Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Indignity of Cruising Around Aimlessly By Bicycle: Frequent Bridge Crossings

Good news for anybody planning to escape the Golden Shower of Terror that will begin to rain down upon us on January 20th:
I'll be the one coming up behind you screaming, "ON YOUR LEFT!!!"

Sadly though there's no way it's going to be finished by Inauguration Day, and presumably Cuomo is shooting for a ribbon-cutting that will coincide with the announcement of his 2020 election bid.  This is a highly attainable goal, since by then New York State (and the rest of the United States) will be a post-apocalyptic wasteland, and NIMBY opposition to projects like this will be at an all-time low.

In the meantime, as cycling's foremost chronicler and a world-renowned author of French-language toilet books, I live at a far remove from the common cyclist.  My home is an ivory tower in the far northern reaches of the city, and it houses a vast stable of exotic bicycles.  Given this, it's easy to understand why my grasp on the "common touch" is tenuous, and therefore it's vital that I occasionally lower myself into the trenches and see how the plebes live.

To that end, yesterday I headed downtown with Brompton in tow.  Then, in a show of solidarity with the rest of you commuting schmucks, I performed an epic crossing of the three East River bridges connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn, thereby suturing the two boroughs together with surgical precision:


My first stitch began at the Brooklyn Bridge:


Were I was horrified to see that the city has stolen my pun with this ostensibly clever sign:


See?


It's only fair that I should receive 10% of any lock-related fines as a royalty.

The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most recognized landmarks in the world.  Built in 1776 by Walt Whitman or something, it has carried traffic over the East River since long before the advent of the motor vehicle.  As such, it is crawling with tourists, many of whom gaze upon its stone towers in wonder while standing right in the middle of the bike lane:


I've made my peace with this and have for awhile now been of the opinion that the wooden pathway should be fully ceded to pedestrians and that a lane of automobile traffic should be removed from the roadway and replaced with a bike lane.  Sadly the chances of that ever happening are virtually nil, since New York City drivers cling to their free bridge crossings like the rest of America clings to their assault rifles.  Nevertheless, instead of yelling at the tourists to get outta the way like a doofus, I merely flash a tight-lipped smile, maybe flick the bell gently if necessary, and generally try to delude them into believing that New York City cyclists are possessed of both dignity and composure.

Here is the view of the harbor:


Here is the view of the other bridges I will soon be crossing:


And ahead of me lies Brooklyn:


Upon making landfall I dutifully followed the arrows:


And then locked up my bike, even though it folds into a compact and easily-carried package:


Note how I've even employed a second lock to secure my saddle to the bike rack.

Before taking possession of a folding bike I always used to wonder why people locked them up instead of simply folding them and taking them inside.  Now that I have one, I realize there are generally three reasons for doing so:

1) Laziness;
2) Stupidity;
3) Shame.

In this particular case my decision was informed by all three.

Anyway, once I'd seen to my business (I can't say what it is but rest assured they've got some juicy kompromat on me now), I headed onto the Manhattan Bridge and back towards Manhattan:


During rush hour the Manhattan Bridge is one of the premiere Cat 6 racing venues in New York City.  However, there's virtually no action to be had in the middle of a weekday when it's like 30 American degrees out, so instead I occupied myself with the view:


Unlike the comparatively quaint Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge is a forbidding structure of beams and girders that rumbles ominously with subway and truck traffic:


As for bike traffic, it was pretty much limited to this guy:


And this guy:


And of course me--though I have no doubt that there was still plenty of off-season Cat 6-ing during the evening rush.

The Manhattan skyline is constantly evolving, and as I alighted in Manhattan I passed yet another shiny glass sprout:


I then made my way onto the Allen Street/1st Avenue bike lane, which was impressively clear of snow:


But not of package delivery:


Though I suppose I'd rather share a bike lane with a hand truck than with an actual truck.

The bike approach to the Williamsburg Bridge however was not so clear:


Though the span itself was pristine, and upon attaining it I slotted in behind some bike messenger types:


The Williamsburg Bridge was a bit more lively than its neighbor downriver:


Even if both are similarly industrial:


And of course Williamsburg itself is a sandbox of real estate development:


Which you can view through what I assume is some kind of DIY art installation:


See?


Yes, the days when Williamsburg was derided as some kind of hipster playground now seem positively quaint, and now it's become a neighborhood of luxury retail and expensive residential boxes:


Where vintage luxury cars are the new fixie:


Upon my arrival I stopped for a coffee break:


And enjoyed the sound of idle bike-related chatter while watching the world go by:


Once I finished my coffee I hopped back on the clown bike and back into Manhattan.  While much of the city has been buffed to a high sheen, some things about the New York City streets never change.  For one thing, you can't go too far without spotting a rat pancake:


For another, you can't go too far in a bike lane without encountering an NYPD vehicle:


And this one was working in tandem with a privately-owned van:


See?


I can only assume the NYPD were ticketing it for excessive pop culture references, since I'm sure they couldn't care less it was in the bike lane:


But a changed city also means new hazards.  For example, the increasing ubiquity of Uber means more and more people standing in the middle of the street trying to figure out if that black car is actually for them.  For example, as I was rounding one corner, I had to pick my way through a pair of bro-bags attempting to suss out a driver while looking up and down from their phones:

"Zamir?  Zamir?  Are you Zamir?  Zamir?," they said over and over, like Zamir had just regained consciousness and they were trying to figure out if he remembered who he was.

It was annoying for me, but I mostly just felt bad for Zamir and the bro-tastic conversation he'd no doubt be enduring for the next 20 minues, assuming he did in fact turn out to be their driver.

Of course, other car service-related issues long predate Uber, such as the passenger disembarking in the middle of the bike lane:


Yet even with all the impositions it's good to see they embolden New York City's cyclists to carry increasingly wide loads:


If we keep filling the bike lanes with bikes there won't be room for anyone else.

65 comments:

Ted K. said...

199. Instead of arguing for powerlessness and passivity, one should argue that the power of the INDUSTRIAL SYSTEM should be broken, and that this will greatly INCREASE the power and freedom of INDIVIDUALS and SMALL GROUPS.

Gecko said...

Suck it, Ted. First!

turkeysandwich said...

I'm turd! Poo-dium!!!

Chazu said...

I haven't read it yet, but I know it is an "Epic" of Rapha-esque proportions.

Die free said...

So close

N/A said...

Note how I've even employed a second lock to secure my saddle to the bike rack.

NOTED.

Anonymous said...

TOOP TEEN

Anonymous said...

Was it just me or was the second bridge biker the second coming of Prince?

And I read it!

1904 Cadardi said...

It's almost like you expect cars to NOT park in the bike lane. What do you think the bike lane is for, bikes?

Fourhourerection said...

Oh. Missed it again. Top twenty?

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Missed it by that much! Scranus!!!!

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

AYHFMB

All You Haters Flick My Bell

Bryan said...

Looks cold there. I'm gonna regret this in about 2 months, but is it summer yet?

Charlie said...

Wait, wait, wait! A trail? Direct from NYC to the Canadian border? Cuomo, WTF?

No way we want a flood of you folks riding your claptrap, foreign germ-infested bikes here. No queue-jumping illegals. Get in line and wait your turn like our ancestors did. We are building a wall and you are paying for it.

Anonymous said...

What's indigity?

bbotn said...

#whatbagelandloxareyoueating.

rob rocha said...

2nd coming? That is prince. He is not dead but in the witness protection program because of the mob.

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...

Still lower than 20 without training ...

vsk

N/A said...

That Empire Trail To Canadia thing could be wonderful. By the time it is completed, Wildcat's kids should be old enough for a long ride. Or, there could be a BSNYC Summer Camp Epic wherein a crowd of intrepid riders, led by Wildcat himself, make the trek into the wilds of America's dusty toupee, leaving a trail of beer cans and spent CO2 cartridges in their wake.

Anonymous said...

You suck "it", whatever "it" may be. Ted Rules.

Niagara Falls said...

"And ahead of me lies Brooklyn:"
Slowly I turned
Step by Step
Inch by Inch

Nothing like views through a chain link fence, makes one think their back at home on Rikers Island.

Way North of the US Taxpayer Paid For Mexican Wall said...

Babble and CC, Meryl Streep gave a shoutout to Canada at the Golden Globes

"Ryan Gosling, like all the nicest people, is Canadian."

His Nose Gets Longer and Longer every Day said...

Scion of Swamp Scum everywhere lying again. Said over and over and over he'd release his taxes once an audit is completed. Now says he will not.

Mike in Dallas said...

Wow, 3 quotes of gold Snobby, Solid Gold! Hot today, my man!

"since New York City drivers cling to their free bridge crossings like the rest of America clings to their assault rifles."

"Though I suppose I'd rather share a bike lane with a hand truck than with an actual truck."

"If we keep filling the bike lanes with bikes there won't be room for anyone else."

Anonymous said...

#CommutesCount!

Pizza Rat said...

Less Ted K.!

More rat pancake!

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

His Nose Gets Longer and Longer every Day said...@3:11

Try not to focus on the words that come out of his mouth. Instead, focus on what is in his heart... Wait, he has a heart?

I wonder how he knows we should all be wary of video cameras so small no one will ever find them in hotel rooms. Hmmm....

McFly said...

Dignity and composure are so over-rated.

Dooth said...

I hop rat pancakes.

Billy said...

>> If we keep filling the bike lanes with bikes there won't be room for anyone else.

I feel like this is the solution to a lot of bike-lane blocking. I doubt it will keep out the NYPD, but it would make it a lot less convenient for pedestrians, taxi-grabbers, opportunistic parking, etc. Bike lanes in Amsterdam were just chock-full of bikes and pretty much only bikes, largely for that reason I think.

Kevin said...

Rat pancake? We were so poor growing up we used those as frisbees.

John Vassall said...

If you only knew what they know about you

Hillbillies Be a Singing said...

"Jeb" at 934 yesterday: Is that Jeb Clampett singing the praises of The Donald, thought he died years ago.

Next thing you know Arnold Ziffel will be singing the praises of The Donald.

JLRB said...

Nose gets Longer - Look, the azz clown tweeter in chief Lied about many things and he will continue to do so. There is no need to point it out any longer. There are obviously enough people in this great land of ours that don't give a shit if he lies as long as they like the flavor of bullshit he is spewing. Just get a bucket of popcorn, put your feet up, and enjoy the show.

Fredder said...

http://www.newyorker.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/170102_a20390-690.jpg

A bicycle related comic from the New Yorker for your delectation.

Drock said...

My town has no bike lanes so the path is never obstructed for me. Just go around, however I am the only cyclist in a city of 500k, people actually stop and stare like I'm something they've never seen before, it's actually nice.

Frickus Rungus said...

I'm not sure we will ever be free of the dangers related to sharing with cars. Take the TDF as an example... Closed course with nothing but bikes, pedestrians (spectators) and cars that are there for the sole purpose of supporting the riders. The cars still somehow manage to run over riders and knock them off the road.
Maybe if Elon digs tunnels for our roads (Boring!) we can wait until all of the cars are under ground then fill in the tunnels.

Anonymous said...

Is this as good as runner up?

BeerDrivenCyclist said...

39st. Much improved on yesterday's poor showing of 62th and the previous day's 50rd. Selfie high five for me.

Zamir said...

You bet your sweet falafel I rock the kasbah. And my Led Zeppelin is to die for.

Bernie Sanders said...

Now you want to take away our free bridge crossings and free bike lane parking? They're our last bastions of socialism!

I'm Flattered said...

Some rats were hurt during the making of this blog.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the rat was hurt, it just looked tired.

Grump said...

That Empire Trail will never be completed. Before it's completed, Canada will build a wall (and make us pay for it) to keep out Blue Staters.
In 9 more days, that van, blocking that bike lane, will be blown up, because there will be a severe chance that it's a Terrorist plot to destroy our Purity of Essence. Of course, the entire block will have to be blown up with the van, along with it's inhabitants, but better safe than sorry.



dop said...

ou went all the way to Brooklyn for kompromat? Bronx kompromat not good enough for you?

N/A said...

The rat was pining for the fjords.

Crosspalms said...

Various search results say its from 298 to 350 miles from Chicago to Windsor, Ontario (FREEDOM CANADA, BABY!!),depending on how much road you want to share with maniacs. So either I get there twice as fast as Snob, or we get there about the same time because he's younger and spryer than me, but the existential question is still: gravy on fries? I love fries, but poutine just sounds like what we all woke up to the day after the election. No offense meant to Babble, Commie, or anyone else in America's colorful toque! Maybe I should concentrate on the doughnuts...

Lord of the Rings said...

The argument you make for a single chain ring is strong, Wildcat. However, the tiny gear on the front looks off balance with all the massiveness of what's going on with the rear, so asthetically speaking, the tri-gear triumphs.

JLRB said...

Come now Lord o' Rings - you if anyone should know - one ring to rule them all

BikeSnobNYC said...

Lord of the Rings,

OK, so after all of that it was just a matter of aesthetics for you?

You might have saved me the trouble.

--Wildcat Etc.

Lord of the Rings said...

No, I was only jesting. I like the simplicity of the single chain ring/large rear cluster, and if I had the wherewithall to aquire such a ride as opposed to the shitty old Norco Big Foot I am presently riding as a sacrificial winter bike, I would most surely do so. Thank you for your input.
Ps. Gollum is really into the one ring too!

Anonymous said...

Great camera work, do you like graffiti?

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 12:57am,

Occasionally, though I find most of it worthless.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Anonymous said...

Never be ashamed of your Brompton.

bbotn said...

Yawnn... Someone's up early or is it late,this morn?

Francois said...

I also lock my brompton outside.
But I lower the seat post, so I can lock the frame and the saddle with a single lock.

Anonymous said...

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/01/why-trump-cant-let-go-214625

JMB said...

Worthless graffiti? Samo, Samo.

Fourhourerection said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Well, no wonder...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Brooklyn-Cycling-Kit-Mens-M-Club-Cut-Short-Sleeve-Jersey-and-Bibshort-/231344535350?hash=item35dd357736:g:NhQAAOSwQItUJXTE

Bayer // Old Dog said...

Since you are talking about the bridge.

I was really curious to see what you have to say about those dudes on the Brooklyn bridge that was uploaded today:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Z8tkTRaSl8

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Hammed said...

great camera work,really nice keep on update.
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