Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Indignity of Walking After A Snowstorm: Snow

Well, the snowstorm yesterday wasn't quite what they anticipated, but it did give the DOT an opportunity to show off its bike lane-clearing prowess:
Yes, the city continues to add bike lanes:
And, while it's still something of a hit-or-miss affair, the DOT continues to get better about plowing them.  In fact, we're at an awkward point now where the cyclists have it better than the pedestrians.  See, what happens when it snows is that the DOT works assiduously to plow the streets for motorists.  (And, to a lesser, cyclists.)  This creates a massive wall of snow along the curb...which they just leave there, even if it's blocking a bus stop or a crosswalk.  And while property owners are responsible for clearing the sidewalks in front of their buildings, that's more or less where keeping the city walkable in a snowstorm ends.  The upshot of all of this is that you have to climb a fucking mountain just to cross the street:
In a city ruled by common sense instead of the admonition to "Be careful out there!" this tweet would read "Hey DOT, clear the fucking crosswalks!"  However, sadly the automobile still holds more sway over the city than common sense.  This is especially frustrating when you consider that in a snowstorm drivers should be the very last consideration.  Driving during a snowstorm is a bad decision, and the city should not encourage it, because the typical motorist is completely inept in this regard.  To wit:


I will post that video until the end of time because it articulates the relationship Americans have with cars better than perhaps anything else I've ever seen--and I say this as someone who has the use of a motor vehicle that is owned by a bank until I finish paying them back for it.  Really, this video has everything, included but not limited to:

--"American" car ostensibly with all-terrain capability;
--Driver completely unable to utilize this all-terrain capability due to his complete ignorance with regard to the nature of traction and gravity;
--Road rage;
--Grown man throwing an obscenity-laden temper tantrum in front of a private residence in clear view and earshot of children.

Yes, it's quite satisfying to see someone's faith in their lavish purchase get completely shattered, though it's horrifying to consider this represents the state of mind of many of the drivers with whom you "share" the road.

Nevertheless, despite this widespread ineptitude, drivers are implicitly encouraged to venture out into the snow they're too stupid to drive in because the city starts plowing the second the first snowflake hits the pavement.  Meanwhile, if you want to simply walk across the street for a sandwich because you've been inside all day watching "Sex and the City," drinking brandy, and painting your nails (at least that's what I was doing) you've got to clamber over a hip-deep mountain of snow.  And sure, of course I realize the streets need to be clear so emergency vehicles can respond to people keeling over while shoveling:


Some patients have been hit, accidentally, by shovels. Others have back strains, muscle aches or neck pain from lifting them and twisting. Occasionally, people coming in with chest pain and dizziness are having heart attacks.

“When we’re shoveling snow — especially when the snow is wet — it tends to be a lot heavier, equivalent to lifting hundreds of pounds of weight, potentially,” Dr. Shih said. “A lot of people who are shoveling snow may not be used to the amount of exercise that’s needed and tend not to lift the right way, so they end up hurting themselves.”

Two things:

1) Ironically, many of these people are probably digging out the very SUVs that have rendered them sedentary and physically unfit in the first place;

2) Always wear a helmet while shoveling:


Oh, and if you're a total Shovel Fred, be sure to get one made from crabon:


Anyway, all of this is a very roundabout and disingenuous way of masking a highly personal complaint as concern for public safety, because yesterday while digging out my Porsche Cayenne my $2,000 crabon snow shovel snapped:


No, what really happened was that these mountains of snow along the curb affected me yesterday, and that's when I start to take something seriously.  See, the weather started easing up late in the day, so we ventured out for some family-style dining.  Above-ground subway service had been suspended, but was about to return, and I'm assuming NY1 was there to capture the triumphant moment when Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton boarded the first train of the day:


As for us, we prepared to board an approaching bus instead, but were very nearly prevented from doing so by the aforementioned mountains of plowed snow on the curb.  Eventually we did find a furrow and were able to get on the bus, only to find that the diner as well as three (3) separate corporate dining chains were closed due to the storm.  (That a diner would close for any reason is unthinkable, but I'm here to tell you that it happened.)  Fortunately we were able to dine quite lavishly at a local alehouse boasting a mind-boggling array of beers, thus fortifying ourselves for the return bus trip.  Alas, when de-bussing, we were yet again confronted with a wall of snow along the curb extending for miles in either direction.  Had I been unladen I might have simply walked over it, but upon summiting the mountain the additional weight of the two year-old in my arms caused me to fall through the crust at least my knees, filling my boots with snow and my soul with disdain for a city that refuses to accommodate bipeds.  This was not only annoying for me, but it also made me appreciate how difficult the streets are for people who are not mighty strapping specimens of humanity with bulging beer muscles such as myself, and how they're rendered basically immobile because nobody can be bothered to clear the fucking crosswalk for them.

And there you go.

Or, to put it far more succinctly, the city should ban private cars during snow emergencies and not allow them again until all pedestrian crossings and bus stops have been cleared.

Though I suppose that wouldn't help because once everything has been cleared and the drivers dig themselves out they just fuck everything up again by throwing the snow all over the place.  Also, they get an additional 5' of latitude in every direction when it comes to parking:


And then it will be spring, and nobody will care anyway.

Alas, perhaps one day we'll be as respected as tractors are:


We can only hope.

59 comments:

Ted K. said...

221. Because of the restrictions placed on their thoughts and behavior by their high level of socialization, many leftists of the over-socialized type cannot pursue power in the ways that other people do. For them the drive for power has only one morally acceptable outlet, and that is in the struggle to impose their morality on everyone.

Anonymous said...

Ted, you one again. Now go use your snowblower.

Schisthead said...

As a side note, watch out for people driving tractors.

They're often very old and aren't paying attention very well.

Anonymous said...

hokey smokes and snow shovel podios

Anonymous said...

Dam it. Spelling mistakes cancel podium places.

fourhourerection said...

No pode fo meh. No snow, neither. Batting .500

Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton said...

Good one today, Wildcat.

(Especially liked the historic allusion.)

JB said...

Oh. Hi.

cdinvb said...

I'm running 26x1.5 smooth in front, 26x1.75 knobby on back. Hard tail and non-suspension fork. I'm wondering what pressure I should be running for snow. No. Wait. I live in Florida. The white stuff is sand.

Anonymous said...

Wow, 1.5 meters?? I feel lucky when they give me 3 feet of clearance here!

NHcycler said...

Keep in mind, though, if private vehicles are banned during snow emergencies, then any diners will be closed anyway.

Chazu said...

Thank you

Sheldon Brown said...

"I'm running 26x1.5 smooth in front, 26x1.75 knobby on back."

Scroll about 3/4 the way down, to the headign that says Off-Road Issues

"Bikes that are used some of the time on loose surfaces often benefit from a wider front tire, with a fairly aggressive tread, coupled with a somewhat narrower, smoother rear tire.

The wide, knobby front tire will provide the all-important front wheel traction. Front-wheel skidding almost always leads to a crash. For riding on soft surfaces, such as sand or mud, a wide front tire is essential. If the front tire sinks in and gets bogged down, you're stuck. If the front tire rolls through a soft patch OK, you can generally power the rear through to follow it.

The narrower, smoother rear tire will have lower rolling resistance. Since most of the weight is carried by the rear tire, rolling resistance is more important on the rear than the front. If the rear tire slips, in most cases the worst that will happen is that you'll have to get off and walk.

This is a great idea that developed out of BMX racing."

McFly said...

Isn't equivalent to lifting hunderds of pounds the same as lifting hundreds of pounds?


With so many kneeling options shoveling comes in pretty low on the list.

The King of Park Slope said...

Shit, storm.

JLRB said...

Where is that groundhog?

Bayer // Old Dog said...

One question to the dude stuck in the snow: #whatpressureareyourunning ?

N/A said...

I'll tell you what you shoulda' done, Wildcat: Take two decent lengths of rope with you, tie one end around the waists of your kids, then pitch the kids over the snow embankments while retaining the other end of the rope. If done properly, you and Mrs. Wildcat can then use the ropes to assist with climbing over the mountains of snow while the kids sink into it on the far side, acting as anchors.

N/A said...

Obviously, you'll want to lower the pressure on your Reebok Pumps for maximum floatation over the snow mountains.

Max Schlachter said...

And don't forget those snow mountains freezing and trapping garbage cans! One more thing I don't miss about that city.

Dick Tickles said...

Jeep guy couldn't drive his up thumb up his own ass without assistance.

Pist Off said...

All that helpful advice on wider front tires is BS if you consider road and pavement use. Rear tires support far more weight and driving traction needs than front tires. It actually makes sense to have a slightly larger rear tire. Continental even did this with some race tires for a while- the front specific tire was x23 and the rear was x25. Motorcycles always have a wider rear tire. So my point is firstly McFly doesn't need anyone's advice on his tireways, and second, assuming someone's traction needs fit your mental assumptions is idiotic. Chances are if sand flotation was his concern he'd run much wider tires front and rear because it's, you know, common sense.

Anonymous said...

Dude is the type that would road rage over anything

BeerDrivenCyclist said...

Managed to push through the snow for a reliable 23st. Best performance for weeks. Maybe it should snow more often?

Catheter Cowboy said...

You get that, right?

Anonymous said...

This ad showed up in the side bar today. Prolly because you used the word sedentary.

Anonymous said...

Forgot the ad link. Topmobility.com

Anonymous said...

Don't bottoms need mobility too? Asking for a friend

McFly said...

wut? I'm confused.....unsolicited advice? Tireways? Ummmm I'm a 2.500 Maxxis Minion Man Myself.

That's a lot of M's.

1904 Cadardi said...

For some reason NYC seemed like a place that would understand how to deal with snow and pedestrians what with the multiple hundreds of years to practice with both. Your city continues to amaze and baffle.

Bryan said...

Did you ask the bus driver #whatpressureareyourunning?

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Turdy-tooth! Up to my Scranus in snow!

My favorite midtown NYC snowstorm aftermath is when there are 1 person-wide furrows through the snow bank at each street corner into the cross walk and they have 8 inches of water due to melting snow and backed up storm drains!

janinedm said...

New York has the same problem with snow that I have riding in it: it snows enough that you can be good at it but not enough to be a pure natural at it. It's only snowed in earnest 3 times this year. I challenge anyone to be great at something they only do 3-5 times a year.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt said...

" I challenge anyone to be great at something they only do 3-5 times a year."

I was pretty good at winning elections, and I only did it once every 2 or 4 years.

Thomas E Dewey said...

FDR,

Sure, but how good were you at riding a bike in the snow?

(too soon?)

boys on the hoods said...

Tire talk, smire talk. Get ya one of these.

http://www.backboneperformance.com/backblog/2014/1/27/talkin-tires

Anonymous said...

So now we know about snow in earnest - how often did it snow in nyc

Bluezurich said...

Tom Ritchey has been busy here in Salt Lake City at the NAHBS busting out some Logic snow shovels. I was like, dude, there's not much difference between these and the 853 snow shovels the guys at the booth down the row are making and then he proceeded to make me Cat 5 ready by burning the hair off my legs with a brazing torch.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt said...

Well I never learned to ride a bicycle (I had a 4 wheel human powered conveyance) but I handle the snow just fine now-a-days.

Fala, not so much.

Bald Eagle on the Hood said...

The Jeep's assembled in the USA have no problem with snow. The ones assembled in Mexico, fer-get-about-it.

All Jeep's will be made in America again someday, and will handle The Mother of All Snowstorms. The Donald promised at the 19th hole.

Human Nature said...

Janine at what ever time it was..just imagine if humans only had sex 3-5 times a year how comical it would be to watch on the Al Gore invention.

bieks said...

Keep posting that video ever year and I'll keep watching it. Awesome. That's exactly why I don't get winter tires for my car. It would just encourage me to drive when I shouldn't be.

Wesley Bellairs said...

Stay the F home.

Alt Titiles said...

The indignity of waking after a snowstorm

The indignity of baking during a snowstorm

cdinvb said...

Front smooth, rear knobby b/c handling on pavement with knobby front was odd. Still odd with back. But not squirrely odd. Maybe I had my pressure wrong. It could have happened.

Jobst Brandt said...

"Front smooth, rear knobby b/c handling on pavement with knobby front was odd."

Exactly.

Dooth said...

You're telling me the Dale Diner AND the Riverdale Diner were closed, but the Bronx Ale House was open? Sounds about right.

janinedm said...

It snowed without sticking a bunch of times. I can't say how many; it didn't register. Stay home? And ride on zwift? Look, this place is generally bike style agnostic and I respect that but I'm not in the wait for warm weather, recreational, non-utility camp. So I have to go out in the snow because bike handling is important to me. I'm actually fairly good at snow; there were more than a few tricky patches (at a few points accompanied by ill timed crosswinds) that I rode through and over like ringing a bell. I just don't have my typical in-traffic sangfroid.

Low Rider said...

I use to have a late 70's Honda Civic that was really great in the snow. It's fatal flaw was low ground clearance, the snow would build up under the car and unweight the drive wheels.
That video made me think of it.

ken e. said...

built up my sleeping hardtail with a nice maxxis tire on there for the slush party we had locally, not the minion pro, but close.

NEPT TUDE
SNOW BANK

Low Rider said...

Perhaps I should have said it was great slippery conditions but not so great when the snow grew deeper.

Drock said...

Only in the northeast will you see a man stuck in a 4x4 in such a small amount of snow. I laughed pretty hard during that video. I assume this was a staged event. Now to bicycles, having trouble with my tm1, those jackasses at park say the calibration is fine but my ping ponging spokes say otherwise. Let's see here I should say, all this wheel hugging is making me tired but in fact I'm ready to dance like... yeah I love that guy, made cycling great again.

Anonymous said...

BIKE SNOB IS A LOSER BIKING GIVES LOWERS YOUR SPERM COUNT AND GIVES YOU BALL CANCER

JLRB said...

C'mon Roillie -have you forgotten It's spelled LOOSER

JLRB said...

Jobst @8:56
My wheelbarrow has a smooth tire. unfortunately it's flat - if only that compliant bicyclist guy would come by and pump it up for me

Bob said...

And here's something for you to post about if you haven't already seen it
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUL56vrK75I

John Deere said...

Same as a fucken tractor? BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

mander said...

You gotta be fuckin KIDDINME

Anonymous said...

The local media did its level best to push a bikes vs pedestrians angle following the plowing of a scant few of our Vancouver bike lanes this winter: http://bc.ctvnews.ca/clear-bike-lanes-raise-eyebrows-during-snowy-commute-in-vancouver-1.3270454

One of those lanes was, it turned out, not even plowed by the city but by a local cyclist who had rigged up a lane-clearing front-of-bike contraption. The portion that was plowed was a mixed use path where just the cycling side had been cleared and could reasonably be shared by both parties.