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(en) US, NY, Bike Critical Mass* Kicks off NYC BikeSummer '03 Pedal. Sweat. Pedal. Sweat.

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Mon, 30 Jun 2003 10:06:26 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E

An attendance record that broke all NYC Critical Mass events was
established on Friday, June 27 with a whopping 800 as the fifth annual
BikeSummer was kicked off.
BikeSummer was started in San Francisco in 1999 by bike advocates
from all over the spectrum, intended to be a month-long series of
events to promote bicycle culture and leave behind a legacy of action
for all who took part, including city planners and other folks who are
affected by (the lack of) bicycle resources. From there it went on to
Chicago, Vancouver and Portland, before New York City was chosen,
which as i'm told, "beat" out Montreal. Maybe it was because NYC
has over 110,000 daily bike commutes, the largest in the United States
and it was our time.

The mass gathered at Union Square North, fearing the impending
thunderstorm which never happened. Reverend Billy, a staple of lower
east side performance fame and head of the Church of Stop Shopping
kicked off the event by being pedaled around in a pedicab with
scantily-clad bike punkettes on either side as he preached "More
Bikes and Less Cars" throught his giant paper bullhorn.

The ride promoted an alternative to SUV sales, oil consumption,
healthier living and utilizing multi-modal transporation. The ride took
off out of the west side of the park sporting choppers, bmx'ers,
foldables and percussion on handlebars in a record 9 blocks solid of
bicycles, causing many an inconvenience to those not fortunate
enough to have chosen the right vehicle to travel in. A three wheeled
vehicle with speakers, tweeters and woofers strapped to the back
blasted all our favorites via iPod. The mass proceeded uptown, through
the Grand Central concourse, past Radio City Music Hall and turned
left on 57th street, avoiding Columbus Circle from the last mass.
Every once in a while we felt like stopping to enjoy the sights, but it's
a shame there was an intersection. Oh well. Street Party. Bikes raised
above our heads.

We went to the "fake sunlight/Corporate Capitol of Capital" aka Times
Square and held it up for about 5 minutes until we regrouped. After
enough poses to waste everyone's film we headed downtown to
Washington Square Park. A police car wedged through and asked the
head of the ride where we were going and we said, "Everywhere!" He
told us he would escort us and he went ahead of us a block. We
declared our independence from authority by turning away from him
going one avenue to the west. He finally caught up and we showed him
our independence once again. To celebrate his presence the speakers
blasted KRS-1's "Sounds of the Police, woo-woo" and NWA's "Fuck,
Fuck, Fuck the Po-Lice."

A quick run through the village down to Christopher Street and we
decided to take a leisurely stroll down the West Side Highway
utilizing all lanes. It had been at least a year since we hit it and it's so
comfortable, with no potholes. We headed uptown until West 23rd
Street where the welcoming afterparty was held on Pier 23 by Time's
Up, the fiscal sponsor of BikeSummer '03. There was food at the event
as well as plenty of beer and liquor and live music was set to go on the
stage at the end of the pier, under the canopy.

Viva la Velorution
* [Ed. Note: Bike Critical Mass is a non authoritarian
direct action done in lot of countries at the last
Saturday of each month.]

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