[Perfect. They'll never know you hired a blogging coach]
Firstly, please accept my sincere thanks for indulging my absence last week. As I believe I mentioned, it was a school holiday. Therefore, so as not to allow the fire of my human child's relentless intellectual curiosity to dim, I spent the week shoveling mental stimulation into his head by visiting every museum in the city with him at least twice.
Rest assured I return to you a more cultured person, and if you see any crayon scribblings on any great works of art I'd appreciate if you don't rat us out.
Secondly, astute followers of social media may have noticed that I have a new book on the way, since my publisher has been sending promotional galleys to anyone with a Twitter following greater than five people:
I'll have full details for you very soon, but in the meantime I'll just tell you the book will be available in May and I'm looking forward to participating in some fun events around publication time. Also, this could serve as a good excuse for me to "organize" another Gran Fondon't. In fact, I've been visiting various area breweries and drinking in them in the name of "research," so if you enjoy bikes, books and beer then Spring 2016 may very well be the greatest Spring 2016 EVER!!!
Speaking of social media, here's an embarrassing tweet:
Yep, he misspelled peloton.So nice to be a part of a winning team. Ready to fist myself in the front of the peleton tomorrow! https://t.co/Y5XZkGhDHK— Kristoffer Skjerping (@kskjerping) February 20, 2016
Oh the indignity.
As for fisting himself while riding, that's nothing to be ashamed of, and I'm assuming he managed to pull it off because he's "looser" now:
Should make it easier next time.We didnt win in the end but as a former director of me always said: its better to die in the front than surviving in the back as a looser!— Kristoffer Skjerping (@kskjerping) February 21, 2016
Hey, I bet even Danny MacAskill couldn't pull that off:
Though his name sure makes it sound like he could.
[All right, that's enough with the fisting.]
Meanwhile, on the subject of fisting [what the hell did I just tell you?], Mario Cipollini recently told all the helmet ninnies where to stick it:
Italian legend Mario Cipollini has hit out at people who criticise him on social media for not wearing a helmet while riding a bike ... by posting a picture to Facebook in which, shoes and socks apart, he is entirely nude apart from the helmet he's wearing.
Okay. Mario Cipollini was arguably the greatest sprinter of his day. This is a rider who won forty-two stages of the Giro d'Italia alone. Forty-two Giro stages! That's two entire Giros-worth of stage wins!!! Regardless of what you think of professional cycling, I think maybe this oily freak knows a thing or two about bike-handling. Yet you're going to tell him he needs to wear a helmet while he's enjoying his shirtless retirement rides?!?
It's like the city making the world's greatest sushi chefs wear rubber gloves.
Still, I suppose we dodged a potentially disgusting bullet here, because we can only imagine what sort of photo Cipollini might have posted had people criticized him for not practicing safe sex.
Moving on to more family-friendly subjects, in addition to hitting the museums I also took some time to tend to the familial smugness fleet:
In particular, now that my younger human child is of schleppable age I set up the rear-mounted kiddie throne so that it can easily be swapped between bikes. The upshot of this is that in the event of either a complete infrastructure collapse or a farmer's market we can easily transport the entire family unit plus a week's worth of rhubarb at a moment's notice.
Of course, this being New York City you can't let your high smugness quotient lull you into a false sense of security, for here nobody is safe--even in front of the very cradle of smugness that is the Park Slope Food Co-Op:
A parked car rolled onto the sidewalk outside a Brooklyn food cooperative, pinning a man against a gate and injuring his leg, according to authorities and a witness.
The car, a blue compact parked outside the Park Slope Food Coop on Union St. by Sixth Ave., hit the man at 7:40 p.m., authorities said.
Usually when the tabloids say that a car did something what they really mean is that a driver did it, but in this case it really was the car:
Kathleen Keske, who works at the members-only market, says the car may have slipped out of gear and into reverse.
“It just started rolling backward, and it was on an angle on the sidewalk,” she said. “It started slowly backing up on the sidewalk. People were yelling ‘Stop, stop!’ But there was no driver.”
Not that this makes the driver any less of a fucking idiot. "Slipped out of gear" my scranus. I'm sure it was never in gear in the first place. That car slipped out of gear like Cipollini's pants fell off right before that helmet photo was taken.
Moreover, just when I'm feeling good about my smugness quotient I read this:
The movers arrived at Barbara Ross’s apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan one Friday last month, grabbing bags of clothes and shoes, framed pictures and boxes of CDs. They carried the items downstairs and loaded them onto four long-framed cargo bicycles parked on Ridge Street.
Boxes of CDs? By bicycle??? In 2016?!? What a waste of energy! You might as well move your garbage bins without emptying them first. (Believe me, I know what I'm talking about. I've got boxes of CDs from my last move that I still haven't unpacked--though in my defense they were already in boxes from the move before that.)
Ms. Ross, a longtime bicycling advocate who has joined the collective, already knew many of its members. She paid the four who showed up a discounted price of $400 for their help in moving her possessions. The regular price would have been $600, or $150 per hour for a group of four people doing four hours of moving, according to Joe Sharkey, a founding member of the collective.
“I have always been a big supporter of bicycles over cars,” Ms. Ross said. “So if I could find a way to move my apartment using cargo bikes instead of a moving truck, of course I was going to do it.”
I dunno, yay bikes and all that, but sometimes there's really nothing wrong with just throwing a bunch of shit on a truck and getting it over with.
Anyway, here's the equipment rundown for the Cargo Freds:
While loading the bikes outside Ms. Ross’s home, Corey Farach, 29, gave a short description of each. There were two Danish-designed bikes: a white Bullit nicknamed Kon-Tiki that featured a cargo platform between its handlebars and front wheel, and a black Omnium with a platform above its front wheel. There was also an orange Freighty Cat towing a Surly trailer, and a mint-green Birota that had been enlisted for the occasion.
Members of the collective said that over the years they had used cargo bikes to carry boxes of macaroons, stacks of newspapers, loads of mulch and, once, a cat on its way to Kennedy International Airport. Ryan Backer, 27, said that in 2013 he had transported a five-foot fully stocked freezer.
Sorry, I take back what I said about the trucks. I'd gladly pay a cargo bike collective $400 to send my pain-in-the-ass cat off on a one-way trip from Kennedy airport.
I'll even throw in an extra $100 if they escort the cat to the gate and stick around until wheels up. Trust me, sometimes these wily felines find their way back home on the AirTrain.
Also, after years of articles in which urban cyclists wax poetic about the zen-like experience of weaving through traffic on their fixies, I was oddly relieved to hear one of these riders equate New York City cycling to piloting a Zamboni:
“I used to drive a Zamboni,” said Justin Smith, 29, on the return trip up Avenue A, while weighed down with a mirror and a glass desktop, both wrapped in towels, and an aluminum step ladder, among other items. He said the experience on the ice rinks had probably helped prepare him for the task of navigating a loaded cargo bike through the crowded streets of Manhattan.
I fully expect Justin Smith to launch a Zamboni moving company called "Smooth Move" within five years.
Lastly, the Ohio senate is considering a statewide three foot passing law:
As I understand it, they're still arguing over whether or not it will apply to Zambonis.