Bike couriers, cheap on Gas. NY Times Article

Hodari of Checker Courier makes the Times. Nice one Ho.

Unburdened by Gas Costs, Bike Couriers See a Chance.

Published: September 1, 2008

New York City’s bike messengers remain a fixture on the streets, having weathered the advent of the fax machine and, of course, e-mail. Now, with the cost of gas pummeling courier companies that rely on motorized vehicles, a few enterprising cyclists are using the opportunity to generate more business.
A small but growing number of pedal-powered messengers are outfitting their bicycles and, in some cases, tricycles, with boxes and flatbeds on which they can load hundreds of pounds of cargo.

“Eighty percent of the jobs done in a van I can do,” said Hodari Depalm, the owner of Checker Courier, a cargo messenger company in Manhattan that says it can move up to 200 pounds of documents by bike. Mr. Depalm said his two-man messenger business had increased by 20 percent within the last year.

Rest of the article Here.

Interview with MASH riders from Estonia

Just got sent this link from Risto, who publishes a magazine, Sahtel in Tallinn Estonia.

Check out this interview with Jonathan Burkett and Garrett Chow from MASH SF.


UrbanVelo Issue #9 is out.

Get all issues online, downloaded for free


Arrest everyone! and other reports from RNC in Minneapolis

This is what a free country looks like:

Convention protest descends into violence

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 2:01 PM on 02nd September 2008
Riot police arrested around 250 people outside the Republican presidential convention last night after a protest descended into violence.

Around 10,000 had gathered for a peaceful march calling for an end to the Iraq war which eventually erupted into pitched battles between a breakaway group and officers.

Police used pepper spray and smoke bombs to break up the mob while officers on horseback, motorcycles and bicycles chased a group of rock-and bottle-throwing

read more her.

Award Winning journalist of independent news show Democracy Now! is arrested while trying to help other journalists from the show.

This and more reported on by

Here the story:

Yesterday 10,000 protestors demanded an end to the war including veterans for peace.

Article in Newsday about NYC Critical Mass

NYC bike riders say they still face uphill battle.

By LARRY NEUMEISTER | Associated Press Writer
August 30, 2008
NEW YORK – It has been four years since the Republicans staged their national convention in Manhattan, but the experience is fresh on the minds of bicyclists who say they are still getting a bumpy ride from police.

With a lawsuit in U.S. District Court, the Five Borough Bicycle Club is fighting new Police Department rules that the cyclists say were drawn up to retaliate against people participating in Critical Mass, a monthly ride that sometimes draws hundreds of two-wheelers to busy city streets.

The regulations, adopted last year, require groups of 50 people or more traveling together on a public way to get a parade permit from the police department.

The legal fight is the latest in a string that began during the 2004 Republican National Convention, when police arrested more than 260 cyclists during a Critical Mass ride.

Read more here.

Article on Bike Polo during NACCC in Chicago

Article in the Missourian

Bike polo team to compete in Chicago tournament
August 28, 2008 | 5:08 p.m. CDT

Drew Deubner, a junior at MU reaches with his mallet for a polo ball on the rooftop of Hitt Street Parking garage in Columbia. He and several other friends gather weekly to play bike polo. ¦ CALIN ILEA/MISSOURIAN

COLUMBIA — “Game on!”

This was the cheer Wednesday night after police gave Columbia’s bike polo team permission once again to practice in a downtown parking garage.

Columbia’s bike polo players have no team name, no designated home base and few fans. The team organized in February after a group of cycling friends decided informally to give polo on wheels a shot.

Their passion for the game has driven the team to practice twice a week, building skills that allow them to compete against teams from much bigger cities.

rest of the article Here.

More Hijinks at the Republican National Convention.

Picture posted on flickr by: waitingline

Following similar patterns from large scale protests and past Conventions, the police have continued to harass, threaten and disrupt people’s constitutional rights of free assembly.

Now we move on to the Republican National Convention being held in the Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Last week the police stopped members of the New York Based Glass Bead Collective and confiscated their laptops and video equipment. Thanks to hard work of the National Lawyers Guild they got it back, except for the $100.00 cash, that was a welcome fee from the office of Homeland Insecurity.

Over the weekend the cops with nothing better to do but raid convergence spaces and harass people were at it again…must have needed more cash. And you’ll never guess what they claimed their reasoning was…Anarchists!!

Got this message from Eileen Clancey of I-Witness video yesterday:

“This is Eileen Clancy.
The house that I-Witness Video where is staying in St. Paul has been
surrounded by police. We are in town to cover the Republican National
Convention. We have locked all the doors. We have been told that if we
leave we will be detained. One of our people who was caught outside is
being detained in handcuffs in front of the house. The police say that
they are waiting to get a search warrant. More than a dozen police are
wielding firearms, including one St. Paul officer with a long gun, which
someone told me is an M-16.

At least one local TV crew is here along with some legal observers. Our
colleagues at Glass Bead Collective are outside videotaping.

We are suffering a preemptive video arrest.

Please contact the office of the St. Paul mayor. I am not in a position
to do Internet research so if someone else could look that up and also
contact news media in town for the RNC and local news media, that would be

All the best,

There was this article in the Star Tribune:

Police raid RNC protest sites in Twin Cities
By Abby Simons, Heron Marquez Estrada and Bill McAuliffe, Star Tribune
August 30, 2008 – 6:26 PM

Ramsey County authorities conducted raids across Minneapolis and St. Paul Friday and Saturday as a pre-emptive strike against disruptive protests of the Republican National Convention.

Five people were arrested and more than 100 were handcuffed, questioned and released by scores of deputies and police officers, according to police and elected officials familiar with the raids.

In a statement Saturday morning, Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said the St. Paul raid targeted the RNC Welcoming Committee, a group he described as “a criminal enterprise made up of 35 self-described anarchists…intent on committing criminal acts before and during the Republican National Convention.”

Full article Here.

Then I got this message:

“This is Eileen. The house raid is over. We have been released from our
cuffs and the police have our house. Our belongings were searched. But we
have not inventoried them so we do not yet know yet if something is

5 other I-Witness Video folks were detained, both on bicycles and in a
rental car. Moments ago, I heard that 3 were released. We do not know the
status of the other 2.

Please keep phoning the St. Paul Mayor’s office. Many thanks for your
calls and ongoing support.

I will write later.”

– Eileen

Then later I got ths:

“Hello folks,
All of our people have been released. As you know from our earlier
messages, several of us experienced a house raid earlier today. Two
others who were in a car were picked up and held for four hours. Three
people were also detained for a couple of hours.

There was a significant media presence documenting our detention —
several local television stations, the NY Times, NPR station WNYC,
Democracy Now and others.

Now we need to take some time to document what has happened to us and
re-group with our people.

We all received many e-mails and phone calls. Thanks again for calling the
St. Paul Mayor’s office.

We will write again soon.”

– Eileen Clancy

Ah, this is why the terrorists hate us. Because we are so “Free.” Nothing more threatening to the security of the RNC delegates then an overturned dumpster by a “self-described” anarchist.

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:

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)


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

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.


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

City Council Member’s letter to the Manhattan DA calling for an
investigation into the NYPD’s policies toward Critical Mass:

Time’s Up! letter to the editor published in New York Times replying to
Raymond Kelly’s comments on Critical Mass:


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 ( or call (914.417.2726) me with any questions.

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