BSNYC Friday Hoedown of Smugness!

Yesterday I mentioned the phenomenon of "shoaling," which has become an epidemic here in New York City due to the increasing numbers of bicycle commuters. But while some shoals are noteworthy due to their size, others are impressive due to their artfulness. Consider this shoal I witnessed recently at the corner of Vanderbilt Avenue and Fulton Street in Brooklyn (which is sort of the Galapagos Islands of bike shoals due to their abundance and diversity):

As you can see, one of the riders of which this modest two-man shoal is comprised is on the sidewalk. This in itself is unremarkable. However, what is remarkable is how he got there. Coming up the left side, he rode all the way into the intersection past all the other riders, circled right, hopped the curb, and 360 degrees later finally came to a stop on the corner:

This sweeping maneuver was positively balletic in its execution, and I could not help but marvel at its pointlessness. It somehow managed to evoke modern dance, sailing, and the way some dogs circle a spot on the floor before lying down on it, all at the same time. I'm not sure if he was insecure about clipping out of his pedals and was unsuccessfully searching for something to grab hold of, or if he simply likes to arrive at intersections with a flourish, like a debutante twirling upon entering the room. Either way, despite my distaste for shoals, I must admit it was fabulous.

Nevertheless, it's important to remember that you should behave at an intersection the same way you would in a public restroom, in that you should wait your turn and keep a polite distance. Shoaling is like sidling up to someone at a urinal, unzipping your fly, and "joining in," so unless you're trying to pull a Larry Craig you should do your best take your place at the back of the line.

Still, there's one thing worse than being inconsiderate when you ride, and that's being afraid. This is because decisions borne of fear tend to be bad ones. This is why I was dismayed to read the following in an interview on BikePortland with the rider who inspired the infamous "Kill this Bicyclist!" post:

Commuting by bicycle in Portland is like sloshing around in the kiddie pool while wearing water wings and a life preserver, so if riding a bicycle in Portland makes him that nervous and agitated then I'm not sure he should be on a bicycle at all. I especially like that he's "big, aggressive, and loud" and that he gets "quite an attitude much of the time"--so in addition to sloshing around in the kiddie pool, he also bullies the little children while he's in there (presumably by intimidating them with his "statuesque ass"). I would love to see him attempt to ride here in New York City, where you'd probably find him somewhere along the Great Hipster Silk Route, clinging to a lamppost and sobbing.

Speaking of sobbing, I'm pleased to present you with a quiz. As always, study the item, think, and click on your answer. If you're right you'll know it and may treat yourself to a pickle, sardine, or other delicious treat, and if you're wrong you will see someone ride his bicycle through his fears, ride his bicycle through his fears.

Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and refrain from shoaling--even if you have a "statuesque ass."


1) Bikepath is:

--"Oddly sensual"

2) Christian Vande Velde will ride the Vuelta a España because:

6) "Snow bikes" are poised to replace "monstercross" bikes as the Gratuitous Addition to the Stable that Never Gets Ridden (or GASNGR) of choice for 2011.

7) Too much "epic" for one chest.

***Languid Mail Order Bicycle Commercial-Themed Bonus Question***

(Inverted image or just individualistically built?)

The "Mojo Bike Fixed Gear Fixie" is all about:

***Superfluous Minimalist Ultra-Bonus Bonus Question***

Is this a rectangle?


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