Well I did.
Recently my baby human child has become obsessed with the Hiplok and has been using it to practice his powerlifting, so this morning I figured I should finally try the thing before he hurts himself anymore than he already has. (I keep most of my bike stuff within easy reach of small children, it's just good parenting.)
Did I ever mention that I used to be a bike messenger here in the Big Arple? It's true. I've got STREET CRED, baby! Sure, I only did it for like six months, I never really made any cool messenger friends or got to be in opening credits of a failed TV show, and I knew I could quit anytime I wanted to and get a high-paying job with my English degree from a state university (that's another way of saying "move back in with mom"), but IT STILL COUNTS DAMMIT!
Anyway, the only reason I mention this (besides trying to convince myself I was cool once) is that when I was a messenger what you did was get one of those really heavy Kryptonite chains (on account, they'd take it out of your wages) and wear it around your waist. Then, when you got to where you were going, you whipped it off like Pootie Tang does with his belt, locked your bike, and made your delivery.
Of course nowadays you can just buy a lock that's actually designed to be worn this way (these kids today coddled millennials crass commercialization of everything back when I was your age and so forth), which allows you to look like a messenger without having to experience the sensation of a chain link digging into your hipbone or the humiliation of having to visit the firehouse because you lost your key.
All of this is to say that this morning I strapped on the Hiplok and headed downtown:
Please note that in addition to the Hiplok I'm also wearing those Outlier pants from like six years ago (credit where it's due, those things have held up, I even went mountain biking in them last week), a Giro "New Road" something-or-other jacket, and a Mission Workshop backpack, which means I was basically the Platonic ideal of the soft middle-aged dad who was a messenger for a short time like 20 years ago and can't let it go.
The same goes for my bike:
This bike suggests an older gentleman trying to pamper himself while clinging desperately to his erstwhile youth, and it's basically the equivalent of wearing ear plugs and a pair of Doc Martens with custom orthotics to a hardcore show.
Once I finished taking inventory of myself, I headed downtown.
If you recall, on Monday I mentioned "sneckdowns," which Streetsblog defines thusly:
For the uninitiated, sneckdowns are neckdowns created by driving patterns in melting snow or slush. Sneckdowns highlight excess asphalt that could be repurposed for streetscape improvements to slow motor vehicle traffic and make walking safer.
Here's the thing though: yesterday's pure white snowbank reclaiming space for pedestrians is today's filthy soot-covered shitpile waiting to take you out:
Indeed, so-called "sneckdowns" can really snuck for cyclists because of the cocksnucking motorists who don't understand the reason you're not able to let them pass is that there's too much goddamn snow in the gutter.
Another ubiquitous feature of the streetscape at this point after heavy snowfall is the ankle-deep puddle of slush, which is what many of those sneckdowns ultimately become:
Then there are the salt spreaders:
This is the closest you should get to one of these things unless you want a face full of ice-melting buckshot.
Here's a view of a side street with the George Washington Bridge subtly visible in the background:
And here's a completely un-subtle view of the Gyro Hut with its delicious shawarma right in your face:
When heading downtown from my estate I have my choice of two (2) lavish greenways, one on the west side of Manhattan and one on the east side. However, I generally write them off after it snows because chances are they'll look like this:
Instead I stick to the streets, which are always clear, save for the odd slush pile due to the vicissitudes of plowing:
That's why you need fenders.
As for the bike lanes, you never know whether or not they'll be clear. This one was, and I was so excited that I salmoned the shit out of it:
Hey's it's okay when I do it.
See, I used to be a bike messenger.
This bike lane however had been pretty much taken over by cars whose drivers had made half-assed attempts to park and then said, "Fuck it:"
Oh, sure, just put that anywhere:
This parking job was particularly egregious, with the car blocking the entire bike lane and a good portion of the car lane to boot:
But then I saw the NYPD safety vest on the dashboard and it all made sense:
See, all you have to do is put any piece of NYPD apparel in your windshield and you can do whatever you want. One day I'm going to park my car across the sidewalk, put a Transportation Alternatives jersey on the dashboard, and see how far that gets me:
I suspect the police would leave it alone but it would get egged by the entire readership of Streetsblog.
At least the eggs would be organic.
And here's a Smart that's been completely plowed in, though it doesn't take much to do:
Fortunately all you have to do is lift it out.
After running the Gauntlet of Half-Assed Parking I made it to Central Park:
There's nothing quite like a leisurely spin through the park when the rest of you schmucks are working:
Once in the sanctuary of the park I was able to let my guard down a bit and take some Hiplok selfies:
It's reasonably comfortable while riding, though to the uninitiated it sort of resembles a chastity belt for Freds:
Not that they need it.
At the bottom of the park I stopped for a bit to recite the Pledge of Allegiance while saluting one of President Trump's buildings:
Then I was in midtown, where I had an opportunity to study the habits of the 21st century bike commuter:
Yes, that's an e-bike that looks like a fixie:
This made me feel just a little bit better about looking like a parody of an aging urban cyclist.
Here's someone who's learned the hard way about how quick releases work:
If you're wondering about the bread, it's because I was trying to bribe this pigeon to tell me if he'd seen anything:
If he had, he wasn't talking.
Finally, a little further downtown, it was time to lock up my own bike. So I unfurled the Hiplok--which, as commenter ChamoisJuice pointed out, did not fare well in a test conducted back in 2013:
according to the specs this one is:
Don't worry too much about the other bike, I doubt the owner's coming back for it anytime soon.