Friday, September 16, 2016

They Rode Together, We Just Watched

As I mentioned in my last post, yesterday evening there was a ride down Fifth Avenue in Manhattan to "demand safe passage for cyclists and pedestrians:"


Obviously as a semi-professional bike blogger and noted book author of books I am a highly-accomplished cyclist with a deep well of experience and wisdom from which to draw.  However, when it comes to bike (and pedestrian) advocacy I'm not even a Cat 6; I'm more like a Cat 30.  I'm also a relative "noob."  After all, when I started this blog I was terminal Fred who thought people like David Byrne (who does not own a car) were cloyingly smug and off-puttingly self-important.  Now I still find this to be the case, but I like to think I've developed a brand of cloying smugness and off-putting self-importance that is uniquely my own.

Anyway, despite the moisture behind my ears I felt compelled to join the ride.  However, I couldn't leave my seventeen (17) children behind until my co-parent got home from work, by which point the smugness train would have long since departed.  I also couldn't do the ride with my children, since I live in the far reaches of the northern Bronx, and I'm not riding a child-laden WorkCycles like an hour and a half each way in the dark.  Most importantly, I couldn't leave the neighborhood with the kids until my eldest child was finished with school--and no way I was taking him out early, because he's in first grade, and if he doesn't do well now he won't get into a good college, and in 20 years he'll still be living at home and I'll be buying weed from him.

Then it hit me like a fucked-up Altima with Pennsylvania plates: I'll choose my two (2) most favorite children and we'll take the subway!  Sure, we wouldn't get to to the actual ride, but at least we'd be there for the roll-out to show our support, for what tiny bit it was worth.

So that's what we did.

Hey, someone's gotta represent the pedestrians.

By the way, I should point out that attending protests with my offspring is not without precedent.  Remember way back in September of 2011 when I visited the Occupy Wall Street protest?


Of course you don't.

Nevertheless, what I didn't mention in that post is that I visited on my (erstwhile) Big Dummy with my (at that time only) child strapped into the kiddie seat.  At the time he was around one and a half years of age.  Now his brother is about that age, so exposing him to a massive smugness gathering seemed only fitting.

Anyway, here was the scene at 59th and 5th when we emerged from the subway:


And here are some Plaza Hotel guests wondering what the hell is going on with all these bikers and why they didn't go to Bermuda instead:


Now at first glance you might think that all these protesters are appropriating public space in the name of safe streets in a manner that, paradoxically, makes the streets less safe for the pedestrians attempting to make their way through:


This was not the case.  Even though I had two children in tow and was pushing a stroller like the worst kind of sidewalk-commandeering Park Slope parent, everybody made sure to clear a path and afford me easy and safe passage:


Of course, this could be for any one of three (3) reasons:

1) They're simply kind and considerate people who care about pedestrian safety;

2) They were under strict orders from their smugness overlords at Transportation Alternatives not to anger all the tourists and billionaires;

3) They recognized me as an important personage and were affording me VIP treatment.

Who knows, but you can be goddamn sure it wasn't #3.

By the time we arrived the speechmaking was in full swing and Paul "Steezy" White of Transportation Alternatives was addressing the crowd:


Participants had been instructed to wear yellow, a directive with which some complied by wearing golden neckerchiefs:



Though this particular rider also accessorized with what appears to be a USB cable:


Hey, it's a lot cooler than a LiveStrong bracelet.

Speaking of sartorial choices, the ride was a veritable runway show for the fashion style I like to call "advocacy chic."  Of course there were the usual unfastened helmet straps and gear from other protest rides:


(I'll bet this was a banner day for the Soupman, nothing goes together like soup n' smugness!)

Though designers also used the opportunity to debut new looks.  For example, here's the dope new #crashnotaccident collabo:


And some of the designs were really edgy:


"How dare you?," I shouted.  "Don't you know my child can read above his grade level?!?"   (New York parents always work a boast into their outrage.)  I then covered my kid's eyes with a yellow neckerchief, threw a poncho over the rider to obscure his shirt's slogan, and tackled him to the sidewalk.

Just kidding.  We took the subway down, remember?  I can assure you he heard "mother fucker" and other similarly offensive phrases at least once every 15 seconds on the way there--and some of them weren't even uttered by me.

And by the way, my own outfit was also the very pinnacle of "advocacy chic," and here's the shirt I was wearing:




Indeed, one of the riders complimented me on it and informed me he too was from Cleveland.  Horrified, I explained that I wasn't.  Then I thrust into his face a copy of the birth certificate I carry to thwart the birthers.

We continued to make our way through the crowd:

And all the way to the fountain from which the speakers were speaking, though by the time we got there the speakers had pretty much finished:


And before long the riders funneled onto 5th Avenue in the midst of the evening rush hour:


Grabbing my elder son by the shoulders, I ordered "Don't let anyone steal your brother!"  Then I climbed the base of a lamp post:


(Show me a parent who can take a kid into Manhattan on the subway without losing his shoes and I'll show you someone who's using Krazy Glue.)

And watched the riders make their way downtown:


It was an impressive showing, and without a hint of irony or smugness I can say that I felt proud:


Once the last of the riders departed the skullbusters followed behind:


And with that the city swallowed them up.

But for a little bit of residual honking you'd never know they had just been there--unless you were the Soupman of course, who promptly took over the bus lane to retrieve his cart and count his earnings:


At this point the sun was setting, so we headed into Central Park to stretch our legs before the return trip:


At twilight the rats become active, and the park was teeming with them.  So we chose a fitting vantage point from which to watch them forage and frolic:


It wasn't too long ago that you didn't want to find yourself in Central Park after dark lest you fall victim to a crime, but now you've got to get out before the LARPing begins:


In all, it was a successful and inspiring evening, but it was also an exhausting one, and it felt good to get back to the Bronx and set the parenting switch to the "Off" position:


Now to find that lightsaber and show those LARPers a thing or two...

62 comments:

Ted K. said...

173. If the machines are permitted to make all their own decisions, we can’t make any conjectures as to the results, because it is impossible to guess how such machines might behave. We only point out that the fate of the human race would be at the mercy of the machines. It might be argued that the human race would never be foolish enough to hand over all power to the machines. But we are suggesting neither that the human race would voluntarily turn power over to the machines nor that the machines would willfully seize power. What we do suggest is that the human race might easily permit itself to drift into a position of such dependence on the machines that it would have no practical choice but to accept all of the machines’ decisions. As society and the problems that face it become more and more complex and as machines become more and more intelligent, people will let machines make more and more of their decisions for them, simply because machine-made decisions will bring better results than man-made ones. Eventually a stage may be reached at which the decisions necessary to keep the system running will be so complex that human beings will be incapable of making them intelligently. At that stage the machines will be in effective control. People won’t be able to just turn the machines off, because they will be so dependent on them that turning them off would amount to suicide.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Podium, Bitches!

wishiwasmerckx said...

First "real" comment, because Ted's robot does not count.

wishiwasmerckx said...

...and fast post because I'm really good at identifying food, Mr. Captcha

janinedm said...

I too am awful at advocacy and didn't go. Not because of human children, but because I didn't feel like it. I donate a bunch to TransAlt, though, and whenever they call me to try to get me to attend some community board meeting I'm polite buy I feel like shouting at them like Don Draper. "THAT'S WHAT THE MONEY'S FOR!"

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Fifth No Quiz Scranus!

wishiwasmerckx said...

R.I.P. Moses Malone

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Nice post, this old fart had to look up "Steezy" and "LARP." My LARPing is limited to my Fredly rides and if I ever crash my biek again I hope it is at least Steezy.

Andy said...

I wonder how much you could get on Ebay for the Melania and Donald J. Trump plaque.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

10th Scranus.

ken e. said...

the usual suspects...

TBro said...

As a self-styled tech bro, let me assure you that the man is wearing a Cat 5 (or possibly Cat 6) cable, not a USB cable - much more appropriate for a bike event, obviously.

Jean-Francois Caron said...

Omg TBro is totally right. I bet that guy wore a cat5 cable intentionally for the bicycle reference.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Snob, thanks for sharing your shopping list.

National Center for Missing or Exploited Children said...

OMFG, you posted actual photos of your actual children?

Considering your considerable wealth and fame, your children are now kidnap targets.

Should have used stand-ins or stock photos.

ubercurmudgeon said...

First World Problems. In Ethiopia, portaging those in your charge doesn't even require a Big Dummy, let alone a Bakfiets, just a good strong grip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teTWab1Oxr0

leroy said...

My dog asked me to congratulate Mr. BSNYC on debunking a cycling myth originally hypothesized by Mr. Dangerfield in Caddyshack: "Buy a hat like this, I bet you get a free bowl of soup."

Grump said...

How do we know that your birth certificate wasn't phoneyed up by one of the Billions of criminals from Mexico. I won't believe it until you can get your Great Grandmother to swear to it.

Anonymous said...

Apples? Don't even see no stinkin apples.

Those two kids in the photo, no helmets. Are the parents plumb full crazy?

N/A said...

I saw the tweeter with the pic of 2(two) of your human children last night, and I thought it was great. It's pretty awesome that you're sharing something with them that you're semi-professionally passionate about, Wildcat.

JLRB said...

Beer and parenting - like love and marriage

While stuck in a waiting room yesterday I read a Time article (yes that magazine still exists) about extraordinary siblings - one common theme - many of the parents exposed the kids to politics and advocacy

So you earned that beer +

Cheers

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...I too am not big on the advocacy, ad i have an aversion to big crowds. However, I too schlepped my human child to a bike advocacy ride some years ago when the bike lane outside Prospect Park was threatened geriatrically by a senator's wife. Some photographer took our photo and published it in a local newspaper... I was shocked to discover that my human child had a depressing expression on her face while she sat in her seat behind me. I was less shocked to discover that I had the same look on my face.

...Normally she and I love nothing more than riding together... but that ride was just depressing for some reason.

bad boy of the north said...

Thanks for going to the protest and bringing along your snoblings.i'm sure they'll remember their parents for showing them civic responsibility.nice report.i wish I had gone.

TS said...

I see your child is in a Maclaren stroller -- the Fredliest of all strollers.

Anonymous said...

Your progeny are extremely cute ---- after having seen your mug in reflections, I would wonder about DNA testing just to be sure. Also, i fondly remember when I was completely free to do whatever I wanted, just so long as I had 2 children in tow.

BikeSnobNYC said...

TS,

No way, Bugaboo is the Fredliest!

--Wildcat Etc.

Anonymous said...

Anon @1:27 - Is that how you ended up on the registry?

McFly said...

That's some nice advocatin' ya dun did thar. Next thing ya know you will be blocking oil tankers off the Alaskan pipeline.

Anonymous said...

Snob, that's not a USB cable, it's an ethernet cable.

DB said...

Looks like Hawkeye Nation showed up in New York.
Loved the Altima comment. Another great one Snob.
Thanks.

streepo said...

Advocate, schmadvocate! where's the damn quiz?!?!?

Some guy from upstate said...

Do you ever feel like bike advocacy is just an opportunity for middle-class white people to feel like an oppressed minority?

McFly said...

We got them LARPers in our lil hick park. Every now and then you see a fairy princess with ample cleave on display.

N/A said...

Hey, Some guy from upstate:

I'm a middle class white people, and I've been run over by some asshole in a car that was more worried about her cell phone than my life. My feelings on bike advocacy are not "white guilt". What the hell does skin color have to do with anything?

Do you ever feel like posting anonymously on the internet gives you an opportunity to feel like a person that doesn't have his head up his ass?

ONyrRIGHT_V_2 said...

Can we get back to the Cat5(or 6) Ethernet Cable worn by the protestor? Number one, the post was so long and boring I missed my opportunity to be the first to comment on it which was upsetting. Number two, the post still has not been updated with any correction or clarification as to whether this is a Cat5 ethernet cable or a Cat6 ethernet cable. Two star review unless the yellow cord in question is a product plant for some kind of proprietary eBike firmware updating system in collaboration with LinkNYC porn kiosks popping up around town... if so, three star review.

Anonymous said...

Snob, you didn't get there early enough to see the sizable Moonies like (dressed in all white) gathering being displaced by a sea of foam hats at the Plaza in front of The Plaza. The ride itself was reminiscent of CM rides of yesteryears.

Umustbjoking said...

Need some advocacy here:
http://67.media.tumblr.com/68a8f8a86fd48f9827331c8e9c3478c8/tumblr_odm4xk5Bmi1qzhjh2o1_500.jpg

Pudgy The Cetacean said...

Stop making such cute Snoblings, if they continue in this manner, they may gain too much self-esteem and become intolerable! I mean, you'll love them regardless, but please consider the rest of us!

Anonymous said...

I really like the shopping list sculpture (not that I've seen it in person). Probably would go fine with a city bike rack in front of it.

My robot question was "select all images with a bus." But I got it wrong as Google apparently believes an RV is also a bus.

bieks said...

Hmm, now I can get some use out of my yellow ethernet cable.

Frickus Rungus said...

Sorry for being off topic, but I would like to share that I scored a hat-trick this week.

On my commute and/or lunch hour I spotted:
One (1) electric fat bike with a cup-holder.
One (1) husky drawn shushing scooter thingy. urbanmushing.com
One (1) roller skier

It's been a while since I've seen the people from the gym out on the path with their ski book pogo-stick thingies, but I feel like I get to count them too...

I'm beginning to think that I may have hit my head earlier in the week like babble did, but I just can't remember when... I hope the hallucinations stop soon.

Some guy from upstate said...

N/A - Wow. I'm a white male engineer wearing a "bike to work day" T-shirt, and I think it's a reasonable question. I'll put you down as a "no".

Question from Sydney said...

What's with all the fucken helmets!?

Seriously, so many of you folk voluntarily wear helmets, even the less Fredish types?

Pretty soon some huckster politician is gonna say: "it's good to see so many New York cyclists do the right thing and wear helmets all the fucken time, but for those who don't know what's good for them, we're gonna introduce mandatory helmet laws just like those funsters in Australia".

And it's bloody hot there at the moment, as well, isn't it?

FOOLS!

yogisurf said...

Great to see you kids, Snobby. Nice recap...

crosspalms said...

Last I saw, middle-class white people (like me!) were neither oppressed nor a minority. Bike advocacy is for making the place safer for all of us. Self-interested? Sure. But if we make streets safer for me as a cyclist, odds are they'll be safer for the rest of us too. We still have a lot to learn (even from other countries!) how to balance the needs of different people, but we also need to face the fact that many of our cities are changing -- more people wanting to live downtown, be able to walk/bike/bus/train to and from work/play/home. So thumbs up, Snob, good for you and your kids (and great pictures, too!).

Anonymous said...

scranus

wishiwasmerckx said...

Bloody hot in NYC?

It's currently 64 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 18 Celsius, or a little more than a stone (14 lbs, right?) under your Imperial Weights and Measures.

Anonymous said...

summer is long but I guess it's not very sweet around here anymore

Down The Hatch said...

Ted K is starting to sound reasonable, or maybe I just started drinking too early this morning.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Riding, there was no rising unfortunately!

Simon. said...

I can't be bothered trawling the comments to see if others have beat me to this;
but that man is clearly making a cycle racing/networking pun with his witty Cat5 ethernet cable wristband

Questioner from Sydney returns said...

wishiwasmerckx,

Handy tip:

To convert Celsius to Fahrenheit; double the Celsius temp and add 30. So if you double 18 you get 36 and if you then add the 30 you get 66 which is close enough for all but the most exacting purposes to the 64 degrees Fahrenheit you are decrying.

Which, by the way, I notice was posted at 2:15 AM. The "bloody hot" temperatures in question refer to the hour of the "Enough" protest ride which Snobby has ably illustrated with a number of photographs depicting riders wearing predominately short sleeves, short trousers and, one would like to think, no undergarments. Indicative of temperatures hot enough to make wearing a helmet for a protracted length of time even more uncomfortable than usual.

Also, despite the archaic and primitive cycling culture here, we discarded the ridiculous imperial measurements some time ago -- too much confusion between fathoms and farthings, which you have add and divide by the length of Prince Harry's donger to give you the weight of an approved helmet in stones.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Sydney Person,

It was pretty warm but certainly not to the extent you'd be uncomfortable in a foam hat. Sun also went down shortly thereafter and this time of year evenings are cool. I imagine some people went exta-sycophantic (helmets, bells, etc.) to give police as few excuses as possible to ticket and for media to paint them as reckless crazy kamimaze "bikers." Just my suspicion, anyway. Rest assured that day to day in NYC casual helmetless cycling is not unusual.

--Wildcat Etc.

bad boy of the north said...

Uh huh....

dancesonpedals said...

Crosspalms-

The sick thing is that you believe all that.

Anonymous said...

That ethernet cable gives me a great idea for a "Category 6" jersey design, that hopefully doesn't rip off Twin Six too badly.

crosspalms said...

dop,
Yeah, I should probably get it printed on a shirt so they can ID me after I get run over...

HDEB said...

Yesterday I attained Fred Whoo Whoo Whoo speed : )

Blaue Reiter said...

I'm still wondering about the bench- is it one of a series, or do they regularly replace the placard?

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