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its the AlleyRat and Prom in DC.

alleyrat096

Whats with these messenger events and Proms? Is this implying that most couriers never completed high school and missed their chance at a legitimate prom? Let me tell you, I went to my senior prom…you’re not missing anything. Why not call it an office party for people who don’t have offices? I dunno.

Well, DC, April 25th.

more info will be coming to lesdemoncats.blogspot.com

WTF? article in NYTimes about cycling in the city.

I’m not sure who I should be more pissed at? The author of this long winded out of touch article on the current state of cycling in NYC or the NY Times editorial staff who some how deemed in their infinite wisdom it would be a good idea to give a page and half of realestate to this article. First off, this is not journalism, but rather one opinion, from one cyclist who doesn’t talk to anyone else. Why is this not in the op-ed section along with the other random rants about people angry about cyclists riding on the sidewalk, as if that were the biggest thing the rest of us have to worry about everyday on the streets? This would be much more suited for the NYPost and their columnists who every now an then have a near-death experience with a food delivery person and want instant legislation banning all cyclists from the 5 borough area.

The article in the Sunday’s City Section of the NYTimes:
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A cyclist speeds through the crosswalk at 34th Street and Broadway.
Photo by: Todd Heisler

This is a photo of what appears to be a working NYC messenger, I think its Tone. But taking the time to find out who it is would have required the writer to give this person some just credit and find out what his opinion is about the rise of popularity of cycling. Then we the audience could get some other opinions of what its like out there everyday on a bike.
Title of the article:
THE WILD BUNCH
by Robert Sullivan

I won’t bore you with all the details of this opinion piece about how this cyclists remembers the 80′s and how rare bikes were and blah blah blah…you can read for yourself Here.

The idea of this piece is that more bikers are on the streets these days who have less experience of riding safely and the author poses these 4 points in ways to become more responsible. I’ve added some responses myself.

Which brings me to four sure-to-be-scoffed-at suggestions for better bike P.R.:

NO. 1: How about we stop at major intersections? Especially where there are school crossing guards, or disabled people crossing, or a lot of people during the morning or evening rush. (I have the law with me on this one.) At minor intersections, on far-from-traffic intersections, let’s at least stop and go.

NO. 2: How about we ride with traffic as opposed to the wrong way on a one-way street? I know the idea of being told which way to go drives many bikers bonkers. That stuff is for cars, they say. I consider one-way streets anathema — they make for faster car traffic and more difficult crossings. But whenever I see something bad happen to a biker, it’s when the biker is riding the wrong way on a one-way street.

There will be caveats. Perhaps your wife is about to go into labor and you take her to the hospital on your bike; then, yes, sure, go the wrong way in the one-way bike lane. We can handle caveats. We are bikers.

NO. 3: How about we stay off the sidewalks? Why are bikers so incensed when the police hand out tickets for this? I’m only guessing, but each sidewalk biker must believe that he or she, out of all New York bikers, is the exception, the one careful biker, which is a very car way of thinking.

Granted, many food delivery people insist on riding on the sidewalk…probably because they are undocumented workers who have low paying jobs without health insurance and have to be on a bike for 12 hours a day and would rather take their chances making short trips on the sidewalk then out where they can become hood ornaments by irate vehicles. This may change about the time NYC food vendors don’t have stale pretzels. Good Luck. I occasionally ride on the sidewalk and here are a few reasons why.
1) the narrow side street is filled with stopped cars because some A-hole is double parked on his cell phone and their is no room to get around.
2) there is random construction stopping traffic.
3) the address I am looking for is way to far away for me to go around.
In my 20 years of biking in NYC, I have never had a close call with anyone on the sidewalk. I dunno…maybe I just know how to ride a bike. If we stop riding on sidewalks can we ask the pedestrians to stop walking in the bike lanes? I doubt it. Sorry Robert Sullivan…this IS NEW YORK, but I hear the property values in Portland Oregon are at an all time low.

NO. 4: How about we signal? Again, I hear the laughter, but the bike gods gave us hands to ring bells and to signal turns. Think of the possible complications: Many of the bikers behind you are wearing headphones, and the family in the minivan has a Disney DVD playing so loudly that it’s rattling your 30-pound Kryptonite chain. Let them know what you are thinking so that you can go on breathing as well as thinking
I agree. I use my hands to signal. I make noise. I communicate with drivers as much as possible. These are good points but do we really need this long article to tell us this?

My suggestion to you Robert is: Stop and interview some REAL NYC cyclists. The really cool bikers like me who have been writing a bicycle blog for over 5 years. Get a bunch of their testimonials together…its called journalism. Then rewrite your article. You may be surprised what you find and how their are a whole bunch more factors going on in NYC. Things like, yes we have new bike lanes but some of them go right down Broadway into a esplanade full of pedestrians forcing us in dangerous close contact with each other. Like how the Manhattan bridge doesn’t have any German tourists on it taking pictures like the Brooklyn bridge but its almost certain suicide trying to get on the bike path on the Brooklyn side. Lets not forget to mention the 5 year harassment campaign by the NYPD against cyclists and not just during critical mass. Do your homework pal. I wish we could just talk about the current state of cycling in NYC in terms of just weather to ride on the sidewalk or not, but unfortunately it a much bigger picture.

Today is LA bike summit.

From the LA Times:
“Just a quick heads-up on an event this week that might interest people who would rather get around town on two wheels than on four: The Bicycle Summit is being held Saturday at Los Angeles Trade-Tech College downtown.

The idea, as the name suggests, is to promote more cycling options. There are several dozen workshops covering everything from bike safety to how bikes fit into the big scheme of things in other cities such as Davis, Calif., Mexico City and Portland, Ore., where 3.5% of commuters pedal to work, according to the Census Bureau. That’s nine times the national average and city officials in Portland insist the number is actually higher.

For more information, the schedule of events and registration, go to: Bikesummitla.com

Syndicating Blogs?

And you thought syndication was only for re-runs of Three’s Company. Christian Coomer in Seattle has created a website for your one stop shopping for info on bike blogs about track bikes and fixed gears.

And Bikeblognyc made the list.

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check out: Fourteenteeth.com

Fresh Air Fund is looking for host families

Sara Wilson of the Fresh Air Fund reminded me of this great opportunity for inner city kids to have a real amazing summer experience.

“Summertime is Fresh Air time for thousands of New York City children growing up in disadvantaged communities. The Fresh Air Fund is an independent, not-for-profit agency providing free summer vacations to inner-city youngsters in need. Through The Fund’s Friendly Town Program, close to 5,000 children visit volunteer host families each summer in rural and suburban communities. Fresh Air children stay for two weeks or more in over 300 Friendly Towns across 13 Northeastern states from Virginia to Maine and Canada.

Since 1877, more than 1.7 million inner-city children, living in New York City’s toughest neighborhoods, have experienced the joys of Fresh Air vacations. The Fresh Air Fund is primarily supported by the generosity of thousands of contributors. ”

If you are interested in supporting this cause or hosting a child for the summer visit:

www.freshair.smnr.us

2 Bicycle related Job offers.

Got emails about two unique jobs and thought I’d Post them:

Seeking full-time shop manager for bicycle fabrication and testing in Kibera, Kenya

Worldbike, working in cooperation with UN-Habitat, is seeking a full time shop manager to work in Kibera, Kenya between the dates of March 8th and June 31st, 2009. Worldbike is a U.S.-based NGO that promotes bicycles as tools for development primarily through the creation of livelihoods and for the provision of essential services for those most in need.

Currently, Worldbike is testing non-motorized technologies in solid waste management applications in urban and peri-urban settlements in Kibera and the Lake Naivasha area. The offered position seeks a person who can 1) take over the development of existing prototype designs and a workshop 2) work with and train two inexperienced assistants 3) research and source difficult to procure materials and components and 4) undertake a methodical and iterative testing process.

The most successful applicants will demonstrate an ability to adapt quickly, focus on project goals, and remain organized while working within the context of a UN-Habitat project.

Position Title: Shop Manager

Requirements:

-extensive experience in bicycle mechanics (experience in mixed bike mechanic environments a must)
-moderate experience in vehicle design and fabrication (tinkering, welding, engineering skills a must)
-computer and internet proficiency (will be responsible for reporting on work and outcomes)

Desirable Attributes:

-strong grasp of basic mechanical principles and the ability to communicate them
-experience working in a results-focused environment
-familiarity with international development concepts and community-based approaches
-experience in entrepreneurship and business operations
-having the Yellow Fever vaccine since it can sometimes be in short supply

Responsibilities:

The selected candidate will be expected to develop a sustainable supply of non-motorized vehicles appropriate to solid waste management in urban settlement settings. This is to be accomplished either through domestic production, foreign sourcing or, more likely, some combination of the two. The work is to be conducted in collaboration with a local youth group and with the ultimate goal of establishing a viable business enterprise to be owned by the group selling, marketing, and utilizing non-motorized vehicles. The candidate will be responsible for:

Developing vehicle designs and sourcing needed materials
Managing the assets of a workshop
Managing two shop assistants
Developing and teaching a bicycle mechanics, design, and fabrication curriculum
Maintaining rigorous records of activities and research results
Working in collaboration with business planning efforts that will make the workshop a sustainable enterprise

Salary:

$1500/mo. Travel expenses included. Potential future work ahead.
The selected candidate will be signed as an independent contractor to Worldbike.

Please send a C.V. and cover letter to nate@worldbike.org
————————-
and one more local:

Hello,

We’re getting ready for spring and looking at bringing another employee on board here at Bike Trailer Shop.
Despite the slow economy we’re still growing at a good pace and from our view point it looks like the utility cycling movement will be growing strongly in the year ahead.

We are currently seeking an employee to join our team here in Flagstaff, AZ.
I was wondering if you might be willing to mention our available position on your Blog.
It seems that among your readership there is likely someone who would be interested in the opportunity.

Detail about our position are on the About Us section of our web shop.
http://www.biketrailershop.com/catalog/about.php

Let me know if I can fill you in on any further details.
Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best Regards,
Josh

Friday the 13th Alleycat in NYC

Next Friday, March 13th…NYC.
fridaythe13racesm-vi

More Media from Monster Track X.

Great pictures from Kevin Dillard of Demoncats.
demoncats-mtx
I’m partial to this one…
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Thanks for taking amazing photos and really capturing the moment.

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here a photo set from Freddy
Some video from Andrew Excess

More photo sets:
Smileyjones
amanaplana
Dolparts

Monster Track Wrap Up and Photos

I wanted to follow up with my Monster Track profiles so here are a few question and answers form the Racers themselves:

PAVEL MAROSIN-The Rookie
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“Hey Michael, it was nice meeting you and your family in person. Can’t believe your son was so calm in that cold.
The whole weekend was great, I met a lot of really nice people and had a blast joking, freezing, riding, and drinking for three days. I’m glad I tried the gold sprints on Friday as well as sprinting up the Williamsburg bridge on Sunday, it was a lot of fun.
When it came down to the race I can’t say I’m disappointed with my back of the pack finish.
As soon as i got the manifest all I could say was “fuck”, even though I pretty much grew up in NYC i felt like a tourist, not knowing where any of the checkpooints were besides the few that were like “303 east 33rd”. I was gonna follow a guy that I knew was a messenger and was quick, I put my bike next to his but he must have moved it after I almost knocked his down, heh. So when we got started I didn’t see him at all.
My first mistake was following John Prolly who had some sort of plan to lead whoever followed him the wrong way…..great. I had a hunch that something was up when we rode to a dumpster but I was too naivee I guess. I laughed about it after though. Without even looking at the manifest I found a group to ride with and we rode at a good clip to a bunch of check points, not really thinking them out, ohh well. It was a real good time though, just riding, talking, laughing, meeting new people as we rode through traffic.
Towards the end I was with a guy from Canada who lost his manifest but could ride well, the guys who knew the streets were beginning to slow a bit but I couldn’t go off on my own since i had no idea where to go. I didn’t really care because the group I rode with was great, I think we all had a great time.
All I can say is that all the fitness in the world won’t get you ahead if you don’t know how to find the checkpoints.
I got sick that night an lost my voice but still came out for the sunday events which were cool to watch. Great weekend overall for sure.
Being around this many bikers was definitely motivational. I got my trainer out and blew the dust off my road bike so I’ll be training even harder now that the weather is becoming nicer. I’ll also be studying up on NYC street addresses like an out of towner,and riding around more often through the parts I don’t know well. I really want to be competitive in alley cat races in 2009 and perhaps try out some road races, and the longer track events.

Thanks agaiin for letting me share my thoughts and experiences!

ANDREW-the Outta Towner
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Picture from Kevin Dillard of Demoncats.com

How did things go? Well. I placed 25th overall, and I’m not sure what place I came in for the out-of-towners. I also made it to the semi-finals for Gold Sprints which was unexpected.
What was your Monster Track experience like? Awesome. It kind of makes me upset for not racing last year, but super excited for this years alleycat ‘season’.
What was the best and worst part? The best part was being handed the #60 spoke card and then realizing that it didn’t correspond the the place you came in, and the worst was getting a cramp in my calf and thigh at the same time and hauling up 10th ave with my right leg only.
What were your expectations? I didn’t have any, so I was greatly surprised.
How did things change vs what your expectations were? I knew I wouldn’t know the city so I just rode with my other friends from Albany. I was able to hang on up to the last check point where I got dropped sprinting down 2nd ave because of the traffic.
What would you do differently next time for MT or for Alleycat racing in NYC? Get faster!
What did you learn about yourself as an athlete in alleycats? I’m bringing water with me next time. It was nuts not having any.
Whats next for Andrew on a bike in 2009? Road racing, cross racing, alley cats, swing bikes, and more tall bikes.

HEATHER MULLER-Top Female
picture-4
Picture from Kevin Dillard of Demoncats.com

Hey Mike,
Thanks again for putting this up on the website!
Heather

What was the best and worst part about this years race? This race was awesome. I really had a fun time doing it. The best part was coming to Continuum at the end of my first manifest and seeing my friends (Dylan even made it out on crutches!), and hearing them yell that I was First Girl.
It’s always great to see a big race like this come together. The organizers put so much time into planning it, the racers push each other to go faster, the sponsors are always so generous, the checkpoint workers stand out in the cold for hours to make it all happen, the photographers are so skilled and give us great images to remember the race, the bloggers make this race known worldwide, and our friends come out and support us. It really is an amazing display of our community.
The worst part was not having any chapstick! My lips were so chapped by the second time I got to Continuum, I wanted to ask someone from the crowd for some but I forgot when I was there.
Any specific tales you want to share? I’m coming up from 100 Old Slip, and only have the Trackstar checkpoint left on my first manifest. As I’m going north on Water St., I see Lucas Brunelle following Dan Chabanov, going to the checkpoint that I just left. For a brief moment, I think ‘oh my God, I’m in first place overall!’ I quickly realize that they must be on their second manifest and there’s no way I’m ahead. It was a nice feeling for a second, though.
How was the course? The format of this year’s race was completely new. We got one manifest with 12 checkpoints on it and were given about 2 minutes to look at it before Mike Dee yelled ‘GO!’ I wrote down ‘E’ and ‘W’ on my manifest to try to make quick sense out of the checkpoints. I went uptown first, hit the checkpoints on the east side, and crossed through Central Park to finish the checkpoints on the west and then headed downtown. The second manifest was another 5 checkpoints from the original 12. I was glad that I already knew where everything was and didn’t have to figure out 5 new addresses. We didn’t know how long the race was going to be, though, and I started thinking that we would get a third manifest with the remaining 7 checkpoints, which would send us back up to 98th street. This definitely made it hard to pace myself but I liked the challenge and thought it was a good twist that the organizers threw in. When I finished the second manifest, I was relieved to be sent to Affinity in Brooklyn.
What does it mean to win MTX? Monstertrack is one of the biggest races of the year. I’m proud of myself for coming in 14th overall. I really want to thank Lance from Squarebuilt for building me a custom track bike as last year’s Monstertrack prize. This bike is probably the nicest thing I own and is amazing to ride. I was honestly a little nervous to race this bike on the street, but it handled phenomenally through traffic and I felt really good on it. I also want to thank Alex Farioletti and Affinity Cycles for holding roller training classes throughout the winter. Alex is so knowledgeable about fitness and cycling, and is so willing to share that knowledge. Taking his classes definitely helped my recovery speed and made me able to push through this long race!
Whats next for Heather Muller on a bike in 2009? I can’t wait to get my prize bike from Affinity out on the streets! I also want to race my Squarebuilt out at Kissena, and maybe try road racing. I would love to do more touring this year, and am thinking of biking the Western Coast of the U.S. from Oregon to California.

Dan Chabanov-Third Place
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picture by Kevin Dillard

What was the best and worst part about this years race? Best: Blasting up the west side highway with Jumbo and Lucas Brunelle. Worst: Watching Crihs blow by me on 14th st.
Any specific tales you want to share? I just keep thinking about when me and Crihs raced our first allycat together four years ago. It was the Allykitten and it was a raced that was geared for first timers and occasional racers. I think we came in like 6th and 7th. Its pretty awesome to look back on how we got started in this mess.
How was the course? Much longer then expected.
What does it mean to be in top three of MTX? I think it means more to me that one of my good freinds won the race.
Whats next for Dan Chabanov on a bike in 2009? I’m racing my first road race of the season next weekend. It will be my first time in the 1/2/3 field so that’s going to be a whole new experience. Track season is starting up soon as well. My first big goal of the season is Battenkill Roubaix and then after the road season really gets rolling. The occasional allycat allong the way.

Crazy Weekend-Crazy Week.

I can’t believe its already almost been a week since Monster Track TEN. This week started with a real test of the cyclist with a massive snowstorm Sunday Night.

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Diablo of Callejeronyc has some nice pictures of how NYC’s couriers get it done, no matter what the weather.
Check out this video too of fun in the snow.

CYCLEHAWK MESSENGERS SNOW DAY from CALLEJERONYC on Vimeo.

Meanwhile the race results are in officially:
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Here is a statement form the CK, the organizer:

“Big shout to the 2009 Monstertrack Masters: Crihs Thurmann (NY Minute)
and Heather Muller (Mess Collective).

Crihs turned out 37 miles, 19 stops, including two trips around
Manhattan and a pair of direct rushes across Brooklyn in roughly 2
hours and 25 minutes.

Heather is a TWO time women’s master of Monstertrack – she won last
year and has a custom Squarebilt to prove it!

Both Heather and Crihs took home some cash, a fully built Affinity Low
Pro track bike (matching white frames), a Monstertrack jersey and some
other goodies from our sponsors RELoad, DQM, Boundless NY, InCase, and
Mishka.

Big shout to JUMBO from Copenhagen as well. Jumbo finished seconds
after Crihs to convincingly prove who was 1st Out of Town. Jumbo took
home some cash, a jersey and a dope DQM SAG bag loaded with goodies.
Nice work!

Top Threes:
Overall
1. Crihs (NYC)
2 Jumbo (Copenhagen)
3. Dan Chabs (NYC)

Women
1. Heather Muller (NYC)
2. Dagga (NYC)
3. Mary Tyler (NYC?)

Out Of Town
1. Jumbo (Copenhagen)
2. Jonah (Philadelphia)
3. Donnie Green (Providence)

Full results are up at Monster Track X.com

Photo roundup coming later today.

Thanks to all who helped keep monstertrack alive.