Archive for General

Happy New Year!

Please accept my best wishes for a healthy, happy and prosperous new year.

May you, and all your loved ones, experience a year filled with peace and joy. And may every bike rider who celebrates this new year make it through to 2015 in one piece.

Just the links: Your between the holidays reading list

LA’s last Critical Mass of the year honors the city’s fallen cyclists. As LA still works on wayfinding signage, other local cities point the way. That stooped tall bike gets even stoopidly taller, and more LA-centric. A road diet wish list for the Eastside. It’s now legal to park your car at a broken meter, but still illegal to park your bike at one in LA, whether it works or not. Santa Monica writer says all those new bike lanes will cause more congestion, rather than relieving it. From rising bike riding 1940’s starlet to hunting accident paraplegic, and dead at 31.

California’s three-foot passing law goes into effect in 2014, but not until September. San Diego’s BikingBrian tours the Oregon coast on video. Getting around Catalina by bike. Cal Fire rescues an injured mountain biker near Lake Elsinore. Bike riders are the real scofflaws on our streets, right? Woodland writer says taxing bikes — and pedestrians — isn’t a bad idea; a self-proclaimed scofflaw cyclist and tax specialist echoes those thoughts. A Chico paper calls on the city to rethink, rather than close, a bike path.

The top 10 bike stories of 2013. A new lighted bike suit makes you look like a comic book superhero; or you could just put lights on your bike. If someone booby-trapped a highway in a way that could kill a motorist, they’d face criminal charges; do it on an Albuquerque bike path, and it’s just a dangerous prank. A Texas bike blogger is killed despite campaigning for safer streets. A St. Louis cycling instructor claims bike lanes are dangerous with no evidence to back it up. A Milwaukee cyclist is killed in a hit-and-run by driver with 13 previous traffic violations — yes, 13 and still driving. Even Boston liberals hate bikes, while a bike riding Boston letter writer says I’m okay, but the rest of you suck. New York’s New Year’s Eve ball drop will be powered by Citibikes. DC writer takes newspaper to task for not showing riders in bike helmets — in a story about bike theft, no less; I’m a firm believer in helmet use, but contrary to popular opinion, they aren’t magic devices that ward off all risk of injury to the wearer. Orlando cop kills a cyclist in a collision; witnesses say the officer wasn’t at fault. Learning to ride a bike in Margaritaville.

Bike use is booming in Latin America. Bicycle-oriented Mexican town fights for the country’s first slow zone. Nice interview with Chris Bruntlett of Vancouver Cycle Chic. Jamaican cyclist Horace McFarlane arrested on drug charges. Bike Radar looks at the unique partnership between supercar maker McLaren and the copyright bullies of Specialized. Brit cyclist is honored as a hero for saving two girls from an attacking dog. The Royal Mail throws in the towel on bike deliveries; meanwhile, I’ve heard several reports of UPS delivering by bike in the LA area. TdF champ Chris Froome picks the Cannibal’s brain on how to win riding clean. Scot motorists are glad more bike riders are getting tickets. Kolkata police say there’s no proof banning bikes will improve traffic. Taiwan cyclists will be included in holiday DUI stops. Kiwi bike riders call for changes in the country’s mandatory helmet law. Two Aussie men face charges for whacking cyclists with a rolled-up newspaper from a passing car. A British woman sets a new record by bicycling to the South Pole.

Finally, the next time someone says cycling isn’t safe, remind them you’re not even safe from drunk drivers in your own home; turns out the killer driver had a history of DUI and couldn’t legally be on the road, but was anyway.

Nice.

Too much bad news for Christmas Eve, and a long list of pre-holiday reading

Let’s start with the bad news.

And there’s just too much of it for Christmas Eve this year.

First up, the Daily News identifies the Sheriff’s Deputy who killed cyclist Milt Olin on December 8th as a 16-year veteran from the Malibu/Lost Hills station, despite a lack of confirmation from the department. The collision is still under investigation; two weeks later, investigators still haven’t spoken to all the witnesses. Thanks to Deb Fort for the link.

There’s still no ID on the cyclist killed by a Metrolink train on December 6th. The victim is described as a Hispanic man over 21 years old, about 5’2” and 144 pounds, with brown eyes and a black Mohawk, and a red stud earring in one ear. Anyone with information is urged to call coroner’s investigator Daniel Machian at 323-343-0754 or the coroner investigations division at 323-343-0714.

Australian publication The Age fills in the blanks on the death of countryman James Rapley, who was just passing through LA when he was killed by an alleged underage — and possibly texting — drunk driver while riding a rental bike up Temescal Canyon.

And a comment on the Brentwood Patch website says the cyclist doored on Barrington Ave in Brentwood two weeks ago today has died. I’ve reached out to members of the LAPD for confirmation, but no response yet.

………

The news isn’t much better in the pro ranks, as 21-year old Swiss rider Felix Baur was killed in a collision while training in Spain last Wednesday. Meanwhile, 26-year old Euris Vidal — who was scheduled to join the Incycle-Predator Components team next year — was shot and killed while trying to stop a robbery in the Dominican Republic on Sunday.

………

Four missing mountain bikers are found safe after spending an unplanned night in the Angeles National Forest. A new short film follows the life of an abandoned bike in East LA. One of California’s best schools was founded in honor of a 13-year old girl killed by a distracted driver while her family was riding in Wyoming. Cast your vote in the LA Streetsblog Streetsie awards. Julia Roberts rides a Dutch bike through the ‘Bu. British bike scribe Carlton Reid offers an in-depth look at the elevated California Cycleway which stretched from LA to Pasadena in the early 1900s. Mark your calendar for next month’s Arroyo Seco tweed ride. In a heartwarming story, hundreds of cyclists join a Santa Clarita rider in completing the ride that almost took his life a year ago. Bikes and bike advocates rank high in this Long Beach year-in-review.

Cyclelicious offers a year-in-review retrospective. The San Diego Bicycle Coalition lists their 2013 accomplishments, including the city’s first ciclovia. You still have time to join in the Harbor View Holiday Lights Ride in Corona del Mar at 5 pm this evening. Oxnard bike cop suffers minor injuries in a hit-and-run; thanks to Richard Risemberg for the heads-up. The National Parks Service has thrown the brakes on endurance bike and running events in Death Valley, something we’d reported here a few weeks ago. Salmon cyclist killed in Lodi. Merced man tries to run down a bike rider in a jealous rage over a woman. Prison inmates refurbish bikes for kids. UC Berkeley manager dies from a heart attack after swerving to avoid a skateboarder while riding his bike. Think of it as a Street View for bikes for SF and NY riders. Chico shuts down a bike path in response to crime.

Elly Blue’s dog offers advice on bicycling with your human. US urban cycling is here to stay; let’s hope so. Americans are less likely to bike but more likely to be killed doing it according to a new study. Ten lessons learned from biking across the country. Colorado filmmaker offers tips on winter riding. A Houston website asks if the city’s drivers hate cyclists after a second rider is killed by a hit-and-run driver; in that case, they must really hate us here. Merry Christmas indeed, as a WI man pushes a boy off his bike to steal it. Chicago cyclists are about to get their first curb-separated bike lanes. Michigan non-profit gives bikes to 2500 kids. Ohio rider gets her stolen bike back for Christmas. UPS delivers by bike in Providence RI. DC Streetsbog wants your vote on the year’s biggest transportation stories, including the plan to tear down a Long Beach freeway. After Fayetteville NC’s Bicycle Man passes away, his wife continues his mission of giving 500 bikes to deserving children. The Florida cyclist dumped behind a dumpster by a heartless hit-and-run driver clings to life, but his prognosis is uncertain.

Who exactly are the real scofflaws in the UK? British paperboys and girls get new helmets and hi-viz to keep them safe after one of their peers is killed; not getting hit by cars would probably help more. A Brit letter writer says they built it, and no one came, so just give up already. Young Belgian pro attempts suicide after testing positive for clenbuterol after racing in China. The collision that left a Singapore cyclist in critical condition is caught on video; thanks to Danny Gamboa for the tip. Even Bangkok is becoming a better place to bike. Yes, Australia’s helmet law reduced cycling rates, but maybe not so much. Aussie bike tourist gets shot in the eye with a paintball gun on the first day of a planned New Zealand tour.

Finally, no bikes involved. Just a Texas driver who drank cologne to mask the scent of alcohol on his breath after he was stopped by police following a hit-and-run; nice try, anyway. And a woman pedals her hi-tech tricycle in a race to the South Pole; thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the link.

Please accept my best wishes for a very merry Christmas, and the happiest of holiday seasons for all.

Cyclist critically injured in Rancho Cucamonga, but the question is how; plus your weekend reading list

A Rancho Cucamonga man is in critical condition in what may — or may not — have been a solo fall.

According to the Daily Bulletin, forty-seven year old Daniel Oliver Loera suffered significant head injuries when he fell from his bike at Foothill Boulevard near Monet Avenue at 6:08 Friday morning. Investigators aren’t sure if another vehicle was involved; however, as many bicyclists have learned the hard way, it’s possible for a passing car to cause a cyclist to fall without ever making contact with the bike or rider.

At last report, Loera was in critical condition at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton.

Anyone with information is urged to call San Bernardino Sheriff’s Deputies Adam Cervantes or Richard Buss at 909-477-2800.

Thanks to PValley Bike for the tip.

………

The LA Times looks at Girls Gone Riding, the nation’s largest women’s mountain biking group. A HuffPo writer asks if LA can be a bike city; actually, it already is, regardless of whether our civic leaders ever catch up to that fact. Meanwhile, the Times’ architecture critic says the city is getting better and bikes are part of that; New York’s Citi Bike makes his top 10 list, since LA doesn’t have a bike share program and isn’t likely to get one soon. Streetsblog’s Damien Newton offers advice on how to win holiday arguments over bicycling. Writing for Flying Pigeon, Richard Risemberg confesses to being an accessible road user. LADOT Bike Blog visits the Valley’s 1.6 mile Brown’s Creek Bike Path, complete with ponies. Masked robbers steal a La Puente rider’s cruiser bike at gunpoint; thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up. A new park, walking path and brief bikeway are planned for the confluence of Aliso Creek and the LA River in Reseda. Boyonabike admits to being a dreamer. CLR Effect looks at bike racing in LA — 110 years ago.

San Diego unanimously passes a $312 million bike plan. Rancho Cucamonga kids get bikes for better grades. Apple Valley cyclists can look forward to over $400,000 in new and better bike lanes. Evidently, only special interest groups care about street safety, according to the San Francisco Fire Department. The SF Weekly questions the city’s official bike count showing a near doubling in ridership since 2006. A Napa woman donates 25 bikes out of her own pocket for a local toy drive.

Washington state endorses the NACTO guide; one down, 49 to go. Dallas police recover a custom-made cruiser bike stolen from the former city manager. After a truck driver reported hitting “something” on a Missouri freeway, police drove by for 8 hours before discovering the cyclist he killed on the side of the road. For a change, Austin TX police crack down on dangerous drivers to protect cyclists; most departments seem to think the way to save cyclists is to go after the victims, which is the same approach the LAPD takes to pedestrians in DTLA. Chicago bike lawyer says the hyperventilating about bike helmets has got to stop; scaring bike riders off the roads makes them less safe for everyone. New York study shows new bikeways pay off for the businesses along their routes, but federal red tape could delay New York bike lanes. A Boston driver loses it when a cyclist taps on his trunk for blocking bike lane; thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the link. A PA man gets two to four years for the hit-and-run death of a 73-year old bike rider who was on his way to buy groceries.

Now that’s major chutzpah, as a Canadian hit-and-run driver asks the victim to help remove the bike from under his car, gives him money for the bike, then drives away. London’s mayor plans to de-lycrafy cycling in the city, while cyclists conduct another die-in. Bath England police are looking for a cyclist who has repeatedly lost it. The podium girl famously pinched by pro cyclist Peter Sagan gets a new bike for Christmas courtesy of Cannondale; he could pinch my ass, too, if they’ll give me a new bike. Riding to Soweto to honor Nelson Mandela. Is that a sawed-off shotgun in your riding pants or are you just happy to see us? An Australian bike rider dies a month after he was struck by a hit-and-run driver; clearly, hit-and-run is not just an LA — or even American — problem.

Finally, can someone please explain to me how a single-use invisible bike helmet hardly anyone owns — let alone can afford — could possibly be revolutionizing bike safety? And if your neighbor pushes you off your bike, do not respond by taking an axe to his home and car. Especially not if you’re riding your new Wu Tang fixie.

Thanks to Michael Young and Jim Lyle for their generous donations to help support this site.

Report from an active BAC Bikeways committee, and a long list of pre-holiday bike links

Sometimes pressing issues force me to set aside things I intend to discuss here.

That’s what happened over the last few weeks, as I’ve been meaning to post a link to the minutes of last month’s meeting of the Bikeways Subcommittee of the LA Bicycle Advisory Committee.

As you’ll see, the committee — and the BAC as a whole — is doing great work on some of the most pressing issues facing LA cyclists.

………

LADOT’s People St prepares to work with the community to transform the streets of LA. The CEO of DTLA’s Union Rescue Mission rides his way back from a heart attack and kidney transplant. Metro to consider better bike and car parking in North Hollywood. A homeless Rosemead man teams with an off-duty anesthesiologist to save the life of a fallen bike rider; remember that the next time you’re tempted to look down on the tattered guy huddled in a doorway. CLR Effect says pay attention out there after coming on an injured bike rider near a school. A Santa Monica letter writer complains about a lack of enforcement against bike riders, but neglects to consider all those scofflaw motorists. The Acorn asks that the sheriff’s deputy who killed cyclist Milton Olin, a 16-year veteran, be investigated for distracted driving.

Twenty Riverside students get new bikes. Dates are set for next April’s 30th Redland’s Bicycle Classic. A Big Bear bicycling group invests $35,000 in local bike projects. Huntington Beach’s new mayor has supported bike paths since he was eight years old; let’s hope he still does. San Diego city council approves a $312 million bike plan. A San Diego summit considers how to wean the North County area off auto-dependency. San Diego State students are threatened with having their bikes impounded if they don’t use the new bike racks. The Borrego Springs Century rolls this weekend. Now that’s more like it, as a Santa Barbara driver faces murder charge for a drunken hit-and-run after his victim dies. A Bakersfield driver faces a vehicular manslaughter charge for killing a cyclist while legally using a hands-free device. Small town San Luis Obispo ranks as the 7th most dangerous city for California cyclists. A former Google engineer wants to put turn signals on your hands. How to use your bike for holiday shopping. Ride 2 Recovery brings a greater sense of normalcy for a wounded Stockton Iraq war vet.

Cyclists send a message to motorists in a nice new video; basically, that message is please don’t kill me or someone I love. Physical activity is the new wonder drug. Bike lanes are good for small businesses; someone should tell that to the anti-bike merchants on Westwood and Lankershim. The Bike League is seeking a new Equity Advisory Council member. A tongue-in-cheek look at why you should never try biking to work. NPR looks at efforts to make bike share more accessible. A look at America’s top 10 protected bike lanes; not surprising, Los Angeles — which recently got its first sort-of protected bike lane in the 2nd Street tunnel — doesn’t make the list. Bike Portland examines when it’s legal to ride side-by-side in Oregon; it’s legal here in California, though many some misinformed cops may disagree. Long Beach biking expats The Path Less Pedaled looks at Oregon’s Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway. Seattle’s new mayor could mean less support for a new bike plan. My hometown, which has a real winter, holds a Winter Bike to Work Day; Los Angeles, which doesn’t, doesn’t. An over-privileged 16-year old Texas boy gets probation for killing four people while driving dunk at three times the legal limit; thanks to Austin Brown for the heads-up. Big hearted Nebraska driver goes bowling after running down a bike rider; no word on what he scored. The family of a fallen Chicago cyclist hopes to crowd source his funeral expenses. Ohio driver fesses up to punching a bike rider in a road rage incident; it helps when the chief prosecutor is a cyclist too. DC Streetsblog asks the Associated Press to nix the term accident in their style book. A different kind of scofflaw cyclist, as a DC rider stencils bike-positive messages on bike lanes. Cranky VA letter writer takes issue with the idea that bike lanes improve livability. Alabama foster kids get 502 new bikes for the holidays.

Trek hopes the Schlecks can bounce back. A BC writer just doesn’t get the concept of sharrows; problem is, he’s not far off. As expected, Specialized kisses and makes up with the Canadian bike shop they tried to run out of business; that means they’re not overly litigious bullies anymore, right? A Canadian cyclist videos his own face plant after a failed stunt, leading to a breakthrough in facial surgery. Avid cyclists are going extinct, and maybe that’s a good thing. UK study show’s only a tiny fraction of cycling collisions resulted from bad behavior by the bike rider. Look, no matter what they did to piss you off, don’t punch out drivers — or moms in front of their kids. Newly minted Sir Bradley Wiggins is humbled by the honor. The Beeb asks if new technology could make cyclists safer; thanks to Victor Bank for the link. Unconscious Norwegian cyclist is saved when a passing snowplow operator sees the handlebars of his bike poking out from a snow bank. A new Bangkok bike promises to clean the air while you ride; now we only need a few hundred billion of them and enough people to ride ‘em.

Finally, great holiday ad from Jamis bikes, aside from the gratuitous sex object. And don’t try this at home. Or especially not this.

Let’s try this again

Just a quick note to let you know we’re going to try once again to transfer my blog over to a private server, hopefully tonight.

With a little luck — okay, a lot of luck the way things have gone so far — we’ll be back up and running in a day or two, almost as if nothing has changed.

On the other hand, if things go the way I expect, it may take a few days to get it back to where it needs to be. Or maybe even better, as I start to add some of the new pages I’ve been working on.

Which means, unless there’s breaking news, you may not see anything new here the rest of this week. So bundle up and get out on your bike, which beats the hell out of sitting in front of a screen reading about it any day.

In the meantime, I hope to see you here Thursday night.

Happy Thanksgiving. And wish me luck.

First of all, please forgive my absence the past couple days.

While I try to write something every day — or every weekday anyway —  sometimes other obligations get in the way. Especially when the calendar calls for riding my bike to meetings downtown.

And as much as I enjoy the ride, time spent on my bike or in meetings is time I can’t spend writing.

Then again, there are other things that have been eating into my time lately.

As I’ve hinted at before, there are changes afoot at BikinginLA, as I make the transition bike blog to an advertising-supported bike news site. The first step will — hopefully — take place this weekend when my site is scheduled to move to a private web server.

It’s not going to be the whole new website I’d planned; not yet, at least. But it will allow me to do things I can’t do now, like accept advertising and put up a link for donations while I work on getting a whole new design online.

If everything goes as planned, you won’t notice the difference. Otherwise… well, let’s just hope for the best, shall we?

Although if you have this site bookmarked, you may want to change it from bikinginla.wordpress.com to just bikinginla.com. Both work now, but the latter will be the address going forward.

Finally, I know I’ve said it before.

But in this season of gratitude, let me take a moment to thank you for coming here. Because without you, and all those who take the time to visit here, nothing I have to say would mean anything.

And if you need a little help counting your blessings this year, or remembering what really matters, read this.

Hopefully, I’ll see you back here next week.

Until then, please accept my best wishes for a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving and a very happy Chanukah.

And stay safe out there.

Bus driver who killed Udo Heinz may have been distracted; and a long list of Monday links

Official results aren’t expected from federal investigators until the end of the month in the death of Udo Heinz, the popular San Diego cyclist killed by a bus while riding on Camp Pendleton last August.

However, San Diego’s NBC-7 confirms that Heinz and two other riders were hit from behind, as reported here earlier, rather than sideswiped as reported in other press accounts. And reports — or strongly implies — that the bus driver was illegally using a handheld cell phone at the time of the collision.

………

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton questions the courage of CD5 Councilmember Paul Kortez following his recent kowtowing to Westwood homeowners. UCLA unveils a new on-campus bike counter, while less bike-friendly cross-town rival USC reneges on promises for street improvements. Touring LA without a car. Santa Monica could see new green bike lanes on Main Street and Broadway, pending Tuesday’s SaMo city council vote. Cycling in the South Bay isn’t shocked by doping by masters racers. The new bike team at Cal State Long Beach is starting to make waves. The Pomona Valley Bicycle Coalition is hosting a fund raiser at the Dale Bros Brewery on Saturday, December 14th. BikeSGV discovers newly installed protected car parking, uh, bike lanes.

Palm Springs could become more bike friendly. Santa Cruz cyclists get a new off-road dirt bike course. If you’re riding with an illegal blackjack and two outstanding warrants, stop for the damn stop sign, already. A cyclist suffers major injuries when his bike is rear-ended on the Stanford campus; fortunately, a second car only hit his bike. SFist asks if San Francisco is the most bike-friendly city in the country; uh, probably not. Salinas cyclist killed after allegedly running a stop sign; but if the driver had the sun in her eyes, who saw him run it? Napa Valley paper asks if California’s laws are enough to keep bicyclists safe. Improve safety by designing roads for cyclists.

Treehugger says let’s stop calling the deaths of cyclists at the hands of negligent drivers accidents; I couldn’t agree more. Reflective vests don’t have to look like crap. A 78-year old driver kills cyclist participating in El Tour de Tucson bike race, even though the rider “did everything right.” Seattle spends $225,000 for a special bike lane street sweeper. Boulder CO bike advocates question lenient penalties for drivers who kill or injure cyclists; actually, I think bike riders everywhere question that. Chicago driver jerks — with emphasis on the jerk — his vehicle into a cyclist after the rider asks him to stop playing video games while driving. A Tennessee town misinterprets local law to ban children from riding bikes on city streets. Actually, new Boston sharrows – even on steroids — don’t give priority to cyclists or motorists; that’s kind of the point of a shared lane, no? Maryland grand jury gives an aggressive driver a pass for fatally not passing a cyclist. Bipartisan support for bicycling baffles the media. A Florida rider corrects the misconception that salmon cycling is safer.

Bicycling British writer politely responds to the very unfunny, anti-bike troll she has the misfortune of sharing the planet working with. New report says the UK is falling behind on bike safety. London’s Police Commissioner says he’s afraid to ride a bike and that only poor people do, then backs off on his own comments. On the other hand, Bristol’s police chief says he’s one of us, while the city steps up enforcement against both cyclists and motorists. The Independent says cyclists and motorists should be on the same side. Brit author and WWII survivor is run down by a driver blinded by the sun. A Scottish letter writer calls for £500 — $811 — fines for rogue cyclists; I wonder how many rogue drivers face fines anywhere near that? Former pro rider Arnaud Coyot was killed in a French car crash on Sunday. Former world time trial champ Emma Pooley is back in the saddle after taking time off for her PhD. American triathlete is forced to pay blood money to leave Abu Dhabi after colliding with a race volunteer who ran into his path. Kiwi cyclist confesses to being less of a rebel, with more of a cause. Are Australian cities underestimating the potential for bicycling? Aussie cyclist gets five years for fatally pushing a 71-year old woman who got in the way of his bike. A new bike safety campaign wants your help in reporting articles about cyclist/driver incidents; thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up. A Tokyo police sergeant is under investigation for trying to stop a rash of bike thefts; yes, you read that right.

Finally, a British Lord claims bike riders want to get run over so they can film it; personally, I’ll pass, thank you. And a London cyclist says he’s okay, but everyone else sucks. Then again, he’s probably never had to defend himself from a family of elk.

Today’s post, in which I repeat myself and offer my heartfelt thanks

I don’t often repost something I’ve written before. 

In fact, I recall doing it just once before, when I repeated the Father’s Day post thanking the man who instilled my lifelong love of bike riding. 

But I’m going to make an exception today.

Because it was exactly one year ago that my wife nearly died from a heart attack that seemed to come out of the blue — although in retrospect, there were warning signs. As there usually are, if you know what to look for.

What you’ll see below is probably the most heartfelt piece I ever have ever written. Or ever will.

And the message is still worth considering.

Because you never know where life will take you.

Or your loved ones.

……..

Before you ride, before you work, before it’s too late

I almost lost my wife today.

Not the way I often do at the mall, where her petite five-foot frame too easily disappears behind department store racks.

And not the way I sometimes fear, when I foolishly question whether love is stronger than the anger that never fails to fade following a fight.

This time the heart I fell in love with gave out without a warning.

Or rather, without one we heeded.

Like the odd pain she complained about last night, that felt like someone punching her between the shoulder blades.

Or this morning, when she was too tired to help make the bed. Something we put off to a long standing iron deficiency still awaiting approval for another round of treatment.

But off to work she went, just like any other day.

Then a little after noon, she told her boss she wasn’t feeling well. Moments later, she was passed out at her desk.

Fortunately, the people she works with found her right away, and knew exactly what to do. And within minutes, paramedics from the Beverly Hills Fire Department had her on a gurney and on her way the ER, red lights and siren blaring.

She was already in surgery before I was halfway to the hospital.

That was followed by a tense couple hours in the waiting room, surrounded by strangers with worried faces just like mine, waiting for word on loved ones of their own.

A steady parade of physicians walked through the door, calling names that weren’t mine. And breaking news that brought smiles to faces that weren’t mine, either.

Finally I heard my name, and looked up as a doctor in surgical scrubs beckoned me down a hall leading to the cardiac ICU.

His words didn’t make me smile. That heart I loved was badly broken.

But unlike Humpty Dumpty, they were able to put it back together again. And the prognosis, thankfully, is good.

Only time will tell how much damage was done. If any.

Her life will be different. She’ll be on medication for the foreseeable future, and under the care of a cardiologist for life.

But at least she’ll have one. And I’ll still have her.

It could have been different.

If her coworkers had been at lunch. If the hospital had been farther away. If it had happened tonight, when I would have been away at a meeting, and she would have been home alone, with only the dog to call 911.

And the dog can’t reach the phone. Even if she did know how.

As cyclists, we accept a certain degree of risk. We understand that bad things can happen when we ride, but probably won’t.

And we get angry when it does, usually to someone else. Maybe because we’ve all had enough close calls to know it could be us, some other place, some other time.

People are fragile.

And bad things can happen to anyone. Anytime. Anywhere.

And sometimes, there’s no second chance to say the things you wish you’d said.

So say them. Please.

Now.

Take a moment to tell the people you love that you do. Before you ride. Before you go to work. Before it’s too late.

Because one day, hopefully not soon, it will be.

Tonight I’m going to sleep in an empty bed, with just the dog to keep me warm. And my heart will be miles away, badly broken. But getting better.

And thankfully, that bed won’t be empty long.

……..

A year later, the news is good.

Whatever damage there was to her heart has healed almost completely. And she is back to where she was before a blood clot nearly took her life. 

But they never figured out why it happened, as she had none of the common factors that normally lead to clotting or cardiac arrest. Which means that it could happen again at any time, for whatever reason.

Or it could have been a one time thing that will never repeat.

I’m hoping for the latter.

But let it be a reminder to you, as it is to me, every day, that life is short. And the people in your life precious and irreplaceable.

And far more important than all the things and worries and events that too often distract us.

So take a moment to remember who you love, and why. Then let them know.

It may be the most important thing you do today.

And you may not get another chance.

……..

One more thought.

I love what I do. This blog is my passion, and one day soon, it will, hopefully, be my job.

Even when the writing is hard, and the subject painful, there is nothing I would rather do. But writing is meaningless without readers.

So whether this is your first time here, or you’ve been with me since the beginning, please accept my sincere thanks, from as deep within my soul as I’m capable of.

Because without you, nothing I do here matters at all.

Thank you.

Today’s post, in which I hoist the Giro trophy, and ride a much needed new bike lane in DTLA

I hoist the Giro trophy, and enjoy the affections of the lovely podium girl.

I hoist the Giro trophy, and enjoy the affections of the lovely podium girl.

Call off the search dogs.

I’m still here.

My sled-dog mushing, Iditarod-running brother came in from Alaska on Thursday for his first visit in far too many years.

Actually, he sold his dog team earlier this year, and has taken up bicycling, with plans to ride across the country. Or at least the Yukon.

Evidently, the biking bug is contagious.

Or maybe it just runs in the family.

While I had planned on updating the blog over the weekend, I found myself instead running all over LA. And collapsing in exhaustion at the end of each day.

So my apologies.

I’ll try to catch up later today, or tonight, anyway.

Meanwhile, we did manage to catch the somewhat underwhelming Expo for Sunday’s Beverly Hills Gran Fondo, where I managed to finally lift the trophy for the Giro D’Italia.

Without the inconvenience of actually having to ride the race. Or win it, for that matter.

Although the Corgi was, appropriately, in pink.

Meanwhile, I had my first chance to ride the new 7th Street bike lanes in Downtown LA Wednesday night. While I was disappointed that only a small portion of the lanes had been painted up to that point, it was nice to get a taste of the taming that is come on one of the most dangerously unruly streets I ride on a semi-regular basis.

And LADOT promises the rest should be in place the next time I ride that way.

Something else to look forward to.

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