25 years ago mayor Koch, who has the 59th Street bridge named after him, tried to ban bicycles from Midtown. Author and bicycle activist Charlie Komanoff has a five part series about the “bicycle uprising” that has shaped the cycling history in NYC long before D.O.T. Commissioner Janette Sadik-Kahn got the go ahead to make biking cool.
You can sit at your computer all day long and you’re never going to get anything done in terms of bringing down a government. What happens is when people got up and went into the streets. – NY Times Cairo correspondent David Kirkpatrick, interviewed on Fresh Air (NPR), July 18, 2012, A Reporter Looks at Where Egypt May Be Headed.
The Revolution of 1987
Twenty-five summers ago, something remarkable unfolded on the streets of New York City: Bicyclists by the hundreds and even thousands took to the avenues in a series of tumultuous demonstrations — part protest and part celebration — that galvanized bike activism.
The demonstrators encompassed the entire spectrum of NYC bicycling in the mid-to-late 1980s: daily bike commuters, weekend recreational riders, bike racers, cycling sympathizers, and bicycle messengers (who in those days were a powerful presence in Midtown traffic and who spearheaded the mid-summer actions). These disparate constituencies joined to resist a mayoral edict banning bicycle riding in the heart of Midtown Manhattan: on Fifth, Madison and Park Avenues from 31st to 59th Street.
Bicycle Roots, the woman’s owned bicycle shop (1078 Fulton St.-Brooklyn) wants to do more than just sell bikes:
At Bicycle Roots, we try to be more than just a bike shop. Any shop can sell bicycles. But we consider the business of building a community of cyclists to be our main commodity.
They are working hard to pressure the NYPD’s Accident Investigation Squad (AIS for short) to investigate crashes between motorists and cyclists.
Here is more from their blog:
Recently, there have been a number of high-profile cases in which a reckless driver has harmed or killed a cyclist, pedestrian, or other user of alternative transportation. These cases are not occurring in isolation—it’s the rule, rather the exception, that a reckless driver can walk away from the scene of the crime with little more than a slap on the wrist. No fines, no jail time even when they have killed or severely maimed an individual.
This affects our whole community. We know that safety is the number one concern of local riders. Everyone has either had an incident with a driver, or knows someone who has. This fear is legitimate, and it’s a big obstacle to getting people to consider their bicycle as their main form of transportation. Join us in holding the NYPD’s Accident Investigation Squad (AIS for short) accountable for investigating these incidents properly, and setting a precedent for other municipalities in handling incidents between drivers and users of alternative transportation.
They site a story of the shop’s PR director Cassandra, a former messenger, who shares her personal account of a crash in NYC on the job.
It makes for a good personal account of a crash and example of how much the NYPD need to take these violent encounters much more seriously.
Title: Almanzo 100
Seen on: Prolly How does a man move and shape a culture? Our love of storytelling compelled us to find out, so we dug into the story of the Almanzo 100 gravel road race–the granddaddy of them all. We found that a single man’s passion for community has manifested itself in a bike race. The challenge: to race 100 miles of gravel roads without assistance or outside support. Pain and suffering exist temporarily, but the satisfaction of a battle won will empower these racers the rest of their lives. Call it a movement if you’d like but please don’t call it a fad. Gravel racing is here to stay.
Directed by: Tony Franklin
Director of Photography: T.C. Worley
Edited by: Matthew Kroese
Assistant Camera: Johnathan Chapman
Assistant Camera: Matthew Jensen
Location Sound: John Fontana
Sound Design: Kent Militzer
Colorist: Sue Lakso
Title: Factory 5: the Daily Grind
Seen on: Prolly
By Prolly: Ever wonder what it’s like to ride in Shanghai? This new video from Factory 5 shows us just a taste. Man, I wanna get over there so bad. Thanks to Tyler for sharing this!
Title: PathLessPedaled – Swift Industries
Seen on: TRACKO We interview Martina of Swift Industries, an independent maker of panniers in Seattle. She tells us about the bag making process. She also shares with us the conflicts she has with doing businesses in the current economy. pathlesspedaled.com
Title: Francis Roque for Zontrac
Seen on: zlogblog We recently added Francis Roque to our flow team. Here’s a chill edit that he made for his welcome.
Filmed by: Andy Ha, James Vanotti, Tommy Mao, Dawson Phan
Song: Pete Rock – The Best Secret
Title: Kagon Doyle in the good ol’ Pacific Northwest
Seen on: zlogblog
Title: Team Spider at Premium Rush group ride
Here is Chris Ryan from Team Spiderat the New York City Premium Rush Group ride.
Last night (8/22/12) was the red carpet premiere and the stars of the film were out in full force. Not to mention the stars of our local bike community, many of which are in the film like Kym Perfetto:
Who stars as one or the messengers in Wilee’s (Joesph Gordon-Levitt) crew.
Here is Squid (on the right) with actor Gordon-Levitt.
And although not in the movie, Time’s Up bike activist superstar Barbara Ross was at the premier which was co-hosted by Brendt Barbur and the Bicycle Film Festival.
Another Time’s Up volunteer Austin Horse, did a lot of the stunt riding for Gordon-Levitt. He was unable to attend due to travel but he gets a good mention in this recent NY Times article:
A recent NY Times poll just revealed 66% of New Yorkers think the bike lanes are a good thing. This may be insight that the cycle friendly direction the city has taken may be starting to gain acceptance.
There is also information that New Yorkers are less than enthusiastic about the proposed bike sharing program that has been delayed until spring next year.
From the Times:
Most New Yorkers Say Bike Lanes Are a Good Idea
By: Michael M. Grynbaum & Marjorie Connelly
Published: August 21, 2012 Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times
A bicycle lane near the Williamsburg Bridge along South Second Street.
Bicycle lanes may be little more than painted stripes on concrete, but in New York City, they have become the stuff of lawsuits, neighborhood squabbles and tense debates over the proper role of government.
Now, six years after the Bloomberg administration began its controversial campaign to re-edit the city’s streetscape, adding 255 miles of bicycle lanes onto streets previously dedicated to automobiles, a hard-fought acceptance for the lanes may finally be at hand.
When asked simply whether New York’s bike lanes were a good idea or a bad idea, 66 percent of New Yorkers said they thought bike lanes were a good idea, according to a new poll by The New York Times. A majority in all boroughs said they thought the lanes were a good idea, with support highest in Manhattan.
Meanwhile, as cyclists we are still dealing with severe police harassment, even when we use the bike lanes. Here is a recent report from Brian Gluck, owner of Red Lantern Bicyclesin Fort Greene Brooklyn. He was rammed by an NYPD car while riding in Grand Army Plaza with his child.
“My son and I were just run off the road by the NYPD in Grand Army Plaza. They rammed their car into my bike and made me crash into a parked car. They said my son was not allowed to be on the back of the big dummy (cargo bike designed by Surly) I disagreed and they both stood toe to toe with me shouting questions. Am I drunk? Do I know the law more than they do? Where do I live? They asked me for my I.D. My son is crying. They gave my I.D. back to me. I asked if they were going to give me a ticket. They said no, let us go and made me walk. We both had helmets, lights, a bell and were in the bike lane. We had not run any red lights. We are still shaken up. More details to come.”
I saw this posted on Saturday, August 18th on Red Lantern’s facebook page.
It seems ludicrous that the police could be so callous, especially with a young child involved, but many of the 49 comments attached to this post claim of similar experiences. What kind of message does this send to our children?
If the above poll points to signs of the city accepting bike lanes, then Brian’s personal account is a sign we have miles to go with the NYPD.
What are your opinions on bike lanes, the bike sharing program and this report by a Brooklyn parent and cyclist? Do you have similar experiences with the police?
What do we know about the new messenger thriller Premium Rush? We know it stars Joesph Gordon-Levitt as the hotshot fixed gear riding protagonist. We know it’s about bike messengers in NYC and premiers August 24th. But what you might not be aware of is it was entirely shot in New York City and used a lot of real messengers as consultants, actors and stunt riders. Our own Austin Horse (who took 4th place in this years Cycle Messenger World Championships in Chicago) was Joesph’s double for much of the riding in traffic and skids.
Photo By: Sarah Shatz-
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Austin Horse and director David Koepp on the set of Columbia Pictures’ Premium Rush. Read an article on the Austin working with Joesph in Momentum Magazine.
See the trailer:
Something else you may not know is the messenger bags used in this film are hand made right here in Ridgewood Queens by Tianna Meilinger and her lady co-workers Angie and Grace of Vaya Bags.
I recently got a chance to visit Tianna and her crew at the Queens shop to see the whole operation of this company who’d I’d been admiring for years.
Title: Flight of the Conchords-Mel Dreams
Seen on: Urban Velo
Here’s a blast from the past. Love the hair helmet.
Title: Fairdale Weekender
Seen on: Urban Velo We’ve got one of these in house for test, so be on the lookout for a full review. In the meantime check out www.fairdalebikes.com
Title: Portland Design Works-community Works-Summer 2012
Seen on: Urban Velo Dan Powell is the co-owner of Portland Design Works, a sometimes contributor to Urban Velo and the real deal guy in the industry who just loves to ride a bike. I’ve spent some great times raging on two wheels with Dan—if you like Urban Velo you’d like his sort of trouble. He’s the guy grilling dogs in the Rock Racing cap. Pretty awesome to see PDW doing so well the past few years, and even better to see how far they’ve gone in spreading the love back to the rest of the cycling community. A model for us all.
Title: Bicycle Film Festival Helsinki
Seen on: Fixed Gear TV It was a smooth and fun ride to Bicycle Film Festival Helsinki and back.
Music: Husky Rescue – Summertime Cowboy
Title:New Trials Video with Dominik and Matthias
Title: Invisible Bicycle Helmet “If people say it’s impossible we have to prove them wrong.”
Design students Anna and Terese took on a giant challenge as an exam project. Something no one had done before. If they could swing it, it would for sure be revolutionary. The bicycle is a tool to change the world. If we use bikes AND travel safe: Life will be better for all.
Join the conversation and tweet #InvsHelmet to have your tweet featured on the Focus Forward website. Go to focusforwardfilms.com/films/49/ to see the discussion.
Check out more films in the Focus Forward series at vimeo.com/focusforwardfilms
Party in Soho. Sounds cool for Rhode Islanders. Better yet it was about bikes and art, and the cultural transformation that is taking place cities. With beer too. At the alluring Bicycle Habitat on Lafayette Street.
Music: “The Wolves” by Ben Howard
Beer: Widmer Brothers
–August 9th, 2012 SoHo. NY
Title: “Premium Rush Bicycle” aka AFFINITY (METROPOLITAN) Frame
Seen on: Urban Cyclist Worldwide Thank You for Affinity Cycles for the Metropolitan frame, it’s really a fast frame and a nice geometric track set up and good to be handle on the New York’s streets.
This is the same model use by Austin Horse and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the movie “Premium Rush” premiere it this August 24, 2012.
Title: My Reasons to Ride – Lindsey Bower
Seen on: Urban Cyclist Worldwide This is Lindsey’s video submission for Raleigh Bicycle’s My Reason to Ride contest. She talks about her passion for cycling, why it helped her to learn a new city, and why she started her mass-themed ride group, Crank-Set Rides.
Title: Bike Ride for Ghana – Virginia to Montreal
Seen on: Cool Bike Videos The goal here is not just to arrive victorious and breathless in Montreal (although.. you can count on this happening), the event is aimed to raise awareness and to raise funds for IMPACT’s mission.
Title: HMPL No.15 Saddle Bag spot #1 Designed to hang nicely under the saddle of most any bicycle, the No. 15 transports all of your essentials without the burden of a backpack. Save your shirt and your dignity on a hot summer’s day, unless you always ride shirtless. It’s big enough to hold a 15-case of beer, roughly 15x11x7″ when rolled up.
The joy of the No.15 is its versatility. If you want to leave your saddle alone, you can throw it in your basket, strap it to your rack, attach it to your handlebars, sling it over your shoulder—the possibilities are endless.
Where we’re from, rain is an inevitability. Constructed from durable waterproof materials, the No. 15 will keep your things dry in a downpour. This doesn’t mean its 100% waterproof, but it’s pretty damn close.
Find out more: HMPL.CA
Ok, so no bike sharing till next year. There are some other options. Why not get your very own bike?
Time’s Up just got a whole shipment of used Dutch style bikes and they’re rapidly fixing them up for sale.
Here is more about the lot of bikes from Time’s Up:
Times Up! introduces low cost Dutch bikes to its Brooklyn space.
We ordered 450 bikes from Japan that we are recycling and getting on
the streets fast, for the cheapest prices possible. While Bike Share
stutters to a start, we are getting people on their own perfect
commuter bikes at an affordable price.
While Time’s Up! recycle-a-bike program offers all different styles of
bikes, we focused on providing a very practical Dutch-style non-gender
specific recycled bicycle. This single speed bicycle can be ridden in
the rain and includes full fenders, both front and rear, full chain
guard, and in most cases rear rack baskets, and a kick stand. The
upright safe design of a Dutch Bike provides more visibility than
typical bicycles. The introduction of low-cost (just over $100) Dutch
bikes is a way to change the mindset of New Yorkers. Many times in
America, biking is viewed as more of a sport rather than a mode of
transportation. Through the use of more practical and leisurely
designed Dutch Bikes, the American concept of biking can be
transformed from solely sport biking to an enjoyable method for
everyday commuting or enjoying the city’s bike paths and greenways.
Subsequently, bike ridership can spread to various groups of people
and increase non-polluting forms of transportation. This program has
been remarkably successful. We are starting to see more and more Dutch
bikes all over NYC
We’ll be recycling bikes in the back yard of the Brooklyn Space four
days a week every week from now on!
Wednesdays and Sundays from 4pm-8pm and Thursdays and Fridays from
12noon-6pm, join us for bicycle recycling in the back yard of our
Brooklyn Location. This is a great opportunity to learn basic bike
repair from our mechanics on a one-on-one level, and also to help
Time’s Up! with this hugely important project to get more New Yorkers
on bikes – the best way we know to create a greener, more livable
city. We need people to help recycle bikes, sell bikes, input bike
sales into our database, keep the shop in order, and more! Follow us
on twitter to get the latest schedule changes – we’ll probably be
working even more hours and days than these.
This is a great way to learn bike mechanics skills and get first dibs on a great street-ready bicycle.
In case you hadn’t heard (I hadn’t until just now) the NYC bike sharing program has officially been delayed until 2013.
Here is a more informed news service than me, the NY Times.
Bike-Share Program Delayed Until Spring, Mayor Says
By: Matt Flegenheimer & Michael M. Grynbaum
Published: August 17, 2012
Photo by: Michael Appleton for The New York Times.–
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan held a news conference to announce the program in May.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said on Friday that the city’s much-heralded bike share program will not begin until next spring, ending weeks of speculation about the program’s fate and dashing cyclists’ hopes of seeing the city’s newest public travel alternative this year.