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Black Lives Matter-Bike Rides join in to support.

Wide angle shot in front of Barclays.

Photo by Spencer Lasky @risefalltiltshift

This weekend capped off some amazing direct action sparked by the shocking Murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. Bicycles have United into the mix with two spontaneous group rides here in NYC which had become a wildfire of street protests for over 10 days. The first came on Saturday 6/8/20 after this graphic popped up on Instagram: @justiceforgeorgenyc

This seems to be the place to go to for all the protesting spots in NYC. Over 1,000 cyclists had gathered at Grand Army plaza, with a sea of helmets and bells going off. There was a quick mic check with the announcement that this was an autonomous group with the aim to support the various marches around New York City.

The riders pulled out of GAP and headed down flatbush, quickly filling both sides of the street like a wave. It was such a pleasure to take this road on bicycle since it’s often jam up of motor vehicles, $1 vans and buses clamoring for road supremacy.

The ride passed Barclays Center on another motor speedway, Atlantic Ave. This sports stadium and concert venue has become a main meeting spot for demonstrations. With no planned route the ride organically weaved its way around marchers and headed to the Manhattan Bridge. It seems like the police have been using this as a dividing line and after numerous crossings by demonstrators taking the car paths, the NYPD stood shoulder to shoulder to block the entrance. The bikes followed a large march and headed back to Barclays Center. After a brief cheer…they regrouped and snaked their way back through Fort Greene and returned to Grand Army Plaza before the “dreaded” curfew, that somebody thought would be a good idea in the city that never sleeps. Amazing how after 8:00pm, Brooklyn was full of car traffic…so I guess the curfew didn’t apply to motorists.

The ride went back down Vanderbilt with about the same numbers (1000) and moved through Fort Greene and into Bed-Stuy. A large group of roving demonstrators, spreading the message of racial justice and an end to police repression. Neighbors cheered from their stoops in solidarity, thrilled to see a huge group of cyclists owning the streets, many with fists in the air. My kind of Borough Bike Tour!! We rejoined a foot march near the Brooklyn Library and headed into Prospect Lefferts Gardens and the Flatbush neighborhoods. On foot we ran into a big allie in the struggle, City councilman from Brooklyn’s 39th district Brad Lander.

Here is a quick video:

Ok, now maybe you think its wrong to be taunting the police with a chant of “QUIT YOUR JOB!” to the NYPD escorting the march…but then there is this…

Seems like the NYPD continues to live up to what we are protesting.

Back when we were riding Fort Greene, one of the cyclists (Pierce McCaffrey) was attacked by four officers (two of which are named: Shea and Cavello)

Once again, thanks to captured video footage by another rider at the scene…Mike Hassell

Read about the whole incident and see the gruesome video on this post by NYC.streetsblog.org–article by Julianne Cuba.

Except for this one attack by NYC’s finest in need of anger management training…and Masks, btw, this was a huge resurgence of people on Mass on bicycles.

The Momentum continued on Sunday, 6/7/20 with a call for a ride in Union Square Park-North in Manhattan.

Bill Di Paola, founder of Time’s up (recently featured in this article by The Village Sun-about observing the looting) the had this to say about Sunday’s ride:

“Well as you know it was kind of spontaneous. The ride was supposed to be Monday night, but they canceled the curfew early so it was like a celebration of freedom with supporting Black Lives Matter. We met up at Union Square Park North at 6pm. A lot of people came late and joined us as we were moving around so I guess we’re around 40 people, but soon hooked up with more bikers and since we had the sound bike, people kept following us down Broadway. 300 bikes in front and about 200-300 people walking behind. The sound bike was blaring out music (from the font) mixed with the chants in the back. It was beautiful. The ride was moving slow to keep pace with those on foot, circling around all the way down Broadway. We all ended up at City Hall. Some of the bikers split the rally and others stopped to listen to speeches, support the BLM movement, the end of the curfew and the right to assemble without a permit!”


Looks like Spontanous groups rides are BACK!!!

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