Today in NYC we finally cracked the cold hard grip of winter with a glorious 60 degrees, by late afternoon.
The first warmish day of the year is kind of like bicycle ground hog day, for me. Cyclists start coming out of hibernation and like the furry rodent of a Bill Murray movie, predicting the length of winter, I like to make an impact prediction of my own.
What kind of a bicycle season will we have? How popular will it be? Will the streets be flooded with teaming masses of bicycles, darting in every direction…some even going with traffic?
It’s hard to predict what motivates people but back in 2010 a couple of Minnesotans decided to try something to kickoff the Spring and inspire people to ride bikes. They made a pledge of riding every day in April and recorded their progress across social media using:
Five years later, its’ still going strong and April is now a fun filled way to get biking and see who else is out there.
Perhaps all you need is some nice weather to get going. If not, maybe #30daysofbiking is a good motivator.
Bike couriers who take it to the next level, control their machines in a unique space in the crowded streets of the world. They operate comfortably in the margins, the tight inches between bus mirrors and car doors, as if with a sixth sense, a special street knowledge of their surroundings. The hunt for this space also intrigues them to travel outside of their work/play home cities and test their rules of space.
This is partially what lead NY’s Austin Horse and Nico Deportago-Cabrera of Chicago to travel to Beruit, Lebanon to go somewhere Yanks rarely experience, let alone on a bike.
With help from Red Bull, they traveled to Beirut to explore and to set up a messenger company.
Here is a recent video of their exploits with some great riding footage.
What do you do with an a abandon limestone mine in Kentucky? Build the world’s largest bike park for BMX and mountain bikers.
Upcycling, Underground: Huge Bike Park Opens In Former Limestone Mine
By: Bill Chappell
February 10th, 2015
With more than 320,000 square feet of riding area, the new Mega Underground Bike Park features 45 trails.
Some 100 feet below the Earth’s surface, BMX and mountain bikers are ripping up trails and soaring through the air in the cozy confines of a huge limestone cavern in Louisville, Ky. The cavern’s owners say they’ve created the largest indoor bike park in the world, with 320,000 square feet of riding. “There’s, like, jumps everywhere you look,” 9-year-old Tyler Bohm tellsmember station WFPL’s Jacob Ryan. “I’ve never seen anything like this in a cave.”
Forget bike mapping with paper (even if the DOT has great free maps every year) or fancy GPS apps. So 2014.
The new trend is brain waves. Arlene Ducao an MIT graduate–of course, has developed a bike helmet, Mindrider, which tracks riders brain activity and maps out routes based on chill areas and more stressed out zones.
Here is an article in Wired magazine:
MEASURING BRAINWAVES TO MAKE NEW KIND OF BIKE MAP FOR NYC
By: Alex Davies
January 30th, 2015
If you want to bike around Manhattan these days, it’s easy to find an online or physical map that can lead you to the bike lanes and keep you riding safely. But it won’t tell you much more, like which route would be the most relaxing, and which the most demanding of your attention.
That’s exactly the information Arlene Ducao wants to provide with the MindRider Map, which is created by deploying cyclists wearing a helmet that measures their brainwaves.
Do you have the need for speed? Need more extreme adventure then trying to bike to work in seventeen degree weather while cars and trucks try to drive you into piles of crusty slush?
A British based production company wants you for what appears to be a television show involving speed, travel and “the adventure of a lifetime.”
Wild Blue Media sent me a casting call looking for the following:
“Six highly competitive, speed junkies to take part in an adventure of a lifetime. They’ll be filmed as they travel the world taking on locals in an amazing and diverse array of speed events from Yak riding in remote Mongolia to drag racing in Africa?
We want men and women with real lives; all with a passion for speed – 18 or over. Over 12 months they’ll need to commit to a minimum of 13 trips to various remote and amazing destinations with all expenses paid.
We’d like to feature a cyclist/ courier rider in the mix so hoping you could help us connect with the right people in NYC and spread the word on to the East Coast bike scene.”
Bill Meier, known throughout the bicycle community affectionately as “Bilthy” because of his, shall we say rugged exterior, was as real as they come. He was a famous bike messenger and was recently delivering pizzas in Williamsburg (http://best.piz.za.com ) when he became ill and was hospitalized. After a couple of weeks fighting for his life he passed away on February 1st. He was 51.
Last weekend there was a memorial tribute and auction for funeral costs at Williamsburg’s Kinfolk.
Here is a short article about Bill and the event from Sam Paul. Polaroids by Nick McManus.
The Memorial for Bill “Bilthy” Meier
New York’s Bike Messenger Community Says Goodbye-Williamsburg, February 8th, 2015
Bill Meier, or Bilthy, as he was known to friends, was a man about town. He was a bike messenger for thirty years, longer than most of the most kids out on fixies have been alive. He toured with the Grateful Dead, worked at Best Pizza and delivered to pretty much everyone who has ever lived in Williamsburg. If he never came to your door with a pie, you saw him at the bar, or at every bar, or while riding in a snow storm at 10 at night with three boxes of pizza on his bars. Bilthy was a staple in more than one community—an annual bike ride across Iowa called RAGBRAI, the Williamsburg and LES bar scenes, and the bike messenger community. He was a friend. He was a brother. He was a father.
Bilthy passed away on February 1st after several weeks of hospitalization following an illness. On February 8, people from all walks of life—messengers, writers, bartenders, filmmakers, Best Pizza Patrons, a woman whose dog Bilthy always pet every time he passed – came together at Kinfolk to remember the man who in some way touched their lives. Friends and fans created artwork and shared prints of photographs collected over the years to be auctioned off for funeral expenses. At the auction and via paypal over $4,000 was raised.
Three rounds of pizzas were eaten, beers were drunk, shots were taken. Burning paper lanterns were sent into the sky. The cops came and broke up the party happening outside, and everyone laughed and stayed out too late. It was the kind of party Bilthy would have loved.
Here is a goodbye from BikeIowa on a RAGBRAI forum with a couple of really great Video links.
A RAGBRAI Legend passed away Feb 1st 2015 at 9:00 am.
Bill Meier, 52, was known as ‘Billthy’ to the world-wide bike messenger community and RAGBRAI back-of-the-packers.
“Wild” Bill was delivering pizzas for Williamsburg’s Best Pizza on his bike regularly until he became sick and was hospitalized last month and has been fighting for his life ever since.
Bill passed away at Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn NY. Funeral details are unknown at this point.
BIKEIOWA NOTE: We remember Billthy riding up on a party a few year back. His messenger bag was slung over his shoulder. Just the way he gracefully dismounted the trusty rusty fixed gear, letting it fall where it may transforming the “ride” into a “walk” was an art form. Classic Billthy!
Here is a video showcasing Bill in his daily habitat.
and another video…
Here is also a really touching post from Scoofy on Reddit.com
The Heavy Pedal have an new ultra light carbon wheel set for all your fixed gear delights.
Here is a quick write up:
The Tempo Carbon Wheelset
“The Tempo carbon wheelset features a U-shape body for a proven, more aerodynamic performance. We complimented the unidirectional (UD) carbon finish with a 10/2/6 logo placement in white. The decals are not stickers but rather durable, baked on decals. When Zac Felpel originally tested these wheels at Red Hook Crit (Barcelona & Milan) last year his response was great.
Our initial notes were that the original hubs were heavier than necessary and they didn’t add any level of aesthetic value. Thus, we went back to the drawing board and decided that the Gran Compe hubs were more attractive and lighter than the Novatec hubs we originally used. A lot of research and development went into the wheels before hitting the market and we are extremely happy with the outcome and performance of the wheels. Allez!”
The Cargo Bike. Sure they have weird dutch names, they’re boxy and are popping up all over hip Brooklyn with 15 kids in them, late for PS Blankity Blank. But now it seems they are slowly being embraced by businesses…and not just those selling artisanal coffee or locally sourced Kimchi burger-tacos.
Why not get in the action with all these cool companies…and make your own cargo bike. Here are step by step instructions from Ulyssanov, (imgur) who assembled a sweet looking two wheeled machine in his kitchen.
Cargo Bike Build
So I built a Cargo Bike in my Kitchen. Why Build one? Because it’s fun and I wanted one anyway. One other reason is that most Cargo Bikes you can buy only come in one frame size which is usually too small for tall people like me to ride comfortably. So this way I was able to build one that fits me like a glove. Why in my Kitchen? Because I don’t have access to any kind of workshop so I have to make due with what I’ve got. This is not the first project I’ve done under similar conditions so I’ve gotten pretty good at improvising.
Planning the Build to figure out what parts I need and how everything would come together took about two months. Then I was ready to order most of the Steel I would be using as well as buying a used donor frame – a 90s Scott steel mountainbike frame.
(the completed bike)
Read more and get to work: here.
January 31, 2015 10:00 am WHERE
The Renaissance Charter School
35-59 81st Street
350 Fifth Avenue
Transportation Alternatives Office
127 W. 26th Street
RSVP Facebook MORE INFO Facebook
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.