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Wheels 4 Workers-SEIU 32BJ’s ride for building service workers.

I got an email from Eugenio H. Villasante, Assistant Director of Communications for SEIU’s local 32BJ. This union has more than 120,000 members in eight states and Washington, DC, and is the largest property service workers union in the country.

He wanted to let me know about an upcoming ride in solidarity with workers rights. Always down to support my local brothers and sisters especially when they taking it to the streets…on bikes.

“Hey Mike, I’ve seen your blog and I may want to give a heads up to NYC bikers on 32BJ’s Bike Ride for the American Dream to call attention on some luxury real estate developers like T.F. Cornerstone denying their building service workers, safety-training and advancement opportunities afforded to 55,000 building workers in NYC.
“I feel I’m stuck as porter for life,” said Danny Carranza, one of the worker who will be riding on August 10th against the race to the bottom that is undercutting standards and opportunities for workers like him.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer described this fight as “an issue about fairness and equality,” and many of the workers at the Chelsea and Long Island City luxury Cornerstone developments where residents pay “big bucks” in rent think is a matter of developing the skill they need to advance in this industry.

See our facebook invite for more info: www.facebook.com/events/443988712291068

Chillin with Cool Cyclists

Earlier this week I had a rare night out. First stop, I meet up with Rydel, organizer and blogger with Miami Bike Scene for drinks in Bushwick at the Trophy bar.

He got a special deal through Jet Blue, which they DON’T seem to advertise much, where they allow bikes to fly for free in the month of July, waiving an annoying $80.00 plus fee. It’s a Tour de France deal and Rydel was keen to take advantage of this to visit friends in NYC, put in a ton of mileage from the Bronx to Ft. Tilden and hop in on some pickup bike polo down in the pit.


I have always wanted to meet this guy in person because he single-handedly transformed the bike scene in Miami, a city known for hyper aggressive drivers where hit and runs are common. He took over organizing the monthly critical mass rides back in 2007 and morphed a sluggish attendance into a thriving mobile party on the last Friday of each month into numbers topping 1000 riders.

He said the strategy that worked was less democracy. Ride routes are picked in advanced and rotated semi-randomly between 1-4 set paths. There are also dedicated riders who act as ride leaders, corking intersections and keeping everyone together.

We had a real good bike blogger pow-wow discussing each others cities cycling culture histories and what has worked and not towards our corresponding critical mass rides.

He seemed really modest about his involvement in the scene, but still with numbers into a thousand riders at their critical mass, in a such a car culture heavy city like Miami, he’s obviously doing something right.

Time Lapse – Miami Critical Mass July 2012 from Brian Wagner on Vimeo.

Then I went to meet with fashion designer and sister blogger, Nona Varnado of thebirdwheel.com She has found some great opportunities in Los Angeles and sadly, will be leaving us within the month. We have been collaborating on few projects and she has vowed to keep her organizing of ladies events and female enriched cycling content alive and well no matter what coast she’s on. Besides, LA can use a real infusion of her community building, marketing skills, fashion sensibilities and bike culture creating. She was having drinks with Joshua Rechnitz, and wanted to introduce me to the wealthy patron and cycling enthusiast who’s donated 40 million dollars to Brooklyn Bridge Park in the hopes of creating NYC’s first indoor velodrome. This is the largest donation to an NYC park to date.

Oddly enough, that night was an article in the NY Times about the current status of Josh’s cycling dream.

A $40 Million Gift, a Proposed Bike Arena, and Now Skepticism in Brooklyn
By: Lisa W. Foderaro
Published: July 30, 2012
(photo by: Ruby Washington)

It may very well be the $40 million dollar gift horse.
In April, Joshua P. Rechnitz pledged that amount — the largest single gift in the history of New York City’s parks system — to build a field house in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The gift was heralded as a much-needed boost for the 85-acre waterfront park, which is still under development. But attention quickly turned to the centerpiece of the plan: a velodrome with a 200-meter inclined indoor cycling track and stadium seating for almost 2,500 spectators. At the track’s center would be limited space for more traditional sports like basketball, gymnastics or tennis.

Read more, here.

I can’t help but draw parallels to the new Barclay’s stadium about to open in downtown Brooklyn especially when listening to local community critics who seem opposed based merely on not knowing what a velodrome is. If rich rap star Jay Z can get his dream of bringing professional basketball to Brooklyn, why can’t Josh get a sports facility that has way more participatory potential and good for the health of NYC? This is also a facility that wouldn’t require any eminent domain to remove local businesses, but rather a vast improvement to an abandon space. Friends of mine often try and call me out on the Nets stadium, saying I wouldn’t be kvetching if it were the NY Rangers hockey team. I always tell them that’s not the point…Now if it were professional track cycling…I’d be in line for tickets faster then a Jewish Mom looking for seats to Barbara Streisand. Babs is returning to her home in Brooklyn, Thursday October 11th…I mean, if your into that sort of thing.

Weigh in your opinion on the Velodrome/Field House on brooklynheightsblog.com informal poll or leave comments here.

Sunday, August 5th-Time’s Up Beach Ride

Sunday, August 5th, 11:30am–Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn.

From Time’s Up:
Bike ride to Rockaway Queens beach (Fort Tilden). Bring swimsuit, towel, sunscreen, food and/or money for food, lock for bike, or leave your bike on the beach. Come prepared (tools, tubes, water, etc.) to ride some miles at a brisk pace.
Walking to the beach on a beautiful sunny day.
Communal picnic on the beach, paradise!

We will be having a big communal picnic lunch so BRING SOMETHING TO SHARE (or take a quick detour to the grocery store in Breezy Point or the concession stands at Jacob Riis Park).

source of the event.

the new olympic cycling event in London…getting arrested.

Critical Mass is a spontaneous cycling event that occurs in over 300 cities around the world and has been doing so since it started in San Francisco, coming up on 20 years ago. In most of the participating cities it is held on the last Friday of the month which can often coincide with other worldwide spectacles such as this years 2012 Olympic games in London.

Regardless of the peaceful history of the mass, law enforcement are so jacked up on security detail, when they see a thousand cyclists grouped together in a bike ride, they immediately assume the critical mass is some sort of violent anarchistic cabal, hellbent on destroying capitalism and blocking streets. After all, you have to justify the billions of dollars spent on militarizing the police force, especially around major events like the Olympics which are reported to be costing 17 billion dollars, 10 to 15 more than originally projected.

This was the case, last Friday when critical mass occurred in London, like it has been for decades and 182 cyclists were arrested.

Read more here.

Kind of ironic when pro-cycling mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has constantly been encouraging people to choose cycling at the Olympic games as a better mode of transport due to crowded streets.

Seems like the police were participating in their own version of the para-olympics by pepper spraying and arresting a violent threat to them…a man in a wheel chair.

Rumor has it, the biggest threat to London streets caused by critical mass, was delaying super soccer star, David Beckham from getting through in his motorcade.

If you were to actually protest the Olympics, people might be a little upset, that while the world financial crisis has caused massive austerity with social services cutting their livelihood, while at the same time fronting a bill with their tax dollars for an Olympics they can’t even get tickets too.

Sadly, many of the seats promised to local residents have gone to more deserving institutions that have done great things for the planet, major “non-people” corporations such as DOW chemicals (1984 Bhopal disaster killing 3,800 people) and BP (2010 Deepwater Horizons oil spill in Gulf region) major sponsors of the games.

An article in the Telegraph explaining why their are so many empty seats at the games.

More Olympic dissent coverage from WBAI’s Democracy Now,

Besides the defiant act of cycling in a group…don’t try and use any street art either during these Olympic ceremonies…
(UK graffiti icon, BANKSY)

Olympics graffiti crackdown.

Artcrank is coming to NYC, 8/9/12

What is Artcrank.com you ask?

Bikes are the world’s most fun, accessible way to get around. Posters are the world’s most fun, accessible art form. ARTCRANK™ brings them together.

ARTCRANK is a show of bicycle-inspired poster artwork that introduces people to talented local artists and sends them home with affordable, original works of art. Every ARTCRANK show features posters created by local artists from the host city. Admission is always free, and posters are priced to let everybody take home at least one.

ARTCRANK began in Minneapolis in 2007. Since then, we’ve held shows in Denver, St. Louis, Portland, San Francisco, Des Moines and Bend. In September 2010, we held our first international show in London. And in September 2011, we held our first show at Interbike, the bike industry’s annual convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. For 2012, we’re adding new shows in Austin, Los Angeles and New York.

A poster party for bike people.

ARTCRANK™ + A Poster Party for Bike People from ARTCRANK on Vimeo.

Now, Art Crank is coming to NYC, Thursday, August 9th. artcrank.com/newyork

Bicycle Habitat on Thursday, August 9, and we plan to put on bike poster party that does the Big Apple proud. In addition to limited-edition posters, we’ll be selling ARTCRANK glasses and filling them with craft beer by Widmer Brothers Brewing to benefit Streetsblog and Streetfilms.

RSVP here. for a chance to win a $100 gift card from Bicycle Habitat.

Participating artists:

Andres Rivera
Birks & Birks
Brandon Lockfoot
Briana Auel
Chris Streger
Claudia Reyes
Ed Nacional
Elliott Grubb
Eric Harvey
Grace Danico
Gregory Ugalde
Jennifer Daniel
Jeremiah Britton
Jessie Perlin
Language Dept.
Lee Trice
Lloyd Miller
Mads Jakob Poulsen
Meera Lee Patel
Mike Burrill
Peter Chang
Ryan Haigh
Sean Sutherland
Taliah Lempert
Tonja Torgerson

Give your bike a GLOW

You may not be able to make your bicycle as flashy as say this creation:


Read the article in Altanticcities.com

But it is important to be seen at night, the brighter the better.

You know the drill, white light in the front, red in the back…BOOORING.

May I suggest the BikeGlow, a 10 ft. length of electric wire to wrap around your bike or whatever turns you on.

Now in eight cool colors.

The NY Daily News reader offers, now has a special, 50% off (notice the blinking ad in the top of my right column)

This totally awesome light wire is only, $12.50 now through 8/8/12.

or if you have lots of time on your hands, maybe you want to make your own LED light creation.
Saw this on Urban Velo.

Find out more at Boing Boing.

Don’t Steal Bikes

With bike theft on the rise, I thought the latest t-shirt from ridebikesdrinkbeergetawesome.com was the perfect message to be seen around town…
Get one for a steal, here.
Meanwhile, I got this report from Emily who works at Bicycle Habitat in Brooklyn, (476 5th Ave.-Park Slope)

Hello,
I work for Bicycle Habitat in Park Slope, and we had two bikes stolen this morning. They are a Specialized Sirrus Limited, carbon, 56 (WSBC604019275H) and a Linus Gaston, black, medium (L1E0502700). They were stolen in boxes. If anyone sees them for sale, call us at the shop at (718)788-2543.

Chrome, new bags and lead sponsor of CMWC in Chicago

Is there really a cycling apparel company that does it all the way Chrome messenger bags does? I mean, not only banging out decades of solid merchandise from head to toe, but representing hard core urban riders like Ed Wonka and putting on a multitude of killer events for local bike communities where they have set up shop.

Yes, they,ve also given me some great free stuff lately so I love them even more.

It’s been hard to keep up with Chrome Industries lately as they just unleashed a whole new line of bags.
Like the Delta:

Features:

Weatherproof flap pack with ballistic nylon bottom panel
Wide mouth opening main compartment designed to fit 12-pack or large books and binders
Built-in laptop sleeve fits up to Macbook Pro 15 (padded sleeve recommended)
Industrial strength Velcro accessory shoulder mounting straps
Organization pockets for smartphone, and personal items
Internal d-ring key loop

Fit:

Ergonomic shoulder strap design
Sternum strap for load distribution
Industrial metal cam lock under arm compression buckles

Fabrication:

Weatherproof 600 denier TPU coated Cordura outer shell
Nylon 69 thread and YKK zippers

Here’s Wonka rockin his bag:

and the District:

This is the District bag Chrome sent me, more on that later.

District Bag
Features:

Weatherproof roll-top with ballistic nylon bottom panel
Weatherproof roll top opening for increased security and expandability
Built-in laptop sleeve fits up to Macbook Pro 15 (padded sleeve recommended)
Industrial strength Velcro accessory shoulder mounting straps
Organization pockets for smartphone, and personal items
Internal d-ring key loop

Fit:

Ergonomic shoulder strap design
Sternum strap for load distribution
Industrial metal cam lock under arm compression buckles

Fabrication:

Weatherproof 600 denier TPU coated Cordura outer shell
Nylon 69 thread and YKK zippers

But enough about the gear…over in London…as dudes in the pool break records…


another major sporting event will attract the world’s greatest athletes, and certainly something is bound to get broken…non other than the Cycle Messenger World Championships (CMWC) which is set to go off this weekend, in Chicago. That’s right, the world’s top cycle couriers are flocking to Chicago to see who is the fastest on two wheels.

Chrome is the signatory sponsor of the mayhem and opening registration will begin Friday night at the Chrome Chicago store (1529 N Milwaukee Ave)

Chrome will be throwing events all weekend, BBQ, alleycat and a Familia lead welcome ride by their own Squid from Cyclehawk couriers from NYC.

“We are stoked to be involved in the CMWC again this year. The venue, the organization staff, and the athletes are going to make it a year to remember. This is where we started and where we will stay; supporting the most epic athletes in the world.” Steve McCallion, President of Chrome Industries.

But no need to wait until Friday…Chicago’s own Tiny Fix Bike Gang, is hosting a welcome alleycat and BBQ on Wednesday, 8/1/12.

Stolen bikes are on the rise…Lets up our game.

Bike theft. Such a tragedy, especially when we loose our childhood friends…take the recent case of Bridget who had a bicycle stolen recently.

Bridget contacted me that her teal green Diamond Back mountain bike was stolen on July 29th between 2pm-11pm near the L stop in Williamsburg Brookyln. Even sadder was this was a present for her 10th birthday, she’s now 29 years old.

Here is what she had to say about the bike and how it was locked.

It was locked with a cable lock (not the best choice, I know. I’d been meaning to get a better one but b/c I hadn’t had any touble yet I thought it was OK. Live and learn). The lock was around the frame, through the front tire, and around a bike rack on N7th between Bedford and Driggs. I’m just now learning that the racks near subway stops are prime targets. I came back from studying at the library at NYU all day, around 11:30 pm, and there was no trace of the bike.

The only picture of the bike I have is attached. It’s kind of on it’s side but you can tell it’s got a black basket. I also found a picture on the internet of the men’s version of it. Same color, style. I don’t think they make the Traverse anymore – I got this one when I was 10 years old. It’s not “fancy” in any way, but I love that thing.”

Ouch. Sorry Bridget, we’ll keep an eye open. If anyone has information, contact Bridget McFadden, email: bridgetmcfadden@hotmail.com, or phone 574-238-3407.

Meanwhile, I heard some good news, but haven’t got the full details. Remember the 3rd ward bike stolen from the wife of an associate of Rankin and Taylor?
Saw this on twitter.

It does happen.

Meanwhile, DNA Info reports a big spike in bicycle thefts this year, especially in Williamsburg Brooklyn.

Bike Thefts Quadruple This Year in Williamsburg, Police Say
By: Meredith Hoffman
July 30th, 2012

WILLIAMSBURG — Bike thefts in Williamsburg and Greenpoint have quadrupled in the past year, skyrocketing from 24 in the first half of 2011 to 96 in the first half of 2012, cops said.

“It’s happening all over,” said the 94th Precinct’s commanding officer Deputy Inspector Terence Hurson of the thefts in North Brooklyn. “It’s been increasing since the spring.”

He would not speculate as to why the theft reports had increased.

Hurson said his officers had stepped up efforts to go after stolen bikes, and had made six arrests this year compared with none in the first part of 2011.

But he insisted that more people needed to get their bicycles etched, or tagged with identification codes, to help officers track down and identify stolen bikes.

Read more: here.

Not sure about how accurate the police numbers are, but there is good information in here. Regardless it’s important to securely lock your bike and find a way of identifying it. I don’t recommend getting your bicycle engraved by the local precinct, they tend to do a sloppy job, although I appreciate their efforts. One clever trick is to take some sort of identifying document, such as a bill of sale or photograph of you and the bike, wrap it in a zip lock back and stash it in the handlebars. Then if the bike is recovered, you can pull off the hand grip or bar wrapping and show the documentation. You may see your stolen bike out on the street, grab it and call the police, but they really won’t be able to help you unless you can prove it’s your property. You could get your local bike shop to put some identification on it, at least a sticker or maybe even a bar code.


Recently I discovered, Bike Shepherd which partnered up with lock giant, Kryptonite. They have a whole QR code id system that helps register your bike using smart phones.

Follow them on twitter, @bikeshepard.

Getting a lot of reports of theft here on my blog and reading that article I have revamped my stolen bikes page. It’s still kind of tedious for me to post there so I always recommend using, bikewatchnyc.wordpress.com It’s super up to date and utilizes twitter instantaneously for people to use social networking and be on the look out.

The page also included my tips on what equipment to use and some basic tips on secure locking. This was taken from a travel guide book I co-authored last year, Bike NYC.

Episode one: 718 cyclery helps Dhani Jones build a bicycle.

Former NFL linebacker Dhani Jones was quick to realize he needed a better performance mode of transportation for riding around NYC, so he traded in his clunker Porsche and headed over to Joe Nocella of 718 Cyclery in Gowanus, Brooklyn.

Here is the video:

Actually this is episode one of a seven part series created in collaboration with Porsche and Men’s Journal. The original series is a travel log, following Dhani’s journey from New York to Alabama, where he shares such experiences as building a bespoke bicycle in Brooklyn to learning to smoke meat in Virginia to fly-fishing in North Carolina.

I dunno, I pretty sure episode one will be my favorite.

Need more: mensjournal.com/spiritedescapes.