25 years ago mayor Koch, who has the 59th Street bridge named after him, tried to ban bicycles from Midtown. Author and bicycle activist Charlie Komanoff has a five part series about the “bicycle uprising” that has shaped the cycling history in NYC long before D.O.T. Commissioner Janette Sadik-Kahn got the go ahead to make biking cool.
Here is an excerpt from part one in Streetsblog.org:
You can sit at your computer all day long and you’re never going to get anything done in terms of bringing down a government. What happens is when people got up and went into the streets. – NY Times Cairo correspondent David Kirkpatrick, interviewed on Fresh Air (NPR), July 18, 2012, A Reporter Looks at Where Egypt May Be Headed.
The Revolution of 1987
Twenty-five summers ago, something remarkable unfolded on the streets of New York City: Bicyclists by the hundreds and even thousands took to the avenues in a series of tumultuous demonstrations — part protest and part celebration — that galvanized bike activism.
The demonstrators encompassed the entire spectrum of NYC bicycling in the mid-to-late 1980s: daily bike commuters, weekend recreational riders, bike racers, cycling sympathizers, and bicycle messengers (who in those days were a powerful presence in Midtown traffic and who spearheaded the mid-summer actions). These disparate constituencies joined to resist a mayoral edict banning bicycle riding in the heart of Midtown Manhattan: on Fifth, Madison and Park Avenues from 31st to 59th Street.
Read more of Part 1: here.
After you get your history, join the organization that’s been spearheading the bicycle uprising for 25 years, Time’s Up
For a celebration, September 28th, the 20 year anniversary of critical mass in San Francisco.
Read more: http://battleofthebikeban.com/
Because as Mario Savio said, “sometimes you have to throw yourself upon the gears and levers…” and the pedals!