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Twitter is the new 311

Hows this for a direct response.

Jonathan(on twitter: @bkynbiker) and I, were riding home last night from a very productive Time’s Up events meeting. We stopped off at the La Plaza Cultural Garden where they were having a bonfire, a little rebirth for discarded Christmas trees.


On the way back we took the Manhattan Bridge and when we hit the downward ramp on the Brooklyn side it was a solid sheet of ice. I guessed we both assumed since it was above freezing that it would be only water. Both of us took spills, but it was more comical then damaging to our body parts.
I got home and tweeted about this to @nycbridgereport who has been doing an excellent job of reporting on road conditions throughout this years Snowtorious BIG.

Then I got this message from the twitter feed of the DOT: (@NYC_DOT)

And they followed up with this:

Not bad.

So maybe twitter is the new 311 and an effective way to get things taken care of…now if only NYPD Raymond Kelly had a twitter feed.

License them all!!

Of all the things going on in this country with high levels of unemployment, foreclosures and stagnation it seems like focusing on bad bicycle behavior is somehow a priority, especially in NYC. Seems rather odd from a city which for the last two years has been telling us to ride our bikes and use all this new infrastructure that has been designed such as 200 miles of new bike lanes and policies allowing bikes into buildings.

Are we expected to believe that the NYPD is listening to it’s citizenry and is fed up with a cyclists breaking the law and somehow in winter when there are the lowest level of ridership that this would constitute a citywide crackdown. Seems rather fishy to me.

Meanwhile this hasn’t stopped a few local politicians from wanting to take things to the next level, such as 24 year old Republican City Councilmen form Queens, Eric Ulrich, who is pushing for mandatory licensing for all cyclists over the age of 18.

This backward thinking has spread to Brooklyn, where one local community board member thinks it’s a good idea to license bikers.

From the Brooklyn Paper:

License ‘em! Sloper wants to put plates on bikes
By Gary Buiso
The Brooklyn Paper
Cyclists will be required to register their rides like their gas-guzzling counterparts under a controversial scheme trumpeted last week by a Park Slope activist.

Nica Lalli, a writer and member of Community Board 6, said her plan makes cyclists as accountable as motorists — and makes it a cinch for cops to ticket two-wheeled scofflaws.
Brooklyn Bridge Realty

“Making it easier to give people tickets with bikes will be good revenue for the city,” said Lalli, who admitted she is not a “bike person,” but that she holds no prejudice against cyclists — including her husband.

read more here.

I don’t know, seems a little light handed to me…maybe we should do something more like this as spoofed by New Jersey Star Ledger reporter: Brian Donahue.

Let’s just put the licenses right on people.

Streetfilms: Youth Bike Summit video

Did you miss the 1st annual Youth Bike Summit? here in NYC last weekend?

Streetfilms.org just put out this wrap up video.

and some young people in attendance all the way from Tuscon, AZ have a report back from their experience in this article from Tusconvelo.com.

Reactions from the Youth Bike Summit

Two Tucson youth cyclists attended the country’s first Youth Bike Summit this weekend.

Below are Donovan Caputo and Ashley Batchelor’s final reactions to the Youth Bike Summit.

They were accompanied by BICAS’ Kylie Walkzak and Ignacio Rivera de Rosales.

1. The part of the summit I liked best was

Ashley: I think the best part of the summit was meeting people who have organizations with goals similar to BICAS’. It is really comforting to know that there isn’t just one group of people out there who loves bikes, and is working to get other people interested in bikes. However, I didn’t feel like I learned as much as I’d hoped. I went to this summit thinking that I was going to learn about how to get youth active and into cycling, but I didn’t hear a thing about that. I heard about sustainability problems, and how to make green maps. I heard about problems with excess of trash and NYC’s infrastructure, but all were things I had known about or known as much as I cared to know about. I didn’t hear one presentation about HOW to get youth to advocate for bikes. Most of all though, I didn’t really see as much advocating TO youth about bikes, and this was something I had really hoped for.

Donovan: The part of the summit I liked best was the third day because we really got a chance to swap stories and ideas about how infrastructure could be improved. The roller races were also great.

Read more from Donovan & Ashley here.

New Grime Store Promo video

GRIME TV 1 from GRIME BIKES on Vimeo.

Outlier Storm King Parka

Wanna look good on your ride with the latest in durable materials? Outlier has you covered.

Introducing the Storm King Parka.

From Outlier:

The secret to the future, they say, is hidden in the past. Supermarine Cotton is a World War II fabric with a 21st century twist. Highly water resistant, extremely breathable and made of the longest Egyptian staple cotton available. You can look at it as the pinnacle of cotton technology, and we think it’s the most comfortable and wearable rainy day fabric around.

The Outlier Storm King Parka marks the launch of our Supermarine Cotton collection. From fabric to cut, it’s a full spectrum rethinking of the rain jacket. The four way construction and full sleeve zippers give the garment an incredible freedom of movement and ventilation. Details include envelope pockets, half pit zips, a full view hood and a front Riri Aquazip.

Available on January 19th in Red, Anthracite & Black via the Outlier Webshop. ($650)

Sign of the times

How the recent “NYPD crackdown” on cyclists has made people feel like crap and realizing:

“HOW NYC SUCKS in 2011″

Writer Alec Hall got a $270.00 ticket for riding his bike in the auto-free (for most of the day) Central Park. I mean of all the places to be riding your bicycle? That bicycle loop in the park…the nerve of some people.

He wrote a nice piece on how this crackdown sucks for all of us.

Why the NYPD Bicycle Crackdown Is a Sign of How New York Sucks in 2011
By: Alec Tuesday January 18, 2011 10:40 am
Something is rotten in the state of New York. The putrescent miasma, leaching out slowly from the windows in towering pre-war apartments, from out of the sidewalk vents where one can hear from below the failing heartbeat of the subway system, slowly being bled to death. The stench is everywhere… thick, suffocating, lethal. Some are immune, born with the resistance through inheritance, countless others traded away their soul for it. Everyone else just has to suffer.

We’ve all heard the talk: New York isn’t what it used to be. What does that really mean though? The city largely looks the same, save for some new towers here and there (generally positive additions too, architecturally speaking). The streets are cleaner, crime is down to levels unimaginable in the 1980’s. Parks are well maintained and farmer’s markets litter the public spaces on the weekends. So why all the nostalgia? Surely people can’t actually miss the muggings at gun point in broad daylight, the landlord arson, the needles in Union Square and gradual erosion of communities as residents flee to the suburbs. Yet the talk remains the same: New York isn’t as great as it used it be.

Read more here.

Get Grimey…New Grime store in NYC opens tonight

The Grime store opens tonight at 8pm, 191 Henry Street. For all your freestyle fixed gear needs.

Check out grimebikes.com

Stand up to Ulrich and bicycle freedom

Want to take a stand against Councilmen Ulrich and his proposed legislation to register all cyclists over the age of 18?

Transportation Alternatives is making it easy to send a message.

Stand Up Against the Anti-Bicycling Proposal
Expiration Date: December 31, 2011
Action Type: e-fax

Stand Up Against the Anti-Bicycling Proposal! Send an e-fax to Councilmember Eric Ulrich to stop his proposal against bicyclists.

As reported by the NY Post, Councilmember Eric Ulrich wants to introduce a draconian anti-bicycling bill that would require all New Yorkers to register their bicycles. Councilmember Ulrich has made bicyclists a scapegoat. His proposal will stop people from riding bicycles and make bicycling less safe. We need your help to stop his plans.

Take action! Send Councilmember Ulrich a fax and stand up against mandatory bicycle registration and Councilmember Ulrich’s attack on bicycle riders.

Take action here.

Get ready, NY Bike Jumble is back

New York City’s premiere bicycle swap meet is back.

Saturday, May 14th, 2011.

Join us at The Old Stone House at Washington Park for New York’s only bi-annual cycling flea market.

The event will be held in the park, on Fifth Avenue between fourth and fifth streets, in Park Slope, Brooklyn, one of the epicenters of bicycle commuting in New York City.

At this one day only event, vendors will be on hand to sell bicycles, bicycle components and cycling accessories to the public. Good deals abound as do good times! Come down between 10AM and 4PM and remember, the early bird gets the worm!

Available spaces will be 7X7 and will be assigned on the day of the event. Spaces will cost $55 pre-sale and $80 on the day of, payable in cash only.

How To Sign Up

Pay for your space:

YOU are responsible for tables, etc. We will only sell you a space. If you have any questions or concerns about payment or about renting furniture, please contact Harry Schwartzman at brooklynbikejumble(at)gmail.com.

Vendors should expect a busy day!

* Registration is for a 7 x 7 space on May 14, 2011 – multiple spaces are available at your whim. Purchase of a space constitutes agreement to the following terms:
* You are responsible for own setup and security (i.e. tables, chairs, tents, load-in, etc.)
* Set up time begins @ 9am, event begins at 10am and ends at 4pm. Vendor will have to clean their areas upon leaving. Vendors will have to be out by 6pm.
* The event shall be canceled at the discretion of Harry Schwartzman of New York Bike Jumble or Kim Maier of the Old Stone House.
* Registration fees will not be refundable. SWAP IS ON RAIN OR SHINE.
* Regular Rate till day of event @ $55 each
* Late Registration Fee (Day-of) @ $80 each (cash only)

find out more

Crackdown continues…to be a waste of time.

So don’t forget, a traffic violation for running a red light in a motor vehicle is $270.00 here in NYC…looks like it’s the same if you do it on a bike.

Here are some more reports of ridiculous enforcement in the NYPD’s crackdown on cyclists.

NYPD’s Crackdown on Law-Breaking Cyclists Continues To Be Incredibly Stupid
Posted by Benjamin Sutton on Tue, Jan 18, 2011 at 5:14 PM

From L Magazine:

As feared, and then
confirmed
in early reports, the NYPD’s new commitment to enforce traffic laws as they apply to New York City’s law-flouting cyclists is proceeding as absurdly and tokenistically as you might have expected. Composer Alec Hall (a composer, the most mild-mannered and law-abiding type of artist there is, for chrissakes) tells Gothamist all about how his ride through Central Park came to an abrupt, expensive halt.

Read more here.

Also in this article you can see the NYPD’s new training film for how to deal with rouge bikers in Central park.
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