Born in West LA — LABAC member traces the beginnings of BMX to a Westside park

The Palms neighborhood has a long bike history dating back to the 1890s; click and zoom in to read. Thanks to Jonathan Weiss for the image.

The Palms neighborhood has a long bike history dating back to the 1890s; click and zoom in to read. Thanks to Jonathan Weiss for the image.

Let’s give notoriously auto-centric Los Angeles the credit it deserves.

Santa Monica’s Z-Boys have long been credited as the fathers modern skateboarding, and the city’s self-proclaimed Dogtown neighborhood its birthplace.

But who knew BMX — aka Bicycle Motocross — racing was born right here in the City of Angels? And that a city employee gets credit for turning a kid’s pastime into one of the most exciting events in the X Games and Summer Olympics.

At least, that’s what a new history from Jonathan Weiss, chair of the LA Bicycle Advisory Committee’s Advocacy & Education subcommittee asserts.

The official history of BMX racing dates the beginning of the sport to the late 1960s or early ‘70s when kids took to their Schwinn Stingrays on a vacant lot somewhere in Southern California. But according to Weiss, the first organized race took place right here in 1969 at the Westside’s Palms Park before evolving to a full-fledged racing season a few years later.

By 1973, BMX racing was thriving. Los Angeles Recreation and Parks youth counselor Ronald (Ron) Mackler, who had planted the seeds for its success with the initial race in ’69, organized a full 10-week Thursday-night racing season. Mackler, who passed away in 2010, is remembered as someone whose “main thing was getting kids on the right track.” Palms Park was the “right track” for pioneering BMX champion Perry Kramer, who had been racing around the park’s sandbox and trees and up a hill on his own modified Stingray. Perry became one of BMX racing’s earliest stars. His namesake PK Ripper bike is still in production, and Perry’s now a Giant Bicycle sales representative and mountain biker.

Meanwhile, racing continued on what Perry described as the ‘prehistoric’ Palms Park track through the ‘70s and into the 1980s.

When Weiss found a nugget about BMX racing and Palms Park, he contacted Kramer to get a first-hand history from one of the sports founders, and started a Palms Park BMXers Facebook Page, which now connects BMX fans from around the world.

Some of what he put together on BMX racing’s birth can be found the History section of the ExpoGreeway.org website. He started that website to support the new water-cleaning, sustainability-demonstrating, open-space preserving Westwood Neighborhood Greenway about a quarter mile west of Palms Park and adjacent to Expo’s Westwood/Rancho Park station, expected to open in 2015/16.

And of course, there’s a Facebook page for the Greenway, too.

According to Weiss, Palms is already one of the most bike and pedestrian friendly neighborhoods in the City, and he sees it being even more so when the Expo bike path opens.

Once it does, he plans to bring BMX royalty and fans together to mark the birthplace of BMX where the bike path connects to Palms Park. And hopes publicity from the BMX connection will encourage school kids to take the new bike path to Hamilton High, Palms Elementary and Overland Avenue Elementary schools.

In addition, Weiss wants to help Angelenos appreciate their city’s history – something that can be missed by those speeding past Palms Park at the northeast corner of the Santa Monica Freeway at Overland Avenue.

Then again, that’s not the area’s only page in LA bike history.

Weiss also notes that “The Palms,” which was subdivided in unincorporated Los Angeles County in 1886 and annexed to the City of Los Angeles in 1915, played an important part in late-Nineteenth Century bike racing.

Palms was the midpoint of the Los Angeles to Santa Monica bicycle races, and its depot — now relocated to Heritage Square — provided convenient access to those who wanted to watch early racers barreling down Palms Hill.

That, too, can and should be marked on the Expo Bike path, though there are currently no plans in place.

Thanks to Jonathan Weiss for sharing his research with us, and his help in putting this together.

Look for the red arrow marking reference to Palms; image courtesy of Jonathan Weiss.

Look for the red arrow marking reference to Palms; image courtesy of Jonathan Weiss.

Ditto.

Ditto.

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Morning Links: BOLO alert for Brentwood hit-and-run driver

The LAPD wants your help in tracking down the hit-and-run driver who seriously injured a bike rider in Brentwood last November.

Brentwood BOLO

Then again, they might have better luck if they didn’t wait five months to ask for help next time.

Just a suggestion.

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Local

The LA Times offers the latest reminder about this weekend’s Finish the Ride to call attention to the problem of hit-and-run.

Wrap up next month’s Bike Week with the first Bike Night at Union Station.

KCRW’s beginning LA bike rider takes a Confident City Cycling course and concludes that drivers need bike education, too.

The Bike League looks at the Santa Monica Bike Center, now a Platinum-level Bike Friendly Business. And managed by the instructor of the afore mentioned CCC course.

Long Beach police are on the lookout for a bike riding groper.

 

State

Mark your calendar for the Honor Ride Irvine this August.

San Francisco motorists demand the restoration of balance in the city’s transportation planning; in other words, a return to all cars all the time.

I like it. San Francisco police virtually dare thieves to steal a bait bike. And pass out “Is this a bait bike?” stickers to post on your bike to make thieves think twice.

San Francisco’s bike share program expands to the East Bay despite the Bixi bankruptcy.

California’s proposed bike tax becomes a potential $5 fee on cars to repair and maintain bike paths in regional parks. Although I wonder how many voters, aka drivers, will be willing to tax themselves to fund bikes — especially when it requires a two-thirds majority.

 

National

This should be fun, as recently retired pro Dave Zabriskie commits to riding this year’s RAAM to promote Yield to Life as part of the Legends of the Road team.

A petition asks online fences websites Craigslist and EBay to require serial numbers on all bike ads. Of course, sellers could just lie about them, but still.

USA Today names Davis CA the best cycling town in America; my hometown comes in at number two.

Portland teens injure two people by throwing bricks at passing bike riders; one victim nearly loses an eye.

Ottumwa, Iowa Shriners are expecting 70 – 80 riders for a 30-mile Ride With the Clowns. Something like that could draw hundreds here; just don’t sniff any flowers.

Submitted without comment. North Carolina’s 21-time national champ admits to doping with amphetamines, synthetic testosterone and EPO. At age 62.

 

International

A Vancouver company plans bicycling sunglasses with a heads-up display.

A new World Health Organization report says if London achieved Copenhagen-like riding levels, it could save 500 lives a year and create 8,000 jobs.

David Hembrow looks at the good, the bad and the ugly of on-road bike lanes.

This time the tainted meat excuse actually works, as former Aussie world time trial champ Michael Rogers is cleared of doping charges after blaming Chinese meat.

 

Finally…

For the English-challenged members of the media, there is a big difference between “watch out for bike riders” and “beware of bicyclist.”

Seriously.

 

Morning Links: Wrist slap for drunken hit-and-run killer; Breaking Away’s Dave Stoller was sort-of real

As expected, Wendy Villegas was sentenced to three years and eight months in an overly generous plea deal for the drunken hit-and-run death of Andy Garcia that left two other riders seriously injured, and robbed his fiancé of both her heart and future.

Yes, justice may have been served. But the time does not begin to suit the crime.

Especially for a driver who left Garcia laying in the road to be run over by a second vehicle, and was reportedly still drunk when she was arrested the next morning.

Had she stopped after the collision, it’s likely that the van that followed might have seen her and her victims, and managed to stop in time to avoid them. And Andy Garcia might — might — still be alive today.

We’ll never know.

Meanwhile, the judge made it clear that if Villegas did it again after she’s released, she’d face a minimum 15-years for murder.

So let’s get this clear.

You have to get drunk and kill a second person before the legal system takes it seriously. But you get a virtual pass on the first one.

Even if you don’t show any sign of giving a rat’s ass that you took the life of another human being, and shattered countless others.

Good to know.

If that pisses you off as much as it does me, join Damian Kevitt on Sunday as he finishes the ride interrupted by a hit-and-run driver last year.

……..

A preliminary hearing reveals 18-year old Sommer Gonzales had failed two drug tests while on probation for undisclosed crimes. And yet somehow, she was still allowed on the road to kill 21-year old cyclist Joe Robinson while driving under the influence.

Nice.

Gonzales has additional court hearings scheduled for May 19th and June 6th.

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Who knew?

Turns out there was a real Italian-obsessed, bike prodigy, Little 500-winning inspiration for the Dave Stoller character in Breaking Away, the movie that inspired my own lifelong obsession with bicycling. And Steve Tesich, who won an Academy Award for the screenplay, was his teammate in the winning race.

On the other hand, it looks like the hometown Cutters team was fictional, dammit. Although in a case of life imitating art, one was formed in response to the movie.

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Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton looks at the city’s Second Year bike lane implementation list, offering the kind of detailed analysis only he can. And says there’s more low-hanging fruit out there, despite official denials.

Flying Pigeon looks at the real victims of Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s inaction on Figueroa bike lanes, and calls on riders to Bike the Vote for Saturday’s Neighborhood Council elections.

A new petition calls for passage of AB 1922 to promote California greenways, particularly along the LA River.

Another reminder that Kidical Mass is coming to Santa Monica on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Annenberg Community Beach House along SaMo’s beachfront bike path celebrates its fifth anniversary this weekend; bike valet will be provided.

 

State

The Daily Pilot says don’t force OC cyclists onto dangerous Jamboree Road — ban cars from the Back Bay Drive, instead. I like the way they think.

Orange County cities are urged to compete for new funding for bike and pedestrian projects, while OCTA officials argue that bikes aren’t just for recreation. Thanks to Nick Gerda for the heads-up.

An HIV positive hemophiliac cyclist is setting of from Newport Beach on his third cross-country ride to raise funds for people with bleeding disorders.

A Sacramento man uses his bike to bypass heavy traffic from a major highway repair project.

 

National

Train for your next — or first — century in just seven weeks. Probably a better approach than my first century, which came when I misread a map and rode about 60 miles further than I intended.

The Alliance for Biking and Walking looks back at the National Open Streets Summit held recently in Los Angeles. And check out their great GIF from the Wilshire CicLAvia.

A Las Vegas cyclist learns the hard way that bike riders have to stop for emergency vehicles, too.

Detroit isn’t the exclusively auto-centric hellhole it used to be.

The body of an upstate New York man has been found nearly four years after he disappeared while riding his bike.

The NYPD says screw you to owners of impounded bikes, including the family of a fallen cyclist.

 

International

One of two surviving ex-Beatles rides a rental bike. The cute one. The Beatle, not the bike.

London’s transport authority apologizes after a driver cuts off a cyclist and calls him a knob; I know a lot of cyclists who’ve complained to LA’s Metro, but none who ever got a mea culpa in return.

A road raging UK motorist is given 10 months in jail and called a danger to cyclists after knocking a rider off his bike because they were riding two abreast. He also loses his license for three years.

Behavioral Science could help motorists drive more safely around bike riders. Maybe it could help them decide if this is a pill or a 90 mph bicycle.

Even Abu Dhabi is getting a new walking and cycling master plan.

A Sydney paper lists the world’s top 10 bicycling cities. Shocked! Shocked! I am that not a single US city made the list.

 

Finally…

Chicago doctor declares fast cyclists unfit for military service due to “bicycle heart.” In 1898.

And repeat after me. If you’re riding your bike at 5 am with five outstanding warrants while carrying meth and a Billy club, put a damn light on it already. The bike that is, not the Billy club.

 

Morning Links: Torrance father rides for his daughter, and court hearings for Wendy Villegas and Jose Gonzales

Metro unveils their new Bike Week flyers. So what do you think?

Metro unveils their new Bike Week flyers. So what do you think?

A Torrance father is going the extra mile for his daughter.

Or rather, 300 miles.

On May 3rd, Joel Elliot will ride his bike 24-hours straight, with a goal of riding 300 miles in that time, to call attention to the rare disease that renders his daughter unable to speak.

The purpose of my ride is to bring attention to Hannah, to Selective Mutism, and to the failure of Torrance Unified to properly address Hannah’s needs.

My ride will take place on the 1-mile industrial loop just outside of the Strand Brewing Co tap room. I invite you all to come do the first few laps with me to kick off my 24 hours. After a few laps, I will continue solo and the group will move into the tap room to celebrate and prepare to help support my long ride. We will do something similar on Sunday when I finish. I would love to have a large group of riders as there is a good chance local news will be there.

Thanks to Lynn Ingram for the heads-up.

……..

A couple of important court hearings today.

First up, cyclists will ride to attend the sentencing of Wendy Villegas for the drunken hit-and-run death of Andy Garcia.

And riders are encouraged to attend the pre-trial hearing for Jose Gonzales, charged with vehicular manslaughter in the death of Pasadena cyclist Phillip O’Neill.

Sometimes it seems like justice moves slowly. And it doesn’t often seem sufficient in cases involving bike riders.

But at least prosecutors seem to be paying attention these days, in part because cyclists are turning out for cases like this.

……..

I plan to spend a lot of time checking out this website about Vintage Trek bikes.

My 33-year old steel-frame Trek is still parked in my office, waiting for the funds to fix it up and get it back out on the streets where it belongs. It may not be as fast as my LeMond, but it hugs the road like it’s on rails, and you won’t find a smoother ride anywhere.

My wife has suggested selling it more than once. But after roughly 130,000 miles stretching from LA to LA — Louisiana to Los Angeles — I’d no more get rid of it than I would her.

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Local

West LA Councilmember Mike Bonin helps a city work crew prepare for Backbone bike lanes on Manchester Ave.

Flying Pigeon says South Pasadena’s Public Works Commissioners should be sued for refusing to close a dangerous 528 foot gap connecting with LA’s new bike lanes on York Blvd.

The Hollywood Reporter reviews the new women’s cycling documentary Half the World, and finds it not to their taste.

The Eastside’s Ovarian Psychos Brigade will screen the Saudi Arabian bike-themed movie Wadjda as a fundraiser this Wednesday.

CICLE is looking for volunteers for next month’s Bike Week Pasadena.

The local mountain bike racing season starts at the end of next month.

 

State

Mad props to the 75 fifth graders — yes, I said 5th graders — who rode their bikes 267 miles from Yuma AZ to Carlsbad CA over spring break, riding up to 53 miles a day and up a five-mile climb. At that age, I was happy to ride to the other side of my own neighborhood without falling over much.

A new San Diego River bike path allows cyclists to ride from Ocean Beach to the 805 Freeway.

Frequent contributor and ghost bike documentarian Danny Gamboa will be curating the Bike Love Art Show next month in Ventura. Knowing Danny, I’d highly recommend checking it out.

Cyclelicious looks at the need to develop a traffic safety culture.

UC Berkeley student with Crohn’s Disease will ride to LA to raise funds for a cure.

A San Francisco cyclist is understandably critical of the way the city’s police deal with cyclists after they let the driver who rear-ended her and her son drive away without even a ticket.

Tiny Arcata CA — population 17,726 — could soon have one more bike boulevard than massive Los Angeles, which currently has none for its over 3.8 million residents. Correction: Richard Risemberg writes to remind me that LA does actually have a bike boulevard, aka bicycle friendly street on Yucca Street in Hollywood, though it doesn’t actually connect to anything.

 

National

The national traffic fatality toll is bad enough; now it turns out it doesn’t include motor vehicle deaths that don’t occur in traffic situations. So add another 6,483 deaths and 91,000 injuries from 2008 to 2011, 39% of whom weren’t in cars.

The publishers of Momentum Magazine says it’s time to move the conversation beyond helmets. I couldn’t agree more; there are lots of good reasons to wear one, but no adult should ever be compelled to.

Bicycling’s Heidi Swift says riding through a cemetery isn’t disrespectful, it’s showing respect for life. Someone should explain that to the director of the Los Angeles National Cemetery, which continues to ban bikes for reasons I will never understand.

A Texas woman gets a well-deserved 10 years for killing a bike rider while drinking, using her cellphone and falling asleep at the wheel.

Cincinnati proposes killing trees to preserve parking while making way for a protected bike lane.

A writer for the Times rides along with Boston’s equivalent of LA’s Marathon Crash Race.

 

International

Great Britain is opening a memorial to bicyclists killed in war; turns out the first British soldier killed in WWI was a 15-year old bike rider who lied about his age — and may have been killed by friendly fire.

The reward for recovering a stolen Brit bike is home-made banana bread.

Once again, a cyclist is caught on video narrowly avoiding getting hit by a train, this time in India; the rider had to abandon his bike on the tracks to get away.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to steal a bike, don’t park it at the local Walmart, then go inside and fall asleep on a bean bag chair.

And Gothamist totally freaks out over a helmetless Orthodox father riding a Citi Bike with his helmetless daughter on his hip.

 

Morning Links: Eleven years in drunken Victorville hit-and-run, great Arizona three-foot law video

Now that’s more like it.

According to the Victorville Daily Press, 28-year old Jason Thomas Scott of Victorville was sentenced to 11 years for the — allegedly — drunken hit-and-run that took the life of a cyclist two years ago.

Apple Valley resident David Epperson was walking his bike along Ridgecrest Road just east of Victorville when he was plowed down from behind by Scott’s vehicle, which dragged him over 60 feet before leaving Epperson to die on the side of the road.

Scott was reportedly driving with a suspended license due to a previous DUI conviction at the time of the collision. He’s been behind bars since his arrest in June, 2012; the paper reports he could be out in another three-and-a-half years with good behavior following his plea deal.

Five-and-a-half years behind bars barely seems sufficient. But it’s far more than many other drivers have served under similar circumstances.

And it’s nice to see the life of a bike rider taken seriously for a change.

……..

Great short video from Arizona looks at the state’s three-foot passing law. And clearly demonstrates just what three-feet looks like on the road.

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Local

Note to David Shaffer of Woodland Hills: It is perfectly legal to ride a bike on the sidewalk in Los Angeles, as long as it’s done in a safe and non-aggressive manner.

Streetsblog looks at the highlights from Thursday’s LADOT and City Planning webinar on the second year study corridors for the LA bike plan.

You could be the next director of LA2050.

A series of Hermosa Beach workshops could determine the future of bicycling in the city, among other things.

Something is seriously wrong when a cyclist gets run down from behind in Palos Verdes Estates, and sheriff’s deputies write it off as “just an accident” before the investigation is even complete.

 

State

An Orange County cyclist has to be recued from the Santa Ana River bed when he’s thrown 15 feet off a Katella Ave overpass after hitting an object in the roadway.

I like it. Silicon Valley bike riders are challenged to Bike to Shop during next month’s Bike Week.

Oakland’s famed Telegraph Avenue could soon sport parking protected bike lanes.

 

National

Arizona officials are trying to determine who killed a cyclist and how after the victim is found on the side of the road covered by a blanket, with his “unique” bike missing.

Boulder County CO officials tweak those ubiquitous black-tube vehicle counters to distinguish between bikes and other vehicles, which could revolutionize bike counts.

Cincinnati cyclists and business owners are engaged in a classic battle over protected bike lanes versus lost parking and reduced road capacity.

Not only is Beyonce one of us, she gives a shout out to a Chicago bike shop.

The Washington Post says more cyclists really does make for safer streets.

Turns out the Archbishop of New Orleans is one of us, too. Then again, he’s just following the Pope’s advice.

 

International

Bicycling is booming in Santiago, Chile even though bad road design forces many riders onto the sidewalk.

The Ottawa Bicycle Club offers a great decision matrix for deciding when to take the lane and ride abreast, and when to hug the shoulder single file.

British cycling legend Beryl Burton is finally getting the attention she deserves prior to the UK start of the Tour de France, with an amazing 122 national titles over five decades.

The UK’s Emma Pooley discovers winning a women’s world championship barely pays enough to pay the bills.

A road raging Brit van driver loses his job and gets convicted of assault after getting caught on helmet cam head-butting a cyclist.

Belgium’s Philippe Gilbert wins the Amstel Gold classic for the third time. No word on who won the Amstel Light.

An Aussie website asks if cyclists are fair game. Game, yes; fair, no.

 

Finally…

This is why you don’t spit in the face of a truck driver, even if he did almost hit you. Aside from the fact that it’s rude and disgusting — and illegal — and the driver will get away with stomping on your bike.

 

Breaking News: 16-year old bike rider killed in Florence hit-and-run

Ghost bike being prepared for Adrian Chavez Jr; photo by Danny Gamboa.

Ghost bike being prepared for Adrian Chavez Jr; photo by Danny Gamboa.

Word is just coming in that a bike rider was killed in a hit-and-run in the Florence neighborhood in South LA yesterday.

According to the Daily News, the 16-year old victim, whose name has not been released, was riding south on the 6700 block of Converse Ave when he was hit by an unidentified vehicle around 3:35 pm. The driver was reportedly speeding, and apparently hit the victim with the side of his car before fleeing.

The victim suffered major injuries, and died at a nearby hospital.

No other information is available at this time.

This is the 33rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 14th in the County of Los Angeles; that compares to nine in the county this time last year. He is also the 4th bike rider to die in the City of LA this year — two of which have been hit-and-runs.

Update: The victim has been identified as Adrian Chavez Jr.

Correction: Due to a database error, there was an error in the fatality totals in the initial version of this story. The last paragraph has been corrected to reflect the actual totals.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Adrian Chavez Jr and his family.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

……..

Note: As tragic as this case is, and as frightening as it is to read about things like this, let’s not forget that bicycling is a relatively safe activity. Your risk of suffering any kind of injury requiring medical attention on any given ride is just one in 77,000; the risk of death is only one in 6.3 million. And you are twice as likely to be killed in a motor vehicle as you are on a bike on an hourly basis.

So don’t let stories like this scare you off your bike. Let’s all focus on riding safely and defensively, and encouraging motorists to do the same so every bike rider can return home safely, every time.

And lets do whatever we can to get dangerous drivers off the streets and bring heartless cowards like this who leave their victims bleeding in the street to justice, and ensure they never drive again.

 

Calendar: Long list of bike events — NB Back Bay Ride, USC Venice Beach Ride and Eastside Taco Night

Please accept my best wishes for a blessed Pesach and a happy Easter. Whatever you celebrate — even if it’s just another beautiful LA weekend — I hope it’s filled with love, joy and bikes.

……..

Bike Talk airs every Saturday at 10 am; listen to it live or download the podcast from KPFK.

Bike Long Beach hosts Bike Saturdays every weekend; ride your bike to participating local shops and business throughout the city to get special offers and discounts.

The battle to preserve bicycling on Newport Beach’s Back Bay Drive continues with three meetings this month:

  • 11am Sat April 19th, the day before Easter will likely be a very busy day on the Back Bay loop, so let’s go and observe. Meet at Bayside Drive North at PCH.
  • 5pm Wed April 30th meet at the Civic Center for a final review of the issues and recommendations that will appear in the sub-committee’s report to the Bicycle Master Plan Committee

The MOM Ridaz are volunteering to feed the homeless at the 3rd annual Sweet Home Sundae Bar sponsored by the Fred Jordan Missions and Rowe Cuisine on Saturday, April 19th from 10 am to 2 pm; two or possibly three feeder rides will lead to the event.

The USC Bicycle Coalition rides to Venice Beach on Saturday, April 19th. Meet at the intersection of Trousdale and Exposition, departing at 10 am and returning around 3:30 pm, 28 miles roundtrip.

The annual Taco Night sponsored by the Eastside Bike Club, Monrovia Cyclist and Stan’s Bike Shop takes place at 5 pm on Saturday, April 19th as a fund raiser for Tour de Cure. The event takes place at Stan’s Bike Shop, 800 Myrtle Avenue in Monrovia.

LA’s Bicycle District presents LA Culture Collide on Saturday, April 19th from 6 to 10 pm at Heliotrope and Melrose.

If you’re down in San Diego on Sunday, April 20th, the San Diego Bicycle Club hosts a ride in honor of local cycling legend and bike advocate Gordy Shields, who passed away last year. The conversationally paced 50 mile ride meets at 7:45 am at the Flagpole turnabout in front of Grossmont College, 8800 Grossmont College Drive, rolling at 8 am.

Kidical Mass returns to Santa Monica on Saturday, April 26th at Memorial Park, in the north parking lot off 14th Street. The event starts at 9 am with check-in, bike safety checks and helmet decorating, ride and community garden visit from 10 am to noon, with Pizza Party, Raffle Drawing and Prizes to follow.

Mark your calendar for Saturday, April 26th, when the Pomona Police Department will host a Kid’s Bike Rodeo; details to follow.

Saturday, April 26th, the City of Monterey Park host an Earth Day Bike Ride and Festival from 8 to 11 am at the Bruggemeyer Library, 318 S. Ramona Ave.

Help design what North Figueroa Blvd will look like 36 years from now with the Interactive Modeling Workshop: North Figueroa 2050 at the Bike Oven, 3706 N. Figueroa. It takes place on Saturday, April 26th at 4 pm, with light dinner and drinks at 5:30 pm.

The first bike-in theater of the year will be held on Saturday, April 26th as part of the LA2050 Listens on the LA River at Reseda Park, 18411 Victory Boulevard.

The annual Tour de OC returns on Saturday, April 26th to raise funds for abused and neglected kids; great cause. Rides of 25, 55 and 100 depart from Newport Mesa Church, 55 Fair Drive in Costa Mesa, with registration starting at 6 am on the day of the ride.

The San Fernando Valley Bike Club offers a twice monthly Compagni Group Ride — Italian for companion — on the second and fourth Sunday of every month; the next ride takes place on Sunday, April 27th. Click here for details and other rides; lots of other great sounding rides on the list, too.

The American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure Ship to Shore ride takes place on Sunday, April 27th at the Queen Mary, 1126 Queen’s Highway in Long Beach. Rides range from eight to 100 miles, with a $200 fundraising minimum.

On February 17th of last year, Damian Kevitt was hit by a minivan while riding his bike in Griffith Park. The driver attempted to flee the scene with Kevitt trapped under the vehicle, dragging him nearly 600 feet onto the 5 Freeway and leaving him for dead; the resulting injuries cost him a leg, and nearly took his life. On Sunday, April 27th, Kevitt is planning to finish the ride to raise funds for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and the Challenged Athletes Foundation.

Also on Sunday the 27th, Brewcyclers visits the new Bottle Logic Brewing in Anaheim; ride meets at 7:30 am at 1072 North Armando Street in Anaheim, rolling at 8 for a 47 mile round trip ride with just 950 feet of elevation gain.

LACBC Empowerment WorkshopsThe Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition is hosting a series of workshops aimed at empowering local advocates. The next workshop, focusing on increasing membership, is scheduled for Tuesday, April 29th from 6:30 to 8 pm at LACBC Headquarters, 634 S. Spring Street in DTLA; click on the poster at left for additional dates, times and topics.

Filmmaker and frequent contributor Danny Gamboa is curating the Bike Love Art Show at the Bell Arts Factory, 432 N Ventura Ave in Ventura. The theme of the show is Bike or the Love of the Bicycle, with the opening reception to take place during the First Friday Art Walk on Friday, May 2nd at 6 pm.

The Ride 2 Recovery to benefit wounded vets returns to Southern California on Saturday, May 3rd in Thousand Oaks. The ride departs from the Lost Hills Sheriff Station, 27050 Agoura Hills Road, starting at 8 am; no cost for injured vets.

Celebrate the free Bike Fest of Long Beach on Saturday, May 3rd from 2 pm to 11 pm, with a number of events and activities for everyone, including the Wolfpack Hustle Shorline Crit and Stylish by Bike and Vintage Bike competitions hosted by Pedal Love.

One of the highlights of the LA bike calendar used to be the annual Bike Expo at the Convention Center, which sadly died to to declining interest. Now Santa Monica is picking up the mantle with the free Santa Monica Bike Expo on Saturday and Sunday, May 3rd and 4th at the Santa Monica Pier.

The theme of the LACBC’s May Sunday Funday Ride is May the Forest Be With You, offering a delayed Earth Day celebration hosted by board member Kevin Hopps. The ride meets at LACBC headquarters in Downtown LA, 634 S. Spring Street at 9:30 am on Sunday, May 4th.

Equestrians are fighting to have bikes banned from the Mairposa Bridge between Burbank and Griffith Park. The Burbank City Council will take up the matter on Tuesday, May 6th at pm, Burbank City Hall, 275 E. Olive.

The fully funded, approved and shovel ready bike lanes on North Figueroa are finally scheduled for a public hearing with council member Gil Cedillo, who has been dragging his feet for reasons know only to him. The meeting is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, May 8th from 6 to 8 pm at Nightingale Middle School, 3311 North Figueroa Street.

Saturday, May 10th, marks the Grand Opening of the first protected bike lane in the San Gabriel Valley, on Rosemead Blvd between Las Tunas and Broadway in Temple City; ribbon cutting ceremony starts a 9 am, with a Community Festival from 10 am to 1 pm. CICLE, the Eastside Bike Club and Stan’s Bike Shop are leading a family-friendly community ride to the festival.

Sunday, May 11th marks the Cyclofemme LA Mother’s Day Bike Ride and Brunch, from 9 am to 1 pm at Grand Park, 200 North Grand Ave. Take a socially paced ride around Downtown LA to celebrate and honor women around the world, ending with brunch at the Angel City Brewery.

Join cyclists in 130 cities around the world in riding with CycloFemme on Sunday, May 11th. The California edition takes place in Ojai, with mountain bike and road rides starting at 11 am, with an after ride festival to follow.

The Amgen Tour of California runs from Sunday, May 11th to Sunday, May 18th, starting in Sacramento. Three SoCal stages are planned, Friday May 16th, Santa Clarita to Mountain High; Saturday May 16th, Santa Clarita to Pasadena, and the final stage on Sunday the 18th in Thousand Oaks. There are also two women’s races scheduled, in Sacramento on May 11th and on the 12th in Folsom.

Bike Week 2014 is set to unfold the week of May 12th, with preview events on Saturday the 10th and Sunday the 11th.

  • May 10th: Get Ready and Fix Your Bike!
  • May 11th: Bicycling is for Everyone Celebration!
  • May 12th: Kick-off Bike Week LA
  • May 13th: Blessing of the Bicycles; Ghost Bikes LA will be honored this year
  • May 14th: Guided Ride Day: Bike Lanes and More!
  • May 15th: Bike to Work Day
  • May 12th-18th: Bike Local Discounts

Pasadena starts off Bike Week on Monday, May 12th as CICLE hosts a Taste of Pasadena Ride from 6:30 to 9:30 pm; Memorial Park Pasadena at Raymond Ave and Holly Street for a tour of local eateries. And they finish Bike Week off with a mini-ciclovia from 11 am to 1:30 pm on Saturday, May 18th with Ride, Roll and Stroll, sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, RSVP here.

Mark your calendar for Glendale’s 2nd Annual Jewel City Fun & Fitness Ride on Sunday, May 18th, with rides ranging from seven to 45 miles.

The California Bicycle Coalition is hosting a Bike Advocacy Day to influence elected officials in Sacramento on Wednesday, May 21 in Sacramento.

Discover LA’s world famous street art on the Northeast Los Angeles Mural Ride on Saturday, May 24th. Meet at the Heritage Gold Line Station, 3545 Pasadena Ave at 9:30 am, rolling at 10.

Walk ‘n Rollers, Bike SGV, City of El Monte Health & Wellness and Day One team up to host the free El Monte Bike Festival on Saturday, May 24th from 9 am to 1 pm at Mountain View High School, 2900 Parkway Drive. Activities include a Bike Skills Course, Bike Repair, Group Rides, and Fitness Obstacle Course.

The California Bicycle Coalition, aka Calbike, will host a Los Angeles Better Bikeways House Party from 6 to 9 pm on Saturday, May 31st at a secret, undisclosed location which will hopefully be revealed upon registration. Donations will be requested to support their campaign for better bikeways throughout California.

The Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee, the city’s only official voice for bicyclists, meets on the first Tuesday of every even-numbered month; the next meeting takes place at 7 pm on Tuesday, June 3rd at 6501 Fountain Ave. I’ll be celebrating the Corgi’s birthday that night.

Learn the basis principles of bicycle and traffic safety with CICLE’s free Traffic Basic Safety Class on Saturday, June 7th from 11 am to 1 pm, in conjunction with the Caltech BikeLab; Caltech Y Ground Floor Meeting Room, 505 S. Wilson Ave in Pasadena.

LA’s most popular fundraising bike ride rolls on Sunday, June 22nd with the 14th edition of the LACBC’s Los Angeles River Ride. Ten rides of varying lengths, with starting points in Long Beach and Griffith Park, including two centuries, a 15-mile family ride and a free kid’s ride; discount prices available through May 27th.

Mark your calendar for the Peace Love & Family Ride for Crohn’s and Obesity in South LA on July 5th and 6th. Great cause; more details when they become available.

Bike racing returns to Downtown LA with Wolfpack Hustle: The Civic Center Crit; racing takes place from 1 to 8 pm on the streets surrounding LA City Hall, 200 North Spring Street.

The year’s second CicLAvia takes place on Sunday, October 5th with a new variation on the classic Heart of LA route through Downtown LA, from Echo Park to East LA.

Calbike is hosting the inaugural California by Bike Surf ’N Turf Tour. The multi-stage ride travels from Santa Barbara to San Diego, starting on Halloween and ending November 5th; registration opens May 1st.

The first winter — or late fall, anyway — CicLAvia is also the first to roll through historic South LA on Sunday, December 7th, from the cultural center of the Southside in Leimert Park to the birthplace of West Coast Jazz on Central Avenue.

Find bike racing schedules and other cycling events at SoCal Cycling.

Morning Links: A long list of good and bad Good Friday bike news

Apropos of absolutely nothing, I kind of like this shadow shot from the recent Wilshire CicLAvia.

Apropos of absolutely nothing, I kind of like this shadow shot from the recent Wilshire CicLAvia.

It’s Friday. It’s Passover. It’s Good Friday. It’s spring break. It’s nice out. And no one is in the mood to work anyway.

So grab an extra cuppa joe and waste invest a few minutes — or maybe hours — catching up on all the latest bike news.

Or at least, everything that was interesting enough to include here.

………

Local

KPCC interviews Stan’s Bike Shop owner and Eastside Bike Club founder Carlos Morales. Carlos may have lost a few hundred pounds riding his bike, but you won’t find a bigger heart anywhere.

The LACBC updates their Bike Smart Rules of the Road for cyclists, with just about everything you need to know to ride safely and legally, in English and Spanish.

LA rider Johnny Lam chucks it all for a new career in bicycle touring. Nice work if you can get it.

LA’s Bicycle District hosts the LA Culture Collide block party this Saturday.

Get an early start to Bike Week with the Long Beach Bike Fest on May 3rd.

 

State

Turns out that bike stolen from an injured Santa Barbara cyclist wasn’t.

A Fresno hit-and-run leaves a father of four paralyzed; the coward who left him lying in the street still on the loose.

Nine years in jail for the Dublin teenager who bragged on Twitter about speeding before he killed a cyclist at 80 mph.

San Francisco encourages children to bike, roll or walk to school next week. If they wait a few weeks, they could do it on a shiny new contraflow bike lane.

Maybe they really have changed. Caltrans announces $360 million in new funding for healthy living projects.

 

National

Elly Blue asks you to pledge to never combine texting and driving in any way, while Boing Boing interviews her in a new podcast.

Enhanced visibility may not always be a good thing if it encourages target fixation. And if this jacket doesn’t do it, nothing will.

A Seattle cyclist is the victim of road raging driver in a hurry.

An ill-conceived Dallas helmet law stands in the way of the city’s planned bike share program.

Once again, a single misguided business owner attempts to block a protected bike lane, this time in Cincinnati.

A Minnesota salmon cyclist collides with car while riding under the influence — while on his way to work, no less.

A PA cyclist suffers a broken neck and ribs in a T-bone collision. With a deer.

New York bike commuting increased an average of 11% a year from 2006 to 2012.

Auto-centric Jefferson Parrish — the area surrounding New Orleans — proposes 460 miles of new bikeways in a new draft bike plan. Which is 460 miles more than they had two years ago.

 

International

Famed writer and Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote about scofflaw Columbian cyclists back in the 1950s.

Oops. A vial of pills that fell out of a rider’s kit during the Paris-Robaix classic has been passed on to UK anti-doping authorities. And yes, they know who dropped it.

American pro Chris Horner is officially out of the Giro after suffering a punctured lung and four broken ribs when he was hit with a mirror from a Range Rover; the 70-year old driver claims he didn’t know he hit anyone.

Road raging Aussie driver intentionally bumps a cyclist following an argument, then drives off dragging the victim’s bike underneath his car.

 

Finally…

Un-effing-believable. Two Texas men faces charges when they’re caught trying to dump the body of a cyclist they killed in a hit-and-run, after the victim landed in the bed of their pickup. Hopefully, a lot of charges with very long prison terms.

And if you’re a convicted felon carrying meth and burglary tools on your bike, you probably shouldn’t ride with a stolen shotgun poking out of your backpack.

 

Breaking News — Another bike rider killed in Huntington Beach

For the second time in just 10 days — and the third time this year — a bike rider has been killed in Huntington Beach.

According to a press release from the Huntington Beach Police Department, 44-year old Costa Mesa resident Kathy Sieberhein died after being hit by an 80-year old driver during rush hour last night.

Sieberhein was riding west on Adams Ave near Ranger Lane around 6:15 pm when she was rear-ended by a Chevy truck driven by 80-year old Brian Chattaway of Fountain Valley. She was transported to Western Medical Center with major, undisclosed injuries, where she died sometime later.

Other reports indicate the collision occurred at 8:15 pm; however, HBPD corrected that time to reflect the earlier hour.

The driver remained at the scene where he was interviewed the police; the investigation is still ongoing and no citation has been issued or arrest made at this time.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Huntington Beach Police Accident Investigator Tai Huynh at 714-536-5670 or Accident Investigator Robert Barr at 714- 536-5666.

Judging from the satellite photo, there appears to be a westbound bike lane on Adams that ends at Ranger; the need to merge into the right hand lane may have been a contributing factor.

In addition, the sun would have been low in the sky at that hour, which could have affected the west-facing driver’s vision. However, that should not be seen as an excuse; if drivers can’t see what’s in the road ahead of them, for whatever reason, they should pull over and wait until they can. No one should ever drive for any amount of time when they are blinded by the sun or anything else.

Age may have also been a factor, as older drivers can suffer from reduced vision and reaction times, and often continue to drive long after they have lost the ability to do so safely.

And it’s always possible the victim may have cut over in front of the truck without looking or giving the driver time to respond.

All or none of these may have played a role in this case, as the exact cause is still to be determined.

This is the 31st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the seventh already this year in Orange County, compared to just one this time last year.

And it is the third bike-related fatality in Huntington Beach this year, following the deaths of Genevieve Hall earlier this month and Matthew Liechty this past February.

For a city of less that 200,000, that should be a clear indication something is very seriously wrong.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Kathy Sieberhein and all her loved ones.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

Morning Links: LACBC wants to empower local advocates, and a passel of mid-Passover/pre-Easter links

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition is holding a series of workshops designed to empower local advocates.

We’ve already missed the first one; the next in the series takes place in the Edison Room of LACBC headquarters, 634 S. Spring Street, on Tuesday, April 29th.

LACBC Empowerment Workshops

……….

Local

LA County spends $1.3 a week in healthcare costs. Spending one week’s healthcare costs to revitalize the LA River for biking and walking would be an investment in prevention.

Malibu letter writer complains about cyclists on PCH not riding single file. But doesn’t bother to vote in the city election.

Streetsblog explains to Metro’s CEO that those interesting treatments he saw in Portland are called Bicycle Boulevards. Except when they’re not.

Formerly bike unfriendly Cal Poly Pomona is slowly adapting to alternative transportation, including bicycling, though funding remains an issue. They could start by changing the mindset that biking and walking are alternatives to anything.

 

State

Orange County transportation officials are finally taking bike safety seriously; thanks to Nick Gerda for the heads-up.

CycloFemme hosts a series of worldwide bike rides on May 11th, including a ride and festival in Ojai.

Pismo Beach could get its own bike share before we do.

Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious fame shows you can ride down a flight of stairs with a bike trailer. A small flight, anyway.

Once again, “I didn’t see her” is the universal Get Out of Jail Free card for a killer driver; nice to know there’s still no expectation for motorists to be aware of others on the road before they kill them.

Bike commuters are healthier, no matter what standard you use; when a bike wholesaler encouraged workers to ride, their healthcare premiums dropped 4.4% compared to an average increase of 24.6%.

 

National

Streetsblog offers a five point summary of the Alliance for Biking and Walking’s 200 page biannual benchmark report; things appear to be slowly trending in the right direction.

Eight depressing bike theft statistics. About half of all active cyclists have had their bikes stolen; only 2.4% of stolen bikes are ever recovered.

Sarah Goodyear asks if there is such a thing as a feminine way to ride a bike, while Elly Blue offers her take on the subject. I’m staying out of this one.

The problem with taxing cyclists in Seattle. Or anywhere else, for that matter.

My hometown is voted the second best bike friendly town in the US; Davis CA claims the crown as number one.

A Dallas bike task force promises to build out the city’s bike plan. And get rid of the helmet law.

A Baltimore bicyclist catches a frightening attack from a group of strangers on his helmet cam.

A South Carolina lawmaker backs off a proposed bill to license and insure bike riders, but still pretends it was intended to protects cyclists. Right.

 

International

In a shocking development, a British driver is actually sentenced to serious jail time for killing two cyclists while nearly two-and-a-half-times the legal blood alcohol limit.

A new study shows 28% of Brits haven’t been on a bike since childhood; another 35% haven’t ridden in the past decade.

The widow of a fallen UK cyclist pledges to finish the charity ride he couldn’t complete.

Scottish cyclists prepare to Pedal on Parliament again; the first time it was a flash mob, today it’s a movement.

Lovely Bicycle says the right bike for you is the one you’ll ride.

Veterans of the Iraq and Afghan wars ride through Vietnam to raise funds for veterans of that war who’d like to return but can’t afford it.

Kiwi parents are too afraid to let their kids bike to school.

Hong Kong’s competitive cyclists say rules restricting them to cycle paths hurt their training and are killing their sport.

 

Finally…

There’s a special place in hell for someone who’d steal a Santa Barbara cyclist’s bike while emergency personnel are tending to him after he’s hit by a car.

And it turns out Kim Kardashian can’t ride a bike after all.

 

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