POV

Alley Cat

As I was waiting for the racers to come in on the busy block, two guys hanging out by the deli nearby started beating on a man for a reason unknown to myself, only in the jungle known as Brooklyn

Story and Photos by Andrew Rodriguez - andrew@kodezero.com

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The sun was shining, the streets were buzzing and I was in a t-shirt, worth noting with the inconsistent weather these days. It was Friday the 13 and ironically I was off to experience the last thing most would want to do on this unlucky day.

Tony Monroe A.K.A “Stoned Tone”, a bike messenger and well-known bicycle advocate in the New York City scene, organizes an alleycat race every Friday the 13th. The thought of weaving through rush hour traffic at the beginning of a weekend on this day would make any superstitious person run the other way with their arms flailing. Still, Tone was able to create a great turnout with forty competitors showing up, the biggest Friday the 13th race yet.

For those of you who don’t know what an alleycat is, it’s a renegade bike race where participants are given a number of checkpoints to stop at. It’s up to the racer to choose their route and what order they wish to do the checkpoints throughout the open streets of NYC. No regular cyclist rules apply in the race to the finish.

Map photo© Andrew Rodriguez

I chose not to take part in this race because my weed smoking habit has recently been giving me bad chest congestion and it was Friday the 13th, after all. Tone had gathered a great group of diverse riders with regulars like two-time Monstertrack winner Crihstian Thormann and Red Bulls sponsored rider, Austin Horse. There were also a handful of unfamiliar faces of what seemed to be adrenaline junkie commuters.

Tone abruptly started the race and the riders whizzed out of Tompkins Sq park as I headed to the finish in Brooklyn on Myrtle Ave. Tone warned the racers to stay off the sidewalk at the finish and not to disturb the Myrtle Ave. regulars as they won’t hesitate to cause a problem. Boy was he right. As I was waiting for the racers to come in on the busy block, two guys hanging out by the deli nearby started beating on a man for a reason unknown to myself, only in the jungle known as Brooklyn.

Calm before the storm photo© Andrew Rodriguez

The first racer to finish was Austin Horse, Cooper Ray, another known racer in the community finished second. Crihs finished fourth, regretting his decision to ride a fixed gear instead of a road bike since his helmet cam footage revealed him riding down the Riverside Highway for a good part of the race. Racers got free beer at the finish at Red Lantern bicycles at 345 Myrtle Ave.  Red Lantern Bicycles is a bike and coffee shop by day and a bar by night with live music and plenty of space to bring your bike inside while you drink, can’t ask for much more. Definitely a place worth stopping by if you’re into cycling and drinking.

While a regular called this race amateur hour because of another racer running into him, this alleycat had all the telltale signs. Competitors came back with stories of evading police officers and confrontations with cab drivers, a cyclist’s worst enemy. It was another great alleycat thrown by Tone, complimented by the beautiful weather.

2 Responses to “Alley Cat”

  1. […] CBK: What made you decide to start filming these alleycats? […]

  2. […] if alleycats weren’t dangerous enough, the lack of street and traffic lights, and the abundance of unguided […]