Thursday, 14 April 2011

Safety First, Cyclists Second: All You Riders Feel My Backlash

Further to yesterday's post, in which I mentioned fashion bloggist The Sartorialer, I continue to marvel over the notion that he thinks people should start wearing bicycle locks around their waists.

This is ludicrous for any number of reason, though primarily because the average feeble fashionista would be unable to lift a Kryptonite chain lock, much less walk (or sashay) while wearing one. At best, the fashion world would be laid low by a rash of hip and lower back injuries, and at worst some of the industry's brightest stars would be drowned in unfortunate Hamptons pool party mishaps as their heavy metal accessories consigned them to watery graves in Davy Jones's chlorinate, kidney-shaped locker. I'd hate to be the pool cleaner who had to deal with that scene come Monday morning.

Still, I found myself quite taken by The Stentorianist's comments section. In fact, like a bike lock-clad fashionista on the bottom of a swimming pool, I was unable to tear myself away. This is mostly because I was amazed that many of the commenters seemed like the sorts of people who put Hello Kitty stickers next to their signatures on important documents, but also because apparently the bike chain thing has been done before:

chanel did the biker chain look in 1992.
Model Kristen Mcmenamy on the cover of italian vogue may 1992...complete with an oversize chain belt..
Chanel mixed up a few looks at that time..mixing biker with rapper..and the heavy chains were all part of that.

But the angularity of the biker chain in the first photo ( which reminds me of the necklace Michael Kors sent down the runway..2 years ago) would be a nice update and a retrospective at the same time.

So evidently Chanel didn't think the bike chain look was dumb enough on its own and wisely threw some "rapper" in there for good measure. I'm really kicking myself for missing the messenger/rapper craze, it sounds like it must have been sublimely idiotic. (Incidentally, speaking of "Haute Karlizing," there is indeed a rapper named "Hot Karl.")

I also noticed this post:
Which prompted the following comment:

Just lovely, but she's asking for a brain injury if she's riding without a helmet.

Oh please. Can't a woman in designer clothes who's attractive in a plastic mannequin sort of way even sit on a bike in this country without putting a styrofoam bucket on her head? These are the sorts of people who watch pornography and say, "Very sexy, but they're asking for some nasty chafing if they're planning on having sex without any pubic hair." Anyway, she's clearly a "Beautiful Godzilla," and everybody knows bad things never, ever happen to them.

By the way, The Sartorialist should not be confused with The Stentorian, which is a Bangladeshi metal band:

I think the Bangladeshi heavy metal look is just begging to be Karlized. Just lovely, but they're just asking for brain injury if they're headbanging without a helmet.

Speaking of the dangers of cycling, on Tuesday I mentioned that a member of parliament is proposing a "Dangerous and Reckless Cycling Bill" in the United Britain of Great England, and another reader has since forwarded me this article, which indicates that the British may hate bicycles almost as much as Americans do:

Indeed, on both sides of the Atlantic it would appear that the latest "bike boom" is boomeranging on us like a "hot carl" that has missed its mark. (Once a "hot carl" gets momentum it can be difficult to stop, and the sock can sort of come around, swing underneath your armpit, and "whap" you right in the back of the head.) Also, the article included an account of what may be the "first-ever cycle crime:"

This is a tragic story, and I imagine the exuberant Macmillan setting out on his new invention, only to knock down a little girl. Presumably he then consigned his shameful contraption to the shed and lived out the remainder of his days in ignominy. His only solace must have been that 1842 newpaper report, in which the writer describes his bicycle as "ingenious" even though he coldcocked a child with it. "I don't know what just hit that kid," bystanders must have remarked, "but whatever it was it was awesome."

Sadly, today pedestrain/cyclist encounters are still fraught with tension:

You shouted "BIKE LANE!"while jaywalking w/ur kids - 35 (Gramercy)
Date: 2011-04-12, 8:57AM EDT

To the guy who shouted "bike lane! BIKE LANE!" at me while jaywalking w/his kids on 22nd street and 1st ave at 8:35am this morning:

Sir, with all due respect, did you see the bike lane? There was a 50-foot Amstel Light truck parked in it. I was avoiding that truck—which is my right—and then trying to avoid you and your children as you strolled into the street against the light with a cluster of unwitting pedestrians. Now I understand there's some backlash against cyclists, so the degree to which you're a mindless mouthpiece for our fossil-fuel dependent culture can't be held against you, but next time you shout advice at someone in the street, you should make sure you're obeying the law first.

And sorry I yelled "fuck you," but you kinda deserved it.

Now that's some smugness.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in town, another rider apparently crashed into some Starbucks:

Bike / Starbucks collision - m4w - 27 (Midtown West)
Date: 2011-04-11, 8:12PM EDT

It was the Americas Avenue (6thAve). Wish I got yur contact info to follow up, I think you hurt your hand but you said you were ok. Are you? Contact me, what a smash! sorry again for the mess.:/

"There was steamed milk everywhere!," recounted one horrified witness. Fortunately, I hear Starbucks has a generous crash replacement program, so hopefully the victim has been made whole again.

Alas, it would seem that even in the bike-friendly Netherlands acrimony is the order of the day, for apparently disgruntled Dutchmen have strewn tacks all over the Amstel Gold Race parcours ("parcours" is pretentious for "course"):

Years ago, someone was actually doing this very same thing in Central Park, and many a frustrated roadie was forced to extricate thumbtacks from his expensive color-matched Vittorias. Eventually, though, the thumb-tacking bandit tired of his exploits and cyclists were once again able to ride around and around the park unmolested, but evidently the NYPD have now stepped in to take up the slack.

Certainly though none of this is to say that cyclists shouldn't be careful, and to that end many readers have forwarded me these "9 Tips for Beginner Cyclists," which features the likeness of the time-traveling t-shirt-wearing retro-Fred from the planet Tridork, who is universally acknowledged and respected as a stamp of legitimacy on cycling content:

Sadly, these tips are hopelessly unhip. Use your gears?!? Try telling that to "Generation Fixie!" They make their own rules (and then conform to them mindlessly). After all, if Generation Fixie used gears then we wouldn't have pointless videos like this one, which I saw on another fashion blog called "Prolly is not Probably:"
If you're wondering why this video even exists, it's because if a hipster so much as touches a bicycle anywhere in the world then it must be filmed. "For Immediate Release! Hipster Rides Through Tunnel!" However, if he enjoys riding "fast," he might want to rethink that upright position:

He looks like he should be inflating a tire, not riding a race bike. Plus, people tend to gradually relax their positions as they get older, which means that by the time this rider is 30 he'll be riding a fixed-gear recumbent. In the meantime, if he wants to be both comfy and speedy, he should get himself a "RoundTail," of which I was informed by Stevil Kinevil of All Hail The Black Market:

Finally, the next generation gets its very own Y-Foil.


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