Archives

looking for Jeffery

I’m looking for Jeffery who made this comment on my blog:
“Got hit with a summons in Central Park yesterday for running a red light. This has reached truly idiotic heights – nary a pedestrian in sight and I was riding as I have for 20 yrs with an eye for the pedestrians’ right of way at the lights.

Somewhat ironically, on my way out of the Park I was hit (gently) by a car trying to squeeze through whilst I was in the bike lane on East 90th Street!”

Can you email me: mgreen@bikeblognyc.com with more details? the Yahoo address wasn’t working.

NYFD, our real bike heroes

While the NYPD is being a bunch of knuckleheads towards NYC cyclists, the Fire department continues to shine. Here is a story from a friend of mine who had her bike locked by a stranger.

From Beth O’Brien:
I locked my bike at the corner of Nassau and Java Street in Greenpoint at around 7:15 p.m. tonight. (1/26/11) An hour later I returned to find that someone had put their own lock and chain on it.

So, what do you do? My first thought was that someone might be trying to steal my bike or something off it, so I couldn’t leave it out here all night. I had to deal with it immediately. First thing I did was extend my chain to go through the front wheel as well. Didn’t want someone coming back and walking off with that while I tried to find help.

First I started texting anyone I knew who was nearby and might possibly have bolt cutters. Next, of course, I posted my dilemma on Facebook, picture included. I walked out to McGuinness to see if any of the gas stations looked promising. No luck. Of course, as in all times of trouble my phone’s battery was close to dying. I found a locksmith place a few blocks away and called. I asked how much it would cost and he said at least $40 but he would send someone over to look at it. I waited.

Eventually word spread and as my battery hovered around 7%, Mike Green called. I should’ve thought of calling him sooner. He had heard my bike had been locked up and someone was extorting me to release it. Ha! Sort of! Forty dollars seemed a bit much for the price of a snip of a bolt, so we started to brainstorm. The first idea was maybe I should call the cops. I had thought of that but decided against it, worried about the culture of antagonism between NYPD and bicyclists lately. Then Mike remembered there was a fire station nearby. Firefighters certainly had the equipment to handle something like this and might be willing to help. While on the phone with Mike the locksmith called.

He was on his way over finally. So I decided to stay and pay the forty dollars instead of bothering the firefighters. In about ten minutes a man pulled up in a silver Buick. Getting out of his car he came over and took a look at the chain. Oh, yes, we will need to cut this. I asked again how much it was going to cost and he said, curtly, “Forty dollars like you were told.” Then after mumbling something about the lock he said, “Well if you are going to pay cash I can come down as low as, say, $120.” What? Are you kidding me? $120? I was told 40! Well, it’s night time, I mean what did you expect it to cost? Forget it, I’ll find other help, I said as I stormed away. Towards the firehouse.

On the walk over the manager at the locksmiths called. “You told me it would be forty dollars!” I said. “That was to come over and take a look”. “That isn’t what I asked you. I am not paying you forty dollars to come two blocks and tell me it costs $120!” Conveniently my phone died mid-conversation, mid-yell.

At the firehouse I could see the guys gathered around a table in the back as I rang the bell. A young guy came to the door and looked at me concerned, “Is everything all right?” I explained the situation and that I was sorry to bother them but I didn’t know where to go for help. He said they could probably help but was there any way I could prove the bike was mine. Probably not possible, huh? Embarrassed, I explained that I had a picture of my bike on my Facebook page and could show it to him. It is one of my profile pictures, in fact.

He said everyone was having dinner, but he was done with dinner, but he really had to ask his boss first. He seemed eager to help but totally unsure. I waited near the front while he disappeared into the back. Shortly thereafter he returned and said that if I had the key to the other lock that would be proof enough and they would meet me on the corner in ten minutes. I asked him if he wanted to just walk over with me, and he said, no, no, we’ll meet you there.

Standing on the corner once again, I warily looked around thinking the locksmiths might come back to muscle the $40 out of me. Instead my buddy Mike Maronna rolled up on his bike, extra chains and locks in tow. If we can’t get it unlocked, we could at least add a whole bunch more so that no one can take _anything_. I laughed. It was a sweet gesture. He had been the one to alert Mike Green and showed me a text he had received from him. Something to the effect of: “Alternately we could wait around with baseball bats”

Then the firetruck rolled into view. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t that. Filled with guys they all hopped out upon arrival. In the swirl of guys and questions I showed them the chain someone had added, unlocked my own chain to prove it was mine. I heard someone call for the “lobsterclaw” but was distracted by Mike talking to a young firefighter about what the possible motivations of the person who did this were. A store owner nearby could be angry about the bike there. But it was parked at a legal bike rack. Maybe someone wanted to steal something from it. Maybe it was just mean-spirited.

And with that my bike was free. I thanked everyone in my vicinity profusely. And in the confused happiness of the whole scene I walked off with Mike, my bike in hand, as the firefighters put the equipment away and climbed back into their truck.

Winter tips from Streetsfilms

On a recent trip to Chicago, Streetfilms.org put together this nice video about tips for dealing with the brrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Bike License preview

Perhaps this is what the pro bike licensers are envisioning:

Love the visual response as seen on www.dar-ge-los.com

NAHBS in Austin Texas, Feb. 25-27th

The North American Handmade bicycle show is the premiere event to showcase the greatest in hand crafted bicycles.

This year it’s being held in Austin Texas, February 25th-27th.

Find out more at their site www.2011.handmadebicycleshow.com

Here is a trailer for an upcoming documentary by Justin Unger about last year’s show, just to tantalize of things to come.

Official NAHBS Promotional Video from Justin Unger on Vimeo.

you of things to come.

Time’s Up events

Environmental rebel rousers and bike activists, Time’s Up just sent out a big email looking for volunteers and help for their upcoming Valentine’s Day Party:

–We need lots of help and support to make this party even more awesome.
Prop Making for Valentine’s Day Party and Love Your Lane Campaign
Day: Monday January 24th 2011
Time: 4:30 PM
Location: ABC No Rio (First Floor)
156 Rivington Street
New York, NY 10002

On the same day:
8PM- Planning meeting for the Valentine’s Day Party

Prop making for Party and Campaign
1. Painting banners.
2. Making hearts of all types.
3. Preparing ‘ticket of love’ packets to hand out on the bridges. We found some chocolate coins that are individually wrapped that seem to be fine.
4. Mailing out Valentine’s chocolate to lawyers
5. Any other creative ideas that other people have for the party or campaign. Bring materials if you have any.

Planning meeting at 8 PM
1. Promotions.
2. Sign up sheets: door, bar, kissing booth, etc.
3. Music, DJ, lighting, ambiance.
4. Food, and liquids (beer, and wine?), candy, chocolate, chocolate fountain, strawberries.
5. Logistics, bike rides/party/valet bike parking.
6. etc…more stuff…

Come help out if you can or volunteer to work a shift at the party.
Please spread the word on this to facebook friends, post on your blogs, websites, tumblrs or just stick this weird things we call flyers just about anywhere you think they’ll get people to ride and dance the night away.
Speaking of entering the 21st century with nifty time consumers of social media, Time’s Up now has a twitter account. GASP.
www.twitter.com/nyctimesup
For those who play along, follow us. This will mostly be used to post events and other announcements such as:
We’re talking about rewarding people for riding their bikes instead of giving them tickets: Time’s Up will be presenting people with fake tickets, a bag of chocolate coins and an invitation to our Valentine’s Party. How you can help spread the love… volunteer to help us on this project, starting next week in the afternoons on the Brooklyn side of the Williamsburg Bridge bike path or in the mornings on the Manhattan or Brooklyn side of the Manhattan bridge bike path. Possible dates are: Monday mornings 9:30am Jan. 31, Feb. 7, Feb. 11- groups of 3 at least, possibly afternoons next Wednesday and Sunday on the Brooklyn side of the Williamsburg bridge.
***************
The Big Event:
Time’s Up Valentine’s Dance Party and Love Your Lane Rides
‘Please Forward the Love!’
Friday February 11, 2011 at 9:30 PM
Location: The Living Theater NYC, 21 Clinton Street

Valentine’s Dance Party – dress in red, get ready to spread the love, and support your community. Lots of sweets, strawberries and chocolate body painting.

Music by: DJ Suggested D, light show by See J

$5 if your on the ride; $10 at the door.

Love Your Lane Pre-Party Ride: Ride Ends at Valentine’s Party. Spread the love through the the streets.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with your true love—your bicycle, and help support the new green infrastructure and spread the love through our communities. Bring treats to share, wear red, and passionately decorate your bicycle!

Friday February 11th
Love Your Lane Bike Ride Meet ups:
Brooklyn side of the Williamsburg Bridge bike path: 8:45 PM
Manhattan: Tompkins Square Park center circle: 9:00 PM

Please forward the Love:
facebook

If you’d like to help with party prep, promotion or the party please email: timesup.events@gmail.com.
***************
**********************************************************************

SUPPORT TIME’S UP! Environmental Organization today by making a tax-deductible donation or becoming a member at here.
ALL DONATIONS ARE 100% TAX DEDUCTIBLE

Time’s Up! is a 20-year-old nonprofit, grassroots environmental organization working to make New York City- and the world- a healthier and more sustainable place to live. All of our events and campaigns are free and open to the public- educational and fun bike rides, bike repair workshops, movie nights and presentations, community garden workdays and outreach, bike and public space advocacy and more.
Become a member at here.

times-up.org
********************************
******************
******************
1. CRITICAL MASS MANHATTAN
Friday, January 28th, 7:00pm
Union Square Park North, Manhattan
******************
2. RIVERSIDE RIDE
Saturday, January 29th, 10:00pm
Columbus Circle (SW corner of Centrak Park)-Manhattan
******************
3. WEEKLY BIKE REPAIR WORKSHOPS
** Once again- in both NYC and Brooklyn locations! **
See events listing for details.

**Special Note-The Ladies Bicycle Repair Night for January 31st at 6:30pm has been canceled.
******************

BOOKMARK OUR EVENTS CALENDAR!

Become a member at here.

******************
******************
1. CRITICAL MASS MANHATTAN
Friday, January 28th, 7:00pm
Union Square Park North, Manhattan

The last Friday of the month, every month, 7:00 p.m.
starting at Union Square North, Washington Square Park, Tompkins Square Park, Madison Square Park (and several other locations, apparently). Come along for the ride!
More info: http://times-up.org/index.php?page=critical-mass
Good resource for other critical mass rides and info: Bikeblognyc/criticalmass

2. RIVERSIDE RIDE
Saturday, January 29th, 10:00pm
Columbus Circle (SW corner of Centrak Park)-Manhattan

Join us on bicycles or skates at 10 p.m. on the last Saturday of every month at the Columbus Circle (59th Street) entrance to Central Park for a totally safe, magical, evening ride in Manhattan. As with our Moonlight Rides, we’ll share the tranquillity of Central Park, plus we’ll add the grand vistas of the Hudson River from Riverside Park. The scenic tour continues down the greenway to the lovely pier where bicycles are welcome. After that, it’s a pleasant ride through streets back to Columbus Circle.
This ride usually covers about 10-12 miles and lasts about 2 hours. Weather? We only cancel when no one in their right mind would have fun. Dress for the weather. We hope these rides encourage folks to enjoy our parks at night, without motor vehicles: quiet, safe, and relaxed.

******************
******************
******************

3. WEEKLY BIKE REPAIR WORKSHOPS
** Once again- in both NYC and Brooklyn locations! **

find out more here.

*MANHATTAN WORKSHOPS*
156 Rivington Street, between Suffolk and Clinton Streets in the Lower East Side
**
TUESDAY BIKE REPAIR WORKSHOP
Every Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.
Come learn how to fix bikes, do simple maintenance and tune-ups at the bike mechanic skill share.
1st Tuesday- Basics for Beginners
2nd Tuesday- Brakes and Gears
3rd Tuesday- Cups, Cones, and Bearings
4th Tuesday- Wheels and Spokes

**
THURSDAY FIX YOUR BIKE WORKSHOP
Every Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

Bring your bike and share skills with other cyclists while you fix up your own bike.

*BROOKLYN WORKSHOPS*
99 South 6th Street, off Bedford Avenue under the Williamsburg Bridge
**
MONDAY WOMEN AND TRANS BICYCLE REPAIR NIGHT
Every Monday, 6:30 p.m.

Come learn how to fix bikes, do simple maintenance and tune-ups at the bike mechanic skill share.
1st Tuesday- Basics for Beginners
2nd Tuesday- Brakes and Gears
3rd Tuesday- Cups, Cones, and Bearings
4th Tuesday- Wheels and Spokes

**
WEDNESDAY FIX YOUR BIKE WORKSHOP
Every Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.

Bring your bike and share skills with other cyclists while you fix up your own bike.

**
SUNDAY BIKE REPAIR WORKSHOP
Every Sunday at 4 p.m.

Come learn how to fix bikes, do simple maintenance and tune-ups at the bike mechanic skill share.
1st Tuesday- Basics for Beginners
2nd Tuesday- Brakes and Gears
3rd Tuesday- Cups, Cones, and Bearings
4th Tuesday- Wheels and Spokes

**
SUNDAY FIX YOUR BIKE WORKSHOP
Every Sunday, Open Workshop from 6 p.m.

****************
****************

Quick roundup for winter riding

So we may be in for more of the snowpocolypse here in NYC. If the unpredictability of the NYPD harassing you–I mean fairly ticketing you in their “crackdown,” hasn’t completely scared you from riding, the bad snowy weather may keep you off your bike till May.

Here is some inspiration for winter riding.

You could always make a few modifications:
(as seen in my favorite cycling blog allhailtheblackmarket.com )

Or just get one of these snowplow bikes:

Check out more of this DIY creation here.

Bicycle Habitat has a good guide for preparing you and your bike for riding in the snow and slush. It’s written by the shop’s own Dave Vollbach.

Check out the slideshow here.

Also its worth mentioning that Bicycle Habitat has a blog now: bicyclehabitat.wordpress.com

They posted this video with some tips on how to handle your bike on slippery road conditions:

If you think we got it bad, check out Adams Carroll who blogs about biking in winter in St. Petersburg Russia.

How To Ride A Bike: Notes on Winter Cycling from Russia
(Photo by: Adams Carroll
Maybe you complain about the cold, but here in St. Petersburg where I live, it is colder. And still, everybody else in Russia lives some place even colder. To stay warm while cycling in winter, first never forget that in Syktyvkar, in Shchuchinsk, in Novosibirsk it is colder. Are you not lucky that it is only -15º C?

No matter where you are, wear lots of clothes. You don’t need special clothes, just lots of them. Wear underwear, long underwear, extra socks, shirts, sweaters, coats, overcoats, hats, scarves, mittens, gloves and more. It helps if they are made of wool and if you have something windproof on the outside. When it is -25º C, your nose hairs freeze as soon as you step outside, but the rest of your body is nice and warm, sealed up like a cosmonaut. Once you start pedaling, your woolen cocoon begins to heat up, everybody you know is literally freezing to death in the street like during the blockade, and you will be sweating.

Read more: here.

Or why not just host a race in this stuff, like they are going to do in Fargo, ND.

But then you might end up in the wood chipper…

For some inspiration, check out this photo series from Toronto:

See more here.

and here in NYC, @bicyclesonly has posted a whole series of commuters from 2011.

Check out his flickr page here.

Brian Lehrer talking about bike crackdown

WNYC’s Brian Lehrer talked about the bicycle crackdown in NYC in his morning show.

He asked if people have been given tickets during the official crackdown…I left this comment:

“It’s one thing if the NYPD can differentiate between obnoxious cycling breaking the law and being unsafe to pedestrians such as riding on the sidewalk. Unfortunately what we are seeing is continued harassment from the police indiscriminately giving tickets to everyone they see. Running red lights? Come on…this is like cracking down on jaywalking. A friend of mine got a ticket for not riding in the bike line on 1st Ave. The law states that you must use bike lanes unless obstructed for any reason. We all know the bike lanes are always obstructed, half the time by police. The cops were using these same tactics during critical mass and then had to pay out a million dollar lawsuit. This is clearly a backlash to the NYPD being sore losers who hate biking and the direction the DOT is taking. On any given day you can find any number of people “at the transportation table” being naughty and breaking the law. This includes u-turns, running reds, jaywalking, double parking, driving while texting or using a cell phone without a hands free device. Come on, in the dead of winter when the ridership is at its lowest the NYPD is calling for a crackdown? Are we expected to believe that the police are so inundated with complaints form pedestrians on 311 they are actually doing something about it? Yeah right? Why not come crackdown on the people who’s dog poop I am stepping in or idling cars or double parking fresh direct trucks. Biking is up, the community boards are pushing for infrastructure for biking as we are seeing in Prospect Park. Face it NYPD. Yes cyclists need to obey laws, be respectful, stay off the sidewalks but a crackdown…come on, get real. The NYPD needs to get with the program. The age of alternative transportation is here and being punitive with 270.00 tickets for running a red is not the direction this broke city should be heading especially with an MTA who doesn’t disclose it’s books and raises fares.”

Head over to their page and leave your comments on this issue.

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.