Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Indignity of Commuting by Bicycle: Testing Locks

Remember how I mentioned I was (figuratively) sitting on a Hiplok wearable bike lock?


No?

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:

In the accompanying video Hal mentions the Hiplok's shackle was not hardened, though according to the specs this one is:

So maybe they've improved it since 2013, or maybe they haven't, and I guess we'll find out when I return to the bike this afternoon:


Don't worry too much about the other bike, I doubt the owner's coming back for it anytime soon.

94 comments:

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Podioscranus.

Happy Unicorn said...

"Your Tide is Showing"

Ted K. said...

108. To illustrate: By the first principle, generally speaking an attempt at social reform either acts in the direction in which the society is developing anyway (so that it merely accelerates a change that would have occurred in any case) or else it has only a transitory effect, so that the society soon slips back into its old groove. To make a lasting change in the direction of development of any important aspect of a society, reform is insufficient and revolution is required. (A revolution does not necessarily involve an armed uprising or the overthrow of a government.) By the second principle, a revolution never changes only one aspect of a society, it changes the whole society; and by the third principle changes occur that were never expected or desired by the revolutionaries. By the fourth principle, when revolutionaries or utopians set up a new kind of society, it never works out as planned.

wle said...

3 three 3 wle

Anonymous said...

TOOP TEEN

Anonymous said...

Top tennis

Chazu said...

Top tennis elbow

O' Mallet said...

Top ten o' the mornin' to y'all.

Anonymous said...

'bout time, first

Fatboy said...

not Bo Derek, but I am a 10

streepo said...

scranus

Bryan Bracy said...

in under tweenties

Frank Bowman said...

Real person beats both bots today...

Nice to see the technology lose every once in a while.

Dave Poole said...

oh, and...

Good one, Snob!

Finger Bang!!! said...

Buenos dias!

Anonymous said...

Bike Slut

McFly said...

Pure as the driven slush she is.

N/A said...

Damn, that blue bike is a fuckin' train wreck. Ol' CJ is probably going to suffer from apoplectic seizures and whatnot.

cdinvb said...

Riding in the rain.

Matt BK said...

Toips

The King of Park Slope said...

You could lock that thing with a zip tie ... nobody's going to bother to steal it.

billyhacker said...

Of course your bike will be there in the afternoon, it's hideous. Try the hiplok on a crabon and let me know how the lock does!

Anonymous said...

Trying to lure CJ out of hiding I see.

trama said...

COOL LOCK

I have one of those $567 krypto chainio type deal, and it weighs several babies. But it always seems a bit silly when you loop it through some shitty city provided structure made out of galvanized drinking straws.

waffles

Ted Sux said...

Ted K: Boring, repetitive, cocksnucking, cocksnuker.

Grump said...

Snobby, when you put on your Hiplok, did you need a Hiplok expander section, to help it fit?? I hear that they're made to fit a current bike messenger, not a "mature" ex-messenger.
PS. In the city of Chicago, the residential side streets aren't plowed for a month or two after a snowfall like that. That's why they play the game of "Dibs".

N/A said...

I think I'm going to add "sn-" to at least one word in every comment I make, until springtime. It adds a lot pizzazz, I think.

janinedm said...

It looks as if, once you left Lob's county, you took my route to work except I never go into the park. I just go across 110th and down fifth. If you're take requests for reviews, can you let me know if the new taco spot on 181st between Audubon and St. Nick is any good? I know I live right there, but I've been too heartbroken by the closing of Tacos Neza to try the new place.

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...

Yay ! Snobby's in midtown! Or was in midtown. I'll tell the "Spress" Bus driver to give you some room.

Then he will tell me to get the fuck out of his bus.

I tried.

vsk

babble on said...

But honey, remember cocksnucking vicissnitudes is a good thing. Show me one man - ONE!!! - who prefers a day without a bit of cocksncking and I'll show you a liar liar pants on fire.

N/A said...

I wonder if (sn)Outlier pants are flame-retardant?

Fausto said...

Hey, what ever happened to Spencer Madsen? Pressed into service nannying for the Snoblettes?

Anonymous said...

I have a "charm bracelet" lock on an old Peugeot beater bike for my winter bike. No one will steal it, and if they did i would laugh, and Bab's cocksncking sounds even sexier than cocksnucking.

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...

Janinedm, there are a few cool looking restaurants on like 180 / 181 and Pinehurst and Fort Washington or Cabrini?

Hard to remember as my eyesight gets really bad as I try to climb some of them steep mini hills over there. Great topography... yeah that's it.

Have no idea how I am going to resume riding again regularly!

vsk

janinedm said...

vsk, Do you mean the Pick & Eat and the wine bar? The P&E is under new management and is less good, though it's still fresh, quality ingredients. It's just worse recipes. I haven't been to the wine bar yet.

At least i'm not a total slavish puppet said...

69. By the first principle, generally snucking an attempt at cocksnucking reform either acts in the direction in which the cocksnucking is developing anyway (so that it merely accelerates a cocksnucking that would have occurred in any case) or else it has only a transitory effect, so that the cocksnucking soon slips back into its old groove. Blah, Blah, slurp, slurp, snuck, snuck

Usually i'm just your snuck-up fan-boy said...

I think your blue bike in a perfectly nice winter (non) beater, mustache bars and all. But still i think a thief would prefer to steal the Brooks saddle..........

Bloc-Quebecois said...

TedK est un connard.

grog said...

Love your bike romp exercises. Tomorrow please show me Ft. Greene Park, just for old timey sake.
Back at the tail of my dog life in time, the 70's, I used 3 ft of gigantic chain inside a bike tire tube and secured it with an expensive master lock. It never failed me, and cost far less, I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

Do you own any bikes that fit you properly?

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on developing this bold, new advertorial style for your blog. It hope it fills your coffers with filthy lucre.

Dorothy Rabinowitz said...

I just got my filthy soot-covered shitpile plowed!

bad boy of the north said...

Aww...missed snob in moonhattan today.......made my monthly pilgrimage to emerald city,via the hudson line.ain't no way am i bringing my little pickup into nyc.saw quite a number of bikies but no snob.

CommieCanuck said...

I can't eat Shawarma in public, it's too erotic.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 3:13pm,

Oh, that bike fits just fine unless you have an irrational fear of spacers and 130mm stems.

I'd been wanting a Pompino for awhile when I got that bike. (This was back when bikes like that were still kind of rare.) So when I had an opportunity to pick that frame up used I knew the size would work fine and didn't fret too much about it. Bike feels great, and it's been in like three configurations over the years.

I find that when anonymous people on the Internet say a bike doesn't fit me what they're really saying is the bike doesn't fit me the way they'd want it to fit them. In other words, it means fuck-all.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Roille Figners said...

Is this not, in fact, the I.O.J.B.? (Irony being another thing from the 90s none of us can let go of.)

P. Bateman said...

more pootie tang please.

i dont think this reads like an advertorial at all. says an ad guy.

i will also say: that bike is just gosh darn hideous snob. my god. but just keep doing you. if you like it then by god you sir are an AmeriCAN, not an ameriCANT.

DB said...

Another great one, Snob.
Chastity belt for Freds. Excellent.
Here in Northwest Illinois they are culling deer with helicopters and sharpshooters today. We have a bit of a deer problem and they are viewed as large rats in these parts. I tried to tape some antlers on my dog and let her outside, but she saw through my evil plan and now I'm worried she'll ask Leroy's dog for advice for retribution.

Anonymous said...

So what is the approximate street value of that get up? I stopped totaling when it exceeded the amount I paid for my bike.

Anonymous said...

"I find that when anonymous people on the Internet say a bike ... it means fuck-all."

Doesn't that describe this blog for the first three years...

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 4:59pm,

Absolutely.

This blog was, is, and always will be about fuck-all.

At least until I quit.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

JLRB said...

I see once bitten by the trail covered in brie is enough - good on you for getting out there despite the piles of dirty slush
Thanks for the tour and amusement
0

Anonymous said...

bsnyc 3:49,

Your bike setups are easily the funniest bit featured on this blog - please continue to feature these marvels of bad judgement.

Love,
Anonymous Person.

JLRB said...

And Dorothy R at 3:19 for COD

DB said...

Please don't ever quit, Wildcat.
I'm down to about 8 things that I look forward to every day and you're one of them.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 5:18pm,

Hmmm, not sure a bike qualifies as a marvel of bad judgement until you remove both brakes and possibly the seat.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Sad Sack said...

"...8 things that I look forward to every day..."

8 things a DAY??!!??!?!

If I could pull off 8 things in the same year I would die happy...

Pathetic Old Cyclist said...

"This bike suggests an older gentleman trying to pamper himself while clinging desperately to his erstwhile youth,"

You're just a babe n the woods, Snobby. I'd be happy to get back to your level.

Joe said...

Guys, it's a lock-up bike. Relax. You're missing the point. It's not supposed to be 'dialed' or whatever. It's supposed to be utilitarian to many, many quirky and endearing faults.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Joe,

I think the commenter in question objects to all my bikes, not just this one.

So it's a good thing they're mine and not his.

I enjoy the derision, wouldn't be a bike blog without it.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Joe said...

Snob, here is some unsolicited route advice from a fellow uptowner. The new-ish 170th St to Edgecombe bike lane is sublime. It's less direct but actually faster than the St. Nicholas route because you avoid all the traffic, stoplights, and major intersections. The only downside is you pass both a fire and police station, so egregious bike lane parking is in a world of its own, even compared to the heightened amount of fucks not given by the NYPD above 110th street. Of course, this advice is useless until spring, because, you know plowing protected bike lanes is so LOL.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Joe,

Thanks, good to know!

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Old timer said...

Snobby, what’s the status of your new book? Publishing soon? These are some good days for stayin’ indoors and reading.

Regular guy said...

I could never have been a bike messenger. I just don't see why I should have to hurry around town because someone else needs something yesterday. You want it there fast, run it there yourself, not my problem.

Anonymous said...

I saw a bike today that might qualify as a marvel of bad judgement. It was a bmx that had no front wheel, and it was being wheelied through the lunch time traffic of Birmingham (England)

DB said...

Sad Sack:
Bikesnobnyc, Leroy's Dog, my wife, my kids, grandson, living in the woods, indoor swimming pool, early cocktail hour.

Rudy A. Kipling said...

So I needed a 400mm seatpost and a 130mm stem to get my winter commuter to fit, but it rides like a dream to me.

What do you all think?

Regular guy said...

Anonymous@6:37, that's not bad judgement, that's badass!

Anonymous said...

Comments yesterday were great, haven't LOL that many times in ages.

Anonymous said...

Babble at 214: great cocksnucking is a wonder, a good cocksnucking is AOK. Throw in some tongue work as an appetizer and you've had yourself a fine day.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Rudy A. Kipling,

You mean you needed two commonplace items? OUTRAGEOUS!

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Anonymous said...

I've got two bikes uglier than the blue bike. One of them I deliberately anti-curated to increase the scruffiness. I love them.

Roille Figners said...

Rudy, my calculations indicate you have a goofy tiller effect and a goofy mainsail effect, don't have enough draft (leading to excessive yaw), and if you have a bilge pump amidships you should consider turning it off now and then for added stability.

Schisthead said...

Bad judgement involves removing both brakes or the seat... two possibilities arise.

A) Remove brakes, now I have this awesome fixie brah!
Definitely bad judgement.

B) Get trials bike, no seat tube for installing post to attach seat. You'll either learn mad skills, or at least be likely to meet someone really cool when you sell it.
Much, much better judgement.

Rudy A. Kipling said...



Yes, Snob, I was able to purchase one of those commonplace items, and the other (the stem) was stock on one of my old MTB's. Now I suspect those things are offered only to expose the bad judgement of people who are only interested in making a bike work for them.

Does it help or hinder that it also sports full filth prophylactics and hydraulic duck beaks?

Roille, are you calling me a bilge pump?

Frickus Rungus said...

I've made an amazing discovery! Contrary to popular belief, bikes ridden in slushy winter conditions require less maintenance, not more! I know this because the sounds made by my neglected drivetrain are much diminished this time of year. Or it could just be the ear muffins...

Dooth said...

I swear...bike aesthetes are so persnuckety!

Jed K said...

An important application of the momentum concept is to collisions, i.e., interactions between moving objects that last for a certain amount of time while the objects are in contact or near each other. Conservation of momentum tells us that certain outcomes of a collision are impossible, and in some cases may even be sufficient to predict the motion after the collision. In other cases, conservation of momentum does not provide enough equations to find all the unknowns. In some collisions, such as the collision of a superball with the floor, very little kinetic energy is converted into other forms of energy, and this provides one more equation, which may suffice to predict the outcome.

The total momentum of a system can be related to its total mass and the velocity of its center of mass by the equation
ptotal=mtotalvcm.
ptotal=mtotalvcm.

The center of mass, introduced on an intuitive basis in book 1 as the “balance point” of an object, can be generalized to any system containing any number of objects, and is defined mathematically as the weighted average of the positions of all the parts of all the objects,
xcm=m1x1+m2x2+...m1+m2+...,
xcm=m1x1+m2x2+...m1+m2+...,

with similar equations for the yy and zz coordinates.

Think about that next time you get hit by a car.

Anonymous said...

Snob, run into Bono in the park?

Anonymous said...

Snob, run into Bono in the park?

Yeah Cleveland! said...

A few weeks back, after dropping the son I don't really own anymore off at RPI, my wife and I decided to take another day trip into the CITY. We wanted to visit Neil DeGrasse Tyson. He wasn't home but his abode was open. Many other people were also visiting. The line was down the stairs, onto the sidewalk and around the bend.
On the way we strolled through Central Park. A few Freds and lots of Citibikes were seen. Some winterfest thing was happening the next week and they were making snow. Funny because of Jonas.
Anyway a big thanks to the commentariat who previously recommended Beacon as a transition point. Sorry I don't remember your handle. Beacon worked well because we were headed back to the CLE and we picked up I-84 there.

bad boy of the north said...

DB@638p
in that order?

DB said...

Bad boy:
Depends on the day.

bad boy of the north said...

gotcha..

DB said...

One other thing.
Iowa Writers Workshop and Prairie Lights Bookstore.

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...

Janinedm, I am not sure, the place I was looking at I think had a Latin / Caribbean look to the outside. I should just look at the Google Earth for around there.

... or maybe get off my arse and "fire up" one of my bikecycles.

vsk

Size Dose Matter said...

Stem longer than seatpost = HOT!

dop said...

Uptown Dining? Albert's Mofongo. A greasy spoon with a Spanish accent.

Regular guy said...

SDM, true, unless you consider girth. Seatpost-27.2, stem 28.6. Too much length might put you into the next room.

JLRB said...

Testing Locks is not the same as Testicle Locks

I don't use locks - I just look around for some dog crap on the sidewalk and rub it all over my bike

leroy said...

Oh testing locks, not tasting lox. Imagine my disappointment.

Anonymous said...

Gigglechortle was my favorite fixie crew back in the day!

idelia suni said...

Anonymous Yeah Cleveland! said...

A few weeks back, after dropping the son I don't really own anymore off at RPI, my wife and I decided to take another day trip into the CITY. We wanted to visit Neil DeGrasse Tyson. He wasn't home but his abode was open. Many other people were also visiting. The line was down the stairs, onto the sidewalk and around the bend.
On the way we strolled through Central Park. A few Freds and lots of Citibikes were seen. Some winterfest thing was happening the next week and they were making snow. Funny because of Jonas.


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Christopher Kreschollek said...

If your mom read this, I am sure she would be proud of what you are doing with your English degree.