A big part of this whole scene has been previous organizer and racer: Carlos “Diablo” Rameriez.
Photo by Kevin Dillard of Demoncats.
Diablo: How long have you been a messenger? Are you one now? I been a messenger for 14 year and still kicking What Monster Track races have you attended? 1,2,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 What got you into alleycat racing? Felipe introduce me into the world of alleycat events What got you into track bikes? The simplicity of the bike. What is unique about Monster Track for you? MT is unique for the simple fact that there is no other only track bike alleycat in the world. What does MT mean for NYC? MT is the first track scene in NYC and after that i saw a diversity of track sub cultures around the world but before mt there was no track culture no where in the world. What Monster Track races have you been a part of organizing? I did organize MT 4,5,6,7 Who attends Monster Track? After MT 8 is not been the same, less people attend it How did what happened in Chicago last year affect Monster Track (as an organizer) Alleycat it was only for messenger original but now eveyone is allow to race. Because of the chicago incident i cancel the race. What do you think of the popularity of track bikes and how that translates to people racing and wanting to race alleycats? Well i think MT make the track zine what it is right now in the whole world. After i stop organizing MT all the upcoming alleycat in 2008 were whack, but maybe this 2009 it will pick up again. What is the future of alleycat racing in NYC and beyond? Don’t know, but i’m sure it won’t be like before.
Just wanted to keep it going so here is my profile from this years Monster Track organizer:
The Mighty Chin-Organizer
picture by Kevin Dillard of Demoncats. How old are you? too old to still be doing this Where do you reside? peoples republic of brooklyn What bikes do you own? Bianchi Pista is my daily for the last ten years. I also have a windsor profesional from the early 70’s, a Curtlo pursuit bike with a sweet 80’s paint job, a santa cruz 29er cruiser, a 24″ redline bmx, and a storied long john cargo bike. How long were you a messenger? for what companies? Dispatcher? long enough to master the job. messenger for 4 years, dispatcher for 2 plus. worked mostly for breakaway couriers What got you into riding track bikes? I bought my first track bike when i “retired” from daily messenger work. I was always fascinated with the fixed gear bikes when i was working – i worked on a street modified mountain bike most of the time. dudes who worked on them back then definitely had skills that the typical messenger didn’t. I remember this rasta dude Pierre busting the craziest skids in traffic and racing this guy we all knew as Red5 up flatbush ave after work. Definitely some of my inspirations for learning to ride fixed. What got you into alleycat races? Every messenger on the road thinks he’s the fastest guy out there. I was no different. I remember getting these hand drawn paper flyers from people and knowing that I had to show and prove. I got my ass handed to me, but i caught the bug anyway. What Monster Tracks have you been too? How did you do? I’ve raced a couple of monstertracks – I think MT 3 and MT 7, filmed MT 8 and attended a bunch of the others. What alleycats have you organized? I’ve been involved in organizing alleycats for a while, helping out with spokecards and shirts and checkpoints. I was involved with CMWC 13 in 2005 and since then i’ve organized NYC’s 12th annual Halloween race, Rumble Thru the Bronx 3, the 5BoroGenerals series: Rumble4, Broadway Bombing, Staten Island Invazion, Queens Riot and Battle4Brooklyn, Rumble thur the Bronx 5, the Graffitti Rider, and now Monster Track 10 What are the biggest challenges organizing races? Finding prizes. Trying to make the race appeal to both people out to compete and people out to ride for fun. Making everything run remotely on time. How do races get passed off? Basically, if you have an idea you can organize a race. NYC has some long standing races: Monster Track, July 4th, Halloween, and Rumble thru the Bronx. The original organizers of most of those have moved on, and its usually someone who helped out the year before that inherits the race. If I organized one of these races last year, I would pretty much have dibs on organizing it next year. What is unique about Monster Track? Monster track is the scariest, most competitive alleycat on the calender. Its restricted to fixed gear bikes and it brings out the best of the best. Who do you feel that Monster Track is 10 years old? Its pretty amazing to be part of a legendary event. Who should race alleycats? Messengers only? Anyone who is competent and confident riding in street traffic can race in my alleycats. Alleycat racing is originally a messenger thing, but has always been a place where non-messengers can meet messengers and test their mettle against them on the street. Messengers win most alleycats for a reason, but anyone who has the chops is welcome to give it a ride. Alleycat racing has really expanded the messenger scene and brought a lot of interesting people into the fold. How do you deal with the liability issues of alleycat racing? What liability issue? One of the fundamental tenets of alleycat racing is you are responsible for your own actions. No one is told to break laws or do anything dangerous by the organizers. The risks that racers take or don’t take are strictly their own to take or not ot take. What do you think of the trend of fixed gears and the fashion that goes
along with it? Fixed gear bikes are elegant, simple and efficient, plus it a little badass to ride brakeless. I’m personally over hating on people b/c their bikes match their clothes. I’ll just say make sure that you can ride your bike safely first, then work on looking good doing it. What is the future of Alleycat racing? will we see it in the XGames 2020? No. What are you future cycling goals? Ride every day. Get faster. Build my sound bike. ride in tokyo. Organizing goals? The rest of this year is all about small events: Midnight Keirin Club and GoldsprintsNYC. I think Graffiti Rider2: Electric Bugaloo is in the works. Monster Track 11 and maybe a NACCC 2010 Brooklyn bid.
This has been updated. Dave August’s Red Hook Brooklyn Night Criterium is Saturday, March 28th.
Here is a bunch of info on the race:
Date: March 28th, 2009
Registration: 9:00 pm at 65 Dikeman
Race Start: 11:00 pm (pre race meeting at 65 Dikeman at 10:45pm)
Entry Fee: $10
Prizes: $300 1st
This race can best be described as a hybrid street criterium and caters to the strange half-breed racer type that is a combination of glory chasing scenester and ultra competitive road racing athlete.
The .75 mile 10 turn course in Red Hook is tight, twisty and dangerous. The course is haphazardly closed (with volunteer street marshals) and lighting is dim at best. A fast cobblestone hairpin requires teeth chattering grit to transverse smoothly and a wide open and brightly lit finishing straight offers a perfect runway for a chaotic sprint finish. In order to do well in this race youâ€™ll need street tuned handling mechanics and an engine to match. Brakeless fixed gear bikes are required (as are helmets). Gearing is recommended to be somewhere between 85 and 90 gear inches. Lapped riders will be allowed to stay in the race but will be shown a blue flag when the leaders are approaching and must get out of the way. The finish will be video tapped for accuracy and scoring provided for at least 25 places. I will also be posting a chart with a run down of each lap time. The entry fee is $10.
Last year the race had 25 entries and 5 made it to the end to contest the sprint. Kacey Manderfield made good on her trash talking and dusted the field in the final sprint. A former national collegiate champion and a current National track champion she played her cards perfectly. She is rumored to be returning to defend her title. I (the race organizer) finished 2nd last year barely squeezing out Shusaku in the final sprint. Young prodigy Cooper Ray was 4th and ever imposing Prentiss 5th.
This year the competition is expected to upgrade. Many top local road and track racers will see if they can control their brakeless track bikes and compete with the best street racers. I will be compiling and updating a list of confirmed race entrees in the run up the event. The prize for first place is $300 cash ($150 for 2nd and $50 for 3rd).
The race will be 30 minutes plus 3 laps. The final race course design will posted in the next week. I am expecting a tighter and more technical layout which will include the same cobblestone stretch on Columbia St but avoiding the highly residential street of Dikeman. There will be (3) primes. One at the end of the first lap, one at the end of the halfway mark and one with 3 laps to go. The prizes for the primes will include homemade granola and booze. There will be a bell indicating primes as well as a board counting down the laps with 5 to go (based of a time calculation to determine how many laps the race will be).
Race registration starts at 9 pm. The race itself starts at 11:00 pm. Awards will immediately follow the race at 65 Dikeman in conjunction with my annual birthday party.
This race will be excellent for spectators and photographers as most of the course is visible from the start/finish line and fast lap times will be around 2 and a half minutes.
On Sunday, March 8th, there was an opening party. Here is a little report from Time’s Up volunteer, Liane:
On Sunday night, March 8th, the environmental group, Times-Up!, celebrated the grand opening of it’s new Brooklyn space conveniently located right under the Williamsburg Bridge. This new space signifies an increase in NYC bicycling and the sustained commitment of Times-up! volunteers who celebrated their 700th workshop.
Green Party Mayoral Candidate, Reverend Billy blessed the space and led a community cake candle blow-out with a wish for many more workshops. Hundreds of people flooded the street, dancing to the music of the full brass band, Rude Mechanical Orchestra. The neighboring bar, East River was packed with people enjoying the great weather and the potluck food and BBQ. Times-Up! volunteers led tours and introduced new members to future plans for the space.
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.
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:
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, letâ€™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 â€” they make for faster car traffic and more difficult crossings. But whenever I see something bad happen to a biker, itâ€™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? Iâ€™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 itâ€™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.
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.
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.