Monday, 21 March 2011

Hold Your Lane: Rough Crossings and Triple Rushes

This past Friday, I mentioned that the nebbishes of Park Slope are complaining about (and indeed suing the city over) the extra safety afforded them by their new bike lane, while elsewhere crossing the street remains a high-risk endeavor. I also incorporated video of a crosswalk on Coney Island Avenue to show just how treacherous these crossings can be, which was about as interesting as watching skin form over a pudding--assuming of course that the pudding was sitting in the middle of Coney Island Avenue and in danger of being splattered by light-running cars.

Anyway, as an inexperienced smugness videographer, I failed in two regards:

1) I did not place a cup of pudding in the middle of Coney Island Avenue in order to ratchet up the drama;

2) I did not also create a video of what it's like to cross the controversial Prospect Park West bike lane which would serve as a basis for comparison.

Fortunately, though, it turns out that smugness factory Streetsblog recently did post such a video (still no pudding, sadly), and here it is:

So there you have it. Amazingly, Park Slopers like this woman who looks like early man in a turtleneck:

and this man who looks like an undead Harpo Marx:

think that the Prospect Park West bike lane is too dangerous, while the rest of us are supposed to make do with the seven-second death scramble.

Seems fair to me. As long as they're happy.

Speaking of city planning, whilst utilizing the Twitter I came across the following review of the book I wrate, and while I wouldn't ordinarily subject you to literary criticism I must say that I found the last line deeply offensive:

Having based pretty much every important life decision I've ever made on reducing the likelihood that I will ever have to take a bus, it horrifies me to think that someone might actually opt for that mode of transport over simply affixing two pieces of plastic (or, if you're pretentious and irresistibly compelled to divest yourself of money, hammered metal) to his bicycle.

I've long been searching for the perfect antonym for "epic," and while I guess it's not technically an antonym in that it's a phrase instead of a word, I nevertheless think I may have found it in "If it rains take the bus."

After all, you won't catch bike messengers taking the bus--or using fenders for that matter. This is because their lives are the very definition of "epic" (assuming you're using the sixth definition, which is "risking your life in a fashionable manner without remuneration"), as you will soon see in the new Travel Channel reality show, "Triple Rush:"

Yes, it's even more of a rush than the last time a television production company tried to capture the excitement and irreverence of bringing things to people by bicycle, which was only a "Double Rush:"

If nothing else, "Double Rush" brings us back to a time when mountain bikes were still "edgy" and before they were relegated to the trunk racks of Nissan Pathfinders owned by people with a fondness for baggy shorts and bands like Godsmack, and at the same time affords us a clue of what cultural fate awaits the fixed-gear bicycle.

Of course, this being 2011, the latest iteration of the messenger TV show will take reality show form. (The sitcom was long moribund even before Charlie Sheen sounded its death knell with his latest meltdown.) However, even a reality show takes time to produce, so it's worth noting that this was probably "greenlit" while messengers were enjoying their latest fixed-gear-inspired burst of popularity, and before everyone got bored of them and started doing tricks on their "fixies" instead. Given this, and the fact that a "Triple Rush" is 50% more rush-y than a "Double Rush," it will be interesting to see if this latest show lasts 50% longer than its predecessor, or if it gets cancelled 50% faster.

This is not to say that "Triple Rush" doesn't have a lot going for it--it undoubtedly does, for it boasts a formidable cast. There's a token hipster:

As well as a token hipster:

And even a token hipster:

By the way, if you're a student of hipster mathematics, you probably figured out that:

Andrew = Dillon + Seven Years of Living in Williamsburg

If that was too easy for you, here's another one. What does X equal here?

Jenessa + Two Years of Being a Bike Messenger = X

If you answered "X = Heather," then you're correct:

Though X = Jenessa - All Her Teeth would also have been acceptable.

You've also got to give the Travel Channel credit for putting together a great website, for not only is there information about the show, but there's also lots of gritty real-world video about what it's like to be a messenger on the streetzzz. For example, I really enjoyed "Bike Messenger must-haves:"

"You really need to invest in good outdoor clothing."

That's right, you heard him--when you're out there on the streetzzz, be sure to wear clothing that was designed to be worn outside. So skip the silk pajamas, Kevin Bacon:

(Not appropriate messenger attire.)

Then there's the obligatory let's-brag-about-how-much-we-crash, which you'll find in "Worst bike accidents in NYC:"

"Just constant injury almost. It's just a dirty job."

I've watched countless messenger-themed videos at this point, and I still can't figure out if they think all the crashing is a good thing or a bad thing.

Anyway, if "Triple Rush" is a hit, hopefully the Travel Channel will spin off some other exciting shows about people's jobs, like "Venti Latte:"

"You really need to invest in a good apron. Just constant exposure to milk almost, it's definitely not a job for the lactose intolerant. If you don't think it's as hardcore as being a bike messenger then you never had to kick a homeless guy out of the bathroom."

After that they could do "Priority Mail:"

"You really need to invest in a good sun hat. Just constant exposure to anthrax almost, plus we deliver envelopes, use big bags, and work in foul weather just like bike messengers do. Sure, we have benefits and a union, but that doesn't make us any less hardcore. Taxis are nothing compared to a disgruntled coworker with an automatic rifle. Cute bike there, Quicksilver, come say 'hello' to David Berkowitz."

Speaking of "epic" (I was many paragraphs ago), cycledom's foremost purveyors of "epic," Rapha, are so profoundly "epic" that they have transcended videos of epic riding and have broken through into the rarefied world of epic soups:

Sure, you could just open up a can of Progresso--and if it rains, you could also take the bus.

Because you can't spell "recipe" without "epic." (Or without transposing the "p" and the "c.")


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