cfsmtb in low earth orbit

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Overseas Stuff

Mass LogoTIME'S UP! is a New York City-based not-for-profit direct-action environmental group that uses events and educational programs to promote a more sustainable, less toxic city.TIME'S UP! campaigns support objectives shared globally and locally by people like you. We're community-based and all volunteer. BREAKING NEWS: New York City files a lawsuit to censor TIME'S UP! from promoting Critical Mass (including on this website), and again seeks an injunction against the ride.

Bike Summer 2005BikeSummer 2005 is in Los Angeles, California, and you can be part of it! It's happening between June 3 and July 4. We are celebrating and promoting the bicycle as an efficient, fun, sociable, healthy, environmentally friendly way to get around Los Angeles. We're exploring neighborhoods and places beyond. We're connecting with new people and communities. Envision a more bicycle-friendly Los Angeles - and make it happen!!

LA Bike Summer:
Organizers hoping to raise awareness
Los Angeles – The city of cars is experiencing the summer of bikes. Choking on nearly 2 million motor vehicles, the nation's worst traffic congestion and some of its worst smog, Los Angeles would seem an unlikely place for bicycle activists to stage the seventh annual Bike Summer. Still, if your goal is to encourage bicycle use, stage offbeat cycling events ranging from a men's leg-shaving night to a women's Korean spa ride, and generally try to raise public awareness of all things bicycle, why not carry your flag, as it were, to the enemy's doorstep? "If the purpose of Bike Summer is to (draw attention to) all the benefits of bicycling, there's no better place to do it than in what's been ordained as the capital of car culture," said Matt Benjamin, 31, planning director for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, which is helping to organize the event.

Changing gears, a similiar ride to one we all know about, with a twist....

Invasion of the Spoke Folk - The Downtown Bike Shutdown
What has 75 heads, 150 wheels, is two blocks long and one lane wide, begins at the Capitol building and ends at a bar? Two years from now, the answer might be Butch Otter's gubernatorial motorcade. But for now, it's the Downtown Bike Shutdown. The Shutdown, as anyone who happened to be downtown on the nights of April 16 or May 21 couldn't help but notice, consists of nothing more than a line of bicyclists pedaling in a circle and taking care to make the appropriate hand signals and obey traffic laws when possible.

Passersby have been reported to cheer at the sight of the swarm, and sometimes even run with the bikes, Pamplona-style. Police have been tacitly supportive, while irked drivers have been known to bump back tires and intone visionary insults like "Get a car!" and "Nice bike." But according to the event's founders, it's all in good fun. Sure, a taxi or two gets enveloped, and a few of the hangers-on have unexpectedly begun chants rhyming "oil and gas" with "up your ass," but this really isn't a protest. It is, according to co-founder Mike Runsvold, "Cruising for cruising's sake." Runsvold and his buddies Taylor Bell, Nick Bock, Jeremy Katich and Brian Harvey, all self-described "service-industry twenty-somethings" who own cars but prefer bikes, came up with the idea while biking from a concert to a bar in April. A week and a few homemade posters later, 30 people showed up for the first version. A month later, over 75 showed up, some in costume, others on tricycles, tandems, recumbents, custom cruisers and low-riders.

At similarly foot-powered events like Critical Mass in San Francisco, streets teeming with bikers have invariably led to hurt feelings and bent derailers. But the founders-dubbing themselves the "Spokes"-have no such intentions. As Bock says, "We have no political agenda. There's no chance of violence unless it comes car-side." As long as they maintain that lack of vision, the law seems to be on their side.

Hardcore fixy
A quiet blacksmith who never publicly pedalled his invention
Kirkpatrick Macmillan lived a largely ordinary life and died in relative obscurity. But this Dumfriesshire blacksmith was responsible for one of the greatest inventions of the Victorian age - the pedal bicycle. Macmillan's inspired decision to add pedals to the two-wheeled "hobby horse", originally developed by the German Baron von Drais, might have made him rich. But he preferred simply to cycle the machine he invented - on regular trips to Dumfries, 14 miles from the family home near Thornhill and on one epic two-day journey to Glasgow - and allow others to make the money and take the glory. It was only 50 years after he completed his first machine in 1839 that his role was at last recognised. But even today, it is a subject of controversy.

US chap collects quaint old bicycles
The rider perches five feet off the ground on a wrought-iron bicycle with slender wooden wheels, his feet propped up on pegs as the pedals spin crazily on a high-speed plunge down a hill.Like today's extreme-sports enthusiasts, the men (and a few women) who rode the early bicycles of the mid-19th century were either daring pioneers or crazed self-destructionists.


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