Seeing The Light

Until now I have resisted temptation, but even the chaste among us eventually succumb, and so I must confess to you that I have now tasted the forbidden fruit.

I commuted on my Rivendell:

I don’t mean I rode it in the city, which I’ve done plenty of times. I mean I rode someplace in the morning, left it for awhile while I did stuff, and then rode it back home in the evening:

This may seem foolhardy, but I’m no dummy, and I gave that pigeon five bucks to watch it for me.

Anyway, I haven’t used the Rivendell in this capacity since it was brand new and I was so excited that I used it to ride to my radio show (RIP):

I’m using no fewer than four locks there, if you count the little locking zip-tie thingy on the saddle.

But yes, after yesterday’s grocery store trip I realized it was time to come to grips with the fact that, like Kramer in the shower, the Homer is where I really wanna be:

And naturally I’ve come to this conclusion almost immediately after transforming the Eye of the Tiger bike into something approaching the perfect commuter, go figure:

Nevertheless, while not yet fully outfitted for this sort of riding, the Homer promises to be better. Some of this is a simple matter of components; for example, as much as I like those old dirt drops, they’re just not as comfy as a pair of regular drops with chunky Campy-style brake hoods. However, the biggest difference is how much more stable the bike feels with a heavy-ish bag on it, which I assume is largely due to the Homer’s borough-spanning wheelbase:

[The front wheel’s in Brooklyn, the rear wheel’s in Manhattan.]

This is most noticeable when riding up and down hills or over speed bumps. I’ve got cheapo racks on both bikes, and I’m using the same bag with the same load, but the Eye of the Tiger Bike feels more wobbly under those circumstances, whereas the Homer is more composed. Of course, you could certainly argue I’m bringing that wobbliness on myself by not loading the bike evenly, but it’s not like the Eye of the Tiger bike is “Holy shit I’m gonna die!” wobbly or anything like that, it’s just that the Homer handles it better. I also wonder if being able to maintain a lighter touch on the bars due to this stability is contributing to my hand-related comfort even more than the different bar and hood configuration is, but who knows…and, at the end of the day, who really cares, either?

Of course, to be a true commuter the Homer still needs a couple things (ahem FENDERS), but it does have that dynamo-powered headlight:

I guess if I was really doing it right I’d add a dynamo-powered tail light, but for now I think something like this Arclight is more than sufficient:

And by no means am I retiring the Eye of the Tiger bike from commuting duty. However, I do look forward to exploring this new chapter in the Homer’s life, as well as my own.

Speaking of riding in the city, the behavior of my fellow bicyclists can at times be vexing. For example, here’s the approach to the Manhattan Bridge bike path. There’s a traffic light here, and when it’s not in your favor it’s because drivers are coming off the bridge. They’re also coming out of a curve, so they don’t have a lot of time to react to anybody running the light–yet despite this, as soon as there’s even the slightest gap in the traffic, everyone runs it anyway:

This was a pretty benign example, and I often watch people roll right in front of oncoming traffic in a manner that leads me to believe they no longer want to live. Now, I’ve run plenty of lights in my day, but why run this one? It’s just a dumb-ass place to do so. Why not just hang out and watch the world go by? And even if we allow for the fact that a savvy cyclist can run it successfully, that does not excuse the other five or ten idiots who invariably follow them.

By the way, the driver who honked at them still had the light, and it only started to turn when he was already in the intersection:

Whatever, it’s not my problem.

Another thing I’ve noticed recently–and I mention it not because I find it vexing, but simply because I find it noteworthy–is that more and more people seem to be portaging dogs:

See?

I don’t know if this is because people feel safer on bikes these days, or because more people have dogs, but I see it at least once per ride in the city, which means it’s officially A Thing–and one I’m perfectly fine with, unlike pushing a dog in a stroller. Yesterday evening I yielded to a pedestrian with a stroller, thinking it was a baby, but as they crossed I then realized the stroller contained not a baby but a dog. Had I known that I’d never have stopped.

But of course by far the most vexing aspect of modern life in the bike path is the proliferation of e-motorcycles:

Here’s one such doofus who, after tearing through the tourist traffic around the Intrepid at high speed, stopped and removed his helmet to take in the setting sun:

Between this and the guy on the brakeless track bike with gravel bars I may finally have to leave town.

Nevertheless, on a spring evening this beguiling, all is forgiven…at least temporarily:

By the time I reached the George Washington Bridge the sun had set on our collective sins:

And my beacon of self-importance shone brightly:

No doubt it won’t be long before all the bike path traffic is motorized and I’m just a quaint pedal-powered relic, like that Little Red Light House sitting beneath the Great Gray Bridge:

Honk all you want, I ain’t moving.

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