Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Gag Me With a Spoon Brake

The Brooklyn Bridge:


Built in 1492 by Christopher Columbus, it is one of New York City's most famous landmarks.

I'm also willing to sell it to you at a deep discount.  Simply contact me offline and I'll give you payment instructions:


As an erstwhile Brooklynite I've traversed the Brooklyn Bridge by bicycle many times, and like most New York City cyclists I've got a love/hate relationship with it.  I love it because it is iconic, it's fun to ride over wooden planks, and it's more convenient than the other Brooklyn/Manhattan East River crossings.  And I hate it because the bike lane is often impassible due to the massive number of tourists the bridge receives:


(DISCLAIMER: Not the Brooklyn Bridge.)

Indeed, in theory the Brooklyn Bridge is an ideal bike route, but in practice the only times one can cross it by bicycle are early in the morning, late at night, or in subzero temperatures when it's just you and the moon:


This is not to say I begrudge the tourists their unfettered access to the bridge--far from it.  It's one of the world's most recognizable landmarks, and as such it's foolish not to expect throngs of flyover rubes and Euro-cheeseballs to converge upon it with their stupid pants and their moronic selfie sticks.  I don't even begrudge them their tendency to stand in the middle of the bike lane--often right on top of the bike lane symbol itself--for when confronted with the beauty of the New York City skyline as viewed through those prophylactic-shaped arches one cannot help but go all agog.  So to expect somebody in this state of exhilaration to notice some painted lines and some faded bicycle silhouettes is not only naive but frankly inconsiderate to our sales tax-paying visitors.

I mean sure, I've been tempted to Chris Froome a tourist now and again, but on balance their benign cluelessness is far less offensive than the Cat 6 doofuses who plow through anyway, ringing their bells and yelling "Bike lane, bike lane!" at all the selfie-tards when there's another tourist-free bridge not much more than a bike throw away.

Anyway, there's now a glimmer of hope that the situation will improve for everybody, because the Department of Transportation is going to perform...a study:
Pedestrian counts on peak days tripled between 2008 and 2015, and bike counts nearly doubled, according to the Times. Typical weekday traffic is now 10,000 pedestrians and 3,500 cyclists. Still, those numbers probably don’t come close to capturing how many people would bike or walk across the bridge if the path were not so cramped.

For pedestrians, there’s not enough space to walk past other people or line up that perfect shot of the Lower Manhattan skyline and stay within the confines of the walking path. For cyclists, the bridge is pure stress, dodging and weaving and trying to avoid collisions with people who stray into the bike path. It has become a bottleneck in the bike network, putting people off cycling across or compelling them to take indirect routes via the Manhattan Bridge instead.

Come on, do they really need a study to prove that the path needs widening?  I coulda told you that shit for free.  And it's not like cyclists haven't been lobbying for a better bike lane since...oh, I dunno, 1897?



If you think dodging tourists with selfie sticks is frustrating, just imagine how annoying it was to dodge Victorians marveling at the miracle of rail travel while riding a bicycle equipped only with a spoon brake:




I'm sure the retrogrouches of the era were as skeptical of the advent of the rim brake as today's are of the disc brake.

Still, I'd gladly deal with a spoon brake if it meant a return to the days of bicycle speedways in the Bronx:


Note the Victorian notion that cyclists are full of "surplus speed" that must be released only under certain circumstances, just as men were full of surplus seed that had to be similarly managed:

(Cock Lane, really?)

Yes, the Jugum Penis stopped onanism in its tracks faster than a spoon brake stops a safety bicycle.

Anyway, all of this is to say that the impending DOT study is an encouraging sign that the situation on the Brooklyn Bridge might improve for both pedestrians and cyclists sometime during the late 22nd century.  Meanwhile, politicians will continue to fight every attempt to toll the motor vehicle traffic that occupies an unconscionable portion of this great structure.

Speaking of "scorchers" and "surplus speed," you've almost certainly heard by now about how  American rider Mara Abbott was overtaken at the line in the Olympic road race:



This sort of scenario happens fairly often in road racing, but of course it's the Olympics and it happened to an American, so journalists grabbed their Crayola boxes and busted out the purple prose:


RIO DE JANEIRO (VN) — They were tidal, Mara Abbott’s eyes, glistening pools that dried out only in brief moments of distraction from the all-encompassing loss. She stood in front of the media and pulled herself together and answered questions until she couldn’t, and we couldn’t, anymore.

One hundred fifty meters from gold. Four seconds after nearly four hours of racing. Imagine it, and know that the pain of defeat is magnified by its proximity to triumph. “You’ll never have that chance again in your entire life,” Abbott said, as the weight of a truth seemed to settle on her.

By all means this was a dramatic finish, and of course Mara Abbott deserves both commiseration and respect.  At the same time, I find it interesting that the very same writer had nothing but derision for the riders when this happened at a different bike race:


See, apparently some races are borderline sacrosanct, so when competitors crash its tragic:

Alone in search of gold, van Vleuten crashed horribly. A fistfull of rear brake led to a skid. She flipped and smashed into a deep curb. It sent her to the hospital with a concussion and spinal fractures.

Abbott shot back into the lead, past a crumpled competitor. Another moment forever on replay, surely: the instant she stepped into the race lead and went from pursuer to pursued. She refocused as she’s done so many times. “Shocking things happen and surprising things happen and you just have to keep your focus and keep going,” she said. “It’s a really creepy single-mindedness.”

Whereas other races are simply "idiotic," so when they crash it's because they're "idiots:"





Well, Sagan’s fellow competitors didn’t get to look at him for very long though. The Tinkoff rider won the 50km race in Pierre’s Hole by a little over 21 minutes.

Firstly, "Pierre's Hole 50" sounds like a pornographic film.  Secondly, if he won by over 21 minutes, he might as well have just saved himself the trouble and gone on a training ride by himself.

But hey, I admit I'm overly cynical when it comes to sports, since the real acts of cycling heroism happen well outside of the realm of competition:


The guy was a 19-year-old from Massachusetts. He had climbed over the rail that separates the path from the concrete ledge. Mr. De Leon, 61, started riding across the bridge two or three months ago after a cranky knee brought an end to his running. He remains a trim, fit man for whom the bike ride is exertion but not exhaustion. “I never stop when I’m riding,” he said.

Except last Thursday.

Tell me about it.  Indeed, I performed a similarly selfless act when I stopped in almost the very same place to recover a lost Ass Saver:


Sure, I could have kept going, but that's just the sort of person I am.

58 comments:

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Greetings and salutations, Scranus!

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Double Scranus!

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Hat trick for the podium hog?

Ted K. said...

160. To those who think that all this sounds like science fiction, we point out that yesterday’s science fiction is today’s fact. The Industrial Revolution has radically altered man’s environment and way of life, and it is only to be expected that as technology is increasingly applied to the human body and mind, man himself will be altered as radically as his environment and way of life have been.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

Cique!

N/A said...

Interestingly (to me), here in Cincinnati we have the John A. Roebling Suspension bridge. Its designer went on to make the Brooklyn Bridge, and you can see the similarities in design. The Cincy bridge is quite smaller, though, and has no pedestrian lanes.

N/A said...

Around here, if you try to cross that bridge on a bike they just drive over you.

N/A said...

COCK LANE



You can't spell Brooklyn Bridge without "Jugum Penis".

Flyover Rube said...

Congratulations Herr Leutnant Oblivious for keeping the TK robot off the podium

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

I heard on the radio this morning that the Brooklyn Bridge Bike/Pedestrian Study is going to cost $370,000.

Grump said...

Damn, I thought that the Brooklyn Bridge was built by Giovanni Verrazano in 1524.
Maybe I was thinking of another bridge.

dancesonpedals said...

In Asheville NC they have Short Coxe

N/A said...

I see that Cummings service is around the corner, on Coxe.

leroy said...

My dog reports that the Brooklyn Bridge study is already under way.

He claims he got pictures this morning.

I think he just wanted to borrow my bike.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...honestly, I have more derision for the dorks who yell at tourists on the Brooklyn bridge. What do you expect if you go across this marvel at a time when the sun is setting behind the skyline? ding-ding, BIKE LANE.. BIKE LANE.

...personally, if I cycle across it, it's because I am in no rush. If in rush, then I go to that ugly, loud, obnoxious, rusty, bridge that has expansion joints in the bike path every five feet to help bring on early onset arthritis. And then I yell at any peds there if they happen to be in the bike lane... cuz fuck them, they should go and walk across the other beautiful bridge.

Anonymous said...

The Olympics crash is pretty awful to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mp08WGXEGa4 has it (until the IOC get the video removed, I guess). It is a much worse landing than that sort of thing usually has.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Google Maps says it would take 68 hours to ride from Short Coxe Lane to Seamen and Cummings

N/A said...

New York Fashion resides on Short Coxe.

leroy said...

I like to roll up slowly behind folks photographing friends and family on the bridge and make a goofy smile to crack up the person in the photo.

You'd be surprised how easy that is in stretchy bike clothes.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

---Yes, photo-bombing is much more fun than bombing the bike lane.

Vlad Putin said...

I buy bridge and install Russian Vodka Bar in middle.

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...

I thought I was gonna be early.

vsk

dancesonpedals said...

Jugum Penis sounds crude. It should be, "Making Lady Pillow Babies"

Out of Town Rube said...

What it you are a tourist who rides across that bridge on a bike (that you brought with you)?

P. Bateman said...

@anon - i didnt want to watch that olympics crash because it sounded pretty horrifying.

i also didn't want to watch that poor gymnist dude break his leg in an shocking horrifying manner but THANKS TO THE FUCKING SOCIAL MEDIA.....i've seen both. only puked once though.

CommieCanuck said...

Hey, you guys see that thing at the Owelympics? Me neither.

Anonymous said...

Manhattan bridge sounds a lot like the Golden Gate bridge. beware tourists with handlebar bags and Cat 6'rs being reckless. but the space is limited, lots of maintenance lockers and things to avoid as well as strong/cold winds. I am glad to hear its not just us here in SF with that problem.

Euro-cheeseball said...

Is the Olympics over yet?

bad boy of the north said...

not far from here they have dick's castle..

grog said...

I'm all agog.

babble on said...

Heh. Good one Snobberdiddledoodums. What a guy.

Holy fuck that was a brutal crash. Worse than my floating shoulder cause she was going 50 American, not 50 Canadian. And that curb. Ouch. That's what did her spine in. They maybe shoulda sprayed foam insulation along there for the games. It is a stomach churning crash, that's for sure. Poor girl: that sucks.

Maaaaan, I can feel her pain. Cause that's the kindov gal I'm. A note of hope, though. A friend of mine suffered a concussion and spinal fractures during a race in the Okanagan this year, and while you never make a true blue full recovery from any major injury, she's already out training again. Um, and now she's wearing a mips lid, too. Just sayin.

And about yesterday's post? Heh heh. You're on a long, strong winning streak, Snobi Wan. That was brilliant. I loved the list of reasons why Freds don't cheat. Heh. Hits home, that. Only maybe I'm not a proper Frederica, cause in my tiny little mind, sex is the only good reason to skip a ride. And sure, it sucks to be a cyclist in the market for a squeeze, but that's really only because there aren't enough chicklet Freds out there. It's pretty sweet for us, given the ratios of guys to gals. Why, I've had two marriage proposals this week, and those were just from strangers I met out on the road!! I will never understand why there aren't more women into cycling. The vistas are amazing even if you're not looking far afield: hot bikes, hot guys, hot asses... what more could a girl ask for??

Sax Huret said...

This year was my first year watching the Red Hook Critérium and I was pretty impressed with the course design. Instead of going for the Red Bull / NASCAR / Moto GP "I'm watching this because the possibility of a crash is high and the possibility of harm to others stimulates my utterly banal life" crowd, it seemed like the course had been designed to require slowing down as much as speeding up. I didn't get Caley's hate for it before I watched and I got it even less after. I honestly forgot they were on fixed-gear bikes at certain points.

Spokey said...

i don't know

i went over the iconic bridge between duke island pawk and old york road this morning and was the only person, biek or otherwise, on it.

granted you can't see the majestic raritan skyline from the bridge but when the leaves fall off the trees you can see the liquor barn.

an epic ride as it was the first time i rode the new biek to and through the park.

finally let me also congrat Lieutenant Oblivious for kicking what's is name off the podi.

Bryan said...

I started watching the women's road race, got distracted, had to go run errands, etc and never did catch back up with it. Something about a crash - did anybody happen to see how many there were the previous day - sending a few high profile names to the hospital? It was a brutal course.
I guess I don't have too much sympathy for her at the end. She put in a lot of effort but it wasn't enough to not run out of gas while three other riders overtake her. What were they supposed to do, let her win? Anyway, so America lost a medal there. Looks like we are mopping them up in swimming.
I often wonder what the commentary is like in other countries and what they say about us.

babble on said...

We have a couple of spots like yer bridge round these parts, places where it's best just to stay away when the gawkers come out to play. But they're always lovely at stoopid o'clock in the morning, and they're alright on a wet day, too. Way way early is the best time to ride, full stop, cause all dem dere lazy-assed motorists are still asleep in bed. And according to an RCMP fred (only in Canada, eh?), there are far fewer drunks out on the roads at five am than there are at seven, eight or nine. Cause they tie one on, go home, sleep for a few hours, then wake up and figure they're good to go when they oh so are not.

Bryan said...

Finally saw the Van Vleuten crash. Ouch! Looked like she hit her back/ribs hard and came down on her head. And then there was the French gymnast who broke his leg and when he lifted it back up the lower half flopped the wrong way. Apparently the paramedics dropped his stretcher getting him into the ambulance.

dancesonpedals said...

Hell, the day before in the men's race, two guys in the lead group crashed out, leaving the lone breakaway to be caught in sight of the finish.

The difference was the men crashed off camera, and the motorcycle caught up with them afterwards (nibali et al were descending faster than the motorcycle), while in the women's race, we saw Van Vlerten hit the curb. Just before impact, her rear wheel locked up and started to skid. You could feel it coming before she hit like a fucktonne of bricks. (Canadian spelling)

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

After watching the Real Sports with Bryant Gumble episode about the Olympics last week and seeing that douchetard Hein Verbruggen interviewed I have decided to forego watching Olympics as much as possible. The way the IOC sucks up to China and Russia, claiming to be a nonprofit humanitarian organization while raking in the dough is appalling.

Anonymous said...

The women's road race was pretty exciting. I love girls on bikes. They look about a million times better in lycra than us.

Anonymous said...

God bless the cyclist who stopped and saved the young man. (sorry to be so serious)This guys walks into a bar and sits next to a guy with a wooden leg, a hook for a hand and an eye patch. After a few beers he says, .....

Anonymous said...

We already know what a spoon brake is, snob. "Road Bike Action" broke the news earlier this month.

UberFred said...

Don't they ride brakeless single speeds in the Little Indy 500? Those are college students, so they can't be idiots. Maybe that writer wouldn't think so because they aren't fixed geared.

Sax Huret said...

Believe they have coaster brakes, not that those are going to work particularly well at high speed.

babble on said...

It's way more frustrating to ride a women's race than it is to race with the men, or at least that's been my experience. The men are willing to attack and to pull through to the front, wherea the girls all try to sit in and draft till the very end, which is good rececraft, sure, as long as you're not the big dummy sitting out in front. Erm, that would be me. Strong like bull, smart like tractor. Wait, there are a few smart tractors out there these days. Smart like boulder.

crosspalms said...

Is Caley Fretz related to J.T. Spoyle-Sport? Or are they the same guy?

Dooth said...

Scorcher Scranus.

Dorothy Rabinowitz said...

I had a walk on part, well really crawl on, in Pierre's Hole 50 Deuxième Partie "Le Trou Ensemble". I played young Pierre's third cousin who accidentally crawls into a storm drain headfirst and is only able to be rescued from the hole after prolonged and vigorous thrusting.

JLRB said...

Maybe it's just the bowel prep talking but today's post was terrific

Freddy Murcks said...

The jugum penis was a fairly nightmarish contraption, to say the least. It makes the scranular torture wrought by the typical bike seat seem almost tame.

Freddy Murcks said...

Dotty Rabinowitz's twat has been described as a living jugum penis. After all, she didn't earn the name Dorothy "penis shredder" Rabinowitz for nothing.

Desperately Seeking Dorothy Rabinowitz said...

HORS DONG

Mac the Knife said...

The spoon brake mounts to a fork, there's nothing there that's cutting edge.

Cipo said...

I scoff at the Jugum Penis device. Upon viewing Little Cipo the pansy jaws would run away like scared puppy.

Anonymous said...

Caley's hate arises from the race not being run by the UCI.

UCI race? Tender, loving, bike racing.
Not UCI race? Stupid.

Track and field federation trying to fix race walking races: http://www.sportsintegrityinitiative.com/iaaf-sabotage-alleged-in-testing-of-alex-schwazer/

Crazy. Race walking no less.

Umustbjoking said...

http://www.recreation.gov/camping/bloody-dick-cabin/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=75257

McFly said...

Freddy I sure hope they used a ball point set screw in lieu of a cup point set screw.

I also bet a torque wrench was invented within the next 7-10 days.

Anonymous said...

That Caley Fretz is indeed a little bit idiotic and full of himself. He's young.

Same day agra tour said...

The women road race are very exciting. I love girls on bikes.