Wednesday, April 11, 2018

New Outside Column!

I'm packing up my artisanal bindle and getting ready to split for the coast, but before I do here's my latest column for Outside:

Basically it's all about how I break laws on my bike because I'm better and smarter than everybody, so let the bike-haters of Facebook suck on that one:

Other than that, if you're looking for me over the next few days and I'm not here you should be able to find me over at the Bike Forecast or on the Twitter--and, since I am going out there for L'Eroica California, eventually some sort of activity should pop up on the Strava.  If all goes well I'll return with a bindle full of adventure, and if it doesn't I'll be back with some sort of wool-induced skin condition.


Skidmark said...

You bet your bindle l will.

cyclejerk said...

Well. Podiddly wif muh bindle.

Anonymous said...

Bindle is "swag" in Australian.

You may want to consider adopting it because "suck my swag" has a nicer ring to it, don't you think?

Anonymous said...


Wildcat you some up my feelings on traffic laws quite succinctly.


bad boy of the south said...

Breakin`the law.breakin'the law.

bad boy of the south said...

Have a bindleful time on the left coast.

BamaPhred said...

Take your Epi-pen!
Too late, I know.
But I had to say it

HDEB said...

"One has not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws" -- M.L.K. Jr. -- Letter From Birmingham Jail

wle said...

top 2

wishiwasmerckx said...

Podium spot still available?

Surely you jest.

wishiwasmerckx said...

I couldn't agree more about cyclists showing contempt for traffic laws.

Conflict occurs when cars and bikes are forced to compete for the same real estate. This seldom happens on open roads with adequate shoulders, but happens almost without fail at intersections.

The solution to self-preservation is to disregard the traffic control device entirely in order to safely remove yourself from the conflict. If this enrages the motorist, it is not humanly possible for me to care less.

As for wearing your best clothes to a shitshow, my mother taught me that it always pays to be overdressed, not underdressed.

Barry Modolo said...

I break the laws that make the haters scream,
I break the laws of eating flesh with cream,
I break the laws that make the young girls cry,
I am BikeSnob, and I break the laws!

wishiwasmerckx said...

To quote Hans Christian Anderson,

"Near me, on a sofa, reclined a young Jewess, stout and overdressed."

That's just how I like my Jewish American Princesses, stout and overdressed.

JLRB said...

But what about the horses? Why do those big uglies get to shit without their owners having to bag it, and why do they get right of way over pedestrians and cyclists?

Ah nevermind - I really don't care. Just saw the horse sign with the modified Stop-Snob sign and

Unknown said...

I think its interesting how its illegal for anyone above the age of 12 to ride their bike on the sidewalk. Its a law that's never enforced in my town, I thinks its generally assumed the roads are too dangerous for cycling. We have some roads where cars are doing 45-60 mph within inches of the sidewalk because bicycle lanes are non-existent in my part of town.

High and Outside said...

Which "scud" are you referring to?

scud (Low-altitude clouds moving along with the wind?)

scud (One -of many- of Lob's little buddies?)

scud (Turtle shell disease?)

I don't think people find cyclists as threatening as Scud missiles if that was the reference.

Do you still ride next to parked cars in door-zone bike lanes?
I note the term "protected" in your article, but some of those are real shitty, too as far as car-door hazards and sudden "invisible" hidden pedestrian crossings.

Or are you not breaking the letter of the law by treating those New York facilities as ones which are directing you near obstacles to legally avoid?
Mandatory Bike Lane Laws

"Cyclists have been forced into the gutter by drivers for the past hundred years, so of course anyone who’s riding bikes in this country for any amount of time has been forced to devise his or her own framework in order to survive and thrive."
- Eben Weiss -

Yep. I use my own framework, it has assisted my commuting and city riding for 20 of the 30 years I've been cycling.

Cycling infrastructure is a teeny part of my framework, I cannot depend on it for my safety (bike-handling, awareness, and good habits do a better job), and though I do like and will use the far less common not-crap cycling infrastructure I find.
MPLS wasn't so terrible, for instance.

It's possible, but so often the engineering and design fails (few traffic engineers DO cycling and the majority of users are cagers), if the budget restrictions or installation errors don't cause sub-standard installations.

And I'm not alone:
"Well... it's better than nothing'

Sub-standard facilities are of no use to anyone. Not only are they no good for confident adults to cycle on, but they will also never provide the level of subjective safety required for British parents to think their children are safe on a bike.

I would much rather focus on improving driver habits, as that would protect more of the road-using population and drivers are the bulk of the problem, We are the World (saving our own lives). As drivers are generally shitty now, that means lots of room for improvement. Of course politicians and police won't like this, it endangers politicians' careers, and police unions don't want more traffic stops because they endanger LEO lives more.than not performing them.

Hembrow has a point, the murder of children on the streets by inattentive and/or aggressive drivers is a focus point that can be agreed to and used to rally for tougher licensing exams (and road exams on renewal) as well as for cycling infrastructure. Traffic law enforcement is probably not an easy sell.

If everybody does it, then it is normal, and police can't ticket all the normal drivers. Even though they should.

Anyway... I just want to encourage cycling facilities that do not suck.

Accepting garbage infrastructure allows the cycling advocates to be placated, and seem as ingrates if they bitch later. They already have plenty of detractors.
I mean, the shiny-tight-shorts-Lance-wannabes and the crunchy granolas need all the help they can get.

Oh, yeah. Play fair:

Bike Lanes are White Lanes
Bicycle Justice & Urban Transformation

1904 Cadardi said...

Yay!! Something to read during tomorrows lunchtime conference call!!!

Enjoy your L'Eroicaing!!

Anonymous said...

Snob made Google, on the Left (West) Coast !

SoonerNate said...

“[N]obody’s going to put on their best clothes to go to a shit-show.”
One of the best lines I have ever read.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Enjoy your L'Eroica immensely!

GeorgeP said...

Love that Taj did the illustration!

Anonymous said...

Have fun at l’Eroica! I hope you finally get to hang out with Bene/Ultraromance and his friends. Knock back a few Rhône Ranger reds for me, too.

Anonymous said...

EROICA CA...and Strava? You shouldn't be riding with any gizmo (OK, put your smart-phone in your back pocket for photos and emergencies only) that didn't exist before 1987. Your inner Fred is becoming way too visible these days. What have you done with The Snob?

George Krpan said...

Have a great time at Eroica. If I'd have know you were going I'd have planned to go.

Anonymous said...

I was heading home late last night, taking my usual (bike) route along the West Side Highway. At the same time, DOT was installing new highway signs --- which involved heavy machinery, police details, giant cranes, staging space for signs, lane closures, and of course bike path closure with no detour signs. My progress uptown was stopped abruptly at 43d St, with few good further options. I waited for the green on 43 St, then turned left and booked it through as many red lights as possible on the West Side Highway proper, before traffic could catch up to me, bypassing multiple bike path obstructions. The first intersection had a bunch of Intrepid pedestrians, but the rest were free and clear, T-bones, here we come! I made it just far enough in one light cycle, and got back on the bike path at 59th St, avoiding both construction and a ticket.

leroy said...

But these are my best clothes.

1904 Cadardi said...


Your Outside article espoused the riding style I've been promoting for years "Do whatever you have to do to not get killed." It seems to have worked so far.

Are you getting a L'Er oica knuckle tat while you're out there?

janinedm said...

You don't know what it's like, you don't have a clue
If you did you'd find yourselves doing the same thing too!

Anyways, what do you think Best Made would charge for an artisanal bindle?

NourskSiklist said...

Thx for expanding my vocabulary with "bindle" - nothing says "bum" or "gentleman of the road" like one of those, but I never knew the Ameringlish term before. Nice Outside piece, I enjoy reading about the predatory nature of US traffic. I mean, cars are all over the world, and drivers are even crazier in other countries, but Murka is the Land of the Car. And the personal firearm, but that's not relevant here. At least I hope cyclists are not getting shot at regularly! It's far from Spring where I live, but it's on its way. Snowdrifts are melting, birds are chirping, and soon all the idiots who drive all winter are going to get their bieks out of the shed and start riding. I love cycling in winter, because nearly all the other riders know what the fark they are doing. They also have that "winter caution" that prevents pointless accidents and near-fatal decisions. Once the tarmac is bare and dry, all that goes out the window. Any fool can ride their bieks then, and they do. Six months of good behaviour down the drain, as the local newspapers fill with the sputtering ire of car drivers ranting about irresponsible cyclists. The Police have to go on national media and remind people, "no, running over cyclists is still not allowed". Sheesh. Enjoy California, and dodge the lizard scum.

Al said...

Who makes the DOT rules? Motorist. Who enforces the DOT rules? Motorist. Most judges, lawyers and juries got it...motorist. No motorist is going to make a law that might impact their ability to drive their freedom machine as fast and as recklessly as they want. The deck is stacked against anyone not in a four wheeled shitbox so if I must break some rules in order to stay alive, well so be it. As the famous urban cyclist and author, Robert Hurst, once said, "Ride with fear and joy."

Some guy from upstate said...

The burning question of course: what bike for L'Eroica? I can't think of anything in the Snob fleet that's suitable. Will you be borrowing something from Rivendell?

As for the column, I'm on the same page with you and most of the comments. I follow the law of minimizing death potential. Traffic laws exist to prevent the people in the big metal cages from wreaking too much havoc, they don't override reality. Expect to get lots of angry comments, many of the "it's not fair, bikes cheat" variety disguised as fake concern for your safety.

E-Scaper said...

Can we expect some BSNYC schwag? Some "Approve" stickers would be the schittz(show)!

L'JLRB said...


Olle Nilsson said...

Best Outside column yet. Blindly following the rules will get you killed. In so many situations, the worst time for me to go is when I have "the right of way". Goes for walking too.

leroy said...

Ride safe all!

I intend to make good choices, resist peer pressure, and discount the double dog dares coming from man's supposed best friend.

dancesonpedals said...

The ethics of breaking laws is well established. Jesus was walking one Saturday with his disciples and snagged some millet to chew on as he passed a field. Some Pharisees who were stalking him made a fuss about his performing work on the Sabbath (project much?) Jesus defended himself by recalling David, running for his life from Saul's men, taking loaves from the kitchen that were reserved for the Levites. This was part of a liberal protestant Sunday School lesson that meandered into civil disobedience. The middle schoolers, when asked for examples about when it would be all right to break the law, brought up the civil rights movement and women's suffrage. T intersections were not discussed.

PLAY NICE said...

Right at a T intersection? No problem.

I hate the leftists who blow the red and cut me off or force me to pass as I'm coming from the right with the light. Straight at a T-intersection? If I'm taking a legal left and have to deal with some rider running the red going straight through from the right, if they don't yield to me, FUCK THEM!

It's rude if they cut you off, if they wait to complete their illegal move until they let other legitimately operating traffic by, I'm okay with that.

When I'm not fleeing for my life, bread-stealing and light-running is not really mitigated. That's like abortion to save the life of the mother versus abortion for convenience.

Should I bring up Hitler?

JLRB said...

No, no you should not.