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September 05, 2004

A Look at Times Up.

Last week I wrote about an activist group leading a Critical Mass event at the Republican Convention.

Then I wrote about my Thoughts on Reporting Critical Mass.

I sent the following to an E-mail Address on the site:

Hello there, fellow cyclists,
The Recent CM spectacle at the RNC led to my checking out your site, among a couple of others, for a piece I have written for my Bicycling Blog, THE CYCLING DUDE.
I have also made the, um, executive, decision to add a link to you in my newly set up section of CM links ( I may end up moving you to the STATES SECTION if you think that's more appropriate ). :-)
http://sneakeasysjoint.com/cyclingdude/archives/001238.html If, after exploring my evolving webblog, you decide that there is a place for me in YOUR collection of links, then by all means add me to it.
A word of warning though. I MAY then be the only REPUBLICAN (though a somewhat moderate one) to appear in your list. :-) I would also like to propose something: If someone who participated in your RNC ride, or 2 someones, ( if someone who got arrested wants to ) is interested in telling the story of the ride, and its aftermath, then I have made a standing offer to my readers that may interest you:
The Offer

As of this writing I have not received an answer back. :-)

I think they were too busy ranting at the President. :-)

The Legal Teams are also probably too busy for the group to pay attention to requests by the likes of me. :-)

What happened was serious, and no laughing matter.

If Police acted wrongly then something should be done about it, but the same should also apply to any cyclists/protestors caught breaking the law in some fashion.

Well, let's take a look, anyway, at what Time's Up is all about.

The Volunteer Non-Profit describes itself this way:

A grassroots environmental group that uses educational outreach and direct action to promote a more sustainable, less toxic city. For more than 10 years, TIME'S UP! has worked to educate people about the environmental impacts of everyday decisions, from the food we buy to the means of transportation we use.

As a nonprofit group run entirely by volunteers, everyone is invited to join.

That last line, and another about "All of us working together can improve the environment and MAKE A DIFFERENCE!" is all fine and dandy, but how many people, who may be interested in promoting Bicycling, but disagree with the anti-Bush politics, will want to volunteer, and otherwise support the organization?

A visit to the site Store is a mixed bag of Pro bicycling, and anti-war, anti-world bank shirts, videos, and license plates.

A list of their Environmental Campaigns, seminars, and demonstrations, includes more of the same among the Pro bicycling stuff.

That all being said it is the Bicycling that caught my attention, and is worth mentioning.

The site includes a drop down menu to click on for events in, and around, New York City that folks can check out, or participate in depending on their interest and politics.

Since it was Critical Mass that spurred my initial article it is worth noting this from the website:

Critical Mass: This monthly event for bicyclists and skaters has become one of NYC's most spectacular and fun events, with a clear message about balancing the use of our streets and sharing space between pedestrians, bikes, and cars.

While TIME'S UP does not lead or control the route for the ride, we work on publicity, themes, and after-events.

Between Bike Summer and our efforts, we're confident that Critical Mass has grown tremendously in NYC, with over a thousand riders in the summer and for the traditional Halloween Ride. Critical Mass NYC has maintained a positive and fun vibe, inviting the public to join us. Increased biking helps to keep our greenways alive and our bridges open.

Let me get this straight...

"CM is leaderless and un-organized so, obviously, we don't lead or control the routes, but we think up themes, provide publicity, and handle after ride events.

AND we PROUDLY take at least half the credit for the success of the Movement in NYC!"

Okaaayyy..... :-)

There is an annual event called Bike Summer, around since 1999, that was held in NYC last year that this group supported:

Bicycle lovers and new bicycle enthusiasts from all over came to:

Celebrate and promote the bicycle as an efficient, fun, sociable, healthy, environmentally friendly way to get around.

Explore the city and places beyond.

Connect with new people and communities.

Envision and work toward a more bicycle-friendly world.

Bikesummer is one hundred days of celebration and activism featuring bicycle, transportation, and community events.

More than 130 events filled our calendar, including arts, performance, literary interest, food, adventure, advocacy, competition, rides, tours, activism, multimedia events, films, education, fun, and more.

The list of City organizations, and Cycling Clubs, participating, and the type of events occuring show the possibility of bi-partisanship, and a family friendly environment.

I imagine that there was enough going on to attract even a Conservative like myself. :-)

Check out this link for more, including photos: Bike Summer 2003.

Also the Home page for Bike Summer

In the days leading up to the RNC TIME'S UP held a Bike National Convention, complete with rides, workshops, a carnival, a barbeque, and a CM event.

There are links to news coverage of the BNC.

TIME'S UP operates a recycle-a-bicycle program.

TIME'S UP operates a Bike Space Bike repair location.

TIME'S UP also supports Pedicabs.

These contraptions operate mostly on weekends and during the evenings in Greenwich Village, SoHo, Times Square, Midtown, and the East Village. There are two companies offering pedicab service in New York City.

These things are cool. :-)

Here, in California, there is a successful Pedicab outfit operating at the Ontario International Airport.

Now I want to end by heartily recommending the BEST feature of the website, especially for New Yorkers, and those visiting the city for an extended period of time with the intention of doing mucho Bicycling. :-)

The BIKE LEGAL FAQ section.

These 11 questions are briefly answered:

1. Which traffic laws apply to bicyclists?
2. Is it legal to ride against traffic?
3. Is it legal to ride on the sidewalk?
4. What happens if my bike gets seized?
5. What kind of gear do I need on my bike?
6. If I am over 14 do I have to wear a helmet?
7. Is it legal to bike with earphones in New York?
8. Do I need reflectors?

9. The police stopped me because my bike does not have the proper lights, but I think the real reason is because of my anarchist black cross flag. What can I do?

10. What do I do if I get a ticket for not having the required equipment on my bike?

11. Is the speed limit really 15 mph in city parks that allow bikes?

I love Question #9, don't you? :)

There are also links to other Bike Legal Resources.


In summation I guess it's safe to say that while I have issues with CM, and with the Politics of TIME'S UP, the group does do good work for the promotion of bicycling as a recreational, and commuting activity.

September 5, 2004 in Critical Mass | Permalink


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