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Come support biking in NYC

Hey there bike community. We need your help and we need to be heard.
Brooklyn Community Board 6, in the district of the contested Prospect Park Bike Lane will be the place for the DOT to present the findings of their survey about the lane and it’s impact on the neighborhood.

Bike lanes seem to be the big litmus test whether the new infrastructure is working and how cycling is perceived.

Thursday is the meeting on transportation.

Jan 20 Transportation
Presentation by representatives for the Department of Transportation on their findings and recommendations regarding the Prospect Park West bicycle lanes and traffic calming project installed in Summer 2010.

Old First Reformed Church
729 Carroll Street
(Corner of 7th Avenue)
Brooklyn, NY 11215

6:30 PM

More details can be found on the BCB6 website, www.brooklyncb6.org

Bye Bye NY auto show…here comes the Bicycle Show

Remember those bicycle shows put on by Montauk ride tour master Glen Goldstein? They used to be in the Lexington Armory in Manhattan and were a great gathering of bicycle makers, retailers and bike culture scene makers? We definitely have to give Glen a big tip of the hat for attempting to put on such an event and to the guys at the Bike Jumble for carrying on the torch.

Now it looks like a new show is coming to town one day before May, Bike Month.

This time it’s the New Amsterdam Bicycle Show coming to a large 33,000 square ft space in Chelsea: Center 548. (more details to come)

Here is some press about the event:
New York, NY January 13, 2011- New York Press, Manhattan Media’s lifestyle publication for the city’s creative class, and Transportation Alternatives, announce the first New York City bicycle show in five years. The New Amsterdam Bicycle Show: Benefiting Transportation Alternatives promises to dazzle attendees as much as The New York International Auto Show, which will end the same weekend that the bicycle show begins. This pivotal event will take place April 30, 2011, at Chelsea’s new cultural venue Center 548 from 10 am to 7 pm and will kick off Bike Month NYC 2011.

Tickets are now available online at (www.newambikeshow.com) and cost $15 for general admission in advance and $20 day of the event. The show will benefit Transportation Alternatives, the advocacy group dedicated to reclaiming the city’s streets from automobiles. TA representatives will be on hand to provide valet bicycle parking to guests as well as safe and useful bicycling tips for new New York City cyclists.

“Our readers are curious about the challenges they face when embracing a cycling lifestyle in the city,” said Jerry Portwood, New York Press editor-in-chief. “We want them to be educated and have a good time discovering the opportunities out there.”

This large bicycle show will feature more than 33,000 square feet of unique bikes and accessories over three huge floors and is geared to promote “the alternative transportation lifestyle” to the ever-growing number of New York City cyclists. Transportation Alternatives recently estimated 201,000 New Yorkers were riding each day in 2010.

“This show heralds New York City as America’s leading bicycle metropolis. It’ll have something special for
everyone, especially those just getting into biking,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives.

Author of The Bicycle Diaries, musician and bicycle advocate David Byrne added: “TA has been in the forefront of helping rebalance our priorities as far as urban transportation goes. For too many decades we all just rolled over and gave the automobile whatever it, the oil companies, and the carmakers wanted. Now we know better—cars are a wonderful invention, but there are greener ways to get around this city. Having a good life in our cities is possible, and these folks are helping bring us closer to that goal.”

As New York City embraces the cycling lifestyle by altering the landscape with hundreds of miles of bike lanes across the boroughs, this new consumer-based bicycle show will feature the many nuances of bike culture—from bikes for commuting, racing, transporting and pleasure rides—as well as those people who are conscious of the environment. The New Amsterdam Show will focus on the future of cycling and the burgeoning New York City bicycle industry, which includes bicycle makers such as Mike Flanigan of A.N.T. and Bowery Lanes Bicycles. Also participating are New York’s specialty shops like Adeline, Adeline, Bicycle Habitat and Brooklyn’s Rolling Orange, as well as many national and international bike brands, designers, bike tours companies and lifestyle accessories.

The New Amsterdam Bicycle Show takes its cue from Amsterdam, Holland’s capital and the friendliest biking city on the globe. The event will also feature information on many bike-centered events related to Bike Month NYC 2011—from organized rides by BIKE NEW YORK to film screenings and fashion shows in and around town.

We invite all bike makers and lifestyle products related to bicycling on a global level to become involved. To find out more about tickets for this event, how to become a sponsor or how to become an exhibitor at The New Amsterdam Bicycle Show, please visit newambikeshow.com

DOT commissioner will be at NYCC meeting today


The DOT commissioner, Janette Sadik-Kahn will be speaking at the latest meeting of the New York Cycle Club tonight. This meeting is open to all.

Find out more details here.

Crackdown update

Here are the latest developments in the NYPD’s crackdown on cyclists.

On my way into work today I read a fairly horrifying tweet…

Can this be? $270.00? Right in my neighborhood?

Recently, in the dead of winter, when bicycles are prevailing even with un-plowed streets and cars being abandon during the snowpocolypse, the NYPD has decided to sort through their list of priorities and issue a “fatwa” against illegal cycling.

The NY POST reported on this on the 7th of January, a news organization that has always been a champion of cyclists hate speak such as this article from Steve Cuozzo whining about how the city plowed bike lanes while certain car roadways weren’t touched. He also called us: “Mayor Bloomberg’s favorite class of commuters: maniacs and deliverymen on two wheels.” Seems fair and balanced.

Well even though the tourists love our less car centric initiatives and cycling has increased, the bikers reward seems to come with a price. According to the POST, the NYPD’s Manhattan crackdown is being extended to parts of Brooklyn, which have seen the largest increase in bicycle traffic.

The Post went onto say in this article, according to police in Williamsburg, that this is “prolonged enforcement– not a crackdown with quotas.”

Of course don’t forget the NYPD statement that came out issued in Manhattan was just 24 hours after the city had lost a major case against Critical Mass and had to pay out over $900,000. Sour grapes or a focused effort to respond to numerous complaints by NYC citizens? You decide.

Meanwhile, Gothamist reports, according to the NYPD “bicycle riders will be ticketed for often-overlooked “vehicular offenses, such as failing to obey traffic signals and signs, breaking the speed limit, tailgating, and even failure to signal before turning.” Not exactly sure how a cyclist can break the speed limit…what is the speed limit for bicycles and tailgating?

I am for enforcement of cyclists breaking the law for such things as riding on the sidewalk and going the wrong way down a one-way, but this may be a case of careful what you wish for, like asking the Hells Angels to do security at your rock concert. (Altamont)

I did get to speak out on this a bit in an interview with 1010WINZ, John Montone which can be found here.

Along with fellow bloggers Brooklyncyclist.com and brooklynbybike.com we gave a few sound bites expressing our opinions about such things as expecting bikers to stop at every red light seems a bit of a stretch, like asking people not to jaywalk.

Judging from reports coming in, it seems as if this NYPD crackdown is less concerned with the safety of the streets and more about continuing a long standing pattern of intimidation.

Streetsblog.org reported today of one such incident where a cyclists was ticketed for making a right turn on red into an auto-free Central park for his afternoon ride.

This has stirred up much debate, dividing people into two camps: those defending the changes the city has made to create space for bikers and those venting just how much they can’t stand those on two wheels.

I especially appreciate the comments left here including this one from Angel Fernandez, who discovered my blog through the 1010WINZ story:

“Biker Brothers,

This is simply an attempt by Bloomberg to raise more money for the city. We know the city is strapped and that precinct captains are pushing quotas for parking tickets and moving violations.

Make no mistake, if we don’t respond by increasing pressure on drivers, we will suffer setbacks on the significant progress made. Its ironic this admin has really promoted bike use, only to then regulate and fine.

Drivers obstruct bike lanes, pedestrians limit the speed of travel on new designs that place bike lanes between parked cars and sidewalks.

Riding among cars and being allowed to cross on red lights is not only part of our bike culture, it’s “American”. I just returned from Mexico, and I can tell you the culture there is much slower because they are afraid of cars.

What’s exceptional about New York is we are not afraid of traffic. If we give up ground, we will only make ourselves vulnerable to more and more rules – defeating the purpose.”

All of this seems to emphasize a huge disconnect between Mayor Bloomberg’s DOT which has been paving the way for people to ride bikes and the NYPD who wants to “crackdown” on the ridership.

I personally believe the priority of traffic enforcement should be ordered upon the vehicles which can cause the most damage…like a 15 passenger van critically injuring a toddler in a hit and run.

Time’s Up is talking bikes in the New York Times

Executive director of Time’s Up, Bill DiPaola, recently wrote an article for the New York Times East Village Blog.

With the massive influx of tourists to NYC is also coming a more green conscious mindset and outsiders are becoming the newest public space advocates. Out of towners are not only coming for the sights but the green infrastructure, the bike lanes, greenways and less car centric direction the city has taken.

Bill Dipaola explains:

First Person: A Cue From Tourists On Public Space
By BILL DI PAOLA, East Village

The city announced on Tuesday that a record 47.8 million tourists visited New York City in 2010 and in a lot of ways that is good news. There are a plenty of things that bring visitors to New York: a fascinating history, excellent museums, and beautiful public places like Central Park and Prospect Park.

As the city noted, tourists have helped bolster the declining local economy. During his announcement at the conservatory of the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that tourists contributed $31 billion last year. They have also played another positive role that has gone largely unnoticed. Tourists, in some ways, have become the newest public space activists. New York City has always been a tough town when it comes to expanding on green infrastructure, like car-free pedestrian malls and bicycle lanes. But this car-centric city is now changing. Tourists have always loved strolling in New York’s gorgeous parks and gardens and now they are also enjoying other amenities like bike lanes, open walkways in Times Square and the greenways that edge the city’s rivers. Visitors love the new green infrastructure and use it heavily – thus creating the demand for more.

Read more here.

Bad Biking faces a crackdown in Brooklyn.

You’d think anyone daring to ride a bike in this weather would be rewarded. Tell that to the NYPD. With fewer of us on many of the un-plowed roadways and bike lanes here in the city, the police have decided to “crackdown” on unlawful biking behavior.

Here is the latest from the Brooklyn Paper.

MEAN STREETS
Bikelash! Cops to crack down on two-wheelers
By Thomas Tracy
Brooklyn Paper
January 5th, 2011

Call it a bikelash!

The NYPD has been ordered to begin a borough-wide crackdown that will hit renegade riders for often-overlooked “vehicular offenses” like failing to obey traffic signals and signs, breaking the speed limit, tailgating, and even failure to signal before turning.

Several police sources said on Tuesday that the strict enforcement of safety and vehicle traffic laws — which apply the same to cars as they do to cycles — will begin in a matter of weeks, and that bicyclists caught breaking those rules will be issued a moving violation.

Two-wheelers were stunned to hear that they had risen on the list of police priorities.
Read the whole article here.


Along with a few other fellow bloggers, I may be on CBS’s 1010 WINS tomorrow sounding off about this potential crackdown. We’re meeting John Montone tomorrow right on Jay Street so we can show off all the cars parked in the bike lane and the rampant illegal u-turns.

New Book for Kurt Boone

Although Kurt Boone doesn’t ride his bike to deliver packages, he’s a walker, he’s still been a messenger for over 14 years here in NYC. He’s also a poet and an author and has a new book coming out in February.

Here is a little video promotion of his upcoming book: Asphalt Warrior

Kurt’s had an inside look at the courier culture from street racing, parties and other events and records his thoughts and observations through snappy poetry. Way to go Kurt. Can’t wait to read the book.

Youth Bike Summit in NYC

Bike Community Joins Forces to Empower Youth

WHEN: Friday, January 14th to Sunday, January 16th

WHERE: The New School, Johnson/Kaplan Hall, 66 West 12th Street, New York

KEYNOTE INTRODUCTION: NYC Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Kahn

DESCRIPTION: The 1st annual Youth Bike Summit is a 3-day gathering geared towards students, educators, and advocates. The conference aims to inspire people from different educational disciplines to explore, network, and learn how bicycling can be a legitimate and safe form of transportation for today’s youth. With this mission in mind, the Youth Bike Summit will offer educational workshops and panel discussions on subjects ranging from how to advocate for bike lanes to basic bike maintenance. It will also provide tools and information on fundraising and best practices for schools that wish to incorporate bikes into the physical fabric of the learning environment.

ONLINE REGISTRATION: youthbikesummit.eventbrite.com
ADMISSION: $10.00 per person for the 3-day event. Registration continues in-person at the event.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please visit: recycleabicycle.org or contact Pasqualina Azzarello at 718.858.2972 or director@recycleabicycle.org

ACCOMMODATIONS: For groups traveling from out of town, we recommend Hosteling International New York for accommodations. Guests of the Youth Bike Summit can reserve rooms at a reduced rate through their website with the promotion code YBS2011. Promotion is effective January 13-19.

HISTORY: In March 2010, Recycle-A-Bicycle (RAB) attended the National Bike Summit with two high school interns who had completed a comprehensive job training and Earn-A-Bike program at RAB. Both participants learned they loved bicycles and expressed an interest in learning more about how bicycling fits into policy, the environment, social entrepreneurship, and community-building. Traveling to Washington DC for the first time, the 17 year old interns explore the nation’s capital by bicycle, on an 8 mile tour led by a representative of WABA (Washington Area Bicyclist Association). As we debriefed on the bus ride home, we discussed the importance of engaging youth in the national dialogue of cycling and cycling education. As a result, the idea of the Youth Bike Summit emerged. Both young advocates have been active participants in the planning of the conference thus far.

The Youth Bike Summit was made possible by generous support from The New School, Bike New York, the J.M. Kaplan Fund, REI, Bicycle Habitat & The Government of the Netherlands.

YOUTH BIKE SUMMIT PROGRAM SCHEDULE

Friday January 14

* 5:00pm – 8:00pm – Welcome & Registration

Saturday January 15

* 8:30am – 10:00am – Breakfast & Keynote Introduction

by NYC Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Kahn

* 10:15am – 11:30am – Workshop Session I

Youth Empowerment Through Planning & Policy
Velo City / Transportation Alternatives
How To Start a Kids Ride Club
Woodhull Hospital / NYC Department of Health / Ride Club Participants
Youth Ambassadors for Cycling & the Environment
Bikes Not Bombs – Boston, NY
Basic Bike Maintenance
* 11:45am – 1:00pm – Workshop Session II

Green Maps, Cycling & Cities Around the World
Green Map System
Our Changing Streets & You
NYC Department of Transportation
Bike to School Day in Brooklyn
Bike New York
Mentoring Best Practices
Community Bicycle Center – Biddeford, ME
Tales from Tucson: Youth Participation in a Bike Cooperative & Cycling Team
BICAS (Bicycle Inter-Community Art & Salvage) – Tucson, AZ
* 1:00pm – 2:15pm – Lunch & Presentation by Alliance for Climate Education
* 2:30pm – 4:00pm – Tabling / 3:00 – 3:30pm – Bike Snippets

* 4:00pm – 5:15pm – Workshop Session III

Take Action on Climate Change
Alliance for Climate Education
The Bike As a Tool: How Mountain Biking Helps Kids with Simple Life Lessons
Trips for Kids Metro New York
How To Increase Biking In Your Town
Times Up!
Recycled Bicycle Jewelry
Recycle-A-Bicycle
Executive Directors Roundtable
Sunday January 16

* 10:00am – 1:00pm – Breakfast & Food for Thought (+ Action!)

Pablo is free


Remember those charges against Pablo Airaldi owner of Greenpoint Bikes? Well after months of court cases and a nasty detention, He’s been freed and all charges dropped.

Here is more from the Brooklyn Paper.

Pablo is Free!

By Aaron Short
The Brooklyn Paper
January 6th, 2011

The beloved bike messenger and cycling shop owner, who has been held in a deplorable immigration detention center in New Jersey for 10 weeks stemming from a decade-old, out-of-state theft case, was released early this morning after a New York immigration judge threw out the criminal case.

“He has been released,” said Airaldi’s attorney Stan Weber. “The judge has terminated his case and his immigration troubles have ended. He’s home.”

The decision marks the end of a turbulent few months for the 28-year-old former bike messenger, who was detained by Immigration National Services after a routine court appearance in October and faced deportation to Uruguay, where he was born.

Read the entire article here.

News from Texas

Here are few reports from that big state featured in one of my favorite bike movies…

That’s right Texas. Maybe I’m just longing for warmer climates.

Joe Hendry, every vigilant about messenger related articles on his site Mess Media, found this feature story from the Houston Press.

Reporter John Nova Lomax spent time investigating the life of some old school messengers and learned there is some animosity between real couriers and those who just dress the part.

Don’t Kill the Messengers

By John Nova Lomax
Houston Press, January 5, 2011

Back in the good old days for bike messengers, every weekday
at four o’clock, the front steps of the Harris County Civil Courthouse were the
gathering spot for a happy hour for that pierced, tattooed, hedonistic horde.

Those days are as gone now as earnest talk of Monica
Lewinsky’s stained dress and jubilation over the Dome derring-do of the Killer
Bs. Today, Old Man Tim Bleakie — at 55, his nickname is not ironic — is one of
the last messengers riding. As he locks his snow-white Italian Cinelli
SuperCorsa to one of the racks out front, he remembers the days gone by fondly.

“The ’90s, oh, the ’90s, you were at the height of the
implant case, and there were no electronic filings or late filings,” he
says. “Everything had to be done by five o’clock. Four o’clock was
basically social hour at the courthouse. Attorneys would hate having to come in
there then because they would be around a bunch of sweaty bike messengers
talking about partyin’ tonight, partyin’ last night, or partyin’ next
weekend.”

Read the whole article here.

Related video:

Speaking of Texas, I wanted to give a shout out to Chris Curnutt, who writes the cycling related blog:

www.bikingindallas.com