Activists trying to draw attention to the plight of the community gardens and the need for protected green spaces in NYC got an article in the NY Times for their recent Paul Revere ride.
(photo by David Goldman, NY Times)
The Bulldozers Are Comingâ€™: Garden Crusaders Hop on Their Bikes
By COLIN MOYNIHAN
Published: August 1, 2010 The bikes departed Tompkins Square, pedaled by men and women dressed in 21st-century thrift-store versions of 18th-century garb. There were tricorn hats, vests and, in a few cases, shirts with long, flowing sleeves. Many of the bicycles were decorated with cardboard cutouts in the shape of a horseâ€™s head. One man rang a bell. Others shouted to passers-by on Avenue B, calling out, â€œThe bulldozers are coming.â€
The procession was modeled, of course, on Paul Revereâ€™s nighttime ride to Lexington, Mass., in 1775. But the riders on Thursday night meant to warn people not about an invading military force, but about proposed rules by the city that would alter the status of hundreds of community gardens.
Since 2002, community gardens have been regulated by an agreement that designated about 150 gardens for development but preserved or increased protections for about 500 others. That agreement, which was reached after the state attorney general sued the city to block the sale of gardens to developers, will expire in September. Although city officials have said they have no plans to develop gardens, rules proposed by the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development do not include any guarantees of preservation.
That time of the year is coming, when the city closes a big chunk of Manhattan, just enough not to bother too many motorists, and not for that long. But cynical New Yorker aside, its a good experiment in what an auto free part of the city could be like and you can have 50 or more bikes riding together without being treated like a terrorist threat.
This event is known as Summer Streets and its taking place for the next three Saturdays in August.
August 7th, 14th and 21st.
There will also be a group bike ride set to music followed by a picnic. The event is called Joy Ride!
More about this event from their site including how to register.
Joyride: Jump on your bike and experience a mid-summerâ€™s daydream. All the worldâ€™s a stage and you are on a bike to watch it. Motion, music and mingling will transform the way you see the city. Its as easy asâ€¦.well, itâ€™s as easy as riding a bike. At the end you will be served a delicious picnic from a talented chef. Meet 50 new people and who knows what will happen.
Joyride is a musical group bike ride and picnic created by theatre artist, Liz Sherman with a soundtrack designed by Duncan Bridgeman, co-creator of the double Grammy nominated film and album â€œ1 Giant Leapâ€ and soon to be released â€œWhat About Meâ€.
For each of the three Saturdays of â€œNYC Summer Streets,â€ 50 Joyriders will be both players and audience in an event that heightens fragments of ordinary city life into a virtually cinematic experience. Itâ€™s an experience both intimate and communal as the shared soundtrack sets a rhythm and mood for the journey from Foley Square to Central Park where the picnic awaits.
At itâ€™s heart Joyride is about the freedom we feel riding a bike, the deep ways that music affects us and the power of that shared experience. Joyride takes place on August 7th, 14th, & 21st.
Space is very limited. For each ride, ten spots will be reserved for those that are especially enthusiastic and write in to tell us . The other spaces are open to all first come, first served.
Transportation Alternatives is sponsoring a gathering to support the Prospect Park West bike lane.
Start: August 1, 2010 – 12:00pm
End: August 1, 2010 – 2:00pm
Grand Army Plaza end of Prospect Park West bike lane
This Sunday, T.A. staff and volunteers will be gathering at noon at the Prospect Park West Bike Lane entrance by Grand Army Plaza to distribute Bike Rules handbooks and encourage cyclists using the new lane to take the lead in making the lane safe and pleasant for all street users. They will be encouraging cyclists to watch carefully for pedestrians and to be sure to yield to them as they try to cross the street. Additionally there will be staff from Street Films on hand to document how the lane has positively impacted the street, slowing car traffic and giving cyclists a dedicated space on the street, as well as encouraging cyclists to be mindful of pedestrians and other cyclists alike as they traverse this awesome new lane. Please join us and show some love for PPW!
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.
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:
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.
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 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.
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.