Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Impending Doom: Even Helments Can't Save Us

(Via a reader, the Lobster God takes automotive form to punish nonbelievers and poor drivers.)

This morning started out like any other. After bathing in Fruity Pebbles and enjoying an invigorating bowl of lukewarm bath water, I set about tending to the myriad responsibilities of a non-minimalist. I wrote checks and sent them to my creditors via carrier pigeon, I washed and buffed my stable of 46 nearly identical handmade bicycles, I made sure my various registrations, licenses, permits, and insurance policies were up to date, I double-checked the expiration dates of ever single food item in my fridge, and I generally tested and tightened every one of the steel cables that hold me in thrall to "the system." Then I realized I had just wasted the entire morning, since an asteroid is heading right towards us and we're all going to die:

"Well that sucks," I thought to myself as I threw out eighteen boxes of Jimmy Dean Pancakes and Sausage on a Stick that had tragically fallen victim to premature freezer burn. The world is going to end in 2036, and just last week I'd put my entire fortune into an investment account that would not mature until 2040. How, then, was I supposed to fund completion of my "bucket list" before we all perish in this cosmic holocaust? It's quite a formidable list, too, and without access to that $76 million I just put away I don't see how I'm going to manage it:

Sure, I know some of these are a bit far-fetched, but I'm willing to compromise on some of them--for example, on numbers three and four I'd be perfectly willing to switch the Pope with the Dalai Lama and vice versa. However, without that money I doubt I'll be able to get anywhere near either of them. I'm not the only one who's getting short-changed by this whole end-of-the-world thing, either. For example, if you're currently on the wait list for a Vanilla, you won't take delivery of your bike until five years after asteroid hits, and even if you manage survive there probably won't be anyplace decent to ride it or anybody else to drool all over your exquisite lugwork. Then again, maybe it's for the best we'll only be around for another 25 years, since if bottom brackets keep expanding at their current rate then by 2030 they'll be roughly three times the size of the rest of the bicycle and we'll all be riding around like this.

In any case, given that we're all doomed, it seems almost comical to be worried about trivial matters such as "personal safety." This is why I expect that bicycle helmet sales will drop precipitously now that an asteroid is hurtling towards us. I mean, why bother, right? However, I'd still hate to get a ticket during these remaining days, and as I mentioned in yesterday's post, while it's legal to ride in New York without a helmet it is illegal to ride without a helment, and as soon as I learned this I resolved to purchase one. The only problem was that I had no idea what a helment was--though commenter "streepo" pointed out that you can get a headset for one:

Still, there were two problems:

1) I couldn't use a headset with something I didn't have;

2) Even if I had a helment to use it with, I couldn't, because it's illegal to ride a bicycle in New York City while wearing a pair of headphones.

Either way, I still needed a helment, and so I consulted a popular search engine and finally found what I was looking for:

Now that's some serious on-the-bike protection:

Not only that, but "The clear faceshield allows for...the inspection of newly-completed welds," which means that you can revel in the exquisite beauty of your Moots or similar bicycle as you ride. However, I ride a lowly Scattante, and as such I avoid looking at my welds at all costs since their lumpy irregularity only depresses me. Therefore, I wondered if there was a helment out there with a non-faceshield option, and after a little more searching I found this:

Obviously it was perfect, but sadly it was out of stock, and and the only other helment I could find was this one:

It was at this point that I elected to abandon the search and risk the ticket, and if any police officers stop me and ask me for my helment I really, really hope I'm able to talk my way out of it.

Speaking of helmets (the helment's mud-free cousin), you may possibly but probably don't recall that many, many years ago (almost one and a half of them) I mentioned a documentary about an Australian woman named Sue Abbott who stood in solitary poodle-haired opposition to her nation's draconian and marsupial mandatory helmet laws:



Well, I was visiting Bikeportland yesterday and was pleased to find a link to the following article:

Yes, Sue Abbott has finally emerged triumphant over this kangaroo court (in Australia, hearings are presided over by actual kangaroos) and her coiffure shall remain forever unmolested. One wonders if this will go down as a landmark decision and serve as the beginning of the end of Australia's helmet law, or if they will continue to cling to mandatory helmet use like a koala clings to a eucalyptus branch (until its skull is pierced by the arrow of Ted Nugent). Of course it really doesn't matter since we're all going to be dead in 2036 anyway, but while we're still here we might as well go through the motions and pretend. So let's raise a glass to Sue Abbott and toast her in traditional Australian fashion: "Here's mud on your helment."

Meanwhile, in most other parts of the world helmet use while cycling remains more or less a personal choice, though you should certainly check with your local municipal government regarding their policy on riding a recumbent while naked, as in this photo which was forwared to me by a reader:

Yes, it's just that sort of "hop on and go" sensibility that makes cycling an attractive alternative in an urban environment, as this video forwarded to me by a reader shows:



I couldn't understand a word of what the guy in the purple shirt was saying due to his Vegemite-thick Australian accent, but I believe what he was implying was that cars suck because they result in make-up accidents:

Whereas bikes are awesome because you can just toss a "Sheila" on your top tube and go:

Though how this is more conducive to the application of lipstick is beyond me. In any case, while the video is ostensibly amusing, it only managed to depress me since almost everything purple shirt guy does in this video would result in his being stopped and ticketed by the NYPD and would also be regarded as dangerous and insane pretty much everywhere in America. Sadly, this sort of idyllic cycling will probably never be possible here in Canada's surgically-enhanced cleavage (or in Canada for that matter), since our approach to everyday cycling is closer to this:

--Spend $2,000-$6,000 on an "appropriate" bicycle;

--Spend another thousand dollars on an appropriate wardrobe and accessories;

--Strap on your helmet, throw yourself to the cars, and hold on for dear life;

--Abandon the whole endeavor when your bike gets stolen or you get hit by a car, whichever comes first.

It's certainly a sad situation, but oddly consumers and local governments seem to be in near total agreement on it--at least that's the case here in New York. There is an upside though, which is that if you do all this on a fixed-gear and manage to survive for more than a year, that qualifies you for "OG" status and you get to upload videos of yourself and your friends and sell t-shirts. I'd like to see some grandmother in Copenhagen try that.

Ironically, even bizarre cycling disciplines like cyclocross seem to be gaining more traction in America than the simple act of hopping on a bike, throwing your best gal on your top tube, and pedaling to the store. (Unless you're the King of Park Slope, that is. He can do whatever he wants.) Don't get me wrong, I love few things more than sucking at the cyclocross, but it can also be frustrating that most people only seem comfortable with bicycles if they're used for racing and exercising. We're already experiencing a bike commuting backlash, yet cyclocross has grown so much that Jonathan Page's sponsor is considering opening a cyclocross camp:


Bob owns land outside Madison and is thinking of buying a little more to make a cyclo-cross training centre in order to run those camps out of the Madison area," he added. "I would be running the program, doing technique work and talking about training. We will bring in some trainers, sport scientists and mechanics to help run the cyclo-cross camp."

I hope he will also bring in some Portlanders to teach heckling, costume curation, and flesh hook administration. Bike portaging is totally going to be the new arts and crafts.

108 comments:

Anonymous said...

PORT LAND

Kenny Banya said...

GOLD!

bicnic said...

Why does it feel so good?

dcdouglas said...

Podium?

Anonymous said...

I've been doping all morning for this!

Anonymous said...

Huggy is up there again!

mikeweb said...

Gold, Banya, GOLD! Em, maybe Silver...

Anonymous said...

top 10?

Anonymous said...

top ten

Nogocyclist said...

Do you think it is time I moved my bike? Down in New Orleans

Jon said...

bonked

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

No Comment.

ringcycles said...

recumbent bike porn ?!? Now I've seen it all.

ant1 said...

ant1st!

David said...

My "bucket list"
1. Get a bucket.
2. Fill with beer.
3. Drink.
4. Repeat as necessary.

L'Idiot said...

I'm confused- isn't the world supposed to end in Dec. 2012?

SLAM said...

Does anyone make S&S couplers for my single speed recumbent.

Alss does riding a 'bent imply a risque of lots of mud on the helmet?

le Correcteur said...

Top twenty? Wow, you guys are fast!

Paper-Butt Book-Crack said...

I am sure I was in after 12:52! checking the sprint reading my lead out articles wondering about the lateness hoping bsnyc hasnt been hit by a slaloming salmon skidding out dirty Sancheese sandwhiches twittering tweet tongue things pierced penis ear

Anonymous said...

Last night around 10pm I finished fixing my bike and, wearing my work pants all covered in grease, I took it around the block for testing.

Right at the end of my road there is a stop sign that is usually not respected by cars because there is good visibility and rare traffic.

I did not notice the police car sitting there and I did not stop at the sign . I would consider suspicious and silly if a bike does stop at this intersection.

Anyhow the police car yelled to alt. I did not have an Id on me but I offered to go pick it up, pointing my house, 30 seconds away. They let me go but I was told that helmets are mandatory as well as " front and rear reflectors".

ringcycles said...

BSNYC, you have to admit, Borat's gay older brother makes a pretty good case for urban bike commuting, especially portaging his BFF to buy flowers.

Anonymous said...

Nothing like some Wednesday weed

samh said...

It's beyond me why you wouldn't want to switch The Pope with The Nuge.

Anonymous said...

Stopped to read; Ljubljana's in Slovenia in case you were wondering....

hey nonny mouse

PHUK FACE said...

"I double-checked the expiration dates of ever single food item in my fridge,"

ever-lovin' single food items?

Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...

Larry King has retired, going forward, I expect to see Piers Morgan pictures as a way of making SFW...

...but not for long of course

Anonymous said...

My advice to all non-helmet-wearers is, Go ahead, don't wear one. You stand to improve the gene pool, especially if you do much non-helmet wearing before reproducing.

xyxax said...

Banya,

You look huge.
Have you been working out?

Grump said...

Snob, FYI, a Helment is a new super secret item that is being produced to protect our wonderful planet from the Asteroid strike in 2036. It is designed to work just like a bicyle helmet, except that it will cover the entire Earth.

g said...

Nogo,
That kudzo grew overnight. You ever tried to get rid of that crap?

Joshua Young said...

i've had a couple bikes stolen and been hit by a taxi, and somehow i've managed to get back on every time. like an idiot.


my girlfriend Meghan is defending her phd in a month, and i'm super-stoked for her (she's way smarter than i and has worked her tail off while doing the majority of the work raising our two children. women rule.). if you're interested in bike infrastructure, and want some defensible health stats backing up the argument for protected bike lanes, check out her website at http://www.cher.ubc.ca/cyclingincities/.

Anonymous said...

When mountain biking, I wear a helmet to keep mud off my head.

streepo said...

My bucket list is now complete. Mentioned in the blog of the one and only RTMS. Now I don't give two shits about the impending asteroid.

crosspalms said...

Was purple shirt guy singing the theme from "Rawhide"

"Through rain and wind and weather,
Helment for leather,
Wishin' my gal was by my side."

Or was I just dazzled by his shades and expansive chest?

Otto Mobilsky said...

Austrailian accent! is this another iceland rocks dumb americardo ricco campagne? Sounds more like a vagimite mouth of dirty helmetless asstrailriding exquisite tripleX-Xscent to me!

Anonymous said...

It would be much cheaper to 'Hot Karl' Piers Morgan - you could do it dozens of times and still have change from what it would cost to get the Pope or the Dalai Lama...Oh, but the queue might be longer.

Just a thought.

streepo said...

Purple shirt was really having a hard time parking his Vulva..I mean Volvo.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Snob said "...I aviod looking at my welds at all costs since their lumpy irregularity only depresses me."

I know, man. I feel exactly the same way about my wife's thighs.

Marcel Da Chump said...

David 1:09,
Best Bucket List Ever

Anonymous said...

My helmet is most useful as an olive branch to drivers and law enforcement.

When you appear to value your own life, you get less unwarranted honks/cut-offs/lane-blockers & tickets.

My wife says this doesn't work for her, and she insists its because of the popular "beautiful Godzilla" stereotype. Thanks Snob!

crosspalms said...

Turn loose the teddy-bear-totin' Prospect Park granny on that asteroid. It won't stand a chance.

A BOY NAMED lob said...

-LATER IN LIFE MEETING HIS FATHER FACE TO FACE FOR THE FIRST TIME lob SEZ-

MY NAME IS lob!

HOW DO YOU PALP!

Anonymous said...

http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/bicyclerules_fy08_english.pdf

Nogocyclist said...

g, I just borrowed this photo from facebook. My only real experience with kudzu was from deer eating in a patch of it once when I drove up to the patch in my jalopy (car.) They were close enough to the road that I stopped to be safe. Then I started back up a large doe came charging down the hill and ran right into my car in the side.

On another note, I came to sudden stop on my hybrid once going to the post office because of a large buck running out in front of me. What really scared me was a spike running right behind him that I would have hit if I had not slowed down due to the buck.

Also almost had a doe land on me once on my mountain bike. The bike trail is at a historic model of the Mississippi River formally used to predict flooding. There is a 5 or 6 foot fence along the trail to keep people out of that area. A doe jumped over that fence and landed about 5 feet in front of me. I was riding with a kid (6 or 7) at the time, and was riding very slowly so I had no problem missing her. Well other than dogs, cars, trucks, a bobcat, and even a cottonmouth water moccasin, it is fairly save to ride a bike around here.

Anonymous said...

A sociable bicycle
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCHpxEiuqrE
Rick, New Zealand.

Anonymous said...

Hey Aussie documentary filmmaker-- clean your damn lens.

Anonymous said...

Nogo, TLDNR.

leroy said...

Well now I'm confused. So is the toast "Here's mud in your eye" a good thing or a bad thing?

(I was going to observe that it looks like the purple shirt guy in your video stole Riccardo Ricco's sunglasses, but The Cobra has enough problems at the moment. Poor guy.)

Kenny Banya said...

Thx Xyxax, it's the suit.

Etherhuffer said...

I had a helminth. It was IN my mud.

John said...

Helment! Helment for leather!

I'm going to helment.

Anonymous said...

Madison is now Portland 2.0.

http://bicycling.com/blogs/roadrights/2009/04/22/the-right-to-disobey-cops/

Dont think this will work in the new donut loving bicycle crackdown

Anonymous said...

Okretnost!
Roze!
Poraba!

Can't argue with that...

Anonymous said...

Steve Tilford is a CX National Champion.

Pontius Pilate said...

HAIL CSZR

-P.P.

Nogocyclist said...

Anonymous at 2:42pm. Is this better? Not a "Lob" bike, but close.

g said...

Nogo,
When I lived in Georgia, we had deer on the mountain bike trails all the time (does that mean something else, I wonder). Here in sunny Florida, I will trade all of your risks for the Part time senior citizen residents that, in the last month, have managed to kill a 9 year old and a volunteer fireman, both of whom were riding with helments and in thebike path. Can't wait to get old and kill without consequence.

Friendo said...

HLMN THED

SODO MISE

PACF UDGE

livingjetlag said...

She's not naked, she has sandals and sunglasses on.

Anonymous said...

Helmut? I know helmut. Hell of a guy.

cycle

yogisurf said...

Is there another pic that shows the recumbent rider's beard? Usually all the Contraption Commanders have beards.

Anonymous said...

"Even the latest data from NASA can't rule out the possibility of Apophis striking Earth on April 13, 2036, which all agree is the most likely date for an impact between the two."

Well, I'm certainly waiting till the last minute to do may taxes that year.

Anonymous said...

On-street bike lanes are designed for the exclusive or preferential use by cyclists. There is a $115 fine for parking, standing or driving in a bike lane. NYPD should be ticketing themselves.

Nogocyclist said...

g, Senior citizens in cars are definitely a real problem. Had a 91 year old kill a bike tourist on the Natchez Trace close to here also. It is a very real problem here because we basically have no alternative for them. Many of them have to drive or get a friend to drive for them.

Most areas of my state do not have any mass transit at all. What is a senior citizen supposed to do when they have no other real choice?

I Go Around and Around said...

No events other than mild frustration in Central Park today. Though I did nearly get run over by a front-loader going backwards w/o looking while I was waiting at a red light. Seriously. Got my heart rate up though. Actually rode better afterwards.

That can't be a recumbent rider. She doesn't have a beard. On her face.

BTW, Cavendish apologized to me. I am glad to report that I accepted. We will be married in the spring. You are all invited.

Nogocyclist said...

Correction to my post at 4:23pm.
Cyclist was injured, not killed.

Got my information confused with another case in the same area that occurred earlier in the year.

Anonymous said...

hel-meh-nt

lame one today. sorry.

bikesgonewild said...

...i want an orange mega-lobster truck for days i don't feel like ridin'...

...then it's gonna be "get the fuck out a' my way !!!" no matter what you're pedaling or drivin'...

..."impending doom" ???...i'm gettin' an attitude & there ain't nothin' sweet about it...

Etherhuffer said...

@nogocyclist: The story notes the driver was in a Dodge pickup. Travel the roads long enough and you find that Dodge pickups and Jeeps are the most aggressive drivers around. Followed by upscale folks in their Volvos. I doubt a 91 year old was thinking about hot driving, but when I see a Dodge truck or Jeep, I stay away, be it in my car or on my bike. Those people, to paint the whole with a broad brush, are uncommonly aggressive.

crosspalms said...

nogo,
My grandmother gave up driving when she was 80-something because she'd started to have "little accidents" and didn't want to have any big ones. I really admired her for that. She packed up her stuff and moved from Florida to live with my aunt outside Chicago. She liked Florida but as you say, had no real alternative without the car.

I Go Around and Around said...

@etherhuffer

I'd say a middle aged white Anglo-Saxon Protestant woman with a litter of kids in a Honda Odyssey who has an average household income in the $100-150K range, an unused MBA, a four times a week yoga habit and a cell phone pasted permanently to her ear is just about the most dangerous vehicle on the road.

Heywood Jablome said...

IS ADMINISTERING A 'KOLD KARL' STILL CONSIDERED A FELONY IN REYKJAVIK?

I"M PLANNING A BIKING VACATION AND WANT TO DO A LITTLE 'DANCE ON THE WILD SIDE' HEH!

Etherhuffer said...

Ah yes, the distracted vs the aggressive. I would rather take an arrow in the head from Ted Nugent than get hit by a Dodge or an Odyssey.

The King of Park Slope said...

Random Douchebag said ...

My advice to all non-helmet-wearers is, Go ahead, don't wear one. You stand to improve the gene pool, especially if you do much non-helmet wearing before reproducing.

That's right ... no helment = DEATH!

In fact, I'm dead right now.

Anonymous said...

GOAL!!!

GOLD!!!

GOALD!!!

Anonymous said...

reading with the apple laptop in the bathroom sitting on the bowl. Good.

bikesgonewild said...

...here ya go, bsnyc/rtms...

...yer boy marty markowitz, brooklyn borough president is objecting to the los angeles dodgers wearing throwback era uniforms for 6 home games this year...

...fans are voting for one of several uniform designs based on 1911, 1931 & the 1940's outfits which feature the original brooklyn dodger logos...

...the dodgers left brooklyn 54 years ago, in 1957 when markowitz was 12 years old but to his chagrin or credit, the man still holds a grudge...

...factor that shit into whatever markowitz's disruptive plans for cyclist's are in nyc...

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 4:10

Police also regularly treat red lights as stop signs. They just slow down, flip on the blinky lights and sirens for a little "whoop, whoop" and off they go, in no hurry at all.

Cops will never give themselves tickets. At best, they will be convicted of a felony in court, but any traffic violations will be dismissed immediately. I mean $115 could pay that cop's salary for a day. Do you think he's gonna spend that on a ticket just to park in the bicycle lane?

Anonymous said...

CXCE NTRE

Anonymous said...

Wow, Howard Stern and Adam Carolla are experts on cycling...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQr6UNWUCfw&feature=related

Anonymous said...

Is it true your Vito enjoys tossing the Hot Karl around when you delay his bananas?

Eurosmoker said...

Dear Mr. Snob,

in that october 14th 2009 post, you wrote: "people in Europe who don't wear helmets remain happier and thinner and better-looking and generally superior to everyone else in the world".

Well... you´re right.

Anonymous said...

Wonder what Eric "The Chamferer" Murray thinks of this Brooks cape and contraption:

(Scroll down about 1/2 way...)

http://www.bikeradar.com/news/article/core-bike-2011-weird-and-wonderful-bike-kit-29182

my2hands said...

50's fore-casted for next week in the STL. Thank Lob! You can bet your ass I'll be riding in!

Spangle said...

I have never met a Hot Carl I didn't like!

Alfonso Cocksuck said...

When old folk can't drive, take them down to the ethical suicide center, hook 'em up to a big screen TV, get the Pastoral Symphony rolling, and warm up the Soylent Green.

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Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...

Snob,
Did I mention how much I missed your writings on theater and writing?

Hooray.

Jon said...

I wonder if there are any online jobs in India?

wishiwasmerckx said...

99th...

wishiwasmerckx said...

...and 100th!

jim e said...

17 people die each year from snakes. women hate snakes.
50,000 die as a result of automobile accidents. Women love cars.

When women wear helmets in cars I will wear one on my bicycle.

crosspalms said...

My wife is a woman. She hates cars. She's not too crazy about snakes, either. She wears a helmet on her bike.

I imagine more snakes die from people than vice versa, so maybe the snakes should have helmets.

Sue 'sans' helmet said...

Thank you for your lovely toast!!!!! - had 5 brilliant days in your fabulous part of the world (mid Jan 2011) - totally in love with NYC and your city's relaxed approach to cycling - green with envy!!! - now back in Oz and hoping to get booked again soon!!

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