Thursday, December 22, 2011

New York City

Ah, New York City.
Years and years (and years) ago I lived in Manhattan for about 18 months. At the time I rode a motorcycle and was young and stupid, meaning I did stupid things on that motorcycle. Things I wouldn't dream of doing today. Anyway, I took the dreaded car up because I was going to be going back and forth between Manhattan and Williamsburg for a few days with passengers on board.

Before arriving I was sure I would observe bikers doing stupid thing all through New York City. I was sure I'd be annoyed that they just don't see that they're total and complete tools. And I was sure I going to write about it.

But I'm not. What I'm going to write about is the ungodly amount of cars going in every which way as fast as they can while pretty much acting like you ain't there and if you are there and that is where they wanna be in a second or two then you'd best be moving along.

Now, I've been known to get "vocal" at times. Pretty much every day presents a situation where I can call out a tool and I'm not one to let these situations go without some quality "vocal" time. But New York City. The last time I was this "vocal" was when I picked up a rental car in Paris a few blocks from the Arc de Triomphe at rush hour. Within minutes the window was down, the finger was out and the language was colorful.

You think of red light runners and you think of a car running a light after it's clearly turned red. In New York City the only time they stop running a red light is when the cars with the green light fill up the intersection. It's not one or two, it's as many as can get out there before the green lighters hold them back.

No sooner have you figured out how to be aggressive and assertive then you find yourself slamming on your brakes because yet another stupid pedestrian has emerged between parked cars and is going to cross the street in front of you. And best not to take any turns to tight 'cause the pedestrians ain't standing on the sidewalk, they're out in the road waiting for the light to turn cause they gotta be like the first ones to cross the street. Does everyone in New York City have tattoo's?

After 3 days of this zaniness I was simply flabbergasted that anyone could possibly be upset at the way a biker, any biker, behaves in New York City.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Those folks over at Momentum magazine, that same site that helped me find my "lifestyle" have an article on Greenville South Carolina. New home of the center of the bicycle universe. Yep, these good folks want to rename their city Bikeville.

Cities are often naming themselves after this or that. I come from a little place that named itself after prehistoric circular earthworks. It hasn't changed much since those long forgotten days. Sometimes they just steal the name of another place and put "New" in front of it. I guess the founders were too lazy to come up with something on their own.  Countries will change their name after independence or civil war and then go about changing the names of their cities. I don't think one often hears of a little place changing it's name because of a mode of transportation. Usually a nickname will suffice. Detroit, the motor city, things like that.

They have the first bike shop just for women in the country and a few trails, one that is 13 miles, and biking is arguably the most popular sport in the area and there are beaucoup de arts and culture. 

However I am a bit concerned. There is no mention of a tattoo parlor. They do mention that it's the home of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge but that ain't exactly screaming out a big welcome to the fadsters. You can't go calling yourself Bikeville without catering to all the CAT-0's (Costumed And Tattooed). Gourmet chefs and upscale boutique's do not a Bikeville make. You need to provide for the tools on fixie's who have a side to them that can only be expressed through a tattoo.. 

This also raises the question of who will own the road. If you're living in Bikeville can a car yell at you for being on the road? Will bikers really own the road AND the multi-use trails? Yes yes yes, they already think that they do, but if you live in Bikeville then is their claim more legitimate? Will cars be ostracized? Will every car that runs a red light be debated in forums ad nauseum? Will cars be allowed rolling stops?

I don't know how that will all play out but I reckon that there will still be lots of confrontations. Being cranky and all I often find myself yelling at some tool, whether they be bike or car tool, and sometimes those things can escalate. What I need is some proper training in the technique of bike combat:

For $2 American dollars you can take that thousands of American dollar state of the art two wheeled wonder and kick some royal behind. I don't know about you but I've always felt that if I only knew how to wield my bike as a weapon that any gun toting thug would soon find himself on the wrong side of the whatfer. 

I haven't been to Greenville Bikeville, it's, uh, in the south, but if I could rule the roads and the pathways and take a few names it may be the ideal place to retire.