Today was a really strange one.
First I got this tweet from Prolly that some bicycle cops were ticketing people for riding brakeless fixed gears on the Williamsburg Bridge. I really hope this is just some random police fluke and not going to set off a wave of unwanted attention where we have to argue the efficiency and equal stopping power of the bikes we all love to ride.
This could lead to more useless legislation favoring the police to make money on tickets and we the bikers to be stopped and harassed.
According to bike hugger this “to brake or not to have a brake” situation eventually lead to a 2006 law being passed in Portland Oregon mandating that all fixed gear bikes needed to be equipped with hand brakes.
similar ordinances have been enforced in Berlin.
The cops stopping people in NYC, must have a lot to do with the horrible design of the bike path on the Manhattan side of the Williamsburg bridge that dumps you right into the middle of two way speeding traffic. Instead of coming up with a better design, first they tried to put those speed bumps on the bridge which ended up injuring more bikers then controlling our speed. Then we fought and won to have those removed and now its a random sting operations with all kinds of bs stories like clocking our speeds on the bridge and parking police vans in the middle of the downward ramp.
What is a more efficient way to stop? Using your feet on a fixie or having to be stopped by the police to find out how you stop? OH STOP!
Thats right blame the type of bicycles we have. Its like blaming reckless driving on the fact that too many people have cars that can go over 150mph.
Speaking of not stopping and reckless driving…did you catch what happened in the East Village today?
This according to the NY Times.
9 people including an infant were injured by a speeding NYPD patrol car. Read the story here.
Hmmmm, maybe the police should be more concerned with controlling their own vehicles. Just saying.
And also, I got this email from local bicycle activist and advocate, Amanda Hickman.
I got jumped last night, riding on Franklin Ave, just before Willoughby.
There’s a schoolyard there, and always a few burned out streetlights. A
girl ran out into the street and was kind of dodging me and just as I
realized that I was probably in trouble, she called to her friends who
ran from between some parked cars. They tackled me, took my backpack
(from my basket, where I keep it because I carried a messenger bag for
too many years and my back is a mess now) and ran back into the school yard.
The thing I keep coming back to is the folks who came out to help me,
one of whom said several times that it happens “all the time” to
cyclists right there. I like to think of myself as pretty street smart
but I’ve never seen something like this. I’ve had kids try to chase me
on bikes of their own, but this three kid tackle move? WTF? I’m not even
sure what I could have done differently except maybe grab my bag myself
I’m fine, I don’t actually own anything of value so most of what they
took they left under some stairs a block away, but I was really struck
by the “all the time” bit. Is this a thing?
These kids knew what they were doing.
I thought you might know. I thought you might be game to ask your
readers if you don’t.
Really sorry to hear that Amanda. Do others know of similar experiences in that area?
So maybe the NYPD, since they are so concerned with our safety, should Stop stopping us on the bridges and get over to these neighborhoods to stop the muggers from stopping the bikers.
Speaking of not just for skaters anymore, McCarren Park Pool, once home to a whole series of concerts is now getting a skatepark and here is Prolly himself showing off with his pals some nice fixed gear tricks.
Wonka went out there to put to the grind, Gorilla Bicycles hand built in Italy by legendary frame builder Giovanni Pelizzoli creator of the Ciocc, (say like CHEE-OH-CH) but like say it really Italian like.
Word spreading through the tweetosphere that NYPD is ticketing brakeless fixed gears. That’s a new one. This in from @johnprolly NYPD ticketing brakeless track bikes on the
Williamsburg Bridge just now.
I know It’s sad, two of my childhood stars have passed on. Michael I really loved watching your dance moves. They were like no other. You dazzled me as a kid until you got all weird and reclusive and white. Farah, you weren’t my favorite angel but a friend of mine had your poster on his wall right next to that one of Paulina Porizkova and the snakel. Yeah, your moves dazzled me in a different way.
You both will be missed, but a sad day for America? More like when these two died.
Now those were some sad days.
But now we must pour out some jesus juice for our dead hommies and find new talent to inspire us.
I have found talent in the world of bicycle bloggers and continue with my series of profiling those who write some of the great sites I follow.
This week I present to you: Alan Sikiric of the blog: Cyclingwmd.blogspot.com
Look no further for WMD…they are scattered throughout this amazing archive of the most incredible bicycle finds that will blow you mind like Saddam’s Scuds.
Things like this:
Alan is a true connoisseur of bicycles. He knows a lot about them, scouring the internet auctions meets like an uber-bike nerd junkie itching for a fix…or fixie that it.
He has a deep rooted knowledge of bicycles because he makes incredible creations like this:
I mean anyone can make a tall bike…but a tandem tall bike:
That’s Alan by the way.
His blog is a treasure trove of eye candy and information for bike enthusiasts everywhere. I really don’t need to speak for Alan, because as you will see he can speak quite eloquently for himself. Here is my Q and A with Alan.
Name, Age and where you reside.
Alan Sikiric, 33, Cliffsyyyyyde Park, New Jersey
What bikes do you own?
A better question would be what bikes don’t I own. No, seriously! Think of me as that crazy old lady with a million cats. Only swap out the old lady with a creepily handsome dude and replace the smell of cat piss and vaporub with smell of burnt paint and BO.. It actually got so bad at one point that I had to completely rebuild and reorganize my shop space. Here’s some before and after shots of just to give you an idea:
What bikes have you built?
I’ve personally built up every bike I own(ed) along with probably another 15+ for friends. I’ve also built up two tall freak bikes. One super tall 6 speed cruiser:
and the one, the only, THE MUTANDEEEMMMMM!!!
Describe the bike culture here in NYC, the different sub-cultures?
I’ve always felt like I’m on the outside looking in with the whole culture thing. And that’s not just cause I live in Jersey. There are people that I occasionally see and enjoy bullshitting with at the various events but that’s about it. I don’t really make it a conscious point to involve myself further than that..
From what I’ve observed, NYC is composed of five major food groups of riders. The clueless noobs who give you queer looks when you advise them to inflate their tires before each ride and to not go the wrong way down the street. The trendy cute and fuzzies who like to ride bikes with their friends to the park and wear pretty accessories like vests or strappy sandals. The true blood messengers who don’t give a fuck who you are or what you’re riding so long as you stay the fuck out of their way. The commuter/weekend warrior types. Then there’s all the bicycle food delivery boys who you rarely ever see going the right way down the street and the low down dirty bike thieves who should all be dragged out into the street and shot. Yeah, I know I’m being a bit critical but you axed..
There are now a lot of bicycle blogs, what is unique about yours?
I think that by posting often, in depth at times and talking about more isolated or taboo topics helps to separate me from a lot of the other blogs out there. It seems as though truly honest thoughts and opinions are in short supply these days aside from our one and only snobmeister of course (Let’s do lunch!). I just call em as I see em and I’m not afraid to sound the bullshit alarm on something if it’s really lame or over the top ridiculous. I’m all for handing out praise but it really has to be pretty awesome. I’m just not a proponent of perpetuating mediocrity. I want my blog to inspire people to think smarter but not lose their sense of humor about how easy we have it. I mean, come on.. we’re sitting here writing and reading blogs all day about bicycles and what not. How hard are our lives?!
In any case, it seems like most people would rather not take a chance when all they have to do is just run around to the other blogs and re-post from them. Which is fine to a certain degree because it really can’t be helped a lot of the time. Though it really doesn’t go very far towards differentiating themselves from the others out there predominantly engaged in the same activity. I like investing a good portion of myself into what I do with my blog by documenting what goes on in my little corner of the world as it pertains to cycling. I like giving my take on things not only to show my readers a different perspective but to learn more about myself and why I see things the way I do.
I also get a kick out of letting loose and doing stupid ass shit to amuse readers with my various exploits of douchebaggery. I really enjoy entertaining people. Especially in the way that the recipient of my unconscionably great sense of humor and divine wisdom will walk away from snickering to themselves thinking: ‘OMFG what an asshole- I LOVE IT!’
What do you like writing about the most?
Anything I can make a big stink about really. Along with various fancy and or NOS (New Old Stock) bike parts that turn me on. From the rare to the obscure. I’m more interested in some oddly fascinating idea someone had that never made it out of their shop or if it did, in very low numbers. I also try and focus in on and objectify the bike stuff I’m most interested in at the moment. Think about the tool section of the Sears catalog or latest issue of Dwell Magazine you may have sitting next to your toilet. Entertainment that you love taking a shit too..
I always know when I’ve put together a great post when I can’t stop laughing at how ridiculous what I’ve just written is and that I’m actually going to post it on the fraking internet! That’s one of the great things about not really being too involved with the cultural aspect of things. It gives me the freedom to break away from some social image of being cool and positive about everything out there and just say whats on my mind. The truth is that most times when I’m not out riding, I’d rather just stay at home to work on art/bike projects and tend my garden:
Who reads your blog?
AALLLL THE HATERZ SUHYN!! No seriously, I have no idea. I assume it’s mostly dudes and lesbians.. then maybe like, 3 chicks..
What gets people responding on your blog all fired up?
I think most responses are toward my more ranty bitchtastic posts. Mostly because I know there’s a lot of other people out there that share my frustrations. I feel that whenever I appeal to that common frustration it gives people a sense of comfort in knowing they’re not the only ones thinking similar thoughts. Nor should they feel guilty about it..
Second would definitely have to be whenever I find or build up a super bitchin’ bike people haven’t seen before…
What do you think of the fixed-gear trend and how it is impacting the cycling industry?
The FGT (Fixed Gear Trend) is definitely the THC of the cycling world in that it’s a total gateway drug. People get into it for the trendiness and or to share fun with friends doing something they haven’t done since they were kids. Then because there’s so much more information on bicycling advocacy, such as Critical Mass, Alley cats, group rides and ghost bikes, it gives people something to align themselves to much more deeply than the typical trend. Once people really get into it and see what else is out there, they get more involved. Then they begin to explore different types of bikes. It’s at the point now where I don’t know too many FG ridahzzzz that don’t have a road/touring/townie/cross/MTB/BMX bike(s) as well. Overall I would say the FGT has had a very positive impact on the cycling industry..
Do I think the whole thing is kind of annoying sometimes? Yes. Is it worth the frustration? Also yes. I think in the long run certain trends take on different roles in our society. A good example is the semi-recent proliferation of super lame boy/girl band pop music. Now that was a bad trend that nearly nothing good could come out of (except Justin Timberlake ((Jezuz!)) ) aside from knowing what NOT to listen to. But then in more recent years Indie has become the new trend which I think most of us can agree is something WAY more acceptable. Is it annoying that some of the smaller bands you grew to know and love sold out, yes.. But in the long run wouldn’t you rather kids come up on that than Britney fucking Spears?!
You seem to find the most amazing bike porn and have great commentary about it, how do you find all this stuff?
It really comes down to luck and persistence. A little bit of charm and grace also comes in handy. Which I fortunately am in no short supply of.. In other words, I don’t have a problem with being a persistent bastard when it comes to getting what I want. Nor do I have a problem with rubbing my sweet finds in other peoples faces. Though when I do, I’m doing from more of a- See, if you just look around hard enough this shit is out there for you to find perspective than for just gloating’s sake. Although I doooo enjoy gettin’ mah gloat awn!
What bicycle trends have excited you in the last few years?
The trends I’ve been really stoked on are the more utilitarian side of bicycle manufacturing. That and all the innovations that companies have been coming out with after having taken serious notice of the FGT and others as each facet of the sport has been steadily increasing in popularity..
I also think that the biggest trend that we should also be VERY glad to see, is the ever growing acceptance of cycling across the board in our society. Industries like big oil and the former ‘big three’ building grievously parched vehicles, not to mention the general public’s self conscious desire for other wasteful keepin’ up the the Johnsons type shit, has made a good percentage of the county forget it’s appreciation for the sport until recent years.. WE LOVE YOU LANCE!!!
You seem to have a lot of fun with the eBay auctions. What have you learned about the bike world from eBay auctions?
Ebay really is something else because it can be so many things at once. Good and bad. I would compare it to that rocky relationship that you find yourself hopelessly stuck in. You try so desperately hard to hate it and break away but you can’t because it’s always there waiting for you at night when you crawl back into bed. There’s never nothing you don’t ‘need’ on ebay. If your patient enough, all that which you desire will eventually be there for the taking..
At the same time the more you lurk around and look at stuff you learn SO much more about cycling parts and history. Specs, sizes, designs, style and innovations made over the years. It’s almost like the stock market as well in that you can watch the fluctuating value of items change over the years. You can see different trends and even the state of the economy play out in the end values and even in the seller’s descriptions: ‘I don’t want to sell this but I really need the money’ etc, etc..
It’s also an irresistible magnet to hopelessly addicted bike part shopaholics such as myself. Making it very, very dangerous. The outcomes of which closely resembles that scene in Indiana Jones where he grabs the golden idol and nearly gets killed by that big ass boulder. The difference being that the boulder does roll over your dumbass at one point or another and it fuckin’ hurts!
Give me your wettest dream Craigs List ad that you would skip work to get that deal.
Well this morning I was dreaming of rolling up on some old widow selling a Mint 88′ Buick Grand National Turbo for like 2Gs. As far as bikes go, I have actually skipped out on work to scope out some deals. Last month I really lucked out and split from work early to meet this dude out in queens selling this Cuevas Track bike and extra gear:
He was asking $500 for the whole lot with nearly all Campy Record and extra parts! I didn’t even bargain with him and walked away wicked stoked!
What is the best metal to listen too while riding in NYC?
Well, listening to headphones and riding in the city is kind of like riding without a helmet, health insurance or with your hands off the bars- extremely stupid.. Then again, riding with no brakes isn’t exactly the smartest thing either but 3 outta 4 ain’t bad! BUT.. if I were to listen to metal while riding, it would have to be the sound of every yellow cab in the city being crushed at once. WE DON’T NEED THEM AND THE QUALITY OF LIFE IN AND AROUND THE CITY WOULD DRASTICALLY IMPROVE. Well, except for the cab drivers but hey, I think it’s worth the sacrifice. Besides, we could use some more street food vendors! No seriously, does anyone else remember that awesome day when all the cabbies went on strike like 10 years ago? Oh right, of course! Most of you either don’t or haven’t lived here for more than 5 or 6 years.. Anyways it was AMAZINGLY quiet despite being a business day.. Don’t get me wrong though, I do love listening to metal but you can’t put a price on safety.
Is bike riding a political act for you?
I wouldn’t say that cycling is as much of a political thing for me as I like to think of it as a common sense (amongst others) that our society has lost touch with over the years. A large part of which is due to the desire for ease and not wanting to re-live the struggles of our predecessors. I try not to weight myself down too much with a lot of the more political side of things because I feel as though it would take away from the experience. What I really enjoy taking part in is building someone a bike who hasn’t ridden in a long time and helping them to remember just how much fun it is. Getting people back out there and riding has always been my first priority. I help them see it for what it is first (super awesome!) and let them make up their own minds as far as the act extends to the more political aspects of cycling.
What about bike politics in NYC?
Bike politics are kinda funny around the city. On the one hand you’ve got all the rich cunts running around wanting everyone to do what’s in their best interest and keep the general population quiet and uncaring about important issues. Then you’ve got all the pro cycling advocacy protester types struggling not only to be heard, but to be taken seriously as well. aaaaand then there’s everyone else who’s pretty much indifferent to the whole thing so long as they get to ride and don’t get hurt in the process..
In recent years due the growing popularity of cycling, not to mention the unfortunate frequency of ghost bikes appearing on the street and in Macy’s (link: http://gothamist.com/2009/02/09/macys_white_bike_valentines_display.php) people have taken notice and things are actually getting better. So long as you don’t ride in large groups in the name of said struggle of course. Fucking cops and their scooters. I saw Brooklyn Critical Mass roll by while some buddies and I were out skateboarding. There might have been like 50-60 cyclists total. Behind them was a near equal number of cops on scooters, in vans, cruisers and unmarked cars all blazing their lights. It really is such a waste of time, money and effort on the part of the police enforcement. I mean, with all the money they’re blowing on fuel, vehicles and manpower, couldn’t they just build another greenway or some storage racks at least? Oh wait here’s an idea: Why don’t they just RIDE BIKES ALONG WITH EVERYONE ELSE?! If there’s a problem they’ll be on hand to help enforce the law AND show their support for the public’s freedom and piece of mind to ride safely in the city. With a city like NYC that is constantly choked by motor vehicles you’d think there’d be a little more common sense initiated long ago…
You know what I’d really like to see more than anything else though? Instead of cyclists being arrested during group rides, how about they arrest the asshole drivers that 9 times out of 10 are the ones who get overly aggressive because they can’t wait an extra couple of minutes at a traffic light! You don’t see drivers freaking out when they’re momentarily blocked by any of the other parades do you- WHATUPWITDAT?!!
What muppet do you most identify with?
Probably Oscar the Grouch. Not only because I sometimes feel like I live alone in a garbage can, but because I have a very similar unnecessarily flustered disposition.
Ok, its 2019 and lets say we haven’t all died off from swine flu, global warming or the pistapocyclpse, bikesnob keeps
threatening…what is the bike scene like and give me a few lines from a typical blog posting?
It’s funny cause I think it would actually be pretty rad if the ‘pistapocylpse’ did happen and it was all Mad Max meets Escape from NY here. Only instead of fighting over petrol, everyone would be fighting over tires, tubes and chains. Maybe we could get Foxy Brown to be our Aunty Entity. God I miss her.. Oh then we could get Bloomberg and a re-fattened Al Roker to be Master and Blaster! I would of course no problem fulfilling the ample role of Snake Plissken..
Day dreams aside, I would think that by that time I’d either be dead or too rich to give two shits about the internet. I honestly can’t imagine that I would have much of anything if at all to blog about ten years from now but who knows! By that time I wouldn’t be surprised if this shit could just be digitally transmitted from one person’s brain to another via google or some iphone app or something. 3Gs FTW!
What are your future blog goals?
I’ve been thinking about revamping my blog with more varying media along with posting more and working on some collaborations I have in mind. Oh and I’ve been DYING to blow some shit up like right mufukin’ NOW.
What are your future cycling goals?
My future goals are to immerse myself more in the art and building aspect of cycling along with pushing myself to ride a fuckload more. I’m planning a trip to Europe this summer ending in my native Croatia. I’m hoping to meet other cyclists and learn more about the heritage of cycling through the stories of those who’ve lived it over the years.
Alan, I can’t thank you enough for this Q an A.
On top of providing really great answers, here are some amazing photos Alan took of his favorite rides and events.
Alex Crossing the finish line at Rat Pack Hustle II