North County San Diego area cyclist killed in a drunken hit-and-run; a full roster of bike events

An 18-year old man from Bonsall has become to latest Southern California cyclist to die at the hands of a drunken hit-and-run driver.

According to press reports, a passerby found David Mendez laying on the side of the road on the 1300 block of Sleeping Indian Road in Oceanside around 7 am Monday, suffering from severe head injuries. He was taken off life support and died at 3 pm Tuesday after his organs were donated.

A hubcap found at the scene identified the car as a black 1998 Plymouth Neon, which was found by the police on Monday. As a result, 23-year old Herman Gonzalez of Oceanside was booked on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter, felony hit-and-run and felony DUI; his passenger was booked for public intoxication.

Yes, authorities believe both people in the car were drunk, and that Gonzalez was behind the wheel — and killed another human being — before 7 in the morning.

Gonzalez is expected to be arraigned on Monday. Authorities are looking for a man who stopped briefly to offer help; anyone with information is urged to call Officer Mark Edgren at 760/435-4958.

Mendez is, by my count, the 20th cyclist to be killed in traffic collisions in Southern California this year.

And as always in cases like this, the real tragedy is that one life is ended, another in ruins, and two families needlessly devastated simply because someone felt the need to drive after drinking.

My heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones of David Mendez.

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

The Santa Clarita Century is scheduled to roll on Saturday, April 2nd with rides ranging from a family ride to a full century, and a free expo and entertainment throughout the day. All rides begin and end at the Valencia Town Center, 24201 Valencia Blvd.

If you’re looking for something a little more relaxed, visit the free Magical Magnolia Bicycle Tour on Saturday, April 2nd from 3 to 7 pm in the Magnolia Park neighborhood in Burbank; be sure to visit Porto’s Bakery for a great Medianoche or Cubano sandwich and Cuban pastries.

Another option for a relaxed — and relaxing — ride is Flying Pigeon’s monthly Brewery Ride to the Eagle Rock Brewery; meet at 3 pm at the Flying Pigeon LA bike shop at 3714 N. Figueroa St. in Highland Park. Other regularly scheduled Flying Pigeon rides include the Spoke(n) Art Ride on April 9th and the Get Sum Dim Sum Ride on April 17th; see their Shop Rides page for more information.

The fourth installment of the LACBC’s popular series of Sunday Funday rides takes place on Sunday, April 3rd, with the Crosstown Traffic Sunday Funday Ride led by board member Greg Laemmle. The 28-mile ride will assemble at 9:30 am the Westwood Recreation Center1350 South Sepulveda Blvd, and explore routes from the Westside to Downtown, with a stop for some of L.A.’s best coffee and tamales. I’ll be along for the ride, so come say hi.

Help ensure the bike plan moves from ink on the page to paint and signage on the streets by participating in the Bike Plan Implementation Team. The next monthly meeting will take place at 2 pm on Tuesday, April 5th in room 721 of Downtown City Hall, 200 North Spring Street.

Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee, a quasi-governmental body assigned to advise the Mayor and City Council on bicycle issues, meets at 7 pm Tuesday, April 5th at the Hollywood Neighborhood City Hall, 6501 Fountain Avenue in Los Angeles.

The San Diego Custom Bicycle Show takes place April 8th, 9th and 10th at Golden Hall in San Diego, 3rd Ave and B Street. Single day admission is $15; a four-day pass including professional workshops on Thursday, April 7th is $45.

Get a head start on CicLAvia on Sunday, April 10th with the 2011 edition of Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer, a 10 stage race up some of the city’s steepest hills. Competitors will assemble at 7:45 am at the intersection of Sunset and Griffith Park Blvds.

The next CicLAvia will take place on Sunday April 10th, with two more to follow on July 10th and October 9th. If you missed the first one, don’t make the same mistake again; word is that Lance will be there.

Keep the post-CicLAvia good bike feelings going on Thursday, April 14th with Bike Night at the Hammer Museum, starting at 7 pm at 10899 Wilshire Blvd in Westwood. Free admission, free food, drinks and screenings of the 1986 BMX classic Rad.

Celebrate tax day with the second annual Streetsblog fundraiser at Eco-Village on Friday, April 15th from 6 to 10 pm at 117 Bimini Place; suggested donation is $20, but L.A. Streetsblog editor Damien Newton says no one will be turned away.

The Culver City Bicycle Coalition hosts a special Family Ride on Saturday, April 16th to tour the bicycle and pedestrian improvements planned for the Safe Routes to School grant recently awarded to Linwood Howe Elementary School; riders meet at Town Plaza near the Culver Hotel at 10 am. with the ride starting at 10:30 or 11.

The Dana Point Grand Prix will be held on Sunday, May 1st, featuring a .8 mile criterium; the start/finish will be located at the intersection of PCH and Del Prado in Dana Point.

The Antelope Valley Conservancy sponsors the 16th Annual Antelope Valley Ride on Saturday, May 7th with rides of 20, 30 and 60 miles; check-in begins at 7 am at George Lane Park, 5520 West Avenue L-8 in Quartz Hill.

The annual Long Beach Bicycle Festival takes place on Friday, May 13th and Saturday, May 14th in Downtown Long Beach. The festivities include the Tour of Long Beach on Saturday, May 14th with rides of 4, 31 and 61 miles to benefit Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach.

L.A.’s 17th annual Bike Week takes place May 16th through the 20th, with an emphasis on bike safety education, and events throughout the city. This year’s Blessing of the Bicycles will take place as part of Bike Week from 8 to 9:30 am on May 17th at Downtown’s Good Samaritan Hospital, 616 S. Witmer Street. And Metro is looking for Bike Buddies to guide inexperienced cyclists on Bike to Work Day.

The San Diego Century ride takes place on Saturday, May 21st with rides of 37, 66 or 103 miles, starting in Encinitas, along with free admission to an expo featuring sports, local cuisine and live music.

L.A.’s favorite fundraiser ride rolls on June with the 11th Annual River Rideadvance registration is open now. Volunteers are needed now and on the day of the ride, email RRvolunteer@la-bike.org for more info and to sign up.

And mark your calendar for the 2011 L.A. edition of the Tour de Fat on October 9th; unfortunately, Yom Kippur also falls on that date this year, so cyclists of the Jewish Persuasion will have to choose between atoning and having something else to atone for.

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