whales, dolphin and porpoise, oh my

This morning I got this note from Patricia Sener, Executive Director of CIBBOWS.  She’s not biking, she’s swimming. But that counts.

I quote….

Did you know there are humpback whales very close to where you swim?  The NY Bight, our backyard ocean, has the largest density of marine mammals and sea turtles in the US–twenty-one species of whales, dolphin and porpoise that come into these waters, frolicking just over yonder.

On July 22nd, I will be swimming 17 miles across the Western NY Bight to bring attention to the Clean Ocean Zone Initiative, which seeks to create the first-ever federally protectedClean Ocean Zone, or COZ. This COZ would be the nation’s first-ever pollution-free ocean area where pollution sources such as raw sewage and oil/gas industries would be prohibited.

CIBBOWS is partnering with Clean Ocean Action, the creator of this initiative, in order to bring attention to the importance of keeping our local ocean clean and wild. Funds raised through CIBBOWS will go to two charities—Clean Ocean Action and Gotham Whale, a non-profit that tracks the local humpback whale population. 

This swim will start in Sandy Hook, NJ–the headquarters of COA–then into the wild blue open ocean, no land in sight–and finish around Atlantic Beach, LI, near the site of a proposed liquified natural gas storage facility that threatens to bring pollution to our waterways. 

I’m swimming where no person has swum before to raise awareness of the importance of keeping our backyard clean and swim-able for all.

Please join CIBBOWS and myself in supporting our local charities and consider making a donation for this event to help keep our backyard ocean wild, clean and swimmable.
Follow along on my adventures on Facebook this Wednesday for live updates. 

See you at the beach!
-Patricia SenerExecutive DirectorConey Island Brighton Beach Open Water Swimmers

Eat, sleep, bike, swim,
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2015 Robert Matson

Working with the New York Veterans Affairs Hospital’s “Pedals of Honor”

For the past four years I’ve had the privilege of working with the New York Veterans Affairs hospitals, helping to put wounded vets on recumbent trikes.  For the past three years, in May, New York City Recumbent Supply has volunteered at the “Pedals of Honor” event, which the VA hosts in conjunction with Achilles International.  As an event volunteer, I help set up bikes and trikes, provide maintenance and repairs, fit participants onto trikes and bikes, and support the massive group ride around the park.  It’s a thrill to work with these guys and I look forward to it every year.  Neile Weissman, president of the New York Cycle Club, also helps.

I’m consistently impressed by the staff from the VA, who seem to truly love their work.  This year, I was additionally pleased to meet Dick Traum, the founder of the Achilles Track Club, now known as Achilles International.  I admire what Mr. Traum has done for disabled athletes.  CNN produced a video about Mr. Traum that you can watch here.

Have fun, stay healthy, and look for someone you can help,
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2015 Robert Matson

Advisory for Brooklyn Bridge Walkway – Good Friday, 4/3/15 10:45 a.m

Avoid the Brooklyn Bridge walkway on Good Friday (4/3/15) between 10:45 a.m and 12:30 p.m.

I’ve been caught in this procession once in the past and, as the gentleman says, it’s essentially impossible to get through.

Mr. Joe Wiener writes:
I am writing to ask you to notify your members about a large religious procession (between 1,000 and 2,000 people) that will be using the Brooklyn Bridge walkway this Friday morning (4/3/15) from about 10:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. There will be several thousand people walking from Brooklyn to Manhattan, and it will be impossible to even walk a bike through. Please use the Manhattan Bridge as an alternate.

Cyclists heading from Brooklyn to Manhattan should be okay up to 10:45 a.m. if they arrive at the bridge and the procession has not arrived yet. Cyclists heading from Manhattan to Brooklyn, however, should not enter the bike path unless they are sure they can reach the Brooklyn side stairs by 10:45. Please notify your members and forward this notice to other cycling organizations and message boards you may know of.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation.

— Mr. Joe Wiener

Have fun and avoid processions,
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2013 Robert Matson

Happening this evening!

David Kroodsma wrote me this afternoon about his slideshow and talk.  It sounds worthwhile.  I realize this is kind of last minute, but here’s the info.

The Bicycle Diaries — Slideshow and Book Talk

Manhattan: Monday, March 30th, 7pm — NYC Velo Hell’s Kitchen:
http://www.nycvelo.com/slideshow-and-book-reading-david-kroodsma/ [1]

Brooklyn: Tuesday, March 31st, 7pm — Red Lantern Bicycles:

Former Stanford climate change researcher David Kroodsma has bicycled from
California to the southern tip of South America, from Turkey to Myanmar, and
across the U.S. twice. Along the way he has talked to hundreds of
people—both laypeople and experts—about climate change, gathering
personal stories about its impacts across three continents.

Join David for a slideshow of his best photos and videos. In addition to
stories of adventure—ranging from fending off a jaguar in Belize to hiding
from police in Tibet—David will share how people across the globe are
currently experiencing climate change, drawing on interviews with people in
28 different countries.

Copies of his recent book, The Bicycle Diaries, a Shelf Unbound Notable Book
of 2014, will be available for purchase.

Visit http://rideforclimate.com/ [3] for more information.

[1] http://www.nycvelo.com/slideshow-and-book-reading-david-kroodsma/
[2] http://www.redlanternbicycles.com/weekly-events/2015/3/31/a-slide-show-presentation-with-mark-kroodsma
[3] http://rideforclimate.com/

Check it out,
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2015 Robert Matson

Recumbent Cycle Convention: brief notes

The most important note first:

Creating safe roads for cyclists is as important as building and selling bikes.
The town of St. Charles and the surrounding area — where the show was held — has wonderful bike trails and paths and I was able to enjoy them with the Cruzbike team on the morning of the second day of the show.
But I didn’t see any bicycle advocacy organizations represented at the show.  It is vital that each of us, as cyclists and industry workers, are involved in advocacy.  We each play an important role in expanding opportunities to bicycle safely in the USA.  We can’t simply be bike lane users.  We must also be bike lane builders.
Here’s something you can do, starting today.  It’s fun and you’ll meet people who may become lifelong friends.  Dedicate just 4 hours per month — 48 hours in the year — volunteering for your local bicycle advocacy organization or otherwise engaged in bicycle advocacy.  That small amount of time will help save lives — not to mention the planet.  It will help save the life of somebody with a name, and a mom and dad.  That “somebody” might be you or someone close to you.  Toss this aside and you’re tossing aside someone’s life.

If you don’t have a local bicycle advocacy organization, then join Bikes Belong, a.k.a., PeopleForBikes and give them the equivalent of 48 hours/year of your income.  Want to do more?  Run for your local community board or city council.

Thank you to Charles Coyne, Coyne Publishing and the RCC Team for producing this show.
Visit them here http://www.rtrmag.com/
Charles Coyne and his crew do an amazing job of producing RCC.  It’s is incredible that they are able to do so much.  All the workers were friendly and professional.  The show was well-organized and well-attended.  He had nearly all the top manufacturers there.  Also, on the above note of advocacy, Charles and his group are a great example of people working hard to promote bicycling with no eye — as far as I can tell — to personal gain.  If anything, it seems to me he’s putting himself at significant financial risk to put on this show.  Thank you, Charles and team.
The new Silvio and Vendettas are very impressive on many fronts – performance, adjustability, weight, features, capacity to work with wide range of drivetrains.   Both bikes share many of the same qualities.   I rode both and put in about 20 mi. on the Vendetta during the Cruzbike morning ride.  Both models are better than ever and they’ve shaved 16 oz. off both frames, in part by making the new seat in full carbon fiber.  I initially wondered if I’d like the new front boom and drive-triangle, shared by the V and S, but it’s excellent: stiff, highly adjustable, light, clean appearance.  The new Vendetta’s paint is a metallic red.  The white Silvio looks good too.  All in all, the new designs are winners.There’s a very interesting spec effecting drivetrain options, but it’s not published so I don’t want to spill the beans in case something changes.  In short, it’s great news and it looks like there’ll be more versatility than in the past.

The Cruzbike booth was popular and, often, nearly all the bikes were out on the test track.  I’ve already sold several Silvios so I anticipate the current run to sell out, maybe by end of winter.  Go and get yours now.

HP Velotechnik
Nothing but top marks for HP Velotechnik.  New Gekko fx 26 is perfect.  The new Scorpion “Plus,” perfect.  The new “adaptive” pedals and accessories are easy to use and well-made.  The new seats, fine.
I’m at a loss for words when writing about the brand and the models, because there’s nothing more to say.  They are the gold standard.  There are no surprises.  They simply continue to prove they are probably the most professional and reliable recumbent manufacturer in the market.
HP Velot. was one of the most popular booths at the show.  No surprise there either.Hase

They’re continuing their tradition of being one of the foremost manufacturers of adaptive cycles.  They are clearly entirely dedicated to producing the highest quality machines.  Again, I don’t know what to say: they’re great.  They too had one of the most popular booths at the show.
Patterson Transmission (from FSA)
Superb new internal gear system to replace front chain rings and rear wheel 3-speed hub gears.  Inexpensive, quiet, works well.  Only time will tell how durable it is over thousands of miles, but I liked what I saw and may well install one on one of my own bikes over the winter to use and abuse it.
http://pattersonbike.com/reviews/Bent Rider On-line

Also one of the most popular booths at the show.  Bryan Ball seemed to be in high spirits and told me they sold out of their merchandise by the afternoon of the first “public” day of the show.
Go build a bike lane,
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2014 Robert Matson

Cyclist settles for $70,000 after being hit by car.

I was chatting with a customer today and he told me about the time, several years ago, that he was hit by a car.  He was struck pretty badly and claims he wouldn’t be here today if he hadn’t been wearing a helmet.

I asked him if he broke anything.  He said, no, but he did lose a lot of skin.

I asked him if he hired a lawyer.  He said, yes.  I asked him how much he got.  He said $70,000 and the lawyer took thirty.

It reminded me of another time I heard a story, back when I worked in an office, but this time it sounded like the pedestrian was deliberately trying to get a payday.  All week, our team was working till the wee hours of the morning.  The previous night, one of my colleagues was taking a limo service from the office to his home.  On 42nd Street, at right about Grand Central, a homeless guy threw himself onto the limo’s hood while the car was moving.  We assumed it was to try and get a payout from the driver’s insurance company.  We were amazed.  Now I wonder if it doesn’t happen a lot more often.

I also wonder, now, if this doesn’t explain why so many of the stories I hear about cyclists being hit, involve a hit-and-run driver.

Watch out for cars,
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2014 Robert Matson

Will improved helmet technology reduce cyclist injuries and deaths?

Can improved technology reduce cyclist injuries and deaths?

The Invisible Bicycle Helmet | Fredrik Gertten from Focus Forward Films on Vimeo.

Thanks to NYC Volae-rider Dan C. for forwarding this video to me.  The invisible airbag helmet is a nice idea.  Would it reduce cyclist deaths and or injuries?  Would it work for recumbent bike* riders?  Is it only comfortable for riders sitting in an upright “Dutch style” riding position?
[*I’m learning to write out the bulky phrase “recumbent bike” in order to enhance my search engine optimization.  Aren’t I good?]

I don’t have an opinion — “good” or “not” — though I agree it’s cool.  However, I prefer solutions that involve no technology and little expense for the rider, if possible.  Surely the invisible helmet airbag will be an expensive device, won’t it?

The solution is safer streets for everyone — cyclists, pedestrians and motorized vehicles — and these will result in fewer cyclist injuries and deaths.  I do not believe the solution is either greater helmet technology or helmet laws (not that the video gets into that).

While I don’t want to go too far down the rabbit hole of helmet safety for this blog entry, briefly, statistics show that the larger the number of cyclists, the fewer the number of cyclist deaths and that helmet laws discourage cycling.  Therefore, helmets (and helmet laws) appear to have the effect of increasing the number of cyclist deaths.

In 2005, Dr. Ian Walker of Bath University conducted research which suggests:

“Cyclists who wear protective helmets are more likely to be knocked down by passing vehicles, new research from Bath University suggests. The study found drivers tend to pass closer when overtaking cyclists wearing helmets than those who are bare-headed.” [from the BBC]

As it relates to the “invisible helmet” in this video, all this should mean the “invisible helmet” will provide an effective double buffer of safety for the cyclist.  Cars will give more space to the cyclist who is not (apparently) wearing a helmet and, if that cyclist is struck, the airbag helmet will give needed protection.  Fantastic.  But I can’t say I want to spend money on — or deal every time I ride — with that airbag helmet device.  I suppose plastic and foam helmets are funny looking, but they’re also pretty simple, even if they’re of limited effectiveness.

Here is more research about bicycle helmets.

The only effective and fair solution is for government to develop street infrastructure that encourages cycling, same as was done for cars.  This would include bikeways — bike lanes, greenways, separated bike paths — wider shoulders on roads, reduced and enforced speed limits for cars,

Have fun and look out for the damn cars,
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2013 Robert Matson

Important! Help me raise $250,000 to increase access to recumbent bikes in New York Metro

Vote here. It’s fast and free.

Voting ends Nov. 15 at midnight.

I need your help, guys.  And I need it now.  Please.  Voting ends Nov. 15 at midnight.  I still need more votes.

I realize recumbent bike riders in the NY Metro area wish we had a larger dealership here.  I feel the same way.  And I’d like you to know I keep hammering away at it.

Some of you know the business and you know how incredibly hard it is.  That’s especially true in a high-cost region like NY Metro where we pay 3x what others pay for real estate and 2x more for utilities.  Those of you who know me personally know how I knock myself out to grow the business, every day.

At last weekend’s Recumbent Cycle Convention, dealers and manufacturers from all over the country, pretty much to a man, expressed overwhelming support for what I’m doing, including offers to help if they can, etc.  The level of kindness was really touching.  And it appears I’m on pretty much a similar path to everyone else, doing similar things.  (It also turns out that a few manufacturers consider me their “best” dealer; that felt good.)

None of you will be shocked to hear the main obstacle to growing New York City Recumbent Supply is money.  So, I’ve applied for a huge competitive grant from Chase Bank.  If I get it — if we get it — it’ll be massive and will dramatically increase access to recumbent bikes in our region.

All I need is your vote.  It’s fast and free.
To be considered for the first round of this competitive grant process, I need your support: your vote, in fact.  And the votes of your friends.

The link is below.  When you go to the site, Chase is going to ask for Facebook stuff.  They say they don’t use or retain the info.  I assume it helps prevent voter fraud.  But I don’t know.  I don’t control it.  Unfortunately, some people have found this off-putting.  Please don’t be put off.

Vote here:

Thanks to each of you for helping grow the bent-riding community in Greater NY.

All best,
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2013 Robert Matson

To the Mayor of Toronto from Taylor Flook.

To the Mayor of Toronto from Taylor Flook.  But this could have been written to many other mayors.

My Letter To Rob Ford
Taylor Flook

My Letter To Rob Ford, Mayor of Toronto

Dear Mayor Ford,

As the mayor of this city, you are charged with the safety and concern of all its people, not just the ones you like or identify with. I am a cyclist who has suffered an accident because there was no bike lane for me to ride in. Right after the accident, good people got out of their cars and helped me to the side of the road and stayed with me while we waited for the ambulance to arrive. I was quite shaken up and these perfect strangers showed me a world of compassion. The police that appeared on the scene deemed that neither they, nor myself were at fault for the incident, but that a bike lane would have avoided the whole thing….

Read the rest of it here.

Ride and advocate for safer cycling,
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2013 Robert Matson

Where NY mayoral candidates stand regarding bicycling

This just in from Noah Budnick, Deputy Director of Transportation Alternatives.  I’m just going to cut and paste it because I can add no value other than to re-publish it.

Wait.  Before I get there, this blog endorses di Blasio for mayor, as the candidate who speaks the most pleasing words in favor of bicycling in New York City.

Dear [me/you],

Loud and clear, your message hit candidates’ ears: You bike.  You walk.  You vote.

And boy did those candidates respond.

You and 4,000 New Yorkers demanded an on-the-record response from New York City’s candidates for mayor and City Council.  Check out the candidates’ responses before tomorrow’s Primary Election with
Transporation Alternatives’ Voter FAQ. On this page, you’ll also find everything you need to know to be ready to vote.


Tomorrow is your chance to vote in New York City’s most important election in more than a decade — it’s even more important than the General Election.

After tomorrow, most City Council elections are practically over. There are 51 New York City Council seats up for election. In two-thirds of the races, only Democrats are running. The remaining third of contests are expected to see clear winners after the Primary Election tomorrow, dictating the General Election outcome as well. Do you know everything you need to vote tomorrow?


Check out how the candidates for mayor and City Council responded to questions about bicycling and walking.  Learn if you’re registered to vote.  Find your polling place.  And find out how to register to vote. Everything you need is right here.


See you at the polls tomorrow!


Noah Budnick
Deputy Director
Transportation Alternatives
Your advocate for Biking, Walking and Public Transit

Have fun and stay healthy,
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2013 Robert Matson