(Photo Credit: 303Cycling) BikesnobNYC - Eben Weiss
Mission accomplished for Eben Weiss, the self proclaimed “Bike Snob” and now “Enlightened Cyclist” and his “World Annoyance Tour”. After all the complaints over having to pay five bucks to get into the event, he kept the paying audience waiting for a good half an hour. That’s annoying. Even Eben was annoyed. Also, annoying, he doesn’t speak Italian and didn’t know how to pronounce Vecchio’s. Can you really be a bike snob without that basic knowledge?
The annoyance subsided as soon as Eben started his presentation. “Think of this as your window into reality” as he proceeded to tell those of us living in “The Bubble” of the “last primal frontier” that he calls commuting by bike. Very un-snob-like, he qualified his statement by saying it can’t compare to what soldiers and doctors and EMTs face every day. This is when we began to consider there could be a serious side to Weiss.
Serious, in spite of his next few slides introducing his Lobster religion, the four main rules it has for cyclists and the unique comic timing he brings to the table. If one decides to worship the lobster along side of Weiss he must adhere to four basic commandments. 1) No Shoaling. In other words, take your place at the back of the line at the stop light and don’t “shoal” up to the person in front of you until someone winds up in the intersection. 2) No racing. This rule doesn’t apply to actual cycling races where everyone registers and knows it is indeed a race. No racing while commuting for Weiss. His advice to keep this commandment is to never make eye contact with someone trying to overtake you. Once this occurs, he says “the social contract has been signed and it’s game on.” 3) No Salmoning. Seems easy for Boulderites to avoid as it describes going the wrong way down a one way street but a temptation if you consider going the wrong way in the bike lane. Finally, 4) No Circling. A special rule for the fixed gear set. Weiss reminded the audience that when an animal is being circled it knows that it is prey and about to be eaten. “Lob forbid” any of these commandments are broken.
Weiss used humor to broach the subject of commuters getting hurt or even killed on a daily basis. He made light of the fact that we, here in Boulder, with our coveted wide bike lanes and cycling culture simply can’t understand this. It is very true that we have better facilities by design and fewer cars by default, but when cycle and car interact, the result is the same in Boulder or in Brooklyn. Look at the cyclist killed last year and the pending misdemeanor for the driver. Or the three women who were hit on 36? While we don’t feel the same minute to minute stress on our way to work, we can understand the end game.
Weiss may be selling himself short by not giving a call to action that is beyond his (very entertaining) schtick. But as long as he is walking the walk, he should be able to find plenty of cycle disciples to get his word out and truly shed light on these important issues.
(Photo Credit: 303Cycling) BikesnobNYC and Andy Hampsten