Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Death Pedal 2: Immortalizing Fun

(Kareem Shehab, director of the Death Pedal series, holds up the '2' marquee piece at the historic Ken Cinema, where his film screened last Saturday. The following photos are by Matt Lingo).

In the spirit of the film Death Pedal 2, the day of the premiere was brutal, fast, and fun.

It all started around 2pm w/ a BBQ. What yielded were some damn good eats, but also the taste of San Diego spring. It was the warmest day in months and we all basked in it. All the homies were there, straight chillin' as some trick riders--Congo, Matt Spencer, Kareem Shehab, Gus Molina, Andy Compton, Terrence Patrick, Joe Kelley and more--were getting down on the stair platform. Matt Lingo and Marcus from Chula Fixed were documenting.

(Marcus from Chula Vista Fixed films Matt Spencer from Long Beach. Matt has a few fresh clips in DP2).

By 5pm there were about 80 heads partying, many from Long Beach and Riverside/Inland Empire-County, some from Arizona, a few from Tecate (Mexico), but most from SD. A handful of polo games went down but the attention suddenly shifted as Emerson from Bogus alleycats began walking around w/ the sign-in sheet for the race simply titled 'Death.' This was the event I was most looking forward to--besides the film, of course. The number on my Bogus spoke card read '619,' SD's area code; a sign that this was, in fact, a good day in the hood.

At sundown, 15 racers mobilized outside the park to get the info on Death. The race, advertised as a 'mini-alleycat' was crit-style; two laps from Felton down Adams Ave to Park to Meade and back to Felton/Adams. As soon as Joe Kelley yelled 'go!' I Usain Bolted to my Gios, jumped the whip, and started the hustle. Right off the bat I was in the top 5 and pushed my way to top 2 shortly after lap 1 completion. My buddy Michael Moody was leading. With a half lap to go he was about a half block up ahead of me. I tried to catch up w/ him at the Meade dip. At the top of the Meade hill I was about 10 feet behind him and a few blocks later I was ahead of him. My lead only lasted about 5 seconds before Michael snapped out of it and pushed back up ahead of me. I drafted him for a block and w/ three blocks left and a tech turn up ahead, I decided to go for an attack. I cut the corner to get the inside edge but it didn't matter! Michael was too f*cking fast! He came in 1st and I came in 2nd, about 4 seconds behind him! I was super stoked on the 2nd place finish.

After the race we rolled over to Small Bar in University Heights to continue the celebration. Killa Kareem, Katie, Eddie Kon, and the rest of the homies came through to meet us there. By the time we got our beverage and mac n' cheese on, it was time to head to the Ken Cinema, San Diego's most historic film theater still in operation.

(The Ken. Michael Moody (left-center w/ messenger bag) won the Bogus Alleycat Race entitled 'Death,' which took place before the premiere).

The turnout was huge. About 220 to 270 kids filled the seats of the Ken.

After Kareem stood up to thank everyone for coming, the film started and the brutality was quickly underway. Once the King Khan And The BBQ Show track started, there was no turning back. The pace had been set and the pace was fast as f*ck. The first full section went to Wonka who did not disappoint, as per usual.

After Wonka's section in NYC, Kareem transported us back to the West Coast for Corey Vulture's on-point section in a Los Angeles aqueduct. Following Vulture, was the 'Friends' section which featured about a dozen riders w/ different styles, from Matt Spencer's silkiness to AJ Austin's go-big antics.

AJ Austin was a segue into the Texas element of the film which focused on Eric Puckett and his brutal section, which turned out to be one of the most impressive.

At this point I realized one of Kareem's trademark--the sound. Kareem knows his punk rock. There's no question about that. What I dug was the way Kareem used the bicycle and all its thrashy sound effects to compliment the soundtrack. Every part of the bike sounded like it was mic'd. Instead of turning down the natural audio captured w/ the camera during filming, it sounded like Kareem actually turned the natural audio up, to embrace the thrashiness. Perhaps that's why Kareem chose to film Death Pedal 2 with thee most thrashy and brutal riders in the States.

Speaking of which, up next was Congo. Other than Kareem, I don't think there was a single rider who had as much fun filming as Congo did. His section was the most fun and the funniest. The dude is so light-hearted and hilarious that you can't not like him. Congo's style is probably more compatible w/ Kareem's style than any other rider out there. You could just tell that the two had a blast working together.

(Congo from Long Beach crushing it at the BBQ w/ this 180. Congo's section in DP2 was a riot).

(Handy w/ the camera and the whip. Kareem has a few riding clips in DP2, as well. This rail grind photo, shot a couple days before the premiere, shows why).

The final section went to Torey Thorton. Torey is the most creative fixed gear trick rider to be filmed. He's absolutely fearless, his style is unique, and only a few other riders come close to his technical skill. I won't spoil it w/ precise details, but the dude makes history. See the film to find out what I mean.

Kareem's Death Pedal 2, laced w/ animation from Shelby Hohl, supported by a cast of the most brutal riders out there, and set to a blazing fast and upbeat punk rock soundtrack was addictive and fun. Kareem has found his niche as a director. He doesn't take himself or his craft too seriously. The main objective of the Death Pedal series is pure fun. If the clip achieves that, it'll make the cut. The person who has the most fun on a bike wins. Death Pedal 2 is a film about that.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Right now!: Death Pedal 2 Day is Here! Polo, Trix, BBQ, Race, Film!

Death Pedal 2 is upon us!

It all starts w/ a BBQ, then a mini bike polo comp, followed by a trick sesh w/ ramps and rails at 35th & Adams Ave. Long Beach crew is in town; so you know the tricks will be in full effect.

At sundown, the Death alleycat will begin!:

Emerrson and the Bogus crew organize the illest alleycats in SD. Mobilize at 35th & Adams at sundown for a Bogus Death.

Not sure where the final destination is, so come out to the park to find out.

Either way, the party will migrate to the historic Ken Cinema in the Kensington neighborhood of SD (4061 Adams Ave.). Be there at midnite for the 2nd U.S. premiere and 1 of 2 West Coast premieres of Death Pedal 2 directed by SD-Alumni Kareem Shehab! All for free! Kareem and I went and checked out the theater and tested the DVD the other day. It's lookin' good! You'll know you're at the right theater when you see the historic marquee that reads, "Death Pedal 2."

Get off the internet and get outside on this amazing San Diego day!

Put some Death into your life.

Massan for Macaframa and Leader Bike

Directors Colby Erick and Colin Arlen put together this Macaframa teaser of Leader-sponsored rider Massan. Massan's riding craft is masterful. This piece really compliments his fluidity and command. Make sure to watch it all the way through. Go:

Massan for Leader Bike from Dan Arel on Vimeo.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Right now!: First Critical Mass of the Spring!

The sun is setting and riders are undoubtedly showing up to the Big Fountain at Balboa Park at this exact moment. Come out and ride through the streets w/ over 1,300 cyclists on the first spring Critical Mass ride of the new millennium.

If you're more into tricking and chilling, kick it at the Big Fountain afterwards for Critical Pass. There'll probably be a bunch of dope trick riders in town for the Death Pedal 2 Premiere, trick sesh, polo comp, and BBQ going down in full force tomorrow.

Word is that Bike San Diego has paid for a number of pizzas to be delivered to the police escorting CM tonite via Manivela Bicycle-Driven Food Delivery.

Also, keep your eyes out to participate in an anonymous survey being conducted by CM riders to determine what type of change CM cyclists would like to see in SD.

See you there. Out!

From Hardcore Punk to Fixed: Chula Vista Gets Up

Marcus Aguirre makes Chula Vista proud.

As a kid from the Castle Park area of Chula Vista myself, I will certainly testify to that.

Fixed gear circles around the U.S. (and some parts of the world) have the impression that Chula Vista is a place w/ an exploding fixed gear scene. The construction of that impression is due to Marcus aka El Marcs and his blog Chula Vista Fixed.

Since Chula Vista Fixed.com started about 6 months ago, Marcus has put out a handful of short video edits including a piece on Cult Classic 2, the Downtown Showdown in Long Beach, and a teaser trailer for Revoked. Each of the edits have been featured on Prolly Is Not Probably, the most respected fixed gear news source to-date, run by NYC-based fixed-gear booster and architect John "Prolly" Watson.

My favorite Chula Vista Fixed edit so far is from the Downtown Showdown trick comp that went down in Long Beach a couple weeks ago:

CVTV : Downtown Showdown Highlights from CVF on Vimeo.

Marcus has also been featured in a couple Matt Lingo-shot photos that ran in COG magazine. Most recently, Pedal Consumption threw up a few Matt Lingo-shot photos taken at a trick session near San Diego's Velodrome:

Marcus' passion for fixed riding runs as deep as his pride in being from Chula Vista and as deep as his love for Chula Vista hardcore punk.

If one passed through Chula Vista, a neighborhood in South San Diego County, it would be very hard find any evidence of a fixed gear scene or a hardcore scene. Chula Vista's most tremendous period of growth was immediately after World War II. As such, the urban plan was modeled after privatism, suburban, cul-de-sac, sprawled, low-density, auto-centric ideals. Chula is not a friendly place for cyclists. The city was designed to be auto-dependent. (I know this as fact because I, too, grew up in Chula).

One of the most obvious demarcating characteristics between pre-WWII and post-WWII Chula homes are the garages. Not only were the streets designed to accommodate cars in this era, but so were homes. Post-WWII homes were garage-centric. Garages became the face of post-WWII suburban homes. You could literally drive a car inside your house.

Ironically, garage-centric post-WWII homes designed for the nuclear family helped facilitate a type of scene that intentionally and sometimes unintentionally subverted the status quo and mainstream culture--that being punk rock music. Many garages, designed to house cars, became spaces for bands to jam.

The most well-known punk band from Chula Vista are The Zeros (circa late 70s). In the 90s, Chula established itself as a premiere location for hardcore punk. Chula bands such as Amenity, Unbroken, The Set Up, Forced Down, and Run For Your Fucking Life put San Diego, and more specifically Chula, on the map for hardcore. The above-mentioned bands have reached legendary status among hardcore enthusiasts.

Chula hardcore pride runs deep. Marcus' favorite contemporary hardcore bands include Impulse, Down Again, Take Offense, Deadlined, and Cold Stare. Marcus has brought that hardcore passion into the Chula and SD bike scenes.

Still, fixed gears in Chula aren't too common. Before Ocean Bikes opened up on the outskirts of the city lines near the salt factory about a year and a half ago, there wasn't a single shop selling fixed gear bikes. The amount of fixed gear riders who currently live in Chula is rather modest. According to Marcus, there are about 10 - 20 kids riding fixed that he knows of. Nevertheless, the number is growing. And w/ a booming scene to the north (i.e. San Diego), with Ocean Bikes in town, and with Marcus pushin' the Chula Vista Fixed name, that number is bound to multiply.

Keep a close watch at Marcus' Chula Vista Fixed.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Fast Pace Zine Issue 2

Fast Pace Zine Issue 2, put together by SD County-area heads Andy Compton, Gus Molina, and Rocco Pedreira, is now available at local San Diego bike shops. I grabbed mine last weekend at Thomas' Bike Shop and noticed some issues available at Adams Avenue Bike Shop. Velo Cult seemed to be out of stock. This free fixed gear freestyle zine, now in full color, does not last long. So grab it up.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Matt Lingo Locks Up Cover Photo for Fixe Issue 3

Can't stop, won't stop. Matt Lingo is showing no signs of slowing down in this new decade. He recently locked up a zombie-style cover photo for the French-based fixed gear culture mag, Fixe. The latest Fixe cover photo makes two for Matt. In December 2009, he shot the cover for Fixe Issue 1.

Coincidentally, while reading that Matt got up once again w/ the French-based Fixe, I was listening to 'O toi, Beatnik' a compilation of French garage rock gems from 1965-67.

While we're on the subject of coincidences and zombie photos, Bike Prom IV will be a zombie-themed rager this year.

Zombies are taking over SD...and I kind of like it. Hopefully, they go after drunk and cell-phone-yapping drivers first.

Now, back on the main subject here: Pick up a copy of Fixe Issue 3 when it's released, check out the zombie war, and also peep Leader's section in Issue 3 which is shot by Matt, as well. Do it.

Edit/update 3/12: Talked to Matt Lingo and he is down to shoot Bike Prom IV. Awesome.

Google Maps Finally Adds Bike Routes

Article written by Mary Catherine O'Connor for Wired.

At long last, Google Maps has routes specifically for bikes.

With the click of a mouse, the new feature allows you to plot the best (and flattest!) ride from Point A to Point B. Several cities, including New York, Minneapolis, San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, have bike-specific mapping sites. But Google is rolling it out in 150 cities nationwide and announcing it Wednesday at the 10th Annual Bike Summit in Washington, D.C.

“This has been a top-requested feature from Google Maps users for the last couple years,” says Shannon Guymon, product manager for Google Maps. “There are over 50,000 signatures on a petition.”

The news thrilled bike advocates, who have for years been pushing — and petitioning — the search giant to include bike routes on Google Maps. No longer do they have to rely upon paper maps or open-source DIY map hacking or crazy-cool helmet-mounted heads up iPhones.

“This new tool will open people’s eyes to the possibility and practicality of hopping on a bike and riding,” says Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists. “We know people want to ride more, we know it’s good for people and communities when they do ride more — this makes it possible. It is a game-changer, especially for those short trips that are the most polluting.”

Cyclists will have to map their victory lap from their desks, because Google’s cool mapping tool is available only on a computer for now.

“Making the bike-route tool available on Google Maps for mobile devices is a high priority,” Guymon says. But it’s a priority without a launch date.

To create the mapping tool, Google developed an algorithm that uses several inputs — including designated bike lanes or trails, topography and traffic signals — to determine the best route for riding. The map sends you around, not over, hills. But if you really want to tackle that Category 1 climb, you can click and drag the suggested route anywhere you like, just like you can with pedestrian or driving routes. Users can suggest changes or make corrections to routes using the ever-present “report a problem” feature on Google Maps.

Google kicked its bike-mapping effort into high gear in October when it started using improved datasets that provided more specific information about trails, street details and more granularity on college campuses. The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy provided Google with information on 12,000 miles of bike trails nationwide, and the League of American Bicyclists helped gather data on bike lanes and so forth.

“We’ve got a five-person team in Seattle that has spent the majority of its time working on this project since October,” says Guymon.

To test the tool, bike-commuting Google employees vetted suggested routes against their own experience, pointing out discrepancies on routes or time allowances.

Google Maps for bikes has a unique look and feel. Bike trails are prime cycling turf — “They’re like the highways for cyclists,” Guymon says — so they’re indicated in dark green. Streets with dedicated bike lanes are light green. And streets that don’t have a bike lane but are still a decent route because of their topography, light traffic or other factors are indicated by dotted green lines.

Don’t go looking for turn-by-turn GPS-based navigation though. That feature remains strictly auto-centric.

Freelance reporter Mary Catherine O’Connor lives in San Francisco, with her dog, husband and three bikes.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

SD Death Pedal 2 Premiere Saturday March 27 @ Ken Cinema

This is it!
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
(Flier by Katie)

Trick sesh!
Bike polo!
Photos by Matt Lingo!
DP2 (Big) Screening at San Diego's most historic theater; the Ken Cinema in Kensington (4061 Adams Ave.)!
All for free!

This will be the 2nd premiere in the world, one of two West Coast premieres, and one of six U.S. premieres. So save up your lunch money and make the trip down here! This event is not to miss.

Matt Lingo Photographs San Diego Bike Polo

Matt Lingo came out to Wednesday nite polo last week and snapped these photos:

SD Bike Polo now happens every Wednesday at 7pm and every Sunday at 2pm at 35th & Adams Park.

Afternoon at The Park: Leader Promo by Kareem Shehab

Kareem Shehab put together this fun lil' edit for his sponsor Leader Bikes:

Kareem Shehab DP2 Leader Bike Promo-Afternoon at the park. from Killa Kareem on Vimeo.

DP2 World Premiere a Smashing Horrorshow of Good Times

First off, I just wanted to say sorry for the lack of updates lately. While the updates have slowed, the behind-the-scenes activities have experienced the exact opposite. Lately, I've been helping out w/ Bike Prom IV: Prom of the Undead, Streets For People, acting as the liaison between the Ken Cinema and Leader for the DP 2 SD Premiere, and I recently got asked to be one of the core organizers for the Bicycle Film Festival in San Diego. As far as Bic Control-specific stuff, we're now BicControl.com, Acamonchi has been working on a logo, and I've been working on some shirt designs. I'm shooting to have the shirts (and definitely the logo) out by the DP2 Premiere. Speaking of which...

All sources indicate that the Death Pedal 2 World Premiere in Richmond, Virginia was an absolute smash. I wasn't able to make it out to Richmond, but based on what I've heard from Kareem and read on the information super-highway, the premiere was a horrorshow of awesomeness.


Proof part 2:

(The above photo was taken during the final clip of the film. Above photos by Skidhoto).

More photos here.

King of bike blogs, Prolly Is Not Probably, did up a nice spoiler-free mini-review of the DP2 Premiere mayhem available here.

Looked/sounded like a riot. Even more reason not to miss the SD premiere!