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Thread: Biking in New York City

  1. #61
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    I'd be willing to bet that this most recent guy's little drive down the bikeway was less a mistake than a joy ride --

    "Hey guys, this will be a blast!"

  2. #62


    What leads you to that conclusion.

    And even if true, do you think impaired judgement would have anything to do with it?

  3. #63

    Default I think the guy was just drunk and turned down the wrong road

    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 View Post
    I'd be willing to bet that this most recent guy's little drive down the bikeway was less a mistake than a joy ride --

    "Hey guys, this will be a blast!"
    I see cars turn on to the Hudson river bike path all of the time. almost alway limos or taxis picking up or dropping someone off from the Circle Line area, Helicopter pads, and Chelsea piers. At night, if you dont know the area its easy to make a mistake.

    As I use the paths twice a day, I cant complain, the paths are as safe as they can be, they beat the hell out of the streets. I had one collision with another biker near the garbage truck pier at 59th which was my fault (I was turning and checking out another biker's ass), although the hedges there are high and in summer its difficult to turn in and see oncoming bikes.

    I did see cops ticketing a limo driver just north of the helicopter pads Wed. night for driving on the path.

    Having a dedicated bike path does not alleviate a biker from being responsible and watching for traffic.

  4. #64
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post

    What leads you to that conclusion.

    And even if true, do you think impaired judgement would have anything to do with it?
    Impaired judgment -- you bet.

    Chelsea Piers to Clarkson is a heck of a long drive -- numerous opportunities to turn off the bike path and get back onto the Hiway along that stretch.

  5. #65
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by finnman69 View Post

    Having a dedicated bike path does not alleviate a biker from being responsible and watching for traffic.
    In the situation where Eric Ng was killed he was riding his bike north on the bike path after dark at 9:40 PM (per this article from The drunk driver was driving south on the bike path -- and hit Ng head-on near Clarkson Street.

    Why didn't, as you suggest, Ng do the "responsible" thing and watch for that car driving in the dark on the "no cars allowed" bike path?

    I would surmise that the drunken driver DID NOT have his lights on -- as it would be fairly hard to miss a pair of headlights approaching you on the bike path (this is another reason I surmise that the drunk driver was taking a joy ride down the bike path -- keep the lights off so he can minimize his chances of getting busted).

    Excuse me if I sound angry -- this really saddens me -- and pisses me off that another seemingly exceptional and promising young man has been taken from this earth by stupid actions of an irresponsible person.

    Also from

    Friends honor Ng with one last bike ride

    Memorial bike ride for teacher, activist to take place at WSP Saturday

    by Alvin Chang
    Features Editor
    December 08, 2006

    It’s a bike painted in white — a ghost bike — chained to a street sign on the West Side bike path near Clarkson Street. It will stand in memory of Eric Ng, a 22-year-old killed at that spot last weekend. But the plaque bolted above won’t read “RIP” — instead, it will read “Love & Rage.”

    “No resting in peace for this rock star,” Ng’s friend, Ryan Nuckel, wrote on the blog “Visual Resistance,” which is devoted to transforming and liberating public space. “I’ve been making ghost bikes for strangers for a year and a half. Eric’s is not the first that made me cry, but it’s the first that made me hurt.”

    The NYU alumnus died after being hit by a drunken driver while riding his bike last Friday. In memory of Ng, friends will meet at 1 p.m. tomorrow in Washington Square Park for a memorial bike ride.

    Ng was far more than a rock star. Friends say he was a dedicated activist, a passionate teacher and a loving friend.

    “The world feels like it’s a different shape,” said Tessa Landreau-Grasmuck, Ng’s friend and a fellow ’06 graduate. “Things aren’t as right as they were when Eric was here.”

    Ng was a part of the grassroots organization Time’s Up, which makes a concerted effort to keep cyclists safe while riding in the city. The group promotes biking as an environmentally friendly alternative. His death could have an impact on the movement’s ability to push legislation for cyclists’ safety, said Ng’s friend, Will Elkins, a 2006 NYU alumnus.

    “I hate the idea of using his death to promote a cause, but it has a potential to impact the movement,” said Elkins, who volunteers for Transportation Alternatives, an organization fighting for better, safer ways to travel on foot and bike.

    Along with his activist work, Ng had begun to pursue teaching. As a math instructor for one month at Brooklyn’s Automotive High School, he wanted to help students in the imperfect public school system, Landreau-Grasmuck said.

    “He refused to give up on seniors in high school who couldn’t graduate without math class,” she said. “He wanted to empower students and make them feel like they had a chance when they were in the less-than-shitty public school system in New York City.”

    When Landreau-Grasmuck asked Ng who his favorite student was, he would always say, “I love them all.”

    “But I think he especially liked the ones who were bad because he thought they were like that because they were bored,” Landreau-Grasmuck said. “He could identify with them because they didn’t want to deal with formalities.
    “He would go in everyday saying, ‘I’m here for you.’ He wasn’t there for the school board or the administrators. He was there for the kids.”

    At NYU, Ng was involved in four different activist groups — Earth Matters, an environmentalist group; the Peace Coalition, an antiwar group; NYU Ink, a radical NYU newspaper; and Students for Social Equality. He would start up long conversations with people on the street, even with those who didn’t want to hear what he had to say.

    Friends talked about this confidence and bravery as they remembered Ng. They talked about the time a robber put a gun to Ng’s head, and Ng responded by saying, “That’s not a real gun.”

    “That’s, like, insane,” Elkins said. “Who would ever think of calling out someone on something like that? But it spoke to his bravery. He always said what was on his mind.”

    There was a warmth at Wednesday’s funeral among many strangers who were connected by one thing: “They were affected by Eric,” Elkins said. “If you knew Eric, you could just say, ‘Oh yeah, you knew Eric, too?’ And you can smile because you know you have the same picture of him in your head because he was so real and genuine.”

    “The things he did were directly from the heart,” Nuckel said. “He sincerely wanted to make the world better.”

    With his voice trailing off, he added, “Yeah. He was the best. There’s no bad memory of Eric Ng in the world.”

    A fellow biker pays her respects to NYU alumnus Eric Ng,
    who died Friday night.


    There will be a memorial bike ride for Ng Saturday at 1 p.m. Riders are invited to meet in Washington Square Park and they will ride to the site of Ng’s death on the West Side bike path near Clarkson St. Non-bikers are urged to meet up at 2:30 p.m. with the bikers at St. Mark’s Church. Ng’s friends ask that attendees bring flowers, especially sunflowers, sidewalk chalk or paint. A memorial service will be held after the ride with music and a slideshow. A party will be held later in the night.

    © 2006 Washington Square News

  6. #66
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Eric Ng: Love & Rage

    Posted December 4th, 2006 by eliot

    I wish to God I didn’t have to write this: On Friday, December 1, Eric Ng was riding his bike up the West Side bike path. He was on his way from a show to a party — that was Eric, always busy, always seeing people — when a ****ing drunk driver ran him down. The driver had traveled at speed for over a mile on the bike path, ignoring dozens of exits, literally dozens of chances to return to the road. Dozens of choices. The car hit Eric with such force that his bike was crushed, he was thrown into the air, his tire and shoe landing fifty feet away. The horrific details are in the news, if you want them.

    Eric. What can I even say? If you knew him, you know. I met Eric at NYU, four years ago. He was three years younger than me. Straight outta Jersey, a beautiful punk rock kid with a constant smile on a direct line from a big heart. A staccato laugh like a snare drum in a string section. A teddy bear with muscles. I remember his guitar, taped together & with a few screws missing, the one time we played music together: “Dude. I think we should play it faster.”

    And now a phone call and a shock. Not Eric. I feel old too soon; Eric was 22 perfectly. A body full of honest energy and a face like contagious hope.


    I’ve been making ghost bikes for strangers for a year and a half. Eric’s is not the first that made me cry, but it’s the first that made me hurt. A big group of Eric’s friends spent the weekend mourning, talking, and, finally, making. We made a ghost bike for him on Saturday and sunflowers on Sunday. Eric’s memorial plaque reads “Love & Rage” — no resting in peace for this rock star.

    We are planning for a memorial ride this Saturday, December 9th, meeting at 1pm in Washington Square Park and then proceeding to the site of Eric’s death. Non-bikers can head straight to the site, on the West Side bike path near Clarkson St. Please bring flowers (especially sunflowers), sidewalk chalk, paint, whatever you want. There will also be a memorial service after the ride at 2:30pm at St. Mark’s Church with music and a slideshow, and a party at 8pm at Time’s Up, at 49 E. Houston St.

    Thank you to everyone who has been e-mailing and to those strangers who have already placed signs and flowers at the site. Thank you for your kindness and your anger both. A lot of people have been talking about pressing for physical barriers against cars on the bike path and other infrastructure improvements to help prevent future deaths. This is a great idea, and people should not hesitate to contact local elected officials, and get in touch with Time’s Up and Transportation Alternatives, who I know already are working along those lines.

    Eric’s loss is a collective one; the sheer number of people who cared deeply for him is amazing. The depth of their pain is a mirror of the joy he brought to this world. That joy remains, pushed under but still there. If you ever had it, hold it.


  7. #67
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Eric Ng

    Eric was a loved member of the activist, bike, & punk communities in NYC.

  8. #68
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    State Considering Car Barriers
    After 2nd Death on Bike Path
    December 9, 2006

    State transportation officials said yesterday that they were considering installing concrete and steel posts to keep cars off a popular bicycle path along the Hudson River where two cyclists have been killed this year.

    The most recent death occurred on Dec. 1 when, according to the police, a drunken driver hit and killed Eric Ng, 22, a cyclist who was riding on the bike path near the intersection of West and Clarkson Streets in Greenwich Village. The police said the driver, Eugenio Cidron, drove his BMW along the path for nearly a mile, apparently after going over or around a flexible plastic pylon, which was the only barrier to vehicles.

    Adam Levine, a spokesman for the State Transportation Department, which controls the bike path, said the agency was looking at ways to improve safety on the path and was likely to replace the plastic pylons with permanent steel posts with concrete bases, known as bollards, at major intersections and other places where drivers could accidentally enter the bikeway.

    “This is something we’re looking at accelerating,” Mr. Levine said.

    The bike path, also used by joggers, pedestrians and in-line skaters, runs along Hudson River Park. It has a double yellow line down the middle, and in many places it is wide enough to be mistaken by drivers sometimes as a street parallel to West Street.

    The Hudson River Park Trust, which maintains the bike path, has convened a task force of bicycling advocacy groups and city and state agencies, including the Transportation Department, to consider the problem. Mr. Levine said the department would await the task force’s recommendations, but he said the bollards were a likely remedy.

    The other cyclist to die on the path this year was Dr. Carl H. Nacht, 56. According to the police, he collided with a police tow truck that was turning off 12th Avenue into an impound lot at 38th Street.

    Mr. Cidron, who struck Mr. Ng, was charged with vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated, the authorities said.

    Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

  9. #69
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    January 26, 2007

    Critical Mass gets 'free ride' in B'klyn

    By Justin Rocket Silverman
    amNew York Staff Writer

    Cyclists who pedal into Union Square for Friday's Critical Mass ride will likely be met by a large force of police officers in squad cars and on motor scooters. And If the ride is like others over the last three years, some riders will be arrested and ticketed for taking part in a monthly event the city has deemed illegal and dangerous.

    Yet just two weeks ago, a similar group of cyclists gathered outside Prospect Park for the Brooklyn Critical Mass ride. A similar force of police were also on hand. But that is where the similarities end.

    "We're not going to go with you guys tonight," a police officer said as the ride got underway on Jan. 12. "Have a good time."

    And with that the bikers rode off in a pack, running red lights and blocking traffic in the way Critical Mass rides worldwide do. The way that has resulted in hundreds of arrests in the Manhattan rides.

    "The police have a very different attitude in Brooklyn," says Barbara Ross, a volunteer with Time's Up, a bicycle advocacy group. "The police in Brooklyn tell us they are there to support us. They are always joking with us, and telling us to be careful if we do the Manhattan ride."

    Indeed, participants in this month's Brooklyn Critical Mass said officers sometimes even ride alongside the cyclists, helping them block traffic and keeping the bikers safe. Tickets and arrests are virtually unheard of in the Brooklyn ride, even though the traffic laws are the same in both boroughs.

    "Cyclists in Brooklyn work in cooperation with the police," said NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne. "We have said many times that if the organizers in Manhattan cooperated with us -- for example advised us of the route -- we would accommodate the rides by safely closing intersections as they passed."

    Cyclists disagree with Browne's assertion, pointing out that since there is never any pre-determined route for the Critical Mass rides, it would be impossible to advise police of the route.

    Other cyclists offered another rationale for the difference in law enforcement styles between the two rides.

    "Manhattan is much more politicized," said the rider, who asked his name be withheld. "There you have the whole legacy of the RNC protests. You also have more traffic. Basically, what it comes down to, is that no one gives a damn what happens in Brooklyn."

    Neither the NYPD nor Time's Up were able to provide exact figures on the number of those arrested or ticketed during Manhattan Critical Mass rides.

    But both noted that the number of arrests has declined significantly in recent months.

    Copyright 2007 AM New York

  10. #70


    April 29, 2007




    WHEN is a bicycle not like other bicycles? To begin with, when it has no brakes, or at least no visible brakes, or possibly just a front brake. That means you can’t ride this bike very well on your first try, and certainly not very gracefully, easily or safely.

    The rear cog is bolted directly to the hub, so that whenever the vehicle is in motion, the pedals go around, making coasting impossible. This bike doesn’t have a shift lever or extra sprockets, and the chain is shorter and wider than on traditional bikes.

    There are no fenders, and the rear wheels are probably bolted onto the frame to deter theft. You slow down by reversing the pedals, or skidding, or doing a skip stop. And that’s just the beginning of the differences between your run-of-the-mill 10-speed and a track bike, or fixed-gear bike — fixie for short — as it is also known.

    Many fixed-gear adherents contend that their bikes are the ultimate and all others are pretenders. And these fixed-gear zealots are a growing presence on the streets of New York. Perceived by some as nuisances, or as troublesome, anarchist Dumpster-diving punks who happen to ride bikes, they are occasionally reviled, but they are also the subject of curiosity and interest. Just as die-hard skateboarders 15 years ago stood on the cusp of providing a new lifestyle, so the fixed-gear bike culture could be the tip of something that nobody can accurately predict but something that is huge.

    Riders of fixed-gear bikes are as diverse as bike riders in general. Messengers are big fixie aficionados, but more and more fixed-gear bikes are being ridden by nonmessengers, most conspicuously the kind of younger people to whom the term “hipster” applies and who emanate from certain neighborhoods in Brooklyn. You see these riders weaving in and out of traffic without stopping, balancing on the pedals at a stoplight and in the process infuriating pedestrians and drivers alike.

    In Williamsburg and points south of Grand Street, these bikes are legion. But they are fast gaining popularity, not just in those bastions of trend followers, and not just among 22-year-olds. Fixed-gear bikes are being ridden all over New York, by messengers, racers, lawyers, accountants and college professors — a diverse and not necessarily youthful cross section of the city’s population. They’re being ridden by people who work in sandwich shops and don’t know or care about gear ratios and bike history, and by people who have been racing these bikes for years in places like the Kissena Velodrome in Flushing, Queens, with its banked, elliptical track. They’re ridden by militant vegans who are virtual encyclopedias of arcane bicycle history, by thrill-seeking members of renegade bike gangs like Black Label, by shopgirls, street racers, Critical Mass riders, your aunt.

    There’s also the phenomenon of city riders returning to fixed-gear biking’s roots and getting back to the track, entering races like the Cyclehawk Velo City Tour, to be held at the Kissena Velodrome on May 6.

    These disparate riders represent a rainbow coalition, a movement that’s about bikes as part of a way of life, as an identity. Although fixed-gear bikes can be seen as a trendy accessory, they also allow a mild form of rebellion against what many of these bike riders see as a wasteful and insipid way of life. Fixed-gear riders embrace the contrary notion of taking a different route.

    “We own the streets,” the spray-painted stencil reads. Not really, but fixed-gear riders are, in a benign way, promoting an alternative to accepted norms.

    Anarchy in Motion

    So what’s the big deal? It’s just a bike, right? On some level, yes. Two wheels, a chain, a cog, a seat and handlebars. But in the way that one of Marcel Breuer’s vintage Wassily chairs is just a chair that costs $10,000, the top fixed-gear bikes are just custom-made bikes that cost 10 times as much as a regular factory-made bicycle. The pinnacle of two-wheeled transport, they are beautiful objects with simple, clean, stripped-down lines that make them look fast even when they’re standing still.

    “They’re the prettiest bikes out there,” said Gina Scardino, owner of King Kog, a store on Hope Street in Williamsburg that sells only fixed-gear bikes. Indeed they are, with a modernist blending of form and function and a look that matches what they’re made for, which is going really fast on a banked velodrome track.

    But the question arises: Especially in this city, isn’t it insane to ride a bike that you can’t easily stop? By riding a bike that’s meant to be raced around a special track on the chaotic streets of New York, aren’t you risking life and limb?

    It doesn’t make sense. But that may be the appeal, and has been ever since the bikes appeared on the scene more than a century ago.

    Fixed-gear bikes have a rich past. Before the invention of the derailleur, the device that made multiple gears a reality, fixed-gears were the racing bike. The original Madison Square Garden, built in 1879 at 26th Street and Madison Avenue, was built for a velodrome. Races testing speed and endurance drew huge crowds, with the top riders among the sports stars of their day.

    The bike races at Madison Square Garden were all the rage around the turn of the last century. A velodrome circuit flourished around the country, with the best racers earning $100,000 to $150,000 a year at a time when carpenters were lucky to make $5,000. And all this was happening on the forerunners of the bikes being ridden today.

    Johnny Coast’s Coast Cycles sits at the end of a desolate cul-de-sac in the heart of Bushwick, Brooklyn, near the Myrtle Avenue stop on the J, M and Z lines. Mr. Coast, a 31-year-old with dreadlocks down to the small of his back, is a former squatter and current member of Black Label.

    Coast Cycles is not your typical bike store stocked with rows of three-speeds and road bikes, along with locks, water bottles and other doodads. It is an old-fashioned, one-person workshop where chickens wander in from the yard. Here, Mr. Coast builds two or three custom-framed bicycles a month, most of them fixed-gears, “tailored to suit a body’s dimensions, to an individual’s geometry and affording the maximum of comfort, design and style,” as he put it in an e-mail message.

    Mr. Coast, who works surrounded by Bridgeport lathes, jigs and blueprints, is a believer in fixies as a metaphorical extension of a squatters’ lifestyle that connotes, as he puts it, “living a certain way, subsisting on recycling, not wasting, finding liberation, freedom as a revolutionary act, like in a Hakim Bey sense, primitivist, spiritualist anarchism.”

    He laughs at the absurdity of a brand like Mountain Dew approaching Black Label with an offer of sponsorship, as he says happened last year, and is wary of exploitation of the fixed-gear bike culture by corporations that have little to do with biking. “I saw what happened to skateboarding and surfing and punk,” Mr. Coast said grimly.

    Look, Ma, No Brakes

    The dangers of a small world getting bigger were vividly illustrated a few months ago when a hipster wearing square-frame glasses wandered into King Kog. The store, which sells fixed-gear bikes starting around $800 and going up to the thousands, also carries Jason Chaste’s Fortynine Sixteen clothing line, named for a gear ratio, and high-end parts like Sugino cranks, Izumi chains, and Dura-Ace and Ciocc frames.

    “Um, I’m looking for a track bike,” the visitor said.

    “What’s your price range?” Ms. Scardino asked.

    “Three hundred dollars,” the visitor replied.

    “Hmmm, you might want to try Craigslist or eBay,” she suggested gently.

    When Ms. Scardino asked the visitor how he planned to use the bike, he answered, “I’m just going to be cruising around.”

    You got the sense that this wasn’t the place for him, but also that he might come back one day. As he put it when he left: “I like your shop. It’s neat.”

    At Bike Kill, an annual racing event sponsored by Black Label and held in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, nobody seemed worried about the issue of fixed-gear biking becoming too popular; everybody was having too much fun.

    Vehicles used in the event, held on a blustery autumn day near the Samuel C. Barnes Elementary School, included tall bikes (two frames on top of each other with a seat about six feet off the ground), bikes with metal rollers as front wheels, tiny bikes and BMX bikes (little single-gear bikes used for tricks) and, of course, fixed-gear bikes.

    Stopping on a Prayer

    Mr. Coast was there, along with members of Black Label’s Minneapolis and Reno, Nev., chapters and members of other biker groups like C.H.U.N.K. 666, which has footholds in Brooklyn and Portland, Ore.; the Rat Patrol, from Chicago; Dead Baby, from Seattle; and the Skidmarxxx, from Austin, Tex. A lot of unwashed dreads, denim, leather and facial tattoos were in evidence, along with a carnivalesque assortment of voodoo top hats, orange jumpsuits, bunny ears, Mexican wrestling masks and a Pee-wee Herman doppelgänger waving from his Schwinn cruiser.

    There were copious drinking, including a contest to see who could ride around in a circle while drinking a six-pack fastest, and the “Blind Skull” event, in which riders wearing big foam skulls over their heads pedaled until they fell over or ran into somebody.

    Toward 8 p.m. the drunken tall-bike jousting began, with knights of both sexes armed with padded plastic “spears.” The only dissonant note occurred when a cassock-wearing interloper on Rollerblades with a motor attached was expelled by a Black Label member. “Get your motor out of here!” the biker yelled.

    That’s the cardinal rule. No motors. For environmental reasons. Or practical ones, recalling the West Indian messengers who pioneered urban fixed-gear riding in the 1980s, bringing their ingenuity to New York from the islands, where bikes that didn’t have much of anything on them to steal were a decided advantage.

    But pinning down what constitutes the fixed-gear movement gets complicated. After all, what does the insanity of Bike Kill have to do with someone like “Fast” Eddie Williams, who runs the bicycle-themed Nayako Gallery in Bedford-Stuyvesant, has published a book of photographs of messengers and competes in Alley Cat and Monster Track street races?

    Mr. Williams’s scene is the messenger scene, in which he has been a participant since the early 1980s, when he first encountered the West Indian messengers hanging out at Washington Square Park. “I saw them riding,” he said. “I liked how they maneuvered, stopped at a red light and didn’t step down. And I thought, ‘How do they do that?’ ”

    Mr. Williams got a Matsuri, a fast fixed-gear bike, and started working as a messenger. Twenty-five years later, he’s still at it, looking incredibly fit and younger than his 43 years. “Track bikes are not made for street,” he conceded, “and sometimes I need a hope and a prayer to stop short.” But he rhapsodized about their charms. “It’s like playing chess,” he said. “You think out your moves from a block away.”

    John Campo, the salty-tongued director of the racing program at the Kissena Velodrome, is another fixie aficionado. As with Mr. Williams, the fixed-gear lifestyle seems to be a healthy one; Mr. Campo looks at least 15 years younger than his 60. Biking isn’t his profession — he’s a jazz musician who has played with Miles Davis, among others — but it is undeniably his passion.

    Mr. Campo missed out on the glory days of the Kissena Velodrome, but he tells tales about the father of Vinny Vella, the actor who plays Jimmy Petrille on “The Sopranos,” racing at Madison Square Garden to win enough money to buy a scale for the pushcart he sold fish from, then earning enough to open a fish store on Elizabeth Street. Mr. Campo remembers all the Polish, German and Italian bike clubs, and he remembers Lou Maltese, a member of the Century Road Club who held many cycling records, including the 100-mile national record in a race from Union City, N.J., to Philadelphia.

    ‘A Zen Thing’

    Far from worrying about fixed-gear bikes getting too popular, Mr. Campo yearns for them to return to the their prominence of a century ago, and he welcomes street riders to Kissena. “These kids are lovely,” he said. “They come; they win, lose or draw; they have a great time. This is an American spirit thing, to be free, to do what you want to do and express yourself in your own medium, like surfing or skating.”

    Surfing and skating are mentioned a lot in relation to fixed-gear bikes. Something about these activities prefigures much of what is going on today in the bike community. Surfing 50 years ago and skating 25 years ago were small, below-the-radar pursuits with their own rituals and secret codes and vernacular. Now they’re billion-dollar industries, popular the world over. And in the opinion of many aficionados, a little bit of soul was lost along the way.

    Bicycling is obviously different; there are more bikes than cars in the world, and bikes have a longer popular history, not to mention the fact that fixed-gear bikes predate “regular” bikes. But something about the trajectories of surfing and skating from unexamined, semi-underground secret societies to blown-out cheesy “sports” could forecast the future of the fixed-gear bike.

    Surfing and skating retained some of their rebelliousness, in part because of the varied, unpredictable demographic of who is involved: 5-year-olds and 80-year-olds of both sexes, doctors and garbage collectors, law-abiding citizens and criminals. That makes the skating or surfing “movement” hard to locate exactly, just like the amorphous bike movement.

    Johnny Coast. Gina Scardino. Fast Eddie. John Campo. The menagerie at Bike Kill. It’s a broad swath. The group also includes people like Toni Germanotta, a 42-year-old owner of an art studio that serves the apparel industry. “When you’re on a fixed gear,” said Ms. Germanotta, who works in the garment district, “it gives you a higher skill level. You have to be constantly aware, always watching the road. You don’t just ride, and it feels a little crazy.”

    And it includes Kyle Fay, a designer for Urban Outfitters who is a relatively new convert. “You take the blame if you get hit,” he said. “It’s self-reliance, being responsible for yourself. It might sound kind of corny, but it’s a Zen thing, being one with the bike.”

    And it includes Alex Escamilla, a 23-year-old book artist from Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

    “I had a couple of friends who made fun of me for riding one because it was trendy,” Ms. Escamilla said. “But the problem with looking at bike riding as a trend is that you lose sight of everything that is positive about bikes. You know, the renewable energy source, exercise, convenience, saving money, saving time, community, seeing the city in a whole new way, blah blah blah.”

    Besides, she added: “Track bikes are fun. And they’re beautiful.”

    Jocko Weyland is the author of “The Answer Is Never: A Skateboarder’s History of the World.”

    Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

  11. #71


    See post.

    Trial of driver who killed cyclist is delayed

    The trial of Eugenio Cidron, 27, charged with vehicular manslaughter and D.W.I. in the Dec. 1, 2006, death of cyclist Eric Ng, 22, on the West Side Highway bike path, has been postponed for the fifth time. On June 20, a N.Y. Supreme Court judge delayed the start of the trial to Aug. 1. Cidron is still out on a $50,000 bail bond.

    Barbara Ross, a volunteer with Time’s Up!, a cycling-environmental group, said Ng also volunteered with the organization.

    “He was in the cycling community,” Ross said. “He was involved in a lot of organizations. The part that strikes me is the fact that when a cyclist is killed, there’s never enforcement, there’s never an investigation, never a ticket issued. The only exception is when alcohol is involved.”

    Ross said she finds the continual delays of the case to be “really disappointing.”

    Cidron reportedly was drinking at Chelsea Piers before driving a few miles down the bike path, hitting Ng near Clarkson St. His brother told the New York Post last year that Cidron was “distraught” by the accident and “he couldn’t believe what happened.”

    Brendan Chao, Cidron’s attorney, said he’s still waiting for prosecution documents and it’s “standard” for cases to be delayed when they’re in discovery.

    —Jennifer Milne

  12. #72
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    This is cool and worth checking out ...

    The New York Bike-Share Project

    An exhibition at the Storefront for Art and Architecture, NYC

    Jul 7 2007 - Jul 11 2007

    A summer charette produced by the Forum for Urban Design and Storefront For Art and Architecture

  13. #73


    About those fixed gears bikes, I'm a courier up here in Boston, and while about half of my coworkers use them, our dispatcher (who was a courier for 10+ years) hates 'em for what they do to your knees. And knowing how there are those days where I go home with pain down there after riding my freewheel, I'm inclined to stay far away from track bikes.

    As one of my coworkers said: "I hate having knees."

  14. #74


    Lets not declare the Hudson Bike lane unsafe because one drunk driver killed somebody. The key word is DRUNK. If he was not impaired we would most likely not discussing this issue right now....Having said that, I am extremely cautious every time I have to cross it to enter or exit a Pier. Often I find the bikers not paying attention to their signal making it challenging for cars that have the green light to cross it....

  15. #75
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    In This Case, It’s O.K. to Take a Bike That’s Not Yours

    Casey Kelbaugh for The New York Times
    Gina Strambi borrowed a bike for a brief trip Monday, participating in a test
    of a free bike-sharing program similar to ones in European cities.

    July 10, 2007

    Daniel Su and Adrian Garcia usually spend their lunch break going for a walk, then grabbing a bite to eat. But yesterday they tried something different, made possible because they went for a ride using someone else’s bicycles.

    The two men took advantage of an experimental bicycle-sharing program meant to show New Yorkers that biking can be a viable transportation alternative to expand their lunch horizon.

    Mr. Su and Mr. Garcia had read about the bicycle project online. And since both work a few blocks from Storefront for Art and Architecture, a nonprofit SoHo gallery that is the experimental project’s host, they decided to give it a try, and headed to Union Square for lunch.

    The five-day project is sponsored by the Forum for Urban Design, a group of architects, designers and planners, and by the gallery, near Kenmare Street and Cleveland Place. Twenty bicycles are available free, for up to 30 minutes, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. until tomorrow. Bicycles can be returned to the gallery or dropped off at other nearby sites like Washington Square Park and Tompkins Square Park.

    Displays at the gallery describe eight European cities, including Barcelona, Spain, and Lyon, France, where bicycle-share programs have thrived. The project is designed to gather data on the viability of such a program in New York.

    David Haskell, executive director of the Forum for Urban Design, said, “This is our attempt to imagine bike sharing in New York City.”

    “A ride-share program would reduce the dependency on automobiles. It would be a great alternative to subways and bus services — and a lot cheaper for the city,” he said.

    “The bikes are definitely a better alternative than subways or buses,” Mr. Garcia, the lunchtime rider, said. “I know I would take advantage of the bike program if it existed.”

    Mr. Haskell was in Paris on vacation in April and saw how such a program was shaping up there. Once the Paris program gets under way, in a few days, there will be more than 10,000 bikes available at 750 stations around the city.

    New York City officials, who are aware of Mr. Haskell’s goals, are trying to determine if a ride-share program would work.

    “We are studying it with interest,” said Molly Gordy, a spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Transportation. “The big questions for us are how to combat theft and vandalism, which are two problems prevalent in New York.” Borrowers in the test program have to leave credit card information. Ms. Gordy has been closely following the progress of a bike-share program in San Francisco. Similar programs are being considered in Portland, Ore., Chicago and Washington, where it may begin as early as September.

    Caroline Samponaro, a bicycle- campaign coordinator at Transportation Alternatives — a nonprofit New York City group that advocates bicycling, walking and public transit as alternatives to driving — believes a bike-share program would benefit not only New Yorkers but also tourists.

    “A bike-share program is exciting and interesting,” she said. “It’s one piece of the larger puzzle: nonpolluting transportation. This is a way people can use bicycles. Potentially, it could deal with overcrowded buses, subways, and the number of cars on the streets.”

    Barbara Held lives in Barcelona but is from Buffalo, Minn. She lived in New York before moving to Spain 15 years ago. Ms. Held stopped by the SoHo art gallery to visit friends. She did not need to test the program because she participates in the one in Barcelona. She had her bike card in her purse. It was the size of a credit card. An image of a red bicycle with the word Bicing, the name of Barcelona’s program, is on the front of the card. Barcelona started its program in March with 1,500 bicycles and 100 stations.

    “The city didn’t think it would take off,” Ms. Held said. “But the program is so popular. People ride the red bikes all the time.”

    Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

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