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The Second Passion of Allan Holdsworth

Over the last couple of years, so many rock icons have been dying, the latest being Allan Holdsworth (no relation to the bicycle manufacturer) on 4/15/2017, a little known “guitarist’s guitarist”, who wanted to be a saxophonist (his parents could not afford one, so he took up guitar instead), one of his childhood inspirations being John Coltrane who he is now compared to for his ability to improvise.

His second life long passion was road cycling, one of the reasons he moved from England to Southern California in the early 1980’s, so he could ride in the hills. Before that “Holdsworth’s early career was frought with desperation and dry spells, and from his late teens through his mid-twenties music was a mostly sporadic venture and hobby; he supported himself primarily repairing bicycles during this time.”

ALAN_CLARE_ALLAN_HOLDSWORTH_BICYCLE_1991_20170426

Photo Source: Alan Care 1991 Tustin, CA (from personal collection)

Flat Tire: Music for a Non-Existent Movie

Flat Tire: Music for a Non-Existent Movie

Photo source: wikipedia.

A true iconoclast, he dismissed one of his most well known classic recordings with the progressive rock supergroup U.K.: “I detested it, I thought it was crap, I didn’t even want to be involved in it. A lot of people like the things I hate the most” he said in a 1983 interview.

As can happen with some geniuses, he was very individualistic and wanted to do his own thing, referring to U.K.: “he objected to the organized structures of a major touring band and left the group after its first self-titled album in 1978.”, the result of which, he reportedly died poor and without the mainstream fame he likely could have had, but happier with his own solo projects.

On one of those, Hard Hat Area, the song ‘Tullio‘ is a reference to one of his cycling heroes Tullio Campagnolo, the inventor of the quick release skewer, among other cycling components, on Secrets appears ‘Spokes‘, and With a Heart in My Song with pianist Gordon Beck includes ‘Sundays‘ which is supposed to be bicycle related as well.

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Photo source: Daughter Louise Holdsworth’s facebook page (notice the two bicycle wheels in the upper right hand corner behind the Holdsworth family).

The ‘happy ending’, if you can use that phrase here, is that a gofundme campaign which set out to raise $20,000.00 for his funeral expenses has already broken $107,000.00 as of this post, a testament to how his death has impacted his fans.

HOLDSWORTH_BIKE_20170419 - Copy

Photo Source: Allan Holdsworth Family Memorial gofundme page

Countless musicians have praised Allan Holdsworth’s guitar playing and innovative, independent nature, and are paying their respects including Bill Bruford (Yes, King Crimson, U.K., Genesis), Eddie Jobson (Roxy Music, U.K., Frank Zappa), Jean-Luc Ponty (Frank Zappa), John McLaughlin (Tony Williams Lifetime, Mahavishnu Orchestra), Stanley Clarke (Return to Forever), Dweezil Zappa, Vernon Reid (Living Colour), Steve Vai (Frank Zappa), and Eddie Van Halen (Van Halen) who once said “He is the best in my book”.

RIP Allan Holdsworth (6 August 1946 – 15 April 2017).

IMG_20170422_0001_ALLAN_HOLDSWORTH

The Pedaling Astronomer

Last weekend at NEAF (the largest astronomy show in the world) held annually at Rockland Community College, it was surprising to meet a cyclist, Gary Parkerson, the ‘face’ for the Pedaling Astronomer Project.

PEDALING ASTRONOMER PROJECT

PEDALING ASTRONOMER PROJECT

Gary, 62 years of age at the time he started his solo, self sustained bicycle journey in May 2016 across the United States carrying an entire mobile astronomy lab with him from New Orleans, LA, plans to keep biking to as many of the lower 48 United States (originally set at 13,500 miles), before ending his trip in Nashville, TN for the August 21, 2017 Great American total solar eclipse (75.0% visible from NYC), where he hopes to organize at least 1,000 cyclists to experience it with him.

Already, Gary has made news in Hutchinson, KS (8/2016), Northridge, CA (9/2016), Southern, UT (10/2016), Moapa Valley, NV (10/2016), and Las Vegas, NV (1/2017), as well as providing very detailed information about his preparation for the trip (6/2016).

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PEDALING ASTRONOMER PROJECT

The purpose of the project is two-fold, to show to as many people as possible:
1. Paths to personal astronomical discovery are open to everyone.
2. Bicycle transportation is not only accessible, healthful and responsible, it’s fun.
Gary will do this by attending as many astronomy, and cycling events as he can both large and small nationwide, as well as anyone he meets along the way.

The Pedaling Astronomer

PEDALING ASTRONOMER PROJECT

Gary, a self described ‘non-athlete’, is also not actually an astronomer either, but is the Managing Editor of Astronomy Technology Today a leading publication about the instruments and technology that amateur astronomers use. Believe it or not, several years ago, he had a medical condition that makes him unable to drive an automobile anymore, that is why he took up biking which was his primary mode of transportation, even before this trip.

Gary rides a Surly Big Dummy long-tail cargo bike on his trip, he prefers to call “The Big”, that with all of his equipment, and camping gear, weighs in at about 150 pounds. An average biking day for him is 50 miles. He also carries a least one refractor telescope, capable of being used for both nighttime, and solar observing, which he can attach to a specially designed mount behind his seat, when not biking.

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PEDALING ASTRONOMER PROJECT

His future plans are to bike across Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Australia, all with his mobile astronomy lab, to carry on the same mission.

Gary says he will be back in NYC for the Bike Expo New York, in 2018, just missing the 2017 edition, which is in a few weeks, so stay tuned, if you want to meet, likely, the world’s first ‘pedaling astronomer’.

In the meantime you can follow his adventure, on facebook.

Brooklyn Bike Swap – Sunday April 30 – 10:30 am to 3:30 pm

Another Bike Jumble type event has been announced, the “Brooklyn Bike Swap”, for the 5th year now, on Sunday 4/30/2017 from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm, at 224 Franklin Street, Greenpoint Brooklyn (t.d.b. bar).

Brooklyn Bike Swap Flyer

Brooklyn Bike Swap Flyer

Photo taken from facebook event

According to the event description, admission is free, as well as selling, though if you want to reserve a space to sell, that price is $10.00, as space is limited. Setup is outside, so the event happens rain or shine.

Email nycbikeswap@gmail.com for more information.

This event is happening the same weekend, as the Red Hook Crit, which happens the night before.

Fallen Angel – One Year On

Today, 4/15/2017, there was a memorial for Lauren Davis at the Greenpoint Reformed Church who was killed by a motorist one year ago on Classon Avenue in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn while biking to work in the morning.

In attendance were many of her family and friends, including her mother, sister, and a brother who all flew in from California for the anniversary. Although the mood was somber, people spoke about their memories of Lauren, a song written especially for the occasion, was performed live, and someone danced, “as she would have liked it”, followed by a mostly vegan reception. But it was clear that her loss was still fresh in everyone’s hearts and minds.

Lauren_Elizabeth_Davis_20170415

Photo from the facebook page of Mirza Molberg

This comes on the heels of two other NYC cyclists being killed by motorists in April, and the peculiar way Mayor Bill de Blasio’s NYC Vision Zero Action Plan is responding to such tragedies by having the NYPD writing red light tickets as high as $4,600 to individual cyclists, and impounding e-bikes en masse, which is particularly burdensome for low income people.

Reports are, Lauren’s sister is moving to NYC from California, in part to get a bike lane built where her sister was killed.

Let’s hope they can get Vision Zero back on track soon to keep us from having more Fallen Angels on the streets of the city.

Bike Jumble – Park Slope – Saturday – 5/13/2017 – 10am to 4pm

The spring edition of the NY Bike Jumble swap meet, the largest bicycle flea market in NYC, is coming again to the Old Stone House in Park Slope on Saturday 5/13/2017. Here is your chance to get a great deal on bicycles, accessories and clothing.

At 5th Ave. and 4th Street in Brooklyn, you’ll find vendors representing established bike shops as well as people with new and used bikes to sell.

Plus there will also be advocacy groups and bike mechanics from Time’s Up offering free bike repairs…so come on down!

NY Bike Jumble: May 14, 2011. from NY Bike Jumble on Vimeo.

If you are interested in becoming vendor yourself, you can sign up here

The late Summer edition of Bike Jumble has also been announced as occurring on Saturday 9/9/2017, so there is always a second chance to attend this event if you miss the first one.

Seattle Slew Bike Share

According to a 3/31/2017 article in Bicycling Magazine, Seattle shut down its Pronto bike share on that day, which started in 2014, and expanded to 500 bikes and 54 stations.

There are many theories, according to the article, like Seattle hills:

and a mandatory helmet law (although it is legal to ride a bike on the sidewalk):

Meanwhile, in NYC, according to the New York Post (4/5/2017) ‘at least five rogue companies are muscling in on Citi Bike’s turf with service that eliminates the use of docking stations’.

Not sure when the New York Post became an anti-capitalist publication?

Companies like Ofo, Mobike, bluegogo, Spin, and Noa could dump 100,000’s of GPS based bikes on USA streets for as little as pennies for a single ride.

Sounds like bike heaven to cycling advocates?

According to quotes in the article, opposition is coming from unlikely sources, because of fear of ‘piles of bikes’ on streets, and sidewalks from Executive Director Paul Steely White of Transportation Alternatives, and progressive City Council Member Ydanis Rodríguez the Chairman of the Council Transportation Committee.

Well if it is causing controversy in NYC, maybe it could undo the Seattle Slew of bike share in that city?

Is new normal Rockwell Bike share?

Alternative bike share sighted today at 66 Rockwell, a new high rise at the corner of Rockwell Avenue, and Fulton Avenue in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

According to the upright sign, to become a member, one either needs to download the free Zagster app, or visit their website. Looks pretty cool, the first 4 hours are free (Citibike could take note), but not sure why the phone number is a 202 area code for a service based in NYC?

While some might view this as another sign of Brooklyn gentrification, at least this seems like a step ahead for city cycling, while only a few short years ago, a bicycle parked in front of a luxury high rise was the scourge of the neighborhood. Let’s see how long those bicycles last?

More Monster Track-Videos-and Discovery Of A Great Podcast

Here is a brief article on everyone’s favorite fixed gear street race by Nick McManus who took some cool poloriod group shots of the MT scene.

Speed Demons Were Out In Full Force For The Monstertrack Fixie Race


MonsterTrack pre-registration party at Legion Bar in Williamsburg hosted by Le Noize karaoke, 3/16/17. (Photo: Nick McManus)

By: Nick McManus

March 20th, 2017

While everyone else was working off their St. Patty’s hangovers, the city’s fixie fanatics were gearing up for the eighteenth annual Monstertrack bike race. The unsanctioned, fixed-gear-only messenger-style race is a favorite of both local and out-of-town riders from all over the world. (This former messenger took 22nd place in 2009.) 

Read more Here.

Videos are starting to surface from the race showing a wet and wild time.

Here is one from Pedal Strokes-

And Eastcoast30-

I was looking up some random media on MT and discovered this great interview in a podcast with Domincan Chris, this year’s MT winner. Whaaaaa? A cycling culture podcast I hadn’t heard of? Where have you been all my life?

Check this: A crew of street racing, track bike enthusiasists, consististing of Gabe “Electronica” Diaz and Jason “Buckets” Colon-the hosts, and Cisco “Free Agent Frank” Colon on production-have this amazing podcast often recorded in their favorite bowling alley. 


Now heading into their second season, which mean there is this amazing archive of interviews with some of the biggest names in NYC bike culture and some you need to get to know. There stories are really amazing especially Dominican Crihs as he talks about racing, fighting accusations of. cheating, and battling it out on the streets for respect in the world of alley cat races.

Check out their site: cat6chismes.com

The full archive is on SoundCloud: SoundCloud.com/Cat6Chismes-Dominican Crihs

Monster Track 18-Winners

Monster Track 2017 snaked its way through the slushy streets of Manhattan with over 60 racers battling it out on brakeless fixed gears.

Video of the start down in the finnacial district-Beaver St.

Video by: @stayalivestudio

Slow mo of the start by: @losborrachosnyc

Video by: Diablotronyc.com

Congratulations to the winner:

Chris Thormann (upper left)

This is his 4th MT victory (2009, 2011, 2016,)

Photo from: @indigo_nico

Other winners include Jason (2nd) and Henry (3rd)

Jess Mandi was first female.


Photo by: @sk8mstrt8

Check out some nice portraits of the riders by Kurt Boone Messenger841.wordpress.com

Mission Workshop Pop-up- NYC

Mission Workshop makes really great bags for the urban cycling lifestyle. They’ve been doing it for over 20 years based out of the West Coast messenger bag making hot bed of downtown San Francisco-home to heavy hitters like Chrome Industries and Timbuk2. Whenever I see someone with one of their slick classic Rolltop back packs, I get a little jealous…”Did you get that in SF?”


The Vandal

Now they have a Pop-Up Shop open in the Lower East Side. 

2 Rivington St.

Their showing off their 2017 collection with classics and rain gear with technical fabrics, good for those on the go, on bikes.

Check it out, until March 21st.