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City wide biking initiative in Paris.


July 15th, a day after the French Revolution anniversary, Paris will launch a program with over 10,000 rentable bicycles making it the first city of its kind to have a cheap set of emission free wheels no more thn 900 feet away.

So while we here in NYC try to figure out how to tax people for driving with Bloomberg’s congestion pricing, Paris does the logical thing and provides people another way of getting around…the bicycle.

No surprise there, just check out Michael Moore’s new documentary, “Sicko” and see how advanced France is in caring for people instead of trying to find ways to make profit.

article from the Christian Science Monitor

French revolution: Rentable bikes every 900 feet
By Robert Marquand, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

Paris – The socialist mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, has seen the future and it’s got two wheels, three speeds, an adjustable seat, indestructible tires, a basket, and a bell. It’s 50 pounds of ecofriendly handlebars, comin’ at ya.

The French are turning Paris into a bicycle zone, pretty much overnight. Even now, astride small alleys and behind boulangeries, paving stones are being ripped to fit 750 bicycle rent “stations.”

On July 15, a day after the French Revolution anniversary, the city of lights will kick off a “vélorution” with 10,648 rentable bikes, or vélos. By January, some 1,400 rent stations and 20,600 bikes are scheduled to be in place. In Paris proper, one will never be more than 900 feet from a set of cheap wheels. At least theoretically.
Similar programs have been launched elsewhere with varying success. But Paris officials say their city is the first world capital to adopt a major green biking initiative, and they are doing it in a way that may be too big to fail. The ambitious Paris project is titled Vélib’ – wordplay for bicycle freedom. Read: freedom from too many cars and carbon fumes.

“When I first got involved with Vélib, I was amazed at the number of stations, 750 to start with, and the enthusiasm of everyone for reducing auto traffic,” says Jonathan Pierson, a Paris native who’s part of a team of young Parisians hosting questions at Vélib stations during the day.

Amsterdam, a city not unfamiliar with bikes, tried a similar experiment that foundered. But the French think they’ve conquered the kinks. A bike-rental program started in Lyon in 2005 is working.

One clincher for the Paris project: Vélib isn’t costing the city anything, and should be self-supporting. The program is financed by advertising behemoth JC Decaux – in exchange for 1,600 billboards around the city.

The concept is computerized and credit card driven. Each station has a large ATM-sized panel that gives instructions in French, German, English, and Chinese. Riders buy in for a day (1 rules), a week (5 rules), or a year (29 euro). The panel issues a card that can be swiped over a small locking pod to release the bike.

It is also a concept designed mainly for commuters, not tourists seeking a languid ride along the Seine. Riders have 30 minutes to get to their destination before any charge is made. After 30 minutes, the cost is 1 euro ($1.36). The bike is 2 rules for 1.5 hours, and 4 euro for 2 hours. “We hope each bike is used 10 to 14 times a day,” says Pierson, who notes that the stations are open 24/7.

A rider who arrives to find no locking pods available, checks in, and is given another free 15 minutes and directions to the closest space. Need to stop for a baguette? The bike has a lock.

Yet there’s also some personal responsibility tied up with bicycle freedom. To avoid problems found in Lyon – nearly half of its 1,000 bikes disappeared or were destroyed in the first year – initial membership in the Paris program puts a 150 euros hold on the credit card. People are charged for bikes that aren’t returned, placing an emphasis on rider care and oversight. Should a bike not be returned, an alarm inside the bike will go off.

Today, Lyon’s program seems to have lost its training wheels; it now has 4,000 bikes that get ridden 20,000 times a day, more than 40 percent of which are used by office workers.

Paris officials hope to register 200,000 rides a day. Perhaps one can amend Ezra Pound’s famous 1913 modernist reflection on the Paris metro: “…faces in the crowd/petals on a wet black bough” to “pedals on a silver-grey vélo.”

Not that Parisians won’t have to adjust. The French are fond of the idea of civilization and the vision of a city suffused with bike commuters is a humanist heaven. The problem is that Paris streets are Darwinist by nature. The 19th-century avenues are host to 21st-century traffic. The bulk of movement is not by vélos, but by Jurassic Park-like véloceraptors – aggressive autos and packs of even more aggressive motorscooters that tunnel through and sweep around car lanes and backed-up traffic.

City fathers and mothers argue that Parisian drivers will simply start to adjust. Such is the faith.

In the past two years, Paris has created larger zones for bikes, buses, and taxis. But there’s no history of bike helmet wearing. Paris commuters in the morning and evening aren’t particularly patient, and bike stations only have one sign-up panel. Some Parisians question the vélo station courtesy levels late at night, when students and partygoers want to get home.

For all the Tour de France glam and a general rise in bicycle culture in France, Paris has not been a bike town. A rising tide of bikers, though, are notorious for riding on sidewalks, ignoring traffic signals, and biking the wrong way on all those one-way streets.

Ann-Marie Fouchet of the Geppeto Vélo bike shop on the Left Bank feels the program “is good as a way to establish biking in Paris.” But she says that Parisians are not used to dealing with bikes on the road. Every Friday evening about 500 bikers join for a tour of the city, during which “cars aren’t always courteous and the bikers are not always knowing how to deal with them,” Ms. Fouchet says.

Another niggling factor amid the revolutionary fervor: parking. Parisians may like the idea of bike heaven, but few want their already crowded parking spaces absconded. To the barricades!

Albert Asseraf, director of marketing at Decaux, says that the bike project is so broad that after July 15, 2007, Parisians will refer to “before Vélib, and after Vélib.”

Ok. Vive le vélo!

slide show of upcoming program from yahoo

This program is being experimented in NYC until Tomorrow…check the earlier posting.

What has floppy ears and flys…


Its a cool hipster neighborhood and a cuddly character from Disney…and its an alleycat race.

Critical mass…another one missed

So I missed another Critical Mass and am embarassed to be reporting on this now…

June’s Critical Mass was meet with the same repression…tons of cops occupying union square, videotaping the 100 or so participants of the ride.

Street preformer Reverend Billy decided to lend a hand by reciting the first amendment in Union Square:

Here is a bit of what happened-

New York, NY (July 2, 2007) – On Friday, June 29, the NYPD arrested and
detained Reverend Billy, also known as Bill Talen, for reciting the First
Amendment in Union Square. Talen was charged with two counts of harassment
in the second degree and held overnight in The Tombs. The police were
gathered in force at Union Square in preparation for the monthly bicycle
ride known as Critical Mass, which draws attention to environmental issues
and bicycle safety.

here is a video of the arrest from the Glass Bead Collective:

Apparently despite the ridiculous arrest for someone speaking in public…50-75 managed to form a critical mass and ride around NYC, cop free.

Yes my friends, this is what it has come down to.

Article in Time Magazine on Biking’s popularity

Breaking Away
Thursday, Jun. 28, 2007 By DAN KADLEC
Recreational cycling appears to have peaked in the U.S., its popularity cresting sometime during Lance Armstrong’s record runs at the Tour de France. But as the sport has lost enthusiasts overall, a surprising demographic has stuck around and even begun to dominate the trails and bike paths of the U.S., if not yet the world: retirees and near retiree.
eople ages 45 to 64 account for 20% of all those over age 7 who rode a bike at least six times last year, according to the National Sporting Goods Association. That’s up from 13% a decade ago. Yes, this age bracket is expanding as a percentage of the overall population, but demographics can’t tell the whole story. After all, golf–the quintessential 50-plus sport–is moving in reverse, at least in some respects. Last year, for the first time in 60 years, more golf courses shut down than started up, and the number of frequent golfers declined.
The appeal of cycling is most pronounced among the youngest baby boomers (ages 45 to 54), who are also tackling other vigorous leisure activities including hiking and running marathons. Such pursuits embody the active later lifestyle that much of the boomer generation has come to adopt, and which has been embraced as the ad media’s new image of older Americans at leisure. Certainly, semi-seniors wake up the morning after a vigorous outing with more aches and pains than they had in their 20s, but the physical benefits exceed the cost. Regular exercise lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, keeps weight down and improves mental outlook. This is all good news.
Yet there is more at work in the biking trend than a desire to stay fit. Armstrong’s string of wins starting in 1999 might have made cycling cool, and health concerns might have made it smart, but technology made it accessible. If you’ve been eager to take up the sport but are put off by the discomfort of a traditional bicycle, take another look. Many of today’s models come with bigger seats and higher handlebars–easing the strain on bottoms and backs–and even automatic gear shifting. Features like these have helped create a whole new line of bikes, known as hybrid or comfort, the latter word particularly appealing to older riders. The very hottest part of the market is road bikes, which also appeal to boomers who may be giving up on yesterday’s phenomenon–less comfortable mountain bikes, a category in which sales have tailed off dramatically.
With its grayish skew, could cycling become the new golf? A number of things suggest it already is. Stories increasingly surface of businesspeople cutting deals or doctors swapping medical techniques while on a ride, as opposed to the fourth tee. Early this month, at a gathering of the Neurosurgical Society of America in Kohler, Wis., the docs for the first time had the option of skipping an afternoon on the links and instead going for a group ride–and at least 20 signed up.
The Kohler outing was put together by Trek Travel trektravel.com) which arranges cycling events around the world and is benefiting from the graying of the sport; 85% of its clients are ages 45 to 60. “There’s been a huge upswing in our group-travel business,” says sales manager Michael Meholic.
While plenty of Trek Travel’s trips are for business groups, the majority are still for folks taking up the sport as a means of maintaining or establishing social groups and staying connected with kids and grandkids. Among the top trends in cycling-related travel are programs that include children, says Cari Gray, a spokeswoman for Butterfield & Robinson butterfield.com) which arranges cycling trips around the world. Gray says clients value intimacy with the countryside, which you can’t get on a tour bus, as well as the personal time they get with loved ones.
But that doesn’t mean boomers aren’t serious cyclers. “People have epiphanies on our trips all the time–climbing a hill they thought they couldn’t or going farther than they thought they could,” says Gray. B&R clients are mostly 45-plus, and she says they are far better riders today than the firm’s clients were 10 years ago. “Boomers are different,” she says. “They want more from their vacation than a hangover and a tan.”

Bike share in NYC July 7th-11th

In this week’s TimeOut NY, the “How Green are You?” issue…or in other words…”what Green products can you buy…” is an article on an experiment being conducted in NYC about “bicycle sharing”

article:

Pedal pushers
Urban planners see European-style bike sharing in Gotham’s future.
by: — Daniel Derouchie

A lot of New Yorkers bike, and more probably would (especially in hard-to-reach parts of town), if only they didn’t actually have to, you know, own a bicycle. Luckily, the Forum for Urban Design just might have the answer. Saturday 7 through Wednesday 11, they’re teaming up with the Storefront for Art and Architecture to conduct an innovative study called the New York Bike Share Project. “The hope is to see how New Yorkers might use bikes for short trips,” says Forum executive director David Haskell, “if they were made readily available and free.”

During the project, 20 bikes will be available for pickup and drop-off at the Storefront on Kenmare Street and at a rotating series of spots that includes City Hall, Washington Square Park and Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn. Inside the Storefront gallery, a display of maps, pictures and literature will detail bike-sharing successes in eight European cities. The way it works over there is simple, according to Haskell: Bikes—usually no-frills, brightly painted and durable—are locked in racks until they are released, either by swiping a credit card or by sending a text message via cell phone. Since both methods are traceable, stealing a bike is difficult.

Currently, bike sharing appears most promising in areas with public transportation gaps, including parts of Williamsburg and Red Hook. But it could also relieve stress on overcrowded subway lines like the 6. “There are millions of minor trips that New Yorkers make every day,” explains Haskell. “The goal is to incentivize short trips.” Which may explain why the city of Paris offers the first 30 minutes free and the second half-hour for the equivalent of 50¢.

Haskell notes that New York is a long way from Paris, which is set to have 10,000 bikes and 750 stations by the end of summer. But the results of this study will help City Hall determine which model might work here and how best to implement it.

Nightly from 6 to 8pm, riders will also be able to offer comments and listen to presentations by city leaders and experts from the companies that manage these cycling systems. “Bottom line: Bike shares are cheap and easily implemented,” says Haskell. “And soon people will realize that we aren’t looking to limit anyone’s options. In fact, we’re giving them one that previously didn’t exist.”

For more info, go to nybikeshare.org

Dance Party Ride this Saturday…

I know, Bikeblog has really slacked on his duties of informing the public of whats happening in the bike world…sorry, been busy with work.

So Saturday the 7th of July is an Alleycat race…7-7-07 (get it) more details on that soon. And there is The DANCE PARTY RIDE!

Here is info from Ryan…

hey hey hey

so, this summer i am leading rides for this cool bike group, FREEWHEELS.

the schedule
includes some rides to the beach, some historical tours, brooklyn farm
visits and one of my personal faves…the dance party ride.

it just so hapeens that this saturday is the infamous dance party
ride….i am now gonna try and tantalize you with some fun facts about
the night, hoping you’ll jump on your bike and join us.

the ride is called the dance party ride because we end up at one of
brooklyn’s best dance parties…First Saturday. First Saturday is the
Brooklyn Museum of Arts freebie activity. Starting at 5pm on the
first saturday of every month, the museum is free to enter and there
are tons of lectures, art activities, movies, and MUSIC. Each month
has a different musical theme, with performances from 5-830pm of local
musicians and then a dj dance party from 9-11pm. In the summer months
(unless it is raining) the dance party is outside under the stars.
(ooh la la).

this month–JULY– the theme is Afro-Punk. Typically, there is a ton
of activities circling the general theme. They will be playing the
eddie murphy movie–coming to america–you can make a wood tile
mosaic, you can go to a feminist hip hop lecture, etc etc. typically,
the ride skips this stuff because it is to early to motivate. (for
full schedule see:
Brooklyn Museum

however, this is not a typical month. one of the early bird
activities is a performance by CIRCUS AMOK.
(http://www.circusamok.org/about) From 5-7pm, they will be out in
the public plaza performing. Since they are not to be missed, anyone
who is interested should congregate at the museum during this time,
check out the circus, and then we will ride together to the 730pm
williamsburg bridge meet up.(probably leave the museum sometime
between 630 & 7).

then the fun will really start. we will hook up with freinds and
fellow bikers at the base of the Wiliamsburg Bridge. We usually kick
back from 730 to 8 as people arrive from all over Manhattan and
Brooklyn. The ride to the museum is fun…especially with lots of
people so bring your friends!! We wind our way through Hassid-land,
skirting the Navy Yard, and traveling up through the historic tree
lined streets of Fort Greene.

and then it’s time for a dance party. this month we will be treated
by an Afro-Punk Festival with DJs CX Kidtronik and King Cole, and
bands The Exit and the Dragons of Zynth. we usually head for a spot
on the grass with a good view of the dance floor. set up a picnic
(feel free to bring something to eat, drink, and be merry with…i
highly recomend filling your bottles with a summer sangria or rum
punch) and then go dance.

anyways, its a good time and i hope you will join us.

Dance Party Ride:
***meet anytime from 5-7pm @ the Circus Amok performance in the public
plaza. (look for bikers. call 718 781 1195 if you are lost and cant
find us). Group will leave museum no later than 7pm.
***meet at the base of the Williamsburg bridge @ 730pm…on the wall
or over by the statue. look for a group of bikers. Ride will probably
leave @ 745-8pm.

Alrighty, feel free to forward this email to any of your friends with bikes.
The more the merrier. Yeah bike power!

Up coming Alleycats…and events

Saturday, the 23rd of June…Baltimore…Hey Riders!

It is also the 25th anniversary of the Coney Island Mermaid Parade…Good times.

then upcoming…

July 4th…Part 2 of the 5 borough series…

July 28th, in Boston…

Rumble thru da Bronx 4…race results and pictures.


Rumble thru da Bronx 4 was another huge success, despite a few crashes, wrecked bikes and post race accidents involving a car running over a tatoo artists hand.

Placing: (full race results will be on 5 borogenerals soon)

1. austin (fixed)
2. dan jersey (road)
3. crhis (or however he spells it) (fixed)
4. dave trimble (road)
5. ?? (fixed)
6. generic (road)
7 and 8. izumi and yatika (both fixed)
9. heidi (road)
10. diablo? (road)

Here are some pictures from my flickr site.

and “http://www.flickr.com/photos/javiergarcia-albea/sets/72157600381719865/”> Javier Garcia Albea’s

and
Morgan’s pix

Dave August’s video from the start…

Saturday, June 16th is the Roving Garden Party

2:00pm, center of Tompkins Square Park.

Join the…
***ROVING GARDEN PARTY ***
***FOLLOWED BY A RALLY/PARTY TO SAVE CHILDREN’S MAGICAL GARDEN***
One Part Ecology, Two Parts Mardi Gras! & Rambunctious fun for all!

Come dance down the streets to celebrate community, our public space, and the gardens! We’ll visit some gardens, throw some seeds balls, unleash some surprises, partake in ritual, stand up against some slimy developers and end with an after-party/ rally at Children’s Magical Garden

Special Guests
Rude Mechanical Orchestra!
The Stop Shopping Choir
Bike-Lane Liberation Clowns
Fairy Brigade
Jugglers, Puppets & Tap Dancers
More Gardens! Coalition
Time’s Up!
You & Your Crew
Supporters of Children’s Magical Garden
As well as a few friends from Gardens Past Present & Future.

Come downtown and dance to save the community gardens! So far this year, five gardens have been attacked by developers! Over 50 gardens still endangered –21 in Harlem alone!The Children’s Magical Garden de Carmen Rubio is in Danger!

Lets do what we have always done when faced with a threat: Dress up, Play music, Dance and make some noise as we call for support from the garden creatures!

We all need places to play, to dream, to connect with each other and theworld. For NYC, community gardens are some of those places. So are the streets. Unfortunately, the public commons are under attack. Let’s revel in the places and people that are still untamed.

The parade will finish with a rally and press conference at Children’s Magical Garden.
(For more information on the struggle to save the garden see http://www.thevillager.com/villager_182/stantonstkids.html and http://www.kidsmagicgarden.net/)

Bring drums and instruments! Bring the kids! Bring food, plants and seeds to share!
Dress as the garden creature of your dreams!

Come by Times Up! (49 East Houston) on Saturday morning starting at 11am on to decorate yourself and bike!

raindate June 17th

Do i need to mention…


Rumble thru da bronx 4 is tomorrow. During a Yankee’s Mets game.