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Critical Mass to kiss Smolka’s Ass (goodbye)

Hey don’t forget to sign the buddymap and let me know where your at…
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Well tomorrow is the last NYC critical mass before the parade rules take effect. To recap, this was the latest strategy for the police to clamp down on our consitutional rights to assemble and further enhance their powers to stop the pesky critical mass bike ride. While we were sleeping, the NYPD decided to change the definitions of a parade to include bike rides of 50 people or more…hmmm….this couldn’t have anything to do with critical mass, could it? Don’t forget that the NYPD is not the legislative body of the city…and decided to do this without city council approval. They did hold a public forum the Monday after Thanksgiving day weekend during work hours…how nice of them to accept civic input on THEIR decision while we were all out of town and trying to work just to afford to live in Bloomberg’s rich paradise of unaffordability.

The kingpin behind all this was Bruce Smolka, assistant police chief of activities in Manhattan below 59th Street, where all the freeloading, Saddam loving, Bush hating anarchists hang out and ride their bikes in a group because they hate our freedom and just want to sit idle in traffic all day, impeeding our Freedom to shop and make money for big corporations.

Bruce, however is retiring from the NYPD, obviously exhausted from beating up on females, journalists and legal observers. He’s going to be head of Security for Revlon, where all those freedom hating ecco terrorists plot revenge and attack the make-up company for killing bunny rabbits so Halley Berry’s eyelashes don’t get all infected. After all Smolka has lots of expericence with protestors…like the ones who ride in critical mass. You can never be too careful, when a bunch of people want to ride their bikes together in a group…Yikes! We don’t want the terrorists to win! We need to stop our freedoms or we might end up like some sort of democratic country, like Amsterdam with all that extended life-spans and bullshit clean air and health citizenry…P-UKE!

For a quick refresher course on what kind of a cop Smolka is watch this video from I-winess video’s blog. Its a nice piece on how Smolka likes to knee a woman in the face while she is clearly handcuffed and surrounded by cops. They also have good info on how the police use surveillance on us, illegally.

Tomorrow is the February Critical Mass and we are celebrating by saying good riddens to Bruce with a retirement party…I hear he is being given gifts.

Here is what is going down:

If you haven’t been to Critical Mass in while, you should definately come out for tomorrow night’s ride because you can participate without riding a bike (no tickets) and because your favorite radical marching band, the Rude Mechanical Orchestra, will be performing. Please forward:

If you think its too cold to ride a bike on Friday’s Critical Mass, you’re not alone. You can join in the festivities as we celebrate the retirement of police cheif Bruce Smolka, the kind soul who started the crack down on those bicycle terrorists. If it wasn’t for him, thousands of cyclists would be able to ride their bikes every month in peace and fun.

This friday join activists from all across NYC, as we say good-bye to our beloved friend Chief Bruce Smolka. You may remember him as the man who set up the crime unit responsible for killing Amadou Diallo. After that, he was promoted to police chief and responsible for the illegal detention of thousands of demonstrators at the 2004 Republican National Convention. Has announced his retirement and plans to start working as a private security guard for Revlon.

Even if you don’t have a bike, you should still come out and say good bye to Smolka. You can join us on foot with the Rude Mechanical Orchestra, as we present Smolka with a present from all of us. Wear your Smolka Polka T-shirts.

It’s the final Critical Mass ride before the new parade permitting rules go into affect. Come out and enjoy your last chance to peaceably assemble!

PS. Start the celebration early! Possible Breakfast on the Bridge Friday morning if the weather isn’t too bad. Brooklyn side of the Manhattan Bridge 8am-10am.

So please come to Union Square at 7:00pm for a peacefull assembly, we are not
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After the ride, come out and ride your a bike in one place…stationary. It’s goldsprints. Indoor bike racing.

If you are in the NYC area:

GOLDSPRINTS NYC is on!!!

We’re moving to EAST RIVER BAR (the place where MonsterTrack ended…)
97 S 6th St (Bedford/Berry)

Party starts at 9p, racing shortly thereafter.

If you raced and did well over the last couple weeks, you should definitely be there tomorrow to throw down…

GET SUM Prizes!!
GET SUM GLORY!!!
GET SUM Booze!!!
and if you lucky, just GET SUM!!


Picture by Visual Resistance
Small article in this weeks Time Out NY about memorials and Ryan Nuckel of Visual Resistance who has contributed art to cyclists killed.

Time Out New York / Issue 595: February 22–28, 2007

A small tribute brings the issue of pedestrian safety to the fore. (p. 8)

Every year hundreds of New York pedestrians are struck and killed by cars. But if Ryan Nuckel of Visual Resistance, a public arts organization that agitates for traffic safety, has his way, these deaths won’t slip away like yesterday’s headlines. In January, the group put up its first memorial for a slain pedestrian- a simple white dove shaped sign marking the death of Peter Hornbeck, run down by a driver at Park Avenue and 96th Street in 2004.
The marker is a follow-up to the group’s “ghost bike” project, which began in 2005 when they placed a painted white bicycle on the corner of Warren Street and Fifth Avenue in Park Slope to commemorate the death of 28-year-old cyclist Liz Padilla, killed by a truck. Since then they’ve installed 25 of these homages throughout the city.
Initially, the ghost bikes were simply a gesture of remembrance. But according to Nuckel, “they’ve become a focal point for people’s anger, a symbol for the need for bike safety and alternative transportation.”
Like the ghost bikes, the dove memorials state the person’s name and date killed. Additionally, they include the number of pedestrians killed the previous year. (There were 170 in 2006.) Nuckel believes most of these deaths could have been prevented if the city had exercised stricter enforcement of traffic laws or made infrastructure changes, like adding concrete bollards to curbs.
The work really hit home for Nuckel in December, when close friend Eric Ng was killed while riding on the West Side bike path. “A drunk driver was actually on the path,” he says. “All of a sudden, I wasn’t doing this for strangers anymore.” -written by Daniel Derouchie

Monster Track, offical results

Sheesh, you’d think nothing else was going on in the world except Monter Track…well just a bit of follow up. Here are the official race results from a very unofficial sport.

and check out mess nyc for pictures.

I am feverishly working on a Monster Track 8 edit and will have a rockin video out soon.

Monster Track Week…whew.

This was one hell of a week. It started off pretty bad as I ended up loosing a $3,000.00 video camera at JFK airport, picking up Shino and Hal. I hope to do a fundraiser soon to try and make up a little for my lost gear, maybe its time to make a DVD for sale. From there is was all up hill and it turned into an amazing whirlwind week of shooting video and attending bicycle events that kicked serious ass, despite the crappy ass weather.

Now I am just begining to look through the hundred hours of mini dv tape we shot this weekend including some amazing HD stuff.

Very special thanks to Shino and Hal who came all the way from Tokyo to compete in Monster Track, NYC’s longest running fixed gear only alleycat race. These two are some of the nicest people I have meet in the scene and it was such a pleasure documenting their experiences in NYC. Thanks, guys for puttin up with us and are antics and for participating in spin class, paintball, visiting bike shops, riding the streets and all the other things we asked you to do…I hope you had fun.

Congratulations to the winners of Monster Track…Alfred took the crown for the third time! Felipe came in second and nice job in sharing the spotlight with Shino on the prizes stage, a rickety lounge table at the East River Bar, sight of finish and the after race party. Congratulations to Austin for third place, despite a nasty crash on the car path of the Williamsburg Bridge, hope you are ok? Good job, Chris (I know you spell your name different) for being a hard core bike messenger and winning 4th place.

Special congrats to Shino who took 5th place overall and won best out-of-towner. This is truely an amazing feat for someone who has only been in NYC once before.

As for the ladies: Heidi took 1st, Dagga rocked 2nd, Heather took Third. Not sure who won 4th and I think Kym won 5th, with a bad cold coming on.

Nice job to Eric Ferguson for racing most of the race on a penny farthing, and thanks for letting me try that crazy thing.
Someday, I hope to do no handed track stands on that like you. Picture of Eric.

I’m sure more official results will be posted soon.

There were soo many shooters out there documenting the race…holy shit. Everyone is steppin it up, so hopefully we will SEE lots of this video, right? I promise to get stuff up soon and am totally willing to collaborate with anyone on an edit. Nick James wins the prize for first video online with his camcorder helmet cam. Check out his footage from the race, crusing up 1st Ave. Nice work.

I wanted to give a special thanks to all those who helped me keep it together despite my royal fuck up on Monday.

Thanks to Mike Dee for being a great host. (Mike Dee on the Right, Josh Whitesnake-Messnyc on the left)
Thank you Kym for hosting and for letting us do spin class. Your bike is safe and sound in my hallway and feel better.

Thanks to Hodari for playing along and for hosting another amazing round of goldsprints.

Thanks to all those who made Monster Track an amazing weekend of events. Victor, one hell of a race. Victor in the middle of the crowd with the white t-shirt on his head

Picture by: fuckitup
Thanks to all that helped run checkpoints, make spoke cards, gather prizes, keep the peace, document the results. Squid, Mark, Hugo…

Thanks to All those who shot video for me. Thanks to Chris Ryan, Arron for your HD camera and A-Team van tactics on the Williamsburg Bridge. Thanks to Graziano for the equipment and for shooting in the freezing cold, feel better. Thanks to Kym and Dagga for wearing helmet cams. Thanks to Robert for shooting so much. Thanks to Ben Wolf for your HD camera and Dave Bryant for driving in crappy ass traffic. Thanks to Jesse Epstein for shooting the finish.

Thanks to Ming, Noah and Nick for an amazing round of paintball in Long Island City. Nick, thanks for the good gun.

Special thanks to CK for holdin it down, all your behind the scenes help, shooting on the fly and riding my bike with shoes that didn’t fit.

Thanks to Brendt Barbur from the bicycle film festival for the great idea. This year is going to be awesome.

Mad love to all the couriers who worked through the slush and grey snow and those who rode through it all.

Here are some pictures of peoples bikes post slushy ass race and a good solution for cleaning one’s bike…

Here is a google map gps pedometer route of Monster Track from one of its racers. 25 miles.

Monster Track 8 review

Messnyc has posted the video I edited about Monster Track last year.

I have been hanging with Shino and Hal from Tokoyo who have come to NYC for the week to hang out and race Monster Track.

Shino, otherwise know as Hirouki Shinozuka, is the fixie king at the 14th annual messenger world championships in Sydney. Shino won the overall race for best time on a track bike and he came in second in the skids.

The fixed gear, messenger trend is blowing up in Tokoyo…check out Vise magazines fashion guide…with the trends in Japan include hoodies, messenger bags and track bikes…

Hal, whos hanging with us works in at carnival bike shop in Tokoyo and worked on this hot video of track bike skills, coming out soon on DVD.

So here is a quick review of what is going on this weekend around NYC’s most revered fixed gear only alleycat.

Friday the 16th, 6pm-9pm Book release party for Amy Bolger’s new photo book on eight years of Alleycats, Illustrations by Greg Ugalde. Party is at Grand Central Bar, 659 Grand St. between Lenord and Manhattan in Williamsburg Brooklyn.
then
Gold Sprints, part of an ongoing series at Lulu’s Bar in Greenpoint (Now called Lost and Found Bar) 113 Greenpoint Ave, corner of Franklin. This is also the sight of pre-registration, where more checkpoints will be announced. 9-till late…

Alex and Bill Dozers band Atakke, is also playing at 10:00pm around the corner from the goldsprints… Tommy’s Tavern 1041 Manhattan Ave. @ Freeman

Saturday 17th, Registration starts for Monster Track at the big narrow park on Houston and Chrystie street in Manhattan-Sara Roosevelt Park. 2:00pm…race starts around 3:00pm

Sunday 18th, track bike tricks, skids and bike polo hosted by King Kog bike shop and 4916. Noon at Lost and Found Bar (Same place as Goldsprints and pre-registration)

Missouri students start messenger company

Joe Hendry of Mess media sent out this article about 3 Missouri students who started their own courier company…doing what they love…Biking.

Business competition inspires students to launch local bike courier
service

By Crystal Neo

Columbia Tribune, February 14, 2007

Training for a cycling team can be cause for teeth-gritting. You have
to do it whether you feel like it or not. And even if it starts
raining, you have to keep going.

For three budding entrepreneurs, their time training on the University
of Missouri-Columbia cycling team shares traits with what they face in
their new business venture, Columbia Couriers.

“Training is just like what we’re experiencing now,” said Brady
Beckham, one of the business’s founders. “You just have to be
persistent; you’ve got to be headstrong and do what you intended to do,
regardless of what gets in your way.”

Beckham, along with Stephen Tinsley and Jason Key, launched the courier
service this month. It provides pickup and delivery services within
city limits for items such as small packages or documents. They also
run personal and office errands. Rates start at $5.

For the three men – all in their early 20s – the service is a perfect
combination of getting paid and doing what they love.

Beckham, who came up with the idea for Columbia Couriers, submitted his
business proposal for the annual MU New Venture Idea Competition, which
took place last month. In the contest, organized by the Flegel-Source
Interlink Academy for Aspiring Entrepreneurs under MU’s College of
Business, Beckham took first place in two categories: undergraduate
for-profit and undergraduate not-for-profit.

Mary Wilkerson, vice president of marketing for Boone County National
Bank, was one of the judges at the competition. She said she was
impressed by Beckham’s leadership qualities, which came across during
his presentation.

“The most important thing was that he had identified a specific need,”
she said. “The need was there, and the business proposal was there to
meet the need.”

Wilkerson liked the idea so much, she said she would consider becoming
a customer.

“I wouldn’t hesitate to use their service,” she said. “It is a lot
cheaper than sending a staff out to run an errand.”

Business is off to a slow start for Columbia Couriers. Instead of calls
from customers during the first week, it got calls from potential
employees. But the founders remain positive about the future.

“I think we picked the worst week ever to start a bicycle messenger
service because of the weather,” Beckham said.

“But if we can make it through this week, then we can messenger through
any other week throughout the year.”

Alan Skouby, an adjunct assistant business professor at MU, said he was
impressed with the courier idea. He was part of the organizing
committee for the competition.

“We all thought it was a great idea, and we encouraged him to pursue
it,” he said.

The day after the competition, Beckham called Tinsley and asked him to
join the company. He agreed, and a week later, the two called Key.
Since then, the three have been making business decisions together.

Beckham said his business partners were carefully chosen to complement
each other.

He had admired Tinsley’s strong leadership and level-headedness during
the three years they raced together on the team. Key brought a
different approach, which Beckham and Tinsley thought ended up
validating their decision-making process.

The team thought three was the right size. Four would be too many cooks
in the kitchen, Beckham said.

Because the trio already had their own bikes, they’ve managed to keep
their overhead to just $500, part of it covered by Beckham’s prize
money. For submitting the winning business proposal, Beckham got $400,
half of which he invested in the business.

The partners also did market research before launching the business.

They spoke to local business licensing officers to find out the number
of businesses in the Columbia area; this helped them map out their
service area. Calls also were made to courier services in other cities
to find out more about their services.

None of the founders is a business major: Beckham is an industrial and
manufacturing services engineering major, Tinsley is an English
graduate, and Key is majoring in economics. But they each assumed
different roles in the company within three weeks. Key became the
company’s accountant, Tinsley the graphics and Web designer and Beckham
the spokesman.

Tinsley said the pathways in downtown Columbia make it one of the most
bicycle-friendly cities in Missouri.

Beckham, who biked with friends in downtown Chicago two and a half
months ago, said buses and cabbies there were trying to run them off
the road throughout their ride.

“The cabbies would mess around with us. They would slow down and get
closer to us, pull up in front of us, stop, and then they’ll take off,”
Beckham said.

“People in Columbia, whether they agree with us being on the road or
not, at least respect us and don’t try to run us off the road, which is
much appreciated.”

With at least four types of bicycles each in their stable, the group
seems prepared to combat the challenges the race for business might
bring.

“Racing is just like the dessert. You do all the training just for the
race,” Beckham said. “So if at the end of the year, we can take all our
employees out to dinner one night, that’s the race.”

Pedicabs in Kenya and NYC

My wife has been in Africa for work and sent these pictures of their version of the pedi-cab called boda-bodas from Kitale Kenya. I wonder if their city will try and ban them like ours for clogging traffic?


Meanwhile there was a rally at the steps of city hall on Tuesday in response to a bill the city council is voting on in to regulate pedicabs.
Time’s Up, helped bring the pedicabs to New York in order to find a more sustainable and environmentally friendly way to get people around, long before global warming concerns were sheik. The number of pedicabs has risen to 500. So the City Council in their infinte wisdom seem to have nothing better to do then focus on a few complaints by business owners and target the pedicabs, in a time when cities across the planet are finding ways to make their homes healthier and reduce greenhouse gasses. Ahh the priorities of a car addicted society who caters to big business and real estate development. “WOW, we have real environmetal concerns here in NYC, lets limit pedicabs.”

I guess with all the raises the city council members got for their part time jobs, they can focus on big priorites like regulating pedicabs and trying to put a cap on only 300 of them. Why don’t they put a cap on all the illegal contracts on waste management, or air polluters or limit the number of yellow cabs that are choking our city to death or those hot 97 logo covered Hummers?

Time’s Up released this press release on the issue:

The City Council Consumer Affairs Committee is set to vote on regulations that would put a very low cap on the total number of pedicabs in the City and ban certain types of pedicabs from City streets. Time’s Up! joins the Pedicab Owner’s Association against these unreasonable regulations to say:

NO CAPS – NO BANS – SAVE THE PEDICABS!

“Time’s Up! and its volunteers helped start the Pedicab business in New York City; over the last decade it has successfully grown to over 500 cabs. This non-polluting transportation needs to be respected and encouraged by the City and not discouraged with laws that would hinder its growth.” said Time’s Up! Director, Bill DiPaola

Time’s Up! volunteers will rally among diverse Pedicab supporters which include elected officials, alternative transportation advocates, environmental activists and consumers of this popular new form of NYC transportation. For more information, visit the Pedicab Owners Association and pedicabnews.


Read about it in AM NY

Here are some pictures from Tuesday’s Rally:







Promo for Monster Track

Here is a little commercial I made for Monster Track…

Also following the race is a day of track bike events–skids, footdown…Sunday, the 18th.

Check out Squids new video

Monster Track 8 is coming.

Hey, don’t forget to sign my buddymap…let me know where you are at.
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Its a little over a week until Monster Track 8, a famous NYC alleycat race of all fixed gears. Monster Track even has a wikipedia page that I think is fairly new.

This race brings people from all over the world and is a pilar in alleycat racing history. This years race is on Saturday the 17th of February.
It starts at E Houston St /Christie St,
SARA D ROOSEVELT PARK (but things can change)

More info will be available at Monster track’s site as the race gets closer. But really all you need to know is where it starts, about what time and how ready am I to rock my track bike in traffic at top speed.

Go to Fixed gr for on-going discussions about Monster Track and alleycat and messenger race culture. This is a really great discussion forum of NYC riders and a great place where people can post, opinions, photos, video clips and artwork…like 8 years of Monster Track artwork…Thank you Squid.

Monster Track 1 flyer…race won by YAK–2000

Monster Track 2 flyer…race won by Jared in 2001

Monster Track 3 flyer…race won by Jamie, 2002

Monster Track 4 flyer…race won by Squid 2003

Monster Track 5, Felipe, 2004

Monster Track 6, Alfred, 2005


Monster Track 7, Alfred 2006

Many of these flyers were designed by artist and messenger: Greg Uglade–I’m sure you can tell which ones

Some alternate flyers:

There was an article this week by National Public Radio about fixed gears. This article is found by mess media a website dedicated to fairness and accuracy in articles written about messengers.

audio for this story can be found at NPR
Cyclists Switch to Single-Speed Bikes

by Dan Charles

NPR, February 6, 2007

It’s the latest, coolest thing in pedal-powered transportation: Bikes
with no gears and no brakes. You’ll find them on city streets from New
York to San Francisco, mostly in the company of young, rugged-looking
bicyclists.

Take a close look at Vincent Betette’s bicycle, for instance. Betette
is a bike messenger in Washington, D.C. He rides a sleek machine that
is stripped down to the bare essentials: Two wheels on a light steel
frame with curving handlebars of bare metal. There are no cables, and
no gears — and there’s no coasting, either. This is a “fixed-gear”
bike; if the wheels are turning, the pedals have to turn too, the way
bicycles worked 100 years ago.

The pedals don’t just make the bike go. They’re also what Betette uses
to stop, because this bike has no brakes. If Betette needs to slow
down, he pushes back against the pedals, forcing his legs to go slower.
And if a car cuts in front of him, “I just lock my legs up and kind of
slide out of the way.”

Such bikes are also commonly called “track bikes.” They are what
Olympic racers ride on indoor banked tracks called velodromes.

Now they’re taking over the streets. Bike messengers discovered them
first. These street matadors liked the ruggedness of track bikes.
Courier Andy Zalen says they also liked the way the bikes feel —
there’s something addictive about riding a bike in which your feet are
tied to the wheels, he says — and the way they look. “There’s something
beautiful in the simplicity of a track bike.”

It’s that “look,” says Vincent Betette, that seems to have caught on
with the young and hip crowd. “We have a name for them,” he says.
“FAMS: Fake-a** messengers. That’s what we call them. They got our
bags, they got our bikes. It’s a fashion accessory now.”

Betette isn’t sure some of these people belong on bikes with no brakes.
A lot of people who’ve picked up fixed-gear bikes lately “just can’t
stop them,” he says. “They go headlong into the backs of cars. A lot of
them are going to learn the hard way, and a lot of them are going to
catch on and they’re going to love it.”

Track bikes have even spread to the suit and tie crowd. Michael Simpson
gets to his office in downtown Washington by by riding 17 miles on a
old red bicycle that he converted to a fixed-gear. “It feels like being
a kid again. You don’t have to worry about what gear you’re in, or what
components you have. You just get on the bike and go where you want to
go,” he says.

But when he was a kid, didn’t he want gears? “Oh, I definitely wanted
gears when I was kid,” he says, laughing.

Now that he’s a grownup, Simpson is also a little more cautious. His
bike — like Andy Zalen’s — does have a hand brake. It spoils that pure,
minimalist look a bit, but a brake makes it less likely that you’ll
crash into a bus.
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To give you an idea of the popularity and significance of this race, people are coming from as far away as Tokoyo Japan, including Hirouki Shinozuko, known as Shino, who won this years Messenger world championship in Sydney, as fastest on a track bike, and second in longest skid.