So you want a bike painted in NYC?

Here’s what worked for me.
Step 1. Get a bike
I had one, then lost it, then got it back. Hopefully you’ll get your own bike.
I decided to get a professional paint job because I shudder to think what would happen with me and a rattle can.

2. Get the bike stripped of its parts
Again, I shudder to think what would happen to me with some bike mechanics tools so I took it down to Brooklyn Bike and Board, or what ever bike shop you prefer with mechanics you trust.
Ok, I did the basic stuff like handlebars, seatpost, pedals…But because I tried to use more complicated bike mechanics tools…the crank was stripped out and had to be pounded out.3353809612_afa61dae67_b

But you are conscientious bike owners who routinely grease up the seat post so it doesn’t get frozen and checks the bearings in the headset, things like that.
This does make for an easier stripping of the bike which you want to get it down to just the frame and fork.

3. Sandblasting. (lemme back up a little)
Through a very popular bike forum dedicated to one type of bicycle, I heard rumor of place in Greenpoint which paints bikes.
That spot is:
Carter’s Powder Coating
Larry Carter, owner, is part of a small community of light industry manufacturing in Greenpoint Brooklyn.
As stated on the bottom of his low-tech website:
they paint bicycle frames and forks.
They do a process called Powder coating which is free flowing dry powder, often used on automobile parts.

So i emailed and asked about painting bikes. He responded right away and told me that it would have to be sandblasted first and that was done some where else.
But Larry has taken care of this and has a good relationship with ACME sandblasting in Manhattan. See the webpage.

I took the bike to this place:
41 Great Jones Street,
Now I know what your thinking…hmmm ACME?
Besides making anvils and rockets to catch the rascally roadrunner…ACME also does Sandblasting.
You go into a industrial storefront in the middle of NOHO, find Leon. He looks like he’s been around since the time they were painting the celluloid for Warner Brothers Cartoons. Leon explained they were installing some new equipment and it would take at least 10 days. Within a week the bike was done and in cost $81.00. I believe now it will only take 2 days.

Here are the results:

Step 4. Powdercoating. (the paint job)
So this is Carter’s:
65 Eckford Street-Brooklyn, close to McCarren Park and right down the street from B Bikes.
I talked with Larry about colors. Their website lists standard colors here.
I brought in my green aerospoke wheel and Larry was able to match it fairly accurately.
It was 130 dollars and took 2 days.
I know there are other painting methods out there, but I was very happy with the speed and quality of the powdercoating job at Carters.
Here is the final result:

Larry was is into painting bikes and has worked with the Worksman Tricycle Company. He seems like he can powdercoat just about anything. He was eager to show me his glow in the dark cruiser and I hear he is trying to come up with a reflective paint like what is used on street signs.

Step 5. Putting it all back together.
Depending on your wrench skills, I would suggest using a competent mechanic.
But for a free option and if you’d like to learn the process, check out the free bike mechanic workshops with Time’s Up.

Happy Easter


Blue Monday

Thank God its…Blue Monday

コビッチ 其の十二  from jun iwai on Vimeo.

Registration Point for Tracklocross on Saturday.

Looks like its going to rain and then clear up just before the start.
Here is the registration point on Randalls Island,

View Randall’s Island in a larger map

April events form Time’s Up.

Upcoming events from Time’s Up

Friday, April 10th, 7 p.m.
Grand Army Plaza, the northern entrance of Prospect Park where Flatbush Ave., Eastern Pkwy, Union St. and Prospect Park West intersect and Brooklyn Side of the Williamsburg Bridge
Saturday, April 11th, 10 a.m.
Brook Park, 141st Street and Brook Avenue, Bronx- under the cherry blossoms!
Saturday, April 11th, 9 p.m.
Grand Army Plaza, the northern entrance of Prospect Park where Flatbush Ave., Eastern Pkwy, Union St. and Prospect Park West intersect.
Saturday, April 18th, 7 p.m.
Union Square Park South, 14th Street
Friday, April 24th, 7 p.m.
Union Square, North Side
Friday, April 24th, 8:30 p.m.
NYU Kimmel Building, 60 Washington Square South, Room 802
Saturday, April 25th, 2 p.m.
Allen Mall 6 (Allen between Delancey and Rivington)
Saturday, April 25th, 10 p.m.
Columbus Circle (SW corner of Central Park, at the intersection of Broadway, Central Park South 59th Street, and Central Park West)
Sunday, April 26th, 12 noon
Union Square Park, SW corner, near the Gandhi Statue
** Now in NYC and Brooklyn! **
Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday Workshops will be held at ABC No Rio which is located at 156 Rivington Street between Suffolk and Clinton Streets.
Wednesday and Sunday Workshops will be held at Time’s Up! Brooklyn which is located at 99 South 6th Street off Bedford Avenue

Check the calender for a more complete listing.

Another Survey about bike theft.

My friend Jacob at the Presido School of Management in San Francisco is doing research for ways to help curb bicycle theft.
If you are a bike owner please take this quick survey to help with this worthwhile venture.

Boston Spotlight

There’s a new bike shop open in Sommerville, Mass.
called Open.
Located at the corner of Washington St. and Hawkins St. in Union Square, Summerville, Massachusetts.
Here are some pictures of the new store.
Open is having its Grand Opening this Saturday the 11th. Trying to open themselves up to the local community.
They’ve got a whole schedule of events including:

10a-7p : Open Grand Opening
7p : Chorus Gallery Launch & Reception for photographer Justin J. Keena
9p : Macaframa Boston Premiere
10p : Crit, Footdown, Tricks, etc.
11p : After Party, Location TBD


From the owner Zack Teachout-

“All events are taking place at the shop and in Union Square, Somerville/Cambridge/Boston.
Map here.
One of the biggest announcements we have to make is that we will have raw, pre-paint handbuilt frames in the shop Saturday, showcasing the three local builders we represent – Geekhouse, Icarus & Royal H. We will also have finished frames on display and for sale. Open serves as the only shop in town offering both retail sales and custom fittings for these builders. We have also launched our webstore, which has a little vintage bling in it!

Thanks guys! Also, let us know if you need anything, we’ll return the favors!

Peace / Ride Safe


Zachary Teachout

April 14th, ride to exhibit: Greening and Growing of New York

Molly Sullivan sent me this info about a bike ride to an exhibition:

Join Transportation Alternatives as we ride to the Museum of the City of New York to celebrate the Growing and Greening New York exhibit.

Every cyclist will receive free admission to the museum that day! This leisurely ride will end with a press conference on the museum steps. We are then are welcome to enjoy the exhibit. Those cyclists who cannot stay at the museum that day will be given a pass for free admission at a later date.

Bike Ride to Growing and Greening Exhibit at Museum of the City of New York
Tuesday, April 14th
10 am-12 pm
USS Maine Monument
Columbus Circle (Intersection of 59th Street & Central Park West)
Ride leaves at 10 am. Press Conference will be at MCNY at 11 am.

More info on the exhibit here.

First Mud 2-Tracklocross comes back to Randalls Island

This Saturday, April 11th. Its time to get dirty…real dirty.
Its the 2nd annual Track Bike Cyclocross being called: Tracklocross.
get more info at the website:
I’m told anyone can participate in this event.
To get a better understanding about what this event is all about I sent out some questions to the race organizers and got back these responses. (Note there are two people organizing this event and both of them responded to the questions. I marked the responses accordingly)

Who is organizing this race? (Name, Age and where you live)
We are Drew and Mattio – two bicycle enthusiasts and alleycat racers in our twenties who live in Brooklyn.

What bikes do you own?
Mattio: I’ve got an everyday IRO which has doubled as a cyclocross bike, a Felt TK2 for racing at the track, a Co-Motion Ristretto for road racing, and a sweet 1973 Pogliaghi track bike.

Drew: I’ve got a soma, a fuji track pro, a mikkelsen road bike, and a bob jackson touring bike.

For those who don’t know, describe what is Cyclocross and what is unique about this race?
Mattio: Cyclocross is a nutty sport from Belgium where it’s grown over the past century as an opportunity for road riders to stay in shape during the autumn offseason. Riders ride bikes that look like road bikes but with knobby tires and some geometry modifications. The race is done around a roped-off course, a circuit that the riders repeat over and over again, that features a variety of obstacles – steep run-ups, barriers, tight slick turns, off-camber sections, exposed rocks and roots… challenging terrain. ‘Cross is about carrying speeds through these obstacles and frequently requires racers to dismount, carry their bike and run over and through difficult sections.

Drew: This however is not your typical cyclocross race. Tracklocross is part cyclocross, part alleycat, and part urban exploration. The race is in a really muddy and mostly off-road area, but there are checkpoints, and racers have to find the best way to the checkpoits. Second tracklocross is not about building a bike to suit a particular terrain, the way cyclocross sort of is. Tracklocross is more about riding what you have, wherever.

Besides the obvious mechanical differences, what makes a track bike cyclocross different from regular? Is it track bike only? Do racers have to make special modifications for this event?
Mattio: Tracklocross is a goofy word we coined to describe our particular brand of riding bikes that are ill-suited for the terrain. Tracklocross isn’t a cyclocross race – it’s not about cyclocross bikes, it’s about racing wherever with what you’ve got. Last year, track bikes were encouraged but not required; this year, riders must have either a fixed gear, or 23mm slick tires. We’ll probably see a lot of people putting knobby cyclocross tires on track bikes to deal with the difficult sections of the course, which was common last year. But we’ll also see a lot of people riding their everyday track bikes. Crihs took second place last year riding a track bike with risers and slick tires. The reason we have this rule is because we don’t want mountain bikes and cyclocross bikes competing in this race. It would be an unfair advantage!

Drew: We’ll also see a handful of people making it harder on themselves by entering the “track legal” category that we have – drop bars, 23c slick tires, and a fairly high 49-16 gearing. Probably the best bike for this course is a fixed gear with low gearing and knobby tires. But the course is muddy and difficult, and we want to really reward people who stay true to the spirit of the race and ride a truly inappropriate bike, so there will be a special prize for the first racer who can complete the course on a velodrome-ready track bike.

What should racers wear?
Clothes they don’t mind getting muddy. And, while they’re at it, they should bring a bike they don’t mind dragging, and maybe a change of socks.

Can anyone participate in this event?
Mattio: Absolutely! You don’t need to be a licensed racer or anything. You don’t even need to be competitive – we’ll see a wide variety of riders, from the fun participants who determinedly bring up the rear to the foaming-at-the-mouth nutjobs who will be competing for the title Mud God of Randall’s Island.

Drew: But that said, the course is not easy. If you want to win, then you’ll need to bring a lot of stamina and bike handling skills.

What is the Cyclocross scene in NYC area?
Hmm. Good question. Last year, there was one race – way out in Staten Island. If NYCers want to race ‘cross they need to pile into cars and drive to New England, Jersey, Pennsylvania, or upstate. I didn’t race cross last year until Staten Cross, which was stupid, because it’s fun. Apparenlty there are informal cyclocross training sessions in the fall on Randall’s Island, organized via Facebook.

Do you race competitively? Cyclocross or other cycling events?
Mattio: This year will be my first year of road racing and my second of track racing. I used to race every alleycat I could get my hands on.

Drew: I race a bit of track now and again, and I’ve raced a fair number of alleycats. I’ll do at least one road race this year, just to say that I’ve done one.

What lead you to organize the race last year?
In 2007, alleycats were really big and huge, and then cooled down really fast. We wanted something that was a bit outside of the traffic norm, something that was wild and challenging and offered alleycat racers a race where they didn’t know what to expect. Randall’s Island makes a great venue for this – it’s a little bit weird, a little bit spooky, this bizarre half-park corner of the city where we can kind of run wild without really bothering people.

Did you have to get special permits from the city? tell them it was a Citibank Fun Run or something?
Heh. Nope, we haven’t gotten permits. It’s all taking place in public parks; it’s more or less a scavenger hunt, if authorities ask, and while there are Don’t Go Here parts of the island, obviously we want participants to ride sensibly, stay on the roads and paths on the Island, and be considerate of other users of the island.

How was the attendance last year? What will be different about this year?
Last year we say about forty racers come out. A third of them didn’t finish – they had mechanicals, flats, or just plain old couldn’t hack it. This year, we expect more people to come out. I can’t tell you how many people told me, “Wow, those photos looked amazing, I’m kicking myself for not coming.”

This year, the course will be different. First off, there will be more mud. The island has changed a lot – last year, so much of it was basically a construction site. They’re building a whole bunch of new playing fields in areas that previously only had… um, playing fields, actually. This year we had to look for exciting new checkpoints, abandoned some favorites from last year, and also try to design a course that *feels* like a different race – which is a challenge on a small island with only a handful of roads and paths. But we’re up to the challenge. We just hope the racers are.

Who’s coming out?
Who’s NOT coming out? Alleycat racers, commuters, roadies, trackies, and cyclocross racers. Beyond new york, we’re expecting people coming up from philly, boston, dc, connecticut, elsewhere.

Some of the pictures I’ve seen of the race and the area make it look rather post-apocalyptic. Whats the course like and how does it get so damn muddy?
Last year, the course took people over gravel roads, down a few paved paths, onto a huge mound of random sand at an abandoned baseall field, and then into muddy corners of the island. Like I said, there were whole sections torn up as part of construction, and there are all these parts of the island that are underneath the TriBoro Bridge, and underneath the railroad tracks – this deadspace that becomes perfect for checkpoints. Last year it rained the day before, which made conditions perfect.

This year – well, we’re not reavealing details of the course yet. But it will not be easier than last year.

Will you be providing power hose scrub downs of the racers after the event?
No. Racers will be on their own in figuring out how not to piss off their roommates.

What are the keys to winning this race?
Top riders will have to be strong and fit as well as really determined. They’ll also have to be clever. The manifest is a map of the Island with a few landmarks, and the checkpoints indicated with dots. How racers get from one to the other is up to them. There’s plenty of room for really fucking up the route. Last year’s winner was throwing his mountain bike over fences in an attempt to take a shortcut… he was actually making his race a lot longer. But it all worked out in the end last year.

Will we see this type of event in Xgames 2015?
I hope not.

What are your future goals for trackcyclocross?
We’d like to see it take place in more places. It would be great to see people organizing alleycat-style pseudocross races all over the country, on their own. Even more importantly I’d like to see the alleycat scene just start to diversify. “Underground” racing is a cheap, awesome, participatory sport that’s a lot easier to get in to than “official” bike racing. And it can be a lot more fun, too. I’d like to see all the alleycat energy continue to get supercreative so that there are lots of ways to be a part of it.
Christian Thormann took some nice portraits of racers from last year:
more images on his website:

Some images of the carnage last year: Sludgement Day.
Photos taken by Luke Stiles posted on flickr.

StreetFilms at 200.

Streetfilms now was made over 200 videos about bicycling, transportation issues and celeb shout outs.
Nice work, even though I’m not in any of them.

Here is a promo video to celebrate 200.