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February 28, 2006

Safety a Concern on Streets of Antigua

Cyclist, training for the Commonwealth Games in Australia on the streets of a city in Antigua are concerned about how safe it is to ride their bikes:

Cyclist Neil Lloyd, one of four cyclists involved in an accident with a green Urvan bus in All Saints on Monday is appealing to the authorities for increased police presence on the roads.

Lloyd was amongst four other cyclists, Robert Marsh, Lyn Murray, Ken Jackson and Bobby Simon who were all said to be in training for the upcoming Commonwealth Games slated for March in Australia. Lloyd, Marsh, Murray and Jackson were all said to have been treated at the Holberton Hospital for injuries following the accident. Simon was the only cyclist to have escaped unharmed.

But according to Lloyd, who had been involved in another accident just two week before, it is not the first time that such an incident has occurred and is urging the proper authorities to increase the presence of lawmen patrolling the streets on a daily basis.

Read more here:

ANTIGUA SUN ( 2/1 ): National Cyclists want more road protection.

Technorati Tags: Antigua, Cyclists, Cyclist

February 28, 2006 in Cycling News Network | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 27, 2006

Technorati comes to Cycling Dude

Now I've gone, and done it!

I've now Officially joined Technorati by adding links in the sidebar, and will be adding Search Term Tags to almost every post.

Rank: 114,329 (142 links from 23 sites) out of 29.1 million sites! ( Feel free to check out my page in the link in the sidebar ) ;-D

February 27, 2006 in The Opinionated DUDE | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Vandalism sparks debate as Brooklyn Industries responds

In the wake of posting about the vandalism done to Brooklyn Industries a debate, and discussion, has sprung up on the Blog that has photographs, Sucka Pants.

Before I address that I believe that it is important to hear from the victims in this tragic story:

2/24/06:

In the early morning hours of Feb. 23, four of our storefronts were vandalized with slanderous comments deriding our bike themed window displays. "Bike culture not for sale" was scrawled across our windows with an acid based etching ink, a material that is nearly impossible to remove from window glass. Total damages are in the thousands.

It seems that the attackers misunderstood our motivation for the display, which was created out of respect for, and in the spirit of Brooklyn bike culture. We at Brooklyn Industries personally worked on the display from the ground up- from finding disused bikes and parts and welding them into working tall bikes, to designing the accompanying text. The damage was felt on a very personal level.

The bikes were displayed in our store windows as homage to creative culture. We are saddened that this misinterpretation resulted in serious damages. We apologize to everyone who enjoyed the displays, as we felt it necessary to remove them from the windows to ensure the safety of our stores.

Brooklyn Industries Website notice:

If there was any justice in the world the cycling community in New York would come together, publically denounce this violence at a Press Conference, turn in the miscreants to the Police, and support the safe return to the window of the display.

But we all know that ain't gonna happen any time soon, don't we Comrades?

Come on... please, please, prove me wrong, I DARE YOU!

As for the debate over at Sucka Pants: I was called an Idiot by one person for a comment I left, but the overalll tone of the discussion is civilzed, and thought provoking.

Parts of 2 of the most recent comments are interesting:

Mark H. writes:

If this is about biking and not about just using bikes as your own form of elitism, have you really lost anything for having a taste of your ideals put out before the rest of the world? You should be thanking the store for the evangelism, then take it from there to turn the poseurs into true believers.

Vandalism and such merely distracts potential 'converts' from the more worthy ideals you espouse.

An Anonymous writer compares NY and Berlin Cycling environments, and then says:

As a hypothetical, if we were to wake up tomorrow and find NYC totally bike-friendly (a la Amsterdam, Scandinavia etc.) and everyone and their mother cycling, while I know a good portion of NYC cyclists would be rejoicing, I wonder how many would be experiencing something similar to that described by a lot of Red Sox fans after they finally won the World Series...a sort of loss of identity based on a culture of reaction and rebellion. If biking were safe and easy and mainstream, would it still be attractive to all the bike punks? I have my doubts...

An opinion relevant to the discussion comes from a piece called "Bike Culture Cry Babies Get Pissed Over Commercialization":

Call us jaded by years in the "we'll co-op anything for a buck" advertising industry but one does have to wonder why "bike culture" fanatics feel their culture is the only one that shouldn't get a commercial nod. The only reason a store, or any other retailer or brand for that matter, mimics a particular culture or trend is to make their offering relevant to the public. If no brand did that, every brand would still be stuck in the fifties imitating American Graffiti culture. No one wants their sacred culture commercialized but in a capitalist society, there's little chance a culture with any cred won't sooner or later be bitten by a brand desperate for commercial success. Oh, and by the way, roads were built for cars.

From Adrants.

Aside from the "roads were built for cars" crack the writer makes some valid points, and the Comment by Tomdog is also dead on. ;-D

A Tip of the Hat to Sucka Pants.

***UPDATES***

2/27 - 530PM: Fritz, of Cyclicious, and a couple of his commenters, toss their 2 cents in on the story, and they aren't cheering on the Criminals. ;-D

2/28 - 4PM: Philip Gomes, of Spinopsys, tosses in his 2 cents in as well:

As someone who spends his day appropriating bicycle culture for commercial gain, I feel for the guys at Brooklyn Industries.

What a bunch of crybabies. Not Brooklyn Industries mind you, but the tossers who would do this. This strikes me as a reversed anti consumerist version of Goerings maxim of reaching for his gun every time he hears the word culture - except this time these anti consumerist sub culturites reach for some acid etch when their ideas reach a level of acceptance and appropriation.

Hey guys I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but this is a good thing. Guess what, the cultural concepts you live, eat, sleep and breathe are seeping into the mainstream.

He says more here.

***END UPDATE***

Technorati Tags: Bike, Cyclists, Cycling, Bikes,

February 27, 2006 in Cycling News Network | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

An oh so cool Bike Rack

You have GOT to see this!

A Tip of the Hat to Drew, of Commute-A-Blog.

February 27, 2006 in Blogging Cyclists | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa 2006 Announced

The Des Moines Register's 34th Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa ( RAGBRAI ) isn't until July, but January is when the route is announced, and registration hits full stride.

Days, hours, minutes and seconds can't tick down quickly enough for some local bicyclists as the starting date for the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa looms.

Regularly announced in January, finding out the route for the seven-day trip from the Missouri River to the Mississippi River is like a holiday to some riders.

"This is a post-Christmas gift, seeing what the route is going to be. I wait for it like a little kid," Steve Poggenpohl said.

Scheduled July 23 to July 29, Coralville is slated as the final overnight town -- the location where about 10,000 cyclists plus support teams will camp.

444  miles? WOW!

Full Story:

IOWA CITY PRESS-CITIZEN ( 1/30 ): RAGBRAI excites local bicycling enthusiasts by Brian Morelli.

DEADLINE -- April 1: Register for the RAGBRAI lottery here.

History of the previous rides.

February 27, 2006 in EVENT GUIDE (California and Selective Others) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 26, 2006

Radical Cyclists show disapproval for Brooklyn Industries

I recently wrote a story about Brooklyn Industries, and its new venture with Recycle-A-Bicycle:

Here, and here.

Now something dispicable, and uncalled for, has happened to Brooklyn Industries in response to another of its efforts.

From the Blog, Sucka Pants:

"...Brooklyn Industries recently started displaying custom tall bikes in their store windows. the bikes are coupled with t-shirts depicting bicycle gears and biking slogans. they are made by one man who apparently collaborated with Brooklyn Industries to put the bikes in their stores throughout nyc. and they are also donating $2 from the sale of their large and medium messenger bags to Recycle-A-Bicycle. However, there has been some dissent about the blatant commercialization of this particular (and rather anti-commercial) subculture."

Well, excuuuuse them for being of a Capitalist bent when it comes to efforts at promoting bicycling!

The Blog shows 2 photographs of spray painted vandalism ( and one of the window before the attack ) including one slogan titled "Bike culture not 4 sale".

I wonder who took the photos, and how were they obtained?

Is this is an indication that the photographer, and even the recipient of the photos, knows who the vandals were?

If yes, are they going to report the vandals to the police?

While some feel it's weird to see Tall Bikes in the window of a clothing store they see the benefit to bicycling:

Tall bikes are going to be big this year with a feature length documentary coming out about Blacklabel, called B.I.K.E. There are two ways to look at this kind of marketing. One you can be stand-offish like when you see another Bushwick kid with a ulock in the back pocket of his tight black jeans riding a shiny new Bianchi fix gear and say, "damn another poser."

But really, in this town of "bike riding is a terrorist act" and cops willing to injure themselves on mopeds just to break up a friendly ride...I say anything bikes is good. That kid your dissing under your breathe is just one more biker on the street, one more kid who may make a tallbike and one more kid that will attend critical mass despite the helicopters flying overhead and the nypd chasing us like dogs.

Obviously Michael Green, of BikeBlog, supports CM, but this radicalism doesn't prevent him from seeing the good Brooklyn Industries is doing.

Check out this indignant response to the above by James Stache, of Black Label Bicycle Club, for anger over  a company that would "commodify bike culture".

Sucka Bike writes that the company is "exploiting the recent boom and trendiness of bicycling" by its activities:

each and every biker that heads out on the street everyday is a small victory. . . each one is a part-n-parcel of the whole. . . each cyclist is a comrade to everyone else who also chooses to deal with dangerous and reckless traffic (especially in a city that has overtly demonstrated it's indifference to the safety and general rights of cyclists). . . each rider on the road makes the city a slightly better place to ride by risking their own safety and increasing driver awareness. encouraging cycling is in everyone's best interest.

But that doesn't excuse blatant commodification of something that has come to symbolize part of the growing anti-consumerist sentiment. I think if Brooklyn Industries had put more thought and effort into this, it could have come off a lot better.

That 1st paragraph is nice, and I'm "down wit it" my Bicycle Homey, but you lose me with the 2nd one.

In the eyes of the Left, especially the Radical Left, anything that doesn't conform to their Socialist Worldview needs to be verbally, and even physically, trashed, until the miscreants see the error of their ways, and repent, or back down ( He writes an update: "So I went by the Bedford ave store in Williamsburg today (Friday). The tall bikes have been removed." ).

Read Suck-A-Pants piece, and the  great 1st  and 2nd, Anonymous comments in response ( among several other good ones ),  here.

I am a Bicyclist, and a Republican one at that! ;-D

I am angry about what some of these radical cycling "activists" ( From Critical Massers on down to the lesser brain-celled who toss acid on windows, and perform other types of vandalism ) are doing to the cycling cause.

People who ride bikes buy Books, T-shirts, Route Slip Holders, and Messenger Bags, among many other products ( I have future Capitalist notions along this line myself ). To call makers, and sellers, of such products "exploiters" ( Am I, therefore, an "exploiter" for  encouraging paid advertising, and making a profit from promoting cycling books on this Blog? ), and then going so far as to vandalize a storefront for having bikes and bike-related t-shirts in the window says much about the worldview of the attackers.

If you don't like Capitalism find another country to live in.

Of course, we all know you are too damn cowardly, too attached to the lifestyle you have in America, and too reliant on the Freedoms afforded you by living here, to do that don't we, Comrade?

A well deserved Tip of the Hat to Drew, of Commute-A-Blog, for this story.

February 26, 2006 in Cycling News Network | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Santa Barbara School the Bikingest in America

The Article I'm recommending is 4 years old, but very much still relevant, and worth your time:

Buzz went my alarm at 5:30 AM. It was dark, but I got up because I had a biking date. It was dry outside, but the online radar showed incoming rain. Not good.

Would the kids show up? Probably all their parents would drive them instead of allowing them to contend with rain in city traffic. I considered calling it off, but instead dressed for rain and biked to Mike's Place, the restaurant where they meet each Friday.

As I approached, what was that? —a mob of bikes! And 13 kids plus three adults, eating breakfast on the outdoor terrace. With a light rain falling!

The kids were from Santa Barbara Middle School, an independent school for grades 6-9, located in Santa Barbara, California. On their own, a few students started a "Breakfast Club" each Friday on their way to school. From those few, it has grown by word of mouth to over 20 students at a time.

Everybody was eating and chatting, but it was soon time to ride. Helmets on, jackets zipped up, backpacks shouldered. The mile ride to school was done with careful single-file riding, watching for cars, foot-down stopping at signals and stop signs, with warnings like "car back" called out. I pedaled and wondered, could this heart-warming scene be replicated elsewhere?

Santa Barbara Middle School was founded in 1976 by a group of parents, teachers and students who sought to create an innovative, challenging academic program. For the first few years, the school culture was similar to many others. Just when the staff was thinking of adding outdoor activities in 1979, their new headmaster and cycling enthusiast Kent Ferguson came on board. Kent thought that a cycling trip would be just the ticket to introduce kids to the great outdoors, so it happened.

The school's first bike trip took place in 1980. It was optional, and some students choose not to go. But the experience was very satisfying for those who did, so cycling was made a mandatory part of the school program. "Mother nature," observed Kent, "is the best teacher."

Continue reading this excellent stroy:

SANTA BARBARA BICYCLE COALITION ( 1/6/2002 ): The "Bikingest" School in the Country by Ralph Fertig.

Find out more about Santa Barbara Middle School.

Learn more about the Outdoor Education Program ( 2 of the 3 yearly expeditions are Bike Rides ) here.

February 26, 2006 in Pedaling Advocacy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Portland Passions stirred in wake of Bridge Incident

The good citizens of Portand, Oregon, have been expressing themselves in the wake of the thrashing of a cyclist by a bus passenger in November.

There's a rusty chain quality to bicycle commuter Randy Albright's story. It has generated a lot of angry screeching.

"It is a shame that guy's Schwinn is not at the bottom of the Willamette River where it belongs."

"Bicyclists need to get a license just like we need to get one to drive on the roads."

So went the reader reaction to Tuesday's front page story about Albright blocking a TriMet bus and getting socked in the mouth by an angry passenger.

More than 250 people have e-mailed and called The Oregonian about the article. Several thousand logged onto the newspaper's Web site to watch a TriMet video of the incident.

Judging from the responses, Albright isn't getting much sympathy for his role in one of the city's most famous cases of two-wheeled road rage.

Even Cyclists are pissed at Albright.

Full story ( 4 pages ) here:

PORTLAND OREGONIAN (1/20 ) -- UNEASY RIDERS: As the number of bicyclists in Portland continues to grow, so might the driver backlash against them by Joseph Rose.

February 26, 2006 in Cycling News Network | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 25, 2006

Rehabilitating Existing Bike Paths in Zambia

Yes, Virginia, they ride bicycles in Zambia:

Government has announced that the Lusaka City Council is working on plans to rehabilitate the existing paths for cyclists in the city.

Minister of Local Government and Housing Deputy Minister Norman Chibamba told parliament today that the Lusaka City Council has no immediate plans of constructing new lanes for cyclists but would seek to rehabilitate the existing ones.

Mr. Chibamba said the Local Authority would only consider constructing new lanes when funds are made available by the Central Government.

He was responding to a question from Movement for Multi party Democracy (MMD) Muchinga Constituency Member of Parliament Ackson Kalunga who wanted to know whether government was considering constructing new cyclists paths alongside major roads in Lusaka.

He told Parliament that the programme will be extended to other towns in the country to avoid road traffic accidents involving cyclists and to enable cyclists have great freedom.

ZAMBIA NEWS AGENCY ( 1/24 ): Cyclists lanes to be re-looked at.

February 25, 2006 in Pedaling Advocacy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wearing a Kilt While Cycling is OK, Though

Cycling on the pavement, in Edinburgh, Scotland, is illegal but until recently few riders in the city were prosecuted.

The times, they are a changin', as this January story reveals:

CYCLISTS face being hit with on-the-spot fines for riding on pavements under a new crackdown by council chiefs.

The get-tough approach comes after it was revealed that very few people in the city are prosecuted for riding their bikes on pavements, even though it is illegal.

Council leaders are set to call on officials to draw up proposals on how to tackle the growing problem, which has sparked scores of complaints from pedestrians.

Merchiston Lib Dem councillor Sue Tritton has tabled a motion at tomorrow's full council meeting, which is likely to attract support from other political parties.

She said the number of cyclists, especially teenagers, mounting busy pavements as a quick way to cycle around the Capital, is dangerous for pedestrians.

If the motion is passed, city development officials will draw up a list of measures to target offenders - with fines issued by police officers or council wardens a key consideration.

Full Story here:

SCOTSMAN.COM  ( 1/25 ): Fine Time for Cyclists Caught on Pavement by Alan Roden

February 25, 2006 in United Kingdom Bicycle Watch | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack