Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Va-Jay Jay or your Puddy Pat


Many of you who have not yet bought bike pants - I need to explain something to you. The bike pants will NOT make an uncomfortable seat comfortable. They will not fix a poorly placed seat. All the bike pants do is to help protect the soft tissue skin of your Va "Jay Jay" or Puddy Pat. Whatever we call our gentle area, bike pants keep it from getting torn up by underwear seams.

A good bike pad is a seamless area that will not bunch up. Never wear underwear with the bike pants.

Again I recommend you go to Hot Foot Cycles and try on some pants so you have an idea about your size.

Helping a newbie


I have had many people ask me how I can stand riding with newbie ladies going slow? How do you have the patience, Libby? How can you take so much time out of your day and spend it waiting around for newbies? I would go nuts most say.

You would only ask these questions if you have not yet had the chance to introduce a newbie to biking. I want all of you chicks to know and understand, YOU CAN NEVER bike too slow for me.

On the Schuylkill Trail today, I could have been crawling on my hands and knees and would still have enjoyed this picture perfect day. Margie and Eileen and Connie and I had the best time ever.

I have another SRT ride up for Sunday April 19, if you are new and afraid of the roads, COME TO THIS ride. The trail is really the best place to start. No cars and no busy intersections.

SO get off of your fannies and come bike.

Lucky 4

Three chicks and I had the good fortune of having today free, no work, we are retired. Connie, Eileen and Margie and I had the absolute best time today. We did the Phoenixville Extension of the Schuylkill River Trail. It is 14 miles round trip and a great ride to help newbies learn to ride.

Connie and I continued to ride and ended up doing 34 miles. What a day and what joy to help introduce new ladies to the joy of riding. But a great great great ride. Pics below are of the clinic and a few of today's ride.

Monday, March 30, 2009

weather updates


Always check blog 1 hour prior to ride to see if I am leading it. Weather calls are always iffy and you have to be flexible. This Saturday is right now forecasted to be beautiful but you never know. As a rule, I do not bike on wet roads with puddles.

CUE SHEET FOR Saturday April 4


I publish my cue sheets to a website via google documents, follow above link, PRINT the cue and bring it on Saturday. When you hit PRINT, a window will open and it will say open with...Adobe

click that option and your computer will print the document,

I just did it and I can hear my printer upstairs running.

Hot Foot has cue sheet holders so bring some cash in your bike bag and buy one for the cue sheet.

fabulous bike clinic and party

For those who could not attend, we had one fine bike clinic, not sure how many ladies came as I was too busy to count, but it was over 20 ladies and all learned tons.

I got no pics as I did not have a chance since helping so many ladies change tires and clean bikes was all consuming. Lots of new faces and lots of motivated bikers.

The dinner was beyond fun, everyone had a blast and got a chance to talk bikes with other ladies for over 2 hours.

Victor of Hot Foot gave a great talk on bike fit. SOOOOO helpful. Hope to see lots of chicks out for Saturday's ride. Already have some ladies coming to the Tues 11 am SRT ride.

Get the bike out and come bike.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


This Friday, April 3, we will meet at The Stone Barn Center for Food and Agriculture. Our adventure will begin with a short tour of the grounds, animals, and greenhouse. Spring is alive and well on the Farm. The Berkshire Pigs have farrowed and they have welcomed yet another round of piglets. The field is being tilled and planted with parnsips and transplanted with broccoli and kale. The new poults are laying egges by the dozens. Afterwards we will drop by the cafe, say hello to Alberto and pick up lunch. I recommend the famous egg salad. You can even pick up a few dozen eggs to take home and make your own salad. Finally, we will gather in the Hay Barn to discuss our tour, the future of food and enjoy the bounty of Stone Barns.
RSVP by April 2 to Jan Frasier Maltby, at jan@jmaltby.com. Unfortunately, we have to limit this month to 10 people.

Slow Cooker Slow Food Event @ Mount Kisco Child Care April 15th 6pm

The slow cooker can be a busy parent's best friend. Come and join us in a delicious tour of what your "crock pot" can do and learn more about the edible gardens and innovative food based curriculum at Mount Kisco Child Care.

Joining us with short presentations will be:

John Turenne, a chef & food consultant, Slow Food CT member.
Mimi Edelman, garden educator and Slow Food Hudson Valley co-leader
Susan Rubin, food and garden "evangelist", Slow Food Westchester co-leader
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand D- NY (invited)

The event is open to all members of Slow Food Westchester and families of Mount Kisco Child Care.
Fee is $10 which covers food and a slow cooker recipe booklet.
Join our raffle and take a chance to win your very own slow cooker along with a great slow cooker cookbook!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Rides for week of March 30

Tuesday, March 31 - 11 am at Betzwood, 25 or so miles, I leave at 11 am sharp, so if you get there late, I will be gone on the trail.

Saturday April 4 9:30 am First chick ride on Saturday for all riders. Come prepared, water bottles and snacks and AIR in your tires, for newbies and oldies, 14 miles, come learn how to ride on the road, practice shifting your gears BEFORE this ride.

check tire edge for optimal pressure


click link above for cue sheet


all chicks are required to watch this video, very very helpful and very very good,

you must be constantly thinking when on your bike, watch video for safety tips

this is the coolest

New York City already has a bike map site that will plot a bike route for you throughout the city of New York. Check it out. Very cool. This is what Google Maps should be doing. Follow link in post below to vote on Google Maps for bike maps.

suggest bike maps for Google Maps

found this on the Net, click on the Send Feedback link and scroll down to the add bike trails and hit "suggest it"

Suggest a Feature for Google Maps!

March 20, 2009 By: Peter Smith Category: Advocacy

The Google Maps Help section has a ‘Send Feedback‘ link that allows you to vote for new features you want to see on Google Maps. One of them is called ‘Add bike trail information and biking directions’. Please feel free to head on over the click the ‘Suggest’ button next to this feature.

To navigate there from Google Maps, click the Help link in the top-right, then ‘Send Feedback’ on the right.

The ideal would be to vote for (’Suggest’) just the ‘biking directions’ feature — that would probably help make it stand out a bit better — but feel free to vote for other features you really really really want, too. :)

If you’re feeling particularly frisky, you can head over to the Google Maps Help Group and ‘Post a question’ to the ‘Features Requests / Suggestions‘ Google Maps Group. Any details you add about why you want this feature and how you would use it are a great way to show support for this feature — it really helps the engineers and product managers at Google know what you want. So, you’re answering the question, “If Google Maps adds bicycle directions today, how will I use them tomorrow to get where I need to go? How will they help make me safer, my life better, etc.?”

I know I’ve posted in those groups before, but I’m going to try to get back in again with a good example. For whatever reason, I can’t seem to get a good mental map of San Francisco in my head, so I’m constantly heading to the San Francisco Bike Map hanging on my wall to figure out how to get somewhere. It usually includes leaning over furniture and zooming my face into the wall, trying to get a close-up of street names and things like that.

rain rain go away

no ride, too wet, too dangerous on wet roads, see you all at the clinic tomorrow,

no ride today, saturday march 28

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Get Road ID

Pimp your bike

about the same price as a GPS and it has a live rear view mirror! click here for info,

has all the features of a GPS plus a very cool ability to show you what is behind you

the ultimate bell

Biking should be fun

March 25th, 2009

Ding, Ding

I’m surprised by the number of bicyclists I see who don’t have bells on their bikes. I suppose some might view them as childish and uncool, but I find them to be an important safety item and I think of them as the goodwill ambassadors of the bike trail.

Horns are for cars
I tried one of those super-loud air horns made for bicycles. I found it largely ineffective for getting the attention of motorists, but far too loud for use on multi-use paths and bike lanes. Every time I used the horn on a path to get someone’s attention, they practically leapt off the trail they were startled so badly. Needless to say, this is not an effective way to develop good relations between bicyclists and other trail users.

Approaching others carefully and politely builds goodwill and presents a positive image of bicyclists and bicycling, something we should all be trying to do.

Yelling is…well…yelling
The old “on your left” method for announcing your approach is OK among seasoned bicyclists because they’re accustomed to hearing it, but casual bicyclists and pedestrians have no idea what it means, particularly when it’s yelled at them from behind. Like the horn, more often than not it startles other trail users and reinforces the stereotype that bicyclists are rude and unsafe.

The friendly bell
Bells, if used properly, signal your presence to other non-motorized road and trail users in a gentle, polite manner. I think this is very important.

I usually ring my bell a couple of times from a fair distance to give others an opportunity to figure out where the sound is coming from, then, if they don’t respond, I slow and give a couple of more rings as I get closer. This works nearly 100% of the time and I rarely startle anyone.

Consider the friendly bell if you don’t already use one. Approaching others carefully and politely builds goodwill and presents a positive image of bicyclists and bicycling, something we should all be trying to do.

Janet Difiore and Tony Castro.

The Advocate
Richard Blassberg

The Meaning Of News12’s DA Voter Poll
Good Ole Honest Abe Had It Right

It was Abraham Lincoln who said, “You can fool some of the People all of the time, and all of the People some of the time; but you can’t fool all of the People all of the time.”

Hats off, as they would say in Honest Abe’s time, to News12 for, once again, running a Question Of The Day poll that clearly revealed the preferences of Westchester’s voters with respect to who should be the next district attorney of their county. Granted, it is not a purely scientific pole. However, 999 participants, essentially voting in privacy, and taking the time and trouble to do so, surely represents a meaningful sample and a profound commentary, particularly on the performance of the incumbent DA.

The Question Of The Day asked, “At this point, who would you vote for as Westchester DA?”

Th e results were as follows:

Janet DiFiore (D): 183, 18%
Tony Castro (D): 546, 55%
Dan Schorr (R): 270 27%

There is no other way to interpret these results than to recognize that more than 80 percent of Westchester residents reject the person
who currently occupies the District Attorney’s Office, and would prefer either Democrat Tony Castro or Republican Dan Schorr. Despite the power, exposure, and advantages of holding the Office for more than three years, Janet DiFiore is the choice of fewer than 1 out of 5 potential voters.

Let’s be fair in our analysis. Leaving personality and other factors aside, this outcome is a referendum on Janet DiFiore’s performance
in office. The People clearly understand that law and order, the administration of criminal justice, and safety of families, not to mention
the morale and reputation and activity of many of the County’s police agencies have all suffered terribly under Janet DiFiore. She has brought out the worst in people and the People know it.

You simply can not run a DA’s Office the way she has; prosecuting victims of rogue, violent, cops and get away with it. You can not
view a videotape such as the one in the Irma Marquez incident and then not only fail to deal with the offending officer, but also proceed
to prosecute the innocent, falsely charged, severely injured civilian victim. And, the real problem is that Marquez is but one of dozens
of such cases, over the last three years, on DiFiore’s watch.

So much for the negative implications of the poll. With respect to the two individuals, viewers and potential voters do prefer, we must
firstly congratulate Dan Schorr, a newcomer to the world of district attorney elections, for his showing of 27 percent. Dan, a former
assistant DA, has been running unofficially for the better part of a year now and has conducted a clean, constructive campaign. Running as a
Republican, he understands the uphill battle that party registrations pose for him in Westchester. We wish him well, and look forward to following his activities.

Then, there is Tony Castro, whose first campaign in 2001 against Jeanine Pirro, we had the privilege of directing. He went from somebody hardly anybody knew in August, despite the tragic events of September 11, to coming within fewer than six points of winning. As Mike Edelman once confessed with candor in the privacy of an elevator in the County Courthouse, “With two more weeks Tony might have won.”

Tony Castro’s performance in the News12 poll was remarkable given that he officially announced his candidacy at 11am on the day it was conducted. By capturing 55 percent of the votes, more than three times that of the incumbent, his reputation, his character, and his desireability and experience as a former prosecutor for 14 years in The Bronx, are apparently most appreciated and sought after, more
than ever, following three disastrous years under Janet DiFiore’s mismanagement of the District Attorney’s Office.

For the past eight years, Castro has been engaged in law practice here in Westchester, mostly criminal defense. He has gotten a good look at criminal justice in our County, and surrounding counties, from both sides, Prosecution and Defense, for more than 22 years. He is well-liked and highly respected by judges and prosecutors all over the downstate area; and, in fact, supervised many of today’s top assistant DA's throughout the 9th Judicial District.

Castro’s popularity in the courts is unquestionably a reflection of his decency and fundamental honesty and fairness in all of his dealings; characteristics the People of Westchester realize, perhaps more than ever, are required from their next district attorney.

Tony Castro.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

In Our Opinion...

Tony Castro For DA: It Can’t Happen Too Soon!

We were very pleased that Tony Castro, a man who, in the last election for Westchester DA, was nominated by acclamation of nearly 1,000 Democrats at the party convention at the County Center, announced last Thursday, March 19th, that he will be running for District Attorney once again. His decision was most unselfish in light of the fact that Reggie LaFayette, Party Chair, and several party “insiders” had attempted to persuade him to accept a nomination for judge; of course, by way of perpetuating the counterfeit Democrat, Janet DiFiore’s, grip on the Office.

In announcing his candidacy, Castro said he had been considering the run for several months. In fact, more than 250 friends and supporters from all political persuasions, Democrats, Republicans, Conservatives, Working Family and the Independence Party, a coalition of concerned leaders including several party chairs, had attended a fundraising event organized by Friends Of Tony Castro back on October 23rd of last year. The event had raised over $100,000.

Castro told reporters that he realized he had to run for District Attorney when one of his supporters, a Democratic district leader in Mount Vernon, Sam Rivers, was threatened with bodily harm by a spokesman for Janet DiFiore and her supporters for having introduced Tony to several of his Democratic constituents. A reporter questioned Castro about a statement released by Party Chairman LaFayette to the effect that the Executive Committee had indicated their support for the present incumbents. Castro responded, as pertained to DA DiFiore, “Their support
was premature.”

We would tend to agree with Castro given the fact that the announcement came weeks before he entered the race. Furthermore, the Executive Committee consisting of a tiny fraction of the County’s Democratic Committeepersons, and less than a drop in the bucket of all registered Democrats, are clearly not rank-and-file, and, for the most part, have ties, financial and otherwise, to the Spano Administration which has been promoting Janet DiFiore for their own nefarious reasons from before the last election.

We are pleased with Tony Castro’s decision because it means that, at last, Westchester may have a real public servant, not a politician, for District Attorney. We are confident that Tony Castro will restore law and order; put an end to prosecutorial misconduct, and work tirelessly, and cooperatively, with police departments throughout the County to restore their reputation and productivity and that of the District Attorney’s Office, as well as public respect for law enforcement.

Once again, News12 must be recognized for performing a true public service last Thursday by making their Question Of The Day, “At this point, who would you vote for as Westchester DA?” The results were not surprising to us.

• Janet DiFiore (D): 18%
• Tony Castro (D): 55%
• Dan Shorr (R): 27%

The results speak for themselves. The People of Westchester will not be fooled by a counterfeit again, nor will she steal another election.

Our Readers Respond....

A Missive From An Appreciative Reader

Dear Editor:

Thank you for the open format, honesty and diverse topics your paper brings to the public. Each week’s issue is entertaining and informative. The World Traveler transports the readers through the culture, landscape, and color of our Earth’s travel destinations. Shelley Ackerman relates an impressively accurate reading of the heavens in her weekly horoscopes for Shimmering Stars. Dr. Maria Munoz Kantha’s sensitive wisdom provides accessible solutions for difficult relationship issues and good advice for creating family accord. Her column has been missed in
recent issues, for Vicki Mayfield’s writing style and humor added light-hearted views on serious social issues.

No contributing writer, however, has offered more to The Westchester Guardian than Jeffrey Deskovic. Mr. Deskovic writes with determination, tempered by modest strength, while exposing the many corrupt and heinous practices of the judicial system in this country. Mr. Deskovic reveals an inner spirit and core value that distinguished him from the average man, for most men crack and fall when they experience such desolation. His mother would be very proud of her son.

The judicial policies of this country have long promoted self-serving interest rather than the well-being of its citizens. The Westchester Guardian presents the full spectrum of judicial activity in news coverage, exposing the tyrannical years of Jeanine Pirro, Garcia’s abuse of power and the issue of wrongful convictions.

The occasional light-giving powers also show themselves in your pages, mainly through the legacy of Judge Charles Brieant. The honorable judge stood as a rare pillar of integrity within the Federal Judicial System. The divisions made in the New York Federal Court became law and set a national precedence. Policy-makers often come under influence of fraudulence, bribery and exploitation.

Perhaps that is why Judge Brieant was quoted in the New York Times as referring to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals as the “Second Circus.”
Judge Brieant’s magnificent decision to overturn the jury verdict in the Paul Cote case was a rare move and a noble deed. The prosecutors corner, under the direction of Garcia and Dunne, has attacked the Judge’s decision with relentless ferocity. The “Second Circus” has followed suit.

The Cote case fell from the hands of the fair and just Judge Brieant after his recent death. Judge Karas has inherited the volatile responsibility to decide the fate of Officer Cote (and his family). Judge Karas will need the wisdom of King Solomon and the strength of Excalibur to follow in
Judge Brieant’s footsteps, and balance the scales of justice.

Keep up the good work. Freedom of the Press is a precious right and privilege.

Lily Rock

Re: Paul Cote

Dear Editor,

I have been following the Paul Cote story for years now. What seems very interesting to me is that this case still lingers on. It raises the question could there be any other motives in the continued prosecution/percussion of this man who has already been punished by society for what many think was never a crime?

I ask the question, is it now time to appoint an independent investigator to look into the motives, methods and goals of further legal action
against a man who has lost so much and paid such a price already? And at what financial burden to the taxpayers will this continued persecution
of a man who has already served his time be? I believe these are the questions that need to be answered.

Francine Uomoleale-Mauro East Northport, NY

Reader Questions New Rochelle IDAs

Dear Editor:

Residents should be aware of the second annual report on Industrial Development Agencies (IDAs) by the State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. He promises greater “transparency and accountability to measure the value of IDAs.” The report states the City of New Rochelle had nearly $57 million in projects, and their rank in cost per job is the third highest in the state at $26,077 per job created for an estimated 310 jobs. This cost per job is about six times higher than the state average of $4,527 and many more times the state median cost per job of $1,288.

DiNapoli’s report states that job figures are “based upon estimates made by the IDAs and often are not verified.” Improvements have been made to address some issues. For example, IDAs will not be able to revise employment goal data. IDAs will now be able to recoup benefits given if the project does not create the promised number of jobs and maintain its retention goals. Amounts of PILOT (payments in lieu of taxes) actually
paid and how much the developer had agreed to pay will be required to determine if the terms of the financial agreement are being met.

IDAs must now also report “estimated salary” for all jobs, whether newly created or retained. Here in New Rochelle the IDA benefits for the expansion of New Roc to add two new retailers may be suitable for reevaluation based on the latest improvements in IDA procedures. Residents
have lost the use of an ice skating rink but see no retail construction taking place. In these troubling financial times why hasn’t this IDA
made all the projects which were granted benefits accountable? I urge the New Rochelle IDA to make this information public.

Peggy Godfrey,
New Rochelle

Reader Bemoans County’s Waste Of Money

Dear Editor:

Hello. My name is Joshua Askew. I came to the first meeting on abolishing county government. I was quoted in the Journal News saying that social services was the biggest hustle to taxpayers. That statement has caused me a lot of trouble.

The County is now is retaliating against me for that statement. I have always seen county government as a big waste of tax dollars and I have been advocating against it on my own in the City of Mount Vernon with no help from anyone. If you want abolish county government, you have to start with the DSS. If not, you are wasting a lot of time. Your tax dollars are used to pay for the making of an underclass.

There are a lot of so called nonprofit organizations that would not survive if our tax dollars did not pay for them. If you do not believe what I am saying, go to the City of Mount Vernon and ask the people that are on Welfare how they are being treated. Ask them to show you their yearly budget sheets and you will see the thousands of dollars being spent, more money than most of us make in a year and they have no control over that money.

It’s the biggest hustle ever; the DSS is the problem and there is no oversight on how they spend your money. It is the County’s, and a lot
other of people’s, cash cow.

Joshua Askew
Mount Vernon N.Y

Flood Mitigation Relief

Dear Editor:

The different Village of Mamaroneck neighborhood associations who are committed to seeking action on flood mitigation since the last disastrous 2007 flood are enthusiastic and optimistic to the positive news of Federal and State funds now available to the Village of Mamaroneck to take immediate action.

It is through our dedicated public Servants, Assemblyman George Latimer, who has helped secure a New York State Economic Development Corporation $1.2 million dollar Capital Projects grant, of which $400,000 is earmarked for the Village of Mamaroneck for flood mitigation and
Congresswoman Nita Lowey who announced community funding totaling $8,286,367, including $500,000 for sewer improvements to mitigate flooding in the Village of Mamaroneck.

While we are all awaiting the conclusion of the Army Corps of Engineers to finish their investigations, which at best will be available in 2012, and realistically closer to 2016, it is now the time for the Village officials to act expeditiously to secure and implement programs that are well known and previously identified to be executed in order to give relief to future flooding conditions.

Our community is certainly thankful for the follow up to promises made two years ago by many politicians and at least our Assemblyman and Congresswoman have come through for the Village. It helps restore the confidence of the residents that something will finally happen.

Norman S. Rosenblum

David Chong and Janet Difiore.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Parents File Suit In Federal Court On
Behalf Of Children Brutalized By
Mount Vernon And Yonkers Police

Last Wednesday, March 18, Civil Rights Attorney Jonathan Lovett, accompanied by parents of three boys, all African-American, ages 12, 13 and 13, as well as the 12-year-old himself, held a press conference on the Mount Vernon City Hall Plaza opposite Police Headquarters to announce the filing of a $6 million federal lawsuit.

The suit filed specifically against 14-year-veteran Mount Vernon Police Sergeant Michael Marcucilli and several unnamed police officers from both the Mount Vernon and Yonkers Police Departments, as well as each of those cities, alleges violations of both the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 and 42 U.S.C. Section 1985, carried out against each of the three boys as well as the mother of one of the boys.

With respect to the three young boys, the complaint charges that on February 28, 2009, Sergeant Marcucilli and Mount Vernon and Yonkers
police officers, including a K-9 handler and his dog, responded to an alarm at the A.B. Davis Middle School on Gramatan Ave., Mount Vernon. Having arrived at the scene, the complaint further alleges that they observed the three young boys and “agreed to collectively beat and/or otherwise physically abuse and verbally intimidate them because of their race and/or skin color.”

Specifically, the complaint alleges one boy, the 12-year-old, was shouted to with, “Where are you going, nigger?”, was punched several times in the face, and ordered, “Shut up, nigger” when he told the officer beating him and pushing his face into the dirt, “I’m only 12 years old.
Why are you doing this to me?” It is further alleged that he was handcuffed behind and struck repeatedly with a metal baton on the left side of his head, causing a serious injury to his left ear requiring 19 stitches and more than two hours of surgery to stop the bleeding.

The boy’s father declared, “You are not going to beat my son like a piece of meat.” Demanding the badges of the officers involved, he said, “Nobody deserves to be beaten like that. This is unacceptable.”

The boy’s mother explained to reporters how the police lied to her about how he was injured, trying to say that her son had fallen down
stairs. She told of telephone harassment from the Mount Vernon Police and of their coming around her house to intimidate her and her family. The mother of a second boy, a Mount Vernon schoolteacher, was, herself, the target of harassment and police brutality by the same Sergeant Marcucilli several weeks before the incident involving the three boys.

Following a bogus traffic stop, she reportedly was pulled from her car and beaten with a metal baton, inflicting serious bruises to her leg.
Her 13-year-old son was choked by his sweatshirt from behind for “an extended period of time, placing him in fear that he might suffer an asthma attack and die,” and causing a serious welt on his neck. Police lied about the nature of his injury as well.

The third boy, also 13 years old, was bitten and repeatedly mauled by the police dog called in with his handler from the Yonkers Police Department K-9 Unit, “while he was on the ground helpless.” At the same moment, he was beaten with a baton and told, “Get your fat black ass up.” Attorney Jonathan Lovett told the media and press, “Juries in federal court are smart, and they know racism when they see it.” Asked about the District Attorney, Janet DiFiore, and her statement that she was going to investigate the incident, Lovett declared, “For her to claim that she is going to investigate is ludicrous, given that my clients are charged with felonies. She ought to dismiss all of the charges against these children.”

Damon K. Jones, executive director of the Westchester chapter of the National Black Police Association told reporters, “This is normal
activity in the Westchester community.” He called for the resignation of DA Janet Difiore and Police Commissioner David Chong.

Reverend W. Franklyn Richardson expressed his outrage at what had been done to the three young boys and one of their mothers, declaring,
with respect to the police officers involved, “Call us nigger, beat up our children; and, we pay you?”

Asked by this reporter if he intended to go to the district attorney about the incident, Richardson responded that he had already spoken with DiFiore the day before. Apparently he took little comfort from what she may have said as he was still very angry and outraged. Richardson concluded his remarks, predicting and threatening, “The People will march in the streets over racist police brutality.”

Mount Vernon Mayor Young And
Police Commissioner Chong Offer No
Comfort, No Assurances To Outraged Citizens

Immediately following the press conference held by the parents of three young African-American boys savaged and racially attacked by a combined task force of Mount Vernon and Yonkers police, Mount Vernon Mayor Clinton I. Young and Police Commissioner David Chong held a press conference of their own in the Mayor’s Chambers.

Mayor Young got off on the wrong foot, declaring, “If the purpose of bringing a lawsuit is to divide this City, that will not be accomplished.” He then attempted to appear to be on the right side of the issue, saying, “Even the mere allegation of excessive force is troubling to me.”

Young then made an effort to reassure the media and, in turn, the citizens of the Mount Vernon community that the Mount Vernon Police Department’s Internal Investigation Unit, and the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit, would produce the truth and see to it that any
wrongdoers were dealt with.

Police Commissioner Chong followed the Mayor, also attempting to calm the outrage and the anger brought on by the racial and violent character of the excessive punishment meted out by his police officers acting in concert with Yonkers police officers, in a scenario very reminiscent of Selma, Alabama in the early 60s. Given the description of what had been done to three young boys, all that was missing
were the pressure hoses. Chong also emphasized that the DA’s Office was investigating.

When the Mayor once again spoke, he attempted to urge the children and their parents to cooperate with the District Attorney. At that point, this reporter asked the Mayor, “How can you and Commissioner Chong expect people to feel confident about the District Attorney’s
involvement in light of her repeated history of prosecuting victims of police brutality as in the Irma Marquez and Rui Florim cases, and many others not so well known?”

The Mayor could not respond directly, and instead, indicated that he preferred to concentrate on “the elements of the Mount Vernon case.”

Jeff Deskovic.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Jeff Deskovic.

What A Second Look Program
Should Look Like

As I have written previously, and will doubtless reiterate in the future, District Attorneys and prosecutors wield a great deal of power. Their actual mandate is to seek justice. That involves not simply winning convictions, but also helping to free the wrongfully convicted as well as preventing further wrongful convictions.

There have been, of course, many shameful instances in which prosecutors have prevented DNA tests and/or fought against claims of innocence despite compelling evidence, in an all-out effort to uphold all convictions, wrongful or otherwise, no matter what. Similarly, have been numerous instances of praiseworthy behavior, as when prosecutors have agreed to a reversal of charges based upon evidence of innocence that has been brought forward, or have agreed to DNA testing.

However, as positive as those instances are, having a Second Look Program within the district attorney’s office, one which will pro-actively go through old cases searching for wrongful convictions, is indefinitely better. ere are many reasons why this is true. One of them is the fact that
often poor defendants who cannot afford private attorneys do not get adequate investigation.

Additionally, once a defendant’s appeal has been turned down by the Court Of Appeals, which routinely does not agree to hear meritorious cases, the State is no longer obligated to provide free representation.

Although the federal courts are able to appoint counsel for the poor, they often do not do so. Hence the need for the reviewing of cases even without prompting from a defense attorney. Some months ago in this newspaper I wrote a two-part series entitled “We Need Second Look Programs In e Prosecutor’s Office”. I will now examine how I believe such a program could and should operate. Before getting into the details, I
think it would be instructive to look at the program that Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins has pioneered, and which he has named the “Conviction Integrity Unit.”

In order to create the unit, Watkins first had to obtain funding. He went before the Dallas County Commissioners seeking it. Two of the five members opposed Watkins, arguing that the unit would place the District Attorney’s Office in the role of defense counsel, and that the oversight was not necessary.

In a 3-2 vote, Watkins got some funding, but not all that he had asked for. The funding was only enough to enable him to hire two attorneys, one investigator, and one secretary. To make up for the lack of funding, he collaborated with The Texas Innocence Project, and has law student interns, working with paid staff, reviewing cases. They are currently reviewing more than 400 cases in which his predecessor denied prior testing.

There are eight cases awaiting test results. Under Watkins’ watch, five people have thus far been cleared based upon DNA.

I present those cases:

• Charles Chatman was cleared on Jan. 3, 2007 after serving 27 years for Rape. He was convicted when he was 20 years old, and is now 47. e cause
of his wrongful conviction was misidentification having been picked out of a photo array.

After earlier tests proved inconclusive, Chatman recently agreed to Y-STR testing, an advanced form of DNA testing that can determine a profile from a small sample. The risk was that this final test could have consumed the last of the biological evidence in the case. However, it proved to be the right decision as the profile proved that another man committed the rape for which Chatman was serving a 99-year sentence.

• Larry Fuller served 19½ years out of a 50 year sentence for Sexual Assault based on a misidentification. Initially the victim stated that she could not identify her assailant because the room was barely lit and the crime took place about an hour before sunrise. A week after the crime the police, nonetheless, asked her to make an identification.

After viewing one photo array she said that Fuller, “looks like the guy,” but that she could not be sure. After being shown a second array she then said that she was sure it was him. Additionally, a serological test was performed on semen collected from a rape kit. Fuller was serologically included in that he was a non-secretor, and the blood type of the rape kit fluid matched the victim’s own blood type. Therefore, serological testing did not exclude Fuller, but it also did not identify him as the perpetrator.

At trial, however, a prosecutor inaccurately summed up the scientific testimony by saying it placed Mr. Fuller among 20 percent of the male population that could have committed the crime. Mr. Fuller first contacted the Innocence Project in the mid-1990s. A 2003 DNA test was inconclusive, but a 2006 test ruled him out as the assailant, and he was released.

• Greg Wallis served 17 years out of 50 years for Burglary of a Habitation with the Intent To Commit Sexual Assault. The victim gave a description to police but, without any leads, the crime went unsolved.

After four months police circulated a flier about the attack in a local jail. An inmate told the Irving police that Gregory Wallis had a tattoo similar to the description given by the victim. The victim subsequently chose Wallis out of a photo array. Wallis and his wife testified that they were together at the time of the crime, but he was convicted anyway. A 2005 DNA test could not entirely rule out Mr. Wallis as the rapist. A second
test in 2006 proved that Mr. Wallis was not responsible for the attack.

• Andrew Gossett served 7 years out of 50 years in prison in the 1999 Sexual Assault of a Dallas woman. He came under suspicion based on his matching the general description given; followed by an erroneous pointing out of him in a photo array. He had been seeking DNA testing in 2001, but the then-District Attorney prevented him. In 2006, with Watkins in office, tests showed that he was innocent.

• James Giles was convicted of Aggravated Rape. He served 10 years in prison, and 14 years on parole as a registered sex offender. The female victim identified a photo of him. A month after the crime, a Crime Stoppers tip led police to include James Curtis Giles in a lineup, and the victim identified him as one of the three rapists.

Neither a male victim, nor another eyewitness, identified James Curtis Giles in a lineup or at trial. James Curtis Giles, at 29, was a decade older than the description of the perpetrators, and he had two prominent gold teeth which the victim also didn’t mention. His alibi was that he had
eaten dinner with his wife and afterwards went home and went to bed early.

Documents now show that evidence indicating the identity of the actual perpetrators, including a man named James Earl Giles, was available to prosecutors before trial and was withheld from defense attorneys for James Curtis Giles. In 1984, one of the attackers, Stanley Bryant, pled guilty. He said he committed the crime with a man named “James” and a man named “Michael.” The next year, Bryant signed an affidavit that James
Curtis Giles was not the “James” who participated in this crime.

While in prison, James Curtis Giles met a man who lived near the victims and had called Crime Stoppers during the investigation of the crime and told them that one of the perpetrators was named “James Giles.” The informant said he had learned that a different person, James Earl Giles, was the alleged attacker. Since 1991, both the informant and James Curtis Giles have said that the wrong James Giles was convicted of this rape.

James Curtis Giles served 10 years of his sentence before he was paroled in 2001. Some Thoughts Regarding A Second Look Program. Clearly, the approach DA Watkins utilizes works well. The everyday nuts and bolts of it, however, are not known. Also unspecified is how the program operates in non-DNA cases. Lacking those details and therefore having to reinvent the wheel somewhat, I will share some thoughts regarding ways
in which a Second Look Program might actually work.

Firstly, everybody who works in that program would first have to be thoroughly educated as to the many causes of wrongful convictions. It is essential to insure the fact that in reviewing cases, they would know exactly what to look for. The book Actual Innocence, by Jim Dwyer, which
lists the many different causes of wrongful convictions along with at least one example for each, would be required reading. I would require a written test featuring essay questions about each possible cause together with at least one case as an example.

Personnel would need to be familiar with false confessions, misidentifications, junk science, incentivized witnessing, inept defense attorneys, and prosecutorial misconduct of all kinds. It goes without saying, although I will say it here, that anybody who had previously been involved in prosecutorial misconduct, or a deliberate ‘looking the other way’ while it went on, would not be allowed to work in the project.

In terms of funding, the district attorney would need to go to appropriate governing bodies in their jurisdiction, either the county legislature or state legislature, and lobby for money to hire full time staff, as DA Watkins did. Additionally, unnecessary personnel in other departments would be removed and those salaries appropriated for project staff.

Beyond that, further personnel could be obtained through a variety of ways without increasing costs, including partnering with an innocence project and/or law school. The law school option is desireable because it would attract students by offering the experience as an internship, preferably a paid one. As with every other division within a District Attorney’s office, there would of course be a supervisor responsible for overseeing the unit, who should receive, at a minimum, weekly progress reports so as to hold everybody accountable. The supervisors,
themselves, should have to explain what was going on.

Additionally, anybody working in the unit must be free to go to the district attorney, themselves, with any issue about the unit, so as to avoid the kind of blind obedience to authority even when ordered to do something unethical as has often gone on in district attorneys’ offices.

Catherine Wilson.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Catherine Wilson, Bureau Chief
Northern Westchester

A Cynical Gathering in Yonkers

On Wednesday, March 18th, New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo held a community meeting in Yonkers for local residents to discuss their concerns. Such community outreach efforts help our leaders hear what is on the minds of their constituents. That is, if those leaders actually attend the outreach meetings that they set up. As it was, on March 18th, Andrew Cuomo was nowhere to be found in Yonkers!

The excuse proffered by the Deputy staff was that “Andrew Cuomo is working on the AIG bonus issue and is heavily involved, right now, in trying to get that money back. And that’s the truth!”, a statement that brought the loud applause intended from the two-hundred plus members of the audience.The plethora of news cameras at the rear of the auditorium capturing the event however, could not notice that
the local politicians had been savvy enough to provide a full audience by inviting several local high schools to attend. Given that the event was held in the middle of a work day, and the relative youth of those attending, the politicians had skillfully seen to it that there would not be too many individuals attending who would ask probing questions of the representatives on hand.

Indeed, since the representatives present included Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano, and Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone, it would be difficult for a wary citizen, fearful of retribution, to step forward with complaints of either the County or Yonkers government. The purposely full audience also removed any hope of privacy that such a citizen would desire. The community “outreach” session in Yonkers, therefore, appeared to this reporter’s observations to be really just another media opportunity for the politicians involved.

During the introductory remarks, the deputy staff denoted the various responsibilities of the Attorney General’s Office, among them, “To fight corporate fraud and abuse,” and, “To fight for the little guys”. The applauding youthful audience did not pick up on the fact that had the AG’s Office been doing their job all along, they would have caught the corruption of Madoff and AIG long before now and would
not be currently faced with the embarrassing task of begging for the taxpayers’ money back!

No one on the AG’s staff mentioned the legislative loopholes that were put into place by New York State in September of last year to initiate the bailout of AIG. In an interview with Fox Business News last September, Gov. Paterson explained the actions of the State’s Insurance Department: “Because its (AIG) headquarters is in New York City, it comes under the regulation in our State Insurance Department. So our Superintendent of Insurance authorized that AIG could borrow from its subsidiary corporations and could access their own assets and use them as collateral to create liquidity cash which is what they actually need. And they can do that to the tune of twenty billion dollars.

Secondarily, it opened the door by regulation and by law so now the federal government can put a deal together for some of the other private investment banks. They want someone to put up $580 billion dollars and that’s a prohibitive number but if it can be done, then perhaps AIG can be rescued”.

In other words, New York State was the legislative body that set up the mechanism for the AIG rescue package to begin with! So where
was Andrew Cuomo and his staff last September? Why didn’t they make sure that the initial funds borrowed by AIG could not be used for staff bonuses? Any funds issued by banks or governments can be earmarked for specific uses; governments and corporations restrict the grants they give to nonprofits for limited uses and banks earmark loans they make to individuals and businesses; a car loan may only be used to buy a car, a mortgage may only be used for a house, etc. So why didn’t Andrew Cuomo demand that any funds issued to AIG through New York State legislation or government bailouts could only be used for certain limited business activities?

Why didn’t he earmark the taxpayers’ funds and specifically prohibit their use for executive bonuses? Why didn’t he ward off this debacle when he had the opportunity last September? As State Attorney General, Cuomo had the authority and responsibility to review any legislative changes affecting the state’s insurance regulations.

So why did Andrew Cuomo allow the legal loophole for AIG to be set up by the New York State insurance commissioner and Albany to begin with? Could it have anything to do with the $547,629 of campaign contributions by AIG to New York State legislators, among them Senator Steward, head of the Insurance Committee in Albany, and Governor Paterson? AIG has shared the wealth over the years with a variety of New York State politicians and political players among them George Pataki, Eliot Spitzer, and Nick Spano, ex-New York State Senator from Yonkers. The deputy staff explained to the attendees, “The Attorney General’s staff find fraud and abuse everywhere,” and “We investigate those issues”. They assured the attendees, “We are here to right those wrongs”. But in a session involving labor and Immigration rights, the AG’s staff had no answers at all for several issues the Guardian posed to them.

First and foremost among the concerns of local residents are the extraordinarily high county, local, and school taxes they pay. Several
districts are facing double-digit increases in their school taxes for the 2009/2010 school year. However, when questioning those increases,
the residents are told that up to 90% of the expenses in local school budgets are due to contractual expenses, the teachers and union contracts, that cannot be altered, an excuse that now sounds remarkably similar to the one being offered by AIG executives.

They have the taxpayers’ money and are using the law as a weapon to refuse to give it back, even though what they received with that money is over and above what a reasonable individual should expect to receive. Local residents have a right to investigate if their school district contracts have any extraordinary benefits that the unions should now give back in these difficult times.The Guardian asked the AG
staff if they investigated union contracts for possible irregularities and how a taxpayer could obtain a copy of all current and pending contracts. The response from Alphonso David, an AG Deputy Bureau Chief, “There is no area of law that governs the union contracts!”

According to the Attorney General’s office, an office that claims to “fight corruption wherever it is found” and to be on “the side of the little guy”, they do not investigate labor contracts in New York State at all, contracts that now make up almost 90% of some of our local budgets!

The AG’s office conducts no review of these contracts for legal compliance, no audit of these contracts to assure that all monies provided to
the unions by taxpayers are being spent for the purposes for which they were intended, and no investigations of unions for conflicts of
interest and other legal and ethical violations.

David also told the Guardian that there was nowhere in New York State where a concerned citizen could go to even be able to review a union contract. “If the local municipality refuses to give this to you under a FOIL request”, David said, “There is nothing we can do”. The only suggestion David had for local residents was “To talk to your legislators to have them change the law and provide access.”

In this budget season, the Guardian is therefore asking all school districts to provide copies of all contractual agreements affecting their budgets, union, food service, suppliers, etc., along with line-by-line financial analyses of what each item in the contract costs the local taxpayers so they can vote on what can be eliminated or amended.

No taxpayer should be asked to make what amounts to a blind vote in this economy. As our current President has said, “It’s time for open government”. The taxpayers deserve full access to the opened books and all contractual obligations of their school districts, their towns, and our County government. And the Attorney General’s office should be prepared to back up that access with legal force.At the Attorney General’s event, the Guardian approached Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano and inquired what cutbacks and union concessions
the County government was making to alleviate the economic stress on local residents. Spano sidestepped the issue by answering, “All I am doing is making sure that you get lower taxes; I cut millions out of last year’s budget”. When this reporter reminded Spano that that savings
was primarily the result of shifting expenditures into future years he simply responded, “There was no shifting. We’re the only AAA County in the entire state”.

When we pressed the point and asked “Why should ablebodied individuals be allowed to retire at age 55 on full pensions at taxpayers’ expense?” Spano acknowledged, “This has to come from the state”. However, he argued, “The workers have agreed not to get a raise next year,” not noting that the contractual raises are only 3% to 4% of their base salaries compared to the 12% to 15%, or more, annual contributions to their pensions. Taxpayer groups have calculated that shifting government employees from taxpayer-subsidized pensions to
a personally funded 401K plan would save billions in New York State alone, yet no politician has been brave enough so far to demand
such a change.

When this reporter pressed the issue of union concessions with Spano he responded, “You set me up!” Spano insisted that “we [County government] are not your problem. It’s not the County taxes that are the problem”. This reporter noted that most residents could not afford local taxes to begin with and now that they are trying to recover their lost retirement savings they need a reduction on those taxes. Spano responded, “I hear your frustration. But these are issues for Albany. I asked for givebacks and I got it. We are the only County in the state that got a reduction in healthcare costs.”

This reporter noted that many local residents pay for their own health costs in full. “Why should they then be expected to also subsidize
the health insurance of not only the government workers but also their spouses and children as well? They don’t work for the government and they’re not our families so why are we paying for them?” Spano acknowledged the frustration this reporter expressed on behalf of the many local residents the Guardian has spoken to on this issue. However, he noted “this is out of my hands”.

Andrew Cuomo’s session in Yonkers did reveal several things, however:

1. No one in the AG’s office fights corporate corruption until after the fact, and even then, only when the cameras are rolling; there are no upfront audits and investigations;

2. No one investigates union contracts at all, or conducts audits of the billions being spent by New York State unions; the unions are
not being held accountable at all;

3. Taxpayers have zero rights to obtain, audit, or review any of the local, school district, County, or State contracts affecting their
budgets and tax dollars or be provided with information of pending contracts or contracts being offered to unions and suppliers;

4. County government deflects all questions on contractual issues to the State and the State deflects them back saying “it’s not our job”;

5. The AG’s office spent hundreds o tax dollars on printed materials hat almost no one touched, materials that are all available on
he websites so they did not need o be printed out at all;

6. The political players know how to make an auditorium look good for the cameras and how to manipulate he makeup of the attendees

There was one bright point at this session. The AG’s office, unlike the New York State Courts, at least had the good manners to provide coffee and refreshments for the attendees, correctly sensing that sitting through several hours of political discussions required significant doses of caffeine! But even that gesture served to highlight the current economic difficulties some of our local residents are facing. At the end
of the event, an elderly woman approached the AG’s staff to beg permission to take home one unopened container of milk. Sadly, she fell in her attempt to approach the staff.

When this reporter came to her aid and heard her plea, I cleared the entire table of leftovers for her. But anyone who could really aid her in her plight was no longer around; once the cameras left, the politicians and their staffs beat a hasty retreat. They never saw the impact of our economy unfolding on our residents in their own backyard. They never witnessed the degradation of an elegant elderly woman being
reduced to begging for permission to take home a lousy $1 container of milk. Our leaders were probably in too much of a hurry to get to
the $200 dinners at their next fund raising event, undoubtedly paid for and hosted by the next round of AIG wannabes.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Biking on Copenhagen's Green Wave

The Green Wave in Copenhagen from Colville Andersen on Vimeo.

Ride up for Saturday morning March 28

Meet at 930 am at Hot Foot Lot, WEATHER DEPENDENT check blog Saturday morning after 8am.

This ride is open to anyone who wants to ride, newbie or oldie, does not matter to me. We will do 14 miles or more depending on the group.

BUT, you cannot ride unless you come with 2 water bottles filled with water or gatorade and some snacks. YOU do not need Power bars, any sugary substance works, cheap breakfast bars are fine, but bring food.

Bring 2x what you think you will need.

Wear a helmet and have a spare tube for your bike. I have a pump and CO2 for inflation. Be there by 9:20 am if you need to get bike off of car etc. We leave at 930 am sharp. DO not come flying into the parking at 9:29 and make everyone wait for you.

Go buy a bike bag as well to carry your stuff. If you do not want to buy a bike bag and have pockets that works as well.

BUT you must come prepared and be on time. If you want to ride fast, join another group, this ride is open to all and requires patience if you are a fast rider. ALL are welcome, any level. This is an opportunity to help other ladies get into cycling.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

my clothes came

ladies, i posted this post before, my bike clothes came and the stuff is awesome. Considering the most I spent on a top was $29, I got two for just $14, both tops and shorts look very good.

Suggest you try this site first, order somethings and see if they fit, you can always return them.

I found a great site for bike clothing that is currently running some spectacular close out sales. The company is Voler, click here for website. The top above is selling for $14. Not all tops are available in all sizes. This company's jerseys run true to size and have NO elastic on the bottoms. This is the same company WCCC used to use for our club jerseys. For some unknown reason, WCCC switched to some other company that most of the chicks are not happy with.

I ordered several jerseys and 2 pairs of shorts, again, all on closeout or sale priced. If new to cycling and looking for a bargain, suggest you take a look at the site.

I get no money for saying this!!

Bike Clinic and Bike Fit talk and dinner

March 29

2:45 -4 for Newbies

4:00- 5:00 for oldies and newbies

5-6 for Bike Fit talk for everyone

6-7 potluck dinner for everyone

If you are reading this and this is the first time you have heard of the clinic and dinner, email me at libby.maxim@gmail.com

ALL ARE WELCOME, just email me and let me know.

Also if reading this and you have not gotten any emails about the clinic, email me.

If you are new and have no bike, do not go out and buy one for the clinic. Wait till you hear the bike fit talk.

If you want to learn to change a tire, bring tire levers, I recommend the ones below. Pedros is the brand. Also buy a spare bike tube for your bike and bring it. BRING BIKE as well.

This is a good chain lube and I recommend it, easy to find in most bike stores. Bring some old tshirts or rags to clean bike. DO not bring thick towels to clean bike. Flat rags are best.

how to prevent dropping your chain

We have all dropped our chain while riding, it happens. One way to help avoid this problem is to plan your gear changes more carefully. Let's assume you are in the FLAT TERRAIN gear. If you see a hill approaching, take your right hand and click your derailleur so that your chain moves down the chain rings in back if it is not already there.

Imagine this chain moving away from the bike. This puts your chain on the small rings in back. Not the smallest but the next from the bottom.

As you approach the hill, continue pedaling until it is apparent you need to drop the front chain to a smaller ring. DO this FIRST before moving the back chain.

As the hill gets steeper, you can now easily move your back chain up the rings to the biggest ring for the easiest gear.

This keeps the strain on your chain to a minimum and keeps that front chain from falling off the rings.

If you move the back chain all the way up through the rings first, and then try and drop the front chain, this is when the chain drops.

Avoid this by THINKING before shifting. I know this sounds complicated but it is not.

Try it in your neighborhood, practice downshifting the back chain, then dropping the front chain then raising the back chain all the way up through the rings.

DO this several times so it becomes automatic.

let's move past the 19th Century

How the Bicycle Emancipated Women
by the mag - August 18, 2008 - 9:10 AM

On this date in 1920, Congress ratified the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing women the right to vote. To mark the occasion, we’re re-running Chris Connolly’s piece on the role of the bicycle in the women’s movement.
bicycle.jpgSusan B. Anthony once said, “I think [bicycling] has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.” A woman on a bicycle, the equal rights champion observed, presents “the picture of free and untrammeled womanhood.”

Susan and her fellow 19th-century women had been severely trammeled their entire lives. Forget the glass ceiling; women in those days were trapped under the glass floor. Battles like “equal pay for equal work” were decades away. The Victorian woman’s cause was more along the lines of, “We’d like to leave the house, sometimes … please … if it isn’t too much trouble.”

The fashion for women at that time tended toward helplessness and frailty. Consider the image of a Victorian lady: She’s sickly and pale, relies on men for everything, and occasionally peeks out from behind an ornamental fan (usually before touching her wrist to her forehead and fainting). The frailty of a “lady” was such that preventing females from studying, working, voting and doing much of anything at all seemed a rational measure.

Obviously, there must have been some inclination that at least part of this frailty was socially projected. A gentleman taking a trip to the market must have come across dozens of hardworking women from the lower classes. In fact, he may have employed one such woman to support the proper ladies at his home while they gossiped, blushed and passed out. But men didn’t see those hardworking females as proper ladies. A proper lady was seen as weak, defenseless and entirely dependent on men.

Seven Pounds of Underwear
Clearly, women haven’t undergone any fundamental alterations of their physiological makeup in the last hundred years, so what allows them to live the robust, fainting-free lifestyles they do today?

Foremost, the Victorian lady rarely exercised or engaged in physical activity, which left her poorly conditioned. Secondly, it was fashionable to be frail. Just as American women in the 1950s were expected to become June Cleaver and young girls today aspire to Gwen Stefani-like independence, the Victorian woman was expected to adopt certain behaviors.

The third contributing factor to the frailty of the Victorian lady was clothing. Their garments were typically thick, exaggerating the female form while concealing the flesh. Curves were accentuated by tightly laced corsets, which, when coupled with long and heavy underskirts, greatly limited women’s ability to move or even breathe. (Hence much of the fainting.)

This attire was not only intended to restrict women physically, but morally, too. In a society where the accidental exposure of an ankle took on the pornographic stature of a lap dance, such dress was required to protect a lady’s virtue. In fact, the term “loose” originated to describe a woman who went uncorseted, while “strait-laced” women obeyed societal dictates.

Eventually, some women began to take a stand, and, in 1888, a letter published by The Rational Dress Society—a group of women who argued for reasonable clothing—stated, “the maximum weight of under-clothing (without shoes) approved by The Rational Dress Society, does not exceed seven pounds.”

Seven pounds of underwear? An improvement? That’s more than any jog bra in the world. Clearly, women needed to change their underwear. And that’s where the bicycle came in.

Bloomers: A Gateway Garment?

The Gateway Garment
By the late 1880s, the bicycle’s popularity really took off. For instance, in 1880, a group of early cycling advocates called the League of American Wheelmen had a membership of 40; by 1898, its ranks had bloated to nearly 200,000. Cycling was so popular that in 1896 The New York Journal of Commerce estimated bicycling was costing theaters, restaurants and other businesses over 100 million dollars per year. Considering the way the bicycle was exploding in popularity, it was only natural that women should get in on the act.

victorian-horse.jpgBefore bicycles came along, the horse was the best means of individual travel. Of course, women’s access to horses was limited. Horses were dangerous and difficult to control; conventional medical wisdom suggested that riding them could damage a woman’s genitals. Women were supposed to ride sidesaddle, with both legs hanging off one side. In that unnatural position, women were unable to ride for long distances, reinforcing the idea that they shouldn’t be riding at all.

Bicycles, by comparison, were easy to manipulate. There was no reason a woman couldn’t get on a bike and sedately pedal farther from her home than she’d ever been before. No reason, that is, other than her cumbersome attire and the convention that if she did so, she’d either have her virtue corrupted or die of exhaustion.

In order for women to take part in the new craze without becoming entangled in the bike’s chain, they needed to wear shorter skirts or even (gasp!) bifurcated garments called bloomers. It was also necessary that they leave the house and exert themselves physically—all activities previously considered unladylike.

The severity of the outcry against women participating in these activities is proof of their effectiveness. The brave women who donned rational dress were criticized, denied access to public places and widely mocked in the media. A satirical poem in one U.S. paper, for instance, suggested bloomers were a sort of “gateway garment,” the wearers of which might go on to participate in such dastardly pursuits as business or reading.

Female cyclists were often accosted verbally and physically as they rode. Emma Eades, one of the first women to ride a bike in London, was attacked with bricks and stones. Men and women alike demanded that she go home where she belonged and behave properly.

Many people feared that the unprecedented mobility the bicycle allowed women would corrupt them morally. In fact, a business called The Cyclist’s Chaperon Association provided “gentlewomen of good social position to conduct ladies on bicycle excursions and tours.” These gentlewomen had to satisfy strict criteria to qualify as guardians of virtue. They were married ladies, widows or unmarried ladies over 30. They needed three personal references, two from ladies of unquestionable social position, and another from a clergyman of the church—all this to protect women from becoming morally debased by their bikes.

Even in the face of this overwhelming social condemnation, cycling groups persevered and eventually wrought fundamental changes in society’s view. Women did get out on their bikes and, to everyone’s surprise, didn’t faint or commit egregious moral atrocities. In fact, they discovered what everyone who rides a bike learns: It makes you more fit, more relaxed, and more aware. Women gained increased self-sufficiency, better physical conditioning, and, as a bonus, won some freedom from their restrictive clothing and its attendant social bonds.

The Vehicle of Women’s Lib
The 1900 United States Census Report, released more than 20 years after the introduction of the bicycle, said, “Few articles ever used by man have created so great a revolution in social conditions as the bicycle.” For women, this held especially true.

jacquie.jpgThe bicycle continues to endear itself to free thinkers. Even today, it’s the centerpiece of many reform movements. Jacquie Phelan (pictured), for instance, is a feminist mountain biker who founded WOMBATS, the Women’s Mountain Bike and Tea Society. A three-time world champion voted one of the 10 best mountain bikers of all time, Phelan is a tireless warrior in the fight for equality. She advocates two prices for bikes based on the 59 cents women make to every dollar earned by a man. (She was inspired to take action when she finished sixth in a race and was mistakenly given the $400 dollar men’s prize instead of the $42 allotted to the female finisher.)

As the bicycle continues to lend itself to causes of all kinds, it is important to remember its first battle. Liberating is a word easily associated with cycling. Flying down a tree-lined road with the wind in your face is certainly a liberating experience, but for early female cyclists, a simple bike ride was liberating in a much more significant way.

This article originally appeared in mental_floss magazine, available wherever brilliant (or lots of) magazines are sold.

Monday, March 23, 2009


The news from the Food World is exciting. Michelle Obama is planting a garden at the White House, the New York Times asks "Is a Food Revolution Now in Season"? and my sister announced that she is tearing up her lawn and putting in an organic garden. I think Spring is coming and a bright sun will shine on the mission of Slow Food. Everyone has the right to a clean, fair and healthy food system.

In keeping with our mission, Slow Food Westchester continues to plan events to spread the word. This Wednesday, we are hosting a Sold-Out event with the Westchester and Rockland Dietetic Association at Peter Pratt's. You can learn more about it from my previous blog. It looks like the Press will be there and I will report back on it next week. Don't forget our second, LUNCH BUNCH, next Friday, April 3. Will get back soon on a location. Our monthly BREAKFAST MEETING, at the Bedford Post is on April 14. May 4th we will be hosting a LOCAL TASTING EVENT with the the Westchester and Lower Connecticut Chef's Association at the Doral Arrowood. More on that next week.

Out and about the county there is also much going on. Brian Lewis, of the famous, BEDFORD POST, is doing Sunday evening cooking classes. For $100 dollars you get to learn from best. Sign up yourself or get a group of friends together. You bring your own wine and eat what you cook. What more could you want. Call Deborah Burman at 914-234-7800. They are Sundays, from 5-8.

Also, my friend John Boy is moving down county. His fabulous food will be available at DeCicco's in Ardsley, 21 Center Street. Last week I bought 2 Pork Shoulders from John at the County Center and my family has been enjoying them all week. We had Pulled Pork, Carnitas, Asian Pork in Lettuce Wraps and have more in the freezer.

Have a great week and happy eating.

YOU must carry food and drink for bike rides


Many ladies have a hard time eating and drinking on bike rides terrified of the calories. This is just plain stupid. YOU must carry good food and drinks while riding. We had a chick yesterday bonk on just a 10 mile ride. SO ride length is not the determining factor. Your calorie needs ARE.

Picture above is what my son carried on a 63 miles ride. The pic above does NOT include his beverages. In order to bike, you must eat and drink along the way. Dieting during a ride is again, just plain stupid.

You bike to have fun, not to lose weight. Things to carry on bike.

1. Gatorade or whatever beverage you like in your water bottles. Carry TWO bottles of a good drink.

2. Two to FOUR Power Bars or equivalent.

3. Stick some bananas in your jersey pockets and GET some bike bags for your bike. Highly recommend these.


I use this bag and like it as it has lots of room and attaches to the seat well. Easy to get it off, simply twist and the bag comes off while the bag holder stays in place.


I also use this bag. It is handy for your snacks, phone, camera and things you want to grab easily.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

shifting gears

We have had two great newbie rides so far this season. Lots of new faces and chicks on brand new bikes. But we do have ONE problem that I want to address.

Shifting Gears 101

1. Before coming on a ride, YOU MUST take your bike out in your neighbor and practice shifting gears.

2. Most women's bikes have 3 chain rings up front. Don't panic if your bike only has two.

3. Front chain rings are controlled with LEFT HAND. The biggger the ring up front, the harder it is to pedal

4. The back chain rings range from 7-10 rings. Really not sure.

5. TO move chain on back chain rings use RIGHT HAND.

Hill climbing gear is small ring up front and large ring in the back.

Flat terrain gear is large ring up front and middle or lower chain ring in back.

PLEASE go out and practice using ALL of your gears, as it is very hard for me to try and tell you how to shift on busy roads.

To move the chain up to the big ring up front takes a GOOD push on the lever. DO IT. And practice doing it.

When Chicks ride, we use the flat terrain gear a lot and in order to not fall behind, you must get comfortable with riding in the flat terrain gear.

world bike map

View Larger Map

Click on View Larger Map, look on left column, look at the lower part and click on a location, take your cursor and move the map around, enjoy some scenes of nifty bike lanes and bike friendly communities.
There are 3 in the USA and the others are in Europe.

will get pics today and post

got pics from last big group ride and will get pics today and post on the blog in a slideshow, supposed to hit 60, remember this ride has two parts, you can do 24 miles or just 13, depending on what you choose.

Either meet at my house at 12:45 or at Cheyney U at 1:30

hope to see lots of you

Saturday, March 21, 2009

you might be a bike weenie if....

You hear someone had a crash and your first question is "How's the bike?"

You have stopped even trying to explain to your husband why you need two bikes...you just go buy another one and figure it will all work out in the divorce settlement.

You buy your crutches instead of renting.

You convert your car's brake & gas pedals to clipless.

You see nothing wrong with discussing the connection between hydration and urine color.

You refuse to buy a couch because that patch of wallspace is taken up by the bike.

You have more money invested in your bike clothes than in the rest of your combined wardrobe.

Biker chick means black spandex, not leather, and a Marinoni, not a Harley.

You see a fit, tanned, Lycra-clad young woman ride by, and the first thing you check out is her bicycle.

Despite all that winter weight you put on, you'll skim weight by buying titanium components

You use wax on your chain, but not on your car.

Your bike bag consists of an outdated Power Bar, one tire lever, a questionable patch kit, a run-over spoke wrench, an all-in-one, a rusty allen wrench, change with god knows what stuck on it, a couple of tubes without a clue which one has a hole, and that peanut butter sandwich you swore you brought on the ride two weeks ago, all tucked into a bag the size of your fist.

Your first course when you eat out is a large banana split.

You yell "On Your Left!" when passing another car.

You yell "Hole!" when you see a pothole while driving your car.

Your bike has more miles on its computer then your car's odometer.

You wear your riding gloves when driving your car.

You wear your bike shorts swimming.

Your bikes are worth more than your car.

You buy a mini-van and immediately remove the rear seats to allow your bike(s) to fit .

You have more bike jerseys than dress shirts.

You take your bike along when you shop for a car - just to make sure the bike will fit inside. (Tom Weaver)

You use the Yakima or Thule Fit catalog to pick your next new car instead of Consumer Reports.

You start yelling at cars to "hold your line."

You view crashes as an opportunity to upgrade components.

You clean your bike(s) more often then your car.

You install bike mounts in the back of your van or pickup truck.

You're on the Board of Directors for a Bike Club.

You spend weeks during the summer spraying arrows on the sides of roads.

You and your significant other have and wear identical riding clothes.

You mount a $600 cap, on a $1,000 pickup truck, so your $3,000 bike doesn't get wet.

You put your bike in your car and the value of the total package increases by a factor of 4 (or better).

You can't seem to get to work by 8:30 AM, even for important meetings, but you don't have any problems at all meeting your buddies at 5:30 AM for a hammerfest.

You can tell your wife, with a straight face that it's to hot to mow the lawn and then bike off for a century.

You regard inter-gender discussion of your genital pain/size/shape/utility as normal.

Your New Years resolution is to put more miles on your bike than your car, and you do it.

Your kids bring a rear derailleur to "Show & Tell".

Your car sits outside your garage because your garage is full of bikes and cycling gear.

You know your Bike Nashbar customer number by heart.

There is no time like the present, for postponing what you ought to be doing, and go bicycling instead...

by Barb Bergin