Tag Archive for Blessing of the Bicycles

Morning Links: Blessing of the Bicycles returns, support for bikes in CD13, and choosing the right donut for your ride

My favorite Bike Week event is back for another year. So mark your calendar for the 14th Annual Blessing of the Bicycles at Good Sam, just west of DTLA.

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In today’s political news, CiclaValley calls Measure S fear and fake news.

And nice to see five candidates for LA’s 13th council district come out in favor of walking, bicycling and bike lanes, including incumbent Mitch O’Farrell.

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Local

Caught on video: A Burbank bike rider was injured in a hit-and-run when he was right hooked as he rode off the sidewalk into an intersection.

626 Golden Streets offers a list of feeder routes to Sunday’s 18-mile open streets event in the San Gabriel Valley.

Santa Monica’s first open streets event was such a hit, it could be back in the fall. And every fall after that.

 

State

A trio of Orange County men will be riding up Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro on mountain bikes to raise money for a home for orphans and abandoned children at the base of the mountain.

San Diego’s KPBS considers how private corporations can encourage alternative transportation to help the city meet its mobility goals.

Caltrans proposes installing bike lanes and diagonal parking along Twentynine Palms Highway in downtown Joshua Tree.

A Stanford researcher is recruiting volunteers to determine if improvements in bike design have reduced risks of long hours in the saddle.

Three Foster city kids were hit by cars in three separate collisions on the same morning as they rode to a middle school in desperate need of a Safe Routes to School program; that’s half the bicycling collisions in the city for all of last year.

A Sacramento comedian has turned the severe concussion he got when he went through the windshield of a car into a one-man show; he’s back on his bike even though he still has aftereffects from the injury.

Sacramento’s American River bike trail is mostly open after workers cleared mud and debris from the recent flooding.

 

National

U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer has introduced legislation to help cities establish Vision Zero policies and treat traffic deaths as a public health crisis. Given the current political climate, you’re more likely to win the lottery this weekend than see this bill move out of committee, let alone become law.

Portland agreed to pay a bike rider over half a million dollars after he was injured by a hit-and-run driver while riding in a poorly marked, substandard bike lane; however, that’s just a fraction of his medical expenses.

Spokane County has finally settled with the family of a 15-year old bike rider after years of denying a deputy’s speeding patrol car had made contact with his bike; terms of the settlement were not announced. Never mind that even if the car hadn’t hit him, a close call could have been enough to make him fall.

Even Wichita KS is becoming more bike friendly as the city builds out its ten year bike plan.

A New York letter writer says the way to improve relations between the NYPD and bike riders is to give free rides on the city’s blue Citi Bikes to the men and women in blue.

NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson is one of us, as he spent Thursday riding ovals at North Carolina’s Wilkesboro Speedway with fellow drivers Jamie McMurray and Matt Kenseth.

A 12-year old South Carolina boy will be riding from Santa Monica back to Charleston SC to raise money for clean water. At that age, I was happy just to ride to the playground and back.

The solution to boosting bike ridership in Miami? Turn it into another Copenhagen.

 

International

A writer for the Guardian describes the lifelong pain of killing a pedestrian in a collision.

Caught on video too: Bikepacking the Inca Trail through the Andes.

A Winnipeg, Canada study determines that the keys to keeping bike riders safe are safety devices like lights and helmets, along with infrastructure that separates riders from motor vehicles.

Edmonton police are looking for a bike-riding serial purse snatcher.

Heartbreaking story from Australia, where a wife has to fight for a disability pension for her husband, who suffered major brain damage in a crash with a bush turkey.

 

Finally…

Your next bike could have an infinite number of gears. If you want a new bike, just leave your garage unlocked.

And forget energy gels, how to choose the right donut for the ride.

Morning Links: Climate Riders still need help, ending the war on our streets, and more on the Mobility Plan debacle

We’ve stalled once again at 14 new or renewing members of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition in the first-ever May BikinginLA LACBC Membership Drive.

So take a few moments to add your voice to SoCal’s leading bike advocacy organization. Or if you’re already a member, encourage your family, friends and co-workers who ride, or who simply support bicycling, to sign up today. And get some great LACBC bike swag in the process.

And thanks to everyone who has joined already!

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A couple of Climate Riders for Team LACBC still need a little help with donations to meet their commitment for the ride. Nicole Rostoker and Cesar Garcia only have until the end day today to collect another $500 and $200 respectively. So give them a boost if you can.

Meanwhile, a Climate Ride training ride will be held on Latigo Canyon Road on Saturday; the ride is open to anyone who needs a good workout, regardless of whether you’re participating in the Climate Ride.

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Today’s must read comes from the Wall Street Journal’s bike riding sports columnist Jason Gay, who tells America that bike riders are not your enemy, and calls for an end to the ridiculous battle between cyclists, pedestrians and drivers.

Not to mention making what may be the first known reference to bird-flipping koalas.

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UCLA’s Daily Bruin reports on Wednesday’s meeting of the LA City Council Transportation Committee, which voted to remove Westwood Blvd from the Mobility Plan. Maybe someone should tell Paul Koretz that the solution to a dangerous street isn’t keeping it dangerous.

Meanwhile, LAist’s Matt Tinoco does a good job of explaining the whole convoluted process.

And the LACBC offers their take on the sordid mess as they continue to fight to keep the plan intact, saying the proposed removal demonstrates a lack of engagement with the community, as well as a commitment to build a complete transportation network that works for everyone.

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We’ve got dual Bike Blessings in today’s news.

Katrina Bada forwards a reminder of Tuesday’s 2016 Blessing of the Bicycles at Good Samaritan Hospital, which will honor bike-friendly LA Councilmember Joe Buscaino, as well as featuring special guest Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The future mayor retrieves his bike at the 2005 Blessing of the Bicycles

The future mayor retrieves his bike at the 2005 Blessing of the Bicycles

Dr. Michael Cahn sends word that St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica will host their own Blessing of the Bicycles at 2 pm on Bike to Work Day next Thursday. Although they could have done a better job of promoting it.

In other Bike Week news, Santa Monica Spoke lists SaMo’s Bike to Work Day pit stops, as well as a Bike from Work Handlebar Happy Hour next Thursday.

And the LACBC is hosting their own Bike from Work Handlebar Happy Hour at the Angel City Brewery in DTLA the same day.

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Still more Bike Month news, as the Bay Area celebrated Bike to Work Day a week before LA County.

SFist says San Francisco officials only pretend to care about cycling on the city’s Bike to Work Day.

Napa shows a 25% to 30% increase in bike riders stopping at the city’s energizer stations compared to last year.

Bike to Work Day was probably the wrong day to try to flee the scene after hitting a San Francisco bike rider in front of a group of cyclists and other onlookers, who rushed to grab the driver’s keys and prevent her from leaving. Update: It looks like the wreck was an intentional assault with a deadly weapon. 

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Caught on video: The owner of a Fresno bike shop throws in the towel after a series of smash and grab burglaries, vowing to reopen somewhere else, hopefully a little safer. Thanks to Cristina Rayas for the link.

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Tom Dumoulin extends his lead in the Giro, while Lotto-Soudal rider Tim Wellens wins the sixth stage in a solo breakaway.

South Pasadena prepares to host the second stage of the Amgen Tour of California, while CiclaValley continues his run-up to the race with a look at the riders to watch.

Which can be summed up in two words: Peter Sagan. Thanks to Edward Rubinstein for the link.

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Local

Too little, too late? A deadly stretch of North Figueroa gets a flashing traffic signal. Rather than the fully funded, shovel ready road diet that might actually have saved lives if it hadn’t been stopped by CM Gil Cedillo.

Richard Risemberg says it’s time to say goodbye to Cedillo, as three people announce their candidacy in an attempt to make him a one-term councilmember.

Streetsblog reports a that meeting was held last night to discuss a road diet and bike lanes proposed for Fletcher Drive in Atwater Village; the story says a similar project on nearby Verdugo Road is in the early stages of discussion.

A judge orders a pair of sheriff’s deputies to provide photos of their tattoos to show if they’re members of an LASD gang clique; the officers are being sued in the 2013 fatal shooting of Terry Laffite in South LA.

West Hollywood considers a new list of names for their coming bikeshare system; they also have better streets to ride them on. Personally, I liked the rejected WeHoGo.

The Source explains how to get to the new Expo Line stations, including options for bike share and bike parking; the line officially opens one week from today.

Santa Monica will hold yet another of their bike and pedestrian safety enforcements on Saturday. By now, you know the protocol: Obey the letter of the law until you get outside the SaMo city limits.

Long Beach ranks tenth on Zillow’s list of the ten most bike friendly cities in the US, while another website rates it the eighth most charming city of its size.

 

State

Three Santa Barbara women are being honored for bringing “the joy of bicycling to countless youth” and making cycling safer and more accessible for everyone.

The Fresno Bee looks at next week’s Ride of Silence; last year’s Clovis/Fresno ride was the largest in the state. If you missed it, CiclaValley offers a guest post on next Wednesday’s San Fernando Valley’s Ride of Silence.

A San Francisco public TV and radio station examines the role of data in improving safety for bicyclists.

Berkeley opens a new buffered — not protected, apparently — bike lane where a woman was nearly killed by a stoned driver while riding her bike earlier this year.

The National Park Service suggests reopening a trail that would give bike riders a safer route into Sausalito, while providing expansive views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Davis doctors call for greater bike helmet use, while Treehugger says helmets are the last thing we should be worrying about when it comes to bicycle safety. As we’ve discussed before, I never ride without mine. But helmets should always be considered a defense of last resort when all else fails.

 

National

A new infographic shows the overwhelming benefits of protected bike lanes, including spurring economic growth, improving safety for pedestrians and making driving less stressful. Someone should send this to Paul Koretz. Not that he’s likely to care, of course.

Strong Towns says the economic benefits of bicycling can’t be ignored. Although LA seems to be doing a pretty good job of it; maybe if LADOT did a better job of selling bikeways, local businesses and homeowners would be fighting to get theirs instead of fighting to stop them.

Chicago Magazine offers an insider’s guide to biking in the Windy City.

An X-Games cyclist shares his journey to mental health with Niagara NY area high school students.

A former bike racer walked away from Wall Street to make high-end sport bicycles.

Sad news, as a retired New Jersey cop has died of injuries he suffered on the first day of the Police Unity Tour to honor fallen police officers.

A 17-mile DC ride has already registered close to 6,000 riders with 10 days still to go.

An article in the Washington Post says bicycling is more dangerous than you think, while another site argues that bike commuting is good for you. Actually, your odds of surviving any given ride are over 6.3 million to one; try taking that to Vegas.

A Louisiana driver gets 25 years for the DUI death of a seven-year old girl as she was riding her bike home, although he could be out in as little as three years with time served.

 

International

A proposed revision to Quebec law would require drivers to change lanes to pass a bike rider.

A new police bicycle can read license plates and measure the speeds of passing cars. We need a Kickstarter to buy one for every bike cop on the LAPD. And me, too.

 

Finally…

So if a car exiting a freeway hit a bike rider, why does the headline say the cyclist collided with the car? If you’re going to get run down by a beer truck, try to make sure it’s a decent craft brew and not just hops-flavored water.

And a funeral home billboard drives home the message not to text behind the wheel.

 

Morning Links: LA bike riders get blessed, an idiotic Irish selfie, and a salmon-riding Baldwin meltdown

Golden-Spoke-AwardThanks to Good Samaritan Hospital, LA Metro, Incycle Bicycles and the LACBC for another great Blessing of the Bicycles on Tuesday.

A few hundred riders turned out the annual event offering free food and drinks, t-shirts and a non-sectarian blessing; after all, it never hurts to have a little divine support on your side as you navigate the mean streets of Southern California.

The event honored Ghost Bikes LA for their work in memorializing fallen riders and calling attention to the need for everyone to ride and drive safely.

Because the primary goal in placing ghost bikes is to eliminate the need for them.

Ghost Bikes LA

On a personal note, I set just one goal when I was diagnosed with diabetes five weeks ago. And that was to get back on my bike in time for the Blessing of the Bicycles.

Twenty-three round trip miles later, mission accomplished.

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Volunteers are still needed for next month’s AIDS Lifecycle Ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

AIDS Lifecycle Volunteers

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Marcel Kittel goes from Giro favorite to withdrawing due to a fever, while an Irish fan apologizes for being an idiot taking a selfie with the collapsed rider after his victory in Stage 3.

Meanwhile, Santa Monica’s Helen’s Cycles invites riders for a bike ride and viewing party for Sunday’s 8th Stage of the Amgen Tour of California.

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Courtesy of the Witch on a Bicycle comes two stories of the harm careless bike riders can do to one another.

A Seattle cyclist is being sought for hit-and-run after injuring another rider in a bike-on-bike collision, while a Vancouver rider loses his life after being clipped or passed too close by another cyclist.

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Local

The Daily News looks at LA Bike Week, while Long Beach Transit and LA Metro will offer free rides to bicyclists on Thursday’s Bike to Work Day.

Incentives in the new parking requirement ordinance passed in LA last year means some buildings are being built with more bike than car parking.

Over 3,000 cyclists raise $2,000 for pediatric cancer research in the Tour of Long Beach.

 

State

A Newport Beach councilmember says removing cars from the Back Bay Trail is a non-starter. After all, why would you want to improve safety for everyone else if it means inconveniencing people in the big, dangerous machines?

Remarkably, San Francisco prosecutors decline to charge the truck driver who killed a cyclist, even though video footage found by the city’s bike coalition after the police failed to investigate the case shows him right-hooking her.

A Fresno TV crew catches a bike thief in action.

 

National

The Bike League gives the proposed Senate transportation bill a solid B+.

The Atlantic Cities asks if there’s a masculine way to ride a bike, and quotes LA’s own Flying Pigeon.

Riding in a suit isn’t awkward if you do it right.

Someone booby-trapped a Colorado bike and hiking trail with an improvised spike strip; when they catch the schmuck, he/she should face domestic terrorism charges.

The Washington Post offers a guide to the language of bike riding in the city.

 

International

The Toronto Star says the actions of a few scofflaw cyclists shouldn’t stop the city from building bike lanes.

Toyko’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper calls on the city to become more bike-friendly and reduce the real estate given over to cars in advance of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

 

Finally…

Police arrest Alec Baldwin for riding salmon on 5th Avenue, then going ballistic after officers ask for his ID. But is it really news when he has yet another meltdown, on a bike or otherwise? Then again, the Times says he has a point.

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A special thank you to the anonymous woman who brought a donation to support this blog to the Blessing of the Bicycles. It was very generous, and very appreciated. And the card that accompanied it thanking me for my work here touched my heart and brought a tear to my eye.

 

A random mediation on blessed bikes, Bike Week and the Ride of Silence

Some random thoughts as I catch up from the first few wet days of L.A. Bike Week.

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Bishop Jon Bruno, who clearly dressed for the occasion, though I suspect he didn't ride in that.

Despite my firm belief that the human body is incapable of sustaining life prior to 7 am, I found myself rising just after 6 yesterday to for the one hour ride downtown for the Blessing of the Bicycles.

It only took a few minutes of walking the corgi, who was none too pleased to be awakened at that hour — let alone dragged out into the rain — to decide that driving would be a much better option.

So I strapped my bike onto the back of my 17-year old car, which finally chugged past the 105,000 mile mark on the way, and made the drive to Good Samaritan Hospital.

Despite the rain, I  saw a surprising number of cyclists there, with more arriving throughout the hour-long event. Most of whom had the bedraggled look of someone who had braved the elements to get there.

The Buddhist representative warned children to stop doing dangerous tricks on their bikes, or he'd tell the Kung Fu Panda.

I’ll let the CicLAvia blog tell the story, as they were clearly taking much better notes than I was, focused as I was on sucking down some hot coffee and scarfing from the wide array of pastries and fresh fruit.

If the spread they put out for cyclists is any indication of the quality of care patients receive at Good Sam, I may need to switch my medical allegiance from the Jews to the Episcopalians.

Being of a very ecumenical bent, I don’t think God really cares which team you choose, as long as you choose one.

Our newly bike-friendly and apparently fragile mayor arrived with his foot in a cast — not, as might be guessed, the result of another cycling accident, but from wandering through a strange hotel room after dark.

(Insert joke here.)

DWP Employee Chris Bolivar is honored for his heroics in stopping a bike theft by bike owner and Good Sam VP Dan McLaughlin.

For me, though, the highlight was seeing DWP employee Chris Bolivar honored for his heroics in rushing off a Metro bus to stop a thief from stealing a new Trek Madone belonging to Good Sam VP Dan McLaughlin. And then watching him ride off with his wife on a newly-purchased red and white Schwinn tandem.

After listening to an array of Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist and Jewish prayers for our safety — nice work on the shofar, Rabbi — I took my place in a long line of cyclists to be blessed by Episcopal Bishop Jon Bruno, walking my bike since the other half of my cleats were still in my car along with the shoes they’re attached to.

Frankly, I’ll take all the help I can get to safely navigate these city streets.

Evidently, I’m not the only one, as Will Campbell’s blessed ass made the front page of the Times’ Late Extra section.

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Councilmember Bill Rosendahl invites all to participate in Bike Week. KCRW’s Shortcuts blog reports on a soggy start to the week. Metro offers an interactive map to help you plan your route for Bike to Work Day. The afore mentioned Mr. Campbell looks forward to Thursday’s Bike from Work Happy Hour, which also takes place at Pourtal Wine Bar, among other bike-friendly taverns.

Ten deals and freebies for Bike Week. Bike-friendly UCLA observes Bike to Campus Week. More commuters are getting there by bike. Sensible gear for biking to work, and how to dress — or pack — for it.

Even, courtesy of Tucson Velo, if you’re a drag queen.

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Long Beach wraps up Bike Week with the Grand Opening of a new Performance Bicycle shop on Friday, their 100th nationwide. To celebrate, the first 100 people in line will have chance to win one of seven new bikes valued at a total of over $7,000. The store is located at Long Beach Town Center, 7611 East Carson Blvd in Long Beach; distribution of keys for the contest will take place at 8 am, with the doors opening at 9.

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Tonight marks the world-wide observance of the Ride of Silence, a slow paced memorial ride to honor cyclists killed or injured on the roads, raise awareness of cycling and ask that we all share the road safely.

And once again, it won’t be officially observed here in Los Angeles.

There will be ROS rides in other parts of Southern California, though, including Fullerton, Irvine, Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino, San Diego, Temecula, Thousand Oaks and Ventura, if you live in those areas or can make the trip.

It will also be observed at the L.A. Velodrome tonight, as cyclists will ride 40 silent laps in honor of fallen riders. And we do have a long and tragically growing list of local riders to honor, including James Laing, Jim Swarzman, Danny Marin and Alex Romero, just to name a few.

I tried, and failed, to get an L.A. ride started this year, mostly because I’ve never organized a ride and had no idea what the hell I was doing.

However, I’m committed to getting one off the ground next year, and will start earlier to organize it and get the cooperation of local authorities and advocacy groups.

If anyone wants to help, just let me know.

And thanks to Kieron at the Velodrome for stepping up to make sure local riders won’t be forgotten this year.

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A fascinating look at the rich and powerful former New York DOT commissioner who may or may not be behind the backlash against the city’s successful and popular Prospect Park West bike lanes — despite being married to a leading, and presumably pro-cycling, Senator Chuck Schumer.

HuffPo’s Joel Epstein also offers his typically insightful thoughts on the subject.

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After Sunday’s hard charge up Mt. Etna, Contador still holds the leader’s jersey in the Giro; Bike Snob says he looks pretty in pink. In the wake of Wouter Wayland’s death in Stage 3 of the Giro, organizers have added extra safety measures for a difficult descent on Saturday’s Stage 14.

Colorado bike prodigy Taylor Phinney rides his first AToC. Team Sky’s Greg Henderson takes the overall lead after winning Stage 3 of the AToC; Phinney is currently the top American at 8th. Bicycling profiles the top young Americans in the race.

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LACBC gets a shiny new website, and unveils their latest video with Austin Nichols looking forward to the upcoming River Ride on June 5th. The Coalition also reminds cyclists that comments on the proposed L.A. County bike plan are due by June 3rd, and says it could be a lot better.

And don’t forget you can get a discount for River Ride through BikingInLA, and enter a contest to win a free River Ride.

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LADOT Bike Blog recaps the recent BAC Planning Subcommittee meeting, including implementation of the Bike Plan, extending the crappy, door zone Westwood Blvd bike lanes south to the planned Expo Line station, and bike lane projects around the planned Universal Studios expansion.

The last of which will happen over my dead body unless they allow the L.A. River Bike Path to extend through their property.

The expansion, that is. Not the bike lanes.

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Writing for Streetsblog, Mark Elliot of Better Bike Beverly Hills updates the status of the Westside’s black hole for cyclists; the LACBC’s Marissa Christiansen reports on the South Bay Bicycle Coalition and the area’s new Bike Master Plan. A UCLA student invites you to log your commute times by bike and car to prove bikes are faster for shorter trips. Richard Risemberg calls for a separated cycle track on Washington Blvd to close the gap in the beachfront Marvin Braude bike path through the Marina area. CicLAvia shares a photo from Sunday’s South L.A. ride; word is that July’s scheduled CicLAvia will be cancelled, but October’s will go forward with an expanded route into Boyle Heights. Eco-Village looks at the new bike lanes on Expo and MLK. Learn the art of track racing at the L.A. Velodrome. L.A. Creek Freak objects to “improvements” to the North Spring Street Bridge that would just allow more cars to go faster. Long Beachers are invited to participate in a bike safety study. Long Beach’s biking expats get an unplanned delay in starting their latest cross county adventure. A bike cam catches a car speeding through the Santa Cruz Mountains, only to come upon the same car upside down on the side of the road moments later.

DOT Secretary Ray LaHood calls on cyclists to join the 2 Mile Challenge to replace short cars trips with bikes and raise funds for three worthy organizations. The League of American Bicyclists lists events throughout May’s Bike Month, and partners with AAA to promote bike safety. Examining the myth that gas taxes pay for the roads motorists drive. Amazon discovers bike commuters. Momentum magazine jumps into the great helmet debate, while yet another study shows mandating helmet use is counterproductive; however, Brit James Cracknell credits his with saving his life. Sharrows make their way to small town Oregon. Bike Portland takes the local paper to task for biased reporting. A Tempe cyclist finds his bike on Craigslist the day after it’s stolen, A Denver cyclist is killed by a hit-and-run driver just weeks before participating in the 412-mile Ride the Rockies. Minneapolis cyclists could soon find bike supply vending machines along popular bike trails. Zeke puts his recent first aid training to use, determining that a tourniquet is probably not necessary for minor road rash.

Why even experienced cyclists sometimes ride on the sidewalk; Carlton Reid looks at the legalities of UK sidewalk riding, as well as confusion between cycle tracks and sidewalks. London cyclists win an important victory to keep bike lanes on a bridge with heavy bike commuter use. An around-the-world adventurer starts a campaign to give Scot children more space to ride to school. Even in rural Scotland, cyclists get honked at by drivers who could easily pass. British design and Chinese manufacturing — as if any western country makes much of anything these days — combine to build a cheap, colorful single-speed bike. For the second time in three years, someone has tried to sabotage the Etape Caledonia. Debuting at Cannes, a gritty, bike-centric modern fairy tale from Belgium; thanks to Rex Reese for the heads-up.

Finally, Pittsburgh police take different sides on citing a cyclist for Biking Under the Influence.

Tuesday’s Blessing of the Bicycles will go on rain or shine

Despite today’s ample L.A. sunshine, the weather forecast calls for rain overnight and into tomorrow.

However, Katrina Bada of Good Samaritan Hospital confirms that the Blessing of the Bicycles will go on Tuesday morning, rain or shine. The multi-denominational event takes place from 8 to 9:30 am at Good Sam, 616 S. Witmer Street in Downtown L.A.

While L.A. streets are nowhere near as dangerous as your out-of-town relatives think, a little divine intervention never hurts.

And you can tell your mom you sort of went to church or temple this week.

A hero rides the bus — DWP employee Chris Bolivar stops a thief and saves a $2500 bike

Dan McLaughlin at the Tour de Palm Springs with his boss Andy Leeka; Dan is on the left

When Dan McLaughlin rode his bike into work on Wednesday, he never thought it would be stolen before he could get back home.

And he never thought a total stranger would run to his rescue, retrieving the bike almost before he knew it was gone.

According to Dan, he tries to ride his bike into work at least once a week. But the two-hour, 25-mile ride each way to his job at Good Samaritan Hospital is too much to sandwich around a full day at the office, so he usually takes the Commuter Express bus back to his home in Palos Verdes.

Wednesday night, he placed his $2500 Trek Madone in the rack at the front of the bus, and settled in to check his email in the back of the bus.

He barely noticed when the bus pulled over at a Downtown bus stop — it was somewhere on Flower, might have been at Washington Blvd, maybe Pico or Venice. What got his attention was the angry honking of the driver; soon everyone was standing, and someone yelled out “Your bike!”

He looked up to see his handlebars moving out of view through the windshield; by the time he got to the front of the bus, the bike was gone. He could see a young man struggling to hop on and ride it off, possibly because of the clip-in pedals.

As he stepped off the bus, though, he saw someone holding his bike. In the excitement, he ran towards him, only to realize that the man was walking back with it.

The other passengers were more than happy to fill him in.

When the bus stopped, the young man got off and immediately started to remove Dan’s bike from the rack. The driver, Pat Kesvy, started honking to stop him, but the thief kept going.

Thanks to DWP employee Chris Bolivar, this bike made it back home Wednesday

That’s when Chris Bolivar flew off the bus in pursuit of the thief. Bolivar, on his way home from his job with the Customer Service Department at DWP, quickly caught up to the struggling thief, scaring him into tossing the bike aside as he ran off down the street.

Bolivar picked it up and walked back, still shaking from the adrenalin rush.

Dan thanked his rescuer, and placed the bike back onto the rack. As they entered the bus, the passengers broke out in a spontaneous round of applause, applauding again when Bolivar got off at his stop.

And despite all odds, Dan McLaughlin made it home with his bike; as he puts it, it would have broken a roadie’s heart to lose a bike like that.

Meanwhile, one of the other passengers sent out an email telling the story, describing Bolivar as a gentleman who typically gives up his seat when the bus is crowded.

I’m told that email made it’s way to Chris Bolivar’s boss at DWP. And when he arrived at work Thursday morning, his co-workers stood up and applauded, as well.

McLaughlin is planning to take him to lunch next week to show his gratitude.

Maybe we should all thank him, in whatever way we can. After all, it could have been your bike. Or mine. And a total stranger cared enough to keep it safe.

It’s not every day you find a real hero riding the bus.

Update: A couple people have contacted me to point out that Chris Bolivar will honored at this year’s Blessing of the Bicycles at Good Samaritan Hospital on Tuesday, May 17th.

And am I the only one who sees a wonderful symmetry in a good Samaritan being honored by Good Samaritan?

Bike to Work Week, a triple tragedy in Quebec, more L.A. hit-and-runs and the LBVLA is born

It’s Bike to Work Week.

The one time during the year when our local governments and various agencies fall all over themselves to prove they’re bike friendly — often in direct contrast to the other 51 weeks of the year.

And it all starts today.

I won’t waste your time with a recap of all the various events going on around town when so many others have already covered it in far more detail; just click on the links below for more information.

LACBC Bike to Work Day/Bike Week

Metro L.A. Bike Week

Bike Week Pasadena

Glendale Bike Month

Long Beach Bike Week

Claremont Bike to Work Week

Additional coverage at LA Streetsblog, the Source, the L.A. Times, Travelin’ Local and Green L.A. Girl, who notes the Sierra Club’s Bike-ku bike giveaway contest, as well as events south of the Orange Curtain in the Orange County Register. As for Bike to Work Day, there’s bound to be Pit Stop location near you.

And in honor of Bike to Work week, LAPD Chief Beck asks drivers not to run over us, noting that sharing the road is the law.

As for me, I’m looking forward to Good Sam’s Blessing of the Bicycles on Tuesday; after the ride I had on Friday — two right hooks, one left cross, one speeding buzz and a barely averted high speed crash — I’ll take all the help I can get. On the other hand, I’m still debating whether I want to spend an hour bucking L.A. rush hour traffic to ride there. So what do you think about this route?

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Three female triathletes were killed and three others — a man and two woman — seriously injured in a horrific collision while riding on a Quebec highway. Observers blamed the crash on the lack of a paved shoulders along the highway, forcing cyclists to share a lane with high speed traffic. The driver was a volunteer firefighter who attempted to give first aid to the victims. Alcohol has been ruled out, but cruise control may have played a role, while cyclists say local drivers are “cowboys” on the roads. They may be right, as another cyclist is killed by a drunk driver just a day later.

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The League of Bicycling Voters held its inaugural meeting at UCLA on Saturday, and took its first steps as a real political organization.

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Tragic proof over the weekend that hit-and-run collisions affect everyone, not just cyclists.

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Vinokourov gets the pink jersey back — and keeps it — in the Giro. Cyclelicious reports on the first day of the Amgen Tour of California, won by Mark Cavendish, while Tom Boonen gets skinned in a crash. Oh, and some guy named Lance raced, too. The ToC comes to L.A. with a Downtown time trial and bike Lifestyle Festival on Saturday the 22nd.

Of course, that will conflict with the Inner City Sports Festival & Health Fair the same day.

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Volunteers needed to ride pre-sharrowed streets. Cyclists discover the Valley’s Foothill Boulevard on Saturday. Flying Pigeon now carries classic Dutch-style Velorbis Bikes. The Times examines the intersection of biking and real estate. Pasadena plans to become even more bike friendly, with help Ryan Snyder Associates. L.A. Creek Freak reports on the slow progress of the Arroyo Seco Bike Path. Will observes a modern version of the loaves and fishes while riding Saturday, as a $50 bread purchase turns into $1000 of food for the needy. Riding on the sidewalk may be legal, but it’s not safe — and often rude. A San Francisco Grand Jury says it’s time drivers and cyclists got along, and encourages police to ticket more cyclists. A cyclist suffers non-life threatening injuries at a notorious San Francisco intersection. Today Show weatherman Al Roker rides. Cleveland PD offers great advice on how drivers can share the road. An 11-year old Texas girl gets warning signs on a dangerous road for cyclists. Collisions are up in Boulder intersections — including a cyclist who swerved to avoid car and got ticketed for an illegal lane change. An 86-year old driver faces a $75 fine after killing a teenage cyclist and critically injuring two others. Springfield Cyclist recounts a tandem tour of the Outer Banks. A Scottish company invents a new kind of bike seat; I’ll let someone else try it first. A Brit store refuses to sell a patch kit to a 17-year old for fear he might sniff it instead of fixing his flat. A man steals a bike, but is too drunk to remember what he did with it. Four British firefighters will ride non-stop from Edinburgh to London to raise funds for a cancer charity; as an aside, Santa Monica bike blogger JHaygood documents his brother’s battle against a rare form of cancer. A bike flash mob invades a Brussels train station with Queen’s Bicycle Race.

Finally, a German cyclist has been touring the world for 24 years, 38 countries and 320 flat tires and isn’t done yet; he credits his energy to drinking his own urine every morning. And yes, you read that right.

Blessing of the Bicycles — because it can’t hurt to get God on your side

I confess, I didn’t participate in last year’s Bike to Work Week.

It’s not that I don’t think it’s a good idea. It’s just that for those of us who work at home, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to get on the bike to pedal from the bedroom to the living room.

Although I suppose I could have joined the squadrons of laptop-toting writers who commute to Starbucks or Coffee Bean every day.

And while I wouldn’t have minded grabbing some of the bike swag offered at places like REI, it was long gone before I could justify taking a break from my creative endeavors for a quick 30 miles in the saddle.

But there was one event I truly regretted missing.

Maybe it’s just my Catholic upbringing. Or maybe it was understanding that as safe as cycling actually is — despite common perceptions — anything can happen.

And sooner or later, it usually does.

So I did my best to find a way to get my butt out of bed, out of the house and on my bike in time to make it Downtown in time for Good Samaritan Hospital’s annual Blessing of the Bicycles. But no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t make it work with my schedule — let alone overcome my wife’s reluctance to let me ride the mean streets that lurk between the Westside and Downtown, especially at rush hour.

Because there’s just no good way to get there from here.

This year, though, I intend to make it one way or another.

Whether that means fighting my way through L.A. traffic, popping my bike on the front of a Metro bus, or throwing it on a rack and driving most of the way — and parking a few blocks off so everyone will think I rode the whole way.

Good Sam cites some pretty horrific safety stats to support the event, most of which I will spare you — though I am struck by the fact that biking deaths are most likely to occur in summer or fall between 6 – 9 pm on a Friday.

But honestly, it just sounds like fun.

And it couldn’t hurt to get a little support from the deity of your choice before your next ride.

Good Samaritan Hospital’s 7th Annual West Coast Blessing of the Bicycles

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

8 am to 9:30 am

Good Samaritan Hospital Entrance, 616 S. Witmer Street (intersection of Witmer and Wilshire)

The non-denominational event will feature religious leaders from different faiths who will impart blessings in the service for cyclists to continue their safe ride to and from work and/or school.

Commemorative lap around hospital campus saluting the healing and remembering those injured in bicycle accidents.

Free bicycle safety check.

Golden Spoke Award recipient

Los Angeles Police Department Bicycle Training Unit to participate.



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The LACBC gives the LAPD a list of the city’s worst intersections. Last weekend’s Tweed Ride through Hollywood makes CNN’s website. LADOT’s new Bikeways blog offers advice on how to protect your bike from thieves. Burbank’s Verdugo Ave. goes on a road diet; trading a traffic lane for bike lanes wasn’t the end of the world after all. Bike corrals may soon be coming to L.A. The only thing different about a woman rider is, well, nothing actually. A Sacramento cyclist is cited for riding without a seat after his was stolen. Cyclelicious says the American Trucking Association is wrong — equal treatment for bikes does not equal economic catastrophe; Examiner cites knee-jerk reactions from car-centric legislators. AT&T’s anti-texting while driving PSAs could save lives, including yours. Turns out the witness in the hit-and-run death of an Illinois cyclist was the driver who killed him. A Denver-area cyclist dares last week’s blizzard to stop her from riding. Online tutoring to fix your Dutch bike. Aussie off-road champ James Williamson’s death was due to an undiagnosed heart condition. Belfast gets bike racks, while Dublin reaches its highest level of cycling in the past 10 years. A Toronto writer argues he isn’t anti-bike, he just opposes the bike lanes that could help ease congestion because the streets are too congested; meanwhile, a Toronto cop thinks cyclists would get more respect if they’d just wave politely. Evidently, the life of a cyclist in Canada is only worth 9 months probation — even if the cyclist killed by unsafe passing is an off duty cop. Singapore gets its first ghost bike after two riders are hit from behind by a suspected drunk driver.

Finally, the long hidden identity of New York’s Bike Snob is about to be unmasked.

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