Summer seems to time when average cyclists crank it up a notch and seek out longer, involved bike travel, often known as bike touring.
In 2009, three friends of mine (Ken Stanek, Quinn and Andy) headed from Portland, Oregon across the country back to NYC. (the blog of their trip twoarmparty.com)
Last year, Brett Cleaver & Edie Perkins, a couple of racers from NYC, decide to do the same thing for their honeymoon. (their trip blog: Kissingwithhelmets.com)
This summer, I heard about Fletcher Moore, the co-founder of the poetry experiment website, Quickmuse.com who is taking a 2,000 mile journey along the Mississippi River.
Inspired by the free wheelin writer Mark Twain, he’s calling this trip: Bike Twain.
He’s got 30 days to complete his journey (left 7/1/11) Here is more about it from Quickmuse editor, Ken Gordon:
“Starting the other day, Fletcher Moore–the guy who co-founded QuickMuse with me–is going on an adventure that is (a) literary; (b) historical; (c) ecological; and (d) bicyclogical. OK, I made up the last term, but Fletch’s project is indeed a bike-based trip into bookish America’s natural past. He calls it The BikeTwain Project. Here’s Fletch’s description:
“2,320 miles to cover in a month, powered solely by an unremarkable pair of legs. This is a long-standing dream of mine, but I suppose it might sound like some folks’ idea of a nightmare. Would you like to come along?
The BikeTwain Project aims to complete a greenlined bicycle trip down the Mississippi River, from Lake Itasca, MN to New Orleans, LA. What’s ‘greenlined?’ Well, greenlining is the art of staying connected as sustainably as possible. I’ll be stocking this site with as much video, audio, photos, and text as I can squeeze out, given the power limitations of the sun and a bike-mounted generator, which I believe aren’t limitations at all. And I intend to prove it.
BikeTwain derives its name, of course, from that most clever of machines, conceived in the 19th century, powered by spaghetti and beer, and much overshadowed in the years since by the equally hoary but very problematic automobile. That and the great American writer and spokesman for the Mississippi, Mr. Mark Twain â€” also conceived in the 19th century (though whether he was powered by spaghetti and beer is a matter for conjecture only). Though he did in fact learn to ride a bike during his life, Twain did most of his river traveling by steamboat. That’s still possible today, but here’s a dose of serendipity for you: the average speed of a steamboat is about twelve miles an hour. The average speed of a touring cyclist? Yep.
So I expect to see the Mississippi that Twain saw, more or less. And for my purposes here, I’ll look to his Life on the Mississippi as a guide. No doubt a lot has changed in the hundred and thirty years since this classic travelogue was published, but therein lies the margin into which my own observations might fall.”
Even better than this lively description is this AWESOME video.
And what with the Mississippi flooding like it’s the End of Days… this story is now extremely topical.”
Oh BTW, Mark Twain had an amazing experience riding a big high wheeler back in a the day, he wrote an unpublished essay about it, which you can read here.
They’ve created a personalized visual storycorps project called: “My NYC biking story,” where they introduce us through a short video, to members of the diverse biking community of New York City. This episode features 23 year old Bin Feng Zheng who speaks three languages and is an ambassador to the Transportation Alternatives safe cycling program.
From the site:
“This spring, Transportation Alternatives launched a program to promote safe cycling throughout the five boroughs. Bin Feng Zheng, 23, works for this program as an NYC Bicycle Ambassador. Bin started riding a bike just two years ago, so he knows all about the challenges of learning to ride. He’s also tri-lingual — speaking Chinese and Spanish — which helps him promote responsible riding and the benefits of bicycling in the diverse neighborhoods where he grew up. He says one of his big motivations is to bring biking to Chinatown and the Lower East Side, “because in the end it’s not just about biking, it’s about having a more vibrant community, it’s about having safer streets.”
Cyclist, long time supporter of Time’s Up and owner of the East Village bar and institution: D.B.A. is in critical condition at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan.
54 year old Ray Deter, was hit by a Jaguar driver on Canal Street, yesterday around 5:30pm.
According to gothamist.com, one eye-witness says: “he was lying in the street like a rag-doll.”
Also from Gothamist:
“In photographs from the scene, the Jaguar’s sun roof and windshield are seen to be heavily damaged by the impact. According to the Daily News, the unidentified driver received a summons for possessing a small amount of marijuana. As you may know, New York State decriminalized low-level marijuana possession some three decades ago, making it a violation punishable by a fine, not an arrestable offense.
However, the NYPD has been criticized for arresting record numbers of minorities for possessing small amounts of marijuana that turn up during illegal stop and frisks. So isn’t it shocking and disillusioning that walking while black with a little grass lands you in the Tombs, but cops send a pot-possessing Jaguar driver on his way after nearly killing a cyclist? It almost makes you wonder if the police enforce laws differently based on the perpetrators’ social class!
UPDATE 4:35 p.m.: An employee at D.B.A. Brooklyn confirms that the injured cyclist is Ray Deter, owner of D.B.A. On the bar’s Facebook page, they’ve posted the following:
— We are reaching out to every one of our patrons and friends to please send your prayers and loving energy to Ray Deter at this time. As some of you may have heard, Ray was in a very serious bicycle accident yesterday and is in critical condition. For those of you who are hearing this for the first time, we are so sorry to share this news in this manner, though we are grateful for the tool to reach many of you.”
Ray’s recovery is our number one concern, but hopefully the NYPD will gain valuable information from this horrible incident due to the passing of the Saving Lives Through Better Information Act and work towards our streets becoming safer.
This weekend, July 2nd, is the annual Velo City tour in NYC, a multi-city velodrome series where participating track racers compete for tickets to the Cycle Messenger World Championships. (held this year in Warsaw, Poland)
You have to be a working courier to win tickets, but it’s an excellent time to watch some fierce amateur track racing at NYC’s only velodrome in Kissena, Queens.
Aaron does an informative job of explaining the recent controversy behind the Prospect Park West bike lane and the basics behind the Department of Transportation pushing a more bike friendly agenda with NYC’s streets.