Jerkier Than Thou: PSAs and Holy Wars

Yesterday was a terrible day in the sport of cycling, and having acknowledged that here I'll continue to keep most of my Giro d'Italia-related commentary to my blog, which obviously got a whole lot less funny yesterday. Sometimes in life, we need to compartmentalize, and I figure today it's probably for the best to keep this blog as the compartment in which you're likely to find something ridiculous--like a pair of titanium frame-mounted salad tongs, or maybe even a lobster-themed "bake feets." I only hope that you will not fault me for this impulse--at least not any more than usual.

In any case, while sometimes keeping things ridiculous can be difficult, fortunately I've received help from no less an entity than the City of New York. As you may know, it's now "Bike Month," and determined to heap indignity after indignity upon us during what is laughably supposed to be "our time" the New York City Department of Transportation has finally "dropped" the "Don't Be a Jerk" cycling PSA campaign I mentioned not too long ago. Here's the pitch, straight from the DOT:

DOT’s "Don’t Be A Jerk" bike safety campaign humorously highlights the essential dos and don’ts of safe, responsible biking. According to DOT’s 2010 Sustainable Streets Index, commuter cycling increased 262% in New York City from 2000 to 2010. With more bikes on the road, smart cycling is even more crucial to making New York City’s streets safer for everyone using them.

They've also produced a host of high-larious YouTubing videos, including this one starring celebrity eating person Mario Batali:

Also, they're giving out bells.

Anyway, just in case you're keeping score, here's the state of play as it stands at the moment:

--The NYPD is actively cracking down on cyclists for fictional infractions such as failing to wear a "helment" and improper PBS tote bag "portage;"

--Now, they've convinced some schmuck to take a break from driving and eating his way across Spain with Gwyneth Paltrow in order to ridicule us in a condescending PSA:

"I luuuhve macaroni and cheese."

Good for you, Gwyneth.

Incidentally, "Spain-On The Road Again" is the "Triple Rush" of rich-douchebags-eating-their-way-across-a-European-country shows.

Anyway, sure, the PSAs are mildly entertaining, but I still object to the timing. If they really wanted comedy, they should have made a PSA in which three bike messengers actually stop for an old lady:

In New York City you're more likely to see a couple of giant pandas humping in Times Square than you are a bike messenger stopping for pretty much anything. As for three messengers, you're more likely to see a giant panda give birth to quintuplets in the cheese section of Mario Batali's Eataly.

Meanwhile, speaking of cycling in New York City, as a non-resident of Williamsburg I'd just assumed that the whole "Hipster vs. Hasidim" war had gone out of style like fanny packs, but apparently it's not only back but hotter than ever, like designer cycling fanny packs. Via the Twitter, I recently learned that the conflict has now escalated, and the Hasidim are now even using their buses as weapons:

At least from a cycling perspective, I decided long ago that this city is hopeless, and ever since then I've been attempting to "curate" an escape plan. To date I've been unsuccessful, so my next move will probably be to launch a Kickstarter campaign:

It's like "Panhandling 2.0." Granted, my $250,000 goal is fairly high, and even if were to attain it I still wouldn't be close to being able to live in Mill Valley, but if all else fails I hear you only need $76 and a beard in order to move to Portland, OR. (Portland: America's "safety city.")

Meanwhile, as Hasidim in Brooklyn are attacking Hipsters with their buses, in Australia--that wild, topsy-turvy land where winter is summer, rats are 'roos, and toilets flush backwards (when you flush a toilet in Australia your waste actually comes back up), one reader tells me that cyclists are stabbing dogs (not to mention their owners):

(Nonplussed owner explains a cyclist stabbed his dog in the "heeed," which is Australian for "head.")

Obviously this is disturbing, and clearly the Land Frumunda would benefit from a flippant "Don't Be a Jerk Campaign" just like we have--because only jerks stab dogs. Here's a description of the perpetrator:

Police are looking for a Caucasian man aged between 50 and 60 with woolly grey hair and a bushy grey beard. He was last seen wearing a red, white and black flannelette shirt with black trackpants and white sneakers. He was also wearing a red and white bicycle helmet.

Fortunately, a bystander was also able to snap a photo:

It's also worth noting that, according to the description, the perpetrator was in compliance with Australia's mandatory helmet law. This is more proof that helmet laws don't work, since obviously helmets don't keep cyclists from stabbing dogs.

I can't help wondering if cyclist/non-cyclist relations will improve once we've chosen a new International Symbol For Cycling, as I hope do to with my latest contest:

Entries continue to come in, and the variety of ways in which people interpret the time-traveling t-shirt-wearing retro-Fred from the planet Tridork is fascinating. Take this Rorschach-like example:

Or this surrealistic p-far "endo" from the presumably well-caffeinated person who placed third in the "Cockie" contest:

Or this re-working of the "Ironman" logo, complete with "flavor-saver" and profoundly phallic aerobars:

Others aren't quite symbols, but they do stand on their own as works of art:

While still others are noteworthy for the appeals that accompany them. Take this one, for example:
As the contestant explains:

I think this symbol is great because it simultaneously captures the
essence of tri-dork Fred and the need for Action Wipes.

Yes. Yes it does.

Lastly, speaking of Freds, St. Paul, MN must be nothing short of a paradise for Freds, for a reader there informs me they even have their own brand of water:

Just like actual cycling Freds, it actually freezes at 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

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