There’s only one type of person who’s even more annoying than gravel racers who complain when gravel races are hard, and it’s New Yorkers who complain about how New York City is annoying. “If you don’t like it here then leave” is a knuckleheaded response when someone complains about a grave injustice, but it’s perfectly appropriate whenever anybody in New York opens their mouth about pretty much anything. It’s difficult and expensive to live here–there’s no space, there’s no housing, and everything’s a pain in the ass–and that’s precisely why you don’t get to complain. Nobody’s forcing you to live here, and if anything the city is constantly trying to reject its residents and force them out like a failed organ transplant. So if you insist on staying here anyway you have about as much reason to complain as the Unbound Gravel rider after the mud ate their crabon bike. This is the GG Allin of cities.
Unfortunately, as a New Yorker–and a cyclist to boot–I completely lack self-awareness, so I’m going to complain anyway. Consider the motor scooters:
I realize it’s hard to see what’s going on in my lousy video, but if you look two barriers over you’ll see two motor scooter riders wheelie-ing right onto the Brooklyn Bridge bike path:
It takes a special kind of asshole to do something like this this, and clearly these two riders have what it takes.
I’m old enough to remember when people would naively say, “I wonder why more people don’t ride scooters in New York”–by which, at the time, they meant those gasoline-powered Vespa-type motor scooters that are so popular outside of North America:
It was a logical question. They’re relatively cheap, they’re not too difficult to ride, they’re easy to park…so why couldn’t we go all scooter-chic like the Eurotrash? Well, now it’s finally happened, and there are motor scooters absolutely everywhere. However, it’s happened in the most New York way possible, which is to say everything about it is stupid and ass-backwards. Nobody’s licensed, none of the scooters are registered, everyone just does whatever the fuck they want, and it’s mostly just idiots in Nazi helmets like this douchebag, salmoning and wheelie-ing and riding them on the sidewalks and in the bike paths:
Before you get indignant, I’m not saying they’re worse than the drivers. We all know nobody is worse than the drivers:
Seriously, it’s true. I encountered a driver this morning who wouldn’t stop for a school crossing guard because she “owned these streets” so she “doesn’t have to.” This is why I’ve long advocated for arming crossing guards.
Still, as the new guys, motor scooter riders are particularly annoying. They’re even more annoying than the e-bikes, since for years the livable streets people have been defending those on the basis that they’re “micromobility” that will make the car obsolete, and the people riding them will save the planet or something, but now that like half these people are riding bikes that burn good old-fashioned gasoline lays bare what a load of crap that was. And by the way, the whole e-bike thing is going great:
Firefighters raced to rescue people after a blaze ignited inside of HQ E-Bike Repair at 80 Madison St. at 12:15 a.m. and started to spread to apartments above. Dense smoke filled the early morning air as some 106 firefighters and personnel raced to quell the inferno. The fire quickly grew out of control, however, and officials upgraded the emergency to 3-alarms at around 12:45 a.m., sending even more first responders into the thick smoke.
“We found heavy fire in an e-bike store,” FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief John Sarrocco said.
In case you weren’t aware, e-bike battery fires are a big problem in New York. Basically, stuff’s going on fire all the time, and people are even dying, and it’s not even for anything important, it’s just so people can get deliveries:
Our last mayor waged a war on e-bikes. I thought it was stupid then, and I think it’s stupid now. However, I also admit I didn’t anticipate what a shitshow e-bike delivery would become. This is not to say I wish the delivery people ill in any way. (I do wish the delivery companies ill–they’re the ones who don’t take responsibility for their riders.) However, I also admit that when they’re whizzing by me and beeping at me and buzzing me in crosswalks while I’ve got some Streetsblog article about how bad they’ve got it still rattling around in my head, I can’t help thinking of them the way I do the Unbound Gravel riders, in that this is the job they signed on for, and to what degree do we need to remake the city around them because people like to order in?
Then again, it’s not like we need cities anymore, and I suppose in the 21st century a city is basically just a mass habitation built entirely around the convenience of its inhabitants. So maybe we need to embrace our future as one big shopping mall food court.
I guess it all comes down to evolution, and how crotchety you choose to feel about it. Certainly the composition of the shoals have changed quite a bit over the years:
Though the manner in which the riders will step into the breach one at a time is the same as it ever was:
It’s a dynamic city that’s changing by the second, but never in a way that actually matters.