Archive for September 19, 2011

Selling bamboo bikes in America to make a real difference in Africa

A couple weeks ago, Judy Bergstresser wrote to ask if I was familiar with Zambikes, a California/Zambia company with a unique business model.

I’ll let Judy explain it to you.

Zambikes builds bamboo frame bicycles in Zambia and sells them worldwide ($1250 for a complete roadbike) to provide jobs and skills for Zambians.
They use their profits to build and provide four models of steel frame working bikes to African citizens – a mountain bike, the Zamcart heavy load carrying trailer, a long cargo bike that can seat 4 plus, and the “Zambulance” bicycle ambulance trailer. You can imagine the profound value of the socialized income, the factory training and the bikes themselves in a country with deep unemployment, high illiteracy and terrible roads.

After looking into it a little, it sounds like a great program. And an innovative way to serve two markets at once — providing a unique handmade road or mountain bike to U.S. cyclists, while creating jobs and vital transportation in an area that desperately need both.

So I reached out to Vaughn Spethmann, one of the two American directors of the company for more information.

Here’s his response:

Ted,

I have attached a small pdf that will give your viewers a nice look at what we do. Zambikes is a Zambian company that has distributed over 10,000 bikes to teachers, pastors, nurses and other service people. With a bike these service people are 3 to 5 times more able to serve their community.

We have also distributed over 1200 bicycle cargo trailers for entrepreneurs and bicycle ambulances for rural health clinics. The entrepreneurs are able to make an income where opportunity and employment is hard to come by. Unemployment is over 60% there. With one of the cargo trailers we have seen individuals make over $20 a day bringing goods from rural areas to markets.

The bicycle ambulances we have distributed have had a even larger impact. They get pregnant women from homes, sometimes more then 20 miles away, to clinics. When birthing complications, dehydration and other factors come into play walking or being brought to a clinic in a wheel barrel is not a viable option. The bicycle ambulances are saving lives on a weekly basis.

Zambikes employs more then 40 men and women and they also make bamboo bikes. Each frame takes months to cut, treat, sand, paint and shape. These bamboo bikes are stiff, light and strong. Each frame is unique and is compatible with most parts. We sell road bikes, mountain and everything in between and any geometry or size.

To donate a bicycle ambulance to a rural health clinic go to abikes.org and do that through this great tax exempt non profit.

To get a bamboo bike straight from Zambia go to Zambikes.com and place your order today!

Thanks for the opportunity to share, Judy and Ted!

Seems to me that $1250 is a pretty low price for a custom frame bike — let alone one that will be the talk of everyone who sees it. And a chance to make a real difference for people to whom the average American struggling to pay his or her bills in a down economy still seems rich beyond all imagination.

As far as good causes go, this one seems like a no brainer.

Major road rage chutzpah, Jeannie Longo breaks my heart & LA’s anti-harassment ordinance spreads east

In an unbelievable display of chutzpah, the driver accused of running down a Highland Park cyclist in a road rage assault has spoken out against bikes lanes on North Figueroa.

According to the Highland Park-Mount Washington Patch, Louis Mraz used a recent meeting of the Mt. Washington Homeowners’ Alliance to warn that efforts by the recently formed Figueroa for All initiative could return the street to a single lane for cars and one for bikes, like it was in the ‘40s when the Red Cars reduced vehicular traffic to one lane in each direction.

Like that would be a bad thing.

Except for impatient road raging drivers, of course.

He went on to suggest that cyclists should be routed to less-traveled streets, warning that North Fig could soon become “jammed with bikes.”

Then again, he seems to take offense if there’s just one bike in his way. Or at least, that’s what he currently stands accused of.

Maybe it’s just me.

But I’d think that when you’re facing charges for a vehicular assault against a cyclist, it might be wise to keep any obvious anti-bike bias to yourself.

Especially if it’s not the first time you’ve been accused of a road rage attack.

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Tell me it ain’t so, Jeannie.

The legendary Jeannie Longo is under investigation for dodging dope tests, while her husband stands accused of buying EPO on her behalf.

This one just breaks my heart.

Longo is — or was — one of the greatest cyclists of all time, and certainly stands as one of the best I’ve ever had the privilege watching ride to victory. If she’s cheating, it raising the question of just how long and when she started. And casts pall on a career that’s lasted through parts of five decades.

And if one of the greatest riders of our time is cheating, then who isn’t?

Maybe Greg LeMond is right, and just about everyone except him is dirty. Or everyone after him, anyway.

Even teams famously dedicated to riding clean face problems, as HTC-Highroad rider Alex Rasmussen is fired from the team and suspended by Denmark’s cycling federation after missing three drug tests in 18 months.

It’s starting to look like a clean pro cyclist is about as rare a clean college football program.

……..

L.A.’s groundbreaking bicyclist anti-harassment could soon spread east as Washington DC considers a similar ordinance in the wake of a deliberate assault on a rider.

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Seattle’s bike-friendly mayor says it’s time to stop finding fault and start finding solutions to the city’s recent rash of bike deaths — including a rider who may have been killed by a bad bikeway design. And The Stranger says as long as cyclists are dying, if people want to think there’s a war against cars, then maybe there should be.

Meanwhile, a Seattle author takes cyclists to task for failing to share the road.

She’s got a point. But seriously, if a cyclist is pounding on your car when you’re busy taking on the phone — hands-free or otherwise — there’s a reasonable chance you may have done something to deserve it.

Just saying.

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A very positive year for L.A. cyclists — though the notoriously anti-bike L.A. Weekly bizarrely calls it ass-kissing — leads to an honorable mention from the League of American Bicyclists. New LADOT General Manager Jaime de la Vega says L.A. is committed to becoming a more bike-friendly city. L.A. will soon get its first green bike lanes on 1st Street, and the Reseda Blvd bike lanes are now complete from Roscoe to Parthenia. Joe Linton explores the new Cahuenga Blvd bike lanes, the first to reach Hollywood. The BPIT agenda for October is officially unveiled. Bikerowave will host a swap meet on Sunday, October 2nd. Check out the shiny new CicLAvia website. Long Beach gets a new bike station. Thousand Oaks passes on hosting next year’s Amgen Tour of California. A mountain biker is killed by a train while riding on the tracks in Redding. A bike-riding Santa Cruz bank robber faces sentencing after pleading no contest; something tells me he’ll serve a lot more time for stealing money on a bike than most drivers get for killing someone on one. In a case that didn’t smell right from the beginning, CHP reverses itself to rule that a Los Altos Hills cyclist wasn’t responsible for the collision that killed her after all.

After beating back a challenge to bike funding in the federal transportation bill, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid says biking facilities are absolutely important. Defending Olympic time trial champion Kristin Armstrong is replaced by Amber Neben on the U.S squad for the World Championships. A Dutch student becomes the world’s second fastest cyclist at 82.81 miles per hour in a Nevada desert. Cyclists take to Boulder CO’s new 40-acre off-road bike park. The New York Times says don’t forget to pack your folding bike when you travel, while the bike wars continue in the letters to the Times; heads-up courtesy of George Wolfberg. NYC chooses Alta to run its bike share program. A Maryland woman becomes an unintended bike activist after a motorist is fined $507.50 for killing her bike-riding husband.

Mexico City cyclists ride to reclaim their streets following threats from a journalist. Brazil plans to devote 15% of all traffic fines to promote cycling. A Canadian writer concludes that law-flouting kamikaze bikers have declared war on pedestrians. A UK cyclist suffers a broken collarbone after being intentionally rammed in a road rage incident, while Sussex cyclists are being pelted with eggs. Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour has to tear down his beachfront bike hut. Surrey police target inconsiderate cyclists with a possible £1000 fine; link courtesy of Bob Davis. Bikes will soon be allowed on a Yorkshire pathway for the first time in 150 years. Hugh Jackman rides a Brompton. Sleek, sturdy wooden bikes that actually ride like, well, bikes. The NY Times swears Copenhagen pedestrians feel squeezed out by the city’s cyclists. Cyclists and drivers fight for supremacy on German roadways; Dave Moulton asks when cyclists in bike-friendly countries cross the line to become unfriendly to everyone else on the road. A Queensland cyclist remains unidentified after a fatal cycling collision — which is why you should always carry ID when you ride. China is falling back in love with the bicycle.

Finally, in case you missed it, an Orange County driver takes a short cut directly through Mission Viejo’s Rock N’ Road Cyclery. And Der Spiegel says L.A., here I come. No idea what it says, but the pictures are nice; thanks to Dr. Michael Cahn for the link.

Sex Scandal Ride, Made in L.A. Bicycle Tour, Art Cycle & Venice NC discusses Main Street Road Diet

It’s another busy bike weekend on tap. And speaking of which, we’re only three weeks from L.A.’s 2nd annual Tour de Fat and a bigger and better CicLAvia III.

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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.

Saturday, September 17th, the 3rd Annual Art Cycle takes over Santa Monica Blvd from Vermont to Virgil Avenues. The events include a juried art competition, live music, bike tours of local galleries and architecture, food trucks and other activities for all ages along the original Route 66, from 2 pm to 10 pm.

Saturday, September 17th from 8 am to noon, Amigos De Los Rios hosts the easy, family-friendly Healthy El Monte Community Bike Ride at Pioneer Park, 3535 Santa Anita Blvd in El Monte. Register online, children are $5, adults $10.

Also on Saturday the 17th, C.I.C.L.E. LA invites you to join in the Made in L.A. Bicycle Tour from 1 pm to 4 pm starting a the L.A. State Historic Park, 1245 N. Spring Street in Downtown L.A. The eight mile family-friendly ride will visit sites including Homeboy Industries, El Pato Factory and the Angel City Brewery.

Now this is what I call a bike ride. To celebrate their 40th anniversary, Hollywood’s favorite sex shop is hosting the free Sex Scandal Bike Ride on Saturday the 17th from 4 pm to 6 pm. Riders are encouraged to wear sexy costumes as they tour the sites of various scandals on the 90 minute ride, then back to the Pleasure Chest for champagne, hot dogs and ice cream, 7733 Santa Monica Blvd.

Head up to Palo Alto on Saturday, September 17 for the Echelon Gran Fondo, with rides of 65, 80 or 95 miles, as well as a fundraising walk, run or ride and A Taste of Palo Alto. The ride benefits Bikes Belong, parent organization of both People for Bikes and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. The goal is to raise $10,000; if you can’t make the ride, you can still donate and get some cool Bikes Belong swag.

The Nautica Malibu Triathlon will be held on Saturday, September 17 (International Distances) and Sunday, September 18th (Classic Distance); there will also be a Tot Trot for kids under 12. World class pro cyclist Dave Zabriskie, founder of Yield to Life, will compete on a relay team with Goo Goo Dolls drummer Mike Malinin and Tom Hodge; the races will benefit the pediatric cancer research program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Flying Pigeon hosts its monthly Get Sum Dim Sum Ride at 10 am on Sunday, September 18th. Meet at Flying Pigeon Bike Shop, 3714 North Figueroa Street in Highland Park, and bring cash to split the check. And while you’re at it, ask Josef what you can do to help remake the North Figueroa Corridor to make it more bike and pedestrian friendly.

The Venice Neighborhood Council will discuss the proposed Main Street Road Diet from 7 pm to 10 pm on Tuesday, Sept. 20th in the auditorium of the Westminster Elementary School, 1010 Abbot Kinney Blvd in Venice. Cyclists are urged to attend to support this vital project.

Help raise funds for the Bicycle Kitchen when FOK (Friends of the Kitchen) Rock invades the Echo on Wednesday, September 21st starting at 8 pm, 1822 West Sunset Blvd. Or name your price to download the multi-genre FOK Rock album starting on the 21st.

You’re invited to Think Bikes with the Dutch when the General Council of the Netherlands joins with the LACBC and the City of L.A. to present ThinkBike Los Angeles. The public is welcome to the Opening Session from 9 am to 10:30 am on Thursday, September 22nd in the John Ferraro Council Chambers, Room 340 in L.A. City Hall, 200 North Spring Street (note the new location) and the Closing Session, from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm at LAPD Headquarters, 100 West 1st Street. Preregistration is required for both the Opening and Closing sessions.

Sunday, September 25th, Folk Art Everywhere hosts the next edition in their popular Folk Art Bike Rides with a tour of art, neighborhoods and unique gathering spots in Downtown L.A. The easy, family friendly ride will loosely follow the Gold Line, with fascinating stops and speakers along the way. The ride assembles at Mariachi Plaza at the N.E. corner of E. 1st Street and S. Boyle Ave at 10:45, with an 11 am departure.

You’re invited to participate in the Gladiator Rock’n Run at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, October 1st. Not bike related, but at least they’re offering a discount for cyclists; enter code GLADIATORZ10 (all caps) to save $10 on registration.

The LACBC’s monthly Sunday Funday ride is scheduled to roll through the Santa Monica Mountains on Sunday, October 2nd; details to be determined.

Mark your calendar for L.A.’s Ultimate Bike Weekend, as the 2011 L.A. edition of the Tour de Fat comes to town on Saturday, October 8th, followed by the next CicLAvia on Sunday, October 9th, offering an expanded route taking participants another 3 miles north into Chinatown and south into South L.A.

The LACBC is co-hosting a weekend-long training program for bicycle and pedestrian advocates with the Alliance for Biking and Walking from Friday, October 14th through Sunday, October 16th, 634 S. Spring Street, Suite 821.

The LACBC’s award-winning City of Lights program will host their 2nd Annual City of Lights Awards/Fundraising Dinner on Thursday, October 27th from 6 to 11 pm at CARECEN HQ, 2845 W 7th Street. L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and L.A. Times columnist Hector Tobar will be honored; tickets are available online.

The Malibu Canyon Gran Fondo rolls on Saturday, October 30th, starting and ending at Saddlerock Ranch, 31743 Mulholland Hwy in Malibu, with rides of 65 miles — and 6,800 feet of climbing — 45 miles and 17 miles, as well as a kids ride along the ranch, with a picnic and after party to follow.

Friday, November 11 through Sunday, November 13th, the Eastside Bike Club hosts the LA Tamale Throwdown at a site to be determined, offering a chance to sample some of the city’s best tamales, coffee and pan Mexicano; bike valet courtesy of Flying Pigeon LA.

And Sunday, November 13th, the LACBC unveils a perfect marriage of bikes and food with the 1st annual Tour de Taste in Culver City; more details soon.

An open letter to California Governor Jerry Brown in support of SB 910, the 3feet2pass bill

Dear Governor Brown,

I am writing to urge you to sign SB 910 to require motorists to give at least three feet of clearance when passing a person on a bicycle.

As a long-time bicyclist, I have ridden a bike on the streets and highways of California for nearly 25 years; over 130,000 miles by a conservative estimate. Yet there has not been one moment in all those miles that have I been free of the fear of being sideswiped or hit from behind by a driver attempting to pass too close, or being run off the road — intentionally or otherwise — by a driver interpreting the current requirement to pass at a safe distance as anything short of actual contact with a bike rider.

Anyone who has ever ridden a bike on our streets knows the dangers posed by being passed too closely. A rider can lose control after being startled to find a speeding car just inches away or swerve to get away from it; both can potentially result in serious, even fatal, accidents, without the vehicle ever coming in contact with the rider. Bike riders can be boxed in by passing cars and forced into parked cars, open doors or other objects, edged off the road or even knocked off their bikes by the slipstream of a large vehicle zooming past.

Serious collisions can also result when cyclists are forced to swerve to avoid potholes, broken glass or other obstacles in the road, only to find themselves in the path of an oncoming vehicle with potentially disastrous results.

At one time or another, all of those things have happened to me as I rode my bike in an otherwise safe and legal manner. It’s only through a combination of luck and the skills developed over a lifetime of bicycling that I am here today.

You have the power to take that danger away. By signing SB 910, you can ensure that California drivers understand just what a safe passing distance is when passing a bicyclist. And replace the current vague and misunderstood standard with one that is clear, easy to understand and enforceable, with no cost to the state.

I beg you to sign SB 910. My life, and the life of millions of California bicyclists, is in your hands.

Sincerely,

Ted Rogers
bikinginla.com

………

This is my letter.

Now the governor needs to hear from you.

There are powerful forces that oppose this commonsense legislation to make our streets safer for California cyclists. And it will take all of us joined together in support of SB 910, the 3feet2pass pass bill, to make sure he hears our voices.

You can write your own letter and email it to the California Bicycle Coalition to forward to the governor, or fax it to the governor’s office at 916/558-3177. Or simply go here and fill in your personal information to send a pre-formatted email containing all the key points, along with your personal comments, in just seconds.

Don’t wait.

Send your letter in support of SB 910 today. Now, in fact.

And make your voice heard for safer streets for all of us.

……..

One other quick note — I received the following announcement from Eric Weinstein about Friday’s Park(ing) Day:

Santa Monica is getting a new park. For Park(ing) day tomorrow ( Friday ) SPOKE is setting up a temporary park in front of Swingers cafe on Broadway where it intersects Lincoln. Starts at 9AM or so – come on by and park! More info: www.parkingday.org

Los Angeles, Orange County named Honorable Mention Bike Friendly Cities(?)

We’ll ignore the fact the Orange County is, well, a county. Not a city.

Or if you prefer, a lot of cities, even if they do tend to blend into one another at times.

But O.C. and L.A. have made the League of American Bicyclists list of Bike Friendly Cities, if only just barely. Both were named Honorable Mention, a step below the Bronze designation, in recognition of the steps each has made.

And just how far they have to go.

Los Angeles makes its claim on the basis of the new-found support from City Hall that has resulted in a widely praised new bike plan — which is just starting to result in new paint on the street — as well as the groundbreaking bicyclists’ anti-harassment ordinance.

But as Bikeside’s recent survey suggests, local cyclists face far too many unfriendly streets and drivers to deserve a higher ranking; I would read this more as recognition of the possibilities, rather than what’s already been accomplished.

Sort of like Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize. And I’ll let you decide how that’s turned out.

If — and it’s a big if — the city manages to stay on course, it may legitimately deserve a bronze designation next year.

Meanwhile, someone else who actually rides there will have to address whether the collection of cities and towns behind the Orange Curtain deserves its designation.

There seems to be an unfortunate tendency to blame rude and scofflaw cyclists for the county’s unacceptably high fatality rate, including a crackdown on the victims — even though the overwhelming majority of Orange County fatalities have been the result of careless, drunk or distracted drivers, rather than lawbreaking riders.

And at least one OC city seem to have an inexplicable fear of sharrows.

But there must be progress being made; Irvine and Huntington Beach have already made the list as Bronze level cities, joining northern neighbors Long Beach and Santa Monica.

And even though SaMo’s designation was widely derided at the time — including by yours truly — they seem to be making every effort to live up to it now.

So maybe there’s real hope for L.A. and O.C., after all.

We’ll just have to wait a few years and see.

Three years for Swarzman killer, help shape L.A. cycling policy & the L.A. Weekly continues its anti-bike crusade

And just like that, it’s over.

Joseph Ricardo Fernandez was sentenced to three years in state prison today for the hit-and-run death of Encino ultra-distance cyclist Jim Swarzman last April.

As you may recall, Swarzman was riding along Highway 101 in the Leucadia neighborhood of Encinitas with his fiancé and another man when he was hit by a truck driven by Fernandez.

Actually, hit is a mild term; his fiancé, Nicole Honda described the collision as an explosion as she watched Swarzman fly past her through the air, while the driver continued down the highway without even slowing down.

Fernandez turned himself in a day later, reportedly telling police investigators he thought he might have hit something over the weekend.

Though how you manage to hit someone with that much force without knowing it will forever be beyond me.

After Fernandez waived his right to a jury trial, he was convicted of felony hit-and-run causing death in a two-day bench trial conducted by Vista Judge K. Michael Kirkman, facing a possible four years in prison.

Instead, he got three.

Three years for plowing down another human being and leaving him in the street to die.

Oh wait.

Although I suppose we should be grateful the Fernandez got any time at all. I’m glad he was sentenced for his crime, even if he did get less than the maximum sentence.

But this is one time when the time does not fit the crime. Maybe now that the trial is over, we can finally find out why Fernandez only faced charges for hit-and-run, rather than being charged with actually causing Swarzman’s death.

And if the rumors are true about the judge blaming Jim Swarzman for improper lane positioning, in what would seem to be a basic misunderstanding of bike law.

Update: San Diego’s 10News reports that Fernandez was sentenced to just two years in prison, rather than three. No explanation yet on the discrepancy.

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If you’re not doing anything tonight, drop by the Pitfire Pizza at 108 W. 2nd Street in Downtown Los Angeles at 7pm. And help set the agenda for cycling in the City of Angels.

Because, as of this month, I’m taking over for Stephen Villavaso as Chair of the LACBC’s Planning Committee.

Don’t get me wrong.

Stephen’s done a great job in chairing the committee. Quite frankly, I would be just as happy, if not happier, if he’d been able to continue in the role. And I want to thank him for all the hard work he’s done as Chair, and hope he’ll continue to offer his invaluable insights as a member of the Planning Committee.

However, any change in leadership provides an ideal opportunity to rethink the role of the committee, as well as the projects and policies we want to pursue.

As a result, the primary topic of this month’s meeting will be a discussion of exactly what the Planning Committee is, and what you’d like to see come under its heading. I hope to conclude the meeting with a clear agreement on the role and future direction of this committee.

In addition, I’d like to begin a discussion of the programs and policies we want to support on a state and local level. This doesn’t have to be limited to anything that is currently under discussion within the LACBC or anywhere else. Use your imagination to come up with solutions that could make bicycling better, safer and/or more enjoyable for bike riders in California, L.A. County, or in your own neighborhood and the areas you ride.

I have my own ideas. But I really want to hear your thoughts as we shape an agenda for the months to come.

I’d like to personally invite everyone to attend. You don’t have to be a member of the Planning committee, or even a member of the LACBC. If you ride a bike in Southern California, or care about those who do, we want to hear from you.

Because the more voices we hear from, the better our work will reflect the attitudes and desires of the local riding community.

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Note to Dennis Romero of the L.A. Weekly:

You didn’t encounter a shitstorm of criticism because you expressed your opinion about L.A.’s bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance. You were deservedly taken to task because you blatantly misrepresented the new law.

And continue to do so.

Attorney Bill Blum may or may not make some valid points in his Op-Ed in the L.A. Daily News — though you’d think any lawyer worth his salt would know that neither drivers or cyclists are a protected class under the Equal Protection Clause.

Let alone that the laws regarding cyclists and drivers are not, and were never intended to be, symmetrical in their application to each. The courts have long accepted that drivers can be required to have a license —which can be taken away — because of the threat their vehicles pose to everyone else on the streets. On the other hand, cyclists don’t require a license precisely because we pose so little risk to those around us.

So much for the courts requiring that both be treated equally.

Yes, we may piss you off.

But the biggest risk most drivers face from cyclists is that we may get a little blood on your paint when you run us over.

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I’m facing a busy work load this week — the first time in months I’ve had as much, if not more, paying work on my plate as I can handle. So let me offer my apologies in advance if I don’t manage to post as much or as often as usual.

Besides, I’ve got a committee to chair.

On the other hand, that makes it a perfect opportunity to submit a guest post of your own. So if you have anything you’d like to say on any subject directly or indirectly related to bicycling, just drop me a line at bikinginla at hotmail dot com. Whether you agree with me or not.

And yes, that includes Mr. Romero.

Four years ago today, a swarm of bees tried to kill me

I’ve told the story before, so I won’t waste your time getting into it again.

But it was four years ago today that I left for an easy ride along the beach on a beautiful late summer day, and woke up to a lifeguard placing an oxygen mask over my face.

And just my luck, after a lifetime of Baywatch fantasies, I got a David Hassalhoff-equivalent instead of a Pamela Anderson.

Four years later, I still have a few lingering health and fitness problems stemming from that solo collision that started with a massive swarm of bees and ended with a trip through the ER and ICU. Although anytime I make a mistake, I’ve got a built-in excuse thanks to the moderate traumatic brain injury (TBI) I received that day.

And no, I didn’t get stung. And no, I still don’t remember what happened in between.

But it wasn’t the concussion that threatened my life. It was the internal bleeding from a massive hematoma that nearly sent me into shock three times, and could have bled out or lead to a heart attack if I’d followed my instincts and tried to ride home.

But I’m here, I’m alive and I’m healthy. And on days like this, I’m reminded just how lucky I am.

And after all these years, my wife is finally starting to find the humor in the phone call she made to my cell phone that afternoon. The one that was answered by a paramedic saying “Now don’t worry, your husband is going to be fine, but right now he’s in an ambulance on the way to the emergency room…”

So let me take a moment to thank the L.A. County Lifeguards, the fire fighters and paramedics of LAFD Station 69, and the ER and ICU staff at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica. The care I got from each and all of them was truly exemplary, and kept a handful of moderate injuries from becoming something more.

And thanks to Trek for making — and replacing — the helmet that limited my head injury to a moderate concussion; it’s exactly this kind of relatively slow speed impacts that helmets are designed to protect against.

You can read about the Infamous Beachfront Bee Encounter here. And if you haven’t already, you can still catch up on last weekend’s long list of links and upcoming events.

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s a beautiful day, and I have to ride.

And hopefully, I won’t run into any bees along the way.

Mark your calendar for a long, long list of (mostly) bike related events

Update: Levi’s and Urban Outfitters are combining to bring their mobile Bike Shop to L.A. today, Saturday, Sept 10th and tomorrow, Sunday the 15th. Includes free bike tuning, tailoring, repairs, patches, water bottles, bells, reflectors and bar tape, as well as a free concert with Liars and High Places on Saturday, at UO – Space 15 Twenty, 1520 North Cahuenga Blvd from 5 – 9 pm, with music starting at 7 pm; bike valet provided by LACBC. On Sunday, they’ll join the Bicycle Film Festival LA Street Party at the Paragon Parking Lot, 340 S. Spring Street.

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 annual Bicycle Film Festival continues through this weekend, with movies at the Downtown Independent theater on Saturday, 251 S. Main Street, and the BFF LA Street Party at the Paragon Parking Lot, 340 S. Spring Street. Films include new premiers featuring the Jet Blue-racing Wolfpack Hustle and Los Angelopes; Wolfpack Hustle will host a ride to the theater starting at 5:30 pm Saturday.

Also on Saturday, Flying Pigeon hosts its monthly Spoke(n)Art Ride at 6 pm Saturday, September 10th, followed by  the Get Sum Dim Sum ride at 10 am on Sunday, September 18th. All rides meet at Flying Pigeon Bike Shop, 3714 North Figueroa Street in Highland Park.

Saturday, September 10th, the Santa Monica Spoke hosts the Dinner & Bikes Tour from 7 to 9 pm with leading bike scribe and advocate Elly Blue, vegan chef Joshua Ploeg and Joe Biel, founder of Microcosm Publishing; tickets are $7 to $20 on a sliding scale, location to be determined. Update: I’m told this will now be free, courtesy of Santa Monica Spoke and the City of Santa Monica.

The 2011 Far West and SCNCA Elite Track Cycling Championships comes to the Encino Velodrome on Saturday, September 10th and Sunday, September 11th at 17301 Oxnard Street, at the edge of Balboa Park in Encino. Gates open at 8 am; racing starts at 9 both days.

Sunday, September 11th, escape the non-stop coverage of the 10th anniversary of 9/11 with the monthly Better Bike/Bike Beverly Hills ride. This month’s ride will explore four routes under consideration by the Beverly Hills Bike Plan Update Committee — Carmelita, Charleville, Crescent and South Beverly Drive; the ride meets at 10 am at Peets Coffee, 258 S. Beverly Drive.

Elly Blue’s Dinner & Bikes Tour repeats on Monday, September 12th from 7 pm to 9 pm, this time hosted by the LACBC in the 1st Floor Edison Room of the MALDEF Building, 634 S. Spring Street. This time, the admission is free, thanks to the generous sponsorship of Flying Pigeon LA.

Also on Monday, September 12th, the Westside Regional Alliance of Councils is hosting a town hall meeting with L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at the Felicia Mahood Senior Citizen Center, 11338 West Santa Monica Blvd. Light refreshments start at 6:30, with the Mayor’s presentation & questions and answers from 7 pm to 8:15 pm.

Not exactly an event, however, Bike Metro advices that the Ballona Creek bike path will be closed from 8 am to 3:30 pm on Monday, September 12th through Wednesday, September 14th between Duquesne Ave and Overland Ave for tree trimming.

The County of Los Angeles will hold a meeting at 7 pm on Thursday, September 15th to review the Draft Program Environmental Impact Report for the county’s proposed new bike plan. The meeting takes place at the Hall of Records, Room 150, 320 West Temple Street Downtown. Both the bike plan and the PEIR can be reviewed online, and comments on the PEIR can be sent to County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works, Programs Development Division, 11th Floor, Attention Ms. Reyna Soriano, P.O. Box 1460, Alhambra, CA 91802-1460. The bike plan itself is still being revised, and should be available later this year.

Saturday, September 17th from 8 am to noon, Amigos De Los Rios hosts the easy, family-friendly Healthy El Monte Community Bike Ride at Pioneer Park, 3535 Santa Anita Blvd in El Monte. Register online, children are $5, adults $10.

Also on Saturday the 17th, C.I.C.L.E. LA invites you to join in the Made in L.A. Bicycle Tour from 1 pm to 4 pm starting a the L.A. State Historic Park, 1245 N. Spring Street in Downtown L.A. The eight mile family-friendly ride will visit sites including Homeboy Industries, El Pato Factory and the Angel City Brewery.

The Nautica Malibu Triathlon will be held on Saturday, September 17 (International Distances) and Sunday, September 18th (Classic Distance); there will also be a Tot Trot for kids under 12. World class pro cyclist Dave Zabriskie, founder of Yield to Life, will compete on a relay team with Goo Goo Dolls drummer Mike Malinin and Tom Hodge; the races will benefit the pediatric cancer research program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Head up to Palo Alto on Saturday, September 17 for the Echelon Gran Fondo, with rides of 65, 80 or 95 miles, as well as a fundraising walk, run or ride and A Taste of Palo Alto. The ride benefits Bikes Belong, parent organization of both People for Bikes and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. The goal is to raise $10,000; if you can’t make the ride, you can still donate and get some cool Bikes Belong swag.

Help raise funds for the Bicycle Kitchen when FOK (Friends of the Kitchen) Rock invades the Echo on Wednesday, September 21st starting at 8 pm, 1822 West Sunset Blvd. Or name your price to download the multi-genre FOK Rock album starting on the 21st.

You’re invited to Think Bikes with the Dutch when the General Council of the Netherlands joins with the LACBC and the City of L.A. to present ThinkBike Los Angeles. The public is welcome to the Opening Session from 9 am to 10:30 am on Thursday, September 22nd at the LADOT, 100 South Main Street, and the Closing Session, from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm at LAPD Headquarters, 100 West 1st Street. Preregistration is required for both the Opening and Closing sessions.

Mark your calendar for L.A.’s Ultimate Bike Weekend, as the 2011 L.A. edition of the Tour de Fat comes to town on Saturday, October 8th, followed by the next CicLAvia on Sunday, October 9th, offering an expanded route taking participants another 3 miles north into Chinatown and south into South L.A.

You’re invited to participate in the Gladiator Rock’n Run at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, October 1st. Not bike related, but at least they’re offering a discount for cyclists; enter code GLADIATORZ10 (all caps) to save $10 on registration.

The LACBC is co-hosting a weekend-long training program for bicycle and pedestrian advocates with the Alliance for Biking and Walking from Friday, October 14th through Sunday, October 16th, 634 S. Spring Street, Suite 821.

The LACBC’s award-winning City of Lights program will host their 2nd Annual City of Lights Awards/Fundraising Dinner on Thursday, October 27th from 6 to 11 pm at CARECEN HQ, 2845 W 7th Street. L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and L.A. Times columnist Hector Tobar will be honored; tickets are available online.

Friday, November 11 through Sunday, November 13th, the Eastside Bike Club hosts the LA Tamale Throwdown at a site to be determined, offering a chance to sample some of the city’s best tamales, coffee and pan Mexicano; bike valet courtesy of Flying Pigeon LA.

And mark your calendar for Sunday, November 13th, when the LACBC unveils a marriage of bikes and food with the 1st annual Tour de Taste in Culver City.

Haute couture cycling, Gov. Brown vetoes distracted driving/biking bill, GOP tried to gut bike spending

Biking goes haute couture; I discovered this bike in the Fendi store on Rodeo Drive during Thursday's Fashion's Night Out.

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Go ahead and text while you ride.

Remarkably, Governor Brown vetoes a measure that would have increased fines for the nearly universally ignored law banning the use of handheld cell phones, as well as banning handheld use while biking.

According to the North County Times,

Brown explained his decision to kill the bill on Wednesday in a brief letter: “I am returning Senate Bill 28 without my signature. I certainly support discouraging cell phone use while driving a car, but not ratcheting up the penalties as prescribed by this bill.

“For ordinary people, current fines and penalty assessments should be sufficient deterrent.”

I think the governor needs to get out of the office more. By my count — and yes, I have counted — anywhere from 25% to 50% of drivers appear to be using a handheld phone at any given time.

Brown vetoed a very good and very needed, law. Which doesn’t give me a lot of confidence regarding his support of the newly passed three-foot passing law.

However, it seems the legislature may try to override his veto. Maybe that’s something the GOP members can get behind, if only to embarrass our Democratic governor.

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The League of American Bicyclists begins the I Bike I Vote campaign to save federal funding for cycling projects from a GOP-led effort to eliminate all Transportation Enhancements. You’re urged to contact your Senator today; you can download your own IBIV graphic here.

Hopefully they can resist the right’s mad dash rush to return to the transportation policies of the 1950s.

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Another two bike thieves are behind bars; the Santa Monica Mirror shows a little levity in describing the situation police found when they were called to the Santa Monica Place mall.

When they arrived at the scene the officers spoke with the security personnel who told them that they had observed two men who had been using bolt cutters to cut bicycle locks.

This sparked the interest of the security personnel because they evidently knew that typically owners of bicycles do not do this.

Then again, make that three bike thieves.

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This is why you always see a doctor after a cycling collision.

A Memphis cyclist dies after riding home following a collision and telling his girlfriend not to call for medical help; charges won’t be filed against the driver who tried to render aid but was chased off by the rider.

If someone ever asks if you want an ambulance following a collision, the answer is yes. Insurance should pay for it — yours or the drivers; regardless, your life is worth it.

If I’d followed my instincts and ridden home after the Infamous Beachfront Bee Encounter, I probably wouldn’t be here today. Fortunately, the EMTs insisted I go to the ER, where they found a massive hematoma on my hip that could have bled out if I’d tried to ride home.

And yes, I’m grateful as hell.

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Streetsblog says the 7th Street bike lanes are now officially open; LACBC offers photos of the press conference. The Times seems amazed that a car lane on 7th is removed in favor of bikes, while KPCC asks if the city is doing what it should to support cyclists and bikeways. And Dave Moulton uses the road diet as an example to ask if more lanes really move more traffic.

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The L.A. firefighters biking across the country to honor victims of 9/11 should have arrived Friday. How about Safe Routes to Universities, too? Nate Baird clarifies LADOT’s confusing stats on bikeway installation. L.A. Eastside visits the new bike lanes on 1st Street in Boyle Heights. Bike friendly City Council President Eric Garcetti announces his candidacy for mayor. The Times looks at the Bicycle Film Festival on now; Flying Pigeon will be there with select children’s and cargo bikes available at a discount. Rick Risemberg says it’s time for Beverly Hills to reach beyond the low-hanging fruit. Beverly Hills Patch looks at last week’s meeting to make the city more bike friendly, which could start with bike parking if they’d stop saying no. Why the beachfront bike path is named after Marvin Braude. Slow progress for cyclists and pedestrians in Malibu. Santa Monica lays out an ambitious implementation plan to become a bike friendly city. Streetsblog examines the unique arrangement that resulted in Glendale’s Safe and Healthy Streets program, including the planned Riverdale-Maple Greenway. A bike-riding gunman robs  a Glendale woman. A Glendora cyclist suffers life-threatening injuries when he’s hit by a car; no other details are currently available. KPCC offers a great video of cycling the Angeles Crest Highway. Long Beach’s biking expats discuss trading Long Haul Truckers to tour by Brompton.

Thousand Oaks cyclists ride to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. A Santa Maria cyclist is stabbed in a robbery attempt. Santa Paula cyclists are about to get a new three-mile bike trail. Chico State students protest police citations for illegal bike parking at the same time bike racks are being removed. A Bakersfield teenager is critically injured after being hit by two cars while riding in the wrong direction. Tahoe cyclists are identified as a “major problem” because they’re the victims of a large part of injury collisions; next, South Tahoe police will target local deer because they keep getting shot by hunters. The cyclist nearly killed in a collision during last year’s Sonoma County Gran Fondo is nearly ready to ride again, almost a year later.

Help Kickstart A Day in the Life with Vegan Athletes. Urbana’s industrial-strength rear rack is now available for all cyclists. A writer for the New York Times considers the lessons learned riding across the West; thanks to George Wolfberg for the heads-up. Thanks to an article in the Economist, a spotlight shines on Seattle’s hazardous conditions for cyclists. Durango CO cyclists need to observe the law; you know, so they don’t offend all those drivers who don’t, either. An Idaho driver is scared to death after hitting a cyclist who must have been right in front of him; just imagine how the rider must have felt. The Missoula cyclist found dead on the sidewalk apparently died of internal bleeding after crashing his bike and hitting his chest on the handlebars. The widow of a cyclist is forced to pay court costs as a jury blames her husband for the driver’s left cross that killed him. A Milwaukee driver claims he blacked out before his car drifted across the road to hit a salmon cyclist riding in the same direction in the wrong side of the road; police say a search warrant for cell phone use is standard procedure in such cases, which should be the case everywhere. A ghost bike is reinstalled after residents complain about its removal. Using GPS data to fill in the blanks following a crash.

Courtesy of Carlton Reid, British researchers say if you want to grow cycling, ignore existing riders and focus on people who don’t ride; interesting advice, but isn’t that how we got the crappy infrastructure we have now? A UK cyclist dies when a fly flew into his eye while riding at high speed; a tragic reminder to always wear shatter-proof glasses when you ride. A minor lapse in judgment, another dead cyclist. The problem in Copenhagen is too many cyclists. Magnesium frames make a comeback; hopefully these will withstand exposure to oxygen, which seems to be almost everywhere these days. Say it ain’t so, Jeannie — one of the greatest cyclists of all time faces a ban for dodging doping tests. The Leopard-Trek – Team RadioShack merger doesn’t seem  to be going so well. Hong Kong police start an educational campaign prior to a crackdown on scofflaw cyclists. An Indian cyclist dies in a freak collision with two motorcycles.

Finally, a UK cyclist is beaten with a hammer by a motorist for riding too slowly up a hill into the wind; a police spokesman calls it a “massive over-reaction.” And a DC cyclist is intentionally hit by a driver for the crime of riding in the street.

Evidently, human compassion sometimes skips a generation.

And I notice the L.A. Weekly’s blatant misrepresentation of the new bicycle anti-harassment ordinance is still online, and still hasn’t been corrected despite a number of people repeatedly pointing out their error. I guess journalistic integrity skips a generation, too.

Family member reacts to Tuesday’s hearing for Stephanie Segal, accused killer of cyclist Jim Laing

The Laing family; Jim is in the center, his sister Peggy is on his right

This past Wednesday, a hearing was scheduled at the Malibu Courthouse for Stephanie Segal, the driver accused of killing popular cyclist Jim Laing in a drunken hit-and-run in Agoura Hills last October.

I had planned to attend until last minute obligations kept away. However, I just received an email from Peggy Krause, older sister of Jim Laing, who filled me in on everything I missed; she graciously agreed to let me share her thoughts with you.

Hi Ted – Hope you remember me.  I am Jim Laing’s sister, Peggy Krause.

I was waiting for the hearing for Ms. Segal to take place in order to write you and that time has come. Yesterday, September 7th, was Stephanie Segal’s final Pretrial hearing before Judge Lawrence Mira in Malibu Courthouse. Thanks for keeping tabs on the status of her case in your last few newsletters. Although there were no cyclists in jerseys present at the hearing, our family is grateful for your support.

The reason for this hearing was primarily for Victim Impact Statements. My whole family wrote Victim Impact Statements and sent them to Judge Mira and we were each provided ample time to present them verbally in court to the Judge. My mother went first. I accompanied her to the podium where we were to deliver our statements, as she was too distraught to stand on her own. Stephanie Segal was, in fact, present at the hearing, with her attorney… Only a few feet away from us. My Mom started her statement with … “I loved my son from the day he was born” and wept through her entire speech, ending with a statement to Ms. Segal to the effect that she hoped someday she could do something good in her life by helping others to avoid another tragedy such as this. It was heartbreaking and the entire courtroom was visibly moved, including Judge Mira and his clerk.

Afterward, there was at least 30-45 min. of negotiations at the Judge’s bench between the Senior D.A., Ms. Segal’s attorney, and Lulu’s private (civil) attorney…heated discussions and audible objections from Lulu herself directly to the Judge. It seemed like an eternity. Counsel were so far apart on the length of time for Ms. Segal’s incarceration and Ms. Segal’s offer was vehemently unacceptable to us. That being said, the Judge declared sentencing would be postponed until October 27, 2011 at 10:00 am. By the way, Ms. Segal has NEVER changed her plea of “Not Guilty”.

Afterward, the D.A. and an independent counsel who was there in the courtroom approached our family on the courthouse steps stating that it had been a very long time since they had seen a family so gracious and dignified towards a defendant who had taken a family member’s life. They assured us that it had a profound effect on the Judge’s decision that day versus if no family had been present or made statements in court. It was an unexpectedly good feeling of relief in that justice actually may be served in this case. It was without a doubt the best thing we could have done for Jim.

I attached my Impact Statement in lieu of a statement right after Jim’s death. This case is not only about Jim, but about ALL cyclists… That this type of behavior CANNOT be tolerated. There must be a precedence set for this type of crime. As my statement sets forth, I personally will NEVER feel the same when I ride now … Always looking over my shoulder with trepidation and an abundance of caution in my heart that frankly was never there before.

I also attached a recent picture of our family: Jim’s in the center I’m in yellow shirt on Jim’s left. Thank you again, Ted. You have been invaluable to our family and to the cause of all cyclists out there.

Peggy

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Here’s is the Victim Impact Statement that Peggy Krause submitted to the court (click to enlarge). I hope you find it as moving as I do.

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