browser icon
You are using an insecure version of your web browser. Please update your browser!
Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. For a safer, faster, more enjoyable user experience, please update your browser today or try a newer browser.

I was going to administer a quiz today, but then I didn’t.

Posted by on March 10, 2017
They say you haven't truly made it until you're featured in a Manhattan window display:


They also say you're officially a cultural icon if that display rotates:


Done, and done.

Anyway, after standing in the snow and crying tears of joy for 20 minutes I made straight for the nearest bicycle:


And as I wiped off the saddle with the sleeve of my custom-tailored Inspector Gadget jacket I decided that Brooks and I should collaborate on some kind of signature premium bike share kit that includes a special foul-weather saddle-wiping cloth and of course a pair of leather sheepskin-lined bicycling gauntlets with matching cap and goggles:



Just imagine what a dashing figure I'd cut as I threaded my way through the streets of Manhattan, my silk scarf trailing behind me until it got caught in the rear-view mirror of a passing truck and strangled me to death.

This is a very real possibility too.  See, the way it works is you're riding in the bike lane, only to encounter a Barone Sanitation truck in the bike lane:


And just when you're making your way around it is when the fuel truck comes roaring up from behind:


Beer trucks are a little different:


What happens there is when you make your move you invariably find yourself on a collision course with the hand truck guy:


Then there's what I call the "Hand-Truck District," which is the stretch of Sixth Avenue just below 34th Street:


On this day in particular I would say hand trucks outnumbered bicycles at least two to one:


Still, even giant trucks in the bike is somehow less frustrating than one asshole's car:


And while I used to find salmon irritating I now just think they should make all the bike lanes two-way and be done with it:


After awhile you realize it's futile to fight with human nature, and instead of creating policy that fights human nature why not simply accommodate it instead?  People are going to salmon, so instead of ticketing we should just make the bike lanes two-way.  People are going to drive like assholes, so instead of this whole "Vision Zero" thing we should just shoot them.  And so forth.

Meanwhile the snow fell in big chunky flakes as I rode:


It fell on the lions in front of the library:


Where there's currently a Lou Reed exhibition:


And where, as I took that picture, an express bus from Staten Island pulled up behind me bearing this decidedly more prosiac advertisement:


I suppose these two banners represent the two opposite ends of the opioid addiction spectrum.

Speaking of snowy climes, bikes now outnumber cars in Copenhagen:
Actually bikes probably outnumber cars in a lot of places, it's just that people aren't riding them.

In any case, apparently t'was not always thus in Copenhagen:

When Copenhagen first began manually counting cars and bikes in 1970, there were 351,133 cars and 100,071 bikes on the roads—a ratio of about 3.5 to 1. That's important, because it means not only are more people riding—about 150 percent more over 46 years—but also, fewer people are driving.

“Cycling went from being a normal part of daily life to a core identity for the city,” Klaus Bondam, former technical and environmental mayor of Copenhagen, explains to the Guardian. 

And they insist that if they can do it anybody can:

“[Bike commuting] is not something that’s in Copenhagen’s genes," Kabell told NPR back in 2014. “We’re [not] weirder or stranger than any other people on earth. Every city can do this.”

It's a nice thought, and there are certainly some encouraging signs in New York City.  Here are the Citi Bike stats for January 2017:


Which is quite an increase from January 2016:

On the other hand, Seattle's bike share program will shut down completely at the end of this month:


Officials had planned to roll out a new system with electric bikes to replace Pronto, the city’s troubled bike-share system.

But Mayor Ed Murray on Friday said millions of dollars allocated for the new system will be spent instead on bike- and pedestrian-safety projects. And the city no longer will pursue an agreement with Quebec-based Bewegen to put electric bikes on Seattle’s streets, said Benton Strong, a Murray spokesman.

Pronto is scheduled to shut down at the end of March, so the announcement means the city will soon have no public system at all.

Yes, Copenhagen's no "weirder or stranger" than any other city--nor is New York, or for that matter Seattle.  But the one thing Seattle has that Copenhagen and New York don't is a helmet law.

So there you go.

Comments are closed.