Take A Number

Back in January I explained that I was considering some sort of paid subscription or premium content setup for this blog, and in the meantime I’d be accepting donations. Many of you were generous, and some even chose to donate on an ongoing basis. Between the extraordinary support readers have shown as well as some outside work I’ve been doing (hence the commuting I’ve been posting about lately), I’m now in a much better position to shovel coal into this content furnace on a regular basis. (That’s not to suggest I find it burdensome or onerous, by the way, it’s just a convenient metaphor.) So thank you.

Given these developments, at present I don’t see the need to try anything fancy like actually charging people to read this stuff. However, any donations I do receive are extremely helpful as far as keeping it that way, so if you’re able and inclined the various ways to do so are here. Of course if you don’t, can’t, or won’t, that’s fine too, and what’s most important to me is that you read and enjoy–actually, you don’t even have to enjoy it, you’re more than welcome to come here just for the hate read. Nevertheless, I will remind you now and again to donate if you can, and this is one of those times. Again, thank you.

Speaking of commuting, on my way home yesterday I stopped off to pick up our packets for the Five Boro Bike Tour this Sunday. The pick-up spot was in midtown on 5th Avenue, and I rolled up at my most commuteriest:

Right down to my bright green Vulpine waterproof jacket:

Which, by the way, I also wore when I descended off of this:

Of course in that case a support team was carrying it for me in a van. Now I just keep it in my pannier at all times.

My thinking as I approached the pick-up spot was that I’d just duck in, grab the stuff, and then be on my way:

Nope! There was a line–and some of the people on it were wearing helmets, presumably in case of falling air conditioners:

As I rounded the corner, I was horrified to discover that the line continued, stretching almost to Madison Avenue:

There was no end in sight:

Eventually though I found it, and latched onto the back:

Still, behind me the line was growing longer by the second:

Fortunately it was moving fairly quickly, and before too long I was within sight of the entrance again:

However, I still had time to window-shop for geodes or whatever these things are:

It looked sort of like a rhinestone pork store:

You’ll want to sing “Rhinestone Pork Store” to the tune of this.

Anyway, they had some choice cuts:

And they even sold chicken!

Though this one looks less like something you’d find in a pork store and more like a bedazzled uterus:

Turning from the geodes, I then admired the Empire State Building for awhile:

It’s the pointy one, in case you’re wondering.

Finally, I made it to the entrance:

And once inside, I was thrilled to discover…

…more waiting:

Plus a staircase that led to even more waiting:

At one point, a Bike New York sentry asked if anyone was a VIP, as presumably the’d be directed to a separate line or something. Now, I wasn’t sure if I had a VIP registration or not. Yes, as talent, I’d received it as part of my lavish Five Boro Bike Tour video compensation package, but it seemed unlikely they’d squander actual VIP credentials on the likes of this guy:

Still, if I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that there is an upside to living in a society full of stupid people, and it is this: there’s no penalty for being stupid. Our culture is very tolerant of stupid people, because frankly with so many of them there’s no other choice. Therefore, I use this to my advantage by acting as stupid as possible. If a door says, “Private,” I go right in. If I’m seated at the very back of the plane and they announce pre-boarding only for oil tycoons and unaccompanied babies, then I walk right on up and try to board anyway. If the guy in the green Bike New York shirt asks, “Does anyone have a VIP registration?,” I just go, “Yeah, I have a VIP registration.” I mean, maybe I do, right? I can’t be expected to read and understand emails. Anyway, what are they gonna do, kill you? Worst thing that happens is they tell you no. But just as often, they realize you’re an idiot, or an asshole, or both, they can’t be bothered with you, and so they just let you in anyway.

So he waved me over to the VIP table:

Here, they scanned my credentials, informed me that I did not in fact have a VIP registration, and sent me over to wait with the rest of the schmucks:

To be fair, the wait really wasn’t that long, especially when you consider they’ve got to serve 30,000 riders over three days. (They’ve been running this ride for decades now, and it is extremely well-organized. In fact, they should probably put Bike New York in charge of the city government.) Still, I was getting a little tired by this point–unlike the Homer leaning jauntily on its kickstand:

But before long I had what I came for, and now all I had to do was run the merchandise gauntlet on the way to the exit:

There was clothing:


And even a Subaru fully equipped for the active lifestyle you like to pretend you lead:

Ironically, it had more living space than the typical New York City apartment:

If that were my car I’d mount the child seat display pedestal on the hood as is, because like dogs, toddlers love the wind in their face.

But I owe a special debt of gratitude to Manhattan Portage, because the guy working there alerted me to the fact that I’d dropped one of my registration packets, and if he hadn’t noticed it I wouldn’t have either and I’d have had to wait on that line again:

As I exited the building, a sign wished me good luck:

But I didn’t need luck. I didn’t need bike lanes or scenic riverside paths, either. This was midtown, and I was gonna do it the old fashioned way, dammit!

I’m all for better street design and all the rest of it, but sometimes the old instincts kick in and you just wanna get in the drops and ride with the cars.

Still, the streetscape is evolving so rapidly they were literally outlining this bike lane as I rode on it:

I tried to get a photo of them doing it but it didn’t come out. Neither did this photo of the Harlem River Speedway and the High Bridge–or at least it didn’t come out very well:

You can kinda get a sense of how well a really nice headlight works at least–though it comes across better in a video:

I was glad for the light, and happy to arrive home, whereupon I converted my Two Wheel Gear pannier into backpack mode:

And stopped to admire my luxuriously capable fop chariot, which is decadently comfortable while being more than willing to hustle with the traffic on Madison Avenue:

It’s the only way to travel.

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