Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Bike Culture for sale (?)

So I leave for one freakin weekend and all kinds of things break out or more like get broken.

I'm still thinking about the broken windows at Brooklyn Industries with the writings: "Bike Culture is not for sale!"


and check out gothamist

Is bike Culture for sale? There used to be a time when anyone riding a bicycle in this city was seen as a complete dork that probably lived with his or her Mom or had no money for a car. Now bike culture is emerging into its own scene with a stylish clothing, sports wear sponsorship and window displays, we've even got our own film festival. But what happens when its a company like Coke that comodifies our culture? How bout when Team Puma shells out money for a bike messenger race teams, makes their own slick commuter bike and rides around in a Hummer? Where is the cultural sensitivity to an industry the promotes health alternatives and a cleaner environment. Lance Armstrong helps raise money for cancer and is a huge catalyst for bike sales, but he's best buddies with George W. Bush and is sponsored by a car company. Read through the pages of bicycling magazine and its full of car ads. Meanwhile our cool bike riders are treated like criminals and locked up for riding bikes in a group. Its all the things we face while coming into our own, defining ourselves out on the road and carving out our own niche. I think it is important to note how popular biking has become and if it is direct contrast with the oil agenda...GOOD! Critical Mass must be a threat to the corporate oil barons otherwise the cops wouldn't notice us like they have for the last 17 months. Still, you have to wonder how much of this culture we want sucked up like another, "fad-of-the week," or if its ok to have a permit for critical mass and advertised in Time Out magazine.

What do you think about "Bike Culture for sale?" or Bike Culture in general...give a shout.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Critical Mass, calms down, sort of...

I have been away, but from all accounts I got so far from people on the February NYC critical mass, things were calmer. 300 people showed up to ride after the recent court ruling with no idea how the cops would react. Many people felt the NYPD will act on their own and pay little attention to the courts. The are still under the opinion that critical mass is dangerous even though it is the cops crashing into each other and driving vehicles on the sidewalk. Every time the police have cried the offenses of the riders, we prove them wrong. When they say we block emergency vehicles, we easily pull over and let the EMT's drive their ambulances through us and pull over at Starbucks. When the cops say we block traffic, we stop at red lights, and then they arrest us. And now we have it on video, how it is them who use their vehicles to cause violence.

Sounds like the police laid low and didn't make arrests. Instead they resorted to what many other cities do, ticketing people from traffic violations. At least it is a step in a less annyoing direction.

Here is one report and opinion from a rider from NYC indymedia:

"Critical Mass Checkmate

Possible plan for ending NYPD harassment of Critical Mass

The NYPD have changed tactics, apparently in response to our recent court victory, instead of chase and attack, last night they stalked and intimidated. Pouncing on anyone running a light, blocking traffic, etc. Using dozens of vans, squad cars, scooters, helicopter, etc., their expensive show of force was a poor return on investment of tax dollars.

With this new tactic of behaving legally (except most notably for Chief Bruce Smolka, happily caught on tape last night) we should respond in kind. Let's wait to leave Union Square with a green light, tightly bunched, stop at every red light, moving at a VERY leisurely pace (think Critical Mass Party Crawl with stilt walkers and boom boxes) and slowly spread out to have a "safety zone" of five or ten feet around each bicycle. It then becomes a game of Tetris, and most likely total gridlock. The NYPD will respond by driving a wedge of vehicles through the middle of us, to force us to the sides and free up traffic. We'll SLOWLY turn, waiting for everyone to catch up. The NYPD will start creating gridlock themselves as they try to block or out maneuver us. Eventually we end up at a nice party somewhere and NYPD chalks up some overtime pay and wonders why they still don't have a contract with the city. The citizens, miss their dinner appointments, Broadway plays, etc. and start complaining. Rinse and repeat every month, its getting warmer and we should get a typical many hundreds of bicycles as we go forward.

We're increasing the number of video and legal observers (thanks guys!) and by spreading them out, we'll continue winning court cases. Especially if the NYPD gets frustrated and starts aggressively breaking the law again.

When the NYPD stops harassing us, we can go back to being a safe, fast moving blip through town (like every other major civilized city) and won't have to be an ever more expensive blood clot. I personally long for the rides after 9/11 when NY's finest were our allies, not our adversaries."

Roger..writes about his experience...He says there were 100 people on the ride...
Around 100 cyclists turned out at Union Square despite chilly weather. The group stayed largely together down Broadway to Canal and over to and up 6th Ave. Various riders got split off due confusion over the issue of what to do at red lights. A caravan of cop vans came west across Prince street and met the ride at 6th ave which then split in half - some going west and uptown, and others continuing up 6th ave and breaking into smaller groups. The larger group was attacked by the cop caravan on 8th ave at 29th street where several riders were detained, ticketed for various bogus violations and released. Straglers were also ticketed towards the beginning of the evening on Broadway around the Soho area.

At some point two people were arrested, taken to the 1st precinct , ticketed and released.

This new scaling back on police tactics (ticketing instead of generally arresting) comes after a NY State court ruling against the cops ongoing illegal efforts aimed at suppressing and eliminating Critical Mass rides in NYC. This ongoing criminal intimidation and harassment of some of NYC's finest citizens is a shame, a waste of resources and an embarrassment to our city. There was a terrific after-party to celebrate the recent court victory and life in general.
By roger m

Friday, February 24, 2006

The police care about us...NOT

So the NYPD, is very concerned about our safety. This is why when 21 cyclists were killed in NYC by cars, who often times didn't even know they had hit anyone, the police took action. Did they investigate each accident and try and discover problems with roadways and lack of infustructure for bicycles? Nope, they let drivers go, refused to release information of 8 of the cyclists deaths and went on a ticketing blitz of cyclists so aggressive that they wrote summons outside of bike shops. Their tactics included not just giving traffic violations that could be paid easily, but rather enforced that cyclists had to appear in court. Some bike messengers, who make their living on a bicycle delivering your shit, got up to two tickets in one day for ridiculous things like no warning devise or a "not riding in the bike lane." Ask any cyclist in New York City about bike lanes and they will probably tell you thats the place for delivery trucks to idle and traffic cops to park their vehiles. Meanwhile the police have been fighting cyclist who gather monthly on the critical mass bike ride. After August 2004, the ride which surged in numbers to 5000 participants, the police have been trying to shut down the ride by any means possible...why? Because they are concerned about our safety. When we kept on riding, they'd make arrests. When we stoped and locked up our bikes they cut our locks and confiscated our bikes. When a federal judge told them this was illegal, they did it anyway and launced a tit-for-tat lawsuit sueing 4 members of Time's up, calling them leaders, just cause their names were in the papers as media liason volunteers. So still we ride, why? Cause bike riding in a group is not illegal, gathering in Union square without a permit is not illegal and advertising the ride is not illegal. How do we know this, because a State judge told us so in a 20 page ruling. Meanwhile, the police use every physicall tactic under the sun to stop the ride. Crashing into bikes with their mopeds, driving SUV's on bikepaths and the sidewalk, skiding to stops on the roadways in front of the cyclists...all in the name of our safety. With that kind of protection, id rather take my chances on the streets with no helmet with the garbage trucks that don't see you when they dart across four lanes. But don't take my rantings to heart...it's all been documented on video by volunteers and put together in a nice piece in the NY Times. So as we go out tonight on critical mass, let us remember, that scooter cop next to you that used to ride with us for ten years is now going to slam his moped into you...because he is concerned about your safety.

Article in NY Times Regional section by:
Published: February 24, 2006

Stills taken by a video by John Hamilton a skater on the ride who documented police riding on bike paths.

Title of Times Artice:
Aggressiveness of Bike Chases Stirs Questions for the Police

The patrol guidelines for the Police Department strongly urge officers to be careful when chasing suspects with cars, and national studies show that accidents involving police vehicles result in one death nearly every day.
Yet since August 2004, the New York police have regularly conducted aggressive pursuits in the heart of the most crowded city in the country.
Police vehicles have driven the wrong way down busy Midtown streets and have cut at sharp, brake-screeching angles across Greenwich Village avenues, videotapes show. They have climbed onto sidewalks to skirt traffic jams near Grand Central Terminal, according to witnesses. Officers have been filmed driving a large sport utility vehicle along the Hudson River bicycle and jogging path.

On all these occasions, police officers in vehicles have been chasing bicycle riders who throng the streets on the last Friday of every month in a group ride known as Critical Mass. The dispute over the terms of the ride has swelled into bitter court fights and what have been, by New York standards, street chases of startling character.

The police and the city say public safety is at stake because the bicycles block traffic and the riders will not agree to a route. Many riders say the stakes are free movement on public streets for people who should not have to get police permission simply because they are not in cars.

Earlier this month, a state judge rejected the city's request to shut down the event and counseled "mutual de-escalation of rhetoric and conduct."

At last month's ride, two police officers on lightweight motorcycles were injured as they maneuvered into position to cut off the bicycle riders on Third Avenue.

"One of the motorcycles made an abrupt 90-degree turn, and the one behind just T-boned him — hit him perpendicularly," said Luke Son, a bicycle rider who said he saw the crash happening from a few feet away. "A really violent collision. The officer in front went flying."

Mr. Son, 23, a student at Columbia University and an emergency medical technician, began treatment of one of the officers.

Paul J. Browne, the Police Department's chief spokesman, said that the officers were not seriously hurt and that the accident was provoked by bicycle riders who were breaking the law. It "would not have occurred if Critical Mass participants observed the law," Mr. Browne said.

A number of riders said the crash touched off an especially forceful effort by the police to round up cyclists. Later that night, witnesses say, police officers in two black sport utility vehicles chased 12 to 20 riders near Grand Central Terminal. One of them, Mark W. Read, said that the police drove against traffic on a one-way street, most likely Vanderbilt Avenue, and that as bicycles moved west along 45th Street, one S.U.V. followed them.

"The S.U.V. went up onto the sidewalk and drove on the sidewalk for 15 or 20 feet, then dropped back onto the street," said Mr. Read, 38, a filmmaker and adjunct instructor at New York University, whose account was first reported in The Village Voice. "It was unbelievable — a high-speed chase, something you think would be reserved for serious criminals, for people fleeing a murder scene or bank robbery." Mr. Read was later arrested on 43rd Street and Broadway and charged with parading without a permit.

Mr. Browne declined to comment on any specific chase, saying in general that the descriptions "are the exaggerated, self-serving statements of individuals engaged in breaking the law or opposed to police enforcement of it." Asked about videotapes that show the chases, he said that he stood by his comments.

The department's guidelines say that before starting a pursuit, officers should consider the nature of the offense and how crowded the area is. The guidelines also include an instruction, highlighted in bold type, that says, "Department policy requires that a vehicle pursuit be terminated whenever the risks to uniformed members of the service and the public outweigh the danger to the community if suspect is not immediately apprehended."

One police spokesman said that applies to the pursuit of motor vehicles, not to bicycles; Mr. Browne would not comment on that interpretation. The bicycle riders generally are charged with offenses like parading without a permit that are violations of the city's administrative code, which are not included in the state's penal code of felonies and misdemeanors.

At a Critical Mass ride on Sept. 30, bikers rode up Second Avenue, and turned east onto 14th Street, followed by two police S.U.V.'s. On a videotape, some of the bikers can be seen riding east in the westbound lanes, against oncoming traffic; the two police S.U.V.'s also can be seen driving in that lane, for part of 14th Street between Second and First Avenues.

John Hamilton, an in-line skater who videotaped the chase, said the sight of the S.U.V.'s driving the wrong way down 14th Street was vivid. "It was a very dangerous situation, and I certainly felt it," Mr. Hamilton said.

Mr. Hamilton also filmed a chase on March 25, 2005, in which a police S.U.V. drove across a pedestrian island on West Street and followed the cyclists onto the Hudson River bicycle path for about a mile. "The S.U.V. ultimately had to stop because there were metal posts or cones on the path," he said.

Shortly after the motorcycle collision, on Jan. 27, Rebecca Heinegg, 23, arrived and recognized one of the injured officers. "He was my arresting officer last February, and was as nice as someone arresting you can be," said Ms. Heinegg, a law student. "This incident is really sad, an entirely predictable result of the unsafe maneuvers."

Mr. Browne said the Police Department had tried to make the ride safe. "If they provide their route in advance and want our assistance in expediting the ride each month, the Police Department will be happy to assist," he said.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

February Critical Mass...can't we all just get along.

critical mass is Today, as it is in 400 cities all over the world. A celebration of our right to the road, personal freedom. Tell that to the NYPD. I say, lets ride! (of course, I'm in Seattle, but give em hell in NYC)

Here is a recent article from the village voice:

village voice article

Critical Impasse
With arrests growing and two cops hurt, Critical Mass gets messy
by Sarah Ferguson
February 21st, 2006 12:00 PM
It was an accident waiting to happen.

Minutes into last month's Critical Mass bike ride in Manhattan, two cops on scooter patrol collided as they moved to head off the cyclists. One officer reportedly lost control while trying to grab a biker and slammed into the scooter in front, launching that officer several feet forward and onto the pavement.

The officers were briefly hospitalized for what turned out to be minor neck and back injuries.

But the scene, with the cops being carried away on stretchers under the glare of a police chopper's spotlight and 14 riders arrested that night for various offenses, signaled a new low in the crazy, two-year war between the police and Critical Mass.

The next skirmish is set for Friday, when the monthly demonstration for cycling rights takes to the avenues again. What was once a festive, liberating event that enjoyed the tacit cooperation of New York's Finest and attracted thousands of riders—including parents with children—has devolved into an ugly cat-and-mouse chase between pissed-off cops and adrenaline-jacked activists determined to hold their ground.

The NYPD declined to comment on last month's accident or on the high-speed chases that bikers say followed in midtown. But from the bikers’ descriptions, the cops and cyclists responded with stunts worthy of The French Connection. "There were two [undercover] black SUVs gunning it on the heels of 15 or 20 riders," reports Mark Read, a 38-year-old filmmaker and adjunct professor at New York University. "We took a left just to get away and went the wrong way down a one-way street, and the SUVs followed us into oncoming traffic and drove up on the sidewalk. It was fucking berserk."

Activists say police are escalating their tactics in an effort to break the ride. "They've been playing with fire," says Ryan Kuonen, a volunteer with Time's Up, the grassroots environmental group that is being sued by the city for promoting Critical Mass.

Last week, a State Supreme Court judge declined to restrict Time's Up and others from publicizing the event and refused to grant an injunction against the rides, chiding the city for not finding a better way to work things out with the cyclists.

The city plans to appeal.

But part of the problem with the city's legal strategy is that for more than a decade, the police tolerated the rides. Things didn't get nasty until the eve of the Republican National Convention, in August 2004, when the ride swelled to 5,000 people and police claimed that "anarchists" and "extremists" had hijacked the event and were intent on "taking over the city." It didn't help that cyclists had taken over lanes on the FDR Drive and West Side Highway the month before. Since the RNC, nearly 600 Critical Mass riders have been arrested for low-level violations like blocking traffic and parading without a permit—a city statute whose constitutionality remains in dispute.

The crackdown has scared off many riders. But it has radicalized others. For them, the bike seizures, undercover surveillance, and taxpayer expense of sending an armada of police cars and helicopters to hunt them down each month are all proof of the city's disdain for bicyclists.

"We're not terrorist splinter cells. I vote Republican sometimes," says Luke Son, a Columbia student and licensed EMT who rushed to the aid of the injured scooter cops at last month's ride. "We have a right to be in the road, and if we back down now, it's like saying we're doing something wrong."

City officials say mass rides create havoc for drivers and pedestrians and need pre-approved routes to ensure public safety.

"Believe me, if you had groups of motorists gathering once a month, with advance cars sent ahead to block intersections, and the rest driving multiple cars abreast as to obstruct other traffic, often running lights in the process, then the motorists would certainly be arrested," writes the NYPD's top spokesperson, Paul J. Browne, in an e-mail to the
First Choice Movie Club

He and other city officials complain that efforts to mediate the conflict by getting riders to agree on a route ahead of time have been rebuffed by the cyclists, who say they can't designate a route because Critical Mass has no leaders.

"The offer is now several months old, but a standing offer nonetheless: Cooperate with the police in devising and keeping to a route and we'll help make it happen," Browne says.

Bikers maintain that they are traffic and don't need a permit, and that having a fixed route would ruin the event's spontaneity. They say the few times they've tried to keep to a route, the cops corralled people anyway. At the July 2005 ride, volunteers from Time's Up passed out flyers urging bikers to follow all traffic rules, including stopping at red lights. "The people who stopped at red lights got arrested," says Time's Up founder Bill DiPaola. "It just made it easier to catch them."

And so the impasse continues.

In theory, the aim of Critical Mass is to create safer cycling conditions in the city. Yet activists complain the police crackdown is demonizing bikers and creating more hostility from drivers on the road. So what's the point?

"It's smashmouth football," complains Harris Silver, founder of City Streets, which advocates for pedestrians' rights. "You're putting people in a situation right now that's basically a street fight. It makes cyclists look like angry radicals as opposed to people who ride bikes and think there should be less cars."

Yet in Brooklyn, a permitless Critical Mass ride sets off from Grand Army Plaza the second Friday of every month without all the drama. Instead of making arrests, police facilitate the ride by blocking intersections so it can pass more swiftly. City attorney Robin Binder explains that the NYPD handles the Brooklyn ride differently because it's smaller and takes place over streets that aren't as busy. But it's also because the riders in Brooklyn have established a dialogue with police.

There's no set route, but they might tell cops where the after-party is, to give them a sense of where the ride will end up.

"They're very cool," says Kuonen says of the Brooklyn police. "The white shirt walks around at Grand Army Plaza and calms everybody's fears about being arrested, and tells you at most you'll be given a ticket if you run lights or violate traffic rules."

Kuonen and others can't understand why that approach wouldn't work in Manhattan—as it does in the nearly 400 cities around the world where Critical Mass also takes place. In Portland and San Francisco, monthly clashes between police and cyclists have given way to accommodation and greater recognition of cyclists' right to be on the road. In San Francisco, radio stations announce Critical Mass rides during traffic updates; in Portland, the new mayor has ridden on his recumbent.

Yet in New York, both sides keep digging in their heels. "There's no trust," says Sara Stout of the World Carfree Network, which has begun sending international observers to document police abuse.

Activists with Time's Up and the bicycle defense group Free Wheels are marshaling more legal observers and video teams for this Friday's ride in hopes that their presence will tone things down.

Civil rights attorney Norman Siegel, who has been helping defend Critical Mass in court, called on elected officials to intervene, and quickly. "Mayor Bloomberg needs to do something, because this has all been done in his name," charges Siegel. "He has to take responsibility and be held accountable if, God forbid, something really bad does happen. And if the mayor doesn't, City Council members should ride with Critical Mass or go to Union Square Park and see what's really going on. The silence on this issue is astounding."

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Couriers got it bad in Iraq...maybe they should get bicycles.

Couriers in Iraq...I guess their a long way from Alleycat races and fixed gears, but I wonder if bikes would be sucessful or not?

From the NY Times:

February 22, 2006
Neither War Nor Bombs Stay These Iraq Couriers

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Feb. 21 — In a country where the power is usually out, the
police may rob you and few traffic lights actually work, it is perhaps
surprising that Iraqis still get mail.

The territory is demonstrably hostile: the train that carries the letters
north is frequently attacked. Bright orange American vans had to be painted
black for safe passage through dangerous areas south of Baghdad. Postmen on
mopeds brave gun battles to deliver letters in Dora, a Baghdad neighborhood
so paralyzed by violence that corpses lie in the street for hours. And there
are no mailboxes, so postmen deliver to the addressee, not to the address —
a task that has become far more complicated in the upheaval of the past
three years.

But still, six days a week, mail carriers at 349 post offices across Iraq
hand-deliver thousands of letters, to greetings so warm that they often
include dances and high-pitched warbles of sheer joy.

"It's something wonderful to get a letter," said Ibrahim Ismail Zaiden, a
postman in Dora. "The paper, the stamp, the envelope. It is not just a piece
of paper. It is something sacred."

The 181,507 letters delivered last month amount to a slice of normal life in
a place where the bizarre regularly scrambles daily routines. On a sunny
morning last month in Baghdad's central post office, sorters sifted through
small piles of mail on long tables. Deliverymen dragged brightly colored
mail sacks to vans parked outside. Iraqis lined up with their packages and

The Saddam Hussein stamps are a thing of the past. Now, sheets of new stamps
depict, colorfully if unimaginatively, various means of Iraqi
transportation, including a raft, a horse and carriage, and a canoe piled
high with grasses.

In the Karrada post office — one small room with a cement floor, a giant
poster of a Shiite saint and a few desks and chairs — Abdel Hadi Mahsin Hadi
sorted through the incoming mail: a few bank statements, a letter from
Cyprus in a nondescript envelope.

After the American invasion, postmen received motorbikes to make deliveries,
a coveted perk. Now, every day but Friday, they load up with letters —
packages must be picked up at the post office — and fan out through the
city, steering through the streets and dodging potholes and explosions.

"I talk to him sometimes," Mr. Hadi said of his motorbike.

The mail also offers evidence of recovery. In 2001, before the American
invasion, Iraqis sent 148 tons of mail. (Their relatives in other countries
were better letter writers, sending Iraqis 231 tons that year.) In 2003, the
year of the invasion, the figure plummeted to 37 tons. But it has been
rising ever since, with Iraqis sending 43 tons in 2004 and 54 tons last
year, according to post office statistics.

But this is Iraq, and of course there are problems. During the 2003
invasion, some branch offices were destroyed. Immediately after the
invasion, when looters swept the country, many branches were picked clean.
Mail trucks, bookshelves, even windows were stolen.

Postal officials consolidated locations to keep functioning. In the Baab
Maathem district, for example, a branch limps along in two hospital rooms.
In Adhamiya, in northern Baghdad, another operates out of a Ministry of
Interior office.

"It's a strange place for the post," said Ibrahim Hussein Ali, the
postmaster general and a 40-year veteran of the postal service. "But we must
accomplish our duty."

One of the most common post-invasion problems is finding the addressees.
Baghdad has experienced an enormous population shift: Wealthier families
have moved out and poorer Iraqis from the countryside have flocked to the

In Karrada, Khaleel Ibrahim said he had spent days trying to find one
recipient. He asks neighbors, ducks into nearby shops. Because of power
failures, doorbells rarely work, and he carries a small metal rod to rap on
doors. The sound sometimes frightens recipients.

"My duty demands that I am patient," said Mr. Ibrahim, his thin frame
hunched on a chair.

The roads are treacherous. Kathem Saed Alwan, a tall Shiite from southern
Iraq and the director of Baghdad's central post office, said he personally
drove mail down a dangerous road south to Babel. A portion of the large
battalion of shiny bright yellow American vans have been painted black for
safer passage.

"Any color but this yellow," Mr. Alwan said, shrugging and smiling.

Highway jihadists once stopped an Iraqi mail truck coming from Jordan,
assuming it was bound for the Defense Ministry, a favored target.

"The driver was begging, saying it was just letters for the people," Mr.
Alwan said.

In Dora, deliveries are a daily battle. Abbas Mikayel, a mail carrier in the
neighborhood, said he had seen four bodies on the streets, and has had to
dodge clashes between the police and insurgents. A group of gunmen once
attacked a colleague, who spent six weeks in the hospital with a broken

"I'm the jihad driver!" he said, grinning widely at stealing the reference
to holy war from insurgents.

The closest call came when he was stuck in traffic and a group of gunmen
walked up to the car in front of him to drag out the driver, kicking and
screaming. He watched silently, hoping the gunmen would not take him, too.

"I cried when I got back to the office," Mr. Mikayel said, pushing his
large-lensed glasses farther up along his nose.

But humor, however black, seems to have remained intact among the postmen.

"If the terrorists heard he made an interview with the foreign press, they'd
behead him!" Mr. Alwan said of Mr. Mikayel. Both men laughed.

The post office for years was heavily Baathist, and many of its top managers
have been replaced since the invasion. Bitterness among midlevel workers
sometimes seems palpable, along with resentment that they have not been
promoted. Still, Mr. Alwan, who began in Baghdad in 2003, said he had never
had a problem as a Shiite newcomer among former Baathists.

As increasing numbers of Iraqis turn to the Internet to communicate with
loved ones, it may be that mail volumes may be damped even as the economy

But for now, chaos prevails and Iraqis still use the mail.

Sahar Nageeb contributed reporting for this article.

Bikeblogger opens foot, inserts mouth

You never know what comments will create interest. Sometimes it's good to know who's out there, but I hate creating unnecessary controversy with speculative comments.


It was a mistake for me to suggest such nonsense. I mean people often say to me, "hey, you can make money with putting ads on bikeblog." Why the fuck would I want to do that? Blogger.com is free for now so be it and ads and banners on the internet are down right obnoxious.

In response to the Blacklabel comment...I made reference to, an institution I will admit I hold near and dear to my heart and would never want to offend..."Alright, I'm a groupie Dammit!" (but I do have a tallbike) I thought I would post a comment made by one of Black Label's members. (it's in the comments section but do to my posting, it's necessary to display)

"Black Label had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with putting tallbikes in store windows. Black Label would never commodify bike culture. In every event we have held or participated in, Black Label has encouraged the re-use of discarded goods. We have never sold a custom bicycle, nor will we ever. Instead we have openly shared design techniques, held welding workshops, and thrown kick-ass events for everyone, for free.

In everything we do we try to encourage active participation and the support of DIY ideas. These window displays are selling those principles without the actual work.

Please change that speculative comment, that Black Label was involved.

Its great that recycle a bicyle is getting donations. But why not show FUNCTIONING bikes that were recycled by kids and now are for sale? it would be great if the store fronts were turned into sales points for worked on bikes. INSTEAD, we have huge NON-WORKING bikes which probably will not be recycled when the displays get changed.

Reuse the excesses of society. Do It Yourself. Ride Safe.

-james stache, blbc ny

ps. mike thanks for your constant support for the bike scene, either being at our events, alleycats, cm - keep it up."

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Brookyln Industires helps Recycle-a-bicycle

Tall bikes in Brooklyn Industires stores, I wonder what they will do with them when they're done...hmmm.
Brooklyn Industries is down with bikes. At first I was a little skeptical about this place with all of their ripping off popular punk logos and making it say brooklyn. Then we started seeing these stores pop up all over the place. The store did make good on a complaint from people that the store was using fur in one of their products. They did, rather quickly, discontinue the use of fur on any of their goods so win one for the people. If you see the store front on North 8th and Bedford you will see some nice tall bikes in the window with the words Brooklyn written into a logo of bike icons. Tall bikes are going to be big this year with a feature length documentary coming out about Blacklabel, called B.I.K.E. There are two ways to look at this kind of marketing. One you can be stand-offish like when you see another Bushwick kid with a ulock in the back pocket of his tight black jeans riding a shiny new Bianchi fix gear and say, "damn another poser." But really, in this town of "bike riding is a terrorist act" and cops willing to injure themselves on mopeds just to break up a friendly ride...I say anything bikes is good. That kid your dissing under your breathe is just one more biker on the street, one more kid who may make a tallbike and one more kid that will attend critical mass despite the helicopters flying overhead and the nypd chasing us like dogs. Its bad enough in the land of rising oil costs and America using 20 million barrels of oil a day with 2/3 of that going to transportation. Gas prices have sored and the oil companies are recording record profits? hmmmm. Still its weird to see tallbikes in the windows of a clothing company.

Brooklyn industries is offering money to recycle-a-bike, a great non-profit in NYC, giving kids a chance to learn a valuable skill and recycle bikes that may otherwise be thrown away. For every messenger bag you buy, Brooklyn industries will donate $2.00. Not bad.

details at brooklyn industries deal

I'll be in Seattle for a week visiting my ailing Grandmother...so good luck at Critical Mass.

There is a fundraiser for the NYBMA and Time's Up at 9pm after critical mass February 24th, 2006. 49 East Houston.

Monday, February 20, 2006

brrrrr. It looked cold.

They had an alley cat in Baltimore on the 18th, "shock trauma." The folks at demoncats DC's racing collective, have posted some pictures. Check it out.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Bicycle Film Festival Deadline extended

Deadline for submissions has been extended to February 28th.

more details:

bicycle film festival 06

Article about bike messengers.

An article about Bike Messengers in San Diego, yet so much more...

Bike messengers roll with changes

Six San Diego companies still doing business in Internet age

San Diego Union-Tribune, February 16, 2006

By Frank Green

In a world where documents can be e-mailed with the flick of a finger,
there's still room on the information highway for Kenton Hoppas and his
small band of pedal pushers.

Aloha Bicycle Services, the company Hoppas founded six years ago, is
one of about a half-dozen in downtown San Diego that still deliver
legal papers, blueprints and other business-related forms the
old-school way - on the backs of speedy two-wheelers.

The Internet, with its attachments and Web links, has run bicycle
couriers off the pavement in many U.S. cities, but bicyclists have held
their own in San Diego. Of a dozen messenger services surveyed in 1991
by The San Diego Union-Tribune, six used pedal power - the same number
as today.

Robert Porambo, president of Knox Services on Fourth Avenue, employs
three full-time riders, the most since the document-management company
was founded more than 30 years ago.

He said his 10-speed crew members earn about $25,000 each, as well as
the side benefits of sun and exercise.

"While electronic filing has become more prevalent, there's still a big
need to get papers delivered in a fast and efficient way," Porambo

Many court and legal documents must be filed or delivered in paper
form. The number of practicing attorneys in the county has more than
tripled since the early 1970s to about 13,000, many of whom work in the
downtown business district near the courthouses and in the thick of
traffic congestion.

Probably the biggest bike-messenger employer is Cal Express on Kettner
Boulevard, a legal-support business that has maintained a staff of 20
full-time pedalers for years.

About 30 percent of the company's deliveries are made via bike, with
the rest carried by cars and trucks, company spokesman Ronny Webb said.
"Our whole business has been growing," he said.

The appeal of bike messengers has to do with the quaint charm of the
old-fashioned service, as well as its practicality during rush hour.

A bike can typically outpace a car on a 10-block ride on Fifth Avenue
during afternoon drive time. Delivery fees, which range anywhere
between $5 and $20 depending on the time and destination, are
comparable to those charged by car messengers.

"Timing is very, very important to us," said Gloria Daviston, a
spokeswoman for Hope Engineering, which calls on bike messengers
several times a day to ferry papers to and from its Third Avenue

"Somebody in a car has to find a parking place and may get into a
traffic jam," she said. "The bike messenger doesn't have those problems
and can get from one place to the next very quickly."

While some bicycle couriers have maintained their business, the field
is tougher than it used to be. In New York City, for example, Breakaway
Courier on West 35th Street had 100 or so bike messengers weaving in
and out of traffic just five years ago but now maintains a group of 40

"There is a slow erosion in the business because of the growth of
digital documents. . . . It's like a python squeezing its prey,"
Breakaway President Robert Kotch said.

But Aloha Bicycle, which earned about $60,000 in revenue last year, has
experienced steady growth since its inception.

Owner Hoppas and his wife, Mimi, make most of the deliveries on
Italian-made Basso road bikes, with large canvas document bags draped
over their shoulders. When the workload is heavy or they need to take a
day off, the couple call on several part-time bike messengers to fill

Hoppas, who takes orders from the company's 60 or so regular clients by
cell phone, said he decided to open the business while waiting tables
six years ago. "My goal was to have a company that would pay the
overhead, the rent, and would grow," he said.

The work consists largely of delivering plans and blueprints to and
from builders, architects and engineers, as well as court filings.
Hoppas said managers at construction sites still need paperwork in
hand, and that some court documents have yet to be digitized.

Hoppas has made special trips for clients over the years to pay a
parking ticket, return clothes from the dry cleaners, take shoes to the
cobbler and make bank deposits. "I recently delivered two breast
pumps," he said.

Hoppas said his longest assignment at the handlebars was a 10-mile-plus
trip to Serra Mesa to deliver documents.

The typical downtown delivery costs $7. But the company also bikes as
far north as Hillcrest, east to Golden Hill and south to Imperial
Avenue, for about $16 a trip.

Only occasionally do things in the bike lane get dangerous. Hoppas
recently scraped his elbow when he hit a pothole and went sprawling
onto the pavement. When someone opened a car door in front of his bike
three years ago, he vaulted over the top, landing unhurt on his feet
and back.

"The highest level of danger comes from drivers who are visiting
downtown for the first time," Hoppas said. "They'll stop the car and
look around. We see a lot of people turn down one-way streets and come
right at us."

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Article in NYTimes

Jim Dwyer, NY Times reporter who exposed several stories of the NYPD spying on activists and doctoring evidence against bike riders, writes an article on the recent judge ruling about New York Cities Critical mass and subsequent legal fight.


published February 16th, 2006
Article by: Jim Dwyer

Photo by: NYTimes Photographer Robert Stolarik
Officers halted some riders on Dec. 30th. A judge asked yesterday that city and riders settle the dispute.
Title of Article: City Rebuffed in Trying to Bar Mass Bike Rides

For 18 months, the city has spared few efforts — on the street or in courts — to clamp down on a group bicycle ride in Manhattan called Critical Mass that the authorities say causes havoc by blocking traffic.

Yesterday, a state judge rejected the city's latest attempt and took the extra step of asking both sides in the dispute to calm down.

Calling the city's legal strategy against the ride "highly irregular" and "as unnecessary as it is inappropriate," Justice Michael D. Stallman of State Supreme Court in Manhattan refused to bar an environmental group and four people from taking part in it, from gathering at Union Square Park beforehand, or from announcing the rides on the group's Web site, as the city had requested.

The city had also asked the judge to issue an unusual civil declaration, without a trial, that the environmental group, Time's Up, and the four individuals had "criminal culpability" for violating laws and regulations that carried penalties of fines and imprisonment. The judge also rejected that request.

Justice Stallman concluded his 24-page decision by urging city officials and the ride participants to work out their differences.

"The social compact and the realities of living in a crowded place demand patience, mutual respect and self-restraint," Justice Stallman wrote. "Mutual de-escalation of rhetoric and conduct, and a conciliatory attitude, may help the parties and the Critical Mass riders resolve the litigation and arrive at a workable modus vivendi."

The rides take place on the last Friday of the month in about 400 cities, and have no acknowledged leadership or routes. For nearly a decade, the rides in New York attracted little notice and no arrests until the evening of Aug. 27, 2004, a few days before the Republican National Convention opened.

That night, 5,000 riders, many of them in the city to demonstrate at the convention, were met by a large number of police officers. The police arrested 264 riders on charges of parading without a permit and other violations.

Since then, officers in various disguises have infiltrated the monthly rides. Other officers in police cars have chased bicycle riders at high speed. Police helicopters have followed the riders. Two officers on motorcycles collided at last month's ride.

The judge's suggestion of a cease-fire drew mixed reactions. Norman Siegel, who represented Time's Up and the four people singled out by the city, said it was a chance to end an elephantine conflict.

"We need to get back to a time pre-August 2004 when Critical Mass was able to ride their bikes in a cooperative ride with the N.Y.P.D.," Mr. Siegel said. "This is the second time the city has attempted to stop the Critical Mass rides, once in federal court and now in state court, and both times their arguments were rejected. I would hope that the mayor and the police commissioner assume the needed leadership on this controversy and begin serious and substantial discussions to amicably resolve it."

The City Law Department declined to discuss the judge's decision and said it planned to appeal.

The Police Department's chief spokesman, Paul J. Browne, said the department had always been willing to work out an arrangement with the bicycle riders.

"The Police Department offered long ago to work with the organizers to ensure a safe ride in which police would stop vehicular traffic at intersections so bicyclists could proceed without stopping along the route, while, conversely, holding bicyclists at intersections to allow ambulances and other emergency vehicles to proceed or to alleviate bottlenecks," Mr. Browne said. "It was rejected, but the offer stands."

Justice Stallman said that since the rides had no identifiable leadership, it made little sense for the city to single out Time's Up and four people associated with the group, William DePaola, Brandon Neubauer, Leah Rorvig and Matthew Roth.

The city had demanded that they be barred from assembling in Union Square Park, the customary gathering point before each month's ride, unless someone obtained a permit. The judge said that made little sense because anyone could turn up in the park and no permit was required for "casual use."

As a practical matter, Justice Stallman wrote, the city did not explain how it could tell the difference between people who were gathering for the Critical Mass rides from anyone else who happened to be in the park. The city's assumption that anyone with a bicycle could be barred "is simply guilt by association," he wrote.

The city also argued that it was illegal for Time's Up to advertise an event for which a permit had been denied, but Justice Stallman noted that the city had never denied a permit since no one had ever sought one.

The judge said the city had wrongly argued that the Critical Mass rides were a form of parade or procession that required a permit because the riders "travel en masse." Following the city's reasoning, the judge wrote, "New Yorkers commuting over the Brooklyn Bridge on bicycles during a transit strike could be considered as 'bicycling en masse.' " Such a restriction, he said, raised constitutional concerns.

"Riding a bicycle on city streets is lawful conduct, as long as one observes the applicable traffic laws and rules," he wrote.

Time's Up Press Release

Time's Up Press Release, about the recent ruling on NYC Critical Mass:

TIME’S UP! to hold press conference to announce New York Supreme Court Judge Michael D. Stallman's decision denying New York City’s motion for a preliminary injunction to stop the Critical Mass rides.

Details on Press Conference:

When: Thursday, February 16, 2006 at 11:30 am

Where: TIME’S UP! 49 East Houston Street (between Mott & Mulberry)

Participants: Defendants - William DiPaola, Brandon Neubauer, Matthew Roth
Attorneys - Norman Siegel, Attorney, Steven Hyman, Attorney, Gideon Orion Oliver, Attorney, Deborah Berkman, Attorney

New York, NY (February 15, 2006) -- On February 14, 2006, Judge Michael D. Stallman of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York issued a decision and order denying New York City’s motion for a preliminary injunction to stop the Critical Mass bicycle ride unless a permit is issued. The Judge concluded that New York City had “not met the three part test for a preliminary injunction with respect to the pre ride gatherings for the Critical Mass rides, advertising of the rides, or the rides themselves.” The Judge further concluded that the City had not demonstrated the applicability of the New York City Administrative Code sections at issue to the Critical Mass rides.

William DiPaola, one of the named defendants, and Executive Director of Time’s Up!, also a defendant in the case, expressed his appreciation for the Judge’s decision. “We are extremely happy with the Judge’s decision. It’s not only a big victory for free expression and the right to assemble but also supports bicyclist’s right to continue riding in groups for safety,” DiPaola said.

Noted civil rights attorney, Norman Siegel, said “the City’s attempt to stop the Critical Mass bicycle rides was soundly rejected by Justice Michael D. Stallman of the New York Supreme Court. We are, of course, pleased by the decision. Hopefully, New Yorkers will be able to continue to ride their bicycles in the streets free of arrests, harassment, and hostility in ways that guarantee public safety for all New Yorkers.”

The legal team for defendants Time’s Up! Inc., William DiPaola, Brandon Neubauer, Leah Rorvig and Matthew Roth, was comprised of Norman Siegel, Steven Hyman and Deborah Berkman of McLaughlin & Stern, LLP, and Gideon Orion Oliver of Oliver and Oliver.

A copy of the 24-page decision is available upon request.
Decision is available on my mac.com homepage. Just download pdf from here.

Big News!

Yesterday, it appears that the judge who is presiding over the lawsuit against four members of Time's Up has ruled in the bicycle activists favorites...

Here is a small blurb that had been airing on NY1 today:

City Denied Request For Injunction To Stop Critical Mass Bike Rides
February 15, 2006

The Critical Mass bike riders won another battle in their war with the city, as a State Supreme Court judge on Wednesday denied the city's request for an injunction that would have stopped the monthly demonstration in its tracks.

Lawyers for Critical Mass say they've won a victory for riders and people's civil rights.

However, the city's Law Department disagrees and will appeal the ruling, saying: “We do not believe that public safety, the law or common sense have been well served by the court's denial of our request for a preliminary injunction."
Well now...

There will be a press conference on this landmark decision towards freedom of expression, Today at the Time's Up bike space...
49 East Houston St. February 16th at 11:30am...please bring video cameras or audio recording devises.

Information on this is still coming in and later today a lot of legal details should be explained on the judges 30 page ruling about critical mass in NYC.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

AlleyCats all the time

Alley cat races are the heart and soul of urban street racing for messengers and those who know the thrill of racing in cities full of unpredictable traffic. If you don't already know, their are races happening all over the world and in your town. A good place to learn about races is, messengers.org this is a central hub for the street racing community, it also has an excellent archive of events from the past.

of course Ken will update you at ny bike messenger association

-Just experiencing one of these races is an excellent way to discover a city and it's bike culture. Just riding in one of these events is serious fun and weather you win or come in dfl (dead fucking last) it's really all about participating. Check out Shock Trauma in Baltimore...February 18th. or there is an upcoming race in Boston know as schlitz and giggles
February 25th, 2006.

-In other news...Amy Bolger, amazing photographer of bike related events is touring out West by bicycle and reporting about her trip on her website. amy messenger

-cranked mag is a new zine about street racing in the Northwest

February 17th is the deadline to make submissions for the bike film festival So get editing...I should talk, I'll be making a mad scramble to get a short video I made about Deathrace 2005 done by this week...EEK!

The bicycle harassment in NYC never ends

Now they want to ban pedicabs from midtown. This article comes from NYC indymedia, it appears to be from a working pedicab driver who sounds off about this issue.

Pedicabs Face Midtown Ban
"My job is considered illegal by the City of New York."
By Michael Bielawski
They can be found near landmarks such as Central Park in the day and Times Square at night. The Central Park rides are in direct competition with the traditional horse carriages and that’s when the trouble came. Instead of friendly competition, the horse carriage companies have insisted pedicabs are illegal because we do not carry the vending license required to sell things in the city. We argue we are a service, and do not require a vending license, which doesn’t apply to us even if we wanted it.

My job is considered illegal by the City of New York. I am not selling drugs or peddling stolen merchandise. I am not a street performer, nor am I parading without a permit. I am not giving food to the poor. I pedal a bike for a living, a pedicab in a city where riding bikes is almost illegal – just ask anyone who rides with Critical Mass.

A pedicab is a large tricycle with a rear seat for two or three adults and is used as a taxi and to give tours. With only about 400 pedicabs in operation, they’ve managed to avoid city regulation.

Our legal troubles have to deal with the regulation of our business, or rather lack of regulation by the city. We have always welcomed the idea of reasonable regulation, regarding rules we must follow on the road and requirements for drivers to get a license. Only recently has a city crackdown made the legalities an immediate question.

Workers generally lease their bike from one of several companies for a daily, weekly or monthly fee. About five percent own their own bikes. The industry arrived in New York eight years ago. It’s a great job, with exercise and opportunities to meet people from all over the world, plus it pays the rent with charges running about one dollar per block.

They can be found near landmarks such as Central Park in the day and Times Square at night. The Central Park rides are in direct competition with the traditional horse carriages and that’s when the trouble came. Instead of friendly competition, the horse carriage companies have insisted pedicabs are illegal because we do not carry the vending license required to sell things in the city. We argue we are a service, and do not require a vending license, which doesn’t apply to us even if we wanted it.

Then the Partybikes showed up, a new breed with room to pedal for up to seven people. The cops went crazy. Undercovers impounded the Partybikes, and some pedicabs were also taken as collateral damage. When the impounded vehicles made it to court, the judge ruled a vending license is now necessary despite eight years without them.

Don Domite, owner of the Partybikes and some pedicabs, says, “I feel my civil rights were violated. They used every form of harassment they could.”

According to pedicab owner Andy Arango, the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) said that pedicabbers do not need a vending license. Pedicab owner Gregg Zukowski clarified: the DCA meant it was fine to own the pedicabs without a vending license but not to pedal them for business. Zukowski added that the DCA claims they will not fine pedicabs for vending without a license.

As if that’s not all confusing enough, the City Council is getting in on the act. One reasonable bill would basically clear up the regulatory limbo, but another threatens the whole industry by proposing to ban all pedicabs from midtown. That’s the prime turf, accounting for about 90 percent of all rides.

If pedicabs are forced out of the tourist zone, what chance do we have of survival? We are in the business of adding culture and romance, sans pollution, to a city that seems to be gaining a reputation as a police state.

Monday, February 13, 2006

We dig, you dig...can you dig it!

Just before, what the main stream news made out to be the biggest story of the decade...Blizzard of 06, I was working on a new Ben Stiller movie up on 70th St. On the way to work, I passed by this window display of the DKNY store. Some marketing director/art director must have been inspired by the, "ghost bike project." Whadyathink...those unoriginal corporate types are always mining our culture for "their" hot cool sales ideas.

Meanwhile, during the Southern bound Nor-Easter that laid a whopping 26.9 inches of snow in central park, a record...yeah yeah we all know. We were up in the Catskills mountians scoping out the place where we are getting Married in August.
Funny how the mountains only got about 8 inches while down in NYC and Long Island it dumped. It was still a beautiful winter wonderland. If you are looking for a nice, funky wedding spot, that is rustic and off the beaten path, yet has full fascilities on a 100 acre nature preserve check out: full moon resort

Back in the urban jungle, a day after the storm we are forced to walk through the sludge and dig our selves out of the post-plowed streets. Somewhere in there is a bike...start diggin.

Maybe there will be less cars on the road...but it's still a slushy mess with minimal shoulder and the bike lanes made into a place for plowed icey goo.

If you've got fixed gear fever, the doctor has what your looking for. The bicycle doctor, Alex, a nice bike shop in Williamsburg is selling this sweet ride from fetish cycles

The bike is an aluminum frame, with a carbon fork. Fetish sells the frames and Alex puts them together at a basic level for about $800. They look like a nice ride, perfect for the urban street racer and bike commuter who wants that quick edge. I believe they call this frame, the position.
The bike doctor is located on 133 Grand St. between Berry and Bedford.
Here is a small write up in a blog about the Southside of Williamsburg. bike doctor I hate to play favorites but the bike doctor is a good place to get bikes and have your bike fixed. It ain't the fanciest shop, but Alex is a hard worker and after all he was in the Warriors ride as a jail bird with cool old school choppers...he's the on in the yellow hat.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

February 11th, Canadian Riders...get chilled

Those wacky Canadians, eh?

It's the ice cup...

ice cup

Here is an article from the Montreal Gazette---

They make it look easy

Couriers compete on ice: Three dozen bike couriers will come to
Montreal for the Ice Cup, a measure of their on-the-job agility

Montreal Gazette, February 04, 2006

By Steven Howell

Move over, Turin. Here's some winter fun you won't find at this year's
Olympics. The Old Port of Montreal presents Winter Cup 2006 and Street
Static, two wintertime sports competitions - with a twist.

Winter Cup 2006, being next Saturday, is a one-day event that brings
together the best bicycle couriers from Quebec, Canada and the U.S.
This is the third edition of the event.

Three dozen athletes - all bike couriers - will compete in individual
races as well as a relay race and ice polo. The event takes place at
Bonsecours Basin with qualifying heats beginning at 11 a.m.

Cyclists compete in two categories: studded class and rubber class.
Studded class means that the bicycle tires have been transformed with
screws from the inside out - sort of like crampons on wheels.

"There's a different set of skills needed to compete between the rubber
tires vs. the studded tires," said Tom Ostreiko, the event organizer
and a full-time Montreal bike courier. As I speak to him via his
cellphone, I can hear he's on the job as a car horn honks in the
background. "The speed is faster in the stud class."

He says that Bonsecours Basin is the perfect site: "Compared to a
hockey rink, there are no boards to crash into." Boards or no boards,
he does guarantee lots of spills along the way.

Winner of the event receives the Ice Cup, a trophy made, yes, of ice.

"The winner also gets bragging rights and free beer," he said.

Ostreiko, 27, has been a Montreal bike courier for six years. He says
there are about 450 bike couriers in Montreal during summer and about
150 who are dedicated as year-round messengers.

"No matter what the season, we're out there," he said. On a typical
winter weekday, he'll deliver 50 packages. "Just think of all the cars
we keep out of the downtown area," he said. "What we do is good for the

Ostreiko dreams of a chance to compete in the bike courier world
championships in Australia this October. "We're always looking for
sponsors," he said.

Winter Cup 2006 takes place Saturday, Feb. 11, at Bonsecours Basin in
the Old Port from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit the website
www.coupedesglaces.org. Admission is free.

Next is Street Static, an urban snowboarding competition that invites
the top snow-boarders from Quebec and Canada. Athletes compete in
qualifying rounds called "jams" and then in a finale called "battles."

Street Static takes place at Place des Vestiges along the Old Port
promenade Feb. 24 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Feb. 25 from 1 p.m. to 9
p.m. Admission is free. For all Old Port winter activities visit

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Bikes, the police and you.

Bikes, the Police, and You

Cardozo Law School
55 Fifth Avenue (at 12th Street)
February 22, 2006 - 6:30 PM
Room 206

The New York City Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild and FreeWheels
are pleased to announce a panel on the last 17 months of police
repression of Critical Mass in New York City. It will be all you ever
wanted to know about the practical and legal struggles faced by
'cyclists. Since the Republican National Convention, over 315 people
have been arrested for riding their bicycles on Critical Mass. Over
80 people have tried to fight their charges to trial, come hear how
they've faired.

In January, the Honorable Judge Harris ruled New York City's parade
permitting scheme is unconstitutional, but found all the riders guilty
of disorderly conduct. The City is appealing the ruling. Come hear
why the ruling is important. Learn about the City and the riders'

Each month the NYPD does something new and inventive to arrest people
for riding their bikes. Come hear a month by month break down on
policing tactics and an overview of the disproportional response by
our City to a peaceful bicycle ride. Come learn about what's
happening on our streets.

Come learn about why all those police officers have video cameras.
Find out what a TARU is. No, it's not something on a bike tire. Hear
from attorneys who are suing the City over their surveillance tactics
and unconstitutional arrests.

Moderator : Dave Rankin

Short Video Presentation
A few sections of CM footage

FREEWHEELS Critical Mass Update
Mark Taylor (FreeWheels)

Marty Stolar (President of the New York City Chapter of the National
Lawyers Guild) - Handschu Attorney

Gideon Oliver (National Lawyers Guild) - Attorney for a huge number
of arrested bicyclists.

Rose Weber (National Lawyers Guild) - Noted police misconduct attorney
and counsel for many bicyclists.

Emily Compton (National Lawyers Guild) - Attorney with the NYC Mass
Defense Committee

Q + A

A little follow up on memorial ride in Chicago

This is Isai Medina, he was a member of the Chicago bike community who loved to make wacky bikes. He was killed by a drunk driver on January 4th, 2006.
chicago critical mass

On the subsequent critical mass, the had a memorial for Isai.

found this on indymedia chicago

by Jay Pee
(No verified email address) 27 Jan 2006

"A critical mass ride ends in 3 or 4 arrests at a candlelight vigil to commemerate a bicyclist's death.
At least three, possibly four bicyclists were arrested tonight around 7:20 PM just north of Augusta on Western. A crowd of several hundred cyclists had gathered to lock a 'ghost bike' to a bike rack at the spot where a cyclist was killed by a drunk driver on January 4th. The group of bikers was so large as to spill into the street, blocking most of the lanes. Just as the bike had been installed, police began threatening to arrest people. A chant of "Whose Streets? Our Streets!" erupted, and arrests were made. TV crews from Univision, ABC, and NBC were there filming both the silent vigil and the subsequent arrests."

well, atleast NYC isn't the only one with dumb insensitive cops. Arrested at a memorial? come on.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Video of Critical Mass, when it was fun

Soon, I too will have video available on line. For now Tod Seelie of suckapants

presents a video of riding through the midtown tunnel (on Park Ave.) back in the day when we weren't treated like domestic terrorists.

video of critical mass

Friday, February 03, 2006

Rat Patrol bike gang

If you like Mutant Bikes check out rat patrol out of Chicago.

Sad news: they had a death in the family.

Isai Medina 1955-2006 R.I.P.

Isai was well-known in Chicago for his elaborate home-made choppers featuring dozens of blinkie lights, as well as stereos and sirens. While many cyclists knew him, not many knew him well.
Occasionally Isai joined us on rat rides through the alleys, like this time in March 2005. But mostly he rode his choppers around town, to his work as an engineer, or to Navy Pier, where the security guards gave him special permission to bring the bike inside. He was a reserved man but these extravagant bikes were his passion. If you'd ask about his bike, you catch a gleam in his eyes, he loved showing off his handiwork.

Isai was killed by a drunk driver while riding his chopper home from work just before midnight Jan 4, 2006. We will miss his smile and good nature.

also check out: chicago freak bike

rat patrol makes it to the bikeblog mutant bike gang listings. Welcome.

Article about last month's Critical Mess

Photo by villager reporter Jefferson Siegel
Critical Mass cyclist and E.M.T. Luke Son, in yellow-and-gray jacket, rushes to the aid of a motor-scooter officer who collided with another officer on a scooter while trying to cut off the ride.

Jefferson Siegel reports on the critical mass that happened last month. The article takes a more indepth perspective into what went down.

villager article
Volume 75, Number 37 | February 1 - 7, 2006
Critical Mass bicyclist aids police hurt in collision

For months cyclists participating in the Critical Mass rides have expressed concern about potential injuries resulting from police vehicles chasing bicyclists. Their concerns became reality last Friday when two motor-scooter police suffered injuries after colliding while policing the ride. By the end of the night, 14 cyclists were under arrest and many wondered if because of the police injuries a new level of confrontation loomed over future rides.

After recent articles about undercover police participating in the monthly Critical Mass rides, a group of cyclists in Union Square approached unmarked S.U.V.’s before the ride’s start, attempting to engage police commanders in dialogue. One of the cyclists asked Police Chief Stephen Paragallo about undercover procedures.

“You said you’re here under normal operations,” a female cyclist said, inquiring, “what is, exactly, your purpose today?”

“It’s a normal patrol,” Paragallo replied. “There are undercover vehicles and officers every day in this city, all over the city. I think you should feel safer that we’re doing normal patrols, keeping you and everyone else in the city safe,” he added.

Police Inspector Kenneth McGrath, operations commander of Manhattan South, was sitting in another S.U.V.
“There are lots of ‘bridge-and-tunnel’ people who are out, drunk,” a second cyclist told him. “So maybe you should watch out for the drunk drivers rather than sober bicyclists.”

McGrath nodded, listening patiently and offering his name to the cyclist when asked. Both cyclists declined to be identified.

Riders pedaled out of Union Square shortly after 7:30 p.m., heading east on 16th St. Within minutes, 150 cyclists, several marked and unmarked police vehicles and at least a dozen motor-scooter police riding alongside turned down Third Ave. Just below 13th St. police attempted to curtail the ride, with grievous results.

“I heard a cop say, ‘Grab her, grab her’” cyclist Molly Sair recounted. “And the next thing I knew, I looked around and saw people on the ground.”

The lead scooter police had collided, sending two officers hurtling to the pavement. One lay on a downtown lane near his fallen motor scooter; the other several feet away in an uptown lane.

Luke Son, 23, a licensed emergency medical technician and a Columbia University student, was on his bike near the front of the Critical Mass ride.

“Everyone was following traffic rules. We were stopping for traffic lights,” Son recalled. With the lead riders slowing down, he said, “the scooter cops saw that as an opportunity to cut in front of us and create a moving wall.” Son said police were riding into opposing traffic in the northbound lane. “One of the scooter cops directly to my left pulled forward and they all started accelerating as a group.” Son observed the lead officer angling right to block cyclists. “One scooter cop turned and got ‘T-boned’ [hit in the side] as the scooter cop behind him was accelerating to catch up with the group. It was actually a pretty violent collision.”

Aware he was a target for arrest, Son said he “went into emergency mode. I didn’t really think about the situation, I just saw someone was hurt.”

Son dismounted, dropped his bike mid-avenue and rushed to the first officer sprawled in a southbound lane. He began assessing the basic “A, B, C’s” of emergency care: making sure the airway was clear, checking breathing and C-spine [the cervical spine, which connects the spinal cord to the neck]. The one officer was immobile but conscious. “The other one behind me was not. He was rocking and thrashing a bit,” said Son.

Son first attended to the officer who wasn’t moving. “I just followed protocol. I held the C-spine — immobilizing the neck and head.”

While checking the officer’s pulse and extremities, Son kept an eye on the other downed officer, who was now being aided by another police officer. “His upper extremities were numb on the left side,” Son observed. “His left hand had very weak tactile strength but he had a good pulse.”

As Son cared for the fallen officers, traffic continued to crawl by for several minutes, including an articulated bus and private garbage truck that passed within feet of the second stricken officer. Bystanders and cyclists filled both sides of the avenue, watching events unfold. Ten minutes after the collision, Third Ave. was filled with police and Emergency Medical Service trucks as a helicopter swept its searchlight over the scene.

“After I knew this guy was stabilized, I became aware of my situation,” Son recalled. “I’m a rider in Critical Mass, I was in the lead group, my bike is next to me. Literally four feet away, another cyclist is getting handcuffed.” Police arrested four riders at the scene. The injured officers were loaded into an ambulance and taken to Bellevue hospital. They were treated for cuts and abrasions and released later that night.

Although police thanked Son for his efforts, no one asked his name. “I just moved on,” Son said. “I would have done it for anyone.”

The ride continued west. Just blocks away, at 13th St. and Broadway, East Village resident Shani Parsons and her husband were arrested with several others. “I watched my husband get grabbed by a police officer as he was crossing Broadway on a green light,” she recounted. She stopped, got off her bike and stood watching in amazement. “And then I was arrested because I was standing there,” she added. “It just seems completely random and straightforward harassment.”

The ride splintered and continued Uptown. Five more cyclists were arrested in Times Square. A third motor-scooter officer suffered minor injuries on 23rd St. between Sixth and Seventh Aves.

Arrestees were taken to Tribeca’s First Police Precinct. Kit Bland, founder of Freewheels, the bicycle defense fund, waited outside the precinct most of the night. “I feel very concerned about the injured police officers,” Bland said as arrested cyclists emerged over several hours. “These accidents, these injuries are indicative of how out-of-control the situation has gotten. The only time I’ve ever felt unsafe [riding in Critical Mass] is when I’ve been chased by police,” Bland added. As he spoke, Freewheels co-founder Blue Young, paralegal Caroline Samponaro and other Freewheels volunteers offered arrestees drinks, legal advice and a choice of loaner bikes for the ride home.

Legal cases stemming from the arrests continue in the courts. Gideon Oliver, an attorney for many of the cyclists arrested in Mass rides, said that three more cyclists from the March 2005 ride were found “not guilty” last week. During that ride, there were 37 arrests. Six more cyclists go to trial this Thursday.

E.M.T. Son, who is also a volunteer mechanic at Time’s Up!, the East Village-based bike advocacy group, observed of the policing of the rides: “It’s kind of absurd how much time and energy and, obviously, human expense they’re putting into this.” Police did not return a call for comment by press time.

So are the "fun and games over?"

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Laek House

So, Ethan Benton of Laek House fashions...has a piece up showing his wears...on this website that claims to be, "the spot for racing and cycling culture in NYC." ny velocity.com
Here you can see some of the designs Ethan and Laek house are coming out with.
Bike designs page

You can also read about others doing the bike culture t-shirt design thing.

More importantly:

nybma overheard some valuable information...watch out the Ticket Blitz might be back.