Wednesday, March 22, 2006

More about Village Voice Article

I would just like to make something clear about the Village Voice and the article on Mutant Bike Gangs by Karen Tucker. The layout and pictures presented in the story are the choosing of the editorial staff of the Voice and do not reflect the articles overview of mutant bike gangs and Brooklyn Industries displaying tall bikes. In fact, she pointed out that not all of these bikers are anarchists. I was just struck by the Anarchy symbol on the cover just cause the A word is thrown around like the T (Terrorism) is used in legitimizing violent police behavior to infringe on our civil rights and spoiling our parties and bike rides. The article was well written and did a great job of explaining mutant bike gangs and how they wrestle with their culture being comodified instead of just people participating in it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

after reading the article, i had mixed feelings. i agree that it was a good explanation of the culture, but i thought the images were a little sensational. then, i saw a disassembled village voice strewn about a subway car, and the page with the person wearing bag on his head just struck me as a reprehensible use of anti-bicyclist propaganda.

10:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After reading many posts about all this on Bike Blog,, Sucka Pants and others, I think many people are really missing the point. There is something positive about the juvenile vandalism at Brooklyn Industries - the press coverage that everyone is railing against. The bicycle community in NYC needs all the press it can get.

Although defacing property is obviously counter-productive, the incident shed some light on how passionate New Yorkers are about their bikes. This is a good thing. Who cares whether or not you made your own ride or how often you ride? I built up my own and use it every day to get to work, and that's satisfying, but I don't think it gives me any more cred than someone who walks into a bike store and buys a shiny new road bike that will only get occasional use in the park.

To totally avoid consumerism, you'd have to live in a mud hut in the jungle and be a subsistence farmer. Sure it feels good to reuse abandoned bike parts, but it's deluded to think that you'd even have bike parts in the first place without capitalism and bike part factories. Even tried making your own bike chain from scratch?

Members of "mutant" bike gangs may enjoy their fringe status, but like it or not, they are also part of a larger movement that includes recreational riders, commuters and anyone else who stands for making New York City more bike-friendly.

What I feel more strongly is my role in the NYC bike community as a whole. I'm willing to share that community with uncool out of shape cyclists who haven't been doored or worked as a bike messenger or built their own bike. We have to present a united front if we want to make this city a better place to ride. To that end, I wish all the people who put so much energy into posting, ranting and destroying property would do something constructive with all that effort.

One way to do that is to show up at the rally this Sunday (3/26) that Transportation Alternatives is putting on at City Hall in support of closing Central Park to cars 24/7. Ride your tall bike around, be a freak, be cool...but more importantly, be a rider who speaks up for cyclist's rights in New York. It's a start.

1:04 PM  
Blogger PCM said...

When riding, I have so much more in common with everybody on a bike than anybody in a car. I'd love there to be enough bikers in NYC that we could have our mindless and passionate and petty feuds. But until that day: 2 wheels good, 4 wheels bad.

3:16 AM  

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