When last we met I was preparing myself mentally and physically for the 26th Inaugural BSNYC Gran Fondo, sponsored by [lucrative promotional opportunities available, just imagine your company name here], which took place way back on the 17th. Well, I'm pleased to announce that the ride was a smashing success, by which I mean I had an enjoyable bike ride and drank beer afterwards. As for the other participants, I don't know if they enjoyed it, but nobody said "That sucked!" and then kicked me in the "pants yabbies" so as far as I'm concerned that's as good as a rave review.
Alas, if you were expecting a detailed ride report prepare to be disappointed--though if you've been reading this blog for any length of time you should be accustomed to disappointment. See, the point of the ride was not to generate Internet content for my crappy bike blog; rather, it was to enjoy the riding of bicycles in the company of other people who enjoy the riding of bicycles, and therefore I did not spend my precious cycling time pointing my smartphone at stuff. Therefore, you'll just have to make do with this enigmatically blurry photo taken by commenter "VSK:"
I should also point out that the guy in the lime green helme(n)t was riding some old upright three-speed (?) something that weighed a gazillion pounds and he completed THE WHOLE RIDE. That's 50-ish miles of hilly mixed terrain.
So think about that next time you're shopping for a crabon douchecycle.
In other words, some New York Times columnist who refers to himself in the third person wrote some stupid piece about how he wants taxi drivers to be more "hyperaggressive:"
This week, we depart from the usual letter-and-reply format for a column about taxis. The Haggler writes as a fan. He likes the hyperaggressive way yellow taxis deal with traffic. It’s as if they take it personally. Not long ago, a taxi driver picked up the Haggler at La Guardia and put on a show. Every time he encountered congestion, he rethought his route and gunned it, working like a jazz musician on amphetamines, improvising in a groove.
“But Haggler, that sounds dangerous!” you say. “If you’ve got a problem with cellphones, how can you countenance Vin Diesel driving?”
Fair point. You see, the Haggler wants drivers off phones precisely so they can drive like Vin Diesel. (Or at least the Vin Diesel we see in those “Fast and Furious” movies.) This is impossible, or insane, when talking on the phone.
Um, firstly, does "the Haggler" realize that Vin Diesel's co-star in those movies died in a fiery wreck?
Secondly, on THE VERY DAY the Times published this forced bit of irreverence, John F. Nash Jr. (otherwise known as the "A Beautiful Mind" guy) died when the driver of his taxi lost control on the way to the airport:
Dr. Nash and his wife, Alicia, 82, were in a taxi on the New Jersey Turnpike in Monroe Township around 4:30 p.m. when the driver lost control while veering from the left lane to the right and hit a guardrail and another car, Sgt. Gregory Williams of the New Jersey State Police said.
The Bike Snob really hopes the Haggler feels like a fucking idiot, though the Bike Snob suspects the Haggler has his head too far up the Haggler's Ass to realize how stupid he sounds. Nevertheless, he Bike Snob still thinks "The Haggler" should change his pen name to "The Wanker," and that if the Haggler wants to ratchet up the thrill factor on his next ride to LaGuardia he should feel free to divest himself of his seatbelt.
Speaking of danger, around the time I took leave of this blog the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ever-so-casually equated not wearing bicycle helme(n)ts with smoking, texting while driving, and not wearing a seatbelt:
Hey assholes: the "D" stands for "Disease," not discouragement. Riding a bicycle is HEALTHY, regardless of whether or not you wear a foam hat. This is why you're supposed to stop spouting bullshit helme(n)t efficacy statistics:Avoid unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, texting while driving, and not wearing a seatbelt or bicycle helmet. #NWHW http://t.co/it2iCgqNUR— CDC (@CDCgov) May 15, 2015
Two federal government agencies will withdraw their longstanding claims that bicycle helmets reduce the risk of a head injury by 85%. The decision comes in response to a petition the Washington Area Bicyclists Association (WABA) filed under the federal Data Quality Act.
Yes, leave it to an American government agency (or an Australian one) to come up with the idea that not wearing a foam hat while riding a bicycle is as unhealthy as smoking. Smoking! You know, the highly addictive thing where you suck carcinogens into your lungs all day long.
This is why we're one of the most obese countries on the planet, and why within 10 years parents will be forcing their children to wear helments while watching TV.
Just wait until we're all wearing airbag helments--never mind that they sometimes go off at inconvenient moments:
There are still seven months left in the year, but I'm confident that even as we're ringing in the New Year this will still be the greatest thing I've seen in 2015.
Nevertheless, the simple fact is you can always make a buck by frightening people. Consider this Kickstarter pitch I recently received, in which they simply fabricate the number of annual bike fatalities in the United States:
My name is Lizzy Schofding and I am reaching out to you on behalf of an amazing company called Thousand. Thousand launched it's first product on Kickstarter on Tuesday, reached its goal in under 9 hours and has since more than doubled it.
Thousand is a design driven lifestyle brand with one mission: to make a bike helmet that you'd actually want to wear. With over 1,000 bike fatalities in the U.S. every year, the market is in desperate need of a new kind of helmet. Thousand's take on the helmet features the following innovations, which make it completely unique:
Innovative Technology- Our secret PopLock (patent pending) is the most convenient and secure way to lock up your helmet to your bike
Commitment to Sustainability- Helmets are an old industry with limited people and planet friendly options-and we want to change that. We're the only helmet brand focused on sustainable sourcing and materials.
Thoughtful Design- Focused on intuitive, clean design, Thousand is protective, above all and made for the urban explorer.
Take a look at Thousand's Kickstarter page here. I would love to connect you with the brand's founder for a more in-depth conversation if you are up for it!
As it happens, the number that number is closer to 700, which I happen to know because I read it in Time magazine recently. So I pointed this out to her and this was her reply:
Apologies - you are completely right, that should have read roughly 1,000 bike fatalities in the U.S. every year. My mistake.
Roughly!?! So a pile of 300 dead bodies is a fucking rounding error?
It was around this time that she stopped replying to my emails.
Anyway, let's look at the project, which has raised ROUGHLY $120,000 so far:
The narrator begins by explaining her objection to helments:
"I've always hated the sci-fi and bulky design, and they're a pain to lug around."
Really, is she crazy? I have a road bike helme(n)t. It is not especially bulky, it's fairly comfortable, and it weighs about as much as a handful of pubes.
Therefore, I can only conclude from the quote above that she was riding around in one of these:
I admit, that is rather bulky and sci-fi.
Anyway, after riding around looking like one of George Lucas's brainfarts, she gave up:
"So even though I knew they could save my life, I never wore one."
See, to me this should be the end of the story. If you hate wearing a helment so much then don't wear one and shut up about it. Sadly, this isn't how things work anymore. Instead, we have Kickstarter, where people describe themselves like this:
"A design-driven lifestyle brand with one mission: to reinvent the bicycle helmet."
I don't know about you, but when I hear "design-driven" the first thing I think of is safety.
Anyway, to this end, she hunts far and wide for someone to implement her vision:
(What, no driving helment?!? ROUGHLY 30,000 Americans die in cars every year!)
And she eventually finds some wanker in Idaho who looks like he's rubbing a hamburger for luck:
"The styling is being stripped out of it and that in itself becomes a style."
Oh save it.
"And I'm enjoying the challenge of dialing back the styling and getting more into just what the shape is actually doing in front of you."
Come on. I'll tell you what it's doing: It's being a fucking helment--and not a particularly original-looking one either. Though you wouldn't know that by the way she's looking at it:
("I am in your thrall, oh mighty helment!")
Oh, but that's not all. It also has a hole in it so you can lock it onto your bike:
Maybe it's just because I'm a New Yorker, but I don't leave anything I'm going to wear on my body outside unattended for any length of time--though if you're not afraid of a head full of dog piss or semen then go right ahead. Still, why the hole? Is it that hard to just lock it up through the straps?
And speaking of straps, it's worth noting that she drove all over America and designed a helment completely from scratch only to render it completely ineffective by wearing it wrong:
I mean come on, it's a helment, not a sunbonnet:
There's no way that's staying on her head.
But, you know, it looks "good" so that's all that matters.