So put away your microphone headset and pseudo-starwars-imperial guard dance militia outfit.
www.commuternation.com is a new website and campaign to get people to use public transportation and bicycles to and from work.
The encourage this smart and ecco-conscious behavior they are having a contest.
Commuter Nation RIDE FREE Sweepstakes! Commuter Nation is giving away over 10 years of free commuting in 2 months, 6 months, and yearly chunks. There will be weekly drawings so commuters can come back and enter each week to increase their chances of winning, as well as a grand prize round.
What: Commuter Nation campaign, to educate commuters in the greater New York metropolitan area about commuter benefits, is giving away over 10 years of free commuting during the Commuter Nation RIDE FREE Sweepstakes! Street Teams will be in stations to hand out informative tools that direct commuters to visit http://www.commuternation.com to enter the sweepstakes.
Who: Commuter Nation is an initiative to bring awareness and encourage commuting employees to learn about and participate in commuter benefits through their employer. Commuter Nation is an initiative by Commuter Check the leading provider of commuter benefits dedicated to offering solutions adapted to designed to accommodate employers of all sizes and their employeesâ€™ commuting preferences.
When: Monday, September 21st through Saturday, October 17th. To kick off the sweepstakes, Street Teams will be in Penn Station on Wednesday, September 23rd from 6:30 a.m. â€“ 10:30 a.m. & 4:30 p.m. â€“ 7:30 p.m.
Where: Commuter Nation website: http://www.commuternation.com. Street Teams will be in Penn Station on the NJ Transit 7th Avenue concourse
Why: Amidst recession panic and the MTA fare increases, New Yorkers are most certainly unhappy about paying more money each month to commute. Yet, most are unaware that they could decrease the burden of commuting costs and mitigate the impact of the fare hike by participating in commuter benefits through their employer. Commuter Nation gives them the tools they need to understand and effectively communicate to their employer the relevance and timeliness of providing commuter benefits in the workplace, as well as a chance to enter to win free commuting.
I’m being advised that cyclists: can use pre-tax dollars for bicycle equipment and repairs by participating in their employers commuter benefit program.
Here are a few pictures from NYC from band of bicycles on flickr.
The Yes Men were there with their survivaball.
Thom Yorke of Radiohead, played the premiere via satelite
A random pedicab owner reported they were hired to give celebrities rides to the premiere and not one of them took the drivers up on their free services, instead they arrived in SUV’s and their giant trucks, idled outside waiting. Well the movie isn’t called the “Age of Smart People.”
Apparently one of the Yes Men was arrested in front of the NY Post for their distributing papers stunt.
The cardboard bicycle heads will be in London starting tomorrow.
More info here.
In my on going series in meeting festival directors, introducing Laura Fletcher, who’s keeping things going over there in the UK.
Here is my interview:
Name, age, where you live (ride)
Laura Fletcher 26, London UK
What bikes do you own?
Iâ€™ve got three bikes. A beat up Orbit Lo-Pro fixed wheel, A Maclachlan track frame with big swept back bars for the pub and a Condor Leggero for distances.
-what will be your next bike purchase?
Space constraints limit the purchase of more bicyclesâ€¦.does a proper waterproof jacket count?
Tell us a little about you as a biker? organizations you are a part of? Do you bike for sport, just for transportation?
I bike for transport and for sport. I started riding as a way to get around town, but when I got a road bike, it was a sport hobby as well. This year, I rode a sportive in Italy, taking me over Mortirolo, an Italian Alp. Hell, it was, but definitely an achievement.
What got u involved with BFF this year?
Iâ€™ve been working with the BFF for three years now. So, last year became this year? It is quickly approaching anotherâ€¦.
What have been some memorable experiences from BFF in London in the past? Events you attended or heard about?
I think the most memorable would have to be the 2008 polo tournament. In proper London fashion, it was pissing with rain. We still held the tourney though, had a great turnout and everyone had a blast, and very soggy feet. It was great to see how dedicated cyclists are to come out and bike, rain or shine.
What’s planned for the festival? Tell us about the East to West Ride?
Tons planned for the festival this year. The east to west ride is a group ride across town to our opening night party. London is huge so its great to collect people and do a social ride to the destination.
Weâ€™ve got great films of course, a polo tournament, alleycat and roller racing, and this year we are also putting on a BMX street Jam with Carhartt Streetwear. Theyâ€™ve done a great job with it, and have 200 riders from around the world coming out for it. Thanks to Joe Stakun for making the wicked FBM bikes film this year!
Who is coming out?
Erâ€¦. 200 bmxers? No, hopefully everyone. We try to reach out to ALL types of cyclists, and have focused events that hopefully will make everyone want to come!
Any local British film makers or films?
Yes! We have about ten British films in this year. Too many to all list, but its been great to see content growing from this side of the pond. The accent does go over well on film.
What impact do you hope the bff will have on the bike community?
I hope the BFF will be an opportunity for all cyclists to come together and share ownership of an event. I love seeing the roadies next to the messengers, next to the bmxers next to the audax crowd. Amazingly, it rarely happens outside in the world.
What is the bike cultural landscape in London? Alleycats, indoor sprints, bike polo, fixed gear scene?
We have it all here. The fixed scene has grown substantially over the past few years, its wild how many bikes we see every morning now. Every weekend there are events going on. The wonderful thing here also is the domestic road racing scene that blends into city cycling. We have some inner city events, like the Nocturne Series which creates a great dialogue between professional cycling and transportation cycling.
Had any experience with the local Critical Mass? other group rides?
Personally, no, but we do have critical mass every month here, I believe it averages about 1000 riders a month.
What’s it like riding in London? Is there infastructure? What needs the most improvement? What is really working out well?
Currently our Mayor, Boris Johnson is very keen on cycling. Hes done away with evil bendy buses, but infrastructure still isnâ€™t great. We have some of the stupidest bike lanes ever. Hereâ€™s a bbc article even on bad bike lanes: here.
Is there a lot of driver vs cyclist beef?
Just the standard I reckon for any major city. Good days and bad days, nice drivers, mean drivers.
How has the popularity of cycling grown? What can you attribute the rise to?
The movement towards cycling is so natural its hard to attribute it to any one thing. Petrol prices, the congestion charge, the congestion, etc. The rise of cycling as a cultural â€˜coolâ€™ has helped as well. We have tax free bike schemes in the UK to promote commuting and this has greatly increased the number of riders. I hope the BFF continues to create a fun place for all the cyclists to come together, and encourage more people to start.
Cool places for cyclists to hang out in London?
There are so many! Shop 14 for the best in flash new bike parts.
Downham Rd Polo court, and the Northgate pub afterwards. London fields in the summer is the best for bike and people watching.
What are your future cycling goals? Travel?
Not sure if I will make it up another mountain, but may as well try!
Anything you wished I’d asked you or failed to promote?
Bicycle Film Festival
Some highlights of this weekend’s festival will be:
and a photo scavenger hunt: (from facebook)
The Reel Tour Photo-Cat Saturday 26th September A points based photo-cat celebrating the BFF and everything to do with bicycles and cycling.
For Â£2 per team ( bargain ) you will get : one ( beautifully designed ) manifest, loads of checkpoints, 3 hours to collect as many points as you can.
You will get to experience ( with a lot of imagination ) : pro races, yellow jerseys, Kevin Bacon, cobbles, tricks,drinks, Vicky Pendleton, cycling clothing and many cycling films related tasks.
Bring a bike, bag, A-Z, digital camera ESSENTIAL Prizes from Condor Cycles,Tour de Ville, Rapha, DVS, Matix and more…
Meet outside the Barbican Centre, Silk Street EC2. Registration at 1pm. Starts at 2pm sharp! We will be projecting the photos taken during the photo-cat at the 6:30pm Film Festival screening. We will have card readers on site but if possible please take the USB cable for your camera with you. Reely hope to see you all at the Barbican x
Time’s Up is having another Dance Party Ride with great tunes blasting out of their sound bike.
Meet at Tompkin’s Square Park at 7:00pm
This ride will then head over to:
HANDS OFF UNION SQUARE PARK PAVILION!
CREATIVE INTERVENTION ON THURSDAY NIGHT!
WHAT: Funky Protest Cheese Party to interrupt Union Square
Partnershipâ€™s Harvest in the Square, an annual private
self-congratulatory dinner for Those Who Would Privatize the Pavilion.
WHERE: South end of Union Square.
WHEN: Thursday, September 24th at 8:00pm.
OR Join the Times Up! Soul and Funk Ride, at Thompkins Square Park at
7:00pm, and ride from there (times-up.org)
KEEP PUBLIC PARKS PUBLIC!
PARKS ARE FOR PEOPLE NOT FOR PROFIT!
Danny Meyer and the Union Square Partnership have plans to turn the
Pavilion building at the north end of this park – a public building
built with public money for public use – into a private upscale
restaurant, a plan that has been aided and abetted by councilwoman
Rosie Mendez, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. These plans ignore the
noble history of that very special place, and, perhaps worse, ignores
the needs and desires of the residents of the Union Square area, and
indeed all of New York City.
The area around Union Square has the highest density of restaurants in
the entire city.
New York City has the least amount of public space per capita of any
city in the country.
The Union Square Park Pavilion is seen by many as the birthplace of
the Labor Movement. It has historically been used as a childrenâ€™s
play space, a community gathering place and a center of free speech
and free assembly.
General Description: (from their site) Escape the crowds and ride out of Manhattan into our favorite cycling territory: the West Hudson Highlands.
Choose one of three beautiful, well-marked routes of 50, 65 or 100 miles, all beginning and ending in Manhattan. Each route offers picture-postcard views of the Hudson River and Palisades as you cross the George Washington Bridge and ride through the hidden pleasures of Bergen and Rockland Counties.
Enjoy the support and hospitality of The New York Cycle Club. This is the day our club goes all out to deliver a food-filled, fun-filled and fabulous day of riding to our brethren in the cycling community.
Escape New York, NY Cycle Club “signature ride,” is Sat. Sept. 26. Start: 7, 8 and 9 a.m. Finish 1 p.m. onward. Location: Sakura Park, 122d & Riverside opposite Grants Tomb.
FYI — We’ve already got about ONE THOUSAND riders registered for Escape NY. Could it be the grand prizes in the raffle? They are fabulous: a VBT cycling vacation in Tuscany…and a Trek Madone bike.
Las Vegas can use all the help it can get according to this article in Time Magazine.
Maybe the fall of Vegas is a good indication that it really isn’t important to water lawns and fill up the pond of the fake Eifel Tower in the middle of the desert, in the worst environmental crisis of our time. Probably more of an indication of just how un-environmentally conscious the bicycle industry really is, by choosing to repeatedly have their convention in the motherland of US excess and over-consumption. Just saying.
September 21st, 2009 | Category: General | Comments are closed
New York, NY: 22 September 2009 @7pm, Barnes & Noble Union Square
* Civic Leader: Janette Sadik-Khan, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation
* Urban Theorist: Mitchell Joachim, Co-Founder of Terrefuge & Terreform ONE; on faculty at Columbia University and Parsons
* Bicycle Advocate: Paul Steely White, Executive Director, Transportation Alternatives
Prolly’s put up some pictures from the 2009 Cycle Messenger World Championships:
Including one of our own Champ in NYC, Austin:
More pictures on flickr.
(got this randomly off twitter)
Article on New Zealander going to worlds:
My life in sport: Ezra Phillips
New Zealand Herald, â€ŽSeptember 17, 2009â€Ž
Twenty seven-year-old Aucklander Ezra Phillips will carry the hopes and dreams of the nation in his satchel when he competes in the 17th world bicycle courier championships in Tokyo, starting tomorrow.
The event simulates real-life courier work, but will be held over a closed circuit around the Tokyo port area.
Phillips, the country’s only competitor, is aiming to qualify for the main race after three unsuccessful bids.
A lack of depth is being blamed for New Zealand’s problems in challenging for the coveted title.
Cycle courier numbers in Auckland have dropped from 50 to less than 20 in recent years as faxes and emails take over.
New Zealand’s competitive bicycle courier scene is also facing problems similar to those of rugby – the only other Kiwi entered for Tokyo lives overseas.
It is not all bad news however. Phillips’ fellow Aucklander Jenna Macgill won the women’s world title in Toronto last year.
But in a major blow for the sport, Macgill has quit the bicycle courier big leagues for university life and will not travel to Tokyo.
Is this a legitimate sport?
It is highly unusual but it is also becoming more common … worldwide it is a legitimate sport. Some organisers don’t allow non-couriers to enter but I reckon the more the merrier. We had the Eye in the Sky race around Auckland a few months ago, which was good fun.
Could it be described as orienteering at a faster clip but without the clipboard?
Yeah, it is pretty much city orienteering on a bike. It’s like your first day at work. You don’t know where you are going unless you knuckle down and study your map. The world championships are held over five days – first day is a practice run and then qualifying.
Qualifying is the hardest part. Some years there are up to 2000 trying to get in and only a total of 50 to 100 males and females qualify.
There are a number of different disciplines apart from the main race such as skills where you do things like backwards circles … there is another that is like drag racing where you hop on a roller and go up against an opponent to see who does the fastest quarter mile. You are on a stage and the audience is below, cheering you on.
Then there is the alley cats section – I’m not sure if Tokyo will have alley cats because it’s a bit of a grey area with the police. It’s an actual courier race through the streets. They give you a map with 15 points to get to.
Wouldn’t there be too much home advantage in alley cats? If a Japanese person didn’t win it in Tokyo that would indicate there is something seriously wrong with their courier riding.
Usually the locals don’t race.
I should think not. Moving forward … what’s your best finish?
Last year I missed out by one minute to qualify. I’d better qualify this year or else it’s going to get a bit depressing.
Absolutely. There is a lot riding on this. The knives will be sharpened. What about Sparc – can you score any money from that lot or are they too obsessed with the Olympics?
You have to be an association to get Sparc money. Maybe one day.
What got you into courier work?
I saw a documentary on Singapore Airlines about bike couriers riding around Auckland. That gave me the bug so I moved up from Tauranga seven years ago.
So you left sunny Tauranga so you could ride around Auckland on a bike all day. It doesn’t get much better than that, but just in case, have you had a worst moment?
A car T-boned me. I’ve been under a few cars.
Some competitive cyclists have told me that Auckland drivers are the worst in the world. Any comment? Are we that bad?
Yeah, I’d agree with that. They don’t indicate for three seconds and they do u-turns left, right and centre. I drive a car after hours and I try to practice what I preach. I’m actually more scared of the other drivers when I’m in my car on the motorway than riding my bike around.
Become the world champ at least once and maybe get into track racing at some stage.
If you weren’t a courier what would you be doing?
Maybe a kayak instructor. Something outdoors.
Proudest competitive achievement?
Coming first equal in the alley cats in 2007 with another Kiwi rider. We were in good form and we worked as a team.
Sounds like that dodgy F1 stuff … what’s the best thing about your job?
The freedom to ride my bike, and meeting lots of different people.
The Red Bull Eye in the Sky in Auckland.
Kayaking and rock climbing.
A tough one …
I suppose we’ve had a dearth of famous courier riders to hero worship over the years?
I know … the closest I can think of to a childhood hero is Luke Skywalker
Speaking of which, who would play you in a movie?
Ohhh … someone short and cheeky.
Do you feel your sport gets enough public attention?
No, not really.
Come on. Let’s be honest. It doesn’t get any public attention, does it?
It does now thanks to you.
How long will you keep pursuing the world title dream?
So long as I can ride. It would be nice to have some fellow competitors. It would be good to go as a team. My girlfriend Melanie Douglas is going to Tokyo to film me although unfortunately cameras are not allowed on the actual course this year. We’re hoping to put out a doco film at some stage.
We’ll all know a lot more about it then, but what do people say about your sport now?
A lot of people tell me to go hard and don’t come back unless I win.
What’s the strangest item you’ve ever had to deliver?
I think it was some body parts from a hospital to a Remuera doctor.
What were the parts and did you ride particularly carefully?
No idea. They were in a chilly bin. I took every precaution.