Friday, August 31, 2007

Bicycle Film Festival is coming to Portland Oregon

So the Bicycle Film Festival, in its 7th year is now riding into the Bicycle Capital of America...Portland Oregon.

September 6th-9th.

I have two films in the festival...

Warriors the Bike Ride and Track Kaiju.

The Schedule for Portland is here

Warriors is part of Program 1 @ 7:00pm, Friday Sept 7th.

Track Kaiju is part of Program 7 @ 7:00pm Saturday Sept 8th.

There will be lots of fun after party's too.

According to Brendt Barbur, Festival Director, there have been over 40,000 people who have attended the festival and the Joy Ride art show so far.

The festival has been in the following cities:
New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Chicago and Toronto. It was in Paris for the first time.

Here is an article from Ashira Siegel on the LA Festival.

here is a video from LA:

and a video from Paris:

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.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Report on last month's 1st Amendment Rally and Critical Mass

Here is a article by Jefferson Siegel which explains what went down.

the villager article

Laurie Mittelmann, a volunteer with Time’s Up!, dressed as a movie camera and wore a copy of the U.S. Constitution at last Friday’s rally and Critical Mass ride.

Critical Mass rally focuses on proposed filming rules

By Jefferson Siegel

Friday’s monthly Critical Mass ride attracted more than just bicyclists. A rally to criticize proposed rules for filming and photographing on the streets of New York drew several hundred people, many wielding cardboard cutouts of movie cameras and an abundance of real cameras.

The hastily arranged gathering was organized in response to rules the city is proposing that would require any group of two or more people filming at one spot for 30 minutes or five or more people using a tripod for at least 10 minutes to first obtain a permit and a sizeable insurance policy.

Most at the rally saw the proposal, quietly introduced at a public hearing in June, as anathema to creativity and a potential tool to stifle dissent. A newly formed group, Picture New York, has already garnered thousands of signatures on a petition opposing the regulations. Major photo agencies, noted photographers and filmmakers are among those signing on to criticize the rule. (The petition is online at

Beka Economopoulos, one of the rally’s organizers, was succinct in her criticism of the proposed rules: “I already have a permit for my camera,” she declared. “It’s called the First Amendment.”

“This is micromanagement of public space taken to an absurd level,” said Eileen Clancy of I-Witness Video in a statement released by the group. “What are the police going to do — time people holding cameras? These new rules give the police another excuse to arrest anybody they don’t like with a camera.”

Several in the crowd displayed copies of the Constitution on their shirts, emblazoned with the words “My/Our Permit.” The shirts were a familiar sight at previous rides when cyclists wore them to protest a new police regulation requiring groups of 50 or more to first obtain a permit.

Attorney Norman Siegel suggested city residents’ civil rights were at a crossroads.

“Every once in a while in our lives,” Siegel intoned while standing on a table in front of a mass of video and still cameras, “there comes a time when you have to stand up for what you believe in. The time has come for all New Yorkers to stand up.”

The anti-consumerist performance artist Reverend Billy led the crowd in reciting the 44 words of the First Amendment, his chant backed by the voices of his red-robed Stop Shopping Choir. At last month’s Critical Mass, Reverend Billy was arrested after approaching a group of police commanders and reciting the First Amendment through a white megaphone.

As the rally concluded, a huge American flag, covering at least one-third of Union Square’s north plaza, was unfurled. As people danced to the music of the Rude Mechanical Orchestra, some ran under the flag and one photographer even popped out through a hole in the middle for a better shot.

After riding his bike under the flag, cyclist Joseph Merolla, 19, a bike messenger from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., took a ride on top. He was stopped by a police officer, handcuffed and arrested. With blood running down his leg from a cut he received while being grabbed, Merolla and the police were quickly surrounded by the crowd, many chanting the First Amendment. Police commanders consulted with a member of the Police Department’s Legal Department and, minutes later, Merolla was unhandcuffed and released.

As darkness fell, riders left the plaza in small groups, pedaling in different directions. A large group met up at W. Houston St. and the Hudson River, where they proceeded to ride throughout the city into the night.

The messengers of the world...battle it out in Dublin

Dublin, Ireland is the host of this years CWMC (Cycle World Messenger Championships) Its the 15th annual event where bike messengers travel from all over the world to see who is the fastest and most skilled on their bikes. The event runs from August 3rd through the 7th, with a pre party in London and an after party in Amsterdam...oh la la.

Many New Yorkers have made the journey across the Atlantic including Kym Perfetto,
(Photo by Ed Glazar)

Spin class instructor, messenger, alleycat racer. She won tickets to dublin on the track as part of the Velocity tour.

Also my friends, the band Team Spider , made up of Chris Ryan, Sam, Oscar and former messenger Ben Stewart, some how packed up their instruments and bicycles and our touring Europe along with the CWMC.

They just released their new Album..."fuck brakes", about living the fuck brakes, freedom to ride your bike lifestyle. Here is a half hour concert of team spider in Tompkins Square park.

Here is article sent by Joe Hendry of " who keeps track of media about messengers.

"Dublin Exiles `Reckless' Biker Games to City's Bucolic Edge

By Alex Armitage

Aug. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Dublin bicycle courier Graham White says there's nothing more exciting than weaving through heavy traffic with no helmet -- and no brakes.

While White gets a thrill out of his work, the prospect of an invasion of bike messengers sends chills up drivers' spines in the Irish capital. White says that's one reason the 15th annual Cycle Messenger World Championships this weekend has been exiled to Phoenix Park on the northwest edge of the city.

Although the event has been held successfully in Copenhagen and New York, the Irish city whose tourism office offers visitors "one hundred thousand welcomes'' is having trouble scaring up a single one for the bikers.

"They are a nuisance, they are dangerous,'' says Ken Armstrong, a Dublin truck driver. He has a simple message for the visitors: "Keep out of the way.''

Organizers of the event, which will attract 500 couriers from as far away as Anchorage and Tokyo, say the championships involve two-wheeled virtuosity that can't be replicated in a spot better known for roaming deer than urban grittiness.

Many couriers ride without brakes on so-called fixed-gear bikes, where the rear cog is fixed to the wheel so the pedals keep moving when the bike is in motion. That means that when riding on "fixies,'' couriers can't coast and must use back pressure on the pedals to slow down or stop.

"The city wasn't sure they wanted to be associated with us,'' says White, 30, a veteran courier whose crashes include "head-butting'' a car's rear window after it stopped short and landing on the windshield of a taxi. "They see us as really fast and reckless.''

White, who earns about 100 euros ($137) a day delivering packages, says he has tried office jobs but has never lasted more than three months inside a building.

"I would just look out the window and think, I've got to get out there," he recalls.

The championships, which begin tomorrow, are made up of six events, including a contest where riders lock up the back wheel to create the longest skid. The current world record is about 500 feet.

Messengers can show off their skills by riding in backward circles and facing off to see who can stay upright on the bike the longest without pedaling. Championship trophies are fashioned out of used bike parts.

In June, the city's roads department rejected a plan to hold the event around Fitzwilliam Square, a Georgian neighborhood in the city center that includes a home owned by Tony O'Reilly, the billionaire former chief executive officer of HJ Heinz Co. The bikers had spent more than six months trying to obtain approval to hold the event downtown.

The bikers have only themselves to blame for the relocation of the event, says Conrad Rennicks, an administrator at the Dublin City Council roads department.

"They had very little in the way of planning,'' Rennicks says. "Traffic engineers couldn't see a way to get the diversions to work.''

"The essence of the job is get from point A to point B as fast as you can,'' says Neal Keogh, 32, one of the race organizers and a courier for seven years. ``We are not lunatics. I'm starting to think there's a conspiracy against us.''

The championships have been welcomed by lawmakers in other cities. Five years ago in Copenhagen, messengers gorged themselves at a free breakfast hosted by the mayor.

"There was just a feast,'' Keogh says. And there was free beer. It made us feel really welcome.''

Oisin O'Mahony, a marketing executive in Dublin, helped line up gifts for the event from Red Bull GmbH, Groupe Danone's Evian and Australian bike accessory company Knog Pty. Negative attitudes about bikers may have hurt chances of getting sponsorship cash for the event, he says.

The show will nevertheless go on, with the championships culminating in a contest that replicates a day's work for a messenger. Riders will navigate a course with checkpoints and need to lock their bikes before delivering or picking up a package --otherwise the bikes will be stolen by ``thieves,'' giving the event a real-life flavor.

"If people come down and watch this race, they will see professional athletes,'' White says. "It's painful that it's so hard to get people in power in Dublin to realize that we just want to show off the city.''

Looks like the location of the next championships are back in Toronto