shopping 03.11.04

Kona Bikes

Serious cyclists are an obstreperous group, but there's rare agreement among them that Kona is making some of the most impeccably crafted and coolest bikes anywhere (though, having said that, we're sure to hear from dissenters.)

This American/Canadian company makes recreation models for as little as $299, the Asphalt line designed for more urban environments ($349 and up), mountain bikes, back country bikes (with names like Dawg Primo, $2999), all the way up to the Stab Primo downhiller for $4999.

You can order them at the factory store or from one of two authorized local dealers: Tread Bike Shop, 225 Dyckman [Vermilyea] 212.544.7055 or Bay Ridge Bikes, 8916 3rd Ave. [89th] Bklyn 718.238.1118.



Space being perennially at a premium, some city folks have taken to folding bikes such as the Swift Folder. What makes this one stand out is its especially sturdy frame, which gives you an equally sturdy ride. And it takes only a few seconds to fold (no tools needed — you just release two clamps). The bikes are made to order by Design Mobility, a Brooklyn company, and can range from a single-speed commuter to a 21-speed touring bike. Prices start at $820. You can buy one at The Hub Station, 517 Broome [Thompson] 212.965.9334, or call Design Mobility, 718.875.3090.
Medical Privacy Update

It is a puzzlement.

You may remember our article on Medical Privacy from last month, in which we register our, uh, dispassionate surprise that the Justice Department, in the form of one Sheila Gowan, was arguing that "individuals no longer possess a reasonable expectation that their histories will remain completely confidential" in order to demand patient records from, among other hospitals, Columbia-Presbyterian, Cornell, and St. Luke's-Roosevelt. The DOJ wants to know more about what abortions are being performed and why.

We were thinking about it yesterday and how utterly galling it all is. That reminded us that John Ashcroft is at George Washington University hospital recovering from a gall bladder operation. So, with nothing better to do, we picked up the phone…

MUG: Good afternoon, we'd like a copy of John Ashcroft's medical records.
GWUH: I'm not at liberty to release those records. Not without a written authorization.
MUG: Well, could you ask him? His department has argued that people have no expectation of privacy when it comes to medical records, so we're sure he wouldn't mind.
GWUH: You'll need to call the media office for DOJ.

So we do, but they're all in a "closed-door meeting." They promise to call us back. Meanwhile, we buzz Sheila's office and leave a message on her voice mail asking for her medical records. A few hours later, we get a call back from her office telling us "not to confuse what her office has argued with her own private records." Ah, well, that clears everything up.

And this is hard for us to understand — Mr. Ashcroft's office never calls us back.

As we say, very puzzling.


Port Authority

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