In the second installment of my bike blogger “old school zine style” interview (where I send people questions) we travel to London and meet Bill Chidley, otherwise known as Buffalo Bill.
(image from original printed zine back in 1991)
Bill’s has been writing the Moving Target Zine blog for years, long before it was the chic thing to do. The tagline for his site is: “The worlds most useless messenger zine.” Seems like a bit of self-deprecating humor, because this site has been quite fascinating and full of great articles on roller races, the lifestyle of couriers and bike culture in the London area.
Here is my interview:
Where you reside? Haggerston, London
What bikes do you own? 4: Merckx Corsa Extra, Surly Long Haul Tourer, Gitane Piste and an extensively vandalised Bridgeston RB-1 which I use for polo and running around.
How long have you had your blog? About 4 years. Moving Target was originally a print zine, and was first published in 1988.
What got you started writing it? I started writing so long ago, I can’t really remember why!
What kind of people read your blog? Messengers and other urban cyclists.
Has it changed? It was mostly about messenger stuff, but it’s become more broadly based. I have a lot of information on the continuing problems of cyclists killed by trucks/lorries/HGVs.
Were you ever a messenger? What companies and what was it like? Yeah, I was a full-time messenger for 14 years. I worked for a few different companies, and there is a heap of stories about my experiences, and memories, in a section called ‘messenger stories’.
Have you gotten involved in competitive cycling in any way? Yeah, I have raced. I started with time-trials, then road races, alleycats (I helped start the alleycat scene here in London in 1994), messenger champs (I helped organised the 2nd World Champs, and the 2003 Europeans), roller-racing (I helped re-start roller-racing in London) cyclo-sportives, track, MTB races, Audax, polo…
What is the bike scene like where you live? Absolutely massive.
What were some memorable stories on your blog? Too many to list, but I am most proud of the ‘messenger heroes’ series, and some of longer activist pieces I have written.
What kind of comments do you get on your blog? The two most commented pieces are on the fakenger thing, and I wrote a piece speculating about who was/is the fastest messenger in London which attracted a lot of comments too.
Future goals for the blog? More quality, less quantity.
Bill’s Flickr page, with lots of amazing photos of past courier events.
Here are a few of Bill’s contributions:
article from movingtargetzine written as a correction to a recent Financial Times story which got its numbers wrong. I originally posted that article but Bill was kind enough to show me the error.
an article form the Guardian from April 2008 which Bill wrote.
Our on the street Bicycle Beat reporter, Jefferson Siegel has this recent article in the Villager:
Photo by Jefferson Siegel Beware Pies of March â€” donâ€™t block lanes, bikers warn
By Jefferson Siegel
Cyclists are reveling in the addition of new bike lanes throughout the city. However, they are less than thrilled with the Police Departmentâ€™s lack of enforcement to keep motor vehicles out of the lanes.
On March 14, Timeâ€™s Up! held their annual Beware the Pies of March bike clown ride and pie fight. Intended to raise awareness of cars blocking the bike lanes, the ride began in Tompkins Square Park, with cyclists dressed in their best clown finery being â€œpursuedâ€ by Keystone Cops-style â€œpolice.â€
Read the rest of the article here.
Looks like there will be some video taping this Saturday. Here is a press release of a project for the upcoming bicycle film festival.
On Saturday, March 28 the 2009 Red Hook Criterium will take place and will be be filmed as a competitive sporting event. The film will be produced by Kalim Armstrong (Orange Bikes Take Manhattan, Messenger) and John Hoppin, with assistance from Daniel Leeb (Cinecycle). The race organizer is David August Trimble, and the race director is Al Barouh.
Multiple HD cameras will be set up to film the race. At least one helmet cam will follow race action firsthand. Additionally, a surprise helmet cam shooter may be in town to cover the race. We will have a camera at the podium presentation immediately following the race.
Race commentary and analysis will be provided by John Hoppin and Michael Green (bikeblog NYC).
The 2009 Red Hook Criterium is an unsanctioned race through a desolate post-industrial part of Brooklyn. Track bikes are mandatory for riders and the field will be a mix of semi-profesional cyclists, bike messengers, and urban cyclists. The race consists of 16 three quarter-mile laps of a course which features several hairpin turns, a fast sprint through the parking lot of a chain retailer, a cobblestone stretch, and a sprint finish. Start time for the race is 11pm on Saturday night. Bus and automobile traffic on the course, even if kept to a minimum, is a near-certainty.
The first person to cross the finish line at the completion of 16 laps will take home $300. The second place finisher will receive a $150 prize, and the third place finisher will pocket $50. Additionally, the first rider to complete the first and eighth laps will receive a prime, or prize, to be announced on race day.
Immediately following the race will be a house party where the podium presentation and distribution of prizes will take place.
This project is made possible by the Bicycle Film Festival family, a festival featuring films featuring the bicycle in 39 cities annually.
v a c a t i o n l a n d p r o d u c t i o n s
If state legislators don’t act to undo the outcome of today’s MTA Board meeting, it would mark the second straight year that fares have gone up, which is already a departure from the norm. And it’s going to get worse, say Gene Russianoff and the Straphangers Campaign:
–Without new financial help from Albany soon, the MTA says its current bad finances may mean another fare hike in 2010.
— That would make it three years in a row for fare increases — March 2008, June 2009 and early 2010 — the worst record in the MTA’s 40-plus year history.
— It demonstrates a trend of shifting the costs of operating transit from some beneficiaries of the subways and buses — such as motorists and businesses — onto riders. For example, the riders’ share of operating costs for the subways will go from 69% to an astonishing 84%, according to the MTA, if the just-approved fare increases are implemented.
–Under the plan proposed by former MTA chairman Richard Ravitch, no new fare hike would occur before 2011.
Well it looks inevitable, more money paid to ride a subway and less service…What a Bargain! The MTA seems certain with their doomsday budget and prices are going up. But don’t worry, our beloved Mayor of the people, a commoner, a working stiff…Billionaire Mike Bloomberg, says we should be MAD AS HELL.
Uh, right. No big surprise from the MTA in our broke economy.
I say don’t get mad at the subway fares going up to $2.50…I want everyone to get up out of your chairs and dust off your beater bike and scream “I’m as Mad as hell and I’m going to ride my bike!”
Maybe we should start group rides again for daily commuting…hmmm.
Just in time, the New York Times is launching a new section to their City Room blog called Spokes. Check out the first installment with a a video on some simple bicycle maintenance and some shout out to places to get bikes fixed or fix them yourself.
Mayor Mike Bloomberg was so 2 terms ago. And where has all this big money politics gotten us over the last 8 years?
Question: How much would you pay to see Reverend Billy debate Mayor
Mike on Live TV?
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Bloomy wants a bonus term. All he did was incentivize and cheerlead
for the hyper-development that was at the heart of the bubble. A job
well done? Gimme a break.
Pony up a little donation and watch Billy take it to him. He won’t be
afraid to speak the truth. Speaking truth to power is all that he’s
ever done for the last decade.
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Coming up this weekend, Saturday March 28th, David August Trimble will be hosting the Redhook (Brooklyn) Criterium. This will be an exciting night race bringing together two cycling worlds…the alleycat track rider and the roadie (although I believe this race is Track Bikes only)
In my ongoing quest to profile our bike community I sent out some questions to David to find out about his cycling interests and why he’s throwing this unique race.
David, where do you reside? I live on the border of Bed Stuy and Clinton Hill in a cycling mad townhouse. I actually rented the bottom floor from one of my Kissena teammates. We have converted the basement into a full bike workshop.
What bikes do you own? Depends on the day. Currently I have the Look 595 Road Bike. (2) Trimble Aero Bikes, a Trimble Mountain Bike, A Bianchi Pista Concept, A vintage Cinelli track bike, a beater snow bike, and a tall bike for good measure.
What got you into competitive cycling? Although it’s in my blood I didn’t get started until 2005. In my past life I raced shifter karts professionally (racing in the SKUSA North American Pro Tour). I began racing karts when I was 12 years old which definitely planted the competitive seed. Growing up my Father and Uncle both built frames for a living so I was always surrounded by cycling. In 2003 I retired from kart racing due to lack of sponsorship funds. I spent almost three years frustrated and without competition which began to drive insane. Finally after tiring of drinking heavily and being lazy I saw the light and borrowed my sister Hannah’s mountain bike and took a trip to Austin, Texas. I hit every crazy trail I could find and returned home bloody, bruised and hooked. I’ve been riding in some form ever since.
Have you ever been a messenger? Never been a messenger but for the first six months in NYC I basically worked as the in house delivery service for my uncle’s design firm. It took a little while and included a heavy dose of verbal abuse but I’ve managed to befriend a good number of the messengers in the city through the alleycat scene.
Ever raced alleycats? if so what races? I started racing alleycats within a few months after moving to NYC. My first race was Monstertrack 2007. I learned about the race from hanging out at Times Up and had no idea what I was in for. I had been riding fixed for over a year but never brakeless and had no concept of the checkpoint system. The morning of the race I disconnected the brakes and jumped from the frying pan into the fire. I actually sprained my wrist in that race from wrenching on the bars so hard in an inefficient attempt to slow the bike down. I made the lead pack at the start and even lead for a brief moment up 1st Ave. Once we hit the traffic I couldn’t keep up and spent the rest of the race getting lost and pissed off. The next two alley cats after that I won. The first was the April’s Fools Alleycat (I tied for first with Lee Azzarello). The second was the Ghostbuster’s race. I won on a three way team with Izumi and Prentiss. Afterwards the organizers changed the rules so that their friends could take the prize. I learned a lot about alleycat politics during that day.
In Rumble Thru the Bronx I finished 4th in 2007 and 3rd in 2008. In 2007 I won Cranksgiving beating all of the favorites with a superior route and some luck. I had one of those moments where I was either going to win or die. In 2008 I won the Sludgement Day Cyclocross Alleycat on my Trimble Mountain Bike. This caused a bit of controversy because the organizers intended for everyone to be on track bikes but didn’t actually set a rule in place. Time has taught me in alley cats fairness isn’t applied liberally.
Tell us a little about your competitive cycling experience? I started out racing Cross Country Mountain Bikes. In my first race I sprinted off the line, lead the pack into the singletrack, blew up a 1/2 mile in and finished last 20 minutes down. The next two years I raced Cross Country and Endurance Mountain Bikes sporadically with a local road crit here and there. For the first year and a half I never finished better than 6th in any race.
At the end of 2006 I obtained some level of fitness and dominated the Texas Mountain Bike Championship in the sport category winning every race but one. When I moved to NYC in October 2006 I joined Kissena and starting training with the road team on my fixed gear bike. I eventually bought a road bike and started racing road. In 2007 I raced an equal amount of Road, Mountain Bike and Alleycat. I sucked at road (doing nothing out of town and finishing in the pack during park races) and moving up to the Expert Cat in Mountain biking proved tough with a best finish of 4th.
I consider 2008 my first serious year of racing. I started out by winning a 100 mile Mountain Bike race in Austin called the “Torture Test”. I became a threat in the 4’s on the road ending up on the podium at Battenkill Roubaix and winning the Tour of Highbridge in NJ. After obtaining the needed points midseason I moved to Cat 3 where I began digging myself out of the upgrade hole once again. Cycling is tough. You think you’re fast then you upgrade and realize there’s a whole other level above you. It’s an endless cycle. This year I plan on feeling fast again, upgrading to Cat 2 than starting the cycle once again.
Have you traveled for races? I’ve been traveling for races my whole life starting in karts. After retiring from racing karts I worked as a mechanic on several Formula Renault, Formula BMW, and Champ Car teams. It was my life to travel to races although I wasn’t competing. I gone for three weeks out of every month on average. With cycling I’ve traveled whenever possible raced in Texas, California (Sea Otter Classic), Mexico (Chupacabras 100k Mtn Race), Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Louisiana, Arkansas, Vermont, Connecticut, Indiana, and Milano, Italy (Bicycle Film Festival Alley cat).
Are you on a team? I race for the Kissena Cycling Club. I joined the team directly after moving to NYC. I did some research online and went on a ride with the group and have been on ever since. Over the last few years a bunch of my friends from the alley cat scene have joined as well. The Cat 3 portion is the infamous Dan Chabanov, Neil Bezdek (who’s winning everything this year), and the wily veterans Keith Snyder, Eric Robertson, Eric Ragot.
What is Trimble Racing? My father built bikes in the early 80s to early 90s. He developed on the first ever carbon bikes. His company was called Trimble Aero Cycles. In 86 he built some special bikes for the US National Team which were immediately banned by the UCI in response to their performance advantage. This is where the rule that a bicycle frame must include a tubed triangle of sorts as my father’s frames were a single aerodynamic piece that was shaped like an upside down aircraft fin. My uncle also built bikes. He started out building carbon mountain bikes and eventually founded Kestral with his Kestral 4000 design. The bike was the first ever monocoque tubed carbon frame and revolutionized the way bikes were made. He later built the GT “Superbikes” for the US Olympic team. Through this my family developed a long history in cycling. I’m one of 8 kids and we almost all race bikes. With all these stories and race reports we needed a place to document them so we started Trimble Racing. In the near future we are going to be developing into an actual local race team.
What is the competitive cycling scene like where you live? Insane. In New York City you can race 5-6 nights a week in the summer if you are crazy enough. There are so many sub communities of competitive cycling in this city. I try to be a part of as many of them as possible.
What made you want to organize the Red Hook Criterium? I wanted to celebrate my birthday with all of my cycling friends and what better way than to stage a race. I’m part of both the alley cat and road scene so I needed an event that could combine the two. I expect this event to keep growing each year.
How did it go last year? Who showed Up? Who will show up this year? Last year was perfect. Not to big but the racing was intense but safe without any crashes. I couldn’t believe the pace that we completed the race at. In the end we got destroyed by my sister’s friend Kacey Manderfield. She also happens to be a mulit national champion and this year is on with a big pro contract. It’s hard to gauge exactly how many entries we’ll have this year but I’m hoping to have between 40-50. The favorites are the sprinter types who also race road. Neil Bezdek is unbeatable this year but we’ll find a way. I’m also expecting Tadeusz Marszalek from Sommerville to be a challenger. I also wouldn’t count out Dan Chabanov. The kid can ride a track bike better than almost anyone in the city and loves pain enough to get away from the field. There are a few more tough roadie sprinters who are on the fence about competing. If they do it’ll change the event dramatically. In the end there’ll probably be 15 racers with a chance to win.
What do you think of the rise of popularity of track bikes? I’m a little scared of people buying brakeless track bikes as their introduction to the sport because they think it’s cool. Beyond that track bikes are rad and the more skilled riders racing the better.
Are there venues for getting people into more competitive forms of cycling, road, track, the way Squid and Campo have opened up the track at Kissena to messengers? Competitive cycling in my opinion is easy to get into. There are already so many venues and opportunities in this city. Normally it just takes someone to get over there own fear to enter a race and get on with it. That being said I think messenger specific events are good for getting some of those kids interested in racing.
What are ways this can improve in the NYC area? A new velodrome would revolutionize the sport of track racing in the city. Beyond that I would encourage race promoters to keep trying new venues and formats to keep it fresh. Why not move the finish line at Central or Prospect Park to the top of the hill for example.
What are you future cycling goals? To win every race I’m in.
A good friend of mine Jacob is currently enrolled in the Presido School of Management in San Francisco. This is an very exciting institution which is breaking new ground in “green” sustainable business. Jacob, along with his team, are doing a project on bike security. When I spoke with him it sounded like they were working on some really innovated stuff to reduce bike theft such as GPS tracking devises and text messaging phones when bikes are messed with.
He asked me to post a link to this survey to help with research for the project.
Here is a blurb about the program and his particular project:
I’m part of a team of graduate students at the Presidio School of Management in San Francisco, one of the worldâ€™s only schools dedicated entirely to environmental and social sustainability. This semester my team is working to to combat the ongoing scourge of bike theft by developing a product that goes beyond the traditional bike lock approach. We love biking and feel that a product that enabled riders to feel more secure leaving their bikes outside would have direct benefits for the health of people and the planet.
If any of your blog readers have a chance, please fill out the following survey here.
This will greatly help in research for our project.