Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Houston Messenger Scene

AIIIIGHhhhhT! Check out these messenger heads in Houston...

Houston Zine

They got a zine, they got a big day of events coming up...and they are DEEP in the heart of Texas!

Still We Ride Screenings

Critical Mass in Melbourne Australia, November 2005

Still we ride is an excellent documentary about the recent attack on Critical Mass in NYC.

Still we ride
or see the trailer:

Here is an update on Future Screenings:

Hello Friends,

Still We Ride is headed out for another series of speaking and screening
gigs at the following locations. It would be greatly appreciated if you
helped to spread the word to people you might know in these areas. The
program consists of various short bike videos, a brief presentation, and
Still We Ride (plus Q & A). BIG thanks to Ryan at Evil Twin Booking for
setting up these dates and all the peops who have supported the project in
oh so many ways.

Dec 1, Lewiston,ME, The Ronj @ Bates College, 34 Frye Street, 7pm, Free
Dec 2, Brunswick, ME The Beam @ Bowdoin College, 7pm, Free
Dec 3, Portland, ME, The People’s Free Space, 144 Cumberland Ave, 7pm
Dec 4, Waterville,ME @ Colby College, 7pm, Free
Dec 5, Orono, ME @ University of Maine, 7pm, Free
Dec 7, Lucy Parson's Center, 549 Columbus Avenue, Boston, MA, 7 PM
Dec 8, AS220, 115 Empire St., Providence, RI, 5:30 PM
Dec 9, Collective A Go Go - Worcester, MA



Anyone who rides a bike (or not) needs to see this movie. As this is not
an isolated issue for New York to deal with alone, it's a major testing
ground for suppression of free speech and suppression of free assembly.

"After an entire year of illegal and barbaric treatment by the NYPD,
cyclists in New York have persevered, as documented in the new
documentary "Still We Ride." Civil libertarians and anyone concerned
about basic rights to assemble, protest, celebrate, and speak have
flocked to defend the New York Critical Mass."

-Chris Carlsson "Critical Mass: Bicycling's Defiant Celebration"

On Friday August 27th, a few days before the start of the Republican
National Convention, a massive police operation gets underway. That night
a record 5000-6000 bicycle riders hit the streets for the monthly Critical
Mass ride. Helicopters circle overhead and police entrap cyclist at
several points, often entrapping them by wrapping large orange netting
around riders. By the end of the night 264 people are arrested, marking
one of the largest mass arrests in New York City's history. The arrestees,
it turns out, had done nothing illegal.

The documentary Still We Ride captures the joyous atmosphere of this
August ride before the arrests begin and the chaos that followed. It
recounts how this ride first started in San Francisco over 10 years ago,
and chronicles the police crackdown in New york and resulting court
battles over the last twelve months. The movie takes on issues of civil
liberties, surveillance, the power of mainstream media, and the benefits
of alternative means of transportation.
Here is a press release by Jim Elliott State Senator from Montana after seeing "still we ride."

Freedom To Be, Freedom To Ride
November 7, 2005
By Senator Jim Elliott
C.I.C.L.E. from LA

As a rule, authority distrusts innovation and spontaneity, which to my mind pretty much embodies today’s cycling movement. I was reminded of this a couple of weeks ago when I watched 'Still We Ride' - a documentary on the mass Critical Mass arrests in New York City during the 2004 Republican National Convention, and the subsequent harassment of cyclists and confiscation of unattended bikes.

It angered me to see a group of people targeted for legalized harassment for doing nothing more than enjoying their civil liberties.

Let me first make something clear; I am not a cyclist, nor do I intend to become one. In fact, in rural Montana, where I live, I tend to be more annoyed by cyclists who choose to tour our extremely scenic and narrow highways than sympathetic. That’s why I was prepared to cast a jaundiced eye on the plight of the people in 'Still We Ride'.

The reason I was moved to side with them was not because I felt that their particular activity was being singled out by the authorities for special and unwarranted treatment, but because I have seen this kind of overreaction on the part of the police and civil authorities for decades, and enjoyed some personal experiences of my own that have left an indelible mark.

Be it the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s, the anti Vietnam War protests of the 1960s and 1970s, or going even further back in American history to the labor movement in the 1880s, people have had the crap kicked out of them for standing up for their belief that their opinion is entitled to respect.

Just so, those people who participate in Critical Mass, whether or not I agree with them (or whether or not anybody agrees with them) are being singled out and punished by the authorities for having a different lifestyle, expressing their beliefs - hell - just exercising their freedom.

Those who are not directly on the receiving end of the butt kicking probably don’t pay much attention. Maybe, even though you are a cyclist, you don’t either. Too bad, because the likelihood is that, in one way or another, your turn will come. In fact, in light of the United States’ government’s drive to save our freedom by destroying it, it may already be your turn; you just haven’t felt it yet.

So I am writing this article to pass along some thoughts that are important to me. First, freedom is not free; it is never given, it is always won by struggle. Even the most seemingly absurd, everyday things were fought for. Thousands of laborers died to secure things that today we take for granted - the weekend and the eight hour day; many thousands of Blacks were killed for merely trying to have a say in their own destiny. It’s a long, long list, and there is little that we take for granted today that is not on it.

The second point is that all people are engaged in the same struggle to win or maintain some sort of individual freedom, but they manifest it in different ways. It is our obligation, as their neighbors in spirit, to respect their desires and to see that they are not persecuted because they use legal but, to the authorities, intimidating means to achieve them.

We don’t have to join them in their struggle - we may not even feel they are right - but we must be always vigilant in protecting their right to express themselves without being harassed or brutalized by governmental authorities. Because, my friends, we need them to be there for us too.

I don’t feel any different about cyclists that I did before I saw 'Still We Ride'. I’m not going to have warm fuzzies when after I round a curve I have to go into the ditch as an alternative to head ending a semi or killing a trio of cyclists riding abreast (yeah, it happened), but I am going to stand up for anyone who is given a hard time for what they do or what they stand for, and if those guys happen to be cyclists, I’ll be there for them both as a neighbor and as a Montana state senator.

Senator Jim Elliott (D) writes a biweekly column called Montana Viewpoint that is distributed to newspapers throughout the state. He sponsored SJ Resolution 19, the most strongly worded criticism of the Federal Patriot Act in the nation. It was supported by both Democrats and Republicans and passed both houses of the legislature by an overwhelmingly margin. Senator Elliott is also suing the Montana Department of Revenue for release of corporate income tax records to investigate the extent of corporate tax fraud in Montana. The case is now in front of the Montana Supreme Court.

Copyright 2005, C.I.C.L.E.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Track Bike Skills

Think your fix gear tricks are good? check out these ladies: sycro track bike riding

Looks like vimeo is a site to post video...hmmmm.

Also here is a story about the recent Critical Mass in Spokane Washington
link to article

Bicyclists arrested in protest
Group accused of intentially delaying traffic in downtown Spokane

By Jonathan Brunt
staff writer
November 25, 2005

About 10 bicyclists were arrested Friday night after their group delayed traffic in downtown Spokane.

Officers swarmed the bikers on Main Avenue near Wall Street soon after 5 p.m. and demanded that they lie on the ground.

The cyclists were handcuffed, lined up in an alley, hauled to jail and booked on misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct. Their bikes were seized as evidence, Lt. Dave McGovern said.

The bicyclists, part of the Critical Mass movement, were riding in a group that had just left Riverfront Park. They said they were asserting their rights as bikers and making a point that society is too dependent on cars.


Police say they overstepped their rights when they purposely prevented cars from passing.

State law says a person is guilty of disorderly conduct if he “intentionally obstructs vehicular or pedestrian traffic without lawful authority.”

Some participants said the police action was overkill for a peaceful gathering that at most caused a traffic delay.

“There’s a lot of things going on other than people riding their bikes down the road,” said Sara Richardson, whose son, Jonathon Sonesen, was arrested. “Two plainclothes officers grabbed two (bicyclists) off their bikes and threw them to ground.”

Police denied tackling anyone and said bicyclists followed orders to get on the ground.

McGovern said demonstrations like Friday’s could dissuade people from coming to the city’s core.

“It’s a quality of life issue for downtown, and you always have the possibility for conflict between the motorists and bicyclists,” McGovern said.

Officers had been watching the group since people began assembling at Riverfront Park about 4:30 p.m., and an officer passed out fliers that included the definition of disorderly conduct.

Participants said they had agreed to follow the law. But soon after leaving the park, at least a couple of bikers moved into a second lane of traffic. A plainclothes officer then radioed co-workers, and the event was halted.

About 10 bicyclists rode in the event and more than a dozen walkers followed on the sidewalk.

Critical Mass demonstrations are common in Seattle and Portland, where bikers meet the last Friday of each month and sometimes create traffic headaches.

The gatherings began recently in Spokane. Last month, about 10 participants received tickets for being pedestrians in the roadway after riding through downtown streets for about a half-hour.

“We were hoping that they got the message then,” McGovern said.

Sonesen, 14, the only minor arrested, defended the gathering.

“It’s not a protest, it’s more of a celebration of the bicycle culture and how it’s growing,” said Sonesen, who was released Friday.
Nice work for a small town...and in a final note:

Wow a DJ bike in Melboourne!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Hola Back! and Villager Article on 8th Ave Bike Lane

So when you go to the blogger homepage, the place where this blog gets updated and the home of this great free blog site that allowed this whole creative process to begin, I discovered a new thing. They post current blogs of interest that is always updating. I stumbled upon this one:


It's a place for people to post their stories about being harrassed on the streets and take pictures of those with no proper upbringing and the worst of manners.

Here is one NYC bike related story:

Bike Chase!

The other day, riding my bike through Chelsea, I was slowly riding through a crosswalk when one of the guys waiting to cross felt the need to tell me I had nice tits. I turned my bike right around and started riding towards him, and he took off running down the street as fast as he could, like a little baby. I chased him for almost a full block, hoping to fully instill the fear of the hollaback girl in him. Not so tough now, huh asshole?

written by Emily.
Here is an article from the the villager by Jefferson Siegel, about steps a local community board has made towards getting an 8th Ave bike lane installed. Thanks again Jefferson for the investigative work.
link to article
photo by Jefferson Siegel of a turning S.U.V. drives through the end of the bike lane at 14th. St., a cyclist is forced to veer out of the lane and into a buffer zone near auto traffic. Bicyclists say the bike lanes need physical barriers like concrete barricades or bollards to protect them from auto traffic.

Wheels are turning as 8th Ave. bike lane is planned

By Jefferson Siegel

There is light at the end of the bike lane.

Last week, Community Board 4’s Transportation Committee voted to send to the full board a proposal for creating an Eighth Ave. bike lane from the Village to Midtown. The current Hudson St. bike lane comes to an abrupt end at 14th St., leaving bicyclists traveling northbound to merge alongside vehicular traffic.

The proposal, if approved by the full community board at its December meeting, would result in an extension of the lane north to 57th St., providing a bike path from the West Village through Midtown and Upper Manhattan to 169th Street and St. Nicholas Ave. There would be two unmarked sections along the route: from 39th to 42nd Sts., because of the two taxi lanes in front of the Port Authority Bus Terminal, and from 57th to 62nd Sts., due to the traffic merging patterns of Broadway and Eighth Ave. Those two gaps in the route would have signage to guide cyclists through those areas.

“We’re very excited. This has been a longtime priority for the community board,” said Jay Marcus, chairperson of the C.B. 4 Transportation Committee, speaking of the resolution. “We’re glad it’s finally happening.”

Joshua David, a Transportation Committee member, spoke enthusiastically about the 8-0 vote in favor of recommending the bike lane to the full board. “I thought it was a very positive step forward in a process that’s been going on for several years now,” he said.

Andrew Vesselinovitch, the city Department of Transportation’s bicycle program director, made one of several presentations at the Transportation Committee meeting last week. “When the community board hears the proposal, they know [D.O.T.] is fully behind it,” he said. “The whole thing will be done in 2006, pending the board’s approval.” Vesselinovitch said work can begin once the weather begins warming early next year and crews and materials are ready. Completion is expected in mid-2006.

Noah Budnick, projects director for Transportation Alternatives, an advocacy group that promotes bicycling, walking and public transit, also spoke at the meeting. “Eighth Ave. is part of the city’s Bike Master Plan,” Budnick explained. “So in the big picture, it’s part of the network that the city has mapped out.” Budnick said T.A. is looking forward to the lane’s completion because then, “it’s almost possible to do the entire length of Manhattan on a bike lane.”

The Eighth Ave. bike lane, first envisioned in the city’s 1997 Bicycle Master Plan, was formally proposed in a March 2003 letter from C.B. 4 to Margaret Forgione, D.O.T. Manhattan borough commissioner. The letter, penned by then-C.B. 4 Chairperson Simone Sindin, noted that “the creation of designated bicycle lanes will better enable cyclists to operate in a safe and law-abiding manner.” The letter went on to propose that, “it will help the board reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality within its district.”

The C.B. 4 Transportation Committee resolution elaborated on details for the lane. While the resolution recommends a 5-foot-wide bike lane, in addition it calls for a 2-to-3-foot-wide buffer. A similar buffer is already part of the Hudson St./Eighth Ave. lane leading up to 14th St.

Bike advocates and commuters consider the buffer a necessity for safer riding. Judy Ross commutes to and from work in Chelsea to her Upper West Side home. “The Hudson St. bike lane is perfect because it has a nice buffer,” she observed. “I would prefer no bike lane than an unsafe bike lane. If they’re going to do Eighth Ave., I encourage them to do it and make us safe,” Ross added.

T.A.’s Budnick said a buffer zone is a minimum requirement of the bike lane. “It really creates a prominent visual presence between the bike lane and moving traffic,” he observed. “The feedback that we get from cyclists is that the buffered lanes make them feel much safer, especially on big streets, and would encourage more people to ride.”

Some bike advocates have urged that physical barriers be erected to protect riders in bike lanes. Budnick would prefer a physical barrier on Eighth Ave. “Even with the city’s bike lanes, cyclists are still riding in the same right-of-way as moving traffic. A lot of people aren’t comfortable with that, especially kids and people who aren’t regular cyclists,” he said.

On one block in Herald Square on Sixth Ave., plastic bollards separate cars from the bike route. On Brooklyn’s Tillary St., a two-block-long path is lined with concrete barriers that shield cyclists on their ride to and from the Brooklyn Bridge. D.O.T.’s Vesselinovitch said physical barriers are unfeasible in most parts of the city.

“We would not want a barrier that a car couldn’t go through as long as we have parking on the other side of the bike lane,” Vesselinovitch said. “I wouldn’t recommend putting in plastic bollards, and certainly not a concrete barrier, if you’re expecting motor vehicles to cross through the bike lane to get to the parking,” he added.

Ian Dutton, a public member of the C.B. 2 Traffic and Transportation Committee and an airline pilot, has visited many European cities, which, he said, encourage safer and more viable alternatives to automobiles.

London, Berlin and Amsterdam, he said, “have a very significant [bicycle] infrastructure. In Berlin and in most German cities, the sidewalks are made to be wide enough so that there’s actually a lane on the sidewalk that will be a different color,” Dutton observed. “The bicyclists are actually on the sidewalk in a protected lane,” he added, noting a similarity with the bike and walking lanes along Hudson River Park.

“Amsterdam is actually legendary,” Dutton noted. “I think there are more bicycles in Amsterdam than there are residents. At the main train station they have a multilevel parking garage just for bicycles.”

At the C.B. 4 Transportation Committee meeting, Dutton welcomed the proposed Eighth Ave. lane but also encouraged D.O.T. to do more than “just painting white stripes and saying, it’s a bike lane now.” A buffer zone, he proposed, is “much more visible to the vehicles themselves. Cars think of white lines as things that they can just drive over at will, whereas a zone with stripes in it has more of an impact. It’s much more obvious that there’s a form of bicycle traffic that’s involved.”

Color-marked bike lanes were also suggested at the meeting. “D.O.T. has put in blue bike lanes on a few blocks in Brooklyn,” T.A.’s Budnick said.

“There are studies from other cities in the U.S. that have used colored bike lanes,” he noted. “In Portland, where they also do blue lanes, they found that motorists yielded to cyclists 20 percent more. They slowed or stopped when approaching the lanes 23 percent more. Three-quarters of cyclists and 50 percent of motorists said that the blue lanes felt safer,” he added. The studies also showed the blue lanes made busy and confusing intersections safer and more easily navigable.

In another show of support for bike lanes, Time’s Up!, the East Village-based bike advocacy group, held one of their periodic Bike Lane Liberation rides last Saturday. Members of the Clown Bicycle Brigade, dressed in their circus finest, assembled in Washington Square Park. After attaching red rubber noses, donning hats and adjusting wigs, the 12 riders formed a circle and read aloud from a constitution that sounded very similar to the pledge the comic book hero Green Lantern took to recharge the ring from which his powers sprang: “As cars eat precious fleeting gas, biking energy will always last.”

Then they offered their version of several familiar Beatles songs, including “All You Need Is Lanes” and, to the tune of “Don’t Let Me Down” they sang, “Don’t Block My Lanes.”

The group pedaled to Sixth Ave. and headed north to Midtown. Whenever they found the bike path blocked by a vehicle standing or parked in the lane, they stopped and affixed an orange-and-white “ticket,” bearing a strong similarity to a real summons, to the offending vehicle. The citation advised drivers that “Stopping, standing, parking or otherwise obstructing bike lanes is prohibited. Subject to a fine of up to $115.”

After leaving Midtown, they proceeded down Fifth Ave. By the time they stopped to ticket a truck near 13th St., they estimated they had issued 15 citations, including one to a Traffic Enforcement agent’s car parked in a Midtown bike lane.

On the city’s 16,000 miles of streets and roadways, there are 200 miles of bike lanes. In addition, another 20 to 30 miles have signage indicating a bicycle route. Two hundred more miles are car-free bike routes. The Bike Master Plan foresees a total of 900 miles of bike lanes throughout the city.

C.B. 4 will hold a final vote on the Eighth Ave. bike lane on Dec. 7. The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the Hudson Guild Auditorium at the Fulton Center, 119 Ninth Ave., between 17th and18th Sts.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

NYC and London Critical Mass Report 11/25/05

This report comes to us from Rodger M, off of

Critical Mass 11/25/05 NYC

At 7pm chilly Union Square North it seemed that the scooters cops, 'undercover' bikepigs, and 'community affairs' cops almost out numbered the 30 or so critical massers and legal observers. By 7:30 or so the crowd grew to about 75-100 and moved out west and then south on 5th ave.

There was a rumur that cops had indicated that the people wouldn't be arrested if the ride stayed below 42nd street, but this seemed unlikely after a row of 5-7 cop vans were seen waiting above Union Square on Broadway and there was a cop helecopter overhead. Soon the scooter cops (around 20 or so) came up along both sides of the mass at 5th ave and 12th street. There was some confusion at first because the cops were not that agressive (they had backed off last month, making no arrests) - perhaps they would escort the ride as they've done in the Past? Nope, they classically formed a line across the avenue in front of the ride and the vans came in from behind. For the most part people easily scattered . Three were arrested and taken to the first precinct. Freewheels went there to supply jail support.

The ride continued in a few smaller groups which the cops apparently found hard to track down - or maybe they weren't trying too hard? There was another group of riders th
at left from Tompkins Square park and encontered the cops up at 23rd st. and 3rd ave. One cylclist walking his bike on the sidewalk (a masser?) was grabbed briefly by the cops, but let go.

While the groups of riders were small, the one I was in was in good spirits. We rode unharrassed for the rest of the evening. We made a swing through Soho dumpstering some fancy organic bread before coming the times-up space to chill.

Still we ride....


London has a brief report off of UK.indymedia:

A smaller turn-out than last time allowed the mass to flow far more easily. Parliament square was circled just once, the police presence was around 20 strong plus a van. A infamous Hummer was blocked from moving for a while, raising spirits on a cold night. Unlike October, where thousands of cyclists proved to be a rather large (yet still great) mess, buses were let through on occasion and any sit-downs were generally for less than a couple of minutes. A one minute "bikes-raised" silence was also held over the recent death of a cyclist in London.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Cranksgiving Photos

Today is Black Friday, supposedly when we all go out to Wal-Mart at 6:00am and try to buy discount merchandise for the holidays. When Chinese made products are made for $.50 cents a day, 50% off at Wal-mart is just a smaller mark-up from the actual cost. Some would rather try and drone out the repetitive holiday music that is already infiltrating our air space and consider today to be buy nothing day. I think a less radical version could be, "Buy local day." Try to limit yourself to buying gifts from local businesses and supporting people who can put money back into the neighborhood. Box stores offer little to local employees and leave little room for advancement besides staying at close to minimum wage jobs. You could also treat a friend or loved one to a little education this holiday season and illustrate some of the points I am trying to make by purchasing the new Wal Mart movie by investigative documentary film maker, Robert Greenwald wal mart movie Robert took on Fox news and exposed it for what it is and does the same with America's number one employer which luckily we have been able to keep out of the 5 borough area.
Learn about the right wing attack on Greenwald as he tours the country promoting his work on his blog Greenwald's blog
Cranksgiving Flyer by exceptional artist Greg Ugalde.

I love old news about past events, don't you. November 19th, 2005 was the annual fundraiser for charity, an alley cat named:
Cranksgiving. Pictures for the event are now found on the NYBMA website cranksgiving page For those who don't know, this is an event to gather food for those less fortunate and have a fun alley cat in the process. 55 racers made the 7th annual Cranksgiving charity race the largest Cranksgiving ever. We raced from the Javits Center up to Gristede's grocery stores on 96th & 3rd, down to Battery Park, and back to the Javits center. Over 200 items of stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, and canned soup were donated to St. Mary's food Pantry at 440 Grand St.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

Well it's been a great year and thanks to all who've made it so enjoyable to ride a bike in NYC. Thanks to the NYPD for handing out all the tickets while letting cars run wild and run us over, without even a slap on the wrist. Now they want to propose a mandatory helmet law so they can find new ways of ticketing us and blaming the bike rider instead of creating safer streets and an infustructure for bikes which: reduces pollution and is healthier for people. They refuse to take responsibility for the sacred car who can do no wrong and parks in the bike lane and instead devise new ways to harass the bike rider. Happy Thanksgiving to all and remember Critical Mass is this Friday on the 25th, which is also buy nothing day.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Bike Blog took a little break.

Whew, I can't believe it's been so long since my last posting. I've been working 15 days straight on film productions and haven't had time to update this thing. It's been crazy busy out there and the freelance work just seems to keep coming. Strike while the irons hot and try and save up some holiday cash. Here is an article from the local Metro paper about the increase of cyclists deaths. Time's up is planing a memorial ride in January that will recap many of the deaths from 2005 and bring awareness to what was really a harsh year for being on a bike.

City's bike deaths on the rise
MANHATTAN Jen Shao, the immigrant owner of a Chinatown souvenir shop, wasn't trying to make a political statement as she pedaled her bicycle through downtown Manhattan two months ago. The 65-year-old woman biked, her family told reporters, because she found it easier than walking. But her September death beneath the wheels of a tour bus was one of an increased number of biking fatalities this year, adding a melancholy edge to long-running tensions over the presence of bicycles on the city's crowded streets.
With a month left in the year, police records show 21 cyclists have died in traffic accidents in New York, up from 15 in all of 2004. Between 2000 and 2004, traffic accidents killed 82 cyclists in the city, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — an average of about 16 deaths per year. Transportation officials, at the request of cycling groups, recently pledged a study of all city bike fatalities from the past decade in an attempt to determine whether some or all could have been prevented.

Bike advocates have also asked the city to more aggressively cite motorists for aggressive driving and commit to quicker implementation of a years-old master plan for more bike lanes and recreational pathways.

Associated Press

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Give up your Car, if You're a millionaire.

This article comes from the NY TImes...what I want to know is how does this guy feel about a city that tries so hard to make it hard for people to ride bikes.

NY Times article

New York Region, November 8th, 2005

Proselytizer for Pedaling Acts on His Words

by Andrew Jacobs

Michael de Jong wants you to take your bike to the plane.

It might seem like a loopy proposition, but Mr. de Jong, a Dutch-born millionaire, real estate developer and cycling maniac, is on a worldwide crusade to get industrialized man out of his car and onto the saddle seat. One prong of that mission is to convince otherwise sensible people that taking two wheels to the airport and back is less daunting than it seems. Cyclists, after all, never get stuck on the Van Wyck Expressway, and they do not have to lug their baggage quite as far as they would if they took the subway to the AirTrain.

As part of his pedal-power mission, Mr. de Jong promotes a 100-day bike race across Africa, sponsors bike ownership in the developing world and invents whimsical biking accouterments, among them a traffic-parting air horn and a tent that overnight travelers can suspend from the trees.

"Imagine how much better the world would be if more people rode bicycles," he said with the dead-on earnestness of someone who regularly cycles from Cairo to Johannesburg and Paris to Geneva.

But Mr. de Jong does more than take absurdly long cycling trips across large continents. Since 1995, when he gave up driving after a devastating car accident, he has used his custom-built folding bicycle to get to and from airports in 30 cities around the world, including New Delhi, London, Lagos and Rio de Janeiro. Once he finds the most sensible route, he posts it on the Internet for others to follow. In most cases, he said, biking from the airport to a city center is faster than traveling by car or taking public transportation.

Last month he arrived in New York to chart the best path from Kennedy and La Guardia Airports and somehow persuaded this reporter to join him on his odyssey.

It was, for the most part, a fairly breezy journey - that is, if one overlooks the homicidal drivers and the plumes of exhaust. But perhaps most startling was that the rides, done at a comfortable pace, were accomplished in no more time than it would take by train, or by car during rush hour, which for Kennedy Airport, at least, tends to be all the time.

From the Empire State Building to La Guardia, the trip took 25 minutes. From Terminal One at Kennedy to City Hall, it was just under an hour, including bathroom breaks and a critical stop at Junior's in Downtown Brooklyn. The routes were plotted with maps, and a hand-held global positioning device helped guide the way.

As for baggage, Mr. de Jong has a pair of sacks that he can clip to the sides of his beat-up bike; they have enough space for essential items one would take on an average weeklong vacation. Unless you are taking your bike with you, a decent lock is required to tether your transportation to a pole or fence at the airport. As for other essential gear, like helmets, he goes without.

"If I want to die, that should be my choice," said Mr. de Jong, 40, a swashbuckling vegetarian who intends to remain a lifelong bachelor. The most daunting part of each journey involved navigating the narrow airport loop roads, which were clearly not designed with cyclists in mind.

Along the way, there were plenty of tire-swallowing drainage grates and the occasional obstacle course of hubcaps, broken glass and squashed rodents. For the most part, though, the routes went through a vibrant landscape of immigrant enclaves, the gentrifying precincts of East New York and Bedford-Stuyvesant and the endless tracts of modest attached houses.

The path to La Guardia, through sections of Astoria and Jackson Heights, was far more pleasant than the trip from Kennedy, which was dominated by the sanitation depots of Jamaica, the industrialized swaths of South Ozone Park and a dreary blur of car repair shops on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. The reward for such unsightliness was the tree-shaded brownstones of Fort Greene and an exhilarating final push over the Brooklyn Bridge.

Mr. de Jong is not easily ruffled. When the operator of a cargo van leaned on his horn to protest the slowpokes in his way, Mr. de Jong smiled. "I think people who don't like bicycles behave that way because they don't feel free inside," he said. "Cyclists represent freedom."

Not all New Yorkers were so impatient. Any time he stopped to consult his map, strangers would amble up to offer assistance. "I'm amazed how friendly New Yorkers are," said Mr. de Jong, who has homes in Toronto, Amsterdam and Belize, where he owns a beachfront, eco-friendly resort.

The scion of a Dutch art-dealing family that was instrumental in promoting Impressionist painters, Mr. de Jong eventually carved out his own niche as a New Age adventurer and entrepreneur. He nearly succeeded in becoming Africa's first bike manufacturer, but balked when his negotiating partner, the son of Kenya's president, demanded a bribe, he said.

The biking bug struck him early. By the time he was in high school, he was riding 10 miles each way to school, no big deal in flat, bike-happy Holland. But Mr. de Jong became a vehement cycling advocate a decade ago, when the car he was driving in Barbados was struck head-on by a bus. The accident left his girlfriend paralyzed, put another friend in a coma for five months, and left him with a dozen broken bones. Once recovered, he sold his cars and vowed never to drive again.

Biking on one of his seven bicycles is also therapeutic for Mr. de Jong, who cannot sit for very long and walks with some difficulty. "The only time I don't feel pain is when I'm riding," he said, showing off some of his scars. His latest project, an eight-day race through the jungles and mountains of Belize, begins in January

Last week, on his way to La Guardia, Mr. de Jong extolled the virtues of pedal-power as he flew past motorists stuck in afternoon gridlock. The advantages were apparent for all to see, but there was one small drawback.

As he arrived at the check-in counter, having stashed his bicycle in a roll-on suitcase, Mr. de Jong was emitting the sweaty funk of, well, a long-distance cyclist. Mr. de Jong smiled and shrugged when the subject was raised. "It doesn't bother me," he said just before boarding his plane. "Let's hope it doesn't bother the guy sitting next to me."

article on DC messengers

Check out: dc race collective for cool website on dc messengers.

Article on DC messengers from Knight Ridder:

Capital bike couriers ride hard, drink hard, crash hard

By Banks Albach

Knight Ridder Newspapers, November 7, 2005

WASHINGTON - When Jason Harper came to, his roommate was shaking him,
asking why his face was a bloody mess.

"I didn't think it was that big of a deal," Harper, 29, said of what
proved to be facial abrasions and a concussion. "I've gotten plenty of
concussions before."

The last he remembers, he was zipping through downtown Washington,
racing his bike against time and traffic. He's a bicycle courier - one
of several hundred free spirits who, whether in sleet or steamy summer,
make deadline deliveries in the famously impatient capital. Some smoke,
others chew tobacco and most drink - heavily. More wear tattoos than
helmets. Few have health insurance.

The faster they ride the more money they make. The companies they work
for charge clients zone-based rates that start at around $6 for
delivery within one hour. For rushes and after-hour deliveries, fees
double. For double rushes, they triple. Couriers pocket about half the

"One-hour local is insulting," rider Chris Brown said. "Double rush
gets the adrenaline going."

"On a good day it feels like flying," said Dana Heater, 31, a five-year
courier with a large forearm tattoo and a nose ring. "It's like we're
the only people in the city and everyone else are obstacles. It's
really a dead-end job, but it's beautiful."

A courier might pocket $200 on a busy Friday, less than $80 when it's
slow. Impressing the dispatcher helps. Dispatchers deal out the
juiciest jobs to the fastest riders or favored ones.

As independent contractors, couriers set their own hours. But that
freedom stings when they face serious medical bills. Like Harper, most
walk away from accidents and lick their wounds on their couches.

When it comes to taxes, "Everybody has their own idea," said courier
Brian Petit, 25.

Because time is money, many couriers tweak their bikes for speed. Hans
Scheltema, 31, a veteran rider who pulls in around $40,000 a year, saws
his handlebars to the width of his waist to squeak by side-view

"I don't want to do anything else. Even when the weather's crappy it's
great," Scheltema said in a cell phone interview.

A squawk interrupted the conversation. "Let me call you back. My
parrot's getting p-----," said Scheltema, explaining that the parrot,
Pookie, who can say only "Hello, how are you?" and "10-4," bites his
neck and ear when vexed.

Motorists know couriers best from the red lights they run. Bikers call
it "shooting the hole" or "cutting the gap." Instead of looking for
cars, they look for where they aren't, several explained.

"We know the light cycles," Heater said. "I know when to slow down or
speed up."

She and many other couriers ride track bikes, which have single fixed
gears and no brakes. Riders stop them by leaning forward over the
handlebars and pressing back against the pedals, which locks up the

"I've seen people who can stop those things on a dime, but that takes
amazing skill," said Sheba Farrin, 32, a veteran messenger.

Track bike riders say the secret's simple: Don't stop.

Even the fastest couriers will never beat e-mail, which has hurt the
industry nationally. But the capital's couriers have a unique
advantage: Washington's a city of deadlines, whether it's for court
filings, Securities and Exchange Commission reports or lawmakers
awaiting Wizards tickets from lobbyists.

Sometimes riders schlep personal items, too, such as umbrellas,
forgotten laptops, Chinese takeout, hockey sticks or even, in one case,
a set of golf clubs. One courier said he returned a little black book
that conservative pundit Robert Novak had forgotten.

Counterterrorist measures are worse obstacles than e-mail. Several
riders recalled the pre-9-11 days of the "Capitol Hill multiple," when
they could personally deliver their goods to every member of Congress,
collecting a fee for each. Now they must leave all their packages for
lawmakers at one stop - a security trailer at the base of Capitol Hill
- and collect only one fee.

At the end of the day, couriers march into saloons in their jerseys and
bike spike shoes, toting their massive bags. Jell-O shots are a
favorite: paper cups full of Jell-O made with vodka.

Kim Reynolds, 31, gobbled down one, which was nearly the same color as
her electric pink hair, and explained the hazards of her work.

"With concussions, you go into shock," she said. "For 20 minutes before
and 20 minutes after you don't remember" anything.

She doesn't remember hitting her head in a crash in August, for
example. She does remember waking up surrounded by people looking down
at her.

"That was the funny part; these people looked horrified," Reynolds

Monday, November 07, 2005

Info about clippings of bikes

Noah Budnick, Projects Director at Transportation Alternatives, wanted me to post this info...sorry its so late...I have no good excuse.

Noah Budnick
Projects Director
Transportation Alternatives
Your advocate for bicycling, walking and sensible transportation.
127 West 26th Street, Suite 1002, New York, NY 10001-4010
Phone (212) 629-8080
Fax (212) 629-8334
Direct (646) 873-6022
Email: .

As most cyclists unfortunately know, at the beginning of October, the
NYPD clipped two dozen bikes at the Bedford Avenue L subway station in
Williamsburg. Was your bike taken by the City there or from somewhere
else around NYC?

If you think that the NYPD or another City agency took your bike,
contact T.A. We are investigating legal action to stop the City from
taking legally parked bikes,

T.A. has received dozens of e-mails and phone calls from cyclists who
got caught in the recent bike ticket blitz.

If you've been harassed or unjustly ticketed by the NYPD, contact us as

The City of New York should be encouraging bike riding, not discouraging
it. The City should make streets safe for biking and adopt the NYC Bike
Safety Action Plan
(, and the NYPD
should crack down on drivers who endanger bikers and walkers. The City
should also provide more bike racks and guarantee indoor bike parking,
not take people's bikes.

Ride safe,
Noah Budnick
Projects Director, T.A.

Bike Podcasts

Good morning. I hope everyone had a great weekend. Thanks to all who came by and wished me a Happy Birthday. Now it's Monday...and the ticket blitz is alive so watch out for appologetic bike cops who feel its important to give petty fines to bikers. Just keepin our streets safe and doing absolutly nothing about motor vechiles that kill people. So not everyone was so happy with the response of the London Critical Mass. Although a lot of people attended, it looks like a few individuals took to the front of a 1000 person mass and stopped the who thing, blocking streets for an hour at times. For some avid riders, this goes opposite to the belief that critical mass is supposed to be about, an organic moving organism that celebrates the free mobility of the bicycle. One radio host in London, Jack Thurston has a show on an experimental station, dedicated to the bike culture and the scene in the UK. There are two great podcasters comited to the bicycle that can be found on itunes. I-tunes 6.0.1, the latest version is making it easier and more simple to link up with podcasts. You can go to the podcast page and do a search for, "bicycle." I may be compelled to start the bikeblog podcast and thus advance my addiction.

So you've got bike scape by Jon Winston out of San can do a podcast search for bikescape (one word) on itunes, subscribe and get all past shows.

Then there is bike Show by Jack Thurston, a critical mass rider for over a decade. He's got a great show up there now about London's Roller Scene which recently held: Rollapaluza IV. This was a roller race fest to raise money for the bicycle messenger emergency fund which works to give money to bike messengers hurt on the job. The evening of gold sprints raised over 400 pounds. Also there is a interview of two people who founded ghost bicycle UK, a way of documenting accidents and deaths of cyclists around the London area. This project was started in Seattle and is also carried on in New York by visual resistance. Besides marking the spots on line where cyclists are hurt they also paint old bikes white, lock them near a pole where the accident occurs and put a plaque of the persons name. Also Jack has a good debate about the status of the UK critical mass.

Here is a statement he wrote about the Halloween mass from his blog:

November 1st, 2005
Title: Critical Mass: For London, it's time to move on.
"Like many hundreds of London cyclists I went along to critical mass last Friday night. I’d heard about the possible crackdown by the Metropolitan Police under the Government’s new public order legislation and I wanted to express my right to ride. I’ve been riding in Critical Mass rides in London, Oxford and San Francisco for more than a decade and I’ve usually enjoyed the fun and friendship and the amazing feeling of riding along the city streets in large numbers, safely, showing how a bicycle can solve the problems of congestion.

Last Friday’s ride attracted more than 1000 people. It was an impressive show of solidarity, and to give them their due, the Police acted in an overwhelmingly friendly and cooperative way. But by the time the ride had reached Parliament Square and a group of people decided to brandish their bikes aloft and bring the ride to a complete standstill, I had decided enough was enough.

I’m glad I didn’t stay with the ride as it went back towards the West End but I’ve heard from others that people blocked Oxford Street for almost an hour, held up buses and generally caused disruption to everyone. Spare a though for all those shopworkers on minimum wage trying to get home on a dark Friday night. What kind of a message does that send out to people about cycling and cyclists?

Friday’s ride marked a turning point for me. London’s Critical Mass has always quietly tolerated those people who tried to hijack it for their own causes, whether they’re against Shell, McDonalds or the Iraq War. But now it seems that Critical Mass has inverted its own founding creed of being a bike ride not a protest. It is abundantly clear that it is now a protest, not a bike ride. And in doing so, it has become a convenient vehicle for the angry mob who like to be anti-everything.

Over the years Critical Mass has undoubtedly raised the profile of cycling and contributed in its own way to the massive growth of cycling in the capital. Riding a bike is now a perfectly ordinary way of getting around town, and Governments are broadly supportive, although it is always possible for them to do better. I ride my bike in London and see so many other riders around me that it feels like a Critical Mass every day.

A conversation I overheard on Friday sums it up perfectly. It was a bike messenger complaining, in very good humour, that he rode 100 miles a day, every day, and hadn’t had a mechanical failure for months. But he’d come on Critical Mass for the first time in years and been rear-ended by another rider, buckling his back wheel.

Cycling in London has moved on and Critical Mass now does more harm than good. But this doesn’t mean giving up on group riding, far from it. Any day of the month is a good day to get together with bunch of friends or join up with a local group like Southwark Cyclists for one of their regular Thursday night rides. 6.30pm on the South Side of London Bridge. I’ll see you there."

Friday, November 04, 2005

La Calavera video

MMMMM Beer...
This picture of the birthday boy at bike kill comes from this great bike friendly photoblog which was kind enough to link bikeblog. So here is a shout out to:

Also there is a new quicktime video of NYC Halloween Alleycat Madness at MADNESS

NYC is back on the ticket blitz

Today is my 35th Birthday...yikes.

Well, it looks like Mayor Mike Bloomberg is a shoe-in. Big Business and Luxury Housing trump all. Hope I will still be able to afford to live here in Williamsburg Brooklyn as 20 story condos are begining their construction towards new levels of height. The harassment of Critical Mass may have been put on hold during our most festive Halloween ride but the recent ticket blitz on bike riding has not stopped. I guess this issue hasn't made the press, so it won't effect the Bloomberg vote. Some people believed the lull in arrests at critical mass was an action to not make bad press this close to the election. I'm not sure I see the point. Bloomberg has never had to answer for his attack on civil liberties and is constantly silent on any of the Police's tactics towards protest or celebrations of the bicycle. Why, now would he care if the NYPD is making it a mission to ticket bicycles for anything they can think of...things that normally they have never been concerned with. On Tuesday, I got an email from a woman that got a is what she wrote:

"FYI--It seems the ticketing blitz on 6th ave that started the day before critical mass last week may not be over yet. I got one thismorning at a little past 10am on 36th & 6th for failure to ride in the
bike lane... was then apologetically told by the cop to plead not
guilty. ????"

I intend to follow what happens to this woman's case, who has assured me she will follow the police's advice. So what is this all about. Why are the police now targeting bike riders on their daily commute and messengers for doing their job? These are not tickets for aggregious actions like riding on the sidewalk, Not Riding in the Bike Lane??? and of course this brings up all the issues of the lack of bike lanes and the cars who constantly sit in the places the city seems to want us to go. Do you ride on streets without bike lanes so that you can move more freely. If you are riding in the bike lane and their is a grocery store semi truck parked there and you go around it, do you get a ticket for riding in the street? Then if you argue with police they threaten you with other tickets like not having a warning devise or not having a tail light. Also if you go to court the judges are hardly sypethetic. They see hundreds of cases like this every single day. The best you can hope for is a reduced fine, not to mention the money you've lost by taking time out of work. How is this helping the city besides paying a pety fine? Will this make you a better bike rider? Will the streets be less congested of traffic with bikes in the limited bike lanes. This is clearly an attack on bike riding which stems directly from the police trying to crack down on critical mass, a monthly ride that the police have no control over. I'm sure the belief from the NYPD is to tarket bikes and make it harder and more annyoing for people to choose this as a form of transportation. This campaign must stop. Bicycle riding should be encouraged. It's cleaner, makes less traffic and good for people's health. Bloomberg should be akin to this having made the ban on smoking and made a huge donation to one of the top schools of public health...Hopkins in Baltimore. The police should be ashamed. I think they don't feel good about what they are doing judging by the way this one cop told the woman to plead not-guilty. This is clear evidence that the individual officers are basically being told to do something they wouldn't normally be so into. Transportation Alternatives is reporting on this issue and you can read about it in their Nov 2nd E-bulletin Jon Birdseye sent me this email on Tuesday:

"Just thought you might like to know that the NYPD is ticketing bicycles on 2nd ave in the Village. A friend just got a $40 slap for not riding in the bike lane. For everyones reference the laws pertaining to bikes in NYC are (from the TA website):

¤ 4-02 (a) - Compliance with and Effect of Traffic Rules
The provisions of N.Y.C. Traffic Rules are applicable to bicycles. These provisions include all traffic controls for motor vehicles including pavement markings, signs and traffic signals.

¤ 4-07 (c) - Restrictions on crossing sidewalks
3. Driving bikes on sidewalks is prohibited unless sign allows or wheels are less than 26 inches in diameter and rider under 14 years of age. See also Administrative Code ¤19-176.

¤ 4-08 (e) - Stopping, standing and parking prohibited in specified places
9. Parking, standing or stopping vehicles within, or otherwise obstructing, bike lanes is prohibited.

¤ 4-12 (e) - Driver's hand on steering device
Drivers must have at least one hand on steering device or handlebars at all times.

¤ 4-12 (h) - Reporting accidents by drivers of other than motor vehicles
Riders involved in accidents resulting in death or injury to person or damage to property must stop and make a report to the Police Department.

¤ 4-12 (o) - Use of roadways
1. Bicycles are prohibited on expressways, drives, highways, interstate routes and thruways unless authorized by signs.

¤ 4-12 (p) - Bicycles
1. Riders must use path if provided except for access, safety, turns, etc.; 2. Other vehicles must not drive across bike lane except for access, safety, turns, etc.; 3. Bicyclists may ride on either side of a 40-foot wide one-way roadway."

When the police target the critical mass it's one thing, but when they are bringing it to the streets of our everyday commute...we have an even bigger problem.

Please make your complaints heard and send me all info on those given tickets for riding a bicycle.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

BIKE KILL the bomb

These guys in Jersey have not stopped to amaze me...they weld crazy bikes, and pumped out a video of bike kill in no time.

Check it...Bike Kill Video

Pix from Halloween in Berlin

Helsinki, the capital of Finland, will be host to the 11th annual 2006 European Cycle Messenger Championships. Check out the Helsinki Bike Messenger Association for pictures of the recent Halloween Spectacular in Berlin, Germany, plus this is a dope site.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

London and New York...Sucsessful Critical Mass

NYC Halloween Critical Mass 2005 pictures by Ida C Benedetto
London's Halloween Critical Mass with more than 1000 people in attendance.
I know, it's old news now...but let us rejoice in the great job of pedal power at the last Critical Mass. Two cities, both under threat were not intimidated by threats from their local police forces. In New York we had between 300-400 riders. In London they had between 1000-1200 riders. Here are a few report backs:

Rodger M, from NY...
"Several smaller groups of riders originating from various locations collected into 2 main groups of 200 or so which moved separately around Manhattan. Both groups made a pass through Times Square. Smiling traffic cops waved our group through. It was great to mass through Times Square for the first time in many months.

For some reason the cops left the ride alone. I don't know of any arrests. There was a helicopter overhead and a number of scooter cops around Union Square. I mused that the authorities were respecting the holiday and having a temporary cease-fire. A more realistic theory was offered that the fascists were called off due to the upcoming mayoral elections. The Halloween 2005 NYC Critical Mass was a great success. A glorious spirited group ride with many in costumes. As is usually the case, no pigs, no problems. Critical Mass takes care of itself. The only incident that I heard of involved a non-rider. An aggressive (non-city) bus decided to crush the bike of a rider that he considered to be in his way. Does that mean he would plow into cars in stopped traffic? No one was injured. The incident was reported. The Times-up/benefit afterparty was packed and a really nice time - free food, dancing etc."

Some responses to Rodger...
Madhatter wrote.
"I echo roger's sentiments. Our mass took off from Washington Sq Park with about 50 folks. We were going back in forth in circles for 45 minutes before catching up at Times Square with the rest of the mass of 200. I hear there was another 100 who didn't join up. The bike that got caught under the bus was the rear wheel of the bike and it sounded like a gun shot.
At one point, I think on 5th avenue, a car who didn't want to get caught behind us kept corking intersections for us and honking and waving. He corked at least 3 intersections. Arriving at the Time's Up space at 8:30pm, folks still wanted to ride but ended up not.
In the beginning, someone told me the cops had radioed in on text mob saying, "Happy Halloween, enjoy the ride." That could've been faking it or being nice.
A great night. Like it always used to be. "

Than Maus said,
"well, last year there was pigs AND problems a plenty, anyone remember that fucked up raid on the after party and the lock cutting? not to mention about 30 arrests on the actual ride. i think if anything they didn't want a picture of cops arresting someone dressed up as a bumblebee on the cover of the times the next day. if anything it means the other side is getting better at PR. glad yall had a fun ride, but remain wary!!"

Elliot responded...
"my guess is that bloomberg didn't want bad publicity this close to election day. the crackdown is entirely political, so i wouldn't be surprised if the police repression resumes right after bloomie's landslide reelection next week..."

So what did others think about this ride? What can we improve on? Shall we still mix it up, different meeting spots? Thougts? I would love Bike Blog to become a forum for the open expression and ideas about CM...feel free to post comments. The next critical mass is...(checking calender) Friday, November 25th, 2005...right after turkey slaughter day.

This person responded from London...
"Glad you all had a succesful and fun ride in NYC - we admire you all for keeping the ride going after some stupid arrests in the past year or two!
Just to let you know, the London, England ride is getting bigger and bigger. Last month, Police in London handed out letters warning of arrests if the ride happened next month (October)... Well an estimated 1200 turned up last Friday and the police decided not to do anything (this time)!!

Check out the reviews below...

Uk indymedia on CM London

take it easy, happy cycling!

Fritz has great photos of the NYC Halloween Critical usual.
Look it's Team Spider of the directors of Still We Ride...still Riding!

Fred Askew Halloween CM photos
Great Pictures from Ida C Benedetto. Thank you. here is a few more.

Big Shout out to this guy...Reverend Billy. He was very inspirational at the speak out at Union Square...and he rides a bike and has done lots for the moral of Critical Mass through the hardtimes. Visit him at On a side note, I believe the film maker, Morgan Spurlock, of "Supersize Me" is making a feature length documentary on Rev Billy and the Church of stop shopping. Should be a good one.

Another shout out to the rude mechanical orchestra who jammed out at the Time's Up fundraiser...visit them

But wait, there is more...I know, I should get a life...If your wondering about these mystery riders who had the insane bikes at bike kill...
There from Jersey...check out there flickr photo page from Bike Kill 05 and this page at my space

Lets talk about the next critical mass...shhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

More Pictures from Black Label's Bike Kill 05

Here is a bunch of sets of photos from flickr of this weekends bike you missed it.

my photos

Irena Kittenclaw

dogseat's set

yellow biker's set
Jonny Stiles