Here is the latest in the Villager’s series on bike activism in NYC. Time’s Up volunteer Keegan writes about how cyclist got radicalized due to a bicycle ban in Time’s Square in the 80’s, the 20 year anniversary of Critical Mass and an upcoming celebration bike ride, film screening and panel discussion.
The battle of the bike ban
By: Keegan Stephan
Published: September 20th, 2012
This month marks the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. Activists across the world are celebrating effective direct actions and strategizing ways to move forward. In New York, we have a special victory to celebrate and an important opportunity to facilitate next steps: a victory 25 years ago in a struggle that’s at the forefront of New York City politics again today, and a celebratory event to recall the lessons of the past and regroup for the future.
In 1987, Mayor Koch issued an edict banning bicycling on Fifth, Madison and Park Aves. from 31st St. to 59th St., between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. The ban was a clear attack on bike messengers, who were being scapegoated in the press and public for unsafe streets. In response, six messengers rode up Sixth Ave., taking up the road width, slowing down traffic, and stopping at red lights to let pedestrians cross safely.
For these reasons, the cycling community will once again gather in the spirit of direct action. At 6:30 p.m. on Fri., Sept. 28, the 20th anniversary of Critical Mass, we will meet at Sixth Ave. and Houston St. and bike the ride that defeated the 1987 ban. At 9 p.m., we will convene at Cooper Union’s Great Hall, at 7 E. Seventh St., for a free movie screening about the ban, followed by a panel discussion on how to cultivate community and create positive change with cyclists and other road users. For more details, visit: www.battleofthebikeban.com
Panelists for this event include messenger and race organizer: Tony “Stoned Tone” Monroe, Laura Solis (@Lalitadynomite) of @WeBikeNYC and Charlie McCorkell founder of Bicycle Habitat and one of the driving forces of the bicycle uprising.
Using twitter? Follow along on this event: @BicycleUprising and use the hashtag: #S28 and #CM20
NPR just had a great article on how Japanese sake makers are now trying their hands at making local craft beer. Kiuchi Brewery vice president Youichi Kiuchi holds a bottle of his company’s Hitachino Nest beer. To make beer, the brewery is using equipment that once was used for sake.-Photo by Lucy Craft
Chrome industries has just improved their Truk shoe, which is perfect for urban cycling.
It’s available today (September 19th) in all your local Chrome stores.
Here is a little press:
(San Francisco, CA) Chrome is the original maker of Urban Bike Footwear that provides performance on and off the bike. Designed and developed to be worn all day, the Truk is the latest in Chrome’s Pedal Series shoes created for commuters and messengers who want more riding performance without sacrificing walking comfort.
The Truk’s upper is built with the same bombproof 1000 denier Cordura that Chrome uses in the bag-line and makes the Truk model 25 times stronger than typical canvas shoes. The Truk’s sole construction includes a 100% vulcanized outsole, an integrated nylon shank for increased pedal power, a cushioning heel pad, resilient PU insole and Chrome’s signature reflective heel detail for visibility at night. The Truk is BUILT to ride and is simply stiffer, stronger and bomber.
For a quick promo, here is hill bombardier and track bike technician, Massan in a video showing off the Truk shoe:
Izhar Gafni has designed a bike that weighs 20 pounds, costs between $9-12 to build, can hold up to a 485 pound person, and it made out of cardboard.
Engineers told Gafni that his idea was impossible. Yet he realized that paper could be strong if treated properly. As in crafting origami and tearing telephone books, he explains, “[if] you fold it once, and it’s not just twice the strength, it’s three times the strength.”
The development to what you see today took three years. Two were spent just figuring out the cardboard complications–leading to several patents–and the last was spent converting a cardboard box on wheels to a relatively normal looking bike.
I have to give a big shout out to Fyxation, makers of sleek fixed gear cycling parts and now frames (more on this in a minute.)
They were super kind to answer my request for some new pedals and foot straps.
For you brakeless fixed gear riders out there who haven’t tried a foot retention system, this is worth giving a shot.
Not as easy to get your foot into as a classic track pedal and metal toe clips, but where it lacks in a quick flip of the foot, it makes up in a secure and snug fit that really locks the shoe in for serious power stopping. For urban commuting, brake or not, these straps do not incumber the foot, until you really need it. Free style riders have really embraced this system for popping wheelies and a wide variety of tricks. I’ve found these straps incredibly comfortable on my daily commute for quick handling to avoid the onslaught of joggers who think bike lanes are their own personal running track.
Fyxation hooked me up with their classic Gates pedals, inspired by the world of BMX. These are made out of high impact nylon for all kinds of abuse and incredibly light weight. They have a molded surface for a grippy ride and come in 7 colors for your color mix-and-match needs.
To complement the system are highly durable Gates straps made with nylon and 2″ of solid velcro.
These straps really mold with your foot and maintain their shape. There are a lot of straps out on the market, and the gates pedals will take just about any one of them. Gates straps will work with most BMX platform pedals.
Meanwhile Fyxation has been super busy. As well as maintaining a large selection of handlebars, tires, saddles and stems they have just released their 2013 catalog which includes 3 new framesets, taking urban cycling to a whole new level.
Here is a little about their new product line from Fyxation:
One product we’re particularly excited about is our Quiver frameset.
The concept behind this bike is to offer riders and shops a versatile frameset that can be built up as a single speed/fixed gear, internal hub or geared bike. This one bike can be your “quiver” due to it’s versatility. We used 132.5mm rear spacing so the frame can accommodate a wider internal hub or a cassette.
To maintain the look of a single speed bike we used a horizontal dropout and the frames come with removable cable stops if you’re running gearless.
In order to get around the issue of hanging a derailleur off of a horizontal dropout we designed our own derailleur hanger that can be used to mount a derailleur.
The Quiver is our street frameset and will be available in black, white and silver with a bladed/aero track fork.
The Third Ward is our city frameset and has the same geometry as the Quiver but will be available in polished black and beige with a more traditional curved fork. Both can be built up with fenders and racks so any rider can customize their bike as they see fit.
Looking pretty hot, and innovative too. For their complete 2013 catalog, go here.
Today is definitely a day of reflection. Remembering all those who lost their lives on this day, eleven years ago.
I felt compelled to ride my bike today to my job site in the Bronx near Arthur Ave. It was 18 miles each way and although tiring, I felt determined to use a non-polluting form of transportation. As I rode home under the shadow of the blue beams of light, a memorial beacon in the sky, I couldn’t help drawing the connections between that ruthless terrorist act and our dependence on foreign oil. It made me think about the United States ties to to the Saudi’s and exactly what these relationships have caused in international wars and the collateral damage waged on both sides through the senseless murder of civilians.
As fashion week’s madness passes here in the big city, a bicycle still remains the best accessory on the street and off the runway. I mean just look at these guys: (from copenhagencyclechic.com)
Now I believe there is a soundtrack to go with this worldwide cycle chicdom. Ladies and Gentleman presenting Nora and One Left, a D.C. based band that is the perfect accoutrement to a leisurely bike ride in your hood or around the globe.
They were kind enough to give me a free CD and I’ve been riding with it for a couple of weeks now with their smooth poppy and whimsical sounds floating in my head space.
Nora and One Left remind me a lot of the pop anthems of the 60’s like the sugary flavor of the Turtles and more recently the playful harmonies of the Swedish band the Cardigans. This is light fun stuff with an occasional ukelele and banjo thrown in for a little Southern Twang. If Country is about pickups and gun racks, then let Nora and One Left be modern country for tandems and bike racks.
Their most notable hit is “Cycle Chic” , which is a real worldwide roll call to all the European towns to ride in and the Cycle Chic Republic that started as a fashion blog in Copenhagen and has clone sites all over the planet.
This is a really fun album with lots of great tracks, perfect for a mellow ride on your bicycle: “Lazy Afternoon”, “Out in the Rain” and “On Down the Road” to name a few. It’s all about how no matter what, bad weather, lost relationship…life’s just better on a bicycle, or at least it’s a great way to clear your head.
I’m not sure if every song on this album is about bike riding, but I can’t help but think when Nora sings: “Got a dollar in my pocket, got a song to sing, And I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, We’ll meet on down the road…” It’s meeting friends for a bike ride.
I really like this album for its fun spirit and gave it a shout on my website’s ad column. Definitely give it a listen on your next commute…with one ear bud (that’s the law) or a portable speaker…of course.
Uncommongoods is having a design contest: Uncommongoods is a Brooklyn-based online retailer, is hosting a Bicycle Lovers Design Challenge from now until September 15 and we would love to see the work of the online bike community.
DEADLINE: September 15, 2012 at 11:59 PM ET
GRAND PRIZE:$500 cash + an UncommonGoods vendor contract
This open call is for any designer to submit a finished product that would appeal to a bike lover. This can be anything featuring a bicycle, an accessory or gadget to use while riding or a gift made of recycled bike parts. The winning designer will win $500 and a vendor contract with UncommonGoods, getting their design in front of thousands of customers. All finalists will have the opportunity to submit their entire portfolio to UncommonGoods buyers, get their work critiqued by a panel of judges that will include designer Emily Rothschild and Pasqualina Azzarello of Recycle-A-Bicycle, and experience some serious online exposure.
Calling all designers, inventors and especially velophiles!
Has your beloved bicycle made its way into your artwork or designs? Have long rides in the saddle inspired a new gadget or accessory? We want to see what amazing gifts and accessories you have for the avid cyclists and “dandy horse” enthusiasts.
RUNNERS UP: All runners up will receive a critique of their work from the guest judges, as well as tips for marketing and growing your business. Additionally, the UncommonGoods buying team will be happy to review your full portfolio in consideration for future work.
WHAT CAN I SUBMIT:We love all things bikes! We want to see your creative gadgets, accessories, and cycling gifts. Take a look at our bike products to get an idea of what we might be looking for.
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE AN UNCOMMON ARTIST:Your designs should tell a story, be intelligent, and show your individuality. We love to see designs and gadgets that are original and uncommon!
WHAT KINDS OF MEDIUMS CAN I USE? We accept all sorts of materials as long as they are safe and animal-friendly — so no lead, leather, feathers, or pearls. But we love unique materials that tell an interesting story. Don’t forget to share that story with us in your product description and with alternate images.
GOT A QUESTION? Browse through our rules. or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have trouble with the form, make sure you’ve filled out your contact info — especially a valid email address! — before you upload your images.
Erin is the senior buyer at UncommonGoods. She rides her hybrid bike from Manhattan to the UncommonGoods offices in Brooklyn. Her favorite bike accessory is her purple helmet and the Bike Glow Safety Light.
Emily Rothschild is an Industrial Designer interested in all things art and design. Equal parts problem solver, designer, maker, and writer, Emily can usually be found building, prodding, torching, or tinkering. She aims to identify areas of our lives that are often overlooked in order to create new, lasting, and often humorous design solutions. Emily lives and works in her hometown of New York City.
Pasqualina Azzarello is an artist, public muralist, and director of Recycle-A-Bicycle. Recycle-A-Bicycle is a grassroots community bike shop and non-profit organization in NYC that teaches youth how to build bikes, ride bikes, and transform old bike parts into beautiful, wearable art.
ABOUT UNCOMMONGOODS: Since 1999, UncommonGoods has worked with independent artists and designers to promote their work via our catalog and website, and we place a high value on supporting emerging artists and designers in a variety of ways. This year, we’re expanding our business to support local artists with development events, provide content on our blog to help them grow their craft and business and give opportunities to more fine artists through our challenges.