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i love my bike
jibber jabber from the publisher
Blech! What a month... Here we are showing up to the party a week late and you still love us enough to be reading. Sorry for the delay - life was calling. Insomnia has reared it’s ugly head in my life once again and it ain’t easy bein’ sleepy. However, it’s summer and the bikes are in full effect. With petrol at $4 a gallon how could they not be. I had the most awesome inconvenience today at the grocery when I pulled up and there was no room to lock up my bike at the rack. Grant it that I was in the Highlands, but still, a nice surprise. Speaking of bikes... Welcome to Lattitude’s first bike issue! Sure we had to rape, pillage and plunder a couple other publications for some content, but it’s all in good nature and spreading the word of the bicycle. In regards to other publications, if you’re interested in furthering your bicycle reading library I strongly urge you to visit Urban Velo (UrbanVelo.org). You can download each issue for free or simply stop being a freeloading bastard and subscribe. It’s a great bike zine and from the little bit of interaction I’ve had with them they seem like a great group of human beings. We hope you enjoy this issue while it’s a bit different than the usual, but we promise to be back to the “sky is falling” political rants next month. Thanks for reading and be sure to share the road. -jimmy firstname.lastname@example.org
Lattitude Zine is published 12X a year, monthly in Louisville, KY. Lattitude is collectively written and designed with subjects and style that will vary from one issue to the next. The reader base is the staff essentially. There is no formal organization at work. Visit us at LattitudeZine.com for more information. Befriend us at: myspace.com/lattitudezine Contributions and correspondence to: email@example.com Advertising information to: firstname.lastname@example.org Distribution requests to: email@example.com Please Recycle
June 2008 • Number 7
Confessions ........................... 3
Honor thy Bike ....................... 4
All-Season Commuting .......... 5
My Dirty Little Secret ............. 7
Anarchy in Your Head ........... 10
That First Push ..................... 11
Q&A: On Your Left Cycles ..... 15
Crimanimalz ..........................17 Bikes and Cars ..................... 21
Alon K. Raab
Alex Cantarero, Morgan Strauss, Richtotheie
Triztoons .............................. 22
from Urban Velo # 4 downloads at: UrbanVelo.org
I’ve got a confession to make. I run red
lights. I don’t do it every time, but if the coast is clear I just keep on rollin’. The same goes for stop signs, and my bad habits don’t stop there… I pass cars on the right. I ride the wrong way on one-way streets. And I make a point of breaking the speed limit any chance I get. Still, I wouldn’t say I’m reckless. I’m just a guy on a bike, trying to get by in a city designed for cars. Everyone knows most drivers don’t follow the letter of the law—some of the most straight-laced people I know roll through stop signs. By and large the speed limit is treated as though it was a suggested minimum. Traffic lights seem open to interpretation, too— green means turn without looking, yellow means hurry up, and the first few seconds of red are a grace period. So why shouldn’t we, as cyclists, feel entitled to bend the rules? Without a motor we’re left at a severe disadvantage fighting for our share of the road. Stop signs and traffic lights kill our momentum, and traffic congestion threatens to keep us at bay. New highways spring up every day, but bike lanes are still an afterthought at best. Why not go beyond taking a lane and make our own?
Unfortunately, without a ton of armor, we’re vulnerable out on the streets. I’ve lost track of how many cycling deaths I’ve read about in the past month, and it’s a sobering reminder that we all need to keep self-preservation in mind. While it’s a sad fact of the matter that with an increase in cycling comes an increase in casualties, there are things we can all do to avoid becoming a grim statistic. I’ll admit I’m not the best person to be preaching about safety, so do as I say, not as I do. Because while there might be bike lanes in heaven, you can’t ride bikes here on Earth when you’re dead. Jeff Guerrero is Publisher of Urban Velo, a bi-monthly publication reflecting cycling culture in current day cities. In short, it’s awesome. Contact Jeff at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Honor thy Bike
You know that two wheeled, human powered contraption collecting dust in your garage? That’s a bike and it’s awesome. A bike says a lot of things. If you’re against the war, it is the best way to show it. If you’re against crap air quality, suburban sprawl or just being fat then ride your bike. Spend a couple weeks on your bike and you’ll likely wonder why you ever put it down in the first place. As well, you’ll notice how dependent your community is on oil and the cars that use it. Do you really need to drive your car a mile to the grocery to pick up a loaf of bread? Grab your backpack, bike and a lock and your set. You’ll be there in about the same amount of time, saving money and getting exercise. It rules. I love bikes, always have. Doesn’t matter what kind, bmx, road, mountain, cruisers, trikes, tandems, whatever. Nothing compares to pedaling around town. Now Louisville is not the most ideal location to take part in such activities, but there are plenty of parks to take advantage of if you’re scared of traffic. If that’s the case, I encourage you to spend some time on some not too busy thoroughfares, but busier than your neighborhood streets. After a few days you’ll be feeling comfortable and ready to take on something a tad more traffic heavy, and before you know it, you’re be riding that damned thing from Prospect to Shawnee with out a second thought. You too can be like to postal service! Weather does not have to be a factor in your bicycle enjoyment. Sure, it takes some nerve and even a bit of thinking along the lines of “fuck it” to get out there riding in a downpour, but I guarantee it will be worth it. You’ll save a ton of money in the process too. This in return means you’ll need less money to function, enabling you to cut back the work hours if you desire and spend more time doing the things that you truly enjoy. Unless you already make a living doing things you truly enjoy, in which case fuck you… err, I mean, good for you! You need to be out doing things you really love to do, plain and simple. Time is something everyone claims to not have enough of. If I need to buy fewer things, then I can work less, giving me more time to do what I want. Huge problem, simple answer. I’m not claiming that riding a bike will solve your financial troubles (if you even have them). I’m just saying, it’s a hell of a lot of fun and I think most people are missing out. There’s a weird stigma about an adult using a bike for transportation. That’s bullshit. I read something that put it rather disgustingly. “In America, a person can be an alcoholic, abuse their partners, and or have a drug addiction and be considered normal. But there is something wrong with the person who doesn’t drive a car.” That’s sick. I see things the other way around. There’s something wrong with the person that isn’t riding a bike. It’s the most efficient cost effective means of transportation available and way more fun than sitting in a car – looking at the back of another car. Now stop being such a pussy and get out there and pedal! contact: email@example.com
June 2008 • LATT!TUDE 04
Tips to ensure comfort and safety while doing so - even once per week is an awesome start!
Dressing for all-weather commuting:
potholes, wet leaves/grates/manhole covers, railroad/light rail tracks, dangerous intersections, wet wood, road debris, overtaking drivers turning right.
Choosing the right commuter bike & accessories
Dress appropriately. Use layers, stay dry, avoid cotton! Wear gloves. They absorb vibration as well as protect hands in the event of a spill. Wear cycling shorts to reduce saddle discomfort.
Bike commute safety tips
Use proper lighting and reflectivity at night and plenty of it! It is good practice to use two lights front and two lights rear in the event of failure/low batteries. Use reflective materials wherever possible. Often, well-lit/reflectorized cyclists are more visible at night than unlit during the daytime. Practice using your front brake, know your stopping distance! Actually, use both brakes simultaneously. The front brake yields 70-100% of stopping power. Push your weight rearward proportional to how hard you apply the front brake. Using the rear brake only can be hazardous. Consider a mirror. Look for overtaking cars with turn signals on. Sure you can hear the cars, but with a mirror you have COMPLETE information, i.e. speed, margin, turn signals, how many cars etc! Research your route. The best auto route is often not ideal for bikes. Often you can find a better parallel route. Understand/identify road hazards:
Select the right type of bike for the intended use and likely distance to be ridden. Comfort bikes : casual/5-10 miles. Hybrid bikes: moderate/10-50 miles. Road bikes: active/15-100 miles. (these are rough guidelines) Make sure the bike is the correct size, and fits properly. Size and fit are far more important than weight or cost. Have a Bike Gallery Pro help you find the right size bike and perhaps treat yourself to a professional fitting… you deserve it and it’s guaranteed to improve comfort and efficiency. Accessorize. Computers, locks, kickstands, hydration, flat repair goods, bells, fenders, racks, bags, flat protection products, comfortable saddles, the list is endless! Determine before purchase if fenders will fit easily. Some road bikes do not accept full coverage fenders. Wear a new (less than 4 years old) Helmet. They fit better, are lighter and will not have possible hidden damage or brittle plastics. Consider clipless pedals and shoes to improve efficiency.
Commuter bike maintenance
Lube your chain. Add lube when the “rollers” in the chain look shiny or rusty.
Minimize washing your bike with water and avoid using a pressure hose. The submersion that hoses deliver can kill crucial bearings and cables. Instead, use furniture polish and cotton cloths. Inflate your tires. Under inflated tires are more prone to flats and cause you to work much harder than needed. Learn to repair flat tires on the road. Attend one of our fun free flat repair clinics. To increase your bike’s longevity, consider having your bike overhauled once a year.
Rules of the road
Obey the rules of the road. If there is one thing to remember, follow the same rules as when you are driving a vehicle. Ride with traffic. Signal your intentions. Ride on the traveled portion of the road, in a straight line, do not run red lights, ride predictably… earn your right to the road.
Handy web sites for bike commuters
a wealth of useful information and links. Online Cyclometer www.gmap-pedometer.com - a fun tool for planning and measuring routes. • www.bikeportland.org - Portland’s premier bike blog with local news and information of all types. • Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) http://www.odot.state. or.us/techserv/bikewalk • Oregon Vehicle Code – read all 44 pages on http://www.odot.state.or.us/techserv/bikewalk/plan_ app/statutes.htm#prov_pub • TriMet - www.trimet.org - online pamphlets and rider information. • Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) - www.bta4bikes.org - education, advocacy, and organizers of the annual Bike Commute Challenge • Legal information - http://www.stc-law.com/bicycle - by Swanson Thomas and Coon attorneys.
Thanks and happy cycling, Brett Flemming General Service Manager, The Bike Gallery
Bike Gallery - www.bikegallery.com • Portland Department of Transportation (PDOT) - www.gettingaroundportland.org - go to transportation options click on bicycles –
June 2008 • LATT!TUDE 06
My Dirty Little Secret
Sometimes, I hate riding a bike. I do it every
day, most days of the year, and I hate the cold, I hate the routine, I hate how I look when I get off the bike. It’s my dirty little secret. I hate that my shoulders are rounded from years of hanging over a handlebar and I hate that my nose is always runny. I hate drivers who don’t see me, I hate dogs off leash, and I hate parents who jaywalk with their school kids without looking both ways. Most of all I hate the smokers. Not the sociable ones puffing on cigarettes in building doorways, but the car-driving ones who idle at red lights. While they sip on fair-trade coffee and listen to public radio, their tail pipes blow carbon monoxide into my face - every single car, every single red light. By the time I get to work, I feel grumpy, smelly and unfeminine. My bike’s heavy with rain gear, water, clothes, and a U-lock
and I have to haul it all up slippery stairs to the back room of my workplace. Every day, I peel off a micro-fibre shirt, spandex tights, thick socks, and heavy shoes and hang it on hooks behind the door. And every day I must style my hair around helmet cowlicks, glide on lip gloss to hide dry lips, and pull on wrinkled clothes.
Sometimes, I wish I could be like the “normal” women - the ones who wear shoes that won’t
rest on pedals, skirts that won’t stretch over a top tube, and mascara that won’t run when they’re coasting downhill at 8am. They wear outfits that coordinate with car seats and office chairs. They look groomed. They look grown-up. They look their age, come to think of it. When I walk pass them on my lunch hour I look into their faces and see cheeks blushed by make-up. Some of them carry duffle bags because they need to get exercise, lose weight, strengthen muscles. Some of them look hungry.
Come afternoon, my office warms with sun and my lungs crave fresh air. I stuff my work
clothes into a pannier, pull on stretchy bike clothes and guide my bike down the stairs. I look both ways, throw my leg over the saddle and glide down the back alley, no brakes. I squeeze the levers when the main road approaches and nod hello to the Italian gardener on the corner. He’s been digging at the black earth of his yard for weeks already. Ravens follow his movements from a nearby fig tree, then flap up to a phone pole. I ride in the same direction and it gets quiet again. A helmeted mum chats with her daughter riding in a trailer behind her. Speed bumps near the school force a car’s brake lights, while cyclists behind it
continue rolling without a pause. I scan the next block for a yellow jacket, then see him: the happy mailman. Months ago he caught my eye because - well, he has fabulous legs - but also because he always looks happy. We started off just nodding to each other. I guess he recognized me by my equally bright orange jacket. His happy look made me smile, and he saw my goofy grin and returned it with a wave. A few more weeks, and I waved back, also smiling. Lately, he looks delighted when we pass. I laugh and wave, and he bellows “Have a great weekend!” Sometimes, I grin for kilometres after that and shake my head at the thrill of it. Sometimes, I feel like I’m in love - not with him, but with the part of the day that he’s a part of. I love that the trees on that block are white with blossoms and I love that I can smell them. I love that I can feel air in my throat and I love that my legs are strong with blood and oxygen. I love that I can pass long lines of cars stopped for a red light that I can ride right up to. I love nodding hi to the squeegee kids who grin and shrug at my bike. I love that when I get home there’s a room especially for the household’s bikes, and I love that I can eat cheesecake. I love that my home, my body, and my life are all about riding a bike, and I love that I do it every day, most days of the year. ----Ulrike Rodrigues is famous for telling stories about the physical and spiritual joys of traveling by bike. Read more of her work at www.miteymiss.com
June 2008 • LATT!TUDE 08
Anarchy in Your Head
June 2008 • LATT!TUDE 10
That First Push: North America’s Bike to Work Programs
Talia Fanning Illustration: Lindsay Chetek
from Momentum # 33
“Biking to work totally improved my life,”
says Kate McCarthy of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. “I’m healthier, happier, and more upbeat.” McCarthy started commuting by bike after her car broke down for the last time. “I refused to fix it,” she explains. “I’d been so burnt by cars, spent so much money on gas and parking tickets, I vowed to make biking work.” Now she helps organize the annual Bike to Work Day campaign, inviting other new cyclists to discover the benefits of commuting by bike. This year there are over 40 Bike to Work events taking place in cities from Alaska to Florida and Hawaii to New York, some of which, like Cascade Bicycle Club’s event in Seattle, anticipate more than 11,000 participants. McCarthy says the biggest effort required is the mental leap. “People think it’s too far, or that it’s dangerous, or that they’ll get to work all sweaty. We give them the incentive to try it. The best pitch to get people to ride is to get them to try it just once.” But if saving money on gas, insurance, and repairs isn’t enough to make you leave the car keys at home, what other incentives are there? Organizers do everything they can to make biking accessible. Wondering where to meet up with other cyclists? Stop by one of dozens of commuter stations. Wary of busy streets? Pick up maps and information about bike lanes. Got a flat? Out of tune? Visit an on-site bike mechanic or attend a tune-up workshop. Uncomfortable in traffic? Part of making cycling accessible is making it
safe, so many advocacy groups offer commuter skills training programs to do just that. SFBC hosts an annual Bike to Work Day, this year on May 15, which McCarthy says is the highlight of the biking year. “The main thrust and energy is to get people out on Bike to Work Day. Last year it was so rewarding. Bikes outnumbered cars on Market Street, it was so quiet, like a Sunday morning. And there were so many people, and so many bikes.” That community spirit is what makes it worthwhile for Lori Garcia-Meredith, the VP of the Board of Directors at Bike to Work Week Victoria in British Columbia. The program is running from June 2 to 8, and ends with a party and prizes. “A lot of people are riding to work all the time. This celebrates those people and invites new people to join. It makes it easier; there’s peer pressure to ride.” For Garcia-Meredith, riding to work reduces her daily stress: “I’m actually a nicer person when I ride my bike. You see people on the trail that you wave to and say hello. I start feeling a bit deprived if I don’t get my ride.”
June 2008 • LATT!TUDE 12
continued from page 10
“I’m actually a nicer person when I ride my bike.”
– Lori Garcia-Meredith on riding to work
The commuter community built on the roads and at bike racks can then be taken into the office. Participating workplaces compete against other teams in their cities to see who can most reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, log the most kilometres, and register the highest percentage of employee participation. The Chicagoland Bicycle Federation (CBF) hosts their week-long Bicycle Commuter Challenge, this year from June 7 to 13. Registered workplaces will compete for the highest participation percentage in the city. The higher the level, the better it will be for new cyclists to join in. “It makes it accessible, easy, and comfortable,” says Margo O’Hara, the communications director at CBF. “Even if you have power meetings, you can still show up by bike. It makes cycling very mainstream, and it helps people realize that the bike is a viable option for their commute.” Mainstream is the key. The perception among non-riders, that commuter cyclists are a breed apart, is something that Eric Gilliland at the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) works hard to combat. He says new riders may be surprised by how all-inclusive the group can be.
“You’re not alone,” he tells them. “They’re not all crazy, spandex-clad, $3,000 bike people. They’re normal people like you and me. Everyone can do this.” And in Washington, almost everyone does. WABA’s event, which takes place May 16, is a one-day bonanza and is one of the most highly attended Bike to Work Days in North America. This year, Gilliland hopes to have 7,000 participants in one city in one day. The thing to remember, according to Peter Verbrugge, the Event Producer at Seattle’s Cascade Bike Club, is that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Cascade has one of the ambitious programs, a Bike to Work Month, with the main event taking place May 16. “It’s not like you have to bike everyday. It’s a personal choice,” he explains. “Our challenge was to make it for a whole month, because people can enjoy it and see the benefits.” So, if you’ve been thinking about Biking to Work, contact your local bike advocacy group. They can teach you how. The League of American Bicyclists lists bike advocacy groups by state. Check for one near you at: www.bikeleague.org/cogs/resources/findit/
“Biking to work totally improved my life...”
– Kate McCarthy of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition
For more information about the above Bike to Work events, visit: San Francisco Bicycle Coalition www.sfbike.org Bike to Work Victoria www.biketoworkvictoria.ca Chicagoland Bicycle Federation www.biketraffic.org Washington Area Bicyclist Association www.waba.org Seattle’s Cascade Bicycle Club www.cascade.org
For a listing of Bike to Work programs in North America and beyond, visit www.biketoworkweek.org, a site created by James Ghofulpo in Erie, Pennsylvania. While there is no Bike to Work campaign in Erie, James makes his daily 12-mile commute by bike.
“You’re not alone, they’re not all crazy, spandex-clad, $3,000 bike people. They’re normal people like you and me. Everyone can do this.”
– Eric Gilliland from the Washington Area Bicyclist Association
June 2008 • LATT!TUDE 14
Q & A: On Your Left Cycles & City BMX (2.0)
Q = Jimmy Flaherty A = Derek Fetco
JF: Who the hell are you guys and what happened to John? DF: John has started a new job and we wanted to keep the shop going. I’ve worked at several shops around town and wanted to do things on my own. Drew worked with John and I at Jeff Schwinn. He’s continuing to sell cars for now and is at the shop on wednesdays. Alright, so congratulations on owning the smallest bike shop in Louisville. How’s that working out for you? This might be the smallest shop in Louisville, but we try to have everything a bike might need. Sometimes it feels like the walls are closing in. Any plans to move the city’s smallest bike shop into a bigger space and away from the reggae music? You know you’d have to drop that “smallest shop in Louisville” tag line - could that be detrimental to your image? We might make a move sooner or later, I’d love to be able to have bikes in stock. I’d don’t think we’ll go to big, so maybe we can keep the “smallest shop” status
going. I think people would like a little larger shop, sometimes it’s elbow to elbow in here. Have you had any kooky spandex dudes decide they liked John better? There might be a few that don’t come here anymore, but I knew most of them from working at shops before. I hope they’ll give me a chance. Having been a shop that mainly catered to road, MTB and cyclocross, how’s the BMX element fitting in to all this? I ride BMX mostly and that’s something that I enjoy working on. I have a lot of friends that ride and need parts but have nowhere to get them. With adding BMX parts the shop is really stretched for space now, but it works fine. Speaking of BMX, what’s this I hear about you resurrecting the City BMX namesake? (in full disclosure I partnered in opening City BMX Shop for it’s first incarnation) I had wanted to give the BMX side of the shop it’s own identity and everyone told me I should just use the City name. It was
a really cool shop where you could just hang out and watch videos all day and I’d like this place to have the same feel.
I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t feel comfortable working on peoples bikes. I no longer have somebody looking over me, pressuring me to hurry up on a repair. I want someone’s bike to work just as if it were my own. Obviously you’re geared toward the experienced bicyclist, but what about the girl or guy that is totally new to commuting by bike or just wants a cruiser to ride to the bar on? Can you help them out? We carry KHS bicycles which make every kind of bike one could need. Unfortunately we don’t have room to stock them right now, that’s I’d love to expand. Someone needs to ride a bike before they ride it most of the time. Any plans on revamping the website? I’ve been updating the news site lately with new products and event info, but I’d like to give it a new look soon.
Has the “2x4” expressed any angst towards the idea? He still claims the Louisville BMX community stole his dream you know. I talked with everyone involved with City and they were all cool with the resurrection. Tommy was one of the main people who supported the idea.
Okay, back to the shop. How are all the punk ass BMX kids interacting with the more respectable cycling element? Any fisticuffs? It’s been cool to see my friends who ride BMX interact with my friends who ride “big bikes” I think both sides are interested in each others side of cycling. Hanging out together in the shop just gives them a chance to learn more. If I were a potential customer (everyone is according to economics aren’t they?), why would I come here instead of going to a normal bike shop run by assholes in Polo shirts? I mean you’re just a kid (in all fairness Derek is actually 20-something?) wearing a t-shirt and riding a BMX bike to work. What sort of experience do you have that qualifies you to touch my pride and joy of a bicycle? I’ve worked at the shops with the assholes in polo shirts for several years. I gained a lot of experience working in these places.
You can visit the new On Your Left Cycles at: 622 Baxter Ave (rear) or by phone: 502-589-9676 & on the web at: onyourleftcycles.com
June 2008 • LATT!TUDE 16
RIDE A BIKE – YOU’D BE HOME BY NOW.
In a city made for cars, why are bicycles getting places faster?
Los Angeles, CA (May 13, 2008) —
Beginning in April, as commuters were mired in the typical Friday rush-hour traffic logjam, members of an organization calling itself CRIMANIMALZ, pronounced [krim-an-i-muhlz] have taken to two of Los Angeles’ busiest freeways on bicycles in a flash mob-type protest aimed at raising questions about transportation. Weaving in and out of choked traffic, cyclists surprised frustrated motorists with a spirited sprint on the region’s most clogged and polluted arteries. More rides are planned.
Friday, April 18th, 2008
Starting in Santa Monica, 15 bicyclists boarded the Cloverfield on-ramp (Santa Monica Fwy/I-10) and rode 0.87 miles to the Centinela off-ramp. They re-entered the I-10 Fwy at Bundy and rode 0.44 miles to the I-405 N on-ramp and rode another 1.56 miles to the Santa Monica Blvd. exit. The ramp to the I-405 N was a steep grade and 0.65 miles in length. Riders spanned a total of 2.87 freeway miles.
Friday, May 9th, 2008
The time (5:30 p.m.) and day (April 18) were carefully chosen after considerable research and scouting over a two-week planning stage. Based on unverified data and rider speculation, motor vehicles were moving at a speed between 5 and 10 mph. There was no strategy on what to do when actually on the freeway, as the group’s riders agreed to an “every rider for themselves” approach in regards to possible police retaliation.
At 5:30pm starting in Santa Monica, 28 bicyclists took surface streets to the I-10 Fwy at Bundy and rode 0.44 miles to the I-405 N on-ramp and rode another 1.56 miles to the Santa Monica Blvd. exit. The ramp to the I-405 N was a steep grade and 0.65 miles in length. Riders spanned a total of 2.0 freeway miles. The group of riders also hung a 20’x6’ banner on the 17th street overpass overlooking the eastbound I-10 Freeway in Santa Monica that read RIDE A BIKE YOU’D BE HOME BY NOW. The sign remained in place for over 48 hours. Mission While the ride’s political stance and agenda was neutral, many participants invoked the group’s
collective motto: “If you rode a bicycle, you’d be home by now!” – a statement against oil dependency, in support of sustainable living and a collective critique of the Los Angeles transportation infrastructure. The riders are pointing out that in a city like Los Angeles made for cars, bicycle riders are reaching their destinations faster.
Long Term Goals
CRIMANIMALZ was created out of rider reaction to the Santa Monica Police Department’s crackdown of Santa Monica Critical Mass, a bicycle ride with as many as 300 participants that meet on the first Friday of the month. Ignored in large for over two years, Santa Monica Police officers issued 32 citations, many erroneously, at the Santa Monica Critical Mass ride on November 2nd of 2007. Critical Mass participants voiced their outrage at the City of Santa Monica Council Meeting a few weeks later. Some participants convened as Council of N, a secret group that privately discussed the police harassment. Council of N talked with city officials andSanta Monica Police Chief Timothy J. Jackman, but talks led nowhere.
Members of the CRIMANIMALZ are looking for city officials to make bicycle safety a priority, not only through the creation of safe and easy places to ride, but also as a means of transportation on the city’ increasingly busy thoroughfares. With rising gas prices and government bent on pushing sustainable practices, more people are expected to turn to bikes as an alternative means of transportation.
June 2008 • LATT!TUDE 18
continued from page 18 Several of the Council of N members voted on creating a secondary ride in Santa Monica, this time calling it Criminal Mass, naming it so because they felt they were being criminalized for their legal behaviors. This name was changed to CRIMANIMALZ, a portmanteau of the words Critical, Criminal and Animals. The name CRIMANIMALZ invokes the animal spirit of the Westside bicycling community which is host to large group rides with names like
“The freeways are surprisingly safe bicyclists. Freeways eliminate the danger of car doors flying open, substandard bike lanes, pedestrians, traffic lights, potholes and erratic lane changes. Even if cars weren’t gridlocked, I feel safer riding on the freeway with vehicles doing 75mph 15 feet away from me, than on the streets with cars traveling 10mph, one or two feet away from me.” Alex Cantarero (Triumvirate)
Los Angelopes, a large antelope with ape hanger handles for antlers for a mascot and Pier Pressure, in which a giraffe and pigeon with a handlebar moustache wearing a cycling cap is a recurring theme. Critical Mass rides are a monthly bicycle ride that typically occurs on the last Friday of the month to celebrate the joy and virtues of bicycling. The Critical Mass concept started in San Francisco in September 1992 and has spread to cities all over the world.
“I just wanted to raise questions about the city’s transportation infrastructure.” Morgan Strauss (Triumvirate) “In a city made for cars, why are bicycles getting places faster?” Richtotheie (Triumvirate)
for more information, visit: www.crimanimalz.com contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Alex Cantarero, Morgan Strauss, Richtotheie Media Information YouTube CRIMANIMALZ - The Freeway Ride I http://youtube.com/watch?v=4NLmiuyLa98 CRIMANIMALZ - The Freeway Ride II http://youtube.com/watch?v=4NLmiuyLa98 Vimeo Channel (Videos) http://www.vimeo.com/crimanimalz FLICKR Pool (Photographs) http://www.flickr.com/photos/crimanimalz/ IBIKEU Wiki (History) http://www.ibikeu.com/wiki/index.php/The_Freeway_Traffic_Jam_Ride
June 2008 • LATT!TUDE 20
Bikes and Cars
Alon K. Raab
from Under the Sign of the Bicycle
Imagine a machine that requires the
destruction of forests and farms, while gobbling up 40% of the urban landscape.
Imagine an invention that consumes half of
all the oil produced, and all wars started for that black liquid. Imagine a gadget that accounts for 85% of all carbon monoxide emissions, endless noise and pollution, and is a major contributor to global warming as well as to the ever widening hole in the ozone layer. Imagine a car. This is a pamphlet about bikes, but oddly enough, the car often looms close by, its existence a constant reminder. I am a careful rider, moving mindfully on the road, offering pedestrians, cats, birds and dogs the right of way. Too often, however, I am forced to swerve in order to avoid a parked car’s opening door. From my bicycle seat, car drivers usually look miserable. Locked in their fiberglass and steel earth-polluting chariots, they move about in a stupor of noise, speed, and consumption, en route to the next gasoline fix. Their vehicles evoke in me, not the mass advertising images of ease and freedom, but instead mobile coffins,
brushing against endless other coffins, as they head towards those cemeteries called parking lots. Seeing bicyclists, the drivers become aware, if only for a second, of that time when they too were able to feel the world, not through a glass cage, but in a direct and particular way. As they go by, I move between two conflisting feelings of rage and compassion. I consider Alfred Jarry, author of Ubu Roi and passionate bicyclist, who rode around turn of the century Paris, with two revolvers in his belt and a carabine across his chest. Jarry used to fire into the air to warn of his coming. I often wish I could do the same, but then I am also moved to call out to the drivers, “join me, you too can be part of the great mystery and beauty!” The car doors however, are locked, the windows rolled up, and the hearts shut tight. Alon K. Raab is the author of “under the Sign of the Bicycle, and from what I can tell, an instructor of sorts living in Portland, OR. For your own copy of one of the best literary bicycle pamphlets around got to: akpress.org
email@example.com http://triztoonorium.synthasite.com June 2008 • LATT!TUDE 22
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