Tag Archive for bicycling with kids

Morning Links: Bike Snob takes down Venice science writer, and bike shop ticketed for city-owned bike racks

Last weekend, it seemed like every bike rider in Los Angeles had the privilege of being muted by self-described “science-based advice columnist & radio host” Amy Alkon.

Or at all the ones on Twitter.

Myself included.

Not content to merely be part of the crowd calling for the removal of the protected bike lanes on Venice Blvd, Alkon upped the ante by calling parents, and soon-to-be moms, who rode bikes on the street with their kids “assholes” who should have their children taken away for child endangerment.

And anyone who disagreed with her, no matter rudely or politely, was seen by her as part of a mob of “cycling ideologues” — or worse — who were attempting to bully her into silence. And then summarily muted before they could contradict her.

Once again, myself included.

Never mind that I can’t recall a single instance of a child being killed while riding with a parent anywhere in the LA area in the six years I’ve been keeping track.

Neither, apparently, can Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss, writing about it in Outside Magazine.

Can carrying a kid on a bike be dangerous? Sure. I’d imagine hillbombing in San Francisco on a brakeless fixie with junior in tow could end pretty badly. Then again, so would doing the same thing with a Bugaboo, and it’s a virtual certainty you’re not going to be attempting either. The bottom line is that, despite drivers’ best efforts to hit us, cycling itself just isn’t that dangerous (you can even argue it’s the safest form of transport)—and the conservative approach any halfway sensible parent takes to riding with a kid onboard is even safer.

On the other hand, if your goal is to endanger your children in transit, then you can’t do any better than using a car. Setting aside the thousands of children who die in collisions every year, an average of 37 kids are killed annually due to being left in hot cars, and even more suffer “backover deaths,” which are exactly what they sound like.

It’s a good read, and more than worth a few minutes of your morning.

Because these are the people we have to deal with on a daily basis, whether fighting for safer streets or just trying to ride down them in peace.

And like Alkon, too many refuse to listen to reason.

Or anything else.

………

By far the best story of the day.

A Florida bike shop was cited for installing a pair of spiral bike racks on the sidewalk without the proper permits or inspections.

Except they had actually been installed by the city two weeks earlier.

Oops.

………

Local

Brace yourself for wet riding, with heavy rains predicted for the LA area over the next few days.

Voting is open for Streetsblog’s Civil Servant of the Year.

A letter in the LA Times says a proposed bill wouldn’t automatically open wilderness areas to mountain bikers, but leave it up to local administrators instead.

The New Yorker takes a walking tour of sites used by Nazis, fascists and the spies who fought them in the City of Angels in the years leading up to WWII, which you could undoubtedly do by bike, as well.

Planning is moving forward for a 1.7 mile Complete Streets project on Broadway in Long Beach.

 

State

Ventura police bust a bike thief using a bait bike. Something that’s still not being used here in Los Angeles.

Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties are trying to attract bike tourists with a 160-mile grand loop though the both counties.

Google is losing up to 250 of their company bikes every week, as some residents of Mountain View see them as a community asset, and others see bike snatching as an act of retribution.

Sad news from Livermore, where a woman was killed when her bike went off the road on a descent.

A Marin County driver got his road rage case tossed after completing an anger management course. Never mind that he was caught on video threatening to get a shotgun and shoot a bike rider’s head off.

 

National

A writer for Bicycling talks about falling in love with bikepacking.

Your next bike could be a weird-looking DIY front-wheel drive cross between a bicycle and a unicycle.

Even in cold and windy Laramie WY, it’s possible to ride a bike year-round. And yet people still think you can’t ride through the winter in sunny Southern California.

A Dallas TX suburb decides the solution to dockless bikeshare bikes being left in inconvenient places is to ban them entirely; although this might have something to do with it.

Bicycling is now the official exercise of Illinois. Unlike California, where the official exercise appears to be complaining about bike lanes and the people who use them.

I think I’ve found my new career. A Philadelphia man is riding around the city with his dogs on his bike, charging people to take their picture.

 

International

A Canadian letter writer says a bike path extension was a waste of money because it doesn’t get plowed after it snows. Which seems to be a better argument for clearing the path so it can be used all year.

London will roll out e-cargo bike deliveries in the historic city center in an effort to cut pollution, following a successful trial over the holidays.

A UK paper writes about a 13-year old boy whose bike was stolen shortly after Christmas. Then illustrates the story with a photo of a kid’s balance bike.

Caught on video: A Brit bicyclist nearly gets nailed by a driver who rolls through an intersection onto the wrong side of the road.

A British business site talks with the CEO of Brompton, who says the secret of the folding bike’s success is to focus on the product, stick to what you know and obsess about it.

Get your very own semi-bespoke British bike for the equivalent of $2,400.

After a UK parliament member loses his license for distracted driving, people in his district start a pointed crowdfunding campaign to buy him a new bicycle.

A pair of Indian bicyclists are riding nearly 12,500 miles across the country to raise awareness of polio, health and hygiene.

More proof that bicyclists everywhere face the same problems. An Australian writer says ordinary bike riders are afraid of drivers — especially the ones who honk, shout and hurl profanities.

Speaking of profanities, an Aussie bicyclist was caught on video screaming obscenities at a woman and smashing the side mirror on her car after she apparently cut him off. Don’t do that. Period.

A Kiwi writer asks New Zealanders to imagine a country where everyone rides ebikes and public transit.

A Japanese train just for bicycles and their riders rolls out of Tokyo every weekend, headed from the prime bike riding routes of Chiba Prefecture.

Singapore opens an automated bike parking garage that can hold over 500 bicycles.

 

Competitive Cycling

Head up to Lake Tahoe for the Cyclocross National Championships starting this Wednesday.

Atlanta music teacher Ayesha McGowan is on a mission to become the first African American female pro cyclist. It seems ridiculous that there haven’t already been many, let alone one.

American pro Tejay van Garderen has traded Aspen for Girona, Spain.

Pro cyclist Mia Manganello qualifies for the US Olympic team on her return to speed skating after a five-year break.

 

Finally…

Note to self: If you see something that looks like a hand grenade while riding your bike, leave it alone. Anyone can ride around the world sober; the challenge is to do it stoned.

And nothing like turning a city into your personal Strava doodle pad.

Or Labra-doodle pad, in this case.

 

Morning Links: New blog considers how to bike commute with kids; LA takes over planned bike/ped/horse bridge

At virtually every public meeting regarding bicycles, someone will inevitably complain that they couldn’t possibly ride a bicycle because they have kids who need to get to school and soccer practice.

Never mind that there are people who somehow manage that seemingly impossible task every day.

Which is why a new blog by LA bike rider Terrence Heuston is so important.

Here’s how he explained it in a recent email.

An article in The Guardian that illustrated how Amsterdam became a cycling mecca due to the advocacy of moms, convinced me that we need L.A. moms on our side.  When a NIMBY stands in front of a city councilman and rails against bike lanes, the NIMBY and often the councilman picture a bike messenger on a fixie running a red light.  To win the battle for safer streets we need to change that image to parents with kids on bikes.  Since I am one of the few people in the city who regularly bikes for transportation with a kid, I came to the conclusion that I needed to start a blog that parents can use as a resource to start biking with their families in LA.

It is part lifestyle mag, travel blog, and “how to” guide.  I’ve also tried to use my very limited writing “skills” to instill some humor into the posts for some sugar to help the medicine go down.  The blog also subtly refutes the argument that young men can bike, but parents need cars.  On the contrary, raising a kid on a bike is better in every way.

Having bike commuted thousands of miles through LA traffic by bombing down the most direct arterial and taking the lane when necessary, I can promise you that navigating the city with your kid on a bike requires a completely different style of riding.  On my blog, I map out my family friendly routes and give turn by turn directions to help parents dip their toe in the water.

You can check it out at labikedad.com, along with recent post on how to bike commute from Silver Lake to DTLA with two kids.

And check out his deceptively simple set-up for carrying two young kids on a single bike.

LA Bike Dad

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Los Angeles will take over planning and construction of a planned bike, pedestrian and equestrian bridge over the LA River connecting Atwater Village with Griffith Park.

However, the city plans to re-evaluate the cost and design of the project, which could further delay or complicate, if not kill, the project.

Meanwhile the horse people are already raising questions about the long-settled design. So how long before they try to get bikes banned, like they did in Glendale?

………

The LA Times looks at keirin, calling it NASCAR on two wheels. Although I prefer to think of it as bicycle roller derby.

The Wall Street Journal examines how Great Britain became a powerhouse in cycling at the Olympic Games; a ban on bikini waxes and adjusting saddle angles didn’t hurt.

A US Paralympian cyclist has a new arm cast allowing him to grip the handlebars, custom made by fellow teammate and two-time gold medalist Allison Jones.

………

Local

LA Councilmember Felipe Fuentes will abandon his San Fernando Valley district for a presumably high-paying gig as Sacramento lobbyist, leaving his district unrepresented in the council and starting a mad scrum to replace him. Nothing shows a lack of integrity like just walking away from the people you were elected to serve before the term is up.

Streetsblog offers photos from Sunday’s Wilshire Blvd CicLAvia, and asks for your thoughts.

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson relates the cost of shaving a few seconds off your racing time to ensuring children have food in their bellies, eyeglasses for school, and computers to do their homework.

 

State

Registration for Calbike’s California Dream Ride down the Pacific Coast is half priced this week.

The city of Orange is about to lose its popular BMX track, which is being shut down because the nearby YMCA keeps jacking up the rent.

The Ventura County Star says the safety of children walking, biking and being driven to school is more important than whatever delay drivers may face on the road.

San Francisco police raid a bike chop shop, arresting a man who claims he just does repair work for poor people.

Turns out the San Fran columnist who called for registering bikes and licensing their riders is a candidate for city supervisor, who undoubtedly lost a lot of votes. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition asks if joy should require a license, while British bike scribe Carlton Reid responds by shooting holes in his arguments with examples from around the world.

 

National

The Feds have stopped claiming bike helmets reduce the risk of head injury up to 85%, yet that stat continues to pop up long after being discredited. I always wear a helmet when I ride. But bike helmets should be considered the last line of defense when all else has failed, not some magic hat that makes you imperious to injury.

A former president of the International Mountain Bicycling Association calls proposed legislation to open wilderness trails to mountain bikes a sham, saying backers have been duped by a false promise. Needless to say, the president of the coalition backing the bill begs to differ, suggesting it will boost conservation as well as bike sales.

A Colorado triathlete says the woman killed competing in the Boulder Ironman race didn’t have to die, blaming organizers for forcing cyclists to ride on a damaged road shoulder 12 inches from cars doing 60 mph.

Sad news from Nebraska, as a woman cleaning up trash on a trail died in a collision with a bike rider; the rider tried to warn her, but was unable to avoid hitting her.

A 74-year old Texas veteran rode his bike 1,550 miles to the US Capital to get 74 names added to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial; Burbank Rep. Adam Schiff rode the last few miles with him.

El Paso TX antes up in the bike plan arms race with a plan to build over 1,000 miles of bike lanes. The winner will be whichever city actually builds the lanes in their bike plan rather than just drawing them on a map. Which means Los Angeles is losing.

A hit-and-run driver who fled after colliding with a bike rider has been arrested as a person of interest in the murder of a New York imam and his friend; the suspect rammed police vehicles with his SUV in an attempt to avoid arrest.

New York City’s protected bike lanes have done more than just reduce injuries; they’ve also improved traffic flow and speed.

A North Carolina writer relates the tale of a 23-year old mother of three who accepted a challenge to ride her bicycle around the world. In 1894.

This is why you let the police deal with bike thieves. An 18-year old Atlanta man is dead after trying to retrieve his little sister’s stolen bike; witnesses said he was shot three times after confronting pair of men selling water and phones in a grocery store parking lot.

After Georgia posted signs calling for pedestrian safety, a man on a bike pulled them out, calling the signs trash and a nuisance.

 

International

A writer in Bogota, Columbia takes to two wheels for his short commute to college, despite the challenges of riding the city’s streets.

Edmonton, Canada residents show their support for a planned road diet and bike lanes on a major street, even though it won’t be built for another 20 years. But a local columnist calls the plan a fiasco that will only inconvenience those poor, suffering drivers.

New research from the London branch of the University of Duh shows that drivers weigh more than bike riders. Shockingly, people don’t seem to get a lot of exercise or burn many calories when they drive, unlike bicycling.

Hate and stupidity knows no borders, as a Dublin, Ireland cyclist was gay bashed by a band of bike-riding teenagers, who shouted they need to kill as many fags as possible. I’ve had too many friends who’ve been the victims of gay bashing — including one who was murdered in a Cleveland hotel room. There’s no fucking excuse. Ever. Period. Anyone capable of that kind of hate-filled violence deserves to be thrown into the deepest hole the prison system can find.

A 104-year old French cyclist has been named the world’s greatest centenarian athlete; Robert Marchand can still ride nearly half as fast as Bradley Wiggins’ one hour record.

No criminal charges for the Israeli border guards who took a Palestinian girl’s bicycle, broke it and tossed it into the bushes.

An Australian bicyclist continues her one-woman fight against the country’s bike helmet law, as a judge misses the point entirely by saying one person riding a bike will do nothing to stop global warming. He’s right that one woman not driving won’t stop a glacier from melting at the North Pole. But improving safety and removing needless barriers to riding so others can join her might.

 

Finally…

Now you can buy a used road bike formerly ridden by a British Olympic cycling champ. We may have to deal with road raging LA drivers, but at least we don’t have to use our bicycles to fight off tigers.

And the only snakes we have to deal with on the road are the ones behind the wheel.

 

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