Monday, December 22, 2008

Yo Ho Ho

I'll be gone for while. Back in a few weeks. Keep biking!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Kosciuszko Bridge Environmental Impact

A while back my wife heard that a bridge between Queens and Brooklyn was being redesigned without bike or pedestrian access. Harrumph! She did what any concerned citizen would do: she wrote an angry email. She told them!

Then, a few minutes later, she realized she was thinking about the Pulaski Bridge (on McGuinness Blvd) when in fact the bridge that they where talking about was the Kosciuszko (the BQE). Oops. Sorry, she wrote. Never mind. Wrong bridge.

Then, a few days ago, delivered by Fed Ex ground, comes a box filled with a very heavy and very thick "Final Design Report/Final Environmental Impact Statement/Final Section 4(f) Evaluation" from the New York State Department of Transportation.
Almost 10 pounds of environmental impact! Oh, the irony is rich.

We have no idea why this was sent to us. God knows how much for printing and putting together. Plus $6 for shipping. Couldn't they have given the money to the subway instead? Was somebody so happy that anybody cared at all that they put us on their government mailing list?

Was it to punish my wife, the email writer, for being uppity? Now we have to figure out what the hell to do with the damn thing.

It's filled with color pull out charts, and, well, statements of environmental impact. For instance: "Existing vegetation could be disturbed by construction activities within the footprint of the alternatives and at any staging areas. However, the species present are those adapted to urban environments and human disturbance, and those species are likely to recolonize areas after construction." Phew.

The good news is that all but one of the new proposals do have a bike and pedestrian path included. The bad news is that one doesn't.

So the options, and I didn't even know I cared, include:

1) do nothing (no bike path);

2) keep the existing bridge and add another on the west side (this is the bad one without a bike/pedestrian path!);

3) keep the existing bridge and add another bridge on the east side;

4) build two new bridges, one on each side of the existing bridge, tear down the existing one, build two new bridges in the footprint of the existing one, then tear down one of the first two that was built;

5) build two new bridges, one on each side of the existing bridge, tear down the existing one, and build one new bridges in the footprint of the existing one;

6) build two new bridges, both on the east side of the existing bridge, tear down the existing one, and build one new bridge in the footprint of the existing one.

Yes, most of those above options end up with more than one bridge. That is the plan. You still with me?

And here's a bit of trivia. I didn't learn this from this mass of printed material, but rather the excellent Newtown Creek Cruise sponsored by the worthyNewtown Creek Alliance. Why is the Kosciuszko Bridge over Newtown Creek (and also the F train over Gowanus) so damn high?

To let tall ships pass under, of course. Yes, tall ships. Like the kind with big masts and many sails. Pirate ships! Let's discover America ships!

Well it turns out that even in the 1950s, when they built this bridge, there were still a few tall ships out there. And bridges had to be built to keep waterways navigational. Boy, was that money not spent wisely. I wonder if a tall ship ever went up this creek after they built the Kosciuszko Bridge.

Anyway, anything new they build will have clearance of 88.5 feet instead of the current 124.5 feet.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

San Fran can paint bike lanes again

From Streestblog:
Two-and-a-half years after a judge issued an injunction preventing the city from adding any new bicycle infrastructure to its streets, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and the San Francisco Planning Department have released a 1353-page Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) on the San Francisco Bicycle Plan.

At a cost of more than $1 million, the city has attempted to demonstrate in excruciating detail what would seem to be obvious: better bicycle amenities contribute to increased cycling and an improved environment.
See what happened is some asshole stopped all bike progress in S.F. by demanding an environmental review.

Now I'm no friend of this idiot... but come on, admit it: there is something a little funny about we liberal bicyclists being stopped by a demand for an environmental review. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bring on the clowns

I can't think of a better use for clowning. To be honest, I can't really think of *any* other use for clowning.

As reported in the Gothamist.

So today the clowns came out "to comically draw attention to the serious danger faced by cyclists without safe, protected bike lanes." Blasting Fat Boy Slim from a boom box, they distributed information in English and Yiddish to educate bike lane opponents about the importance of the new lane, which will eventually become part of a separate bike path connecting North and South Brooklyn. In a press release, bike lane clown Benjamin Shepard declared, "An injury to one bike lane, is an injury to all bike lanes. Enforced, protected bike lanes save cyclists lives, improve the landscape and make better use of public space for most of the community."

Get a light!

I'm happy to write this before I have real reason to. I didn't get hit. Nobody is hurt. I thought of this while biking past the ghost bike at McGuiness Blvd and Kent St for Liz Byrne.

I biked to Flatbush Ave in Brooklyn and was thinking how nice it is, once you get out of Queens, that you can bike the whole way, more or less, in a bike lane. So many hipsters on bikes. And none of them had lights. Outside the bar I was going to a large man complimented me on the lights on my bike. He was serious.

Turned out he was a MTA bus driver. As a professional driver, he just wanted to be able to see bikes. He couldn't figure out why bikers dress in all black. (Hey it's New York. But he pleaded, "just wear something I can see!" He was also keen on bikes not passing on the right when he's pulling into a bus stop... But that seems reasonable enough.)

Look, I'm not your mother. And personally I don't give a damn if you use a light or wear a helmet. But it just strikes me as crazy to not have a light at night. Even just a little red blinky light does wonders. Maybe the more bikes people can't see the more careful some drivers will be, thus increasing my chance of survival.

I like Blackburn Mars 3 or Planet Bike's Blinky 7 for the rear (those little and seemingly more popular button-sized lights really aren't worth shit) and a Streamlight Stinger on the front (not cheap, but well worth it), held on with one of these things (they last about a year before the velcro gives out...).

The Stinger is what the man complimented me on. It's a common police flashlight. Just make sure you aim into into the ground so you're not a schmuck blinking people with your lights. Unlike a blinky light, the Stinger actually lights the ground in front of you, which really does come in handy. The light runs for just over an hour, which is good enough for the longest night ride. An extra battery in nice to have, though. Especially if you ride both ways in the dark.

Some people, can take this to a bit of an extreme. Yikes.

Live to bike another day.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Gilighan Qabista is the best cab driver in NYC

Gil Avineri, aka Gilighan Qabista, is my favorite cab driver. That's because of his comments to the previous post:
Whenever I make a turn in my taxi, I always have a body count in mind of how many bicyclists I saw as I drove down that block, before I slowed down for the turn. I wave them on if it's a left turn or just sit there patiently with a right turn signal. In my opinion, bicycles always deserve the right of way because it's much more of an exertion for them to re accelerate than it is for motorists or pedestrians. That's just to name one reason. And I can't stand it when I see another cab cut off a bike. I always chase them down and give them a lecture. They are, after all, my fellow yellow comrades.
He really won me over when he started taking about bicyclists' momentum. He keeps a nice blog about, well, driving a taxi. He's also starting a blog geared toward fellow taxi cab drivers.

He also provides a link to other cab blogs. Some of very interesting. Like cabs are kissing.

The Qabista describes himself as a: "nomadic collage journalist currently driving a taxi in new york city in order to help younger sister through college and also to collect a solid grasp on human consciousness."

I'm a bit too old (and I'm under 40) to be able to handle his his myspace page. But maybe the kids out there can dig it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Urban Repair Squad

Make your own bike lanes! URS Rocks. Here's the whole manual. Please apply to Astoria and NYC.

These guys also have a blog.

Meanwhile I'm turning on the giant bat-light-like bike-light on my roof to encourage more action like this. Save us, Urban Repair Squad. We need you!

Biking in the snow?

I love it!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bicyclist-Assulting Cop Indicted

Five months after the video of the assault, charges against the police officer are coming. Here's the report from Cop in the Hood. And the Times.

A week without biking

Somehow I lost one of my gloves on a ride home one night. Wasn't I wearing them? How do you lose a glove on your hand? I don't know... maybe I wasn't wearing them. No matter, now I only have one.

I'm not one for shopping. And I don't really know where to buy a nice pair of black biking gloves (Craft large, to be precise. They were very good gloves.) So I ordered a pair online and only then realized that I would be a while before I got them. In fact, I still don't have them. And I can't really bike long distances in 30-degree-weather with one freezing hand.

So I did like a normal New Yorker and took the subway to and from work and around down.

Oh, the subway. I sure do like knowing it's there. But I don't normally take it that much because I like biking. Here's my critique:

Advantage Subway: You can read. That's really nice. It's tough to read on a bike. And page turning can be a bitch.

Advantage Bike: Time consistency. When I leave on a bike. I can pretty much tell you exactly when I'm going to arrive anywhere in NYC without about 100 seconds. Subway is plus or minus 10 minutes during the day and 20 minutes at night.

Advantage Subway: You get to look at a surprising number of cute girls

Advantage Bike: You get exercise.

Advantage Subway: You get to or have to walk more. It's nice to walk around New York. You don't walk much when you bike everywhere.

Advantage Bike: You get to bike more.

Advantage Subway: I even had one rare wonderful late-night trip on the G back from Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. The N wasn't crossing the river because of some problem with a subway, a fox, a chicken, and a bushel of grain. There must have a been a full moon because the endangered G pulled up just as we entered the subway. And And it must have been a blue moon because the damn thing was running through to Continental Ave like it never does. Before you know it, we were at Steinway and a little walk from home. I've always said, be nice to the G train and the G train will be nice to you.

Advantage Bike: It's free... at least once you have one.

Winner? Biking. But mostly just because biking is fun. I'm almost always happy on my bike. My pleasure on the subway is entirely dependent on what I have to read. And if I never biked I assume I'd get very fat.

Today was warm. So I biked to Manhattan. And for tomorrow, my wife found my old, torn-up last pair of gloves I must have been saving just for a situation like this.

Oh, I also can't find my earmuffs, either.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Great bike carries

A truly great bike carry requires a bike or rack designed to carry truly great things. A comment just pointed me to this guy. I don't know him from Adam, but I hope he's nice. How could a guy making bike racks not be nice?

Plus he has great struts... always the weak link in any heavy carry.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Better Bike Rack

John Seckler designed a better bike rack but the world didn't come beating a path to his door. He submitted his bike rack to NYC but it didn't make the cut. That's a shame. It's really the perfect bike rack... simple and can be attached to existing things like subway stops and parking meters and street lights.

I'm not certain about the shade of green he uses, but I could live with it. It's a great design, simple and functional.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Great bike carries

First there was this great picture on Elyse Sewell's excellent blog (yes, there really is at least one model out there with looks and brains... and she just happens to like travel, food, and bikes. Oh, deary me).
Imagine the planning session that preceded this expedition. If you have access to a good mental cholo (I mean, if there's a cholo in your head who can perform the dialog, not a fleshly cholo who is "mental" in the British sense), ask him to read it to you. That's the accent I'm imagining.

"How're we gonna get all this shit back to the place?"

"We could load up your trike."

Then the discovery that the pedals could not be reached!

"We're gonna need more guys."

You can't even see that the guy on the blue electric bike behind the company is also pushing from the back!

In the comments, Stickgirl gives this picture:"It was even better when the pigs started squealing and I realized they were still alive."

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The New NYC Bike Rack

It's official. And it's a nice looking bike rack. Simple. Effective. As long as the whole thing remains firmly rooted in the ground.

And here's a pdf glossy promo.

And it is probably the best of the finalists.

But I still don't see why it's better than a parking meter. Or why they don't simply attach the circle to street light posts like they do in Sydney. Ideally every street light post.

For all the hype, the most important thing is that there is a place to lock your bike on every block. 5,000 bike racks in the next three years isn't enough. Especially if it's combined with the removal of more than 5,000 parking meters.


More on the Dutch cargo bike in Chicago.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Who needs a car?!

Full, for the record, this keg was delivered in a car. Acropolis car service, to be exact. I met the guy at the beer place and gave him my address and told him I would meet him there.

He was a nice older Greek driver who said, "Bike, the best! I drive. You use legs! Good. " As he drove up along aside me on Newtown Road he rolled down the passenger side window and shouted in Greek, "Grab on, I'll take you!" I declined. And of course I beat him home. I gave him $11 on a $7 delivery. Full kegs are just as heavy as I remember them to be, from when I was a bartender. No, we weren't really pouring beer from my bike, though that would be cool. I emptied the keg of the bottom-of-the-barrel skunk beer before putting it on my bike.

Taking the empty keg back on my back was much easier than I thought, in part thanks to my friend's perfectly sized heavy-duty bungee cord. The deposit for keg and pump, FYI, is $140 cash.

Car free for a month

Car free for a whole month?! Wow. I guess that's good... but one month? Except for that one year in Baltimore (and even there I was car free for the first 6 months), I've been car free since 1989 and you don't hear me shouting about it... oh, wait, never mind. Still, car free? That's why we live in New York!

What is more interesting about the story from suburban Chicago is the promo for the Dutch Bakfiets.

Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to carry a keg of beer on my bike back to the keg man. Granted, it will be empty. But it will still be filed under "great bike carries."

Monday, November 10, 2008

More on bike sharing

From the New York Times:

In increasingly green-conscious Europe, there are said to be only two kinds of mayors: those who have a bicycle-sharing program and those who want one.

Over the last several years, the programs have sprung up and taken off in dozens of cities, on a scale no one had thought possible and in places where bicycling had never been popular.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Ride ethically

Randy Cohen, the Ethicist, is our friend. Trust me on this one.

In Sunday's New York Times he writes:
From my narrow, crackpot’s point of view (my favorite), the real harm here is not to you but to the many tens of thousands of New York City cyclists. This fellow promulgates the canard of the pedestrian-threatening bicycle. Average number of pedestrian deaths attributable to cyclists each year here? About one. (There were 11 between 1996 and 2005.) Yet in 2006 alone, cars killed 156 pedestrians (and 17 bicyclists) in New York City and injured more than 10,000 pedestrians (and more than 2,800 bicyclists) badly enough to be hospitalized.

The question? Oh whatever, I forget.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Building a better mousetrap (2)

Or at least a better way to gather cans. From New Mexico.

Notice how the basket is made out of bike rims!

A better mousetrap (1)

Or at least a way to turn sign posts into better bike parking. From Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Arturo Flores of Astoria, R.I.P.

If you have information, please leave a comment. People need to know. Especially about funeral arrangements and such things.

Was the driver drunk?

Was the man a excellent pan flute player (not my favorite instrument... but now that's not really the issue here, is it)?

Did he run a red light? Who knows? Does it matter? He was good man who didn't deserve to die.

I run red lights all the time. But not if a car is going to kill me. If I was a car running a red light (I've seen it all the time) and killed a guy on a bike... I'd say the bike ran the red light. I simply don't believe cars. Especially when they do stupid shit and kill people.

No charges filed.

I write this and I hope nobody ever has to write this about me.

R.I.P. Arturo Flores.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Astoria bicyclist killed

Rumor has it that a bicyclist was killed yesterday morning at 27th St and 23rd Ave in Astoria. The driver stopped and, as always, was not charged.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Finally... Tax breaks for bike commuting!

One of my biggest pet peeves: drivers get my tax dollars for driving to work and I get nothing for biking.

It's changed! Just two weeks after the news broke, you read it here. (Amazing what other bike blogs will tell you.)

Now don't get too excited. It's only $20 a month. But symbolically, I think it's huge. I commute. I bike. I should be encouraged to do so.

Read about it here and here.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Free bikes at school

Bikes and college. Perfect together. Here's the story in the Times.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Screamin' Salmon Unfixed

The Screamin' Salmon was my fixed-gear bike. A few months ago, after 10 years, I decided to unfix her. I wanted to coast down the Queensboro bridge.

First I put the Bendix 2-speed kickback hub on her, but that hub was too heavy for such a light bike. So then I went with a simple $20 Shimano one-speed coaster brake hub (the Bendix hub was moved to my heavy locked-outside local bike, which is a great match). And I put on 650 wheels (smaller than standard racing wheels) to allow fender clearance. And there's a nice chain guard. I have a rear rack that attaches to the seatpost (not pictured) with panniers for light and medium loads. Plus the Egyptian Spoke Bell (great for Times Square and the bike lane down Broadway). If it weren't for the bell, I probably would have gone with standard hand brakes on the rear wheel. But coaster brakes are also nice because they're weather proof.

I present the Screamin' Salmon to you as a good light fast upright city bike.
It's also probably the coaster-brake bike in the world with bike clipless peddles.

I've fiddled a lot with the bike. I've changed the seat, and the handlebars, and the handlebar stem, and the wheels. I think I've finally got it right.

It may not be the perfect city bike as it goes more for upscale speed than down and dirty carrying. But it meets all the requirements for a good city bike. And as one of my three bikes, it fills a nice niche between racing bike and tank of a bike. I ride this when want to bike to Manhattan and not carry anything on my bike. Or on the rare occasion when I'm wearing something halfway nice and want to arrive looking decent.

Bike wrangling

A friend from Amsterdam brought this nice system for hanging bikes. It's German. And has pulleys. I like pulleys.

Our ceilings aren't high enough so you can actually walk under the bikes. But it does make things a lot neater with two of three bikes up off the ground.

Queensboro Bridge

I biked all the city in the past few days. The bike lane down Broadway (bring your bell), to the Gowanus Canal, and over the Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges. And more painted bike lines are coming. If you squint really hard, you can begin to see the start of a real bike network in places. Astoria still has a ways to go. On the other hand.

I also went over the Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges for the first time in a while. The Manhattan Bridge has always been good biking. The Williamsburg, I noticed, never levels off. It's up, and then down. I'd say the Queensboro is almost as nice as the Manhattan Bridge, but the Queensboro is too loud, with all that traffic right there. Also, I get so frustrated at the bad design on each end of the bridge.

And that they spend money putting up a useless and ugly fence.

On the Manhattan side, where there was a perfectly good original-era wall (seen in background, they plopped down Jersey Barriers, making a narrow path narrower, and put up a chain link fence. Now it's worse and uglier.

Russian Girl to Dogwalker

Seen on the Queensboro bridge.

Hi Dogwalker,
Tell me what I did wrong. I'll change. Let's start over. I only want you. I miss you.
The Russian Girl
How come nobody chalks love letters on the Queensburo Bridge to me?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Brompton Folding Bike

I rode my friend's Barbie-pink Brompton folding bike in Boston. I was impressed. It rides very well and folds so small you can almost put it in your pocket. Small enough to bring in to places with you rather than lock it. And when it's folded, it rolls. My Swift Folder doesn't roll. If it were a present, I'd take the Brompton of the Swift Folder. But the Swift Folder costs much less (about $800 versus $1,400) and is made in Brooklyn.

This Brompton bike was fully equipped. Fenders, rear rack, a dynamo for lights, a bag that attaches to the front, and three speed internal hub plus a 2-speed derailleur giving half speeds. The latter seemed a bit excessive at first, but Boston has more hills than NYC. I used all the speeds. Boston is also a fabulous biking town because it's so damn small. I miss biking in Boston.

Folding bikes are great, once you get over the goofy way they look. But hey, unless you're a beautiful woman or a man in a suit riding an Amsterdam-style bike, you already look goofy riding a bike.

Are folding bikes as good as a full-sized bike? Well, that depends on what your full-sized bike is. For all the idiots riding around the city with too large aluminum-framed mountain bikes with straight handlebars and knobby off-road tires, well, the city folding bike would be a nice step up.

My complaint about folding bikes is that they're a very rigid ride. But mostly that's not because they fold but because they're hard aluminum and not soft steel (though that lack of the traditional triangle shape must also play a roll). The handlebars are also a little smaller than I would like. But I'm picky about bikes. And very sensitive.

I bought my Swift Folder as my New York City bike before I lived in NYC. I could keep it my girlfriend's apartment. It served me well but now does not get ridden much. It now is a guest bike for short guests.

And if the choice was folding bike or no bike, I would have no hesitation.

Self Service Bike Rental

I was on Peaks Island, Maine. Year-round population: 1,000. It's part of the city of Portland and a short and pleasant ferry ride past hundreds of lobster traps.

There's not actually much to do there, but the island is too big to walk around quickly. But as we we started heading off to nowhere in particular.

Oh, what joy when we stumbled upon the self-service bike rental sign. It's the type of thing, had I found it in foreign lands, I would have said, "you'd never find this in America!" I filled out a form, put $10 in a box (for two bikes for one hour), picked a nice bike, and biked off. It was fabulous.

We circled the island, dipped our feet in the water, biked barefoot a bit, and my wife rescued a cute little snake from the middle of the road. She's very brave.

Thank you, Peaks Island self service bike rental.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Where's the outrage?

Or even the traffic ticket.
Two Women Are Fatally Hit by Taxis

"This one taxi tried to beat the light," Mr. Medrano said. "He hit the first girl. She flew up and into oncoming traffic. He ran over the second girl."

Both taxis stayed at the scene, and the police said no charges had been filed against either driver.
No charges?! Are you fucking kidding me?! How about speeding? How about reckless driving? I think it's safe to say that any time you hit a pedestrian you're being reckless!

The basic problem is that the car is never at fault as long as the other party was also doing something wrong. And that counts jaywalking as wrong, which isn't the case in NYC.

How about this for a law: any time a car hits a pedestrian or bike in New York City, the car is at fault. Period. That's the law in Amsterdam. It's a great law. It makes cars slow down. It saves lives.

Yes, that's right, you can be riding swerving drunk, at night, no lights, the wrong way down a one-way street, and running a red light (though they usually turn them off at night). You go right in a car's way. Bam! The car was minding its own business. The car is at fault. Always.

Here is New York City?

Bike hits pedestrian? Bike at fault. Bad bike.

Car hits bike? Bike at fault. Bad bike.

Car hits pedestrian? Oops. Sorry. Accidents happen. You're dead.

So if you're one of those namby-pamby people who bitches about bikes running lights, get some perspective and stop friggin' whining.

Or if you think that the public will love you because you're a "good" rider and wear a bike helmet and smile when you come to a complete stop at stop signs... Yeah, fat fucking chance.

If you think it's wrong for me to advocate that bikes rationally (and courteously) ignore most traffic laws, you have a Teutonic sense of moral order that would make Rudy Giuliani proud.

And if you think that "following rules" and being "in the right" is protection against being killed, don't frown. You must live in Big Rock Candy City where the cars are cushioned with marshmallows and the curbs overstuffed with down.

It's a big city and every now and then a bike will hit a pedestrian. Sorry. If the bike is at fault, give the bike a ticket and move on. In the meantime, get a fucking grip and bitch about what's really killing you and me: Cars. That's why I hate them.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Disco Queens bike

Nobody ever said Astoria Bike was out there breaking the latest news.

Six weeks behind the times I give you this:

See the Gothamist's first and second store for the whole old story.

And the source: Made in Queens.

So cool. Check out the trailer for the documentary. These are cool bikes and I love Indians with Caribbean accents, but, er, I'm glad they don't go blaring through my neighborhood. Actually, I might love it if they came through here about once a month.


Putting bike racks on subway grates. And protect against flooding. I just hope the grates are small enough that keys can't fall through.
The whole story is here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fancy bike rack hits Grand Avenue

I enjoyed locking my bike at the fancy new bike rack/shelter at 30th Ave and 31th St in Astoria. Brilliant to put it in front of the liquor store! I only live 2 short blocks away. But yes, I bike there all the time for shopping needs. I'm all for fancy bike racks, but I'd prefer more less fancy bike racks. Or bike racks on Steinway where there are no parking meters.

Still, I approve.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Ride

I already posted about this. But who remembers old blog posts?

The Ride is back in stock. I've got an article in it. And Bike Snob NYC likes it. What's not to like?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bike for sale
Manly Bike for Sale
Date: 2008-07-22, 10:18AM PDT

Bike for sale

What kind of bike? I don't know, I'm not a bike scientist. What I am though is a manly guy looking to sell his bike. This bike is made out of metal and kick ass spokes. The back reflector was taken off, but if you think that deters me from riding at night, you're way wrong. I practiced ninja training in Japan's mount Fuji for 5 years and the first rule they teach about ninja biking is that back reflectors let the enemy know where you are. Not having a rear reflector is like saying "FUCK YOU CAR, JUST TRY AND FIND ME".

The bike says Giant on the side because it's referring to my junk, but rest assured even if you have tiny junk that Giant advertisement is going to remain right where it is. I bought this bike for 300 dollars from a retired mercenary that fought in both World War 1 and World War 2 and had his right arm bitten off by a shark in the Phillipines while stationed there as a shark handler. When he sold it to me I had to arm wrestle him for the honor to buy it. I broke his arm in 7 places when I did. He was so impressed with me he offered me to be his son but I thought that was sissy shit so I said no way.

The bike has some rusted screws, but that just shows how much of a bad ass you are. Everyone knows rusted screws on a bike means that you probably drove it underwater and that's bad ass in itself. Those screws can be replaced with shiny new ones, but if you're going to go to that trouble why not just punch yourself in the balls since you're probably a dickless lizard who doesn't like to look intimidating.

The bike is for men because the seat is flat or some shit and not shaped like a dildo. If you like flat seated bikes you're going to love this thing because it doesn't try to penetrate your ass or anything.

I've topped out at 75 miles per hour on this uphill but if you're just a regular man you'll probably top it out at 10 miles per hour. This thing is listed as a street bike which is man-code for bike tank. The bike has 7 speeds in total:

Gear 1 - Sissy Gear
Gear 2 - Less Sissy Gear
Gear 3 - Least Sissy Gear
Gear 4 - Boy Gear
Gear 5 - Pre-teen Boy Gear
Gear 6 - Manly Gear
Gear 7 - Big Muscles Gear

I only like gear 6 and 7 to be honest.

Additionally, this tool of all immense men comes with a gigantic lock to keep it secure. The lock is the size of a bull's testicles and tells people you don't fuck around with locking up your bike tank. It tells would-be-thieves "Hey asshole, touch this bike and I'll appear from the bushes ready to club you with a two-by-four".

Bike is for 150 OBO (and don't give me no panzy prices)

* it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

PostingID: 765370039

Bike hits car

Or: "how to run into the rear of an SUV and have them apologize."

As traffic on Crescent St. was backed up near the Queensboro Bridge, my wife biked pass a parked SUV and smelled weed. When she turned her head to look inside, she ran (at very slow speed) smack into the rear bumper of stopped SUV in traffic.

Even though my wife had read-ended them, the occupants of the hit SUV were extremely apologetic. Strangely so. "We're so sorry!" they said many times. Only then did my wife realized that in fact the cloud of marijuana was coming from the SUV she just ran into.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bike Snob on Bike Lanes

Once again, he's spot on:
Bike lanes are a contentious issue in the earnest and dorky world of bicycle advocacy. Some people feel that safe and protected bike lanes are the key to getting more people cycling. Others feel bike lanes are dangerous places to ride, and simply lull riders into a false sense of security when they should instead be asserting their right to the road. Still others feel that bike lanes are an insidious conspiracy of the oil and auto industries, and that they're really just "fly strips for cyclists" designed to lure them to a place where they can be easily doored, stuffed in trunks, and driven to labor camps where they are then forced to melt down their own bicycles and use the metal build replacement doors for cars.

Personally, I like bike lanes. Not because I think they work especially well, but because I think they're symbols of respect. I like that someone has to go out there and paint little pictures of bicycles all over the city for me. So when people park in the bike lane (or stroll in the bike lane, or ride skateboards in the bike lane, or allow their Cocker Spaniels to relieve themselves in the bike lane) I don't get angry because they're inconveniencing me. I'm more than capable of riding among the cars, and often do. No, I get angry in the same way Archie Bunker used to get angry when Meathead would sit in his special chair. I deal with enough crap as a cyclist, and the least the DOT can do is give me my special chair and make municipal employees fluff the pillows for me every so often by freshening the paint and filling the potholes. And when someone's in my special chair I get really annoyed. Sure, I could go sit somewhere else, but I don't want to! Get the hell out of my chair, Meathead!

Read the rest of his post here.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Park(ing) Day NYC 2008

I love the idea of squatting parking spaces. Technically, it's not really a squat, because you're paying legal rent. But it's a great idea. Take a parking space, make a park, have a party!

Why should inanimate objects get to take precious NYC real estate for the benefit of nobody?

Here's the link to Park(ing) Day NYC 2008.

I can't help but notice that nothing is happening in Astoria. Hopefully somebody reading this will take up the cause. And a great cause it is.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Murder on Crescent St

Good Samaritan killed by crack head in Dutch Kills/LIC. And in the Times.

Charges Against Shoved Cyclist Are Dropped

No surprise here. The question is what will happen to the officer.

Biking to the Supermarket in Amsterdam

There's a great little video showing a persons bike ride to the supermarket in Amsterdam. Click here then click on the video. No "action." Just a slice of life.

Why yes, that is what biking in Amsterdam is like.

But I want to point out something, as a radical. Just notice how few cars there are (that's good!) but notice how those very few cars force all those bikes into a tiny teeny little part of the road.

Amsterdam is a great cycling town. But it could be a lot better.

For starters, bike paths should be three bikes wide. You should be able to bike side-by-side with your friend or lover (it's one of the true joys of life) and still have bikes pass.

I bike to the supermarket here in Astoria. It's a shorter ride and less romantic, but man, nothing carries groceries like big saddle bags.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Big hauls on bikes

In the New York Times.

Most things can be moved by bikes. For instance, every time I see a Fresh Direct truck, I think of how easy it would be to delivery groceries with pedal power.

From the Times story:
A small but growing number of pedal-powered messengers are outfitting their bicycles and, in some cases, tricycles, with boxes and flatbeds on which they can load hundreds of pounds of cargo.

“Eighty percent of the jobs done in a van I can do,” said Hodari Depalm, the owner of Checker Courier, a cargo messenger company in Manhattan that says it can move up to 200 pounds of documents by bike. Mr. Depalm said his two-man messenger business had increased by 20 percent within the last year.

Gregg Zukowski has had similar success. A couple of years ago, Mr. Zukowski, the owner of Revolution Rickshaws, a fleet of pedicabs in Manhattan, replaced the passenger seats on a few of his tricycles with flatbeds and lockable cargo boxes capable of carrying up to 550 pounds of goods. He started using the tricycles to make deliveries for bakeries and catering companies and was even hired last month to help a man move into a one-bedroom apartment.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Finally on the market

The closest thing to a cool bike helmet.

Too bad it costs $180 plus a plane ticket to Europe.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The most hated man in Toronto

"What exactly was he planning to do with 2,865 bicycles?"

The biggest bike thief of all time gets busted. Here's the story in the Times.

Every Restaurant in Astoria

Putting the Astoria back in Astoria Bike, I mention that nothing makes getting around the neighborhood easier and faster than riding a bicycle. And biking makes you hungry (of course so does sitting on your fat ass blogging). With so many good food choices in Astoria, how do you decide?

Ahx-xhhhhaaa! I just discovered this great blog of reviews attempting to eat at Every Restaurant in Astoria. He/she/it/they seem to have pretty good taste.

"Like Sisyphus, but with gyros."

It's something I've always wanted to do. But I usually just end up back at Kabab Cafe (25-12 Steinway). It's so good. And I like Ali.

(in older news, but a similar vein, there was the useful but more niche-market oriented two German girls review Greek cafes in Astoria. How do you tell them all apart? But their blog seems to be dead, as it's been more than a year since they've sipped their last frappe.)

Summer Streets Photo Contest

Submit your best photo from Summer Streets. You've got nothing to lose.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Summer Streets Last Chance

Saturday. Till 1pm. Go to Park Ave. Anywhere south of 72nd St all the way to the Brooklyn Bridge! You. A bike. No cars. You'll be happy you did.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Don't horse trade the MTA

The Times reports today that Gov. Paterson appointed a lawyer and lobbyist to the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Isn't there some State Dept of Sanitation they could fill with ghost patronage workers? It's straight out of the The Wire (which I finally finished watching last night).

The MTA is too important to have its board--supposedly there to represent organized labor and transit and commuter rail riders--be filled with with non-transit riding hacks! Why isn't Gene Russianoff on the board?

Even more strange (and corrupt), board members are not paid. But they're obviously getting something out of this. And now that they don't have their free Easy Pass, it must be something else. I don't like it.

My God They're Fast!

Broadway is already changed!

If my girlfriend keeps up this pace, the whole city could be bike and pedestrian friendly in no time... or at least by the time Bloomberg leaves office.

Don't phone and drive

A PSA brought to you by Astoria Bike and BSNYC.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Putting the Park back in Park Ave.

Summer Streets rocks! Really.

Frustratingly, I've just spoken to a few of my friends who have never heard of it. Leaving aside the fact that even my friends don't read my blog, get the word out! Park Ave from 72nd to the Brooklyn Bridge. No cars. People. Pedestrians. Rollerbladers. Bikes (mostly bikes)! Oh, my!

There's just one more chance to catch it: Next Saturday until 1pm. Next year there will probably be more. It would be hard not to consider Summer Streets a smashing success!

I expected, well, a street without cars. I've been on streets without cars. They're nice. But it's not enough to get my hung-over ass out of bed.

But I got my ass out of bed around 10:30am. Wasn't even hung over.

We got out of the house around 11:30 and at a little before noon we passed the police wooden horses on 61st St at Lex. I'll admit that at this point I got a little excited. Here was whole block (61st between Lex and Park) car free. Better yet, you could see, off in the distance, Park Ave filled with bikes.

It was somehow more exciting that just a street without cars. And I'm pleased to report that everybody was well behaved and there was no problem between bikes and peds. That road it big enough for everybody... as long as there are no cars.

You do have to stop at lights at some of the cross streets. But even this isn't so bad. I ended up biking a lot slower than I normally do because 1) the traffic flow was slower without cars and it's always nicer and safer to go at the same speed as the flow of traffic, and 2) it was such a pleasant ride, what was the rush?

Also, and I think this is important, there was more traffic without cars. I'm sure somebody did a real count, but by my half-assed estimate, in one direction there were about 25 bikes a block. Hours later, when I passed Park Ave again, there were about 6 cars per block. Keeping cars off Park Ave means 4 times as much traffic!

Later, at home looking on the web for pictures, I learned that Park Avenue actually once was a real park. Look how large the median was:
Here's north of Grand Central with St. Bartholomew's on the right.Later they destroyed the park and narrowed the sidewalk to turn 4 lanes into 8. Why not put the Park back in Park Avenue? That's one of the first things we tried to do. It was just a posed picture in what wasn't a particularly nice part of a busy street. But you could really could hear birds chirp. I didn’t know there were birds on Park Ave. It was beautiful.

Meanwhile, after a very pleasant ride downtown, Skate Rat Park under the Brooklyn Bridge was rockin'.
The Waterfalls were falling.
We hopped on a ferry to Governor’s Island and played mini golf with very artsy cool holes. Back at the Governor's Island Ferry Terminal building, David Byrne was letting people make music with a building.

Alas, we couldn't go in the water at beautiful Ferry Terminals Beach
Because of real, live, throbbing, man-eating jellyfish! (not the usual dead kind you might see at Coney Island.)