There’s No Escape

    Further to last week’s post about congestion pricing in New York City, I’ve been seeking insight and sagacity on the subject. Alas, stories about congestion pricing seem mostly to come in three flavors. There’s the declaring-it-a-success-before-it’s-even-started kind:

    Not just a success, but a “miracle:”

    And one so miraculous that the winners will outnumber the losers, the clouds will part, the angels will sing, the dead will rise, and maladies such as bad skin and halitosis will become things of the past:

    Then there’s the smug people-in-functional-societies-think-New-Yorkers-are-silly-for-worrying-about-it type of coverage:

    For example, unlike New York, apparently in Sweden people don’t steal and they trust their government:

    This could be because their government has earned their trust:

    Whereas New York State government has always been deeply corrupt:

    All of these people could very well be right, though you might think all of this preemptive dick-sucking would at least warrant some skepticism and intelligent criticism of New York’s version of congestion pricing:

    But instead you just get professional bike-hater and aging restaurant critic Steve Cuozzo:

    Who apparently drove between the Upper West Side and Tribeca until seven years ago, which is objectively crazy:

    Steve Cuozzo is the literal face of New York City’s traffic problem:

    Though it’s noteworthy that advocates and cranks alike never seem to want to blame the real culprit, which is ALL THESE FUCKING UBERS AND LYFTS. (Presumably cranks like the convenience, and advocates like the money.)

    You’ve got to hand it to the ride hailing companies, they’ve done a great job of convincing people that traveling by car doesn’t count as traveling by car as long as you use an app to do it and someone else is touching the steering wheel.

    As for me, I’m doing my best to de-congest the city one ride at a time. This is The Empire State Trail:

    From here it will take you all the way to Canada:

    I don’t have that kind of time, but it’s still my regular escape hatch:

    Here I am in escape mode:

    My feet liberated from the shackles of oppression:

    By which I mean toe clips:

    And as much as I enjoy the one-handed downtube shifting of the Cervino, it’s hard to beat the convenience of bar-end shifters:

    Though I guess they don’t have any programmable buttons:

    At this point in the evolution of the road bike lever, shifting and braking are becoming afterthoughts:

    So basically the shifter will control your gears, control your brakes, control your GPS, control your lights, open your garage door when you get home… Like the downtube storage compartment, this is yet another sign that it’s effectively over for what I’ll lazily call “regular bikes:”

    I don’t mean this bitterly or cynically, either. It’s just the way it is. What consumer is going to opt out of these features? If you’re “starting from scratch” so to speak with bikes–like you’re fairly young and you’re not invested in like 20 years’ worth of spare parts–why would you choose a bike without a glove compartment or a smart shifter over one that lets you stuff your spare tube* in the downtube and schedule your appointments with the touch of a fingertip?

    *Just kidding:

    I mean who the hell uses tubes anymore?

    But yes, this is the way it’s going to be–and not just because if you lose your downtube cover Trek gets to sell you a replacement:

    Of course I do hope exquisitely timeless mechanical bikes made of metal at least continue to live alongside today’s carbo-tronic marvels:

    Just like people still wear analog watches in the smart watch age, or the deer continues to flourish amid the urban sprawl:

    She’s even got her little fawn with her, isn’t that fucking adorable?

    Incidentally, I see you can now put in your pre-order for the latest Sam Hillborne, which as I understand it is more or less the Homer but with studs for canti or v-brakes:

    No downtube storage, but that’s why the Great Lobster On High created bags.

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