March 19, 2013

Doored.

I was doored this past weekend, for the first time ever, after some 10,000 miles of city riding. It’s not worth getting into the semi-sordid details, but I made it through relatively unscathed despite the fact that I essentially landed on my face). Besides questions of what transpired, whether I had to go to the hospital, etc., many people were perhaps unduly sympathetic, wondering if I confronted the perpetrator with whatever righteous indignation apropos the gratuitous transgression (long story short, I did not).1

In fact, the sheer senselessness of the incident is precisely what I like about riding a bicycle in New York City: an underlying threat of violence necessitates an all-but-prescient ability to anticipate traffic of both the vehicular and pedestrian varieties, viz. an absurd degree of vigilance. A backwards analogy: The autonomous car is more an AI model of a seasoned cyclist than of a driver, and even though LIDAR and algorithms can accurately predict 99.9999% of possible traffic patterns and even account for the frequency of aberrations, there necessarily remains the (un)lucky millionth draw that escapes the range of known data.2

Thus, the diehards—fellow cyclists who have logged similarly untold miles in our fair city—were less concerned with the specifics, acknowledging the inevitability of such an occurrence with the mutual understanding that it’s the rider’s responsibility to anticipate a door in any given situation: It’s part of the game.

Because in retrospect, I should have gone wide and taken the lane instead of attempting to thread the needle, and my mistake is as clear as day to me (incidentally, the weather was absolute shit at the time of dooring). While I accept the responsibility and the consequences of my actions, the accident was neither a lapse of judgment nor an act of hubris but a leap of faith, a canonical case of the cyclist ‘eating the sins’ of the motorist (literal act of eating pavement notwithstanding).

Which is to say that it’s simply too much to expect debarking passengers to heed non-motorized traffic, and frankly no cyclist should expect the courtesy—after all, every last one of us has unknowingly committed the verysame negligence at some point. It’s precisely why people drive (or take taxis) in the first place: so they don’t have to pay attention to every stupid little thing. By forsaking the vicarious superiority of the internal combustion engine, so too do cyclists forfeit the luxury of distraction, of roving the world in a glass bubble… or, as it were, a metal cage.

instatrack

And at risk of sounding completely deluded, this, for me, is the fundamental appeal of riding fixed: a brakeless bike doesn’t forgive you for making mistakes.

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1.) Then there’s this.

2.) I’ve written about this before.

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May 18, 2012

Pure Keirincidence

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May 15, 2012

Bomber Prolegomena

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May 1, 2012

Cicli // Dodici e Masciarelli

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March 29, 2012

RH@RHC

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October 13, 2011

Hello Track Bike in the Sun

hellotrackbikeinthesun1

2,000 × miles / 2 × clips / 1 × front wheel / 1 × tape earlier:MagicBike Read the rest of this entry »

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June 10, 2011

Truth.

instatrack

2:00 for the win:

via Prolly

The problem with bike lanes is that they represent the marginalization of cyclists as a purportedly “separate but equal” citizen: we’re given what is realistically an infinitesimally limited space to exist in terms of the law, which does not even acknowledge that right. Instead, pedestrians and cars alike stake a claim to the bike lane as their own territory—or at least a kind of bridge (or purgatory) between the sidewalk and the street—while I often encounter cyclists salmoning or simply not sharing bike lanes, as though it is a bubble for the use of a single individual at any given time. (That said, this isn’t helping.)

Also:bff

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April 25, 2011

Bike Messengers × CSS Art Direction

While I wait for my H+Sons to arrive so I can finally post pictures of my new ride, Wired has a nicely executed HTML5/CSS online(-only?) article on bike messengers’ relationship with technology. I initally thought the neat inset images were background divs with chunky borders, but they’re actually just absolutely-positioned; the red arrow graphics are background images. (I also mistook the quotes for Knockout; turns out they’re in Tandelle.) via Prolly

messengers-via_wired

Bonus:

By Mike Joos / via Fixed and What

By Mike Joos / via Fixed and What

What could he possibly be riding towards but more cookies?

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May 31, 2010

Bespoke vs. Velo

Bike porn from the book Velo: Bicycle Culture and Design and Bespoke: The Handbuilt Bicycle.

Bespoke: The Handbuilt Bicycle
Museum of Arts & Design
2 Columbus Circle (SSE Corner)
New York NY 10019 [map]
212 / 299-7777
May 13, 2010 – August 15, 2010

Bespoke-at-MAD-10-via-PSFK

Via Designboom, Coolhunting, PSFK, DB again & Gestalten; click image for original source.

velo-0-via-gestalten

bespoke003-via-designboom

velo01-via-designboom

Bespoke-Bicycle-MAD_NYC_18-via-PSFK

velo-1-via-gestalten

bespoke6-via-coolhunting

velo06-via-designboom

Bespoke-at-MAD-01-via-PSFK

velo-2-via-gestalten

Much more after the jump: Read the rest of this entry »

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April 7, 2010

New Bike Tech

Hypebeast.tv has a new interview with the guys behind Outlier, who craft cyclable basics.

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grafbike

Benedict Radcliffe Graffiti Bike = The Art of Going Brakeless / Instant Morris Louis

instantmorrislouis

Viktor Vautier via Juxtapoz.

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I’m not surprised to hear that electric bikes are all the rage in China: I remember seeing countless two-wheeled contraptions that had some kind of ad hoc outboard motor strapped to them. In fact, I passed an old Chinese dude riding an electric bike across the Manhattan Bridge just the other day…

ElectricBikes

Of course, besides legal issues, GOOD points out that electric bikes represents a stepping stone between traditional transportation (bicycles) and an emerging middle class aspiring to Western ideals of status (electrics automobiles)—an intermediate space in a rapidly developing economy that is nonexistent in our car-dominated nation.

The Economist via GOOD. Also on NYT.

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