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Article in Chicago Tribune about Fixed Gear Trend

No brakes, and they like it
Brakeless bikes are the latest in-thing for the cycling set. But amateur riders pose a hazard to others, observers say.

By Megan Twohey | Chicago Tribune reporter
August 31, 2008

It was dusk in Wicker Park, and cyclists wearing fitted jeans, caps and hooded sweat shirts were gathering for a nighttime ride.

Different frames and colors flashed in the streetlight—a Cinelli Vigorelli, sleek and white; a red Motobecane with purple grips.

But in a controversial and increasingly popular trend, not one of the bicycles had brakes. As the cyclists glided onto the streets on their fixed-gear bikes, the only way for them to slow down was to force the rear wheels into a skid.

State law prohibits riding brakeless bikes on the streets, but that hasn’t stopped a growing number of young people from hitting the road with bicycles they see as pure and stripped-down.

Rest of the article here.

There’s also a brief video:

Stay tuned for my complete report on Friday’s Critical Mass in NYC.

Critical Mass is Tonight…all around the world.

picture from DNC critical mass, taken by: Tyler Dickey

In Minneapolis it will be the critical mass before the RNC swine convention begins.
Law enforcement already preparing for “anarchists,” according to this article from Twin Cities Fox news affiliate.

Here in NYC..

Well you know the drill. But don’t believe the hype.

Article in Today’s Metro:

ARREST SET COURSE FOR PROTESTS IN CITY
by amy zimmer / metro new york
AUG 29, 2008

Friday night’s Critical Mass marks a seminal event in the ride’s history: Four years ago the police arrested more than 250 people during the monthly ride that attracted thousands during the Republic National Convention.
The ride — which has been a New York City fixture since 1993 — had a party-like vibe prior to August 2004. Critical Mass regulars believe the police tactics they saw during the RNC has not relented since.

“People are still concerned that the NYPD is using excessive force and harassment,” said Barbara Ross, who was arrested during the convention.

The RNC experience was a “turning point” for Ross, a volunteer for Times Up! — the environmental group that promotes Critical Mass. “I had never been involved in fighting for First Amendment issues.”

While some, like Ross, became more politically active, others just left town.

“I know people who left New York … some people didn’t feel safe around the cops anymore,” said Mark Taylor, who had just started law school when he was arrested during the RNC while riding as a legal observer. “It was a dramatic thing to see mass arrests and be caught up in it and see how arbitrary it was.”

He now works on cases defending Critical Mass riders, including Christopher Long, who was filmed being knocked off his bike by a cop during last month’s Critical Mass.

“There’s more public awareness of what the police department is up to and more recognition of a lack of oversight,” Taylor said. “But I don’t think the police feel any more restrained.”

Open arms

“I think Summer Streets was an important lesson for the city,” Ross said. “If the NYPD works with the cyclists like before the RNC, I’m convinced the ride will grow again with families, older cyclists and a more diverse ride.”

Time’s Up released this press release about tonight’s ride:

Link to Press Release Here

(Happy Now Barbara)

CYCLISTS WILL RIDE PEACEFULLY TOGETHER FOR SAFETY ON FRIDAY’S CRITICAL MASS

Critical Mass gains support from the community after release of videos
showing NYPD’s harassment of the ride since the 2004 Republic National
Convention

WHAT: Critical Mass Ride
WHEN: Friday, August 29, 2008 at 7:00 PM
WHERE: Union Square Park North at 17th Street
**Ride participants & supporters will be available for comments before the
ride begins.

New York, NY (August 29, 2008) – Friday night, cyclists will gather at
7:00 PM in Union Square North for the Critical Mass monthly group ride.
Supporters of the ride will be there to send off cyclists who have
continued hitting the car-clogged streets, despite 4 years of harassment
from the NYPD since the 2004 Republican National Convention. Outrage from
the community has been growing since a bystander’s video was released by
Time’s Up! and the Glass Bead Collective showing Officer Patrick Pogan
body slamming Christopher Long off his bicycle while riding on the July
2008 Critical Mass. Members of the City Council have also joined the
chorus of indignation, calling for the Manhattan District Attorney to
investigate the NYPD’s policies toward Critical Mass rides.

“Under the management of Mayor Bloomberg, the NYPD has waged an expensive,
unnecessary and dangerous campaign against group bicycle rides and
non-polluting transportation since 2004. Time’s Up! and the cycling
community are confident that public pressure will convince the NYPD to
return to the more sensible police tactics used prior to the Republican
National Convention,” says Barbara Ross, a regular Critical Mass
participant and volunteer with Time’s Up! Environmental Group.

RELEVANT LINKS:

Video of Christopher Long body slammed by NYPD on July 2008 Critical Mass
ride in Time’s Square:
Youtube

City Council Member’s letter to the Manhattan DA calling for an
investigation into the NYPD’s policies toward Critical Mass:
http://www.times-up.org/uploads/pdf/Letter_to_DA.pdf

Time’s Up! letter to the editor published in New York Times replying to
Raymond Kelly’s comments on Critical Mass:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/13/opinion/lweb13bikes.html?ref=opinion

###

Critical Mass is a monthly celebration of non-polluting transportation,
which takes place in hundreds of cities around the world. Critical Mass
and other group rides have contributed to the increase in cycling and
safer streets.

Reporter looking for New Bikers.

I got this email from a local television producer who is looking to do a story about people who have started riding bicycle due to the high costs of gas.

Here is what she is looking for:

“I’m a TV reporter who works for a newsmagazine show where I do lots of stories on the economy.

I’m working on a story about how people are changing how they get to work due to high gas prices.

I was wondering if you knew of people (in the five boroughs or Lower Hudson Valley) who started biking to work (or anywhere else) to save money.

If so, can you please forward me their contact information?

I’d like to interview them for my story.

Please email (kyueh@rnntv.com) or call (914.417.2726) me with any questions.

I look forward to your response. Thanks a lot!
Kelly Yueh
RNN-TV
Regional News Network

NYC-Sunday, Sunset Ride

Rolling Down the Walls!

Ride for freedom!

August, 31st

Support US-held Political Prisoners and Prisoners-of-War, as well as
collective cycling empowerment, at ROLLING DOWN THE WALLS, a 5-mile
bike ride to benefit the ABCF Warchest and the Freegan Bike Workshop!

Join in the community effort to support and raise awareness of those who
have been targeted and punished for their political actions and beliefs.
Bring your wallet and checkbook and get ready to ride!

Join us at 123 Community Space at 6 pm (or just meet us at St. Marks
Church at 8 pm for the after-party). The ROLLING DOWN THE WALLS ride will
begin at 6:30 as we set off into the sunset, across the Williamsburg
bridge and arrive at St. Marks Church for refreshments at the Anarchist
Salon, a new anarchist event now running every Sunday. Get your picture
taken at the top of the bridge with your bike, your friend, your crush, or
your friend’s bike. Send a copy to your Political Prisoner penpal(s)!

Founded in 1994, the Warchest Program has provided consistent and
reliable financial aid to Political Prisoners and Prisoners-of-War
held within the US prison system who receive little or no other
financial aid. Since its creation, it has raised over $50,000 for
these prisoners and will continue in these efforts.

The Freegan Bike Workshop shares skills with children and adults so
that they can turn found bike parts into working bicycles.
Workshops are Wed. from 6-9pm, and Sat. 2-7pm at the 123 Community Space.

Both NYC Anarchist Black Cross Federation and the Freegan Bike
Workshop are member organizations of the 123 Community Space.
Take the opportunity to come out and see what all the fuss is about at
123! Then ride for freedom and cross the bridge to the Anarchist Salon.

More information. . .

ABCF Warchest Program- http://www. abcf. net/abcf. asp?page=warchest

NYC Anarchist Black Cross Federation- nycabc[at]riseup[dot]net
myspace. com/nycanarchistblackcross
http://www. abcf. net/

Freegan Bike Workshop- http://www. myspace. com/freeganbikeworkshop

DONT BE LEFT BEHIND.

Video From DNC Critical Mass

with this information from: DVONS27

“Critical Mass in Denver during the Democratic National Convention. It was awesome. Probably at least 600 riders. At first the cops were escorting us, and were allowing us to go through red lights, but at the end, they said we were impeding traffic, so they sent out the riot police. People started getting arrested, and getting tickets. More Bikes, Less Oil! “

Video from Rage Against the Machine Concert yesterday.

Found this website with good coverage from yesterday’s Tent State concert.

KGNU.org

Freewheelin Program in Denver during convention.

Despite the 50 million dollars spent on, new riot gear for cops…I mean “Security,” this years Democratic National Convention is being touted as the, “Greenest” convention in history.

Cyclejerks.org has posted some videos about the Freewheeling program which is set up to lend bikes to people to get around the convention.

Videos by: Fireside productions, a local Colorado production company.

Forget 1968, its 1984.

The Republican National Convention hasn’t even started yet in Minneapolis, but the police are all ready cracking down.

Three members of NYC’s Glass Bead Collective got the shake down in true fascist style.

Local protesters stifled
Group hassled by Minnesota cops in advance of GOP convention
by amy zimmer / metro new york

AUG 27, 2008

Just after a group of New Yorkers were released by Chinese authorities, other locals were detained by authorities in a different setting: Three members of the Glass Bead Collective were in Minneapolis prepping a few days before filming protests during the Republican National Convention.

After being held early yesterday morning for an hour, their camera equipment, computers, notes and even someone’s backpack of clothes were seized, according to Vladimir Teichberg. His video group helped air the YouTube clip of a Critical Mass bicyclist last month getting shoved off his bike by a cop.

“They took our tools of the trade.” Teichberg said by phone from
Minneapolis, where he has been since Thursday to “get a feel” for the city and meet with groups planning actions. “We’re interested in people coming to protest, … what they’re trying to say and how they’re trying to say it, and to what extent they will be allowed to say it.”

According to a Minneapolis Police Department report, the trio trespassed and committed a “homeland security offense.” They were observed walking out of a railroad yard, the report states.

But Teichberg said he, Olivia Katz and Anita Brathwaite had come off a bus around 2 a.m. when cop cars surrounded them.

“At first they told us they were looking for people breaking into cars,” Teichberg said. “They started searching us. … They questioned us: Why are we here, what is our allegiance, who do we support for president?” … I said, This is crazy, like ‘1984.’”

They were not arrested.

Article here.

Article on New Bike Lane on Broadway


Article in the NY times about the new bike lanes on Broadway in Midtown.
Ok, I messed with this photo a bit. I love the motorcycle riding in the bike lane.

Front-Row Seats on Broadway, if You Dare
By WILLIAM NEUMAN
Published: August 25, 2008

As if New York wasn’t stimulating enough already, the city has provided a new kind of thrill right in the heart of Midtown: an esplanade carved into Broadway where people can sit and relax as cars and trucks whiz by.

And while the esplanade seems to have become an instant hit with office workers and tourists — the metal benches, tables and chairs (some under red umbrellas) were rarely empty on Monday morning, even though they have been out for only a few days — many eyed the traffic warily.

read the rest of the article here.

Now is it just me or is this bike lane totally a ridiculous place to ride your bike?

Whats going on at the DNC, real reports from the streets.

Yesterday was a rousing speech by Dennis Kucinich, which I’m sure nobody heard, because it wasn’t popularized, just like most of the Representative from Ohio’s campaign.

Wake Up America…

Here are a few great sources of video from the streets sent to me from breathingplanet.net

First off, an amazing job from submedia.tv.
Check out the reports from the Stimulator on police feeling threatened by: a female code pink activist, food not bombs and peaceful demonstrators.

Here we go again, arrest them first, trample civil rights and pay massive amounts in law suits years from now.

Yesterday, Iraq Veterans Against the War, staged a simulation of their raids in Iraq, which seem to closely resemble the riot cops treatment of demonstrators.More on this from Mobileboradcastnews.com

and a report from Al Jazeera English:

Last night,
Rage Against the Machine played a free concert and there was a Critical Mass:

From the Denver Post:

Denver reaches “Critical Mass”
By Carlos Illescas and Greg Mellen

Some 200 bicyclists met at Civic Center tonight, circled the park then headed west on 15th Street to an unknown destination as part of the “Critical Mass” bicycling event.

The event, which is held in cities nationwide, is typically on the last Friday of every month. But with the Democratic National Convention in town, bicyclists decided to hit the road Wednesday to draw attention to the relationship between bicyclists and motorists.

More here.