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This Just In: A Brief Leaf Of Abscess

Posted by on July 31, 2017
Good afternoon!

While I generally endeavor to give at least some advanced notice in the event of my leave-taking form this blog, the high shit-to-fan ratio* with which I'm currently dealing requires said notice to be a bit more abrupt.

*[If the surface area of the fan is considerably larger than the volume of shit this results in a wider splatter area.  The exception is the Dyson, in which case the shit merely passes through the fan unless its volume exceeds the fan's diameter.]

The short version is that after today I won't be updating this blog until Monday, August 7th, at which point I will resume regular updates.

However, the above notwithstanding, assuming my next Outside column comes out before then I'll be sure to duck back in here and let you know.

Also, do keep in mind that during this week I will continue to update the Bike Forecast, so at the very least you'll have the company of my more smug alter-ego for the duration of the week.

Speaking of my Outside column, my most recent is about the virtues of flat pedals, which as a recovering Fred I've only relatively recently come to appreciate:


Anyway, it recently came to my attention that it's caused a little bit of a stir over at Reddit, and I've been finding the ensuing commentary to be a source of considerable amusement:

This author is such an asshole. Stop telling people what to do. If people want to use flat pedals good for them, they are great for commuting. If I want to use clipless pedals who cares? I can stop worrying about if my foot is in the right place.
Ugh, I hate people like this, they are no better than the people they decry in the article.

That was pretty much the entire point of the article.

And finally, speaking of smugness, my own credentials in that area aren't exactly unimpeachable.  This is because I do continue to register a motor vehicle in my name, which of course THE BANK OWNS UNTIL I FINISH PAYING THEM BACK.  I'll spare you my rationale for this, but suffice to say my relationship to my car is a lot like my relationship to clipless pedals: it comes in handy but it's also a pain in the ass, and I'm getting closer and closer to abandoning it completely.

In any case, it so happens that THE CAR THAT THE BANK OWNS UNTIL I FINISH PAYING THEM BACK is currently in the shop.  (It's getting a sweet Transportation Alternatives-themed full body wrap.)  Ordinarily I'd hardly miss the thing, since I live in New York City and have access to all manner of public transit, not to mention car services and Ubers and of course my hundreds of bikes.  However, yesterday we had to travel to Connecticut for a big family get-together, and getting there by train would have required several transfers and several hours each way versus a relatively painless one-hour drive.

"Fuck it," I decided on Saturday.  "I'm renting a Hyundai."

Alas, as it turned out I'd left it too late, because by the time I called the local car rental place they didn't have any Hyundais.  In fact they only had one vehicle left:
That's a Ford F-150 XLT.  (Without the Trump-sticker-and-truck-nuts trim package.)  Those of you in the heartland or who do actual work are probably just thinking "Nice truck," but to a city-dweller who taps on computer keys for a living and grew up among Jews it might as well have been a Greyhound bus.  I had my reservations.  On the other hand, my wife was like, "Okay," and my older son observed that it was the size of a subway station and decided it was pretty much the greatest thing he'd ever seen.  Most crucially, since it was all the rental place had left they gave us a rock-bottom rate, and they even waived the fueling fee.

And so it was that for 48 hours we were a pickup truck-driving family.

Here are some brief observations:

--It's fucking huge;
--Even old people hustle when you roll up to the crosswalk;
--While I could see all around me quite clearly, the blind spot around the front bumper was considerable, and it was horrifying to think about how easy it would be for an inattentive driver to run over a small child while turning.

That last one was positively chilling given how often I've seen people whipping around the city on their cellphones in these things.  While the world needs trucks and I have absolutely nothing against them when used appropriately, context is everything, and the fact that New York basically makes no distinction between the Ford F150 I was driving and a Smart Fortwo (which I'm pretty sure I could have thrown in the truck bed) is downright insane:


Not only are they dangerous in densely-populated areas, but people drive these fucking things into Manhattan and then complain that bikes cause traffic.

At the same time, even I, an increasingly smug bike blogger, could not deny the truck's appeal.  It handled quite well despite its size, it emitted a satisfyingly throaty purr on the highway when passing, and I probably could have carried every one of my bikes in it.

Certainly if I ever buy a ranch or a very large boat the F-150 will be near the top of my list.

Nevertheless, the fact that people buy trucks like this just to drive around the city while smoking blunts will continue to keep me awake at night.

And with that, I bid you adieu until Monday, August 7th.  Enjoy the rest of the week, ride safe, and keep on trucking.


--Wildcat Rock Machine


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