Setting A Bad Example

Back in February I shared this video about foam sport-themed bicycling hats:

Yesterday, I received an exciting offer from a maker of cycling headgear:

To be clear, I am grateful for the offer, and it is not my intention to ridicule either the person who sent this to me or the company as a whole. At the same time, how could I not be delighted by the irony? Also, how could I not be annoyed that I’m also equally flippant about expensive crabon bicycles, yet nobody emails me and offers to send me a $14,500 Aethos?

Ironically in 2022 the only way to get a simple road bike with roundish tubes and minimal branding is to crack the $10,000 barrier.

Anyway, I guess I shold make a video about why I don’t ride plastic bikes, and then I’ll have my pick of the litter a few months later.

In the meantime, I continue to pursue my newfound passion for Dirtbag Road riding, and swimming during rides, which is of course the DR equivalent of the traditional roadie café stop. (And please resist the urge to conflate the Dirtbag Road swim with the swim leg of a triathlon. The former is merely a pleasant cooling-off, whereas the latest is a sort of mania, and the two activities are as unrelated as your walk into the woods to take a leak is to the running leg of a triathlon.) Unlike my last swim, which was unsanctioned and in fresh water, this one took place in a salt water body where swimming is allowed:

You know it’s a good day for swimming when it’s hot enough to melt chewing gum:

At first I felt guilty for the weekday beach time on top of the weekday saddle time:

But then I realized that the seaside interlude would take up essentially the same amount of time as incorporating a few climbs into the ride, so I said “Fuck it” and opened a beer:

Figure every foot of vertical ascent you cut out of your ride equals an additional five seconds of towel time:

That means by cutting out this climb alone I was able to swim and sit there long enough for my suit to dry:

See that? Strava is good for something.

Moving on to matters of policy, Austin, TX will pay people who report bike lane blockers a cut of the fine:

Because if you’re going to make an earnest attempt to get motorists out of the bike lane, it makes sense to emulate the city that has completely and famously failed to get motorists out of the bike lane:

Of course, New York City doesn’t pay you to rat out bike lane blockers; it pays you to rat out idling truck drivers. Admittedly, this has been a windfall for at least three people, at least two of whom probably don’t need the money:

Though I’ll go out on a limb and say it hasn’t made the slightest difference when it comes to idling.

What Austin may or may not understand is that in New York City these fines don’t exist to change behavior; rather, they’re basically a tax on behavior they know people are going to engage in anyway and have no real interest in stopping. For example, the city knows people make deliveries by truck, and they know the people making deliveries are going to be forced to block the bike lane in order to do it. So they simply work out a deal for what’s essentially a de-facto bike lane-blocking permit via the city’s “Stipulated Parking Fine Program:”

Similarly, the city knows these trucks will idle, and they know they can cash in on the sheer ubiquity of the practice (it’s a sure bet, like fining people for breathing), so they’re willing to cut you in so that they can net even more money and pretend they’re doing something to “fight climate change” at the same time.

Really, it’s quite elegant if you think about it–the city is basically increasing the size of its bureaucracy while simultaneously offloading more responsibility onto you, the citizen. And of course when it comes to reporting private motorists (as opposed to the delivery drivers who couldn’t give a fuck whether or not they get tickets since it’s all been pre-negotiated anyway) there’s the added benefit that one of them might decide to kick the shit out of you:

Good luck, Austin! You’ve hitched your wagon to a fading star.

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