I have to admit, it’s quite entertaining watching the exploits of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.
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.
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.
A few photos from a recent snowy memorial ride dedicated to bike shop owner Bert Cebular. Photos by Steve.
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.
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.
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
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.
Seen On: Urbanvelo
Description: An letter to Motorists to help prevent cyclist fatalities.
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.
Title: Wolfpack Hustle: All Out War
Seen On: Urbanvelo
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.
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.”
“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?”
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.
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.
Looking for a smarter bike light? Introducing the Xlerad, Auto-illuminating. Starts working when you start biking.
Two designers from Arcata California, John and Kyle, are developing some bright new technology. Here is their kickstarter video:
Some of the Xlerad features:
Xlerad is our approach to making the world’s smartest bike light.
-No buttons- it automatically turns on with movement.
-Insanely bright when needed- up to 1000 lumens!
-Unmatched performance by almost every measure.
-No wasted power means a longer battery life and lower heat.
5000mAh Lithium Ion rechargeable external battery pack
Smart Mode – 3.7 to 45 Hours, depends how fast you ride!
Fixed Mode – 10 hours
In riding terms, we trust it on multiple night rides without a recharge.
In commuter terms, it will easily last you all week.
We are using a multi-holed rubber strap, so it will accommodate all bar sizes and shapes.
Interested in funding this project or getting one of these bad boys? Visit the kickstarter page: here.
(photo from: getoffmybikelane.com )
Alright you finally decided to ride in the bike lane and help be another person that is actually using the infrastructure that the city has provided to make biking easier in NYC. After dodging the confused cars turning into them, the pedestrians thinking it’s an extension of their cell phone communication zone sidewalks, or the joggers, or the baby strollers, or the delivery trucks parked in them, or your supposed allies (fellow biker) going the wrong way in them, or the cops parked in them giving tickets for not using the bike lanes, or that scrapper with the stolen shopping cart packed high with metal treasure…finally a little clear space. Then all of a sudden your passed by something that looks like a cross between a Vespa scooter and a bicycle with pedals that are never used on a sort of taxi looking thing straight out of Thailand or Vietnam. That’s no bicycle, it’s electric…boogie woogie woggie.
E-bikes seem to be preferred vehicle choice for food delivery but they have also ruffled more feathers of pedestrians then even us pesky cyclists. Now there are much more heat seeking missiles on the side walk, strapped with plastic bags of take out food only faster and more silent. Giving us annoying bikers even more of a bad name.
But here’s something even I just found out…they’re illegal.
Brian Lehrer on WNYC had a whole show on today (12/9/13) which takes a look at illegal E bikes with bike friendly soon to be-Manhattan Borough President, Gale Brewer.
One of the guests who called in was a “Steve” who no doubt was alternative transportation advocate Steve Stollman.
Steve made some really excellent points that from an environmental aspect we should be encouraging low horse power electric assisted vehicles as ways to get more people to use them and reduce carbon polluting motor vehicles.
Borough President Gale Brewer seemed to agree, only they would have to be registered with the State. This could be a slippery slope as a gateway to getting all cyclists to be registered.
I honestly don’t have a problem with them. If anything, their popularity in the food delivery world helps reduce bike theft since stolen bikes are most often turned around to the restaurants. Many of these workers have low-income and are minorities, who should be encouraged to make more money and not have to work on strengthening their quads ore practicing for alleycat races. However, with faster e-bikes, it should motivate them to ride more careful and not freak out pedestrians. No one should have to get injured because lazy New Yorkers want their General Tso’s chicken in a hurry.
Now their seems to be a crackdown on E-bikes, so it may be a good time to lay low for a while, at least till they aren’t the token quota of the moment. I mean anything to keep the NYPD busy ticketing these “broken window” offenses of rampant bad cycling behavior instead of those silly automobiles killing 9 and 12 year old pedestrians.
I remember seeing this fake commercial for an electric assist wheel in an episode of Showtime’s long running series Weeds.
Andy Botwin, a character played by Justin Kirk, was trying to go legit after the suburban drug dealing family fled to Copenhagen. This was going to be Andy’s new product.
Here is the ad that played on weeds back in 2009:
Being a tv show about a widowed house wife who shacks up with a Mexican drug cartel kingpin and evades prison and murder while cornering the weed trade, I assumed the “Copenhagen” wheel was just part of the “over-the-top” plot.
Well, it’s not fiction. This is a real product developed by MIT super bike nerds and has just gone on sale to the public (pre-order) for $700.00. Here is a preview video showing how the product works and incorporates your smart phone (of course.)
More about this product from the all things green blog, Treehugger:
Copenhagen Wheel bike booster rolls out, available for pre-order
I’ve never been able to get fully behind the electric bicycle movement. It kind of takes away the simplistic human powered reasons I love cycling. Not to mention ascetically it’s like loving snowboarding and hating those hard boot one-directional boards. Also if biking is truly a carbon neutral environment aid, why would you want to mess with AC power and non-disposable lithium batteries?
That being said, the technology behind this wheel is very innovative and it looks like the developers have done some smart things. The open source aspects, the smart phone connectivity and the sleek logistics of the central hub could make for a game changer to increase cycling. The company does have plans for making both the wheel and bike but for now this may be a big push for the more in expensive internet drop ship bikes like Public,Strada, Republic,Sole, Big Shotand Pure Fix.
There is a good FAQ page with more explanations and specs like the wheel weighs 13 lbs. (hard to carry up 5 floors in an apartment building)
The idea behind this event is to hold an alleycat messenger style race in live traffic and add an element to the checkpoints besides just having a manifest signed. Riders have to acquire food from grocery stores and delis, types of items that make up a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Those who complete all the checkpoints and gather all the food wins. This is really an “everybody Wins” event because all the food is donated to local charities for the hungry. It also makes for a less competitive race which encourages riders of all ages and skill levels and maybe gives participants an entry level of an alleycat race.
Races have already been held in Seattle: (November 23rd, 2013)
From Seattle Bikeblog: 126 Cranksgiving riders haul 1,443 lbs of food to Rainier Valley Food Bank
By: Tom Fucoloro
November 23, 2013
2013 was the year that Cranksgiving broke. Seattle’s Fourth Cranksgiving exploded in size, with a stunning 126 people biking to grocery stores and food stands all across the city, buying food for Rainier Valley Food Bank.
And Portland, Oregon. (
From bikeportland.org: Portlanders Raise $1,500 For Charity With Cranksgiving Bike Ride.
By: Michael Andersen
November 25th, 2013
Organizers Tom McTighe and Laura Recker with the afternoon’s haul.
(Photos by M.Andersen/BikePortland)
In an event organizers said might be the first of a new tradition of charity-oriented bike fun in Portland, 96 cheerful people pedaled across the city Saturday to gather an assigned list of goods from the city’s grocery stores and co-ops.
The alleycat-inspired game, which was part of a 14-year-old American tradition called Cranksgiving, brought in $1,573 worth of dry goods for Outside In, a local nonprofit that helps homeless young people and other marginalized Portlanders.
NYC’s was held last Saturday (November 23rd, 2013) and hosted by the prolific bike organizer, Ken Stanek.
photo by: Sara Kinney on Flickr.
305 riders came out and raised food and money for neighborhood food pantries and hunger fighting organizations in NYC: City Harvest, NY Foundling and Nazareth House. These are very active organizations looking for more donations and volunteers especially through the holidays. You can also follow along the action on twitter using the search hashtag #feedourpeople.