Tuesday, May 10, 2016

On your marks...get set...commute!

Good morning!  It's Global Bike to Work Day!


Yes, here's your chance to turn your digital navel-gazing and smartphone onanism into a better future for all cyclists, or something:

Strava Metro is proud to host the first Global Bike to Work Day. Upload a ride on May 10th that starts in one place and ends in another and you’ll complete the challenge. Not only will you enjoy a healthy way to travel and make the world just a little better, but by uploading your commute to Strava, you’ll make a difference. 

Sure, you could just ride to work without "hitting record," but then you wouldn't be adding to Strava's valuable "dataset:"


But in 2013 a colleague had an idea. She recorded her own bike rides using an app called Strava, and thought: why not ask the company to share its data? And so was born Strava Metro, both an inadvertent tech business spinoff and a similarly accidental urban planning tool, one that is now quietly helping to reshape streets in more than 70 places around the world and counting.

Here's how Strava Metro works:

In this context, Strava Metro, which involves only seven of the company’s 100-plus staff, resembles almost a social enterprise, with data provided relatively cheaply – Oregon paid $20,000 (£14,000) – or free for some academic use.

Presumably those seven staff members spend their days sifting through Strava data and trying to separate the Freds from the commuter dorks, which sounds like one of the circles of Hell.  While I can certainly see how this data would be useful to municipalities, I'd also worry that basing bicycle infrastructure development on Strava trips could have certain unintended consequences.  For example, given the increasing popularity of Strava art, it's only a matter of time before some Department of Transportation drone designs a bike lane shaped like a dong:


Furthermore, in this bold new future, what will become of those of us who still choose to ride unconnected?  Do we not matter?  If you cut us off do we not give you the finger?  If you puncture our tires do they not deflate?

I mean what are we anyway, chopped liver?


(You, if you don't use Strava.)

Clearly we should have more faith in the private sector in general and Silicon Valley in particular.  After all, the tech companies have already solved all the problems in the Bay Area, and because of them that region isn't headed rapidly towards a dystopian future in which only the very wealthiest people can afford housing and access to a rapidly-dwindling water supply or anything like that.  Clearly by applying this approach in cities across America we'll soon become a nation of interconnected self-driving cars and smart helmets, one nation under crash avoidance, with digital suppositories for all.

Amen.

Speaking of Global Bike to Work Day, it's Bike Month, which means the inevitable bike-baiting stories in local newspapers all over America--and here's perhaps the lamest one ever written, from a free daily here in New York City that's most commonly found soaking up puddles of indigent urine on the subway:


By amNY Staff May 9, 2016

The byline above is important, because as you read this it's important that it took the entire staff to compose this, which is both hilarious and sad.  And if you hate reading these kinds of things because they make you angry, don't worry, because it's far too inept to elicit any kind of ire.

Anyway, any good editorial starts off with a strong statement, and so the stupid ones, to wit:

Unless you ride a bike to work every day, chances are you've been on the receiving end of some unfavorable behavior from a cyclist in New York City.

Whether they're blowing traffic lights, speeding through the park or riding on the sidewalk, we've got some gripes about cyclists that need to be aired.

Here are our least favorite things about bicyclists in New York City.

Right.  Clearly no member of the amNY staff has ever ridden a bike, because if they did they'd know that nobody is forced to take more shit from cyclists than other cyclists.

So what sort of cyclist behavior has the amNY crew so riled up, anyway?  Well, for one thing, some of these cyclist don't wear helmets:


Come on, put a helmet on and save yourself from the possibility of disability and death.

I know, right?  Some of them also dress warmly enough when it's chilly out.  Come on, put on a jacket and save yourself from the possibility of the sniffles!

But wait, it gets dumber:


Oh, you wanted to get across town today? Sorry -- there are thousands of bicyclists riding down the street instead.

For those of you who don't live in New York City, keep in mind there are exactly zero (0) bike races here that involve any sort of street closure whatsoever, and the above image appears to be from the Five Boro Bike Tour, which happens once a year, and which is to a bike race as a fun run is to a marathon, or amNY is to a newspaper.

As for charity-type rides, yes, some of those enjoy street closures, but there are maybe like three of those a year.  Meanwhile, I don't think there's a single weekend in New York City in which some major artery isn't closed for a street fair, which causes complete motor-vehicular mayhem for dozens of blocks in every direction.  ("Street fairs" may sound like a good thing, but they're basically just the police shaking the city down for overtime pay so street vendors can sell cotton candy and irregular socks.)

Anyway, by now you've probably realized much of these gripes are either: 1) things that don't affect anybody else; or 2) just plain fiction, and after awhile it just doubles over on itself and starts complementing cyclists instead of insulting them:


Nothing will stop cyclists from going for a spin.

I'm not sure why this is a problem.  If anything, the problem is that nothing will stop motorists from going for a drive, because you can pretty much count on at least a few of them to kill themselves by ignoring weather advisories and travel bans and driving directly into that hurricane or blizzard in order to get the bread and milk.

It will be amusing to see if anybody can write anything dumber than this before Bike Month is out, and if you find something in your local rag please let me know.  In the meantime though, it's pretty safe to say this is the high water mark of stupid--especially when you consider this is a typical day here in New York City:


Deliciously tragic.

Let's just hope the NYPD finds the cyclist responsible.  It was probably some reckless two-wheeled scofflaw who confused the cabbie by not wearing a pair of signaling gloves:


Yes, only a pair of Australians could have invented a piece of safety apparel this dorky:


Because once you've got mandatory helmet laws where do you go from there?


This isn't to say they're completely useless.  For example, the motion detection feature will certainly liven up those competitive wanking tournaments.  However, I'm not sure what sort of conclusion a motorist is supposed to conclude from this:


Or even this:


That's a pretty well-lit street, and the hand signal would be less ambiguous without the flashing light.

In other words, you can expect these to be mandatory in New South Wales within two years.

63 comments:

Spokey said...

podi at last

Spokey said...


2 days early? isn't bikey to work day on the 12th? wouldn't know meeself. used to bikey to work on all sorts of days but gave up on working to sleep in every day.

Spokey said...


what? no podi competition. WAKE UP COMMENTARIAT !

Spokey said...

don't make me take all top 10!

Anonymous said...

WRM is up early.

Dave Stansby said...

I'm fairly sure this video filmed in London gives amNY a run for it's money http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-36247516

Spokey said...

Nothing will stop cyclists from going for a spin.

I'm not sure why this is a problem. If anything, the problem is that nothing will stop motorists from going for a drive,


no. if anything, the problem is that nothing will stop motorists from going for a spin.

N/A said...

I got yer hand signals right here!

*indicates nebulous general area*

Bryan said...

For Bike Month I am eschewing all "safety devices" on every ride...except when it's too dark to see, or a helment is required by a group ride. Oh wait...that's pretty much every ride for me. AYHSMB

dancesonpedals said...

My commute blew. There were no bikes by GCT./Pershing Square Station, so I started to walk down to 39th to another station. As I reached 41st, someone dropped off a bike. One of the other citibikers gave me shit for taking it ahead of the 2 people waiting a block away. The rest of the ride...salmon in the bike lane. Left-hooking cars. A taxi took a short cut in the bike lane. More left hooks. Blah

janinedm said...

I didn't know that it was Strava day. I came to work without recording my ride, so I suppose that didn't happen. AMNY is literally garbage. Far more of them end up on the tracks causing delays than get read.

Richrd Stinks said...

I didn't Strava my ride either... But I did get a signed note from my mother saying I rode to work. Does that count?

Dave said...

Forget the bread and milk! We're completely surrounded by no beer!

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Fore! tenth! Scranus!

Roille Figners said...

I don't wear a helmet - mainly to fuck with amNY readers.

Eric said...

In Denver, bike to work day is next month, given that May is prone to extreme weather. Thunderstorms, tornados, blizzards. Sadly, having it in June means it is usually literally bike TO work. The once a year casuals will inevitably skip the ride back home part.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Even if you drive a car to work every day, chances are you've been on the receiving end of some unfavorable behavior from a motorist (civilian, taxi or policeman) in New York City.

Whether they're killing or maiming pedestrians or cyclists (no criminality suspected), speeding, blowing traffic lights, texting on smartphones or illegally parking in bike lanes, we've got some gripes about motorists that need to be aired.

bad boy of the north said...

vic's even funnier in person......just sayin'.

Freddy Murcks said...

In case you were wondering, link this article from the VeloSnooze encapsulates essentially every reason why professional bike racing is a stooooooopid waste of time. Cheating is so endemic to bike racing that you'd be right to conclude that it is an integral part. WADA and the rest of the anti-doping agencies should quit wasting everybody's time and money trying to stop doping. Nothing would change if they did.

janinedm said...

I skipped a helmet for about 2 years (10,000 miles). I feel so much safer with it. More often than I was comfortable with, some driver would drift toward me at full speed to tell me how much safer I'd be with a helmet. I think of it as a hata' blocker.

DB said...

I count on my city dwelling friends to let me know when it's bike to work day 'cuz around these parts it's more likely ride your John Deere to work day.
I didn't ride today because it's 30 miles each way, it's 50 degrees and it's raining. So there.

Freddy Murcks said...

I am going to drive to work with my Garmin active and then upload it to Strava(tm). Since I am driving and I have an internal combustion engine, I might even be able to collect some KOMs.

STRAVA DOPING ON GLOBAL BIKE TO WORK DAY.

BamaPhred said...

I have ambidextrous signaling fingers. No, not that. I point which way I want to go.

Spokey said...


DB

it's not bike to work day. it's only strava bike to work. the original started by LAW is thursday. if you want the donuts and other bike to work day crap do it on thursday.

crosspalms said...

In my newspaper experience, any time you see "by XX staff" there's a good chance it means the original reporter was so angry or embarrassed by the final story, he or she pulled their byline. amNY may be an exception, although it is a very stupid story.

I'll ride to the grocery later, but I'm waiting for Intergalactic Ride to Work Day so I can use my dedicated zero-gravity time-travel bike. I'll probably need the 3-dimensional holographic Strava app for that.

bad boy of the north said...

cyclist killed in Brooklyn after a chain reaction purpose-dent.

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...

Stava on the motorcycle. That's the way.

Was off from work to do some grownup stuff yesterday. Was able to do a ride on the Belt Parkway Bike Path from the 69th St Pier to Korvettes / Kmart / Ceasar's Bay and back.
Near Bay 8th St 4 litter picker uppers were walking taking up all the path. I ringed the bell to get some passage. A bare chested old man jogger said to them... and watch out for those crazy bicycle riders...
So why do I need that unprovoked shit.

I have no idea why he was found floating off Staten Island in the afternoon. Not a clue.

vsk

Anonymous said...

hey so like im glad this blogsite still runs . pulled the ole rocket ship out today and explored the new wsh bike path they built starting at Dyckman street . fyi, it ends at approximately 190 street . i say approximately as the termination point leaves you between a cliff and a river with the GW bridge/rest of trail just off yonder .

kisses losers

ps
steel is real, helmets are IN, tights are out

Hee Haw the Barista said...

BRDN MILK

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...The cabbie who jumped the curb is a Trump supporter... Trump was reported asking his minions to take out halal meat carts so the Mussies will leave on their own volition.

...This will be the new face of terror.

...And that cyclist who caused it? Well, s/he was a Libtard.

N/A said...

The biggest scourge of the MUPs... even worse than the cops (no criminality suspected), salmoneers, litter picker-uppers, joggers, or even biekcyclist riders... is roving packs of women with those wide-ass strollers walking 2 abreast (hehe). They somehow manage to be talking to each other, listening to headphones, and absorbed in their phones all at the same time. They ignore bell ringings and shouts of impending passage upon their lefts, and they invariably manage to get pissed off when you have the audacity to pass by them.

dnk said...

The "YEILD TO PEDS" sign is still up & running in all its misspelled glory on 1st Ave opposite NYU Medical Center.

Anonymous said...

Serious cyclist here but last night was out walking my dogs on a "multi-use" path when some Fred on a TT bike blows by me doing about 20mph with no warning and then flips me off when I yell "slow down". There are lots of dicks out there and sometimes they are us; don't be a dickFred!

JLRB said...

That's it, I am cancelling my subscription to amNY!

I Strava* therefore I am.

*I don't Strava.

Bob Patterson said...

The problem with signalling gloves is: what happens when you scratch your scranus?

E-Scaper said...

Loved your prose/prayer about the tech companies in the bay area where only the wealthy can afford housing & a rapidly dwindling water supply! Digital suppositories for all indeed! Praise Lob!!!

trama said...

I got a wonderful gift on my 32GB memory card packaging at costco the other day, a certain fabulous familiar time traveling retro tri-dork replete with digital speed smears.

Anonymous said...

Take it easy on Strava. The global heat map is useful as a starting point for routes cyclists, use, even school routes that happen to go through the back gate of a church (See Colorado near Louis, in Palo Alto, CA). They are certainly biased towards recreational cyclists, but enough Freds also commute, or escort their kids, with their Strava on, that you can figure out where the used routes are. I agree the sample is very biased, but good to see the routes!
Here is the global heat map: http://labs.strava.com/heatmap/#10/-122.27329/37.36692/yellow/bike

P. Bateman said...

can i get more information on these competitive wanking contests? i have a weekend free and my tire on the chubby bike is flat...again...and i'm looking for a fun activity.

it's Henley said...

Can you feel the global heat? Comin' off the global street

Anonymous said...

I'm the Lance Armstrong of wanking contests, that is I cheat; I change hands and gain a stroke.

Anonymous said...

I heard a guy ranting the other day when some panhandler asked him for money, he said something like "I'm tired of all of you mother fuckers with your hands out all the time. I make my money, go get your own motherfucker". I couldn't agree more and this good advice for people whining about being priced out of places like SF. It's not that hard, go get some money or move somewhere else but please stop whining about it. It's really annoying.

Roille Figners said...

Chopped liver and... what... pile of frosting? Someone got excited and coiled ropes of horseradish sauce on a translucent salad roll of despair?

Regular guy said...

Crap, I didn't even know it was GlowBall Bike To Work Day. Oh well, it was raining so I took the bus.

Anonymous said...

Oops Snob inadvertently gave San Francisco the impression that someone outside San Francisco cares about San Francisco's problems!

Anonymous said...

http://www.beyondchron.org/the-feds-just-made-it-easier-to-fit-bike-lanes-on-streets/

One (or eleven) less excuses against bike lanes.



McFly said...

I Strava but I don't draw nasty stuff like weiners in the park field by the MTB trail.

I draw titties. D cups.

Dooth said...

Are you sexually secure enough to take the dong lane?

Frickus Rungus said...

I read the article that anony-moose linked to above. It's official: size doesn't matter...

T. Macleod said...

Here are the worst things about motorists in New York City:

1. Not obeying traffic laws - Too many cars, speed limits are apparently optional.
2. Those who don't wear seatbelts - Come on, put a seatbelt on and save yourself from the possibility of disability and death.
3. Stopped cars that cause traffic nightmares - Oh, you wanted to get across town today? Sorry -- there are thousands of cars and trucks parked in the street instead.
4. Yellow cabs and tourists - Who thought it was a good idea to use a car to get around New York City? Seriously?
5. They go too fast in the park - When a herd of motorists comes speeding at you in the park and you're convinced this is how you will die.
6. They have no fear - Nothing will stop motorists from texting.
7. They ride on the sidewalk - Sidewalks are for pedestrians, not cars.
8. Pollution - Pollution. So much pollution.

leroy said...

My dog insists on reminding me that the categories of commuter dork and Fred are not mutually exclusive.

I'm okay with the message, but it's disconcerting when he giggles uncontrollably.

I told him all our rides start in one place and end in another because you can't dip your toe twice in the same stream.

That shut him up for a few minutes. But now he's asking if Wednesday started early.

ken e. said...

it's gonna around my house. wtf, is mercury retrograding still?

Anonymous said...

Fuck EW,I took the bus to work today. Shit.

bcstractor said...

Critique of book re old style toe clips. They do have a function - they stop your foot coming off forward - smashing into that plastic mudguard so you end up with a macerated chin - as I found out.

On a mountain bike they allow your foot to go out backwards when there is a root sticking out at the wrong height.

Otherwise - most enjoyable so far.

Anonymous said...

scranarhoids

Magic Helmet said...

>2. Those who don't wear seatbelts - Come on, put a seatbelt on and save yourself from the possibility of disability and death.

Everyone knows bicycle helmets make the wearer invincible, but this is the first I've heard of seat belts that make the wearer invincible. Where can I get one?

bike bum said...

I have a strava acc and I'm not afraid to use it, so I did, went out for a little cruise around went home again and strava reckons I've completed the ride to work challenge?
Should I get overtime? was gone for nearly 2 hrs,

Devon - what wrists said...

"competitive wanking contests", in the team competition Devon is my teammate.

JLRB said...

Leroy - I'd be careful about talking to that dog about toes and streams - he may lift a leg to test your theory

Anonymous said...

Here's something worse than riding without a helmet on: riding in the big-big gear combo with a huge shit eating grin on your face while someone takes a pic.

Anonymous said...

I prefer riding in the small-small combo. I don't even need shift cables anymore.

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