I tried riding an e-bike, and it was nothing like I expected

I was lost. That alone wouldn’t have been cause for alarm, but I was trying to maneuver a strange machine down the street at the time. As a car whizzed only inches away from my unshielded body, I started to think that leaving my phone at the bike shop was a bad idea.

It all started when New York City declared electric bikes legal a few weeks ago. These increasingly popular inventions are bikes with motors, kind of a cross between regular bikes and motorcycles. They use less energy than cars, making them relatively sustainable. So it was easy for Trek Bikes to lure me out to try one of their newest e-bike models. They directed me to the most Brooklyn kind of store imaginable: a bike shop/coffeeshop called the Sun & Air Bike Store.

A bike store employee pulled out a black bike that looked like it had gotten an MBA and was now working for Microsoft. As I examined the slick, heavy frame, noticing the “turbo” motor setting on an embedded display panel, I wondered if I’d perhaps bitten off more than I could chew. I hadn’t ridden a bike more than once or twice since moving to the city, mostly because the idea was terrifying. A few years ago, my roommate came home from his bike delivery job with a chin that wouldn’t stop bleeding due to a serious cut and a lack of health insurance. He’d been riding down the street, and a car door opened suddenly, smacking him in the face. And he was a pro rider on a regular bike; I was about to be an amateur on a weird invention.

“I’m a bit nervous about riding in New York,” I told the bike store worker.
“Do you have a bike?” she asked.
“In Illinois,” I responded.
She laughed. I might as well have told her I was still on training wheels.
“Take the bike lane down the block until you hit the water. Then you can ride back up the next block,” she told me. “Hm, is your bag in the way? I can hold onto that.”

me on a bike at brooklyn cycle shop© Sun & Air Bike Shop

We brought the bike outside. She looked at me for a moment as though unsure whether I knew how to put a kickstand up. It must have been a tough moment for her. After all, if she asked me, then she might embarrass me. And if she didn’t ask, I could end up badly injured.

She didn’t ask.

After giving her my worldly possessions, including my phone and wallet, I started riding. As I felt the wind brush past my face, I was hit by a wave of nostalgia. I missed this, I realized. I loved riding bikes, I’d just forgotten. I wondered when the motor would kick in; it was supposed to be automated. But I couldn’t hear a motor or feel my bike moving when I wasn’t peddling.

A few other cyclists passed me, smiling in a suspiciously not New Yorkery way. I was part of a different society now, I realized. I was a bike person. When we reached the water, I saw them take off down a different bike lane. Caught up in warm feelings of camaraderie, I followed them instead of going back to the store. I could always turn back, right?

I ended up following various bikers down paths for half an hour. I’d never noticed that there were so many bike lanes in the city; they were everywhere. I rode more than I had in years, but somehow, I didn’t get tired, even when I rode uphill. The motor was working, I realized, it was just working subtly. I’d expected the e-bike to feel a bit like a motorcycle, but it actually just felt like I’d become the Hulk and started riding a regular bike. I could peddle forever. Eventually, the buildings around me started getting bigger, and I realized I was in a different neighborhood. I knew I should go back. But as I surveyed the streets, I reached the unfortunate conclusion that I was completely lost.

“You didn’t bring your phone?” my roommate asked me when I told him about this later. He stopped washing dishes, overcome with my stupidity. “I would never do that.”

But I considered myself a wilderness-savvy kind of gal. I’m no phone-addicted Millennial, I told myself. I don’t need GPS. I can do this the old-fashioned way. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Since I was somewhere in Brooklyn, and the store was on the East River, I just needed to follow the sun until I hit water. I rode off for another 20 minutes and found myself … back where I’d come up with that brilliant idea. The celestial bodies were not impressed with my wilderness skills.

As I rode on feeling an increasing sense of dread, the bike lanes disappeared, and I realized I’d have to join the cars. I had no choice. Well, technically I could have turned around, but then other bikers would see and know I wasn’t a real cyclist, and that was simply unacceptable. So I merged into traffic.

electric bike with display© moreimages/Shutterstock

My heart beat wildly as I joined the road, every car a potential lion on this Serengeti. I peddled slowly and anxiously. A car passed me, lumbering awkwardly right next to me in an effort to get wherever it was going half a second faster. And then I remembered turbo mode.

I’d ridden on a street once before, years ago, and I’d found the experience terrifying. I couldn’t go nearly fast enough, and I ended up panting as they swerved around me. But as I turned on turbo mode and zoomed by a car, I realized that this time, it was different. I could keep up with the cars. Propelled by newfound confidence and a fancy motor, I decided to ask someone for directions.

Hey, do you know which way it is to the water?” I asked a construction worker.
“What avenue?”
“Just … the water.”
He stared at me the same way the bike store worker had when I told her my bike was in Illinois. But he gave me the directions.

Eventually, miraculously, I pulled up to the bike shop.

“Wow, you were out for so long,” said the bike store employee when I lugged the bike back inside. “I was a little worried.”

“Yeah, I got excited,” I told her, trying to come off like a pro bike enthusiast rather than a newbie who can’t tell east from west.

When I got home, I checked out a map to figure out where I’d been. I’d ridden way, way farther than I thought. I hadn’t just gone to a different neighborhood, I’d gone to a different part of the borough. You could really get around on that thing.

The experience made me realize that riding bikes in the city is more doable than I’d thought. There are actually a good deal of bikes lanes, and regular lanes aren’t as scary as I’d feared. Maybe that’s why an e-bike rep at the bike shop had told me that he’s seeing people on e-bikes everywhere now. They’re hugely popular in Europe, and they’re experiencing a boom in the U.S.

I’ve often imagined a world in which cities are full of bike lanes rather than roads. Now I’m thinking that e-bikes could make this dream a lot more feasible, especially for people who aren’t absurdly fit cyclers. You don’t need strong legs to get around on one of those things. You just need the know-how to ride a bike. And, preferably, a phone.

Source Article from https://www.treehugger.com/bikes/tried-riding-e-bike.html

Chilling Video Shows Cop Taser Boy Riding ATV—from His Patrol Car—Killing Him


It took nearly nine months and several petitions by the Detroit Free Press until Michigan State Police (MSP) and Detroit Police allowed the body camera and dash camera footage to be released showing the minutes leading up to and the hours following the tasing murder of Damon Grimes by MSP Trooper Mark Bessner. The 16 hours of recordings show the horror, outrage, and insensitive comments made by many officers on the scene. One video even recorded the moment of his death.

As TFTP reported, Bessner attempted to force Grimes to pull his ATV off of the road by shooting his taser at him. The thoughtless plan backfired when Grimes apparently seized and slammed into the back of a parked pickup truck—killing him.

The mid-August killing of the rising 9th grader stunned not only the community but Grimes’ family who immediately began calling for justice. They also filed a $50 million lawsuit against the Michigan State Police and demanded an inquiry into the death of their beloved family member.

Now, video has been released showing how this horrific incident unfolded.

Bessner radioed in the incident. He said:

Give us priority…Chasing an ATV east on Rossini from Reno. It’s a red quad. Black male, black shirt…He’s got a pulse, and he’s breathing. He’s unconscious…He slowed down. We tased him, and he crashed out.

Grimes was killed in August of 2017 when Bessner and his partner were pursuing him. Grimes was riding an all-terrain vehicle on the street when Bessner, sitting as a passenger in the MSP squad car, fired his taser through the passenger window hitting Grimes who then presumably lost control of his ATV and slammed into the back of a parked pickup truck.

Grimes was killed as a result of the traumatic brain injury he sustained during the crash. However, he did have a pulse for some time after the accident, but died on the scene and was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

In the video compiled by the Detroit Free Press, some officers voiced insensitivity and others outrage during the teenager’s final dying moments. One officer, Detroit Police officer Kimberly Buckner can be heard saying, “His pulse is weakening because he was on that fuckin’ thing,” after one officer radioed the uncertainty of whether or not Grimes had a pulse any longer.

Another officer reported to Buckner what the MSP Trooper (Bessner) had done to the boy, implying the horrific nature of their actions. He told her, “They fuckin’ tased his ass while he was cruisin’.”

Other officers were not so understanding and failed to realize Grimes had just finished the 8th grade. An officer told Buckner, “That’s a grown-ass man,” he said of Grimes, who was a 6-foot-1, 234-pound teenager. She corrected him saying, “No, he’s 15…. He’s 15 years old.” The male officer remarked with what seems to be heartless indifference and disassociation. He said:

He’s a bad-ass 15…No sympathy at all for bullshit. Motherfucker wanna be grown, ya act grown, you gotta fuckin’ deal with it.

Hardly an adult, Grimes was likely expected to make mistakes by the community and his family. Little did he likely suspect a cavalier rogue cop would attempt to tase him as he rode his ATV through the streets. There was some indication Grimes did not even know he was being pursued by the Michigan State troopers. The footage seems to indicate the patrol car’s emergency lights were not even on at the time he was tased.

Another reportedly insensitive comment made by a male officer serves to illustrate the us vs. the public mentality some cops who were on the scene apparently possess. He said:

Don’t run from the State Police, you’ll get fucked up.

Buckner continued to be the voice of reason among the police officers. She can be heard whispering to fellow cops, “They tased his ass while he was driving…causing him to flip and crash.”

Tasing anyone from a moving vehicle is a violation of Michigan State Police policy. As a result, county prosecutor Kym Worthy charged Bessner with murder. He is currently in jail awaiting trial being held on a one million dollar bond.

As one member of the community remarked in the days and weeks following the boy’s murder, “two mistakes were made that day.” It’s true, Grimes should not have been riding his bike on the road. And it’s also true Bessner should never have thought about deploying his taser from one moving vehicle to attempt to strike another person on another moving vehicle.

One action was a misdemeanor. The other was a felony, allegedly committed by a man who should have been better trained, more understanding, and looking out for the safety of his 8th grade suspect. Either way, it’s a senseless tragedy which could have been avoided.

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Source Article from https://thefreethoughtproject.com/chilling-video-released-showing-teens-tasing-death-while-riding-atv-killed-by-cowboy-cop/

PTSD plummets for veterans who try horseback riding

A new study found that PTSD scores dropped 87 percent after just six weeks of therapeutic horsemanship sessions.

Spoiler: The moral of the story is never underestimate the power of horses.

By some estimates, more than 23 million military veterans experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) each year, described by Rebecca Johnson as “an anxiety disorder that occurs after exposure to life-threatening events or injuries and is marked by flashbacks, avoidance, and changes in beliefs and feelings.”

While counseling and behavior therapies are often prescribed to help treat the symptoms of PTSD, complementary therapies like therapeutic horseback riding (THR) have also been put into play. Johnson, a professor in the University Of Missouri-Columbia College of Veterinary Medicine and the Millsap Professor of Gerontological Nursing in the Sinclair School of Nursing, was interested in exploring how useful THR could be in treating PTSD. And thus, the study “Effects of therapeutic horseback riding on post-traumatic stress disorder in military veterans” was born.

Working with a nearby Veterans Administration (VA) hospital, 29 military veterans suffering from PTSD were introduced to a THR program once a week for six weeks. In these sessions, they learned basic horsemanship skills and completed tasks on horseback. The hour-long classes consisted of grooming and interacting with the horse before riding, applying the riding tack to the horse, then riding with a horse leader. They also had side walkers until they were capable and comfortable enough to ride alone.

The horses that worked in the study were chosen by a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH)-certified riding instructor for their fitness and experience of being ridden by adults. The study notes, “As part of the ethics approvals, the VA Research and Development Animal Component of Research Protocol (ACORP) involved a visit by a VA-affiliated veterinarian to the riding centers to verify the welfare and husbandry conditions for the horses.”

PTSD symptoms were measured after three weeks and again after six weeks, using the PTSD Checklist-Military Version assessment, as well as other tests, to assess improvements made in the treatment of the anxiety disorders.

“Results showed that participants in the program experienced a significant decrease in PTSD scores, almost 67 percent, after just three weeks of THR,” Johnson says. “After six weeks, participants experienced an 87 percent drop in PTSD scores.”

And maybe even more remarkable is that some of the participants had been suffering PTSD from the Vietnam War. “Interestingly, the veterans who self-identified for the study all were from the Vietnam War era meaning that some of these military veterans had been experiencing PTSD symptoms for 40 or 50 years,” added Johnson.

Most of us who have known and loved horses understands how powerful they can be. And of course the same goes for therapy animals of every stripe. Tucked away in the study was the following paragraph, showing how help can come in surprising ways.

One gentleman who was a Vietnam war veteran said that he did not want to participate, but his wife encouraged him to come. However, after his first session (which occurred the week before the University went on spring break and the THR was also on recess), he thought that it was too bad to have to wait 2 weeks to do this again. This veteran not only completed the study, he expressed interest in continuing to volunteer at the riding center after completion of the study.

We tend to think that animals need us; but what if it’s the other way around? In the case of military veterans and the tragic reality of PTSD, healing may very well come in the guise of four legs and a whinny.

Source Article from https://www.treehugger.com/animals/ptsd-scores-plummet-veterans-who-try-therapeutic-horseback-riding.html

Video Shows Cop Snap, Hold Innocent Man at Gunpoint for Riding His Bicycle and Filming


DeSoto, TX — A deeply disturbing video was submitted to the Free Thought Project this week showing a Desoto police officer pull out his gun and threaten an innocent man in a department store parking lot.

The video has sparked a massive backlash against the DeSoto police department as it began being shared online.

In the video, a person riding his bicycle is filming in a parking lot. He then videos a police SUV off in the distance and proceeded to catch up with the vehicle.

Whether the videographer’s intent was to deliberately film the cop or whether he was merely traveling in the same direction of the cop is irrelevant as neither of these scenarios is illegal and neither of them warranted the response from the cop.

As the man filming continued to travel behind the cop on his bicycle, the cop the suddenly slams on his brakes, jumps out of his SUV, and draws down on the completely innocent person.

Illustrating the nature of the overreaction, the cop holds his pistol trained on the cyclist for a few seconds before jumping into his police cruiser and speeding off.

Let there be no doubt about it, this officer committed a serious crime.

Under Article 42.12, Section 3g of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Aggravated Assault With a Deadly Weapon is grouped with the most serious offenses, like murder, sexual assault, and aggravated kidnapping.

In Texas, regular assault can be committed by hurting someone, making an imminent threat to hurt someone, or causing offensive physical contact with someone. This means that the crime of “Aggravated Assault With a Deadly Weapon” can be committed without actually HURTING anyone with a weapon.

What this DeSoto police officer did is considered under Texas law to be “Aggravated Assault With a Deadly Weapon.”

Aggravated Assault is defined Texas Penal Code 22.02 and is typically a second-degree felony, punishable by 2 to 20 years in the state penitentiary and a fine up to $10,000. However, if this assault is committed against a police officer, it becomes a first-degree felony.

Nowhere in the code, however, does it mention what happens with a police officer commits Aggravated Assault against a citizen.

This officer needs to be investigated immediately and removed from the force as he is a threat to those around him.

Had a citizen done this to another citizen, rest assured, police would be dispatched and a manhunt would be underway for the person who presented the gun.

The Free Thought Project contacted the DeSoto Police Department to inquire about the officer in the video. The department gave up no information on the identity of the officer and they only released the following statement:

The DeSoto Police Department is aware of a video that is circulating on the internet. The Department has received the video and the incident is currently under review. We appreciate everyone’s concern as it relates to this matter.

As you watch the video below, try to imagine what would happen if anyone else but a cop behaved in this way. After you imagine that, ask yourself why it is that this officer has yet to be arrested and his mugshot published in the local news for felony aggravated assault.

A double standard, indeed.





Source Article from http://thefreethoughtproject.com/video-shows-cop-snap-hold-innocent-man-gunpoint-riding-bicycle-filming/

Riding the ‘CannaBus’: CNN Aids Stoners with Gas Mask Bong Rips

New Year’s Eve Live
December 31, 2017
10:11:08 PM Eastern

ANDERSON COOPER: I want to go to Randi Kaye. She’s joining us again along with – well, she’s in Colorado where I guess recreational marijuana use –

ANDY COHEN: She’s surrounded by weed. Did you get me the –

COOPER: She’s on a pot bus, basically. How’s it going, Randi?

RANDI KAYE: It’s doing great! I’m definitely earning the nickname Kush Kaye, that’s for sure. Oh, yeah! Come on. Everybody knows what Kush is. So listen, I came prepared this year. I thought maybe I would bring a gas mask with me, so I wouldn’t get that contact high. But look at what’s on the other end of the gas mask. Yes, a bong! And of course, they couldn’t stand to see a bong that didn’t have any cannabis in it, so you actually put it in the bong. [Cooper covers his face in embarrassment] You filled it up. And you don’t want –

UNIDENTIFIED STONER: Yeah, we packed it. We packed the bong.

KAYE: You packed it. Okay, now. So now, you’re going to celebrate a little New Year’s early?

UNIDENTIFIED STONER: I’m going to be honest with you, I’ve never hit one of these before.

KAYE: Yeah right. [Cooper again covers his face] I don’t think this is really what a gas mask is used for, but, wow! Okay! This is New Year’s Eve Denver style.

COOPER: This is legal in Colorado!

COHEN: I know! I’m moving to Colorado.

KAYE: It is legal. It is very legal here. Wow! But we are making our way to a puff, pass, and paint party. Anderson, go.

COOPER: So just explain, you’re on a bus, right? It’s a bus with moving lights, it’s like the electric Kool-Aid acid test bus.


COOPER: Where are you heading next to? Some sort of paint party?

KAYE: I hope you can see me through the smoke here. It’s a puff, pass, and paint party. So, you puff, then you pass, and then you paint. So, everyone has their own canvas. Puff, pass, and paint. And the best thing is, we’re going to make these cannabis-infused cocktails. So things are going to get really crazy. Oh, what? Oh, and look at this! Cannabis infused wine, right here. Imagine that. See, all kinds of fun stuff happens on the CannaBus.


KAYE: The CNN handbook says do not imbibe on live TV.

COOPER: I’m all behind that.

COHEN: But what about Don Lemon, has he seen that?

COOPER: I don’t know.


Source Article from https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/nicholas-fondacaro/2018/01/01/riding-cannabus-cnn-aids-stoners-gas-mask-bong-rips

Cop Who Murdered Innocent Child Riding An ATV Had Trigger Happy History But Was Never Fired


Former Michigan State Trooper Mark Bessner was charged with murder last week in the tasing death of 15-year-old Damon Grimes. The officer’s sordid work history now being revealed shows he left a trail of destructive, reckless, and cowardly behavior in his wake. Despite numerous lawsuits and attempts to discipline the officer, his on-duty unlawful actions were only stopped after they led to the death of an innocent unarmed child.

As we reported this summer, Bessner attempted to force Grimes to pull his ATV off of the road by shooting his taser at him. The thoughtless plan backfired when Grimes apparently seized and slammed into the back of a parked pickup truck killing him instantly.

The mid-August killing of the rising 9th grader stunned not only the community but Grimes’ family who immediately began calling for justice. They also filed a $50 million lawsuit against the Michigan State Police and demanded an inquiry into the death of their beloved family member.

According to the Detroit Press, Bessner was involved in several controversial deployments of his taser. They write:

State police wanted to suspend Bessner for 10 days for firing his Taser twice at a handcuffed man who was running away in 2016. But an arbitrator said there was no “just cause” for discipline.

Unfortunately, as TFTP has reported to the point of exhaustion, few officers are ever disciplined for unlawful and unethical actions committed while on duty. Not only do many if not most receive a paid suspension, often the suspension never leads to the officers’ firing. In the rare occasion when an officer is fired, they simply become “gypsy cops” going from one department to another until they screw up again, or kill someone like Bessner did. His work history is no different.

In 2014, Bessner also fired his Taser at a suspect who was handcuffed during a traffic stop in Detroit. He agreed to a five-day suspension, records show, but four days were eventually dropped.

The slap on the wrist one-day suspension was not enough behavior modification to keep Bessner from using his Taser to attack people. Just months later, Grimes was killed and now the former officer is being held on a $1 million bond while he awaits his trial for murder. Not even the Michigan State Police are standing with him, either. Spokesman Lt. Mike Shaw said:

His behavior was criminal. We’re not trying to pull the rug over anyone’s eyes.

Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy did not mince words. She said there was no reason for the officer to deploy his taser on the teenager, especially from a moving vehicle. But Bessner, as previously noted, had been accused on multiple occasions of using excessive force. Most of those accusations resulted in lawsuits which were later dismissed. But one case of recklessness was never solved. Not only did he taser people with reckless abandon, even people who were already in handcuffs, he drove his police-issued cruiser in equally as reckless fashion. According to the Detroit Press:

Bessner’s personnel file also shows he faced a misconduct allegation in March. State police said he was driving at high speed without emergency lights or sirens. The case apparently wasn’t resolved before he quit last fall.

That accusation, as TFTP has reported, is the number one reason police officers get killed while on duty—death by vehicle—with the officers being the only occupant on most occasions. Unfortunately, not only was the officer not disciplined by his department, given a slap on the wrist when he was disciplined and had his court cases dismissed, but he kept his position as an officer of the peace long enough for him to become known in cop watcher circles as a “killer cop.”

Now, the family of this innocent child will have to live the rest of their lives knowing this “killer cop” should’ve never had a badge in the first place and their son’s death could’ve been prevented if departments actually held their own officers accountable.


Source Article from http://thefreethoughtproject.com/michigan-state-police-officer-charged-murder-tasing-child-riding-atv/

Beautiful horse-riding Russian postwoman becomes AliExpress face in China


A Russian postwoman who delivers mail to villages around Moscow on horseback has become the face of online trading platform AliExpress. She gained two million fans in China after a documentary about her job aired on a Chinese channel.

Maria Rubtsova from Moscow relocated to the capital’s suburbs to work for the Russian Post in 2015. Now, the 24-year-old is delivering mail to eight villages in her area. Unlike other carriers, she doesn’t walk on foot or ride a bicycle but rides a black horse named Cosmos to make her deliveries.

“The young woman impressed the officials from the Chinese company [AliExpress] … After the documentary about the amazing postwoman was released in China, she gained almost two million fans,” Russian Post said in a statement.

A report about the horse-riding postwoman filmed by China’s CGTN TV channel was aired in October. The channel reported that 90 percent of all packages delivered by Maria come from Chinese online stores. The horsewoman was even a guest at the Global Shopping Festival event held in Shanghai last weekend.

“I’m sure that I won’t only get pleasant impressions of China, but also receive new tips about how the online trade is organized,” Rubtsova said ahead of her trip.

Apart from her job, Maria takes care of two horses, a calf, goats, ducks, hens and three dogs.

AliExpress, owned by Chinese online retailer Alibaba, is the most popular shopping website in Russia with a monthly customer base estimated at 15 million people. The company has attracted more than 100 million international shoppers since it started in 2010, according to the president of Alibaba’s business-to-business unit Dai Shan.



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Source Article from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TheEuropeanUnionTimes/~3/kE1tLSknVjU/

Harrowing viral footage shows 3-year-old riding a 20-foot python

Shocking footage that shows a little boy riding a 20-foot python in the streets of northern Vietnam is quickly making its way around the internet. 

In the video, a three-year-old named Truong is happily straddling the reptile like a horse, swimming in the devastating flood waters that have rampaged the area. According to multiple reports, the snake is actually a family pet, kept at home in the province of Thanh Hoa. 

Truong’s aunt asserts the footage is real, maintaining the little boy truly enjoys playing with the almost 180-pound reptile. 

She said, “He is three years old and the python is 80kg. The family have had the python for four years as a pet and it is very gentle.It was a rainy day and the water flooded to the edge of the yard. So they put the python in there to play and relax,” according to The Daily Mail

Making its way around the internet, the footage has astounded viewers, many of whom are concerned for the toddler’s well-being. 

“Just takes 2 seconds and 6 men wouldn’t get that child out if it’s clutch. Sadly, only a matter of time!” one commentator said. 

Commented another, “He looks peaceful until he needs a feed. Oh Yuk. I hate snakes.”

Scroll through for some more wild reptilian footage:



Source Article from https://www.yahoo.com/news/harrowing-viral-footage-shows-3-155607157.html