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Thursday, October 16, 2014


I am a lean, green bicyling machine. For the past year and a half I have been riding a bicycle from Grand Central Station to West 57th Street and back each day. I purchased a used two-wheeler from Craigslist for $30, and a brand new 3/4-inch lock and chain for $60. Surely criminals with even a rudimentary understanding of math will see the folly of ruining a perfectly good lock to get to a rusty bicycle.

The bike has 18-speeds, but I only use one of them: Slow. So slow that the Polish sausage mascot at the Milwaukee Brewers game could easily beat me. But afterwards I would be in New York and he would have to return to Milwaukee, so who is the real winner??

I pass by a lot of hot New York women every day on my $30 bike and I want to look cool. There is nothing less impressive to the ladies than a guy who obviously cannot afford a car, or cab fare. Or a Metrocard. A guy on a scooter is the only thing lower on the food chain.

I thought some accessories might make me look more like an athlete; maybe a pair of those padded shorts that give you that sexy "bee sting ass." Or one of those streamlined helmets that make you look like a hooded merganser. A duck can fly or swim anywhere it has to go and does not need to ride a bike. However, the helmets are carefully designed to improve wind resistance, which could take up to 4 seconds off my time while protecting my head from hooded mergansers. A messenger bag might make me look more formidable, since bicycle messengers are known to stop at NOTHING to deliver their messages to important clients who do not know how to use email. Whenever one of those schmucks almost runs me over I think of the phrase, "Don't shoot the messenger!" So I try to stab him to death but they are hard to catch.

In the end I picked up a mirror and a bell. The mirror comes in handy all the time because after 2 or 3 blocks my hair looks like crap and needs some TLC. The bell is pretty useless, because whenever I ring it people just try to answer their phones. It's much more effective to yell, "Look out- one of my balls just fell off!" Which clears the area like a concussion grenade.

Pedestrians are unpredictable and often badly dressed. Tourists are the worst, because since they don't read English, they cannot understand a flashing red picture of a hand, the international symbol for: "STOP, idiot!"

The other day I almost hit a Hello Kitty, one of those frightening, pedophile panhandlers who dress up in costumes and threaten you in a South American language if you don't give them a tip for taking their picture. That is an awful thing I just said- I should not automatically assume that these people are panhandlers. What do you tip Hello Kitty for taking its picture, anyway? 15 percent, I guess, but of what? They can't have much overhead- the costume is probably a couple hundred bucks, plus cat litter. Hello Kitty did not look very clean, as if it hadn't said "Hello Dry Cleaner" in quite a while.

Car doors are another hazard. I was passing a stopped limo on the right (a no-no) when a lady opened her car door without looking (another no-no) and I landed in her purse. She let out a loud, piercing shriek as if one of my balls fell off. I have settled into an understanding with cars: everyone who drives a car anywhere near me is an A-hole. And when I am driving a car, everyone who is riding a bicycle is a dipshit. I am thinking of joining a group like Critical Mass and becoming an activist. I doubt that I will, since the very word "activist" implies that I might have to do something.

The weather is always an X factor. I usually don't ride if it's raining, except one time when I held my umbrella with one hand and steered my handlebars with the other. I looked so much like a weird Mary Poppins that I never tried it again. That really happened, so don't try to picture it.

It rained so hard I had to take the subway, but being next to all those people bummed me out. People are so annoying. I sat down for ONE second and somebody piped up: "Hey, everybody, I'm real sorry to disturb you, but I'm a homeless veteran. I served our country during Viet Nam and then lost my house in a hurricane. Then I lost my job in a different hurricane, and if everybody could just-" "HEY HEY HEY WAIT A SECOND!" I interrupted. "I slipped and fell in the parking lot and had to have shoulder surgery. I couldn't play tennis for THREE AND A HALF MONTHS, had to eat with chopsticks LEFT-HANDED, and I am STILL unable to play the piano, although in fairness I never could. PS: I ALSO served my country during the Viet Nam War when I worked at McDonalds." I did not get a whole lot of sympathy but I did get four dollars.

Incidentally, in the year 1817, German inventor Karl von Drais first rode his two-wheeled "walking machine." Considered the precursor to the bicycle, it was basically Flintstone- powered by using one's feet to propel it along. It was made entirely of wood, and failed to catch on, possibly because of the possibility of a termite infestation so close to one's crotch.