Stick A Fork In It

Not that you care about our local leadership, but Eric Adams has officially won the Democratic mayoral primary here in New York City. This means he’s pretty much a shoo-in for mayor, though technically he does have to win the general election against Republican candidate Curtis Sliwa, shown here ranting about the Five Boro Bike Tour back in 2017:

Just for context, the Five Boro Bike Tour has been going on since the 1970s, and both the DOT and the local media give lots of advance notice concerning the street closures. So this is basically no different than being surprised by the appearance of a gigantic tree in Rockefeller Center at Christmas–though to Sliwa’s credit I’m fairly certain he knows that and merely saw an opportunity to make an anti-bike video on the BQE.

Anyway, like most of the mayoral candidates (apart from Curtis Sliwa, of course), Adams is ostensibly pro-bike, and even rides one to get places–though a Tweeterer did recently bring this to my attention:

My team of researchers did indeed confirm the backwards-ness of Adams’s fork:

[From Streetsblog, I think.]

And uncovered evidence that it has been oriented thusly since at least 2018:

[From here.]

To be clear, I am not pointing this out in order to ridicule the (possible) Mayor-elect. Certainly for us bike dorks, the idea of riding around with your fork backwards is almost unfathomable, and seemingly as difficult to pull off as putting your pants on the wrong way. However, if you stop and think, it’s really not all that surprising that a normal person might not notice their bicycle fork has done an about-face, especially when you consider most bikes come out of the box that way in the first place. The truth is we’re all unwittingly doing something that’s offending some expert somewhere, whether it’s eating our sushi wrong, or resting our hand on the stick shift of our manual car transmission, or failing to redeem coupons while grocery shopping. We’re all savvy about some things, and idiots about other things, and invariably someone else who’s savvy about the things we’re not is going to find themselves standing there aghast and agog at the state of our idiocy at one point or another.

At the same time, we can draw certain conclusions from this state of affairs. Specifically, unless Adams specifically prefers the handling characteristics of a bike with a backwards fork and has set it up that way on purpose (hey, who knows, maybe he has extremely kinky tastes in rake and trail), we can conclude he’s not exactly a bike expert. Furthermore, inasmuch as he’s probably not a bike expert, it’s also pretty safe to say he doesn’t maintain his own bike. However, he clearly hasn’t brought the bike in for servicing either, since obviously the first thing any halfway competent shop would do would be to fix that fork for him. So if Adams’s bike hasn’t needed any attention since at lease 2018, then clearly he isn’t riding it that much–which isn’t necessarily an indictment of him either, I should point out. You can still be pro-bike even if you don’t ride that much, or even at all. Also, maybe he just uses Citi Bike instead:

[From here.]

This would make sense, since he probably finds that Citi Bikes handle way better than his own personal bike with the fucked-up fork.

But perhaps what’s most relevant about the state of Adams’s fork is not what it says about the man himself, but what it says about those around him. Surely somebody in his circle must have noticed it by now. I mean half the photos in this post were taken by people at Streesblog, and you’d think they’d have at least tried to bring it to his attention. Are people noticing it and not saying anything? And if they’re not saying anything, is it because they want him to look foolish, or because they’re intimidated by him? Or, are they in fact bringing it to his attention and he’s spurning their advice? Or are we as a society really just that clueles about bikes? Whatever’s going on, this is the equivalent of someone who’s been walking around with a big chunk of spinach in his teeth…for at least four years.

Ultimately though I’m not too concerned. After all, he clearly has the appropriate level of disdain for helmets:

In a way, riding with an unfastened helmet is even more disdainful than not riding in one at all.

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