Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Lucas Brunelle got fresh video up

So everyone's favorite helmet cameraman has some new video up on his website:

Check out alleycat races in: London, Stockholm and Mexico.

Now, Lucas is setting up races in foreign cities, just so he can shoot in exotic locations.

next it-Honolulu, January 6th through the 19th.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Skate and Race

Ice Skate and Alleycat race.

Bring toys for kids who need them.

Kidrobot, Zoo York and Cycle Hawk messengers
The Toys for Tots Race
December 22nd.

See Flyer for info:

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bike Thieves, Scum of the Earth

There has been a rash of bike theft in Williamsburg. Maybe Meth addiction is working its way to the East Coast in epic numbers.

Three people have had bikes and bike parts stolen.

1) this comes from trackstars website from December 4th.

"My friends Dan G. and Tamara's bikes were stolen out of the hallway of their apartment building last night around 10pm. Dan had a Redline Monocog 29er, it's black with red and yellow decals, and it had a walrus sticker on the front. Tamara had a Bianchi S.A.S.S. in chrome. If anyone has any information on either one of these bikes, or if a crackhead tries to sell them to you, please repo them back and contact us at 212.982.2553."

2) Bill Dozer of Mess Magazine,
got wheels robbed yesterday...

"bike was locked on South 4 between Bedford and Driggs. i was asking for it by not having the wheels locked, but i had put ball bearings in the allen nuts, thinking it was a good enough deterrent. guess not. this was between 12:30 and 2:00 pm today. The wheels are an aerospoke front and a black level laced with black spokes to a black deep v. not particularly identifiable on the face of it, but if you look for the bolt-on cog, it's unmistakable."

Be on the look-out. Don't by stolen bikes or bike parts.

Take NY1 snap poll

NY1 has set up a quick snap poll.

It asks people weather the city should focus on:

a) new and improved bike lanes
b) traffic enforcement
c) bike safety education.

unfortunatly there isn't D) all of the above.

or D)Public ridicule for NYPD wasting money on harassing cyclists. or D) Arrests for motorists killing cyclists and or investigating cause of death. D) car-free areas of NYC. D) tax incentives for people who ride bikes. D) free bike programs. D) paid research to address public health issues of pollution and benefits of cycling to work.

I just wish I could think of a few must be my short sightedness.

King Kog Holiday party

Everyone's Favorite bike shop, King Kog is having a party...December 20th.

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Bike Lane of Death

Xhris, of team spider made a video about yesterday's 'die-in' action.

The video is available at the teamspider blog.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

New Website is Launched...Ghostbikes.

A new site has been launched to explain those painted white bicycles which are parked all over the world.


Here is a little press about the site:

New York, NY (December 12, 2007) — A web site featuring ghost bike projects and locations has been launched by New York's Street Memorial Project to connect similar efforts around the world. By the end of 2007, 41 ghost bikes will have been installed in New York City. This year, there have been 23 deaths according to media reports. On the day the site will launch, a memorial ride honoring two cyclists who were killed in midtown in the past week will be held. Information about New York City's upcoming annual memorial ride for cyclists killed in 2007, scheduled for January 6, 2008, can be found on the web site.
The site,, is in an open source format that will allow groups and individuals in each city to maintain information on their memorials and events. Volunteers are contacting advocacy groups in other cities to encourage them to participate and add information about their ghost bike projects.
Ghost bikes are bicycles painted completely white that are placed near fatal crash sites accompanied by plaques to remember fallen cyclists. The first ghost bikes appeared in St. Louis in 2003, and they have since emerged in over 25 cities throughout the world. Ghost bikes were first installed in New York City in June 2005 to honor and remember cyclists killed on our city's streets and to draw attention to dangerous conditions for cyclists.
The Street Memorial Project was developed in 2007 to incorporate all the people involved in creating ghost bikes and to include pedestrian memorials. Through the project, volunteers work together to construct the memorials and organize memorial rides and walks to highlight the prevalent safety issues on our streets and remember those killed.

This site also contains videos from past memorials including this one which does an excellent job of illustrating the efforts being done in NYC.

I'm a little confused because there is also --Ghostbike with out the (s) I assume this is an older site with the same intentions.

Cyclist in Herald Square Stage a 'die-in.'

Members of Time's Up laid down in the streets on 6th Ave, near Herald Square to send a message to the city.

NY1 ran the story.

Bicyclist Rally For Safer Riding Conditions
December 12th, 2007

Bicyclist rallied in Manhattan Wednesday to call for safer riding conditions for bicyclists throughout the city.

Supporters are calling attention to the need for safer bike lanes, especially in areas with heavy traffic.

The group re-enacted the death of cyclist David Smith, who was killed last week when he was thrown from his bike, after a car door swung open into traffic.

"What we're here to try and do today is both honor someone who has passed, as well as ask the city to fulfill its promise to make this a bike-friendly city," said Benjamin Shepard, a volunteer with the activist group Times Up.

The group is asking for wider bike lanes, buffers around the lanes, and enforced traffic laws for motorists who violate areas meant for cyclists.

According to the website, there have been 23 cyclist killed in the city this year.

Bike Shorts

Get your submissions ready for the 2008 bike shorts.

Article in Metro section on Cyclists Killed.

Tonight is the memorial for two cyclists killed recently in Manhattan. Looks like one publication finally got it right in stating that one of the victims was hit by the car door and not that he intentionally ran himself into it. Just this morning on NPR it was the other way around, thus "blaming the victim." So much for that "Look" campaign. However, most of the press does report that the driver of the vehicle that "DOORED", Mr. Smith on 6th Ave. did recieve 3 violations. I doubt one of them was, "Failing to have your car door open so a cyclist could ride into it."

Here is the publication that got it right...

This article is in today's Metro, from reporter Amy Zimmer.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Memorial Ride...Wednesday for cyclists killed.

Memorial for David Smith & Franco Scorcia
Wed. Dec 12th. Meet Union Square North 7pm. Ride leaves @ 7:15pm.

7:30pm- Memorial for David Smith @ Sixth Ave & 36th St.

8:00- Memorial for Franco Scorcia @ Broadway & W40th St.

Monday, December 10, 2007

More Absurity.

One of my favorite NYC blogs has a new look.

Today, there is a posting about...
NYPD Slaps Hit And Run Victim With A Ticket For Not Having Bell On His Bike

it goes something like this...
"How do you add insult to injury? How about giving a ticket for a missing bell to a cyclists who has just been smashed up in a hit and run collision? That's exactly what NYPD Officer Torpey did, when he was flagged down by a dazed cyclist in the Bronx back in July."

Read more at OnNYturf

Hilarious, cause I just got a call from the NYPD wanting donations...ha ha ha.

So they can write more tickets for cyclists? Happy Holidays.

2007 Gift Guide for cyclists

Here is my holiday gift guide for cyclists:

First off if your gonna lay down some cash this season and go for the whole hog...why not get the biker in your life what they truely desire...a new bike.

Here are few of my favorite bike shops in town, not just for bikes but bike accessories as well.

Support your local bike shop...(not in any order)

1. King Kog -Gina runs a nice boutique in
Williamsburg Brooklyn, selling track frames, original fashion, bags, hats and
fixed gear parts. Oh yeah and cool wheels from Aerospoke. 38 Marcy Ave, Brooklyn NY. 11211. *646-327-2586
2. Track Star -Brad and his bike polo
crew have a fairly new space in Manhattan selling clothes, bikes and
style..231 Eldridge St. NYC 10002 *212-982-2553
3. the Bicycle Doctor Always been good to me and my bike, Alex has a shop on Grand Street. Bianchi bikes for sale and more. 133 Grand St. Brookyln, NY 11211 *718-302-3145

4. NYC BIKES Will put together a bike anyway you like, fixed, cruiser, singlespeed. Friendly service. 140 Havemeyer,
5. Continuum Cycles Website not up yet, but Jeff and his crew have a nice shop on Ave. B in Manhattan Velocity Nation did a nice little piece on them. They give discounts to NYC messengers, are involved in the scene and know there shit. 199 Ave. B.
6. Bike Works What can you say about Dave and Bike works...part shop, part bike museum, part biycle cultral archivist. Long running shop, great service and a real part of the community. 106 Ridge Street, NYC 10002 *212-388-1077
7. Recycle a Bicycle Bike shop and non-profit. RAB, is a program that teaches urban youth bicycle mechanics. The sell used bikes with all proceeds going to the program. By a bike and feel good about it too. Two bike shop locations: 35 Pearl Street in DUMBO brooklyn and 75 Ave. C. in Manhattan. They also have holiday gift certificates.
8. Bicycle Habitat Some of the RAB kids have gone one to be mechanics and sales people at this shop thats been in NYC for over 30 years. They sell bicycles, locks, and Ortleib messenger favorite. 244 Lafayette Street. *212-431-3315 Right now you can help with:
Please join us in supporting the 5000 Bikes Campaign for Project Zambia, a World Bicycle Relief program that provides bikes, spare parts and technical training for volunteer healthcare workers in this impoverished area. Donations can completely transform the life of the person who gets a bicycle and help contribute to Africa's recovery, too. Learn how you can help here.
9. City Bikes 315 west 35th St. New York, NY 10013 *toll free 866-520-4962.


B-bikes 262 Driggs ave Brooklyn ny 11222 (williamsburg)

and Franks Bike shop 553 Grand St. in the Lower East Side. (NYC)

For cool original cycling hats and gear check out:

courier all products made by messengers and former messengers with urban bikers in mind.

for Chuey Brand, also sold at KingKog...check out the myspace page.

Then who could forget the awesome utility belts of Carrie Collins over at Fabrichorse.

Other gift ideas:
Amy Bolger made a photo book this year documenting 10 years of all alleycat racing...
available for $20.00 at Cycle Hawk

Magazine Subscription to Urban Velo magazine. 6 issues for $18.00 to get a great zine on bike culture from Brad and Jeff in Pittsburgh. (From the November issue, I got a lot of these ideas)

Bike Magazine is also a great culture source, mostly for downhill racing and MT bikes, but they do good stories on great biking events like the bicycle film festival and messenger races.

If you are going to get someone a bike this year, consider these
Bicycle makers:

1) Speedgoat
2) Johnny Coast (brooklyn)
3) A.N.T. (MA)
4) Jacob bicycles (Boston)
5) Affinity Cycles (brooklyn) Track and road frames
6) Villian cycles (Florida)
7) Bilenky awesome Tandems and cargo bikes.
8) Geek house
9) Brooklyn Machine works
10) Ahren bicycles
11) Independent Fabrications (MA) expensive but custom made, one-of a kind and made in the USA.

More gear:

Bike lights make great gifts:

Heres one powered by the bicycle... reel light
knog makes amazing led lights for bicycles, available at most bike shops and they come in lots of different colors.

How bout a flask for the bike:

Ahearne cycles who also makes bike frames in Portland, makes this beautiful engraved flask and holder.

or a Titanium 15mm wrench and bottle opener from paragon Machine works only $24.00 what a great gift.

Bike seats from somafab
Bike Knickers at Swrve cycling
Wool knickers great for winter.

How bout frame pads:
made in LA.

More cool clothes at:

laek house

and, now this is great...

zapin the cars baby... analog forest

Cool fashions and frame pads from:
ghost ship

2 people I wanted to give special props too:

(not necessarily bike related, but you'll look cool on your bike in their threads)

headhoods awesome hoodies, made in Brooklyn.


Great t-shirts at Busted Tees

More gift ideas coming, including all the hot messenger bag makers...stay tuned.

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Video of Santacon

Chris of Team Spider cut together some of the exploits of SANTA from Saturday.

***Warning*** This video contains drinking, disorderly conduct and lots of images of Santa being Naughty! Kids who are told fairy tales in order to buy lots of toys made in china by other kids may not want to look at this blog posting.

This video also contains new music from Team Spider

OOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW! (wolf cry) Nice job Chris and such quick turnaround.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Another tragic death.

I just sent in my "violation," that the NYPD gave me for, "Not riding in the bike lane." The one I got on the night of critical mass about 4 blocks from Union Square that I'm sure had nothing to do with the 3 year battle of NYPD vs the mass.

I'm telling you all this because I want your sympathy or so one of my loyal readers seems to think. I'm just glad the officer, I mean bikeblog fan, was able to read the whole posting and take time out to make nice comments about my sick wife. Freedom of speech right, and very constructive to the issues at hand.

So apparently if you end up riding in a bike lane, you can also die. Such as what happened to a 63 year old man on Wednesday.

Streetsblog has the story titled:

"Cyclist Doored, Killed by Truck in Midtown"

Read how the press claimed the man ran into a car door. Kind of like Sean Bell accidentally got in the way of 50 bullets from a drunk cops gun.
The comments on this blog posting are also very telling.

My condolences to the victim of this tragedy. Maybe the city should spend more time on making it safe to bike here instead of criminalizing LEGAL biking...but I'm just crying right?

See you in court.

Friday, December 07, 2007

3 events tomorrow. HO HO, be a HO!

1) Saturday, December 8th
Bottle Beach Craft Ride

Feel like getting crafty? Ride to beachcombing and exploring at Dead Horse Bay, site of an old landfill slowly eroding into Jamaica Bay. Littered with bones, glass, metal, ceramic, shoes, and weirder things from the past century, this beach is perfect for beachcombers, glass collectors, photographers, hoarders & bad eggs. We will ride out, explore and collect things, and then return to Williamsburg to get crafty with all our fun findings. Bring shovels, gloves, bags for loot.

12:00 pm- Williamsburg Bridge, Brooklyn side

12:30 pm- Grand Army Plaza

2) Another Alleycat race in Baltimore...
Shop Gentei, skate, fashion and fixed gear culture is being sold at this hip boutique in Baltimore.
They are hosting an alleycat Saturday Night, December 8th and screening MASHSF.

3) The fine folks at Danger are throwing a holiday bash, after SANTACON.

You are invited to an inelegant, decadent and slightly
riotous holiday party:

Sugar Rum Cherry

This Saturday, December 8th
10pm to very late
Starting at: 195 Morgan Ave., Brooklyn
For details and directions see: the

'Tis the season when were supposed to act nice,
but this night is naughty and filled with our vice.

This Saturday brings the sorta-annual Danger holiday
celebration of yuletide, gifts, fire, dj's and debauchery
that somehow mixes the best elements of all the holiday
traditions while respecting none.

With performance, presents and liquor galore
a party of decadence, deviance and more...

Featuring Music By:
Akim Funk Buddha and the Funk Buddha Band having just
returned from a triumphant world tour with Bill T. Jones,
Akim mixes globally inspired funk and hip-hop groove with
live vocals and complex beat backing. Performance starts
at 11pm.

DJ Haj of Sub Swara & Freek Factory : pulls together deep
beats and breaks guaranteed to whip your cream.

Zemi 17 of 23 Windows brings back his intoxicating set of
Indonesian inspired techno.

And in the Panoply dome by Image Node:
A multicolor space igloo of immersive sight and sound
featuring live spoken word trip-hop by Autophage and
Prototype, and lofi beat mutations by Borne & Hylo.

Also interactive art, renegade performance and moments of
fire featuring: The Broken Puppet Company offering spiked
cider and serenades in the mistletoe lounge; Cherry
Popping surprise with the Modern Gypsies; Sugar showers
and tall-girl hijinx from the Lady Circus; Liquor Cherry
Bombs by the infamous Winkel,; Mike's Hookah Lounge; Fire
tricks by Deezluxe; Yuletide inspired video projections
and an inebriated Santa or two (or three).

On this night we celebrate the true spirit of the
holidays: gratuitous and self-serving altruism.

The idea is simple, if you bring a real-deal wrapped
present you get reduced admission and the opportunity to
give something beautiful to that lucky someone you meet
later in the night. Your gift should be odd or brilliant
or cute or lewd or just slightly dangerous but nothing
that might get you arrested in an airport (and it must be
wrapped). You choose whom to give it to (e.g. the best
dancer or costume or kisser, etc). It's kind of like a
competition that hundreds of you might win.

You adventure begins at 195 Morgan Ave. and continues at a
large private loft a half-block away. To get there take
the L train to Morgan Ave. and walk four blocks North.

Doors open at 10pm, performances begin at 11pm and
continue through very late.
$15 with a gift - $20 otherwise. 21+ only

Full details and directions are at:

p.s. This weekend is the holiday for hedonists with Friday
night featuring our favorite party from our friends on
Flushing Ave. at the house rhymed with "odd". If you
don't know, ask somebody. And Saturday during the day
comes that once a year riot of red suits and whiskey called
Santacon. Any Santas who make it through the day without
getting arrested or blindly drunk are welcome to attend
our event at a discount.

And for New Years Eve we are preparing a relatively
intimate celebration that tangles the opulence of Monte
Carlo (with full-on gambling) and the beauty of Moulin
Rouge (the place not the movie). Imagine a massive plush
lounge with outsized games of risk, lusty dance floors,
beautiful burlesque, fire + fireworks and the most
licentious, dangerous, champagne-iest, angel-flying-ist
midnight countdown found anywhere east of Istanbul.
Tickets will be limited.

Bicycle Film Festival in Melbourne, then Tokyo

The Bicycle Film Festival is in Melbourne, Australia.

December 5th-9th.

Check it out at bff

Then the final stop for the Festivals circuit is Tokyo, December 14th-16th.

all screenings at:

Ebisu-nishi 1-34-17, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
TEL: 03-5489-5408 FAX: 03-5489-5409

It is also time to submit your bicycle films for the 2008 festival. The deadline is February 19, 2008 and submission form can be found on the bicycle film festival website.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Seagull Bags and Colt 45 presents...

The Columbus Bum Shuffle Alleycat race.

SANTARCHY--December 8th.

Its that time again...the canned Christmas music, the crowds of tourists coming to stand in line at the Abacrombie and Finch store and the Europeans making out like bandits cause our dollar is in the toliet. There is only one thing to do deal with the rash commercialization known as the 'holiday season'...Drag out the soiled Santa suit and join 500 Santas as they rampage through the streets. HO HO HO HO!

Yes, this Saturday, December 8th. ITS SANTACON

For more info, visit the website. Location start will be posted Friday night. (December 7th) You can sign up for updated text messages.

See yeah there.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Glass Bead Collective Holiday Blow Up

The Glass Bead Collective, who makes great videos of critical mass is having a holiday blow-up party along with Shadyvil.

December 5th, 2007
Theatres at 45 Bleeker Street in Manhattan, (between Lafayette and Mulberry)

6-9 pm admission is free
9-1 am $5 pre-sale tx

otherwise $10.00 at the door.

all proceeds to fund glass bead collective & shadyvil activities

Monday, December 03, 2007

How bout cyclo-cross

I often get asked for advice on what kind of bike to buy. inevitably, when the discussion is not about how cheap can someone get it, the discussion turns to, "How bout a cyclo-cross bike?" Cyclo-cross is like steple chases for cyclists. Part running with your bike over obstacles, part riding and just about always involving being covered in mud. Now I know NYC is a rough town to ride in, but really.

Here is a recent article on the true nature of cyclo-cross and why its so popular to get down and dirty.

Cyclocross: Mud, sweat and gears.
published in the Escapes section of the NYTimes
Friday, November 30th by: Stephen Regenold

Photo by: T.C. Worley for the NY Times.
UP AND OVER Mark Weispfenning, one of 160 competitors at the Grumpy’s cyclocross race in Blaine, Minn., leaps a barrier as he holds his cross bike.

ABOVE the pool of filth, but still within the shadow of the ditch, my bike skidded sideways in muck. “Heads up!” yelled a fellow racer, elbow out, body a blur.
It was lap No. 5 at Grumpy’s CX, a cyclocross bike race in Blaine, Minn., and I was fighting for position in a deep gulch of mud.

“On your left!” a rider yelled, tires squishing through the ooze.

The race had kicked off 20 minutes before, a crush of cyclists squeezing through a start gate to the two-kilometer course beyond. What would come included a gravel track, pavement, grass, switchback climbs and multiple knee-high barriers that forced riders to dismount, shoulder their rigs and hurdle on foot before hopping back on their bikes to race away.
Cyclocross, a growing off-road discipline, appears at first to be an amalgam of BMX bike racing and road riding. The sport’s short, looped courses include obstacles, ramps, bumps, sand pits, sharp turns and lots of the aforementioned mud — all navigated on a road-bike-like cycle that has drop-bar handles, skinny tires and no suspension.

Cyclocross, invented nearly 100 years ago in Europe as an off-season training regimen for road-bike racers, has a storied tradition and a worldwide following. Internationally, professional competition is administered by the Union Cycliste Internationale, the Swiss organization that also oversees the Tour de France.

And in the United States, a longtime dead zone for cyclocross, the sport has recently caught fire.

“We’re seeing a cyclocross phenomenon of sorts in this country,” said Stuart Thorne, a former professional cyclocross rider from Wenham, Mass., who now runs the online publication “A race in Oregon last month drew nearly 1,000 cyclocross racers, which was one of the biggest showings ever.”

About 40,000 cyclists registered to race in a cyclocross event last year, according to USA Cycling, a Colorado Springs organization that sanctions competitions. That’s up from 17,000 registered racers in 2004.

Cyclocross is a fall sport, with races starting in September and continuing every weekend past Thanksgiving. Hundreds of races are held each year nationwide, many organized into regional series, from Maine to Colorado to California. USA Cycling’s season-ending Cyclocross National Championships this year are in Kansas City, Kan., Dec. 13 to 16.

“Cyclocross caters to the abilities of both road cyclists and mountain bikers,” said Andy Lee, director of communications for USA Cycling. “Thus, it draws from both worlds.”

Mountain bikers, Mr. Lee said, excel at the technical off-road terrain. Road cyclists bank on power and speed honed from pedaling on pavement. Cyclocross’s idiosyncrasies — from sand traps and standing water to the get-off-your-bike-and-leap barriers — necessitate technique specific to the sport.

“There’s an art to popping off, shouldering your bike, then getting back on without losing speed,” said Mark Mettler, a 45-year-old road cyclist from Minnetonka, Minn. Mr. Mettler spins through 36 road races a year, starting in the spring and pedaling through the end of August. Then he moves on to cross, as its riders tend to call it. “You build a base all summer road racing,” he said, “then you’re fit and ready when cyclocross season starts.”

At Grumpy’s CX — a race held earlier this month in Blaine, Minn., that drew 160 competitors — Mr. Mettler and dozens of road riders, almost all men, tried to hold their own against a smaller crowd of mountain bikers. Most rode cyclocross-specific bikes, which — unlike mountain bikes — have stiff forks and thin, knobby tires, trading shock absorption and some traction for a cross bike’s bigger gears, lighter weight and inherent speed.

Other riders pedaled pared-down single-speed bikes. There were track bikers and road specialists who came to try the sport for the first time. A contingent of urban bike messengers with tattoos, nose rings and knickers rounded out the field. “There’s a wide demographic in this sport,” said Robert Danneker, a Grumpy’s CX organizer.

I rode in the first race of the day, a half-hour-long lap event open to neophytes on up to intermediate riders.

Our heat began at the shout of an official: “Racers ready, and go!” Wheels started to turn. Pedals clicked. Riders leaned in to fight for position.

“Come on! Come on!” yelled a racer in the back.
The course, set on the grounds of the National Sports Center athletics campus, twisted and turned on grass at first, with little orange flags and police tape strung to sequester the lanes. It climbed a hill and then dropped on a carpeted ramp into a velodrome track-bike stadium — the first of many oddities encountered on the course.

A crowd cheered from bleachers above the track. “Go Mike!” someone shouted. “Let’s hit it, guys!”

Three barriers — stout 16-inch-high wooden walls — blocked the lane inside the stadium. Brakes squeaked in abrupt goose honks as the pedaling procession slowed to dismount and jump.

I swung a leg over my bike’s frame before slowing, coasting on one pedal for five feet. Then it was: unclip from the pedal; hit the grass running; grab the bike; hoist it; gallop; and leap.

Ozzy Osbourne blared on the stadium speakers: “I’m going off the rails on a crazy train ...”

The mud pits came next. The first one — a sulfur-smelling mess — was a dis-aster, with riders flipping, feet flying over handlebars, as a fist of riders again collectively slammed on the brakes.

“Look out!” one downed competitor screamed.

The course swung east on a straightaway. It dived down a ditch to a long channel of mud. Grit crunched in gears. Brakes chattered through tight turns.

A race official shouted as I flew by the start area: “Rider 275,” he piped, noting the number on my bib. A tally of each rider’s laps would determine race standings.

And so I started on lap No. 2, a few minutes into the race, pedaling somewhere in the middle of the pack. Mud was already matted on my legs. Sweat dribbled off my nose.

I cranked up a hill and leaned into a turn, straining to see ahead. Tires searched for grip. Dirt flew. Fans screamed. Riders whizzed by, pedaling to hurdles and ramps and mud pits beyond.

It was a strange show, and I was happy to be a part of the act.

There are also some urban cyclocross events including...the 2nd annual Bilenky Urban Cyclo Cross Race. Sunday, December 9th. 3:00pm
Yes this race is hosted by the fine independent bike makers of Bilenky and yes its held in a junk yard.

Here are some pictures from last year.

more details on Belinky's Location: Bilenky is on north 2nd street in north north philly. Google maps shows what might be a junkyard just east of 5319 N 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA. (But email for more info...looks like mad fun)

Here is a video from a recent cyclocross event held in Delaware:

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Tickets before the Mass.

A funny thing happened to me on the way home on Friday. I was racing home to my wife who had gotten sick and needed me to pick her up a heating pad. I had gotten off work from a video shoot in a Lowe's hotel on 61st and Park. I decided to go down 5th Ave. because I thought it would be fun to immerse myself into the chaos of the holiday traffic jam with lots of gawking to see the recently lit tree and Sak's window displays. What a mess, luckily I was on the most efficient form of guessed it...the bicycle. It was around 6:30pm. I knew it was the night of critical mass but I wasn't going. Besides my wife needing attention, you sort of have to be in the tactical mood to deal with the police and their childish grudge against bike riding. I wasn't. I got to Broadway, crossed 23rd and was heading down to Union Square. I began to see the tell tail signs of the excessive waste of our police resources which has continued since the Republican National Convention. The rows of police cruisers, SUVs, arrest bread trucks...all part of an event that has fallen into the radar of the NYPD's list of "terrorist attacks." A cop pulled me over right in front of Paragon sports, 17th and Broadway. I was issued a summons for, get this, “not riding in the bike lane.” I instantly knew what was up. How could I have been so stupid. This was part of the NYPD's bicycle harassment campaign. I knew these things existed but it completely slipped my mind and I thought, "why would they be doing this before the ride even started?" Silly me. So this is how it works. The cops begin to harass cyclists the last Friday of every month as punishment for daring to ride your bike in during critical mass, which gathers in Union Square North around 7:00pm. Every month, they move the sting operation to different points around Union Square. There is a sergeant in charge who commands a group of about 5-7 officers to pull over as many cyclists as they can and issue them tickets for things that are technically illegal but never enforced. If you don't believe in selective enforcement or think the cops only do this to the participants of critical mass...think again. Now I understand the situation. Believe me. I've been going to critical mass on and off for 7 years. But please, can anyone justify this type of activity? So a uniform cop pulls me over and scolds me for not riding in the bike lane. WHAT?? tick2.jpgI guess since I had a helmet (not wearing one is illegal only if under 14 years of age) and a front light and a rear light, the only thing they could get me on was this bike lane bs. Freewheels has a lot of information on getting tickets at critical mass. Check out the link that says tickets for: The Freewheels Guide to Critical Mass Tickets.

My new friends:
113007_18472.jpg Meanwhile, I remained calm. I was asked for my id. I reached in my back pocket and realized I had forgotten my wallet. Luckily I had my passport...don't ask me why. It is not illegal to not have id, but in this limitless environment of harassment, the NYPD may would have no problem in taking you in to central booking, a far worse experience than just a summons. Some people prescribe to caring a passport so that these kind of offenses stay off the driving record. Others carry an expired passport or a student id and use that. Something to think about...nuff said.

Anyway. I am very pissed about this whole experience. Its one thing to get a ticket during critical mass, the new punishment for riding and playing cat and mouse with the cops, but it is another when the police go out of their way to intimidate bikers. It should come as no surprise because this is part of a long list of police activities which I have been reporting on in almost 4 years of blogging. Things like clocking the speed of cyclists on bridges, telling people its illegal to not have a helmet, ticketing cyclists for running the red lights in central park. The list goes on and on. I think the biggest offense for me was knowing how much we have to put up with just to ride a bike in NYC, that goes unpunished. The day to day parking in bike lanes, the hit and runs, the dooring. And I'm getting a ticket for "NOT RIDING in the bike lane. Oh but wait...NYC is supposed to be a "GREEN CITY." Yeah Green as in the color of money and finding new ways to tax its citizenry.

I think we need to get more focused on stopping the harassment. I know a lot of work has already been done and I have a few mores suggestions of what we can do.

1) we need to stop the harassment before critical mass. We know how effective our video cameras are and we need to get people dispatched to these sting operations. We may also want to set up people ahead of them and warn cyclists to go a different route. Remember, most of these operations happen a half hour before 7:00, a few blocks North of Union Square, probably to catch people coming downtown. I know this takes continual commitment but its worth it and I intend to be at the next ride, armed with a video camera for documentation.

+++I noticed someone was video taping the group that I was in. If that person has footage, please get in touch with me.+++

2) I'd like to create a survey asking fellow cyclists and citizens of NYC to report on how they have been harassed and if they think this is responsible or necessary actions of our valued police force. I will set this up on line and use the information to report to our city council. If anyone wants to help out, please let me know.

So now I'll be losing time and money dealing with my ticket. I'm pleading “not-guilty” and will keep you informed of my progress.

BTW, I heard there was a lot of ticketing at the critical mass. I applaud all those who rode.

After being stopped I rode to Union Square and chatted with a few people who had a similar experience. I got the heating pad, thanks Brandon for the borrowed cash. I also lost my 70.00 lock in all the confusion. I rode home, down 2nd Ave, trying to hold back my anger and avoiding all the cars parked in the bike lane.

Here are some good resources to carry on the struggle:

Time's Up, get involved with video taping.
Look Campaign awareness of cyclists.
Freewheels, great resource with what is the law, and how to deal with tickets.
Critical Mass Tickets mapping where people get tickets. If you got a ticket this Friday, go here and report it.