I haven’t been riding my bike much this summer. There hasn’t been a great deal of need or inspiration, plus it’s so hot, you guys!
Still, it’s bike time, and I recently found this unfinished post from way back. I’m honestly not sure when I started it; the troubles to which it refers happened as far back as 2006, and the crash that inspired me to write it can’t have been later than spring 2008.
It’s also worth mentioning nearly all of these accidents happened on the bike I had before Clangours. In hindsight I don’t know why my second bike got named for the accidents since it’s a longer-standing issue than that. I even recently said, in all seriousness, “Getting hit by a car isn’t so bad after the first three or four times.”
Maybe the issue is me?
Picture the scene: it’s mid-November, the middle of a gorgeous fall in New York City. (You know, except for that whole devastating storm thing that happened a couple of weeks earlier.) It was not yet cold and wintry enough for me to talk myself out of riding my bike to work, so I hadn’t. It was midafternoon and I was on my way home, walking my bike across the street onto the bridge.
Sometimes, many people don’t know how to drive in NYC. Annoyingly, one of the things that these people like to do is stop in the middle of a crosswalk. This is maddening in any situation, but it is especially galling when that crosswalk leads onto the Brooklyn Bridge. I assume that this guy had never heard of it before, because that’s the only reason I can imagine for his failure to stop at the proper place.
I had to cross the street in front of him, in a space that was narrowly large enough for my to fit through with my bike. Sadly, I miscalculated, and accidentally nicked his bumper with my pedal.
Apparently, that showed him that I am a fucking faggot.
This is a story about my bicycle. It was built for me by Danny, the man behind the infamous karaoke show.
Danny bought a pretty sweet bike, an early ’80s Raleigh Grand Prix from the time just after Raleigh was bought by Huffy, before the quality dropped off. It was too small for me, but I fell in love with it. I told him to find me one if he had the chance.
Three weeks later, he called and told me he had it in my size. You’d be surprised what Danny’s capable of.
In the first six rides I took with it, I had three accidents. Danny thus christened it “Trois Clangours”. Jerk.
I saw something today that I do not believe I will ever see again. Riding up 1st Avenue between 77th and 79th Streets, there were, in a row, a USPS truck, a UPS truck, and a regular delivery box truck all double parked, as per usual… but not blocking the bike lane. As if this were not borderline impossible enough, the driver of the delivery truck did something that I had come to regard as beyond their capability: he saw me in his mirror and waited for me to pass so that he didn’t door me.
I almost crashed from shock.
I took today to do a lot of chores (well, errands, more accurately) that had been piling up. Going to the post office, making a few phone calls, that sort of thing.
No one cares about any of that.
Chief among those errands, however, was getting my totally sweet bicycle back in working order.
I swear it’s like they’re trying to kill me. On purpose.
Riding my bike home tonight, I was riding in the bike lane on 21st near Broadway. A guy in a minivan opened his door (like you do). As I usually do when people do that (look in your mirrors before you open the door! Please!), I dodged, but it was just too close. I got half way around, but he finished opening his door into my leg. As one can guess, I ended up skidding sideways into a car sitting in (mercifully unmoving) traffic and ruining my back wheel. Which, just so we’re keeping score, means that I’ve completely replaced my wheel set on this bike.
In an unusual stroke of luck, there was a police car with a pair of cops in it in traffic two cars behind the one that I was pushed into, and they saw the whole thing. In an even more unusual stroke of luck, those policemen were sympathetic to me. The upshot of this was that the cops were talking to the guy that doored me before I even picked myself up off the pavement.
I had plenty of time while they were going through the motions of reporting an accident to check over my bike, and as far as I can tell, the only thing that got damaged was my back wheel. Since the whole show is going on their insurance, I will probably be able to get the wheel set replaced. Which is good.
Still, let’s see if we can stop this, okay?
The never-ending battle between my cycling self and traffic continues.
On East 86th St. in Manhattan, there are several to many new buildings going up. When new buildings are built in New York, the sidewalk is blocked off and pedestrians are rerouted into the street. They are protected from traffic by plastic barriers.
That’s all well and good, until someone, say, me (just for example, mind), is riding his new bike (which is similar to this) for the third time along said street and is cut off by a driver and forced into a collision with said barriers.
(Just so we’re clear, the barriers are very much able to withstand the impact of a bike. Unfortunately, my front wheel was less able to do so.)
(Just for example, mind.)
On the plus side, I was mistaken for a messenger by a messenger. That’s pretty excellent, if you like messengers, which I do. Even if they are total nutters.
I ride my bicycle around New York a lot. It is often faster than any other form of transportation and always more fun, plus it makes me feel a lot better about the fact that I don’t get any exercise, primarily because it’s, you know, exercise.
On Monday, I went to see Paprika, which was simultaneously excellent and bizarre beyond explanation. I rode my bike to the theater, which is stupid for several reasons. To start with, it was 85° (Fahrenheit, just in case it needed to be clarified) that day. I rode into Manhattan at midday, and I had to leave my bike chained up outside for a few hours. Nevertheless, I persevered. And my bike didn’t get stolen.
In the past two days, I’ve:
Been clipped by a bus on my bike. Nearly had a two hundred fifty pound video projector land on my head. Been a passenger in a minor car accident. Been clipped by a cab crossing two lanes of traffic to make an illegal turn. Had a car door opened into me, flipping me over my handlebars and ruining my front wheel.
Who exactly wants me dead? That someone can die.