Saturday, May 14, 2022
HomeCyclingFairy Tale Existence – Bike Snob NYC

Fairy Tale Existence – Bike Snob NYC

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Yesterday was warm and rainy, and the result was like riding through one of Grimm’s fairy tales:

Once upon a time there was a middle-aged man who wanted to go for a bike ride. So he turned onto a path in a dark wood. The path was clear, because he lived in a city where cyclist complain incessantly on social media if there’s even a tiny bit of snow in the bike lane. But when he got to the city line the path was a slushy mess:

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This is because Westchester County’s bicycle advocacy community is basically like one guy up in Tarrytown (Hi, Bike Tarrytown!), and if you hear anything bike-related out of there it’s usually something like a legislator trying to pass a helmet law:

I had a lengthy email correspondence with that legislator at the time that made my head hurt. Maybe I should have been wearing a helmet. He wanted to follow it up with a phone conversation and I admit never called him. I appreciate he wanted to engage in discourse but as someone who writes about this stuff constantly the idea of having a bicycle helmet conversation with a lawyer in the middle of the day on top of all that is about as appealing as having a second tooth cleaning just because. I mean if I still had my radio show I’d probably have had him on, but I don’t, so I didn’t. (And if I still did have my radio show people would probably have started withdrawing their musical catalogs from the station by now in protest of…something.) Anyway, I have no idea what happened to that helmet law, and for all I know they passed it and the police are wisely ignoring it. (There’s already a helmet law in one Westchester town and the local police chief has declared it “baloney.”)

When it comes to riding bikes, it sometimes seems like we have two choices: lots of infrastructure and amenities but also lots of enforcement (don’t I know it!), or fuck-all in terms of amenities but at least they leave you the hell alone.

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Ultimately I think both have their merits and drawbacks, which is why I like living where I do–in the city, but close enough to the suburbs that I don’t have to deal with it if I don’t feel like it. Also, you know, mountain biking:

As for Mister Fred’s Grimm Ride, after being turned away at the border by all the slush I instead burrowed more deeply into the boroughs, ending up at the Macombs Dam Bridge–or as my older son and I call it, Macomb’s Damn Bridge:

Unlike most bridges in the city, which are blue or grey, Old Man Macomb’s damn bridge is a business-casual khaki:

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The bridge opened in 1895, but here’s what this spot looked like in 1850 when there was an actual dam:

That’s the High Bridge way in the background, which you can still ride over today:

Suck on that, Brooklyn Bridge:

Crossing the Macombs Dam Bridge is a fraught affair, because in the event you hear a gong sound you must be ready to immediately leave draw:

You must also be ready to appease the troll beneath the bridge with a bicycle offering:

Fortunately I was able to make it across by promising the troll that an even better bike was coming along, a carbon one with tubeless tires and electronic shifting. And yes, I realize that’s a not a Grimm’s fairy tale, but whatever.

Sadly there are no longer any verdant hillsides on the other side of this bridge where billy goats can make themselves fat, but there is a great big baseball stadium:

Cold, wet, and waiting for spring; I know exactly how it feels.

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