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.

Awesome short documentary on CMWC 2008

Bad to the Bike

Another article found by Joe Hendry of Mess Media

Picture of Augie Montes, 34.

Bad to the bike

Messengers dodge traffic—and peril—in the streets of Chicago

By Leonor Vivanco

Red Eye, July 8, 2008

They are the road warriors of Chicago streets.

Bike messengers slice through traffic, clashing with drivers, battling buses, sometimes yelling at cabbies and dodging pedestrians who dare to cross their path. Broken bones and scars are their badges of honor. Their armor: simple, speedy bicycles, messenger bags large enough to hold a 30-pack of beer, cargo straps to carry boxes, dispatch radios and, most important of all, helmets.

More than 300 bike messengers in Chicago work year-round to accomplish one important mission: delivering packages as safely and quickly as possible. They make an estimated 1.1 million deliveries a year, mostly downtown, according to the city’s 2015 Bike Plan, which was implemented in 2006. The more runs they make, the more money they earn.

But, as they buzz along city streets, bike messengers ride a fine line between adventure and risk. Some drivers and pedestrians who share the road see messengers as reckless riders who follow their own set of rules.

Messengers admit to breaking traffic laws and riding aggressively.

“A lot of times it’s very likely the messenger who just broke the traffic law you saw is delivering a document that directly affects your life,” said Augie Montes, 34, co-owner of 4 Star Courier Collective and a bike messenger for eight years.

“It’s not really about trying to be the biggest badass downtown. It’s trying to get the job done and trying not to break your neck in the process,” he said.

The job has its occupational hazards—including the risk of injury or even death.

More than 6,000 crashes between bicycles and motor vehicles were reported in Chicago between 2001 and 2005, with 30 bicyclists killed, according to the city’s Transportation Department.

City officials are trying to make roads safer for all cyclists. In March, the City Council approved fines ranging from $150 to $500 for certain driving violations, including turning left or right in front of a bicyclist, passing a bicyclist with less than three feet of space, opening a vehicle door into the path of a bicyclist, and parking in a bicycle lane.

Some bike messengers doubt the new laws will be enforced. Even so, the fines are a positive step, said Amy Polcaster, 20, of Humboldt Park.

“It sends a message there are bikers in Chicago. We’re not trying to hurt anybody, but we’re here, and we’d like a little room in the street,” said Polcaster, who delivers food for Freshii catering on her bike, often hauling 50 sandwiches and 50 cans of pop to businesses.

Even though the job can be dangerous, bike messengers brave blistering cold winters, wet springs and humid summers because they say they love the job.

“You don’t have someone looking over your shoulder. You’re not stuck in a cubicle all day,” said Rene Cudal, 40, a messenger for 13 years who lives in Noble Square and a co-owner of 4 Star Courier Collective.

On an average day, a bike messenger makes roughly 30 deliveries and clocks at least 30 miles, messengers say. They can take home an average of $100 a day, Cudal said. Some messenger companies pay commission per delivery, while others pay an hourly wage plus commission.

The messengers defend their job, saying it’s not an easy one. Instead, it’s a balancing act in a race against time.

“A lot of people do not really realize how hard it is. [They think] ‘Oh, you’re just riding your bike,’ ” Cudal said. “But let’s see you cut through this traffic and get to North Avenue [from Superior and Wells Streets] in seven minutes.”

The need for speed

Bike messengers’ skills will be put to the test Labor Day weekend in the 11th annual North American Cycle Courier Championship in Chicago. The sanctioned event, which crowns a working bike messenger in North America as the winner, will be held on a closed course in Garfield Park, where checkpoints and assigned pick-up and drop-off locations simulate a day of work.