Saturday, July 28, 2007

The city has permit fever.

So what the hell is going on? I've been in NYC for 16 years. I've made my living in Film and video production from renegade street documentaries to high budget HBO projects that take up all the parking and shine bright lights in your windows. Despite the rampant gentrification which is making our city into a generic overpriced wasteland of ugly glass buildings and corporate chain stores...NYC is still a place for artists. Its that vibrant cross pollination of big creative dreams and those daring enough to create projects and have people even more daring to be in them. Now that the police have taken upon themselves to define what a parade is and make everyone get a permit...the city has permit fever.

If you want a good example of how permits are given out and then the next minute denied...take a look at this example of a rap show in a South Bronx community garden.

One minute the police give you a permit for sound, the next..."ah we don't feel like it"...take it away.

One minute you want to have a huge demonstration in Central Park, "Nope, sorry, we don't want to damage the grass."

Again I ask, you what is going on? New York City should be a shining example of a thriving cutting edge artists community, making art, making film and being FREE. After all the terrorists hate our freedom right? Well now they can laugh at how UNFREE we really are.

Hmmmm. So if you think that the debate on permits only apply to those trying to create trouble or stage demonstrations; or if you think that these issues have a short life and won't spread to all areas of our existance...GUESS AGAIN.

When you get bitten by the permit get the permit fever.

So now the Mayor's Office of Film and Television wants you to get a permit if 2 or more people are shooting. This means, Photographers, cameramen, film crews, performance art and guess what? THOSE WHO DOCUMENT PROTESTS. You know like when cops shoot people 50 times or when they start a riot in a park or when they tackle people off their bikes or when the take all the bikes on 6th street or when they mace you for documenting them macing you.

Here is what is going on...A new group picture ny has formed to oppose new permit regulations by the Mayor's office of film and tv

The group:

Picture New York is an ad hoc coalition of working artists, filmmakers, and photographers who’ve joined together to fight the proposed rules. These rules can be seen not only as a blow against New York as a place that welcomes and inspires art-making and documentation, but are part of a broader continuum of attacks against civil liberties and free expression.

Here is an article in the NYTimes explaining more about what is going on...

Picturing Protest, Artists Organize to Fight Camera Permit Proposal

Published: July 28, 2007

Beka Economopoulos wields a cardboard prop modeled on a 16-millimeter Bolex camera, which is to be used in a demonstration.

Article: As the city considers rule changes that would require a permit to photograph and film in public places, a coalition of filmmakers and photographers is mobilizing a campaign against the rules by using the very medium they believe the regulations would constrict.

Members of a newly formed advocacy group called Picture New York gathered recently at a gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to harness their creative skills to express their opposition to the rules by planning demonstrations, including one that was set to take place yesterday in Union Square. The public comment period ends next Friday.

(read the article in the Times)

The new rules: (from an email by Independent Spirit award wining filmmaker Jem Cohen)

"The Mayor’s Office of Theater, Film, and Broadcasting, which coordinates film and television production and issues permits around the five boroughs, is considering rules that could potentially severely restrict the ability of even amateur photographers and filmmakers to operate in New York City. The NY Times reports that the city’s tentative rules include requiring any group of two or more people who want to use a camera in a single public location for more than a half hour (including setup and breakdown time) to get a city permit and $1 million in liability insurance. The regulation would also apply to any group of five or more people who would be using a tripod for more than ten minutes, including setup and breakdown time. -(Excerpted from the Gothamist)

The Mayor’s Office of Film deals primarily with big film shoots (ie. commercials, features, t.v.) where permits and insurance are, understandably, a given. However, many photographers and filmmakers carry on an equally vital tradition in which spontaneous documentation of the urban environment is at the very heart of our work. Being a street photographer often means standing in a random location and waiting: for the right activity, the right light, the break in the traffic; the countless other unpredictable factors that need to fall into place to make a shot worthwhile…Permits would have to be obtained for specific dates and times and exact locations, and the insurance would be out of reach for many individuals.

The fact is that we simply CANNOT predict where, when, and how long we are going to film or photograph; we CANNOT afford expensive liability insurance policies; we occasionally NEED to work with other people or to use tripods to support our gear. (The regulations would, for example, effectively rule out a great deal of time-lapse photography which depends on tripods and cannot possibly be done with time limitations of 10 to 30 minutes, as well as the use of large format still cameras and long lenses).

Especially in the current climate, official clarification of photographer’s rights could be a positive thing. (Many of us have been shut down by police or other authorities who do not seem to understand that we DO have rights to film and photograph in public places). That said, if these regulations go through, it would invite if not require police to harass or shut down both professional artists and amateurs.

Unfortunately, we believe we must see the proposed regulations not only as a blow against New York as a city that welcomes and inspires art-making (and historical documentation), but as part of a continuum of broader attacks against civil liberties and free expression."

So if these new rules offend you and if you think this is not a priority right now when our 100 year old infrastructure is crumpling at our feet with steam pipes randomly exploding in midtown, killing people...I suggest taking action.

The Picture NY website is making it easy to get involved and voice your opinion.

More on the Demonstration in Union Square and critical mass to come...

Friday, July 27, 2007

Time's Up seeks two volunteer video people

"For over 15 years the TIME'S UP! Video Collective has been documenting positive, environmental and sustainable solutions that have affected our communities. We also have been documenting negative, destructive behavior by corporations and the police.

Video documentation has been essential in our legal cases, assisting lawyers and proving points to judges and politicians. TIME'S UP! video footage has been used in many documentaries and is also vital to press outlets. The TIME'S UP! Video Collective has also produced many videos that have been distributed on websites such as TIME'S UP!, The Glass Bead Collective, Google Video and Utube and aired on the Manhattan Neighborhood Network."

1) Video Collective Co-ordinator of Development
Do you believe in the power of video activism but don't have a camera or know how to edit?

The TIME'S UP! Video Collective is in need of a Co-ordinator of Development. This person will administer our MNN (Manhattan Neighborhood Network) grant and assist in researching other funding opportunities to keep us going.

This is a very important position that does not require a huge amount of work, however does require a little work spread over time. The job will require attendance at our monthly meetings, which take place on the Tuesday before each critical mass bike ride as well as communication with collective members and MNN.

The position doesn't require any particular skills…just good organizing, the ability to write clearly, and access to a computer. If you are interested, you could also learn to shoot video and edit though you don't have to.

2) Editor
We are constantly in need of editors to edit the countless hours of footage we shoot. This is a very self-directed position- work on projects that interest you.

All levels welcome. You don't have to be a pro.

If you are interested in helping out this very important collective please contact Sarah at
See you at Union Square this evening.
917 685 1204

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Critical Mass and Reverend Billy

Last month, Reverend Billy got arrested at the start of NYC critical mass in Union Square. The Reverend made the mistake of exercising his consitutional rights of free speech. Tisk tisk. The NYPD were in no mood for someone to think they could go around reciting the first amendment. shesh, what was he thinking...Doesn't he know the police have no tolerance for this kind of behavior, especially when they have lots of bike riders to arrest and ticket.

This Friday is the NYC critical Mass and the Reverend is back with a vengeance.

Friday, July 27
Festival, 6:30 p.m.
Critical Mass, 7 p.m.
Union Square Park North

The people of New York have to protect and honor the First Amendment. This city already has laws against dancing, now we are facing noise ordinances, new regulations regarding film and photography and the demon parade and assembly laws that make constitutionally protected dissent almost impossible. All of these laws give the NYPD tremendous latitude for discretionary enforcement.
Come to the North Side of Union Square at 6:30 with or without a bicycle. The Stop Shopping Choir will be there to sing and Reverend Billy has been working on a hot sermon since the NYPD took him to the Tombs on June 29th.
Critical Mass is a monthly celebration of bicycles and other nonpolluting means of transportation, exercising our right to the road. Critical Mass is a movement, not an organization; no two riders participate for exactly the same reason. New York City's first Critical Mass was in 1993.

We would love to see the tall bike out there so this is a call out to Black Label and Chunk 666. Come one come all to Union Square and stand up for your rights.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Op-ed from NY TIMES on the bicycle vs congestion pricing.

Here is an Op-Ed in today's NYTimes written by David Haskell of the NY Bike share project. Last week David, set up an experiment resembling a program which is being implemented in Paris, France to make bicycles available for rental.

(a related article in the NYTimes following this posting)

The Path of Least Congestion
Published: July 18, 2007

CONGESTION pricing came to a halt after a head-on collision with Albany on Monday. The New York State Senate decided not to take up Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s plan to charge a fee to drivers entering the busiest parts of Manhattan, causing New York City to miss a deadline to apply for federal financing that would have been essential for the program.

Now what?

If Mr. Bloomberg is serious about reducing automobile congestion and carbon emissions, he has two options: discourage car trips, or encourage other trips. To date, he has embraced the first of these two solutions. What’s more, he has very specifically modeled his vision for New York’s future on London, where a congestion pricing plan has operated for several years.

But now the prospects of adopting a London-style plan look bleak. If it turns out that New Yorkers are not yet prepared to embrace congestion pricing, and if Albany remains its intransigent self, Mr. Bloomberg should get over his fascination with London — and look instead at what’s happening in Paris.

Last week, Bertrand Delanoë, Paris’s maverick and popular mayor, introduced the world’s largest and most ambitious bike-share program: 10,600 bikes (scaling up to 20,600 by the end of the year) available at 750 “docking stations” situated every 1,000 feet. With a swipe of a credit card and a modest fee, Parisians (and tourists) can now pick up or drop off a bike in any neighborhood in the city. Riders no longer need to worry about storing their bikes in tiny apartments. The program’s high-tech stations make theft virtually impossible. And with about twice as many bike stations as Métro stops, a free bike is pretty much always within reach.

New York’s subways and buses are already at capacity, and as we prepare to add one million new residents by 2030, our existing mass transit will require improvements that will take years (if not generations) to put in place. Mr. Bloomberg has fewer than 1,000 days left as mayor. His best chance at securing an environmentalist legacy is to embrace bike-sharing.

Sure, the mayor could start with a small and inexpensive bike-share program as early as next summer (say, on Governors Island). But really, what’s that going to achieve? Shouldn’t our mayor, a man who is supposed to be above politics, act more boldly? Once the Paris program demonstrates that bike-sharing can get people out of their cars and off the transit grid, Mr. Bloomberg should grab a page from the Parisian playbook and transform New York into the most bike-friendly metropolis in America.

Take Manhattan south of 86th Street (the exact parameters of the proposed congestion pricing zone). Imagine introducing 10,000 bikes, with stations at every avenue and every four streets. Now imagine taking a bike, at virtually no cost, from the Metropolitan Museum to the Metropolitan Opera, from Union Square to Chelsea Piers, from the Upper East Side to Wall Street, or from Times Square to Battery Park City.

Even a program as extensive as this would be much less expensive than any other transportation alternative on the table. One industry expert suggests that the cost to manufacture, install and maintain a program for 10 years comes to about $8,000 a bike. The program described above would cost New York about $8 million a year (which could be reduced depending on whether the city would be willing to allow advertising on the bicycles). In perspective: that’s a minuscule fraction of the estimated $2.1 billion cost of the 7 line subway extension now under way.

Keep in mind, too, that New York City travel is uniquely suited to such a program: most automobile trips in the city are under five miles, well within reach of even out-of-shape New Yorkers.

Of course, if New York were to add thousands of bikes to its streets, it would also need to create hundreds of new bike lanes. But this is not a financial or engineering challenge — just a political one. All that’s needed is to reallocate one automobile lane on each avenue and most cross-town streets, and the mayor can do that without having to win Albany’s approval.

For a mayor whose disdain for cars is already on record — and an administration already committed to adding new bike lanes — this shouldn’t be any more daring to introduce than congestion pricing.

Last week, I organized an experimental bike-share program in SoHo, with the Storefront for Art and Architecture. We offered free, 30-minute bike rentals to any adult with valid identification. Over five days, hundreds of people expressed their support. These weren’t just cycling activists — in fact, the most excitement came from people who didn’t even own bikes because they couldn’t stand the hassle of trying to store one in the city.

This small experiment seemed to me to be a clear sign that the ridership for a bike-share program is ready and waiting; all that’s needed is some mayoral leadership. With the London model all but dead, Mr. Bloomberg would do well to pay a visit to Paris.

One thing to keep in mind is David's program was sponsered by Clear Channel which brings up the question, can a program like this exist and be sucessful without advertising dollars. How much are we willing to loose form corporations who pollute our mental space in order to reduce pollution? Clear Channel is the type of corporation with a political agenda which supports the Bush administration and his war agenda and seeks to destroy the important diversity of our airwaves. In all the debate about reducing emissions in NYC and decreasing the effects of global warming and bad quality air, nothing is done in the world of advertising. Such things as Hummers, double decker busses, fleets of motorcycles, roving billboards and those vehicles from resturaunts like Jeckell and Hydes do nothihng but pollute and serve no other purpose but to advertise. Is any of this necessary? The program in Paris is extremely positive but also made possible by advertising kiosks. I don't want to be one of those people that just points out the negative aspects of a good merited program but this should be part of the debate.
Paris Journal
A New French Revolution’s Creed: Let Them Ride Bikes
Published: July 16, 2007

PARIS, July 15 — About a dozen sweaty people pedaled bicycles up the Champs-Élysées on Sunday toward the Arc de Triomphe, as onlookers cheered.

hese were not the leading riders of the Tour de France racing toward the finish line, but American tourists testing this city’s new communal bike program.

“I’m never taking the subway again,” said a beaming Justin Hill, 47, a real estate broker from Santa Barbara, Calif.

More than 10,600 of the hefty gray bicycles became available for modest rental prices on Sunday at 750 self-service docking
stations that provide access in eight languages. The number is to grow to 20,600 by the end of the year.

The program, Vélib (for “vélo,” bicycle, and “liberté,” freedom), is the latest in a string of European efforts to reduce the number of cars in city centers and give people incentives to choose more eco-friendly modes of transport.

“This is about revolutionizing urban culture,” said Pierre Aidenbaum, mayor of Paris’s trendy third district, which opened 15 docking stations on Sunday. “For a long time cars were associated with freedom of movement and flexibility. What we want to show people is that in many ways bicycles fulfill this role much more today.”

Users can rent a bike online or at any of the stations, using a credit or debit card and leave them at any other station.

A one-day pass costs 1 euro ($1.38), a weekly pass 5 euros ($6.90) and a yearly subscription 29 euros ($40), with no additional charges as long as each bike ride does not exceed 30 minutes. (Beyond that, there is an incremental surcharge, to make sure that as many bikes as possible stay in the rotation.)

The outdoor advertising company J. C. Decaux is paying for the bicycles, docking stations and maintenance in return for exclusive use of 1,628 urban billboards owned by the city. The city receives the rental income, and city officials say they are hoping the program will bring in millions of euros.

Vélib is the brainchild of Mayor Bertrand Delanoë, a Socialist and longtime green campaigner who has set a target for the city to reduce car traffic by 40 percent by 2020. Since he took office in 2001, his administration has added about 125 miles of bicycle paths, at the expense of lanes for cars, prompting accusations from drivers that it has aggravated congestion in the city.

But even the most hardened cyclists still try to avoid some parts of Paris. The Champs-Élysées is not for the faint-hearted. The police have so far refused to grant a permit for a cycle lane along the avenue, fearing hopeless congestion on this main traffic artery.

Jean-Luc Dumesnil, who is an adviser in City Hall on cycling policy, said that while the number of bicycles on the streets increased by 50 percent in the last six years, the number of cycling accidents remained stable.

“It’s the cycling paths, but it’s also a question of critical mass,” Mr. Dumesnil said. “The more bikes there are, the more car drivers get used to them and the more care they take.”

Still, only about 40,000 of the 2.5 million Parisians say they use their bicycles regularly. Mr. Delanoë would like to raise that number to 250,000 by the end of the year.

City Hall is hoping to draw on the experience of smaller-scale rental programs in other cities like Berlin and Stockholm to address concerns about theft and financial viability that ended an experimental program in Amsterdam in the 1960s.

The key, Mr. Aidenbaum said, is to make it easy. “What this initiative does is to take away some of the inconveniences of owning a bike in Paris,” he said, “the lack of storage space in Paris buildings, the issue of theft and the hassle of maintenance.”

First indications are positive. Even before the docking stations opened, 13,000 people had bought annual subscriptions online. On Sunday, some docking stations were so popular that they temporarily ran out of bikes.

Denis Bocquet, 37, an urban planner who divides his time between Paris and Berlin, had to wait in line before renting a bike with his partner, Nora Lafi. From now on, he said, he would use the Vélib to go to work during his stints in Paris.

“It used to be stressful and dangerous to cycle in Paris, but the city has changed, and this could change it even more,” Mr. Bocquet said.

Some residents are skeptical about how long the shiny new fleet of rental bikes will survive unscathed. “There is a lot of gratuitous vandalism that could harm this initiative in this area,” said Marylise Dutoit, 37, a primary school teacher.

But she said she would try to use it to go work every day because it would reduce her 20-minute Métro commute to 10 minutes.

By 2:30, Mr. Hill, his wife, Megan, and their two teenagers were at the Arc de Triomphe, on their third set of bicycles.

“But when we’re done here we might get one more bike to go back to the hotel and swing by the Eiffel Tower on the way,” Ms. Hill said as her son Tommy, 17, rolled his eyes. “This is fun. I never realized Paris was so small!”

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

City wide biking initiative in Paris.

July 15th, a day after the French Revolution anniversary, Paris will launch a program with over 10,000 rentable bicycles making it the first city of its kind to have a cheap set of emission free wheels no more thn 900 feet away.

So while we here in NYC try to figure out how to tax people for driving with Bloomberg's congestion pricing, Paris does the logical thing and provides people another way of getting around...the bicycle.

No surprise there, just check out Michael Moore's new documentary, "Sicko" and see how advanced France is in caring for people instead of trying to find ways to make profit.

article from the Christian Science Monitor

French revolution: Rentable bikes every 900 feet
By Robert Marquand, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

Paris - The socialist mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, has seen the future and it's got two wheels, three speeds, an adjustable seat, indestructible tires, a basket, and a bell. It's 50 pounds of ecofriendly handlebars, comin' at ya.

The French are turning Paris into a bicycle zone, pretty much overnight. Even now, astride small alleys and behind boulangeries, paving stones are being ripped to fit 750 bicycle rent "stations."

On July 15, a day after the French Revolution anniversary, the city of lights will kick off a "vélorution" with 10,648 rentable bikes, or vélos. By January, some 1,400 rent stations and 20,600 bikes are scheduled to be in place. In Paris proper, one will never be more than 900 feet from a set of cheap wheels. At least theoretically.
Similar programs have been launched elsewhere with varying success. But Paris officials say their city is the first world capital to adopt a major green biking initiative, and they are doing it in a way that may be too big to fail. The ambitious Paris project is titled Vélib' – wordplay for bicycle freedom. Read: freedom from too many cars and carbon fumes.

"When I first got involved with Vélib, I was amazed at the number of stations, 750 to start with, and the enthusiasm of everyone for reducing auto traffic," says Jonathan Pierson, a Paris native who's part of a team of young Parisians hosting questions at Vélib stations during the day.

Amsterdam, a city not unfamiliar with bikes, tried a similar experiment that foundered. But the French think they've conquered the kinks. A bike-rental program started in Lyon in 2005 is working.

One clincher for the Paris project: Vélib isn't costing the city anything, and should be self-supporting. The program is financed by advertising behemoth JC Decaux – in exchange for 1,600 billboards around the city.

The concept is computerized and credit card driven. Each station has a large ATM-sized panel that gives instructions in French, German, English, and Chinese. Riders buy in for a day (1 rules), a week (5 rules), or a year (29 euro). The panel issues a card that can be swiped over a small locking pod to release the bike.

It is also a concept designed mainly for commuters, not tourists seeking a languid ride along the Seine. Riders have 30 minutes to get to their destination before any charge is made. After 30 minutes, the cost is 1 euro ($1.36). The bike is 2 rules for 1.5 hours, and 4 euro for 2 hours. "We hope each bike is used 10 to 14 times a day," says Pierson, who notes that the stations are open 24/7.

A rider who arrives to find no locking pods available, checks in, and is given another free 15 minutes and directions to the closest space. Need to stop for a baguette? The bike has a lock.

Yet there's also some personal responsibility tied up with bicycle freedom. To avoid problems found in Lyon – nearly half of its 1,000 bikes disappeared or were destroyed in the first year – initial membership in the Paris program puts a 150 euros hold on the credit card. People are charged for bikes that aren't returned, placing an emphasis on rider care and oversight. Should a bike not be returned, an alarm inside the bike will go off.

Today, Lyon's program seems to have lost its training wheels; it now has 4,000 bikes that get ridden 20,000 times a day, more than 40 percent of which are used by office workers.

Paris officials hope to register 200,000 rides a day. Perhaps one can amend Ezra Pound's famous 1913 modernist reflection on the Paris metro: "...faces in the crowd/petals on a wet black bough" to "pedals on a silver-grey vélo."

Not that Parisians won't have to adjust. The French are fond of the idea of civilization and the vision of a city suffused with bike commuters is a humanist heaven. The problem is that Paris streets are Darwinist by nature. The 19th-century avenues are host to 21st-century traffic. The bulk of movement is not by vélos, but by Jurassic Park-like véloceraptors – aggressive autos and packs of even more aggressive motorscooters that tunnel through and sweep around car lanes and backed-up traffic.

City fathers and mothers argue that Parisian drivers will simply start to adjust. Such is the faith.

In the past two years, Paris has created larger zones for bikes, buses, and taxis. But there's no history of bike helmet wearing. Paris commuters in the morning and evening aren't particularly patient, and bike stations only have one sign-up panel. Some Parisians question the vélo station courtesy levels late at night, when students and partygoers want to get home.

For all the Tour de France glam and a general rise in bicycle culture in France, Paris has not been a bike town. A rising tide of bikers, though, are notorious for riding on sidewalks, ignoring traffic signals, and biking the wrong way on all those one-way streets.

Ann-Marie Fouchet of the Geppeto Vélo bike shop on the Left Bank feels the program "is good as a way to establish biking in Paris." But she says that Parisians are not used to dealing with bikes on the road. Every Friday evening about 500 bikers join for a tour of the city, during which "cars aren't always courteous and the bikers are not always knowing how to deal with them," Ms. Fouchet says.

Another niggling factor amid the revolutionary fervor: parking. Parisians may like the idea of bike heaven, but few want their already crowded parking spaces absconded. To the barricades!

Albert Asseraf, director of marketing at Decaux, says that the bike project is so broad that after July 15, 2007, Parisians will refer to "before Vélib, and after Vélib."

Ok. Vive le vélo!

slide show of upcoming program from yahoo

This program is being experimented in NYC until Tomorrow...check the earlier posting.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Pictures of "Hey Riders" in Baltimore

June 23rd was an alleycat in Baltimore...Hey Riders...check out some pictures...
John Prolly's flickr set

What has floppy ears and flys...

Its a cool hipster neighborhood and a cuddly character from Disney...and its an alleycat race.

Critical mass...another one missed

So I missed another Critical Mass and am embarassed to be reporting on this now...

June's Critical Mass was meet with the same repression...tons of cops occupying union square, videotaping the 100 or so participants of the ride.

Street preformer Reverend Billy decided to lend a hand by reciting the first amendment in Union Square:

Here is a bit of what happened-

New York, NY (July 2, 2007) - On Friday, June 29, the NYPD arrested and
detained Reverend Billy, also known as Bill Talen, for reciting the First
Amendment in Union Square. Talen was charged with two counts of harassment
in the second degree and held overnight in The Tombs. The police were
gathered in force at Union Square in preparation for the monthly bicycle
ride known as Critical Mass, which draws attention to environmental issues
and bicycle safety.

here is a video of the arrest from the Glass Bead Collective:

Apparently despite the ridiculous arrest for someone speaking in public...50-75 managed to form a critical mass and ride around NYC, cop free.

Yes my friends, this is what it has come down to.

Article in Time Magazine on Biking's popularity

Breaking Away
Thursday, Jun. 28, 2007 By DAN KADLEC
Recreational cycling appears to have peaked in the U.S., its popularity cresting sometime during Lance Armstrong's record runs at the Tour de France. But as the sport has lost enthusiasts overall, a surprising demographic has stuck around and even begun to dominate the trails and bike paths of the U.S., if not yet the world: retirees and near retiree.
eople ages 45 to 64 account for 20% of all those over age 7 who rode a bike at least six times last year, according to the National Sporting Goods Association. That's up from 13% a decade ago. Yes, this age bracket is expanding as a percentage of the overall population, but demographics can't tell the whole story. After all, golf--the quintessential 50-plus sport--is moving in reverse, at least in some respects. Last year, for the first time in 60 years, more golf courses shut down than started up, and the number of frequent golfers declined.
The appeal of cycling is most pronounced among the youngest baby boomers (ages 45 to 54), who are also tackling other vigorous leisure activities including hiking and running marathons. Such pursuits embody the active later lifestyle that much of the boomer generation has come to adopt, and which has been embraced as the ad media's new image of older Americans at leisure. Certainly, semi-seniors wake up the morning after a vigorous outing with more aches and pains than they had in their 20s, but the physical benefits exceed the cost. Regular exercise lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, keeps weight down and improves mental outlook. This is all good news.
Yet there is more at work in the biking trend than a desire to stay fit. Armstrong's string of wins starting in 1999 might have made cycling cool, and health concerns might have made it smart, but technology made it accessible. If you've been eager to take up the sport but are put off by the discomfort of a traditional bicycle, take another look. Many of today's models come with bigger seats and higher handlebars--easing the strain on bottoms and backs--and even automatic gear shifting. Features like these have helped create a whole new line of bikes, known as hybrid or comfort, the latter word particularly appealing to older riders. The very hottest part of the market is road bikes, which also appeal to boomers who may be giving up on yesterday's phenomenon--less comfortable mountain bikes, a category in which sales have tailed off dramatically.
With its grayish skew, could cycling become the new golf? A number of things suggest it already is. Stories increasingly surface of businesspeople cutting deals or doctors swapping medical techniques while on a ride, as opposed to the fourth tee. Early this month, at a gathering of the Neurosurgical Society of America in Kohler, Wis., the docs for the first time had the option of skipping an afternoon on the links and instead going for a group ride--and at least 20 signed up.
The Kohler outing was put together by Trek Travel which arranges cycling events around the world and is benefiting from the graying of the sport; 85% of its clients are ages 45 to 60. "There's been a huge upswing in our group-travel business," says sales manager Michael Meholic.
While plenty of Trek Travel's trips are for business groups, the majority are still for folks taking up the sport as a means of maintaining or establishing social groups and staying connected with kids and grandkids. Among the top trends in cycling-related travel are programs that include children, says Cari Gray, a spokeswoman for Butterfield & Robinson which arranges cycling trips around the world. Gray says clients value intimacy with the countryside, which you can't get on a tour bus, as well as the personal time they get with loved ones.
But that doesn't mean boomers aren't serious cyclers. "People have epiphanies on our trips all the time--climbing a hill they thought they couldn't or going farther than they thought they could," says Gray. B&R clients are mostly 45-plus, and she says they are far better riders today than the firm's clients were 10 years ago. "Boomers are different," she says. "They want more from their vacation than a hangover and a tan."

Bike share in NYC July 7th-11th

In this week's TimeOut NY, the "How Green are You?" issue...or in other words..."what Green products can you buy..." is an article on an experiment being conducted in NYC about "bicycle sharing"


Pedal pushers
Urban planners see European-style bike sharing in Gotham’s future.
by: — Daniel Derouchie

A lot of New Yorkers bike, and more probably would (especially in hard-to-reach parts of town), if only they didn’t actually have to, you know, own a bicycle. Luckily, the Forum for Urban Design just might have the answer. Saturday 7 through Wednesday 11, they’re teaming up with the Storefront for Art and Architecture to conduct an innovative study called the New York Bike Share Project. “The hope is to see how New Yorkers might use bikes for short trips,” says Forum executive director David Haskell, “if they were made readily available and free.”

During the project, 20 bikes will be available for pickup and drop-off at the Storefront on Kenmare Street and at a rotating series of spots that includes City Hall, Washington Square Park and Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn. Inside the Storefront gallery, a display of maps, pictures and literature will detail bike-sharing successes in eight European cities. The way it works over there is simple, according to Haskell: Bikes—usually no-frills, brightly painted and durable—are locked in racks until they are released, either by swiping a credit card or by sending a text message via cell phone. Since both methods are traceable, stealing a bike is difficult.

Currently, bike sharing appears most promising in areas with public transportation gaps, including parts of Williamsburg and Red Hook. But it could also relieve stress on overcrowded subway lines like the 6. “There are millions of minor trips that New Yorkers make every day,” explains Haskell. “The goal is to incentivize short trips.” Which may explain why the city of Paris offers the first 30 minutes free and the second half-hour for the equivalent of 50¢.

Haskell notes that New York is a long way from Paris, which is set to have 10,000 bikes and 750 stations by the end of summer. But the results of this study will help City Hall determine which model might work here and how best to implement it.

Nightly from 6 to 8pm, riders will also be able to offer comments and listen to presentations by city leaders and experts from the companies that manage these cycling systems. “Bottom line: Bike shares are cheap and easily implemented,” says Haskell. “And soon people will realize that we aren’t looking to limit anyone’s options. In fact, we’re giving them one that previously didn’t exist.”

For more info, go to

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Dance Party Ride this Saturday...

I know, Bikeblog has really slacked on his duties of informing the public of whats happening in the bike world...sorry, been busy with work.

So Saturday the 7th of July is an Alleycat race...7-7-07 (get it) more details on that soon. And there is The DANCE PARTY RIDE!

Here is info from Ryan...

hey hey hey

so, this summer i am leading rides for this cool bike group, FREEWHEELS.

the schedule
includes some rides to the beach, some historical tours, brooklyn farm
visits and one of my personal faves...the dance party ride.

it just so hapeens that this saturday is the infamous dance party
ride....i am now gonna try and tantalize you with some fun facts about
the night, hoping you'll jump on your bike and join us.

the ride is called the dance party ride because we end up at one of
brooklyn's best dance parties...First Saturday. First Saturday is the
Brooklyn Museum of Arts freebie activity. Starting at 5pm on the
first saturday of every month, the museum is free to enter and there
are tons of lectures, art activities, movies, and MUSIC. Each month
has a different musical theme, with performances from 5-830pm of local
musicians and then a dj dance party from 9-11pm. In the summer months
(unless it is raining) the dance party is outside under the stars.
(ooh la la).

this month--JULY-- the theme is Afro-Punk. Typically, there is a ton
of activities circling the general theme. They will be playing the
eddie murphy movie--coming to america--you can make a wood tile
mosaic, you can go to a feminist hip hop lecture, etc etc. typically,
the ride skips this stuff because it is to early to motivate. (for
full schedule see:
Brooklyn Museum

however, this is not a typical month. one of the early bird
activities is a performance by CIRCUS AMOK.
( From 5-7pm, they will be out in
the public plaza performing. Since they are not to be missed, anyone
who is interested should congregate at the museum during this time,
check out the circus, and then we will ride together to the 730pm
williamsburg bridge meet up.(probably leave the museum sometime
between 630 & 7).

then the fun will really start. we will hook up with freinds and
fellow bikers at the base of the Wiliamsburg Bridge. We usually kick
back from 730 to 8 as people arrive from all over Manhattan and
Brooklyn. The ride to the museum is fun...especially with lots of
people so bring your friends!! We wind our way through Hassid-land,
skirting the Navy Yard, and traveling up through the historic tree
lined streets of Fort Greene.

and then it's time for a dance party. this month we will be treated
by an Afro-Punk Festival with DJs CX Kidtronik and King Cole, and
bands The Exit and the Dragons of Zynth. we usually head for a spot
on the grass with a good view of the dance floor. set up a picnic
(feel free to bring something to eat, drink, and be merry with...i
highly recomend filling your bottles with a summer sangria or rum
punch) and then go dance.

anyways, its a good time and i hope you will join us.

Dance Party Ride:
***meet anytime from 5-7pm @ the Circus Amok performance in the public
plaza. (look for bikers. call 718 781 1195 if you are lost and cant
find us). Group will leave museum no later than 7pm.
***meet at the base of the Williamsburg bridge @ 730pm...on the wall
or over by the statue. look for a group of bikers. Ride will probably
leave @ 745-8pm.

Alrighty, feel free to forward this email to any of your friends with bikes.
The more the merrier. Yeah bike power!