Monday, August 1, 2016

Sorry I'm Late, My Smart Helmet and my Smart Watch Were Fighting

Smugness.

Merriam-Webster defines it thusly:

1:  of, relating to, or resembling mucus
2:  secreting or containing mucus
3:  covered with or as if with mucus :  slimy

Indeed.

While smugness is a characteristic often associated with people who ride bicycles, the fact is that drivers of electric cars can be even more smug than your run-of-the-mill cargo bike-riding Birkenstock-wearing food co-op denizen.  This can occasionally lead to a "smug-off," as happened when I parked my WorkCycles next to a Tesla recently:


Note the Tesla's license plate, which reads NOT GAS, and which I took as a great affront to my own smugness.  See, my vehicle doesn't use gas either, but you don't see me making a big deal of it.  Plus, even when you're driving an electric car you're still hogging the same amount of road--and we still get like 67% of our electricity from fossil fuels anyway:

Coal = 33%
Natural gas = 33%
Nuclear = 20%
Hydropower = 6%
Other renewables = 7%
Biomass = 1.6%
Geothermal = 0.4%
Solar = 0.6%
Wind = 4.7%
Petroleum = 1%
Other gases = less than 1%

Of course, this varies from region to region, but according to this map our biggest source of electricity in New York is natural gas.  Gas.  So they can't really have a license plate that says NOT GAS, can they?

I mean sure, I know that's not what they mean, but still.

Still, an overly smug vanity plate is way better than one of these window decals I've been seeing all over the place:


And which is of course a response to these annoying things, which I suppose are the 21st century equivalent of those old "Baby On Board" signs:


Anyway, I think stick figure families are as cloying and trite as anybody, but I simply can't go from there all the way to reveling in motor-vehicular mass murder.

Then again, maybe the problem is I'm not American enough, like this driver I saw recently:


His license plate indicates he is a veteran of the War on Terror, though his rear windshield decal indicates he may be suffering from a severe case of cognitive dissonance, since it depicts pretty much exactly what happened recently in Nice.

I dunno, I've seen a pretty big act of terrorism firsthand, but I'm still way more afraid of getting mowed down in a crosswalk than getting blown up by the latest group of extremists, and decals like the one above are just one of the many reasons why.

Speaking of the people ostensibly keeping us safe, last Friday on the #AskTheMayor segment of The Brian Lehrer Show, at 14 minutes and 56 seconds in, Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed that the NYPD is going to increase its use of bicycles:


Here's how it went down.  Tony in Park Slope called in and asked:

I have a simple question, which is, just, why don’t we have more NYPD officers on bicycles?  I was chatting with an officer in Prospect Park Brooklyn the other day during the symphony concert—he’s part of the the 58th precinct—and he said he loves it.  And I just know with all the important efforts with Vision Zero trying to reduce traffic fatalities and, you know, just have safe walkable streets I was wondering why don’t we see more cops on bikes in the city and in other precincts?

And here was the Mayor's reply:

Tony, you are ahead of the curve.  In fact Commissioner Bratton and I when we got together Monday and we talked about some of the things that we’re doing to increase officer safety—the new helmets that we’re making available and vests to stop the highest caliber ammunition etc.—we also talked about the growing use of bikes by the NYPD.  We have hundreds more bikes that are coming in soon that we think are great for everything, for the work that police do with communities.  It’s a great element of neighborhood policing which we’re going to be seeing that strategy taking effect more and more because we want police close to the ground connected to the community--not, you know, in a squad car and disconnected but really building relationships.  It’s great for dealing with situations where police need to be really agile and mobile.  It’s great for dealing with demonstrations and protests which nowadays move quite fluidly and we want our police to stay close by the protesters and be able to protect everyone involved.  So we’re going to be doing a lot more with bicycles and a lot more on the way.

Impressive!

There was then a follow-up question from a Mr. Sinyard from Morgan Hill, who asked:

Mr. Mayor, when you say the hundreds more bikes the NYPD ordered are "great for everything," does that include gravel?  Also, what is the bottom bracket height?  Because perhaps I could interest the NYPD in our new Sequoia, or else the AWOL model.

From there the show devolved into a debate about tire pressure, but the Mayor had already made his point, and I suspect that one day we'll look back and realize that the Republican National Convention in Cleveland was for cops and bikes what that first MASH video was for hipsters and fixies:



It would be nice if increased reliance on bicycles made the police more sensitive to what the rest of us face on the streets on a regular basis, but who knows, and in the meantime we're still on our own:


Especially if we don't lock our bikes properly.

38 comments:

ricochet said...

BIKE SCUM WILL REMAIN

Chazu said...

Podes, totes.

N/A said...

No matter what my means of transport, there is always gas present.

Anonymous said...

Ahead of Ted!

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Scraniods.

Dave - Everywheere said...

Top Ten!!

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...

Subway got me in the Tennus ...

Ahead of ted ...

vsk

Anonymous said...

Top ten and still in the drops.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

9th, Scranus!

Anonymous said...

Je suis dans le premier dix.

Chazu said...

That photo of the stick figure massacre applied to the back of the Ford Edge evokes a sensory flood: Noise pollution as the subway shrieks and grinds overhead* while car horns honk and revving engines echo below; Air pollution as fossil fuels are converted into heat and carbon (crabon?) monoxide, and sight pollution, as...well... see noise and air pollution, above.


* For the troll: it is called a subway, even when it is elevated.

Schisthead said...

It's all gas.

If it's not, blame thermodynamics.

Anonymous said...

dang, I coulda been a contender but I read it first.


good enough for the bronze scranus though...

Larry Garcia said...

I would support stick figure family decals if they were all in the http://www.dirtyrottenimbeciles.com/home.htm logo pose.

dancesonpedals said...

My other car is

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Those yellow "Baby on Board" signs are alive and well all over suburbia still. The best bumper sticker I've seen lately says "My Child Doesn't Need Validation From A Bumper Sticker!"

Now that you've shown us the definition of Smugness, I am seeing Smugness Flotilla in a whole new light! I think janinedm was hit with someone's smugness last week as I recall!

Sax Huret said...

Did the bicycle thief take the quick release skewer to teach or humiliate the victim?

Or are Campagnolo quick release skewers $100 or something? Should I worry about my oxidized-to-heck Normandy ones being a target now?

Anonymous said...

Does that Cleveland cop at about 1:25 resemble a certain bike-racer that didn't win the TdF seven times. I have been wondering what he was up to. Wonder if he is on the narcotics squad when the RNC is not in town?

bad boy of the north said...

okay....i'm all for cops on bikes,but using the drivetrain sided bike as a crowd control barricade has buzz saw written all over it.

Bryan said...

Oh those stick figure families. I like the one where a T Rex is eating them. I snapped a picture of someone with one with different guns from a handgun up to an RPG launcher. I think he probably has a tiny penis.

leroy said...

I don't know why, but the Cleveland bicycle police officer video reminds me of a dystopian urban dustbowl version of an Esther Williams aqua-musical.

Soylent Green meets Fahrenheit 451 meets Neptune's Daughter.

My dog reminds me that Ms. Williams used the same therapist who prescribed LSD for Cary Grant and suggests that's why the Cleveland constabulary video is ringing a mental image bell.

But I don't listen to half the stuff he says.

And no offense to Cleveland.

They've suffered enough lately.

Bryan said...

This guy has a small penis

Daniel said...

Cleveland Police are equipped with the Bell Super 2r? So Enduro!

Anonymous said...

Cleveland cops: what the hell was that about? No officers are going to want to be on bike duty if they have to particpate in goofy drills like that. They should be doing something cool like chasing someone on the bike and jumping on their back like rodeo bull doggers, then everybody would want to be a bike cop. Actually I think I'll go by the park tonight and practice that on some unsuspecting pedistrians, preferably ones who just exited an SUV.

BamaPhred said...

Does the driver of the stick figure assault vehicle have his finger up his nose? He is quite visible in the side mirror of his vehicle. I believe Snob captured him in Full Pick Mode.

clyde said...

Boobs - snob. - boobs.......

P. Bateman said...

hello darlin', its nice to see ya'. its been such a long time.

McFly said...

NOT GAS is why I keep an extra pair of underwear at work.

Dooth said...

The bike police they're gonna ticket your ass
The bike police they're using no gas
The bike police they work for De Blas

Anonymous said...

This stick figure family stickers come from Australia, the most hated place to ride a bicycle in the universe (presumably).

Their inventor thinks they are wholesome provide "something to look at in traffic".

http://www.drive.com.au/motor-news/despite-the-criticism-creative-couple-stick-by-bumper-idea-20111025-1mi8j.html

21st Century Cave Art said...

Only 30 comments... It's the evening already... Was posting late the way to foil Ted?

Anonymous said...

It's hard to pick which driver is more smug (or more wrong).

Is it the electric car driver who thinks his car runs on magic, instead of coal? Or is it the hybrid driver who thinks his car is "green" just because its mpg is a bit higher? Because a hybrid car burns gasoline and only gasoline, just like any other car.

JLRB said...

McFly @4:58 COD (again)

BamaPhred @4:25 - It's just a scratch!

BamaPhred said...

I wanted to feel sorry for this guy, but by the time I read the article and the comments, I just wanted Prince Nasser to have a go at all of them with his rubber hose. Be careful out there, y'all.

Frickus Rungus said...

I was just catching up on the comments and trying to decide if the guy was picking or scratching and I noticed something: Wildcats 11th child's knee is in the picture and it has a band-aid on it!

Dear Wildcat Rock etc. etc.: please consider forcing your children to wear protective knee pads at all times in order to avoid serious injury and minimize your financial support of the kid themed adhesive bandage cabal.

In other news: my neighbor's kid broke both arms riding his bike last week. This leaves me no choice but to advocate for mandatory exo-skeleton armor for all children under the age of 18. And 20 foot tall flags too!

DeWayne Stark said...

There is a boat owner at our marina who drives his Nissan e-car from his house to his boat every morning to walk his dog. The round trip is ten miles. The car has a large decal stating "Zero Emission" on it. The local power plant here runs on fossil fuel. Since the car owner is a skipper we have named him "Captain Zero".

JLRB said...

Quiz:
The comments are light because:
(1) Everyone is on vacation
(2) Readers are busy practicing thier crowd control techniques
(C) The New York Post has everyone occupied with NSFW Photos of Mrs. T-Rump

heihei said...

In light of the fact Brooks released their own line of helmets today, you picked a bad time to review someone else's shmart helmet. Your tenure as a Brooks lapdog may be drawing to a close - I'm not sure they'll tolerate this kind of thing. Maybe look at getting some free stuff from Rapha?