“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
A motivational mantra for cyclists and all those struggling for equal rights and justice.
(photo of: lead rider, Marshall Walter “Major” Taylor-track cycling legend)
Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day. For more inspiration:
Democracy Now has a newly discovered speech from Dr. King, from 1964, on civil rights, segregation and apartheid South Africa.
The Brooklyn Museum has art works dedicated to Dr. King and his spirit:
From their site:
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. –Martin Luther King, Jr.
In the Spirit of Martin, #BKMLibrary pays tribute to the living legacy of the fearless Civil Rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Today, January 19th the nation celebrates King’s birthday and honors his commitment to nonviolent activism to unite all people and protect their freedoms.
#BKMLibrary’s collection houses some wonderful historical documents and photographs from the Civil Rights Movement. For example, the exhibition Art Festival for NAACP Legal Defense, 1963 featured many notable artists and was organized to raise funds for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund through the sale of art work. The records for this exhibition were given to the library last February as a gift from Cynthia Dantzic.
The ladies from Comedy Central’s Broad City make me laugh. The stars, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer do a great job of highlighting life in the big city in your 20’s, getting high, “Vag” humor, getting in trouble and not taking life too seriously. It’s pretty simple stuff, very NYCcentric but spot on and it’s refreshing to see two talented young funny ladies making their mark in sketch comedy tv.
(Photo by: Gavin Bond)
Their second season launched January 14th and as part of on going celebrating…they did a photo shoot for Vanity Fair magazine. See the girls all dolled up in pin up girl theme acrobatics on a bicycle.
Here is a video of the photoshoot and short interview:
Tacking along on the Pope’s tour is Naderev “Yeb” Sano who’s become a climate change superstar. He’s a diplomate from the Philippines and the lead negotiator for his country, to the United Nation’s climate summits. He made the news for his impassioned speeches and hunger strikes, directly linking the disastrous effects on the planet which have devastated his homeland.
Now he is leading a brigade of #ecobikers who are following the Pope’s visit to inspire local residents to keep it green and ride bikes.
(photos by: Nitya Saulo)
This should’t be too hard of a message for the Pope to get behind. He’s been telling his people to ride bike for years now:
Avoid fast cars and ride a bike instead, Pope tells trainee priests and nuns
By: Carol Glatz
November 9th, 2013
It’s also worth mentioning…from one of my favorite NYC culture blogs: Animal NY.
They’ve been putting out a series called: Listen in where musicians put together a playlist of songs their into.
How it is described on the site: “Listen In” is a weekly feature in which we ask musicians to curate a mixtape-length YouTube playlist of songs they’re currently digging. Click the big play button above to hear the whole playlist or scroll down to see and hear individual tracks.
These are mostly broken down into YouTube videos…(which are hard to play while riding. But you can make a playlist in Spotify, soundcloud and YouTube.) This can give you some eclectic musical direction.
No fan of alternative transportation or the bike sharing program in NYC, the NY Post felt obliged to publish an article on the a recent decrease in yearly memberships for 2014.
Big Drop in Citibike Use in 2014.
By: Rebecca Harshbarger and Amber Sutherland
January 12th, 2015
(photo by: Christopher Sadowski)
membership is hitting the skids.
A plunge in CitiBike rides has wiped out the more than 50 percent boost to its coffers from a fare hike in November, data show.
NYC Bike Share, which runs CitiBike, took in about $360,000 from members that month — a 20 percent drop from the same month a year earlier, data show.
Back in November of 2014, Citibike announced a fare increase from $95.00 to $145.00 dollars for the yearly membership which still is a much better deal then using it for 24 hour increments at $9.00. Although the Post article is not inaccurate it doesn’t do much to investigate the whole picture. After all, Winter is not the best time to gauge the popularity of bike riding. I believe in the bike share program even though I did not renew my yearly membership. I felt like helping out the first year but in reality, I have my own bikes that I rely on for getting around and if I need an occasional Citibike, I’ll use it al la cart. Still I’m glad it’s there and although is comical to watch the arrogant nature of the riders, I think its a viable transportation option, gets more people riding bikes in the city and is basically a non polluter.
Meanwhile the company that runs the bike share, Alta has announced it’s changed it’s name to MOTIVATE and under new leadership, Jay Walder, former head of the MTA. Streetsblog.org has been all over this story and took the time to interview Mr. Walder to find out about improvements and address some of the concerns of possible disenfranchised members. With this new announcement from Motivate, it’s funny that I didn’t see any follow up story in the NY Post…but I guess that would be too investigative and too positive of a story.
Here is Ben Fried from Streetsblog.
Jay Walder on What’s Next for America’s Biggest Bike-Share Company
This morning, the company came out with a new name, Motivate, This morning, the company came out with a new name, Motivate, one of the first public announcements in what’s expected to be a year of rapid improvement and growth. (Another piece of news dropped last week: Jersey City has picked the company to run its new bike-share system, which will be accessible to Citi Bike members.)
I got a few minutes this afternoon to chat with Walder about the new name, the status of the Citi Bike overhaul, and his vision for the company. Here’s our Q&A, edited for length and clarity.
What led to renaming the company and why did you go with “Motivate”?
So quick poll. What do people think of the latest moves by the bike share? Did you have a membership in the first year and chose not to renew? What are your biggest complaints about the bike share in NYC? What do you hope will improve?
Leave comments below.
Josh Cohen is an independent journalist based in my old home town of Seattle Washington. He likes to write about transportation, bike travel and especially the unique individuals who make up the wide world of bike culture.
He has been channeling his passion for bike people and documenting their stories in an interview Q&A style blog called: The Bicycle Story.
In the past couple of Months he’s featured two New York City celebrities:
Messenger superstar, daredevil athlete, stunt ride and all around nice-guy:
(Photo by: redbull.com)
In November 2014, Austin headed to Beirut, Lebanon to help start a fledgling courier company.
and the hardest working man in the bicycle advocacy business,
Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives: Paul Steely White
Here is a little sample:
Paul Steely White: On the Radical Idea that Cars Shouldn’t Kill
(Paul Steely White delivers thousands of letters to NYPD in 2011 demanding driver accountability-Photo by: NAG Brooklyn.org)
New York is one of America’s most progressive bike cities. On one hand that makes perfect sense. As the biggest, fastest-paced city in the country it has always drawn forward-thinking, ambitious people; why not forward thinking, ambitious bike advocates? On the other, it’s kind of insane. New York has a sociopathic driving culture, a police force and political establishment historically apathetic to the idea that fatal crashes are anything but accidents, and millions of drivers, bicyclists, and walkers all vying for the same small space. Yet over the last decade, Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn have been remade into great places for biking and walking with protected bike lanes, pedestrian plazas, and more and the advocates at Transportation Alternatives (T.A.) have been there every step of the way.
Recently they’ve turned their attention to Vision Zero, a radical notion that traffic deaths in New York are completely preventable. Given that the city is still averaging between 200-300 fatal bike, pedestrian, and car crashes annually, they have a long way to go. But T.A. Executive Director Paul Steely White says the Vision Zero framework they’ve laid out can get them there if they can garner the political support and capital funding necessary. I spoke to White about his history in New York City advocacy, his role in one of America’s most influential advocacy organizations, the “golden years” of New York City bike advocacy, transforming transportation with Vision Zero, and much more.
Kidical Mass is not just a clever play on the title of the worldwide group ride, it is a gathering of biking families in NYC. In the spirit of critical mass there are monthly events where the entire family can ride together in a safe and fun environment.
It’s too cold to ride these days, especially if your trying to inspire the youngsters, but don’t tell that to this three year old:
Saturday, January 31st, 2015 there will be a public forum for the group to work on their main goal of getting more kids on bikes and make plans for 2015.
Here is more from their Facebook page;
January is a hard month to bike with your kids, but the perfect time to talk about it! This January Forum is to make it (biking with your kids/kids biking) happen for you, or because you want to make it happen for others.
Kidical Mass NYC representative(s) – who we are, how we formed, our rides, and how anybody can take their kids riding with them (or kids can take their parents!)
Meet Local Parents that ride with their kids in the city, and specifically in your area. Learn and share local resources, routes, shops, programs.
Meet Kids who ride, talking about who they ride with, how long they have been riding. Why they ride, and what resources and groups are out there to make it happen for your kids or your neighborhood.
Activity – Biking in the city is about being out and about, in the streets, in the parks, in the world We will have some interactive activities to keep us moving forward.
Crowd funding has been an excellent way for innovative bicycle related companies to get exposure and launch their products.
Here is a super bright and portable lighting system by Bright Idea.
Tiny N’ Mighty All-in-One Rechargeable Bike Light System!!
by Bright Ideas
It’s finally here! We’ve designed the Smallest (1″), Lightest (1 oz), & Brightest (for its size), FULLY RECHARGEABLE bike light system! Read more
Lakewood, NJ Product Design
$200.00 for the system. Various levels of rewards to back this project.
$10,000 needed for funding.
Due Date: 2/4/15
These lights are tiny, at 1 inch, 1 oz. each. However, they have a high
luminous flux of 650 lumen for the front light, and 150 lumen for the rear
• The CREE LED white headlight offers 650 Lumen in high mode and 250 Lumen
in low mode.
• The CREE LED red rear light is 150 Lumen in high mode and 50 Lumen in
• The lights are controlled by controlled by the 2-button control console
that mounts to the handlebar.
• The lights have side view windows to ensure critical conspicuity from
• Depending on user preference, the front and rear lights can easily be
mounted to their helmet.
• Each light operates in high, low, and flash modes.
• Low battery indicator.
• Automatic shutoff to prevent needless battery drainage.
Before NYC got it’s bike share program there was a lot of speculation about whether it was going to succeed. Most of the doubt centered around the winter months when I heard a lot of: “There is no way it’s going to be year round. They’ll have to take all the bikes in and those stations are just going to get wiped out by the snow plows.” Now that Citibike is entering it’s second winter it looks like the answer for the bike share program to big bad winter is to…just keep on riding. Yes, year round.
Now we all know the bike share program had some financial difficulties and needed a big bail out, which is ironic because it was kicked off by a banking institution (Citigroup) that needed a “too big to fail” massive tax payer bail out. The banking giant only committed to starting funds in exchange for some key advertising, but it would be up to the private companies to keep the program running.
A millionaire, world adventure, environmentalist, furniture mogul from Canada has come to the rescue. Bruno Rodi was inspired by seeing first hand the planet in crisis and decided to buy a failing company who has provided bike sharing to a number of major cities around the globe. He hired a new tech staff to fix the software and has taken a very hands on approach, working directly with the host cities as well as seeking new markets.
Here is more of the story from a recent article in the New York Times:
An Uphill Push to Save a Bike-Share Pioneer
by: Ian Austen
January 9th, 2015
(Montreal’s bike-sharing system, considered one of the most innovative, ended up costing the city $25 million. Photo By: Graham Hughes/New York Times)
The typical origin story for a tech company includes a paper napkin and a garage. But the company that powers the bike-sharing programs in New York, London, Chicago and a dozen other cities started much differently: It began with a municipal parking authority, wound through bankruptcy court and got another shot at corporate viability off the Madagascar coast during the annual hatching of the green sea turtles.
Observing that ritual last year with a group of scientists, Bruno Rodi, a Canadian real estate developer, saw firsthand how those endangered reptiles are threatened by climate change, pollution and hunters. “When you go in extreme areas on the planet, you can vividly see that we’re really destroying the planet,” Mr. Rodi recalled. A globe-trotting adventurer, he has climbed the highest mountain on every continent, visited the North and South Poles and rowed more than 5,000 miles across the Indian Ocean. “I started to get conscious about this,” he said.