Once again, there is no such thing as "National Bicycle Day," at least in America. There is, however, such a thing as "Bicycle Day," which has pretty much nothing to do with cycling and pretty much everything to do with tripping balls on LSD.
Nevertheless, now that two entities with wide audiences and sizable social media followings have made the mistake, it's pretty safe to assume that every year more and more people will continue to do so. This means that in a few years, for all intents and purposes, there really will be a "National Bicycle Day," even though nobody ever formally established one.
Indeed, the manner in which misinformation spreads and becomes truth is fascinating to watch, and it's also why religion is so absurd. 30 years ago some wigged-out college professor invented "Bicycle Day" as an excuse to drop acid and now it's poised to replace National Bike To Work Day. Similarly there are people who think "god" doesn't want them to eat pork or cheeseburgers in 2016 because of some 5,000 year-old diet fad. If it only takes a few tweets to corrupt history then how the hell do you take a book as old as the Bible seriously?
Speaking of religion, the Five Boro Bike Tour is nearly upon us, which means New York City churches will once again be blessing bikes:
I noticed this particular sigh whilst perambulating around The Greenwich Village not too long ago, and while I take pride in my apostasy I couldn't help noticing that MIRACLE OF MIRACLES the film crew shooting in the neighborhood was not blocking the bike lane:
Around these parts a film crew staying out of the bike lane is as miraculous as a person walking on water. Actually it's even more miraculous than walking on water, since if the ambient temperature is just right the sewage in the Gowanus Canal congeals and you can easily walk across it to the Whole Foods.
And it probably couldn't hurt to get your bike blessed before the Five Boro Bike Tour because it's very easy to lose faith as you slip on your official hairshirt and take your place among the damned:
Really, it's as close as you can get to the Gates of Hell without actually dying:
The only difference is that Hell Itself is sponsored by a different bank:
Otherwise, the similarities between the Five Boro Bike Tour and Hell are uncanny, including the fact that in perdition you're forced to ride a hybrid bicycle with under-inflated tires for all eternity.
Meanwhile, in more earthly news, Gothamist is doing a video series on its staff's New York City bicycle commutes:
Our first clip comes from me, Jake Dobkin—a regular bike commuter between Park Slope and DUMBO. Going home from work I bike through Brooklyn Bridge Park, and then cut up Union Street, to avoid having to ride along Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn, which continues to be one of the worst bike lanes in the entire city. This adds about a mile to my ride each way, and as you can see from the video above, it is still not an entirely safe trip.
Indeed, downtown Brooklyn can be a real shitshow, but this is actually fairly benign by New York standards:
I mean sure, this person cuts him off, but at least he's signaling:
If anything, while ostensibly this video highlights the dangers cyclists face, I think it did a better job of highlighting just how efficient cycling in New York City is in spite of it all. Consider the fact that he's keeping pace with that same SUV while stopping for reds and without making too much of an effort. Meanwhile the driver is probably cursing and gunning it at every light change.
Of course, the driver of that SUV would probably blame all that on the bike lanes, but then again the driver of that SUV is probably an idiot.
Anyway, they're taking submissions if you're so inclined:
If your ride to or from work is worse, and want to contribute to this series, please send in your video. Some rules: you must film your entire ride with no cuts, so we can verify it's a real commute with no special effects. Please obey all pertinent laws, including red lights and stop signs, as we know you normally would!
I'd send one in myself, but as a semi-professional bike blogger I like to throw my computer in a bag, leave the city altogether, and arrive at my final destination via a mountain bike trail--and while that might make for entertaining video I'm not sure it's what they're looking for.
Still, we could all do with some pointers when it comes to dealing with road hazards, and to that end here's a video called "Bicycling With Complete Safety:"
In which the friendly neighborhood police officer endeavors to tell children how not to die:
I'm pretty sure I recognize this actor from another PSA of that era called "The Hirsute Palms of the Sightless Masturbator."
Anyway, meet Willie Jones, who likes to ride while eating popcorn:
Well, no prizes for guessing what happens next:
Yes, the popcorn says it all:
"Gee, you mean he spilled his popcorn?," asks this kid:
"No, he's dead, you little shit!," shouts the cop.
Actually Willie Jones doesn't die at all, he just winds up under the bumper:
After which the motorist helps extricate him instead of simply driving away like they do today.
Then he has to spend a few weeks in the hospital, which means his parents have to use their "Christmas savings" to pay the bill:
Awww, no Christmas for Willie.
As for the kid I faked you out with though, that's Froggy from the "Little Rascals," and he wasn't so lucky:
Laughlin died at a hospital on August 31, 1948 after a truck struck the Cushman Motor Scooter on which he was delivering newspapers near his home in La Puente, California. The 16-year-old friend who was operating the scooter, John Wilbrand, made a U-turn in front of the truck, but survived with minor injuries. The scooter was given to Laughlin by his parents two weeks prior to the accident. Laughlin lived the shortest life of the actors who appeared in the Our Gang films, dying at the age of 16. Laughlin is interred in a grave at the Rose Hills Memorial Park Cemetery in Whittier, California, in the same row as his parents.
Holy fucking shit that's depressing.
In any event, the lesson here is supposed to be not to ride while eating popcorn, but my takeaway was that kids were way, way tougher back then. Consider:
--They had to use a "Christmas savings" instead of mommy and daddy just running up the credit card;
--They could ride 75lb bikes no-handed while scarfing popcorn;
--They could survive head-on helmetless collisions with non-Naderized automobiles
Now meet Bobby, who has a combination of caution and awesome bike handling skills. For example, check him out skidding his way out of a potentially disastrous "dooring" situation:
Which earns him a pat on the back from the motorist:
("Ha ha! I almost killed you, you little scamp!")
And here's a police officer dressing down a street tough riding a bicycle on the sidewalk:
Aw fuck it, I'm buying a Studebaker.