Thursday, March 27, 2008

Turning up the heat in March. Critical Mass press conference with video footage. 3/28/08

This Friday is the March, NYC critical Mass. The war continues. One year ago the NYPD threw down the hammer making arrests and continuing to exhibit the grudge they've had against this monthly event. Only one problem. We caught it all on video tape!!

There will be a press conference at Union Square North at 7:00pm

Press Release:

New York, NY (March 26, 2008) – This Friday, March 28th, Critical Mass
participants will be joined by a diverse group of videographers, artists,
activists and politicians outraged over NYPD regulatory constraints on the
civil liberties of New Yorkers. Prominent speakers from the community
will participate in the "Still We Speak" rally to denounce the NYPD's
First Amendment abuses, including the parade permit rules which limit the
number of people who can legally assemble in a public place.

Video evidence presented at the rally will show a high ranking police
officer violating a federal consent decree while arresting two people
documenting police activity in Times Square during the March, 2007
Critical Mass ride. The NYPD's harassment of citizens who document police
activity is a direct violation of a federal consent decree and is also
prohibited by the NYPD's own Patrol Guide. This infringement on the First
Amendment rights of the camerapersons resulted in an ongoing CCRB
investigation and a request to the Attorney General, US Attorney and
District Attorney to bring perjury charges against the arresting Sergeant
for false statements contained in the criminal complaints that were
brought and dismissed against the two camerapersons.

Civil Rights Attorney, Norman Siegel will join others to demand that the
arbitrary 50-person permit rule be overturned. "It does not make legal or
constitutional sense and it creates an unnecessary burden and chill on
First Amendment rights to peaceful protests." says Siegel.

Rally participants will include Norman Siegel, Retired NYPD Detective
Marquez Claxton of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, Christian
Gutierrez, videographer arrested March 2007 and Reverend Billy & the
Church of Stop Shopping Choir.

**Video recording of NYPD abuse on March 30, 2007, will be available to
the press at the rally. Overview of video footage can be seen:

View a copy of letter to Attorney General requesting perjury prosecution: Here


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Safewalk, escort people home, by bike.

I've been in LA, chillin in the nice warm weather. The car culture here is pretty intense, but the bike scenes in LA and Santa Monica are really amazing. My wife and I have been seeking out the best food we can in town. My full LA report, coming soon.

Just wanted to post this about a great way to volunteer on bikes back in NYC.

Its about SafeWalk, the bike patrol program of RightRides, where volunteers escort callers to their destinations safely. The service is open to anyone and is made possible by volunteers with bikes who wear designated safety vests and are available Friday late nights.
You can find more information at

There will be an information session on Wednesday, March 19 at 7 pm at 140 Metropolitan Avenue at Berry Street, Apt. 1, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Please drop by if you are a potentially interested volunteer.


Friday, March 14, 2008

New ordinaces in Chicago towards Motorists sparks debate.

In Chicago, the city council has passed new ordinances which target motorists for "dooring" cyclists. Bikers claim this as a long overdue victory but it has sparked debate about enforcement of these new laws and how it applies to cyclists behavior.

Read more from this Chicago Tribune article.

Labels: , ,

March 15th, Ides of March Clown ride

"Ides of March"

Saturday, March 15th
Meet 2:30 pm at Time's Up! Space (come at 2pm for clown makeup & props)
73 Morton Street

Motorists in the bike lane: Beware the Ides of March!

Join the Bike Clown Brigade, a troop of cyclists dressed like clowns, as they warn drivers illegally parked in Manhattan's bike lanes.

Leaving from the new Times Up! space; the clowns will spiffy up the city's bike lanes and issue "parking tickets" to drivers who endanger cyclists by parking cars and trucks in the bike lane.

The ride will end with an after-party at 4:00 pm at the Feedback Exhibit at the Eyebeam for a toast to the newly cleared bike lanes and safe cycling for all!

New design compeition for bicycle parking in NYC

Check out this
website to learn about a new design competition in NYC for bicycle parking.

From the website:

The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), in partnership with the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and the support of Google Inc. and Transportation Alternatives, is pleased to announce an international design competition for new bicycle parking for the City of New York. As part of our effort to promote cycling as a sustainable, mainstream transportation option and in keeping with the environmental goals of PlaNYC 2030, DOT is seeking to tap the creative energy of the world design and art communities for this important element of street furniture.

The purpose of the competition is to develop functional, well-designed sidewalk racks and to generate new concepts for bicycle parking inside commercial and residential buildings. These two initiatives, in addition to NYCDOT’s commitment to increasing the number of miles of bicycle facilities, providing the City’s first sheltered bike parking stations and creating more bicycle parking at transit stations, will raise the profile of bicycling as a convenient mode of transportation in New York.

(read more on the site)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Milwaukee Messenger Invitational

If your in Milwaukee this weekend...

Velocity Round up

Photo by Dave August

So who won tickets to the cycle messenger world championships in Toronto you ask?

For the ladies:

Alissa Eberle

and for the Men:

Andrew Toews.


This was part of Sunday's Monster Track Weekend, The 3rd annual Velocity Tour hosted by Kevin "Squid" Bolger of Cyclehawk Couriers.

Some more race results:

Velo City NYC 2008 Results
# City Bikers Women Team
382 Lauren Kung Cambridge Bicycle
10 Heidi Goodson Comedy Central
24 Brittlee Bowman N/A

# Messenger Women Team
43 Alissa Eberle N/A

# City Biker Men Team
390 Tadeusz Marszalek Sommerville Sports
46 Luke Stiles DART
40 Alex (Marius Farioletti) Affinity

# Messenger Men Team
23 Andrew Toews N/A
17 Dan Chabanov Six Racing
7 Shusaku Shiroyamu Six Racing

This is a velodrome series that gives hard working couriers a chance to take their track bikes to a place they were meant to go and try for tickets to the CMWC, which happens to be in Toronto this year.

It was also open to city riders, opening up lots of opportunity for people to test out their skills on the track out in Kissena Queens.

Next stop: Los Angeles April 10th and San Francisco May 10th

Yoshi from Fatlace's Blog

Yoshi from Fatlace wrote this report on hanging with Sino and Hal from Tokyo, in town for Monster Track Weekend.

Thanks for the kind words about my DVD.

Check it: Here

So thats what happened to Sino in the race.

Two cool ads from London on Bike awareness

Loyal bikeblog reader Josh Kalin sent me two links to bicycle awareness PSA's done by the city of London Transport.

here is one where the bike lanes come to life.

and here is another. (make sure to watch this till the end...and pay attention.

Thanks Josh.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Quick Quiz--Bike Porn

Which is Bike Porn?

1) This Guy

or this:


Well, they both are...depending on how much money you got. One is a Hillbilly version of! Our own Ken rocking the mesh shirt for Rumble thru da Bronx.

The other is a screening of a series of short films by Reverend Phil for Portland.

the blog about the tour.

March 22nd.
217 East 42nd St.
New York, NY. 10017

On Saturday, March 22nd 2008, The Pornography of the Bicycle will be three screenings
> for one night only. 7, 9 and 11pm. $6.00.

The 90-minute showing will consist of 28 short films from a
> variety of artists across the west coast on the theme of "bike porn."
> The movies range from the contemplative to the inventive, to the
> [ahem] fully demonstrative.
> The curator of the program, Reverend Phil, will also be on-hand to
> discuss the philosophy and nature of bike porn in more intimate
> detail.
> "Pornography is difficult thing to define," says bicycle pornographer,
> Reverend Phil. "Often we use a community standard to decide what is
> obscene as opposed to just erotic. People often say, 'I know
> pornography when I see it.' I feel pornography is the visceral
> reaction we get from something that is so graphic that we must turn
> away, or is so graphic that we cannot turn away."
> The various artists, some operating under pseudonyms, take us though a
> range of videos -- most of which are not available anywhere else. No
> DVDs of the work are available for sale; barely any works are on the
> Internet. This is your only chance to see The Pornography of the
> Bicycle in New York City.
> Please be advised of adult content: 18 and over only, please.


Article in Time out Sydney

Article in Time Out Sydney showing off the courier community.

Habitat: The streets of Sydney’s CBD
Dress: Shorts, satchel, two way radio
Credo: “Get out of the f***ing way”

Any job that requires you be impervious to insults, near misses with pedestrians, broken bones, dislocated joints and face-scraping grazes is no run of the mill crust-earner.

Unsurprisingly, bike couriers don’t brag about their injuries. They take pride in avoiding accidents. “Pedestrians are by far the greatest hazard to urban cyclists. My biggest fear is being knocked off my bike by a jaywalking pedestrian then going under a bus or truck,” says Simon ‘Shifty’ McKenzie.

From time to time, angry drivers take aim, but most messengers are circumspect about road rage. “Taxi drivers pull u-turns in front of you and don’t indicate. People swing their car doors open without looking. We all have to deal with the same dangers every day. We’re brothers in arms,” says Shifty.

“Taxis and buses have issues with us as we do them but it still amazes me how much good a friendly wave or apology can do.”

Sometimes things boil over. One courier had his revenge: “I once stole the keys out of a car that cut me off and threw them down a drain. I can assure you it’s difficult to reach in, turn the key and remove them from an occupied car.”

After work, couriers congregate near the old Post Office on George Street at Martin Place, standing around with Coopers and a rollie in hand, talking about their bikes. “This isn’t a job you choose,” Shifty says. “Usually it’s a job you get into because it looks cool or because you may have trouble getting another job. For a job with no qualifications it beats the hell out of flipping burgers or pouring beers.”

Tribal site

Alleycat in DC on March 15th

This Saturday in Washington D.C.

3pm the games begin:

Competitions start at 3PM and will consist of:

~ Trackstands

~ Footdown

~ Alleycat race at 4PM

Location of competitions and start of alleycat TBA

~After event party with live bands to be held at the Red and the Black at 1212 H st NE, Wash. DC, time TBA


The Screws


Angry Youth

DJ Evil






We have a Track V wheelset from Cane Creek, hats from Walz Caps and Spokepunchers as well as hats and t-shirts from Laekhouse in hand already.


Covers all competitions/race. Proceeds to be donated to charities dealing with terminally ill children.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Got quoted in the NY times.

So I called my friend, the reporter form the Times Colin Moynihan, and told him there is still a story to be told about how alleycats have come of age, especially with Monster Track being canceled by its original organizers. He talked with his editors and was able to do the story.

I know people are kind of tired of this but at least we are reporting about postive biking and not speculating about what kind of biker was the mad bomber in Times Square.

Here it the article.

Monster Track Weekend so far-which never happened.

Well its been an unpredictable weekend to say the least. Canceled, not canceled. Rain, misting, not-raining, pouring. Videotape, didn't record, recorded, camera falls to the ground on the road.

Despite the small dramas, its been good times overall and Monster Track 9 still brought people out from all over the world.

Friday night, Get Sum entertainment put on the pre-party and Goldsprints at Third Ward in Bushwick. This place is a nice size gallery space with lots of activity. Mixed in with drenched bike messengers attending the party, fashion models were in studio being photographed and others I meet were working on a documentary contest where they had to complete a film about "second life," in four days. Oh and thanks for the pizza BTW.

Meanwhile, as the rain never stopped, Team Spider rocked out playing many of their new hits like Fuck Brakes, to a crowd who would be doing just that the next day at Monster Track. This was the bands 10 year anniversary party, bringing their bike punk rock to the masses.

On a big wall in the center of the gallery where about 140 photos from Ed Glazar showing off the diverse bicycle community with bike polo, alleycats and a lot of familiar faces that were in attendance.

Behind that wall was the goldsprints hosted by Hodari, CK and Mike Dee. Here participants battled it out on stationary bikes for prizes like crumpler bags decorated with original fabric art by Ashira.

Here you can pedal in a highly competitive environment and not have to worry about becoming a hood ornament form a speeding SUV.

The final battle of the night came down to our own Pablo from 6 racing team against this kid from Portland who had never been in NYC before.

The first final match was a dead tie so, it was shirts of and time for a vicious tie-breaker to the delight of the biker crowd.

By a close second Caze for Portland (not sure about the name) beat Pablo.


The mood of rain would shift from a light sprinkle to a monsoon downpour on the day of the Monster Track alleycat. This year was the ninth annual race and it was a real coming of age for the underground sport.

A 29 year old died in Chicago in an alleycat series which quickly brought attention to a type of event that has been going on for years without such a tragic incident. Suddenly everyone is questioning the legitimacy and legality of this underground sport normally reserved for bike messengers challenging one another on a weekend.

What can I say, people like to ride fixed gears, they like to ride in traffic and an alleycat race is such a unique exhilaration, always a different course and unlike any type of cycling there is. The fashionableness and the wide spread skill sharing scene on youtube have reached the masses and made cycling cool, so naturally there are lots of people who aren't messengers who want this same sense of belongingness. Monster Track has become a peremiere event and made NYC a popular destination from rookie alleycat participants. Its also a way to gain bragging rights for your city and for yourself to escape from just being able to merely communte on a fixie to downright racing through a congested traffic environment.

So the original organizers washed their hands of it and left it up to last years organizer alleycat veteran and messenger, Victor. One tactic to reduce the "rookie racers" was hiding the registration and making it word of mouth. The Bangledeshian rains were doing a good job of thinking the pack of potential participants but still they came, drenched with surgical gloves, and plastic bags in their SIDI's to sign up for the now elusive monster track. In a one room apartment in Williamsburg Brooklyn, the came in, paid ten bucks, got a spoke card and were told where to meet to start the race.
Photos from the start by Fritz:

At around 4:50, the rains stopped and the 50 or so fixie riders, who were given the secret handshake to race, took off from under the Williamsburg brige in Manhattan and Monster Track 9 was on.

The first stop was Trackstar where racers got their manifest and drink a beer.

Then they broke off into the city with most people going uptown and few headed down.

I headed to the middle of the Williamsburg Bridge which was the last checkpoint before the end which was designed to keep people off the car path.

Winner (photos by Fritz)
for the dudes:

For the ladies:

Congratulations to the winner:
1st Mens: Austin
1st Womens: Heather
2nd place Men: Crihs
3rd place Men: Yatika
4th place Men: Willis

The end was at the park at the base of the Williamsburg Bridge, Brooklyn side. We hung out for a while and I talked with a woman who was shooting a documentary about messengers...never heard that concept before. There was also a freelance writer there named Bill who's business card said he was from Portland. He said he was doing a story on MT for Bicycling magazine. It will be hard to report on this race...because of course it never happened.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Looks like rain this weekend

Slight change in plans for Saturday:

Saturday March 8, 1PM Hosted by King Kog
Meet at Rockstar Bar- South 5th St. at Kent Ave. Brooklyn
Group ride to Meeker/Union under the BQE (Covered area- RAIN!)
SPRINTS, Skids, Freestyle, Stands, Footdown! Fun!
Awards and Afterparty at Rockstar Bar!!

Take Bike Commuter Survey.

Matthew Ides is taking a survey.

Hub and Spokes: Imageability of the Daily Bicycle
Commuter in New York City

"In a city that is dominated by the automobile I want
to find out how its residents who use other modes of
transportation actually view the built environment.
While all forms of transit modes could be studied, I
find that this small minority (0.5% of residents who
commute by bike) would make for an interesting study.
The sole purpose is to record the subjective
perspective (mental image/imageability) New York City
bicycle commuters have of the build environment, good
or bad, through a survey. The survey is 23 questions
and will take less than 10 minutes to complete. No
compensation will be provided for participation in
this study."

Take the SURVEY here:

more info at Hubs and spokes

Chromo Bags helps BMF

San Francisco based Chrome Bags, has come up with a clever way to help injured messengers.

Presenting their Chrome Aces deck of playing cards.

Squid from cyclehawk messengers (NYC) and Billy from Godspeed (SF), along with chrome bags helped make this project happen.

Its a deck of playing cards featuring messengers form 4 cities. The card deck is $10.00 and 100% of the proceeds go to the New York Bicycle Messenger Fund.

Hanging out at Peel Sessions warmin up for Monster Track Weekend.

The Crew of the weekly Peel Sessions under the BQE in front of the Union Pool bar.

Hirouki Shinozuka, otherwise known as "Shino" and his companion Hal are back in New York City for Monster Track weekend. It was really good seeing both of them at Prolly's Peel Sessions under the BQE in Williamsburg. Both of these Tokyo messengers were the subject of my short film, "Track Kaiju" which I put together for the Bicycle Film festival 2007. We finally got the chance to give them DVD's because, we finally finished the DVDs. They seemed happy and that made me relieved because it took me almost a year to finish this project.

Shino checking out the DVD.

I hoped they had as much fun in New York as we had making this movie. Mike Dee showed up for a brief appearance to welcome Hal and Shino, who we hadn't seen in a year.

So we are pre-releasing this Monster Track Tribute DVD, tomorrow at the Gold Sprints
Party. They will be $15.00.
The Movie includes: My 20 minute short film, a 10 minute race video featuring the mastery of Lucas Brunelle and 20 minutes of interviewing with Mike Dee and Kym Perfetto before the actual race started.

There is commentary by Mike Dee and the film makers and a bunch of bonus material highlighting all the talent that goes into this big event.

Please come through and buy a copy.

Here is a little sample...a quick cut from Monster Track 2007.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Chicago Tribune article on recent city hall meeting.

From Joe Hendry of Mess Media.

City panel targets bikers, drivers

Chicago Sun-Times, March 5, 2008

By Fran Spielman, City Hall Reporter

Mayor Daley's plan to curb motorists whose reckless driving endangers bicycle riders -- with $150 fines that rise to $500 if there's a bike crash -- cleared a City Council committee today amid demands that the city do the same to cowboy cyclists.

Traffic Committee members said they're all for throwing the book at drivers who open car doors in the path of cyclists, turn left or right in front of them or pass within three feet of their bikes.

But, they're equally peeved about bike messengers who knock down pedestrians and about street racers who defy red lights in a mad dash to the finish line.

That's what happened last month to 29-year-old Matthew Manger-Lynch. He was struck and killed by an SUV at Lincoln and Irving Park while competing in the "Tour da Chicago," an "alley cat" street race in which cyclists compete with local traffic.

"One of the things that highlighted was the fact that laws should also be obeyed by the bicyclist. Here, we're highlighting the motor vehicle obeying the law. Are we also going to insist that bicyclists obey the rules of the road," said Ald. Bernard Stone (50th).

Ald. Willie Cochran (20th) said he has watched cyclists ride the wrong way down one-way streets, cut in and out of traffic and keep on going after causing accidents or knocking people down.

"How many of 'em are stopping at stop lights? How many of 'em are stopping at stop signs? How many of 'em are putting their hands up when it's time to make a turn? Those are serious issues ... If I violate a law and I'm in my car, they take my license. Are we gonna license bicycles," Cochran said.

Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) said he's all for targeting motorists to encourage people to ride their bikes to work to reduce downtown traffic congestion.

But, cyclists need to be "held accountable" as well.

"Some of our ... less responsible bicycle messengers seem to have free rein over the streets in the downtown Loop area. For some of our more elderly citizens, we've had some close calls and, in fact, some collissions,," Reilly said.

The city's Bike 2015 Plan calls for new regulations against the city's 300 bicycle messengers who make 1.1 million deliveries each year. They would be required to wear helmets and complete a city training session. Companies would be advised when messengers get tickets.

"I may have the pleasure of coming back to this committee again with an ordinance specifically related" to bike messengers, said Ben Gomberg, bike program coordinator for the Department of Transportation.

Gomberg said bicycle licensing has been studied and rejected in other cities as "administratively too difficult."

But, he promised a summer crackdown to create a "level playing field."

"If a bicyclist is going through a red light and endangering himself or motorists, we hope to work with the Police Department to ticket those behaviors," he said.

Daley is an avid cyclist who once scraped the skin off his knee cap during a marathon bike ride in Michigan.

His ordinance establishes a $150 fine against motorists who endanger cyclists and $500 if the offense results in a bike crash. The same penalties would apply to double-parking in a marked lane that's supposed to be shared between bikes and vehicles and to driving, standing and parking in a bicycle-only lane.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Tokyo FIXIE!!

I'm mad jealous of this blog Trackosaurus Rex. They are so pimpin about all the latest in art and fashion of my favorite two wheeled creation...the fixie.

Check out this Dope shizle on the Tokyo fixie scene.

Tokyo Fixed Gear

Lessons to be learned about Bogota.

So streetfilms has its third installment of a video about all of the bike friendly things going on in Bogota Colombia.

Check it out here

Hmmm just in time for Colombia to go to war with Venezuela and Equador. Hmmm I wonder who the CIA will side with in that nasty struggle. Socialist leaders who control a third of our our oil imports spouting off how Bush is the devil or Right wing military friendly Country gaining big bucks form our "never ending drug war."

Maybe the bicycle can make everything ok.

Peace and Love.

Bike Blog

oh, and check out Street Films video on how you too can move by Bicycle.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Good idea to get on Google

this great blog: Trackosaurusrex has brought to my attention that there is this online petition going trying to get a "bike there" option added to google maps. Find out about it here.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Other events to attend next weekend

If canceling the main race of monster track has got you all bummed out...there are four other great cycling events you can attend in NYC.

March 7th:

March 8th and 9th:

March 8th:

and Sunday, March 9th:

Critical Mass 2/29/ Chris Ryan of Team Spider

A couple events today worth checking out

Here are a couple of events worth checking out today:

1) Grassroots media conference.

March 2nd at Hunter College.
For the past four years, we’ve explored the political dimensions of media and how it shapes our lives. In developing relationships between community and media organizations, the NYC Grassroots Media Coalition is working to re-imagine issues of access to, control of, and power over our media system. That means defining our struggle as a struggle for Media Justice.
Join us at the 2008 NYC Grassroots Media Conference as we seek to define our understanding of and relationship to Media Justice as a community, and explore how we can not only envision an ideal world, but make this vision a reality.


2) Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping

Reverend Billy, the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir and the Not Buying It Band
Sunday, March 2nd | 2:00pm At the Highline Ballroom. All Ages, Lunch and Spirits Served
431 West 16th Street, New York NY 10011 | Between 9th and 10th Ave
Take the A,C,E or the L Train to 8th Ave and 14th Street
Tickets $12 at High Line Ballroom or at the door!

Rev Billy and the gang are having a fund raiser to stop the eviciction of the Carnegie artist studios.

Don't forget about the party.

The main race is canceled but there are still fun events to hang out at including this...

Friday March 7th.

This is also the 10 year anniversary of Team Spider. Please come and represent. Good times for all.

Then...Saturday March 8th, instead of the main race...

NY Times article on this years (not happening) Monster Track

Well I guess this article would have lead to a lot more people attending Monster Track...and we wouldn't want that kind of popularity.

NY Times article

article by Jennifer Bleyer

Photo by Times Photographer: Joe Fornabaio
New York is a big crazy grid full of drivers who want to kill you," says Mike Dee.

MIKE DEE, a 33-year-old bicycle messenger with waist-length dreadlocks and a chipped front tooth from a bike injury, has been zipping around Manhattan on two wheels for more than a decade, picking up and delivering packages, currently for Checker Courier.

In his spare time, Mr. Dee helps organize races known as alley-cats. Pioneered about 15 years ago by bicycle messengers to test the skills they developed in their work, these events involve barreling around the city and threading their way through traffic to find random destinations quickly.

On Saturday, hundreds of competitors will take part in Monstertrack, an annual event that is one of the city’s biggest alley-cat races. A few days before the race, sitting in his dark and cluttered apartment in Stuyvesant Town surrounded by a half-dozen bicycles and piles of spare bicycle parts, Mr. Dee talked about the life of a New York messenger, the rising popularity of alley-cats and the sheer anarchic fun of the race.

Twelve years ago, I was working as a doorman and my job was hell. It paid a lot, but it was mind-numbing and boring. I’d always see these messenger dudes coming to drop off packages in the building, and they seemed like they were having a good time. They didn’t have to wear a monkey suit to work. If they got hassled, they rose above it with a smart remark and a broken-tooth smile. I was like, “I want to try that job out.” I reinvented myself.

It was pretty hard. Physically, your body changes a lot. You lose weight and get stronger and eat three times as much as you used to. You get more of an engaged street sense when it comes to traffic and getting hit by cars. New York is a big crazy grid full of drivers who want to kill you.

I was a messenger for a good two years before I even started hanging out with other messengers in Tompkins Square Park, where all the couriers would hang out after work. They were like, “We’re throwing a bike race.” A bike race? Don’t we ride our bikes enough during the week? They’re like: “No, it’s different! You’re gonna like it.” Then I figured out there’s more to this than low wages and dangerous working conditions. All right!

The first one I went to was a Halloween race called the Noose. Basically, they drew a hangman’s noose over Midtown Manhattan and put checkpoints along the line. An alley-cat is: You look at a map of the city and pick 5 to 20 checkpoints. Then the racers have to figure out the most efficient way to get from one to the next.

Because it’s an illegal, unsanctioned sport, anybody can come down, pay $5 and race. And if you don’t like to race, you can be a checkpoint worker outside or at a bike shop or bar or strip club, depending on where we put the checkpoint, and hang out, drink, sign or stamp manifests and try to pick up some boys or girls, whatever you’re into.

I’ve been organizing races for 8 or 10 years. Every holiday, there’s usually an alley-cat. There’s the Valentine’s Day Massacre. On Halloween, there was the Triple Six, the Noose, the Pentagram. I organized these races last summer called the Five Borough Generals.

I’m surprised we didn’t get a visit from Homeland Security solely based on the names of the races. There was the Rumble Through the Bronx, the Broadway Bomber, the Staten Island Invasion, the Queens Riot and the Battle for Brooknam. It was pretty awesome.

The next one coming up is Monstertrack, which is a race that I helped start. Ten years ago, Monstertrack had 45 entries. This year there should be 250 people. Way more than half of them won’t even be couriers.

Originally only bike messengers and their girlfriends came. Now it’s regular people on their bikes saying: “I want to do that, too. That looks fun.” It’s a cultural phenomenon for young post-college kids getting these yuppie jobs that don’t pay them any money, figuring they’re going to be paying off student loans the rest of their natural lives, or who can’t get a job anywhere but a coffee shop with their art degrees. They’re like, “I’ll just get this track bike and stick a U-lock in my back pocket and ride around.”

There are categories in the race. There’s the overall winner, the female winner, the first-place out- of-towner. Out-of-towners usually don’t pull it together. They don’t have traffic like this in other cities. Unless the guy’s smart or gets lucky, they usually come in 10th.

For some reason, companies don’t want to sponsor underground illegal bicycle races through the streets. They’re afraid that somebody’s going to get run over and killed. At Rumble in the Bronx last year, at least four people ended up in hospitals. Three while racing and one, my own roommate, got run over going home. His hand was literally underneath a car, but it wasn’t broken.

We give away a prize for Best Crash at every alley-cat. Usually it’s pretty cool. A guy shows up at the finish line with his bike on his shoulder holding a broken front wheel, or there’s blood streaming down his head, or he’s missing skin on his arm. You need to give away prizes for things like that.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Monster Track 9--the Race that isn't.

The organizers of this years Monster Track have pulled the plug. There will be no main race on Saturday March 8th. Here is what Squid, had to say about the decision:

"The organizers of Monster Track 2008 have decided, after careful consideration, to cancel this year’s main race.

This decision did not come easy and was debated at length. Our reasons are many but the overall factor was that the race has become unmanageable due to the large participation and our concern for the participant’s safety.

As many of you know, Monster Track started as a race held for a small, close group of NYC bike messengers. It has now become an overwhelmingly all-inclusive event. This, on its face, may seem like a positive direction for a race but in the context of a solely track bike alleycat it brings many problems. First and foremost, the safety of the racers is compromised. We believe that this is not a tenable position for race organizers.

Although the main race is canceled, please join us for Gold Sprints on Friday evening, Fixed Gear Competition (track stands, skids, footdown, freestyle, sprints, etc.) on Saturday and the Velo City Tour, at Kissena Velodrome on Sunday.

Schedule of Events:

Friday March 7, 8PM
Goldsprints at Third Ward
195 Morgan Ave. Brooklyn

Saturday March 8, 1PM
Fixed Gear Comp and injured messenger fundraiser at Rocky’s
South 5th St. at Kent Ave. Brooklyn

Sunday March 9, 12PM
Velo City Track Competition at Kissena Velodrome
Booth Memorial Ave near Kissena Blvd. Queens

Well that sucks. I respect the organizers for their decision and realize it must have been a hard one to make. But it does leave me feeling a little empty. I mean what kind of outlaw bike community are we? I guess we're all grown up now. At least we can go back to doing what we do best at the other events, Drinking, fighting with each other and vandalizing property. All kidding aside...I do think that Monster Track did a lot for the bicycle community. Not everyone has to go out there and skitch cars, hit pedestrains and be unsafe. I know a lot of people who just participated in the main race just to check it out, rode slow and embraced what a good time this is on bikes. Its sad to see that because of someones death (in Chicago) that we are going to stop this. For good? For just one year? Are other alleycats going to change. I know working messengers out there feel like there culture is being stolen and don't want to be responsible for tragedy.

ABC news did a story on alleycats after the recent death at the Tour De Chicago:


Funny how the "I team" did a big investigation on "Alleycats" after someone dies. Maybe they should put that same effort into news when cyclists die from cars when they are following the rules of the road. HMMM. I know I live in a fantasy world.

Look for our Monster Track video which will be coming out at this years event. I may be the last documentation of this famous NYC alleycat.