Monday, May 13, 2013

Philadelphia: I Went There And Stuff

It's Monday!

Hands up if you're still wearing the same underpants from Friday:

Oh, come on, I can't be the only one.

Firstly, I'd just like to remind you by Internet-shouting that THIS SATURDAY MAY 18TH I'LL BE IN BOSTON.  Here are the details:

How exciting is that graphic, by the way?  (Answer: hugely fucking exciting.)

I hope you'll come, because after this event I'm planning to go into deep, deep seclusion and I'd like to see some smiling human faces before I do:

(Me after this weekend.)

Sometimes you've just gotta "get Kubrickian."

Secondly, Philly!  (That's what the locals call "Philadelphia.")  Yeah, I was there last Thursday, and here's what happened:

Wait, sorry, wrong picture.  That's a picture of the Giro "New Road" stealth-Fred shorts they sent me.  Evidently they thought that, in addition to being pathetically slow, I also weigh a million pounds.  So obviously I haven't been riding in them, but I have been wearing them when I lounge around the house:

By the way, not only is the the Giro paddle game all I need (besides the chair and the remote control and the ashtray and the lamp and the matches), but the crabon fiber paddle is both laterally stiff and vertically compliant.

So, right, Philly.  Well, on Thursday morning I unfurled my folding bike, rode about 40 feet from my back door to the subway, furled it up again, and shuffled on through the turnstile with my pants around my ankles.  As much as I love the folding bike, there's one problem with it, which is that people on the subway ask you questions.  (Typical folding bike questions include: "How much does it weigh?," "Does it ride like a normal bike?," and "So you're a huge dork, huh?  How's that working out for you?")  This time around I received the first and second questions, and while nobody explicitly asked me the third it's always implied.  

Eventually, I reached Penn Station, boarded an Amtrak train, stowed my clown bike on the luggage rack without incident, and an hour and a half later emerged here:

Like London, Philadelphia has combination bus-and-bike lanes:

(Self-contradicting street markings make my brain all hurty.)

As I rode, it occurred to me that one benefit of this configuration is that, while drivers may feel perfectly comfortable idling in regular bike lanes, they certainly wouldn't sit there obstructing a bus lane. 

There's only one problem, though, which is that it turns out they totally will:

Oh, well, so much for that idea.

Soon, I found myself at my hotel, which was clearly in Philadelphia's thriving "douchebag district:"

As you can see from the fixie window treatments, Philadelphia's douchebag district is modeled on New York City's douchebag district(s) exactly five years ago.  (The way it works is that the douchebag businesses in New York throw their decorations out and then the ones in Philadelphia pick them out of the trash.)  Actually, the whole city is like being in a time warp.  Remember bikes like these?  They're still riding them in Philadelphia!

Seriously, how cute is that?

And yes, that's a genuine "Cionlli" saddle:

"Cionlli" is a vaguely Italian-sounding subsidiary of the Cionlli Industrial Co., Ltd. saddle manufacturing concern.

Yes, everywhere in Philadelphia the winds of nostalgia were blowing:

Everybody knows white tires went out with top tube pads (which of course I also saw in Philadelphia).

After doing a little shopping I made my way over to Rittenhouse Square, where riders were assembling:

As usual, I had requested that we be accompanied by both a triple tandem:

As well as a pennyfarthing:

And I was pleased to see that both were represented.  I was less pleased to see that there's a fuckload of stuff you're not allowed to do in Rittenhouse Square, much of which it wouldn't even occur to me to try in the first place:

(Why would I want to attach something to the trees or shrubs?)

Though you're still more than welcome to drag around your small, ratlike dog:

Once I'd finished attaching prophylactics to the trees and shrubs in Rittenhouse Square, we were off:

Though our attempt at a rolling game of "bike frolf" was short-lived:

If there's one thing I've learned over the years from these group city rides, it's that you always assign one rider to "curb patrol:"

This rider's job is to kick any potential jaywalkers in the groin.

Meanwhile, the drivers hold up their end by doing their best to "door" you:

The other thing I've learned is to set a series of goals, and my first goal was to make it out of the douchebag district alive--and clearly I was still in the douchebag district since there were still men dining al fresco with poodles:

He looks nonplussed in the way only a man dining with a poodle can.

Bravely, we pressed on:

And I pondered the message on this bag:

I've married and reproduced, I generally do what I'm told, and in the two (2) hours I'd been in Philadelphia up to that point I'd already shopped at a Gap, a Starbucks, and an Apple store.

Maybe I really didn't deserve to make it out of the douchebag district alive.

Still, we rode:

As the pennyfarthing rider blocked traffic for us with his gigantic wheel:

 I plan to learn how to draw so I can create a comic book called "Anachronism Man," about a superhero who stops motor vehicle traffic with the power of anachronism.

By the way, put yourself in the driver's buttery soft leather loafers for a moment.  There you are, heading towards Philadelphia's douchebag district in your luxury German automobile for a night out, when all of a sudden a guy on a pennyfarthing orders you to stop so that a triple tandem can pass:

Actually, it's possible the people in the Mercedes weren't heading into the douchebag district.  They may just have been looking for the erogenous zone:

If they keep circling and circling I'm sure they'll find it eventually.

As for us, we kept going, since the ride was family-friendly:

And eventually we arrived at the seaport:

So basically, Philadelphia has a cheesy historical seaport, a suspension bridge, and an uninspiring view of New Jersey.

Wow, it really is a half-assed version of New York City.

Still, no American city can boast as many "firsts" as Philadelphia.  For example, it's home to our country's first breath mint factory:

(Uh, there's no "V" in "United.")

Which was later entirely rebuilt due to the above typo:

(They got it right this time, trust me.)

They're also the home of the Destination Maternity corporation:

Which is right across from the Seamen's Church:

Because when you hang around semen you're pretty much destined for maternity.

It's even the home of the first Hershey's candy store:

Coincidentally, 13 of my 17 children are named "Snavely."

Or almost-turned-bike-shop, since it will open in June:

Most significantly though, Philadelphia is home to the first set of "Rocky" steps:

And here they are:

Basically, what happens here is that tour buses pull up and then idiots pour of them and run up and down the "Rocky" steps, despite the fact that there are actual works of art inside:

This is like being given a beautiful custom bicycle and spinning the pedal round and round with your index finger and giggling rather than riding it.

In any case, it was here at the Rocky steps that we added to Philadelphia's impressive list of "firsts:"

This is, to my knowledge, the first double-flat on a triple-tandem repaired by a guy who rides a pennyfarthing.

But not all of Philadelphia's movie landmarks are inspirational.  In fact, some are almost as depressing as Cleveland's, and this derelict hotel is the one in which Bruce Willis and Madeline Stowe hide out in "Twelve Monkeys:"

It's also where my publisher put me up, and if you don't mind the occasional stabbing it's really not that bad.

Finally, we reached the bowling alley, complete with its artisanal meathook bike rack:

And the two people left fidgeted nervously with my book:

By the way, the pennyfarthing rider got to bring his bike inside:

The advantage of the pennyfarthing, I've learned, is that people gawk at it so intently that they forget they hate bikes.

(Thanks very much to Bilenky for hosting.)


wishiwasmerckx said...


Anonymous said...

Ass Monkeys… ATTACK!!!

Anonymous said...


theEel said...


Anonymous said...

not podium

Anonymous said...

Tushie lemurs … what ho!

samh said...

Epic cheeseteak summit on the Rocky Steps?

Anonymous said...

Scranal Spondee

McFly said...


Anonymous said...

Top ten?

leroy said...

Snob in Boston
Almost famous
For admission
E-mail "scranus"

Well, what did you expect, Nirvana?

But if you ask me, that guy eating al fresco with his poodle has no right to look non-plussed. Not everybody wins a coin toss with their dog and gets to sit at the table first.

Note to self: check dog's saddle bag for two-headed quarter.

balls™ said...

12 ass monkeys?

Anonymous said...

Back in the day, I played guitar in a new wave band called "Cindy and the Seamen". We changeed it to "Cindy and the Testube Babies" just to keep up with technology and to broaden our market appeal.

That and because the name was disgusting.

On the other hand you might be surprised how many young women are not at all disgusted by seamen.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had a nice time in Philadelphia.
Now get your ass to Chicago or Madison.

Anonymous said...

Ooh, I got in early today. Read it, too....

hey nonny mouse

Nogocyclist said...

First time a double flat was fixed on a triple tandem by a guy riding a penny farthing.

Had to be the first time. Doubt that even happened back in the day of the penny farthing.

Roille Figners said...

Oh indeed. Folding bike on the train generates more unwanted conversations than any other situation. You're now the ambassador for all of America, in charge of telling them everything TV didn't tell them.

"How much does it weigh?" is by far the most annoying question, especially if, like me, you don't know and don't care. This leads to several fantasy answers:

"It weighs about 1/100th of that Toyota you saw on TV."

"What do I look like, the internet?"

"It weighs fuck you."

"Why? Is there some decisive data point on the weight continuum that will change the fact that you are never ever ever going to get one of these, ever?"

Anonymous said...

I was raised a poor black child.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Snob:
David Byrne is playing the Iowa 80/35 music festival this year on July 5.
I think this is a perfect opportunity for a BRA.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

I like a cheese steak once in a while.

Shucks! No tree stands attached to trees for bow hunting in the park.

Flyover Bike Commuter said...

When will you make it out to flyover country?

We're high on the list of standard destinations for New Yorkers. August to October are the best times.

I'm afraid the sales potential for the entire state can't match even one burrough of the BIG City though.

chances_are_low said...

Everybody knows white tires went out with top tube pads

Nice display of the broad and deep trend Bicycling cyclists breathlessly consume just to follow trends.

What color is my biking bike wheels supposed to be now? Does my flat bar have the appropriate curve? Width? Color? Weight? Ohh dear, what about my pedals? Tell me! Conformity is comfort.

Good times in Philly!

chester said...

Yeah, what's the deal? No cheese steak for you! Wash it down with a Yuengling?

Because, you know, the meat, onions, cheese-like product and bread tastes different in Philly.

I am a scented robot.

Apollo Creed said...

Adrienne Balboa gave a real quality blowjob. It's always the quiet ones, bro.

Marcel Da Chump said...

Mint! Snobby, Mint!

specq said...

A pennyfarthing rider stopping traffic isn't using the power of anachronism, it's more like the power of antiqueness.

Stopping them with a force field that won't be invented until the 24th & 1/2 century would be an anachronism (from the point of view of a visitor from the 24th & 1/2 century, that is - from our perspective it would just be fucking cool).

DerZoots said...

When seeing how much weight the triple seater was holding the double flat did seem inevitable did it not?


Anonymous said...

Leroy, Snob, Nina and other New Yorkers:
I am arriving in your fine city Thursday for my daughters wedding.
I have a few questions for you as I haven't been there in a year and I want to be up to date with the cutting edge fashion of the city.
Does everyone still wear black for all occasions? Is English still spoken? Do I have to grow a beard? Are baggy jeans okay?
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I believe that the guy on the pennyfarthing is the owner of Via Bicycles in Philly. An old school shop that has been around for like 30 years. I remember him from my messenger days back in the late 80s. A very rightous guy. Philly is a great town, underrated. I've been living in NYC for over 20 years, but still visit philly often. A much better biking city than NYC.

Roille Figners said...

the sound of Philadelphia

Jimboner said...

Funny today.

Also help! I am trapped in Belo Horizonte.

Matt said...

You didn't go to the Mütter Museum? The 9-foot-long human colon from a guy called the Human Balloon that held 40 pounds of shit was a highlight of my visit to Philly. The fetal collection is always a hit, and who could miss Grover Cleveland's tumor?

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

anon@ 1:44: What do you mean, surprised?
What do you mean? Real women love seamen! Those of us who know what life's all about pray at the alter of seamen every single day! And what a coincidence! I'm laterally stiff and vertically compliant, too. :D

That was a laugh out loud post, snoberly. Thank you! Or are you Snavely the Stealth Fred?

I dunno about riding in circles as a navigation tool, though. Even though I never have any trouble locating an erogenous zone, I have been known to ride in circles on occasion, and it never seems to help much.

Mr Plow said...

If there was a triathlon with folding bikes, that had to be carried the whole time, including the swim, I for one, would watch that. Imagine aerobars on a folder. This would be "epic".

leroy said...

Dear DB --

Welcome to New York. Herewith answers to your questions.

1. Yes, black is an appropriate clothing color for all occasions. It's slimming and you never know when you will wish to mourn the passing of your dignity.

2. My dog still speaks English, but notes that the Queen's English is not spoken in Queens; the King's English does not resemble King's County English.

3. As for whether you have to grow a beard, my dog asked, after puberty, how can you not?

4. My dog responded "42." I'm just not sure if he meant waist size or something else. But he did thank me for all the smoked fish.

Turd Ferguson said...

Mr. Plow,

I'd buy a ticket to see that. Especially the unfolding of the bikes and the inevitable pile-up of clown bikes.

RANTWICK said...

Just keep circling, just keep circling...

Anonymous said...

Cheese steak sandwiches make for a great chamois creme and topical treatment for scranus crabs. Plus it keeps the douchebags from licking my brooks saddle all night. Sincerely...middle sized asse dual

mikeweb said...

That ride looked like fun.

wiwm, FTW!

Unless that was really ChamoisJuice...

ChamoisJuice said...


I can die happy. I made missed connections. Some 22 year old girl thinks I am sexy. I sent her a photo of my wiener. We'll see how it goes.

Anonymous said...

I change my underpants on the Sabbath.

Anonymous said...

No cheese steak sandwich consumption???? It's winter in 'merca.

Clown bike triathlon and Whitey's on the Moon.

I'm a robot named Adam

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Leroy.
Tell your dog thanks and he's invited to the wedding if he doesn't have other plans.
Open bar.

babble on said...

Oh Leroy. Thank you.
I laughed so hard the cat jumped two feet straight out of a peaceful slumber. So of course now I've had a good belly laugh, too, complete with watery eyes and that lovely breathlessness which reminds me of something else.
Bless you.
I remain ever and always
your devoted fan.

babble on said...

Heh heh
powerful storms in vancouver today, too
I'm so happy I got out while the sun was shining this morning. Is it cool to hitch a ride with people who are way faster than you are? One guy passed me today, and the wind were picking up so it would have taken an effort not to keep up once he was in front of me. We started talking and it was cool, cause then we picked up the pace for a bit and I worked way harder than I might have done on my own.
When is it ok to join with, and when is it not? Sometimes that slipstream can be very seductive.

Nina said...

DB! Congratulations!! (on coming to New York!) (also to your daughter, I guess... just kidding, really to your daughter, yay festive times!) I'm just answering your post now because I had to do work at my job all day almost, which is deeply troubling. But to answer your questions:
1. Yes.
2. English is spoken in all boroughs except Brooklyn where most speak an artisanal patois of farmer/dj/yoga, you'll be expected to know this at least well enough to say hello, thank you and to read a menu.
3. Beards are encouraged in other boroughs but enforced strictly in Brooklyn.
4. I can't speak to that, I'm in a jeans crisis right now. I want baggy jeans to be okay, but I know that they're not.

babble on said...

two things
1 s, as in winds, and
2 NINAAAA! Lovely to see your beautiful face!
Yes. Income is a good thing. Jobs? That all depends on what you're doing, doesn't it?

babble on said...

How do you say thank-you in farmer/dj/yoga?

Yarpo said...

Saved by WIWM! Nice handlebar throw there!

Snob. Really. I must echo previous com-meh-ntators in reproaching you for not consuming a Philly cheesesteak sammie while actually in Philly.

Now I'm just hungry...for fried poodles...

Bobbyd215 said...

It was a mediocre ride with some really amazing people!!

I definitely would do it again, but certainly after much deliberation and intoxication.

Nice meeting Snob!
P.S make sure to always wear a helmet while writing your blog.

Nina said...

Babble!! I know, income is pretty okay. I like it. And jobs are more of a gray area.

I think the farmer/dj/yoga thank you is:

sweet drops namaste (in some regions of brooklyn)
sick handmade (and then bow deeply)

I think the captcha is also a version of thank you:
drinketh selerr

Dooth said...

DB, white is the new black, but navy is the old black.
English? I don't understand.
Beards, but only if they're sarcastically trimmed.
Baggy jeans must be worn just above the crotch so that most of your underwear shows.

Anonymous said...

Hanging around Seamen will indeed result in paternity tests.

Johnny Appleseed's secret ingredient was a seed buried in a wad of TP with some spunk to boot.

Next thing you know: blahmoh!!

Project Genesis

(eject warp corp!!!)

babble on said...

I like the sick handmade bow. That's good... :)
and yes, it's always best to bringeth the bottle of drinketh to the selerr.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, New Yorkers for your advice.
I will be in Queens and Manhattan with a side trip to the Bronx for a Yankee game. Hopefully can avoid Brooklyn for the week.
What are my chances of catching something contagious at the Long Island City YMCA pool if I go to swim laps?

ken e. said...

couldn't figure out a gentle way to side with the girls. which i do.


All The Black People In Portland said...

roast port + provolone >>>>>> 'philly' cheese steak

ChamoisJuice said...

See, that's EXACTLY what NW white people do: take an authentic american street food, without pretense, and douche it up with artisanal, organic free range nonsense, charge 3X the price, and call it better. FUCK OFF WITH THAT NOISE.

Anonymous said...

Babble, Nina,
Blow"jobs" are always in.

rural 14 said...

rural 1st!
Frost tonight.
Wool tomorrow.

I deduce that Snobber's clownbike is a Brompton, since it can easily go onto the overhead luggage rack.

Philadelphians - what wuzzit?


Frederick the Memory Maker said...

Holy sheeeeeit! That was some good sheeeeeit! I LOL'd thru the majority of this particular posting. Don't listen to the haters yo! You bring it like the milk fucking man - every mother fucking day!!! 'Spect!

Anonymous said...

watch john Carpenters 'They Live' and messenger bag comments willl make sense

Anonymous said...

I laughed..I cried. Nice Job.
ItsFedr Calcium

babble on said...

Chamois juice- that's fine then. You eat all of those nasty pesticides and genetically engineered foods and I'll toast your short life on my 100th birthday.
And yes. Blow jobs are always a productive use of time.
That jerk up there has pretty nice legs. I wonder if he rides a bike...?

Injury lawyer said...

Thanks for sharing this article, I will be looking forward to read more of your posts.

NYCHighwheeler said...

No way man! I've fixed dual flats on a tandem before! Oh wait, triple? Shit, that may indeed be a new record!

I hope you got a good look at that highwheel Snobby. That may have been one of the nicest bikes you will ever have seen ridden. But seriously, that bike is one of the best I have ever seen on the street!

Welcome back!


PS You missed a high school mountain bike race that happened at the Sprain a few weeks ago. Also, foot race on the 28th.

emparedn moon-blind

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Anonymous said...

White tyres are still in.

Orangutans Rule said...

No ASS MONKEYS in second place. First or nothing. Take those ASS MONKEYS down.

If RE was alive said...

Who on the face of the planet Earth would want to download Ironman 3?

The Bard of Avon said...

James@744: "Free Social Media Marketing where Every thing...Just Join now and Free Increase your Social Media Networks."

Fess up James, how much did you have to pay Martin Amis to ghost write that?

Anonymous said...

have you been able to review the citibike yet? is it a fixie? can you do a century on it?

paulb said...

When people ask about my foldcycle, I enjoy the attention. Is that so wrong?

Anonymous said...

Did you put an orange flag on those recumbent animated suspension chambers?

Anonymous said...

babsy babe, I hope you live to 100+...any idea what 100 looks like?

The Ass Monkeys said...

Orangutans Rule,
We agree and we would, but alas we ARE simply Ass Monkeys and Ass Monkeys are computer illiterate. In short, we know not how to remove a post...

Anonymous said...

Hey, ChamoisJuice:
Did you meet your lady friend on Christian Mingle?

PBateman said...

i just downloaded Iron Man 3 and boy is it a hoot.

thanks Deepankar.

SNOOBer-doodle, i swear to heavens you better come down to florida one of these darn days to promote that book thingy you authored.

while you're down we can watch Iron Man 3 - boy is it a hoot.

Jason said...

Wait, NYC doesn't have hipsters slacklining between trees in their parks?

buy runescape gold said...

if you ask me, that guy consuming al fresco with his canine has no right to look non-plussed. Not everybody victories a money throw with their dog and gets to sit at the desk first. Gold für Diablo 3 Kaufen

Just Do It @ 50 said...

Why does everybody wear a helmet in the US?

BradyDale said...

I just moved to Brooklyn after 8 years in Philadelphia. I never call it 'Philly.' You nailed it.

BradyDale said...

Because everyone not on a bike hates cyclists and ignores them and is trying to kill us. We don't have even close to the critical mass that makes biking safer, making drivers less cautious and our wrecks much worse.

Anonymous said...

cionlli - always loved that - in italian it means "chinese" - so that is how they get away with it - or maybe it means 'italian' in 'chinese'