The NYPD’s policy of stop-and-frisk has been at the forefront of this year’s mayoral race with many potential voters wondering where candidates stand on this issue. At the heart of the debate are serious concerns about racial profiling and illegal search and seizers which tend to overwhelming target young people of color. Many people across the city are concerned whether this is an effective approach to stopping crime or merely a campaign of intimidation and harassment. For the last twelve years, the current mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg has taken a back seat to these procedures and deferred to the police commisioner Ray Kelly to implement these polices with little oversight, which is why so many city residents are wondering how the next mayor will handle things. Similar, although not nearly as invasive, is the NYPD’s attitude towards cyclists. We recently discovered the police’s campaign of harassment goes far beyond just random ticketing. Last month the New York Times reveled that the police have been spying on bicycle activist groups, and infiltrating group rides with under covers.
Recently there was a situation where both the profiling of stop and frisk meets the NYPD’s crackdown on cyclists. A double whammy for Jorge Crespo who had a run in with the police and got frisked, ticketed and possibly his wrist broken.
Here is his story:
My name is Jorge Crespo and on Sunday October 6th around 12:00 AM (or so) on my way home from Queens I was stopped by a cop for running a red light (which I actually stopped for and decided to cross since it was 12 AM and there weren’t any cars at the intersection). I was on the Grand Concourse riding north on the service side and the cop van was all the way on the South bound service side (for those not familiar with The Bronx Grand Concourse is a 6 lane Road divided by side walks and barriers at points). The officer felt that this was such a serious offense that he it was prudent to run over the first barrier cut through 4 lanes and then run over another barrier to get to my side of the road.
The officer asked me to pull over and was extremely hostile and offensive as soon as he walk out the van (at one point he even made light of my weight by saying “If you are a biker you should be in better shape”). He told me that “it is the law to abide by all traffic laws when on a bike”. I tried to get out of the ticket by pointing out that it is 12:00 AM, there is no traffic and i did stop for the red even if i did not wait for it to change. The officer did not care about what I had to say and told me to dismount my bike (not sure why I had to dismount my bike to be ticketed when they don’t ask you to dismount when you are on a car and get a ticket) and went on to frisking me and searching my bag (also not sure why this happen since you don’t get frisked or get your belongings tossed around when you get a ticket while driving a car, I guess cyclist are just such a big threat to society that extra precautions need to be taken). While I was being frisked (while wearing cycling clothing, snug and with no pockets) I heard a Sharp sound and when I turn back my bike was on the floor, when I asked the younger cop why he thew my bike on the floor he claimed he did not “Throw it” he merely “placed it” on the floor. I told them “this is a Thousand Dollar bike and it cant be on the floor” and picked up my bike up and leaned it on a parked card.
The older cop told me “you cant tell us how to do our job” and told the younger cop to put it by the side walk where the bike fell again, this time with more force. At this point I am a bit upset about what is going on and try to walk towards my bike to pic it up once more. I was stopped by the older cop who tells me that I need to “Comply” or will be “taken in”. I told him he can give me a ticket after I grab my bike but I guess I was not “compliant enough” because I got cuffed and taken into custody.
My Ride to the precinct was a painful one, my cuffs were extremely tight and my arms quickly started to cramp up. When I told the officer that I was in pain he just smirked and told me “they are not designed for comfort. I was asked for my info and my identity was established and before we even got to precinct 44. The lead officer told the younger one that I was “clean” and to hand me over 2 summons, one for the light and one for not “complying”. Even though my identity was established and I was cleared before even arriving to the precinct I was still placed on a holding cell. I was in holding for a while before the officers decide that they are ready to let me go home. Eventually I was taken out of the holding cell and handed my 2 summons and shorty after my bike.
I am ready to go home now and noticed that my hands are swollen from the cuffs being too tight but don’t pay too much mind to them because I at this point I am more concerned about my bike than anything else. I decide to check my bike for damage before I leave the station when I discover that is really scuffed and dented all throughout the top tube. I spoke to the Lieutenant and filed a complaint with internal affairs for the poor handling of my bike.
The next day I noticed that I have cuff bruises on my wrists (something hard to pull off since I am dark skinned) but I went about my day as always. Towards midday I noticed that my right thumb was numb and I had lost some dexterity on my right hand. I became very worried and decided that I would go to the ER if my hand did not feel normal by the end of my shift. After a few xrays the doctor told me that I have nerve damage and also may have a broker bone on my wrist. As far as nerve damage goes it “should” heal over time but I need follow up and get more xray done in a week or so to see if the bone is broken or not. I am wearing a cast and cant work for 10 days until I follow up and make sure nothing is permanently damaged.
I believe that the amount of force used on me was extremely excessive totally unnecessary and It seems that this sort of behavior is starting to become a bit of a trend when it comes to how the police treat cyclist. I am very actively involved in the cycling community and lately I have been hearing more and more how cyclist are treated like second had citizens and some times even regarded as vandals just for choosing a healthier lifestyle.
I decided that I would not let this just slide and tell my story to anyone who would listen. I don’t want to sound like I want to pick and choose the laws I want to abide by, but, expecting a cyclist to wait 2 minutes until the light changes again when there are no cars on the road is a bit silly. I feel that traffic laws should reflect the difference between riding a car versus riding a bike and certain adjustments should be made since in this case it is obvious that equality does not mean justice.
Recumbent bikes seem too weird for many riders and chain drives can get greasy and make a mess. Riding positions and the ultimate elimination of the chain have been challenging inventors for decades, in the search for the perfect bicycle. Now, a Polish physicist and designer, Marek has come up with an interesting creation. Welcome to the IzzyBike.
It’s a front wheel drive, no chain, upright riding position, folding and ultra short wheel base bike that is creating a buzz across Europe.
Read more at from Road.cc:
Polish inventor rolls out IzzyBike chainless folder
By: John Stevenson
June 19, 2013
The chain, that nasty, greasy assembly of metal links that connects pedals to wheel, is a favourite target of inventors. The latest attempt to rid us of its grimy horror comes from Poland, where a physicist and inventor called Marek has been working for years on his perfect bike, the IzzyBike.
The IzzyBike is a folding, front-wheel-drive bike with an upright riding position and a ultra-short wheelbase. Marek’s come up with a clever cable mechanism to keep it stable, and has plumped for big fat 29er mountain bike wheels and tyres to keep it rolling well.
On Thursday, Judah took his creation across the Hudson River.
From the NY DailyNews
Judah Schiller introduces ‘water biking’ to New York with ride across the Hudson River
By: Tracy Miller
October 3rd, 2013
(photo by: Tracy Miller)
No bike lane? No problem.
Judah Schiller of San Francisco made a splash Thursday as the first person to ride a bike across the Hudson river – not over a bridge but inches from the water itself, on a contraption appropriately dubbed a “water bike.”
You better think…
Alright ladies (cyclists) You’ve been misrepresented for too long.
The women bike program of the League of American Cyclists have just released the Women on a Roll helping to quell common myths about women and cycling.
They also created this handy iconography:
From the site:
A first-of-its-kind report from the Women Bike program, Woman on a Roll compiles more than 100 original and trusted sources of data to showcase the growth and potential of female bicyclists in the United States. It also suggest five key focus areas — the 5 Cs — to increase women’s ridership. Download the full report and read the press release.
Meanwhile in the Boston area a cycling pioneer for woman was honored.
The Boston Globe:
Ceremony honors cyclist who broke barriers
Kittie Knox showed pluck on wheels
By: Dan Adams
September 30th, 2013
In the late 1800s, when Boston emerged as the epicenter of a national bicycling craze, women initially were relegated to tricycles. But as they began switching to the kind of two-wheeled bikes men rode, publications offered stern advice on how a lady ought to dress while cycling.
In an 1894 New York Times story headlined, “Garb of Man Makes a Fool of a Woman She Declares and She is Waging a War Against It,” Mary Sargent Hopkins said: “Now, if there is one thing I hate, it is a masculine woman. It has made my heart sore to see the women who have been putting on knickerbockers . . . racing and scorching with the men.”
So it is no surprise that Hopkins, a Boston resident who published the women’s bicycling magazine The Wheelwoman, found little to like about Kittie Knox.
The 2013 annual ride to research a cure and treat multiple sclerosis, BIKE MS: NYC, is this Sunday October 6th. This is part of 100 different cycling events and the 29th year for NYC.
The event offers cyclists of all levels to choose from three different routes of varying lengths: 30, 55 and 100 miles and allows participants to ride on traffic free streets. Each year thousands of dollars are raised to fight MS through individual donor and prominent business, many who contribute to the world of cycling outside of this one particular event. Take for instance Radical Media, commercial production company that sponsors an all woman’s cycling team, Radicalmediaracing.com
Then there is the Bromberg brothers, Eric and Bruce who own Blue Ribbon Restaurants. They created their own team and in the past have given their employees bicycles to commute with and to use in the Bike MS event. (photo from: flickr.com/tourdefood )
There is a registration fee of $75.00 and a fundraising minimum of $150.00, but it helps a very worthy cause and is an excellent group ride experience in NYC.
Here is more info:
Date: October 6, 2013 Start/Finish Location: Pier 92/94, New York, NY Registration Fee: $75 Fundraising Minimum: $150 Route Options: 30, 55, or 100 miles Age Minimum: All participants must be at least 12 years old by the day of the event. Click here for our minor policy.
Event details are subject to change.
Packet Pick-Up Information Participant & Team Captain Guide
Click here to view the 30-mile route map
Bike rentals are available for Bike MS NYC. Click here to view rental options. Whichever route you choose, it will be the most rewarding journey you’ll ever make.
The event is fully supported with catered rest stops, bike mechanics, a full meal, and support vehicles. Invite your family and friends to cheer as you cross the finish line. A fantastic Finish Line Festival awaits you with great food, music, a beer garden, massage tent and photo opportunities.
Join us Sept 26-27 for art, bikes + beer as Bicycle Habitat transforms from bike shop to gallery space, to host the international bike-themed show, ARTCRANK!
Featuring one-of-a-kind work by local artists, it’s a chance to see the convergence of the beauty of art and the grit and glamour of bikes. This year’s artists include: Claudia Reyes, Daniel Hertzberg, Kervin Brisseaux, Sean Sutherland and others.
Opening night is September 26, from 6pm-10pm, with beer from Portland-based Widmer Brewing Company, music and power meter contests. Plus, art! Can’t make opening night? Don’t worry – the exhibit continues September 27, from 10am-8pm.
Admission is free. RSVP now to enter to win prizes; see below for highlights from ARTCRANK 2012, plus details on the organizers and on Project One!
More info and the chance to win a Trek Bicycle: here.
Chris Horner is an American professional bike racer who just won the Vuelta a Espana, which is a pretentious way of saying the Tour of Spain. This is the first time an American has won this stage race and at 41 years old, Chris becomes the oldest man to accomplish this.
Here is more from Grantland.com Shane Ryan:
Chris Horner, the Unlikely American Cycling Hero
By: Shane Ryan
September 18th, 2013 Photo by: Jamie Reina/Getty Images
On Sunday, 41-year-old cyclist Chris Horner became the first American to win La Vuelta a Espana and the oldest man to ever win a Grand Tour.
But with apologies to the real cycling fans of the Internet, I’m going to make five assumptions about you, the Grantland reader who stumbled on this article. First, you’ve only ever heard of the Vuelta in passing, if at all, and ditto for Chris Horner. Second, you’re wondering why you should care. Third, you lack some basic facts. Fourth, the first word that comes to mind when you come across a cycling story is “doping.” Fifth, you’ve yet to encounter the poetic side of the sport.