Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Know Your Enemy

As a New York City bicycle-rider, I find I have a few natural enemies. Many bike riders feel that taxicabs are their most dangerous adversaries. In my area (Times Sq.) I find that slow-moving hordes of over-stuffed mid-western tourists are far more annoying, if not actually more dangerous. I've tried to develop an understanding with the cabs. Though, occasionally I do see one execute a maneuver so recklessly insane I find myself goggle-eyed cartoon double-taking at it. Like... wait--was that REAL? Did that guy really just thread the needle between those two baby-carriage pushing pregnant women at 50 mph?!? Holy shit! (I mean, it's okay for me to do that, but I'm only going 20 mph, am much narrower and I don't weigh two tons.)

I know it probably gets tiresome reading the posts wherein I relentlessly advocate for bike-riding. As my man Jon in Dallas pointed out, I'm lucky, living in NYC, because I CAN get from place to place on a bike. Almost any other city, that just ain't possible. He also mentioned that most other places, a guy simply can't get laid unless he can pick the girl up for their date in a car with at least one passenger seat. Right. He concluded artfully, saying that if it were a choice between driving and getting a hummer, or having neither...

So, right... I should probably cut our less-fortunate neighbors a little slack. But this is clearly a case where a trait that favors individual reproductive success, kills off the species as a whole. Like the northern big-horned elk...

Apparently, there was this particular species of elk, northern elk, that grew great racks of antlers, and the males who enjoyed the greatest reproductive attentions of the females were the ones who grew the BIGGEST antlers. So every generation, the offspring were likely to grow ever larger racks of antlers, until eventually, the antlers were so big that the elk couldn't lift their heads. Within a little more than one generation, they were gone. Completely extinct.

Our SUV's are the antlers of our demise.

Still, I'm a realist. I know that even here in Manhattan, where it is more than possible to get everywhere I ever need to go on a bicycle, it is still occasionally preferable to do the unspeakable... to bow to the enemy and {gasp} take a cab. You're going out for a night on the town, perhaps a certain amount of swank will be involved, you have to dress well, she especially, and hers is an expensive killer outfit, and maybe it's hot and humid out, or maybe it starts to rain. You ain't riding a bike under those circumstances. No way, no how.

But thanks to a surprisingly simple idea, it is now possible to significantly reduce the badness of taking a cab! You just have to plan ahead a little bit.


Plan ahead?

Well... that opts me out.

Thank goodness I don't ever do anything swanky (and that I've attached fenders to my bike to keep the rain-puddles from making a silly-looking line of grimy wetness up my back).

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