Archive for Contests

Hit-and-run on Mulholland Hwy, boat racing by bike and train, win a bike trip to Tuscany from LACBC

Lots of news coming in through my inbox this past week.

So let’s take a few moments to catch.

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First up is news of a hit-and-run on the dirt road section of Mulholland Highway. Fortunately, the rider wasn’t hurt, but that doesn’t change the need to find the driver and bring her to justice.

According to the email, the owner of a Valley bike shop was riding between the trail head near Topanga Canyon and the Reseda trail head when he was struck by what’s described as a white crossover SUV. He landed hard on the hood of the car, leaving a major dent.

The driver was reportedly looking down at her phone when she hit him. She got out of her car to look at the dent on the hood, then sped away without talking to her victim, who wasn’t able to get the plate number or make of car before she left.

If you see a vehicle that matches that description with a large dent in the hood, take down the license number and call the police.

Thanks to Dan at Santa Monica Helen’s for the heads-up.

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A couple weeks ago, Michael Eisenberg, who has contributed a number of items here in recent months, emailed me asking for info on taking a bike on an Amtrak train.

He was planning to participate in a Newport to San Diego sailboat race, and wanted to drive his boat trailer down to San Diego, then use a combination of bike and train travel to come back up to get his boat and start the race.

I’ll let him tell you how it worked out.

I’ve returned from my sailing/biking weekend and I thought you might want a travel report.

After launching the boat in Newport Harbor, I headed down to San Diego to leave the car and trailer. As I expected, I was running late and wasn’t ready to start cycling back to Newport Beach until 3:45. With a stop for dinner I calculated that I would arrive at my destination  around 10. I really didn’t want to finish the ride on PCH after dark, so I changed my plans and headed over to the Amtrak Old Town station.

The train was scheduled to depart at 4:08, so I needed to hustle to cover the 5 miles in time. I got there with 2 minutes to spare. As an aside, as I was speeding up Rosecrans Blvd passing block upon block of stalled rush hour traffic, I came upon a police cruiser with a cyclist pulled over and with his hands spread out on the hood awaiting a pat down. I have no idea what led up to this.

I’ve never ridden on a train before, so I had to ask around to find out what to do next. I was told that the only bike storage was on the lower level of the first car. When I entered to car, I found 10 bike racks in the front. This car also contain the area for special needs travelers. There were already 7 bikes in racks, and these must all have arrived. At the first stop, as Old Town was the second stop. I noticed that every other bike was locked, so I new I would have to get up at each stop to keep tabs on my bike as it was the low hanging fruit.

While on the train, I figured out how to register on-line with Amtrak and to purchase a ticket. I was ready when the conductor came by to scan the bar code on my phone. The ride was of course extremely pleasant. As I was dressed in cycling gear, I had two people come up to me asking about where to find good cycling spots in SD. Talk about the blind leading the blind. I was able to tell them about the excellent bike path that traverses the South Bay from Coronado around to Chula Vista and up to San Diego.  But when I mentioned the path was only about 30 miles long, their eyes got really big. My how perceptions change after a time.

The only glitch occurred when we arrived in Irvine. The train overshot the platform, and I had to carry my bike up the stairs and back to the second car before heading back downstairs to exit. Talk about tight.

Once I exited the station, I Googled the directions from Irvine to Corona Del Mar in walking mode. I was given 3 choices, all the same length of 15 miles. Two were major boulevards, and one was listed as Shady Canyon / Bonita Canyon. That sounded the most appealing and it did not disappoint. I was a first rate bike path with spectacular views. I arrived at my destination at 7:00 with a sense of accomplishment in discovering a new method of travel.

Once back at the boat, I removed the bike wheels, packed the bike into a travel bag, and stored it down below. The next day I won my singlehanded division in the Newport to San Diego sailboat race.

I’ve written this for you, not because I’m looking for any publicity, but instead to inform you about how easy and satisfying bit was to combine rail and bicycle travel.

Just goes to show what you can do with a bike and a little imagination.

As an aside, he notes that he’s planning to bike down to Knott’s Berry Farm for an annual car show later this month, a distance of 115 miles round trip. Which should impress his friends more than any car he might take down there.

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Eisenberg's DIY bike rack

Eisenberg’s DIY bike rack

Eisenberg also writes that he’s gotten in the bike rack business for a friend.

I went to the gym last night. The gym manager showed me a video taken in the morning of some low life creep cutting a cable lock on a $1000 bike and riding off. I hope they catch the bastard. Anyway, there was no proper place to lock a bike before, just around a 6″ x 6″ support post. So I whipped this up for him today. It’s now out being powder coated. I made this one for about 1/2 of what I saw similar ones online if anyone is in interested.

I should note that LADOT offers a free bike rack program, installing U-racks on request anywhere within the City of Los Angeles.

But if you’re outside the city or want a larger rack, you can contact him at maecomotorsport@bizla.rr.com.

Bike rack 2

You could have a rack like this of your own

And he notes that, now that the rack has been installed, the gym owner hopes the rack gets enough use to justify a second one.

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The LACBC is offering you a chance to win a bike trip to Tuscany by fundraising for the upcoming River Ride.

Fundraise for LACBC’s Annual Los Angeles River Ride.  It is easy.  The top prize for the highest fundraiser is a bike trip to Tuscany, courtesy of VBT. We also have a prize for the fundraiser who gets the most people to donate to the cause: a bike from DTLA Bikes. Runner-up prizes include a New Belgium Brewing Cruiser Bike and signed copies of Where to Bike Los Angeles. Prizes are guaranteed for meeting fundraising minimums at the $100 (LACBC socks), $250 (River Ride jersey), $500 (access to the River Ride VIP tent and beer garden), $1000 (recognition at LACBC donor and supporter party), and $5000 (custom vintage cocktail mixology, tea ceremony, or dinner with our Excutive Director and Board President) levels. Go to http://www.active.com/donate/riverride and  www.la-bike.org/riverride for more information.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition has long been fighting for a safer, cleaner, quieter form of transportation for all Angelenos whether they bike, walk, or drive. The Annual Los Angeles River Ride provides much of the funds LACBC needs in order to transform the face of Los Angeles County and give future generations the option of enjoying Los Angeles by bike! This year’s Annual Los Angeles River Ride also incorporates a campaign to complete all 51 miles of LA River Bikeway. Imagine it: a completely car-free uninterrupted bike highway running right through the middle of Los Angeles, from Canoga Park to Long Beach!

When you raise funds for the River Ride you are contributing to this campaign. What a legacy to leave, the knowledge that you helped make such an enormous and positive change to the landscape of the 5th largest economy in the world. In addition to helping LACBC do such great work, high fundraisers win great prizes.

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Reporter Roger Rudick produced a story for KCRW’s Which Way LA contrasting the impressive bicycling infrastructure in the Dutch city of Rotterdam with the far less notable bikeways here in the City of Angeles.

Yet surprisingly, he discovers that the two cities aren’t that different.

Which suggests that Los Angeles could do a lot more to encourage cycling and keep riders safe.

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Police have concluded that the driver was at fault in the death of Cal Poly Pomona bike rider Ivan Aguilar. Charges against the driver, who has not been publicly identified, are on hold pending the result of a final report from the L.A. County Coroner.

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The family of cyclist Donny McCluskey published a moving memorial to the fallen cyclist, who was killed in Rancho Mirage when a speeding driver ran a red light and hit another vehicle driven by a drunk driver. The cars spun out of control and hit McCluskey, who was stopped at the red light.

McCluskey was killed despite doing everything right. Except being in the wrong place when two drivers broke the law.

Yet shamefully, neither has faced more than a slap on the wrist for taking the life of an innocent human being.

Donny McCluskey Memorial

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Finally, it turns out that those green bike lanes on Spring Street in Downtown L.A. aren’t so hard for filmmakers to remove in post-production after all.

Which begs the question of why Hollywood really wants them gone. And why FilmLA, the L.A. Times and L.A. city officials have fallen for what appears to be one big anti-bike lie.

Let alone why the city appears to have caved in to bogus demands to let the highly popular green lanes fade to oblivion.

Credit to LA Streetsblog’s Damien Newton for getting the truth in this story.

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I’m going to be at the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition booth at CicLAvia from 2 pm to 3:30 pm this Sunday at the Culver City hub; stop by and say hi if you get the chance.

Better yet, bring a few bucks, checkbook or credit card with you and I’ll be happy to sign you up as an LACBC member if you’re not one already.

The winners of our Mojo Bar giveaway, updates on recent bike crashes, and UPS blocks the bike lane

Let’s catch up on what turned out to be a far too busy week.

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First up are the winners of last weekend’s contest to give away some CLIF Mojo bars by revealing your own favorite means of performance enhancement for when you ride.

The winners were chosen in a totally biased and arbitrary manner by yours truly, based strictly on how much I liked the response.

And from my perspective, it looks like Brian was clear winner.

I ride with http://www.ride2recovery.com My enhancer is seeing a fellow Wounded Soldier Amputee passing me, or just not giving up!!

Seriously, how could I not reward a Wounded Warrior who just flat refuses to quit? Let alone one who uses his fellow riders for inspiration.

But we also had several runners-up who gave great responses as well.

Like Joe B, who struck a similar note.

I’ve found that the best way to enhance my performance is to have my slightly-faster buddy riding about fifteen or twenty feet in front of me.

I’ve got to admit, few things motivate me more than trying to catch and pass that rider just up the road.

Then there’s Lois Rubin, who deserves to win if she can ride a mountain bike without blowing chunks after eating this. Or maybe she didn’t mean at the same time.

For mountain biking – Pickles! and peanut butter, bananas and honey in a small whole wheat pita. For the road – hammer gel and mojo bars. Really.

Opus the Poet struck a similar note.

Peanut butter and honey sandwiches on whole wheat. I can run for miles on them. I did a century on a 24 oz. loaf and small jars of honey and peanut butter. And a few Gatorades.

Anyone who can go a hundred miles on a loaf of whole wheat bread has my respect.

Several people noted the value of a little — or a lot — of caffeine. But Mike Caputo threw in some music and a little lubrication.

My favorite performance enhancers (in no particular order) are a Starbucks Tall White Chocolate Mocha, a little ‘Beautiful Day’ by U2 (still works) and a quick squirt of bike lube on the chain (I know this is supposed to be done after but it feels so good)…of course the stretchy paints don’t hurt.

Finishing just out of the money, since CLIF’s agency limited me to five winners, was this response from Ben Calderwood.

Sherpa blood. No, I may have dreamed that. Plain ol’ Clif bars and gels, typically. The Mojo bars are too good; I tend to eat my stash long before I get on the bike.

I can think of more than a few riders who wouldn’t hesitate to ingest or inject Sherpa blood if they thought it would shave a few seconds off their time, or maybe win them a Tour de France title. But let’s think of Ben as first runner-up, and not just because he put in a plug for the product.

If for some reason we can’t ship a set of Mojo bars to one of the winners — like if someone doesn’t respond with a valid address — maybe we can slip him into the mix. At least now he knows how Taylor Phinney feels.

I’ve already emailed the winners, who have until this Monday to respond with a mailing address.

And thanks to everyone who entered. There were a lot of great responses, so don’t feel bad if you didn’t win.

It wasn’t an easy decision.

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A representative of the LAPD has confirmed that Jerico Culata, the 18-year old cyclist killed on the UCLA campus during last week’s Critical Mass ride, was riding a brakeless fixed gear bike, as many have speculated.

It appears that Culata was unable to control his bike on the moderately steep downhill; he didn’t have the strength or skill to slow down without brakes, lost control and struck a concrete wall head on, suffering non-survivable brain injuries.

Go ahead.

Make every argument against helmet use you want to make.

But this is exactly the sort of injury bike helmets were designed to protect against. And while no one can say Culata would have survived if he’d been wearing one, his chances clearly would have been better if he’d had one.

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A spokesman for the CHP reports that Willis Veluz-Abraham may not have died as a result of rumble strips on Stunt Road, after all.

According to the officer, Veluz-Abraham was riding with a group of other riders who were filming him with a bike cam; he reportedly looked back at them just before taking a corner too fast, losing control and going off the side of the road.

The CHP investigation places no blame on the rumble strips that had recently been installed.

I might question that, myself.

Then again, it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve disagreed with the CHP.

Even if they didn’t contribute directly to his crash, the rumble strips could — repeat, could — have destabilized his bike enough that it was impossible to regain control. And even if they didn’t play a role in this case, it should be obvious to everyone that rumble strips and bikes don’t mix.

But I freely admit I may have gotten it wrong this time.

And let’s hope that video, if it still exists, never sees the light of day.

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Still no news on last Saturday’s Topanga Canyon hit-and-run in which a Land Rover-driving coward left a cyclist seriously injured on the side of the road.

The CHP reports that the investigation is still ongoing, and no further details are available at this time.

However, they may need volunteers to distribute posters this weekend; I’ll let you know if they reach out for help.

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Maybe you’ll recall the prompt response I got from UPS a couple months back, promising not to block any more Santa Monica bike lanes.

So much for that.

This was taken Tuesday on northbound San Vicente Blvd, just around the corner and a few blocks from the previous incident.

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Finally, California gets another dangerous driver off the streets. And enough with the damn earthquakes, Beverly Hills. It’s just a desperate plea for attention, and we’re not falling for it.

Get your Mojo on with Lance Armstrong-inspired contest for some free CLIF Mojo Bars

Get your Mojo on and tell use your favorite performance enhancers.

Let’s have a little fun.

It’s been awhile since we’ve done a contest on here. But I was recently approached by the makers of CLIF Bars with an offer to give away some of their Mojo Bars in honor of national Trail Mix Day.

And yes, there really is such a thing.

Not only that, as it turns out, Friday was it.

And as it happens, Mojo Bars are made from… wait for it… trail mix.

Or as they put it, a crunchy, chewy, sweet and salty mostly organic blend of nuts, pretzel pieces and other healthy things, with no processed sugars or trans fats.

Works for me.

The question is, who to give them to?

And that’s where our old buddy Lance comes in.

As you may recall, Lance was recently stripped of his titles for using performance-enhancing drugs. And yet, as cyclists, we all use performance enhancers of some sort.

Though most of them are legal.

Mine run the gamut from broccoli, spinach, berry and banana smoothies — and yes, it takes a lot of berries to kill the taste of the first two — to blasting just the right song before setting out.

Oddly, the one that seems to work best for me is the Theme from the Magnificent Seven. Maybe I still want to be a cowboy when I grow up.

And yes, I am partial to CLIF Bars, though I lean more towards the White Chocolate Macadamia and Peanut Toffee Buzz flavors. And their Peanut Butter Crunch bars are like crack to me.

So what’s your favorite performance enhancer?

Just leave a comment below, or email me at bikinginla at hotmail dot com. Or tweet me, for that matter, @bikinginla.

Just tell me what you use to enhance your performance before or during a ride, and why. And be sure to include a valid email address or Twitter account so I can contact you if you win.

I’ll pick the winners Monday night, so you have a few days to think it over. And I’ll post the best entries on here next week.

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