Saturday, October 16, 2010

Things Done and Undone

Lock parking. Sign that there may be some cyclists in these parts.

I think the first place I saw bike locks parked like this was this spot in Manhattan, New York, more than twenty-five years ago, or somewhere very near this rack, in the Financial District. Why carry five or more pounds of lock back and forth to work on your bike every day, if you only need it at the rack where you park? Back then, I admit that I couldn't figure out the story behind the orphan locks dangling from racks and other locking points around the city. Probably because it was infrequent, sporadic, and not instantly obvious (to me) what was going on. I came across this rack on this Columbus Day, though, and the sheer numbers make it pretty obvious. It made me wonder: do the people who continue to carry their locks and lock up at this rack feel peer pressure to park their lock? Do the lock parkers ostracize the lock mules? Do the Authoritays come by here periodically and cut off all the locks just to show the parkers who's boss? 

Most interesting to me, and possibly only me: has an anonymous bike share every cropped up in one of these situations, since you could lock a bike with your lock to another lock that was already there (top tube probably the best), and then a person with either key could open one of the locks and share the ride? Grass roots flash sharing.

The bike below was locked up at the other end of the rack. It's a Pista, fixed gear, Oury grips, Aerospokes, single front brake. An icon really. Reviled by some. Highly sought after by others. Personally, I like it, although I am unlikely to go buy one for myself.

I plan on putting up a few more vacation pix, because I think I saw some cool stuff, most (but not all) bike-related. The fam and I had an action-packed week. We accomplished everything we had planned except for bicycle riding, although we walked, subwayed, light railed, taxied, and ferried our behinds off. Those are the things that are done now. The things undone, like bicycle riding in the city, visiting the Tenement Museum (one of our fallback plans that was not fallen back on), and like Bargemusic, which I really wanted to see but just didn't have the time for, need to wait for our next trip to the Big Apple. Stuff to anticipate for next time. For now, though, I need to get back in the saddle. Get up. Go ride.



  1. I love the Pic with the locks. Some people have it figured out.
    That bike is some serious shit. I wouldn't buy an F-16 either but I do admire it.

  2. Many of the resident locks never get used. You can usually pick them out from the ones that are loved.

  3. I could never do that, and Im always about less weight, but couldnt see myself without mi lock - if only I went one place, but Id need 45x these LOL

    AWESOME photossss :D

  4. Oldfool - lock parking does demonstrate an admirable level of forethought. I wonder if they wear a rut into the pavement that they ride back and forth every day.

    Steve - I would guess those $100 super-chain/lock combos get used the most, while the older, more decrepit, less secure u-lox on the ground are bound for the Island of Unused Locks.

    m e l i - thanks! Probably the minimalists out there embrace the method of lock parking, since they don't even have to worry about a way to carry the locks back and forth (no rack, no bracket, nothing needed). If you have racks and fenders, and tend toward random two-wheeled adventures, though, point A to point B to point X to HEY WHAT'S THAT OVER THERE, it seems like being a lock mule is part of the "plan".


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