Sunday, August 7, 2011

Hipster championship

Yesterday, while riding around aimlessly, I incidentally got to witness the 2011 Finnish Hardcourt Hipsterity Championship Tournament:

The hipsters were apparently playing some kind of a game with clubs and a ball on their bicycles in order to determine who's the hipsterest. I have no idea who won. Perhaps the guy with a helmet cam, because I think he scored. Or then the guy with a huge, white fake beard, because he looked the awesomest.

To be honest, the game actually looked pretty fun. I don't think I'll ever engage in it though, because, while I like sports, I really suck at hipsterness, so I have no possibility of succeeding in it.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Rollerskatin' all over the world

Hi, readers. I'm glad to announce that most of you (about 3/4) are rather intelligent, as verified by this piece of news coupled with the statistics of this blog (page views per browser, that is, for the Finnish-language-impaired):

And the 22% of you, please keep reading my blog even though you've just been tactlessly insulted. My children need wine. (Oh, it wasn't for real? Never mind what I just wrote.)

And then, towards on-topic.

"They" say that road racers are extremely good at reading road surfaces at high speeds. But there is one group of people even more concerned about the quality of the road surface: we, the rollerskaters. Bicycling on bad asphalt is uncomfortable and annoying, sometimes even dangerous, but a rollerskater is constantly at hazard because of cracks in the pavement, loose sand and rocks, curbs etc.

Bicyclists have complained for aeons (I know I have) about urban infrastructures not being designed for easy and safe bicycling. Sure, they aren't, but rollerskating is an even more neglected form of transportation. Yet, it is one of the most fun ways of commuting. Probably, the number of rollerskaters is very small, if compared e.g. to the number of bicyclists, and the city doesn't have resources, and these things take time, and everything is so difficult, yadda yadda. But "they" could do sumt'n to improve things, for sanity's sake. Couldn't they?

Like, for example, not put these huge stone walls in the way of pedestrians in every freakin' intersection:

Rollerskaters are considered pedestrians by the law, as far as I know, and therefore must go over these obstacles in every intersection. On bicycle paths there are (at least in theory) smooth ramps in intersections. But wait a minute. What is the purpose of putting these stones here anyway? They hinder rollerskaters, people pushing prams, grannies pulling their funny little bags with wheels attached, people in wheelchairs and kids who are allowed to ride bikes on sidewalks. And most people are so freakin' lazy that they walk on the bicycle paths in intersections anyway, in order to avoid lifting their feet 5 cm to get over the curb. Why can't they make smooth ramps for bicyclists and pedestrians alike?

Another thing:

Why is it that on routes for pedestrians and bicyclists, there always are seams across the path every 1,5 m? They seem to be able to make seamless roads for cars. Why can't they use similar road building technology on bicycle paths and sidewalks?

The path meant for pedestrians is often too narrow for rollerskating:

1 m of sidewalk width is not sufficient. It could be sufficient for miniature rollerskaters, such as kids, but probably not. A rollerskater needs more width than a bicyclist, because a rollerskater sways from side to side. If there's loose sand on the asphalt, as there often is, it is nearly impossible to go uphill in places like this. You practically have to walk on the skates. The stretch pictured here with less than 1 m of width and shrubbery all over the place is definitely not wide enough for a full grown man for walking, even without a kid on the side. I'm a man. Please give me wide enough sidewalks.

This (presumably a gateway to another, dark, scary dimension), I'm sure, they put in a middle of an intersection just to annoy rollerskaters:

Then there's bad visibility around corners:

Crossing this intersection on rollerskates requires multiple actions, all executed at once:
  • braking hard, because there's a hill and zero visibility around the corner
  • craning one's neck in order to see around the corner
  • observing crossing vehicles
  • observing passing and oncoming bicyclists and pedestrians
  • looking out for loose sand and rocks on the asphalt
  • jumping over the stones on the curbs
  • accelerating again on the path that is really not wide enough.
And then there are anomalies:

What the hell is that? Was there a boa constrictor lying across the road when the asphalt crew came, and they couldn't be bothered to move it, and just paved over the poor thing? And why hasn't this obstacle been smoothed out since? It's been there for years and years.

* * *

Wow. I sure have a lot of first world problems to complain about. But forgive me, complaining about stuff is my only joy in life. Well, apart from all the sex, drugs, rock'n roll, sudoku, sports and balanced family life, of course.