Sure, we've got our problems. We're sitting in eighth place on the Human Development Index, which makes us the Levi Leipheimer of First World countries. Our sandwich restaurant chain spokespeople are of weak moral fiber. And our next president is perplexed by bicycles.
Nevertheless, my fellow Americans, you can rest assured that the state of the union is strong. See, it's still legal to dream here in America--and to dream big! Sure, your chances of actually realizing your dream are minuscule compared to the odds that you'll bite it in a mass shooting, but that doesn't mean they don't come true for people every once in awhile. Consider this story of a man who was liberated from his lowly bicycle (which you should read out loud in your best Casey Kasem voice):
But Tony Berard, 50, had to get to work. Late that night, he headed out for his night-shift job at the Meijer grocery store on his only mode of transportation: a bicycle.
"One way usually takes me an hour and a half to two hours in the winter," he tells PEOPLE of his commute.
So what happened next? Did he punch someone in the nose for telling him to get a fat bike? Nope, even better. He got a lift from an enterprising car salesman:
Who took pity on his beardcicles and started a fundraising campaign for him:
Kapoor decided to set up a “, titled "Keep Tony Warm." It ultimately raised about $20,000, which allowed Berard to buy a minivan from the dealership where Kapoor works.
Now Tony has a motor vehicle like a real American:
Even more importantly, Kapoor has his commission. Plus the dealership's got one less 2015 Town and Country on the lot, which helps clear the way for some new inventory.
See that? The "sharing economy" really is going to save us.
Still, this is a crafty tactic even for a car salesman, so it's safe to assume Kapoor is now the frontrunner at his dealership for the 2016 Salesperson of the Year competition. It's also likely that car salesman all over America are going to adopt this cunning technique and start picking up cyclists in order to turn them into charity cases and ultimately sell them cars--though I'm warning them right now to stay the hell away from this guy if they know what's good for them:
Firstly, he doesn't own a car because he doesn't want to own a car.
Secondly, he doesn't have a beard either, which means no beardcicles to exploit on your crowd funding page.
Given this, it's only a matter of time before some car salesman in search of bedraggled cyclists who appear to be in abject misery comes upon a Rapha photo shoot and thinks he's stumbled onto a gold mine:
("Wait, you mean you're doing this on purpose?"--Perplexed Car Salesman)
Speaking of gold mines, I'm sitting one one myself, and its filled with bicycle accessories I'm looking forward to trying but haven't as of yet. For example, here's the Hiplok:
I leapt at the chance to try the Hiplok, but only because I assumed it was some kind of Jewish delicacy similar "kreplach." So imagine my surprise when I found out it's a bike lock you wear around your waist:
Like many New York City cyclists I used to wear my chain lock around my waist, but what happened was I got older and they started pinching my flab and ripping out my stomach hair. Also, there were all sorts of urban myths about people losing the keys and having to be freed from their locks with blowtorches, or the chain gouging people's midriffs in crashes.
Presumably the Hiplok's design eliminates all these risks:
Which means it exemplifies precisely the sort of millennial coddling that's eroding this country from within!
Just kidding, it looks fairly handy, and I'll let you know how it works just as soon as I have a chance to ride a fixie in the city or chain myself to a place of business as a form of protest.
Another item I recently received is this artisanal bell from Spurcycle:
That costs almost $50:
And that looks like some sort of steampunk helmet:
By all appearances it's the Chris King headset of bells, though whether you even need the Chris King headset of headsets is debatable.
Appropriately, as soon as my kids stop playing with it I plan to put it on my artisanal singlespeed (complete with Chris King headset and hubs), on which I already use a metallic resonating acoustical apparatus:
As soon as I do I'll let you know if there's a difference between a $10 ring and a $50 ring when it comes to politely telling runners to get the hell outta the way.
I've even got some new lights from Knog:
As I understand it, these are the Cat 6 racing model, and they've got a special setting you can use to blind your opponents before launching your attack.
Speaking of Cat 6 racing, a friend recently forwarded me this article about fixies and Brooklyn real estate developers:
Then he began to make a larger point, about bicycles. “Don’t underestimate the change in commutational patterns as cycling becomes more important.” When looking to identify neighborhoods for residential investment and development, Mack said, “we’re looking for places where there are bike lanes, but more importantly where people are riding fixed gear bikes. I know that sounds funny.” The crowd laughed. “But go to Portland, Oregon. Go to downtown Seattle, downtown Los Angeles. Go to the greater neighborhoods of San Francisco. You’re gonna see a disproportionate amount of fixed gear bikes. You may laugh, but commutation patterns by bicycle are changing the way that cities are developed.”
If you've recently looked around, wondered whether you were in Brooklyn, Portland, Seattle, or Los Angeles, were unable to tell, and ultimately decided, "Fuck it, I'll just go into that storefront with the reclaimed wood in it and order a $10 coffee," this would go a long way towards explaining why.
You've got to love the urban monoculture.
“Developing in Brooklyn, bicycle friendliness and appreciation—including for those very cool fixed gears that many people are passionate about—have clearly become an ingredient in a neighborhood’s appeal. Sometimes the fixed gear is a bellwether of sorts for us, but it’s part of a bigger picture.
Apparently that bigger picture is dated 2007.
Fortunately, New York City still does manage to cling to its uniquely gritty character in certain crucial ways. For example, we don't take away killer drivers' licenses--even when (as a Twitterer pointed out) they DIDN'T HAVE A LICENSE IN THE FIRST PLACE!
Sewell was arrested on the scene, and Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson ultimately charged him with third degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and driving without a license, both misdemeanors.
Jesus Ass-Fucking Christ! Who the hell was the judge, Groucho Marx?
JUDGE: "He killed someone on the sidewalk? Take away his license!"
ATTORNEY: "But he hasn't got a license!"
JUDGE: "No license? Well you'd better give it back to him then!"
As for the killer driver, he's got a great defense--Not that he needs it, since the judge seems determined to get him out there killing again as soon as possible:
The judge added that Sewell's car had been seized for the duration of an ongoing investigation into the crash, "negating" the necessity to suspend his license. Authorities are currently investigating Sewell's claim that he was lightheaded at the time of the crash because of a carbon monoxide leak inside the SUV.
Being sealed inside a car with your own flatulence and body odor will do that.
Also, the driver claims he was swerving to avoid hitting a bus when he drove onto the sidewalk and killed somebody, so it's only natural that the Transport Workers Union would conclude that the real menace is...pedestrians:
JANUARY 11 -- Pedestrians are a menace – to themselves. Not all the time, but more often than you might think. “Dangerous pedestrian choices,” including crossing the street against the signal, are the primary cause in 31% of the city’s pedestrian fatalities, according to a two-year study. Pedestrian actions are a contributing cause in another 16% of pedestrian fatalities, according to the city Department of Transportation study.
In other words, pedestrians have at least some culpability in nearly half - 47% - of the traffic accidents in the city that result in a pedestrian being killed.
So there it is. The Transport Workers Union is officially trying to kill you.
This isn't a press release, it's a fucking murder confession written by a psychopath.
Pedestrian behavior is most problematic in Manhattan where sidewalks and streets are more crowded. It's the primary cause in 43% of pedestrian fatalities in the borough and a contributing cause in another 16% - more than half of the accidents, 56%.
Yeah, no shit crowded sidewalks result in fatalities, especially when people keep driving their fucking cars onto them.
Those statistics, which were tucked inside the Vision Zero Pedestrian Safety Action Plan that Mayor de Blasio’s administration released last year, are striking. Yet, you never hear about them. Some safety crusaders only want to talk about the city not redesigning streets fast enough and cops not cracking down hard enough on drivers. In their eyes, anyone with a set of car keys is a Mad Max maniac.
It's a strange new city the Transport Workers Union is creating, in which pedestrian and cycling advocates are "safety crusaders," pedestrians are depraved lunatics, and bus drivers are merely hardworking New Yorkers doing their best to cull the herd.
As for drivers, it's true, they're not all Mad Max maniacs.
Some of them are just drooling, slack-jawed, "Ernest Goes To Camp"-style idiots.