Greenpoint, October, 2015

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Daughters of Anarchy

Pappy's Ride 2011 (Courtesy Norwich Bulletin)
It's relatively rare to see a motorcyclist on the BQE, but when you do they always have a helmet on. And why wouldn't they? It's the law. Beyond that, anybody who is not already brain dead knows the difference in survival rates in motorcycle crashes for those who wear helmets from those who do not. A friend pointed out that  the Harley-Davidson Company is a strong supporter of helmet laws--no fools, they want repeat customers not corpses.

(Courtesy The Sartorialist)
Cross the border into Joe's Country (Connecticut), where there is no such helmet law. Oh, there was, until a band of activist bikers, led by Pappy of the "Huns M.C.," waged a successful campaign to repeal it.  Every Memorial Day weekend since his death in 1975 (heart attack, not crash), thousands of bikers from all over the state gather to honor him with Pappy's Ride, which starts at a VFW in Norwich and ends at the cemetery in Uncasville where Pappy (aka Donald Pittsley) rests, doubtless with a bare head. Sadly, Pappy did not live to see the law repealed in 1976.

But NYC has its own freedom fighters--the cyclists and cyclettes whipping around with as little evidence of a helmet on their head as a brain within it. There's all classes of such of course, from bike messengers to food delivery guys. The ones that consistently catch your correspondent's eye are the stylish young women, often on vintage bikes, with long legs and flowing hair. They look great. And isn't that the point?  You can see any number of these fleet foxes (as well as dudes) in Manhattan, especially below 14th street. Sometimes they even accessorize, with a stylish child or two in tow (with or without a helmet).

NYC would make Pappy proud.

Keep on Truckin', Zig
On a related and timely note, R.I.P. Tom Wilson who died on September 16, 2011. Ziggy, his creation, was once used by the DOT as a mascot for bike safety--and dismissed by the mass transit and bicycle advocacy group, Transportation Alternatives, as a "lovable loser." They advocated instead for a "character known for intelligence, bravery, resourcefulness, and of course, good looks." How about Princess Witless above? The bastards.


  1. I can report that helmets are few and far between in Korea. I have seen several people on motorbike wearing cycling helmets, including one guy wearing one unfastened (and the point of that was...?).

    But my question is: if you could find a Ziggy cartoon from an earlier MTA campaign, why can't you find cardvark?? Maybe you can use this forum to solicit some assistance!

  2. By all means, anyone who remembers Cardvark, the MTA's mascot for the then new Metrocard system in the 90s, please come forward. Your correspondent has been investigating the mysterious disappearance of any and all references to or images of Cardvark. I think there is no doubt that a cardspiracy is involved! But I have a lead... To say that some of the most powerful people in NYC are involved is not to overstate the case.

  3. More news on the Korean helmet front! I did some investigating for you...turns out that delivery men (never seen a woman) use motorbikes that can only go up to a certain speed and they are required to wear a helmet. Ordinary citizens? Although technically they are supposed to wear helmets, the guiding rule seems to be to go as fast as you can without head gear.

    Re: Cardvark...might need an actual post to get the kind of attention it deserves Mr. Yariski...