Tag Archives: fixie

We’re All Jerks Sometimes.

Wow its been a while since I’ve last posted.  Have had a lot to write about and not much time to actually do it.  Tonight won’t be a long post either, as I still have some foursquare work to crank on.

Quick story: Went to Washington Square Park to eat lunch today and road my bike over- standard two minute ride.  While sitting on the grass a news reporter (I believe from the NY Post) came over and asked me a few questions about the DOT’s new “Don’t be a Jerk” campaign, complete with billboards and PSA’s attempting to teach cyclists how not be.. well, JERKS.  The campaign begs the question, are cyclists really jerks?  There is obviously no clear cut answer.  Yes, some cyclists are jerks; running red lights, biking against traffic, or riding on the sidewalks with no regard for anything else around them except things bigger than themselves, ie. cars, busses, trucks, and cabs.  Cab drivers fall into a whole separate category of drivers, just like NY vs NJ drivers, but thats a whole different argument saved for another day.  The point is that some cyclists are deliberately jerks, some are entirely law abiding, but most are only jerks when they have to be, usually out of pure self defense.  The problem is that most pedestrians that have never ridden a bicycle in Manhattan have no idea what its like to constantly be looking over your shoulder for the next cab deliberately trying to pass as close as they can to you without actually hitting you.  We’re fast, but not as fast as vehicles.  And the facts don’t lie: Cyclist collisions with pedestrians caused zero deaths in Manhattan last year.  The same cannot be said for automobiles which caused nearly 270 deaths. 270 people were hit by cars and died, but cyclists are still the jerks.

The “Don’t be a Jerk” campaign has done nothing but strengthen the false illusions that all cyclists are deliberately jerks on the road.  What the DOT needs to do is strike a balance of blame between all of the parties involved. Pedestrians are equally as guilty of J walking, crossing on red lights, opening doors into traffic, etc.

Not the first time we've seen this..

The same is true for vehicles: speeding, running red lights, parking illegally, and pulling into bike lanes.  That said, it should be noted that police are not above the law.  If they want to dish out tickets to cyclists that don’t have bells and lights on their bikes so be it.  But I would love to know how to dish it back to cops equally as guilty.

First Pivot

A friend once told me that the maximum number of times a startup can pivot is twice.  By three pivots you are back to square one and left with exactly what you started with.  I’m not sure what the rules for pivoting a blog are, but this is my pivot towards something that I also find very interesting in addition to bicycling around NYC: technology startups.  Similar to the bicycle community, the tech startup community here in NY is thriving.  In fact, its growing at such a crazy rate that even Silicon Valley is taking notice.  So my blog, CitySpoke, whose name and/or logo may be changed in the upcoming weeks will focus on a couple different things from here on out.  In addition to some of my favorite bloggers/blogs out there like Fred Wilson’s “AVC”, Charlie O’Donnell’s “This is Going to Be Big”, Techcrunch, Mashable, Mellow Yellow, Transportation Alternatives, and Prolly one of my goals is to become a consistent, recognizable voice as both a tech and bicycle enthusiast and participant.  My other goal is a bit more personal; to share some of the thousands of random thoughts I have everyday from the things that intrigue me about NY, my friends, relationships, technology, bicycles, food, fashion, and other things I find inspiring.

Fixed gear bicycles fascinate me.  Think about it.  They are the simplest, possibly oldest form of any bicycle.  Before the freewheel was invented, fixies ruled the street for both casual and professional riders.  Even Madison Square Garden was built to hold a velodrome.  But, it’s the pure lines that make these bike so beautiful, the customization and thought put behind every part that has created such a unique  culture.  There is something intrinsically exhilarating about riding a fixed gear bike in New York.  It’s the idea of forming a bond between man and machine.  The feeling of ultimate control in an environment of uncontrollable chaos.  Slowly, constantly, and effortlessly pedaling to what end.  Let me for a minute draw the link between entrepreneurship and riding a fixie.  Entrepreneurship is a slow, sometimes lonely adventure.  The best entrepreneurs  never stop moving forward.  They are constantly pedaling, differentiating themselves, checking the environment around them, assembling with other riders that share the same dreams, and navigating through unknown territories around hundreds of obstacles faster than anyone else on the road.  The life of a NY cyclist reflects the most important aspects of starting a business; knowing the market, creating a unique product, assembling a team beating the competition, and moving quickly and fluidly.  If you’re debating becoming an entrepreneur in this city, there’s only one answer. Try riding a fixed gear.

Bike America

I’m thinking of biking across the country– NYC to LA!  It should take less than 60 days and I plan to camp and/or sleep in motels along the way.  I’m looking at the Transamerica route but its hard to tell if that is the best option to make the most of the trip.  I am considering attempting to make my own route. Anyways, I would love to hear from anyone that has experience biking across the U.S. or knows of some good routes. Oh, and did I mention I’m planning to do the whole ride on a fixed gear bike!CitySpoke Leave your stories or ideas in the comments section below!

I also thought this quote from Ernest Hemingway was both fitting and rather inspiring for the trip.

“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” Ernest Hemingway

The Fixie Craze: Staying or Going?

There’s definitely some animosity out there concerning Fixies and their hipster appeal, but is the craze around these bicycles going to fade out like any other fad? Or is the hype going to carry on when the hipster fashion trend dies out? Weigh-in here at this poll on Bicycle.net.

Craze staying or going, you can bet the true fans will be sticking around.

LA Fixie Freestyle

We gotta show some West Coast love every now and then! Pretty cool fixie vid I stumbled upon.

The fixiehook

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The fixiehook was designed by scottish designer, Thomas Deeprose.  It is made to reference vintage track bikes and are specifically built to store fixies.  For those that want to show off their customized builds and need an easy way to hang it as an art piece on your wall, this is the perfect solution.

Cranksgiving NYC

Get ready to give back, Cranksgiving is approaching Nov 20th 2Pm Tompkins Sq. Park.  NYC bicyclists and bike messengers are soon to embark on a super intense race through the city. Weaving through cars and running reds are just the intro course to this test of skills and street smarts.  And for what better purpose, than to find specific food items to be donated to charity.  Prizes will also be awarded.. I intend to win the most stylish rider award ($100 Gilt Group gift certificates).. Dont take it from me! Click the pic for more info.

See you all there.