Citi Bike, which should surprise nobody:
System Alert: Citi Bike System will close at 7PM EST tonight due to extreme weather including heavy snow, high winds, and limited visibilityAnd further warned riders to make way for the plows:
— Citi Bike (@CitiBikeNYC) January 26, 2015
Please stay indoors and off the roads so the streets can be plowed safely! #bikenyc #staywarmGiven the shitty weather we had last night you'd think these sorts of warnings would be unnecessary, but I'm sure somewhere out there some schmuck on a Citi Bike decided "Screw that, I'm taking the lane!"
— Citi Bike (@CitiBikeNYC) January 26, 2015
There's a time to take the lane, and there's a time to get the fuck out of it. A snowstorm is generally an example of the latter.
Finally, even the revived Yehuda Moon comic strip tackled the blizzard with its trademark brand of dry irreverence:
By the way, that's the NSFW version, and the "NS" stands for "Non-Sequitur."
Meanwhile, in other NSFW-ish news, a Twitterer alerted me to this post on Mario Cipollini's Instagram:
Oh, Cipo. Classy as always.
(I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume there's a bowl of cereal between her thighs, in which case it's technically safe for work.)
Speaking of class, what's classier than caviar? Nothing, that's what! (With the possible exception of marble columns, of course. And I grew up close to the location of the fictional Mike's Marbleopolis, so I know what I'm talking about.) Well, just when you thought no company could possibly want to invest in the shitshow that is pro cycling, here comes the luxury fish-gutting industry with an infusion of cash:
Actually, I have no idea if this is a cash sponsorship, and maybe they're just paying them in fish eggs.
Expect a "Bicycling" article on the recovery benefits of caviar in time for the spring
Somewhat less classy and infinitely more dorky is this "22-foot-long bike-powered 'Star Wars' star destroyer," of which I was informed by a reader, and which can be yours for nothing assuming you live in or near Portland:
Residents of Portland, Oregon are in for a treat, as a custom-made, bicycle-powered, 22-foot-long Imperial I-class Star Destroyer parade float is currently available for free on Craigslist. The Star Wars-themed float fits in a standard road lane and requires four bicyclists to operate it. The current owner gives a stern warning about the seriousness of adopting such a craft.
Here's the text of the actual Craigslist ad:
This is a ~22ft long, ~8foot wide STAR DESTROYER (like the ship from STAR WARS). It is best described as a bike-powered parade float. No bikes are included or attached; instead the craft is held up during flight* by 4 individuals on bikes. The design allows the bikes to move somewhat independently.
The ship has been ridden and featured in 2 years of the Pedalpalooza "Star Wars vs. Star Trek" bike rides. This is a one-of-a-kind item that we unfortunately do not have the space for anymore. We want this to go to a good home, so we're letting it go for free.
A great deal of engineering effort and money went into this project. The ship itself is a PVC frame, re-enforced in certain areas with electrical conduit. The coverings are grey-painted weather-resistant coroplast. It's roughly 22feet long and roughly 8 feet wide. It fits in a standard lane of traffic--for scale, it is about as wide as a 2015 Ford Super-Duty, and a little longer. ( http://www.ford.com/trucks/superduty/specifications/exterior/ ) The craft is designed to split into 2 sections using convenient screw-joints for easier storage.
If you think your life would be enhanced by owning a 22 FOOT LONG STAR DESTROYER that you and your friends could ride around Portland, please let me know ASAP!
SERIOUS REPLIES ONLY. YOU WILL NEED 4 PEOPLE ON BIKES OR A VERY LARGE TRUCK TO BE ABLE TO MOVE THIS.
*Spaceship is bike powered; it does not actually fly.
It's good to know Portlanders are putting a "great deal of engineering effort and money" into important projects like this. Admittedly though this does have other applications beyond Pedalpalooza attention-whoring. For example, it could easily be repurposed as sort of a "Fred stockade" in order to teach Cat 5s how to ride in a pack without crossing wheels. In fact, in addition to completing 10 mass start races, Cat 5s should have to spend at least 20 hours in the "Fred stockade" before upgrading to Cat 4.
Also--and it hardly warrants mentioning--triathletes should not be allowed to ride within 20 feet of another cyclist at any time on public roads unless they are confined by such a device:
You can't be too careful.