Oy, I’m back.
While I had two bicycles with me on my vacation, it was particularly good to reconnect with the Jones, and a luxury to be in such close proximity to that most fashionable of road surfaces:
[I’m talking about the garvel, of course.]
Alas, as a dog returns to his own vomit, so a fool repeats its folly, and that’s how I always feel as I’m heading back to the city from the quieter precincts. Indeed, upon my return, almost the very first thing I saw upon crossing the city line–fittingly, in light of my most recent Outside column–was a bunch of police cars around a motor scooter (whether gasoline or electric I could not tell) that appeared to have been taken out by a car in the “protected” bike lane. Here’s where it happened:
In case it’s not clear from the space picture, that is indeed a bike lane and a crosswalk that run right across a fucking highway entrance ramp. They say two wrongs don’t make a right, but what they do make is a total clusterfuck. Riding a motor scooter in a bicycle lane might work out most of the time, and a half-assed bike lane might also work out most of the time, but combine the two and the potential for carnage increases exponentially. Meanwhile, the city agency responsible for this brilliant bit of urban engineering is busy tweeting stuff like this:
I don’t know which is more ironic: the DOT impugning Robert Moses when their idea of a protected bike lane is some green paint alongside one of his highways, or the fact that whoever had the keys to the their social media accounts for the Labor Day weekend probably tweeted that from a Robert Moses-built beach.
Then again, I’m basing all this on a momentary glimpse of the crash scene I got whilst exiting said Robert Moses-built highway, so I could have completely misinterpreted it. Maybe it wasn’t a crash at all; maybe the NYPD were just helping the scooterist change a tire.
Speaking of smugness, I see from Streetblog that a “great bike activist” has retired:
I checked out the linked Twitter thread…
…and one of the reasons he cites for retiring is the state of his “mental health:”
It’s none of my business and I wish him well, but he did put all this on Twitter so I will say I know from personal experience that all this advocacy stuff has a way of undermining your own happiness if you’re not careful. I also know that it can compel you to start “skating without a stick” and looking for fights, and in fact I’ve encountered him out on the ice on at least one occasion:
I know like 75% of this blog is me making fun of the stuff bike companies are selling, but while I may have my own hang-ups about stuff like electronic shifting, dick breaks, and crabon, I’ve also gone on record that in the grand scheme of things I stand behind them. I certainly don’t think they’re trying to “keep the 95% ignorant” like some sort of secret society:
If anything, you can’t visit a mainstream bicycle company’s website now without being inundated with utility cycling:
What happened to all the scowling roadies?!? It’s all happy people in regular clothes now:
“Easy” this, “functional” that…
Frankly it’s disgusting:
I mean yeah, you can take issue with the fact that they don’t seem to be able to design a bicycle that doesn’t require A FUCKING BATTERY anymore, but you can’t say they aren’t doing their to sell the shit out of practical, everyday bicycling. It’s almost as ironic as, I dunno…a bunch of people at an exotic handmade bicycle show taking about how overrated all this fancy bike tech is:
It’s like listening to the people at this party talking about how everyone makes too big a deal over money:
And yes, I say this knowing full well that I’m by far the worst offender when it comes to taking stuff for granted. As noted above, this blog is mostly “I have a bunch of fancy bikes but I think pushing a button to change gears is just so tacky,” interspersed with tedious complaints about where I live.
Truth is we got it pretty good.