Monday, February 23, 2009

Anthropomorphizing



Do you ever project your thoughts and feelings onto your bike? I do.
Bicycles are closely tied to human behavior; both in a literal and figurative sense.

tragedy tore us apart
When I discuss NYC bike culture with fellow bicyclists and various other persons someone inevitably complains about the dangerous behavior they witness. We weave in an out of traffic more aggressively if we had a bad day. We disregard traffic lights if we sense there are no consequences. Or, the conversation can turn to the positive. We pick a bike based on whether we want to ride slow, or fast, or convey a sense of style. We stroll down the street with our friends to exhibit solidarity.

The bike as an object is subject to assigned emotions.
When we ride we say we feel free or are empowered. We use this blog to assign Michael's bike a fitting name. Guilt ensues when one leaves her bike locked up overnight in a strange neighborhood because she drank too many bushmills and ginger ale and was too drunk to be in charge of her bicycle.

The point being, this past week I had to leave my bike in two different places (once due to the said drinking and once due to being out when the winds tore up cars and trees). I felt a strange sense of loneliness. I worried that my bike would be abused or stolen. I interpreted the slight squeak on the ride home today as somehow symptomatic of my abandonment.
Have you had such experiences? Please share.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Brrrr.....


Check out this brilliant blog about riding in the winter - since we're all (except Liz) too wimpy to do it...


A little justice.

From the times...


Police Officer Who Shoved a Bicyclist Is Off the Job

A police officer who was videotaped knocking a man off his bicycle and onto the ground during a cycling event in Manhattan last summer has been fired, the Police Department said.

Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman, said the officer, Patrick Pogan, 23, was fired about 10 days ago.

Stuart London, a lawyer for Mr. Pogan, disputed the Police Department’s statement, saying that he had resigned.

Mr. Pogan was accused last year of assault and of filing false paperwork related to the arrest of the cyclist and was suspended from the department. The Manhattan district attorney’s office dropped the charges — attempted assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct — against the cyclist, Christopher Long.

Mr. Browne said on Thursday that the firing stemmed directly from the events involving Mr. Long, which took place on July 25 during a monthly event known as Critical Mass, in which hundreds of cyclists ride through the city to advocate nonpolluting forms of transportation.

The termination was reported by The Associated Press on Thursday night.

“They make errors all the time,” Mr. London said of the Police Department’s assertion that Mr. Pogan had been fired. Mr. Pogan resigned “to concentrate his efforts on fighting the criminal charges that are against him,” Mr. London said, “so that when he is ultimately acquitted he can reapply to the Police Department.” The shoving incident, which gained widespread attention after it was videotaped and posted on YouTube, embarrassed the Police Department. The video has been viewed on YouTube nearly 2 million times.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

88 Bikes, This Saturday in NYC





"Please join us in New York City from on Saturday, February 7th from 5- 7 PM, for an exhibit and brief discussion of 88bikes work around the world. Dan Austin and Nicolas Arauz will host a late afternoon gathering of sponsors, supporters, and fans, showing photos and videos of all our projects of the past 3 years. The event takes place at 535 Atlantic Avenue in Boerum Hill, in a space kindly donated by Atlantic Assets Group. Wine and snacks will be served.

Click here for a map. Please also rsvp (email link) for the event if you plan to attend."

Barri




Barri (yes, that's her) was recently laid off from corporate America - like many others here in New York, she is now looking for work:

"I was laid off from corporate America in Jan 2009. I'm kinda glad. I'm also kinda scared. Things I will do for money include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Go through your facebook friend list to determine who it's time to unfriend.
  2. Write your online dating profile, white lies and all.
  3. Organize your Obama campaign memorabilia.
  4. Set up your DVR recordings in preparation for Lost, 24, Battlestar Galactica, American Idol and Howie Do It.
  5. Sell your stuff on ebay. What were you thinking buying that diamond pave dragon cuff anyway?
  6. Duck tape an umbrella to your bike when you have to get to a hot date in the rain.
  7. Change your Brita filter. Who wants to wait around until the water is clear of carbon? I do.
  8. Go to first base. Second base negotiable for the right hourly rate.
  9. Febreze your suits after your interviews. Dry cleaning is overrated.
  10. Delete all the porn off your work computer's hard drive."

While # 6 might be of particular interest to you, dear readers...the thing is - she's also a brilliant comic writer - and YOU should be paying her for how much you're going to enjoy reading her new blog. Check it out.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Nouveau Parti Anti-Capitaliste (NPA), via bike

I tend to be a democratic socialist; am recently fascinated by how charismatic figures, popular opinion and social structures converge to form societal shifts; and love postal carrier bikes. Thus, although I am not as informed as could be on the French political landscape, it should be obvious I loved this video below on M.Besancenot. The video is long, but the bikes appear at 1:40, and on an ethnographic level there are some great moments of political meetings, rallies, sports and singing.


Olivier Besancenot


From The Independent: " [Olivier Besancenot] wants to destroy the institutions of the French state but cultivates, brilliantly, the image of a concerned, plain-talking, working-class boy-next-door. He has become the second most popular political figure in France, after President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The baby-faced postman and Trotskyist idol of the young, Olivier Besancenot, 34, will launch this weekend something which has been, until now, a contradiction in terms: a mass-appeal, far-left party. The Ligue Communiste Revolutionnaire (LCR) is dead. Long live the Nouveau Parti Anti-Capitaliste (NPA).

...

In 2007, he won, with 4.1 per cent of the vote in the first round, an election-within-the-election on the left-of-the-left, crushing the once powerful Parti Communiste and two Trotskyist rivals. He is now credited by pollsters with up to 18 per cent of voting preferences – something unheard of for the far left, even in France. "