Jefferson Siegel, the man on the bike scene for the Villager, wrote an article on the recent Time’s Up sponsored memorial ride.
Photo by Jefferson Seigel
Clockwise from top, cyclists lift their bikes at Houston St. and LaGuardia Pl. for Derek Lane, 23, a cyclist killed by a truck there in June; Mary Beth Kelly speaks on the Hudson River bike path where her husband, Dr. Carl Henry Nacht, was killed in June, as Transportation Alternativesâ€™ Noah Budnick listens; cyclists place flowers on a ghost bike on Third Ave. honoring Reginald Chan.
Heavy lifting as cyclists honor those killed on the road in â€™06
By Jefferson Siegel
Bicycle solidarity was on eloquent display last Sunday as hundreds rode in the Second Annual Memorial Ride to honor the 14 riders killed on city streets last year.
Two separate rides started out early in the morning in Queens and the Bronx, stopping at a dozen sites before meeting up midafternoon in the Village. At each stop, friends and colleagues poignantly spoke of their loss in
words usually reserved for close family members.
Risi Kondor, a computer science student at Columbia, rode even though he didnâ€™t know any of the fallen cyclists.
â€œI think itâ€™s important to make a statement to make this city safer and to commemorate those who canâ€™t be here,â€ Kondor said as cyclists filled LaGuardia Pl. north of Houston St. at the spot where Derek Lake, 23, was struck and killed by a truck on June 23.
Keen Berger, the Village Democratic district leader and Community Board 2 member, circulated through the crowd with a basket of homemade oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies. Ian Dutton, a public member of C.B. 2â€™s Traffic and Transportation Committee, lamented the loss of Lake, an aspiring filmmaker, as well as the deaths of other cyclists on Houston St. in recent years, a thoroughfare so deadly it has earned the name â€œBoulevard of Death.â€
â€œI am dismayed at the Department of Transportationâ€™s disregard for the significance of these fatalities,â€ Dutton said, â€œand disappointed by D.O.T.â€™s efforts to ignore our neighborhoodâ€™s insistence that we address the safety issues for the cyclists that use this street.â€
As they had on every stop that day, cyclists then held their bikes aloft in a symbolic â€œbike liftâ€ salute before pedaling east.
At Third Ave. and 17th St., a white ghost bike marked where East Village restaurant owner Reginald Chan was killed last September. Members of Chanâ€™s family stood silently, each holding a single flower. Cyclists dismounted and covered the stark white bike with colorful blooms.
The ride then pedaled west, past Union Square and through Chelsea to Ninth Ave. and 29th St., where Darren Lewis, 20, was killed in August.
On a summer night last June, Dr. Carl Henry Nacht, 56, was killed by a tow truck while he was riding on the bike path along the Hudson River at 38th St. On Sunday his wife, Mary Beth Kelly, surrounded by family and friends, stood before the silent group of riders and recalled how a bystanderâ€™s shirt was unable to staunch the blood of her husbandâ€™s fatal wound.
â€œI think the basic human nature is to be compassionate. Weâ€™re involved in civic activity; it gives meaning to our lives â€” connect with our community and think about the things that elevate us,â€ Kelly offered.
The ride then proceeded down the path to Clarkson St., where Eric Ng, 22, was killed by a drunk driver in December, one of three cyclists killed in the final weeks of the year.
At the last stop, the Memorial for Unnamed Cyclists on Houston and Lafayette Sts., the crowd listened to speeches by the rideâ€™s organizers from Timeâ€™s Up! and Transportation Alternatives before performing a final bike lift. —————————————–
In the Sunday New York Times Magazine was an article on Messenger style and Timbuk 2 bags:
To be a bike messenger, a former member of that profession explains in the documentary â€œPedal,â€ is to be part of a â€œwhole different culture.â€ The messenger feels free, envied and looked down on all at once. â€œBike messengers fall into the realm of outlaw,â€ he explains. Itâ€™s not clear exactly when people delivering things by way of a bike came to be thought of as a â€œculture,â€ but in recent years it has become clear that this image is widespread and probably marketable.
For instance, Advertising Age recently included a messenger-bag company called Timbuk2 in its â€œMarketing 50â€ list of up-and-coming brands. With sales to messengers â€œin the bag,â€ the magazine observed, Timbuk2 has lately â€œexpanded into an urban-lifestyle brand,â€ with about $20 million in sales a year and growing quickly. The companyâ€™s roots go back to 1989, when a San Francisco bike messenger named Rob Honeycutt started making bags and selling them through local bike shops. When this started to look like a real business, he changed the original name â€” Scumbags â€” got some financial backing and opened a manufacturing facility in the Mission District. The brand sold made-to-order bags via the Internet and had a solid cult following by the time Honeycutt sold his stake to new investors and left in 2002.
Soon Timbuk2 started to have success with a more diversified product line. The brand now sells backpacks, laptop bags, duffel bags, tote bags, yoga bags and even wallets. Macy Allatt, director of marketing for the company, says that â€œurban livingâ€ is the common thread. While it is unlikely that bag purchases by actual bike messengers make up more than a sliver of Timbuk2 sales these days, theyâ€™re still â€œthe reason this company has been successful,â€ she says. Presumably thatâ€™s both because a bag with messenger-ness in its DNA is bound to be ruggedly functional and because of courier cultureâ€™s harder-to-define outlaw chic.
Timbuk2 didnâ€™t conjure this chic: the brand is one of many to notice that messengering seems connected to a more vague, but popular, notion of â€œurbanâ€ cycling, which carries a whiff of progressive politics, creativity and preference for the outdoors, even a paved cityscape, to one of the Manâ€™s cubicles. And of course messengers really do care about their bags: ReLoad, Eric Zo and other small brands have devoted followings. But while, for example, messengers have organized competitions and races for years, it is only recently that these events have started attracting major sponsors like Puma. Meanwhile, the light â€œfixed gear,â€ or track bikes (which donâ€™t have brakes), that some messengers use have attracted interest from increasing numbers of people who five years ago might have been drawn to skateboards. The makers of a new DVD called â€œMash SFâ€ â€” full of streety stunts (and painful-looking crashes) in the manner of a skate video but with bikes â€” were recently recruited to contribute to the influential Japanese style Web site Honeyee.com.
This messenger-inspired aesthetic is what Timbuk2 has addressed with its newer products (one bag is called the Blogger) and by expanding distribution to places like college bookstores. â€œWeâ€™re still very much committed to the cycling community,â€ Allatt says, noting that the brand sponsors messenger races as well as events like the Bicycle Film Festival and has produced a limited-edition artist series. And while many of the new products are made in China, the messenger bags are still made in San Francisco; the company has also introduced â€œsustainableâ€ bags made of hemp. â€œWe wouldnâ€™t want to alienate where we came from,â€ Allatt says.
Ivan Morales was memorialized on Sunday’s bike ride that wound its way through the five boroughs. The ride was the second annual event to bring attention to the cyclists killed each year at the hands of motor vehicles. Only one problem, Ivan Morales lived through his cycling crash. Not a problem at all, thankfully Ivan survived his ordeal of being hit by an off duty police officer who struck the Bronx resident with his SUV, a year ago.
The article mentions the issue that since Ivan is alive it makes it difficult for cycling advocay groups to keep accurate accounts of those killed by motor vehicles. Thats the issue? How about highlighting the fact that people can seriously mame and kill people with their SUV’s and no charges or investigations are ever done?
January 11th, 2007 | Category: General | Comments are closed
and the NY SUN wrote an article highlighting how memorial rides like the one last Sunday may be illegal if the NYPD gets their way.
Also WNYC (NPR New York) had a story on Monday morning about the memorial ride:
Cyclists Remembered by Arun Venugopal
“NEW YORK, NY January 08, 2007 â€”Hundreds of cyclists rode through the five boroughs. They stopped at 14 ‘ghost bikes’ – bikes painted white marking where a cyclist was killed on the city streets last year. WNYC’s Arun Venugopal has more. REPORTER: After stopping at crash sites in Queens, Brooklyn and Upper Manhattan, the cyclists began to converge at a ghost bike on Houston Street. That’s where 23-year-old cyclist Derek Lake was hit by a truck last June. As friends of Derek began to decorate the white ghost bike with flowers, a passerby, on foot, started arguing with the cyclists: WOMAN: You guys, it’s really too bad this happens. But you know how many pedestrians are endangered by bicyclists? MAN: Well, you know, I mean, we’re talking about people who have gotten killed. WOMAN: I’m not talking about being killed. I’m talking about myself being hit or my dog almost being hit. REPORTER: A few minutes later, the group of about 200 cyclists observed a moment of silence, lifting their bikes up in the air, above their heads. Will Green says he was Derek Lake’s best friend, and that Derek starting cycling just a few weeks before he was killed, having sworn off the subway. GREEN: Waiting in lines, and paying exorbitant fees. And he wanted to get some fresh air and get some exercise. He was really proud of it. REPORTER: Barbara Ross is with Time’s Up, the group that organized the bike ride. She and other activists say cyclists are at risk when cars double-park, forcing bikes out of bike lanes and into car lanes. The NYPD, she says, needs to do more. ROSS: They said they would increase the enforcement, after September. They said that would be a priority. And I’ve been on the streets and I am still seeing double-parked cars, all the time, morning and night. And the cars are oblivious. They don’t even realize it’s an issue. REPORTER: The city has promised to expand its network of bike lanes and some bikers said they were happy about the proposed public awareness campaign, meant to make car and truck drivers more conscious of cyclists. For WNYC, I’m Arun Venugopal.”
January 8th, 2007 | Category: General | Comments are closed
Queens/Brooklyn/Manhattan Route 09:45-Meet @ Jamaica Center stop on the E or J trains. Group will ride to Simpson Memorial together. 10:00-Frank C. Simpson, 174th St & Linden Blvd, Queens. 11:30-Jose Mora, North Conduit & McKinley, East New York 12:00-Shamar Porter, Linden Blvd & Williams, Brownsville 12:30-Keith Powell, Ave L & 93rd, Canarsie 01:00-Donna Goodson, Rockaway Pkway & Ave. D, New Lots 02:00-Bronx Jon, South 4th Street & Roebling,Williamsburg 02:45-Derek Lake, Houston Street & LaGuardia, West Village
Bronx/ Upper Manhattan Route 09:00-Meet @ Pelham Bay Subway stop. Last stop on the 6. Group will ride to City Island Memorial together. 10:00-Ivan Morales, City Island, Bronx 12:30-Uptown Meet-up: 145th and 8th Ave, Harlem 12:45-Jamel Lewis, 145th St & 8th Ave, Harlem 01:30-Memorial for Pedestrians killed on the streets, E 96th and Park Ave. 02:00-Memorial for anonymous woman, 66th Central Park Traverse 02:45-Derek Lake, Houston Street & LaGuardia, West Village
The two group rides will converge @ the Derek Lake memorial.
02:45-Derek Lake, Houston Street & LaGuardia, West Village 03:15-Reginald Chan, 3rd ave & 17th street 03:45-Darren Lewis, 29th & 9th ave. 04:15-Dr. Carl Henry Nacht, Greenway & 38th street 04:45-Eric Ng, Greenway @ West & Clarkson
January 6th, 2007 | Category: General | Comments are closed
Jefferson Siegel wrote this article in the villager about the recent memorial ride for Eric Ng, killed on the Westside Highway by a drunk driver.
Caption under the photo:
Eric Ngâ€™s friends grieve as they listen to remembrances of him near a white ghost bike memorial left for him on the Hudson River Park bike path at Clarkson St., above. A friend lingers at the ghost bike memorial as the others start to head over to St. Markâ€™s Church for another memorial for Ng.
article-(TITLE) Love and rage at memorial for cyclist slain on path
By Jefferson Siegel
“Eric Ng, the 22-year-old cyclist killed by a drunken driver on Dec. 1 on the Hudson River Park bike path, was remembered by family and friends in a day of memorials last Saturday.
The group Visual Resistance had placed a white â€œghost bikeâ€ near the spot where Ng was struck, along the greenway at Clarkson St. Early Saturday afternoon, as cyclists gathered in Washington Square Park for a memorial ride, several dozen others already had congregated alongside the bike path, where flowers adorned the stark white cycle. A woman walking by stopped to snap a photo of the all-white bike on her cell phone. A female jogger slowed and then stopped when she realized why the crowd had gathered. She paused, hung her head and crossed herself before resuming her jog uptown, the spring in her step noticeably a bit less.
Maya Elise Joseph-Goteiner stood quietly holding a bouquet of flowers, her eyes red, her face disconsolate. Joseph-Goteiner said she went to school with Ng for four years, and together they were members in the Peace Coalition. Nearby, a man in a green jacket, his jaw clenched, held a bunch of flowers close to his chest.
Just before 2 p.m., a mass of 150 cyclists coming from Washington Square pedaled down Greenwich St., turned right onto Houston St., crossed the West Side Highway and rode onto the bike route, where Park Enforcement Patrol officers politely directed them into the lot in front of Pier 40. Riders dismounted, many carrying flowers, and walked to the bike path in silence.
Ryan Kuonen of Timeâ€™s Up!, who has had the unfortunate task of organizing too many memorial rides, was one of the first to approach yet another ghost bike and place a flower in the spokes of the rear wheel. Nearby, Noah Budnick of Transportation Alternatives, who suffered a serious head injury last year on a poorly maintained bridge bike path, stood quietly in the midst of the crowd, wearing a Brooklyn cycling hat.
Several neighborhood leaders and activists also paid their respects. Brad Hoylman, chairperson of the Community Board 2 Traffic and Transportation Committee, and Keen Berger, a member of the committee, stood with cyclists in Washington Square Park before the ride. Ian Dutton, a public member of the C.B. 2 Traffic and Transportation Committee, and Livvie Mann, president of the Bedford-Downing Block Association, rode with the mass to the ghost bike.
Alone and in pairs, several cyclists paused in front of the bike and laid flowers, placed stones and said silent goodbyes.
Someone played a brief trumpet solo. Then, Ngâ€™s friend Ryan Nuckle stepped onto the low wall by the ghost bike. Recalling memories of Ng, Nuckle paused occasionally, overcome with grief. Facing him was a clutch of Ngâ€™s friends, their arms around each other, some crying inconsolably. A gloved hand covered a face red from crying. In the bright December sun, an overwhelming sense of grief and loss filled the air.
Nuckle finished his brief remarks and stepped down to join Ngâ€™s friends. One friend then let out a bone-chilling scream, a cathartic cry, a wail lamenting the injustice of such an untimely loss, as if she could yell all the way to the heavens to let Eric Ng know how much he will be missed.
Then she joined her two friends in singing a lullaby, â€œSleep, Baby, Sleep,â€ and more people in the crowd buried heads in hands and on shoulders, many of them sobbing.
People then lined up to lay flowers and say farewell as others hugged, eyes tightly closed and hands clenched. Despite the six lanes of rushing traffic just steps away, a silence seemed to shroud the gathering.
Before long the ghost bike was festooned with colorful flora. Friends had also planted brightly painted yellow wooden sunflowers around the bike so that, whatever the season, it will always resonate with life.
The cyclists then returned to their rides for one final tribute. In a symbolic gesture that has become painfully frequent the past few years, the mourners quietly held their bicycles over their heads for a minute. Then they got back on their seats and pedaled across the highway.
Their next stop was a memorial service at St. Markâ€™s Church in the East Village. Several hundred people sat in a circle of chairs, watching as photos and videos of Ng played on a screen overhead, accompanied by tapes of his singing. Friends then stood, one by one, and shared their fondest memories. Some read e-mails Ng had sent over the years. One read some of Ngâ€™s favorite Richard Brautigan poems.
The day conculded with a dance at the Timeâ€™s Up! space on E. Houston St. Dancing, as Nuckle explained, because Ng would have liked it. Fierce dancing, reflecting the epitaph attached to Ngâ€™s ghost bike: â€œLove and Rage.â€ -=——————=-=————- In honor of Eric and other cyclists killed in 2006 at the hand of motor vehicles…TIme’s Up will be hosting its 2nd annual memorial ride on January 7th. The details are not finalized yet but check back here soon. This ride travels in mass to several sites where cyclists were killed.
Memorial ride for slain cyclists of 2006 will be held January 7th.
December 19th, 2006 | Category: General | Comments are closed
This was by far the largest santacon participation I have seen in the 6 or 7 years I’ve been involved in this great event. In Central Park around 3:00pm, there had to be close to 400 santas…and a few dreidels and menorahs and of course the chanukah chicken and frosty. One guy was a naughty rudolph with a sign that read…free ride for Mrs Claus. Here are some photos at flickr