Friday, March 21, 2014

BSNYC Gluten-Free Friday Fun Quiz! (Warning: May Contain Gluten)

Well, it had to happen.  The vultures are circling over Citi Bike:

The problem?  Ironically, it's losing money because it's too popular with the New Yorkers who purchase memberships, and the tourists who everyone thought were going to flock to the system and immediately kill themselves in traffic simply aren't taking up the slack:

One issue is that Citi Bike has proved more popular than expected with annual users who generate comparatively little revenue. Some 99,000 people pay $95 a year plus tax to be able to use the bikes for 45 minutes at a time.

The potential for far greater revenue, however, is with short-term users. Many of those were expected to be tourists, and they haven't used the bikes nearly as much as officials had anticipated, people familiar with the matter said.

I hate when things are more popular than expected.

As for those short-term users, here's a chart illustrating the problem:

Notice that the number of tourists and other occasional users is quite high in the summer months.  Then it decreases significantly during the winter, but shows signs of increasing again as the spring approaches.  This is a huge shock to everybody, since until now nobody realized that New York City has these things called "seasons."

I mean, sure, scientists have been talking about "season change" for centuries, but it's mostly been dismissed as liberal nonsense.

Anyway, I expect another Wall Street Journal article sometime in June about the miraculous rebound in Citi Bike ridership.

The other problem is that the bikes wind up all clumped in certain areas and all sparse in others, like the contents of the six month old carton of soy milk in the back of your fridge:

Operational difficulties have also troubled Citi Bike. The task of moving bikes to respond to the patterns of commuters—those who grab a bike in the West Village to Midtown in the morning but may not ride it home at night—has been more cumbersome than expected in New York City traffic. That has raised costs.

I gotta say that is indeed a problem, and it's the reason I've pretty much stopped using the system--I've had too many experiences where I either couldn't find a bike, or I couldn't dock it, or both, and ultimately wound up spending more time than I would have if I'd simply walked.  Of course, just as everyone was surprised by the existence of four seasons, they were apparently similarly surprised that New York City has a shitload of traffic, and that spreading Citi Bikes around in huge vans during rush hour is a gigantic inefficient pain in the ass.

Fortunately, there's an easy solution to that, and if Citi Bike wants to pay me to ride the bikes all over the city to the stations where they're needed I'd be more than happy to take the job.

But that's not going to happen, since there's no money for it:

New York's bike-share program is unique among large U.S. cities because it is designed to operate without public dollars, experts said. Programs in Chicago, Boston, Washington, Houston and San Francisco either use local or federal money or both, according to Corinne Kisner, a program manager at the National Association of City Transportation Officials.

Citi Bike's revenues come from corporate sponsorships, advertising and membership and usage fees.

Basically, every other form of transport--including all these ferry boats nobody uses (obviously I don't mean the Staten Island ferry, since shitloads of people use that)--gets some kind of subsidy.  I don't expect that to happen with bikes, though, since the average person hates bikes and all the wear and tear on the infrastructure they don't cause.  Still, I'm not sure I'd want Citi Bike to be publicly funded, since it would make it that much more difficult to play the smugness card in arguments.

Ultimately, I wouldn't be surprised to see the whole thing slowly die on the vine, which would be a shame, since even though I don't really use it a lot of people do, it has huge potential, and it's already had a positive effect on New York City cycling in general.

And now, I'm pleased to present you with a quiz.  As always, study the item, think, and click on your answer.  If you're right you'll get a million points, and if you're wrong you'll see how it's done.

Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and safe reading.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

1) What is this?

--A cog flosser
--A fine-tooth hacksaw for delicate crabon components
--A bow and arrow set for bike/archery biathlons
--The folk instrument known as a "Jew's harp"

(From that stupid car commercial..)

2) Yeah, well, somebody attempted it anyway.


3) What is this?

--A bell you activate with your brake lever
--A sensor for a rear brake light
--A trigger for an oil slick
--Disembodied hand modeling extremely poorly thought-out bell placement

4) Looks like somebody wrapped a Fuji in duct tape.


5) The Halfbike:

--"Combines running and cycling"
--"Is a real conversation starter and stands out from the crowd"
--Is designed by architects, which is more proof that architects need to stay the fuck away from bicycles
--All of the above

("This one will do nicely.")

6) Mario Cipollini won Milan-San Remo in what year?

--Mario Cipollini has never won Milan-San Remo

(Via a reader.  Thank you, reader!)

7) Really?


***Special Science-Themed Bonus Video!***


McFly said...


Anonymous said...



JB said...


Logbig said...


Anonymous said...

still early?

Anonymous said...

Just judging from the title of this post (because that's all I've read) Snobz is familiar with the old "oh yeah sure we offer gluten-free options" hustle common to corporate chain restaurants. NO BIG DEAL ASSHOLES, MY WIFE WILL JUST GET A MIGRAINE IS ALL.

This next section - the Hammond organ cadenza, is to be played

begriff elebre

Serial Retrogrouch said...


Anonymous said...

Would have got here earlier but I was flossing my rear cassette.

Freddy Murcks said...

Well, fuck this shit. I'm goin' bikin'.

coldly dscije

JB said...

Cippolini! Cippolini! Cippolini!

Does that gyroscope wheel thing work with a 29" wheel. It actually probably works tons better. Like, you won't believe it!

Flyover bc said...

top ten?

samh said...

Bunch of liberal nonsense I tell ya'.

babble on said...

NOOOOOOOOOO!! Not gluten! you can't have it both ways. Please tell me it does NOT contain gluten!

Anonymous said...

Seriously, we have a bike share program in Houston? I've lived here 12 years and never heard of it. Once you've built a highway that is 16, count 'em 16 lanes wide, I'm not sure that there is anyone left to ride bikes. They're all on the freeway at any given point in time.

Serial Retrogrouch said...


...hey, watch it. i'm an architect and i'm NOT staying away from bicycles. fact, i designed an built one... but to the specifications of grant pederson.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...WTF. i watched that whole john howard video hoping to learn something and all i got was an arc drawn near a 90 corner.

luke said...

why isn't it called a banana hammock?

JLRB said...

Damn. My lack of Mario knowledge made me watch (part of) John.

Dave said...

Busy pimping out my jumbo leather banana holder with studs and spikes. Gotta be a chick magnet.

Bryan said...

eh, top something. Nice banana hammock there, Snot-a-lot.
Really, tourist use of citi-bikes went down with 200 feet of snow on the ground and arctic temperatures? Imagine that - gasp!Here is a hint for next winter, replace them all with the Wal Mart fatbike!! Snow will no longer be a problem.

BamaPhred said...

Gluten free is the new No MSG

News article was phoned in by a 5th grader too lazy to get out of bed. Seasonal variation, bikes get parked were riders dismount, who woulda thought.

100,000 passes at 95$ per pass is uumm WTF. Plus the buttload of passes sold daily?
Citi was a huge corp sponsor

And is failing?

Sure blame it all on the snow and get a bailout.


McFly said...

Remember when Erik Zabel was going to win his 5th Milan-Sanrameo and started celebrating but Oscar Frierewas still racing?

JLRB said...

George Castanza pretended to be an architect, and he was often near Kramer's (racist) Klien hanging in Jerry's apartment

Bryan said...

Actually WCRM, I had been meaning to share this with you, just cause I feel it is something you might like?

Dave said...

When rounding corners I try to follow the arc of my banana. The fruit, you may remember, that God designed just for the human hand.

babble on said...

Gyroscope guy sounds like Putin. I half expected him to start deriding all those "Babies who cry," like he did when people dared to criticize how dangerous some of the runs were prior to the Olympics. Gyroscope or no, though, gravity always works on me, cause I'm so damned dense.

Seasons? What a novel concept. We have two of them here, wet and not quite so wet.

James said...

Tourists would rather get a bike from the shady lookin' guys renting them in the back-alleys near central park.

sFurtTa thing


JLRB said...

Everything else is subsidized, so why not clunky BLUE bikes?

I rarely ride the anonymous (unsponsored) state and federal government funded bike shares here in DC (OK I tried it once and think about doing it again some time) but I do like having them around, kind of like (someone give me a witty analogy)

Slippery When Wet said...

Babs - Let us know when you are in your wet season

Comment deleted said...

Mmmmm, gluten.

I wanted to try a Citibike when I visited the Big A-hole last week, but it was 18 degrees, redneck, and I'll be damned if I'm going to freeze my banana hammock off just to begrime the streets of NY.

Chickenhom said...

In Paris they balance the bikes by rewarding 15 minutes of overtime credit if you take a bike from down the hill and leave it up the hill.

Those crayzee free marketeers.

Anonymous said...

"this one will do nicely" good one.

Anonymous said...

that gyroscope video was riveting. thank you.

Anonymous said...

Bicycle Crashes | Russian Dashcam Videos Comnpilaton

babble on said...

Slippery - silly me to be so ambiguous... Vancouver has two seasons wet and not so wet. I belong in the rainforest cause I only have wet and wetter. Take yer pick.

Oh! And humbly begging your pardon. Looks like I've made a real ass of myself.
No surprise there.

Olle Nilsson said...

45 minutes. There's a problem. Isn't it usually 30 minutes in other cities? Make it 30 minutes and you'll have more bikes in docks. People who want to ride more than 30 minutes should rent a bike or pay extra.

Bamaphred said News article was phoned in by a 5th grader too lazy to get out of bed. - that's how news is made now. Welcome to the dystopian future.


Top said...

John Howard looked like he was auditioning for a Captain Morgan Whiskey with that leg lift pose.

balls™ said...

I don't expect that to happen with bikes, though, since the average person hates bikes and all the wear and tear on the infrastructure they don't cause.



Makeout said...

Jhn Howard= Rex Kwan Do.

RoadQueen said...

Cipo question fucked me up - got an 85 on the quiz.

Can I get some extra credit to bring up my grade?

sat ticuway

JB said...

Lots of local riders that led to no bikes in docks.

Tourists (we'll make our $ off them!) not renting the bikes.

Gee, maybe there's a connection between no available bikes and no tourist rentals?

Anonymous said...

What's with the high bottom bracket at about 3:15 in the John Howard video? Wasn't this shot well before gravel bikes?

Anonymous said...

Spin it really fast to keep it up? about stroke it really fast to keep it up....

Works on a 6er or a 9er.

jodphoto said...

A special turgid axle. Got to get me one of those.

wishiwasmerckx said...

When we finally get around to WWIII with the Chinese, they will bring the entire US military force to its knees with nothing more than a single baggie filled with gluten, and their quest for utter world dominance will be complete.

the Jimboner said...


That is all.

Anonymous said...

NEWS FLASH! Craze of Cars Careening into Dunkin Donuts Spreads to Philly - In a shocking turn of events, cars have started careening into Dunkin Donuts stores in a shameless attempt to copy New York drivers. One driver was heard to exclaim, "New Yorkers were doing it, so we had to try."

Film at 11.

Anonymous said...

No no no no no, a "slam dunk" means something else!

babble on said...

WIWM - the Chinese were clever enough to wage an economic war on the west instead of turning to violence. And they won in 2008; we just haven't figured it out yet.

One of the reasons I loved Serenity and Firefly was that they saw the future of things and so much of their slang and dialectics were Chinese/English hybrids.

David said...

Wildcat Rock Machine, will you renew your bikeshare membership after the first year (assuming the Russo-Crimean horde hasn't enslaved us all by summer)?

grog said...

bananahammock: You can use it to hang a bike from your banana. Babe should have one.


BikeSnobNYC said...


Most likely no.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Anonymous said...

"Fourth, no information was to be gathered on any cyclist who had an 'intimidating presence'".

So cute that the researchers felt the need to add this in the exclusion criteria. Shockingly, no one was excluded on this basis.

BTW, shoaling is a crime.

Anonymous said...

Putin: boss of the country with all the oil

Obama/Kerry/McCain: babies crying

babble on said...

Lol! Right?

We are all babies.

Putin, take out said...

still pissed about Afghanistan

so suk my ballz

Anonymous said...

Remember, sustaining the sustainability of a self-sustaining program like citibike always comes with costs.

It's O.K. Mayor Bill will bilk the rich to keep it going. ;) ;)

flyover bc said...

It looks like the citibike subscribers are only paying 9.4 million bucks a year.

E-Scaper said...

Wonder if the 152.29 mph record still stands for the Salt Grinder bike!

JLRB said...

Citibank should be able to work some derivatives magic, sell bonds based on the expected revenues from dupes/tourists, package those bonds with some Class Z mortgage loan derivatives, buy hi, sell low, issue some fat bonuses, and send us taxpaying fools the bill.

In other needs, we need those blue bikes - its the 'merican way.

(ir)Regular guy said...

No, No, No!
This is a banana holder. Just try and take the banana from that gorilla.

So where is the fat that could be trimmed from your non-commie-pinko bike share program? If capitalism is so great, why can't the masters of the universe at CitiBunk make a program that is too popular make enough money to keep rolling?

And then we taxpayers have to foot the bill for cleaning up after totally clueless, reckless, dim bulb drivers who can't even keep the rubber side off the tops of trains, not to mention trying to engineer and build the infrastructure that would allow those damn reckless dim bulb texting drivers from killing and maiming themselves and others while destroying trains, donut shops, trees, houses, or anything else in their path.

I'm pissed.

JLRB said...



or as we babies say, wah-ever

Time to pedal.

Be good
and you'll be lonely.

Cry me a Baby said...

Comrade, Banana hammock is hard to use. Metal snaps hurt where one put in!

Regular guy said...

I built some wheels for him once. John Howard was a wussie who couldn't even hold this guy's banana.

All I feel better.

wishiwasmerckx said...

JLRB, I just now realized why the Citibikes are blue. Citibank will be selling pieces of blue sky in fee simple absolute!

babble on said...

Mmmmmmm bananas. I'm a good banana holder.

Just sayin... ;)

Putin on the Ritz said...

Putin sez "well do you feel lucky, well do you Barry? Go ahead and draw a red line in the Crimea sand."

Road Queen, Sorry about the exam, spend a night with Cipo and you get 14 more points.

Babble, Nothing that's protein and gives your hair a great sheen, comes flying out of a banana banana.
Except no substitute for the real banana.

Have to go now and cut off the West's oil supply.

Deadly Fredly said...

Babble - seeing you pedaling your ass (pun intended) on your blog caused me to firm up a bit.

ken e. said...


Billy said...

I'm confused, the triathlete is going to show us how to do a "hot stop"? Is that when they fall off the bikes?

Anonymous said...


The solution to the bike wheel problem is that angular momentum precesses -- it's exactly the same reason a spinning top doesn't fall over.

torque = dL/dt.

At ease! You may now carry on with the bawdy humour.

McFly said...

Ample Amy Adams side boob in American Hustle with a split second of full frontal. Oh and my click from the Intense did not stay gone. It showed up in the crank of the roading BB30.



babble on said...

You've gotta love a good boob shot. :)
Deadly Fredly - only a little? Well then my work is not done.

Putin on the Ritz - this is true, but the sweet yellow kind gives me potassium and energy to ride the other, better kind. Um, and you don't need Crimea. Just redesign the region so you have your OWN port on the Black Sea. Go on, you're more powerful than God, you can do it.

Anonymous said...

Top Gear Bicyclist PSA 2

McFly said...

I just had a big bowl of banana pudding. Seriously. You sick bastards not THAT kind.

The 30 miles of the LBL style Mountaincycle beikcycling was pretty sweet. The last 5 were slow motion brutality but we dood it.



Anonymous said...

Conservation of angular momentum? If so I got a perfect score on the quiz!

Link to a video on 'shared space' at Sun Rock Place in Graz, Austria. No stop lights to run, traffic moves almost all the time but not too fast...(I'm not using html so copy and paste)

Anonymous said...

This is anonymous again from 4:35 am back to reveal that I got a perfectly *wrong score* on the quiz.

Anonymous said...


Tilford Talk said...

Patty let Steve Tilford eat her "Awesome Tuna Sandwich."

Not sure if this is some kind of code-talk or is an actual thing.

Anonymous said...


No......Kristoff.....he was Pistoff.....

Anonymous said...

Babble loves her banana pudding and cream pie.


Anonymous said...

CityBike Share should be publicly funded.

The staten island ferry is FREE for goodness sakes!

Subway should be then.

babble on said...

Mmmhmmm. You said it, honey. Nothing better than a banana creme pie between friends!

Anonymous said...

Steve Tilford should do a "Lessons in Cycling" video.

Anonymous said...

Free footlongs for everyone that rides a citibike

Anonymous said...

Babble I want to munch on your Awesome Tuna Sandwich. Would it taste funny with nanner puddin' on it?


You can always flip a pink canoe over and drain it then keep on rowing.

Row Row Row your boat with banana creammmmmmm....

Merrily merrily merrily merrily I can make her scream...

Anonymous said...

Freak show

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