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classes on bike culture

So 3rd ward in Bushwick,
is this big art space offering space and classes. They have office space available, a wood shop and a metal shop. They have studio space for photographs or perhaps an insert stage for film and video purposes. They also offer classes…cool things like electronics for artists and introduction to MIG welding. They have passes that for $300.00 a month you can have access to all of their facilities and make the art of your dreams. Add another $150.00 and you can have a desk.

They contacted me about their new class in May called: Mutant Bicycle Mechanics and it reads something like this:

Teachers: Carlos Valpeoz & David Messinio
6 classes on Tuesdays 7-9pm
Price: $450.00 + $40.00 materials fee.
This course will introduce students to an entirely new aspect of bicycle culture. The focus is to allow the students to fully understand the mechanics of a bicycle while allowing them to build their own mutant bike out of raw steel and recycled bicycle parts (i.e. tall bikes, tricycles, chopper bikes, tandem bikes, bike carriages, etc.)
Students will be persuaded to conceptualize at home, bring in their ideas, rationalize, and create whatever is feasible in class. With the aide of introductory machining and welding processes, students will be able to use their imagination and response to raw and pre-existing material to create a form of transportation that is aesthetically sound and entirely functional. A 6 day shop pass will be included in the price of the class so that student can work on their own during the term of the class. This course is an introduction to mechanics of bicycle components, bicycle maintenance, welding and light bicycle fabrication. People with any or no experience in these areas are encouraged to attend this class.

huh? I dunno about you but this seems a little weird. I mean, I’m all for putting more bikes on the streets that are colorful and cool but sounds to me like another large whiff of “Bike Culture is for sale.” How can you have a class on bike culture…Is 3rd ward going to have classes on being a squatter and dumpster diving and how to be a radical anarchist. For $450.00. You can buy a bike for cheaper but it won’t be as cool and people won’t think your part of some bicycle gang.

I guess instructors Carlos Valpeoz & David Messinio must be design majors in radical mutant bicycle building. I mentioned many of these points to 3rd Ward, in a length, heartfelt email that reminded them about the vandalism of Brooklyn Industries and offered advice to not to be so blantant about this kind of thing. I asked them, why can’t you just have welding classes and people will build what they want.

They didn’t respond…which pisses me off even more, especially because their original contact email was warm and inviting and told me if I had any questions to get back to them. They must be far to busy figuring out how to package culture into a $450.00 class.

Well folks, welcome to the future of NYC living…when all of our public space is sold off to developers and real estate moguls and all the culture makers and artists will be left with is spaces in which you have to make your art for large sums of money.

To be fair, these aren’t radical prices for 6 days and lab time for welding classes but they didn’t take my advice and they don’t want to respond in a community sort of way so I can only assume that they are just interested in money and want to sell off our culture because its cool and sexy from all the hard work we did FOR FREE!

So, maybe bad press is good for them…they got a plug anyway…but remember you can make Tallbikes for free in the few remaining FREE spaces we have left until Bloomberg sells them off or Ratner evicts them with eminent domain.

One is the Freegans…What is Freeganism? Freeganism=living beyond capitalism. In a society of massive overconsumption, enormous quantities of usable resources go to waste. Through dumpster diving, squatting, guerilla gardening and other strategies, freegans transform waste into resources to meet real needs, allowing us to live our values of ecological sustainability, cooperation & sharing while reducing our contribution to capitalism’s abuse of humans, animals and the earth.
contact the freegans about bike building by calling Janet (347) 724-6954 or email ask@freegan.info or visit Freegan website

Also, as part of Bike Month, Time’s up is offering a welding workshop FOR FREE on May 27th at 49 East Houston. The class won’t be enough time to complete a tallbike, but you can get time on a welder and TIMES up is always open to promote bike culture for the right price…FREE.

I will be leading a class on May 25th, 2007 called: “Critical Mass bicycle riding” Here students can learn how to avoid arrest by the police and how to freely assemble without a permit…while in the friendly classroom of the streets and a safe environment filled with 40,000 cops all on crack. Maybe they can bring their new shiny $500 tallbikes and choppers to the event. Probably won’t because its cool to make bike culture but not cool to participate in it.

I am also working on some new ciriculum called: How to live in an unaffordable city and a history class on how we have lost all of our squats, community centers and free spaces so Bloomberg can get rich. Look for it soon. All classes are $500 + $150 fee for me to buy tallbikes at Walmart, made in China and promoted on MTV’s new reality show…Radical Bikers gone wild.

8 comments to classes on bike culture

  • boleroid

    seems a little whiny to me.

  • Anonymous

    really whiny. and typically self righteous.

    this comment is especially telling, “…To be fair, these aren’t radical prices for 6 days and lab time for welding classes but they didn’t take my advice and they don’t want to respond in a community sort of way so I can only assume that they are just interested in money and want to sell off our culture because its cool and sexy from all the hard work we did FOR FREE!”

    i mean, give me a break. you are admitting that its a good deal for instruction and welding time, but they are “just interested in money” b/c they won’t respond to your little rant? if every person involved in community enhancing activates (like teaching others how to build things) responded to every insignificant, and unnecessary rant, they wouldn’t have much time to contribute to worthwhile pursuits.

    and your mention of the Time’s Up “free class” is misleading…if they don’t offer enough time for an individual to actually build a bike, what’s the point? “sorry guys, “time’s up,” sorry you didn’t finish that bike.” do you really think people are that interested in “learning about bike culture?” no. they want to build bikes to ride and enjoy. for that, they need instruction, welding materials, time and space to build. sounds like the class you are disparaging offers just that…and by your own admission, at a reasonable price…

  • Anonymous

    The first thing it should be taught on the first class: do not fall for shit like this!

    And $450??? You could get a fixed-gear bike and still have $420 left in your pocket to spend on drinks for your newfound friends at alley cat races and events!

  • Michael Green

    My point is that you don’t need a class in this city to make something like a tall bike. We’ve been so conditioned to think that nothing is of value unless you pay for it…which ties directly into Critical Mass. “I don’t understand why they can’t ride their bike in a group like at the lovely 5 borough bike tour once a year and stop at those red lights and not block traffic all night long.” And why shouldn’t I give a shit if someone asks for me to do something for FREE like post a plug on my blog and then doesn’t have the common courtesy to respond…this is community building? I see, its ok for me to give. I tried being nice…I tried to work with this place…I tried to offer advice to the community, I tried having a bigger picture here…guess I’m just being whinny. Speaking of conditioning…Just because Time’s up has a workshop on making a tallbike doesn’t mean they just slam the door on you and kick your ass out…thats what a place does that you pay for. The idea is that you volunteer at times up as part of a participatory society and then you figure out a way to use there space and weld more…thats why its there…thats why its free…thats why the man wants to shut it down…because it doesn’t make income as a NON-PROFIT. I know…whine whine whine. Its my Blog and I’ll cry if I want to…whaaaaaa.

    2:06 PM

  • DRKO

    I think it’s funny that dude said Fixie. As though that’s the type of bike to buy. Fixie fixie fixie. The worst thing for bike culture is the phrase, and notion, of bike culture.

  • carlos

    hi. this is carlos valpeoz, the person who, i guess seems responsible for this mess. first of all i don’t feel like i should justify this situation because i have nothing to do with 3rd ward anymore. i only feel compelled to write this response because since i have lived in brooklyn i have been very involved in bicycle culture. your argument, mr. green is completely valid. you elaborate mostly on exploiting bicycle culture. this class has never existed, does not exist, and will never exist…at least under my instruction. when i was dealing with 3rd ward, the purpose was not to exploit a culture which i am fully immersed in, but to offer people an opportunity to create and design at a place which seemed to not be run by business men. it was never about building tall bikes so that the affluent brooklyn scene-ster could swing their dick around. i was fooled into thinking that 3rd ward really cared about maintaining a strong community in this seemingly exploited city as opposed to just making money. i had absolutely no idea that they were still running this class. i have nothing to do with 3rd ward anymore and do no agree with their mentality, prices, and all of the above. my appologies. carlos.

    i would appreciate it if this message was posted on the main page. sorry again. carlos.

  • BIGWHEEL

    THAT IS DUMB COLLECTING MONEY TO TEACH CLASSES FOR HOW TO BUILD A MUTANT BIKE IS STUPID! MUTANT BIKS ARE FOR THE REAL HARDCORE PEOPLE NOT THE POSERS! NOW I SEE SOMEONE ON A TALLBIKE HOW WILL I KNOW WHETHER THEY ARE REAL OR WHETHER THEY JUST PAID SOMEBODY TO LEARN HOW TO MAKE IT? WE HAVE TO STICK TOGETHER PEOPLE AND NOT LET OUR SCENE GET TAKEN OVER BY THE MAN! JUST REMEMBER THAT THE WHEELMASTERZ ARE HARDCORE AND WILL NEVER SELL OUT! DO YOU THINK THAT YOU CAN BUY INTO OUR SCENE WELL YOU ARE WRONG!

  • Anonymous

    yeah the yuppies own the city, what the fuck can you do, lot’s of those “grimey bike punks” are actually the children of wealthy people with trust funds or rich parents to keep their punk rock lives going, the wolrd has gone to shit and everything is for sale, hate to say it, and yeah there are people who fight the good fight, and do good things, but most of the hipster bullshit culture in this country and other wealthy places (i.e. europe and japan) is totally full of shit…