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:@nuttyxander The collective noun for commuting Londoners is now a 'bridge' load. pic.twitter.com/2JxThpENvb— Chris Kenyon (@BoxbikeLondon) January 9, 2017
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."
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.