This Saturday New York plays host to one of the largest alleycats of the year. Last Cranksgiving brought out 106 riders who hauled ass all over town to pull down a bunch of food donations. Cranksgiving is the odd marriage of messengers and Saint Mary’s soup kitchen on the Lower East Side. Instead of normal drops and pickups, the riders need to go to grocery stores all over town and buy specific cans of food. At the end of the race, they’re all donated to the soup kitchen. Last year they also raised $1680 for City Harvest and $420 for the New York Bike Messenger Foundation. So help us out this Saturday and don’t get pissed when a biker blows a red light or cuts in line at the grocery store.
Minneapolis police are working hard for a big PR win. A YouTube video that has been removed from the site showed eight young men running down kids and cyclists. The 6-minute video shows one man wearing boxing gloves punching a cyclist on the Greenway, and similar incidents in St. Paul at the intersection of University and Lexington avenues. The man who posted the video describes it as, “a group of Somali black males pulling pranks on people.”
Running up to a biker and punching them with boxing gloves on is a bold move. A more interesting video would be the guy with gloves on desperately trying to get them off while the biker he approached ruthlessly beats him with a U-lock. These guys should stick to chasing little kids walking home from school and pushing them down hills; much safer.
A Star Tribune article on the video puts the pressure on the MPD to find these assholes quickly.
New York City’s Pedicab owners have been an ignored business since their inception. The city didn’t pay any attention as long as the bike carriages didn’t get in anyone’s way. But in the last few years, business has boomed and now they estimate that more than 1000 of the trikes are being pedaled around Central Park and Midtown. The city stepped in and required that owners and the drivers of the Pedicabs get licenses. They license only costs $60, but the owners also need to prove that they’re carrying insurance and they need to bring the Pedicabs in for an inspection. A lot of the independent owners haven’t bothered with licenses since they can’t afford the insurance, seatbelts, and turn signals required to pass inspection. It also turns out that a lot of drivers are either working illegally or have so many fines that they can’t obtain a driver’s license. No surprise seeing as how a lot of them are former bike messengers. Beginning Saturday, we’ll see how hard the city comes down on them.
Now that hipsters have begun moving away from fixed bear bikes in favor of 1970s era mopeds and three-wheeled cars, they’re starting to sell of their fixie collections. This is great news for us. I’ve wanted to get a fixed gear for ages but it’s impossible to pull one down at a reasonable cost in Brooklyn. The demand for the most arcane and needlessly spazzed out bikes drives up the median cost on Craigslist. But as soon as they guys all get mopeds, the market’s going to be flooded with Aero spokes, cheap Brooks saddles, and obscure European frames. They’ll probably hold onto their expensive chain locks and messenger bags until the moped thing dies off, but it’ll be nice to pick that stuff up when they move onto old Nascar vehicles.
This December 11th a law signed last year that requires office buildings to let workers bring their bikes inside will take effect. Basically, if you own an office building that has at least one freight elevator, you’re required to provide a secure indoor spot where people can bring their bikes. This law was an easy win for Mayor Bloomberg seeing as how it costs the government no money and gets riders on his side. It’s stupid that they planned for it to start off in winter when fewer people commute, but at least riders will get to drag their slush-covered bikes across the office carpeting. Building managers are less than excited about having to provide space for no extra cash, but hopefully we’ll see bikes sticking out of cubicle farms all over the city. The NYC DOT is already prepping New Yorkers for the kickoff of Bike sin Buildings with a list of all the bureaucracy and paperwork you’ll need to deal with to get setup.
The outspent underdog of Seattle’s Mayoral race took home the win last week, and good news for our Left Coast friends…the guy’s a biker. He actually campaigned riding around town on his bike, barking at people while wearing a helmet and blazer. Hopefully Washington takes notice and the bike lobby becomes a serious business. Mayor Bloomberg took home a third win in NYC after making vast improvements to the cycling infrastructure and promising even more. Expect good things to come in Seattle.
Wandering around New York you see locked bikes with folded-in-half wheels. The front or back will be bent so aggressively that would take days of stomping by drunken idiots to get to that point. I always assumed that these bent wheels were some kind of drunken, willful destruction, though I wondered how people could destroy them so effectively. It wasn’t until today that Chari and Co pointed out that this destruction comes from the daily street sweepers rolling through town. Don’t lock your bike with a wheel hanging over the curb.
Wade Lind, the owner of Sunset Hills Cemetery, sought to offer a greener option into the afterlife, so he built this pedal hearse. I’m not sure if he pedals it from the church to the cemetery or if they hire some Rabobank rider all decked out in spandex. I want one of these at my funeral in Minneapolis. Hopefully it’s winter and snowing like hell. The procession of cars behind it would stop traffic for weeks.
Tom Boonen of Team Quick Step tested positive for drugs in April. He was allowed to continue racing since they weren’t of the performance enhancing variety.
“I was very drunk. I do not know what happened, but the next day I tested positive for cocaine,” he said.
He has an interview on Cycling News talking about not getting blind drunk every time he goes out drinking. Hey buddy, we all ride bikes and drink lots of beer. Don’t get too down on yourself.