Thursday, July 31, 2008

Cop Lies, The spirit of Critical Mass Dies.

Cops Lie? What? I know its hard to believe that our fine men and woman in blue would do such a despicable thing...but its true...come on, we all watch SVU, the wire, CSI New York. Its part of police work, part of getting the "bad guy."

We've speculated on what motivated 22 year old officer Patrick Pogan to pull out a defensive move from his high school football play book that sent cyclist Christopher Long crashing to the sidewalk. All kidding aside, this third generation cop did what he did because he didn't think anyone would catch it on video tape, and even if they did, he could always lie about it.

How do we know this? Besides, my own experiences at dozens of protests across the country and tireless hours of scrambling to get video footage to the press to prove the point, its happened again on this current case from a youtube video which now has over 1 million views.

Back in 2005, Jim Dwyer of the New York Times did a story on how police lied about RNC demonstrator Dennis Kayne, being so erratic that it took 4 officers to haul him away. Video footage turned up a different story, showing Dennis, agitated but clearly walking away on his own.

Its a common story, and again Times Reporter Jim Dwyer had an article in yesterday's times about how low cost video cameras are telling a different story than the police.

Without this video footage, taken by a random tourist in Time's Sqaure and without 1 million views of it on youtube...the assumption is the police would be sticking to their story that Christopher Long was weaving in and out of traffic, endangering pedestrians and eventually knocked into the officer, sending him to the ground. The video shows a different story.

I witness video, an organization set up to monitor police and capture video footage of their behavior has been following this story on their blog.


Here is a link to the NYTimes blog explaining how the video tape of the Time's Square incident was acquired. From cityroom

The bigger picture here are the lies the police continue to spin about the critical mass ride itself.

1) that is is violent with the sole purpose of blocking traffic.
2) that it was fine for 10 years, to the point of the RNC (2004) when it was taken over by anarchists.
3) it has a leader, and Critical Mass is a group of people.

Like the recent tale from the police on last Friday's ride. All Lies.

Time's Up, also wanted me to include this press release about this recent affair:

New York, NY (July 29, 2008) - The body slam of cyclist Christopher Long by an NYPD police officer while Mr. Long was riding his bicycle through Times Square on July 28, 2008 was not an isolated incident. Civil rights activists and cycling advocates have long seen a pattern of excessive force and harassment against cyclists from the highest ranks of the NYPD. The event on July 28, 2008 was the third such example captured on video in Times Square alone.

On March 30, 2007, Richard Vazquez was riding in a Shared Use Lane on Broadway and 43rd Street in the Critical Mass ride. Without clear or reasonable direction, Sgt. Horohoe, violently pushed him off his bicycle to the ground in a dangerous and harmful manner. Among his other injuries, the fall to the ground resulted in a deep gash on Mr. Vazquez's hand. The Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) investigation resulted in a finding of 'substantiation' against Sgt. Horohoe for excessive force being used against Richard Vazquez. Mr. Vazquez is represented by Wylie Stecklow, (212) 566-8000.

On February 24, 2006, Adrienne Wheeler, was riding on the Critical Mass as a legal observer for the National Lawyers' Guild. Ms. Wheeler was riding on 43rd Street between Broadway and Seventh Avenue when she was grabbed by the bicycle chain around her waist and pushed to the ground by the then-NYPD-Assistant-Chief Bruce Smolka. Ms. Wheeler's civil rights case against The City of New York, Asst. Chief Bruce Smolka and Lt. Caneco arising out of the incident was settled earlier this year for $37,000. She was represented by Jonathan Moore of Beldock Levine & Hoffman LLP, (212 ) 277-5850. Assistant Chief Smolka announced his retirement from the NYPD in January, 2007.

"Unfortunately the July 25, 2008 incident is part of a pattern of targeting Critical Mass bike riders. This hostility and selective enforcement of the laws needs to stop immediately. Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Kelly need to provide the necessary leadership to confront and resolve this issue." states Civil Rights attorney, Norman Siegel.

more links, video and pictures here.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The European Cycle Messenger Championships

That's right, Europe has messengers too which means they have their own championships.

This year they were held in Eindhoven, Holland on July 25th through the 27th.

The official website:

Congratulations to:

Michael Brinkmann from Bremen (Germany) (male)


Astrid Narud from Berlin (Germany)(female)

the fastest bike messengers in Europe.

Just one of many flickr sites available for pictures like this one from:

Real Fragments

For some reporting on the event, the place to go is non-other than Bill Chidley's messenger blog:

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Not an isolated incedent.

What happened to Christopher Long in last Friday's critical mass is by no mean an isolated incident.

Here is a video showing two other assaults of critical mass participants in Time's Square.

Animal on Animals.

Animal Magazine has done some good investigation to find out more about the motivations of NYPD Patrick Pogan featured in the hot new youtube video of cyclist brutality, which now has 583,692 views.

"The video of rookie cop Patrick E. Pogan (shield #28957) violently body checking cyclist Christopher Long during a Critical Mass group ride has a lot of people wondering what motivated him to act with such a blatantly egregious manner. Contrary to the video evidence and universal common sense, the cop (deponent) claimed—in a sworn statement—that Long swerved and then ran into him, "causing deponent to fall to the ground and causing deponent to suffer lacerations on deponent's forearms" (PDF doc here). However, as the clip demonstrates, that's not the case and the attack was unprovoked. Why is Officer Perjurer Pogan so angry? ANIMAL takes a look into some of the potential, hostility-causing factors:

Check here for more from Animal.

Compilation of new reports of the assualted cyclist.

Compilation of news reports put together by Xris ( team spider):

Part 1

part 2


Riding their bikes from Alaska to Panama

Check out these guys:

"Don't body check me Bro" and other possible scenarios.

Fox news report on critical mass assault.

After reviewing the Youtube video another dozen times and seeing it again as the lead story on most local news, its still kind of baffling what motivated young officer Patrick Pogan, to react the way he did and send bike rider, Christopher Long, sailing into the sidewalk.

The 22 year old officer of the NYPD was caught on video tape, body-checking one of the 100 or so riders from last Friday's monthly critical mass ride.

I can only speculate on what was going through the rookie cops head but here are a few possible scenarios:

Scenario 1: Christopher Long was seen by Patrick Pogan acting erratic and making loud gestures a good 20 blocks away. He was screaming some insane nonsense about..."who's streets these were." By the time he got to within 10 feet of officer Pogan, he said..."Don't Body Check me Bro." Naturally, the officer did the most logical thing to protect him from one of these crazed bike riders who would no doubt continue to speak freely.

Scenario 2: The rookie officer who hadn't been on the force for more than a month and had originally asked to walk a beat in East New York, where he could solve some, "real crimes." Instead he was sent to Time's Square, an information, advertising purgatory with flashing lights and a naked cowboy. He had been asked so many times that night by foreign tourists where the H&M store was...he was going mad...why else would he be standing in the middle of the street during a bike ride of a hundred cyclists.

Scenario 3: Just doing his patriotic duty. Officer Pogan was convinced he had identified the guy who planted a bomb at the recruiting station, back in March, after all Christopher seemed, "comfortable on a bike."

Scenario 4: His partner dared him to do it. He offered up a free drink coupon at the Hawaiian Tropic Zone, if he could knock the guy all the way to the sidewalk.

Scenario 5: He wanted to be the next Bruce Smolka. No easy shoes to fill, retired officer Smolka could take down one of these bike riders with one hand, and not even spill his coffee. Pogan, knew it would take a real man to handle one of these dangerous bike riders and prove to the force he had what it takes. I mean at 30,000 a year, you gotta do something to get noticed.

Scenario 6: Officer Pogan had heard their was a New York Rangers scout in town and wanted to show off his "body checking" ability that might land him a spot on the team. If not, there was sure to be a World Wrestling Federation close at hand.

Scenario 7: Cause the guy was on a bike

Scenario 8: Christopher Long, hates cops forearms and wanted to do his best to run directly into them.

Scenario 9: Pogan and Long were in on it together and hoping to win 10,000 bucks on America's funniest home videos.

Scenario 10: Because Pogan was a member of the NYPD, who for 4 years now has been told that Critical Mass is a protest, that they hate cops and they hate freedom. There sole purpose is to run red lights, block traffic and create a disturbance the last Friday of every month. Pogan was just doing his job, the same type of thing that was going on since the Republican National Convention back in 04.

only this time it was caught on video tape and instantaneously put on Youtube.

Monday, July 28, 2008

News surfacing about the critical ass "whopping" assault video:

Looks like the officer involved has been stripped of his badge and gun.

NYC Indymedia

video of the last critical mass in NYC. Proof.

There are things you can always count on in New your rent forever being raised 30 percent a year to adjust to the "market value." Like that guy playing a drum solo on the subway platform on plastic buckets...Or like the NYPD always acting like...well the NYPD.

Here they are in classic form at the last Critical Mass (July 25th, 2008) in NYC.

Details on this attack are still coming in like how one activist group acquired this video.

It was shot by a tourist who wasn't expecting Time's Square to be so blinding.

We do know that this video has really stirred the pot and asking a lot of people, once again: "What the heck were the NYPD thinking."

In this bloggers opinion...its just another typical critical mass post the Republican National Convention.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Congratulations to Carlos Sastre

for winning this year's Tour De France.

Carlos Sastre on the podium in Paris after winning the Tour de France Sunday.
photo by: Edward Wyatt

Article in NYTimes

Article in Wired about Challenges of Modern day Messenger Companies

Internet Endangers Big-City Tradition: The Bike Messenger

By David Kravets

Wired Magazine 7/25/08

Bike messengers (left to right) Josh Godar, Chris Sparks and Annunaki Jonny talk with Wheels of Justice co-owner Matt Flores outside the business, on Mission Street in San Francisco.
Emily Lang/

SAN FRANCISCO -- Here along Market Street, heavily tattooed bicyclists with too many piercings in too many places weave through traffic, ducking subway steam vents, trolleys, motorists and a sea of jaywalkers. They're bike messengers -- a fixture in most large cities -- slinging satchels stuffed with legal documents, blueprints, executives' lunches and eviction notices.

Read more Here

Art shows from Bike Blog friendly Artists

I probably should have posted this earlier but bicycle culture photographer Tod Seelie, has his photos on display at the Cinders Gallery in Williamsburg.

The show is titled: Slow Dancing to Slayer, and runs through August 9th.

Here is a press release from the Men's

Photographer Tod Seelie has shot for such up-and-coming publications as The New York Times and New York—not to mention for Rogan and Loomstate—but he's never had a solo gallery show in the five boroughs. That changes tonight: Slowdancing to Slayerfeatures images from Seelie's various journeys—rafting down the Mississippi with art collective The Miss Rockaway Armada, touring with the hipster-heavy F*ck Yeah Fest, and stopping off everywhere from New Orleans to L.A. in between. Perhaps the exhibit will even answer that immortal question: How exactly does one slow dance to Slayer, anyway?
Through August 9 at Cinders Gallery, 103 Havemeyer St., Brooklyn, NY, (718) 388-2311,

Here are some pictures and write up from the opening night party on July 17th
from Fecal

Tod's blog is where you can find amazing pictures from the "Fuck yeah fest tour," which Tod has been documenting featuring bands like: Dillinger 4, Matt and Kim, Team Robesppierre and punk rock legends the Circle Jerks.
And for a show we haven't missed:

Artist Swoon is presenting:

from the website-
Swimming cities of Switchback Sea is a flotilla of seven intricately hand crafted vessels that will navigate the stretch of the Hudson River between Troy and the New York harbor this August 15th - September 7th. Imagined as a hybrid between boats and bits of land mass broken off and headed out to sea, the Switchback vessels will make stops in towns along the river bringing performances and music. Over the course of three weeks they will make their way toward their home port - an invented landscape tucked into a niche along the East River in Long Island City, Queens.

Friday, July 25, 2008

the African Cyclist

Urban velo had a link to a new project in Kenya, the African Cyclist, with the goal of inspiring Africans to have more access to the professional world of cycling.

from their website:

These two young men are Zakayo Nderi and Samwel Mwangi. They come from a tiny spot on the planet called Eldoret in Kenya. And it is a remarkable place because half of all the world’s marathon champions come from that one tiny spot.

They have the heart, lungs and legs of marathoners, but all they want to be are the first professional black African cyclists in the world. And in August this year, they will be going to Alpe d’Huez in France to do a timed ascent.

Why, you may ask? In 2004, there was an individual time trial up that mountain in the Tour de France. Out of 155 riders, Lance Armstrong won it in 39’41” and the tenth placed time was 42’08”. Zakayo and Mwangi intend to finish in a time somewhere between those two times. Just to show they belong among them.

Until now, there has not been a single black African in the Tour de France. Or in pro cycling. Not one. So meet Zakayo and Mwangi. All they want is an opportunity to prove themselves.

I got quoted

Check it out, I got quoted in this week's issue of New York magazine.

Its all about bike locks with a few good tips on some products to keep your ride secure.

Of course that doesn't help if you let someone "tryout" your bike and they ride off with it.

Article by Scott Ward.

Also, David Byrne, unveils his creative bike racks:

from New York Magazine:

The Bike Rack As Art
Within the next two weeks, artist–rocker–bike lover David Byrne will unveil nine temporary bicycle racks around the city. Here he examines “The Jersey,” a welded steel silhouette of a car that will be installed near the Lincoln Tunnel on 39th Street and Ninth Avenue. Elsewhere: an abstract squiggle in front of MoMA, a wagging dog on La Guardia Place, and a reclining woman near 42nd Street dubbed “The Olde Times Square.”
Photograph Courtesy of Bill Scanga/Pace Wildenstein

and here is a video from the Wall Street Journal Online.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Narly Crash on the Track

See the horror Here

Luckily no one was seriously hurt at during the men's Keirin at the Alpenrose Velodrome Challenge in southwest Portland Saturday.

Video from Bike Film Festival LA

BFF Block Party LA 2008 from rossangeles on Vimeo.

Made by the awesome: Ross Harris

And here are a few photo compilations on flickr:

with my ol pal Ashira.
Photos by: soundof78
Hippies on Tallbikes from: Blkmarket

Next stop for our beloved Film Festival:

San Francisco-July 23rd-26th

Bike Polo article in Sacramento Bee

Sent by Joe Hendry of Mess Media

Check out the article and video here.

A gritty cousin of the game of kings, bike polo is gaining traction

Sacramento Bee, July 20, 2008
By Gina Kim

Two lines of four people square off across the parking lot, each balancing on their fixed-gear bikes with only the heads of their polo mallets resting on the ground.

"Marco," yells one side."Polo," responds the other.
Then the two teams, in unofficial uniforms of cut-off jeans and T-shirts, race toward a red rubber ball in the center of the empty lot. There's the sound of plastic against asphalt as mallets shove the ball toward one of the orange-cone goals, while the din of traffic echoes from the Capital City Freeway above.

This is urban bike polo, a game that's hijacking empty lots, basketball courts and sometimes parking garages across the country and world. Here in Sacramento , it's played twice a week in the parking lots beneath the freeway on X Street .

"There's a feeling that you're doing something everyone else hasn't caught on to yet," says John Kennedy of the U.S. Bicycle Polo Association, which is based in Sacramento . "Plus, it's taking a twist on what is seen as an established, upper-crust sport and bringing it down to the people's level."

There are two strands of bike polo, Kennedy says. The first is played on grass with mountain bikes and wooden mallets. The other is a street version that has been adopted by bike messengers and serious road cyclists, played on asphalt or concrete, generally on fixed-gear track bikes and with mallets fashioned from ski poles or metal crutches and PVC pipe.

"Bike polo players probably have more tattoos and piercings and drink more beer than the equestrian riders who drink white wine and champagne," Kennedy says. "And the urban bike polo players have more tattoos and piercings and probably drink more beer than the grass bike polo players."

Balancing on fixed gears

Cigarette smoke hangs in the air on a recent Sunday as more than 30 people rendezvous in a parking lot at 19th and X streets. Energy drinks are gulped as teams of four face off.

Tires skid, metal mallets clank against each other, and the players seemingly defy gravity while swatting at the ball with forehands, backhands and belly shots – a maneuver in which the ball is hit through the gap between two bike wheels.

"You have to know how to control your bike really, really well," says Amy Kozak, 19, one of the handful of women who play regularly. "It makes me a better rider because I know exactly how to turn my bike in traffic."

Kozak, who lives in Sacramento and works at Capitol Aquarium, started riding a fixed-gear bike three months ago.

Fixed-gears differ from traditional bikes because they don't coast and don't generally have hand brakes. Riders must pedal constantly for the bike to move and apply back pressure to the pedals to stop.

Although traditional cyclists are welcome to play urban bike polo, fixed-gear bikes are preferred since one of the few rules of the game is that players cannot put their feet on the ground during play but must balance on their bikes the entire time. If a player does inadvertently touch the ground, that person must bicycle off the court and touch a parking median before returning to play.

The game's other rules are that there is no out of bounds, a team must ride around its own goal after it scores to give the other team time to regroup, and whichever team scores three goals first is the winner.

"It conditions you to be a lot better of a rider," says Cy Kamsoulin, 23, of Sacramento , an elder-care provider.

Bike polo has been played in various forms since the late 1800s, when inflated rubber tires were invented and England sent a bunch of the new bikes to India , says Kennedy. Stableboys who didn't have horses thought they would try their hand at the elite game on their new bikes, and British troops brought the version back to England .

The game spread to Ireland , and Irish immigrants brought the game to the United States , Kennedy says.

Alex Cain, 23, who works dispatch at a Sacramento bike messenger service, started organizing games after moving from Denver three years ago. The learning curve was steep – he first made mallets entirely of PVC pipe, but the plastic couldn't hold up to the fierce beatings during games. He also had to figure out where to play.

"We don't get bothered here," says Cain of the lot at 19th and X. On Wednesdays, games are played at 21st and X streets because there are too many cars parked in the 19th Street lot.

The players are mostly part of a tight-knit fixed-gear community in which inner tubes are shared like french fries and bikes are sources of pride.

Ask what injuries have been suffered, and riders usually talk about the dings to their bikes first.

Daniel Borman, 23, spent thousands of dollars and more than a year to build his lime-green track bike piece by piece. He once suffered about $100 worth of damage in a collision with another player.

But it's all in good fun since it means time with friends twice a week.

"You want to win, but you don't really care," says Borman, who works as a bike messenger. "You're just going to have fun and drink beer afterward."

Friday, July 18, 2008

Bedford Ave in Williamsburg becomes Auto Free

As an experiment to see what a city could be like to have an auto free esplanade, the business community of Williamsburg is shutting down Bedford Ave. on four different Saturdays.

This Saturday, July 19th is the first one.

Get more info here.

Pardon the pun, but steps in the right direction.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Help Low Income Kids have a great summer.

The Fresh Air Fund is looking for volunteers to host kids this summer and give them a unique outdoors experience.

Over 200 children still need hosts for August.

Read more about the program and how you can volunteer at this website.

Facts about the fund:

THE FRESH AIR FUND, an independent, not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer vacations to more than 1.7 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877.
Nearly 10,000 New York City children enjoy free Fresh Air Fund programs annually. In 2007, close to 5,000 children visited volunteer host families in suburbs and small town communities across 13 states from Virginia to Maine and Canada. 3,000 children also attended five Fresh Air camps on a 2,300-acre site in Fishkill, New York. The Fund’s year-round camping program serves an additional 2,000 young people each year.

Bicycle Film Festival LA

The Bicycle Film Festival is happening in Los Angeles. July 18th-20th.

All the info here.

Thursday, July 18th

9:30 pm - 2:00 am
A Club Called Rhonda
$3 with RSVP/ $6 without
Free before 10 pm if you show up on a bike!

4916 Hollywood Blvd., LA 90027

free bike valet from LACBC
DJ sets from Little Boots (UK)
crazy hot dance floor fun!

Sunday, July 20th.

12-8 pm
Heliotrope Drive at Melrose Avenue
East Hollywood

This is going to be the party of the year!
Fun bike games, bunnyhop contest, track competitions, free-style competitions. Great Music too!!

Kunst Rad Show
artistic cycling performance

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

So I meet Mathew Modine

I was riding past Continuum bike shop on my way home and it just so happened Matthew Modine was there on his tour to promote this bicycle for a day in September.

How could I forget Mr. Modine's most famous roll in Full Metal Jacket:

Let me see your war face!

Well he didn't show me his war face and I didn't mention how influential that amazing Kubrick movie has been on our event, Rumble thru da Bronx either.

I did have a brief chat with him and he seems genuinely down with the cause of getting more people on bikes. I will get more information on this upcoming event. The I proceeded to ride home, across the Williamsburg bridge and crash on absolutely nothing.

Now I'm tending to a sore wrist and few scrapes.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Party with Actor Matthew Modine...Yes he rides a bike.

Party Tonight and Celebrity Bike ride with Matthew Modine.

Yes its true. I mean its no Al Sharpton, but actor Matthew Modine most remembered for his 1988 in "Married to the Mob" is really into biking in the city.

On September 20, 2008, Matt will be hosting the event Bicycle for a day. There are no details about this yet, but it sounds to me like a permitted ride where the city will make concessions for people to ride a bike for a day, because there is a celebrity involved. This should have the effect of making people realize people should only ride bikes on certain special days and then go back to there usual attitude that bikes are just for jobless hippies and they should do their best to not become hood ornaments for the more important automobiles.

Ok, I am being bitter. I'm just not into these token events and gimicky stunts that the city has been proposing to promoting cycling because its the hip thing to do, while real bike activists have been fighting with the city for decades just to safely ride their bike.

But to be positive...We take what we can get and build from the momentum, I guess. I mean just look what Madonna has done for adoption...oh wait, bad example. The good example is look what Bette Midler has done for community gardens.

So today...Matthew will be riding to various bicycle related promote his event.

Here is a list of the stops:

July 15th (Tuesday)

4:30 PM - Start Ride

DUMBO (Brooklyn)
35 Pearl Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Bay Ridge Bicycle World
8916 3rd Ave
Brooklyn, NY, 11209
(718) 238-1118

B's Bikes
262 Driggs Ave
Brooklyn, NY, 11222

Nelson's Bicycle Shop
251 Bushwick Ave
Brooklyn, NY, 11206
(718) 821-4811

Continuum Cycles
199 Ave B
New York, NY, 10009
(212) 505-8785

Frank's Bike Shop
553 Grand St
New York, NY, 10002
(212) 533-6332

Track Star
231 Eldridge St
New York, NY, 10002
(212) 982-2553

NYC Velo
64 2nd Ave
New York, NY, 10003
(212) 253-7771

Thats kind of decent ride--
Will the cops be escorting? Will the hassle people for running red lights, not having a bell, lights? Will there be any helicopters?

This ride ends at an Art show at 7:30pm

361 Bowery
New York, NY 10003

My good friend and filmmaker Daniel Leeb has made a short film about Matthew and it will be screening at the party.

There are other videos about local celebrities love of the bicycle sponsored by Puma.

PUMA Presents The I-Cycle Film Series, Produced and Directed by Cinecycle.

Being a longtime supporter of and innovator in the bike community, PUMA® releases the I-Cycle Film Series, a collection of short films exploring bike culture and the people who influence it.

The I-Cycle Film Series focuses on some of today’s biggest advocates for two-wheeled life, including - Matthew McGuinness, a cofounder of The 62, a Brooklyn-based art collective who started Re-Bicycle; George Bliss, the man behind New York’s Pedi-cabs; Brendt Barbur, founder of The Bicycle Film Festival, Matthew Modine, actor and founder of Bicycle-For-A-Day, an ongoing initiative to encourage and inspire individuals to leave their cars in the garage and reduce their carbon footprints on the world; and finally, Antonio Bertone, PUMA’s CMO and one of the main reasons for PUMA’s presence in the bicycle world.

Check out the movies here:


Monday, July 14, 2008

Friends Bike Stolen

Another bike is kidnapped. My good friend and co-worker, Matt Craig, had his bicycle stolen today near 11th and 5th Ave. According to police, this is a high target area for bicycle thieves. The lowest of the lot. Of course the mere fact that the police know this is a little unsettling, but after all we can't expect a tiny police force like the NYPD with 40,000 cops (6th largest standing army in the planet) do anything about petty bike theft. I mean they're way to busy making sure we don't ride in groups of more than 30.

Matt had just been given permission by his adoring wife to buy a commuter bicycle to be able to get to the various location he frequents for work. The deal is that Matt is going to work as much as he can while Lisa stays home and takes care of their baby son Liam. Believe me, this is a fair compromise because it may seem glamorous to work in Hollywood but we often put in 18 hour days and 80 hour weeks. (I know, I can hear the worlds tiniest violins playing now)

Matt, like me, works as a freelance union lighting technician in the film and television industry. That's right, those people who take over all the parking, shine bright lights into your windows late at night and have young production assistants with headsets on, trying to tell New Yorkers where they can cross the street.

I had just gotten off a television pilot shooting on location in Lower Manhattan where almost the entire electrical crew rode bicycles...slowly my local union is realizing just how convenient it really is and I'm not just a freak for riding my bike everywhere. Like many people who work here in the city, us film people have the same problems...unsafe bicycle parking. Luckily for us, on this job, our boss was very bicycle friendly, a fixed gear junkie, and made sure we all stored our bikes on the electric truck. This was a rare occurrence, kind of like finding a midtown office allowing you to take your bike into the building.

Well that job has long past and Matt had just locked his bike up near set, thinking it would probably be safe. He did not have a very good lock however. These days you can not slack on the bike locking. Petty theft is up, bike theft is up. Bikes should be locked with Kryptonite chains (thats right the $90.00 one) and both wheels should be locked. As well as something dealing with quick release wheels and some sort of solution for locking the seat. Its still New York after all.

So I am writing this not to slag on the NYPD, not to tell ridiculous anecdotes about the film industry but to alert people that this bicycle was stolen.

Here is a stock picture of the bicycle:

It is a mustard colored Salsa Casserole, single speed bicycle. He bought the bike about a month ago from NYC Velo.

If you have any information about this bike please call: Matt Craig at (917)922-9384 or email him:

Please help this poor film technician be able to get to work clean and efficient and not continue to do something god awful like take public transportation or a motor vehicle.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Party tomorrow at Affinity Cycles

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bike Sharing Program gains popularity.

This just in from Gothamist:

Bike sharing program...

read more here

A new bike sharing program on Governors Island has proven so popular that the DOT is considering ways to implement a similar program throughout the rest of the city.

The forum for urban design is offering a bike sharing program starting today.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Awesome short documentary on CMWC 2008

Bad to the Bike

Another article found by Joe Hendry of Mess Media

Picture of Augie Montes, 34.

Bad to the bike

Messengers dodge traffic—and peril—in the streets of Chicago

By Leonor Vivanco

Red Eye, July 8, 2008

They are the road warriors of Chicago streets.

Bike messengers slice through traffic, clashing with drivers, battling buses, sometimes yelling at cabbies and dodging pedestrians who dare to cross their path. Broken bones and scars are their badges of honor. Their armor: simple, speedy bicycles, messenger bags large enough to hold a 30-pack of beer, cargo straps to carry boxes, dispatch radios and, most important of all, helmets.

More than 300 bike messengers in Chicago work year-round to accomplish one important mission: delivering packages as safely and quickly as possible. They make an estimated 1.1 million deliveries a year, mostly downtown, according to the city's 2015 Bike Plan, which was implemented in 2006. The more runs they make, the more money they earn.

But, as they buzz along city streets, bike messengers ride a fine line between adventure and risk. Some drivers and pedestrians who share the road see messengers as reckless riders who follow their own set of rules.

Messengers admit to breaking traffic laws and riding aggressively.

"A lot of times it's very likely the messenger who just broke the traffic law you saw is delivering a document that directly affects your life," said Augie Montes, 34, co-owner of 4 Star Courier Collective and a bike messenger for eight years.

"It's not really about trying to be the biggest badass downtown. It's trying to get the job done and trying not to break your neck in the process," he said.

The job has its occupational hazards—including the risk of injury or even death.

More than 6,000 crashes between bicycles and motor vehicles were reported in Chicago between 2001 and 2005, with 30 bicyclists killed, according to the city's Transportation Department.

City officials are trying to make roads safer for all cyclists. In March, the City Council approved fines ranging from $150 to $500 for certain driving violations, including turning left or right in front of a bicyclist, passing a bicyclist with less than three feet of space, opening a vehicle door into the path of a bicyclist, and parking in a bicycle lane.

Some bike messengers doubt the new laws will be enforced. Even so, the fines are a positive step, said Amy Polcaster, 20, of Humboldt Park.

"It sends a message there are bikers in Chicago. We're not trying to hurt anybody, but we're here, and we'd like a little room in the street," said Polcaster, who delivers food for Freshii catering on her bike, often hauling 50 sandwiches and 50 cans of pop to businesses.

Even though the job can be dangerous, bike messengers brave blistering cold winters, wet springs and humid summers because they say they love the job.

"You don't have someone looking over your shoulder. You're not stuck in a cubicle all day," said Rene Cudal, 40, a messenger for 13 years who lives in Noble Square and a co-owner of 4 Star Courier Collective.

On an average day, a bike messenger makes roughly 30 deliveries and clocks at least 30 miles, messengers say. They can take home an average of $100 a day, Cudal said. Some messenger companies pay commission per delivery, while others pay an hourly wage plus commission.

The messengers defend their job, saying it's not an easy one. Instead, it's a balancing act in a race against time.

"A lot of people do not really realize how hard it is. [They think] 'Oh, you're just riding your bike,' " Cudal said. "But let's see you cut through this traffic and get to North Avenue [from Superior and Wells Streets] in seven minutes."

The need for speed

Bike messengers' skills will be put to the test Labor Day weekend in the 11th annual North American Cycle Courier Championship in Chicago. The sanctioned event, which crowns a working bike messenger in North America as the winner, will be held on a closed course in Garfield Park, where checkpoints and assigned pick-up and drop-off locations simulate a day of work.

Slacktivists hit the streets on Friday.

Old school protest on Friday..."Let Him Eat Shit."
Read all about it here

Good blog for Tour coverage

No P only V.

Thanks to the success of the Hellcat, the all woman's alleycat in NYC,
(Photos by J. Martinez, more from that event here)

...Philly presents:

Saturday, July 19th in Philadelphia. All V, no P. Registration is at 1pm @ Lemon Hill. There’s even a BBQ after party with DJ Lady Prowl.

Think Bikes

and what do you think of?

Death deifying feats of acrobatics? wanted a shout out. They are a mountain bike stunt team available in the UK for all types of events including weddings, bar mitzvah's and more...they'll even train you in the technical mastery of handling your ride to do things like this:

Who is the next tv star...

Perhaps its squid and the crew at cyclehawk.

They've got a new trailer for a tv show.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Took a ride around town tonight...4th of July race recap.

I took a ride around Manhattan tonight for a little exercise. It was such a beautiful night, with the warm air. I finally got to see those waterfalls at night and I have to say I was pretty impressed.

I had no idea you could get that close to them.

My one little burst of physical fitness has inspired me to train for my first century.

September 7th. NYC Century Bike Tour

So here are the results of Friday's 4th of July alleycat.

20 racers, 16 checkpoints.

The race started at: 2:45pm (the numbers located on the right are the finishing times)
1. dan 359
2. crihs 404
3. drew (red) 404
4. spencer 404
5. rafael 405
6. link 411
7. zep! zep! 412
8. lucas 414
9. fernando 416
10. andras 419
11. gabe 419
12. jc king commie 423
13. no name 424 (went to 41+5 then 60 and fdr)
14. ryo 429
15. bianca 426 (1st girl)
16. harvey 428
17. gus 429 (nicest manifest)
18. markus (?)
19. andre (?)
dq- yatika
patrick (?)
i think im missing two.
thanks for putting the times cj and rob

Here is a helmet camera from Joao.

and some pictures:

Congratulations to Dan Chabanov and Bianca, first place male, and female...true patriots.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Tour coverage, as it comes in.

So if your into the Tour De France and don't have cable, but can get online, like me...there are a few options for viewing.

First is the
Versus Network online

They have some live feeds and recaps including:

Thor Hushovd, from Norway, winning stage 2 today.

Another good source for live feeds is:

and for print news:

if you want maps of each stage you can go to this google maps page

For viewing in NYC, the Lakeside Lounge is airing coverage on Versus, located at 126 Ave. B. between 10th and 11th st.

I believe it is coverage during happy hour, starting when they open around 4:00pm. So for all of you who get off work in time or aren't working...this works out great for you. At least it shows they are a cycling friendly bar.

Personally I prefer downloading coverage of ITVN broadcasts of daily recaps. Its a one hour show on British TV, that has just enough of the stages along with insightful reporting and color commentary. Hopefully it will be available on torrent sites like but I wouldn't know anything about that.

Its generally a day late, so if you can keep you head out of the headlines and wait, its worth it.

Calgary is hosting a bike polo tournament

September 12-14th

Check out their website for more info.

Picture of CMWC in Toronto, by Yohei Morita, who has tons of great pictures up on flickr.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Tour De France starts tomorrow...and hopefully finishes clean.

After some shameful bouts with doping, the 95th Tour De France is set to take off tomorrow, under the close eye of the pro cycling community.

Here is an article from the NY times sports section which does a good job of explaining some new rules and procedures for this famous race.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Download issue 8 of Urban Velo

Urban Velo out of Pittsburgh, has its latest issue available for download.

Get it here.

Contents includes:
Cycle Messenger World Championships, World Naked Bike Ride, Bicycle Film Festival - NYC, A Special Place In Hell For Bike Thieves, Sustainable Fuel, Residue, Fastest Man On A Bicycle Honored At Last, Share… And Share Alike - Examining Vélib, One Car - Family Living with Less Cars, More Bikes, Bike Threading Explained, A Simple Way to Measure Chain Stretch, I Love Riding in the City and No Exit

Happy 4th of July

Results of CMWC 2008 posted

So the official site of the Cycle Messenger World Championships, held in Toronto this year, has posted the results.

Check it out here. (scroll down)

Some great photos of all the action posted on flickr by: Walter Lai.

His set

Once again congratulations to Shino...the world's fastest messenger:

Found this video on line from the devil strip

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

4th of July Race...NYC

This Friday is the 4th of July and that means..."alleycat racing!"

This has been an annual event in New York and perhaps one of the oldest races, which of course is always being debated in messenger folklore.

Its only fitting then that this race starts at Madison Park.

Squid, has a nice story about the first race:

"OK Kids, gather round. Old Uncle Squidly has been drinking a few Pappy's and it's time for a trip down memory lane..

the first NYC July 4 street race that I can remember was way back in 1996 (BEFORE MICROWAVE POPCORN!). It was organized by me self and some friends. The prize was a trip to the CMWC which was to be held in Frisco later that year.

We made our own staff shirts with blank red tees and sharpie pens. There was a prize for best shirt which went to Yac who had yet to start racing back in those days, long long ago, before Al Gore had invented the internet to my recollection I reckon.

The race started in Madison Square Park. All the checkpoints were listed on the manifests except for one mystery checkpoint which was to be revealed at the very start of the race (a nice little monkey wrench to challenge everyones routing skills.) ((Also my way of getting to race without feeling like I had insider info!)).

Seventeen messengers threw down $10 each, the high price of admission was to help with the travel money for the winner.

It was a hellish thunder and lightning sheets of rain alternating with 98 degrees type of day. I was tempted to call it off at one point but weather be damned we shot out of that park on a quest for unmatched skill and glory.

I still remember clearly two glimpses of that awesome blitz. One was crossing paths with my brother on 57th st.
We chose different routes and blazed by each other heading the opposite ways yelling and laughing at the same time.
The other was flying down the west side highway and seeing an incredible bolt of lightning reaching down to touch the city, it really captured a moment for me some how.

In the end I placed 3rd (First Fix:cool:) With Flail coming in 2nd and my little bro James claiming the top spot! This did not go over well with some of the XMen who were still around back then. Besides the fact that they did not win, seeing the organizers brother take the money was a bitter pill to swallow.

We threw the afterparty on the abandoned elevated tracks near Little West 12th St. and as far as I know you can still rage in some of those old forgotten places.

In the following year the 'Alleycat' scene was starting to blow up in North America (Thanks mostly to CMWC Toronto 95 and CMWC San Francisco 96).

In 1997 I was an LES Squatter (Dos Blockos:ugly:), and as a hard working kid with no major bills or responsibilities I managed to hit all kinds of races in cities all over the US and Canada. I had an apocolyptic vision of an ultimate July 4 event with all the major east coast cities battling it out on bikes and then watching the fireworks and getting loaded of course.

I made the race course a fairly simple route with all the checkpoints clearly marked months in advance.

With the help of Slacker Tim (who also still messengers, he got his own company now called Advanced Direct) and Denser Dan of Serenity House we came up with a color poster:

Thanks to Fly who was working at Kinkos at the time we got mad hookups with the printing and mailed them all over and brought them to races as far as Chicago and Montreal and all points in between.

Ended up with more than 100 racers from 8 cities!! Other firsts for that day were the modern debut of 'spoke cards'. I bought two decks of Tarot cards from that good witch shop that used to be on 9th St. and had the Philly kids number them and write Apocolips on the back. The idea for the cards in the wheel came from wanting to have race numbers but not wanting to pin them to people. Besides it was a bit of a take off on baseball cards in your spokes going flap flap flap when I was a kid way way back in the 70's.

Also we had best checkpoint prize which turned out to be these three awesome ladies who loaded up some polaroid cameras and took a picture of each racer and gave it to them as they came thru their spot.

The male winner was from Toronto and the female winner was from Minneapolis!! I was happy to have been able to present a level playing field to all comers. They got R/T airfare to CMWC 97 Barcelona courtesy of Manhattan Portage.

The finish was in Willyburg on the waterfront way back when it was still wild and free.
My Buds Ryan and Dave (RIP BROTHER:metal:) home brewed 300 bottles of beer!!! We even had labels made that said Apocolips brew. Shane provided an ounce of fungus and we had a veggie BBQ while watching the fireworks.

After that we went to Johenios squat on S1 St. for a bunch of bands, fights, and more fireworks (mostly M80's). Some of the bands I remember playing were: Down Low, The Wives, The Dregs, and Booze Ass from Toronto was supposed to play but they ended up getting in a fist fight with the Dregs during the Dregs too long set.

There was a big crew from Chicago (some who relocated here including Bald Mike and Jack Blackfelt) and my homie Ash later told me a funny story:
Apparently someone dropped an M80 too close for comfort to the Chicago crew when they were outside towards the end of the night (total asshole move, I am no fan of stuff like that). Ash was close by and one of the Chi crew pointed at him and said 'Don't Mess with Chicago!' then they all road off. Ten minutes later they come back and the same guy asks him 'Do you know how to get to Flatbush Ave. from here?'

Also a big crew from Minneapolis who were inspired to start their own annual jam the following year called Stupor Bowl!

AND the following year (in Montreal?) was the first 'official' NACCC.

Damn I am rambling now but we also did skids, sprints, and track stands at Coney Island on the Sunday of that weekend.

OK, just wanted to take a little walk down memory lane and thought some of you would enjoy the story!

Ride Safe this year and maybe I will bring my family out for a checkpoint or something..."

The Checkpoints for this years race:

elite couriers 22 w 27
- city bikes 315 w 38
- 9th st + stuyvesant st.
- 41st + 5th
- 60th + FDR (dog park behind the playground)
- champions bikes 896 amsterdam
- 199 avenue b
- flash 215 e 5th
- ny minute 15 w 28
- a to z 106 ridge
- laight st. pedestrian bridge
- liberty st. @ liberty place
- castle clinton national memorial (in battery park)
- 500 grand
- jack or valaries house (spanish harlem)
- 68 st. + freedom place

Heather is Travelin...

Cyclehawk informed me that our own bike messenger and alley cat champ from NYC, Heather is traveling through Corsica and Italy on bicycle.

Check out her daily exploits on her website and her flickr photostream with daily pictures.