Archive for November, 2010

RIDE THIS!

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

This is the second, and I fear not the last time, I find it necessary to address a sub-culture of New York City – the biker rider. No, not your scary kid who spins around in endless circles on his Big Wheeler like Danny in “The Shining.” I’m talking about you, Urban Bike Rider. You are a thorn in my side, a bump in my road, a pimple that, no matter how much and how hard I squeeze, I can’t get rid of. Here are some things that might change you. Things you haven’t given much thought to. Obviously.

* I know that you feel like a better human being than me because you’re riding a bicycle and I’m driving a gas-guzzling car. And you probably think I feel bad, or at least that I should feel bad. But I don’t. Guess what else? You’re riding a paper-clip thin bike. I’m in a three-ton Audi. So when you’re making your left-hand turn from the right lane with as much entitlement as a Nightengale-Bamford sophomore who can’t believe that G-d would allow it to rain on her birthday, unless you have an Uzi in your hand or a James Bonds jetpack on your banana seat, I win. So just send me a note, after your bones have healed and settled, when you’re out of traction and doing the physical therapy thing to learn how to walk again. What feels better – moral superiority or human stupidity? You – zero. Me – one.

* No one, not Adriana Lima, not Lance Armstrong, and certainly not you, looks good in bicycle pants.

* That retro wicker basket on your fixed-gear bike. Perfect for the bargains you find at Trader Joe’s. Super to transport your bottles and cans to the recycling center. Riding your super-gifted-talented toddler or French bull dog in. But sometimes form is oh-so-more-important than function. Let me let you in on a little secret. You don’t look vintage. You look like Margaret Hamilton in “The Wizard of Oz,” after she steals Toto from Dorothy. And the Harpo Marx bulb-horn – always a nice touch. Honk.

* Nice pants clips.

* You show every sign of being in a cult. This scares me and it should scare you. You look alike, you dress alike, and we non-bicycle enthusiasts are more scared than impressed by your bike-speak: “The Alpine gearing works with the kickback hub but your indicator spindle and trigger shifter affects the torque of the high tension of the non-turn washer.” WTF? It does not elicit the “boy-I-wish-I-could-be-part-of-that-group-but-clearly-I’m-not-cool-enough-to” response you are looking for. We look at you the way we look at hoarders, cat ladies, short-wave radio enthusiasts. Only creepier.

* The chains you wear around your waist in order to lock your bike around a sign pole as you dash into Whole Foods for sockeye salmon and organic beets are not a good look. Especially around your emaciated waist or worse, worn “Bandito-style” across your body. And, if you have spent any appreciable amount of time in New York City, you should know that chaining your bike to a pole will get the same results as a neon sign flashing, “Someone – Please Steal This Bike. Now.”

* This isn’t Amsterdam where, perhaps, one could argue, that the population is too stoned to be annoyed by more bike riders per kilometer than wheels of Gouda cheese in the market. This isn’t China, where the population is so massive that for every bike rider that goes down, there are a billion more. This is New York City. Everyone is stressed. Everyone is ready for an argument. People are walking into other people because someone couldn’t walk down Broadway without sketching The Vitruvian Man on his IPad. Do you want to add to the street traffic? Do you think you are going to make more friends, be more popular, by riding your Schwinn Le Tour Sport on streets people can’t find the room to walk on?

* What’s with the pathetic little blinking light on your handlebars? Is that supposed to tell the big, bad automobiles and mean, awful trucks and cabs, before they flatten you like a rolling pin over pie dough that – blink! blink! –you’re coming?

* The city has closed down perfectly good traffic lanes to create “bicycle” lanes. Unless you are Stevie Wonder, it is hard to miss these lanes, particularly because the city has taken away an entire car lane to give you self-righteous peddlers a lane of your own. These lanes are wide and even have the universal symbol for “bicycle” painted in white on these lanes. On the other hand, the “bus” lanes actually say the word “bus.” So unless you are the product of an education that included “creative spelling,” (“just spell it the way it sounds”), one assumes you can read. Get out of the bus lanes. Get out of the bike lanes. Get off the sidewalk. Better yet, stay home and ride a “virtual” bicycle or go to the gym and ride a stationary one. That way, the only people you’ll be annoying are gerbil-like treadmill addicts – a most worthy recipient of all your pent-up ire.

* Only messengers get special dispensation because at least they are trying to earn a living. They are also more adept at “slaloming through traffic than you with your Sobe Pomegranate Cherry Water clipped to the top tube of your mountain bike. P.S. – Madison Avenue is not a mountain.