Morning Links: Beating and bike theft at gunpoint in Little Tokyo, and Peloton profiles SoCal pro cyclist Coryn Rivera

Bike theft is nothing new in Los Angeles.

A sound beating and bike theft at the point of a gun is.

This morning I received the following email from Jane Voodikon, who wrote to warn LA bicyclists about the robbers who stole a bicycle from her friend Ulises Melgar Saturday night.

Today I’m writing to report to you an incident that happened to one of my biking friends this past weekend, hoping that you can help spread the word to the bicycling community. He was riding home Saturday night at around 11:30 p.m. coming out of the Little Tokyo area across the First Street Bridge eastbound toward Mariachi Plaza when a green four-door Chevrolet pickup cut him off and the passenger in the front seat pointed a gun at him and then tried to hit him with the gun. At this point he got off his bike, and then one of the men in the truck (there were five men total, wearing hats and sweatshirts around their faces) punched him, enabling the hijackers to take his bike, throw it in the truck bed, and drive off. 

It seemed they had planned this out because they had covered up the license plate with a trash bag. Unfortunately there was nobody else around to witness the crime, and at that location there would be no surveillance cameras. Understandably my friend didn’t react by taking a photo of the truck so there are really not many other identifying details. He reported it to the police, and they said they searched the area for a truck matching the description but found nothing.

He said the truck bed was empty save for a construction toolbox. 

His bike is a 2012 silver Cinelli Mash frame, 52cm, with two noticeable dents on each side of the top tube. Fizik saddle, riser bars, platform pedals with Wellgo straps. Photos are attached. 

This is especially tough (apart from it being a terrifying and traumatic incident) because he has been getting back on his feet after being laid off last year. Since January he has been delivering food by bike for Simply Salad, UberEats, and Caviar. A friend has lent him a bike temporarily so he can continue to work but his bike is not only his property but also his transportation and most importantly his lifeline to income. 

We’re hoping you can help at least alert the cycling public to the fact that there are people driving around hijacking bikes at gunpoint, and that is downright scary.

She also reports that a friend saw someone riding the bicycle the night after the bike theft around Olympic and Normandie. You can contact Melgar directly through Facebook if you see the bike or have any information about the theft.

Meanwhile, a crowdfunding campaign has been started in an effort to raise $800 to get him a new bike and gear so he can get rolling again and get back to work, but hadn’t received any donations as of this writing.

As causes go, you could do a lot worse. Maybe we can help him get that first donation.

Or maybe even put him over the top.

Update: Good news! Ulises Melgar’s bike was recovered after being spotted in Hollenbeck Park; all he ended up losing were the lights and a Garmin. 

As a result, donations have been disabled on the GoFundMe page, and any who gave will be contacted about their donations. 

………

Peloton profiles SoCal’s own Coryn Rivera, who became the first American to win the Tour of Flanders earlier this year.

Former Tour de France, Giro and Vuelta champ Alberto Contador announced his plans to retire after this year’s Vuelta.

Next year’s Giro d’Italia will start just a tad outside the country, in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Jillian Bearden will become the first transgendered woman to ride in a pro peloton when she takes part in Thursday’s Colorado Classic, setting a standard for trans athletes around the world; she credits bike racing with saving her life.

The last two days of the Colorado Classic will be part bike race, and part music and lifestyle festival.

……….

Local

A man riding a bicycle was the victim of a drive-by shooting in South LA early Monday; he was hospitalized in stable condition with bullet wound to one leg.

The Daily Breeze looks forward to Sunday’s CicLAvia in San Pedro and Wilmington, though not all the local businesses seem to be on board. They may get a pleasant surprise if they reach out to participants, instead of closing their shops or turning their backs on the event.

Competition kicked off in the 2017 World Police and Fire Games with a crit in Santa Clarita on Sunday, won by a 35-year old Cat 1 rider from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

 

State

Up to 1,000 people turned out for Santa Barbara’s annual unsanctioned Fiesta Cruiser Ride to Isla Vista and back. If the ride has been taking place every year since the 1970s, resulting in traffic citations and safety concerns, why not just make it official and control — if not close down — the route?

Sad news from Kern County, where a man was killed in a collision while riding his bike on Edwards Air Force Base early Monday morning.

The Hayward-based maker of Abba-Zaba, Big Hunk, Look, Rocky Road and U-No candy bars is one of us.

San Francisco installs concrete K rails to upgrade an existing protected bike lane, which was previously marked with paint and plastic bollards, but does nothing to improve safety at dangerous intersections.

Calbike released the schedule for October’s California Bike Summit in Sacramento.

 

National

A new CyclingTips podcast tackles the question of whether ebikes belong on singletrack trails.

The Department of DIY strikes in Spokane WA, as someone reinstalled a bike lane the city had moved to the opposite side of the street.

An Idaho man is training to compete in the Hawaii Iron Man triathlon, 23 years after he was paralyzed from the neck down.

A small Denver composting company is using a bicycle and trailer to collect food waste from restaurants and apartment buildings.

Thirty bicyclists take a ride through Dallas in their underwear. Next year, they should be able to do it on their choice of three dockless bikeshare providers.

Kindhearted Ohio sheriff’s deputies pitch in to buy a new bicycle for a young man, after the bike he used to ride to work couldn’t be repaired.

Caught on video: A compilation of footage from a Tennessee security cam clearly illustrates the dangers of riding across railroad tracks, even when there aren’t any trains around.

The battle over lane reductions and parking-protected bike lanes moves east, as residents and business owner in Cambridge, Massachusetts respond the same way they did here in LA.

New York removes a parking lane to provide space for a protected bike lane and a wider sidewalk. But only for one block.

Philadelphia is installing its first parking-protected bike lane, while bike cam video shows why the city’s unprotected two-way cycle track is a bad idea.

Eva Longoria is one of us, as she goes for a bike ride with her husband in Miami, dressed in casual clothes. Even if the press does freak out about her lack of a helmet.

 

International

Submitted without comment from the Toronto Globe and Mail: “Bike licensing fixes traffic problems about as well as mercury cures syphilis.”

A pair of Walmart heirs just bought British bikewear maker Rapha for the equivalent of $260 million.

No irony here. A London town council promotes a car-sharing program that allows drivers to drop off the cars anywhere, just days after impounding bikeshare bikes for doing exactly the same thing.

The world’s biggest bike parking garage just opened in the Netherlands; when finished, it will provide parking for up to 12,500 bicycles.

Let the Cycling Yogis be your guide the next time you’re riding in Madras, India.

The new government in India’s Uttar Pradesh is trying to rip out cycle tracks installed by the previous administration, blaming them for increasing traffic congestion. Although it doesn’t help that a bicycle is the ballot symbol of the outgoing political party.

 

Finally…

Maybe not the best time to go for a bike ride after you just escaped from prison a few days earlier. If you have to steal a package off a woman’s porch while walking your bicycle, try not to take the cremated ashes of her dead Yorkie.

And lots of people flip over pro cycling.

Just not literally.

 

One comment

  1. David says:

    I would expect to see an increase in the forcible taking of bicycles in LA due to the ineffectiveness of LAPD, and a kindlier and gentler policing mandate my the current Mayor. This has allowed a resurgence of gang activity. Over the past two years there has been an epidemic surge in Thefts, Burglaries and Robberies. Same goes for Santa Monica.

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