Some time ago, I wrote about an "NYPD Gentrification Strike Force," which would utilize trendy vehicles such as fixed-gears to chase down criminals who commit crimes in fashionable neighborhoods. Well, the embarrassing truth is, in my idle moments I myself have fantasized about being recruited by the NYPD as part of an elite undercover cycling unit. Like a hybrid of Gene Hackman in "The French Connection" and Kevin Bacon in "Quicksilver," I would move as stealthily through traffic as I do through New York City's seedy underground. (Or at least what remains of it.) Never mind that I'm not particularly fast, nor that I tend to get tongue-tied and perspiry around the criminal element. The reveries in which I indulge in my private moments need not correspond in any way with reality--the Jell-O stains on my carpet notwithstanding.
So you can imagine my excitement this morning when, during the course of my commute, I happened upon what appeared to be a high-speed NYPD bike cop pursuit:
Now, generally when I commute by bicycle I "rock" the Ironic Orange Julius Bike. However, it just so happens that this morning I was riding a bicycle that a company has sent me to "test." I won't reveal the make or model of the bicycle at this time, though rest assured I plan to share my thoughts and experiences in the not-too-distant future. Suffice to say though that this is a bicycle built primarily for comfort, with any considerations of speed dangling off the rear like a sprinter on a mountain stage.
Yes, life was conspiring against me indeed. The one time I go without my trusty IOJB I encounter a high-speed bicycle chase. Naturally, had I been better equipped, I would have immediately joined in the chase, and once the officers observed my "mad skillz" they'd be compelled to deputize me. Thus empowered, I'd chase down and wrangle the suspect with my chain lock, thus earning me various commendations, accolades, awards, rewards, tax breaks, diplomatic immunity, lucrative development contracts, the key to the city, and so forth. Instead, here I was on what was essentially a wheelbarrow with a chain drive.
But then I asked myself, "Would a hero give up so easily?" Of course not. Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle certainly wouldn't--he'd commandeer a Smart car, or a pedicab, or a skateboard, or an apple cart, or whatever it took. And Kevin Bacon wouldn't either--he didn't give up when he took a beating in the stock market, nor did he give up when Jami Gertz and Paul Rodriguez put their faith in him. So I tightened my grip on the handlebars of my wheelbarrow, put my head down, and joined the chase anyway.
Fortunately, as it happened, the cops were only going like 13mph, so I caught up with them almost immediately:
As you can see, the bike cop isn't obeying the red signal. As such, I figured I didn't need to worry about it either. I soon caught him, and within moments we were joined by two other officers:
I was only slightly disheartened when I got a closer look at the cop's t-shirt and saw that it read "NYPD School Safety." After all, chasing down truants hadn't exactly been part of my fantasy. Still, it was better than nothing--and mind you, some of these kids can be pretty tough characters. Maybe one of them had defaced a billboard, in which case my justice would be swift. I strongly believe it is the inalienable right of every Hollywood studio to advertise crappy films without suffering the indignity of having penises drawn on the actors' faces. Sandra Bullock deserves better than that.
So we continued to run lights, but like a budding roadie doing the group ride for the first time I stayed on the back since the cops hadn't yet formally invited me to join. Soon though we reached a major intersection. The two cops on the front rode right through, and they waved for the third cop to join them:
However, she was visibly winded, and she chose to stop:
I stopped as well, since it gave me an opportunity to check out the sweet cop bike setup. Note the suspension fork, seatpost, and knobby tires with slick center. This enables them to pursue suspects on pavement and on singletrack. Note also the standard police issue pie plate. I'm not sure what she's carrying on that rear rack, but I bet it's an entire nylon bag full of "whoopass."
Anyway, the light finally changed, and we caught up with the other officers. They were at a bank, though I didn't see any crime in progress:
I guess one of them just needed to use the ATM.
Regardless, that small taste of excitement was all I needed, and I began to imagine my own ultimate cop bike. It certainly wouldn't be a low-end mountain bike, nor would it be the test bike I was riding. Actually, it would probably just be my Ironic Orange Julius Bike, but with deadly lasers. After all, the IOJB is an extension of my lifestyle and personal tastes, rather than simply a piece of sporting equipment. It's also inspired by and designed for urban cycling, commuting, and city dwelling. Yet, amazingly, it's absolutely nothing like this Globe Roll, which is also apparently designed exactly this way:
Globe is a "boutique" brand from Specialized. In addition to a philosopy, they also have a movie:
Obviously, the Globe name has been around for awhile, and obviously the Roll isn't the only Globe model, but it's interesting that Specialized is using a bike like this to officially launch a brand that will focus on urban cycling and commuting for the "progressively minded and the eco-conscious," since the scope of possible uses for the Roll is slightly broader than that of a unicycle. Really, they might as well have launched the brand with a time trial bike. Still, reaction to an $800 bike with no clearance and no braze-ons and an integrated stem/handlebar seems to be generally favorable:
Ultimately, the Roll represents a phenomeon I call the "fixed-gear inversion." At first, when fixed-gears started getting really popular people said, "At least more people are riding." Essentially, the idea was that the fixed-gear was sort of a "gateway drug" for new cyclists, and that once you got hooked you'd eventually explore what the rest of the cycling world had to offer. However, now that the trend is firmly established, the opposite is happening, and instead companies must flash a trendified ready-made fixie at the door in order to gain access to the cycling market. Moreover, companies must refer to these bikes as "urban" and tout their functionality in cities, despite the fact that color-coordinated brakeless fixed-gears are being ridden increasingly by younger people in the suburbs who do tricks on them in their cul-de-sacs.
The "fixed-gear inversion" even extends to color. First people used black tires. Then, they used white tires as a striking contrast to black tires. Then the bikes became colorful. Now, it's all about monochromatic bikes as a striking contrast to colorful bikes. Here's another monochromatic bike which was given sort of a "stealth rollout" on Fixedgeargallery by the manufacturer:
But you can only flip something over and over again so many times before it either burns or falls apart like an overcooked latke.
I wonder if that light fixture was installed using the same principle. No wonder it's on the floor.