Wednesday, February 7, 2018

License And Registration, Please

Firstly, I'm pleased to report I've got a new Outside column live on the Internet, and it's about how our Cracker Jack box system of licensing is killing people:

In it I make reference to nonagenarians driving muscle cars, and interestingly I'd already completed and filed the column when Captain High Pants and his chihuahua copilot launched his Camaro into someone's house:

According to police, a 91-year-old man-whose name has not been released-was driving a cherry red Chevrolet Camaro with his pet chihuahua when the incident occurred. 

The driver thought that he had put the car into drive, but it was instead in reverse.

Too bad we'll never succeed in putting an expiration date on driving privileges.  Suggest maybe people don't need heavy artillery to shoot at deer and the NRA will come down on you with everything they've got; suggest maybe people born before the 1929 market crash shouldn't be driving and the AARP will be on your ass like it's an early bird special.

Of course deciding when people should retire from driving isn't necessarily cut and dry, but when your pant waist starts irritating your nipples it's probably time to start thinking about garaging the Toyota Avalon for good.  This is especially true now that you can summon a car at the push of a button, and some kind of one-key Uber for Seniors device seems like just the thing.  Well, granted, there is such a thing, but it only takes you to the hospital:

But hey, as long as the Uber device is clearly marked and easily distinguished it shouldn't be a problem:

Oh, and are people on Facebook still the dumbest?  You're goddamn right they are:

Here's someone upset that the person in the photo is walking his bicycle without wearing a helmet:

If he's never seen a story about proper bike setup he should really consider a subscription to Bicycling, since that describes like every third article.

Then there's this guy, who is exactly half right:

Yes, Hunter Grantham Hall, you are a fucking idiot.

By the way, it's funny how people never look the way you expect them to:

He looks like he should be blissed out, not pissed off.

Oh well, stupid comes in all shapes and sizes.  Sometimes it even wears scented beard oil.

Moving on, yesterday I shared with you the thrilling news that I'd gotten a new bag:

(Fredly's got a brand new bag.)

Well promptly after posting I stuffed it full of sundries, strapped it to my bars, and took off for deepest suburbia:

I've been absolutely loving the Jones bars, which are not only supremely comfortable but also offer multiple hand positions while remaining utterly capable on technical terrain.  (Alas, I'm not utterly capable, but that's a separate issue.)  Furthermore, as I became better acquainted with them, I realized that I was not using them to their full potential, since Jones bars without a bag are kind of like a bikepacking bro without a beard.  See, here I was relishing this ramblin' all terrain hop-on-and-go lifestyle yet still portaging my comestibles and accessories in a backpack of all things.  So on it went:

My one reservation was that in adding the bag I'd sacrifice some of those hand positions.  However, in practice, the only one that's really off the table with the bag is this one here:

Though to be honest I almost never use that hand position anyway (which is why I still haven't gotten around to taping that portion of the bar), and if I really wanted to I could probably set the straps a little looser or something to create a little more space.

As for the hand positions I do use most often, in addition to the obvious hands on the grips placement, I also use this one a lot, wherein I kind of grab the bar junction and the brake lever bodies:

That's sort of the Jones bar equivalent of putting your hands on the hoods, and the bag does not impede it one bit.

Then of course there's getting aero and putting the hammer down:

With the bag I sort of rest my palms on the bar instead of fully grabbing it, but it's a non-issue.

Plus, it's that much easier to put the hammer down when you have a bag in which you can easily stow a hammer.

As it happens, I did not bring a hammer with me yesterday, and the contents of the bag were as follows:

  • Banana
  • Food bar
  • Baggie full of trail mix
  • 20+ year-old Blackburn mini pump (still going strong!)
  • Hiploc zip tie thingies in case I want to stop someplace
Even with this generous payload there was room to spare, and the bag was nice and secure even on rough terrain.  In conclusion my adorable little bro purse seems like it will be just as handy as I hoped, and if you want more technical details about its construction and so forth you can find them here.

Oh, I should also add I did the whole 30-ish mile all-terrain adventure in those Mission Workshop jeans I'm testing:

(Not my lower half, I wouldn't be caught dead in those shoes.)

I was perfectly comfortable every pedal stroke of the way, and as a recovering Fred I'm very proud of the degree to which I've been able to embrace riding in underpants.

Finally, if you're wondering how I've been doing on my one-bike resolution, the answer is, uh, not that great.  Fortunately I've got the New York Times to help me:

Let’s talk about Feb. 14.

Yes, it’s Valentine’s Day, but more important than that: It’s the day by which 80 percent of people who made a New Year’s resolution will have given up.

But this year, let’s stick it out together and keep each other accountable.

Yes, let's.  Unfortunately it's probably a waste of time, since I made my resolution for all the wrong reasons:

“If you do it out of the sense of self-hate or remorse or a strong passion in that moment, it doesn’t usually last long,” psychiatrist Dr. Michael Bennett told Jen. “But if you build up a process where you’re thinking harder about what’s good for you, you’re changing the structure of your life, you’re bringing people into your life who will reinforce that resolution, then I think you have a fighting chance.”

I can't think of a worse group of enablers than other cyclists.


Unknown said...


Anonymous said...

People (i.e. drivers) confuse rights with privileges. The latter can and should be removed. Persistent texters and drinkers especially.
Was Hunter on the left?

Bunyip said...


Anonymous said...

Have you seen this deep dive into NYC garbage collecting? What a shit show.

HDEB said...

I have been under the impression that for technical riding there is some science-y physics reason why weight in a well-fitted backpack is superior to weight on a bicycle, having to do with the backpack moving laterally less than weight on a bicycle.

BikeSnobNYC said...


Wouldn't want lots of weight on the bars for technical riding but I think the effects of a bagful of snacks on handling are probably negligible.

--Wildcat Etc.

dancesonpedals said...

We need to go further with licensing. As it stands, anyone with a y chromosome is allowed to grow a penis.

JLRB said...

No turn signals???

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...Damn, brother!!!

Your OM columns are getting better and better. You're like a zen archer now. Someone should give you a high position on policy... or failing that, a Pue-litzer prize.

O'4fuxake said...

yep, just finished reading the new Outside article.
AMEN brother Snob.
Once again you have clearly articulated the facts of a frustrating scenario that leaves me tongue-tied. I believe that easily half of the people I witness operating motor vehicles simply shouldn't be.

cyclejerk said...

Hey, them Jones bars will accept an aero Norwhal Unicorn handle. Jones' is fairly pricey, so I'm curating my own, as metal work is my kind of work.

Anonymous said...

Weight is best mounted low on the bike/body for technical riding. Seatbag mounted in st/dt/bb junction, behind the bottle. There are lots of slick bottle cage mounted mini tools, as well as ones that fit in Shimano hollow tech bb spindles. Fanny pack, swat bibs and or road jersey.

L. L. Beano said...

$285 for a pair of stretchy jeans? I could get two pairs of Compass knickers for that and have enough left over for knee socks!

Anonymous said...

Holy cow! Those Mission jeans cost almost $300. You could buy nearly 20 pairs of Wranglers on sale at Target for that price. Or better yet, you could buy two pairs and spend the other $200+ on beer, food and bike parts. I hope you are not sending them back when your "testing period" is over.

Anonymous said...

Isn’t hammering it on a bike ride whilst not having a hammer in stowage a ticket-able offense in Jack Cliff’s world?

Thanks for the Outside column. Outstanding!

BikeSnobNYC said...

L.L. Beano and Anonymous 3:34pm,

Yes, I addressed that when I mentioned them last week. As I said, my preferred jeans (riding or otherwise) are from Uniqlo, cheap and rival any special riding jeans. But I'm always happy to try some fancy pants because why not?

--Wildcat Etc.

1904 Cadardi said...

It's going to be a while before they take over the roads, but self-driving cars should improve overall pedestrian and cyclist safety. Based on how bad and inattentive most drivers are today it won't be a huge hurdle to be better.

DRIV ERED said...

Hey, some of those same cyclist fucking idiots also drive cars.
IF they are idiots, they need training and loss of license if necessary.
But that does not exempt the FI cyclists from blame if a crash is caused by or greatly contributed to by FI cyclists.

Drivers should get retested (observed road test, mostly) upon each renewal.
And the tests should be tougher.
I suppose some sort of VR testing system would be more of a sell to Motor Vehicle Departments.
It might really help catch some dangerous behavior as well as response times.

Anonymous said...

Well, You are correct in your assertions on Drivers licenses; Just this morning I was thinking that Drivers shouldn't just have to pass a driving test ( a monkey could probably do that), but also an IQ test. Mentally challenged people already can't get drivers licenses (which is why many of them ride bicycles), but what about people who are just plain dumb? Can you just be too dumb to drive a car? I say, "YES!" in only two days I've been behind 3 people who refuse to turn right on red even though it's clear, legal and I'm flashing my lights at them. They may know how to operate their leased Hyundai, they just don't have any sense.
Your post with the YOUTS of New York terrorizing motorists, was interesting, but I sort of objected to the newscaster referring to them as "Cyclists", sure they were on BMX cruisers, but it was a group of thugs and they would be thugs whether they were on Bicycles, Scooters, Skateboards or driving cars. Maybe it's a thin line, but can't we distinguish, between people who just happen to be doing whatever it is they are doing ON A BIKE and "Cyclists" The kids in that report were hardly representative of the typical cyclist and portraying them as such, maybe sends the wrong message and reinforces the arguments of the idiots who are anti-bike. To be honest these kids willful and flagrant flaunting of the rules that society has imposed on them was kind of refreshing; Reminded me of my younger self; when my motto of safe cycling was to "Ride Offensively" or maybe Flamboyantly is a better term? Lets face it, you ARE going to see those kids; their riding is in your face! Maddening maybe, but not nearly as bad as getting behind some roadies I've been behind, who may indeed be operating within the confines of the law, but many times are rather inconsiderate. When I'm riding; I've found that even if I am pissing somebody off, a friendly wave, a head nod, or some other form of acknowledgement does go a long way towards easing tensions with drivers (although I also recognize the NYC is a whole nother ball of wax) - masmojo

BikeSnobNYC said...

1904 Cadardi,

Check out this article. Self-driving cars may make roads a lot safer...or they may require so much from other road users in order to work properly (not to mention changes to the law) that pedestrians and cyclists lose even more of their rights to the road. Last century saw the invention of criminalized walking ("jaywalking"). Will walking while disconnected become criminal in the 21st century? How much will we have to sacrifice so these things actually work?


--Wildcat Etc.

Al said...

Now that we have contaminated Earth with millions of four wheeled shitboxes, Elon Musk is shooting used cars into the universe with his SpaceX. Reductio Ad Absurdum.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Very well done hand placement graphics.

Chazu said...

Hunter is disappointed that his audition for the cast of Vikings went poorly. His sadness and self loathing translate into rage on Facebook.

bad boy of the south said...

Are we going to the hall's shindig?that would be shag-a-delic.(my apologies to those of the king james English-speaking group).

bad boy of the south said...

Never mind

Assholes Answer Questions With Questions said...

Re: How much will we have to sacrifice so these things actually work?

How much do we sacrifice for what 'works' now?

1904 Cadardi said...


There will certainly be issues, but being an engineer myself I put more faith in engineers solving the problem of detecting and reacting to cyclists appropriately than I do in drivers putting down their phones and paying attention.

Anonymous said...

First, Snob, you've outdone yourself with your latest Outside column. Nice work!

Second, people are already pushing the idea that those remaining pesky bikers and walkers should all have some kind of wireless beacon (in their phones, most likely) that networks with the cars so they (and not their torpid, stoned occupants, who are not driving anyway) will know they're there. Don't always carry a phone? Well, you better get used to it so you don't end up a hood ornament plus arrested for messing up somebody's pristine electrocouch because not carrying a phone will be a felony in the near future. Hmm...maybe an implant, so I never forget? Wait! I've got! The suppository phone!

N/A said...

Any bag that will hold a coupla' beers and granola bars is just right. You gotsta' have proper ride nutrition. It seems that Jones is the right kind of organization to have sorted this out in a proper fashion.

DR said...

Could you use this handlebar bar in place of a saddle bag for tools, etc? Speaking of, what kind of tools, etc are you carrying on your routine MTB outings? Thanks

JRLB said...

I recall accompanying both of my grandparents to the DMV in Cali back in the 80's when they had to retake an eye exam to get their license renewed past a certain age - it was the DMV's polite way of confiscating licenses. Very traumatic experience for the GP's. What they didn't take away was the keys to the car - we had to do that ourselves. Even more traumatic, but safe for others.

JLRB said...

A popular search engine led me to this summary of State laws with requirements related to getting old and driving - mostly just vision but some require road tests (note report is from 2006:

NHcycler said...

The Bike Snob Forecast mentions that "In national news, the new Chair of the Federal Reserve is a bike commuter:"

That reminds me of this:

We're a diverse group!

McFly said...

$285 fo dem hipster jeans.....ok

Anonymous said...

Tense and nervous
Can't relax

Anonymous said...

All those ridiculous bars need now are tassels, lights, a horn, ergo grips, bar ends, bar end shifters, and some mirrors. THEN they will live up to their potential.

Anonymous said...

Had an acquaintance hit and seriously injured by a 90+yo driver while cycling near his home in Vt. They subsequently went to the state legislature and asked for some sort of law requiring retesting after 75, which began to get some traction... and, yep, then the AARP swooped in screaming and killed the whole idea.

Fredder said...

Repeating what I said on Facebook: The physical drivers license card could have an ID chip that is read by a sensor in the car. Not full proof, but it would stop the majority of unlicensed drivers, or those with suspended licenses, from driving. How about it Elon Musk!?

Anonymous said...

The number of Tour-Day-Frances that the US has won is quite a bit less than that cited in the article on how to talk to conservatives about cycling. Have to strike that one off the talking points list.

Also, I would like to actually grip the bars in the forward position rather than just resting my palms on top. Is that doable if the straps are looser?

1904 Cadardi said...


Shhh! You're going to spoil Wildcat's secret plan to win the next Curated Cockpit Contest.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if one day there will a type of transportation that you'll be able to map you route using a mapping app and it will tell you where you have to stand to hop on. Then, you'd hop off close to your destination and walk only like 3-4 blocks. But this type of transportation needs to optimized so can carry a lot of people at the same time. Why doesn't anyone invest in something like that?.....

Anonymous said...

Odds are Jenn LaSkey has long flowing armpit hair

Anonymous said...

In Japan they give you a goodie bag of coupons and perks when you give up your DL in an attempt to get older drivers off the road. Getting 15% off ramen for the rest of your life isn't too shabby. Maybe here we can give them Netflix subscriptions to stay the hell off the road.

Olle Nilsson said...

Interesting postscript to the guy walking his bike. Apparently he was really drunk and hanging onto the bike was the only thing keeping him upright. Shortly after he put his bike away, he fell down and split his head open. True story.

Never mind the helmet, your bike is saving your head.

Anonymous said...

Can you use your vast journalistic powers to find out if MR. bitchin camaro was wearing a helmet?

Anonymous said...

dude wears my blog

Unknown said...


Unknown said...

There is actually a Jones Bar in my town,....I've been thrown out of better places.