Roos Kouwenhoven of the Royal Netherlands Embassy wanted me to let you know that the NY400 is all about bicycles:
from Roos: “Again NY400 is all about bicycles and we wanted to give you a heads up
about another exciting event.
On June 4th, the Dutch will be honored for their contribution to New
York City’s biking landscape at the second annual Bicycle For A Day
fundraising event, as part of the NY400 celebrations. At the event,
hosted by actor and founder of Bicycle For A Day,Everyday Matthew
Modine, guests will have the opportunity to learn about biking in NYC
while enjoying an open bar, dishes prepared with organic and local
ingredients, live music by Grammy Award Winning Artist Rahzel,
eco-giveaways and a silent auction with the chance to win an orange
NY400 Batavus bike! For more information visit: http://www.ny400.org/event
I doubt I’ll be remotely able to catch up with all that went on this weekend in the last days of Bike Month.
Friday there was midnight “Kierin” style racing on the desolate streets of Greenpoint Brooklyn.
Basically an elite group of NYC’s finest urban riders did some “street racing.” (photo from Prolly’s flickr set.)
–Meanwhile, there was NYC Critical Mass, report to come, but it sounds like the NYPD were playing their usual game of “hardball,” ticketing cyclists for daring to ride their bike in a group…during bike month…such nerve.
Meanwhile in hundreds of other civilized cities around the world, where bike riding is supposed to be encouraged…like, San Paulo, Brazil: (photos by: aleperenyi)
San Jose: (photo by: M_rock)
London: (photo by: manic street preacher)
Even Detroit, for crying out loud!: (photo by: Iodox)
Listen, people…just because it was bike month doesn’t mean you can go do something disruptive to the poor drivers and inconvenience them for 10 minutes…by riding bikes…sheesh.
BTW, I was reading the post today at work and they mentioned there has been an increase in crime in the supposedly “fancy” West Village, including the mugging of a 91 year old man. Thank Goodness, the NYPD are busy giving tickets to cyclists in full force.
–Meanwhile, Congratulations to: Denis Menchov, for winning this years 100th Giro D’Italia.
More info at Europeloton.com. Also you can take a quiz there and guess who will win this year’s Tour De France.
Brian Lehrer had a good show on today about Twitter.
From the site: “Farhad Manjoo, Slate’s technology columnist and the author of True Enough: Learning To Live in a Post-Fact Society talks about what Twitter means and how different groups use it. “
Yes, I have decided to embrace this new technological networking tool and have decided to scour my news feeds for Biker tweets. Eventually I would like to use twitter to have up to the minute reports for road conditions, street closures and perhaps where the police are harassing cyclists.
BikeRater has lots of Bicycle related news stories from the pros to recreational rides. Here is a link to a NY Times article about biking along the historic path of the underground railroad.
Noneck found this definition in Wikipedia for “Copenhagenization” (from the site) “Copenhagenization is a concept in urban planning and design relating to the implementation of Copenhagen-style bicycle lanes in cities. Namely creating segregated bicycle facilities for utility cycling. The term is said to have originated with urban design consultant Jan Gehl.”
Compcylistroad the twitter site for competitivecyclist.com “High-end online supplier of road, multisport and track bikes, aero wheelsets and components. Product reviews complete with technical specs and information.”
From Vlad at the Glass Bead Collective: The next NYC critical mass is this Friday 5/29 at 7pm starting at union square north. Come out and enjoy what is now becoming a much safer ride.
We are releasing a new video that takes you inside the New York Critical Mass bike ride from this past March 2009. This immersive short was shot with a 180 degree lens and does a good job communicating what the experience is like.
video posted here, of police harassing the March ride. (this video was posted up earlier on bikeblognyc)
Critical Mass is a leaderless bike ride that takes place in 100s of cities worldwide on the last Friday of every month. The New York Police Department has had a very confrontational relationship with the NYC ride since 2004. From 2004 â€“ 2007, hundreds of police officers were dispatched each month to stop the ride and arrest the participants, deploying helicopters, blimps and undercover officers with video cameras to monitor the ride and engage in the violent take down of the cyclists, initiating a civil rights battle. After much embarrassing media attention and several losses in court, the NYPD were forced to retreat from these tactics. The arrests have stopped, but the police continue to harass riders by giving out tickets to cyclists who do not have lights or bells on their bikes. Anyone receiving this ticket can get it annulled by presenting lights and/or bells and their ticket to a precinct the following day.
Hence – please come to the ride but make sure you have a bell and lights on the front and back of your bike – this will significantly reduce a chance that you will be harassed by the police.
This selective targeting is currently being challenged in federal court in the Five Borough Bike Club vs NYC . See 5bbc.org/parade
This event is no longer just a bike issue, but a civil liberties issue. The harassment of this ride is a direct result of New York City’s police leadership trying to impose a permitting system where spontaneous gathering of citizens would be subject to a permission’s process. In effect they are trying to take away our constitutional right to assembly and association.
We ask all of you to please forward this message around, as well as the links to the video. Put it on your blogs. This is a fun, family friendly activity that protects some of our most fundamental liberties.
So the Bicycle Film Festival is starting its multi-city tour, kicking off in an unlikely place for bikes…Memphis Tennessee.
I had to find out what the bike scene was like in this town known for the roots of country music. This lead me to the blog fixmemphis.blogspot.com cause as logic would perceive, everybody’s got a fixed gear blog now…right?
The author, was Cort Percer, who was willing to play along with another one of my Q and A.s
Lately my Trek commuter has seen the most action, after that a Surly Steamroller, and I just put together a GT GTB that I’ll use for flat track racing.
What is the bike scene like in Memphis?
The bike scene in Memphis is, in one word, growing. In more words, there is a positive attitude that I think emulates a growing trend in the rest of the US/World. Memphis has historically been rated among the nation’s worst cities for cycling, but with a new Rails to Trails (memphisgreenline.org) and a proactive county government Memphis will soon fall off of that list.
What are the most common bikers in the area?
If we don’t count the department store cyclists and focus on the enthusiasts, the most common cyclists are road bike riders. But I don’t think any person in Memphis is only one type of rider. A lot of the roadies also ride and race mountain bikes; a lot of the fixed gear riders are also commuters; and then there are the people who have a road bike, cross bike, mountain bike, fixed gear, touring bike, and a bmx bike.
What is the fixed gear scene like in Memphis?
There is a group of about 15 people who have habitually shown up for alleycats, flat track races, bike polo, etc… I think this summer that number will rise given the number of people who’ve been building bikes at the co-op and at local shops.
How long have you been writing the blog, fixmemphis.blogspot.com?
fixmemphis has been up for a year and a half. Before that we would create a new website for each event. Over time I’ve added writers who I think can offer their own perspective.
What got you started?
Years before I started a friendster profile, then a myspace profile called Memphis Parties which would post bulletins about all the house parties and “good” bands playing in Memphis. I eventually became bored with that and applied my interwebz skillz to bicycles. I have a degree in English so writing feels natural.
What kind of people read the blog?
All kinds of people read the blog, some of them even hate it and bash it in their own website rants.
Are there alleycat races here?
We try to have an alleycat race at least every 3 months. There is one recurring race that will be in its fourth year this fall: The Memphis Downs. It started as a 10 garage up & down (Memphis is flat.) and evolved to incorporate criteriums, sprints, skids, tricks, footdown and polo. The will also be an alleycat in conjunction with the Bicycle Film Festival. An Unofficial-official type of thing.
What other bike events take place?
There are many races, triathlons, centuries, shop rides, etc… but probably the most fun is the annual CycloCrunk cross race series.
You guys are getting your first Bicycle Film Festival, who will be attending? What other festivities are planned around the festival?
We hope to run the gamut of cyclists, from racers to families attending. Since this is our first BFF we’re keeping it kind of small; there won’t be an art show even though the films are being screened at the Brooks Museum but we do have some fun stuff planned for the block party like a safety rodeo and bike limbo.
Future plans for bike events?
After the festival ends we’ll resume our flat track races and we’re also planning a tour around Memphis to 5 Memphis Pizza Cafe locations that will be about 65 miles.
Your future cycling goals?
My future cycling goals include completing a century on my fixed gear (I’ve done a metric) and getting my super hot girlfriend to ride more.
****I also wanted to ask Cort about Critical Mass in Memphis which will also be tomorrow. He sent me to Cliff Heegel who volunteered up a few answers about their local ride. (Now Cliff is just a participant in critical mass, so don’t go pegging him as a leader…remember…THERE ARE NO LEADERS OF CRITICAL MASS)
The first Critical Mass I went to was around 1998 at Outdoors in MidTown, a 1-time event. Cops escorted the group, no hassles. TV etc were there- a publicity effort for bike lanes etc that untimately failed.
And C-mass returned around Fall 2007 mostly from the urgings of Duckworth & MidTown Bikes and me I think. Attendance has never been high- 10-20 riders max, usually lower. No hassles ever with cops- of course, we ride legally for the most part and there aren’t very many of us. More of an oddity than anything else.
Hopefully the ride will end up at tomorrows opening night of the Memphis Bicycle Film Festival, fingers crossed.
For some other reads on the Memphis scene there is Driven Magazine which covers local sports such as triathlons.
Terie Box, wrote this on the site:
“Written by Terie Box
Thursday, 21 May 2009
The Memphis Bicycle Film Festival will take place May 29th and 30th, at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art (in Overton Park on Poplar in Midtown), with a large list of short films played over three different sessions for two days. The price for each film viewing $7, a meager $21 for an entire weekend of entertainment! Did we also mention the parties after each day’s showings, at Nocturnal and Murphy’s? Oh, by the way, there will also be a Block Party at Overton Park on Saturday, from 12 to 4pm, before the evening shows commence. Music, bikes, parties and movies. What a perfect weekend.
Check out the web site for Memphis’ Bicycle Film Fest at:
This weekend there are a number of huge cycling events. In Europe is the 14th, European Cycle Messenger Championships (ECMC) in Berlin from May 28th-June 1st.
Cycle couriers from around Europe and the world will be riding, racing and living it up in the great cycling city of Berlin, Germany in true courier championship flavor.
I had a chance to talk to Cremer, a former messenger over there to get an idea about this event and who exactly is coming to town.
Name, Age, Where you live?
Achim “akeem” Cremer, 31, Berlin
What bikes do you own?
Trackbike (Lueders, made in Berlin), Serrota CSI road bike, GT Zaskar MTB
Are you a messenger and if so for how long and for what company?
Not any more, started december 1998, 3 yrs in Freiburg, Germany, 4 months NYC, 3 yrs Berlin. Companies: Per Velo, NY minute, Spinning Wheelz Berlin, messenger Berlin
What other European countries have bike messengers?
Almost all. I know of Messenger Companies in: Finland, Estonia, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Poland, Holland, UK, Scotland, Ireland, France, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Hungary… I’m not sure about Belarus, Bulgaria, Slovenija, Romania, Greece, Italy, Portugal…
What is it like being a courier in Berlin?
Berlin is big and flat. Depending on the company you work with, you either have a lot of short runs or few long runs. There’s a lot of space on the streets, car drivers generally see you and rather brake than hit you. Most of the times. Berlin neighborhoods are very different, lots of construction going on, so the city always changes. that makes it interesting. Also, every neighborhood fells different, traffic flows differently
What is the ECMC and how does it differ from the CMWC?
ECMC was founded later, besides that there’s no big difference. US and people from other continents as well come to participate, couriers don’t take the whole “nation-thing” too serious.
When did Europe decide to have their own championship?
Honestly, i have no clue.
How does a host city for the CMC get decided?
There are “open-forums” at every CMC, the host-cities to come pitch there. Then the couriers who attend make a decision.
How did it come to be in Berlin?
I guess no one else really placed a bid.
What other CMC have been hosted in Berlin and since the first CMWC was here in 93 how is this significant?
There was a German Championships a few years ago.
Who is coming to this event? From what countries? How many pre-registered and what is the furthest one is traveling from?
i just learned that couriers from as far away as Australia come to the ECMC. Besides that, we will have guests from almost every other country (excluding Africa, South America and Asia/India)
How has the city of Berlin helped or hindered with the race prep?
We didn’t really talk to the city. the racecourse is private property. The Berlin police is going after track bikes (without handbrakes) these days, we hope they will back off during the ecmc.
I hear rumor of a crackdown on brakeless fixies…care to elaborate?
see above. it became a big hype the last two yrs, so the police has no choice but to go after trackbikes. everyone here is waiting for the courts to deceide what is legal and what is not,
How have people been preparing for this race?
drinking huge amounts of beer.
What kind of prep has gone into ECMC?
Hours and hours and hours. fortunately we have a lot of contacts into almost every aspect of berlin businesses and subcultures, so we are able to pull off this event with very very little money.
Where will people stay for this event?
There’s a camping ground in Berlin-mitte, we’ve dealt out a special rate. Berlin being the international city it is, most of the people who come know someone who knows someone who lives in Berlin.
What are the best courier hangouts in Berlin?
keirin at oberbaumstrasse 5, kreuzberg. Cicli Berlinetta, fehrbelliner strasse, mitte, former tempelhof-airport (may 28 to june 1st), monbijoupark, mitte. gendarmenmarkt, mitte. victoriapark, kreuzberg. mauerpark, prenzlauerberg. etc etc etc.
too many to ask for. come and experience your own private funny story. and I’m not too lazy to write. come and witness.
Anything I should have asked you?
girls? maybe? berlin girls are the most beautiful but also the most freakeds out girls on this planet.
Recently, Cremer wrote an update to the messenger list serv, on who is registered for the event.
“According to the ecmc-registration-statistics, 523 out of 723 people registered are messenger, ex-messengers and vet-class.
59 registered as polo-maniacs, 37 consider themselves as fakengers and 27 stated that “they have a crush on bike messengers”.
From the Local.
(article link here.)
Bike couriers rolling into Berlin for championship
The Local, May 27, 2009
More than 1,000 couriers from Tokyo to Oakland will descend on Berlinâ€™s Tempelhof airport this weekend for the 14th European Cycle Messenger Championship (ECMC), and defending champion Michael Brinkmann said Wednesday he is ready for them.
â€œI am more excited than ever,â€ said the 43-year-old veteran courier from Bremen, who has already pedaled through 14 German, European and world championships.
â€œI always finish in the Top 10,â€ he boasted to German wire service ddp, but his most memorable championship was the team world championship in Spain in 1997. To get there, he and his three other teammates cycled the entire 2,200 kilometres from Bremen to Barcelona.
While this race is much closer to home for Brinkmann, the three-day event, which has been running since 1993, should prove to be a challenge to any experienced messenger. The race involves a simulated day-in-the-life of a bike courier. The course is composed of one-way streets and the competitors have to pick up and deliver parcels. The cyclist who completes the deliveries in the shortest amount of time is crowned champion. Brinkmann also said the courses will probably be made more challenging with artificial sand traps and stairs.
Men and women competitors with nicknames like Golden Retriever and Tramstopper can also compete in team races, a race for cargo bikes and uphill sprints. There is even a series of competitions for fixed gear bicycles, including a bike polo tournament, which should be exciting for Swedenâ€™s Lukas â€˜Horse Polo Sucksâ€™ Keller.
None of this intimidates Brinkmann, who has been pedalling through a courier career since age 15. â€œI would like this course to be as arduous and spectacular as possible,â€ he said.
The weekend isnâ€™t all pedal â€“ couriers are just as proud of their profession as they are their lifestyle. Between races, bikers can ride a mechanical bull and eat from the Gulash Cannon. Afterparties featuring â€œmessenger bandsâ€ like Debbie Parker Inc. and karaoke/air guitar competitions will entertain the contestants, if theyâ€™re not already exhausted by the grueling races.
But Brinkmann is keeping his eye on the prize.
â€œIt would be great to bring the title to Bremen for a second time,â€ he said.
Post event in Warsaw Poland, June 5th-7th. PCMC2009
I looking to do stories on peoples who have embraced the bicycle due to the economic downturn. Please let me know your stories or things you have witnessed. Examples could be commuting by bike, working by bike, using the bike in ways you hadn’t though of before. Hit me up by email: