John of Demon Cats on Reload’s Race

Each year, Reload messenger bag company, maker of amazing custom bags like this one:

hosts an April fool’s race (not only on the 1st of April) This is a scavenger hunt race, which is a great way to see Philadelphia and have fun on a bike.

Here is John,
from demon cats racing DC, report on the race which happened April 14th, 2007;

“AZ and I got a bit of a late start on our way to Philly and as we arrived 5 minutes before race time, we were confronted with a sea of humanity and bikes on the streets behind the R.E.Load headquarters.

Only two hundred spokecards and manifests had been printed. Three hundred racers showed up. Hmmmmm. What to do? Roland announced that the registered racers would get sent on their way. Unregistered racers could ride for free sans the t-shirts or spokecards. They would ride to a print shop Critical Mass style to get more.

As the race officials started handing out manifest, I stuck my hand out and ended up with a manifest. AZ got one from someone who didn’t plan to race. Jacob S. gave me his spoke card for
the race, since he had DFL in mind.

Who do we ride with we ponder? We see Squid and mosey over. Since Squid won the race last year, he’s a good bet to follow, since he has an uncanny knack for choosing good wheels in a city not his own.

The serious crews have since taken off and we see a good group moving out. We latch on, but at the first stop sign, one of their riders on a fixie falls over. Followed by another. And another.

A Philly rider named Jeff rides up on us and after a quick chat we decide to follow him. As he takes off FAST on his fixie I see the R.E.Load winner bag for the HOUR OF POWER race. Fuck, this is going to be fast and hard.

I’ve raced in five of eight April Fool’s and have never had the opportunity to get in a good break.

This was a good break.

At this point the race becomes a blur. For me, it was to become a ride of constant gap closing and riding within sight, praying for traffic to slow down the front a bit for me not to permanently dropped. Early on our group was whittled to three as Squid dropped off the pace. After that, it was a ride of only twenty miles, but at the max and full of craziness.

There were five bar check points where the beer stops were much appreciated. Bob and Barbara’s, The Tattoed Mom’s and so on.
In one we had to write an essay to our female pseudo-East Block Female Prison Guards who kept us in JAIL for 5 minutes.

At another we wrote Haiku:

I bike messenger
I am always riding fast
I am always late

The Exercise Girls whipped us into shape with push-ups, jumping jacks and a two block bike portage- cyclo-cross style!

The skateboard ride while shooting at a spinning target, followed by a shot of tabasco or a shot of vodka. I discovered that the tabasco followed by the vodka leave a pleasant Bloody Mary taste in your mouth. Yummm.

The drag race back along the river for several miles back to the R.E.Load store to look for Bilenky Pat who was dressed as a Playboy Bunny. Anna Nicole had nothing on him! At least not now. That ride was run between 23 and 25 milles an hour through traffic! Jeff and AZ were constantly a good 500 feet in front of me and was the only gap I could not close down. Thank God for the checkpoint!

We stopped and made calls to Crown Fried chicken to check on the price of a 15 piece box. A beauty parlor to check on the price of a styling.

Finding the flyer for the NoteKillers show on a wall of flyers. Multiple signatures. A minimum amount of fake checkpoints for a change.

I must say that we worked the course really really good as a riding group.

Finish time was 6:15, so at about 6:05 we sprinted the last 20 blocks to the warehouse in North Philly where the party and awards ceremony. Later in the night a rave was to be going on, so we had to vacate the premises by a certain time.

It was nice to chill on a beautiful afternoon. Going to get some chinese. Having a safety meeting with good friends. Catching up on old times. The Mr. Softee Ice Cream truck and the Double Dip Double Cone. I hadn’t had one of those since I was five years old in South Texas! Wow.

I poured a beer and set myself in a big comfy chair. Roland came up to me to clarify why he had two manifests with #106 on it. One with 10 points and one with 1900 or so on it. After taking my explanation and the fact that I had ridden with Jeff, I was left with the vague feeling that I might have done really well!

Awards came! The Top Six Men in reverse order:

6th- ME!!! DC. HA! That was an awesome race! My best April Fool’s ever!
5th- AZ. DC. He rode absolutely perfectly!
4th- Eric? Philly.
3rd- Sharky- Philly.
2nd- Austin Horse- NYC- Top outta-town- The National Champ shows why he is the National Champ!

drum roll please-

1st PLACE AND 2007 APRIL FOOLS CHAMP- Jeff O’Neall!!! There couldn’t have been a more deserving winner. He guided us through mile after mile of checkpoints on a trackbike no less. He won the beautiful RE Load Bag, a Fuji Pro Track bike and fork, crazy amounts of schwag and the crowd’s applause and adulation and AZ’s and my eternal thanks for a great race!!!

After the party, we rode back to the car and ended up at a small pizza take out on N.2nd called Rustico. Had a slice, while AZ got a sub. They allow you to bring in beer, so I got a big bottle of some Carlsberg special edition brew to celebrate.

We finally rolled out of Philly around 10 pm, spent from the day’s event. AZ dropped me off. I walked into my quiet house. Sat at my new table, had a smoke and a glass of milk. It was time to climb into my big comfy bed and dream of First Place next year! Not! :)

Racing for Victory and free beer!!!


Le Directeur
Societe des DemonCats
Le Tour de Le District


Chritine Quinn, parading and pedicabs

Christine Quinn, head of the city council, was just on the Brian Lehrer show (10:30am 4/17/06) She was defending her approval of the NYPD making parade regulations and believes that the new LAW, was a fair assesment of a lot of HARD WORK on the issues of free assembly. In other words Christine Quinn believes in free assembly and the right to protest as long as it is not more than 50 people. She also believes the police have the right to go over the city councils authority in order to put these laws in effect. It really seems after listening to her on this show that, once she was a vehement fighter for gay rights in NYC, then got into a position of power and is now all about regulations and catering to the corporate interests of the city.

This Thursday there will be a demonstration to oppose these new parade laws:

City Hall Park, NYC

Calling All Queers, Allies and Anyone Affected by NYPD’s New Rule!!

Join us in the streets as we challenge the NYPD’s new law preventing assembly. Or cheer us on from the sidelines.

We’re going to assemble at City Hall Park to PARADE WITHOUT A PERMIT! Let Speaker Quinn and the rest of City Council know that the police don’t write laws! Bring your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers! Bring noisemakers, signs, and singing, dancing bodies to reclaim our streets and pronounce a big FUCK YOU to politicians like Quinn who sell our rights down the historical river for political gain!

more about this on the indymedia nyc website

This protest was also announced during the Brian Lehrer interview, who has really been on top of the issues of critical mass and parade rules.

Christine Quinn continued on the show about Pedi Cabs. She was upset with the recent Daily News op-ed which claimed she was striving to regulate the number of pedicabs in the city, despite Mayor Bloombergs veto, because she is friends with a lobist who works for the taxi industry. The taxi cabs are against the amount of pedicabs because of competition.

Once again, Christine Quinn, gave no real insight into this debate. She is for regulations and says that Yellow cabs have a cap so why can’t pedicabs? Gee I don’t know…maybe because PEDICABS don’t pollute the planet!

Links back up

Ok, thanks to some help from bike blog fan Max, I have put the links back on. Please send me links of your bike events, bike sites and blogs so I can update my home page. Thanks.

Houston St. dilemma

Whats the story with Houston St? Its a mess, cyclists have died on it and it claims to be one of the most dangerous roads in NYC for cyclists and pedestrians. There has been a lot of city council and local community activity to get the Department of Transportation to make infrastructure for cyclists (bike lanes) on H street as part of what seems to be endless construction in this major thoroughfare

The DOT has said they are NOT going to put bike lanes on Houston Street, and that from an engineering point of view it is IMPOSSIBLE.

There is now a plan to put bike lanes one block North on Bleeker and one block South on Prince. Some feel that any bike lanes are a good thing but this doesn’t address the unsafe issues of Houston St. and how the city continually refuses to take action against problematic traffic situations…especially when the construction is all ready underway.

Tonight there is a city council meeting of community board 2.

Time’s Up! encourages cyclists and pedestrians to attend the CB2 meeting Tuesday, and demand safe passage across the entire breadth of Southern Manhattan via Houston Street. A protected bikeway on Houston Street is both technically feasible and urgently needed. The exclusion of such facilities will only result in more unnecessary deaths.

Meeting Details:
CB2 Transportation Committee meeting
Tuesday, April 10, at 6:30pm
LGBT Community Services Center, 208 W. 13th St. between 7th Ave. and Greenwich Ave. (ask at the front desk for the room assignment).

More info from the Time’s Up website, which has been working hard on this issue.

You have the right to travel safely on Houston Street!—This is a big issue for us and many others; Speak Up!

The city’s Department of Transportation bureaucrats now say that moving bike lanes to narrow, congested side streets will somehow address the safety problems on Houston Street. Such a plan prioritizes Houston Street for cars and trucks rather than non-polluting cyclists and pedestrians, and is clearly not in the best interests of a city afflicted with staggeringly high rates of asthma and concerned about the effects of climate change and resource depletion. If you thought Houston Street was bad already, get ready for something far worse! Time’s Up! supports any expansion of the city’s bicycle network, but the community will not settle for lesser routes at the expense of long-overdue Houston Street facilities.

Despite the fact that Houston Street has been a proposed/designated bike route since 1997, nothing has been done to prevent ongoing injuries and deaths to cyclists. In 2005-2006 3 cyclists were killed on this street, and from 2002 to 2004 82 cyclists were struck. At a press conference in August, 2006, CB 2 Transportation Committee members, community groups and elected officials took a step in the right direction demanding safe bike lanes be worked into the DOT plan for Houston Street. That was a great start.

Unfortunately, measures to protect cyclists on Houston have now been suddenly deemed unfeasible. Abandoning the call for protection on this ‘boulevard of death,’ the new DOT plan calls for ‘alternative routes’ on narrow unprotected bike lanes, mainly on Bleecker and Prince Streets that zigzag through narrow, congested streets and do not provide continuous transit. As much as this may be the goal, the new plan does little to advance safety.

The reality is that cyclists will continue to travel on Houston Street even if it remains life-threatening for them and pedestrians. Houston Street already is known as one of the most dangerous streets in NYC. Nevertheless, it remains a preferred route for cyclists because in contrast to most other cross-town streets, it is wide, sunny, direct, and completely traverses a very wide section of Manhattan from river to river. It is also the most efficient route to a wide range of destinations, bridges and avenues on the east and west sides of Southern Manhattan, and in many cases the only viable route from one place to another.

Given the facts, it seems obvious that a protected bike lane should be the highest priority for NYC potentially providing a safe, non-polluting way to travel to shopping entertainment, and work in the East and West Villages, SoHo, the Lower East Side and East River Bridges as well as East and West side Greenways. Abruptly reneging on the 10-year promise for safe bike lanes on a newly paved 8 lane Houston Streets is quite literally, a life-or-death decision.

It is clear that this is not a question of technical feasibility, but rather a question of political priorities. Some of the D.O.T. engineers who would be involved in this project are commuter cyclists themselves, but these engineers have sadly been directed by their D.O.T. supervisors to propose mediocre “alternatives” on account of unproved claims regarding the technical feasibility of a Houston Street bikeway. We know that a safe, protected bikeway can be implemented on Houston Street and we know that D.O.T. engineers have the know-how and imagination to provide the community with what it really needs.

The Facts:

Bleecker Street is a favored route for double decker tour buses and charter buses while Prince Street is congested daily with street vendors, automobiles and pedestrians, all of which would impede bicycle through-traffic.

A major construction project for water-main replacement is currently underway along Houston Street and a redesign of the roadway, medians and sidewalks is slated to follow. This is best chance in decades the community is going to get to demand proper cyclist and pedestrian safety measures. So far, D.O.T. bureaucrats have been ignoring community pleas on this issue for years, but it’s time to take a stand.

A bikeway can integrated with a system of traffic calming measures to create a safer, cleaner and more attractive Houston Street for pedestrians, businesses and residents. A median bikeway would allow for flexible travel both east and west, and a combination of electronic sensors and dynamic automobile turning restrictions could tame this Robert Moses playground that has historically been such a people-unfriendly thoroughfare.
The lanes on Prince and Bleecker wouldn’t be physically-protected from automobiles, allowing police patrol cars, delivery trucks, and private cars to illegally park in the way of cyclists.

News links: The villager article from 2005.
streetsblog coverage of 2006 rally for bike lanes on Houston St.
The villager coverage of the rally.
Streetsblog shows the DOT reasons for Prince and Bleeker bikelanes

Friday the 13th…3 options

April 13th, Three options

The metalrace alleycat. Starts at McGorlick Park, in Greenpoint. Shotgun a Sparks to get a manifest…mmmm good.

There is also Skidface under the BQE

and Brooklyn Critical Mass.

Lots of bike events to choose from.

Villager Article on March Critical Mass

Jefferson Siegel reports on last month’s critical mass in the latest villager newspaper. Here is a more detailed report at what went on at this pivotal critical mass ride.

villager article

Critical Mass videos-good enough for NPR crowd

Brian Lehrer, you know the voice. He informs you with indepth opinions and local guests speaking about NY issues on wnyc everyday. He has a blog where you can see Brian and listen to more opinions about the issues effecting New Yorkers everyday. On his Blog Brian has internet video picks of the week where he combines a lot of websurfing into one program, on the blog.

Number 1 this week? Critical Mass…love the attention!

Pictures from Slaughtertrauma–Richmond VA

Cutthroats know how to Kick Ass on bikes…here is some photos from Flickr about last weekends mutant bike fest in Richmond Virgina.
Picture links:
Chummy berry
Turner Gensum

Don’t you wish you went? I do.

Video’s 2 and 3 from Chris Ryan

Chris Ryan completed 2 more videos in continuation of last month’s Critical Mass…
Part 2

Part 3

Chris Ryan made a video

This is Chris Ryan’s video of critical mass, 3/30/07. It is Part one of his MNN television program…Team Spider Television, which will air on Wednesday. (I think)