Linkage -



1. The end of Hipsterdom: An Ontario-themed bar in Williamsburg

2. Markets in everything: Flu vaccine lineup edition

3. The blackface trend continues to spread

4. The newspaper downturn has everyone on edge. Or maybe it’s just the word “charticle” that’s the problem.

5. Bike-sharing, French-style.

This last is worth an excerpt. It’s a useful contrast with Montreal, where the Bixi is a massive success. But over in France, it’s just another excuse to vent against les bourgeois:

It is commonplace now to see the bikes at docking stations in Paris with flat tires, punctured wheels or missing baskets. Some Vélib’s have been found hanging from lampposts, dumped in the Seine, used on the streets of Bucharest or resting in shipping containers on their way to North Africa. Some are simply appropriated and repainted.

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  1. There is a 'Canada' bar in Covent Garden near to where I use to work and it was lifesaver. Once a week I would go to Maple Leaf for a proper burger, ginger ale and watch some hockey. The landlady would also occasionally make butter tarts – one of the few distinct Canadian foods – and she knew when Thanksgiving was and made a delicious turkey dinner for us expats.

    I wonder the attraction of Ontario to expats or New Yorkers. Serving Molson with mounted trout on the wall will only take you so far.

  2. That Citizen article is one of the few times in my life I have said the words "I agree with the homeless guy." That's fantastic. Entrepreneurial, practical, and even a little benevolent. It is everything I like to start off my day.

    Oh, what's that? The government is trying to stop this guy and the Citizen refers to it as "abuse"? Goddammit, and I was having such a good time too…

  3. The Vélib' was a huge success in France, too, for its first several months. Then the twits got a bright idea and started to ruin bikes, by the tens of thousands, out of sheer nihilism. What's striking about the Times article is the excuses everyone is prepared to make for such behaviour. Still, I take your point, and I suspect the Bixis in Montreal (there's also a scattering of them in Ottawa, but since you can't really ride one from any Point A to any Point B, they're not a hit) won't fall victim to waves of pointless vandalism.

  4. So if it is a successful urban transportation solution save for the vandalism, the question then becomes "how do you prevent vandalism?" Wireless GPS transmitters on the bikes themselves and user key cards to unlock bikes?

    • I don't believe a technical solution is possible, or should be tried. Any remedy attempted will simply be smashed with a ballpeen hammer. This is literally why Paris can't have nice things.

  5. Oh, I agree entirely with Wells — the excuses for the nihilism are outrageous. As if not being able to get downtown easily is a reason to destroy a $3000 bike. What surprises me though is the extent to which this has NOT happened in Montreal. Quebecers have their own nihilistic strain — leavened by the good sense that all Canadians/Canadiens have.

    • Presumably it's the same people who were burning cars a few years ago? I.e. another battle in the ongoing Parisian race war.

  6. Bike vandalism is nothing new and is not restricted to Paris. In the early 80's, most people in Germany only rode beaten up bikes because they didn't attract vandals or thieves.

    As for the inexplicable causes of nihilism…Hey, how about one of you journos comment on the recent revelation that Goldman-Sachs was betting against its own valueless financial products and made a killing? Oh, right…some excuses are too <>complicated to understand in order to dismiss.

  7. I was in Montreal this summer and found the Bixis really useful for getting around – they're a great idea and it would be nice if Vancouver could get some.