Tuesday, April 21, 2015

"Hey, cyclist, can you help me tell my ass from my elbow?"

Ooh, I almost forgot!  Not only did I ride my brand new bike this past weekend, but I did so while wearing this smart, high-fashion, high-performance bicycle-riding shirt:


Believe me when I tell you it's so comfy it's like wearing nothing at all--assuming your lower back area has handy marsupial-like pockets for carrying your keys, cellphone, and wallet.  Really, the only way I could have been more comfortable would have been if I'd been wearing my matching hat:


Sadly, it's been a long winter and even after turning my bikey clothes drawer upside down I couldn't find the goddamn hat, so I wore the next best thing instead:


Clearly I was clad in the very pinnacle of cycling haute couture, so while at first I thought the Rapha riders were regarding me with distain for my appearance, in retrospect it's clear they were consumed by jealousy of my haberdashery.

Also, in the old days portliness was a sign of status, so I like to think that carries over on a subliminal level to the present day and that my swollen midriff is intimidating to my fellow Freds.

Speaking of which, the haberdashers at Walz (makers of the "46" line of bicycle-riding clothes) are going to be at the Bike Expo New York, which takes place on May 1st and 2nd:


(Who doesn't love crowds?!?)

Not only that, but I'm going to be at their booth, and while I'm certainly not an attraction there will be an opportunity to get your hands on (our your head in) a free hat!!!



I'll share the details once we've finalized them, but figure I'll be there Friday and Saturday afternoons, and on Saturday I'm thinking maybe we can all meet someplace for a ride and then head to the expo together.

Consider it a warm-up for the BSNYC Gran Fondon't.

Details to follow.

Now, let's set all this self-promotion aside for a moment and talk about something important--more so even than the helme(n)t debate, or the waving debate, or even the saddle-vs-no-saddle debate (I'm unabashedly pro-saddle, by the way).

I'm talking about how to deal with drivers who ask you for directions while you're riding.


("I'm looking for a fountain, is this it?")

Please allow me to preface this by saying that, when wheeled vehicles aren't involved and everybody is on foot, I will always give people directions to the best of my ability.  This is New York City after all, so as you go about your business you're bound to encounter families of khaki-clad Midwesterners, or else parties of Euro-trash who are readily identified by their ridiculous jeans and their sneakers that look like something you'd wear on a space station.  I'm always happy to point these sorry rubes in the right direction, even if they're wearing too much cologne like the Euros invariably are.  Furthermore, if I'm not exactly sure where the thing they're looking for is because it's the sort of godless tourist trap in which I wouldn't be caught dead, I will even go so far as to consult the mapping feature on my cellular telephone for them so as to spare them from costly roaming charges.

I'm a one-man welcome wagon, goddamn it.

However, the dynamic changes dramatically when a driver is involved.  This is because drivers fully expect you to risk death in the process of helping them.  Consider, for example, the time I was in downtown Manhattan, on foot, waiting to cross West Street (or the "West Side Highway" as we call it) from the greenway with one of the small human children that I own.  As we're waiting for the light, a driver screeches to a halt and yells at me, "Where's Pier [I can't remember the number]?"

So there he is, stopped in the middle of the right lane.  Traffic behind him is moving at like 50mph, and drivers are swerving and beeping at him as he sits there like a schmuck waiting for directions from me.  What is this guy, stupid?!?  All I could think about was this idiot getting rear-ended, and his shitbox flipping over onto the greenway, and then a New York Post article about how a whole family got flattened by a Hyundai and that there's "no criminality suspected."

To my credit, instead of telling him to go blow himself, I simply told him "I'm not from here" and ignored him until he gave up.

And it's even worse when I'm on a bike.  Here are drivers' favorite times to ask you for directions while you're cycling:

--When you're climbing a steep hill;
--When you're descending a steep hill;
--When you're in any kind of situation that requires your undivided attention--which, when operating a bicycle on roads "shared" with motor vehicles, is most of the time.

I was reminded of this last Saturday when I began my ride.  As you round Wave Hill, the street drops precipitously towards the river, and the road surface is so potholed that you'd be forgiven for thinking it had been carpet-bombed.  Therefore, it is crucial to focus on your front wheel, lest it roll into one of these many potholes and you go flying over the bars--yet at the same time you also have to look ahead of you, lest you take out a family of Jews walking to shul.  Then you've got the cars and shuttle buses and foot traffic headed to Wave Hill to contend with, not to mention that coyote that's harassing Stephen Spielberg's sister.

So there I am, picking my way through potholes and Jews, when a minivan rolls by in the opposite direction and the driver yells at me, "WHERE WAVE HILL GARDEN?!?"

Wave Hill, I should point out, is right the fuck in front of him.  Like, if he were looking ahead of him instead of at me, he'd be looking at it.  All he had to do was drive for like 50 more feet and he'd see the goddamn sign.

I wanted to ignore him, yet I'm cursed with the inability to completely divorce myself from humanity, and so I do him the profound kindless of slowing down and replying, "Just keep going straight, it's right there."

"WHAT?!?  WHERE WAVE HILL GARDEN?!?"

Oh my god.  At this point I'm ready to Bjarne Riis my bike onto the nearest lawn, pull him from the driver's seat, get in the minivan, and drive it right through the stone wall and into the crafting area.

"YOU WANT WAVE HILL?!?  YOU'RE IN IT, GODDAMN IT!," I'd scream as children ran screaming and clutching their pine cone art.

In fact, the only thing that stopped me was that if the cops caught me in Lycra they'd throw the book at me since it would be obvious I was a cyclist.  If, however, I were to drive a minivan through a public garden while wearing street clothes, all I'd have to say was "Oops, I mistook the gas for the brake," and it would be "No criminality suspected, sorry for the inconvenience, here's your season pass to Wave Hill."

Instead, I simply repeated "Keep going straight" like the sycophant I am and went on my way.

And this was a relatively benign example, because at least I was near my home.  Usually drivers stop me when I'm a good 20 miles or so from the city and don't know where shit is anyway.  "No, I don't know where the freaking outlet mall is," I always want to scream.  "Do I look like I'm up here to shop for a slightly irregular suit?"  And even if I did know, the last thing you want to do is ask directions from a cyclist on a road bike, because you're going to get an answer like this:

"Do you want some climbing?  If so head up past the deli where we stopped that time when Dave bonked, then go like 20k to that spot where Bill flatted that other time, then you're going to hit this 11% section--not the Bitch's Nipple climb but the other one--then you're gonna drop down right behind the parking lot of the Men's Wearhouse."

Maybe I'm getting old, but I remember a time when if a driver was lost he stopped at a gas station.  (I've had drivers ask me directions to the gas station, by the way, which is extremely ironic.)  I'm also not sure why you can't keep drivers off their goddamn cell phones, yet when it comes to figuring out where they're going they forget they have them and ask cyclists instead.

Basically, drivers hate us until they're lost, at which point we're there to provide them with a public service.

Lastly, here's a video to which I was alerted via the Twitter:



Ah, yes.  The only thing Americans place more unwarranted faith in than helme(n)ts is guns.

Something to think about next time you stop a cyclist for directions.

98 comments:

Old-timer said...

VaVoom!

McFly said...

Bike throw

Old-timer said...

Campagnolo!

Weed Today said...

Some legal weed.

The PM of Cananda said...

Nearly claimed to the top of the greasy pole.

On the Greenway said...

I could have been a contender.

Cipo said...

Will post a comment after I finish eating.

Anonymous said...

Legal weed, it's not your mother's Maryjane.

Grump said...

Consealedcarrie says back pocket is for spare clips. (for those days where you don't feel "safe")

Anonymous said...

top 10 almost?

Anonymous said...

Just off the podium :(

ubercurmudgeon said...

"I'm cursed with the inability to completely divorce myself from humanity"

Keep trying, you'll get there eventually.

Anonymous said...

... Just out of curiosity, what nationality/ethnicity was the Wave Garden motorist?

Slowly I Turned, Step by Step.... said...

Ask for directions at a gas station. Is that a joke?. Try it, you'll get one of two things. Either a high school kid who's stoned out of his gourd and couldn't tell you where Primrose Lane is even if he grew up on it. Or, someone who supposedly doesn't speak any of the languages you do. I try English, response "Me no no", I try French, response "Me no no", I try Spanish, response "Me no no". Me, do you sell road maps, response, in perfect English "Their in the rack, around the corner from the cash register, three ninety nine each".

Anonymous said...

"For the female shooter on the go." That's some messed up shit. I'd never suspect anyone to be packing a gun while wearing bike gear like that.

James said...

If Spielburg had a ConcealedCarrie she could have taken care of the coyote. Who would name a woosie dog like that Rambo?

PotbellyJoe said...

I get asked directions all of the time, but I'm on roads in the middle of nowhere NJ and a residential treatment center for male juvenille offenders is at the top of a very winding and well-hidden road. It's also Charles Lindbergh's home where the infamous kidnapping took place.

We ride usually starting at sunrise and the campus there opens to family visitors around 1-2 later so we, being the only people on these windy, mountainy roads, get to give directions to the places almost weekly.

We joke that we are going to get jerseys that say "Turn left from Zion onto Lindbergh, then it's on the right"

dop said...

Concealed Carrie missed the boat neglecting all the great places to stow your gun on a tri bike. Dirty Harry could hide his magnum between the aerobars. You could stow a derringer in a small niche in the water bottle. (or a derrier-inger in a fanny pack)

Is that a power tap? No, it's oddjob's deadly derby on the crank

Cipo's Appointment Secretary said...

"Bitch's Nipple climb"

Are there two of them to climb?

Anonymous said...

Ive got a .380 thatll fit in a jersy pocket. The only time i pulled it was when a driver stopped me for directions and then began scolding for not wearing a helment.

Anonymous said...

Long time lurker, first time poster...and this is what draws me out. :facepalm:
I'm one of those people that isn't opposed to firearms for hunting and target shooting--even for household security and military engagements, as long as we can't manage to sort out better alternatives--but I remain unconvinced by the arguments I've heard to justify conceal/carry. Especially when folks like the lady in the special video talk about "for the...shooter on the go!" Why not "for the secure person" or "for the fearful person" (depending on your perspective)? Sure, it's not as direct as "shooter," but it's also a little less gratuitously aggressive. I mean, unless the point of taking a gun with you is making sure you get to shoot the damn thing...
Bryan

bad boy of the north said...

concealed carrie asks "is that a water bottle in your pocket or are you glad to see me?"

No Need to Thank Me said...

http://www.bbc.com/autos/story/20140821-the-10-most-beautiful-bicycles

http://www.bbc.com/autos/story/20150406-pininfarina-the-pedal-pusher

Craig Richards said...

I was waiting beneath the light at an intersection trying to run left and a truck pulled up next to me to ask how to get to the gay bar. There I was in he middle of the intersection focusing on my turn and suddenly I'm dividing my attention so this dude can have a killer night.

Maybe they think we're more convenient than pedestrians because we can go right up to there window and they don't even have to get out of their cars.

JB said...

"flying over the bars"

I prefer "ass over teakettle" for some reason.

That was a Class A rant. Thanks.

dop said...

When I'm in lycra, I expect people to understand that I'm a wuss. Why should they think I'm packing heat? At most, they should think I've got a can of pepper spray that will discharge in my face before I figure how to use it.

JB said...

bikers: not tourists and they "know" the area

Flyover BC said...

D'stain? Looks like a new hat to me.

In other news

a San Fran Uber driver ran over a bicyclist in a road rage incident,

whereas an Uber driver in Chicago used his concealed carry weapon to disable a shooter.

GO figger.

Flyover BC said...

Hey there Craig Richards.

I think the guy asking for directions to the gay bar might have been pulling your chain, so to speak.

You weren't wearing some outlandish lycra, were you?

PotbellyJoe said...

I'd reason to bet that the assumption is that asking other drivers would be useless because they can't get the other drivers to stop yapping on their cellphones long enough to put down their window.

jodphoto said...

DISTAIN is when you shart your chamois. really.

DISDAIN is the look with which the Freds regarded you. And with which you regard other humans today.

Me, too. Fuck 'em.

Hee Haw the Barista said...

No, not Men's Wearhouse ... JoS. A. Banks.

Vernal Magina said...

Wow, guess I wasn't the only one who noticed the distain/disdain typo there...

Anonymous said...

Whatever they ask you, just start giving them directions to New Jersey.

Anonymous said...

vsk said ...

In the Socialist Republic of New York, guns are outlawed, so only outlaws have guns. Even more so now that they can not be stoppeded and friskeded.

Carry on,

vsk

grog said...

You'll shoot yer eye out, kid.

Spokey said...

hmm how do you like them there beans? i'd have to ask joe how to get there meself. and i'm about 10 mi from the place. and only 5 streets counting mine and the one the place in on. the only juvee i knew was across from the new montgomery high and that musta closed up 15-20 years ago now.

i find (whether on bike or foot) that the driver will roll down his window and yell. i think they expect me to ride/walk over because they are too fucking lazy ot get out of their car. i'll yell back but won't go to them. they want freakin directions, they can put in the effort.

Mike O. said...

I went over to the BBC site to look over their beautiful bikes and have to say beauty is in the eye of the beholder and those ain't it.

BTW, did you happen to see what else is over there? inflatable helmets...
http://www.bbc.com/autos/story/20140626-no-helmet-no-problem

Joe Jacobs said...

Of course the proper course of action for drivers today is to pull over into any available (empty or not) bike lane and look it up on your damn phone.

dop said...

Disdain refers to a specific person from Denmark. Chartre'ng mean passing a stool with a large cathedral with pretty windows in it. This is similar to how god created the universe. It took her 6 days.

bieks said...

Wave Hill with the precipitous potholed downhill sounds like an otherwise ideal place to avoid the waving and helment debates; mandatory and prudent. Well, at least I assume waving would be mandatory there.

Agravaine said...

Rode the Shawnee Wine Trail road in Illinois last weekend. One of the houses had a large engraved rock posing as a tombstone with the epitath 'The last bastard who stopped for directions'

PotbellyJoe said...

@Spokey,

I won't say it's easy, but it's not hard.

We climb Hollow Rd from Skillman/Camp Meeting after meeting at Larocque Rond (the big ass circle inside of the former TB infirmary across from the HS.)

Take a left on Zion at the end of Hollow. Then left on Lindbergh.

If you follow Lindbergh, it becomes Hopewell-Amwell, and forks into Hopewell-Amwell and Provinceline before Georgetown Pike (518)

It's a nice ride. And occasionally you'll hear the rooster on Hopewell-Amwell Rd.

PotbellyJoe said...

@Spokey,

The house is on Lindbergh, there's a blue and yellow sign that says it's State property, similar to the Jones Farm Dairy in West Ewing.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully she won't fall and her gun accidentally goes off and kills her as that would suck for the female shooter on the go.

Anonymous said...

sweet, bike expo! For some reason I always seem to be out of town when it goes down, not this year bitches! I'm there. Count me in on the ride. Maybe from the expo up to your place in the BX for beer and BBQ?

leroy said...

My dog says he may have given some bad directions last week.

CommieCanuck said...

I always help out motorists, especially the ones who scream out, "Heyyyyyy!! Where's the Walmart at??"

I take this opportunity to regale them with a fine tale of past rides with chums of olde, and highlight not the pedestrian gauche street signs of the everyman, but the flora and fauna unique in perspective to the gentleman on his velocipide. "Simply four hundred 23 rods ahead, a sharp left at the bush that blooms every third week in May, continue until the fecal odour of bovines is overwhelming, a slight right, follow by another sharp left an Wilson's stone-of -urination, then you cannot miss it, just look for those of plentiful girth. You are certainly welcome."

That's how we roll in Canada.

CommieCanuck said...

I'd never suspect anyone to be packing a gun while wearing bike gear like that.

Exactly, that gives you the drop on those road going commies, jihadists, investment bankers and child molesters.

Pathetic Old Cyclist said...

50!

As David Byrne is to cars ... said...

Anon 2:24 said Hopefully she won't fall and her gun accidentally goes off and kills her as that would suck for the female shooter on the go..

Ideally, that's how it would happen. There's a certain smugness attached to offing yourself with your own gun before someone else offs you first.

USA!

Pathetic Old Cyclist said...

I would put a bra holster between my man boobs

Frickus Rungus said...

I once had a couple of stoners pass me on a woohoo++ speed downhill while blaring an airhorn out their car window at me. Talk about di-stain-ing yourself... I almost Bjarne Riis'd at speed.

3G said...

does the jersey come in the various Primal flavors? I'd love a Yankees one.

dop said...

No bra holsters.

woman accidently kills self adjusting bra holster

Tug on a strap and BAM, right between the eyes.

Anonymous said...

Did concealed Carrie really just work in "verticle compliance" into a bike jersey feature? She said verticle movement, but she open the flood gate.

Also, concealed carrie jersey, WTF.

Your friendly Canadian reader.

Frickus Rungus said...

Whenever you mention your 17 human children, I always picture the smugness floatilla and something like this: http://tinyurl.com/njw7bzw. but without the helment if course, because that would send the wrong message...

BamaPhred said...

Coyote story: I don't understand "released into a Bronx wilderness area". Wilderness Area? Really?
Don't worry lady, the coyote was probably just looking for some "doggy style" action. Your pooch looked a little large for breakfast.

The Eternal Concertgoer said...

I saw Dangerous Toys, the Cult and DISTAIN in '91.

1983 David Byrne giving directions said...

Close enough but not too far,
Maybe you know where you are

Glory said...

Cipo's Appointment Secretary:

There really oughta be three.

TSD said...

I checked out ol' Carrie's website, and mentioned it to a female co-worker who has a well-used Pennsyltucky carry permit. As I suspected, telling a gunhead about an entire website devoted to women-specific concealed carry accessories is like telling a cyclist that there is a website that deals exclusively in racing equipment. As in, "Yeah... so???"

At an earlier job I jumped into a coworkers Ram pickup to head out for lunch, and I sat on a hard lump under the sheepskin seat cover. It was "Oh, sorry..." as he retrieved his snub-nosed 0.380. He had been in bad neighborhood the previous night, but stuck the pistol back in the glove box where it belongs.

It depends where you live, but around here I'm pretty sure there are many-fold more cars with guns inside than with bikes on top.... and NE PA is hardly Deliverance country, at least not quite. So, I wear a foam helment and try not to mouth off unless I'm really pissed... and the driver looks like Carrie.

Harry Callahan said...

Searched on "concealed carry bicycle". Good grief. More anal than a Record vs Dura Ace debate. What's the best carry for a 1911A, what's the best carry for an N frame? Sure, thumb off a couple of rounds out of one of those while riding, not to mention trying to drag it around.

CommieCanuck said...

I'm actually kinda amazed no one yet has a Kickstarter project that integrates a 12-gauge shotgun into the toptube, rearward facing. I already have the catch-phrase, "don't just drop 'em, really drop 'em."
I wish I had that last night riding through a neighbourhood of known anal rapists.

Freddy Murcks said...

Mr. Snob - I am going to be in the City this coming weekend. While I am sad I won't be able see you at the bike expoo, I was hoping that you might consider a pre-fondon't ride on Saturday. I'll be Citi biking around the City (helmentless, dammit) on Saturday and Sunday. Perhaps you might care to join me.

wishiwasmerckx said...

So a few months ago I lunched at Pho Kim Long. Today, I ate at Pon Ocho Soup. Yes, it tasted a little fishy.

Ironically, it is located in a primarily Hispanic neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

"Basically, drivers hate us until they're lost, at which point we're there to provide them with a public service."

I am that way with the police.

I hate the police until I need them to help me.

Flyover BC said...

Here in NEW Mexico, all the Asian restaurants are located in, primarily and secondarily, hispanic neighborhoods.

P.S. we have open carry too, no need for a permit or concealmet.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 5:46pm,

Ironically the police are nicest when they're ticketing me. (Car or bike, they are unfailingly polite.) Anytime I've asked then for help however they've mocked me either explicitly or implicitly.

I was physically threatened by one once.

--Wildcat Etc.

wishiwasmerckx said...

My, my, how the mind plays tricks. BSNYC, you told me that story, but it was a stripper who physically threatened you once. Now it was a cop? Really?

Stan Pulaski said...

Can you please choose a meet-up spot with ample street parking for the expo ride?

Texas John Slaughter said...

She's got a pistol

I've got a gun

Her's is for self defense

Mine is for fun ...

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Ground Control to Babs Please Report your Position said...

No Babs today. I bet she's being interviewed right now. EMT: "Am I holding up one finger or two"

Yosemite Sam said...

CC@431: "I'm actually kinda amazed no one yet has a Kickstarter project that integrates a 12-gauge shotgun into the top tube."

A sawed off could be incorporated into the head tube (insert oral sex joke here, involving Babble or not) too, in case an investment banker flies over in his personal helicopter. Just don't pull the trigger while leaning on the aero's.

babble on said...

Heh heh... my position... :)
No EMT's today, blessed be. Climbed a mountain, celebrated the elder son's birthday, and ticked several items off the official 'to-do' list.
Er, Snobbydoobydoo? Why doesn't your smart, high-fashion, high-performance bicycle-riding shirt sport a hidden holster within? Hmmm? Don'tcha just wanna shoot somebody sometimes?

Trouble is, those firearms are too damned heavy, and already I am sweating hauling my arse up dem der hills. Ha! Best new business idea. Somebody needs to invent the Fredliest Firearm: Full Crabon. That'll go over well.

Yeah Cleveland! said...

I'm watching the Cavs vs Celtics because I'm in a bar and it's on every TV. Normally I'm all Meh about basketball. Anyways a commercial for KFC comes on featuring a girl on a bike pulling a boy in a red Ryder. They were both wearing helments. The kicker - the streets are so scary that the girl was wearing a motorcycle helment.

Anonymous said...

So, like, after the Grand Fondon't, you could have a grand fondue - like, a hot tub full of cheese and lots of bread and long forks and stuff. That's all I got.

JLRB said...

Thanks, SNOB, for the GiggleOutLouds - excellent post on a day I needed it.

DOP - Funny - the bra holster vic's name was Bond. Q should have taught her how to use it...

There in only one reason I don't carry a gun while velocipedalizing - I'd use it.

Anonymous said...

Looks like that pistol-packin' momma lifted her bike from Brett.

Anonymous said...

wtf I figured Grace Jones swallowed.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Dear BikeSnobNYC,

Could you please write us a comprehensive PSA on how to operate our quick release skewers?

Just Shoot me said...

Non-lethal

dnk said...

Dear recumbent conspiracy theorist,

Are quick release skewers those shish-kabob sticks that eject the meats into a graceful arc, landing plop on the plate, with the push of a button?

babble on said...

Aw maaaaan! I do wish I could come on that ride with you guys. And the Fondon't. Specially the Fondon't. If some air miles miraculously appeared to get me there, I would ever so happily pull my share to spare yer legs for that final sprint. Just sayin is all.

I am going to have to start collecting air miles. All this time, I figured I didn't need no stinking plane, that my legs could take me wherever I need to go, but no. Air miles are part of the fabric of our society. They've become currency. In fact, several schools and universities here in BC have started taking air miles in lieu of money to cover tuition fees. Can you believe it? Sometimes I don't recognise the planet we live on.

Where did I put that gun? I'm feeling like a shooter on the run today.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

-dnk, No I think your confusing quick release skewers with the Grill 'O matic direct to plate catapult system.

I'm talking about those little handle thingies that you just keep turning around and around until it holds a bike wheel on.

E Rectile Dysfunction said...

Babble knows how a thing or two about quick releases - too quick perhaps

babble on said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Havily Helmented Ringo said...

FonDon't

FonDon't

You say you will when you won't ah-ha honey FonDon't

babble on said...

Earth day: since the seventies, when April 22 was designated Earth day, human numbers have doubled, whilst all other species have been reduced by half. According to climate scientists today, the only way humans can survive the changes to come is if we leave at least 75% of the fossil fuels still underground IN the ground.

Permanently park yer cars fer fucksake, people.

Anonymous said...

Ummmmmmmmm were you not just talking about geting on a jet airplane? They get like -17.8 mpg.

Black Coffee said...

BABBLE, last night someone told me there's an uncountable number of coffee shops in Vancouver. She's Canadian, so I have to find out if she's just boasting or not. True? False?

Anonymous said...

It's somewhat ignorant to be prejudiced against those who carry firearms for self-defense. Riding around on a multiple-thousand-dollar, easily-sold piece of equipment is often a risky proposition (especially for a woman).

And if gun crime is your concern, concealed carry is actually correlated with no change or a decrease in murder rates. So no, asking a cyclist who carries a firearm for self-defense for a spare tube isn't going to get you shot. In fact, if you live outside a few select areas in the US, you probably talk to people carrying a pistol every day without knowing it (and somehow don't get yourself shot).

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