Where stolen bikes go.
This is likely the only scenario where I can justify stealing a bike. A Massachusetts man was arrested and booked for being drunk late on Monday, and police discharged him at 1:30am in 23F weather even though he had nowhere to go. At the urging of some folks in the Police Department’s lobby, the man took a bike leftover from Christmas Toys for Tots donation and rode away. A police officer saw the man snag the bike and arrested him and put him back in jail. Since the guy faced freezing or going back in jail, it’s not like he’s out too much. At least he didn’t shoot someone to get tossed back in the lockup, and in his defense, the bike was supposed to be given away for free anyway. I suppose you could argue that it was supposed to go to a needy orphan, but a drunk with a bike is safer for the rest of humanity than an orphan with one.
The infamous Road Rage Dr. Christopher T. Thompson was handed a 5 year jail sentence for his crimes against the two-wheeled world. All it took were three cyclists testifying about the doctor trying to him them in reference to five separate incidents. Mostly, Dr. T is famous for passing cyclists at high speed and then slamming on his brakes the moment he got in front of them. He netted a handful of casualties this way. On one hand we can be happy that a small amount of justice is being metered out for a psychotic driver with an obvious history of violence against bikers, and on the other we can still be pissed that it took this much to get so little. Hopefully he shares a jail cell with a few bikers.
Proving once again that cyclists are superhuman, a man in China stopped two men on a moped from stealing a woman’s purse. Two guys riding tandem on a moped? Of course a biker’s going to kick their asses when it comes down to it. I love watching the guy calmly climb off his bike and then throw it at the duo as they drive past. He wins this week’s badass award.
In 2002, two bikers embarked on a journey they dubbed Peace Pedalers. They set out to conquer the globe in three trips. Instead of piling onto a tandem bike or each taking solo machines, they each used a tandem and put the word out that they’d be willing to bring any takers on their journey for a few days or months. They’re documenting their trip and putting out a movie. If you want to be in it, reach out to them and sit on the backseat of one of their tandems for a few weeks.
Share the Road
Most bike jerseys are either covered with logos from companies that aren’t paying you to advertise on your chest, or they feature neon renderings of Disney characters. Sure, there are a handful of nice, plain Jane merino jerseys or super high-end fashionable Rapha jerseys, but you’re mostly priced out of that stuff. Share the Road makes these jerseys, equally as gaudy as the aforementioned logo Lycra, though these offer drivers a request during your commute. I especially like how the chest copy is written to be read in a rearview mirror.
If there’s ever a Bike Mechanic Hall of Fame, this guy should be on the first round of inductions. Mohammed Makokha makes his own tools and travels around truing wheels and repairing bikes. The video includes some tedious explanation on how to true wheels, but the guy’s setup is pretty sick (plus he only charges about $.05 to true your wheels).
Researchers at MIT have developed a new way to bring an electric-assist motor to your ride. The new Copenhagen Wheel works similarly to hybrid cars in that it stores up a charge when you hit your brakes and then later turns on the motor when you need a boost. What’s interesting about this new design is that the motor and battery is entirely encased within the back wheel and controlled from your iPhone or Blackberry via Bluetooth. There are no external wires or batteries, and installation is as simple as putting a new rear wheel on your bike. Unfortunately, the setup is still a bit ugly, but it’s an important step in the right direction. They have yet to list a price or distribution, but it’s not like you’d want to buy a first generation version of the wheel anyway. What’ll be more exciting is a few years from now when they get the size of the hub down a bit and start selling them at reasonable prices.
Quick stop at the bar and we're all set.
Indiana police arrested a local man who was riding home from a bar with a Christmas tree balanced over his handlebars. The guy claimed to have bought the tree from a local farm, but changed his story to saying he bought it at local bar when police informed him the farm was closed. The officers noticed the price tag was still on the tree, and they told the guy the bar wasn’t selling any trees.
If this guy had been driving home, he probably would have gotten away scot-free. Police returned the tree and arrested the man on public intoxication. At least they didn’t also hit him with a DUI for riding his bike while drunk.
Bike lane erasure.
The NYPD arrested two men who were trying to repaint a 12-block stretch of bike lanes that runs through South Williamsburg at 4am yesterday. The bike lanes have been a major point of contention between the Hasidic population of S. Billburg and their northern hipsterati neighbors whose women ride through the hood in tight jeans and revealing shirts. If you want to get an idea of the outrage, just check out the 115 comments on the Gothamist article about the guerrilla bike lane addition.
While I hate to see us lose any ground in the city, I also understand that mapping the city’s lanes is an organic process and there will be some give-and-take. Painting our own lanes probably isn’t the best way to garner support among the car-driving city dwellers, but I support the painters’ gusto.
Pearl Harbor skid contest.
Today’s the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Apparently the Japanese planned to deliver a declaration of war 30 minutes before the bombs were to rain down, but due to some slow work from the Japanese embassy in Washington, the message didn’t arrive in time. The good news is that the Japanese embassy was under surveillance, and Washington had the message unencrypted before the embassy did. They contacted Hawaii and sent a bike messenger to deliver the message, but the bad news is that it was two hours after the start of the attack. If they find this messenger, they should put his skinny jeans and Chrome bag in the messenger hall of fame.