The Freeway Ride II – CRIMANIMALZ


(Nice job on the cut RichToTheIE. Nice job on the music FUNDERSTORM)

I think Larry is annoyed that this site has become a bounce site for CRIMANIMALZ, but whatever…he has better things to do (maybe graduating from CAL?) and has a wife that hates bikes, hates his bike hobby, and hates me. So I can understand if some of all that hate that he lives is permeating into his his non-existent soul—I say non-existent because I don’t believe in souls, but I use the soul image for those that do, to make it easier for them to understand the level to which hatred can penetrate.

Today is the 7th day since Crimanimalz weaved through frozen Friday freeway traffic on I-10 and the 405 FWY. A group of almost 30 Crimanimalz (including 3 rollerbladers and a triple decker tall bike) proved for the second time in two months that at certain times of the day, the fastest way to get from one part of town to the other is by human power.

Apart from the swelling numbers of this ride series is the amount of cameras riders are equipped with. Thanks to five or so bike camerapeeps, Richie was able to craft one of the best DIY ride stunt video that I have seen to date. The accompanying FUNDERSTORM track “Why Didja Duh Eeet” really captures the emotion felt by most riders both before, during and after the ride.

There is a snow ball rolling and I can’t tell if I am in its path, or inside the build up of snow.

Small local press, blogs big and little, radio and TV:

The Santa Monica Daily Press got the Scoop first. Congratulations to them. Here is the PDF linkage.

KFI News interviewed Alex Thompson and myself on Tuesday for small little news blunder that was sandwiched—most likely—between more sensational Dr. Phil type stories. Their questions were pretty mundane, which was unexpected from the local affiliate that syndicates Rush Limbaugh.

laist.com blogged an image post which has of right now received over 1500 DIGG points along with over 500 comments on DIGG. Here is where the internet community has stepped up to actually discuss the issue at hand: “What is wrong with car culture in the world, specifically in Los Angeles?” Sifting through the comments it is easy to get a sense of the binary rigidity of the discourse; the conversation continues to teeter back and forth between the naysayers and the yaysayers.

The naysayers continue to argue that this sort of direct action does little to change the transportation infrastructure of large cities, that it provokes law enforcement to tighten down on bicycle related citations and prevents city officials from listening to the community of bicycle riders in Los Angeles.

Hogwash.

What cannot be argued is that this event failed to fill the abyss, the void of conversation that existed only a month ago. This is not to say that the biking community was not discussing the issue, they’ve been at it since the car was invented. It is the public discourse, the one outside the small community of car-free citizens of the world, that has been illuminated from a fresh angle, an angle of merriment, electric Kool-Aid, Hog Farm tom foolery and culture jam and toast. If 500 comments can turn into 1000, and 1000 into 2000, a lot of cyclists that I know would be willing to sign the $250.00 traffic infraction and ride to the next on ramp.

Wired blogged about the event in their Autopia blog. Check it HEREZ. Wired loves us. They lovezies us.

NPR is still working on their story with which I will update this post when they send me the Link. Hopefully this will generate more of a discussion amongst the all the sayers out there.

Stepping away from all the naysaying and the yaysaing, here’s a little soothsaying. Crimanimalz will be feeding the homeless. Crimanimalz will be teaching your children to read. Crimanimalz will be hosting community breakfasts with pancakes covered in organic maple syrup for all. Crimanimalz will be building houses in cyclone ravaged regions around the world. Crimanimalz has big plans that transcend the seemingly prankster oriented spirit of the Friday freeway rides.

CRIMANIMALZ STRIKE AGAIN!!! Bikes on the freeway…again…SORRRRRRY!!!

HEEEEEEEEEERE WE GO! WOW!! OMG!! HOLY FFFFF!

Blast Off
(Photo by Alex Thompson)

For the second time, in so many months, a group of Los Angeles bicyclists took to the freeway in protest of WHATEVER YOU WANT. The Crimanimalz Boarded I-10 at BUNDY and rode to the 405 FWY via the EXIT 35A ramp. 27 of them this time. This time, the riders joined freeway traffic which had only moments earlier passed under a huge (ginormous people) banner hanging over the fence at the 17th street overpass that read “RIDE A BIKE: YOU’D BE HOME BY NOW.” Whoever the bicycle gods sent to hang that sign are DEH MOTS, straight up APPLESAUCE. Thank you.

Ride co-organizer BoogalooShrimp says that they “ain’t never gonna stop pedaling for the peeps, ’cause the peeps is sheeps and sheeps like sleeps.” Ride co-organizer Cyper/Junkboat said that “the people of this town need to wake up and sleep at the same time; get out of your bed cars and pedal your Colnago Dream Machines out of the gridlocked nightmare.” RichToTheIE, another ride co-organizer, mentioned that “the CHP were very gentle and they even gave me some Kleenex to wipe myself up with when they were done with me.”

Wow. I did not need that in my life right now.

Alex Thompson, local bicionista was spotted in the area after ride screaming a bike culture motto: “I do what I want and I don’t do what I don’t want to do!”

BoogalooShrimp, RichToTheIE and Cyper/Junkboat (uhh…Perry?) met with the Santa Monica Daily press and NPR the day before for not-so-exclusive interviews.

Boogaloo and I hid from the Highway Patrol in a dark parking lot on Cotner and Olympic. We locked our bikes up to a water pipe, waited for our pulses to drop and then ran to Zankou where we hid out until the Heat subsided. It was the best ride I had ever been on.

FROM CNS:

Eds: FIXES typo, group is called “Crimanimals.” Video of the freeway
ride is at www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NLmiuyLa98 and the audio could be used by
radio clients. The banner remains over the eastbound Santa Monica (10) Freeway
between 11th and 14th streets.

SANTA MONICA (CNS) – Motorists facing stop-and-go traffic, Sigalerts and
the occasional freeway shooting now have another diversion to contend with:
an activist group has begun mass bike-riding protests on Westside freeways.

Motorists creeping along the Santa Monica (10) and San Diego (405)
freeways Friday afternoon were confronted with about 30 cyclists riding en
masse and individually on freeway lanes. A group calling itself the
“Crimanimals” has claimed credit with an internet posting that criticizes
California’s car culture as unsustainable and polluting.

A YouTube video of the exercise shows bicyclists passing cars on the
right shoulder, and in every traffic lane, including the far left one. Riders
entered the eastbound 10 at Bundy Drive, took the sweeping transition ramp to
the 405 north, and exited at Santa Monica Boulevard, a distance of about two
miles.

Accompanied by a thumping rock song with the refrain “ride with me,”
the video shows bicyclists zipping past stalled sedans and semi-trucks.

Traffic was at its typical near-standstill status the entire time,
except on the transition road, which had freeflowing traffic. The video showed
cars slowing and moving to the left on the two-lane transition ramp.

The video was shot at 5:30 p.m. Friday, according to an activist who
posted by the name Boogaloo Shrimp.

“The time and day were carefully chosen,” Shrimp said. “There was no
plan (or) strategy on what to do when actually on the freeway, as no rider had
ever ridden their bicycle on a freeway before.”

California Highway Patrol officials were caught by surprise by the
demonstration. Two riders were stopped, but not cited.

“They just repeated over and over again to not get on the freeway,”
rider Paul Bringetto told the Santa Monica Daily Press. “They were very cool
about it, they just told us not to do it again.”

The anti-car culture protest was accompanied by a banner hanging over
the Santa Monica Freeway that said “Ride a Bike, You’d Be Home By Now.” The
painted bedsheet remains stretched over a fence on an overpass over the
eastbound 10 freeway at 14th Street in Santa Monica.

The Daily Press reported today that the band of bicyclists is an
offshoot of Critical Mass, an unorganized group of bicyclists who ride the
streets of Santa Monica in a generally-law-abiding fashion on the first Friday
of every month.

Although Critical Mass rallies in San Francisco have blocked traffic and
resulted in some violent acts, the Santa Monica rides have been generally
incident-free. The Santa Monica newspaper reported that Santa Monica Police
cracked down on traffic violations in November and wrote 30 citations.

That crackdown spurred the creation of Crimanimal Mass, the unorganized
group that took to the freeways Friday, said Alex Cantarero, a bicyclist
interviewed by the Daily Press.

CHP spokeswoman Ana Markey said officer were unaware in advance of
Friday’s spin through the gridlocked freeways, and said the safety of
bicyclists is the first concern. Riding on the freeways is against the law, but
CHP officers have the discretion to handle each situation as they deem
appropriate, Markey told the paper.

Legit videos to come. Stay tuned and watch the freeway.

Much More Than a Thousand Words

I think that I “speak” for both Perry and myself when I say that this little contraption is doing much more that it is…er…uh…mmm…doing? And that we both whole heartedly agree that there is some deep connection here that I am not quite capable of uh…y’know…putting here.

Freeway Aftermath (the FUNDERSTORM version)

So, here’s the basic rundown of the Freeway Ride after party:

The ride video was posted on YouTube on Saturday, April 19th, in the middle of the day. It has been viewed over 13,000 times. That’s pretty cool.

Funderstorm remixed the video with an original song written for the ride. Some are requesting that it become the official FREEWRYDERS anthem. We’ll see.

A wiki entry has been made on the IBIKEU WIKI and a number of its editors have already contributed excellent updates and corrections. Thank you Alex Thompson and Paul Bringetto for getting the site up and running in time for spring and summer riding.

The wiki already seems to have created a small rift in the space-bike-continuum, producing a negative reaction among other local Bike Culture web admins. If Ibikeu turns out to be the paint stripper that separates the activist riders who like to have fun from the “we’re not political” fun only groups then I totally welcome it.

Many were worried that the ride would destroy the bicycle scene in Los Angeles. Perhaps their fears were merited. What everyone failed to consider was that a NEW dialog might open up, which is, in the small bicycle subculture blogosphere, kind of what has happened. LA Metblogs‘ Sean Bonner (rode with Wolfpack) posted the video and the discussion picked up where the Midnight Ridazz left off (chaos).

The best part about the large amount of feedback is that it has raised more questions about why LA does not have efficient and safe bike ways.

This ride stunt was not adorned with banners and slogans. It was a ride stunt geared around fun conflicting with taboo. It was a Hegelian Dialectic for bike riders. The synthesis was food for thought. And at least people are eating.

If you rode a bike you\'d be home by now.

Graphic compliments of BoogalooShrimp AKA Flunky Carter.

I Bike Where Bikes are BANNNNNNNED

It was definitely a product of much heated ethical and legal debate, but we ended up doing it. My friend “Taco Bell Big Box Lunch” and I organized a Santa Monica Freeway ride from Cloverfield to Centinela (on-ramp to off-ramp). 9 other riders showed up and we sped through automotive paralysis like water molecules through kidneys. Post-ride epiphany = no less safe than riding on the PCH (which spandex roadies do daily) or any other surface street congested with gridlock.

Some amusing comments from the YouTuberz:

When asked about the trouble one could find themselves in, a user named voodmann responds:

NONE, when the cops finally pulled us over we just told them that “it seemed like a good idea at the time.” then we told them that “life is full of wrong turns officer, and we just took one…two.” Then he let us leave and he took his police felt mountain bike out of the trunk of his car and rode off into the sun as it set across the western shoulder of the 405 freeway. no ticket.

Responding to a comment proposing an exodus from Los Angeles, because the sprawl makes it impossible for people to commute via bicycles, the same user asks:


are you suggesting that the citizens of this glorious city displace themselves and move to NY? there’s a large underclass here that can’t really afford that. Vote for higher taxes for social services and maybe your dream can become a reality.

PS – I know…most of the people in cars don’t belong to the underclass…it’s still a paradigm. In your mouth.

The Huffy rhymes with Duffy, probably because it sucks.

No offense to Patrick Duffy, but the Huffy kind of reminds me of him. It’s the bike that really seems to be over the whole scene, like it wants out of its contract and is willing to get shot at the end of season 7. Alas, the writers over at Huffy Bikes keep on premiering new season’s with “it was all a dream and the Huffy is in the shower…naked.”

Search for Huffy Bikes on Google. The official Huffy website is the first result on top of the list, the search description: Makers of mass-market Road, Mountain, and BMX Bicycles. Huh…OK. It’s pretty obvious that Huffy in no way wants you to get the wrong idea and think of them as makers of SAFE or RELIABLE bicycles.

Here is the sad history of a once inspired and hopeful company.

Significant tragedies

In 1995 Huffy began to license Disney characters to spruce up and animate their kids bikes. That’s kind of a bummer move. It worked for Big Wheels in the early ’80s when they made a KIT or a Hulk Big Wheels, but come on, this company had some Olympic integrity a decade prior. Two years later it introduced it’s first BMX, another Johnny-Come-Lately maneuver. Huffy is like Stanley Kubrick releasing Full Metal Jacket ten years after it should have been released–CIRCA Apocalypse Now when the Academy and contemporary critics would have gave a shit. Well Huffy, how did it feel showing up to the party singing “Send Me an Angel” only to find out that Lori Loughlin and Bill Allan had bike-danced there way out of the ’80s and into shitty television?

(Bill Allan and Mathew Modine both appear in Robert Altman’s 1983 film Streamers; coincidentally, Mathew Modine went on to star as Pvt. Joker in Full Metal Jacket in 1987, one year after Bill Allan popularized and revolutionized BMX riding in Rad(1986).)

Huffy…do you believe in heaven above? Do you believe in love?

Please Forgive My Comrade Perry

Perry’s very first post is in actuality my fault. I am on the lookout for a decent frame and the necessary parts to build it up. This will be my first build, and Perry is admittedly excited that I am leaving the safety of bikes built for me by anonymous folks from abroad, and entering the broad all too hip frontier of putting my shit together. I was showing him these possibilities from the craigslist and voila…his sensitive punk-ass goes on a somnolescence inducing tirade. So please forgive him, he was talking shit on my behalf.

I would like to introduce the very first banned bike. A bike of my own. It was given to me and I nearly died on it every time I rode it. I took it apart, I put some new tires on there, tweaked some shit (read screwed and unscrewed various things to no effect) and decided I had better get rid of her. I admit I enjoyed the tinkering, but after a little while I began to see that there were some things I could never do to it and any money I put into it would be better spent on a safe, reliable and fun to ride bike. I eventually sold this bad-girl on craigslist to a very cool gentleman to whom I explained each fault I saw with the bike. In retrospect I should given it to him. I am somewhat sorry to have to do this but Free Spirit, you are officially banned.


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