Friday, September 29, 2006

Tonight-Critical Mass-Pool Party

Its the September Critical Mass in New York City. Riders are invited to a ride through a dance performance...what?

The performers of Agora II , a dance performance in McCarren Park Pool want you to ride through there performance.

please come hook up @ the following times and/or locations:
8-8:25: meet over by the statue of Washington the Brooklyn side of the Williamsburg Bridge @ the north entrance to the bike path (S 5th & S5th Place, just west of Roebling)

or @ 830 in front of the McCarren Pool (Lorimer St. between Driggs & Bayard Ave.)

Bikers will ride through the pool around 845ish. Last time there was 150 or so bikers and it was pretty fun. There is a ramp down into the pool and it is pretty mellow. We made a couple loops and then rode away into the night.
This time there will be a big AFTERPARTY in the pool since it is the last weekend of the show. Sounds fun.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Time's Up Halloween Party

October...Halloween Party

Halloween Race is Coming

Get ready for the annual Halloween race in NYC. You have been warned.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Vegas Baby!

We shipped our bikes on the airport at JFK...NO Fee, thanks to our cladestine packing scheme and a $14.00 duffle bag from Chinatown. And thanks Hodari for the bike bag.

Got to the airport, put our bikes together, fixed the fork (thanks Dave Perry) and rode to the Ventian Hotel.

Riding a track bike in Vegas is bizarre. Riding any bicycle in Vegas is bizarre.

Welcome to Interbike 2006!

check out the video

Monday, September 25, 2006

Awesome Alleycat Race

Every month the alleycat race, a messenger style scramble through a particular city, gets more complex. Anyone can put on one of these races, but it is the participants themselves which try and come up with the most unique race and forge ahead with new ideas on an old concept. Here is one, up coming that is truely original and combines many of the riding styles, skills and equipment. Track, Road, Alleycat, Street...this one has it all.

Here are the detaials:

On October 8th we present to you a challenge:
A flat-out road, city and track race that runs from Nyack to Kissena.


Racers must register in 2-man teams. This is a team race. At least one team member MUST be on a track bike.

On the morning of race day there will be a relaxed group ride from the city up to Nyack and the start line. That afternoon, the race begins. Teams will wind their way back home to NYC and through the beloved city streets that lead to Kissena Velodrome, where they will then compete in a Time Trial for points and victory.

Are you up to the challenge?

* * * * *


This race is not as hard as one might think. This race is about pacing yourself and riding smart - not just fast. Remember what happened to the Hare? That's right - they took him out back and shot him for what he done.

Strategy is a deciding factor in this race as always. Think man, think!

Prizes and sponsors to be announced.
Check this thread for updates.

You may register your team here now and have a place held for you.
Registration is $10 per racer.
So get a partner, figure out where Nyak is and RACE!

City takes notice.

There has been a lot of work by cyclists over the past months and NOT just from Transportation Alternatives...and it is starting to pay off. The city is taking notice of bikes and it shows in their recent planning. A huge article in the Sunday NY Times about biking, critical mass and a year of recent deaths at the hand of motor vehicles, has come out, talking about the recent history of the problem and connecting a few dots. This is a step in the right direction and some good press about all the hard work of cycling groups such as TA and Times Up, out there everyday riding there bike and being vocal about the kind of bike friendly city they deserve. Link to article

The City is home to about 120.000 regular cyclists, some of whom will attend a Critical Mass demonstration on Friday.
Quesy Rider
by Paul Kurutz
published in the New York Times-CIty Section-Sunday 24th, 2006

PAUL FORD, a soft-spoken, sturdily built 32-year-old who works as an editor at Harper’s Magazine, sometimes describes his commute between his apartment in Gowanus, Brooklyn, and his office on Broadway near Bond Street as feeling “like a video game, except you can get killed.” And in fact, watching Mr. Ford weave through the city’s traffic-clogged streets one recent morning, pedaling steadily atop his black and gray Fuji Sanibel cruiser, called to mind a two-wheeled, life-and-death version of the 80’s arcade game Frogger.

At 7:40 a.m., wearing jeans and a black T-shirt, Mr. Ford set out from his apartment near the Gowanus Canal and was soon moving briskly down Third Avenue in Boerum Hill. Mr. Ford is a physical presence on the road, a big guy atop a seven-speed bike, a shiny black helmet covering his short brown hair. But the motorists whizzing by pay him little mind.

Near Third Avenue and Douglass Street, he slowed and hugged the curb to avoid a delivery truck passing on his left. Pulling onto the street again, it was in the firm but cautious way a person might wade into a fast-moving river. Or, as Mr. Ford put it: “You’re fragile out here in traffic. Nothing bad comes from being paranoid.”

Mr. Ford is among an estimated 120,000 regular cyclists in New York, 40,000 of whom commute to work by bike. And increasingly, these cyclists are waging an ever more ferocious turf war with the city.

Like Mr. Ford, the majority of these commuters do daily battle on the city’s 6,000 miles of often jam-packed roadways. At the same time, a small number of cycling advocates lobby City Hall with almost religious fervor, seeking everything from more bike racks to legislation requiring office building owners to install storage space for bikes.

The most public lobbying efforts are the Critical Mass rides in Manhattan, consciousness-raising events that take place on the last Friday of every month — the next one is Friday — and resemble nothing so much as 1960’s political rallies. Before the most recent ride, a bleached-blond hipster preacher named Reverend Billy recited the First Amendment through a bullhorn. Later, police officers issued 65 moving violations and made one arrest.

Despite the obstacles, this may be an ideal moment for seeking a bike-friendlier New York. With issues like global warming and high gas prices at the forefront of public consciousness, many advocates say that after years of struggle, they finally have the political capital to make cycling a top priority in the city.

“This is absolutely a moment of opportunity,” said Walter Hook, executive director of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, a New York-based organization that designs mass transit in developing countries. “The mayor stood up and took a bold stance and banned smoking. The next step is to stop the air pollution coming out of the tailpipe.”

The Path Less Traveled

Mr. Ford had left home early, hoping to beat the morning rush, but five minutes into his commute, cars were already lined up bumper to bumper at a red light on Third Avenue. Knifing through traffic, he hung a left onto Bergen Street in Boerum Hill, where he could enjoy a sliver of comfort in the form of a five-foot-wide bike lane, designated by two painted white lines. A few cyclists overtook him, pedaling furiously on expensive-looking machines.

Mr. Ford began biking to work two months ago because he wanted to lose weight but didn’t feel like going to the gym. While his legs and lungs are stronger now, he by no means regards his ride as a test run for the Tour de France. “I’m just a chubby guy on a bike,” he joked as he made a right onto Smith Street and scooted across Atlantic Avenue.

New York is arguably the most challenging city in the country in which to ride a bike. The streets are crowded, the pace is furious and danger lurks everywhere, from crater-size potholes to car doors that snap open. When Mr. Ford began biking to his office, he was filled with the sense that he was an irrelevancy to motorists, a moving abstraction. Even now, he feels dangerously exposed. “Everyone is your enemy,” he said. “You don’t want to get killed, and you don’t want to kill anyone.”

Mr. Ford has yet to suffer any injuries on his daily commute, but he is fatalistic. “It’s only a matter of time until I have one of those near-death experiences that everyone who bikes in the city has had,” he said. According to the latest figures provided by the city, 109 cyclists were killed from 2000 through 2005. During the same period, there were 21,484 bicycle injuries recorded.

This June, in a grim reminder of the perils of urban cycling, three riders were killed in a three-week period. A 23-year-old aspiring filmmaker was pinned beneath a tractor-trailer on Houston Street in Manhattan on a weekday morning. A 41-year-old woman was hit by a truck on Rockaway Parkway in Brooklyn in the evening. And a 56-year-old doctor collided with a Police Department tow truck while taking a midnight ride on the Hudson River Greenway in Manhattan.

On June 29, in response to the deaths, about 75 cyclists staged a rally on the steps of City Hall. Standing in front of a “ghost bike” painted white to honor the fallen, Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, the advocacy group that organized the rally, described the city’s streets as “out of control.” A week later, Andrew Vesselinovitch, resigned as director of the Bicycle Program of the city’s Department of Transportation after five years in the job, saying he planned to return to school. In leaving his position, he criticized the Department of Transportation for not making New York safer for cyclists and for creating less than 20 miles of new bike lanes in the past two years.

The numbers seemed all the more striking given the fact that Chicago, with a population of nearly three million, announced a plan this year to put every resident within a half-mile of a bike path. And Chicago’s program seems paltry in comparison with that of Davis, Calif., a city of 60,000 that Bicycling magazine said “has cycling in its veins.” Among Davis’s features are a $7.4 million bike tunnel and a network of bike paths so comprehensive and safe that the city has eliminated its public school buses.

Shifting Gears

As Mr. Ford pedaled along Jay Street, cut across a traffic tie-up at Tillary Street and squeezed precariously through a two-foot gap between a delivery truck and a concrete barrier to get onto the Manhattan Bridge, it was clear that orchestrating the flow of traffic is much more challenging in a city like New York than in a laid-back college town like Davis.

By some measures, New York is doing reasonably well for a large city. In May, a bike lane was built along Eighth Avenue in Manhattan, and, more significant, in 2001 the Hudson River Greenway, an 11.5-mile stretch that runs from Inwood to Battery Park City, was completed. With as many as 10,000 cyclists on the busiest days, Transportation Alternatives says, it ranks as the nation’s busiest bike path.

Two weeks ago, the Department of Transportation announced a plan to build 200 more miles of bike lanes over the next three years, at a cost of nearly $9 million. That would bring the city’s total to more than 600 miles.

The Parks Department also has several projects under way toward its long-term goal of a greenway all along the waterfront in the five boroughs. Bike paths beside every mile of Manhattan waterfront may be completed as soon as the end of 2008, according to Carli Smith, a department spokeswoman.

And this year, Bicycling magazine ranked New York the country’s third-best city for cycling among cities with population of more than one million, just behind San Diego and Chicago.

“New York is by no means a laggard,” said Andy Clarke, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists, a lobbying group in Washington that issues an annual list of what it calls Bicycle Friendly Communities. “New York is better than Los Angeles, and certainly better than Houston or Dallas.”

But many advocates say the city is making progress too slowly and is not fully committed to bicycling.

“We did 100 miles of bike paths and lanes in the past five years,” said Mr. Vesselinovitch, the former director of the Bicycle Program. “I think we could have doubled it. At D.O.T., we would support bicycling as long as it didn’t interfere with anything else.”

Iris Weinshall, the transportation commissioner, declined to respond specifically to Mr. Vesselinovitch’s comments. “I don’t want to look back,” she said. “I want to look forward.” She then said the city had made progress over the past five years; she cited the Manhattan Bridge bike lane, which was refurbished in 2001 and is used by an average of 840 riders a day.

As Mr. Ford made his way across that lane the other day, isolated from traffic and free to finally experience what he described as “a closer sense of the city,” he was enjoying the one truly peaceful moment of his commute. Halfway through his ride, his pace slackened. The morning air was crisp. The view from the bridge, which took in the entire East Side of Manhattan, was breathtaking. The moment was tempered only by a quarter-mile uphill grade, which left him breathing hard.

“With the subway,” Mr. Ford said, “you’re literally in a tunnel. When I bike, I see faces. I see storefronts. I’ll stop to visit someone. I’m engaged in the city.”

Imagining Bike Heaven

Up to this point, Mr. Ford’s ride had been a journey of extremes. He had passed through a leafy neighborhood of brownstones in Boerum Hill, plunged into the traffic-clogged heart of Downtown Brooklyn and been cosseted high above the East River. Now, with a light sheen of sweat on his face, he cruised off the bridge onto Canal Street into the pedestrian bustle of Chinatown.

The one constant of Mr. Ford’s ride was the persistent feeling that he was carving out a space for himself as a biker on streets where in many cases no such space existed. Except for the Manhattan Bridge, he hadn’t been on a bike lane since Bergen Street. If he were the city’s bike czar, he would change this.

“Cars are here to stay,” he said. “I don’t expect New York City to become bike utopia. But more share-the-road signs would be great, more bike lanes, more places to lock your bike.” All in all, “a little more room here and there.”

The city’s plan to add 200 miles of bike lanes would undoubtedly create much more room for cyclists like Mr. Ford. The new lanes, from Claremont Village in the Bronx to Downtown Brooklyn, would be a sort of interstate highway system for bikes throughout the five boroughs. Responding to safety concerns, the city is also installing five miles of protected lanes, in which riders are shielded from car traffic by barriers like concrete curbs.

But while cycling advocates have applauded the idea of protected lanes, their goals are far more ambitious.

“We’d like to see bike facilities on all the major arterials in the five boroughs, like Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn and Houston Street,” said Mr. White, of Transportation Alternatives. “We’d also like to ban private vehicular traffic altogether on some streets.”

Mr. Hook, of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, heartily endorses the idea. “If you did something radical,’’ he said, “like taking Broadway out of the street grid and making it a greenway, not only would you create a north-south bike facility, but you would create a soul to the city and entirely change the feel of the place.”

When it was suggested that such a plan might produce havoc for Midtown drivers and stores relying on truck deliveries, Mr. Hook responded, “We could do what a hundred European cities do, which is allow trucks in during certain times of the day — say, between 8 and 10 a.m.”

But even more modest solutions far from Midtown can pit cyclists against nearly everybody else. That is the situation on Houston Street, which has become a prime point of contention between bike advocates and the Department of Transportation. The cyclists want a bike lane installed along Houston; the department, at least so far, has not concluded that this is a good idea.

In recent years, many cycling advocates have said that while the city officially supports biking, its decisions routinely favor drivers.

“When the city decides whether or not to put a bike lane on Houston Street, they think, ‘Well, we’re going to lose traffic volume,’ ” Mr. White said. “That’s the tradeoff that isn’t going our way, time and again.”

Ms. Weinshall, the transportation commissioner, would be the first to agree that the issue is complicated. “You have to parcel out the real estate to all of these different users,” she said. “Does it make sense to put a bike lane along Houston Street? Would we have to widen the sidewalks? These are things you consider. Bike riding is not made for everybody.”

The Home Stretch

Just a couple of minutes from the front door of his office, Mr. Ford was poised on Chrystie Street, considering a wide, loping left turn onto Houston Street that would deliver him into one of the busiest roadways in the city. “Two months ago I was terrified to make this turn,” he said as he merged with traffic and headed west on Houston toward Broadway. “But now it’s no big deal. You get used to it.”

Still, not everyone is so intrepid. Even if the necessary infrastructure like widespread bike lanes were in place, there would remain the question of how many New Yorkers would commute by bike, given practical concerns like safety, weather and health issues.

“I’ll bet not one person out of 20 would think to ride a bike to work,” said Kenneth T. Jackson, a professor of history at Columbia University who for years has led a bike ride around the city for his students. The ride takes place after midnight, the time Mr. Jackson most feels safe navigating around the city.

There is another issue, even apart from safety, that has to do with how biking in the city is perceived. “We take pride in our use of mass transit and the fact that we walk,” Professor Jackson said, “but somehow cycling doesn’t complete the trinity. It doesn’t seem normal.”

In addition, there is no consensus on whether an increase in cyclists would do much to help improve the city’s environment. City Councilman John Liu, of Flushing, Queens, chairman of the Council’s Transportation Committee, argues that subways and buses are the answer. “The use of cycles has a place,’’ Mr. Liu said. “But it doesn’t come anywhere near the capability of mass transit in making our city greener.”

For Mr. Ford, however, biking to work offers him a satisfaction that riding the subway or a bus does not. “There’s something great about getting to work under my own mode of power,” he said.

After making a right on Lafayette Street and a left on Bond, Mr. Ford was finally in the home stretch of his commute. He pulled up to the door of his office, dismounted and peeled off his helmet, sweaty but contented. “The hardest part of my day is already over,” he said. His four-mile commute had taken 32 minutes, about as long as it would have taken him on the R train.

Friday, September 22, 2006

September goings on

Well this month has been extremely busy with video production so there have been less postings.

But here is a bit of what is going on in the bike culture world.

I was interviewed in the Metro newspaper about Critical Mass and Bikeblog. While I was working as a lighting technician on a German television program, Paul Berger of Metro New York and I, talked for a half hour about bicycle related subjects...the article came out in the paper today. Just a quick blurb...but, hey its exposure.

Thursday night, Crumpler bags had an opening night party for their messenger bag auction. People got a chance to see the bags, drink some free beer and hang out in a nice art gallery in Williamsburg. Crumpler USA, which makes nice messenger and laptop bags is hosting an auction where you can bid on one of a kind designed bags. Here are a few photos.
Out front of Gallery on Roebling, between South 2nd and South 3rd.

The Crowd and Mike Dee points to point of injury.

Some of the art bags

Luke and Brad (bag to us) from Trackstar

More bags on the wall

Bikers outside

The Bicycle Film Festival proceeds on its tour to San Francisco Sept. 28th-29th.

To watch some nostalgia from last year...the trailer is on line. Film makers Jesse Epstein and Mark Thomas made this cool trailer for the festival of 05 featuring messenger, DJ, Skater and Mashup artist Ted Shred.

Jesse is trying an experiment in on-line distribution., where the trailer is hosted is a video host unlike grouper, Youtube and They give the film makers 50% of the profits from advertisers if you click-on the ad at the end of the video. Jesse is trying to see the potential of this new market. So if you want to the ad. Then she makes a little money and can buy some tape stock to make more cool bike related videos. Really its just an experiment. If these sites are going to make money from advertising to host our videos...Shouldn't we see a bit of the profits? You decide.

Every year for the past 24 years bike makers gather in Las Vegas for Interbike. This year is the 25th time and I will be attending with a small cadre of bike messengers who are going to tear up the strip...on track bikes which I am affectionately calling: Gear and Loathing in Las Vegas. King Kog will be there along with MessNYC and there will be gold sprints hosted somewhere in town.

Heres what they say about it on their website:

Fuse 1,000+ brands with 10,000+ buyers from around the world and you have Interbike - the ultimate blend of industry leaders with innovative products in the bicycle business. The gathering kicks off with two days of OutDoor Demo in Bootleg Canyon - a world renowned outdoor cycling venue - and continues for three packed days of exhibits, product launches, insightful seminars, meetings and celebrations at Interbike Expo in Las Vegas.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Squid on NBC sports show

Sunday, NBC's World of adventure sports aired a nice expose on Squid and the NYC puma time racing in the Velocity tour.

I also dug this one up about Yak..

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

200 miles of BIKE LANES! completed by 20(??)

Well now. We shall see...promises promises. 200 miles of Bike Lanes for NYPD traffic vehicles to double park in...can't wait.

But hey, its progress.


City Hall Promises Major Increase in Bike Lanes on Streets
Published: September 13, 2006

The Bloomberg administration plans to greatly increase the number of bicycle
lanes after a city study showed that 225 cyclists died in accidents on city
streets over the last 10 years, officials said yesterday.

While some motorists may grumble that bike lanes take up road space and add
to congestion, the study suggests that the lanes actually work. Most of the
bike deaths involved crashes with cars, trucks or buses, but only one of
those involved a cyclist who was in a marked bike lane.

The city’s transportation commissioner, Iris Weinshall, said 200 additional
miles of bike lanes were planned for the five boroughs over the next three
years. The city now has about 220 miles of roadway designated for bikes,
including paths set off from vehicle traffic by barriers, lanes painted on
the street and routes indicated mainly by street signs.

“The data demonstrates cyclists need more safe places to ride,” Ms.
Weinshall said.

The highest toll in the last 10 years was 40 in 1999 and the lowest 13 in
2001. Last year 24 cyclists were killed, according to the study, which
compiled data from 1996 through 2005 and was conducted by several city

Despite the city’s frenetic pace and heavy traffic, the study found that
riding a bicycle in New York City did not appear to be significantly more
deadly than in the country as a whole.

Based on the city’s population, there were 2.8 bicycle deaths a year per
million residents during the 10 years, slightly more than the
2.7-per-million rate nationwide.

“Simply encouraging more people to ride bikes is going to improve the safety
of cyclists,” said Noah Budnick, a deputy director of Transportation
Alternatives, a cycling advocacy group. He called the study and the bike
lane expansion “unprecedented.”

“The more people bike, the more drivers become accustomed to looking for
cyclists and to driving safely around them,” he said.

Nonetheless, there was some disagreement over how extensive the city’s
network of bike lanes really is — and will be after the expansion — because
of how the city calculates the mileage. If both sides of a one-mile strip of
a two-way street have bike lanes, for example, the city counts it as two
miles of bike lanes. Mr. Budnick said the city’s claim of 220 miles might be
more properly counted as less than half that. The same could be expected to
apply, he said, to much of the proposed new mileage.

The study revealed some intriguing trends. Men and boys accounted for 91
percent of the toll, or 199 fatalities. That was similar to data for the
country as a whole, where male cyclists make up 89 percent of fatalities.

Thomas R. Frieden, the health commissioner, said the predominance of men and
boys among the fatalities might reflect “a little bit more risk-taking
behavior from males.”

Crashes with moving vehicles accounted for 207 of the deaths in the study.
Among those, nearly a third involved trucks and buses, although they are
only about 15 percent of the vehicles on city streets.

The trend was the opposite for taxis. Cyclists accustomed to cursing at cabs
as the drivers dart through Midtown traffic might be surprised to learn that
taxis accounted for only two of the vehicle-bike deaths, or 1 percent,
although cabs make up 2 percent of registered vehicles in the city.

The study also reinforced the importance of wearing a bike helmet. It found
that 74 percent of fatal accidents involved head injuries and that, in cases
in which records on helmet use were kept, 97 percent of the riders who died
were not wearing one.

The study found that cyclists’ ignoring traffic controls like lights and
stop signs was one of the most common factors contributing to fatal
accidents. Drivers not paying attention was another common factor.

The city plans to start an advertising campaign next spring to remind
drivers and bike riders about safety.
Photo by: Graham Beck, Transportation Alternatives
New York City Department of Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden speaking at yesterday's event (9/12/06) in Central Park announcing a major new bicycle safety initiative. Behind him, from left to right, are Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall, and NYPD Chief of Transportation Michael Scagnelli

Meanwhile streetsblog has been covering the story. Scroll through the last few entrys on this very informative blog and find out things like the city is now treating bicycling as a public health issue...its about time. Bloomberg with his ending of smoking inside and his name being on a major public health school. How many people have to be crushed on their bikes by giant trucks who don't look before the city wakes up?

With the annoucement of the new plan on bike lanes the city released a press relase which includes facts like this:

Bicycle lanes and helmets may reduce the risk of death.

Almost three-quarters of fatal crashes (74%) involved a head injury.
Nearly all bicyclists who died (97%) were not wearing a helmet.
Helmet use among those bicyclists with serious injuries was low (13%), but it was even lower among bicyclists killed (3%).
Only one fatal crash with a motor vehicle occurred when a bicyclist was in a marked bike lane

Nearly all bicyclist deaths (92%) occurred as a result of crashes with motor vehicles.

Large vehicles (trucks, buses) were involved in almost one-third (32%) of fatal crashes, but they make up approximately 15% of vehicles on NYC roadways.
Most fatal crashes (89%) occurred at or near intersections.
Nearly all (94%) fatalities involved human error. All New Yorkers, whether pedestrians, bicyclists or motorists, can help prevent crashes by following traffic signs and signals and respecting other road users

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Demoncats has great NACCC photos

Kevin Dillard has out done himself again with a massive collection of photos from the NACCC.

Check it out at: DemonCats

Friday, September 08, 2006

Time for NACCC photo round up.

Each year it gets easier to find things on line. It seems like Flickr is the place to store and display pictures because of its community vibe.

I've been watching over the past few days how soon people put up pictures and now 4 days after the North American's there is a ton of photos. Keep up the good work and remember to use the Tags so people can find a subject eaiser.

check out:
Su1droot's photos

Pink Fixie

Andrea B

Ivan Mawesome

Bill Dozer's pix


Boat on a hill

(bikeblog) me

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Super hero results are Up...Up...And AWAY!

Ok, I couldn't help the cheesy saying. Anyways...there was this Alleycat Race, back this summer in Gotham City. The only alleycat I've actually raced in, instead of just video taped...and I did horrible.

But Ella worked like crazy on this duo-team race and it was fun as hell.

So check out the results, stats and funny stories on her blog

Erik Ferguson wrote an article

Erik wrote an artilce about his experience with August's Brooklyn Critical Mass originally inteded for Dirt Rag Magazine. It didn't make the print date but they put it up on their website. Dirt Rag Mag encourages people to make submissions.

Feeling Low
by Erik Ferguson

A few weeks ago, I rode in the Brooklyn Critical Mass. Unlike the NYC (Manhattan) Mass across the East River, this ride is not only tolerated, but even facilitated by the NYPD. They ride along with a handful of scooters, bicycle officers, and a motor vehicle or two. It was a flashback to CM rides of a few years ago, and a really wonderful vibe on one of the nicest nights of the summer.

Read the rest here

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Houston Street Safety Rally on Video

Clarence Eckerson of Bike TV, made this video about a recent Safety rally to address the dangers of Houston St.

Article in the Villager about last months Critical Mass

Picture by Jefferson Siegel
Reverend Billy and Savitri D lead the Critical Mass out of Union Square last evening

Riding high after police back down on rule change

By Jefferson Siegel
Villager Volume 76, Number 15, August 30-September 5th, 2006

article link

The August Critical Mass ride marked a dual anniversary. It was two years after the Republican National Convention ride when 264 cyclists were arrested and it marked a year since Hurricane Katrina wreaked its vengence on the Gulf Coast. Several dozen rides around the country participated in a Critical Mass for Climate Justice ride to commemorate the latter.

The ride came a week after the Police Department announced it would revise planned regulations that would have required groups of two or more cyclists not following traffic laws to obtain a permit. The regulations also would have required groups of 20 or more cyclists or vehicles to get a permit.

Three hundred riders gathered in Union Square as anticonsumerism activist Reverend Billy and his Church of Stop Shopping Choir preached of the dangers facing the First Amendment. Using an electric bullhorn to spread his gospel to the farthest reaches of the bike-filled plaza, Billy was eventually approached by two police community affairs officers who reminded him of the prohibition of using amplified sound without a permit. None too pleased, Billy, aka Bill Talen, turned off the megaphone and raised his voice as his choir sang, accompanied by an unamplified but very audible Hungry Marching Band.

Just before 8 p.m., the familiar whoops and yells rose into the late summer air as cyclists began converging on the northwest corner of the park. However, there was at least one false start as the riders warily eyed some police scooters nearby. The ride then started, proceeding west on 17th St. It didn’t get far, before a phalanx of scooter police immediately cut the ride off at Fifth Ave. Though a dozen cyclists managed to get through and raced away down the avenue, the rest of the Mass did a quick 180, with many dismounting as they turned and retreated back toward Union Square. They rode to 14th St. and then west.

Not so lucky were the first six riders stopped and ticketed for “failure to keep right.” Among these half-dozen was Reverend Billy’s wife, Savitri D.

“I feel annoyed and agitated,” she said as an officer wrote out her ticket. “I feel it’s a waste of my tax dollars and resources. We’re not bothering anybody,” she added, biting into a piece of fruit as she waited. Reverend Billy also reportedly got a ticket.

Minutes later, a band of 12 cyclists rode east on 12th St, followed by 14 motorcycle police. By now the Mass had splintered and taken several routes throughout the city. Three cyclists were stopped and ticketed on 40th St. near Second Ave. One cyclist, Joe Koenig, an East Villager, was riding a unicycle when he was stopped and ticketed for riding a “bicycle” without a bell.

By the end of the night, police reported issuing 65 Class B summonses for moving violations. In addition, 2 Class C summonses, which were issued for serious violations in lieu of arrest, were also handed out. There was one arrest for reckless endangerment.

This Friday is Brooklyn Critical Mass

photo by: Blue Cinema

Last month 200 cyclists participated in Brooklyn Critical Mass and rode out to a location where Shamar Porter, a ten year old who was killed by a car on his bike in the Brownsville area of Brookyln.

(this from the Dailynews about the tragic event)

from the NY Daily News:
Today will surely be a rollercoaster of deep sadness and somber pride for Shawnette Porter.

She will be laying her only son to rest this morning, then spending the evening at a Little League finals game her boy wanted nothing more than to play in.

Ten-year-old Shamar Porter was mowed down on his way back from the park after helping his team clinch the championship ballgame.

"I have to be there," Porter, 33, said in an emotional interview. "That's what he played for."

The contest would follow the most painful of experiences.

"The hardest thing will be putting him in the ground and knowing that is the last time I'm going to see him," Porter said of the burial, which will be held in Morganville, N.J.

Here is a blurb on this month's Brooklyn Critical Mass from NYC indymedia

During the course of the last two years, the New York Police
Department and the Mayor's office have attempted unsuccessfully to
thwart the monthly critical mass rides in Manhattan. This circus has
cost millions of dollars, countless police man hours, and even a few
injuries to both cyclist and officer. As many people know, the
crackdown started with the August 2004 ride because of the confusion
and proximity with the Republican National Convention.

Interestingly enough another critical mass has emerged in this city
over the same time period. On the second Friday of July or August of
2004, Brooklyn saw its first critical mass. The actual date of the
first ride will differ with each cyclist to whom you talk. The
Brooklyn critical mass riders have seen the NYPD on their rides,
starting in October of 2004. The interaction between the officers and
the cyclists is extremely different from their counterpart across the
East River. The police and the riders have an agreement, similar to
the way it was before August of 2004 in Manhattan. When the front of
the ride gets to a red light, the cyclists will stop, and if the light
changes while the ride is going through, the police will cork the
intersection. For those of you not in the know, corking is when a
person will situate themselves in front of stopped cars to let them
know that there is a ride coming through. By corking, the ride
becomes safer, while traffic believe it or not can run smoother.

The relationship between the riders and police has become so friendly
that when the cyclists asked the police officers if they would ride
their bikes instead of their scooters, the police officers happily
obliged. Some have even reported that when a motorist asks "What is
going on?" one police officer replied, "It's Critical Mass, they are
riding to demonstrate their right to the road." The same officer is
just as confused as everyone, as to the disparity between the two

Last month (August 11th, 2006), over one hundred cyclists rode out to
the Brownsville section of Brooklyn to memorialize Shamar Porter, a
ten year old who was killed by a truck, while riding his bike home
from his little league game. Alarmingly and coincidentally, another
child Jose` Mora, 11, was killed by a car Monday September 4th at 730
pm crossing North Conduit Blvd near Atlantic Ave. Brooklyn
Critical Mass may or may not make it out to East New York on Friday
September 8th. There is no route, and there are no leaders, but when
enough people hear about Jose's death, momentum will carry the riders

Photo links to past Brooklyn Masses:

pictures 1
picture set 2
another picture set
Meanwhile, it keeps happening:

1010 Wins (posted Tuesday 05 September 2006 7:12am

oy Riding Bicycle Killed in Brooklyn

NEW YORK -- An 11-year-old boy was struck and killed while he was
riding his bicycle in Brooklyn.

New York City police say the accident was at 6:30 Monday evening on
Conduit Boulevard. Family members told police that Jose Manual Mora
was on his way to get a haircut for the first day of school. He was
walking his bike across the busy intersection at McKinley Avenue when
he was hit by a Honda Accord.

Police say the driver of the car stayed at the scene and was not charged.

The boy was taken to Brookdale Hospital where he was pronounced dead
-- about 90 minutes after the accident.

Relatives say the boy, his mother and younger sister had just moved
from Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Neighbors say the street lights in the area have been out for months
-- making the area dark and dangerous.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Congratulations to Austin

NYC's own Austin Horse was crowned this years fastest cylce courier in North America. This weekend was the North American Cycle Courier Championships hosted in Philadelphia PA over labor day weekend. Hundreds of messengers from around the country and Canada descended upon Philly for a great event which included racing, rides and parities. The main race was on Sunday and luckily the weather cooperated. Austin completed 5 manifests in a grueling main race to be one of only two other riders to do this. That's like competing in 5 allycats in one three hour race. Congratulations Austin! Austin is a member of the bike team 4916 and a diligent volunteer with Time's Up environmental education and direct action group.

More results from the NACCC on the NYBMA website.

Play in Traffic Productions was on hand to record the action with 6 cameras rolling including helmet cameras. Special thanks to Bilenky Bikes for lending us one of their amazing tandem recumbant bicycles at the race. We will be working on video content of this years NACCC and getting it online soon.

Joe Hendry put up some video on Youtube of old cycle courier championships. Check out the nostalgia.

Here is an article from the Philadelphia Inquier about this years NACCC written by: Joe Bewley

This bike race would daunt even Lance

Professional couriers cycled furiously through Fairmount Park in
championship finals.

By Joel Bewley

Philadelphia Inquirer September 4, 2006

Think of it as a mini Tour De France, but with the riders stopping
every so often to pick up and deliver packages.

The course ran through Fairmount Park, where nearly 125 professional
messengers gathered yesterday for the finals of the sixth annual North
American Cycle Courier Championship.

Nine mock businesses were set up at different locations. After starting
near Memorial Hall, riders were given three hours to collect and
deliver five packages spelled out in their manifests, or work orders.

"It is designed to simulate a day of work," said Kevin "Stewy" Stewart
of North Philadelphia, one of the organizers.

While the work was the same, the atmosphere was not.

The spacious course was just blocks away but worlds apart from the
cramped Philadelphia streets where some of the riders earn their pay.
No automobile traffic to fight, no red lights to challenge, and no
chance of getting "doored" by someone coming out of a parked car.

But it was a little hairy at the beginning, when riders sprinted from
the starting line to find and unlock their bikes, which had been placed
in 26 rows of four based on qualifying times.

Less than a minute in, a couple of cyclists wiped out as the group
crowded through the second turn.

Meredith Begin, 25, a courier from Washington, went down hard, but got
up, shook it off and kept on racing.

She finished with blood oozing from both knees, an elbow and several

"I knew when I headed to the inside of the pack it might be trouble,"
she said as her boyfriend photographed her battle wounds. "But that's
part of the race."

More than 250 messengers registered for the competition, but less than
half showed up in Saturday's rain for the qualifying race.

The top hundred were supposed to advance, but race organizers gave
everyone who rode in the downpour an automatic bump to yesterday's

"I'm used to riding in the rain, so Saturday was no big deal for me,"
said Joe Lumbroso, 24, a former courier from Portland, Ore. "I just
wish the airline hadn't lost my tools."

Lumbroso didn't bother to replace his wrenches, pump and other
essential items, and was helpless after blowing a tire 10 minutes into
the race.

"It was disappointing, but I'm not sorry I came," he said. "I met a lot
of great people. The messenger community is a really tight subculture."

It's a cocky, grungy world of piercings, tattoos and the ability to zip
through the city like a bolt of lightning, said Isaac Adams, 24, a
courier from West Philadelphia who helped organize yesterday's race.

Couriers prefer fixed-gear bikes with no brakes instead of street
racers with several speeds.

"You can't fake it," Adams said. "If you can't ride, if you don't have
the look and the attitude, then you will stand out as a phony."

Only two riders were able to deliver all five packages within the
allotted time. The winner, Austin Horse, didn't necessarily fit the
courier mold.

Unlike several riders, who wore T-shirts, cut-off shorts and sneakers,
Horse, 24, was decked out in cycling gear and sported a 20-speed bike.

He rode down for the race from his home in the Lower East Side of
Manhattan, where he works as a messenger during the day and delivers
food at night.

Horse, who has no tattoos, isn't against body art. But making a living
as a courier, it's a matter of economics.

"Good tattoos cost a lot of money," he said. "If I have $100 to spend,
I would rather put it toward some food or something more important,
like a date."

Global Gutz

Global Gutz is a worldwide alleycat race that takes place simultaneously in various cities all over the world. Each city organizes their own alleycat with 5 check points and a total course distance of 21km or 13 miles.

This years race is September 9th, 2006.

Here is the main website for global gutz

Toronto is partipating in the race and trying to raise money to send their local messengers to Australia for the Championships in October.

They are having raffle and tickets can be bought on-line here.

Back from NACCC

Just got back from the North American Cycle Courier Championships in Philadelphia. They really put on a great event there and I got to hang out with messengers from all over Canada and America. Much, much more to come.