Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Besides Central Park and the Hudson River Greenway, there are few options for cyclist to cruise through and around Manhattan without interruption. Even getting to these locations means traversing the busy streets filled with pedestrians, stop lights, stop signs, cars, cabs, people opening cab doors, people, dogs, pot holes, cars parked in the bike lane and... did I mention those pesky humans? There is no telling what can happen on the streets. The bike lane is no savior.

We don't all have the skills of a cartoon

First I'd like to thank all of you who are conscious of the bike lane and look both ways before crossing, just as you would before crossing the street, even when you aren't at a crosswalk. I know, I know... I'm the annoying cyclist that all cars and most pedestrians hate, but I am a person like the rest of you, I just happen to be on two wheels and riding in my allotted space.

Who I really hate are the pedestrians who unheedingly jump out at any moment from the sidewalk into the bike lane as if it were any less dangerous than doing so in the road. My mom will tell me hate is a strong word, but I don't see how a synonym like loathe or abhor sound any better... the fact is these people are hated by all cyclist. Leaping into the bike lane is apt for serious injuries to both parties and when if I get hurt because of this, my mom is definitely going to feel hateful.

You may still be thinking I am just another annoying cyclist, but we as a human race all hate on one thing or another. Like the guy at work who clips his fingernails at his desk. Yeah, I got hit by a rogue clipping once. Anyone have (moderate) road rage? Screaming curses at drivers that can't even hear you? It's one of the joys of living in the city. Then again, I have to deal with that person on a packed subway who won't move away from the "corner door spot" causing more congestion and aggravation. Oh wait, no I don't.. I'll just bike to work.

Twenty bucks says the douche in the blue didn't move
The problem is most of the people falling into bike lanes at unexpected times have their head down buried in their phone and/or are clueless to the sound of the "ding" that comes from a bicycle bell. I have found yelling to be the proper way to garner attention. Even in Manhattan, people respond to spontaneous screams.

BUT THEN I am biking home from Central Park down 2nd Ave (in the bike lane of course) as a black SUV approaches my rear with Jamaican music blaring. The weather was nice so all his windows were down. As the sounds of a steel drum grew nearer, all of a sudden I hear a loud iPhone text notification ding from that car. Man, did that grab my attention. I figured the guy has his phone hooked up to his speakers. This gave me a genius idea! Someone needs to create bike bell that is a small, but loud speaker and you can choose sounds like the ding or the original iPhone message noise. There are speaker bells out there, but I don't need a one that shovels out more generic noises, I need one that produces a sound everyone loves to hear.

Without doing any test trials, I can guarantee this would generate a reaction from 99% of people ages 6-69. All proceeds can go directly to The Alzheimer's Association.

In the mean time, if you're walking around Manhattan and you hear a loud "GOO!" Know that it is me hauling ass down the bike lane and to get your ass back on that sidewalk.

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