The Bicycle Uprising

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

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.

Part 2.
Part 3.
Part 4.

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.


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Because as Mario Savio said, “sometimes you have to throw yourself upon the gears and levers…” and the pedals!

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