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Bike Tour of Historic Morningside Heights, June 10th.

Got this sent to me:

“I am leading a bike tour of historic Morningside Heights on behalf of the Morningside Heights Historic District Committee this coming Sunday and was wondering if it would be possible to post on your blog.

Sunday, June 10 – 10 a.m.
Bike Tour of Historic Morningside Heights
Gather at St. John the Divine, Amsterdam Ave at W. 112th Street
Subway: Broadway Local to 110th/ Cathedral Station For more info: morningsideheights.org/

Get the ins and outs by the seat of your bike as you travel around one of NYC’s most scenic—and significant—neighborhoods. Get the inside scoop on Olmsted’s parks, Grant’s Tomb, Columbia University, Saint John the Divine, and a host of other institutions that made Morningside Heights the quintessential “Acropolis of the New World” by the turn of the twentieth century. Architectural Historian Gregory Dietrich and Adam Cohn will lead this cycle-delic tour which promises to leave no cornerstone unturned.

Cost $10.00″

From: Gregory Dietch (ggdietrich{AT}msn.com

4th World Hardcourt Bike Polo Championships

Get your mallets and your passport ready.

Coming to Geneve, August 14th-18th. 4th annual World Hardcourt Bike Polo Championships.

Seen on: urbancyclistworldwide.com

More info: geneve-velo-polo.com

Used bike and shoe drive, June 17th.

Got this message from the NYC Surf Blog, NYCUrchin.com

“NYC Urchin is partnering up with sustainable clothing line Loomstate on a used bike and shoe drive on Sunday, June 17th at the Brooklyn Flea on the Williamsburg waterfront at North 7th Street, 10am-4pm (rain or shine). We are incredibly excited to unite forces with Pedals for Progress and Soles 4 Souls to give new life to some overlooked materials and help mobilize some fellow humans! We look forward to your involvement in this effort!

Pedals for Progress collects 5,000 – 7,000 bicycles annually, over 130,000 to date, distributes them to developing areas of Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe where they are repaired by local affiliates and sold at a low cost, directly developing the local community. In many cases, bikes are essential tools for survival, used for commuting to work, accessing health care, education, and food. All bike donations are tax-deductible.

Soles 4 Souls collects shoes and distributes them where they are needed, especially in disaster relief situations to decrease disease transmission. The EPA estimates Americans throw out 790,000 tons of footwear and apparel each year! The solution seems simple, doesn’t it?

Where YOU come in – Please start your spring cleaning!

Drop off adult or children’s bikes that are in repairable condition, but are not missing any major components. It costs $40 to get a fixed bike into the hands of a deserving individual, which is why we require a minimum $10 donation with each bike. P4P will also take working portable sewing machines.
Bring us your new and lightly used shoes! All shoe types are accepted, even single shoes! Please donate $1 with each pair to help with shipping. You can also simply donate for a chance to win the below prizes.
Volunteer for the day or for an hour…come hang out with us and help out!

The Perks – In addition to simply feeling great about changing someone’s life, your good heart also deserves some goodies! Bike donators will receive a discount at Sole Bicycle (opening up in Brooklyn this month) and will be entered into a raffle to WIN your very own fixed gear Sole bicycle. Shoe donators will receive a discount at JackRabbit Sports and will be entered to win organic cotton beach balls courtesy of Loomstate.

Questions or want to help out? Contact Annie at 201.519.0488, NYCUrchin@gmail.com.

For a chance to win an awesome bike by Sole Bicycle Co. donate here! For every $10 donated, YOU will get a raffle ticket to win! www.solebicycles.com

Calendar for NYC bike events

I’ve started a resources page on this blog, which so far includes a calendar of upcoming bike and environmentally friendly events in and around the NYC area.

Like this one:

25th Anniversary party for Time’s Up, at the Brooklyn Brewery.

For more information: times-up.org/25thanniversaryparty

To get your event added to the list, just email me: mgreen@bikeblognyc.com.

Crackdown summer part 2-your opinions.

With the nice weather out, I’ve been able to do much more of my favorite pastime. No not mutant bike polo,
CHUNK Polo (photo by: knifefight.)

No, I’m just talking about good ol fashion bike riding:
Just picture a bicycle under me in this photo.

–I’d love to be writing about great positive things like the Tour de Brooklyn, but instead I see headlines like this, from the bike snob:

“There’s no surer sign of springtime in New York City than when the anti-cycling cockblockers emerge from their hidey-holes and resume their seasonal efforts to outlaw the act of riding a bicycle.”

So I’m forced to write about the latest NYPD crackdown on bicycles.

Here is an article in NYMAG:

With Nice Weather Comes Ridiculous Bike Tickets
By: Joe Coscarelli
Published: 6/1/12

The sun’s out as summer approaches, and so are the city’s cyclists, which means the NYPD is not far behind with a flurry of tickets. The Village Voice reports that officers have been setting up around town to police riders, and they’re not just looking for major infractions. One woman describes being stopped by a cop in Williamsburg for an examination recently: “He explained that this was a checkpoint for enforcing bike safety, and that I was about to be issued a summons for failing to have a bell on my bike.” That’ll be $90.

Asked about the prevalence of these stops, the NYPD said, “We will not be giving the times and locations of our checkpoints.” Streetsblog reported a similar “ticket blitz” this week in Central Park, where cyclists have complained in the past about being excessively policed for things like not stopping at every red light and even speeding.

Entire article, here.

–>So how does everyone feel about this new NYPD crackdown with secret checkpoints? Please leave your comments below, I’d really like to get a discussion going.

Crackdown summer?

Just saw this in the village voice:

The Voice just got some info suggesting that the New York Police Department might boost bike ticketing efforts, including setting up more cycling safety checkpoints around the city — and the NYPD doesn’t plan on informing the public beforehand.
Here’s what’s up: a reader was recently riding away from the Bedford Avenue L-station and saw a squad car and two officers stationed near North 12th Street, near the corner of McCarren park, where she encountered a bike checkpoint — an encounter which prompted us to ask a few questions about the NYPD’s efforts.

Read the posting, here.

Typical. Another summer where biking popularity soars and a massive bike sharing program set to launch in a month. Meanwhile the NYPD increase their harassment campaign with secret sting operations in the name of safety, such as the egregious offense as not having a bell. Wonder how NYC drivers would feel about an increase of roadblocks checking every car for a working horn?

Alleycat Caribbean Team 6/2/12

Alley cat adventure with Caribbean Team.

20120601-135822.jpg

Bike Love…and hate, week in review.

Well NYC is getting a lot of bike love these days. Eclectic artist, musician and avid cyclist, David Bryne, wrote a piece in Sunday’s NY Times endorsing the bike sharing program coming to NYC in a month. (Citibike.)

Opinion
This Is How We Ride

“This summer the city’s Department of Transportation inaugurates a new bike-share program. People who live and work in New York will be able to travel quickly and cheaply between many neighborhoods. This is major. It will make New Yorkers rethink their city and rewrite the mental maps we use to decide what is convenient, what is possible. Parks, restaurants and friends who once seemed beyond plausible commuting distance on public transportation will seem a lot closer. The possibilities aren’t limitless, but the change will be pretty impressive. “

Mr. Bryne’s essay had a simple way of highlighting the benefits of what’s coming here to NYC, by describing how he used the program in London and other cities, where bike sharing already exists:

“I’ve used bike-sharing programs in London, Ottawa, Washington, Toronto, Barcelona, Milan and Paris. In London, where they introduced a public bike program two years ago, I could enjoy a night out without having to worry about catching the last tube home or finding a no longer readily available black cab. In Paris, the Vélib program has more than 20,000 bikes and extends all the way to the city’s borders. Significantly, the banlieues, the low-income housing projects that surround that city, aren’t included, so the system reinforces a kind of economic discrimination, but maybe more coverage is coming.”

Read the full op-ed, here.

Granted, NYC’s is going to be the most expensive at $9.95 a pop, but he broke it down how to keep the trips under 30 minutes and how this program is designed to be another viable transportation option along side public transportation, not to be used for long tours of the city. He was really psyched about the transformative prospects of bike sharing in NYC.

The higher price for NYC, has already begun to alarm people such as this recent article in Gothamist. Headline: “CitiBike, NYC’s Bike Share, WIll Cost $77 For A Four-Hour Ride”. Read more, here.

Those fears were addressed in a blog posting from Scientific America:

The reason is that a bike share is not simply an automated bike-rental service. It’s a flexible option for short-distance transportation. Need to get across town to make an appointment? Grab a shared bike and go. Want to take a leisurely four-hour ride along the waterfront? You’d be better served renting a bicycle from the numerous businesses that cater to that market. Besides, if CitiBikes are anything like the heavy, utilitarian clunkers I rode in Paris, you won’t want to spend four hours in the saddle.

The overage fees that most users are likely to incur are more reasonable—$2.50 for yearlong members who ride an extra half-hour beyond their allotted 45 minutes, $4.00 for short-term members who exceed their 30 minutes by a half-hour or less—but certainly seem aimed at keeping trips short.

continued, here.

Meanwhile, D.O.T. commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan was busy answering questions about which neighborhoods will be getting the bike sharing program at a recent city council meeting. This according to WNYC:

The Upper West Side of Manhattan won’t get bike share until June 2013. That’s according to New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, in testimony before the New York City Council Tuesday.

The date isn’t exactly a surprise — the city acknowledged at the launch of its Citi Bike program that some neighborhoods won’t get bike share until next spring, but the June date puts it at the outer edge of that timeline.

Read more, here.

Meanwhile, in Tuesday’s AMNY they had praise for bikes with a short piece on how businesses are specifically targeting the rising trends in cycling:

Biking business boom: More city merchants offering deals for bikers

At The Candy Rush in Crown Heights, bicyclists stop by for doughnuts and gummy bears. On the Lower East Side, they pop into Luca Lounge for beers. At Brooklyn Roasting Company, they pick up espresso shots.

These businesses are among hundreds of shops, cafes and bars trying to lure cyclists with discounts and other incentives – a trend being driven by the Bloomberg administration’s push to make New York the biking capital of the East Coast.

“Many businesses understand that bicyclists means business,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, a group that tracks bike-friendly businesses. He predicts bike-friendly businesses will grow in the months ahead to 1,000 from around 250.

Continue reading here.

Now the hate…

With all this love and praise of the bikes in NYC to help transform our transportation and increase business, Cyclists continue to be harassed, especially those brave souls who participate in the monthly critical mass rides.

Here is one cyclist going through a 20 minute ticketing process for not having proper lighting on his bike, which clearly shows in the video to be FALSE.

Kind of sad when Critical Mass is celebrating it’s 20th year come September.

Artwork by Mona Caron.
More info www.sfcriticalmass.org

and there’s never a dull moment for our city legislators to look for new revenue streams in punitive ways, especially towards cyclists.

Here is new legislation being presented trying to make it mandatory for all adults to wear helmets when operating a bicycle.

From Gothamist:
Councilman Proposing Bike Helmet Law Says Not Wearing One “Worse” Than Forgoing Seatbelt
By: Christopher Robins
Published: May 31, 2012

Today City Council Member David Greenfield is introducing a law that would make wearing a helmet while riding a bike mandatory in New York City, punishable by a $25 fine. “The reality is 91% of cyclists who are killed are not wearing helmets,” Greenfield says. “Seatbelt laws don’t keep people from driving cars,” he adds. “Seatbelts save lives. In a way, not wearing a helmet is worse than not wearing a seatbelt. You’re endangering your life, your family’s lives, and the lives of those in your community.”

Yet we live in a city in which cyclists are ticketed more than truck drivers, and cyclists make up around 10% of traffic, while bike lanes make up less than 6.5% of the city’s streets. How will a helmet law change this? “There’s a reason why no major city has imposed a mandatory bike helmet law,” Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson says, “and that’s because the best way to protect cyclists is to avoid accidents in the first place, and you do that with more bike lanes.”

More, here.

It’s still the same ol dual edge sword here in NYC, making me skeptical of real transformation. Sure great things have happened with infrastructure, laws and soon a large scale sharing program…but that comes at a price of continual harassment and a police force who tends to always side with the motorist and corporate powers.

My hope is that all sides of NYC’s governance, get on the same page and find ways to promote biking and allow it to thrive so they can see it as the future and not just as a passing trend that needs to be clamped down on.

Cycles of Life-comic

Saw this on: urbancyclistworldwide.com

It was created by artist, Grant Snider and posted on his site: Incidentalcomics.com.

He wrote this: “In less than 6 months my wife and I will be learning to ride cycle #5! It’s sure to be an exciting and terrifying course. You can order a poster of this comic at my shop.

Sidewalk tickets, not just for hipsters anymore

If there were a chart of complaints of the transportation set of NYC, topping that list for cyclists would be cars blocking bike lanes. Of equal value of kvetching for pedestrians would be bikes riding on the sidewalk. Biggest of those offenders are food delivery workers who seem to relentlessly use these spaces designed only for pedestrians, thus making average commuting cyclists feel their getting a bad rap.

Now I’m not a big fan of using punitive punishment to try and correct this behavior, but this seems to be the direction the city may be taking with new proposed legislation.

Great more ticketing. In light of giving the NYPD more power to target cyclists, it may be the only way to transform the mindset that it’s time we all started using the road in order to transform the city into a more livable place.

Kurt Boone, the messenger poet, sent me this Daily News article:

City looking to increase fines for delivery cyclists who ride on sidewalks.
Legislation would allow Department of Transportation officers to ticket transgressors.

By: Reuven Blau & Tina Moore
Published: May 29th, 2012

20120530-184045.jpg(photo by: Jefferson Siegel

Takeout on two wheels may soon be getting a lot more expensive — for the delivery guy and the restaurateurs.
The city is looking to increase the number of enforcement agents and jack up the current $100 fine on annoying commercial cyclists who illegally ride on sidewalks, officials said Tuesday.
Legislation being hammered out in the City Council would allow a new cadre of Department of Transportation enforcement officers to ticket transgressors — an army of agents to work alongside the NYPD.

Read more: here.