Let me see if I got this straight. The legislative branch of the cities government…the city council, did nothing when the police superseded them and changed the definitions of a parade rule to stop the critical mass bike ride…But they did act when it came to passing a bill to limit the number of pedicabs in the city, a viable business solution to a polluted car obsessed city.
I don’t get it. Maybe they should give themselves another raise.
With them in office…who needs the city council.
Here are a number of articles on the why our city council hates clean air.
Chris Carlsson, one of the founding fathers of the critical mass experience in San Francisco, wrote a long article about the rise of radical bicycle culture in the new century. The article can be found at Streets blog
Then read a bunch of arguments about the radicals at Time’s up left in the comments section. Its the same old BS…griping about the radical nature of the critical mass ride as if Time’s Up is responsible. Lets not forget the hundreds of free events Time’s Up puts on every year, without a permit and without asking for a dime. Very little is said about the lose of our civil liberties and the violent nature of the NYPD to completely dimantle a peaceful event during a time of oil wars and a nationwide crackdown on environmentalists and activists in general. Lets all sit around and play the blame game while our CM is erased over the need for a permit to freely ASSEMBLE…completely destroyed because why…we run red lights? TAKE A LOOK AT THE BIGGER PICTURE. Look who is in charge…a bunch of oil barrons and corporate thugs who rob us blind every day to fund an illegal war for profit. Hmmm what was Exxon’s profit share last year? We have 600,000 dead Iraqi’s, a thief for a president, a mayor who favors development over anything else, a planet which is having the hotest climate in history and we are crying about a bunch of cyclists who run red lights…give me a break.
Also check out Chris’s blog at Chris’s Blog Ah yes, a critical mass of 800-1000 people…those were the days.
February 27th, 2007 | Category: General | Comments are closed
gothamist had a story about a free bike building workshop hosted by the Freegans.
check out the video.
Build a bike by turning found bike parts into working bicycles. Workshops are held every Wednesday and Saturday; starting at 6:00 pm on Wednesdays, going until at least 9:00 pm, and from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm Saturdays. 327 West 36th St. bet. 8th & 9th Aves (look for sign at entrance). For more information go to Freegan.info.
Who is the man to bring you great photos of the hotest alleycats around? Kevin Dillard of demoncats
Check out his latest batch of photos of Monster Track 8. Try and find yourself. Photo by Kevin Dillard of nightime racing in Brooklyn during MT8
So you may be asking yourself…well…I raced Monster Track…now what do I do? There is a whole slew of events coming up this year to race, ride and participate in.
First off, this weekend is a night time alleycat in Bean town based on one of my favorite movies…The Big Lebowski.
Its the Dude Abides race. Just cause Walter doesn’t roll on Shomar Shabbos is no excuse for you to miss this alleycat. March 3rd, in Boston, Jacob of jacob’s bicycles, when not building awesome frames is putting on alleycat races in Boston.
more info is at the dudeabides Basically its $10.00, starts in Boston at 6pm and should be kick ass.
There will also be goldsprints afterwards hosted by non-other than NYC goldsprints ———————————————————-
This year the Cycle Messenger World Championships are a bit closer than Sydney Australia. This time around the 15th annual event is in Dublin Ireland. Check em out at Myspace/CMWCXV August 3rd-7th.
To get there…you could win a free ticket at this years VELOCITY tour by being the fastest urban rider on the track. The event is open to all urban riders…but I believe only working couriers can win tickets to the courier world championships…imagine that. Squid organized an amazing event last year an the three city tour is on again with NYC being the first stop. May 6th at Kissena Velodrome in Queens. Then its heading to San Francisco on May 28th as Part of the NACCC (North American Cycle Courier Championships) Then to Chicago June, 2007 (date TBA) This is a great oppurtunity for messengers to try their unique ability of dodging cabs and amp it up to a new level of athleticism by racing on a velodrome. —————————————– Another great Alleycat to check out is the Tour De Simpson. Last year it was the Tour LeMond in honor of Greg LeMond’s Tour de France victory. The race coincides with the tour. Check out more info at LesDemoncats This guy puts on Unbelievable Alleycats. Check his blog for great stuff about this race and pro-racing in general.
February 26th, 2007 | Category: General | Comments are closed
Union Square North. February Critical Mass, Farewell to Chief Smolka…photo by Jordan Groh Last Friday, we bid farewell to former Assistant police chief Bruce Smolka at what is left of NYC critical mass. The crowd of a hundred or so revelers, gathered at Union Square and were serenaded by the Rude Mechanical Orchestra, a rag-tag marching band who have been playing street performances and protests for several years now. The band comes complete with coordinated dancers who dazzled the crowd of freezing bikers as they congregated in the North side of Union Square Park, the normal gathing point for the monthly critical mass bike ride. RMO picture by Jordan Groh The police were floating around as usual, lined up with scooters, SUV’s and 15 passanger vans, waiting for the bikers to take off. This is the normal bigade of intimidation and excess the police like to unveil at each ride to strike fear into the hearts of a peaceful and non-confrontational bike ride. Bruce Smolka has been the main force behind this type of activity, overseeing critical mass and doing everything in his power to stop this event that for 10 years the police never had a problem with and which also takes place in over 300 cities around the world. NYC has set the precedence for the phenomenon known as critical mass, spending several years wittling down the ridership with violent intimidation and reckless behavior. The police claim the main goal of critical mass is for riders to go out and stop traffic which couldn’t be further from the truth. One of the goals of critical mass is to promote alternative transportation and to move freely about the city. Traffic is stopped so the ride can stay together causing most vehicles to be delayed a maximum of 5 minutes. Normally the traffic is stopped by the police.
On this critical mass, the group followed the Rude Mechanical Orchestra North out of Union Square up Park Ave. South. People respected the precious automobile traffic and chose to march on the sidewalk. All traffic laws were obeyed by the people and the police proceeded to break the laws by riding their mopeds through red lights and down the wrong way of oneway streets. How nice. The police were extremely confused that most people were walking their bicycles. They must have been thinking…”Where are they going?” “Why are they not disrupting traffic?” “Why are the anarchists all peacefully walking on the sidewalk?” The police couldn’t comprehend that the group was celebrating the retirement of their beloved police chief. They even brought gifts. The marchers arrived at the 13th precinct on East 21st street. There they lined up on the sidewalk and a few riders tried to present Smolka with a retirement present, a nice bicycle, with flashing police lights…a real gem. Turns out Smolka wasn’t around. So someone made a speech and then people went there seperate ways. No ride. They gave the police a break. Crowd infront of 13th, photo by Jordan Groh
Well, here we are. The parade rules go into effect and state that it is illegal for 50 or more cyclists to ride together in the street without a permit.
We shall see what happens. As the Sinatra song goes…”If I can make it there (NYC) I’ll make it anywhere…” could be interpreted for critical mass as “If they (NYPD) can shut it down here (NYC) they can shut it down anywhere…Its up to YOU New York, New York.” Other cities beware.
Hey don’t forget to sign the buddymap and let me know where your at… ————————————————————– 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 ————————– 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 22â€“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
February 22nd, 2007 | Category: General | Comments are closed
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…