Tonight’s post, in which I say goodbye to a friend, and your pre-New Year’s weekend links

This is a sad night.

For the last 20 years, I’ve been friends with an older couple, the parents of one of my wife’s best friends; I’ve known them almost as long as I’ve known her.

For some reason, they both seemed to like me and never failed to make me welcome in their home; perhaps, in part, because I adored them.

This bike takes a woman in her 80s riding on the beach nearly every weekday.

This bike takes an 80-something woman riding on the beach nearly every weekday, pretty pink streamers and all.

She’s charming and beautiful and sharp as a whip, even in her 80s. And even in her 80s, took her folding bike to the beach every morning, where she’d find a much younger man to unload it from her car before cruising along the coast.

Or at least she did, until her husband took ill a few months back.

He was fascinating, one of the last surviving members of a generation who knew the last world war on a first name basis, with insights and stories that covered every one of the last nine decades. And yet, he seemed equally fascinated by mine — especially the ones that involved a bike, even though he had to give up physical things like that.

That’s because his big heart was borrowed from someone less fortunate after his gave out over 25 years ago, when life expectation for transplant patients was measured in years, not decades. He spent many of the days after that volunteering at Cedars Sinai, using himself as a model to show patients with newly transplanted organs just how rich their lives could be.

Today, his finally ended.

Yes, I’m sad. If you find any typos in today’s post, blame the tears that keep welling up as I write it.

But I’m glad his suffering of the last few months is finally over. Even more, that he more than made the most of a long, full life that could have ended in the 80s.

And most of all, that I had the chance to know him.

Goodbye, my friend.

The world is a poorer place today.

………

A cyclist — or maybe a pedestrian — was killed in a collision with a cyclist on the Santa Ana river trail Friday; more information was it becomes available.

………

The Orange County Sheriff’s Coroner Division says Newport Beach lifeguard Brian Gray didn’t die from a fall from his bike after all. But they didn’t conduct an autopsy, or offer any enlightenment on how or why he died.

………

A passing plumber rescues a bike riding 16 year-old girl before she could jump to her death onto the Hollywood Freeway. West Hollywood considers a bike share program, possibly joining in L.A.’s Bike Nation network. Padraig of Red Kite Prayer explores the undiscovered country of inland LA; funny how L.A.’s urban riders seldom visit the coast, and coastal riders seldom bike east. Boy on a Bike tells Pasadena to clean up its act. A Frisbee golf fundraiser is planned for Saturday to raise money for cyclist Kevin Korenthal, critically injured in a Canyon Country head-on collision. Long Beach’s biking expats are making their way back home to tour Central and Southern California.

Cyclelicious maps California bike crashes, with an appropriately ugly red blotch over Southern California. Bike Newport Beach looks back at a momentous year in the city, starting with trying to create some good from the tragic deaths of two women riders, and a critically injured third, in three separate collisions in just three days. April Morris, the woman behind the very successful Newport Beach Memorial Ride, has been named cdmCyclist’s Advocate of the Year; speaking of which, Monday is the final day you can donate to the ride fund. San Diego’s Nimitz Blvd gets buffered bike lanes, at least partway. A board member of the San Diego Citizens’ Review Board on Police Practices does everything but call Critical Mass an outlaw anarchist organization hell bent on destroying America; maybe he believes Agenda 21 makes riding a bicycle treason of the highest order. A fallen Thousand Oaks cyclist and physician will be honored on the Donate Life float in this year’s Rose Parade. A Ventura engineer designs his own touring bike and sells them out of his garage. San Francisco’s Valencia street poses a risk to cyclists; unlike every other street, I suppose. Ride through the scenic Marin Headlands.

Bicycling offers an online generator to tell you what to wear to suit the weather when you ride. Pelonton talks with Connie Carpenter, the only Olympic cycling champion I’ve ever ridden with. Rumor has it Grey’s Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey is abstaining from sex to focus on competitive cycling; yeah, right. Sprint offers an app to help stop distracted driving. AAA — the national one that supports bikes, unlike their local CA counterparts — calls for interlock devices for anyone convicted of drunk driving. Las Vegas physician commutes — and makes his rounds — by bike. Why do bikewear manufacturers insist on making women riders look ridiculous? Two Washington motorists are killed after mistakenly turning onto a bike path and plunging into a river. A Montana man is sentenced to five years in jail after nearly striking a cyclist and a pedestrian before his 7th DUI arrest; I guess the first six weren’t enough. What kind of wine goes with learning to fix flats? Maybe driving while drowsy should be against the law. Baton Rouge is getting more bike-friendly, thanks in part to the local bike advocacy group; compared to when I lived there, anything short of getting run off the road by rednecks and drunken frat boys would be friendlier. Visiting the bike embedded in a tree on Washington’s Vashon Island.

You can call him Sir Bradley Wiggins now. A British cyclist challenges his Parliament member to ride with him after he’s knocked off his bike twice in three months; surprisingly, she agrees. The London Guardian sues Lance Armstrong to get back the money they lost in a libel case over doping charges, while a UK writer says l’affaire Lance killed innocence in sports fans the world over; seriously, if you’re surprised that any pro cyclist doped, you haven’t been paying attention. Heartless thieves steal a British boy’s new bike on Christmas Day, while a hero postman rescues a paperboy’s stolen bike. Edinburgh cyclists get a new segregated bike path. An Irish man loves riding but hates his fellow cyclists. BMC pro rider Alessandro Ballan is out of intensive care, minus a spleen, following a high-speed crash. A Swedish bike group says failure to clear snow off bike paths first makes streets more dangerous for everyone. Japanese authorities confirm that 31-year old adventurer Haruhisa Watanabe was killed in a collision with a car while riding near the arctic circle in north western Russia. South African cycling made major strides in 2012, yet it remains a country of fearless, adventurous, thick-skinned and often eccentric cyclists. Careless Kiwi cyclists are criticized for posing a risk to other road users; the country averages less than 10 bicycling deaths a year, while I suspect the number of motorists killed by cyclists would be somewhat lower.

Finally, British police now believe a code-breaking, bike riding MI6 agent “probably” crawled into a suitcase dumped in a bathtub on his own, padlocked it from the outside and stayed there until his desiccated body was found weeks later.

British police also reportedly believe in the Easter Bunny, the Loch Ness Monster and Agenda 21.

………

New Years Eve is the year’s high holiday for drunks, and the weekend leading up to it isn’t much better. So assume that every driver you see has been drinking; chances are, you won’t be far off.

6 comments

  1. Lindee Brown Larsen says:

    I appreciate your post about your friend. SO sorry for your loss. That generation had the mold broken, Just wonderfully generous classy peeps, but with good sense, kind hearts and integrity.

    My parents were like that. To know one is really such a privilege and honor. It’s an experience of human being that is extraordinary.

    I will hold him in prayer for continued sweet passage home. What’s his name?

    Love
    lindee

  2. Sorry about losing your friend. It’s always heart breaking to lose a gem like that, no matter how long and full his life was.

  3. D. D. Syrdal says:

    Very sorry for your loss, I can just imagine what it was like to know him. Whoever’s heart he had, he used it warmly.

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