Video from Bike Film Festival LA

BFF Block Party LA 2008 from rossangeles on Vimeo.

Made by the awesome: Ross Harris

And here are a few photo compilations on flickr:

with my ol pal Ashira.

Photos by: soundof78


Hippies on Tallbikes from: Blkmarket

Next stop for our beloved Film Festival:

San Francisco-July 23rd-26th

Bike Polo article in Sacramento Bee

Sent by Joe Hendry of Mess Media

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 – 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 – 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.”

Bedford Ave in Williamsburg becomes Auto Free

As an experiment to see what a city could be like to have an auto free esplanade, the business community of Williamsburg is shutting down Bedford Ave. on four different Saturdays.

This Saturday, July 19th is the first one.

Get more info here.

Pardon the pun, but steps in the right direction.

Help Low Income Kids have a great summer.

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 Fund’s year-round camping program serves an additional 2,000 young people each year.

Bicycle Film Festival LA

The Bicycle Film Festival is happening in Los Angeles. July 18th-20th.

All the info here.

Thursday, July 18th

9:30 pm – 2:00 am
A Club Called Rhonda
$3 with RSVP/ $6 without
Free before 10 pm if you show up on a bike!

4916 Hollywood Blvd., LA 90027

free bike valet from LACBC
DJ sets from Little Boots (UK)
crazy hot dance floor fun!

Sunday, July 20th.

12-8 pm
Heliotrope Drive at Melrose Avenue
East Hollywood

This is going to be the party of the year!
Fun bike games, bunnyhop contest, track competitions, free-style competitions. Great Music too!!

Kunst Rad Show
artistic cycling performance

So I meet Mathew Modine

I was riding past Continuum bike shop on my way home and it just so happened Matthew Modine was there on his tour to promote this bicycle for a day in September.

How could I forget Mr. Modine’s most famous roll in Full Metal Jacket:

Let me see your war face!

Well he didn’t show me his war face and I didn’t mention how influential that amazing Kubrick movie has been on our event, Rumble thru da Bronx either.

I did have a brief chat with him and he seems genuinely down with the cause of getting more people on bikes. I will get more information on this upcoming event. The I proceeded to ride home, across the Williamsburg bridge and crash on absolutely nothing.

Now I’m tending to a sore wrist and few scrapes.


Party with Actor Matthew Modine…Yes he rides a bike.

Party Tonight and Celebrity Bike ride with Matthew Modine.

Yes its true. I mean its no Al Sharpton, but actor Matthew Modine most remembered for his 1988 in “Married to the Mob” is really into biking in the city.

On September 20, 2008, Matt will be hosting the event Bicycle for a day. There are no details about this yet, but it sounds to me like a permitted ride where the city will make concessions for people to ride a bike for a day, because there is a celebrity involved. This should have the effect of making people realize people should only ride bikes on certain special days and then go back to there usual attitude that bikes are just for jobless hippies and they should do their best to not become hood ornaments for the more important automobiles.

Ok, I am being bitter. I’m just not into these token events and gimicky stunts that the city has been proposing to promoting cycling because its the hip thing to do, while real bike activists have been fighting with the city for decades just to safely ride their bike.

But to be positive…We take what we can get and build from the momentum, I guess. I mean just look what Madonna has done for adoption…oh wait, bad example. The good example is look what Bette Midler has done for community gardens.

So today…Matthew will be riding to various bicycle related destinations…to promote his event.

Here is a list of the stops:

July 15th (Tuesday)

4:30 PM – Start Ride

DUMBO (Brooklyn)
35 Pearl Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Bay Ridge Bicycle World
8916 3rd Ave
Brooklyn, NY, 11209
(718) 238-1118

B’s Bikes
262 Driggs Ave
Brooklyn, NY, 11222

Nelson’s Bicycle Shop
251 Bushwick Ave
Brooklyn, NY, 11206
(718) 821-4811

Continuum Cycles
199 Ave B
New York, NY, 10009
(212) 505-8785

Frank’s Bike Shop
553 Grand St
New York, NY, 10002
(212) 533-6332

Track Star
231 Eldridge St
New York, NY, 10002
(212) 982-2553

NYC Velo
64 2nd Ave
New York, NY, 10003
(212) 253-7771

Thats kind of decent ride–
Will the cops be escorting? Will the hassle people for running red lights, not having a bell, lights? Will there be any helicopters?

This ride ends at an Art show at 7:30pm

361 Bowery
New York, NY 10003

My good friend and filmmaker Daniel Leeb has made a short film about Matthew and it will be screening at the party.

There are other videos about local celebrities love of the bicycle sponsored by Puma.

PUMA Presents The I-Cycle Film Series, Produced and Directed by Cinecycle.

Being a longtime supporter of and innovator in the bike community, PUMA® releases the I-Cycle Film Series, a collection of short films exploring bike culture and the people who influence it.

The I-Cycle Film Series focuses on some of today’s biggest advocates for two-wheeled life, including – Matthew McGuinness, a cofounder of The 62, a Brooklyn-based art collective who started Re-Bicycle; George Bliss, the man behind New York’s Pedi-cabs; Brendt Barbur, founder of The Bicycle Film Festival, Matthew Modine, actor and founder of Bicycle-For-A-Day, an ongoing initiative to encourage and inspire individuals to leave their cars in the garage and reduce their carbon footprints on the world; and finally, Antonio Bertone, PUMA’s CMO and one of the main reasons for PUMA’s presence in the bicycle world.

Check out the movies here:


Friends Bike Stolen

Another bike is kidnapped. My good friend and co-worker, Matt Craig, had his bicycle stolen today near 11th and 5th Ave. According to police, this is a high target area for bicycle thieves. The lowest of the lot. Of course the mere fact that the police know this is a little unsettling, but after all we can’t expect a tiny police force like the NYPD with 40,000 cops (6th largest standing army in the planet) do anything about petty bike theft. I mean they’re way to busy making sure we don’t ride in groups of more than 30.

Matt had just been given permission by his adoring wife to buy a commuter bicycle to be able to get to the various location he frequents for work. The deal is that Matt is going to work as much as he can while Lisa stays home and takes care of their baby son Liam. Believe me, this is a fair compromise because it may seem glamorous to work in Hollywood but we often put in 18 hour days and 80 hour weeks. (I know, I can hear the worlds tiniest violins playing now)

Matt, like me, works as a freelance union lighting technician in the film and television industry. That’s right, those people who take over all the parking, shine bright lights into your windows late at night and have young production assistants with headsets on, trying to tell New Yorkers where they can cross the street.

I had just gotten off a television pilot shooting on location in Lower Manhattan where almost the entire electrical crew rode bicycles…slowly my local union is realizing just how convenient it really is and I’m not just a freak for riding my bike everywhere. Like many people who work here in the city, us film people have the same problems…unsafe bicycle parking. Luckily for us, on this job, our boss was very bicycle friendly, a fixed gear junkie, and made sure we all stored our bikes on the electric truck. This was a rare occurrence, kind of like finding a midtown office allowing you to take your bike into the building.

Well that job has long past and Matt had just locked his bike up near set, thinking it would probably be safe. He did not have a very good lock however. These days you can not slack on the bike locking. Petty theft is up, bike theft is up. Bikes should be locked with Kryptonite chains (thats right the $90.00 one) and both wheels should be locked. As well as something dealing with quick release wheels and some sort of solution for locking the seat. Its still New York after all.

So I am writing this not to slag on the NYPD, not to tell ridiculous anecdotes about the film industry but to alert people that this bicycle was stolen.

Here is a stock picture of the bicycle:

It is a mustard colored Salsa Casserole, single speed bicycle. He bought the bike about a month ago from NYC Velo.

If you have any information about this bike please call: Matt Craig at (917)922-9384 or email him:

Please help this poor film technician be able to get to work clean and efficient and not continue to do something god awful like take public transportation or a motor vehicle.

Party tomorrow at Affinity Cycles

Bike Sharing Program gains popularity.

This just in from Gothamist:

Bike sharing program…

read more here

A new bike sharing program on Governors Island has proven so popular that the DOT is considering ways to implement a similar program throughout the rest of the city.

The forum for urban design is offering a bike sharing program starting today.