Weekend Links: Our anonymous correspondent visits the Frog Spot, and a busy weekend for SoCal cyclists

Note: I am aware of the bike-hating video posted by a reserve Santa Paula police officer. I saw the video shortly after it went online when Bike Snob tweeted about it, and had originally intended to include it as part of this post.

However, the video had been taken down before I was able to link to it. Since then, the woman responsible for it has apologized, and been suspended by the SPPD pending review. 

Since it’s no longer an urgent matter, I’ll offer my thoughts when I post again on Monday. Thanks to everyone who has reached to me about the story. 

……..

We’ve mentioned the new Frog Spot on the LA River bike path a few times already, as the Friends of the Los Angeles River open a new gateway welcoming walkers, riders and visitors to the Elysian Valley.

This week, I received an email from a regular correspondent, who prefers to remain anonymous, and who stopped by last week to check things out.

There’s a new pit stop on the LA River Path in Elysian Valley! I’ve missed all the soft hours they’ve had, but Friday afternoon, I saw peeps still there finalizing things, so I swung around and got to speak with none other than FoLAR’s Director of Development Jennifer Kang, as well as Edgar, the handsome young man who’ll be supervising the workers hired from the City’s HIRE LA’s Youth. Elsa’s Bakery is providing coffee and Antigua is providing coffee containers. There’s ice water, coffee, snacks, popsicles, WiFi, sunblock, simple emergency bike repair stuff available. And seating under pretty shade banners, so you don’t have to plunk your butt on the revetment.

http://folar.org/frogspot/

Excitingly, there are RESTROOMS!!!!!!!!! There are not enough exclamation marks for this. The ladies cannot just duck into the willows like some brakebeam tourist. And parents will no longer have their youngster’s nature walks cut short. It’s no exaggeration that my heart nearly leapt out of my chest to hear that there’ll be a clean, reliable, safe place to answer the call of nature, without miles of detour off the path. This is groundbreaking, because despite its new mantle as a public recreation area, the river has lacked this simple, necessary amenity.

Incidentally (sorry in advance for oversharing) I did once, in fact, dive behind the arundo to pee, because I never would’ve made it over that horrid, violently bumpy Riv-Fig bridge without flooding the roadway. Oh, the pain that day. Too much pain to even cuss at the many tree-root bumps on the path. I believe I speak for all the ladies when I express overwhelming gratitude for this simple dignity we’ve been denied for too way too long.

When I returned Saturday morning, I chugged coffee & ice water, but it was so warm & humid, I sweated out any chance of trying the new porta-potties. While waiting, I stood at the entrance by the river path yelling “Free ice water! Come on in!” with the two multi-talented, all-purpose hired hands on duty, who took turns luring in passers-by. The great assortment of visitors included spandex guys, fixie trash (me included), walkers, super friendly canine guests, and families who invariably had difficulty convincing the younger members it was time to leave.

There’s a bocce court. There’s cornholes (that’s what it’s called; it’s a very Midwestern bean-bag toss game, properly played with little sacks of popcorn kernels), which were very popular with the younger visitors. Art supplies are handy for budding young artists to enjoy under a shade tree. There are friendly, knowledgeable folks who’ll answer every question you could possibly have about our beautiful river. And the pups weren’t forgotten, either! Fido can rehydrate, and if you left the poo bags at home, they’re available at the Frog Spot!

Did I mention the restrooms? In addition to comfort and dignity, there’ll be music and poetry and history and bikes all summer, right next to the mortally dangerous concrete-smothered flood control channel we’ve been “protected” from for so long.

The only thing I don’t care for is the Frog Spot’s lovely, blinding, sparkly, alabaster gravel, but this is just personal preference, and I’m still totally willing to brave snow blindness for a safe restroom.

Anyway, it’s worth checking out even though you’re not in that neck of the woods very often. Corgis love rivers. Maybe Ballona will get something similarly awesome someday.

Check it out for yourself when the Frog Spot hosts a Sunset at the Oasis fundraiser for FoLAR from 5 pm to 8 pm tonight, and every Saturday. A minimum $15 donation will get you live music, two drinks — beer, wine or soda — and light snacks; Palmdale band Vista Point will be playing tonight.

……..

Haven’t had a chance to update the Calendar for awhile, but there’s a lot going on with Bike LA this weekend.

First up, it’s late notice, but if you’re up early, you may still have time to join the LACBC and the authors of Where to Bike Los Angeles for a 45-mile round-trip tour of the world-famous beach and surf communities of Orange County on Saturday morning.

Visit some of Downtown’s most famous and hidden film locations, as Metro, CICLE and Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles sponsor an LA film history ride on Saturday evening.

The newly formed LA Explorers Club leads a ride to explore the origins and history of Downtown LA, also on Sunday.

Mark your calendar for Long Beach’s Bicycle Drive-In on August 2nd, part of the city’s Summer and Music series.

The Gran Fondo Italia returns to bike-unfriendly Beverly Hills on September 28th. Evidently, the city wants to bask in the prestige cycling brings, as long as they don’t actually have to deal with the great unwashed masses on bikes. Thanks to Richard Masoner for the heads-up. 

And after a return to DTLA and a new foray into South LA, you can look forward to CicLAvia coming to Pasadena and the Valley next year.

……..

Nibali takes Friday’s stage of the Tour de France, extending his lead to 3:37 and positioning himself to become just the sixth rider to win all three major tours. Tejay van Garderen gets a big confidence boost. The Telegraph examines the life of a domestique.

And some guy named Lance, who claims to have won a few Tours himself, is reportedly cooperating with doping investigators.

……..

Local

KCET offers the definitive examination of Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s veto of the North Figueroa Fig4All project. Seriously, nice work by Krista Carlson.

Instead of increasing funding for active transportation, Metro agrees to come up with a funding strategy after studying the matter.

Culver City police are looking for the owners of some hot bikes and Razor scooters after busting a bike thief.

 

State

A new study from the University of Colorado says wrecks didn’t decrease in the first six months after California banned hand-held cell phone use. Maybe because the law is still almost universally ignored.

Newport Beach moves forward with the city’s proposed bike plan.

More on bike riders storming the Laguna Beach City Council session earlier this week.

Two hundred days in jail for the Santa Cruz County Tesla driver who lost control and killed a cyclist, then blamed the new car smell for making him fall asleep.

 

National

A new app could be the best way to track actual trips, whether by bike, foot, transit or car.

Buffered bike lanes and contraflow lanes finally get approval from NACTO for inclusion in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, the standard guidebook for traffic planners.

Iowa is becoming a bicycling destination as RAGBRAI kicks off next week.

When you’re vomiting blood the morning after a bike collision, it’s probably a sign you might have been injured, after all.

 

International

Fewer than half of UK drivers convicted of killing cyclists ever see the inside of a jail.

British ministers say taxpayers should fund improvements for bicycling.

A Brit woman gets four years for killing a cyclist as she attempted to chase down the lover who dumped her.

 

Finally…

Bikeyface examines the real bicycle face. And the Daily Show offers an insightful and entertaining look at Washington’s failure to increase the gas tax.

 

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