Hitting The Links

Hey, did somebody say “gravel?”

I am deeply fortunate to have easy access to a long, flat, unpaved trail that affords sweeping views of the Hudson River and the Palisades beyond…

…though not for long!

This could be tragic for the smug people of Virtue-Signal-on-Hudson Hastings-On-Hudson, who have stunning views, but who will no longer be able to view this exact view from this exact spot if they are less than four feet tall. I mean not to sound insensitive, but immediately south in Yonkers the streets along the Aqueduct are lined with apartment buildings, and yet they seem to manage. So what, do the people of Hastings somehow think they’re more entitled to delightful views than a Yonkersian, or a Yonkersite, or a Yonker? (Actually, according to a popular user-edited online encyclopedia, all are correct, though I think we should just call them “Yonks.”) What makes you Hastings people special, besides all your money?

By the way, if you’re a Hastingstonian, don’t take any of that too seriously, I’m just looking for an excuse to use esoteric demonyms. And if it makes you feel better I promise that if the luxury townhomes do go up I’ll make them one of my regular pee spots. Just imagine those view-ruining townhouse buyers firing up the Keurig in the morning, looking out the window, and seeing some dirtbag dropping his MUSA pants to take a leak. How do you like your view now?

Speaking of the Homer and the fact that I’m a dirtbag, remember I strung a chain together with two quick links and one of them was causing a case of chainsuck in the granny gear? Well, I replaced the offending link, and all was well for awhile, but then yesterday the “new” link got stuck on the big ring during a downshift:

No doubt the reason is that the chainring is from the ’80s off of like a six-speed and the 9-speed link is just narrow enough to catch it providing the link is in exactly the right (or wrong) spot during the shift. So what did I do? Buy a new chain, of course!

Nah, fuck that, I just replaced it with a wider link:

Hopefully it’s wide enough not to get stuck, and hopefully it’s not too wide that it opens itself and sends me hurtling to my death–and if it does, please don’t let the insurance company see this post, though I’m pretty sure my years of cynical helmet takes alone are more than enough to void my policy.

Anyway, after several days of Homering, today I reverted to Fred mode and blocked this view of the Palisades with my titanium bicycle:

This is, it now occurs to me, currently my only bicycle with indexed shifting:

In fact I’d probably put friction downtube shifters on this one too if there were bosses for them, and you Campy-philes are probably thinking it’s a good thing that there aren’t:

And no, I’m not putting bar-end shifters on a bike like this, I’m not that far gone.

Then on the way home I passed this e-Citi Bike, which has been sitting stranded and forlorn on the bike path in Yonkers for several days now:

Usually I just ride right past, but today I figured I’d be helpful and let Citi Bike know about it so they could have their bike back try to ride it. The screen said it was not available:

“Yeah, whatever,” I thought, and tried to ride it anyway, stupid road bike shoes and all. However, despite my massive power output there was way too much resistance in the drivetrain to ride it, and then this happened:

[High Security]

So I put it back where I found it and continued on my way.

Speaking of Citi Bikes and Freds behaving badly, I saw this on the Twitters recently:

Yes, Hell hath no fury like a Transportation Alternatives organizer struck by a Fred:

Apparently it happened on the hill in Prospect Park, Brooklyn:

If you’re unfamiliar with Prospect Park, picture a pleasant, rolling, four-mile loop that on a typical afternoon is jam-packed with the most self-important, entitled people anywhere on the planet Earth–it’s like taking the entire population of Hastings-on-Hudson, getting them wine-drunk, and dropping them in a 500-acre field in Brooklyn. (Though in reality it’s the opposite and Hastings-on-Hudson is mostly populated by people who got drunk at brunch, drove up to Westchester on a whim, and were still feeling tipsy when they stumbled into an open house and made an offer on a charming Victorian.) And of those entitled people, nobody is more entitled than the New York City Fred, who thinks this shitshow is an ideal setting for a training session or fast group ride, even though it’s full of dogs and kids on scooters and slow people on Citi Bikes and every kind of obstacle you can imagine, and even though they can race in Prospect Park on a closed course most weekend mornings for like half the year. So it’s no surprise then that one of them should run into an advocate on a Citi Bike, and that this advocate should in turn alert the media to this grave injustice. In fact I too used to rail against just this sort of Prospect Park wankitude until I had the good sense to move to the Bronx:

At the same time, it is important to keep in mind that we have only the “victim’s” account, and as far as entitlement goes, fundamentally the only difference between a Fred and a TransAlt insider is the wardrobe. It may have been a wanton hit-and-run, or it may be that he collided with her by accident (that hill really is a shitshow within a shitshow, people on Citi Bikes have a funny way of veering diagonally as soon as there’s the slightest hint of an incline), he made sure she was fine, and eventually decided it wasn’t worth waiting around for her to put the entire system on trial. I’m certainly not saying that is what happened, but who knows? But I will say that in a collision between a crabon Fred sled and a Citi Bike, the smart money is definitely on the latter.

Whatever happened, the irony is that a State Senator is now using it to push his latest zany legislation scheme:

I’m pretty sure TransAlt doesn’t want any of this, so I guess the lesson here is don’t rat on your fellow bicyclist.

Finally, in other local advocacy news, they say that after a nuclear war all that will be left will be cockroaches and Keith Richards, but I’m pretty sure tedious arguments about bike lanes will survive them all:

Bike lane opponents love to do the whole “avid cyclist” thing, but there’s an analog whereby, when accused of being anti-car, advocates have to tell you how much they love them:

There are three things advocates in New York City could do right now to increase their credibility exponentially, and they are as follows:

Admit That They Hate Cars And Think People Who Drive Them Are Stupid

Bike lane haters always accuse advocates of hating cars and wanting to ban them, and so advocates in turn accuse them of exaggerating or lying. But the thing is, advocates in New York really do hate cars, and they really want to ban them. I know, I’ve been to the secret meetings! (I’m not kidding.) They’re basically trying to do all the things the Vicky Paladinos are saying they are. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but it is true. So at least own it. Sure, some people find the idea of destroying car culture scary or infuriating, but working to destroy car culture while trying to hide it is just creepy and makes people think you’re an insidious cabal and not just an advocacy group. Think about it: some people hate anchovies, and some people love them. So if you’re selling pizza, it’s one thing to put anchovies on it as a topping, but it’s quite another to hide them in the crust and not tell anybody.

Stop Driving Cars

Bike advocates are not lying when they say that many of them own cars. This is another reason people don’t trust them. It’s not wrong to be highly critical of car culture, but I do think when you go “pro” and become an actual advocate working for an actual organization you should suck it up and stop driving. Say what you will about the vegans and the PETA set, but none of them reply to criticism by saying that they eat hamburgers too, or that “there isn’t an animal rights person in the game today who doesn’t recognize the important role meat and animal by-products play in a balanced diet.”

Admit They’re Elitist And Funded By Rich People

Riding a bike isn’t elitist. But advocating for it professionally certainly is. Yes, the full-time “Livable Streets” people are in fact elitists funded by rich people! That’s just how it works. They’re urbanites who know better than you, and the organizations they work for are funded primarily by the very wealthy. This does not make them wrong necessarily, nor does it make them unique, because guess what? Their opponents are also elitists funded by rich people, and fundamentally there’s no real difference between them except the type of restaurants they prefer. (Advocates like artisanal farm-to-table restaurants with uncomfortable furniture, bike lane haters like big sumptuous Italian places with valet parking.) In fact, if you haven’t figured it out, everybody on every side of every issue is funded by rich people. So instead of accusing each other of being funded by a rich person, or claiming that you’re not when someone else says that you are, everyone should just embrace it fully and every argument should be: “Oh yeah? Well my daddy’s richer than your daddy!”

It would certainly make all those opinion pieces a lot shorter.

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