Monday, March 23, 2015

The Visually Impaired Leading the Visually Impaired

It's becoming increasingly clear to me that the worst thing ever to happen to cycling is the Internet.  Strava, this blog, Strava...it seems like every day some new and insidious form of digital douchery comes tearing down the Information Superhighway in order to sideswipe us.  Consider this video:


In which some guy on a folding bike endeavors to tell us all how to ride a bike in New York City:


Lessons For the Novice New Yorker: Biking from Ethan H. Minsker on Vimeo.

The film opens with someone who failed out of Tuvan throat singing school drumming on his thigh and intoning the word "biking:"


Then we see our instructor and protagonist wearing a bright blue Beacon of Insecurity:


You can wear whatever you want on your head, but I refuse to take urban cycling advice from someone who's wearing a helment.  Come on, all he's doing is riding a folding bike around Manhattan!  I want my New York City cycling instructor to have a bit more savoir faire than that.  This is like taking gardening tips from someone who's wearing a full beekeeping suit just to prune his begonias.

Then he explains the bike path "hierarchy," which is not a hierarchy at all and really just a list of people who annoy him:

There is a hierarchy on the bike path.  Those who own fixed gear bikes think they are oh so cool.

It's very hard to imagine that in 2015 anybody who's riding a fixed-gear bike in New York City still thinks they're cool unless they moved here less than three months ago.  Also, what about people who play string instruments?


Smug bastards.

Next he complains about the delivery cyclists:

Delivery food bikers can't drive, are reckless, many times drive motorized bikes that you can't even hear coming up behind you...

Which he illustrates by showing various delivery cyclists doing absolutely nothing wrong except carrying delicious food:


Hey, I'll admit delivery cyclists can be annoying, but I find food vendors who walk their carts in the bike lane to be far more irritating:


Though like the delivery cyclists it's hard to imagine an alternative, and in both cases I'm not sure you can have gastronomic convenience without at least some degree of annoyance.  In fact, in many ways I'd argue it's the complex interplay of convenience and annoyance that defines New York.  Want cuisine from every corner of the globe delivered to your home or office within minutes?  Someone's gonna ride a bike on the sidewalk.  Want tasty halal food every three feet?  Someone's gonna drag a goddamn cart down the street.

I hate to say it, but I'm beginning to think the concept of protected bike lanes may not be viable, at least in Manhattan below Central Park. Maybe they should just scrap the whole "bike lane" concept and designate them as "high-occupancy pedestrian lanes" instead.  Then we can just surrender them to people pushing hand trucks and food carts and wheelie suitcases.  I mean, that's what's happening anyway, so why keep letting us down by painting pictures of bicycles on them?

But as far as the different types of cyclists, our instructor has the harshest words for people who ride Citi Bikes:

Citi Bikes are the bane of the biking society.


No.  People who call cycling "biking" are the bane of the biking society.  Also, the guy above is definitely a seasoned city cyclist regardless of what he's riding.  Check out the plastic on his hands!  Either he's keeping his hands warm, or he's a germaphobe who doesn't want to catch Ebola from the bike share, or both--and whichever it is that's a highly resourceful solution.

So what's wrong with those Citi Bikers anyway?

They are slow, novice, and many times tourist.




He should have sung that to the tune of "Three Times a Lady."


Furthermore:

They follow no rules, they bike in pairs, blocking both lanes, many of the times the bikes don't even work well...


I'm fairly certain it's legal to ride two abreast (or "in pairs") in New York City, and why is it the riders' fault that the bikes don't work well?  Also, as he says this the film shows the Citi Bike rider above, who expertly passes the shuttle bus on its right as it drifts into the bike lane to make a left-hand turn.  That is a pro city cycling move, and it only comes from years of experience.  The "slow, novice, and many times tourist" would have stayed in the bike lane and fallen victim to a "left hook."

Granted as a Citi Biker myself I may be a bit sensitive here, but if you're going to make fun of them at least find one being a complete doofus.

It's not that hard.

As for the instructor himself:

I have a folding bike.  That makes me a "nerd biker."


Actually, that's not true.  Everybody who rides a bike is a nerd.  Technically speaking, if you ride a folding bike you're a circus bear:


Get it right.

Then he moves on to the pedestrians:

If you are a pedestrian, stay out of the bike lane.


That's not a bike lane.

You step into the bike lane, you are risking your own life.



True, but the instructor is starting to sound like one of those victim-blaming drivers.

Then, this:

Do not stand at the crosswalk in the bike lane.

Note that the pedestrian has the light:


Yet our instructor rides right into him:


I was wondering why the guy he hit didn't immediately punch him in the face, but then I re-watched the whole "pedestrians suck" sequence and realized the people in it were plants.  Moreover, they were the same plants.  First we see them here:


Then here:


And finally here:


So he basically scripted a scene which completely undermines his entire point.

Now that's good filmmaking.

Then again, according to our instructor, pedestrians should understand that red lights are "only a suggestion:

Red lights are only a suggestion to stop.  When biking in New York, you will go through as many red lights as you can as long as there is no police officer in sight.


I almost might have bought this if he hadn't just RUN A RED LIGHT AND CRASHED INTO A PEDESTRIAN.

And finally:

Wearing a helmet is highly suggested.

See that?  He's wearing a helment, so he thinks that makes everything he does okay.

And that's my problem with helments.

Still, as problematic as this video is, it wasn't nearly as disturbing as this video of him in the tub:


I hope he's wearing his helment.

Lastly, speaking of cycling in New York City, here's a puzzling exchange:



We Chatted About Your Bike On The Train - w4m - 25 (Q Train Manhattan to Brooklyn)

Never done this before but why not give it a try? Your name was Micah and we chatted on the train from 57th street back to Queens. I was impressed with your ability to stick it out with your bike in the snow. You have lovely blue eyes and I wish I could get a chance to tell you that in person. If by chance you see this, please reply and mention the two diners we talked about. Thanks for reading this and to the romantics out there, keep your fingers crossed for me. -Katie

If he's riding the subway then he's really not sticking it out with his bike in the snow, now is he?

If she's looking for that then she should date one of those food delivery guys.

It's hard to watch those guys tough it out in a snowstorm and then get mad at them for riding on the sidewalk.

69 comments:

Anonymous said...

frist!

Anonymous said...

Je suis dans le premier dix

Anonymous said...

It's warm outside

Paul Kirby said...

Top 10, Baby!

dnk said...

top 5?

Freddy Murcks said...

Ain't nobody got time for that.

herzogone said...

Top 10! I think I can see the podium from here...

Anonymous said...

Boosh!
Snob, you kick ass.

Angry Beaver in Mirimichi said...

By proxy I hear by claim the top podium position for Ms. BABBLE in recognition of her road race victory this past weekend.

bad boy of the north said...

my eyes!my eyes!thanks,snob,for sharing that,yes,disturbing bathtub video.what the hell was that debris in there?i'd really rather not know.

trama said...

I don't ride bikes anymore.

BOOM DONE

ken e. said...

whoa, a lot of stuff happened this weekend.

Bryan said...

I really don't know what I found more disturbing...the tribal chant or the bathtub...definitely the bathtub video. Though thanks to your blog, that guy is probably going to get more views in the next 24 hours than he ever has - and that bathtub video needs no promotion.

BamaPhred said...

The ability to stick what out in the snow? I didn't think executing a Kilroy through several layers of clothing was really all that difficult.

I'm apparently the one with a case of the Mondays said...

At first I thought you had a case of the Mondays, but after watching the video that guy is a real dick. I'd have no problem with you saying fuck it and roasting this idiot the rest of the week.

crosspalms said...

Put the snow bike away over the weekend, so of course this morning it was snowing. After I shoveled the walk, I rode to work and it's been snowing ever since. If you've never heard a tulip snarl, come to Chicago.

But last week, when it was 70, I saw three women on Divvy bikes downtown. As the first two started down a ramp to the riverfront, the third was holding up her phone and apparently narrating whatever video she was taking -- till she saw where she was headed and said "HOLY FUCK!"

Dooth said...

Substitute Idiotic for Pragmatic

PotbellyJoe said...

I got my four year-old to ride on two wheels yesterday.

Now if I get the 7 year-old to want to try.

Steven Douglas said...

"I got my four year-old to ride on two wheels yesterday.

Now if I get the 7 year-old to want to try."


I taught my 4 kids to ride 2 wheels. When they are ready it takes like 3 days tops. If they are not ready it ain't happening, no matter how much time you spend, what you do or what you say.

grog said...

Good one Snob. Thanks for circus bear, but need some Recumbabe.

babble on said...

Thank you, Mr Angry Beaver! Very kind of you... XX :D

bad boy of the north said...

anyone registered for the five boro bike tour?

Steven Douglas said...

Also;
Good one , Snob.

JLRB said...

That whole video is a plant

JLRB said...

you could caption that video Steve Spell II goes to NYC and makes a stupid movie

Glory said...

"If you've never heard a tulip snarl, come to Chicago."

COD to crosspalms.

I miss Chicago, but not in March.

JLRB said...

Loved the blog,etc., but, I disrespectfully disagree with the notion that Biking Society people in helments ride dangerously because they are wearing helments - do you drive faster because you wear a seat belt? Maybe, but only if you are taking a video of yourself doing it

BikeSnobNYC said...

JLRB,

I don't think people ride dangerously because they are wearing helments, but I do think some people believe they're automatically being responsible cyclists just because they strapped one on.

--Wildcat Rock machine

rudimentary peni said...

Sounding awfully pedantic today, snob. Haven't you advocated treating red lights as "suggestions" many times before?

babble on said...

EEEW! I'm sorry, but is it actually legal to post father/daughter bathtub videos? My bad for clicking through.

What a weird day. This blog and Strava were mentioned in the very same line, and by the author of this blog, no less. Shouldn't hell be freezing over or something?

Do you know when helmets should actually be legislated? In cars, that's where. Automotive accidents are where the most horrific head injuries occur, and in fact, that's where half of all head injuries happen. Don't drive without one. Common. Sense.

And speaking of driving, why aren't people forced to spend a month on a bike before they can test for a license? Hmmmmm??

BikeSnobNYC said...

Rudimentary Peni,

Not in a video in which I run into a pedestrian who has the light.

You have to know when to take the suggestion.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

1904 Cadardi said...

Mr. Snob @2:02

That may be your most succinct helment argument ever.

Babs, Can we make the month-on-a-bike driver's license prerequisite retroactive to all the morons behind the wheel right now?

Anonymous said...

The most interesting thing about bike share bikes is their amazing safety record, which the so called "Bike Advocates" don't talk about much. They are also comfortable and inexpensive.

So they are hardly the "bane of the biking society"; unless the goal of some members of the biking society is to cause ruin, destruction, great distress, hardship, burden, affliction, misery, tribulation, pain (i.e. the bane of the bane).........
Ummmm, nevermind.....

Anonymous said...

"the complex interplay of convenience and annoyance that defines New York"

Well put, Mr Snob.

Could you rephrase that into a NYC-slogan?

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 2:31pm,

NEW YORK CITY:
Annoyingly Convenient, Conveniently Annoying

--Wildcat Rock Machine

bieks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bieks said...

I was gonna say when you have tiny wheels like that, a helment is prudent, but it's when I'm doing my circus bear impression that I'm wishing there wasn't a helment law in my jurisdiction so I don't know what the hell I'm talking about.

Oh, and you figure Micah is a dude?

dnk said...

Okay, bathtub video.

1. I never thought tattoos were something that I would be compelled to declare myself "for" or "against." But I have to come out as "against." At least for as long as it takes for me to forget that video.

2. The guy should have worn a helment.

Mr. Pedantic said...

"... you figure Micah is a dude?"

Title says W4M.

BamaPhred said...

Finally watched the the videos. Creeped out.

Ryan Kelley said...

I hope you never talk about me in your blog.

JLRB said...

I will not watch the videos until I can cover my eyes with an ill fitting foam helment - then I will watch responsibly.

WCRM - Thanks for clarifying your view - makes more sense that way. I almost always wear a helment because I am brainwashed, but when I occasionally forget (usually due to multimodal) one of the twisted pleasures of riding without one is the looks people give - YOUR GOING TO DIE!

bieks said...

Mr. Pedantic, oftentimes I'm disappointed by the "something new" I learn every day. I've seen that w4m so many times and just assumed it was some auto-generated code. Still, I'm gonna assume she accidentally clicked on the wrong category.

P. Bateman said...

well, based on the comments i went back and watched the bathtub video.

i suggest you do the same if you missed it*.



* he said cleaning up his own vomit

speaking of cleaning, that dude needs to get some bleach for that grout and maybe have that water tested.

CommieCanuck said...

Hey Snob, who's the Freda chick in the pink tutu? A few laser hair removals and she'd be hawt.

Oscar Wilde said...

”I hope you never talk about me in your blog.”

The only thing worse than hoping….

bieks said...

The still image is enough warning for me. I don't need to see/neverunsee. So taking a bath is part of NYC Bikeen? More head injures in the shower so be safe and sit in the tub, take the bus and don't put anything in my flower box.

Asking For A Friend said...

Is this what you get for your $2400/month minimum NYC apartment? The filthy tub surround and East River bath water just a bonus? Or is that extra?

the Jimboner said...

My old lady just got her real estate license and the ink that comes with it.

L O C A
T I O N

Herschel Raney said...

I feel more strongly about motorcyclists who choose to not wear helments. Go for it if you have excellent insurance with full coverage for extended rehab and surgery.

On a bike, low speed riding in the city-- whatever, your choice. Fred's without helments however need the same insurance decision. And if you are going high speed on a road bike without one, you look like a doofus. If you are riding a MTN bike through treelined habitat without one, same doofus. You've stored alot of shit in that head. Pad it. Neurosurgeons don't need the money.

Pathetic Old Cyclist said...

Babs, spot on with your suggestion about riding for a month before you get your license. I've been saying that for years. An added bonus would be all the fascinating videos that would generate. This blog would have endless material, if that were to happen.

Notatourist said...

I saw the still of the 'Bathtub Video' got scared and drunk myself into a stupor.

Old and grouchy also: said...

WCRM:

You've just seen to much to be annoyed by what gets this guys goat. Have to say clueless pedestrians in the bike lane on the phone bother me lots though.

Notatourist said...

I would have said 'drank' if I wasn't in a stupor.

Anonymous said...

Yuck. That “Lessons…” video? What a jackass. Didn’t watch the bathtub one. Saved by my gag reflex. Thank goodness! Is it tomorrow yet?

Anonymous said...

Lanterne rouge on the Monday run-in…

babble on said...

Yes, that sounds about right. Everyone who holds a license ought to ride for a month, too. Good thinking. Now how are we going to get this law passed?

Forty Shades Of Silver said...

As Jesus said,"When slapped, turn the other cheek."

JLRB said...

Despite All My Rage I'm Still Just a Bear in a Muzzle

JLRB said...

not to be confused with drinking beer with a muzzle

JLRB said...

and after this I'll muzzle it -

can you really be a New Yorker if you are a novice?

D. Crosby said...

I thought he was riding a bicycle which makes it OK to run him down ...

Endo-King said...

Re: Herschel R

"I feel more strongly about motorcyclists who choose to not wear helments. Go for it if you have excellent insurance with full coverage for extended rehab and surgery."

Reminds me of the movie "Top Gun," where Tom Cruise is racing down the road on his crotch-rocket, without helmet, giving a thumbs-up to the F-14s passing overhead? If his CO had seen him doing that, his ass would have been court-martialed to a fare-thee-well. The Navy does not take chances with it's property.

bad boy of the north said...

oh,well.i guess I'm the only one going.

Freddy Murcks said...

I always were my beekeeping suit when I prune my begonias. And I always put tape over my fly, just in case. You're asking for trouble if you don't take the proper protective measures.

Anonymous said...

Russia wants to build highway from Moscow to NY. (see CNN)
But will it have a bike lane?

tedsfiles said...

Dear Mr B.Snob, I knwo you visited Australia recently, and probably thought the helmet law sucked, the paths were crap etc. It's so bad we formed a political party. There's an election in one day. It would be hilarious to get international attention to our cause. The only nation with a Cycling Party... Anyway, if you can lend the cause any help, Australian Cycling will be eternally grateful!!
https://www.facebook.com/cyclistsparty

Jone Mark said...

nice post thanks for posting i will read this post another time

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