Friday, March 10, 2017

I was going to administer a quiz today, but then I didn't.

They say you haven't truly made it until you're featured in a Manhattan window display:


They also say you're officially a cultural icon if that display rotates:

video

Done, and done.

Anyway, after standing in the snow and crying tears of joy for 20 minutes I made straight for the nearest bicycle:


And as I wiped off the saddle with the sleeve of my custom-tailored Inspector Gadget jacket I decided that Brooks and I should collaborate on some kind of signature premium bike share kit that includes a special foul-weather saddle-wiping cloth and of course a pair of leather sheepskin-lined bicycling gauntlets with matching cap and goggles:



Just imagine what a dashing figure I'd cut as I threaded my way through the streets of Manhattan, my silk scarf trailing behind me until it got caught in the rear-view mirror of a passing truck and strangled me to death.

This is a very real possibility too.  See, the way it works is you're riding in the bike lane, only to encounter a Barone Sanitation truck in the bike lane:


And just when you're making your way around it is when the fuel truck comes roaring up from behind:


Beer trucks are a little different:


What happens there is when you make your move you invariably find yourself on a collision course with the hand truck guy:


Then there's what I call the "Hand-Truck District," which is the stretch of Sixth Avenue just below 34th Street:


On this day in particular I would say hand trucks outnumbered bicycles at least two to one:


Still, even giant trucks in the bike is somehow less frustrating than one asshole's car:


And while I used to find salmon irritating I now just think they should make all the bike lanes two-way and be done with it:


After awhile you realize it's futile to fight with human nature, and instead of creating policy that fights human nature why not simply accommodate it instead?  People are going to salmon, so instead of ticketing we should just make the bike lanes two-way.  People are going to drive like assholes, so instead of this whole "Vision Zero" thing we should just shoot them.  And so forth.

Meanwhile the snow fell in big chunky flakes as I rode:


It fell on the lions in front of the library:


Where there's currently a Lou Reed exhibition:


And where, as I took that picture, an express bus from Staten Island pulled up behind me bearing this decidedly more prosiac advertisement:


I suppose these two banners represent the two opposite ends of the opioid addiction spectrum.

Speaking of snowy climes, bikes now outnumber cars in Copenhagen:
Actually bikes probably outnumber cars in a lot of places, it's just that people aren't riding them.

In any case, apparently t'was not always thus in Copenhagen:

When Copenhagen first began manually counting cars and bikes in 1970, there were 351,133 cars and 100,071 bikes on the roads—a ratio of about 3.5 to 1. That's important, because it means not only are more people riding—about 150 percent more over 46 years—but also, fewer people are driving.

“Cycling went from being a normal part of daily life to a core identity for the city,” Klaus Bondam, former technical and environmental mayor of Copenhagen, explains to the Guardian. 

And they insist that if they can do it anybody can:

“[Bike commuting] is not something that’s in Copenhagen’s genes," Kabell told NPR back in 2014. “We’re [not] weirder or stranger than any other people on earth. Every city can do this.”

It's a nice thought, and there are certainly some encouraging signs in New York City.  Here are the Citi Bike stats for January 2017:


Which is quite an increase from January 2016:

On the other hand, Seattle's bike share program will shut down completely at the end of this month:


Officials had planned to roll out a new system with electric bikes to replace Pronto, the city’s troubled bike-share system.

But Mayor Ed Murray on Friday said millions of dollars allocated for the new system will be spent instead on bike- and pedestrian-safety projects. And the city no longer will pursue an agreement with Quebec-based Bewegen to put electric bikes on Seattle’s streets, said Benton Strong, a Murray spokesman.

Pronto is scheduled to shut down at the end of March, so the announcement means the city will soon have no public system at all.

Yes, Copenhagen's no "weirder or stranger" than any other city--nor is New York, or for that matter Seattle.  But the one thing Seattle has that Copenhagen and New York don't is a helmet law.

So there you go.

82 comments:

Ted K. said...

Note 35. (Paragraph 219) Many leftists are motivated also by hostility, but the hostility probably results in part from a frustrated need for power.

dnk said...

Oh man, I'm spending way too much time on the podium.

P.S., fuck off Ted

Anonymous said...

Toot!

Safety First said...

I think those hand truck guys should be wearing helmets.

cdinvb said...

I was checking what pressure I'm running.

Grump said...

Bikes outnumber cars, both in my garage and basement.

Grump said...

It's the story of my life. 6th place in the field sprint, even with a bike throw.

Fnarf said...

Bike share has never succeeded in any city with a helmet law and never failed in any city without one. And I say that as a devout helmet-wearer in Seattle.

Lieutenant Oblivioius said...

Snow Day Seventh Scranus!

Very Slim Pickens said...

4th Place Weed. Now that it's legal out here in Califuna it's no longer a big deal to be in the top three

Very Slim Pickens said...

Make that top 20th or something.

Grey Poupon said...

Hey "Frogs Legs" poster from yesterday. I saw a late 1800's article saying that people in France were complaining about declining book sales caused by the popularity of bicycles. Only in France.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Bieks outnumber cars in my home, but all the bieks are in the basement and the cars are in the garage and driveway!

What will happen to those Seattle Bike Share bikes? Will people check them out right before the program ends and keep them? Will they be re-settled in another city's bike share program? Will they be for sale in Salvation Army or Goodwill stores? Enquiring minds want to know and all that....

Anonymous said...

Regarding failure of Seattle bike share, check this analysis out https://priceonomics.com/public-bike-sharing-analyzing-the-usage-data-in-us/. Not clear whether hills are negatively correlated to bike share success, but my intuition says yes.

dnk said...

Just enough awning visible to look up the shop. "Kikkerland"?

A fella could have a pretty good time there --- along with Snob's book maybe pick up a companion gift for Leroy's dog

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 12:50pm,

Bay Area's bike share is expanding.

--Wildcat Etc.

Umustbjoking said...

"This is New York. What happens here matters internationally," said U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., long an advocate for supporting alternatives to driving. "If you do it successfully, you can galvanize the streetcar movement we've been working on for the past 25 years.

"Screw it up and maybe you'll kill it."

Fred Fredriksen said...

I once parked my gov't vehicle in a bike lane to post a notice on a power pole. It would have taken 30 seconds. A cyclist stopped to tell me it was a felony to block the bike lane. I told him to call the police. He did. They chose not to respond. He had a ponytail.

Anonymous said...

Yup, we screwed up the bike share big time. And if you think the money will be reallocated to other bike and pedestrian projects.... This is the same mayor that passed a huge transportation levy with a lot of help from the Cascade bicycle club and other such organizations, then immediately dismantled the bike master plan. During out latest traffic snafu (truck overturned on I-5 causing epic backups)the surface street congestion was blamed on bike lanes. There is one dedicated bike lane in downtown, currently closed about 50% of the time due to construction. Bad times for bikes in Seattle.

Max Schlachter said...

Cincinnati's bike share is also doing well. This town certainly has some hills.

Also, you might be interested in Chester Park, Wildcat. It was an old amusement park with a velodrome. I once read that they'd bring in pro riders for weekly races and they'd regularly get trounced by the locals.

babble on said...

Vancouver has a helment law AND a successful (so far!) bike share program.

What we don't have is a police force willing to ticket you for not wearing one. They also tend to ignore pot smoking hippie freaks, which is probably a good thing, seeing as how prohibition always fails. The opiod crisis is a symptom of a failed medical system, becasue addiction is always a symptom of untreated trauma and pain. Full. Stop. You can expect your opioid crisis to worsen with your new fucktard in chief.

Shooting asshole drivers is a great idea. Can we shoot idiot politicians, too, please and thank you? Any government that puts profit over people is evil and needs to end, and I suggest you start at the top and shoot your way down.

Best. Fun. Ever. :)

Serial Retrogrouch said...

Snob... your next book should be about what you find in NYC bike lanes, aside from bikes.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...Could be a children's book

babble on said...

Un, and Vancouver is literally built on mountains cropping out of salt water. Read: good luck finding a street without hills. Bike share success has sweet fuck all to do with hills, and everything to do with safety. If you prioritize safe streets and build separated bike lanes, people will ride.

jno62 said...

A helmet law and tons of big fucking hills. It was poorly planned from the get go. sadly.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Serial Retrogrouch,

"Squashed Rats and Used Condoms" would not make a good children's book.

--Wildcat Etc.

leroy said...

Flipped a coin with my dog to see who would pull the sled hooked up to a Citibike on this morning's commute.

I lost again.

But the joke's on him. I pretended that "mush" was his breakfast order.

Ride safe all!

(dnk - Thanks for the link. My dog and I got into an argument when I opined that solar power should be the dog fuel of the future because what he's burning stinks.)

Anonymous said...

I dunno, Wildcat. “Pressed Rat and Warthog” made a pretty good song.

Ron G. said...

I was in a Bike Snob post! Okay, you have to look really close, but I took about four of those 723,254 Citibike trips while I was visiting from Oregon. And I learned everything I needed to know to bring my small-town lack of skills to the big city right here. Well, everything except to not flip off the Barone's driver grinding his gears and blowing his horn behind me on 51st Street (I think; I was looking for a barstool, not reading street signs) when we were both trapped by an Audi SUV looking for a parking spot. I learned that from watching The Sopranos.

babble on said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Urbanrider3 said...

After reading about your book on rotating display I cried tears of joy for you too. But I don't think that the full extent of your wisdom will be appreciated for many years to come, like van gogh or maybe picasso

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Babble, here in The Garden State of New Jersey, Opiod Addiction is getting some press but don't expect anything good to happen. On Fat Tuesday, it was announced that NJ's Governor at Large, starving for attention, uses money earmarked for providing nutrition to poor women and children to put himself in a commercial.

Not that he gives a shit about people's problems, this is plan B if Trump doesn't call him to DC or he doesn't get the job on WFAN 660 AM!

McFly said...

Ya know technically a hand truck has two wheels.....sooooo.....maybe they have some backhanded right-of-way.

babble on said...

Quelle. Surprise.

Apparently the brains and big bucks behind both Brexit and Trump belong to an extreme right billionaire named Robert Mercer, and you had better believe that had Christie actually performed well during the past year's circus, I mean election, Mr Mercer would be the one funding his current "look how special I am!" ad campaign, instead of money intended to benefit the poor.

And for anyone with their head firmly ensconced in their ass, living in poverty is always traumatic in some way, shape, or form, which is why there is inevitably a strong correlation between poverty and addiction.

dancesonpedals said...

Whether or not dead rats and condoms break into the kiddie market depends on branding... and perhaps plagiarism. WCRM's kids are too young, but mine loved Ratatouille, the adorable Rat-Chef

So call the book, Ratatouille makes Traditional Coney Island Whitefish

dancesonpedals said...

Or maybe 'Hurricane Sandy Blows A Dead Rat'

Bryan said...

Enjoy that snow. Today and tomorrow we will have nice weather, then cold and dreary for 2 days before the return of spring

Anonymous said...

mr. snob,

yes, the helmet law - in seattle and the respective king county - did not help the bike share rollout at all. it also suffered some poor decisions, but most transportation efforts do, whatever modus.

however, seattle is quite different than copenhagen and new york in one, if not two, ways:

hills...

i know everyone thinks that this is a mountain-out-of-a-molehill complaint, but really it is not. the problem is that any sensible grade is often clogged with cars and busses and, quite often, not where you need or want to go.

indeed, while the below list expresses the extreme, there are many sharrow routes and bike lanes that have sections where grades reach ~12% making the current bike share bikes somewhat cumbersome when ascending into many neighborhoods. this is why the electric-assist bike idea was floated.

and, another problem with bike share in such a hilly city are the descents. that is why the helmet law is not exactly that bad of a thing. i wear a helmet and i hope it does me some good when i inevitably go down. not blind faith, just respectful of the possibility of a head strike (not to be confused with a brain strike, which i suffer with some frequency, much to my chagrin). as a note, i ride all the time and have not hit my head in the few spills i have taken over the last 10 years or so. this includes one quite painful car-dooring episode.

however, to encourage people to hop on a bike that can actually attain 30 mph in a matter of seconds on some of the hills in this city and not provide and/or encourage a helmet lacks a certain morality. in the grand scheme of things, most especially in relation to our current driving paradigm's utterly lacking morality, perhaps it is a trivial compliance, i just do not know.

but, what should the city do today to at least attempt some risk mitigation? i would love better infrastructure and general enforcement of existing traffic laws (not to mention better laws and rules, e.g. automobile speed reduction), but that is a hope that much greater than the foam hat doing me some good.

rain…

i am sure this one will get the eyes rollin' as copenhagen and nyc get their fare share, no doubt. but we got something like nine inches over this february alone and it rained most days. when you combine this with the above mentioned hills, it is treacherous. i will leave it at that.

regards,

pqbuffington

steepest paved street sections in seattle:

- east roy street 26.04%
- east boston street 23.8%
- east highland drive 23.6%
- mercer street 22.6%
- east boston street 22.5%
- mercer street 22.4%
- east prospect street 22.3%
- helen street 22.0%
- ward street 21.5%
- queen anne avenue 18.5

Fred McFredly said...

Actually it's not the helme[n]t law that did the Pronto bikes in in Seattle. There were dispensers available to get around that barrier. Instead it was the fact that we have hills, lots of them. They found the consistent pattern that people would pick up a bike somewhere and leave it somewhere lower, like along the waterfront.

babble on said...

Heh. I prefer the latter, dop. Thanks. C'est tres cool. But then, anything to do with blow jobs is always fun 'n' games, don't ya think?

But whatever hits the shelves of your local children's bookstore, let's just hope we don't have to read about rats using condoms to keep the population explosion under control, cause that's just dull dull d. u. l. l.

babble on said...

I'm sorry, people, but we have many, many hills in Vancouver, (unenforced) healment laws, a metric fucktonne of annual rain, AND a successful bikeshare program. We also have a hot mayor, a man who rides his bike every single fucking day. And that's it.

The success of your bikeshare program has nothing at all to do with hills, rain, or even helmet laws (well maybe a little to do with those) and absolutely EVERYTHING to do with the political will to ensure that roads are bicycle friendly. Full. Stop.

babble on said...

ps
#sorrynotsorry

babble on said...

Elect a decent, bike friendly politician or two and then see what happens to your bikeshare programs. It really does make a world of difference.

Then shoot all of the fucktards who think cars should rule the roads and the economy. Enough mrs nice guy already.
#justshootthefuckers

Cinimod said...

Then the scheme should pay out if you ride uphill - that would balance things out and would no doubt have all sorts of interesting side effects...

Anonymous said...

Seattle has waaaay more hills than vangroovy. The island proper is pretty much flat...
3 speed beach cruiser is not the bike you want for Seattle hills. Dick brake road bikes with low gears all day.
Basically, people that are gonna ride bikes in fall and winter, are hardcore that have their own bikes

1904 Cadardi said...

"Squashed Rats and Used Condoms" - A popup book!

Colorado's government is planning to raise the state sales tax to gather funds for road and bridge repair. Why not raise the gas tax? Because that would unfairly penalize drivers.


(Ironic robo-test: identify pictures of cars)

Hair Furor said...

Todays ride to work was during peak Slush-storm... Something about shitty weather causes pedestrians to prance about in the bike lane. I clipped 2 with my handlebars and full-on hit a third. I'm certainly not proud, but also fuck them.

I remember thinking at the time it was all a bad idea from the get-go.

Dear Lob, please absolve me of my sins.

Gee Gaw the barista said...

Vancouver's the only place I ever lived that had helmet laws.

Sucks ass.

The Chamois Underground said...

I'm sure Lou Reed would trip out watching those rotating window displays and write a seven minute song about the experience.

Anonymous said...

Hair Furor --- did you read yesterday's post & confessional comments about hitting pedestrians and kittens?

Wesley Bellairs said...

Copenhagen has Danes. We have high-functioning morons. Big difference.

Factory Man said...

I wonder what an Andy Warhol, silkscreen portrait of Wildcat would look like, or what it would fetch today at auction?

Da Da said...

I'd lump it in there with Duchamp's Bidet

Francois said...

Excuse my ignorance of the NYC way, but why is the on-road bike lane on the left side of the road in your pictures? I don't think I've ever encountered that…

wle said...

Copenhagen, isn't that totally like flatsky?

dancesonpedals said...

Francois-

We don't know. It's like that.

Anonymous said...

One way street,

Some guy from upstate said...

From 2016 to 2017, Citibike's average speed increased from 8.45 to 10.69 mph. All that Cat 6'ing is starting to pay off!

Come Hill or Highwater said...

Ano. @ 3:21.
Where the hell is this 'flat' island you speak of in the Pacific Northwest?!!

Come Hill or Highwater said...

I'm planning a 3 speed beach crusier touring holiday.

Ryan Kelley said...

You are not going to believe this, or care: I cried tears of joy when I got a job for the 2006 Denver Broncos season as a "concession stand cook."

Anonymous said...

YES!!! Ted K FTW.


Booya!

Anonymous said...

Pss., fuck off loser.

Low Brow said...

All this gutter speak detracts from the original message of Mr. Snobs observations. A little respect and maturity would only go to enhance the conversation.

8carlisle said...

the grades listed for seattle are not really found in vancouver proper but rather in white rock or new westminster; or the hills can be bypassed.

bad boy of the north said...

I see that you're going for the steampunk look if you proceed with the Brooks collaboration.if you do it on your own(no copywrite infringement) I wonder what name could be applied to your fashion statement?

bad boy of the north said...

I guess the store could sell your books on a rotating basis.

JLRB said...

Peering the blinds ... are they still out there?

Just another day in Trump's America said...

1904 Cad @ 239 "Colorado's government is planning to raise the state sales tax to gather funds for road and bridge repair. Why not raise the gas tax? Because that would unfairly penalize drivers."

At the same time proposing to do away with the state tax credit for buying an electric vehicle. Change the "Can't get enough of that Sugar Crisp." to "Can't get enough of that CO2." The Koch Brothers are behind the proposal to do away with the electric vehicle incentive (no joke, they are).

Anonymous said...

Bikeshare failed in Seattle for several reasons, hills and rain are not important-- those are smokescreen reasons thrown up by the "it will never work here/war on cars!" set that fears the loss of street parking. The main reasons it failed: our bike infrastructure is horseshit: three downtown non-intersecting bike lanes, a bunch of shittyarrows and a self-anointed "best city for biking" are not infrastructure,) our roads are in awful condition anywhere away from the eastside and our local "bike-friendly" politicians support for building new cycling infrastructure is tepid at best (over two decades and multiple injuries before the Missing Link connector is agreed upon and developing it wont start until the end of 2018 at least.) And yes, whatever minimal marginal effect the helmet law has on converting people/trips to cycling is a negative, it needs to be repealed.

geraldo said...

Bikeshare in Seattle failed because I instead take my helmetless non-pointed fat head instead South to PDX.... You have a choice where the Empire Builder forks in the rail in GEG. Note to two wheeled travelers, Spokane (GEG) has a self limiting Helmet law too and no Bikeshare, Pronto or Purple bike or any color Bike Program to boot.

One Good Turn said...

Looks to me that Snob has hired a spin doctor to promote his books.

Anonymous said...

Eric must be pleased with the removal of the tanning tax

ThePenguin said...

When does the Gowanus Ice Rink open? Or is it to rancid to freeze?

Anonymous said...

https://twitter.com/GranitJacka/status/840680421457297409

dancesonpedals said...

Riding Beach Cruisers

More cars are required said...

Why can't all the apologists for helmet laws apologise for the helmet laws rather than make excuses about them? In Melbourne bike share failed because "the stations are in the wrong place". In Brisbane bike share failed because "there isn't any good bike infrastructure". I put it down to the bikes being the wrong color rather than the fucking helmet laws.

bad boy of the north said...

dancesonpedals,nice time to escape the clutches of the snowpocalypse of March 2017.wifey and I on the hand will have it's snowy and icy grip as we prepare our move to more southern climes.

dancesonpedals said...

No escape, we flew home last night.

bad boy of the north said...

Dances,welcome home.

Anonymous said...

Massively late to this party and I realise everyone has fone home (woken up with a hangover and then gone to work- for a week)

Babs, look up Clover Moore, elected Lord Mayor of Sydney, you may vote for a bike loving pollie but you'll still get your cycle lanes ripped up.

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