Internet Endangers Big-City Tradition: The Bike Messenger
By David Kravets
Wired Magazine 7/25/08 Bike messengers (left to right) Josh Godar, Chris Sparks and Annunaki Jonny talk with Wheels of Justice co-owner Matt Flores outside the business, on Mission Street in San Francisco. Emily Lang/Wired.com
SAN FRANCISCO — Here along Market Street, heavily tattooed bicyclists with too many piercings in too many places weave through traffic, ducking subway steam vents, trolleys, motorists and a sea of jaywalkers. They’re bike messengers — a fixture in most large cities — slinging satchels stuffed with legal documents, blueprints, executives’ lunches and eviction notices.
written by: MATTHEW SCHNEIER Photographer Tod Seelie has shot for such up-and-coming publications as The New York Times and New Yorkâ€”not to mention for Rogan and Loomstateâ€”but he’s never had a solo gallery show in the five boroughs. That changes tonight: Slowdancing to Slayerfeatures images from Seelie’s various journeysâ€”rafting down the Mississippi with art collective The Miss Rockaway Armada, touring with the hipster-heavy F*ck Yeah Fest, and stopping off everywhere from New Orleans to L.A. in between. Perhaps the exhibit will even answer that immortal question: How exactly does one slow dance to Slayer, anyway? Through August 9 at Cinders Gallery, 103 Havemeyer St., Brooklyn, NY, (718) 388-2311, cindersgallery.com
Here are some pictures and write up from the opening night party on July 17th from Fecal Face.com.
Tod’s blog is suckapants.com where you can find amazing pictures from the “Fuck yeah fest tour,” which Tod has been documenting featuring bands like: Dillinger 4, Matt and Kim, Team Robesppierre and punk rock legends the Circle Jerks. ———————————- And for a show we haven’t missed:
Artist Swoon is presenting:
switchbacksea from the website- Swimming cities of Switchback Sea is a flotilla of seven intricately hand crafted vessels that will navigate the stretch of the Hudson River between Troy and the New York harbor this August 15th – September 7th. Imagined as a hybrid between boats and bits of land mass broken off and headed out to sea, the Switchback vessels will make stops in towns along the river bringing performances and music. Over the course of three weeks they will make their way toward their home port – an invented landscape tucked into a niche along the East River in Long Island City, Queens.
Urban velo had a link to a new project in Kenya, the African Cyclist, with the goal of inspiring Africans to have more access to the professional world of cycling.
from their website:
These two young men are Zakayo Nderi and Samwel Mwangi. They come from a tiny spot on the planet called Eldoret in Kenya. And it is a remarkable place because half of all the worldâ€™s marathon champions come from that one tiny spot.
They have the heart, lungs and legs of marathoners, but all they want to be are the first professional black African cyclists in the world. And in August this year, they will be going to Alpe dâ€™Huez in France to do a timed ascent.
Why, you may ask? In 2004, there was an individual time trial up that mountain in the Tour de France. Out of 155 riders, Lance Armstrong won it in 39â€™41â€ and the tenth placed time was 42â€™08â€. Zakayo and Mwangi intend to finish in a time somewhere between those two times. Just to show they belong among them.
Until now, there has not been a single black African in the Tour de France. Or in pro cycling. Not one. So meet Zakayo and Mwangi. All they want is an opportunity to prove themselves.
July 25th, 2008 | Category: General | Comments are closed
Its all about bike locks with a few good tips on some products to keep your ride secure.
Of course that doesn’t help if you let someone “tryout” your bike and they ride off with it.
Article by Scott Ward.
Also, David Byrne, unveils his creative bike racks:
from New York Magazine:
The Bike Rack As Art Within the next two weeks, artistâ€“rockerâ€“bike lover David Byrne will unveil nine temporary bicycle racks around the city. Here he examines â€œThe Jersey,â€ a welded steel silhouette of a car that will be installed near the Lincoln Tunnel on 39th Street and Ninth Avenue. Elsewhere: an abstract squiggle in front of MoMA, a wagging dog on La Guardia Place, and a reclining woman near 42nd Street dubbed â€œThe Olde Times Square.â€ Photograph Courtesy of Bill Scanga/Pace Wildenstein
and here is a video from the Wall Street Journal Online.
Check out the article and video here. A gritty cousin of the game of kings, bike polo is gaining traction
Sacramento Bee, July 20, 2008 By Gina Kim
Two lines of four people square off across the parking lot, each balancing on their fixed-gear bikes with only the heads of their polo mallets resting on the ground.
“Marco,” yells one side.”Polo,” responds the other. Then the two teams, in unofficial uniforms of cut-off jeans and T-shirts, race toward a red rubber ball in the center of the empty lot. There’s the sound of plastic against asphalt as mallets shove the ball toward one of the orange-cone goals, while the din of traffic echoes from the Capital City Freeway above.
This is urban bike polo, a game that’s hijacking empty lots, basketball courts and sometimes parking garages across the country and world. Here in Sacramento , it’s played twice a week in the parking lots beneath the freeway on X Street .
“There’s a feeling that you’re doing something everyone else hasn’t caught on to yet,” says John Kennedy of the U.S. Bicycle Polo Association, which is based in Sacramento . “Plus, it’s taking a twist on what is seen as an established, upper-crust sport and bringing it down to the people’s level.”
There are two strands of bike polo, Kennedy says. The first is played on grass with mountain bikes and wooden mallets. The other is a street version that has been adopted by bike messengers and serious road cyclists, played on asphalt or concrete, generally on fixed-gear track bikes and with mallets fashioned from ski poles or metal crutches and PVC pipe.
“Bike polo players probably have more tattoos and piercings and drink more beer than the equestrian riders who drink white wine and champagne,” Kennedy says. “And the urban bike polo players have more tattoos and piercings and probably drink more beer than the grass bike polo players.”
Balancing on fixed gears
Cigarette smoke hangs in the air on a recent Sunday as more than 30 people rendezvous in a parking lot at 19th and X streets. Energy drinks are gulped as teams of four face off.
Tires skid, metal mallets clank against each other, and the players seemingly defy gravity while swatting at the ball with forehands, backhands and belly shots â€“ a maneuver in which the ball is hit through the gap between two bike wheels.
“You have to know how to control your bike really, really well,” says Amy Kozak, 19, one of the handful of women who play regularly. “It makes me a better rider because I know exactly how to turn my bike in traffic.”
Kozak, who lives in Sacramento and works at Capitol Aquarium, started riding a fixed-gear bike three months ago.
Fixed-gears differ from traditional bikes because they don’t coast and don’t generally have hand brakes. Riders must pedal constantly for the bike to move and apply back pressure to the pedals to stop.
Although traditional cyclists are welcome to play urban bike polo, fixed-gear bikes are preferred since one of the few rules of the game is that players cannot put their feet on the ground during play but must balance on their bikes the entire time. If a player does inadvertently touch the ground, that person must bicycle off the court and touch a parking median before returning to play.
The game’s other rules are that there is no out of bounds, a team must ride around its own goal after it scores to give the other team time to regroup, and whichever team scores three goals first is the winner.
“It conditions you to be a lot better of a rider,” says Cy Kamsoulin, 23, of Sacramento , an elder-care provider.
Bike polo has been played in various forms since the late 1800s, when inflated rubber tires were invented and England sent a bunch of the new bikes to India , says Kennedy. Stableboys who didn’t have horses thought they would try their hand at the elite game on their new bikes, and British troops brought the version back to England .
The game spread to Ireland , and Irish immigrants brought the game to the United States , Kennedy says.
Alex Cain, 23, who works dispatch at a Sacramento bike messenger service, started organizing games after moving from Denver three years ago. The learning curve was steep â€“ he first made mallets entirely of PVC pipe, but the plastic couldn’t hold up to the fierce beatings during games. He also had to figure out where to play.
“We don’t get bothered here,” says Cain of the lot at 19th and X. On Wednesdays, games are played at 21st and X streets because there are too many cars parked in the 19th Street lot.
The players are mostly part of a tight-knit fixed-gear community in which inner tubes are shared like french fries and bikes are sources of pride.
Ask what injuries have been suffered, and riders usually talk about the dings to their bikes first.
Daniel Borman, 23, spent thousands of dollars and more than a year to build his lime-green track bike piece by piece. He once suffered about $100 worth of damage in a collision with another player.
But it’s all in good fun since it means time with friends twice a week.
“You want to win, but you don’t really care,” says Borman, who works as a bike messenger. “You’re just going to have fun and drink beer afterward.”
July 22nd, 2008 | Category: General | Comments are closed
The Fresh Air Fund is looking for volunteers to host kids this summer and give them a unique outdoors experience.
Over 200 children still need hosts for August.
Read more about the program and how you can volunteer at this website.
Facts about the fund:
THE FRESH AIR FUND, an independent, not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer vacations to more than 1.7 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. Nearly 10,000 New York City children enjoy free Fresh Air Fund programs annually. In 2007, close to 5,000 children visited volunteer host families in suburbs and small town communities across 13 states from Virginia to Maine and Canada. 3,000 children also attended five Fresh Air camps on a 2,300-acre site in Fishkill, New York. The Fundâ€™s year-round camping program serves an additional 2,000 young people each year.