I got a chance to ride in the Brooklyn Critical Mass on Friday the 13th…ooooh scary! About 20 of us bikers met at the Park at the base of the Williamsburg Bridge on the Brooklyn side. This is a nice park and home to inline skaters and skateboarders who spend hours grinding the steps of the George Washington statue in the middle of the park. Its a good place too for the youth of today…better then some lame skate park that the city could build for them…but that would take away important space needed for unaffordable luxury condominiums. It was cold with a chill in the air singaling that fall is here and Winter is coming soon. We rode out of Williamsburg and into Bushwick, a place where bikes are often not welcome. We were welcomed with occasional cheers and someone throwing a potato at one of our heads. We darted through the urban maze of barber shops and converted warehouses and arrived at a morbid art show on Bogart Street. It was the Gimme Head show at the Ad Hoc Art gallery, 49 Bogart St. Dennis McNett curated this show of 50 artists renditions of heads-sculpted, drawn, printed and projected. I liked the nazi skull mickey mouse and Tod Sealie’s series of roadkill photos…yummy. It made me hungry for the cheese spread and $2.00 Pabst. I was scared Austin was going to eat all the blue cheese, but he held back. So the Williamsburg half of the critical mass went to the art show to wait for the Grand Army Plaza half who reluctantly journeyed into the heart of BUSHWICK (NOT East Williamsburg…ok) They arrived after about 20 minutes of art viewing with the scooter brigade of cops who have been peacefully monitoring the ride since it began. One officer asked some people outside of the gallery if the ride was over…we said yes. The cops left. Hmmm. How to get rid of the cops? Just go to some art show and tell them the ride is over…then wait for them to leave and proceed with the ride. This works in Brooklyn. So after trying to pull people away from the warm gallery and cheap beer the mass reformed and took off, just in time because the gallery brought out the meat balls. The we rode back through Bushwick and under the J Train on Broadway. Some people wanted to go to the Recycle-a-Bike party in Dumbo, part of the Dumbo arts fest and others wanted to go to the King Kog party in Williamsburg. Decisions decisions. I headed over to King Kog, the track bike boutique who have rearranged their store on Marcy St, and have cool merchendise like vinyl tube pads…sweet. They also had lots of free beer donated by Crumpler.
(Squid in the middle holding Markus Cook Award-Amy was away on business)
a few pictures here. Monday Night was Messenger Appreciation night which was a party to celebrate the hard work of NYC couriers. This gathering was an opportunity to award the Markus Cook Memorial Award to Squid and Amy.
Read more about it from Joe Hendry:
The International Federation of Bike Messenger Associations (IFBMA) announces the 2006 “Markus Cook Memorial Award” (MCA) for Services to the International Messenger Community
The MCA was conceived as a way for the international messenger community to thank it’s most dedicated workers. Nominations are sought from the messenger community for those individuals who have done most for us, for those who have consistently put the rest of us before them.
This year’s recipients are Amy and Kevin “Squid” Bolger of New York City who are being honored for their work with the New York messenger community and their contributions to messenger communities around the world. Their contributions separately and jointly range from working as tireless volunteers throughout the world, to organizing major events, to being among the formative members of the New York Bike Messenger Association and the New York Bike Messenger Foundation.
These organizations seek to improve the lot of local messengers through the empowerment and knowledge of such projects as the New York City Messenger Industry Handbook and they serve the community by providing crucial services like an accident fund to aid injured messengers.
In 2005 Amy and Kevin Bolger were among the successful organizers of the monumental task of hosting the Cycle Messenger World Championships in the city with the largest population of messengers in the industrialized world.
Their imaginative and innovative work with new sponsors brought success to unique events like the Velo City Tour and the Body Glove Challenge. The recently completed Velo City Tour rewarded 6 champion messengers with round trip tickets to the Cycle Messenger World Championships in Sydney Australia. The Velo City Tour also brought messengers rare national television coverage as professional athletes.
Squid’s pioneering work with Team Puma and Amy’s insightful photographic portraits continue to inspire others, challenge the historically narrow view of messengers and expand the diverse opportunities for messengers in the future.
October 11th, 2006 | Category: General | Comments are closed
This is a really late posting, since Critical Mass was about 5 days ago…oh well.
So I missed another one by being away in Las Vegas for Interbike 2006. There was talk of doing a post convention ride, a la Critical Mass, which would be a hoot down the strip, but we didn’t make that either.
So the city is making moves to make the NYC more bike friendly, but clearly not budging on their personal vendetta with the freely formed critical mass.
Here is one account of Friday’s ride sent to me by Elizabeth, it was her first ride:
I thought I would send a quick email to pass along the story of my first critical mass. Perhaps you were there last night and experienced the chaos the police created at the beginning of the ride. My boyfriend and I were towards the back of the pack and we were able to ride by the first group of cops without incident. However, soon after we turned east on 20th street and hooked up with a few other riders the cops showed up again on their mopeds. We were all obeying all traffic lights and there was only a group of about 7-8 of us at that moment. One cop began driving very close to a cyclist and pinning him to the far side of the street eventually driving him into the back of a parked car. A girl stopped to scream at the cops because it was so outragous. My boyfriend and I went back to union Square with a few other guys and got one of the green capped guys to come back to the scene with us. The cops were just finishing ticketing the two of them for not having head lights. Luckily the guy was okay. The green capped guy took down all of our information and said someone should get in touch with us. Is this the kind of shit the cops are getting away with every month?
This was the first critical mass I have experienced and I am relatively new to cycling in NYC. My boyfriend is an avid cyclist and has been commuting to NJ everyday using his bike and the train for the past year. (He emailed you some picture of ticketing in Central Park a few months ago if you recall, his name is Alex Kahl) So we both finally got out to critical mass last night, excited to ride through the city with a bunch of like-minded people. My initial impression was somewhat dissapointing as there appeared to be little to no leadership in regards to where we ride, when we ride and how we ride. There were many others like us who were out there for the first time and I fear many of them will not return. The cops seem to have perfected their fear tactics so that critical mass has been severely crippled the past few months. For all of us with both front/back lights and bells there is no reason why we can’t just ride down the street together without cops harrassing us or driving us into cars. Some of the ideas we’ve thrown around over this past day, would be to split into 4 groups and all ride different directions meeting up at colombus circle or somehwere central. This would make the cops job exponentially more difficult. Another thought would be to ride up the bike path on 8th Avenue, creating an enormous cycling presence and making other motorist more aware of that bike path. This would make the cops ticketing even more outrageous as we’d be in a designated bike lane.
Despite all the chaos of last night, alex & I will be out there next month, jobs willing. I just hope that others weren’t discouraged by the police tirad. ————————— Mike Pidel, made this video:
—————————- Lauren put up these pictures from the ride.
Its the September Critical Mass in New York City. Riders are invited to a ride through a dance performance…what?
The performers of Agora II , a dance performance in McCarren Park Pool want you to ride through there performance.
please come hook up @ the following times and/or locations: 8-8:25: meet over by the statue of Washington the Brooklyn side of the Williamsburg Bridge @ the north entrance to the bike path (S 5th & S5th Place, just west of Roebling)
or @ 830 in front of the McCarren Pool (Lorimer St. between Driggs & Bayard Ave.)
Bikers will ride through the pool around 845ish. Last time there was 150 or so bikers and it was pretty fun. There is a ramp down into the pool and it is pretty mellow. We made a couple loops and then rode away into the night. This time there will be a big AFTERPARTY in the pool since it is the last weekend of the show. Sounds fun.
Every month the alleycat race, a messenger style scramble through a particular city, gets more complex. Anyone can put on one of these races, but it is the participants themselves which try and come up with the most unique race and forge ahead with new ideas on an old concept. Here is one, up coming that is truely original and combines many of the riding styles, skills and equipment. Track, Road, Alleycat, Street…this one has it all.
Here are the detaials:
On October 8th we present to you a challenge: A flat-out road, city and track race that runs from Nyack to Kissena.
HERE’S THE DEAL:
Racers must register in 2-man teams. This is a team race. At least one team member MUST be on a track bike.
On the morning of race day there will be a relaxed group ride from the city up to Nyack and the start line. That afternoon, the race begins. Teams will wind their way back home to NYC and through the beloved city streets that lead to Kissena Velodrome, where they will then compete in a Time Trial for points and victory.
Are you up to the challenge?
* * * * *
HERE’S THE FUN FACTS:
This race is not as hard as one might think. This race is about pacing yourself and riding smart – not just fast. Remember what happened to the Hare? That’s right – they took him out back and shot him for what he done.
Strategy is a deciding factor in this race as always. Think man, think!
Prizes and sponsors to be announced. Check this thread for updates.
You may register your team here now and have a place held for you. Registration is $10 per racer. ——————————- So get a partner, figure out where Nyak is and RACE!