Wednesday is the Loneliest Number

So apparently they have this Vuelta thing going on in Spain.  It's basically like a big bike race and some of the people from the Tour de France are in it, but not the funny-looking guy who won it.  (He's too busy smoking and scootering.)  I was curious to see what's been going on at this Vuelta thing, so I went to a website that has stuff about bike racing and found out that Alethandro Valverde is whining because Sky didn't wait for him after he crashed:

“They didn’t have the balls to stop, they chose an unsporting way,” Valverde said at the finish. “Sky formed an echelon and they’re perfectly within their rights to do that. I’m not cross that I lost the lead because of this, but because there was no respect.”

It's enough with the waiting in bike racing already.  The most basic part of bike racing is not falling off the bike.  If you fall off a horse during the Kentucky Derby do the horses stand around grazing until you get back on again?  If you misspell something in a spelling bee, do they wait around while you go find a dictionary?  Do you get a "do-over" if you get a splinter in your inner thigh during the caber toss?  (Actually, I have no idea, maybe you do.)  Anyway, everybody waited around for Valverde for two whole years when he got suspended for cheating, so expecting them to wait again when he falls of his bicycle is a bit much.

Meanwhile, here in New York, it turns out that more people like bike lanes than don't like them:


Though that doesn't mean people don't have irritating things to say about them, like this:

Gloria Tingue, 41, an occupational therapist in Brooklyn, said she believed that many bicyclists ignored the city’s traffic rules. “Everyone should be going in the same direction, and if we’re stopping, they should also be stopping and not weaving and bobbing in traffic, because it is a hazard for everyone else,” she said.

I couldn't agree more.  Cyclists should really behave much more responsibly, like drivers do:

Looks like somebody made an "oopsie."  And here's another one:

Oopsie!  Looks like he forgot to stop.

But for the real idiocy, you have to read the reader comments on the article.  Consider this one:

Donald Dal Maso NYC
Yes of course, more bike lanes! But please, lots and lots of public service announcements to educate the rest of us, who don't bike-ride, about how to respect the lanes.

I admit my ignorance and I would like to avoid being screamed at by bike-riders for my lack of alertness and awareness. And of course I don't want to get hit or cause an accident. Something on the order of the seat-belt campaign from years ago is really needed.

Here's a public service announcement:

I'm all for respecting even the most clueless pedestrians, but do we really need public service announcements for concepts this basic?  I'm sickened by all the motor vehicle carnage in the city but even I wouldn't expect the city to issue a public service announcement telling people not to stand around in the middle of the street.  Once we start having public service announcements about not standing around in the bike lane it's only a matter of time before we're inundated by other PSAs like "Don't play in fire!," "Don't eat dead rats!," or "Don't tie yourself to a filing cabinet and jump into the Hudson!"

Anyway, I have a sinking feeling that whoever becomes the next mayor is going to roll up all our spiffy new green bike lanes like one of those "marijuana cigarettes" they talk about in the PSAs and make a big show of smoking them into oblivion.  Then everyone will have to take "Premium Rush" lessons, as in this embarrassing video that was sent to me by some PR firm:

I found certain aspects of this video troubling.  For example, consider this warning:

Isn't pretty much everyone who rides a fixed-gear bike on the street technically an amateur?

Also, I don't think that doing a 180-whatever is a good way to flee an attacker, as the video suggests:

When fleeing an assailant on your fixed-gear bicycle the most effective technique is to simply hurl the bike at him and run.  If you do it properly the assailant will become hopelessly entangled in the bike frame and then lose his fingers in the fixed-gear drivetrain like in those awful photos on Sheldon Brown's site, and your subway train will have almost certainly arrived by the time he manages to escape by gnawing off his own limbs.

(Now that's street smarts.  The city should make a PSA.)

The next lesson in the video is the bunnyhop, which Justin Gordon-Levitt apparently uses to escape a New York City bike cop:

This is highly unrealistic, since if you've ever seen a New York City bike cop you know that all you have to do to escape one is be able to ride a bike in a forward direction without falling down.

It's also at this point that the "superfan" getting the fixie lessons reveals himself to be a total ringer:

(Yeah, like he just learned that.)

By the way, did you know that you too can own a "Premium Rush" bike?

Well you can--and it even comes with a "sticker pack:"

And of course, Affinity will be making a limited edition Metropolitan frameset in pure white, supplied with a sticker pack, so you can customize your ride to mimic the bike in the movie.

Stickers?  Movies?  Mimicry?  This should be a huge success.  I was particularly alarmed by this:

On August 24th, fixie culture, bike messengers, and Hollywood collide with the release of the new movie Premium Rush...  And with any luck, it will inspire people to air up the tires and ride their bikes.

I really, really do not want to share the streets with anybody who is inspired to ride a bicycle by "Premium Rush."  It's been bad enough these past few years sharing the streets with all the idiots who were inspired to ride bicycles by all those insipid "MASHSF" videos.  Fortunately, the typical Nü-Fred generally lasts only two to five years in New York City before downgrading to an easier and more manageable city, at which point they just become San Francisco's or Portland's or Austin's problem.  Or, if they do stay, they eventually become regular Freds and spend all their time on Route 9W playing with Strava.

Anyway, the whole fixie thing was like totally over by the time "Premium Rush" went into pre-production, and anybody with any sense has long moved on to mini bikes:

The biggest problem with riding a mini bike is finding a u-lock for it, though I've had good luck just using a safety pin.

And on the more genteel (and by "genteel" I mean "smug") end of the New York City cycling spectrum, David Byrne has once again honored us with some whimsical bike racks:

Apparently, the idea is to arrange the letters so that they spell out the names of productions, sort of like a marquee:

"I realized that a few very basic shapes — a semi circle, a line, and a V shape — would allow one to make a good percentage of the letters of our alphabet. With help and advice from Dero Bike Racks, we figured out how these components could be easily and quickly swapped out to spell different words. For example, the letters could spell out the productions at BAM or any random message for that matter."

This should be especially entertaining when Stanley Wiggins performs at BAM:

Speaking of alphabet bike racks, the only cycling pick-up line more seductive than "Wanna lock your bike to my cunt?" is "Wanna do hill repeats?"

Hill Repeats - Pershing Hill - m4w - 45 (West New York)
Date: 2012-08-21, 8:14PM EDT

You were wearing a pink jersey and torn shorts. I was riding a bright green bike with an Australia jersey.
I don't want to hit on you, you looked like a decent climber and I want to invite you to join my group for longer rides...

Wait...  Green bike?  Australia jersey?  Holy crap, it's MC SpandX!

The fact that this video is now three years old underscores just how late "Premium Rush" actually is.  They should give him a show at BAM.

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