Unicyclists to Roll Over New York City
by: Marc Hartzman
(Sept. 2) — New York City has given a big boost to bicyclists in recent years by installing hundreds of bike racks and some 200 miles of bike lanes. Now the bike’s quirky one-wheel cousin wants some love, too.
With this weekend’s first annual NYC Unicycle Festival, it gets plenty of it.
The three-day event is being organized by the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus and begins Friday with a 13-mile ride beginning at the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge and finishing on the Coney Island boardwalk. Approximately 30 riders are expected to make the trek. Brooklyn Borough President, Marty Markowitz, has proclaimed it Brooklyn Unicycle Day.
8.4 Million New Yorkers Suddenly Realize New York City A Horrible Place To Live
‘We’re Getting The Hell Out Of This Sewer,’ Entire Populace Reports
September 2, 2010 | ISSUE 46â€¢35 NEW YORKâ€”At 4:32 p.m. Tuesday, every single resident of New York City decided to evacuate the famed metropolis, having realized it was nothing more than a massive, trash-ridden hellhole that slowly sucks the life out of every one of its inhabitants.
With audible murmurs of “This is no way to live,” “What the hell am I doing hereâ€”I hate it here,” and “Fuck this place. Fuck this horrible place,” all 8.4 million citizens in each of the five boroughs packed up their belongings and told reporters they would rather blow their brains out with a shotgun than spend another waking moment in this festering cesspool of filth and scum and sadness.
By 5:15 p.m. there was gridlock traffic on the outbound sides of the Holland and Lincoln tunnels, and the area’s three major airports were flooded with New Yorkers, all of whom said they wanted to go anyplace where the pressure of 20 million tons of concrete wasn’t constantly suffocating them.
Just want to give a warm hello to my newest sponsor, Timbuk2 bags.
Born out of a garage in San Francisco in 1989, Timbuk2 pioneered the messenger bag. Since that time they have seen tremendous growth, but still haven’t forgotten their modest, hardworking, true tested, bike messenger roots. They make products that are good-looking, tough-as-hell that you can truly make your own.
And you can use them to carry, what I hope will be my next sponsor.
Wow, sometimes my ranting gets noticed… The Biking Boom Breeds Discontent
By JOHN COLLINS RUDOLF, August 30th, 2009
New York Times Green Blog
Biking is booming in New York City, with the number of daily cyclists rising to an average of 236,000 in 2009, up 26 percent from 2008, according to statistics compiled by Transportation Alternatives, a pro-biking nonprofit group.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and other city leaders have praised the increase in cycling for reducing congestion and pollution and making the city streets safer overall. To accommodate the surge in bike commuters, the city has installed hundreds of bike racks and roughly 200 miles of new bike lanes in the past three years, with plans for future expansion.
Yet according to a recent weeklong investigative series by Tony Aiello, a reporter with New York Cityâ€™s WCBS-TV (Channel 2), the cycling boom is breeding discontent. Titled â€œBike Bedlam,â€ the segments turned a critical eye on reckless riders who flouted traffic laws, and profiled a young father who was killed by a cyclist riding the wrong way on a one-way street in Midtown Manhattan. A former bike shop owner declared that cyclists were â€œway out of control.â€
The reaction of the New York City biking community was mixed, with some cycling bloggers decrying the series for perceived sensationalism, while others admitting that too many cyclists were, in fact, ignoring traffic laws, often flagrantly.
â€œCyclists, clean up your freaking act,â€ wrote Jen Benepe, a cycling blogger.
The Web site BikeBlogNYC urged â€œfellow cyclistsâ€ to heed the laws of the road. â€œTake those flip-flops off, put down that cellphone, put on a helmet, ride in the correct direction and pay attention,â€ read a recent post that, at the same time, mocked the WCBS series as sensationalist.
While doing research for our upcoming book: BIKE NYC, I’ve visited almost every bike shop in the 5 boroughs. Along the way I’ve meet a ton of interesting shop owners and heard their stories about how they made their journeys into the world of bike retail and repair.
I just found this in depth article which interviews one such owner, Charlie McCorkell, who along with mechanic Hal Ruzal opened Bicycle Habitat in 1977. That makes it one of the oldest shops in NYC, besides Bellitte Bicycles in Jamaica Queens, who beat them by opening in 1918, but that’s another story.
Charlie was a real pioneer in the bicycle world, not only opening up a shop back when there weren’t any around, but also becoming the executive director of Transportation Alternatives and putting an engineering degree to good use by changing a lot of what NYC was doing wrong for his fellow cyclists. He used direct action to protest too little access to the bridges and eventually worked with the city to remove stairs on the Brooklyn Bridge. He would also do DIY things like paint in his own bike lanes, long before they were doing in on Bedford Ave.
The article is from a new site called capitalnewyork.com which is culture and news stories about, “How New York works.”
Here it is: In a changed city, Soho bike mecca Bicycle Habitat grows up
by Gillian Reagan,
Aug. 31, 2010 McCorkell at his station. Photo by Erin Nicole Brown Photography.
On a summer afternoon walking up Lafayette Street toward Houston, just past Spring, youâ€™re likely to approach a cluster of characters on the sidewalk. Itâ€™s hard to tell what everyone is doing there, but they all have bikes. Theyâ€™re looking at bikes, testing bikes, locking up bikes, putting air in bike tires, sitting in storefronts nearby talking about bikes while drinking iced coffee from La Colombe cafe down the street.
Itâ€™s because of the independent bike shop, Bicycle Habitat, which has been selling bikes to everyone from hardcore messengers and utilitarian commuters to wispy Soho model types for some 33 years now.
On one such afternoon recently Hal Ruzal, the affable shaman of bike mechanics in New York, with hefty dreads hanging down past his chest, tanned arms bulging from a sleeveless T-shirt, wrestled with a frame of a track bike at the front of the room, where his work is visible from the street. Sales staffers shuffled around him, fetching bike parts or running to another mechanic’s station in the back of the room to work on other bikes.
Got a message from my good friend Nona who has started her own line of fashion for woman cyclists. She is looking for an intern so I thought I’d help out and post this request: Nona Varnado, NYC’s sustainable women’s bike fashion label is seeking an intern.
About Us: Fall/Winter 2010/2011 will be the third seasonal collection and most ambitious to date using cutting edge performance and natural fabrics, couture level garment design while establishing a stronger brand online, through events such as Interbike and select sponsorships and a strong marketing program. It’s a small DIY mentality focused on making amazing things in an ethical manner. We’re always super busy, but being in NYC means there’s always friends, drinks and shows to keep it fun + inspired.
About you: we are looking for an unpaid intern for a 2-3 month commitment of 10-25 hours per week. A longer term is possible through fashion week in February 2011 depending on fit. It is expected that an intern will have some goals (learning new skills, gaining experience, resume building or college credit) and a specific schedule will be created to make sure you’re benefiting from the experience.
Skill range: we’re looking for some one who is very interested or skilled in one or two of the following areas: production support (assistant), sales/marketing, web design.
If you know anyone in the NYC area who’d be interested in helping a small label produce a new collection, handle media and promotions and generally be a fun + positive person to hang out with, please let us know!
If interested, please send an email to Nona: projecta (AT) nonavarnado.com
An interview with Nona from Go Means Go Productions out of Seattle, from 2009, can be found here.
Got a note from Andrea who is working at a television station in Colorado. They are producing a documentary on Victorian era bicycling called: “Victorian Cycles-Wheels of Change.” They have broken up several clips into short web segments.
Bikes and Governor’s Island seem to go hand in hand. All summer long, this ice cream cone shaped, 172 acre island in New York Harbor is just waiting to be explored and the bicycle is just about the best way to do it. Bring your bikes on the ferry from either Manhattan or Brooklyn every Friday-Sunday until October 10th. Find out more information here. You can also rent bikes from Bike and Roll and on Friday’s it’s free. Dutch bike store in Brooklyn, Rolling Orange has donated special child carrier bikes, to get the whole family involved.
Here is a recent article on two dutch bike shops opening up in Manhattan, from Radio Netherlands Worldwide.
Dutch cargo bikes catch New Yorkers’ eyes
Published on : 13 August 2010 – 11:19am | By Reinout van Wagtendonk
The Dutch cargo bike, or carrier tricycle, is invading New York. Two shops have opened in Manhattan and Brooklyn specialising in Dutch city bikes and the lesser-known cargo bikes.
Brooklyn au pair Sabine Asselbergs from Amsterdam said the cargo bike was indispensable for her work. Many remarks were thrown at her by Americans unfamiliar with this type of vehicle, known as ‘bakfiets’ in the Netherlands.
“Some thought they were illegal and asked me what on earth I thought I was doing,” 28-year-old Sabine said. The cargo bike she used had been imported by the Dutch family which moved to Cobble Hill, Brooklyn about a year ago. Many New Yorkers indignantly criticized Sabine for transporting three children and herself on a bike without wearing a helmet. “And they also commented that it was unsafe because my bike could topple over if I overloaded it.”
And here is an article from the Daily news, highlighting how attendance on Governor’s Island has far surpassed expectations. Governors Island, free park in New York Harbor, breaks summer attendance record.
BY JAMES FANELLI DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Governors Island is this summer’s hottest spot.
More than 275,000 people visited the 172-acre greenspace so far this season, beating last year’s attendance record with eight weeks to spare, Mayor Bloomberg said Saturday.
“Governors Island is one of New York City’s greatest free resources, and more New Yorkers are taking advantage of it than ever before,” Bloomberg said. “We’re committed to building on the momentum we’ve generated on the island by continuing to expand the programming and creating one of the world’s great waterfront parks.”