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Critical Mass takes off…on the Subway?

In a bizarre twist of spontaneous regrouping and the immediate need to not be lambs for the slaughter, a small group of legally gathered, un-permitted bike riders (less than 50) took another form of transportation…the subway to start the April Critical Mass. At around 7:30pm, April 27th, 2007 less than 50 people gathered at the North side of Union Square for the monthly critical mass bike ride. It was kind of sad really, that our numbers have been so whittled down by the tiresome antics of the NYPD. I haven’t gone to critical mass in almost a year, but with the break in the action of foul weather and watching a lot of messed up video footage, I felt like it was time to attend. It has really gotten to the point of “not going” makes the police win in their war against a fun event, especially with all this talk of Green Initiatives and reducing global warming. I just get this feeling, that the bike riders are in the right and with persistence, we can be like that blade of grass breaking through concrete and thus eroding the system. I mean, lets not forget the basics…we started this ride, and after all…we are JUST RIDING BICYCLES!

So it was looking grim, there in Union Square, 40 of us die-hards who were starting to be out numbered by scooter cops, people with video cameras and those who came to support the ride, but didn’t bring bicycles…just to see if there was any action, like mass ticketing or tackling. I know, I didn’t want to leave Union Square and quickly have to dodge cops or watch my friends get ticketed for no reason. Is this what Critical mass has become? Ugh. Someone surfaced the idea that we hop on the 4 subway and go somewhere else. This idea became increasingly popular as the time moved away from 7:30, about when the mass gets started and no one had any intention of being the first to leave the park on bike. This is what eventually happened…and it worked! We all walked to the subway stop at the North End of Union square, picked up our bikes and went on the subway…amazing. As we searched for metrocards and passed through the turnstiles…a group of uniformed officers, desperate to have some sort of retribution, ran over to a few riders and questioned them about weather they swiped their cards…with enough erratic fervor that you could of sworn Richard Colvin Reid, the shoe bomber, had escaped Gauntanomo and was loose on the subway. “Stop, hey you, did you swipe your card?” Ridiculous. Other than that, we were scott free. We waited on the GREEN train platform, squeezed into multiple cars, which would have been a lot more difficult if we were more than 50 and headed to Fulton Street in the downtown financial district area. When we got downtown, we got out and gathered on Broadway and then began critical mass…POLICE FREE. This was truly amazing. We had one giant wheel unicycle, one tallbike and about 40 other riders. We had lost a few people along the way, some didn’t go on the subway, some got off at the wrong stop and there was rumor that a group went to Brooklyn, thinking we meant the other Fulton St. For the most part, we were united as a group, taking up all the lanes of traffic and engaged in a fun critical mass. As we headed up Church St. towards Canal, it seemed that a lot more people knew who we were. There was a lot of friendly supportive honking from motor vehicles and crowd waving. We stayed mostly downtown and our numbers grew a little as others joined in and meet up from Union Square…I still think we were always just under 50…so we were technically legal.

It was a successful critical mass…no tickets, no arrests and no cops. Interesting. This new tactic of taking the subway and starting the ride outside of Union Square, seemed to work really well, but we were a tight group. It definitely brings up ideas of starting future rides elsewhere or meeting in a new spot all together…hmmm.

I say we start the multiple meet-up spots, or get back to the text messaging list where you don’t find out the start till 7:30pm.
The thought process is that no matter what we do, the cops catch wind of it (with all their infiltration) and spoil our fun anyway. Its still worth a try and it was really amazing to have a successful critical mass.

We need to get the numbers up…so come to the next ride!

There is a video up already from last nights ride, made by the Times Up video collective and Team Spider.

¬

A28…Bush is Over!

Tomorrow is the national day of action to begin the impeachment process of BUSH. Bush is over if you want it.

go to a28.org to find out where the nearest action is.

It is a day to spell out impeachment for photo ops and to let the world know how you would like George W. Bush’s career to proceed.

We will be at Coney Island tomorrow!

Check out this map of all the groups signed up to take action…

New coverage of Bike Polo in NYC


the bike polo coverage is non stop, and the East Side Invitational hasn’t even started yet. Here is a video story from the NY Times

and here is an article

Critical Mass Tomorrow

Tomorrow is NYC critical Mass…check out this video from glassbead collective from last months ride.

on time’s up video .

This was a collaborative effort of many volunteer videographers of the lame behavior of the NYPD.

Tomorrow ESPI

East Side Polo Invitational starts in NYC…

Bike Polo…
Check out this mallet cam…by Chris Habib

Here is a more detailed schedule:

Friday
Party and Registration: Bushwick Country Club
618 Grand St, Brooklyn
Happy hour until 10:00 for contenders.

Saturday
Qualifiers: Game play starts at 10:00am sharp.
Chrystie/ Broome St. Court.

Polo Sprints: After competion.
Three Sparks Night: Polo Alleycat. Starts at 8:00pm at
Chrystie/Broome St. Court.
Bonus points for drunkenness and Prom costumes.

Bike Prom: Get dressed the fuck up!
Prom at the Chunk Shack! 794 Broadway #2, Brooklyn.
Lloydski and Stachemaster DJing until the morning.
Prom Photos!
10:00pm on.

Sunday
Finals. Game play starts at 10:00am sharp!
Chrystie/Broome St. Court.
BBQ at night. Location to be announced.

Protest is alive and well in NYC…

Yesterday, activists gathered in City Hall Park to protest the head of the city council, Christine Quinn, who has taken a stance on the side of the police in the new parade rules which state…that no more than 50 people can demonstrate without a permit.

Gays, Lesbians and Transgender activists lead a small march of MORE than 50 people (possibly around 100) to show their outrage with such an unconstitutional ruling, especially apporved by the head of the legislative body of the city. Christine Quinn, a lesbian, once was willing to put herself on the front lines to fight for gay rights and issues surrounding HIV and AIDS, now believes it is a fair ruling. Its ok to protest in this city as long as you ask to police for permission…Yeah Right.

This is why the lead banner in the march was…Stonewall was and unpermitted action!

100 or so marchers came out of City Hall Park, flanked by an army of independent news videographers and the usual row of scooter cops, now synonymous with Critical Mass.

There was some pushing and shoving by the loose cannon police when we dared to take our march into the street for half a second…ooohhh, right around ground zero. There were 3 arrests…

If your wondering what happened to Chris Ryan’s video about this demonstration…I was asked to remove it because of some inappropraite text in the video which claims Gays don’t ride bikes…it wasn’t in good taste.

Here is a link to the Glass Bead Collectives video of the same protest.

Once again, this video shows how the NYPD deal with demonstrations…permit or no permit.

First the demonstrators engage in civil disobedience…like when Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat…they step into the sacred streets. Then the cops alert them to get on the sidewalk, by running over and shoving them…in this case a woman. When the demonstrators do not comply the cops push even more violently until one particular person (in the red track jacket) is on the sidewalk. The demonstrator tells the cops he is now on the sidewalk. The white shirted police sergeant says..”good now you are on the sidewalk,” and proceeds to punch to person in the stomach. Then the cops pull the demonstrator with his bruised gut into the streets and proceed to dogpile on him with 5 cops…ohhh so tough.

Simple fascism in all its glory…the VIDEOS don’t lie.

IF only we had a permit…this wouldn’t happen….NOT!

Here are two photo links:

Times Up photo page
Flickr

Press links

NY1
and
Metro PDF

Support Bleeker St and Prince St. Bike Lanes

We need people who live and work in Community Board 2 to stand up and
support the Transportation Committee’s resolution in support of bike
improvements on Prince, Bleecker AND Houston Streets!

Here are the meeting details:

Thursday, April 19th, 6:30pm
St Vincent’s Hospital, Cronin Auditorium, 10th floor
West 12th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues
*Please arrive by 6:45pm
Sign a speaker’s card and write “Yes to Prince and Bleecker bike lanes”
on it.

Without a solid showing of support from people who live and work in the
area, it is very likely that the full Community Board will not support
these bike improvements; the status quo will remain and the city will
not be any closer to becoming a more inviting place to cycle.

A small group of anti-bike, anti-change residents are putting strong
pressure on the full Community Board to reject the bike lanes. They will
be out in numbers on Thursday to decry these changes to make New York a
more bikeable city. If we do not fill the room with one hundred
supporters, we will lose this vote and lose these bike lanes.

If people cannot make Thursday’s meeting, please write or call Community
Board 2 in support of the Prince & Bleecker bike lanes:

Manhattan Community Board 2
District Manager Bob Gormley
3 Washington Square Village, Suite 1A
Phone: 212-979-2272
FAX: 212-254-5102
E-MAIL: cb2manhattan@nyc.rr.com

Without support from the neighborhood, change will not happen. If more
people show up at the Community Board to shout down these bike lanes
than to support them, then the board will not support them and the
neighborhood will have lost the opportunity to help New York become a
better place to bike. Please show your support for this plan and speak
out at this important meeting.

You can see the DOT’s presentation on the Prince and Bleecker bike lanes
at:
against-new-bike-lanes-in-soho/#more-1627″> Streets blog

For more background on these planned bike lanes, see:
TA on bike lanes

I hope to see you on Thursday. Please e-mail or call me with any
questions.

Thank you very much!

Best,

Noah S. Budnick
Deputy Director
Advocacy
Transportation Alternatives
127 West 26th Street, Suite 1002, New York, NY 10001-4010
Phone (212) 629-8080
Fax (212) 629-8334
Direct (646) 873-6022
Mobile (917) 684-2912
Email: noah@transalt.org . www.transalt.org

Saturday, Time’s Up EarthDay Ride

Sunday is officially Earthday…Time’s Up is having an Earthday ride Saturday–April 21st.

1:00pm Union Square South

Join Time’s Up! as we ride to an Earth Day Celebration at an Environmental School that is growing in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

The Urban Assembly School for the Urban Environment is a new junior high and high school that focuses on environmental issues.

Meet the kids from the Recycle Bicycle Ride Club
The ride will end at 70 Tompkins Ave (between Park Ave and Myrtle Ave) in Bed-Stuy for the school’s annual Earth Day celebration. Bring food and fun!

I believe this was from last year…Thanx Harry B.

Velo Series is Back!

Ok, the Cycle Messenger World Championships are in lovely Dublin Ireland this year…the website August 3rd-7th.

There is a chance to win free tickets, on the track in three cities…Find out more Cyclehawk website

Check out this promo

The NYC event is at Kissena’s velodrome…Sunday May, 6th, 2007

Then there will be an Alleycat from the track in Queens back into NYC…

It happens to a lot of us…Same as it everywas…same as…

Yes, it sucks…you come out of a building and find your pride and joy is GONE. Bike Theft. Recently it happened to musician David Byrne…former front man of the Talking heads.

Here is the article from Gothamist

Recently, Clarence Eckerson of Street films posted his video of a bike ride with
TA members and mayor of Bogota, Enrique Penalosa

David Byrne was on the ride.

David has a blog and is organizing an Alternative Transportation music fest in Oct.