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Critical Mass in San Diego.

Every city has a different story with critical mass. Some have 50 people, stop at lights, don’t block intersections. Some have numbers into the thousands. Each city has a different relationship with its motor vehicles and with the local police departments bringing up the challenges of road rules and road rage.

Here what is going on San Diego:

Once a month, county cyclists claim the streets.
By Pauline Repard
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

August 10, 2008

article link.

Hundreds of bicyclists pump doggedly up Fifth Avenue’s steady incline out of downtown, their taillights strobing in the dark.
It’s the last Friday of the month, when cycling enthusiasts from throughout the county join in a Critical Mass ride around San Diego.

Its popularity has grown from a handful of bicyclists about 11 years ago to more than 1,000 in July. They begin each ride in Balboa Park, but from there the route is spontaneous and fluid.

Definitions of Critical Mass also are fluid – and not always complimentary.

Bike rider Tom Hepler of North Park called it “wacky, anachronistic.”

Cyclist Esther Perkins of Poway said it sends a message to motorists that bicyclists have rights to the road. “San Diego’s supposed to be a green city, but cycling is not encouraged,” she said. “It’s so unsafe.”

“Critical Mass is simple,” cyclist Mike Lashua of San Diego said. “Once a month, bikes take over the road.”

San Diego police Capt. Chris Ball of Central Division had his own take on the event.

“Critical Mass is an interesting and challenging phenomenon for law enforcement worldwide,” Ball said. “Is it some form of civil disobedience? Is it political speech? This isn’t just a bike ride.”

A mass of riders
Critical Mass originated in San Francisco in 1992 to promote cycling. Now, in more than 300 cities from Anchorage, Alaska, to Mumbai, India, riders hit the road each month in numbers from a few dozen to several thousand. There are no leaders. Cyclists learn by word-of-mouth and Web sites when and where to turn up.

Joshua Sibelman, 37, of South Park, who pedals to work in Chula Vista, said Critical Mass draws “those who are coming out for fun, for awareness, or to be more militant about it.”

The political-environmental message can be lost on motorists suddenly surrounded by cyclists who run red lights, ride into oncoming traffic, or occasionally pound on a car that fails to yield.

“It was arrogant, more like anarchy, to take over the streets like that,” said a 71-year-old visitor from Tucson who was frightened when cyclists surrounded his car July 25. He asked that his name not be published for fear of retribution.

The man said his 68-year-old wife was driving south on Kettner Boulevard about 10 p.m. when about 1,000 cyclists came north in their lane. He told his wife to pull over, fast.

“Lots of them had no headlights on their bikes,” he said. “There was no advance warning this event was to take place. Someone is going to get hurt. The city is looking the other way while this mob is on the road.”

Riders say it is safer for them to stay together, even if it means running red lights.

Ball, the police captain, said the local rides have sparked nothing more than an occasional argument between drivers and bicyclists.

But in Seattle, police arrested two riders on their July 25 ride when a motorist was beaten after he ran over a cyclist. Officer Mark Jamieson said that for 10 years the department has kept a hands-off approach to Critical Mass, which draws 100 to 300 riders, but that may change in light of the Seattle incident.

At the park
In San Diego, the events take on the look of a carnival as riders start gathering about 6 p.m. around the fountain at the end of Balboa Park’s Prado.

Young women in summer dresses and young men in cutoffs and T-shirts show up in flip-flops, on beach cruisers. Serious cyclists sport Spandex and aerodynamic helmets. Antlers or stuffed animals adorn ballcaps. Some riders sneak swigs of alcohol tucked into packs. Bikes range from multispeed and fixed speed, to BMXs, mountain bikes, tandems and giant-wheeled homemade ones.

The July ride was dedicated to Atip Ouypron, who was fatally injured July 18 when he ran a red light on his bike in Hillcrest and a pickup hit him.

About 8 p.m., out of a swelling crowd, a handful of cyclists start pedaling slowly around the fountain. Riders whoop and ring their bicycle bells.

More and more cyclists circle the fountain. One rider tows a booming stereo on a lightweight trailer. No leader has been chosen, but soon a few riders break out and pedal down the Prado.

For the next several hours, bicyclists follow one another down San Diego streets, with Ball and another officer loosely trailing in cars.

The cyclists travel downtown, past the airport, then into Hillcrest. A police helicopter hovers. Ball and the other officer direct traffic at Park Boulevard and University Avenue as riders circle around mounds of flowers in Ouypron’s memory.

Many cyclists then regroup and turn north up Park Boulevard to continue the ride.

Where to meet for Critical Mass San Diego:
At the large fountain in Balboa Park.
7 p.m. on the last Friday of each month.

More info at: San Diego Criticalmass.org

Check out a video from the AP from the May ride.

Great photoblogger from San Diego Area:

iheartmybeard.wordpress.com

Coming soon…new fixie shop.

Velo Cult Bike Shop
2220 Fern St.
San Diego, CA 92104
www.VELOCULT.com

This is not my big beautiful bike rack…oh wait it is.

David Byrne unveils his new bike racks.

David Byrne, Cultural Omnivore, Raises Cycling Rack to an Art Form
By ARIEL KAMINER
Published: August 8, 2008, NYTimes

David Byrne is an installation artist, author, blogger, recording executive, photographer, film director and PowerPoint enthusiast. He’s even been known to dabble in music. But in certain New York neighborhoods he may be most visible as a bicycle rider, a lanky figure pedaling around the Lower East Side, or from Bay Ridge out to Coney Island in Brooklyn or up to the Bronx Museum of the Arts.

Read the rest of the NYTimes article here.

What are the crazy Brits up to?

Its London Calling.

August 22-24th

Big Extravaganza of Alleycat racing and Rollapaluza, roller racing.

Check out this video from: Rollapaluza XI: Kingspin
The most fun you can have down at the pub, bowling, drinking and riding a bike in place for cash prizes. Goldsprints UK style.

Moving Targets…NYTimes article on Bicycle and Motor Vehicles coexisting and lack there of.

Bad habits of cyclists and drivers clash on the streets as more people are riding to save money and get around. The NY Times takes a look at the nationwide trends as more cyclists hit the streets. Congratulations to NYC’s bikesnob for getting quoted. I’m jealous.

Moving Targets
By Jan Hoffman
published in the NYTimes August 8th, 2008

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Save gas money, be environmentally correct, lose weight — just by biking to work. And so after two decades, Dan Cooley, 41, saddled up a silver 21-speed Raleigh in April to make the daily two-mile commute to his nursing job at a senior citizen center in Louisville, Ky. In four months, he lost 15 pounds. Way to go, Dan!

Friday morning, July 25, around 6:50 a.m., he was pedaling on a residential street, wearing his green hospital scrubs, when a Volkswagen roared out of a driveway in front of him. Swerving to avoid the car, Mr. Cooley cursed loudly and rode on.

Read the article here.

Beach Ride August 17th

This Sunday is the Time’s Up Beach Ride.

Steve wanted me to post the details so here you go:

Beach Ride
Sunday, August 17th, 2008
11:00 AM
Brooklyn Start:
11:00am Grand Army Plaza, Prospect Park
Bike ride to Rockaway Queens beach (Fort Tilden). Bring swimsuit, towel, sunscreen, food and/or money for food, lock for bike, or leave bike on the beach.

Come prepared (tools, tubes, water, etc.) to ride some miles at a brisk pace.

We will be having a big communal picnic lunch so BRING SOMETHING TO SHARE (or take a quick detour to the grocery store in Breezy Point or the concession stands at Jacob Riis Park).

Bike Film festival videos

The 2008 bicycle film festival is moving right along with Screenings of great bike related movies, artshows and block parties.

Hopefully there will be one coming to your town soon.

Here is a video from urbanvelo.org from their recent trip to NYC for our bicycle film festival, where it all started.

This is part 3 of a video series. Parts one and two are available on the urbanvelo site.

Bike Lane Emergency Video

For all those people who say, “Why can’t the bike riders just be happy riding in the bike lanes the city has provided for them?”

Here is a video explaining a bit of the why by Nicholas Whitaker, a freelance film maker and contributer to Streetfilms.org


Bike-Lane Emergency from Nicholas Whitaker on Vimeo.

24hour scavenger hunt/alleycat in Portland


More info here at 24hourvelovulture/myspace

From Portland’s Craig’s List:

“Stay up all night with a partner and hope you’re still friends after. $666 main prize, plenty more goods(beer* from Brew Clubb So Pathetic, Coffee Plant, Mississippi Records, Oddball Tattoo, Sheila Moon Clothing, bike stuff from various LBCs in the works, Voodoo Donuts, etc.) to keep you moving all night. If you did this last year you know what to expect, but you also know it won’t help you at all. Being fast isn’t everything, you gotta be smart as well. All you need is a two able bodies, bikes, bags, a digital camera, lights, a strong will, and whatever you can think of to keep you moving. Meeting place is TBA right now, but it will be at 4pm, Saturday August 9th. More info and registration can be found at myspace.com/24hourvelovulture. $30 per team of two which includes shirts, $35 after August 1st rolls around.

*due to beer sponsors and possible stumbling in bars, you gotta be 21 and older. (Sorry tiger, thems the breaks)

Witness of bike crash, looking for any information.

This happened July 30th,2008

-an email was sent out from Trevor N-

8:45am Bike Crash at the Base of the Williamsburg Bridge
(Williamsburg Bridge / Manhattan Side)

This morning I was biking directly behind a kid down the Williamsburg Bridge towards Manhattan. And as we got to the base of the bridge and police car popped up and on to the curb out of no where, with no indication and directly in front of the cyclist. The timing could not have been worse. It gave almost completely no break room for the cyclist and as a result he collided with the front left side of the car, flew over his bars and smashed his head.

A bunch of us stopped to ensure everything was alright while another biker took charge of the scene. The police just stood there. One shrugged and continued controlling vehicle traffic going back in to Brooklyn.

If anyone else witnessed this or knows this kid PLEASE email me. I’d like to make sure he’s alright and, as well, make sure he has enough witnesses in case it comes down to that point. I didn’t stay at the scene more than 5 minutes because of the amount of other cyclists that had pulled up at that point- which was boneheaded on my part as I was one of the first there.

I still can’t get the images out of my head. The impact was so hard his seat dislodged and flew off the seat post and he was left with a bleeding skull.
———————-

Please Email bikeblog, if you have any information on this.

Politics, Bikes and Radioshows.

2 radio shows about bicycles, deal with politics.

Bike Show on KBOOfm 90.7 out of Portland Oregon talks about the recent relationships between cars and bikers.

from their show: “WAR on WHEELS?” 8/6/08
Is there a war on wheels? Is there any difference between a “crash” and an “accident?” The August KBOO Bike Show will address recent media coverage of bike-related issues in Portland. Guests Amy Ruiz, Portland Mercury News Editor, and Jonathan Maus of BikePortland.org join hosts Ayleen Crotty and Carl Larson to analyze recent incidents, the resulting media coverage, and its influence on public perceptions. Portland’s streets are famously friendly to bicyclists. Can the same be said about Portland’s news sources?

This show is every Wednesday from 9-10am (PST) and can be downloaded on itunes.

also, another great bicycle podcast:

the Bike Show, with Jack Thurston, available here. This show is on London’s Resonance 104.4fm.

From the site on their most recent show: 8/4/08
On this week’s show we ask whether the bicycle and cycling are inherently left-wing or right-wing. Featuring Ruth Beale and Karen Breneman, two artists who recently rode together from London to the
Institute for the Art and Practice of Dissent at Home in Liverpool in search of cycling’s socialist and non-conformist past, present and future. Putting the case for the libertarian right is the leading political blogger and cyclist Guido Fawkes who explains why leading members of the British Conservative Party are so keen to advertise their taste for two wheeled transport.

This weekend get on down to Rollapaluza XI “Kingspin” on Friday night at the Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes and Tour De Play, ‘a five mile cycle tour looking at playscapes as a form of outsider architecture’ starting at the South London Gallery at 12 noon on Saturday.