Civic Matters: Do Your Part, Don't Show It

There was once a time when I was indifferent to bike lanes, and when I rode quickly and aggresively. I was one of the Young and the Restless, the Bold and the Beautiful, and I had little fear of ending up in the General Hospital. Now, however, I live in Another World, and thanks to All My Children (17 at last count) I have a different approach to life. Whereas once I approached hairy situations with a mélange of excitement and eagerness, I now confront them with a meh-lange of reluctance and yiddish expletives.

Sure, I still "race" my bike (in that I will occasionaly pin on a number and sit in for as long as possible before getting dropped), but when it comes to "practical" cycling I derive little pleasure from having to fight for my sliver of road against the putzes and yutzes and schmucks who form the legions of the motor vehicle meshuggeneh. Instead, I prefer to comport myself in a civilized fashion in the bike lane. Moreover, it's these very bike lanes that have allowed me to transform myself from wayward scofflaw to cautious fuddy-duddy.

“When I become mayor, you know what I’m going to spend my first year doing?” Mr. Weiner said to Mr. Bloomberg, as tablemates listened. “I’m going to have a bunch of ribbon-cuttings tearing out your [expletive] bike lanes.”

By doing so, Weiner would quite literally rob me of one of my life's greatest pleasures, that being uncool and unhurried "family style" cycling. This really hurted my feelings and it made me all mad and stuff. So I can't say I'm dismayed that Weiner is now being grilled about a photograph that appeared in the Yfrog account associated with his Twitter depicting an aroused man in his underpants that he can't say "with certitude" isn't him:

Now it seems like Weiner's mayoral bid could be over before it even begins, and he's having a tough time fielding pointed comments such as this one:

Early evening: Weiner does an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, who asks why the politician "can't say with certitude" whether he is pictured in the photograph.

"You would know if this was your underpants, for example," Blitzer says.

It's tough to slip one by Wolf Blitzer.

By the way, via the Twitter I've learned that Weiner is not alone, and in fact a Canadian politician is also embroiled in a similar scandal. However, his explanations are far more entertaining:

"Sakach first alleged" continued "that the BlackBerry in George Lepp's pocket took a picture of his penis by accident, and after having his mobile device stolen from him without his notice, the assailant then went through the device and uploaded the picture to Twitter after nearly 12 hours had elapsed."

Ah yes, the old accidental BlackBerry pocket penis shot. To quote a cinema classic, "That shit could really happen."

Meanwhile, while Weiner can't say "with certitude" that those weren't his underpants, I can't say "with certitude" that he didn't also post this "missed connection" on Craigslist:

I sniffed your bike seat... - m4w
Date: 2011-05-27, 5:20PM EDT

... after you parked it outside the bar.

You never know--it could be one of those "accidental" pocket-posts.

Anyway, I'm sure I'm being naive and that it's entirely possible we could end up with a far worse mayor, but I can't help taking pleasure in the situation. (Though I am refraining from "accidentally" taking photographs and Tweeting evidence of this pleasure.) Plus, even if politicians don't kill the bike lanes in New York City, the pro-cycling activists certainly will. Gothamist recently posted this video of a Time's Up! volunteer berating a police officer in the bike lane:

I'm as bothered by cars in the bike lane as anybody, but if there's one rule of thumb you should probably follow while cycling in the city it's "Don't annoy the cops." "Passive Resistance" was one thing, but "Active Kveching" is quite another. Plus, in this case the cop is stopped because he's actually in the middle of giving a ticket, which makes this like poking at a lion while he's tearing apart a gazelle. In this case she appears to have gotten away with it, but generally speaking this sort of thing works out about as well for cyclists as taking a picture of your penis and Tweeting it works out for politicians.

Incidentally, Time's Up! is the same organization that brought us (among other protests) the "Polar Bear Ride," so presumably they won't rest until they've turned political and popular opinion in New York City against bicycles once and for all. Be sure to thank them next time someone fails to take you seriously on your bicycle.

Anyway, I find salmon in the bike lane much more bothersome than even the police cars, and at this time of year salmon can actually outnumber regular cyclists by five to one. That's why I was pleased to receive this German anti-salmon PSA from a reader:

Yes, I often find myself asking, "Is there any way we can stop people from salmoning?" Like, perhaps a bunch of Time's Up! volunteers could dress up as salmon and berate them shrilly until they either go the right way or just quit cycling. One question I never ask myself though is if "aero" can get any quicker. But the crabon Fred factories are asking this question, and the answer appears to be "yes:"

Though it will cost you $2,900:

Ready to launch

The Smart Enve System goes on sale in June 2011, led out by the 6.7, which will be priced at £2100/US$2900). The 3.4 will be available around September and the 8.9 by the end of 2011.

I've never managed to figure out how the amateurs who actually pay for wheels like this manage to successfully rationalize their absurd purchases season after season. At a certain point, you'd think they'd realize they just spent almost $3,000 on a pair of wheels yet they still suck just as badly as they did $2,700 ago. Then again, maybe I'm missing the point of amateur bike racing and it's really no longer about winning or losing--instead, it's about whose bike has the best "yaw" data. ("Yaw" is the new "watts.") Maybe in a few years they can finally dispense with the actual "riding" part and Cat 4 races can just consist of the riders sitting in wind tunnels one at a time and then comparing their graphs. At least they're wouldn't be so many crashes.

Speaking of competition, it's time to finally bring the "There Will Be Action Wipes" contest to a close:

Once again, here are the finalists. Study them, feel them, sniff them, and taste them, and then vote below on your favorite. The polling results will decide the final podium. Remember, you're not only choosing the symbol that will represent cycling forevermore, but you're also deciding who will get a bunch of Action Wipes and a Liz Hatch video (otherwise known as the "Cat 5 date night" package):






Which symbol shall represent cycling forevermore?

Thanks very much for your vote. You have now fulfilled your civic duty for the next 15 years.

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