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.)
video

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Summer Streets, week 2

And today I'm actually up before noon... I'll be there.

Don't forgot, next week is the last week.

Details to follow.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I was biking around Central Park

(which, to my shame, I haven't done in over a year) and I saw this guy pushing a bike up that big hill (coming around the northwest corner of the park). First I thought it was a moped. Then I realized what it really was: a old sparkly-blue bananna-seat Schwinn with a jury rigged pimped-out moped tire on the back wheel!

It was being pushed up hill by a young black man with a big blow-out. "Nice bike!" I said with enthusiasm. He smiled broadly. It was nice bike, leaving aside the fact he couldn't ride it uphill.

No, I don't have a picture.

Bike parking in... Portland

Oh, Portland, Oregon, Damn you! I'm sick of reading how cool Portland is. If you love Portland so much, why don't you move there? Besides, I'm quite fond of Portland, Maine, thank you very much.

And I like hot summers and cold winters. And I don't want to live in place filled with smug white people.

But oh, Portland! You do have good food and coffee. Plus old movie theaters and you're bike friendly. And there is lots of beer and weed.

Streetsblog has a video
about the latest pro-bike thing they've done.

Sure, the New Yorker in my is a little put off that Greg Raisman, employed by the Portland Office of Transportation, is a chubby nerd with a beard and "Bike to the Future" T-shirt (you know, like Back to the Future but... with Bike).

But, but... part of me loves that this city transportation man is a bike-loving nerd. Besides, it's not like my body is nerd or fat free.

The really clever part is that rather than talk about how many parking spaces for cars they removed, he talks about many more parking spaces there are for "vehicles." That's good!

Oh, Portland... tell me the story of corrals and oases.

Oh, Portland. I don't want to like you, but I do.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Summer Streets Round Up

Alas, as feared, Mr. Astoria Bike slept through the first Summer Streets. Mr. Astoria Bike is not an early riser. In fact, I was thinking of going to Summer Streets to watch the beginning. But at 7am, I figured there wasn't much to watch. And bed was a much better option.

Streetsblog, on the other hand, get the worm. Scroll down a bit for their extensive coverage.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Car free street coming this Saturday to boro near you!

This Saturday! One night only! You, on the bike! Actually, it's not one night. It's three days. I just like saying anything from the Blues Brothers. Like in case you're wondering how often the N train rumbles by my house... duh!!!: So often you won't even notice.

Bet you didn't know that John Belushi is buried just 50 feet from my father and grandfather. Or at least there's a tombstone for him--there are rumors he's actually buried in Martha's Vineyard, but who can say for sure? There's a little picture of him and his epitaph is, "He gave the world laughter." I like that.

Anyway, let's get back to: You, on the bike! This is amazing. Really. A big long street being made car free. In New York. For three Saturday mornings. 7am to 1pm.

Make it a smashing success and going there and having a good time. If it's a success, it'll keep happening. Again and again, till we can all bike arm-in-arm up and down Manhattan Island every goddamn day.

Here's the link to the general event.

Also, there's a "feeder ride" coming from Astoria Park. Thanks to my buddy at Queens Transportation Alternatives for letting me know. Imagine my disappointment when I found out it's early and they don't feed you.

This is great... if you're an early-rising freak. No I mean it's great if you want to bike but are afraid of New York traffic. Or just don't know how to get to Manhattan on a bike. Or you just happen to be riding a bike at 9am and want to join the crowd.

August 9, 9am.
Astoria Park Bike Ride to Summer Streets.
Meet at the WWI Memorial.
www.transalt.org/summerstreets 646-873-6026.
To RSVP for the ride send an e-mail to summerstreets@transalt.org with your info and mention Astoria.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Horns

Sometimes I just reprint NYC Bike Snob:

Some people are actually so stupid that they think horns make things happen. They actually believe their car comes with a magic button in the middle of the steering wheel that can change reality. Suddenly, I became aware of the constant chorus of beeping all around me--the kind that's always present in a big city, and the kind you simply tune out like you do crickets in the country. In every case, I realized the drivers stuck in traffic all around me were using their horns not to communicate information but simply in a vain attempt to change what was happening to them. It was as though they thought sitting in congestion was a bad TV show, and that by honking they might somehow change the channel and be transported to a clear roadway. I'm not sure where this notion comes from. I don't think there's ever been a traffic jam where somebody beeped and the thousands of others also caught in the traffic jam suddenly realized, "Hey, he's right, we can all just go!" and it was over.
You can and should read the whole post here. Yeah, it's a bit too long. But if your time is that precious, what are you doing reading this?

Separated Bike Path Isn’t Gay Enough for CB4

It's not my wording. It's theirs.