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Critical Mass Today

NYC’s critical mass has taken a serious blow over the years. It’s now some sort of ridiculous stand off between the NYPD who won’t back down and a few loyal riders who are brave enough to come out. Last month (June) was no different.

Here is a video of the police blocking the bike lane in order to video tape us while issuing tickets for not riding in the bike lane.

yeah.

Meanwhile the show goes on.

San Francisco is celebrating CM number 214. (who keeps track of this)

Chicago is stripping down to their underwear.

And in London, well the motorists just love them.

But they rage on with cool bike gangs like Velolovesthecity.

also check out criticalmasslondon.org.uk

and Ecohustler.co.uk

Here’s a video from last month in Detroit.

stolen bikes

I got a few flyers from my good friend Dan Katz, who turns 40 today. Gulp. (I’m next)

Seen uptown in NYC.

and this one…

I was talking with Hal Ruzal, who started Bicycle Habitat back in the late 70’s, along with Charlie McCorkell. He’s the guy you can’t miss in the stores front window with his long mane of dread locks, hammering away on customers bikes. He has these hilarious videos on youtube, done by streetsfilms.org where he rates peoples bike lock ups.

I asked Hal, what is it these days with bike theft, are we seeing more of it? “Well people are reverting to their old ways, being unemployed and all.” he said in a phone conversation…meaning more people out of work means more thieves, and there are more “pickins” with the increase in the popularity of bikes. “But mostly people are idiots,” he said in reference to the fact that people just don’t lock up their bikes properly and are cheap with security. They also don’t lock up wheels. Hal says he gets about 2 people a day coming into the store looking for new wheels because they’ve been stolen.

So a word of caution out there:

Don’t cheap out on the type of lock and secure everything you want to keep including both wheels and the seat. Due diligence is the name of the game. Send a message to the bike thieves that you’ve done the work to properly lock up your bike with both a diesel lock and chain and locked all the key parts. Then, unfortunately, they move on to someone who slacked.

Here is the most recent case of theft.

Maritza Trejo contacted me:
Hi, a friend told me about your website and that I could post info regarding my stolen bike. It was stolen earlier today, Wednesday July 28, 2010 between 2-4pm outside of the Target on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn (it was locked with my boyfriend’s bike in the bike racks but only mine was stolen). It is a Vita Specialized in red. I bought it last year. Notable identifiers include:

– scratches in the middle of the handlebar
– scratches on the brake/shifters lever
– small dent on the frame
– red light attached to the seat post
– missing the right toe strap

I would really appreciate it if anyone out there could keep an eye out for the bike for me. Please email me asap if you see/hear/find anything.

Here’s a picture of the bike and a link for more info:

specs from bikepedia.com.

Any info contact: maritza.trejo@gmail.com

Well now we ask people how it was locked.

My bike was next to my boyfriend’s bike. He had his locked with a U-lock and mine was attached through a Kryptonite 4′ flex cable to his u-Lock. In addition i had another smaller chain locked for the back tire. Whoever stole, cut the flex cable and the other chain.

Also I followed up on a theft I posted on the 22nd of July. Natalie had her bike stolen from within her building.

She was kind enough to explain more about what happened.

I live in a 3 unit building and all three floors of tenants are very friendly, so trust within our building is not an issue. While I usually bring the bike inside my apartment, and sometimes lock it up outside, on occasion I also leave it out on the landing right outside my apartment door. We are on the top floor, so the only people who come up there are our household and our guests. I did not have it locked to anything on the landing. I just assumed it would be safer unlocked inside than locked up outside–guess I was wrong.

We aren’t entirely sure if someone broke in or if there was a problem with the door (unfortunately, someone had only left the bottom handle lock engaged and had not used the deadbolt, and it’s possible that the door didn’t completely latch closed).

Anyway, now everyone in the building is really diligent about using the deadbolt and I obviously will not leave anything valuable outside of my apartment.

This is another unfortunate reality of living and biking in NYC. Apartment buildings are notorious for having bikes swiped from inside. Don’t assume anything. Either bring it inside, or lock it up the same as you would on the street.

Maybe we gotta go back to this:

(photo seen on smashenger.blogspot.com)

Profiles are back…the Bike Nerd

Back in the day, I used to do profiles of other bicycle blogs where I would send out questions, got back the answers and then post it up as if I actually did an interview with these people. Ok, I was borrowing from a time honored tradition of zines.

I started this back in March of 2009 with Meligrosa of bikesandthecity.blogspot.com in San Francisco. The profile can be found here.

Some of the ones I did in the past were local like Anita Singh of brooklynbybike.com found over here.

I was bouncing all around and went to Seattle with Zach of Zlogblog.com to give attention to the freestyle fixed gear explosion. Found here.

I wanted to get back to this so I sent out some questions to a local NYC blogger named Seth Werkheiser of thebikenerd.com. The name just rung a bell with me, yes I am a big BIKE NERD. Seth hasn’t been running this blog too long, but he’s planning on doing some traveling by bike this summer and I thought it was a good excuse to resurface the bike blog profiles. So here is…
The bike nerd himself.

Name, Age, where you live (ride)

Seth Werkheiser, 34, and ummm… going to be living on the road starting July 30th. I’ll be biking to different cities and town and crashing with friends for 1-4 weeks at a time. I’ve lived in NYC for almost six years though, and biked many miles during that time.

What bike(s) do you own?

I used to own like six bikes – road bikes, a mountain bike or two, a BMX bike, an old beater bike. But right now I’ve whittled things down to just one bike, my NYCBikes City Fixed with a free-wheel hub. I got her in 2007 or so and love her.

What is your next bike purchase?

Probably a cable combination lock. Mine was recently snipped. Thankfully I had a Ulock on my bike, too, so I still own my bike!

How long have you been riding in NYC?

Almost six years. That includes some attempts at the NYC Century. I never completed it, but the last two times on my single speed I was able to do 75 miles. Did the Tour de Bronx a bit ago, which I loved. I’m also an avid commuter. I’ve biked from Flushing Queens for awhile. Bed-Stuy. Park Slope. Almost six years of biking over bridges!

What do you like most about it?

The bridges! I grew up biking in Pennsylvania, so I miss the hills. Some mornings my legs are fresh and I zip right up the inclines, but other days I’m tired and get passed by 800 people.

What do you like least about it?

I try to stay posi when riding. I expect the worst from everything – cars, other bikes, pedestrians. So I try to say in a “zen” frame of mind, and not react to everything that happens on the road. Like a car door opening, or a pedestrian walking in front of me, or a car cutting me off. I expect those things, so I try not to let it boil my blood. But every now and again something happens and I catch myself yelling at someone. Or giving a sarcastic “thumbs up” to a car that just me off. I hate letting stuff like that bother me to the point of getting all pissed off.

What is the name of your blog, how long have you been doing it and what lead to it’s start? Why “bikenerd?”

A lot of my friends sort of know me as “that bike guy.” Like, I’ve helped friends buy bikes at bike shops. Or fix their bikes on the trail. And, well, I’m a bit of a nerd anyways. It sort of fit. I love talking about “bike nerd” stuff to friends of mine who don’t bike much. Like, the number of miles that guys in the Tour De France ride in a day. Or how much some kiddies spend on purple hubs. Or a group ride my friend in Philadelphia does called Beer by Bike So yeah, I easily call myself a bike nerd. It kind of worked.

What do you blog about?

I try to blog more about what I’ve done, or am doing. I’ve been doing the “blog thing” since 2001, when I started Buzzgrinder.com, music blog. In that world it’s very easy to just write about bands doing stuff. Label releasing stuff. Shows. Whatever. I’ve thought of doing a bike blog for many years, but didn’t want to just report on bike lanes and review $1,600 bikes. I wanted to do something worth writing about, and hopefully inspire other people to just get out and ride. I just want to show people and friends that riding 50 miles to the next town isn’t some impossible task.

Who reads your blog?

I have no idea. I used to be hardcore into checking my stats and everything, but I gave that up. A few people have emailed me from the Tumblr community, so that’s been real nice. I’m trying to stay in touch with them, and my friends who read the site.

What kind of feedback do you get? What has generated the most interaction, comments, reactions?

I’ve got a lot of “wow, I wish I could do that!” type of feedback. Selling and giving away all your possessions to hit the road is not something everyone gets to do. I’m glad I’m able to do it.

You talk about random travel. What’s the furthest you traveled by bike?

75 miles. Done 75 down to Philadelphia. I rode up to Nyack, NY one saturday on a whim. That was 35 miles from Brooklyn up to Nyack, and then back. Did 75 twice in the NYC Century. So right now I’m capped at 75 I think, but I’m working on that. I’ve been riding a lot more, trying to get that number up so I can start biking 100 miles between towns!

How do you prepare for long rides?

I’ll usually write down something for a turn-sheet, which I’ll stuff in my pocket. I’m working on making images, throwing them into a photo album and syncing with my iPhone now. I’ve tried some of those GPS apps for the iPhone, but they just kill my battery. I rode to New Brunswick, NJ from Brooklyn with just Google Maps on the iPhone and it was horrible. I don’t ride and use my phone at the same time, so we had to stop a lot and check out where to turn and stuff. It took forever. So with screen shots of Google Maps it can work a lot better. I’ll see how it works out!

What do you bring on long rides?

Lots of water. I’m a big nerd with hydration. Then tools to change a flat, so some spare tubes, too.

Favorite spots?

Queensboro Bridge! She’s so majestic. Long Island City waterfront. Riding along the Marina in Queens. Doing laps at Central Park. Battery Park city is a nice destination, too.

There is a lot of talk about the increase of cycling in NYC, How far do you think we’ve come and where do you think we’re headed?

In just six years time I’ve seen more bike lanes, more bike racks, more store fronts with bicycles in them, more tshirts and artwork with bikes on them. So in that short timespan I think the bike has really been fighting for the spotlight, and it deserves it! I think long term, though, I think it will only get better. I just hope to see more safety education for cyclists, though. I love seeing more bikers, but man, I cringe seeing people riding in flip flops, no helmets, no gloves and texting on their iPhones while riding up Bedford Ave in Williamsburg. It seriously makes me cringe.

Future plans for your blog?

More writing and more photos about my adventures. I hope I can profile some friends who I get to ride with during my time on the road, or just write about people I meet.

Future cycling goals?

A century, for sure. And being able to bike to the west coast within the next six months.

Anything you wished I’d asked you?

Nope, you about hit everything!

VeloJoy has a new list of events this weekend

Check it out at my new favorite NYC bicycle blog:

Velojoy.com

New Report on Bicycling in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Noah Budnick sent out a link to a report on cycling and driving behaviors in Bed-Stuy Brooklyn.

Get the PDF here.

Cave in on isle four!

Oops. Pothole of the year on the Eastside greenway. 72nd st.

Thanks for the head’s up and watchful eye from Seth at nycbikemaps.com

reminds me of road conditions back in the day, Williamsburg bridge wild style edition.

Seen on smashenger.blogspot.com

If you have other roadway dangers please pass them my way. mgreen@bikeblognyc.com

Crocheted Cogs…Olek’s bike art.

So I posted this about a bike covered with the fine detail of crochet.

Then I spied this on on Brooklynbybike.com’s flickr page.

Turns out this is the handy work by crochet artist Olek.

Read more here.

Tech Watch: Iphone app for bike repair

Check out this latest app for repairing a bicycle.

www.bikerepairmobile.com

From their site:
Are you tired of searching the web to find your solution? Most web site are not well structured and have too much text to read before finding your solution. Then you go to the garage to fix your bike and realize you have forgot half of what you have read online.

Bike Repair on your iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad is the solution. You have your reference with you all the time.

Each step contains a few simple phrases/tasks. It goes straight to the point, no long paragraph explaining something that has nothing to do with the repair and that you will forget anyway. The most important thing, we don’t assume you know everything about bicycles. Every term used is simple, if they are technical, we show you what it is on the picture, so you are not left wondering what it is and trying to look for it on your bike.

Here is a review from www.ievolution.ca

and the facebook page for the app.

You guys can thank me later. Maybe a free app?

the High Wheelers are coming to Manhattan.

This week is the 43rd annual gathering of the Wheelmen, a national organization to preserve the history and heritage of the bicycle. They’ve been rolling around Monmouth University in New Jersey, where the group has gathered. Here is an article in the New Jersey, Star-Ledger:

Monmouth University, nonprofit group The Wheelmen host 100-mile antique bicycle tour in N.J.
Rohan Mascarenhas/The Star-Ledger

MONMOUTH COUNTY — With his sleek plastic helmet and sweat-resistant jersey, Carson Torpey cut the perfect image of a bicyclist ready for a 100-mile ride Wednesday.

The course, a winding tour of Monmouth County and the Jersey Shore, drew him from his home in Louisville, Ky., and even after 30 years of biking, he seemed eager to start, munching quickly on an orange for a last-minute energy boost.

There was just one problem: Torpey’s bicycle. It had no gears. There was no suspension. And, even more oddly, its front wheel was nearly four feet tall, dwarfing a much smaller wheel behind it. It looked more suited for a museum than a jaunt through Allaire State Park.

But to Torpey, it was perfect.

Read more here.

This Sunday, the highwheelers and vintage bicycles will be touring around Manhattan. According to their schedule, they’ll be coming off the Staten Island Ferry around 10:00am.

Don’t miss it.

Here is a video to give you a taste, from the Star-Ledger.

Antique bicycles roll through the streets of Monmouth County

Community Garden’s ride makes the press

Time’s Up plan to bike ride around the city tonight and draw attention for the plight of community gardens makes the NY Daily News:

Cyclists’ advocacy group Times Up! plans to protest outside Mayor Bloomberg’s townhouse
BY Simone Weichselbaum
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Thursday, July 29th 2010, 4:00 AM

(photo by Hagen for the DailyNews)
Photo caption: Benjamin Shepard of Times Up! plans to ride to Bloomberg’s home Paul Revere style.

It was the green thumb biker buff version of the Boston Tea Party.

Instead of fighting off the British, two dozen community gardens loyalists will pedal around Manhattan on “horsecycles” Manhattan Thursday night rallying the cry to keep the spaces safe from developers.

Cyclists’ advocacy group Times Up! has stuck cardboard horse heads on over 20 bikes for their Paul Revere-style night ride from the Generation X Garden on E. 4th Street to Mayor Bloomberg’s townhouse on E. 79th St.

Read the rest of the article: here.

Also I got a mention in the New York Time’s city room blog:

Paul Revere, Rat Zoos and the GTL Index
By J. DAVID GOODMAN

The sunsetting of a 2002 agreement on community gardens has some advocates and bloggers feeling like Paul Revere.

“The developers are coming! The developers are coming!” a headline on EV Grieve shouted Wednesday morning, in a post promoting a bicycle ride in opposition to the city’s proposed new rules for managing the gardens.

The proposed rules have come under criticism from those who see a watering down of the language in the 2002 agreement between the city and the New York State attorney general’s office that prevents the development of 500 or so community gardens. Where the old rules explicitly state that development will not occur, the new rules include no such language.

“The gardens have really thrived over the last eight years, but the city has to maintain its options,” Adrian Benepe, the parks commissioner, told my colleague Colin Moynihan. (The parks department has managed many of the city’s community gardens since 2002. NotBored.com sketches a timeline of some key moments in the history of the gardens.)

Read the entire posting here.

Drawing attention to the fact that community gardens make good use of green space which could easily fall prey to neglect like the dozens of empty lots around the city. Then you get this:

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/28/paul-revere-rat-zoos-and-the-gtl-index/

Here is a link to a press release by Time’s Up about the community gardens.