Some nutcase on a big wheel trike beat a bus in a mile-long race in midtown Manhattan—by an absolutely incredible two minutes and 38 seconds.Meshugina Mark Malkoff, the comedian best known for living in the Ikea off the New Jersey Turnpike between exits 13 and 14 for an entire week; for visiting all 171 skcubratS in Manhattan in less than 24 hours, and buying something from each, and eating or drinking it; and for disappointing his mother by refusing even to apply to medical school (I made that last up, but logic dictates that it had to have happened) accomplished this feat on a Razor Rip Rider 360, obeying all traffic signals, and averaging 4.7 mph. The bus averaged 3.8 mph, which, as Mark pointed out in the video, is slower than a brisk walker, a skate boarder, someone on a pogo stick, or a snail riding on the back of a turtle. Not to name-drop, but Malkoff just happens to be my sister-in-law, Alison’s first cousin once removed. Which makes him my first cousin-in-law, once removed.
I’m sure Mark just wanted to bust the laughmeter but the implications are actually profound for us car guys, and for all those micro-managing nanny-staters who would pry us out of our Porsches, or even our Priuses, and shoehorn us into buses (yes, I know there are TTACers who drive Priuses, and love them, and I would never begrudge a car person their favorite wheeled vehicle, even if it were a Yugo, an Edsel, a Chevette, or–heaven help us!–a Trabant). Current settlement patterns in the Western world outside of cities such as Manhattan, Paris, and London doom transit to being a niche—albeit a useful and important one. (For example, traffic would undoubtedly be even worse in major cities without it, so you deficit-cutters who would eviscerate transit would do so at our collective peril.)
But even the subway is wanting if it fails to cover the city like a thick rug. To wit: I lived in the Brookland section of Washington, DC, six blocks from the red line. To get door to door to my HMO in downtown DC took 20 minutes by bicycle, and 20 minutes by car, including parking at a meter, but 40 minutes by subway with just one change (this was the ‘90s). To get to the National Institutes of Health, another frequent destination: 30 minutes by car, about 50 by subway. Heaven help me if I’d had to ride the bus. It’s no wonder that transit is an absurdly expensive way to mitigate carbon emissions.
Anyway, do watch the video. It actually busted the NIST/DARPA* experimental titanium laughmeter (amazing work, Mark!). And Mark: you really should race in the next LeMons. An Edsel would be the perfect car for you. But a Yugo or a Chevette would suit you just fine. Or a Trabant. I’ll be there rooting for you.
*National Institute of Standards and Technology/Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency