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Folk Singer, Activist and Founder of the Clearwater Revival, Pete Seeger dies at 94

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Pete Seeger was a folk music pioneer who could easily get people of all stripes to sing along to old time music, such as “We Shall Overcome,” “She’ll be Coming Around the Mountain,” and “This Land is Your Land.” He was a lifelong environmental activist and founder of the Clearwater Hudson River Revival in Upstate NY.
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The festival was started in 1966 by Pete and his wife Toshi and is the oldest and largest summer music festival of its kind, combining great musicians and raising funds for the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc. non-profit in charge of keeping the Hudson River and surrounding area as natural as possible. Using non-polluting transportation to get to the festival and camping is always encouraged and Time’s Up has always been promoting this idea with group rides to the site as well as volunteering for bicycle valet parking.
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Pete Seeger died today at the age of 94.

USA TODAY reports: “Seeger, who dropped out of Harvard University in 1938 to ride a bicycle across the country, quoted his father, Charles Seeger, a musicologist: “My dad, the old professor, used to say, ‘Never get into an argument about what’s folk music and what isn’t.’ “–My kind of guy.

Read the article: here.

You will be missed.

Pete Seeger in the NY Times: Pete Seeger, Songwriter and Champion of Folk Music, Dies at 94 by By Jon Pareles.

Coverage of Pete Seeger in depth, on Democracy Now: here.
We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration At The Lincoln Memorial

Pete Seeger perfoming This Land is Your Land with Bruce Springsteen at President Obama’s inauguration in 2009:

Spills and Kills, but no Vision Zero. A round up January events on street safety and traffic violence.

I was taking a bit of a hibernation here in 2014, dodging the “Artic Vortex(s)” and bad road conditions. This had nothing to do with my recent crash. On Monday (1/20/14) I went out for drinks to congratulate my pal Jonathan Beck who you may remember from his bad bike crash in 2010. He has long since been rebuilt with bionics and has replicated a new cycling maniac of the future–a baby girl. Congratulations to him and wife Britt Reichborn-Kjennerud on daughter, 8.5lb Bucklin Solvei Beck, entering planet Earth, 1/4/14. They’ve got Norwegian roots which explains the names and they’ll be using the middle one (Solvei). Speaking of Bucklin…A front basket that I personally improperly installed on one of my bikes dug into my front wheel on the ride home from drinking with Beck. This caused me to do a endo over the front handlebars in a NY minute and land right on my big nose. Luckily the helmet I insist on wearing helped my injuries to be mostly contained to my face. A very nice Park Slope resident, witnessed my face plant and was very helpful in convincing me not to walk to the nearest hospital (Methodist) but rather to take the ambulance he had phoned in. This was a much better decision then trying to walk 10 blocks with a scarf trying to stop the bleeding. The doctors in the ER were helpful, but it did take 6 hours to get a CAT-scan, Motrin and two stitches…but expect NYC ER’s to be overloaded because of all the hospital closings.

So I haven’t updated the blog in a while in my face healing time, it seems like I should put something up on here, seeing as 2014 is my 10th year of writing this thing.

The bike community here in NYC is eagerly waiting to see what will happen with the new progressive Mayor Bill DeBlasio and his recently appointed administration, primarily the police commissioner William Bratton and new Department of Transportation commish, Polly Trottenberg.

We’re definitely off to a rough start with 18 pedestrian and cyclist fatalities since Mayor DeBlasio was sworn in at the start of 2014.
Here is a brief timeline of some of what’s been going on.

The End of 2013:
Once again, Time’s Up did New Year’s Eve right with a mobile dance party bike ride and after party in Central Park at the Belvedere Castle. If you ever get a chance to experience this event, it’s a great way to ring in the New Year. You get to ride past all the stuck people in Time’s Square waiting for Ryan Seacrest to drop the ball. I mean, it’s freezing, but your movin. Here is a quick video:

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Our bike friendly former D.O.T. commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan is out and jumping on board with outgoing Mayor of the rich side of the two cities, Michael Bloomberg’s team. He’s launching a consulting firm called Bloomberg Associates which will tell other cities how to have the largest wealth desperately and not to drink too much soda. Hopelly Janette will get them to ride more bicycles and cars not to see them as road obstacles.

More about the future of Bloomberg Associates from the NY Times.

Incoming D.O.T. commissioner is Polly Trottenberg:
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A federal transportation policy maker with credentials include working with New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan on the 1998 federal transportation bill and for Senator Chuck Schumer.

Here is more about her from Ben Fried with Streetsblog.org

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January 2nd, 2014

Mayor DeBlasio is sworn in and transportation commissioner, Polly Trottenberg meets with parents who were on hand to keep the mayor on task about his promise of working towards Vision Zero. They are also victims of recent traffic violence and lost loved ones to reckless drivers. Vision Zero, is a goal adopted by NYC and brought forward by the new mayor to work towards having zero traffic fatalities of pedestrians and cyclists. Although that number may be impossible to obtain, the idea is to treat every traffic violent death as equally significant and even one death is too many. It is also a goal of a city, to work towards making efforts to make these fatalities avoidable through infrastructure, awareness and cracking down on motor vehicle violations. This seems especially important when for the last three years, around this time, the NYPD has chosen to crack down on bad cycling behavior and making no efforts to curb speeding cars and other moving violations that end up killing people, unlike bikes not stopping for lights in Central Park.

The Commissioner wasn’t aware of this particular demonstration on inauguration day, but the site of it caught her attention and she made time to find out what the people holding the vision zero signs had to say:

Trottenberg Meets Parents of Traffic Violence Victims at Inauguration. by Stephen Miller.

Incoming Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, right, speaks with Amy Cohen, whose 12-year-old son was killed by a driver on Prospect Park West. Photo: Stephen Miller

Mayor DeBlasio introduces the new police commissioner William Bratton at a press conference. Bratton a former NYC police commissioner in NYC (1994-96) has been in Los Angeles, vehemently cracking down on jaw walkers of those few citizens that actually aren’t driving in a car.

Here is a video from Bratton’s press conference:

Continue reading Spills and Kills, but no Vision Zero. A round up January events on street safety and traffic violence.

New E Wheel Pits Two Startups in a Bike Race

Not only is the new Copenhagen wheel wheel a reality, it also has competition with another similar looking design.

Say hello to FlyKly.

The Copenhagen wheel is designed with M.I.T engineers and is coming out of Boston.

FlyKly is lead by CEO Niko Kansek who has experience with his own line of electric bicycles and derives from New York.

So forget about the Red Socks vs Yankees. Both companies are battling to get their smart wheels out to the public and cash in on this new technology.

Here is more for the Boston Globe:

Two startups in high-tech bike race
By Michael B. Farrell
December 16th, 2013

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So who really reinvented this bicycle wheel?

Two startups unveiled high-tech bicycle wheels within weeks of each other in October that both said would revolutionize cycling.

As for their specialized, battery-backed wheels, well, they look oddly similar. Both have a striking number of the same features, too. And both upstarts profess to use groundbreaking technology that can turn most any standard bike into a hybrid e-bike controlled with the touch of a smartphone.

Read more: here.

Ok, here’s a question. Supposedly all those electric bicycles that deliver your food and seem to be in great abundance are illegal in NYC as we recently discovered on NPR. So does that mean these wheels could be subject to the same laws?

NYC Transportation Of Tomorrow Forum

Just saw this on: Streetsblog.org

NYC Transportation of Tomorrow Forum

December 17, 2013 8:00 am

BNY Mellon
101 Barclay Street
10th Floor Conference Center, East Auditorium-Manhattan

Free

RSVP required

City & State and the Rockefeller Foundation are teaming up to bring together leaders in government and public policy for a forum that will examine needs and solutions for transportation equity in New York City. Pratt Center Policy Director Joan Byron will give a keynote address, and City & State City Hall Bureau Chief Nick Powell will moderate a panel of transportation experts, government officials and advocates, followed by a Q&A. The event is free, but registration is required

Time To Support Recycle-A-Bicycle, Benefit Tonight

Tonight, Monday 16th, 2013 is the annual fund raiser event for everyone’s favorite bicycle advocacy and young person empowering: Recycle-A-Bicycle.
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Join us for our annual benefit bash! Come to support us and stay for the food and drinks, raffle, silent auction, and more. This year we will be honoring Public Advocate Letitia James, as well as Patrick Barnhart, Alyssa Bonilla and Molly Charboneau of Western Queens Power for the People. We will be auctioning and raffling off adult and kids bikes, helmets, gift certificates and more! Monday December 16 2013, 6:30 – 9pm, at Bicycle Habitat, 250 Lafayette Street in SOHO, New York.

Get tickets online: here.

Rob Ford hates Bikes and is Exposes in New Doc. Bikes vs Cars

I have to admit, it’s quite entertaining watching the exploits of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.
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Between the crack smoking and the drunken stupors there is never a dull moment and finally our neighbors to the North are starting to out buffoon us for a change. I mean certainly not the first mayor to endulge in the rock form of cocaine.

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But former D.C. Mayor, Marion Barry never had moves like this in the gospel choir.

What I don’t find amusing is what a bicycle hater Rob Ford is and how one of the main reasons he got elected was for his love affair with the automobile. Seems odd for such a model of healthy slimmed down mobility, with great dance moves and appetite suppressing drug habits.

Here is a recent article in the Boston Globe that explains more:

Conservatives’ new enemy: Bikes
The bicycle is emerging as a new conservative front in the culture wars.

By: Jordan Michael Smith | GLOBE December 15th, 2013

EVEN BEFORE TORONTO MAYOR Rob Ford became internationally famous for being videotaped smoking crack, he was known as a City Hall version of Bluto Blutarsky of “Animal House”—swearing in public, proudly overeating, guzzling booze. His boorishness is so conspicuous and well documented that it raises the question: Who elected this guy? And why?

The answer, in large part, comes down to transit. Ford is famously pro-car, and his strongest support came from suburbs outside downtown Toronto, where voters drive into the city during the day and return by car in the evening.

Read more: here.

I first became aware of the hate from a trailer for a great new documentary:

Bikes vs Cars by Fredrik Gertteb.

This documentary is like a Freakanomics of car ownership vs bicycle and explores how biking is a vehicle for change all over the world.

This project recently reached its fund raising goals on kickstarter so it should be having a run of screenings in the near future.

Rob Ford can’t wait.

A Moving Tribute To Bert, a Guy Who Was Always Moving

A few photos from a recent snowy memorial ride dedicated to bike shop owner Bert Cebular. Photos by Steve.

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I discovered this really moving tribute to Bert Cebular, founder of NYCEwheels on the Upper East Side who recently passed away at the young age of 47. I barely meet Bert, but I knew he was a super positive guy and very active in getting more people to commute on alternative transportation, especially fold ups, e-bikes and adult scooters.

A San Diego bike blogger, Turbo Bob of (turbobobbicycleblog.wordpress.com) also didn’t know Bert all that well but wrote and excellent post on his passions and his life.

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I normally get great joy and satisfaction reporting on the happenings in the bike world, today is not one of those days. My friend Bert Cebular is no longer with us, taken too soon from our mortal society. As I sit to write this post of his celebration of life, his memorial services are just starting to take place in Manhattan, New York. I wish I could attend, but do hope posting this will fill his and my needs alike.

Although I really didn’t know Bert (Rupert Cebular) all that well, I finally met him in person last October. He came to San Diego to pursue his latest passions, paragliding and powered-paragliding. Ultimately, this new activity would prove to be the cause of his passing. A powered-paragliding accident in New York on Dec 3rd of this year was the last thrill of his life. I can only hope his death was quick and painless.

Read more: here.

Video Friday. 12/13/13

It’s been a while but here is another installment of Video Fridays, spanning the world (wide web) to bring you some top cycling video content posted on my favorite bike blogs.

First up, Urban Velo:

Title: Acer Wander Photo Tour with Dan Barham
Seen On: Urbanvelo
Description: Photographer Dan Barham and the Acre clothing crew headed into the Alps for a few days of film shooting, turning a product testing mission into an adventure photo project. Check the video and then full story, with more images and video clips, atwww.acre-supply.com

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Title: Road Bike Party 2
Seen On: Urbanvelo
Description: A bike is a bike, it’s all about the skill of the rider. So eat your heart out BMXers. Check out these road bike tricks. A video sequel to Road Bike Party, which has over 9 million on line views. Featuring the sick skills of riders Ashton, Danny Macaskill, and Chris Akrigg.
The video shows Ashton, Danny Macaskill, and Chris Akrigg doing tricks and students in multiple locations.

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Title:Dear Motorist
Seen On: Urbanvelo
Description: An letter to Motorists to help prevent cyclist fatalities.

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Title: Eskil riding a bike at 80km backwards, Trollstigen
Seen On: Urbanvelo
Description: Eskli Rønningsbakken is an extreme stunts artist from Strange, Norway. It’s one thing to ride a bike downhill on a curvy narrow mountain road at top speeds of 80k, but how about backwards.

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Title: Wolfpack Hustle: All Out War
Seen On: Urbanvelo
Description:
Wolfpack Hustle takes it to the track for a 24-lap elimination race at the Carson Olympic Velodrome. The streets are always exciting, but there’s something surreal about going all out in the velodrome. Hot.


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Title: Bike Tricks from the 1950’s
Seen On: Urbanvelo
Description:Saw this one making the rounds and thought we should share. From the video description, “Harry Kramer, a 76-year-old street entertainer, performs bicycle tricks on Main Street in Travelers Rest, South Carolina. This newsreel footage is from the 1950s and is still entertaining after all these years.”


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Title:Surly Mask Country
Seen On: Urbanvelo

Continue reading Video Friday. 12/13/13

Does Cycling Make Us Happier?

Oopsmark.ca out of Montreal, Canada makes a great solution to how to carry your wine around.
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They recently had this great post on their blog, which just made me smile:

The Science Behind Why Cycling Makes Us Happier
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“You hear so many cyclists gushing about their daily rides that it might be a bit bewildering to imagine how biking could make so many people so happy. As it turns out, the reasons why are firmly grounded in science. Many people don’t realize that happiness emerges from the state of the body as a whole – how well we sleep, our energy levels, the stress hormones coursing throughout our systems all play a role in determining how happy we feel. So how does cycling affect all these different areas of life?”

Read more: here.

RIP Bert Cebular founder of NYCEwheels Bike Shop

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I meet Bert Cebular in 2009 when I was researching all the bike shops for our book, Bike NYC. Super nice guy with real passion for niche biking especially foldups and electric assist types. He has a cute shop, NYCEwheels on the upper east side of Manhattan (1603 York Ave. between 84th and 85th) He also has a very thorough Youtube Channel with tons of tips and reviews of many of the unique products the shop sells, not to mention some pretty amazing arial photography using small helicopter devices…if your into that sort of thing.
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It saddens me to find out Bert (age 47) recently passed away in a paragliding accident in upstate NY. There is write up on this tragedy from Montague Bikes which Bert was a dealer of.

There will be a memorial bike ride this Saturday, 12/14/13. From the NYCEwheels facebook page:
Group Bike in Memory of Bert Cebular on Saturday 12/14:

On this Saturday morning I’d love to get as many of you out on a bike ride as possible to celebrate Bert’s love of cycling in New York City. Please share this portion of the invitation to as many people who ride bikes in NYC as you know.

Meet in the courtyard at Carl Shulz Park at 86th and East End Ave. at 11am.

We’ll head to one of Bert’s favorite spots – Randall’s Island – for a leisurely conversational ride maybe 2 hours in length. I’d love for this be be a rolling party of happy memories, jokes, and the sheer joy of being on a bike.

more info: facebook.com/NYCEwheels

Rest In Peace fellow cyclist. Your passion and spirit for life and riding bikes will be dearly missed.