Tag Archive for Dave Zabriskie

A press conference to celebrate bike racing in bike-unfriendly Beverly Hills

A high-end location for a bike race — or a press conference for one.

Maybe it wouldn’t seem as strange to anyone outside the L.A. area.

Yet somehow, I found myself on a sunny SoCal morning in the biking black hole of Beverly Hills, listening to some of this country’s best pro cyclists describe the city’s Tiffanyed streets as the ideal starting point for the final stage of the Amgen Tour of California.

Yes, that Beverly Hills, with not one inch of bike lane within its jewel encrusted borders.

The day's guest stars make their way one very short block up Rodeo Drive.

The Bulgari burgh where West Hollywood and Los Angeles bikeways roll within blocks of its city limits. Then stop almost without warning, leaving riders to fight for road space with Ferraris, Bentleys and massive high-end SUVs of every make and measure.

Not to mention the midrange rentals of countless tourists, and low-end rides of locals just passing through.

A city that hasn’t updated its bike plan since the 1970s. And even then, proposed routing riders through the alleys of the Golden Triangle to keep us from impeding the progress of their many impatient drivers.

To their credit, Beverly Hills has formed an ad hoc committee to finally update that plan. Yet seem to be throwing up so many roadblocks and limitations that the final result is almost guaranteed to fail.

City Manager Jeff Kolin, Tom Danielson, defending champ Chris Horner, David Zabriskie, Patrick Dempsey and some guy with a camera.

Or at least likely result in something of little value to the everyday riders who mostly pass through on their way to somewhere else. Like sharrows on Charleville, which is already a relatively easy road to ride, and where shared lane markings would merely mark the space we already use.

And which wouldn’t have done a damn thing to protect me last week when I nearly did a face plant on the back of an SUV, courtesy of a door-flinging driver.

Yet there they were, biking and Hollywood royalty alike promoting the Tour of California, and announcing the route of this year’s multistage race.

Don’t get me wrong.

The ToC has made great strides in recent years, with last year’s race the most competitive and exciting yet.

And this year’s edition promises to be better yet, as it meanders its way through the late, great Golden State by way of Santa Rosa, San Francisco, Livermore and Bakersfield, et al, with mountaintop finishes on Mt. Baldy and Big Bear Lake.

Amgen Tour of California Executive Director Kristin Bachochin at the podium.

And followed by a final route that will start on Rodeo Drive before following Santa Monica Blvd — where Beverly Hills officials have been dragging their feet on a commitment to make the boulevard bike-friendly when it finally gets a makeover in a few years.

Then it’s up Doheny and off to Hollywood, reverse engineering the route of the L.A. Marathon before winding down to finish at L.A. Live.

As I, and a couple of other cyclists listened to the press conference, surrounded by confused tourists wondering who the hell these spandex-clad celebrities were — though they did seem to recognize Grey’s Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey — it was hard not to get excited.

After all, what’s not to like about a race that will bring some of the world’s best male pro cyclists — though sadly, still no women — within walking distance of my own home. Even if it is a long walk. And one that leads to an alternate and much richer reality.

Hollywood star, cancer fundraiser, serious cyclist and bike advocate Patrick Dempsey.

And one that would be followed by a race through the same mean streets we all ride on a regular basis. Although it would be more exciting if the Amgen riders had to contend with the same careless, distracted and angry drivers we do.

Now that would be a race.

It’s also long past time that the top women’s racers were allowed to compete on an equal stage alongside the men, just as the late, great Coors Classic did with great success decades earlier.

But it didn’t take long to be reminded that we were in Beverly Hills. And that cyclists aren’t exactly welcome there.

As the press conference was winding down, a gentleman came out of the exclusive haute couture store next to where we were standing, and firmly but politely asked us to move the bikes we’d leaned against the wall since there didn’t seem to be any bike racks around.

According to him, they were blocking the store windows — even though the seats and handlebars barely reached the window’s bottom ledge.

It is Beverly Hills, after all.

And they’re just not that into us.

13-year old girl critically injured in OC hit-and-run; Tour of California press conference in Beverly Hills

A 13-year old girl was critically injured in yet another Southern California hit-and-run when she was run down in a Santa Ana crosswalk on Monday.

She was riding north on Greenville Street when she was hit by a vehicle travelling west on Warner Avenue at 7 p.m. The jackass who hit her — and I use that term advisedly — kept going without making any attempt to stop, leaving it to bystanders to attempt to offer aid and comfort as she lay bleeding in the street.

Do I really need to mention what I think should be done if they ever catch the jerk?

Anyone with information is urge to contact the Santa Ana Police Traffic Division at (714) 245-8214.

……..

Actor Patrick Dempsey, and pro cyclists Dave Zabriskie and Tom Danielson will hit Beverly Hills Wednesday morning for a press conference for the Amgen Tour of California.

Do I really need to point out the irony the Westside’s least bike-friendly city — with not one inch of bikeway anywhere within the city limits — hosting the nation’s biggest professional race?

No, I didn’t think so.

But maybe Patrick, Dave and the gang will stop by tonight’s Bike Up! LA benefit for the California Bicycle Coalition while they’re in town.

……..

A road raging driver runs a young L.A. cyclist — and afterwards, says he’s glad he did.

In 1908.

Sad how some things never change.

……..

Roadblock asks what will it take to create safe streets in L.A. — and offers advice on how to ride safely in the meantime. LACBC’s highly successful City of Lights starts a youth program on the Eastside. Matthew Ruscigno explains how to travel fast and light on your next bike tour. Gary writes about exception bike writer and advocate Elly Blue. LADOT is testing surfaces for the Spring Street green bike lane to find one that will stick around for awhile. Better Bike looks at the laws governing cycling in California, and says you’ve got 30 days to convince the Westside COG to make it more ridable. Learn how to maintain your bike for just $10 in Santa Monica. An unnamed 22-year old Lancaster man is killed while riding without lights in Butte County.

A Santa Rosa runner suffers a broken skull when she turns in front of a passing cyclist who fled the scene; and yes, while it’s up to the runner to make sure the way is clear before turning around, a hit-and-run cyclist is every bit as much of a schmuck as a hit-and-run driver. A Santa Barbara cyclist wants to thank the people who came to her aid — and talk to the driver who failed to see her in the bike lane. Kern County could get a new bike master plan. An Orange County cyclist is awarded a $6 million settlement following a 2009 collision with a John Wayne Airport shuttle bus.

Engineering streets to improve health. Looking at Lance Armstrong as the fallen hero of a Greek tragedy. Biking non-profits are doing well despite the bad economy. An advice columnist explains why cyclists should ride with traffic. Las Vegas’ very own Gran Fondo will start on the Las Vegas Strip the day after Interbike, and offer a ride over the Hoover Dam. Organizers of a Denver century ride drop a requirement that riders reveal their income in order to register; gee, who could possibly object to that? Houston cyclists are being harassed by a man in a black Honda. A Philadelphia driver faces charges for running down a rider while high on drugs — the day after he was arrested following a three-car collision. Dave Moulton’s legendary Fuso frames are about to be born again.

The Telegraph’s London Editor says the vast majority of British cycle lanes are either totally pointless or actively dangerous, but the carnage claimed by some simply isn’t real; meanwhile, a writer for the Evening Standard says he gave up cycling because it was too dangerous — but blames other cyclists, as well as bad streets. A British father uses cycling to fight back from brain cancer; thanks to Ed Cable for the heads-up. London cyclists may get a jump on other traffic at red lights, while Paris cyclists get permission to go through red lights.; thanks to David Huntsman for the link. Odd math, as Alberto Contador is banned for two years but could be back racing by August, which seems somewhat less to me. New Japanese road markings tell bike riders where to go.

Finally, BMC phenom Taylor Phinney has a discussion with his body; evidently, the guy is as funny as he is fast. And I wish I had this T-shirt when I still lived in Colorado.

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