Schumer, a New York Democrat, said Tuesday that if the Kansas City Royals beat the New York Mets in the Series, he has promised McCaskill he will tweet a photo of himself wearing a Royals T-shirt while riding a bicycle through New York City. He also will donate $100 to a Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy in Kansas City.
Oh, the shame!
Of course, Senator Chuck Schumer is an avowed bicyclist:
Though ironically, Schumer's own wife, Iris Weinshall, helped organize a group called "Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes" dedicated to fighting the very bike lane in which he's riding in the above photo.
Bet that photo got him in some hot water.
But, you know, at least he's wäring a helmüt.
(And no, I still don't care about baseball, regardless of who's playing. I can't even make myself watch the Tour de France anymore, let alone a bunch of bros wearing belts and sculpted beards.)
Speaking of New York City and what passes for infrastructure, a video has been making the rounds in which a couple of architects talk about all the stuff they would do to make the city better:
As bicycle-themed Kickstarter campaigns have taught us, if you want to screw something up you call an architect, so naturally I was skeptical. However, they do make one good point, which is that we should get rid of private cars:
And use all the space to make greenways and stuff:
"All of a sudden you can imagine these incredible greenways with bikes and parks..."
Why not some money trees while we're at it?
Granted, eliminating private cars from the entire city isn't ever going to happen (nor, arguably, should it) though certainly a good portion of the island of Manhattan should be free of them, or at the very least it should cost you a shitload of money to drive there. "BUT IT'S MY RIGHT AS AN AMERICAN TO DRIVE EVERYWHERE AND ANYWHERE AND I PAY TAXES AND AMERICA AND FREEDOM AND TAXES!," you may protest while you fondle your gun, but of course the truth is motorists are among the biggest freeloaders around:
This article makes a number of interesting points. For example, gas tax only pays for a fraction of the road system (which, if you're a cyclist, you probably knew already):
The report documents that the amount that road users pay through gas taxes now accounts for less than half of what’s spent to maintain and expand the road system. The resulting shortfall is made up from other sources of tax revenue at the state and local levels, generated by drivers and non-drivers alike. This subsidizing of car ownership costs the typical household about $1,100 per year—over and above the costs of gas taxes, tolls, and other user fees.
Not only that, but drivers are paying for less and less as the years go on:
While congressional bailouts of the Highway Trust Fund have made this subsidy more apparent, it has actually never been the case that road users paid their own way. Not only that, but the amount of their subsidy has steadily increased in recent years. The share of the costs paid from road-user fees has dropped from about 70 percent in the 1960s to less than half today, according to the study.
Plus, motorists are also subsidized in all sorts of other less obvious ways as well:
There are good reasons to believe that the methodology of “Who Pays for Roads?” if anything considerably understates the subsidies to private vehicle operation. It doesn’t examine the hidden subsidies associated with the free public provision of on-street parking, or the costs imposed by nearly universal off-street parking requirements, which drive up the price of commercial and residential development. It also ignores the indirect costs that come to auto and non-auto users alike from the increased travel times and travel distances that result from subsidized auto-oriented sprawl. And it also doesn’t look at how the subsidies for new capacity in some places undermine the viability of older communities.
I'd also add to that the wear and tear caused by great big vehicles. Then there are all of the associated costs of motorists crashing into pedestrians, cyclists, buildings, and of course other motorists. Even a stupid little fender-bender requires a police response and generally results in traffic jams, road closures, and residual delays. This results in lower workplace productivity and will ultimately bring this once-great nation to its knees, at which point we're ripe for a Canadian invasion.
Are you happy, motorists?
And of course by subsidizing driving we're fucking over everyone else in the process, as anybody who rides the subway can attest (as can anybody else who lives in a city without a subway because most of the rest of the country gave up on the idea of public transit about halfway through the last centry):
And these subsidies to car travel have important spillovers that affect other aspects of the transportation system. There’s a good argument to be made that part of the reason that subsidies to transit are as large as they are is that motorists are being paid to not use the transit system, in the form of artificially low prices for road use and parking.
In fact, when you think about it, cars are probably destroying America:
("Tell me something I don't know.")
And lest you think I'm preaching, don't worry, I can assure you I'm doing my part to help fuck things up by parking THE CAR THAT THE BANK OWNS UNTIL I FINISH PAYING THEM BACK on the street for free:
(The yellow is my urine.)
I'd like to blame gentrification for my car use since it's made the parts of New York City in which it's practical not to own a car totally unaffordable, but the simple truth is I'm lazy, and like most Americans I'm willing to indenture myself to creditors for the illusion of convenience:
Moreover, thanks to this stupid mindset, instead of fighting for better public transportation and smarter development, we're simply going to wait for the private sector to save us. So instead of, say, high speed trains, you can instead look forward to traveling our decaying roadways in self-driving cars made out of beans and shit:
From common crops like tomatoes, soybeans and wheat straw to more exotic plants like hemp, eucalyptus and agave fiber (a byproduct of tequila production), scientists are experimenting with turning crops into car parts, as well as a host of other manufacturing applications.
The shift from non-renewable petroleum to renewable plants hasn’t been easy. But some companies are accelerating the adoption of plant-based plastics.
Please note I am not linking to the aforementioned "article" because it's actually a Ford advertisement made to look like an article that I noticed in the New York Times.
Speaking of laziness, mountain bikers have gotten so lazy that they're now using what are basically "dropper stems:"
See, in recent years the dropper seatpost has become de rigueur, the idea being you remotely raise and lower your saddle according to the trail conditions in order to compensate for your lack of scranial dexterity:
Well, now the concept is coming to your cockpit:
Front suspension, rear suspension, dropper posts, movable stems... How many parts of a mountain bike can slide, retract, or pivot before you're basically riding a Serotta fit cycle?
Here's an idea: how about instead of a bike that is infinitely adjustable across every conceivable plane, you just ride something where all the parts stay in one place? Then, when you encounter an obstacle, you adjust your riding style accordingly? Seems like the challenge might be kinda fun. We could even come up with a catchy name for the whole concept. Maybe something like "cycling."
Nah, it'll never catch on.
Meanwhile, dick breaks on road bikes seem to have gone from "not necessary" to "not powerful enough" in the span of about four months--but fortunately, there's a solution to the problem that until recently never existed:
Do you have a road bike with mechanical disc brakes? Wish they had a bit more oomph? We’ve been sent a pair of hybrid disc brakes by Taiwan’s Juin Tech, and they promise to fix that hole for the modest sum of £150 / $200 / AU$TBC.
Fixing holes indeed. Clearly the bike industry is hard at work filling every orifice, and it's not going to stop until it collapses in a hot puddle of spent brake fluid and tire sealant.
Lastly, via the Twitter, here is the $285 leather-wrapped bicycle lock of your dreams:
This All-American chain and padlock combination allows flexibility in securing your bicycle whether your options are a standard bike stand, or the less conventional. Covered in Horween Essex leather to protect your paint job. Supplied by Shinola and Map of Days of Carrboro, NC.
Should be great in the rain.