Tag Archives: bikeNYC

Bright Bike on Kickstarter

Bright Bike on Kickstarter

I am running a Kickstarter Campaign for the Bright Bike DIY Kits. Even though all the promotion I have done is email this list a little over two months ago, response to the Bright Bike DIY Kits has been larger than anticipated. So much larger than anticipated that I cannot keep up with demand: my assistants and I are making these things by hand. I am actually worried that a big blog might pick it up, as I will not be able to handle the flood. I have to scale the project up, or it is going to eat up all my time (or die.) I am running a Kickstareter.com campaign to raise $2000 to fabricate a jig to cut the kits, buy a whole bunch of vinyl in bulk, and hire an assistant to fabricate the kits.

Please contribute to the campaign to make the Bright Bike kits a stable project. You will get cool stuff in return — Kits! And other special things.

bright bike packaging

Bright Bike color chart

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Bright Bike – STOLEN!

Bright Bike STOLEN!

This bicycle was stolen on January 8th 2010 at 195 Bowery NYC, a block south of the New Museum. I attached it to the standard NYC metal scaffolding supports but the thief either unscrewed the bolt, or broke through the metal, and released the scaffolding bracket! It has a white non-reflective “BRIGHT BIKE” sticker on the downtube. The wheels are a brand new set of Open Pros, laced to White Industries ENO hubs (eccentric). Dura Ace brakes, and Sugino cranks. Went in for a gallery opening, came out, and it was gone. This is an ICONIC bike, (there are no other bikes in NYC with the full retroreflective treatment) so if you see anyone riding it, it is stolen.

The Bright Bike was the first version of a project i am working on (http://BrightThread.com). It is a fully retroreflective vinyl wrapped bicycle. When the bicycle is in the beam of a light (like a car’s headlight, or a camera’s flash,) it reflects back super bright. When it is not in the light, it is just jet black.

$500 reward, no questions asked

If you see it, please contact me: michael @@ mandiberg ddott com

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Bright Bike V2.0 DIY Kits Video

Introducing the new version of the Bright Bike DIY Kit. To BUY a DIY Kit right now, go to BrightThread.com

After a year of testing, we are releasing DIY Kits for an updated version of the Bright Bike. The kits come in two types: Caterpillar and Pinstripes.

The Caterpillar has 1 inch bands that wrap around the main tubes, and in inch dashed lines along the fork and seat stays.

The Pinstripe has 1/4 inch strips that run along the outside faces of all tubes.

Each kit is sized to be large enough for a 61cm frame with extra wide tubing, so in nearly every case, you will have extra materials that will give you room to play and experiment.

Video by Bennett Williamson. Tx to Scott Kildall for playing along. (Michael, Bennett, and Scott are the bike wrappers)

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Retroreflective Thread and Yarn

Bright Bike V2.0

This is an old post that got stuck in my drafts box… (oops).

Along with Alan Paukman and Jacob Mellinger of Nikolai Rose, we have been making experiments with trying to make retroreflective fabric. Jacob writes:

I did some simple tests yesterday with the yarn dyer. He wanted to open everything up and get an idea of what we’re dealing with.
We mixed together a very small batch of the 3M ink kit and watered it down heavily to bring it closer to a dye.

In the picture below, here is what’s going on:

Left: Black cotton yarn. First test, some ink (part A), lots of water, very few beads (part B), no coupling agent aka hardcore chemicals (part C). Quickly ironed for partial heat set.

Center: Black cotton yarn. Second test, more ink/water ratio, many more beads, a dash of part C. No heat set.

Right: Grey wool yarn. Third test, same mix as the second test with most of the water poured off the top, leaving a thicker mix of ink/water and a high concentration of glass beads. No heat set.

Pretty cool, I think. Though they were not properly heat set, the pigment took pretty well to the yarns. Even on the third test it didn’t get too stiff or crusty, despite the heavy proportions. Although without heat setting it, the glass beads do rub off some.

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I plead innocent

My Bike Ticket

This story is too long to tell, but leave it to suffice I got a ticket for some policeman not looking as he walked into the street. My ticket reads “FAIL TO USE DUE CARE.” The irony is that I was on a Transportation Alternatives sponsored ride as part of the Bike New Amsterdam bike slam think tank.

I have contested it, and look forward to my court date 6 months from now on Staten Island. They probably think that scheduling people on Staten Island is a quick way to get them to give in and pay the fine, but it is half a mile from CSI.  My home turf. I look forward to riding my bike over to see the judge and tell him what really happened.

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New Amsterdam Bike Slam in the New York Times

FDR Bikeway

The New York Times covers the New Amsterdam Bike Slam. We won hardcore. We proposed angle in parking, charging for street parking (!), bike ferries, multimodal transport, passive visibility through retroreflective coatings, secure centralized bike storage, a bike school bus (where a leader comes by and picks up all the kids on bikes and bikes to school in a posse), but best of all, we proposed a bike freeway:

But Team Amsterdam had more tricks up its sleeves. How about bicycle freeways? asked Carmen Trudell, a New York architect and City University professor. Imagine a bicycle speedway running under the shadow of Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive, a rain-free place for athletic cyclists out on training rides or those who just are not going to go at a “Dutch pace.”

Our presentation was awesome, and we are going to work on turning it into a paper or video in the next month or so. Too many good ideas. Too many good collaborators. Shout outs to great collaborators Claire Weisz, Carmen Trudell, Shachi Pandey, Wendy Schipper, and Stefan Verduin.

I can’t wait for my dutch bike!

More from our presentation:

Manhattan bridge to FDR Bikeway

Direct access to the FDR Bikeway from the Manhattan Bridge

Angle In parking and Bike Lane

New York City has the most expensive parking lot parking, and the cheapest street parking: free!

Think about those 150 sq feet of pavement transported to underneath an appartment building. If the building is four stories high:that is two studio apartments we’re talking about. That’s $3000-$5000 per month! And the city gives it away for free.

We need to take it back for the 99% of city dwellers who don’t park a car on city streets, with angle in parking, a bike lane on every street far away from doors (my assistant was doored today even!), a special spot for short truck deliveries, and a spot at the end of each block for 10 minute parking so people don’t just leave their cars in the middle of the street to pick up take out or dry cleaning.

And of course, bike parking at the end of each block

Concept by BrightNYC team from the New Amsterdam Bike Slam (Michael Mandiberg, Shachi Pandey, Wendy Schipper, Carmen Trudell, Stefan Verduin, and Claire Weisz). All renderings by Carmen Trudell.

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Bike Slam begins – a big conference room @ NYU

The Bike New Amsterdam Bike Slam begins… We are all in a conference room at NYU. Time change means the Amsterdamers are all here early, and all the New Yorkers are on their way. Meets and greets, and a lot of smiles. more updates coming.

Please post any comments and suggestions to this post. The more ideas, the better.

And now… we begin

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Retroreflective Fabric Test

Relfective Fabric Test

This is an update on an ongoing project. I wrote this months ago, but forgot to post it. There will be more posts on new progress soon!

This is a photograph of a test swatch of retroreflective fabric. Alan Paukman and Jacob Melinger of Nikolai Rose helped. But the key producers were Bethane Knudson and the Oriole Mill.

The image doesn’t show it too well, but the threads definitely reflect nicely.

We have had a lot of trouble making it work. Bethane writes about the problems she encountered:

We encountered a number of challenges with using the 3M Scotchlite "yarn". The Scotchlite stretches and breaks when pulled from the spool. Our crew tried various approaches but the breakage continued. We then re-wound the Scotchlite onto a yarn package, called a cone. This allowed for an even release of the Scotchlite which the spool did not. However, having eliminated the problem of the spool, we encountered a new problem –going through the accumulator which feeds the weft to the rapier also stretched and broke the Scotchlite. We slowed the weaving machine down further and that helped but did not eliminate the problem.

While some of the problems in using Scotchlite might be resolved with further investment of time and resources, some cannot. The Scotchlite is not well suited to weaving on the industrial loom. While the Scotchlite has some stretch, it has no recovery — meaning when it stretches, it distorts and does not return to its original state. This would mean that as the garment is worn, the fabric will stretch and would return to its original state, except for the Scotchlite weft. The stretched Scotchlite would ripple, like a seersucker effect, and would eventually break. Scotchlite is too weak to be used as a warp thread and it not really strong enough to be used in the weft for a garment. The demand put on a garment — especially pants — is significant.

The other problem is that a pinstripe is, by definition, a line that runs vertically. Since we used the Scotchlite in the weft, the lines run horizontally. Because garments are cut with the grain of the fabric, the pinstripes will become pin-bands rather than pinstripes. (In some cases the fabric can be used in the horizontal orientation but this limits the length of the pant and alters the drape radically. The warp direction has the best drape.)

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Ulrich Franzen’s Street: Radical Urban Planning from 1969

Watch the whole thing. Or at least the first 12 minutes. Its worth it. Fascinating. It is so familiar that I feel like I was shown this in grade school… alongside Powers of Ten.

Some things have changed since Ulrich Franzen made it: waterfronts are now viewed as more precious potential parks than he views the street. Putting a two mile long building on any waterfront would not work these days. Also, his vision of shared cars is starting to come true, with shared rentable cars now available in most cities, and bicycle share programs across Europe and heading stateside. I wondered if today’s political and economic culture could handle he importance and respond to the difficulty of such massive change; a review of Boston’s tragically executed and financially draining Big Dig would be a good case study in what can go wrong. All that said, I felt there were two things missing: Subways and Bicycles.

He never addresses subways: do we keep them, do we make more, are they better or worse than busses (electric or otherwise)? Which really is a question of fixed route transportation: you can put a bus in anywhere you want when you need it, but you can’t just add or take away a subway. There are vast swaths of Brooklyn and Queens that are underserved by Subways because in the first half of the 20th Century, either no one lived there because they were factories and are now living lofts, or (I would guess) the people that lived their lacked the political or economic power to bring the subway closer to them.

The other absence is any discussion of the bicycle. And while the bicycle is not the cure-all, for every transportation woe, having spent time in cities like Amsterdam, Portland, and even Shanghai & Beijing, it is clearly a hugely important part of removing strain on existing private and public infrastructure.

Just for comparison look at Shenzhen. Located just north of China’s border with Hong Kong, Shenzhen was designated China’s first Special Economic Zone roughly 30 years ago. At the time, it was rice patties. Now it is a city with the same population as New York City. It is the location one of the countries two stock exchanges, has remarkable skyscrapers, but has almost no urban planning to speak of. Much of the development has been dictated by the swaths of land set aside for corporate factories made possible by huge foreign investment. A subway was opened sometime in the last ten years, and it is in the process of being expanded. But it is one line. Running east to west. And only covers a small percentage of the width of the city. Running above this subway from the water to the city center is the main thoroughfare. When I visited we drove in my host’s car through this mostly-stoplight-free congested two lane road at a mere 25 MPH; all because of congestion, a disproportionate number of accidents by new drivers, and a lack of any other east west transportation mode. In Shenzhen new wealth lead to massive purchase of cars by first time drivers as a proud sign of their rise into economic power. At the time I was there, Shenzheners were purchasing 200,000 new cars per year. All this in a city of roughly 10 million. It corresponds with a Los Angeles like breakdown of the transportation system.

Inversely, the much much older Shanghai and Beijing have established subway systems, and a long standing bicycle culture. Despite being much larger cities traffic moves much faster, even though more people moving from one place to another. The citizens of Shenzhen do not commute far, as much of Shenzhen is made up of large and small factories that usually contain their own workers housing, which ranges from formal dormitory style high rises, to informal ramshackle wooden bunk beds in unlit rooms divided by curtains.

All this always interests me, but I am especially interested in these questions right now, as I am about to participate in the New Amsterdam Bike Slam a Transportation Alternatives co-sponsored bike related three think-tank as poetry-slam. I’ll be on one team, and some of the participants are listed here.

And while the focus of this session is on bikes in the harbor area (something dear to my heart as I commute to teach at the College of Staten Island/CUNY by bike and ferry), seeing (or maybe re-seeing) Franzen’s film has spurred my thinking in a different direction.

(via Urban Omnibus)

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New Amsterdam Bike Slam

In early September I will be participating in New Amsterdam Bike Slam, Transportation Alternative’s co-sponsored bike think-tank as poetry-slam. As the description says:

Over three challenging rounds, each team will defend its proposals in front of a panel of expert judges and a live audience. At the end of the evening, the judges will declare a winner, with the most innovative and practical plan for making New York, and New Yorkers, more bicycle-friendly.

I’m brainstorming already, and I welcome suggestions about how to improve biking in downtown and the NY Harbor area. This is, of course, something near and dear to my heart as I commute by bike to CSI via the SI Ferry.

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