Live Updates from the massive demonstrations at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.
Live Updates from the massive demonstrations at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.
article, again from Joe Hendry of Messmedia.org, on couriers in Ottawa.
Bike couriers cruising through changing times
Centretown News (Ottawa) December 1, 2009
It used to be common to see bike messengers flitting in and out of traffic on Centretown streets, but the rise of technology means that sight is getting somewhat rarer.
Increased use of e-mail and document transfer programs such as PDF files have meant that instead of sending small documents with bike messengers, the same files can be sent electronically.
The decline of bicycle couriers in Ottawa also has a lot to do increased security following the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001, says Gary Watson, a bicycle courier in Centretown for 20 years.
â€œIt used to be that couriers could go into any building, onto any floor, meet any government official and deliver a package into their hands,” he says.â€œNow most government buildings have scanners.â€
â€œClients quickly discovered that the deliveries were getting bogged down in the mail room and they found different ways of delivering their packages, like e-mail,â€ he says.
He adds the increased security had a large impact because Ottawa is predominately a government town.
Watson says the number of bicycle couriers have declined since 2001 at a rate of about 10 per cent a year.
Back in the early 1990s, there were thought to be over 100 bike messengers in Ottawa, but now estimates place the number at 20 to 30.
â€œI was right in the middle of it when it all happened,â€ Watson says. â€œI saw the decline immediately.â€
However, some messengers say that government contracts still make up a large part of their business.
While there are not as many messengers around these days, Don Gratton, an Ottawa bike messenger for 10 years, says he is still pretty busy.
He says he does a lot of government business, but has had to diversify.
â€œNow we do deliveries for drug stores,â€ Gratton says. â€œI deliver medication for older people who canâ€™t get around as well.â€
Watson says he, too, has had to adapt. He got a cargo bike, designed to carry more weight than an average bike or backpack.
â€œWeâ€™re not carrying envelopes anymore,â€ he says.
â€œNow, I can carry up to 200 pounds. That has basically kept things alive for me.â€
The industry has definitely declined, but there will always be a need for bike couriers, says Maureen McGreavy, an Ottawa bike messenger for 15 years.
â€œItâ€™s just a matter of how much money youâ€™re going to make at it,â€ she says.
â€œMy average calls are less than they used to be.â€
Mike Buckthought, of Ecology Ottawa, says he thinks that as the price of oil goes up and people become more aware of the impact of cars, they will be encouraged to use bike messengers.
In Ottawa motor vehicles produce 1.6 million tonnes of greenhouse gases per year.
â€œAnything we can do to reduce emissions is great.â€
Watson says he doesnâ€™t know whatâ€™s going to happen in the future.
â€œI couldnâ€™t have predicted whatâ€™s going on now. Iâ€™d like to think that weâ€™re about as low as we can go.
New York Daily News columnist writes about bike lanes being removed in Williamsburg.
Political pressure jeopardizing cyclists as bike lane gets removed in Williamsburg
Erasing a bike lane will not stop nubiles from pedaling down Bedford Ave. and offending our pious Hasidic brethren.
read the rest of the Op-ed here.
article on London’s bike sharing program coming for 2010:
London’s ‘Velib’ to cost quid a day to undock
London’s cycle hire scheme will launch in summer 2010 and will “open up cycling to thousands of people who don’t currently have the opportunity to cycle in London”
Transport for London (TfL) has announced that London’s Cycle Hire scheme will be free for the first half an hour of use – after a Â£1 undocking charge. The pricing structure for the Capital’s latest system of public transport was agreed at a TfL Board meeting on 10th December.
read entire article here.
saw this new ride by Trek on the coolist.com
“The Trek District is the latest Trek bike to get the Lance Armstrong makeover, with this version being dubbed the Trek Lance District. Lance District is a one-off custom build of the District Carbon, a superlight carbon frame version of the popular belt-driven fixed gear commuter bike. That belt drive, the logo below the neck and other minimal accents are given the signature yellow Livestrong treatment, while the rest of the bike is as black as night. As riders ourselves, weâ€™ve loved the Trek District since it first hit. This lusty one-off custom is precisely the dream machine weâ€™d love to have in our garage for our sunny day time commutes.” [trek district via ltdhype]
5th Annual Memorial Ride and walk.
The Fifth Annual Memorial Ride will be one ride, which will converge with the Memorial Walk and proceed together to a gathering of riders, walkers, family and friends.
–Manhattan: 10:00am @ w145st & Convent Ave
–Queens: 11:30am @ Queensboro Bridge
–Brooklyn: 3:00pm @ Grand Army Plaza
Questions? contact the NYC Street Memorial Project
Jan 3 2010 – 10:00am
Philadelphia bike couriers feel singled out on proposed legislation.
Article acquired by Joe Hendry of messmedia.org
Bike Couriers Speak Out
Philly’s messengers say theyâ€™re no menace to society.
By Joel Mathis
Jeff Oâ€™Neill was bicycling up 16th Street Friday night when a man and woman materialized in front of himâ€”two pedestrians in the middle of the road, standing still and staring up into the sky, oblivious to the traffic bearing down on them. Oâ€™Neill managed to execute a quick swerve, barely avoiding the pair, but he received no thanks for his efforts.
â€œThatâ€™s why you guys need licenses!â€ the man shouted as Oâ€™Neill pedaled off into the night.
Even when bike messengers avoid an accident, they still get a hefty portion of blame.
â€œAny courier you talk to will tell you gnarly stories,â€ says Jorge Brito, a 28-year-old messenger who has been working Phillyâ€™s streets for three years. â€œYouâ€™re a target when youâ€™re on a bike.â€
Bike messengers have been in City Hallâ€™s crosshairs since October, when two pedestrians were killed in separate, unsolved hit-and-run accidents involving bicycles. Police began cracking down on bicycle traffic violations and Councilmen James Kenney and Frank DiCicco proposed new rules that would require licenses, increase ticket fees for riding on sidewalks and levy huge new fines for operating the kind of â€œbrakelessâ€ bicycles favored by messengers.
When Rachel Fletcher, a messenger, was struck by a car and badly injured on Thanksgiving morning, her colleagues had had enough. The following Monday they gathered in Love Park to rally against the new rulesâ€”and against the rising tide of anti-bicycle and anti-courier sentiment that seems to be sweeping Phillyâ€™s streets and Stu Bykofskyâ€™s columns in the Daily News .
â€œWeâ€™re 45 people out of 11,000 (bicyclists) who commute each day,â€ Oâ€™Neill says. â€œBut weâ€™re singled out.â€
The small bicycle-courier community in Philadelphia is overwhelmingly male and young, nearly everybody a dropout from school, career or some other mainstream obligationâ€”the kind of people who enjoy spending a miserably wet fall day crisscrossing the city on bike. And couriers say Phillyâ€”with its relatively cheap rentsâ€”is one of the last, best places to earn a living.
Brito, one of the leaders of the Philadelphia Bicycle Messenger Association, came to town from New York, attended grad school and taught eighth grade in North Philly for a short spell.
â€œI hated it,â€ he says. â€œThe only thing I enjoyed was riding for a living. So now Iâ€™m the most overeducated messenger in the city. Even though things are slow now and the economy sucks, I probably make as much as if I were teaching. I sleep better.â€
The rise of fax machines and the Internet was expected to make couriers extinct. Indeed: Phillyâ€™s community of regulars has dwindled from about 80 riders a few years ago to a little more than half that today.
â€œThe economy has affected us more than technology,â€ says Oâ€™Neill, though.
The remaining riders admit that they often ride aggressively on Philly streets and, yes, sidewalks. Part of it is economic: They get paid per delivery, not by the hour. And, often, time is of the essence to their clients.
â€œI canâ€™t stop at every stoplight,â€ says Justin Swain, 22, a Philly native whoâ€™s been working as a courier for three years. â€œIâ€™ve got to get there in 15 minutes or I donâ€™t get paid.â€
Brito adds: â€œA multimillion-dollar bid falls apart because you didnâ€™t get there in time.â€
They dispute, however, the idea that theyâ€™re any more of a menace on Phillyâ€™s streets than cars. All half-dozen messengers at Nodding Head on Friday say theyâ€™ve been â€œdoored.â€ Brito is recovering from a broken collarbone. Several have stories of drivers deliberately trying to bump them off the road.
And if thereâ€™s an economic impetus to be aggressive, thereâ€™s a similar motivation to avoid accidents: â€œThereâ€™s no workmanâ€™s comp, no time off,â€ Swain says. â€œWe lose money.â€
Late last week, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia reported that DiCicco was having second thoughts about his proposed rules, surprised by the intensity of public reaction. But couriers donâ€™t expect the war between bicyclists and the rest of the city to ever end entirely.
â€œSo many pedestrians seem to think we want to hit them,â€ courier Liza DeProphetis says. â€œWe just want to get where weâ€™re going.â€
and then a video from his recent trip to San Francisco with friends.
Banzuke, is either A) Godzilla’s baby, B) Japanese porn involving a lot of fluids C) a Korean pickled dish or…this:
Sweet doored animation by Eric Arnstein & Jeff Ryan
Crank Arm Steady out of Singapore present a trailer for their Tour of Singapore.
As seen on Lockedcog.com
Fixy Life 3-Live and Direct from Tokyo
San Diego in the House:
On December 5th, 2009 the fixed gear video The Revival premiered in New York City. The premiere was put on by ProllyIsNotProbably.com and BMX spot, Post Bike Shop in Brooklyn. A video of the madness that went on with the premiere.
Lance Armstrong on the Daily Show:
Don’t forget to submit those photos for the chance to win an Ipod Touch loaded up with the new Tall Bike Joust App.
Check out the rules Here.
This week we are looking for photos that is a mutant bike in the making. Some ideas include a big pile of bikes chained to a pole, a warehouse full of bikes, maybe just a scrap heap of parts.