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tonic, speed, and no names

created: Tue Apr 10 08:50:28 2007
last mod: Tue Apr 10 08:56:37 2007

Wrote this the other day but was offline so posting it now.

Went to Tonic tonight, not so much to see any bands as to hang out with a friend who is sad to see the place close. She likes noise music and it's one of the few places to host these bands in New York City and it's near her house. So, not only is it going away but the closing symbolizes the changes in her neighborhood. She's become one of those who hang on after the place has changed. In her case, not without good reason as she likes her apartment and the rent is cheap.

Ability to keep your head when everything around you is in chaos is a key survival trait in New York, but it doesn't mean you always like it.

Another friend was there. He was playing the music between acts and he played Albert Ayler. It cut through all the other music.

I made it home in 15 minutes by bike from Ludlow and Stanton. That's a record for me, for this time trial, but I have a problem in my Achilles tendon so I haven't really been trying. I was cranking with one foot all the way up the Williamsburg Bridge.

Slightly fatter tires would have made me a little faster. Those people in the early 90s with the hybrid bike idea were really on to something.

In my bag are electronics. I was supposed to solder together a lighting system for my commuter ride but the lab was too full - we couldn't take a soldering station away from a student. This is the second lighting system put together for this bike. The first was powered by two 9-volts and encased in inner tubes, then hose-clamped to the frame. This one will have a battery pack and switch tucked up under the seat. I have a bottle of ibuprofen (for my tendon) in the bathroom that will hold the battery pack. I'll run wires to the LEDs and hot-glue them to the frame, then cover them in clear caulk to rust-proof the leads. Rust was the demise of the first light system.

Rust never sleeps.

Crud is a cult. I had a dream that the band "Crud is a Cult" had become a mainstream rock band.

This time, everything's gonna be smooth like a rhapsody.

I'll build this tomorrow and then go to Easter dinner with my family.

tonic, speed, and no names is filed under music (37) bicycles (29) .

Winter Bike Wear Report

created: Sun Dec 26 13:15:09 2004
last mod: Sat Feb 18 17:07:36 2006

I am keeping a record of what I wore on various bike rides, and what worked well. Cycling in cold weather is tricky. The wind plays a large factor on the front of your body, but not on the back. Once you get warmed up, you will need a way to shed clothing, or you will have to just be cold when you start out. Sorry if there are typos, but much of this was written when I was quite numb of hand and brain.

December 22, 2004

52F Partly Cloudy


Quite comfortable for a longish bike ride (3 laps and an extra climb). Only a little cold at first. Never too hot.

December 26, 2004

Overcast 32F (0C), Light snow after about an hour


Pretty comfortable for most of the ride, after getting warmed up. After an hour or so, and after stopping to talk to a friend for a while, my toes were very cold and my fingertips were also cold.


As usual, cold at first but got warmed up and was then a bit too warm for the forst part of the ride, before it started snowing. Definately sweated into the Biemme (very bad name) jersey. I had to take off the balaclava and just wear it around my neck. The tape on the helmet front works amazingly well. This idea was stolen from Sheldon Brown. I still don't have booties, so I cut pieces of closed cell neoprene and stuck them in the toes of my shoes. The pieces were about 2 inches wide and 5 inches long. I had to make a bit of a notch in one to get it to fit snugly at the end of the shoe. Was quite chuffed at first, but it didn't work at all, especially after it started snowing. The water in my water bottle also started to freeze.

December 29, 2004

Overcast, Mid 40s F.


Comfortable from the get-go.


The salt situation is a little out of hand. Has the Dep't of Sanitation decided to just dump it all at once this year, and take the rest of the winter off? I should get some sort of bandana to keep it out of my mouth.

The Pace shorts are definately more padded. Those Nashbar ones were becoming unusable. Bib shorts are a little wierd, though. Don't wait to the last minute to go to the bathroom. You have to take your jersey off first. No pissin' in the woods. You could wear them over your jersey, but that would look just wrong.

January 20, 2005

Partly cloudy, High 20s F.

* nb: These are a bad idea in winter. You have to remove everything to go to the bathroom.


Comfortable, if a little on the cold side.


Didn't need to take off any layers. This worked well for the whole ride. The cold is fatigueing, though. Felt quite worn out after about an 18-mile ride.

I just got thse booties as a Christmas present from Maggie. They're warm. I've now surpassed embarassment at what I'm wearing. Actually, most people don't even see me, I think. I'm like a Hasid. I'm not a person, I'm one of "those people", or possibly, "those assholes". Invisible.

Riding at this temperature is pleasant. It's quiet. I look down and see the snow on the thin tire of my racing bike. Icbergs in my water bottle.

As I've said, the city has been salted. It took me 20 minutes to clean my bike after the ride, and I need to wash all of my outer garments to get the salt off. I wonder if this salt is the same salt that's in Gatorade, mono potassium phosphate.

March 16, 2005

Sunny and Windy, low 40s F.


Comfortable. Felt a little cold at first but ended up being good.


This was the same outfit as December 29. A little colder today and very windy, but it worked well.

I was cruising up the east side when this guy passed me. i wasn't going my fastest so I decided to keep up with him. Couldn't do it. Coming into a stiff headwind I was cranking as hard as I could. He just slowly pulled away. OK, no big deal. So then this other guy jut cruises by me and again i try to keep up and I get dusted. Now, there are plenty of riders faster than me, but this usually does not happen. So after climbing the hill at the top of the park and having it really hurt, I get off my bike, which I just got back from the shop, and the back brake is rubbing against the wheel. Not only that but the brake quick release is open and the adjust screw is down all the way. Had to get my wrench out and open it up. Felt much faster ater that.

December 24, 2005

52F, Clear


Quite comfortable for a long bike ride. Got a bit warm, actually, and took off the Balaclava after reaching the park. Four things made this a very fun bike ride: I've borrowed a mp3 player; the park was pretty empty because it's Christmas eve; I got a new seat; and I ate a bowl of oatmeal with maple syrup before the ride which gave me a good reserve of calories for 5 tours around the park. I may have done the first two in 24 minutes, but this would mean that my average speed was 30 mph. I'm not sure this is possible.

About the new seat, it's a Selle San Marco SKN saddle I bought on eBay. It may be a mountain bike seat. Anyway, it's got the cutout to relieve pressure on the perineum, and is considerably more comfortable in the drops. This may be psychological. I will accept the risk that I am deluding myself.

Good ride, though.

December 24, 2005

43F, Cloudy, high humidity, low wind


Pretty good. My toes got a little numb. That's about it. Hands were fine.

The park as a little more hectic than usual today. A week ago it was all tourists. They are less crazy about rnning in front of an onrushing cyclist. They bitch less. "Slow down!" I hear that a lot from joggers in the bike lane. Nobody tells drivers to slow down. That violence is accepted. Still, a nice ride.

February 18, 2006

Windy, 24F




Not to be disguisting, but there's a lot of snot and sort of general crustiness at this temperature. My feet seayed pretty comfortable in the booties, and my hands a little less so, but my face was in a good deal of pain despite a layer of hemp oil on it. That's not to say there weren't some good moments. This type of weather certainly does keep teh riffraff inside, but the ones who do venture out are more bumbling and disoriented than usual.

Despite this, I've started cycling with music. Headphones. Yes, it's more dangerous. I feel that the benefit outweighs the danger, and I'm generally conscientious about checking over my shoulder while turning or even shifting lanes.

Winter Bike Wear Report is filed under clothing (3) thermodynamics (4) bicycles (29) athletics (4) .

making bike lights that can live on your bike

created: Fri Feb 17 17:00:28 2006
last mod: Fri Feb 17 21:57:48 2006

There are a lot of good bike lights available for about $20. The only reason I made my own is that I wanted ones that did not look like bike lights, and that could be fastened to the bike in such a way that they can't be easily removed. I want to make locking and unlocking as quick as possible, and I don't want to have to carry too many things in my pockets. For justification of having nerdy things stuck to your bike, see this article by John Schubert.

The ingredients:

Tools: hot glue gun, soldering iron, screwdriver, wire stripper, drill, very small drill bits (for the leads of the LEDs).

Run the leads from the battery holders inside the holders.

For each LED, drill two holes in the case about 2mm apart. Through these, poke the leads of the LEDs. You can put these holes wherever you want the LEDs to point, though remember you will have to put a bettery in there and close the case. I used five LEDs for the back light and two for the front. Two is probably about all you need, because these are bright.

Hot-glue the LEDs flush against the battery holders so that only the lens is exposed.

Solder the LED leads to the battery leads so that the LEDs are wired in parallel. Make sure you've got the polarity of the LEDs right.

Put the batteries in and test them.

Cut off about 6 inches of inner tube and stuff the assembled lights into the inner tube. Fold the ends of the tube over. Make sure you can operate the switches through the inner tube. Cut a 2 inch piece of tube and put it over the first layer of tube so that it will hold the folded-over ends in place.

Cut pinholes in the tube for the LEDs to poke through. Try to make them small so they will keep out moisture.

Attach to bike frame with hose clamps.

These have been on my bike for about a month now. I ride every day and lock the bike outside. They have seen several rains and a snowstorm. The 9v batteries are still going strong. Everything works, so far.

We experimented with using magnets instead of hose clamps, so the lights would be removable. Well, that kind of defeats the stated purpose, but also the problem was that while they didn't fall off, the lights tended to swivel around too much while riding.

making bike lights that can live on your bike is filed under howto (5) bicycles (29) DIY (2) .


created: Sun Jan 15 10:14:05 2006
last mod: Sun Jan 15 11:03:31 2006
Greg w/ scope

Sometimes something is not going to fucking work but you have to try it anyway. The way an electric generator functions is you move a magnet by a coil of wire and it moves the electrons in the wire and you have electricity. It's common in most of the world to have a generator power lights on a bike. The generator is a little thing with a wheel that rubs on the tire and spins the magnet, but why not have the magnets on the bike wheel and the coil on the bike frame and the whole bike becomes a magnet. We tried this yesterday.

Radio Shack Part no.NamePrice each
27313741:1 audio xfrmr$ 3.99 (US)
27301020.1 MH choke$ 1.29
27502325v reed relay$ 2.79
6401877lg rectangular magnet$ 1.29

Greg and I took his old 10-speed and turned it over on the handlebars and seat. We taped first one, then two of the magnets to a reflector and mounted it on the wheel so that about 3 inches of magnet would pass the coil. We attached probes from an oscilloscope to the coil leads and held the coil near the magnets while cranking the wheel to approximate a cycling speed. We put a small flap of tape on the magnets so we could get the coils to within about 1/8 inch of the magnets when the wheel was spinning.

The result was that with the reed relay's coil we could generate about 2.5 volts with the two magnets spinning fast. With the other coils we could generate about nothing. Ditto with smaller magnets. Maybe 1/2 volt. An LED needs around 3 volts minimum.

What does this all mean? It means that with a transformer to increase the voltage, and a proper coil, this would work. It just needs refinement. You'd have to get it to work with lighter magnets, because at speed these magnets made the whole bike bounce around.

It also means that you'd need to devote a few more hours to the experiment and maybe 30 or 40 more dollars, what with a housing and all that. Not worth it when for $43.95 you can order these.

generators is filed under bicycles (29) experiments (4) .

How to not get your bike stolen in New York City

created: Wed Feb 2 14:28:46 2005
last mod: Sat Dec 31 15:36:58 2005


It is by no means a foregone conclusion that your bike will get stolen in New York City. You just have to be smart. Here is what I've learned.

Get good locks

What qualifies as a good lock changes over time. Generally, the Kryptonite motorcycle brake lock with a hardened steel chain is a good choice, unless it's one of the ones that you can pick with a ball point pen. I have one of these and it's lasted for years, and is happily from before they started using the cheap, pickable tumblers. There's also a Kryptonite New York Lock, which is a U-lock, that's supposed to be quite strong. Update: This thread on discusses a test done by the magazine "Cycling Plus". The gist is that the Kryptonite New York 3000 is the best, and if you don't want to spend 65 dollars for a bike lock, then the $24 OnGuard Bulldog Mini is a good one. The article doesn't discuss the Kryptonite chain lock.

Get at least one really tough lock to go around the frame and whatever you're locking to, and then maybe a cheaper cable lock to lock the other stuff.

Note that just because a lock or chain looks thick, it is not necessarily hard to clip. If you supplement your main lock with a cable lock, know that these can be cut with large clippers. If you bought your chain at a hardware store, and the guy at the store cut it off a long spool of chain with some clippers, a theif can cut it off your bike with the same type of clippers.

Lock everything

You can't really lock everything, and this becomes a problem on more expensive bikes where things like the handlebars and pedals are worth a lot, in a city where anything that doesn't have an armed guard will eventually get stolen, or at least have a dog piss on it. That said, the average bike theif goes for wheels and seat, if he can't get the whole thing. You need to lock the wheels, the frame, and the seat.

One approach is to use your strong lock to go around the front wheel, the frame, and what you're hitching to. Then use an auxiliary cable to lock the seat and the back wheel through the rear triangle of the frame.

badly locked bike

Another approach is to use two strong locks, one for the front wheel and the frame and one for the back wheel and the frame, and use a piece of bicycle chain to attach the seat to the frame. I've started using the Master Lock 527 D to lock my back wheel to the frame, by passing the lock through the wheel and around both seatstays.

Just make sure you're locking those four things (and make sure you're not just getting the spokes, but the rim of the wheel).

Hose clamps on quick-release levers don't work.

Choose a good location

Locking your bike next to a badly locked up bike is a good idea. In front of a police precinct is a good idea. Any well-trafficked area is good, though no guarantee of not getting ripped off. I once saw a guy going at a U-lock with a 2x4 right on Broadway and Washington, in full view of 100s of people.

Also make sure that what you lock to is going to stay put. A long chain on a short parking meter could also be trouble.

Make sure your bike's not going to tip over and get kicked by every passer by, or run over by a car pulling up to the curb.

Don't inspire hatred

This is a subchapter of "Choose a good location". Not only do you want your bike not to get stolen, you don't want it to get fucked up. When choosing a good location, make sure you're not blocking the sidewalk, you're not in the place where the restaurant puts its 300 pounds of wet garbage every night, and you're not blocking a door or something. Supers have bolt cutters, and will remove bikes if you piss them off. People will also kick your bike, knock it over, etc. Bikes inspire enough irrational hatred as it is, so be aware of this when locking to things.

Finally, don't leave your bike out if it's had a part stolen. This just brings thieves in like jackals to a wounded wildabeest. As soon as something gets stolen, or even if you get a flat, get that thing off the street.

Appendix: What kind of bike to get

If you don't yet have a bike, you can get one that is good for the city and doesn't look too flashy. The most stolen bikes are mountain bikes. Anything with a comfy seat and big tires is more in demand to thieves. A good bike for the city is a Raleigh 3-Speed type. These were imported in the 50s and 60s, when American adults didn't really ride bikes too much. If you look around, a lot of these British clunkers are still around. Now, how many bikes from the 70s and 80s are still around?

Places like Bikes By George on 12th Street (between 1st and A) and Bike Works can hook you up with a decent used bike, and install the piece of bike chain between the seat and the frame. I especially like Bike Works. Both places will assemble a bike to order, based on what you're going to be using it for, how far your commute is, etc.

If you're set on getting a new bike, or want to shop for locks and accessories, Gotham and Toga are two good places to go, with less attitude than most, and decent prices.

badly locked bike - lock everything!
from Satan's Laundromat

Something without complex derailleurs will also go longer without needing a tune-up. A good investment are some puncture-resistant tires. If you have a basket, people will put garbage in it.

Worksman Cycles make industrial bikes that will last forever, and they're making them right here in New York City. They're pretty cheap, too. About $300 for a bike that will last 20 years. And they're heavy, but this can be good. If somebody pops their car door open in front of you, you might take it off and keep going.

How to not get your bike stolen in New York City is filed under security (3) bicycles (29) howto (5) .

How to commute by bicycle, all of a sudden

created: Tue Dec 20 08:02:48 2005
last mod: Tue Dec 20 17:57:35 2005
winter cyclist

There is a transit workers' strike in NYC today. If you need to get somewhere, consider riding your bike. Even though it's 22 degrees right now (8:33 EST), this is not a crazy suggestion. In many of the colder parts of the world, people commute by bicycle all year round. If you would consider walking in weather like this, riding a bicycle is not that different.

How far is commutable?

Remember that you go at least 3 or 4 times faster on a bike than you do when walking. Even if your bicycle is a real clunker, commuting from 40th street to Wall Street is not a big deal. Manhattan has bike paths on the east and west sides of the island. even if you have to go out of your way to get to them, these are the best way to travel north and south, as once you get on them you don't have to stop.

Does your bike work?

If you have not ridden your bike in a while, be sure to check the tires before planning to use it. They should be hard, and when you sit on the bike, they should not change shape too much. Try the brakes too. Remember that you will have to get back later.

Keeping warm

Start with the way you would normally dress for 22 degrees Fahrenheit. Riding a bicycle will 1) make your skin colder and 2) make your core warmer.

The first point, surface warmth, is especially important in front, where the wind will be hitting you (or you it, really). Wear clothing that is warm, but that can be taken off and put in your bag as you ride. You will get warmed up after a few blocks, and then the main concern will be (1) surface warmth. If you wear a knapsack, wearing it on your chest can block the air and keep your heat in. Do not wear extra layers that you can't remove, like a sweater, because you will be warmer than usual on the inside. If you want to get fancy, this stuff smells good and will lessen the sting of air on your face.

If you wear a helmet, you can tape up the vents in the front, turning your helmet into a styrofoam insulator. I got that idea from Sheldon Brown.

Also, remember the cuff of your pant leg. Bring a rubber band.

Here's a pretty good article on how to dress for winter biking. It's not for people going to office work, but it might be helpful. winter cyclist

Locking & security

I wrote a whole article on how to lock your bike. The basic idea is that you need to lock the wheels, the frame, and the seat. You need a good lock. Cable locks are OK for locking the wheels and seat, but are not OK as your primary lock. If you are in doubt, ride to the nearest police precinct and lock your ride there.

Elsewhere, Transportation Alternatives has a detailed guide to biking to work, with stuff not covered here like traffic rules. Have a nice ride!

How to commute by bicycle, all of a sudden is filed under transportation (5) thermodynamics (4) new_york_city (31) commute (2) bicycles (29) .

bicycle music

created: Thu Nov 17 21:46:22 2005
last mod: Thu Nov 17 21:47:47 2005

I find this web page about bicycle music interesting and entertaining. Perhaps you will, too.

I found it while looking for the video for My Ever Changing Moods.

Quoth The Buzzcocke:

They're nice and precise, each one begins and ends
They may win you admirers, but they'll never earn you friends
Fast cars, fast cars
Fast cars, I hate fast cars

bicycle music is filed under music (37) bicycles (29) .

berlin 1

created: Tue May 31 08:08:07 2005
last mod: Wed Nov 16 15:34:36 2005

Berlin is like some sort of sick dream I had about New York City.

drunk man in hawaiian shirt

There is a 6 day bike race there, sponsored by a beer company. There are abandoned buildings.

berlin 1 is filed under bicycles (29) Germany (6) new_york_city (31) idealism (8) .

A reflective moment

created: Thu May 19 10:43:04 2005
last mod: Thu May 19 10:44:42 2005
2O km. from Amberg

A reflective moment is filed under bicycles (29) Germany (6) rides (4) .

The Tendons

created: Fri May 13 13:46:48 2005
last mod: Fri May 13 14:00:33 2005

It turns out I have tendonitis in both knees. I got rid of the white Peugeot I'd found on the street. I'm swearing off heavy bikes.

watermelon with bike carving

I do all of the things that make a person get Patellofemoral pain syndrome and Patellar Tendonitis: irregular strenuous excercise, having a bike seat that is too low, sitting all day, not stretching, cycling in too high a gear.

I'll get back on the bike in Germany next week.

The Tendons is filed under bicycles (29) athletics (4) medicine (3) .

plastic bag livin

created: Fri Apr 22 15:29:24 2005
last mod: Fri Apr 22 15:29:24 2005

Yesterday's shower was had at the Printing House. Gorgeous views, but the place is a bit empty for my taste. It's beautiful. I have to think about this, because I thought it would be great if these places didn't play music. It's not good though, it's medical. So one point to Crunch with its constant blaring yet muffled techno pop. Anyway, I got clean at the Printing House and the rates are very reasonable. Very. Hit up Peter, my main sales man over there. He introduced me to a trainer who had had both knees replaced, as I shall someday need to, maybe.

Also, I admire their spacious space. In Crunch there's nowhere to walkaround, which I like to do, in a workout daze.

I keep my shoes in plastic bags, some clean clothes, the dirty clothes, and the other shoes. Plastic bags are every where and they are free.

Now I'm thinking about my upcoming trip to Germany. Planning activities. Thinking about how not to be the terrible houseguest. Got to take a trip to the BX for some hip hop t shirts. The kind that have the picture on them from the Daily News. If you go one block up from Yankee Stadium there's a guy in front of the bodega who sells them for cheap.

plastic bag livin is filed under Germany (6) bicycles (29) travel (6) athletics (4) .

nomadic, smelly, some day muscular if this keeps up

created: Mon Apr 18 19:41:38 2005
last mod: Mon Apr 18 20:09:20 2005

Going in to week two without a shower at my place or Trish's. I've been touring the gymnasia of lower Manhattan. Crunch is my favorite so far. I like the people there. It's a bit dirty, but the NYHRC is too clean. Bad enough to hook onesself up to a machine for artificial work, but to do so in a sterile environment is crushing.

oma fiets

I've got too many bikes now. The one I've been riding is the Peugeot I found on the corner. It does not quite have the panache of the oma fiets, though. I should just get rid of both of them. I had been riding the Peugeot for two weeks without a lock, thinking someone would take it, but nobody proobably noticed that it was not locked.

nomadic, smelly, some day muscular if this keeps up is filed under gym (1) athletics (4) bicycles (29) .

List of alternate uses for the space currently used for curbside parking

created: Sun Jan 23 14:47:13 2005
last mod: Mon Jan 31 15:12:06 2005

Thinking mainly about Manhattan, these are some uses for the public space that is somehow, without anyone questioning it, given to anyone with a car to park it in the street.

  1. Small dumpsters for household garbage, or alternately the piles of garbage that are put on the sidewalk (why the sidewalk?) on garbage pickup days
  2. A city-wide system of bike lanes and bike parking
  3. Wider sidewalks
  4. Trees
  5. Stationary or permanent buildings such as police command centers, newsstands, cafes, public restrooms
  6. Express bus lanes
  7. grass
  8. One-way streets could become two-way streets

Q: But where are those cars going to park? A: I don't care. Why is it the City's responsibility to provide free parking on public property to automobile owners?

List of alternate uses for the space currently used for curbside parking is filed under lists (1) bicycles (29) idealism (8) new_york_city (31) transportation (5) .

protests at the critical mass bike ride

created: Tue Aug 31 11:11:11 2004
last mod: Sun Dec 26 13:41:27 2004
There were a ton of arrests (I've seen it reported as 100 people or 250 people) at the most recent Critical Mass bike ride, which is a bike rally that happens evry last Friday of the month, starting at Union Square and wandering aimlessly for a while. There have been a lot of people attending recently, and generally there have been no problems. There are cops on scooters who hold automobile traffic for the peloton. The idea is to agitate for more rights for cyclists, and also to get people to use their bicycles more. If a "critical mass" of cyclists is reached, the streets will be safer for bikes and perhaps they will be recognized in DOT policies and traffic law in general.

(Times article. Pretty fair report but still somewhat garbled in the facts department. "The Police Department warned yesterday that it was illegal [...] to ride outside of designated bike lanes." I don't think that could be true.) It's a little upsetting that this message was mixed with an anti-Bush message at the most recent rally. While the core message of the rides (bikes good, cars bad) is probably anti-Bush, by turning it into a more overt protest, participants risked getting it shut down.

The larger issue here is that bicycles exist relatively free of interference or protection from the law. We are allowed to run red lights, ride the wrong way on one-way-streets, etc. No license is required, and neither is insurance. The law states that bicycles have to have front and rear lights at night, a bell, and a hand brake, but mine has none of these and I can't imagine getting hassled over it. As far as I know, a bicycle is supposed to follow the exact same rules as a car: use a lane of traffic, yield to faster vehicles, signal turns. So there's a definate advantage and an immediate convenience to this superlegal existance. On the other hand, bicyclists' right to use the roads is not enforced. This seems like a reasonable trade, but the fact is, nobody in New York uses a bike to get around, and the fear of getting killed by a car is probably one of the main reasons. I imagine that the other main reasons are bicycle theft and that this entire culture is not a bicycle riding culture and never has been. The legality of locking a bike is a complete mystery to me. It seems to just be illegal to lock a bicycle to anything stuck to the sidewalk.

So in thinking about getting more bicyclists on the street, which would probably be ultimately good for automobiles as well, it's probably good for activists to think about these issues of safety and security.

protests at the critical mass bike ride is filed under bicycles (29) politics (29) .

took the morning off yesterday

created: Fri Oct 22 11:11:11 2004
last mod: Sun Dec 19 16:16:28 2004

(Working at Kinja, I communicate these things by putting them in the title of my weblog posts.)

So I took the morning off yesterday and Ben and I rode over the George Washington Bridge to Alpine, NJ.

There is a bicycle path up most of the side of Manhattan. The bridge is at 180th street, or so. On the Jersey side, the entrance to Palisades Park is right by the bridge. (Much of this land was donated for the park by John D. Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan.)

The road through the Palisades is quiet. The only cars on it are the ones going to and from the various marinas along the Hudson. The pavement is rough at first but smooths out. In the woods are the remains of old stone buildings, walls, and staircases. It's quite a beautiful ride. I'll probably be making the trip again soon, if anyone wants to come.

took the morning off yesterday is filed under rides (4) new_york_city (31) bicycles (29) .

Spectacular Devastation Bike Ride

created: Sun Dec 19 14:01:12 2004
last mod: Sun Dec 19 14:11:55 2004

I got up early this morning and was out on the Central Park Loop by 8:30. I was racing, more or less, with a guy on a pretty nice Serotta (John Kerry's bike). I hadn't seen him for a while. I looked over to my right and there he was. Just as I looked over, his chain snapped and got wrapped up in the rear derailleur. He was still moving pretty fast, and somehow the derailleur was pulled back and up around the rear cogs, to the sound of snapping bike bits. Little pieces of metal and plastic were bouncing down the road between us. I stopped to see if he could use any help. He seemed to take it pretty well. "Damn, just when I caught you", he said.

Spectacular Devastation Bike Ride is filed under rides (4) bicycles (29) .

a ride with carlos

created: Fri Sep 17 11:11:11 2004
last mod: Sun Dec 19 14:01:39 2004

After work yesterday went home to drop off things and put on looser pants. Rode the new bike, the one from the garbage, with the addition of 1.5 hundred dollars of aluminum machined bits and rubber, across the Williamsburg bridge to meet my man Carlos and his machined aluminum lever on the other side. Did they rip us off there with the walkway, always half closed? The old one was wider and started with golden stairs, but it was falling down, and not available to people with disabilities.

We rode down Roebling (named for the man who invented the other bridge, and his son probably too, because when they name a street it's usually only the last name if it's going to stick) and through upper Williamsburg to Greenpoint, Poland. What is up with all of the vinyl siding in Williamsburg? Manhattan Ave. is packed over there, so over to McGuiness and across the Pulaski Bridge.

The building known as 5 Points is out there, near where the LIRR and 7 trains come out of the tunnel from Manhattan, near PS 1 and the first Queens skyscraper. There were youths there painting the outside of the building, and there is a whole wall, if you go around to the north side of the block, where old graffiti writers do their old thing. Intrepid vandals can also get in to the tracks there and try to achieve some Long Island Commuter fame. Ze is. Carlos gives props to Ze because nobody bombs like that anymore.

I have to agree. Saw him on Linden Blvd. the other day. Obscure.

On the bridge again, a beautiful view of the east side of Manhattan, and a strange smell of car air fresheners or candy. On the other side, nothing but flat Queens stretching out to Long Island. It won't be flat like that for much longer.

Back across the creek, we witnessed huge gas tanks in inner Greenpoint, and some classic Italian-American badinage. "What is this, for dummies over here?" [And, which I forgot before, the most perfect "getthefuckouttahere" ever.]

When we get older, Carlos and I will have to have a club ("Club Legitimatto"), meaning a storefront to hang out in, like these guys used to in my neighborhood. Then again, fuck those guys. Somehow, we escaped having the accent.

a ride with carlos is filed under garbage (7) travel (6) new_york_city (31) bicycles (29) graffiti (3) friends (21) rides (4) .

the law of bicycles (road laws part 2)

created: Tue Sep 7 11:11:11 2004
last mod: Fri Dec 17 19:41:57 2004

Are bicyclists allowed to ride on the roads? Yes! In all 50 states, bicyclists are either considered vehicles or to have the same rights and responsibilities as the operator of a motor vehicle. In general, bicyclists are legally allowed to ride on all public roads unless they have been specifically excluded, for example on expressways or limited access highways and bridges. The decision to prohibit bicyclists from certain streets and highways is made at the State or local level, depending on which agency manages the road in question. is a quasi-governmental information agency dealing with bicycles. I say quasi-governmental because, while they are not a government agency, all of their funding comes from The U.S. DOT, The Federal Highway Administration, &c.

the law of bicycles (road laws part 2) is filed under bicycles (29) legal (2) .

truely lovely

created: Fri Jun 18 11:11:11 2004
last mod: Fri Dec 17 19:35:19 2004

I was talking to a guy, as we rode our bikes parallel up the west side bike path, who was trying to sell me heroin. Either that or he was looking for heroin. There exists the possibility that he thought I was a heroin addict. Skinny, happened to be wearing the long sleeves in the summertime, rolled up but still covering the insides of my elbows. He was wearing nothing but shorts and boots. He encouraged me to get some shorts. Even if I don't want to wear shorts at work, I should still bring some and change in to them. He also encouraged me to take off my shirt, like him. As an aside, it's one thing to not wear a shirt, and an entirely other thing to not even have a shirt on hand, as my companion didn't.

He was quite right about this, though: riding a bike is one of the greatest things in the world.

truely lovely is filed under bicycles (29) encounters (3) new_york_city (31) .

from the bike lane

created: Fri Aug 13 11:11:11 2004
last mod: Fri Dec 17 19:34:17 2004

Riding to work this morning, there was someone rollerblading a few blocks ahead of me on the bike lane, carrying a black plastic garbage bag. When I caught up to him, I saw that he was collecting cans from the garbage.

from the bike lane is filed under bicycles (29) new_york_city (31) .

more palisades bike path and rambling about bike lanes

created: Fri Oct 22 11:11:11 2004
last mod: Wed Dec 15 13:30:15 2004

The NYSDOT plans to build a ten-foot-wide bike path will be constructed along the parkway right-of-way in Rockland County. Work on the $6.5 million project will begin in 2005.

There is a pretty strong argument against bike lanes especially in urban areas. Basically, it's that anyone owning a vehicle has a right to use the streets in a lawful manner. Bike lanes are a distraction from the issue of the enforcement of those rights, and they create a sense that bicycles are not part of the regular pattern of traffic.

Bike lanes, at least the type in New York City, don't work. They become double parking lanes, they don't provide a real buffer from the automobile traffic, or enough room to avoid opening car doors, and they create a situation where cars will always be turning in front of oncoming bicycles.

It's important for everyone to remember that the purchase of an automobile does not include ownership of the streets as a free bonus.

Interestingly, lots of the bike lanes in Vienna are on the sidewalks.

Speaking of Vienna, this post would have wider appeal if it were sung in opera.

more palisades bike path and rambling about bike lanes is filed under bicycles (29) politics (29) .

the law of the roads

created: Tue Sep 7 11:11:11 2004
last mod: Wed Dec 15 13:01:11 2004

Fuckin' article in the Times this week, offhandedly mentions those guys with the carts in midtown, in the garment district, saying that they "block traffic". I think to myself, they are traffic.

I even wrote them a letter.

the law of the roads is filed under new_york_city (31) bicycles (29) .

abandoned bicycles of nyc

created: Mon Aug 16 11:11:11 2004
last mod: Tue Dec 14 20:55:33 2004

Why? I just can't figure it out. I walk around or ride around thinking about this.

Quite glad to see I'm not the only one. The really wierd thing is that many of these bikes are not in such bad shape to begin with. Often, they have the Kryptonite chain that costs > $80 USD. If someone's going to give up, they could at least take the chain.

There are a couple of possible, overlapping theories. Something minor, like a flat tire, happens and the owner, who never really rode the thing that much to begin with (after some near-death experience with a cab) postpones getting it repaired out of laziness. The bike starts to rust and now the chain falls off, meaning that the owner doesn't really want to touch it any more, and it needs more than a minor repair. Stasis is reached, and the bike languishes.

How, though, can someone bear to walk past this decaying corpse day after day?

I actually removed a bike from the rack aross from my girl's place recently. It had been there for over two years. A purple mountain bike, which somebody had tried to steal by twisting the U-lock. They should have tried a little harder. We were able to remove it just by using the frame itself as a lever. Do not overlook the frame-as-lever vulnerability.

abandoned bicycles of nyc is filed under new_york_city (31) questions (5) garbage (7) bicycles (29) .


created: Sun May 16 11:11:11 2004
last mod: Wed Dec 1 16:28:38 2004

I had to buy a new bicycle tube today. The old one has a slow leak. The thing about a slow leak is that it's impossible to patch, because you can't detect where the air is leaking. Usually, it's the valve. It is possible to repair the valve, sometimes, by reacing in to the top of it with a pair of needle nose pliers and twisting the mechanism clockwise. This will work if the mechanism screws in. In this case, I opted to spend the $5 for a new tube. Luckily, the closest bicycle store, A Bicycles on 14th street (formerly Stuyvesant bikes) carries 28 x 1.5 inch tubes.

The old tube has six patches in it. That's a pretty good run. These Kenda tubes are generally not very well made. As an aside, there is a product called the Mr. Tuffy which is a semi-hard piece of plastic that lnes a bicycle tire and protects against punctures. There are also these wire tire-scrapers which are supposed to work well. They glide above the surface of the tire and knock off sharp bits of gravel and glass. They are usually attached to the brake mounting bolts, usually on good touring bikes from the '70s ridden by guys with beards.

patches is filed under bicycles (29) .

who owns these streets?

created: Mon May 17 11:11:11 2004
last mod: Wed Dec 1 13:50:19 2004

The black area between the sidewalks -- when did this get owned permanently by people who have cars? Look at a photo of the city streets from 100 years ago. There are people walking around in the street. There are carts. Now we are walled off from the streets by parked cars. Try suggesting that we might be better off using one of the lanes on 6th Avenue for bikes. At the same time, two lanes are used for parking.

who owns these streets? is filed under politics (29) bicycles (29) new_york_city (31) .

steve reich live at uc berkeley museum, november 7

created: Tue Jul 27 11:11:11 2004
last mod: Wed Dec 1 13:48:58 2004

I'm listening to a recording of the Steve Reich piece "Four Organs", from an mp3 downloaded from's Other Minds Archive. "Four Organs" is a piece for organs and maracas, and sounds like a predecessor to "Trans Europe Express".

Speaking of influences on repetitive music, supposedly Kraftwerk were obsessed with cycling, and even kicked an early member out of the band because he could not keep up with the cycling. I do not know if this story is true.

steve reich live at uc berkeley museum, november 7 is filed under bicycles (29) music (37) .


created: Mon Nov 1 11:11:11 2004
last mod: Wed Dec 1 13:47:10 2004
Photos from my commute

commute is filed under new_york_city (31) commute (2) bicycles (29) .

best bicycle for the city

created: Fri May 14 11:11:11 2004
last mod: Tue Nov 16 13:48:47 2004

I feel compelled to drop science on urban bicycling. This is what you need for bicycling in New York. These are indestructable, not flash, not too expensive, and are comfortable for riding in any clothing. Any bike that requires special clothing to be worn while riding is not a good bike for the city. Those are the bikes people buy, but they don't ride them. Also, there must be relatively little crap to be broken off or stolen. These are $492 with the Kevlar tire upgrade and the puncture resistant tube upgrade. There are similar models that come with 3- or 7- speed options if you commute over a bridge.

This lock runs around $80.

For both the bike and the lock, if you are smart about locking them, you will never need to replace them.

Worksman is located in Ozone Park, Queens.

best bicycle for the city is filed under transportation (5) bicycles (29) new_york_city (31) .

morning with matt

created: Fri Nov 12 13:15:17 2004
last mod: Fri Nov 12 13:15:17 2004

Just put up a gallery which will perhaps give insight into the life of a semi-employed adult such as myself.

morning with matt is filed under new_york_city (31) computer (50) bicycles (29) photos (4) social_life (15) .