Shop owner and founder , Willis has developed a solid collection of cycling caps over the years. Many being his own and some donations from fellow cyclists and friends. The majority are on display at the shop above our comfy couch, come by, have a seat and take a look.
Bronx native and long time friend of Tijon, one of our mechanics stopped by the shop today. The conversation ranged from bikes to politics and to never having ridden on the Williamsburg bridge.
New York city has always had a strong presence of bicycle messengers since the invention of the bicycle. Anyone who has witnessed 5pm car traffic on 6th avenue can understand why. And let’s not get started on our wonderful train system, where the program can range from live jazz music to live fist fights.
The growing subculture of bike messengers developed a culture of urban cycling and a form of establishing bragging rights in the streets; Alley-cat races.
Alley-cat races are bicycle races take place predominantly in urban cities with strong messenger presence. Many cities across the world with a growing presence of street cycling culture have adapted the idea and hosted their own versions. Usually coordinated by messengers, the races are almost always unsanctioned; so no the streets are not closed solely for the race. The first recorded “alley-cat” race took place in Toronto in 1989. Through a group of messengers who wanted to settle and establish bragging rights amongst themselves. The concept spread and grew in different cities around the world.
Monster Track is the most challenging and longest running alley-cat on Earth. This year making it the 17th annual race. Monster Track’s reputation attracts racers who live beyond NYC county lines. The starting line sees riders of many different backgrounds and ways of life. This years race saw riders from Spain, Boston, New Jersey, D.C, Philly, Cali, Chicago.The list goes on.
These races are a form of competition not conformed by rules and regulations like those of official races.
Only two rules; Fixed gear. No brakes.
The moments before the race were filled with angst and confusion. The original registration point was at Ace bar on E. 5th street between Avenue A and Avenue B. Once the number of people got too high, we were all dismissed to Tompkins square park a couple of blocks away where the anticipation continued. The point of registration bounced back and forth between 5th street and Tompkins square park.
Monster Track is simple.. before it begins. Once you have registered to race, you then have to wait to receive the manifest . The manifest contains the list of checkpoints all through out the city that each racer must reach.
The start of this years race had a slight twist. In order for the racers to receive a manifest, they were required to buy a scratch-off lottery ticket. As soon as the announcement was made, a swarm of 100+ frenzied cyclists rush to any and all nearby corner stores.
Our in-house photographer, Tico covered the race and also one of the check points; 7 Hanover square.
Once a racer completes the manifest, they must return to the start of the race where they receive the second and final manifest.
Deluxe cycles was honored to have our shop be one of the final checkpoints in the race. The finish line was at Beast of Bourbon in Brooklyn.