Used to be that bike messengers were just about the only ones willing to brave the mean streets on two wheels, but we now live in an age where even dogs are riding bikes. Join us tonight and grab a free Stumptown stubbie (plus one for the road) as some spokespeople who’ve seen it all discuss the evolution of biking culture in NYC.
Keegan Stephan will have some news to share: this week the writer, activist, and co-host of “Bike Talk” (WBAI) announced the creation of Bike Yard, a pop-up for cooperative bike repair that’ll be located in Havemayer Park through next year. Stephan founded Cranked Up!, a cycle club and advocacy group, while at Sarah Lawrence and, after graduating, opened a bike shop in the South Bronx. He started volunteering — as a mechanic and eventually as an instructor, administrator, and organizer — at the legendary environmentalist non-profit Time’s Up in 2010 and went on to revitalize Right of Way, the direct-action street justice group best known for its unauthorized bike lanes.
Brendt Barbur started the Bicycle Film Festival in 2001 after he was hit by a bus while riding in New York City. The festival — along with Joyride, its affiliated art show — has since gone beyond the streets of the East Village to become a worldwide phenomenon, and has traveled to over 50 cities (it made a stop in London earlier this month and visits North Carolina next week). This year’s New York installment featured 60 screenings of bike-related films and a blowout performance by Blonde Redhead.
AJ Nichols was repairing and selling bicycles out of a basement studio — and teaching at 3rd Ward — before he took a storefront on Bushwick Avenue this past summer and opened Harvest Cyclery, a vintage and used bike shop with a focus on reclaiming underappreciated rides.
Daniel Leeb is a documentary filmmaker also known for his video installation work with artists such as Doug Aitken and avant garde musician Hisham Bharoocha. In 2003, he founded Cinecycle, a Williamsburg-based production company and boutique marketing studio that, among other things, has documented the rise of bike messenger culture in cities around the world — most notably in a short film, “Messenger,” that was commissioned by Puma in 2004.
They’ll all be coasting into the Newsroom at 7 p.m., so join us then at 155 Grand Street, off of Bedford Ave., in Williamsburg.