[Cu-wireless] Fwd: [telecom-cities] Wi-Fi on Two Wheels

Todd Boyle tboyle at rosehill.net
Wed May 5 13:32:57 CDT 2004

This is right up your alley!

Date: Wed, 05 May 2004 10:12:42 -0400
To: "Urban Technology & Telecommunications" <telecom-cities at forums.nyu.edu>
From: Shreyas Pandit <shreyas at stealth.net>
Subject: [telecom-cities] Wi-Fi on Two Wheels
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Yury Gitman is not the average cyclist from Brooklyn. His goal is to bring 
more easily accessible free wireless hotspots to the masses. To do this, he 
has created what he calls the Magicbike, a bicycle equipped with a laptop, 
power supply and antenna. Gitman's bike has allowed people in NYC to browse 
the internet freely in local parks and gardens. 'I am like the ice cream 
man, but with no music and I deliver free wireless access and not ice cream'.


Wi-Fi on Two Wheels

Magicbike delivers wireless Internet connections to New York City.

By Lindsey Arent, Tech Live

Yury Gitman's bike is unlike any two-wheeler you've ever seen. Not because 
it's souped up with fancy tires or extra gears. But because it's a 
full-fledged wireless Internet hotspot on wheels.

It spreads free access to the Net wherever it rides. Some Web addicts might 
call it God's gift. Gitman just calls it the Magicbike.

Tonight on "Tech Live" we show you how it works.

"Wireless technology and bikes really go together," Gitman says. "[It 
takes] connectivity to places that don't have it."

The Brooklyn-based wireless artist and educator created the bike when he 
decided there wasn't enough wireless Internet access to go around.

This is your brain on wheels

It's a sunny day in Brooklyn and Gitman is preparing his bike for a day at 
the park. "Basically I'm giving the bike a computer brain," he says as he 
carefully places a rigged laptop into a carrying pouch attached to the 
bike's frame.

To run the hotspot, all Gitman needs is the laptop, which provides the 
access, and the battery supply to power it.

"I'm putting another Wi-Fi adapter on the laptop that's going into the 
bike," he says. "I'm also hooking up that laptop to the cellphone network 
so I have a choice of which wireless network to connect to."

Gitman also rigs the bike with a couple of industrial-strength antennae, 
and he checks on the Net for active hotspots to connect to wherever he 
goes. With the antennae, Gitman can receive and amplify existing bandwidth 
from other nearby Wi-Fi access points.

"The antennas on the bike allow it to connect to other hotspots far away or 
shoot the signal really far," he says.

Everywhere's a hotspot

On the day "Tech Live" caught up with Gitman and his bike, Gitman's mission 
was to bring Wi-Fi to a local community garden. There, gardeners can update 
their neglected website while they work.

"The gardeners in this garden don't have access to the Internet during the 
day at all," Green Acres Community Garden member Amanda Hickman says. "I 
can bring the computer out [and] they can look at the site and change the 

Another goal for the Magicbike is to help bridge the digital divide that 
keeps many communities from enjoying Web and Wi-Fi access. Gitman makes an 
important statement about the power of wireless culture along the way.

"We're already putting computers in our cars, and they're factory-fitted 
with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth adapters," Gitman says. "I want to see it on bikes 
too, and somebody has to do that."

Originally posted May 3, 2004

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