A random mediation on blessed bikes, Bike Week and the Ride of Silence

Some random thoughts as I catch up from the first few wet days of L.A. Bike Week.

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Bishop Jon Bruno, who clearly dressed for the occasion, though I suspect he didn't ride in that.

Despite my firm belief that the human body is incapable of sustaining life prior to 7 am, I found myself rising just after 6 yesterday to for the one hour ride downtown for the Blessing of the Bicycles.

It only took a few minutes of walking the corgi, who was none too pleased to be awakened at that hour — let alone dragged out into the rain — to decide that driving would be a much better option.

So I strapped my bike onto the back of my 17-year old car, which finally chugged past the 105,000 mile mark on the way, and made the drive to Good Samaritan Hospital.

Despite the rain, I  saw a surprising number of cyclists there, with more arriving throughout the hour-long event. Most of whom had the bedraggled look of someone who had braved the elements to get there.

The Buddhist representative warned children to stop doing dangerous tricks on their bikes, or he'd tell the Kung Fu Panda.

I’ll let the CicLAvia blog tell the story, as they were clearly taking much better notes than I was, focused as I was on sucking down some hot coffee and scarfing from the wide array of pastries and fresh fruit.

If the spread they put out for cyclists is any indication of the quality of care patients receive at Good Sam, I may need to switch my medical allegiance from the Jews to the Episcopalians.

Being of a very ecumenical bent, I don’t think God really cares which team you choose, as long as you choose one.

Our newly bike-friendly and apparently fragile mayor arrived with his foot in a cast — not, as might be guessed, the result of another cycling accident, but from wandering through a strange hotel room after dark.

(Insert joke here.)

DWP Employee Chris Bolivar is honored for his heroics in stopping a bike theft by bike owner and Good Sam VP Dan McLaughlin.

For me, though, the highlight was seeing DWP employee Chris Bolivar honored for his heroics in rushing off a Metro bus to stop a thief from stealing a new Trek Madone belonging to Good Sam VP Dan McLaughlin. And then watching him ride off with his wife on a newly-purchased red and white Schwinn tandem.

After listening to an array of Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist and Jewish prayers for our safety — nice work on the shofar, Rabbi — I took my place in a long line of cyclists to be blessed by Episcopal Bishop Jon Bruno, walking my bike since the other half of my cleats were still in my car along with the shoes they’re attached to.

Frankly, I’ll take all the help I can get to safely navigate these city streets.

Evidently, I’m not the only one, as Will Campbell’s blessed ass made the front page of the Times’ Late Extra section.

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Councilmember Bill Rosendahl invites all to participate in Bike Week. KCRW’s Shortcuts blog reports on a soggy start to the week. Metro offers an interactive map to help you plan your route for Bike to Work Day. The afore mentioned Mr. Campbell looks forward to Thursday’s Bike from Work Happy Hour, which also takes place at Pourtal Wine Bar, among other bike-friendly taverns.

Ten deals and freebies for Bike Week. Bike-friendly UCLA observes Bike to Campus Week. More commuters are getting there by bike. Sensible gear for biking to work, and how to dress — or pack — for it.

Even, courtesy of Tucson Velo, if you’re a drag queen.

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Long Beach wraps up Bike Week with the Grand Opening of a new Performance Bicycle shop on Friday, their 100th nationwide. To celebrate, the first 100 people in line will have chance to win one of seven new bikes valued at a total of over $7,000. The store is located at Long Beach Town Center, 7611 East Carson Blvd in Long Beach; distribution of keys for the contest will take place at 8 am, with the doors opening at 9.

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Tonight marks the world-wide observance of the Ride of Silence, a slow paced memorial ride to honor cyclists killed or injured on the roads, raise awareness of cycling and ask that we all share the road safely.

And once again, it won’t be officially observed here in Los Angeles.

There will be ROS rides in other parts of Southern California, though, including Fullerton, Irvine, Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino, San Diego, Temecula, Thousand Oaks and Ventura, if you live in those areas or can make the trip.

It will also be observed at the L.A. Velodrome tonight, as cyclists will ride 40 silent laps in honor of fallen riders. And we do have a long and tragically growing list of local riders to honor, including James Laing, Jim Swarzman, Danny Marin and Alex Romero, just to name a few.

I tried, and failed, to get an L.A. ride started this year, mostly because I’ve never organized a ride and had no idea what the hell I was doing.

However, I’m committed to getting one off the ground next year, and will start earlier to organize it and get the cooperation of local authorities and advocacy groups.

If anyone wants to help, just let me know.

And thanks to Kieron at the Velodrome for stepping up to make sure local riders won’t be forgotten this year.

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A fascinating look at the rich and powerful former New York DOT commissioner who may or may not be behind the backlash against the city’s successful and popular Prospect Park West bike lanes — despite being married to a leading, and presumably pro-cycling, Senator Chuck Schumer.

HuffPo’s Joel Epstein also offers his typically insightful thoughts on the subject.

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After Sunday’s hard charge up Mt. Etna, Contador still holds the leader’s jersey in the Giro; Bike Snob says he looks pretty in pink. In the wake of Wouter Wayland’s death in Stage 3 of the Giro, organizers have added extra safety measures for a difficult descent on Saturday’s Stage 14.

Colorado bike prodigy Taylor Phinney rides his first AToC. Team Sky’s Greg Henderson takes the overall lead after winning Stage 3 of the AToC; Phinney is currently the top American at 8th. Bicycling profiles the top young Americans in the race.

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LACBC gets a shiny new website, and unveils their latest video with Austin Nichols looking forward to the upcoming River Ride on June 5th. The Coalition also reminds cyclists that comments on the proposed L.A. County bike plan are due by June 3rd, and says it could be a lot better.

And don’t forget you can get a discount for River Ride through BikingInLA, and enter a contest to win a free River Ride.

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LADOT Bike Blog recaps the recent BAC Planning Subcommittee meeting, including implementation of the Bike Plan, extending the crappy, door zone Westwood Blvd bike lanes south to the planned Expo Line station, and bike lane projects around the planned Universal Studios expansion.

The last of which will happen over my dead body unless they allow the L.A. River Bike Path to extend through their property.

The expansion, that is. Not the bike lanes.

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Writing for Streetsblog, Mark Elliot of Better Bike Beverly Hills updates the status of the Westside’s black hole for cyclists; the LACBC’s Marissa Christiansen reports on the South Bay Bicycle Coalition and the area’s new Bike Master Plan. A UCLA student invites you to log your commute times by bike and car to prove bikes are faster for shorter trips. Richard Risemberg calls for a separated cycle track on Washington Blvd to close the gap in the beachfront Marvin Braude bike path through the Marina area. CicLAvia shares a photo from Sunday’s South L.A. ride; word is that July’s scheduled CicLAvia will be cancelled, but October’s will go forward with an expanded route into Boyle Heights. Eco-Village looks at the new bike lanes on Expo and MLK. Learn the art of track racing at the L.A. Velodrome. L.A. Creek Freak objects to “improvements” to the North Spring Street Bridge that would just allow more cars to go faster. Long Beachers are invited to participate in a bike safety study. Long Beach’s biking expats get an unplanned delay in starting their latest cross county adventure. A bike cam catches a car speeding through the Santa Cruz Mountains, only to come upon the same car upside down on the side of the road moments later.

DOT Secretary Ray LaHood calls on cyclists to join the 2 Mile Challenge to replace short cars trips with bikes and raise funds for three worthy organizations. The League of American Bicyclists lists events throughout May’s Bike Month, and partners with AAA to promote bike safety. Examining the myth that gas taxes pay for the roads motorists drive. Amazon discovers bike commuters. Momentum magazine jumps into the great helmet debate, while yet another study shows mandating helmet use is counterproductive; however, Brit James Cracknell credits his with saving his life. Sharrows make their way to small town Oregon. Bike Portland takes the local paper to task for biased reporting. A Tempe cyclist finds his bike on Craigslist the day after it’s stolen, A Denver cyclist is killed by a hit-and-run driver just weeks before participating in the 412-mile Ride the Rockies. Minneapolis cyclists could soon find bike supply vending machines along popular bike trails. Zeke puts his recent first aid training to use, determining that a tourniquet is probably not necessary for minor road rash.

Why even experienced cyclists sometimes ride on the sidewalk; Carlton Reid looks at the legalities of UK sidewalk riding, as well as confusion between cycle tracks and sidewalks. London cyclists win an important victory to keep bike lanes on a bridge with heavy bike commuter use. An around-the-world adventurer starts a campaign to give Scot children more space to ride to school. Even in rural Scotland, cyclists get honked at by drivers who could easily pass. British design and Chinese manufacturing — as if any western country makes much of anything these days — combine to build a cheap, colorful single-speed bike. For the second time in three years, someone has tried to sabotage the Etape Caledonia. Debuting at Cannes, a gritty, bike-centric modern fairy tale from Belgium; thanks to Rex Reese for the heads-up.

Finally, Pittsburgh police take different sides on citing a cyclist for Biking Under the Influence.

3 comments

  1. John Stesney says:

    Thanks for mentioning the velodrome! But the one you’re talking about is the Encino Velodrome, in Encino (i.e. the Valley). There’s another velodrome in Carson that calls itself the LA Velodrome. Each track has its strong points, but it would be a shame if a reader went to one expecting a program that actually was at the other.

  2. Altadenablog says:

    Bishop Bruno probably could only ride anything with difficulty, as he has only one leg. He was drafted by the Denver Broncos, but was injured before he could play (this was before he lost the foot). He also used to be a Burbank cop, and killed a crook before the crook could kill his partner. (He’s kind of like the Most Interesting Bishop in the World). So I say he’s tougher’n your bishop.

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