Monday, August 20, 2007

Staten Island Invasion

Once again, bike blog has been asleep, or out of town or both. Lots of family obligations, weddings, and we celebrated our one year anniversary. I guess we'll go for 2, maybe even try and make some new bikers!!

This weekend was the 3rd race of the 5 borough generals series. The mission: Survive Staten Island.

Here are the results:

Top 10:
1. Staten Island Pete Lang
2. Jersey Dan
2. Dan Beyer (S.I.N.Y. ... SUUUUU represent!)
4. Crihs Shirc
5. Shisaku
6. Josh Wright (Boston)
7. Kate Freitag (S.I.N.Y.)
8. Niki Yoshi
9. Ari Kramer
10. Michael Shick

Top Women's:
1. Annie N
2. Peaches

Top of the Hills:
1. Josh Wright
2. Prentiss
2. Jersey Dan
4. Shusaku
5. Crihs Shirc

Cavalry Honors:
1. Pablo
2. Josh Wright
3. Dave August
4. Lucas Koehler
5. Brantley Archer

The race garned the attention of the NY TImes and they placed this article:

A Bike Race With a Mission, Plus Cigarettes

Racers competing in the Staten Island Invasion on Saturday. (Looks like Izumi and Pablo) Photo by: Oscar Hildago/NYTimes

Published: August 20, 2007
So how do a bunch of bike messengers and their friends unwind on a weekend afternoon? With a bike man’s holiday — a grueling race that substituted the claustrophobic corridors of Manhattan with the wide, steep boulevards of Staten Island.

Shortly before 3:30 p.m. Saturday, about 40 men and women on bicycles pedaled through the parking lot of the Staten Island Ferry terminal, having just received the day’s orders from two long-haired men drinking from tall cans of Budweiser.

The competitors had a deadline and a mission: Get their manifests signed or stamped at various spots around the island. “Real bike racing is a rich man’s sport,” said Mike Dee, a messenger and an organizer of the race, called the Staten Island Invasion. “This is like the bike race for the rest of us — people who like to drink a beer in the mornings.”

It was the kind of race for which Pete Lang, a 25-year-old messenger, warmed up by smoking a cigarette. There was no set course, just a starting place, a finish line and about 20 checkpoints in between.

The race was designed to replicate the daily work of a messenger, with each racer using his or her speed, reflexes and instincts to find the fastest route from one checkpoint to the other, get the manifest signed and do it all as quickly as possible. This was a high-thrills, low-reward affair: a two-and-a-half-hour scramble, with the winner pedaling home not with tons of cash but with a few hard-earned points and a bag of goodies.

The Staten Island Invasion was a type of race known as an “alleycat,” a high-speed scavenger hunt that has become popular among messengers and bike enthusiasts around the country. Alleycats are like marathons for the anti-marathon set, for those who prefer showing off their tattoos instead of their spandex.

Saturday’s race was the third installment of a citywide alleycat series called 5 Boro Generals. Nearly 100 cyclists competed in the Bronx in June, and about 70 took part in the Manhattan race in July. The winner of the series — the one with the most overall points — will be awarded a custom-built bike and other prizes provided by race sponsors.

On Saturday, racers were instructed to show up at the Whitehall ferry terminal in Lower Manhattan at 1300 hours (1 p.m.). The series has a military theme — the poster art for the Staten Island race featured a Navy Seals-style commando on a bicycle holding a machine gun, and Mr. Dee was dressed in camouflage in the role of drill sergeant.

The competitors were former and current bike messengers and avid cyclists, most of them New Yorkers but a few from out of town. They paid the $10 registration fee, were handed their manifests and sat outside the terminal in groups, plotting their routes as they waited for the ferry.

Many of the riders had never been to Staten Island, and the manifest was filled with hard-to-find places.

Nick Katehis, 29, a former bike messenger and a race organizer, said the Staten Island competition posed numerous challenges, including hilly streets and less-than-friendly motorists. “Manhattan is basically as bike-friendly as you can get,” he said. “You come up to Staten Island, and it’s basically hostile.”

The winner was Mr. Lang. He might have had an advantage — he’s from Staten Island

Special shout out to the new bike shop in town and Jeff Underwood (owner) Continuum Cycles 199 Ave B, between 12th and 13th street. Jeff hosted the pre-registration party for the S.I. Invasion.

the next mission is Sept. 15. Queens Riot.


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