Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Special tights day?

madison sq park

Madison Sq. Park, a few weeks ago

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Naomi Klein on Cop15


A great interview with Naomi Klein on what's happening in Copenhagen and how it relates to Copenhagen's creepy efforts to brand and commodify the city.

Katherine Goldstein: You've written about how aggressive the Danish police have been towards mostly peaceful protesters thus far. On Saturday, 1,000 people were arrested, mostly for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. What's your reaction to this?

Naomi Klein: There are so many wonderful things about Copenhagen, like the biking culture and the wind power that I think a lot of us have been impressed with. But the city has invested a lot in the branding campaign of Copenhagen being Hopenhagen, and that their city can be a part of this historic agreement for the future. Because the city is so invested in this positive image, they are willing to act aggressively. But this is so much bigger than that. This is everyone's planet. What is happening in this conference -- there's more at stake than Copenhagen's image concerns. The police have arrested activists and organizers preemptively of tomorrow's march, like Tadzio Mueller. It's reckless to take leaders who are advocating non-violence out of the game the night before a protest.

Read more... or watch



Bicycle blocade


Originally uploaded by Henrik Digital

Removing the bikes


Originally uploaded by Henrik Digital

Solidarity


Solidaritet med de aktivister og demonstranter i København.
Solidarity with the activists and protestors in Copenhagen.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Repainting the Bike Lanes in Williamsburg


Perhaps if the racoon-eyed-brats in Williamsburg didn't dress like a horrible disco accident...




...the hasidic community wouldn't have demanded the removal of the bike lanes. But, I respect both groups freedom to wear whatever they want - and the bike lanes won't go away so easily...


Monday, October 19, 2009

How to Neutralize your Airline Carbon Emissions



It's actually easy, and free!

A cross country (USA) round-trip flight is about 890 kg of C02 per passenger. The average American's meat consumption contributes 1,360 kg of CO2 per year. So, for each flight cross country, go vegetarian for 8 months.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Danger! Kidnappings of Innocent Bicycles!


The NYT reports on an increase in kids commuting to school by bicycle. I grew up riding my bicycle to school every day, as do many people all over the world, but in NYC, that's considered a bit strange for a kid. How strange? Well just take a look at the paranoid comments in response to the article:

"With the kidnappings of innocent children reported in the papers all the time, wouldn’t it be safer for all if they could just go back to past times and walk to a school in their own neighborhoods? "



"Great. Now you will have all these children riding bikes to school so that the crooks and thieves can beat up the kids and steal their bikes to buy crack!!

Or worse, you will have crazy NY drivers running these poor kids over as they ride through the crosswalks!!

It’s a great idea if you live in Iowa or Nebraska!

Not in NYC! This would be a bike thief’s trifecta!! Or worse, experience a sharp rise in vehicular homicide as these kids get run over by drunk and unattentive (cell phone and texting freaks) auto and truck drivers!!!

And this is why we pay the DOE employees a King’s ranson in salary to come with ideas that will place our school kids in avoidable, mortal and physical danger!!"


"...It is very common for children who go alone to end with criminals and molesters...."


"Will there be added funds given to each school where racks are installed for security to guard the racks?"






Criminals, Molesters, Helmets!


How to Kill Someone and Get Away with it


Just go to Arizona and make sure your victim is riding a bicycle (in the bicycle lane) and then hit them with your car:
"...Jerome was killed on his bicycle Sept. 3, a month before his 85th birthday.

Jerome was about a mile from the home he shared with his brother when he was struck from behind by a Toyota Camry... Jerome, a cyclist for about 10 years, was in the bike lane wearing a helmet and reflective vest.

[The driver] who was not impaired, was cited for driving in the bike lane and for not giving a cyclist three feet of space, both civil violations. It’s unlikely he’ll face additional charges...

Erik Ryberg, a Tucson attorney who has represented cyclists for five years, says the tool is in place to criminally prosecute in such cases but nobody is willing to use it.

Ryberg says negligent homicide would be a reasonable charge but has never been applied when a cyclist has been killed by a driver.

“They reserve it for more serious cases of negligence than just driving,” he said."

Read more...

Waste Not

The installation "Projects 90: Song Dong" just closed at MOMA. Song Dong, a Beijing artist, worked collaboratively with his mother to sort out and display the stockpiles of potentially useful items she had been saving in her home.

While it's surprising to see that there weren't any bicycles in the collection there were some related supplies... Perhaps the bicycles of a Beijing household are too precious to give up?


Projects 90: Song Dong
Seat covers


Projects 90: Song Dong
Sturmey Archer Box

As a former gallery owner and an artist-against-the-art-world, I have some elaborate opinions on installations like this which would probably bore you all - so let's stick to how the public received it. Here are the comments I overheard as I walked around the exhibition:

"I don't know why, but this is special."

"I think the categorization helps too."

"I guess if you took everything out of our house..."

"The house must have been bigger than I thought."

"It's an art show."

"I feel like I've gotten my $5 worth already."

"That was a good MOMA-run."

NY400 Bike Share


NY400 Bike Share


To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Dutch arrival in what is now New York, the Consulate General of the Netherlands and some Dutch corporations held an event called "Holland on the Hudson" as part of the wider NY400 celebration. The Bike Share offered the free use of a Batavus bike for 6 hours.

I'm sure the native people of North America would have preferred neither, but I can't help thinking we would be better off today if we were still under Dutch rule.

About NY400:
"This year we celebrate 400 years of enduring friendship between the Netherlands and the United States. Four hundred years ago, a Dutch ship called the Half Moon guided to the shores of what is now New York City with Captain Henry Hudson at the helm. This led to the establishment of New Amsterdam and the New Netherland colony. Some 167 years later, in 1776, the Dutch were the first to salute the flag of the United States of America. NY400 celebrates the free spirit, openness, entrepreneurship and tolerance of those Dutch-American pioneers, and their continued relevance today and beyond."

NY400 Bike Share

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Bike Sharing Comes to New York



if only for a few weekends....

NYC Bicycle Access/Parking Legislation Passes

A while back, I posted about these two pieces of legislation - and now they've passed!


780 requires every parking garage that holds at least 100 cars provide spaces for bicycle parking as well.  They must provide not less than 1 bicycle space for every 10 car spaces and the spaces must have secure racks for locking.  You can read the full text here.


871 allows tenants of commercial buildings to request a "bicycle access plan" from the building owner.  The submission of a request requires the building owner to either complete and implement an access plan or file for an exemption within 30 days.  You can read the full text here.


These are really powerful pieces of legislation that could change the face of cycling in New York City and we're really glad to see they've passed.


Here's the update as received from the City Council:


August 3, 2009

  

Dear New Yorker,

 

Good news!  Last week the New York City Council took steps toward creating a more sustainable transportation infrastructure in our city by passing two important pieces of legislation:

 

  • Intro. 0780-A (Koppell) - bicycle parking in garages and parking lots.
  • Intro. 0871-A (Yassky) - bicycle access in commercial buildings.

 

One of the main obstacles to bicycle commuting is the inability to park your bicycle in a secure location once you have arrived at work.  

 

These bills address this problem by improving bicycle access in commercial buildings and creating thousands of bicycle parking spaces in city garages and parking lots.  The legislation also encourages cycling by creating a bicycle commuting task force that will explore partnerships with private entities to build sheltered bicycle parking in public and/or private spaces.  The task force will issue its report by December 31, 2010.

 

Together, these proposals will improve public health, reduce carbon emissions, and provide a more affordable option for New Yorker's daily commute.

 

If you would like additional information or have any questions about this new legislation, please contact Nick Rolf of the community outreach staff at (212) 442-5765.  You may also e-mail him directly at nrolf@council.nyc.gov

 

Thank you.

 

Sincerely,

Christine C. Quinn

Speaker

New York City Council

 

G. Oliver Koppell

Council Member 

New York City Council

 

David Yassky

Council Member

New York City Council

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hyelp!




Real People, Real Reviews? well, not really...

Let's say you're trying to find the best bicycle shop in your new neighborhood so you go over to Yelp and locate a shop around the corner. They've got glowing reviews about how great the shop is and how helpful and friendly they are....

So you go into the shop and they treat you like dirt. What could have happened? Well, it turns out that Yelp might have deleted the bad reviews from the listing.

I discovered this when one of my reviews was removed "because it is not relevant, specifically it falls outside of a normal consumer experience." Huh? Really? We provide free content to Yelp which they use to earn ad revenue and in turn they censor it?

Well, I posted about this on a certain social networking web site and my friend responded with even more shocking information:

"They actually pay certain "elite" reviewers to give good or bad reviews to places that have, or have not advertised with Yelp. Yelp representatives call restaurants to aggressively request advertising with them, basically insinuating that if they don't, Yelp will ensure only the negative reviews make it to the "relevant" list. check out http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/08/13/yelp_sales_pitch/"

So, I'm deleting my Yelp account and removing all 49 of my reviews. And I won't be trusting what I read on Yelp again. From now on, if I'm going to review something, I'll do it out here in the open network, not behind their gated community.


You can delete your Yelp account here. Got any great reviews you want to save? Put them on your blog instead or send them to me and I'll post them here.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Barcelona: Bicycle Test


A simple question to test your Barcelona bicycle savvy. Which way should you ride in this lane, left to right or right to left? Leave your answer in the comments.

UPDATE
THE ANSWER IS... If you're in Barcelona you go whichever direction you want. But really, whoever designed these lanes intended you to go right to left, in other words the opposite of the direction this is pointing. Right before this, on the ground you'll see an arrow pointing to the left and as you bike along, you'll occasionally find these 'arrows' pointing in the opposite direction, and not always at an intersection.... so who knows what they were trying to do here. Barcelona's bike lanes are more like an obstacle course than a bicycle infrastructure.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Barcelona: Bicycle Culture?


Barcelona has some amazing bicycle projects under way. The Bicing program offers bicycles to residents who sign up for the program. Once you're a member, you can grab a bicycle from any station and return to any other - and the program is popular! Everywhere you go, you'll see people riding the bicycles.

But where are they riding them? On the sidewalk, the wrong way on the street, the wrong way in the bicycle lane, through red lights, everywhere except where they would be if they had a strong cycling culture.

Barcelona also has a pretty extensive network of bicycle lanes and projected lanes. They run between many of the neighborhoods and connect to the beaches. In some places they are real bicycle lanes, separated from the cars by trees and curbs and with their own traffic signals.

But, in other places, the lanes are a mess. Sometimes they're blocked by something (as seen above, and for no reason, there were plenty of other places to put those benches). And often, the bicycle lane runs directly through the line of traffic into and out of the Metro stations. In one place, the bicycle lane is painted on the ground directly in front of the city bus map on the back of the bus shelter. So, anyone looking at the city bus maps along that route (at every station) is standing in the bicycle lane while doing it. The Metro station crossings are the most dangerous. Because the lane runs on the sidewalk directly beside the Metro entrance , it would be very easy to ride right into the Metro. Look away for a moment and you will either be crashing into a crowd exiting the Metro or crashing down the stairs into the Metro. This might be why you rarely see locals actually riding in the bicycle lanes.

Overall, Barcelona's bicycle lane system reminds me of New York. There are lanes all over the city, but they don't connect well, some of them are outright dangerous and everyone uses them improperly. The most popular activity in Barcelona seems to be riding the wrong way on the bicycle lane or riding in the pedestrian lane right next to the bicycle lane. Even when there is a lane running on both sides of the street.

Barcelona puts cars first, then scooters and motorcycles, then the Bus and Metro system, then pedestrians and bicycles are last. Everywhere we went, I saw the bicycle lane being used to store trash cans, park delivery trucks, and more. Bicycle lanes in Barcelona seem to be widely considered available space for anything but bicycles. And yet, it still often ranks with the worlds greatest bicycling cities.

Barcelona: Budget Bikes & Juicy Jones


While in Barcelona, we rented from Budget Bikes. They charge 16€ for a 24 hour rental and take a copy of the credit card info as a deposit, but they don't charge or authorize the deposit.

The Budget Bikes location on C/ Estruc. The other locations can be found here.

They offer theft insurance, but be aware that it only covers 300€ of the 400€ 'value' they claim for their bicycles - and the contract lets you know that the theft insurance does not cover the cost of the locks and a claim requires that a police report is filed and all keys to the bicycle are returned. We looked at Our Beautiful Parking as well but they charge about the same and ask for 100€ cash deposit.


While biking around Barcelona, take a break at the Juicy Jones on C/ Hospital. There are a few locations, but this one has the best interior space - and is in the more interesting El Raval Barrio.

They have great fresh juices (my choice is the mango, papaya, pineapple with lime) and a very affordable menu del día offering an outstanding veggie meal - your choice from 3 starters, 3 plates of the day and several desserts along with water or wine. The Thali is always good if you're craving Indian, but I suggest choosing one of the Spanish dishes instead.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Summer Essentials




During the summer in NYC, we get a lot of visitors. Yes, human friends come to stay with us - but we also get insect friends wandering into the apartment. When it rains heavily, even more of them come inside. Any relaxed insect who wants to hang out in our place is welcome, but if they want to bite or they're big flying cockroaches (the large outdoor species are driven inside by the rain) we like to return them to nature (or Brooklyn as the case may be).

How do we do it? The Humane Bug Katcher. It's a great tool for gently collecting an insect friend and returning it outdoors. I used it 3 times last night - it's a great test of your ability to move slowly and carefully.   Toss that swatter and try it!  You'll feel so much better re-locating your insect friends.

Get yours here.

Buddha on a Bike



My new favorite person who I've never met is Patrick Reynolds.  He teaches meditation, yoga, fitness and happiness.  I'm addicted to his yoga videos on youtube and his podcast with Gwen Bell Zen is Stupid.

Here's a great bike post from his blog:

What Riding a Bike in the City Can Teach You

One of my favorite things about living in Japan is not needing a car. I have never been interested in cars, and I don't really enjoy driving. Sometimes Japanese people will tell me that one of their hobbies is "driving", but for me speeding down an asphalt road in a big hunk of metal with other bigger hunks of metal just inches away also moving at high speeds, it's just not my idea of relaxing.

Instead, I ride my bicycle just about every day of the year. I can get to any part of the city in under a half hour on my bike, often faster than a car. And over time I've learned a lot from riding a bike. These lessons also apply to a well-lived life, and so I'll share them with you now!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Is Reading the New York Times Bad for your Bones?


This article in the New York Times is just silly.  It's called "Is Bicycling Bad For Your Bones?" and asks:
"Is cycling bad for the bones? A number of intriguing studies published in the past 18 months...have raised that possibility..."

Um.... No, actually all the studies they talk about are looking at "competitive bike riders" and refer to riding a bicycle as an "endurance sport."  I don't know anyone who rides a bicycle as an "endurance sport" and just about everyone I know rides a bicycle.

Finally, at the end, they concede "most recreational cyclists probably don’t need to worry too much about their bones. “The studies to date have looked primarily at racers,” Smathers says. “That’s a very specialized demographic."

So, what was all that alarmist nonsense at the beginning? Oh, I get it, they're trying to hook you into the article by scaring you.  When did the New York Times start using tactics borrowed from the local 6 'clock news?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Vegan Saddles


Cosmo writes:

"Hi,I am curious about your saddle. What kind of lepper saddle is it and are they easy to find. I am looking at getting a euro type bike and I know that many of them come with leather saddles. I will want to switch that out if that is what I get. Thanks.

I think it is awesome that you veganized your Velorbis. "

The plastic Lepper saddles are the "Comfotech" line. I would ask around and see if any of your bike shops can order Lepper saddles for you, I'm often surprised how many shops will special order something obscure.  Even if the Lepper brand isn't available from your bike shop, there are many varieties of animal-free saddles available.  Most seats sold in the US are non-leather.

Personally, I find a standard American gel comfort seat to be more comfortable than the Lepper Comfotech - but the Lepper is a more traditional style for a 'euro-bike.'

Hopefully you were spared the pain of reading the "vegan saddles" thread on bikeforums.net which is full of idiots writing "but the cow is already dead."  If so, please whatever you do, don't google "vegan saddles."

Hey readers, what are your favorite non-animal saddles?

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Sanford Co-op in New Cross, South London

Last week I visited a friend of mine, Luke, who lives in a co-op in New Cross, South London. The Sanford Co-op has been around since the early 1970s and is known for its sustainable energy use and communal atmosphere.

Up until last week everyone has claimed a bike parking space next to a tree, picnic table, or various other objects. There are almost 200 people living in the flats; most have bikes.
An architect Christos Choraitis designed this beautiful and smartly designed bike "shed" to house everyone's scattered bikes.



It is constructed out of re-used railway ties, perhaps referencing the industrial surroundings, and was built using co-op resident labor. (You can read about the planned design of this structure when it was reported in 2006). One can climb the outside and tend to the garden on top. Or, enter through the passcode-protected, swing-hinged door to access a bike.



The grand opening party was in full ride when I visited last Wednesday night and the "shed" makes for a natural gathering spot. We sat on top and enjoyed some sangria while others hung out by the vegetable/dip table set up inside. Luke and some others discovered the inside makes for a good climbing gym as well.




I was amazed by the co-op itself; not to mention Choraitis' design. The area surrounding the living spaces is full of gigantic plants, koi ponds and raised garden beds. The co-op was bought on the cheap due to the high levels of lead in the soil (thus the raised beds).



The houses each have their own flavor and design. The kitchens were recently refurbished and each house competed to design the best slate tile pattern. I was lucky enough to join in on the party that night and crash in one of the rooms. Everyone I met was varied in their interests and nationality. But, they all seemed to appreciate bikes, traveling and enjoying life. If I don't return to NYC it's because I moved in here.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Best Bicycle in the World



Cykelmageren (Without Title) 2009

What is the best bicycle manufactured today? Arrow? Cykelmageren?
My suspicion is that it's something that's a danish-japanese hybrid that I don't yet know about.

You all know about A.N.T.'s bikes - but in case anyone hasn't seen them yet - now you too can dream of having one, here you go!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Faux Environmentalists, Dead Goats and a Misused Bicycle



Are you going to cut her throat, burn her and eat her?


This is the worst kind of faux environmentalism and it has to be exposed for what it is.

These people are roasting a dead goat using a bicycle powered spit. It's a horrifying use of a bicycle and contrary to everything we stand for. There is nothing 'green' about slaughtering animals (or any part of the animal food industry) - no matter how 'local' and 'small' it is.

There is no such thing as a 'free range' animal raised for slaughter. It's not 'free' unless it can leave without having its throat slit. A 'grass fed cow' is still terrified as its herded into a cage where its neck is sliced open as it drowns in its own blood, while other cows stand by and watch, waiting their turn to die.

Contrary to what hipsters would have you believe, eating 'local' bacon isn't any better than eating any other bacon - it's still a dead animal, an animal that was imprisoned for its whole life and then murdered. It's still the flesh of an intelligent, social being - a being capable of having relationships, of caring for children, a being that feels pain when its throat is slit and it's hung upside down with a hook in its leg.

A woman goes to jail for killing her puppy and making a belt out of it - but millions of animals are slaughtered to make your shoes, your belts, your burgers - and all of them have just as much right to live as that puppy.

I know, you might disagree. But here's the truth you'll eventually have to face: you're wrong. You're the person who said "as long as the slaves are comfortable and well fed and we let them have Sunday off to go to church, it's not so bad really, and after all, we can't release them, what would they do? how would they take care of themselves?" Those people were called welfarists and they just wanted to make the slaves living conditions better. When slavery ended, they suggested all slaves be sent to work-camps so they could be trained on how to work. The people who wanted to stop slavery were the abolitionists. Get on the right side of history, become an abolitionist today and refuse to support a culture that enslaves millions and murders them for the dinner table - just to satisfy the gluttonous appetite of America while the rest of the world starves.

Really, it's time to wake up.



Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"Questions in the Lot"

We're Going to Barcelona


Barcelona, by MorBCN, Flickr Creative Commons

Well, ehouse is in London at the moment, and we're hoping she'll be posting something about her trip soon. (Please encourage her to do so in the comments...)  Next she's headed to Berlin, so if you have any ideas for her, head to the comments and post away!

Next month I'll be going to Barcelona. We're staying in Gracia and Raval, splitting our time between the two neighborhoods. I've been working on planning the trip and now that the broader details are settled, it's time to start looking into bicycle rentals.

We'll want two city bicycles that are sturdy and well kept, with all the requisite features of a real bicycle (basket or rack, lock, lights, chain guard, etc).  Have an opinion, an experience to share about Barcelona or bicycling life in Spain? Please post. Do you rent bicycles in Barcelona? Why should we choose your business?   Any idea where we can rent a Velorbis in Barcelona?  (OK, yes we're spoiled and hate to give up our favorite bikes). Here is a list of the rental options I've looked at so far.

biciclot: Already in first place because they don't just rent bicycles, they're also a bicycle advocacy organization.

Barceloneta Bikes: 49 euro for one week.

bicing: the city-wide bicycle sharing program is, apparently, for locals only. Really? Wow, what a bad idea.

Budget Bikes Look like nice bicycles, but why do they have that sign on the front? Looks like about 61 euros a week.

Barcelona Biking: only lists prices by the hour..?

Barcelona by Bicycle: 55 euro for one week.  The photos of their silver city bikes look the least offensive of the selection....

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Not Drunk and barely in Charge

Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, is investigating possible sites for 12 new bike 'superhighways' throughout his city. Last Friday he and several others, including the transport minister, biked together through Canary Wharf. Watch what happened to them.



No one was seriously hurt. And London will hopefully have some damn safe bike lanes.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Madsen Contest

Madsen is running a contest for a chance to win one of their cargo bikes. You must link to them from your facebook (which is possible with an html app), myspace, twitter, blog, website, etc. to be entered. We are doing it here, obviously.

Madsen Cycles Cargo Bikes

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Hell oh!




It's a beautiful spring day in New York - cloudy and a little rainy, but beautiful. And then, the chirping birds and sound of the breeze are suddenly interrupted by a penetrating, MIDI tune, and a voice saying... 'Helllo!" It's an ice cream truck, parked under the window, playing that awful song over and over and over....

It was one thing when as a kid there was one ice cream truck in our little town and if you were lucky it might come by - but in a city like this there are fleets of them, prowling the neighborhoods blasting 'songs' designed to get attention no matter how hard you try to ignore them. What can you do when they park in your hood and keep playing that music? Well it turns out that NYC accepts noise complaints for parked ice cream trucks:
"The City accepts complaints about ice cream trucks and other mobile food vendors that play music while parked. Investigations are most successful when you provide details about the problem, including the truck's license number, vendor name, and days and times that the noise occurs."
Be sure to get the license plate number and file your complaint online here.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

BByB


I acquired a flat tire crossing Eastern Parkway last night. This was after riding on the new bike lane, visiting Prospect Park, and thinking about how much I loved everything. The sun had set as I sadly walked my bike up Underhill. It made a continous thump-thump sound; I felt the pity of passing pedestrians. Luckily, I was able to bring my bike by our neighborhood shop Brooklyn Bike y Board as soon as I left Manhattan earlier today.
I have to say I love the guys who work here. They are seriously hot and seriously talented. This is Zach (sp?) working on my bike. He got a kick out of my weird brake casing and told me a story about how he once bounced a phone off his shoe and caught it in superhuman fashion.

What I appreciate about the new owners/workers at BByB is their genuine interest in every bike (and bike owner) that rolls in. They drooled over a customer's perfect Frejus Campione del Mondo Olimpionico roadbike, yelled about plans to start a bike polo team, sprayed me in the face with a water gun (on accident), practiced track stands, and told me how they watch out for the extra small and extra large bikes- all of this while helping me and others. And, even though the shop was busy, the Fearless Leader heard me tell Zach about my plans for something other than my single speed and he showed me this small-framed, silver 5-speed with pink cables.The shop is going to put some narrow tires on this one, tune it up, and modify it for my liking. Then it's coming home with me. I haven't told my red bike yet.

Metro Card Bending




From the decision of Judge Victoria A. Graffeo in the case of an MTA metro card bender. Thanks to the judge's decision, hackers everywhere can learn more about the MTA Metrocard design.
"The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) is responsible for operating the mass transit system in the New York City area. In years past, a person gained access to the subways by purchasing a token and depositing it into a turnstile. This mechanical means of entry was eventually replaced with a computerized system that uses a "MetroCard" -- a plastic swipe card that is "read" by a scanner, embedded within a turnstile, that deducts the cost of the fare from the MetroCard.

There are two types of MetroCards: value-based MetroCards (referred to as "pay-per-ride" cards) and time-based MetroCards (referred to as "unlimited" cards). A purchaser of a time-based card is provided unlimited transportation access for a specified period of time (one day, one week or one month depending on the purchase price). The purchaser of a value card electronically stores a certain amount of money on the MetroCard that will be debited each time the user enters the MTA system. Only value cards are at issue in this appeal.

A MetroCard has two distinct magnetic fields that contain information, referred to as the primary and secondary fields. The MTA opted to use two fields so that the information encoded onto the card has "backup" storage in the event that a magnetic field is damaged. Based on the testimony of an MTA expert in this case, when a value-based MetroCard is swiped through the electronic eye of a turnstile, a computer reads both magnetic fields. If the MetroCard has monetary value remaining, the turnstile grants access and deducts the cost of the ride from the value of the card, amending the information stored on the magnetic strip to reflect the reduction in value. Thus, the expert explained, if a MetroCard is bought for $4 in value, that amount is initially encoded onto both the primary and secondary fields. When the card is first used for a $2 fare, the computer will deduct $2 from one of the fields, leaving the other field at $4. The next time the MetroCard is swiped for entry, the computer does not change the $2 field but instead reduces the $4 field to zero. Once one of the fields reads zero, the turnstile is not supposed to open. By utilizing this design methodology, which electronically leaves $2 of value on one of the magnetic fields even though the purchased value has been depleted to zero, the MTA intended to give riders "the benefit of the doubt" in the event that the magnetic strip was damaged. Thus, if the computer eye in the turnstile cannot determine the true remaining purchase value but can read the $2 backup field, one ride can be obtained.

Individuals seeking free rides on the subway soon learned how to take advantage of the system's design. By creating a small bend or crease on the section of the magnetic strip where the zero-value field is contained, a person can obliterate that information so that, when swiped, the computer is unable to detect that the MetroCard is worthless, meaning no purchase value remains. When there is a strategically-placed crease or bend on the card, the turnstile computer will read the other field containing the $2 "backup" information, which gives the user of the card a free entry to the subway. Hence, a person can bend a valueless MetroCard and swipe it once, then use or sell the free ride at a discounted price by swiping it a second time (this is referred to as "selling swipes"). The ease of this type of alteration and its popularity among individuals who are willing to defraud the MTA contributed to considerable losses of revenue for the MTA -- it was estimated that as of 2005, fraudulent MetroCard use was costing the MTA approximately $16 million per year, the equivalent of about 8 million ride fares."

Bergen St. Loves Bikes

A Crown Heights update:

If you learned anything from Michael or Biden you will know this is turning out to be a good week not to ride public transportation. So, here is some bike news.
Yesterday I was riding south on Schenectady on my way back from a job in Bed-Stuy. I turned west onto Bergen St. and low and behold there is a newly (not necessarily freshly) painted bike lane!

Up until this week Bergen has had a bike lane as far east as New York Ave, and the paint was barely there anyway. But now it goes beyond what is even shown online to at least somewhere past Schenectady.
Below shows the new lane painted over the old one futher west. The city must have been out painting this week (I also noticed fresh paint at Prospect Park last night). Isn't Crown Heights beautiful? I'm in love with Brooklyn today, if you couldn't tell.

Yes, we have no pandemic.




New York City, State and the US Federal Government aren't using the word. But I think it's worth pointing out that it's the right word to use.

North America is currently experiencing an influenza pandemic. "What?!" you say, "they told us it's not a pandemic yet!" Well, sort of. It's not a global pandemic, but it is a pandemic. And no, a pandemic is not necessarily always global, it can also be national or regional.

Based on the guidelines in the W.H.O. document "Pandemic Influenza and Preparedness Response," we have "human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries in one WHO region." What we don't yet have, but will certainly have soon is "community level outbreaks in at least one other country in a different W.H.O. region in addition to the criteria defined in Phase 5."

It seems our local, state and federal government don't want to use the word pandemic yet - perhaps simply to prevent panic. But we should be aware that there is currently a pandemic of H1N1 flu in the United States. Or as I am calling it "Factory Farm Flu."

If you pay attention, you'll hear the correct language from W.H.O. For example Margaret Chan, the W.H.O. director general was quoted by the New York Times today saying "W.H.O. will be tracking the pandemic."

Of course, there's a bright side. Riding your bicycle and avoiding the subway is a great way to avoid the Factory Farm Flu.

Friday, April 17, 2009

"Serious obstacles stand in the way."




The New York Times thinks they've found a "new It object" - the "dutch bicycle." But points out that "Serious obstacles stand in the way." Amazing work NYT - how did you ever uncover this little known object and the secret society that uses them? (And how did the writer get away with ignoring the community that has already embraced regular bicycles... perhaps Google searching is too advanced for a Times journalist.)

I guess the times didn't feel there was a story here until Club Monoco decided to put a Gazelle for sale in their window.... It's too bad their vision is limited to whatever is going on the corporate retail world. Club Monoco is even claiming that the Gazelle they are carrying is "Exclusively for Us" and the "Ultimate Urban Accessory." Puke. It's a bicycle, not an accessory.

And back to the Times, what's with those gloves? They're writing an article about riding a regular bicycle and say "If a guy is going to get on a bike, he wants to imagine he’s Lance Armstrong"? Right, why do you need those gloves to ride a "dutch bicycle"? Has the author even been on a bicycle?


And the final insult? No mention of Denmark? No mention of Copenhagen, the worlds best cycling city? Oh nevermind, I give up.... newspapers are dead anyway...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Bike to MOMA



"Bike to MoMA on April 6 and get half-price admission and free bicycle valet parking! One Monday a month, The Museum of Modern Art stays open until 8:45 p.m. Drop in after hours for exhibitions, films, DJ, cash bar, and a bite to eat at Cafe 2 (limited evening menu)—plus the first 600 ticket buyers after 5:30 p.m. get free admission on their next visit.

The evening goes green with free bicycle valet parking courtesy of Transportation Alternatives, New York City's advocate for biking, walking, and public transit. Rain or shine, park your bike (enter on 53 Street) and receive a voucher for half-price Museum admission. Carbon emissions will be offset for the event, and we're raffling off a collapsible STRiDA 5.0 Bicycle, ideal for urban transport.

Exhibitions on view include Martin Kippenberger: The Problem Perspective and Projects 89: Klara Liden. In the theaters at 7:00 p.m., New York–based artist and filmmaker Carter introduces the U.S. premiere of his most recent film, Erased James Franco (2008), and takes part in a post-screening conversation with its star, James Franco. (Screening is included in the cost of admission; tickets are first come, first served.)

As always, members get free admission to MoMA Monday Nights, and may bring up to five guests per member for just $5 each."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

L Train


Thursday Night on the Subway

A rare animal sighted on the L train tonight - coming home late.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Excess

“You know, the yelling and screaming about the rich — we want rich from around this country to move here,” Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said a few days ago. “We love the rich people.”

No, actually, we don't. The hoarding of wealth and resources might make sense to proponents of the absurd economic system we're living in now - but look at what a success that has been.  Anyway, since Baron Bloomberg is the richest of them all, he must have been using the royal we.

This is why we're voting for Reverend Billy for Mayor.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Swrve Cycling Jeans




Congratulations to Swrve for making it on the Independent's Cycling Gear 50 Best list!

One of the things that really sets Swrve apart from the cycling clothing world is that their gear is great for everyday wear, in every situation, not just on the bike. Yes, there's lycra in them there jeans, but you'd never know it.

So get over there and order a pair.

I don't recall him ever having mentioned a rabbit...

Why do I find this image of Mr. Gyllenhall so disturbing?


There are many good reasons, but in my case it's because until now, whenever I thought of this particular celebrity, and I don't often think of celebrities, I thought of this photo:


And now it's all ruined. And I blame it all on People Magazine. That bike photo is like watching a nun drowning kittens.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Reply from Central Services....



---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Office of the Mayor
Date: Mon, Mar 9, 2009 at 12:13 PM
Subject: Responding to your message


Dear Mr. Drunk And In Charge:

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and concerns about bicycling in New York City. Our Administration supports legislation that would require large commercial buildings to make provisions for bicycle storage either on site or reasonably nearby, and we appreciate your writing with your input on the subject.

Our Administration is committed to increasing ridership throughout the five boroughs through our ongoing Bicycle Network Development Project. Since the Project's inception, we've developed 400 miles of bicycle lanes, routes, and car-free greenways, and we plan to complete another 200 miles of new vehicle-free bike paths, on-street striped lanes, and signed routes by the end of 2009. As part of our continuing CITYRACKS program, we'll also install 1,200 on-street bicycle racks by the end of 2009. Because of initiatives like these, we've already seen a 35 percent increase in bicyclists between 2007 and 2008 alone-and this is only the first step.

As part of our PlaNYC initiative, we will improve conditions and expand opportunities for bicyclists even further by dramatically accelerating the implementation of the 1,800-mile bike lane master plan so that the entire system is in place before 2030. Please know that we are committed to building on the progress we've already achieved by making it even easier, safer, and more enjoyable to bike in a greener, greater New York. Thanks again for writing and happy cycling!


Sincerely,
Michael R. Bloomberg
Mayor

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Wild Bunches of Spring

The Times writes about us today, bikers that is.... cyclists. Which we still are, even after spending a winter hiding indoors. How do we know? Because after a snowstorm that brought in the month of March and a freezing week - today it was beautiful. So we went to Manhattan.

And, as the Times article correctly notes, much of the cycling going on in this city is still of the Faux Tour de France variety (lycra and all). But there are lots of other kinds.

There are the flocks of teens on trick bikes, zipping down the slope of the Williamsburg bridge into Manhattan much faster than the 'racing' cyclists.

There are the hipsters on fixies, their butts at least two feet higher than their handlebars, tight jeans dragged down by the combined forces of the improbable angle and janitor keys hanging from the belt loop; wearing utility as a style.

There are the delivery folk, riding a bicycle that no one would likely steal, with a chain lock thick enough to bear the anchor for an aircraft carrier - they always look to be in between something - half in the kitchen, half on a bicycle. And they are on the margins in other ways, underpaid, under tipped, under appreciated.

There are the "women in fitness" as Jennifer called them "dressed like they're active - they watch Oprah." And the Dads with their kids who say "good job staying upright buddy!"

And then there's us. A minority on our upright bicycles. Running errands and riding because it's a great way to get there. Here are photos from our day...


First we had to prepare, add some air to the tires - and I had to make my new favorite smoothie: fresh coconut water, wild blueberries and raw cacao nibs. (there are no smoothies in this photo, no matter how hard you look)

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Off we headed across the Williamsburg bridge.

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What is this 'character project' Jennifer asks... it looks like art, but it's from USA television network...

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Expecting friends from the west...did their flight land yet?

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Heading back home across the bridge, under the moonlight after a lovely day in the city.

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