Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Freedom Isn't Free, It's $299 Per Month for 36 Months With $2999 Due at Signing.

As you may know, London descended into chaos yesterday due to a "tube strike," which is when the Underground workers refuse to work and not when you quash your "pants yabbies" on the top tube of your bicycle:



(Tube strike!!!)

This sent commuters scurrying onto other cartoonish forms of transit such as those funny buses they use:


Though a few adventurous souls even tried "alternate ways of getting around the city," as the caption of this photo puts it:


Their expressions are masks of shame tinged with Rapha-esque suffering, and while it's tempting to attribute this to the indignity of being forced to ride bicycles you can rest assured it's merely the British face in repose.  Still, when calamity, work stoppage, or act of God disrupts mass transit, it's always fun to try to pick out who commutes by bike regularly and who dusted one off and aired up the tires out of sheer necessity, and I suspect this rider falls into the latter category:


Granted I wasn't there, but it's pretty clear by the way everyone else is dressed that this was not a shorts day.  In fact, between the dismal weather and the massive number of cyclists it looks like for one glorious moment London dripped with the sogginess and smugness of a thousand Portlands:
They say if you listened closely that morning you could hear the sound of thousands of Bromptons unfurling, and perhaps that's what inspired me to head out on mine today:


Though with no strike in effect I confess I made a beeline for the IRT, and I spent my trip downtown sandwiched between a man slurping breakfast cereal from a Tupperware container and an addled woman screaming about coconuts.

As I did my best to shut out all the slurping and screaming, I had sort of an out-of-body experience, and for a moment I floated to the ceiling of the subway car and saw myself decked out in my beige Inspector Gadget jacket with a folding bike between my legs.  "When did I become such a fuddy-duddy?" I wondered.  It seemed like just yesterday I was crossing the Manhattan Bridge on the Ironic Orange Julius bike, its gear resolutely fixed, its frame festooned with irreverent stickers, and its lightweight ass hatchet of a saddle slowly boring holes in the seat of my pants:


Now here I was with a clown bike and swaddled in a cocoon of multimodal smugness.

I'd like to say this is the moment I finally realized I'd gotten old, but I'd be lying.  No, the moment I finally realized I'd gotten old was when I penned a lengthy screed to my neighborhood newspaper recently:



Writing letters that nobody will ever read is a serious warning sign of both middle age-onset curmudgeonliness and terminal smugness, and it's only a matter of time before I'm yelling at rowdy teenagers on the bus.

Of course, it could be worse.  I mean, I could live in Portsmouth, NH, which appears to be vying for the title of victim-blaming capital of the world:


The number of pedestrians and cyclists struck by Seacoast drivers is on the rise and local police say in most cases it's not the driver's fault.

Yes, more cyclists and pedestrians are getting killed in Portsmouth, but it's not the drivers' fault because their victims are not wearing reflective clothing or something, so naturally lawmakers want to take the extra step of rewarding these killers by letting them use their phones while driving:

Meanwhile, five Republicans have sponsored a bill to repeal the so-called hands-free law, which restricts the use of handheld devices while driving, with one of them saying the law isn't doing what it's intended to do and that it's a matter of liberty.

They really should change the state motto while they're at it:


Still, you've got to admire the way the motor vehicle lobby has managed to transfer the responsibility of seeing away from drivers and onto everybody else:

When a jogger was struck by a mirror on a passing vehicle last year, according to the new police report, the jogger had been running in South Street, by School Street, while wearing dark clothing with no reflective material. Police determined the jogger "was not seen by the driver," the report notes.

Late last year, at Congress and High streets, also in Portsmouth's busy downtown, a pedestrian was "bumped" in a crosswalk before police determined, after an investigation, that "poor lighting and dark clothing were major contributing factors."

Amazing.

I'm tempted to tell the Portsmouth police to eat shit, but then they'd probably just put it in jail for not being delicious.

Alas, it's becoming increasingly obvious I should just say "Fuck it, I'm moving to Paris" already:


"Climate is the number one priority. Less cars means less pollution. 2017 will be the year of the bicycle," Reuters reports Hidalgo saying.

“The deluge is imminent and we cannot wait for it to sweep us all away … there are too many cars in Paris,” she said on Friday.

Wow, a mayor actually saying there are too many cars in the city?  I don't think I'll ever hear a New York City mayor admit that in my lifetime.  Our supposedly progressive mayor identifies as a driver and gets driven from Manhattan to Brooklyn in an SUV to pedal a stationary bike for 30 minutes, and the people angling to replace him campaign on ideas like this:

The Department of Transportation says more people are biking in NYC than ever before, and that streets should be redesigned with their safety in mind.

Buying a car, having a car, is the last bastion of freedom. You get in your car, you can go anywhere you want at any time you want. It's not like, "You know what, I'm not going to buy a car. I'm just going to use mass transit." There's a lot of areas in the city of New York that are a mass transportation desert. People are still going to drive. That's reality. So you have to deal with motorists.

Holy shit.  Car ownership is basically the definition of onerousness, and perhaps one of our greatest failings as a country is that so many people simply can't get by without consigning a huge chunk of their income to maintaining one.  Really the only difference between tithing and a country where car ownership is a requirement are the cupholders.

No, what Paris is doing sounds a lot more like freedom.  Unfortunately I've forgotten pretty much all of my high school French, but hey, that didn't stop me from publishing a book there:



And check out this rave review:

Un livre léger sur le vélo, pas de grandes théories, c'est très bien pour les toilettes, un voyage en bus ou les vacances...

I'm sure they'll welcome me with open toilets.


86 comments:

mikebike said...

Podio

Wrench Monkey said...

I cheated and this is all I got.

Bryan Bracy said...

podio

Ted K. said...

198. Primitive INDIVIDUALS and SMALL GROUPS actually had considerable power over nature; or maybe it would be better to say power WITHIN nature. When primitive man needed food he knew how to find and prepare edible roots, how to track game and take it with homemade weapons. He knew how to protect himself from heat, cold, rain, dangerous animals, etc. But primitive man did relatively little damage to nature because the COLLECTIVE power of primitive society was negligible compared to the COLLECTIVE power of industrial society.

N/A said...

The Razor Scooter is the last bastion of freedom.

Die free said...

Thanks Snob!

Anonymous said...

Oh well. Top ten.

le Correcteur said...

Top ten; read, more or less.

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...

Easier to do miles with the drone.



vsk

Anonymous said...

First

N/A said...

I could never read the BSNYC books on the toilet, that's where I catch up on all the memes on Imgur.

Fourhourerection said...

Fer Lob's sake, git off that front brake. Dafuque ya think in' about?

dancesonpedals said...

What's really a sign of growing old, is using 'behest' in a sentence sans irony.

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...

Of course 2017 will be the year of the bicycle in Paris.

They keep burning the cars...


vsk

Seattle lone wolf said...

Freedom costs $1.05

Dan Rather said...

Americans will put up with anything provided it doesn't block traffic.

N/A said...

That letter to the editor is top-notch, Wildcat.

Charlie said...

Riverdale, you say? Say hi to Arch and the gang! Kidding, I know it's not a real place.

Anonymous said...

Letter to the editor is good, and, right there, a link to an SUV, driving too fast for the conditions, ends up driving into a Pizza parlor.

Chazu said...

:0(

or

:^P

or

:^) Hey! I can stop obsessively-compulsively reading blogs, including one that I've been reading since '08-ish!

Bernie Sanders said...

You're trying to take away our one inalienable socialist right. Free roads for cars forever!

Chazu said...

"Gold, Snobby, Gold!"

-Kenny Banya

Anonymous said...

Sigh. I read your letter the the editor. Further confirmation that motorists are right: I am nobody.

1904 Cadardi said...

Isn't the right to drive a motor vehicle without being impeded by anyone, especially anyone NOT in another motor vehicle, the elebenty second amendment?

Charles Young said...

Same thing happening in my upscale corner of the world: http://www.mi-reporter.com/news/two-more-pedestrians-struck-in-crosswalks-in-mercer-island/

There's a New Sheriffee in Town said...

"It's a matter of Liberty" Dag nap it!!!

"Sedan" High falutin words you be a using.

Startin 1/20 at noon only use words everyday Trump folks can understand, and only use lowercase and fer git about commas and other confusin plotchas.

JLRB said...

OK - which one of you jokers commented as John Nimby?!?

That is a fookton of bicycles lined up in tube-strike bicycle traffic ...

Chazu said...

JLRB,

'Twasn't me, but now that you mention it; I'm going to post* all of my socio-economic tangentally-related-to-bicycles comments over there on the "Riverdale Is 4 Cars" site from now on.**

*not really.
**the top three stories on that 'news' site are all about local quality of life in the context of cars.

Anonymous said...

Dearest

Nice to meet you. My name is Diane Laws from France. l am 30 years old. l really need your assistance. My husband died two years ago and the family members want to kill me and my children and seat on the inheritance he left for us in the bank, l am now in a hiding place with my kids and the documents of inheritance is with us. Please help us to have this fund transferred to your country and we will fly to join you.

Attached is my picture.

l will be waiting for your reply
Diane Laws.

Anonymous said...

Did you ever find the Brompton Dropper Post? Been looking for a good one for years!

N/A said...

Oh, Diane Laws, from France, you give everybody that sob story.

Drock said...

I guess all dark colored cars should have hi visibility tape on them so drivers don't run into them. Being focused behind the wheel is really an after thought, come on self driving cars and computers.

babble on said...

I figure that guy in the shorts and hi vis jacket rides his bike ALL the time, so he goes fast and gets hot. Sure all of the folks waiting on a bus are shivering, but he doesn't want to spend his commute in a personal sauna. Most of the folks walking in the ensueing London bridge video aren't even wearing gloves. My two cents.

OMG. You know you've arrived when the French recommend you as "Great for Toilets."

N/A said...

My cousins that live in the mountains recommend the phone book as being great for toilets.

Anonymous said...

You know you are getting old when the concerts on PBS begin to appeal to you.

wle said...

Wait, I forget - WHY IS THE ORANGE JULIUS BLUE??
wle

Old Timer said...

Huh? What?

babble on said...

Sure, I write letters nobody wants to read ALL the time. Like this one. Yep. It's a bloody miracle I've survived to celebrate this age and stage of middle-aged curmudgeonliness, one I'll celebrate well away from Portsmouth, the land of mass hypnosis, and oil and gas lobby induced insanity.

But as old as I am, I have so many unanswered questions!!!!

I STILL don't know Who let the Dogs Out?...Where's the Beef?...nor How to get to Sesame Street...
Why doesn't Dora just use Google Maps?...Why do all flavors of fruit loops taste exactly the same, and Just How many Licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop??

Why are eggs are packaged in a flimsy paper carton, but batteries are secured in plastic that's tough as nails, while light bulbs, too, are in a flimsy carton...?

Ever buy scissors? You need scissors to cut into the packaging of scissors!!

I still don't understand why there is Braille on drive up ATM's(!!!!?!?!?!) or why "abbreviated" is such a long word; and I'm sorry, but WHY is there a D in 'fridge' but not in refrigerator?
Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavor, while dish-washing liquid is made with real lemons?...
Why do they sterilize the needle for lethal injections... and, why do you "put your two cents in" but it's only a "penny for your thoughts?" Where IS that extra penny going?... Why do The Alphabet Song and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star have the same tune... Heh, and why did you just try to sing those two songs?...

Just what IS Victoria's secret? (Tho I can guess that one!!)....What would you do for a Klondike bar even knowing that as soon as you bite into it, the silly thing falls apart... Why on Earth do we drive on Parkways and park on Driveways??

And I know you didn't really believe I thought all of that up. Please do feel free to steal it from me, just be sure leave my bikes alone.

Roger Miller said...

Trailers, for Sale or Rent

Rooms;
Toilet;
Fifty cents




ps...that babble lady don't shy from the BIG questions...whom? what? when? inasmuch, how?

leroy said...

My dog assured me that "apres moi, le bike deluge," but I'm not holding my breath.

NoFX said...

Freedom like a shopping cart

You know, the one with the one wheel that won't turn properly, bouncing along making a racket...

leroy said...

Dear Babs @3:01 PM --

I no longer contemplate who let the dogs out.

I'm more interested in who can convince them to stop singing at 3:01 AM and go home.

(Shame about Portsmouth NH, though. It's kinda pretty up there. I guess I won't be riding there anytime soon. Oh well, there's still decent fried seafood at Bob's Clam Hut across the river in Kittery.)

Anonymous said...

This is what you get when the NYPD and the DOT officials live out on Long Island

Serial Retrogrouch said...

Seules les grandes théories sont autorisées dans ma toilette!

London Calling said...

Keep calm and commute on.

Anonymous said...

Babble,

I have your Beef. Right. Here.

bbotn said...

nice letter to the ed.,snob.as I recall that part of da Bronx was a hotbed of irish bars.and there were a lot.so...if things remain the same,more pedestrial space would allow for more stumbling space before someone stumbled into motor vehicular traffic after imbibing.

bbotn said...

not that I would know anything about that......

Frickus Rungus said...

Je viens de rentrer d'une longue vacances passées à lire tout en étant assis sur des toilettes de bus. Qu'est-ce que j'ai raté?

Anonymous said...

wle,

cuz it's IRONIC, duh

wishiwasmerckx said...

4 etoiles on Amazon.fr?

I must say, I am impressed, or, rather, je suis impressionne!

Pathetic Old Cyclist said...

Get outta the road you lycra clad fuckoes before I run y'all inna deeeutch. Pussy ass pedal dipshits.

babble on said...

I've heard that in France, they prefer horse to beef.

jus sayin' z'all

babble on said...

Hooo boy! And about yesterday? Janine, you nailed it in your response to Mr BeerDrivenCyclist, who is definitely not our favourite DrunkCyclist. Um, sir? Qu'est cest que le ACTUAL fuck are you talking about???? You just elected a reality fucking tv star as commander in chief.

And Ms Elizabeth? My 61 lb Electra goes faster than 20mph on the uphill if it's not too steep and I'm running late, and even on the straightaways I've earned a coupla those Stravacrownthingamajiggies on it. Never mind the top speeds on the Lynskey or the Argon. Unless you can show me how you can put a govenor on a bike wheel to cap the top speed of a bike, I'd like to simply point out that regardless of when the power assist stops assisting, any bike can go as fast as its rider is capable of spinning. Just cause you don't travel over 20mph doesn't make that the rule.

babble on said...

Well, ok. The Electra CAN go fast uphill, though in all honesty, it would need a better rider than I. But I can kick it on the downside!! :)

Your campaign manager said...

For 10, hell, maybe even 20 seconds I've pondered the little clues Snobby has deposited on this here his blog regarding what will be occupying his time in the immediate future. The most intriguing clue was in the welcoming testimonial/first post of 2017 where he mysteriously revealed he would be absent more often —— a curious way to endear yourself to your loyal readership.


But following yesterday's and today's politically charged efforts it's become quite clear: our Snobby is laying the groundwork for a 2020 tilt at president of the United States!


And he's in with a damn fine chance. It'll come down to a choice between our Snob and Kanye West and while Snobby's comparative civility may seem like a disadvantage in this age of repugnance triumphing, after four years of Trump the electorate will be ready for a moderately less obnoxious president to rebuild America from the rubble Trump will leave behind.

It'll be like starting from scratch —— just think, the Snob will create the greatest bike network the world has ever seen using all the materials set aside for Trump's wall to build "a bike path to every American's doorstep". Which, of course, will be Snobby's campaign slogan.

He'll piss it in, but best of all just think how much money is to be made from advertising space on this blog! Unfortunately, it means Rapha rather than Walz and Specialized in place of Rivendell, but that's a small price to pay to fix America.


Or it could just be that he's launching a bid for a seat on the North Riverdale Merchants Association...

Putin on the Ritz said...

CM at 708 Or, maybe Snob's setting us up for a just days after 1/20 announcement of new employment in a new swamp. Once the Ayatollah Trump installs his new Duma, maybe they'll be a new position, a "Comrade of Two Wheels" and shortly thereafter Snob (known as Snoberruski in Russian} will announce a nationwide plan called Vision Nyet.

PS Chris Christie to be named the Ayatollah of Tolls.

Doomsday Approaches said...

On 1/20, Thumper, with his hand on the Bible, will turn towards the nearest TV Camera and yell "Pants Yabbies" at the top of his lungs. Later he'll Tweet that he never did such a thing, nor would he ever do such a thing.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

I think "Twitler" and "Hair Furor" are the best nicknames I've heard for Mein Drumpf.

Jeb said...

Y'all make fun at our Donald the soon to be presdent, but just you wait 'n' see. He ain't gonna knuckle under to no China, or no Mexico, or no other people with funny sounding names! We is gonna be great again!

Citizen Cyclist said...

Unicycle we stand

BeerDrivenCyclist said...

62th! Worse than yesterday's 50st...

I bikecycle and I vote. I also drive veeheecles, fish, eat crab, smoke mary-jo-hanna, sleep... but that is beside the point.

Vote 1 Snobby!

Holy Roller said...

Make JESUS great again!!

Holy Roller said...

Put the U.S. back in JESUS!

Holy Roller said...

Sorry. I should lay off drinking the 'holy water' for a while.

SoFlo'd said...

Resting Bitch Face.... because smiling gives you wrinkles....

bieks said...

Anon 5:02, yeah, but why's it ironic?

Lord of the Rings said...

Re. Daftness of single front chain ring.
Three chain rings gives the rider quick access to a ratio that suits the terrain, rather than scrolling thru a massive rear cluster.
Tri it, you'll like it.

RolyH said...

Brompton Race
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1901027460127334&set=gm.1550754391620248&type=3&theater

BikeSnobNYC said...

Lord of the Rings,

I've tried both, have you?

--Wildcat Etc.

Cinimod said...

If you look closely I think you can see lycra peeking out from under Commuterman's 'normal' shorts. Plus he has one of those backpack covers which you only get after getting soaked too many times. I suspect he just runs warm.

The two on Boris bikes are clearly the impostors. The one in green is wearing his best "I've been terribly inconvenienced" face. His hands are barely touching the bike - he's got no gloves and is clearly worried about germs.

JLRB said...

Lord of Rings
True but two or three times the opportunity for a mis-shift

Besides, it's similar to low spoke count - less parts for the same price = bigger profits

NHcycler said...


>>JLRB said:

>>Besides, it's similar to low spoke count - less parts for the same price = bigger profits

But doesn't this newfangled, hi-tech one-by drive train design require expensive R&D, with computerized, ramped-tooth technology for smooth-shifting efficiency?

It doesn't? Oh! Never mind...

Anonymous said...

Can confirm, guy in picture in London is likely daily cyclist. Many people wear shorts in the winter here when commuting, it's quite common. One thing is it's not that cold here (11C right now) although I suspect there is more to it than that, culturally for whatever reason I see lots of guys pulling this off all winter here, unlike anywhere else I've been.

JLRB said...

NHcycler - the computerized, ramped-tooth technology only comes on the premium package, with the moon roof and rear-view camera.

dancesonpedals said...

I'm concerned about the dyslexic snob who couldn't wear designer shirts....he had a Lacoste intolerance

BikeSnobNYC said...

Lord of the Rings,

I've spent plenty of time on three-ring bikes and one-ring bikes over the years. My Marin is a 1x10.

To go all the way across the cassette on a 1x10 is pushing a shifter nine (9) times. In practice you do this pretty much never, since how often do you need to go straight from your lowest gear to your highest or vice/versa?

Similarly, on a triple, how often are you executing a front shift without having to also shift the rear? In practice pretty much never. The same scenario in which you'd have to go all the way across the cassette on a 1x10 would also require a series of front and rear shifts on a triple, with more likelihood of a dropped chain.

Now think about when the ability to shift quickly is most important: coming into a climb. If you're not in the right gear when you hit the climb (as might happen if you're riding somewhere unfamiliar where you can't anticipate the terrain) you're not going to make it up that hill. You can still pull off rear shifts while you're climbing, but if you're in the wrong front ring on a steep climb you're not going to be able to downshift your front derailleur. As for shifting quickly before you start the climb, you're more likely to lose your chain with a front shift than with a rear shift. And again, more likely than not after that front shift you're still going to need to shift your rear anyway.

Cyclists (myself included) have been cobbling together 1x_ drivetrains for ages, myself included, for the reasons above. Now that they come with front rings that hold the chain together and clutch derailleurs that keep the chain taut they're quiet and reliable and work really well. There's plenty of stuff in the bike industry to dismiss as gimmickry or cost-cutting designed as innovation. This isn't one of them. It's genuinely useful and it works well.

A single-ring mountain bike transmission is not much different than a sequential gearbox, which doesn't exactly seem to hold motorcyclists back. I certainly have nothing against triples and there are certainly certain types of terrain and riding where I can imagine they'd be preferable. I'd also never try to convince anybody one setup is "better" than the other. However, it's silly to dismiss a single ring transmission as "daft." They're pretty cool.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

BikeSnobNYC said...

*That's "front rings that hold the chain _better_," not hold the chain "together."

--Wildcat Etc.

BikeSnobNYC said...

**Actually, shifting all the way through the cassette isn't nine (9) pushes of the shifter lever, since you can downshift across more than one cog at once. (Don't know offhand how many simultaneous downshifts my current shifter can handle, since it's pretty much a non-issue.)

JLRB said...

Looking down and seeing a Brompton between your legs (in place of the ol' twig and berries) sounds like something from The Third Policeman

N/A said...

I always think to myself that I want triples on my bikes, on account of the fact that I am horrible on a bike with no climbing ability and I pedal squares and so on, yet, in practice I very seldom find myself shifting the front. 1x setups are great now that you can easily get a monster spread of gears on the rear. Wide/Low chainring setups are good if you're worried about periodic big climbs.


Also, I now have this going through my mind:
Ed Rooney: It usually is. So far this semester he has been absent nine times.
Katie Bueller: Nine times?
Ed Rooney: Nine times.
Katie Bueller: I don't remember him being sick nine times.
Ed Rooney: That's probably because he wasn't sick. He was skipping school. Wake up and smell the coffee, Mrs. Bueller. It's a fool's paradise. He is just leading you down the primrose path.
Katie Bueller: I can't believe it.

bbotn said...

Bueller....Anyone?

Anonymous said...

Whoa, getting all biek-centric in the nether hours of the day. Surprise.

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...

Your chain rings?

How do you answer it?

I need a triple or quadruple! All you fit guys ! If I were only to use one ring up front, the rear lowest cog would have to be serious pie plate size. But I like single rings up front. I like the little bushings or pulleys used to keep the chain in place too.

I remember the guy who rode the Raleigh Sports on the Tour de Snob FonDont one year. No need to tell that guy how many stinking rings to have!

vsk

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk also said ...

Ms. Babble when are you going to scribe on your SpokeNScene with pix!

Alas your holiday time insta or twitter pic disappeared I think.
That was a keeper!

And I'm certain Bea bike has a single ring up front!

vsk

ChrisC said...

RE: Portsmouth NH pedestrians being struck by cars.

I maintain an open mind about the culpability of the drivers. Having lived for a long time in that fine city, I can attest that the average resident is usually very, very drunk and/or not very bright (in the intellectual sense, not the hi-viz attire sense). Stepping out in front of traffic is just one of the many unique local hobbies.