The Laughing Hyena Boy of Self-Conciousness

I was laughed at on my ride home yesterday evening. Part of my commuting route takes me past a local inner-city high school. On most days I avoid the school during peak traffic hours, and yesterday was no exception. I was riding beyond the “school zone” when I approached a group of upstanding young lads (sarcasm). The shortest and pudgiest of this group (anyone who has ever gone through high school knows one of these kids) stops in the middle of the street as I maneuver around the group, giving them plenty of room since half of them were not paying attention to what was going on in their immediate environment. This kid who stopped points at me and gives this heinous, hyena-esque laugh. As soon as I pass them, he turns and continues on his way.

Now, having the benefit of being an intuitive fellow, I was able to recognize this laugh for what it was: nothingness. But my other cycling brethren may not be so lucky. While I was able to discern that this is simply the standard, malicious sort of behavior exhibited by most males in the 12-15 age range (not to say it doesn’t get better after), and that this sub-sect of the human species is very well capable of getting inside someone’s head with such actions, it did not get to me.

Young boys have the distinct ability to act in such a way that one’s greatest doubts of self-consciousness will come out. I am confident that this kid had no reason for laughing AT me (I wasn’t even wearing my neon yellow windbreaker), but he was simply all “hopped up on pixie sticks” and goofing around like young lads do. Still, this sort of behavior has the tendency to slip inside someone’s head and cause them to seriously doubt every facet of their existence.

OR, maybe he did, in fact, have a reason for laughing so violently at me and now I need to go buy all new cycling gear to make myself look cool. Uh oh…here we go.

Moe’s Xmas List

Although I tried to be as naughty as I could, I believe that Santa will find it in his heart to grant me my wishes (yeah, right):

1. For Commuting, I want the Bakfiets, so I could carry my 2 kids AND their stuff around. It is also rare and I bet I would attract a lot of attention.

Image from The Dutch Bicycle Company

I would also ‘settle’ for a Calfee Bamboo fixie if the Bakfiets is too big to carry on the sleigh.

Steve Boehmke’s Bamboo Fixed gear

2. I love panniers and I would really like the Lone Peak‘s garment pannier, that way my co-workers would stop asking me if a cow chewed me up and spat me out.

Lone Peak’s Garment Pannier

I also need a grocery pannier to carry my beer home, Banjo Brother’s grocery pannier would be an excellent choice.

Banjo Brothers Grocery Pannier

3. For my Mountain Biking habit I would really dig a KHS XC Team Full suspension bike, since it’s hard to lose weight ‘cuz of my affinity for beer, I might as well ask for a super light bike (not only that, Melissa Buhl won a championship on this bike).

I’ll take the KHS Flagstaff as my second choice.

4. Since I’m a metalhead, Primal Wear‘s Metallica ‘Ride The Lightning’ (one of their best albums) would be freaking awesome

or their new Star Wars jersey as a second choice (what can I say, I’m still a bike geek.)

That’s basically it, nothing over the top, no $10K Colnago, or $100 Assos Jersey or performance enhancement drugs.

Celebrity Commuter Profile: Bike Snob NYC

As you may know, we periodically profile fellow bicycle commuters on our site. Well, we figured we’d ask the wildly popular Bike Snob NYC to appear here, and he graciously agreed to it. BSNYC occasionally writes about his commuting experiences on his own blog, and he’s got some very interesting thoughts to share with us. So, read on! We won’t be revealing his identity, though, so folks will have to keep on guessing…

International Man of Mystery

Here is his profile:

How long have you been a bike commuter?

Off and on for the last ten years or so.

Why do you bike commute?

1) I love to ride
2) I race but I no longer have the motivation to “train” so I now get most of my mileage during the week from commuting
3) Like many New Yorkers I’m impatient and irritable and to me nothing is more frustrating than being stuck in a car, on a bus or on a subway train with no control over where you’re going and when. I suppose you could call me a transportation control freak.

What do you do for a living and what city do you bike commute?

I commute from the great borough of Brooklyn to the lesser borough of Manhattan where I have a pretend job as a full-time, highly-paid cycling blogger.

Why did you start riding your bike to work and how long is your commute?

My commute is a mile or so shy of 20 miles round-trip. New York City has an extensive and inexpensive public transportation system which for all its flaws is a great thing to have. Even so, for relatively short distances there’s no faster way to get around in the city than by bicycle. Not only that, but on a bicycle you’re virtually immune to the delays that plague every other form of public and private transportation here. In fact, pretty much the only delays you encounter commuting by bicycle are bad weather and mechanical problems, and you can prepare for both of those. On the other hand, sitting in a stalled subway train in a tunnel underneath the East River for 20 minutes is maddening. And I’m prone to panic, so about 15 minutes into any delay I start plotting to kill and eat my fellow passengers to stay alive.

A typical commute in New York City…sharing a bike lane with garbage trucks and delivery vehicles:
The BSNYC Commute

What kind(s) of bike do you have?

A road bike, a mountain bike, a cyclocross bike, and a track bike. The cyclocross bike and the track bikes make practical yet fast commuters with some simple parts changes. I’d have a dedicated commuter, but then I wouldn’t have a place to sleep. In New York space is a limiting factor.

Any funny or interesting commuting story that you may want to share?

One time on the way home from an after-work road ride I accidentally got mixed up in Critical Mass. I may not be much of a racer, but I felt like an Olympic swimmer who took a wrong turn and wound up in the kiddie pool. I think I was the only person more irritated than the motorists.

What do people (coworkers, friends) say when you tell them that you are a bike commuter?

“How can you ride a bike when it’s so hot?”
“Which bridge do you take?”
“How can you ride a bike when it’s so cold?”

Now, a bit about your blog: when you started BSNYC, did you have any idea your blog would be such a hit and would resonate with so many people? Why do you suppose this is the case?

I had absolutely no idea so many people would take to it but I’m thrilled that they have. Not to state the obvious, but I think the main reason people read it is that I write about cycling. We cyclists are obsessive by nature, and many of us are constantly seeking out cycling-related material when we’re not riding or when we’re stuck in front of a computer. As a writer I’m very lucky in that respect–it’s a seller’s market for me.

Also, as cyclists we have a unique vocabulary, a unique set of references, and a unique perspective on the world. There’s not a lot out there written for us in our language for the express purpose of entertainment, and that’s what I enjoy doing. With cycling becoming more a part of the culture it probably won’t be long before other people more talented than me start to do it as well. But in the meantime, you’ll have to make do with BSNYC.

We’ve tried injecting some humor into various posts here on, but it is VERY hard to do successfully. How do YOU keep it fresh and humorous 5 days a week?

Uh, you guys can offer me all the panniers, pant cuff retainers, and blinky LEDs you want–I’m not giving you my secret.

Of course, the truth is some days are less fresh and humorous than others. But I just try not to think about it. It’s like riding for me–it’s something I look forward to every day and it’s fun for me.

Any predictions on what the next great bicycling fad will be?

I actually did a post on that awhile back ( Right now I feel like the not-too-distant future of trendy cycling lies in BMXs and vintage road bikes. I also think that fixed-gears will continue to morph with freestyle bikes. More and more companies will offer pre-built fixed-gear freestylers until the bottom suddenly falls out, after which only a dedicated few will continue with their bar spins, skid contests and wheelies. Eventually though it will have a resurgence and will live on as a permanent yet still ridiculous part of the cycling culture firmament. Basically it will take the same trajectory as skating and BMX did. And of course I’m sure something new will come along that will take us all by surprise.

How about bicycling advocacy? Are you active in any local or regional advocacy groups?

Not really–I’m way too insular. But I’m very lucky and grateful for the people who are.

Anything else that you want to share with us?

Only that no matter what kind of jokes I make on my blog I regard all cyclists equally since no matter how or what we ride we all derive the same joy from it and that’s all that matters. Except for triathletes–now that’s just dorky.

Could THIS be BSNYC? Naw…we’re just kidding!
Is this BSNYC?

We’d really like to thank BSNYC for gracing us with his presence…if you’re not familiar with his blog, check it out IMMEDIATELY. It’s chock-full of witty, biting cycling humor — no bicycling faction is safe from his steely gaze!

“My car reflects my personality”

I usually watch the morning news as I get my girls and myself ready to go to school/work. There was this commercial by an American manufacturer that supposedly had drivers switch their cars for one of theirs. At the end of the commercial, one young lady says “I like this car, it reflects my personality”. So then I thought about it…. Can bikes reflect our personality???

Let’s start with Jack “Ghost Rider” Sweeney:

Jack rides a French Astra from the 70’s that was converted to a SS/Fixie and owns a classic Italian Bianchi . This tells me that Jack is the type of person that enjoys European old stuff, he’s ‘old school’ and a little set in his ways… Can you say: “Can you pass the Grey Poupon?”

Now let’s look at Jack’s wilder American side:

Getting rave reviews from BikeSnobNYC, Jack’s “Patriot” bike says that Jack can be safety conscious while making a bold patriotic statement or his bike ‘fashion’ sense is just gawd awful.

So overall , Jack has a split personality, one that is classy and refined, and the other one a wild “I don’t give a rat’s ass what you think of my bike”.

Let’s see what RL rides:

This is RL’s latest variation of his Redline 925, he has ditched the fenders and has finally settled on a chopped MTB bar. The Redline 925 has had Bullhorns with 2 brakes, then one brake, then no brakes, and back to one brake. What does all this tell us?
RL’s personality is one that tries to be hip but responsible. By attempting to go brakeless, he wanted to be hip and macho, fortunately he got his common sense back and installed a front brake.


Lance also rides a Redline 925. However, his is pretty much stock. He also has ditched the fenders and has drop bars with two brakes and rides with a seatpost rear rack.

I can say that Lance is a Get’r done type of guy, he’s not worried about following a trend (he rides his 925 as a SS, not a fixie) and by using a seatpost rear rack, he doesn’t care about style as long as his bike get the job done.

Lance also has a tender side though… Check out his sticker on the seatpost, “I brought along my sticker for my loyal dog Streaker. Her nickname is Beakers, like the Muppet.” (Posted by Lance on Ahhhhhhh….

Let’s see:
Sometimes I ride a single speed cyclocross,

or a folding racing bike…

or a Commuter Specific bike…

or a MUTT

or a Fixie…

I guess it is safe to say that I suffer from multiple personalities!!!