There’s an old Buddhist proverb:
“You don’t sell the steak, you sell the sizzle.”
Well, in New York City, when it comes to selling bicycling, that “sizzle” might as well be the “Pfffffft” sound of a tire going flat, because this is one of the most uninspiring videos I’ve ever seen:
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anyone look as uncomfortable on a bike as NYC Department of Transportation Ydanis Rodriguez does as he white-knuckles a Citi Bike over a storm grate:
The spectrum from “foolhardy” to “overly timid” is a wide one. On one end of it you have that guy who built his own submersible and headed straight to the bottom of the sea to gawk at the Titanic, with disastrous results. On the other end is Ydanis Rodriguez, who looks about as ill at ease in his own “protected” bike lane as he would in a cage full of hungry tigers–though in fairness to Rodriguez, that bike lane looks even more shoddily built than the submersible.
This isn’t to say the video isn’t completely without merit. For example, the editing is spectacular–notice how they cut to a new scene just as the woman on the mixte is about to run a red light:
Even so, it’s tough to buy the commissioner’s claim that riding a bicycle in New York City “relieves stress” and “reduces the risk of high blood pressure” when he looks like he’s having a panic attack:
Similarly awkward and visibly uncomfortable bicycling in a suit in July for some reason is Dr. Ashwin Vasan, presumably on hand to administer sedatives and/or resuscitation to the terrified Rodriguez:
Though he does manage to ride a Brompton off a curb while telling you to wear a helmet:
Anyway, it’s good to see our tax dollars at work, because this video is sure to convince anyone who was on the fence about riding a bicycle in New York City that they should in fact lease a Hyundai instead.
Well, after an exhaustive search, I finally found a replacement derailleur that was not only within my modest budget but also matched my frame:
However, just before I clicked on that “Buy It Now” button, I figured I’d do some troubleshooting. So, on my next ride, I tightened the wingnut thingy ever so slightly:
Disappointingly, that appears to have solved the problem completely. Not only did I not get to buy a new derailleur or anything else, but I also didn’t get to use any tools. In fact, I didn’t even have to stop and dismount the bicycle, and the entire operation was easier than retrieving something from a jersey pocket. (Though it did require briefly removing one hand from the handlebars, so do not attempt if you are Ydanis Rodriguez.)
No wonder the bike industry hates friction shifting.