Thursday, August 11, 2016

Where Did The Day Go?

Well New York City and America are once again safe now that police have apprehended and charged the Trump Tower climber:


The man whose brazen climb of Trump Tower riveted people across the country on Wednesday has been charged, the police said on Thursday morning.

Identified as Stephen Rogata, 19, of Great Falls, Va., he now faces charges of reckless endangerment and trespassing in connection with the unauthorized ascent of the Fifth Avenue building, the police said.

I can't say I was among those riveted Americans as I was busy doing other things, but I did receive the following email from a reader while the climber was still making his attempt:

You'll be pleased that know that at about 6.00pm CBS has reported that the above mentioned individual currently located at about the 19th floor is not wearing a helmet. 

I wonder if helmet use is as controversial a subject among Mountaineering Freds as it is among Bicycle Freds, and if they also engage in similar victim-blaming:


(The victim was not wearing a helmet.)

Anyway, I wasn't worried too much about Mr. Trump because I knew he was safe--maybe not safe from looking like the inside of a baby's diaper after a meal of puréed carrots, but certainly safe from the menacing suction cups of the human fly.  The reason I knew this was because the other day I happened to be riding past Trump Tower and noticed what I assume was an NYPD security detail parked right out front.  Indeed, so laser-focussed were these officers on protecting Trump Tower that they completely ignored the large truck that sped right through a solid red light in order to make an illegal turn, a move which could have very easily taken out any number of pedestrians.

I suppose this is what people mean by "security theater:" make a big show of guarding the big shiny symbol while ignoring the behavior that maims and kills people every single day.

Speaking of Midtown Manhattan, I made my way down there this morning in order to meet with a representative from a company who's selling one of these futuristic "smart bike" systems, ostensibly to receive some sort of demonstration.  As the father of seventeen (17) children my mornings are quite busy, what with having to drop the children off at their various factory jobs and all.  This means heading downtown for a meeting is no mean feat.  Indeed, by the time I'd dispensed with all of them and extricated myself from my parenting responsibilities I did not even have ample time to ride to the meeting, much less "curate" my daily weblog.  So instead, I grabbed my Brompton and hopped on the subway.

By this time I was running late, and as the subway rattled along I felt uneasy about possibly forcing the representative to wait for me in the uncomfortable heat.  So you can imagine my surprise and chagrin when I finally emerged from the subway in Midtown, only to find a voicemail from said representative informing me that they would not be able to meet me after all owing to the fact that the "smart bike" system wasn't working properly.

This was information I could have used over twenty (20) subway stops ago, and the upshot of it was that I'd traveled all this way with a Brompton between my legs for nothing.

As I pondered the situation, I realized that in the same way that the Trump Tower climber helped underscore the concept of "security theater" for me, so did the "smart bike" fiasco illustrate the absurdity of "connected" cycling.  Consider the bicycle:


(Just a generic picture of a bike, try not to read too much into it.)

Here's a machine that is the epitome of simplicity, efficiency, and elegance.  The basic concept behind it has been unchanged for well over 100 years--excluding brainfarts like this of course:


Nevertheless, people keep trying to augment it, and what do I have to show for it?  Basically just a helmet that doesn't work:


And now a wasted trip to Midtown.

But no trip with a bicycle is truly wasted, and so I pointed the Brompton towards Central Park:


Where I was immediately set upon by a member of that sub-order of cyclists known as the "road bro:"


As I rode, I pondered my cockpit's utter lack of technology apart from its two-speed shifter and vaguely labial grips:


Though I suppose the self-fellating Brompton is itself an example of technology:


I then exited the park in search of air conditioning and culture, in that order.  So I did something ironic, which is lock the Brompton to a bike rack:


(Isn't the whole point of a Brompton that you don't have to do this?)

And ducked into the nearest museum:


I was glad that I did, because not only was there air conditioning, but there was also a box of Jews:


As well as an exhibit I'd been meaning to see since I rolled by recently for an upcoming Citi Bike blog post:


I'd have stayed longer, but I was on both borrowed and found time, plus the sofa didn't fold out so there was no place for me to sleep:


So I resolved to return when I had more time, then I hopped a train and headed home:


As for "smart bike" technology, in the end I was glad for the detour it inspired, so I suppose it's at its best when it's not working.

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's hotter than a fat guy's taint.

BamaPhred said...

First loser?

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

3rd Scranus. 2nd podio of the day.

McFly said...

You better couple a bar plug with that Ergon grip or you will get wasps in there hoss.

Christopher Murray said...


"my Brompton"... As of when. I thought it was a loaner?

NourskSiklist said...

Missed the podium, but at least I was in the lead Peloton for once. Great post, teh Snob. Too bad the Smart Bike was unavailable for testing, but no harm done - like many so-called Smart gadgets, no one wants or needs the damn things. Nice to see the Brompton that Brompton owns again, as well.

Domo arigato, Mister Robotto

BamaPhred said...

Congrats RCT, one more post and you could hit for the cycle.

Good job on busted day, WCRM

Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

That box of Jews is pretty sweet. You should get one of those for your study.

Mike in Dallas said...

I'm starting a Kickstarter right now for smart gear that breaks, forcing the user to have the satisfaction of materialism, AND eat their cake of actually enjoying the ride experience!

"As for "smart bike" technology, in the end I was glad for the detour it inspired, so I suppose it's at its best when it's not working."

Gold snobby, GOLD!

Grump said...

Why didn't you pack all 17 of your kids into the back of your 2003 Hyundai Accent, and then just park it in front of Trump Tower?????

Anonymous said...

Nothing clever comes to mind. Sigh.

Stravaless in calgary.

JuanOffhue said...

I’d love to see that Roz Chast show!

the Jimboner said...

As a climbing type I wear my helment to protect my noggin from rocks or other debris including excrement and or fellow climbers that may fall from above. Helment would be mostly useless in a long fall to the ground but is good for slamming into the face of whatever you are climbing. Tower climber Fred was fine without one.

Bryan said...

With your connections, I'm surprised you have to send your 17 children to sweatshop factories and can't get them jobs with Rivendell, EH Works, or learning how to chamfer some leather saddles.

CommieCanuck said...

Vaguely labial grips?

BARF LAPS

DB said...

The Box O'Jews has inspired me to make a Diorama of Danes.

The Religious Facial Hair Society of America said...

The Box of Jews, was that in the Gift Shop?

Triple Steak Burrito said...

One of the guys in the Box of Jews is in a Taco Bell Commercial.

Frickus Rungus said...

Quick question:. I saw a kid hanging his head out the window of a passing car today. I suppressed the urge to mime or yell some sort of safety or irresponsible parenting message. Am I feeling smug or self satisfied or both right now? Or am I just relieved that I can resist the urge to inflict my opinions on other people?

N/A said...

Jew Box
Diorama of Danes
Model of Mennonites

N/A said...

People that cancel and don't call until last minute are dicks. Emergencies are one thing, but non-working bullshit biek "technology" isn't an emergency. You should publicly shame them, Wildcat.

Andrew Kent said...

road bro chill road bro

Anonymous said...

Hi

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...I cycle through Central Park almost daily now for meetings and I'm amazed that you can be in any section like that w/o any other cyclists in site! There are dozens and dozens of tourists on rental bikes running around the bike path like one of those rabbit races where the rabbits each stop facing a different direction and scrunch their cute little noses, totally oblivious to the fact that there are humans cheering for them to cross the finish line.

...wow, that long sentence knocked the wind out of my fingers. I need air conditioning and culture.

janinedm said...

It's hot, man! I was sliding all over my saddle by the time I reached the office and I expect my trip home will be gross. I can only pray some hydrants are open along the way. My WorkCycle has a twist shift and in this weather, I wear fingerless gloves (on one hand like Michael Jackson because I'm not wearing a stitch more than is necessary) so my sweaty mitt doesn't slip when I try to change gears.

wayno said...

WRM - did the use of helment go the way of Vito?

Anonymous said...

Just got back from NYC the other day. First time there in 18 years. My wife and I road to dinner and back on citi bikes late Wednesday and it was a lot of fun. Due to my Herculean physicality I ended up dropping my wife on the way back to the hotel. As I waited for her to catch up a couple of blocks I moved myself out of the bike lane and into a crosshatched area that was not a crosswalk to wait for her. A 20 something cat 6'er flew by (the bike lane was clear and I was well out of the way) and felt the need to yell at me to get that piece of **** out of the way! I thought wow, a real NY moment! Completely unnecessary aggression!

Even in our brief time cycling around I found myself getting more comfortable and became annoyed that a mini van was not proceeding through a light that had been green for a few seconds. Looking down I saw the problem: Wisconsin, America's Dairyland. Rube!

Anyway, I wouldn't have thought it possible but even I could see the gentrification that has happened since 1998 when I was last there. Checked out the highline and the creepy somnambulist which was fun. I'm not sure what the people who live at highline level think about everyone staring into their apartments but I'm sure the new park didn't hurt their resale value.

The bikes we had worked well and I think I like the handlebars better than the bikes in Vancouver which are much more Dutch bikey and probably not as suitable for climbing, although the bikes here have more gears. I prefer drops or a flat bar for climbing. I worried I'll pull the grips off when climbing with those swept back bars.

Random Sexist Dude said...

I like my bike like I like my women: stupid (or at least not too smart), vertically compliant, and horizontally stiff. Also, curvaceous. I like pretty curves.

crosspalms said...

Looking forward to the post about the Roz Chast exhibit!

Anonymous said...

Isn't that an telescoping seatpost on your Brompton? Did you take your seat & innerpost in or just leave it out and take chances?

Plutarco

Matt said...

I don't even like USB rechargeable blinkies, never mind a bike that needs recharging and rebooting.

leroy said...

Who wouldn't love to work at nothing all day?

Anonymous said...

You sure their Jews and not Quakers?

Sax Huret said...

Depending on how pedantic you want to be, the Brompton is almost as old as I am. It's safely ib retro grouch / the bicycle is impervious to "innovation" territory now, Snob et al.

Good luck finding high performance 11 speed components in 30 something years (to give a contra). Especially if mountain fredettes and e-bike freds continue to be the drivers of short-term industry profit.

Makeout said...

Collage of Cubans

Pathetic Old Cyclist said...

A box of Jews
What is there to lose?
What, no booze?

Pathetic Old Cyclist said...

A box of jews?
I saw it on the news!
Time for brews.

Pathetic Old Cyclist said...

A box of jews?
I saw it on the news!
Time for brews.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Did you see the shadow box of Samoans?

Anonymous said...

If ones group rides never contain the opposite sex are the riders homofreds?

Freeflow said...

I just read that science says that's it's environmentally ok to pee in the ocean if you are swimming.
I remember my dive instructor saying that there are two types of divers, those who admit to peeing in their wetsuit and liars who say they don't.

Kurt Jensen said...

Nothing wrong with locking up your Brompton. Sometimes I carry my venerable T5 (purchased in 1991) in and sometimes, depending on the space available, I'll lock it up. Roll, carry, or lock, it's a brilliant little bike and one I'd replace immediately if it were stolen or damaged beyond repair. Immediately, I say.

McFly said...

I imagine a rear view of The Bird of Prey bike is much much better.

bad boy of the north said...

Mcfly@714 am.only,and i say only,if there is someone of the female persuasion astride.sorry.dorothy rabinowitz.

McFly said...

OH YOU HAD TO GO AND MAKE IT ABOUT DAT ASS

N/A said...

Every time I see that picture of the Bird of Prey bike, I think to myself that it would be fantastic if it were a tandem.

bad boy of the north said...

lol with mcfly @857am.robot say....bananas.