The streets were pretty quiet on the outskirts of Dumbo, or Vinegar Hill, or whatever you want to call it, and I approached the docking station like a dueling cowboy, which is to say my hands hovered over a pair of imaginary six guns and I walked with my legs slightly apart as though experiencing pain and swelling in the "pants yabbies."
(Hurty Nurts, fastest gun and achiest crotch in the west.)
Had it been left there by a fellow cowboy? The bag's mouth hung salaciously agape, like the lips of the painted ladies of the old west, and inside I could see the White Apple that so many have killed and died for:
"Wow, that sucks," I thought to myself. A pannier and a laptop left behind at a Citi Bike docking station? That could just as easily have been me. I didn't want to violate the owner's privacy, but I figured the bag might contain some sort of identifying information that would allow me to return it, and so I took a deep breath, plunged into it elbows-deep, and proceeded to rummage.
The computer, I'm sorry to say, was seriously fucked up:
Though fortunately the sardines appeared to be unscathed:
Then, as I was frantically scrubbing my fingerprints from the laptop with a baby wipe before fleeing into the night, it occurred to me that Red Beard Bikes was right nearby:
This, as you might recall, is the very shop that set me up with the Brompton I've been "testing" for like the past year and never intend to return. It further occurred to me that someone who lost a bike bag probably rides a bike, and if they lost a bike bag near a bike shop they might return to that bike shop in search of it. So off to Red Beard I went.
I grabbed the handle and was about to open the door when I froze in terror. Perhaps the bag was merely bait and this was all a trap engineered by Brompton in order to get their bike back! After all, it's obvious to anybody with half a brain that I am a person of unassailable character, so it would make sense that they'd attempt to entrap me by inducing me to perform a mitzvah.
Nevertheless, I steeled myself and entered the shop, and it turns out the owner of the lost bag is in fact a customer. I'm sure he won't be too pleased by the condition of his laptop, but hopefully at least the data is salvageable, and I'm confident he will one day replace it with a new one and use it to type tales of my greatness.
There's also a moral here, and it is two-fold:
1) This is why we need bike shops. Not only do they sell stuff, but they are also vital nodes in the cycling community. What would I have done without a bike shop, attached the bag to an Amazon drone?
B) Cyclists are better than everyone, because we look out for each other.
It's true. In fact here's another anecdote to bolster this point. The other day while on a ride I stopped to take a call on my portable cellular telephone. As I ended my call, a young man approached me purposefully, wearing an intent expression and carrying a small box. I couldn't help tensing up a bit, as I'd wager anybody would when being approached by a stranger with a box. After all, it might contain sardines!
I couldn't have been more wrong. You know what was in the box? Pedals. A pair of brand new clipless pedals. The guy was a cyclist who'd recently tried clipless pedals and didn't like them, so when he saw me out the window he recognized me for the serious expert cyclist that I am and decided he'd offer them to me for free.
See, how touching is that? (The answer is that it's extremely touching.) And that's what I'm talking about when I say that we're better than everybody--or he is, anyway. I'm still a judgmental asshole who automatically assumes the worst of strangers carrying small boxes.
(In case you're wondering, I declined the pedals, but we did split a tin of sardines.)
Anyway, after dropping the bag off at Red Beard and discharging my responsibilities I grabbed a Citi Bike and hit the Manhattan Bridge:
Thanks to the mishigas with the bag I'd missed the peak Cat 6 hour, and so I was forced to enjoy the scenery. On my right the skyline twinkled:
While on my left the subway roared by:
I was also joined for a time by an affable fellow who recognized me as the idiot who takes pictures while riding Citi Bikes across the Manhattan Bridge and then posts them on the Internet, and we chatted for a bit before going our separate ways.
I then docked the bike in Manhattan:
Where I whipped out my MetroCard and embarked on the next leg of my multimodal adventure.
Now let's move onto Australia, the country that hates bikes:
Where the latest news is that a motorcycle cop in Sydney pushed someone off his bike:
A cyclist was injured this morning when he crashed after a motorcycle policeman pushed him from his bike.
The incident occurred at the corner of College Street and Park Street in Sydney.
Eyewitness accounts describe the police officer riding alongside the bike rider, switching on his siren and flashing lights, and then pushing the shoulder of the rider.
The rider then crashed to the road in the intersection. Traffic was held up for some time.
Oh, no! That's terrible about the traffic! I really hope those poor motorists didn't have to sit in their cars too long!
Witnesses said the policeman told them that he ”barely touched his shoulder”.
No shit, asshole. That's how bikes work.
Tap a driver's car to keep them from merging into you and they act like you rubbed your genitals on their kid. Meanwhile, push a cyclist off his bike and it's, "I barely touched him!"
You can add this to your list of reasons to visit Sydney:
Just don't forget your helmet and your ID.
Also, you might want to ride a recumbent so the cops can't push you over.
Lastly, here's an email I received about an exciting new chamois:
Many will agree that the 2008 Beijing Olympics saw the beginning of the UK’s love affair with cycling as Bradley Wiggins, Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton cycled to success, gaining sport celebrity status.
London 2012 then saw the Brownlee brothers bring Triathlon to prominence while Chris Froome continued to do Great Britain proud in the Tour de France.
Since then, continued success from these British superstars has seen men and women don the lycra and take to the streets in an attempt to emulate their new fitness heroes.
While there is no doubt that such a revolution can only improve the health of the nation, there is a continued issue for those who take it to the next level.
Male impotency, saddle sores and perineal numbness are all unfortunate side effects of this newly-popular national sport, with the only comfort currently coming from polyurethane (PU) foam-based Chamois pads stitched or glued into cycling shorts.
That last paragraph is a dirty chamois full of misinformation.