Of course the idea of taking your perfectly serviceable mechanical drivetrain and incorporating finite battery life into it is, on many levels, patently absurd. Nevertheless, a true bike dork always appreciates a good kludge (even if "good kludge" is something of an oxymoron), and it seems to me that a wireless shifter that works with a multitude of mechanical derailleurs opens a veritable Pandora's box (or, if you prefer, Sheldon's toolbox) of kludge-tastic possibilities.
Take this bike, for example, which won a coveted Kludgie award back in 2007:
What bike dork worth his* SPD sandals wouldn't want to see this beauty outfitted with some Xshifters in the tenth anniversary year of that auspicious occasion?
*(Yes, his. Compulsive kludgery is a condition that disproportionately affects males.)
Anyway, for this reason alone I was ready to welcome the XShifter (and so apparently was the rest of bike-dorkdom because they raised a lot of money on Kickstarter), but now it seems that more such devices are on their way. And while Xshifter's presentation did have a certain DIY sensibility, it's like watching an Apple keynote compared to this one:
At this rate, electronic bicycle shifting conversion kits are going to be hanging in little packages at Target right next to the sports ball inflator pins.
Still, this most recent one probably works better than the Modolo Morphos, which was the analog solution to drivetrain cross-compatibility:
(On closeout at Nashbar, enter discount code BUTTSCOPE at checkout.)
Meanwhile, if you were waiting for the worlds of Trumpism and bike lane bashing to collide, your wait is finally at an end:
Ann Pfoser Darby, a long-time member of Queens Community Board 4, argued last night that 111th Street by Flushing Meadows Corona Park doesn’t need a protected bike lane because Donald Trump will deport “all the illegals.” City Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland is now calling for Borough President Melinda Katz to remove Darby from the board.
Transportation Alternatives Queens organizer Juan Restrepo reports that at an update on the 111th Street project last night, Darby said, “Once Trump removes all the illegals from Corona, there won’t be anybody to ride bike lanes.”
A few things:
Firstly, if you're unfamiliar with how New York City works, what happens is the DOT identifies a street that needs safety improvements. You know, because people are getting maimed and killed by cars. Once they do, they draw up a plan, which they present to something called a "community board." Often made up of longtime residents whose self-interests have grown so bloated and heavy over the years that they've collapsed on themselves and gone supernova, these xenophobes do all they can to preserve their free street parking and fight anything that might make their neighborhood safer or more attractive to anybody who's not a misanthropic shut-in. And incredibly, instead of telling a bunch of people who don't know the first thing about street design to shut up, the DOT will keep changing the design and coming back to them like Maria Carey's interior decorator with a bunch of fabric samples.
Secondly, in this particular case, 111th Street runs along Flushing Meadows Park, which is the fourth-largest park in New York City. It's home to the New York Hall of Science, the Queens Zoo (which is way better than you'd think), and the Unisphere, among other landmarks. Frankly, the idea that a park of this size shouldn't have a bike lane near it is fucking obscene. Indeed it's a gross failing of this city that most large parks are surrounded by busy streets and that people basically have to run for their lives to get into and out of them. Every park should be surrounded by protected bike lanes, and it's crazy that they aren't.
Thirdly, people in New York City who hate bike lanes should decide once and for all which despicable group is using them: the soulless gentrifiers who are pricing out all those decent hardworking car owners, or the illegal immigrants who are stealing all those cushy high-paying food delivery jobs and thus don't deserve to ride in safety? It's vexingly inconsistent, especially to those of us who don't really fit into either category yet still find ourselves in bike lanes and are laboring under the delusion that maybe they actually benefit most people.
Finally, perhaps Ann Pfoser Darby, long-time member of Queens Community Board 4, should go to work for the Trump administration. Then instead of a wall she can try to convince him to build a one-way bike lane between 111th Street and Mexico.
What a freaking pfoser. The DOT should tell them to go pfuck themselves and build that bike lane already.