Tag Archive for doping

Major road rage chutzpah, Jeannie Longo breaks my heart & LA’s anti-harassment ordinance spreads east

In an unbelievable display of chutzpah, the driver accused of running down a Highland Park cyclist in a road rage assault has spoken out against bikes lanes on North Figueroa.

According to the Highland Park-Mount Washington Patch, Louis Mraz used a recent meeting of the Mt. Washington Homeowners’ Alliance to warn that efforts by the recently formed Figueroa for All initiative could return the street to a single lane for cars and one for bikes, like it was in the ‘40s when the Red Cars reduced vehicular traffic to one lane in each direction.

Like that would be a bad thing.

Except for impatient road raging drivers, of course.

He went on to suggest that cyclists should be routed to less-traveled streets, warning that North Fig could soon become “jammed with bikes.”

Then again, he seems to take offense if there’s just one bike in his way. Or at least, that’s what he currently stands accused of.

Maybe it’s just me.

But I’d think that when you’re facing charges for a vehicular assault against a cyclist, it might be wise to keep any obvious anti-bike bias to yourself.

Especially if it’s not the first time you’ve been accused of a road rage attack.

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Tell me it ain’t so, Jeannie.

The legendary Jeannie Longo is under investigation for dodging dope tests, while her husband stands accused of buying EPO on her behalf.

This one just breaks my heart.

Longo is — or was — one of the greatest cyclists of all time, and certainly stands as one of the best I’ve ever had the privilege watching ride to victory. If she’s cheating, it raising the question of just how long and when she started. And casts pall on a career that’s lasted through parts of five decades.

And if one of the greatest riders of our time is cheating, then who isn’t?

Maybe Greg LeMond is right, and just about everyone except him is dirty. Or everyone after him, anyway.

Even teams famously dedicated to riding clean face problems, as HTC-Highroad rider Alex Rasmussen is fired from the team and suspended by Denmark’s cycling federation after missing three drug tests in 18 months.

It’s starting to look like a clean pro cyclist is about as rare a clean college football program.

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L.A.’s groundbreaking bicyclist anti-harassment could soon spread east as Washington DC considers a similar ordinance in the wake of a deliberate assault on a rider.

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Seattle’s bike-friendly mayor says it’s time to stop finding fault and start finding solutions to the city’s recent rash of bike deaths — including a rider who may have been killed by a bad bikeway design. And The Stranger says as long as cyclists are dying, if people want to think there’s a war against cars, then maybe there should be.

Meanwhile, a Seattle author takes cyclists to task for failing to share the road.

She’s got a point. But seriously, if a cyclist is pounding on your car when you’re busy taking on the phone — hands-free or otherwise — there’s a reasonable chance you may have done something to deserve it.

Just saying.

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A very positive year for L.A. cyclists — though the notoriously anti-bike L.A. Weekly bizarrely calls it ass-kissing — leads to an honorable mention from the League of American Bicyclists. New LADOT General Manager Jaime de la Vega says L.A. is committed to becoming a more bike-friendly city. L.A. will soon get its first green bike lanes on 1st Street, and the Reseda Blvd bike lanes are now complete from Roscoe to Parthenia. Joe Linton explores the new Cahuenga Blvd bike lanes, the first to reach Hollywood. The BPIT agenda for October is officially unveiled. Bikerowave will host a swap meet on Sunday, October 2nd. Check out the shiny new CicLAvia website. Long Beach gets a new bike station. Thousand Oaks passes on hosting next year’s Amgen Tour of California. A mountain biker is killed by a train while riding on the tracks in Redding. A bike-riding Santa Cruz bank robber faces sentencing after pleading no contest; something tells me he’ll serve a lot more time for stealing money on a bike than most drivers get for killing someone on one. In a case that didn’t smell right from the beginning, CHP reverses itself to rule that a Los Altos Hills cyclist wasn’t responsible for the collision that killed her after all.

After beating back a challenge to bike funding in the federal transportation bill, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid says biking facilities are absolutely important. Defending Olympic time trial champion Kristin Armstrong is replaced by Amber Neben on the U.S squad for the World Championships. A Dutch student becomes the world’s second fastest cyclist at 82.81 miles per hour in a Nevada desert. Cyclists take to Boulder CO’s new 40-acre off-road bike park. The New York Times says don’t forget to pack your folding bike when you travel, while the bike wars continue in the letters to the Times; heads-up courtesy of George Wolfberg. NYC chooses Alta to run its bike share program. A Maryland woman becomes an unintended bike activist after a motorist is fined $507.50 for killing her bike-riding husband.

Mexico City cyclists ride to reclaim their streets following threats from a journalist. Brazil plans to devote 15% of all traffic fines to promote cycling. A Canadian writer concludes that law-flouting kamikaze bikers have declared war on pedestrians. A UK cyclist suffers a broken collarbone after being intentionally rammed in a road rage incident, while Sussex cyclists are being pelted with eggs. Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour has to tear down his beachfront bike hut. Surrey police target inconsiderate cyclists with a possible £1000 fine; link courtesy of Bob Davis. Bikes will soon be allowed on a Yorkshire pathway for the first time in 150 years. Hugh Jackman rides a Brompton. Sleek, sturdy wooden bikes that actually ride like, well, bikes. The NY Times swears Copenhagen pedestrians feel squeezed out by the city’s cyclists. Cyclists and drivers fight for supremacy on German roadways; Dave Moulton asks when cyclists in bike-friendly countries cross the line to become unfriendly to everyone else on the road. A Queensland cyclist remains unidentified after a fatal cycling collision — which is why you should always carry ID when you ride. China is falling back in love with the bicycle.

Finally, in case you missed it, an Orange County driver takes a short cut directly through Mission Viejo’s Rock N’ Road Cyclery. And Der Spiegel says L.A., here I come. No idea what it says, but the pictures are nice; thanks to Dr. Michael Cahn for the link.

Collision maps reveal L.A.’s unsafe routes to school; more tragedy in pro cycling (and not just Lance)

I knew L.A. wasn’t the safest place to bike or ride.

But it never really sank in until I saw the maps.

Safe Routes to Schools has joined with the LACBC to call attention to just how far this city has to go before children to walk or bike to many schools, especially in lower income areas. New collision maps based on TIMS data (the Transportation Injury Mapping System) clearly shows how many injuries and fatalities occur near schools.

Just take a look at this map showing three years of collision data for South L.A. alone.

And I hope you have a stronger stomach than me when you realize that every dot on that map represents a human being injured or killed on our streets.

Of course, they weren’t all children. But these maps make the strongest argument yet that we have to improve safety around our schools.

“Traffic collisions, and the death or injury of Los Angeles’ people, especially our youngest community members, is heartbreaking and impacts everyone,” says Alexis Lantz, Planning and Policy Director at the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.

While the city has recently allocated $1.2 million to develop a citywide strategy to provide safer routes for children and their parents to get to and from school — and anyone else who happens to ride or bike nearby — there’s clearly a lot to do.

And a long way to go.

“Now with the TIMS data, the State of California has provided an amazing tool that allows us to see the neighborhoods, intersections and streets of greatest need and make strategic investments.  We need the City to provide staff, and create a plan to implement safety improvements quickly, so we can see our transportation priorities shift.  For too long, there has been a focus on moving cars to the detriment of our health and communities, the City of Los Angeles needs to put safety and people first,” says Jessica Meaney, California Policy Manager, Safe Routes to School National Partnership.

I mean, seriously. Just look at the maps.

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In pro cycling news, Movistar rider Xavier Tondo was killed in a freak accident when he was hit by a garage door while leaving for a ride; friends and fellow pros remember him. Conspiracy theorists may note that he had recently told authorities about being approached by a doping ring.

Mikel Nieve scores his second mountain stage win in the Giro, as Alberto Contador surges to more than a four minute lead leading up to Monday’s rest day before the final week of racing.

Levi Leipheimer and Chris Horner cross the finish line atop Mt. Baldy at virtually the same time to clinch the Amgen Tour of California for Horner. The Claremont Cyclist spends the morning with Rabobank. What it’s like to ride the Mt. Baldy stage of the AToC. Horner wraps it up on Sunday as HTC rider Matthew Goss wins the final stage and Lance Armstrong’s Team RadioShack takes the first two places in the general classification. Bicycling offers video of post-race reactions, while the Daily News is too busy talking with fans to get the details straight.

Between Chris Horner’s exciting run and the race up Mt. Baldy, this is the first Tour of California that seemed, to me at least, like a legitimate contender as a top-tier cycling race. Now if they can add another challenging stage or two — like maybe a peak-to-peak route around the San Diego area ending with a climb up Mt. Palomar, where snow wouldn’t be a factor — they might have something. Although going head-to-head with the Giro will always be a limiting factor.

And in case you’ve been in a coma the past few days, CBS’ 60 Minutes reported that former friends and teammates of Lance Armstrong  have turned on him to accuse the seven time TdF champ of doping; no one seems to care that George Hincapie reportedly confessed, though. If the accusations against Lance Armstrong are proven, he faces serious jail time; at the very least, his reputation will be in tatters. Tyler Hamilton’s lawyer discusses why the rider finally came clean. Former pro Scott Mercier says doping was pervasive when he was racing in the ’90, and UCI responds with the expected shock and indignation.

A writer for Road.cc asks the same question a lot of riders are asking right now: what happens when your idol and inspiration lets you down? And Italian police reportedly find nothing in an impeccably timed raid on Team RadioSchack’s hotel at the Giro.

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LACBC releases a great new video explaining the upcoming 7th Street road diet and bike lanes in your choice of three popular languages. Meanwhile, those new LED lights on the Elysian Valley section of the L.A. River Bike Path are out of order for the foreseeable future after thieves steal the copper wiring.

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Streetsblog wants your questions for LAPD Sgt. David Krumer, the department’s popular point man for the cycling community. LADOT Bicycle Services unveils a nifty new website. L.A. bike attorney Howard Krepack argues that the safety of cyclists has to be considered during road work, as well. Richard Risemberg looks at the art of riding in Santa Monica. CicLAvia wants to know what you think about the proposed expansion routes into Boyle Heights and South L.A. The Times looks at some unusual bike designs. Santa Monica riders review that city’s proposed bike plan. The recent presidential visit gives a UCLA employee a chance to ride the Westside.

A reader corrects the Press-Enterprise for saying cyclists are required to ride as far right as possible; the writer insists that possible and practicable mean the same thing. A Fresno-area cyclist’s tragic death in a solo bike accident could help up to eight other people through organ donation; I’d want some good to come out of it for someone if anything ever happened to me. Surprisingly, California ranks 20th on the list of bike-friendly states; surprising we’re that high, that is.

USA Today notes a nationwide movement to make the streets safe for cyclists; thanks to Zeke for the heads-up. That great epiphany moment that turns non-cyclists into confirmed riders is a myth. Fifteen reasons to fall in love with your bike. Elly Blue continues her excellent Bikenomics series with a look at riding while broke. Evidently believing them to be magic talismans that will ward off injury, a writer calls bike helmets the most important safe cycling habit — above, say, stopping for traffic signals, remaining visible or riding with traffic, or any of the other riding habits that might keep a helmet from being necessary. A firefighter’s career could be over after a cycling hit-and-run. New Jersey authorities seem unclear on the concept, as they instruct riders to share the road with fast moving traffic, rather than requiring speeding drivers to slow down; it may be time to retire Share the Road entirely. A New York actor and personal therapist explains why he’ll be riding the 10th Anniversary AIDS Ride. In a classic example of press bias, an 11-year old West Virginia boy is sideswiped while riding his bike, yet the local press reports that he collided with the car; thankfully, they note the car was not damaged.

The return of bike season means the return of road rage. Buy a Victorian London house, and get your very own bike museum. Police tell cyclists to stay off the 2012 Olympic mountain bike course. Scott cyclists pay to ride a new freeway for just one day, though not all do it to celebrate. This is what bike parking is supposed to look like; a Brit company tweets to take credit. A video look at the Pillars of Italian Cycling. How about a Norwegian-style bike lift? Jakarta gets its first bike lane, which immediately turns into parking for three-wheeled pedicabs.

Finally, video captures a cyclist getting by a car, and landing on his feet. And apparently, the solution to dropping off a bike and still getting back home is to throw your Dahon on the back of your Urbana — sort of like tossing a Mini in the back of a Hummer.

Seriously, say it ain’t so, Floyd

By now, it shouldn’t come as any surprise.

Still, there are those who believed Floyd Landis when he adamantly denied doping during the 2006 Tour de France. And went to bat for him when he started an online Wiki doping defense movement to clear his name before ultimately losing in the Court of Arbitration.

I really wanted to believe him.

But I remember watching him bounce back from an epic bonk in the Tour, only to devastate the field and clinch the Tour the following day. And sitting in front of the TV thinking he had to be on something.

He was.

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal, of all places, broke the news that Landis had sent a number of emails admitting to doping during the 2006 Tour and much of his riding career.

The lying sack of disgraced rider said that longtime Lance Armstrong coach Johan Bruyneel introduced him to doping techniques such as steroid patches, EPO, blood doping and human growth hormone, beginning when he first started riding for Armstrong’s U.S. Postal Team in 2002. And he accuses Bruyneel of coaching him on how to use them without getting caught.

Maybe he should have paid more attention.

As might be expected after placing the blame on Armstrong’s coach, he also accuses Armstrong and fellow teammate George Hincapie of being complicit in the doping, with the clear implication that Lance was doing it, too.

Not surprisingly, Lance denies everything. Then again, so did Floyd for the past four years.

Landis, who signed with the Bahati Foundation team earlier this year in a comeback attempt, claims that former Phonak team owner Andy Rihs — the team he rode for in 2006, which was disbanded after his disqualification — knowingly picked up the tab for his doping program after he signed with the team.

And he says that he helped current Amgen Tour of California leaders Dave Zabriskie and Levi Leipheimer take EPO before a previous ToC race.

It shouldn’t shock anyone to discover that there is doping in pro cycling. Or that Floyd is every bit as dirty as the authorities claimed.

But seriously. Why do you think they call it dope, Floyd?

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On a soggy day in Italy, the Giro leaders get caught by a devastating breakaway, possibly killing their chances on the podium. The new leader, Saxo Bank’s Richie Porte, now holds an almost 10 minute lead over former leader Vinokourov, whose best chance to climb back up in the standings might be to give Dr. Christopher Thompson an Italian drivers license.

In the ToC, Landis-accused Dave Zabriskie retains the lead with a slim advantage of just 6 seconds or less over Michael Rogers and co-accused Levi Leipheimer; unless something dramatic happens in the next couple days, it looks like the race will be determined at the Downtown L.A. time trial on Saturday.

The general conclusion is that the coverage on Versus this year has sucked, to put it mildly. Hopefully, they’ll get their act together before Le Tour.

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Saboteurs attack cyclists in a local Maryland criterium by scattering thumb tacks at various points along the course, resulting in crashes and damaged bikes, with a number of minor injuries and at least one broken bone.

Hopefully, local authorities will recognize the seriousness of the crime and respond appropriately; while bike haters may giggle about it, this is no less a violent assault than the Christopher Thompson case.

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By the time you read this, it will be too late to grab free food and bike swag on Bike to Work Day. Riders who could make it Downtown on Wednesday had a chance to roll through the streets with a police bike escort. And there’s still a few Bike Week events later in the week.

But has it ever occurred to anyone that people who ride to work ride home, too? Why not make a real day of it next year and set up some of those pit stops in the evening, instead?

Meanwhile, Metro’s The Source, which as done a great job of covering Bike to Work Week, is looking for recommendations for the best blogs that focus on bikes as transportation, rather than recreation. You can find some of my favorites over there on the right; email your suggestions to thesource@metro.net or leave a comment on their Facebook page.

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L.A. County announces the second round of hearings on the new county bike plan; how about putting some sharrows on PCH? Glendale will invest a $150,000 grant in upgrading bicycle infrastructure; Stephen Box examines the Glendale Police Department’s understanding of their own laws regarding riding on the sidewalk. Bikerowave speaks on Saturday with 7 bike activists talking for 7 minutes each on 7 subjects. Bicycle Fixation considers the proposed 4th Street Bicycle Boulevard and the potholes of L.A. With the publisher in L.A. for a workshop, Tucson Velo looks at the Bikerowave., after discovering our notoriously cracked pavement and lack of infrastructure. I wonder if the ToC podium girls are doping, too. A look at the return on investment for years of bike advocacy. Chicago observes the Ride of Silence, while a Detroit bike blog says the Ride of Silence comes with good intentions but sends the wrong message. A Maryland cyclist gets doored, and police ticket him in the hospital in violation of local laws. In DC, a cop orders a cyclist to use a new bike lane before it’s opened. Dogs and bikes don’t always get along. Ten cents used to get your bike across New York’s Triborough bridge. A look at bicycling in Tokyo. Five motorists go on trial for a roadway dispute that ended in the death of a London cyclist. British cyclists ride to honor Alfred the Great. The Guardian asks why British women are so vulnerable to collisions with big trucks; the conclusion is get away from the curb.

Finally, The League of American Bicyclists announces their ranking of bike-friendly states; California is dropping like a rock (pdf), having fallen from 7th in 2008 to 14th in 2009 to 19th in 2010. Washington leads the list, while Alabama takes up the rear.

Cyclist killed in Orange County, weekend rides, pro doping and a lot of links

A woman in La Habra was killed by a bus while riding her bike across the crosswalk.

Annette Ferrin-Rodgers, 49, was killed at approximately 8:28 pm last night at the intersection of Beach Blvd and La Habra Blvd in La Habra, when a bus turning left onto La Habra from Beach struck her. The driver reported seeing something in the crosswalk, but was unable to stop despite traveling at an estimated 15 to 20 mph.

A mail processing clerk at the Santa Ana USPS processing center, Ferrin-Rodgers was reportedly riding without lights an hour after sunset. Police also stated that riders are required to dismount and walk across a crosswalk. However, that’s only true where riding on the sidewalk in prohibited, since the crosswalk is considered an extension of the sidewalk, or where DOT-conforming signage requires it; according to comments, riding on the sidewalk is legal in that area.

The driver has been tested for drugs and alcohol, as per USDOT guidelines, and will be on administrative leave while the investigation proceeds.

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C.I.C.L.E.’s Urban Expeditions celebrates Earth Day with the Lorax Ride on Saturday, April 24, beginning at 10 am at Memorial Park in Pasadena.

Sunday the 25th marks the monthly Black kids on bikes – Freedom Ride in South L.A., a fun, medium-paced ride that rolls at 1 pm the last Sunday of each month. If you were at the Streetsblog fundraiser at Eco-Village earlier this month, you saw the premier of the great new StreetsFilm about the Freedom Ride by Ivy London; if not, look for it when it goes online next month.

On the other hand, Will Campbell’s Bike Every Satur(Day) In May rides don’t kick off for another week.

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Twenty-four-year old pro cyclist Leonardo Grullon was killed in the Domican Republic when he and four other riders were hit by a truck while training for the Pan American Championships.

Lance’s new Team RadioShack takes a hit as Chinese rider Li Fuyu tests positive for Clembuterol. BMC Racing Team’s Thomas Frei is suspended after testing positive for EPO, while BMC riders Alessandro Ballan and Mauro Santambrogio are suspended as part of an ongoing drug probe. Meanwhile, CSF rider Mattia Gavazzi tested positive for cocaine and ex-pro Cristof Kerschbaum faces trial for dealing EPO and other performance enhancing drugs.

In non-doping pro news, the legendary Eddy Merckx is honored with a stamp by his native Belgium on his 65th birthday, while Lance is named the most influential athlete in the U.S.; oddly, Tiger Woods is no longer on the list.

Cyclelicious reports that a movie is in the works about Major Taylor, the nation’s first black athletic superstar and bike hero a century before Lance.

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A Midnight Ridazz art exhibition opens in Long Beach’s Exhibit [A] Gallery. Metro Chair Ara Najarian says there will be bike lockers and racks at the new Westlake/MacArthur Park development after all; maybe they planned it all along, maybe they’re just responding to Stephen Box unnamed bloggers. A new coalition called Living Streets wants to know what local streets should become Living Streets. Who tickets the Parking Enforcement officers when they’re the ones blocking the bike lane? L.A. Cycle Chic looks at the bikes of Coachella. A road diet, including diagonal parking — and yes, bike lanes — is being considered for Culver Blvd in Playa del Rey. Need a job? Green LA Transportation Working Group is looking for a Living Streets Project Coordinator.

Long Beach celebrates Earth Day with two miles of new bike lanes; L.A. celebrates Earth Day with, uh…. Claremont gets cool new bike racks, I like the multi-colored ones; Claremont Cyclist shares my philosophy of supporting your local bike shop. The new U.S. Cycling Hall of Fame opens Saturday in Davis. A Sonoma cyclist offers drivers a little courtesy and asks for the same in return.

Why do they always talk about unsafe cycling and not unsafe driving? Giant unveils what may be the world’s first female-specific fixie. A Tucson writer suggests banning all cars to make the city’s streets safe for cyclists. Boston Biker discovers the joys of going slow. A look at Emily Kreisa, Denver’s street-smart bike planner, while the Mile High City debuts the nation’s largest bike share program. The presidential motorcade through New York results in the confiscation of countless bikes for fear of bike bombs along the route. A Pennsylvania police officer hits a cyclist while responding to a call; the officer is not suspended. Indiana’s Little 500 bike race — made famous in the best bike movie ever — rolls this weekend; a Kappa Delta sophomore is the third member of her family to compete.

Finally, in case you wondered what the hell the New York Critical Mass cyclist-bashing cop was thinking, it turns out he thought he was the one being assaulted. No, seriously.

My next post, in which I continue from the last post

Over the years, I’ve taken a lot of supplements.

Take creatine, for instance. I did. And it was one of the few that actually seemed to work.

Creatine, which is also created naturally in the body, helps build muscle by giving your muscles a little extra boost. For instance, if you can usually lift 100 pounds, you might be able to do 110 or 115, or maybe do a few more reps.

Translated to bicycling, it won’t help you go faster or farther, but it may give you a little help sprinting or getting up that hill, which could help build up your muscles so you can go faster or farther later.

The only downside I noticed was that it made me a little thirstier. In fact, I may try it again this winter to build my strength back up to where it was before the infamous beachfront bee encounter.

On the other hand, HMB and Pyruvate, which were supposed to help build lean muscle, didn’t seem to do anything at all. Neither did CLA, which was supposed to help burn body fat and convert it to energy. In fact, I lost more weight after I quit taking it — perhaps the 12-tablet daily dosage added an the extra 120 calories to my diet.

L-Glutamine was supposed to help my muscles recover from a hard ride, reducing aching and cramps, and helping them bounce back so I could ride just as hard the next day.

But it did was make me constipated.

And I used to take garlic tablets, for its reputed benefits in managing cholesterol and preventing illness — as well as its legendary anti-vampire properties — but quit following my accident, since garlic is a blood thinner, and may have contributed to me nearly bleeding out following my accident. That’s also why I stopped taking aspirin before a ride.

These days, I tend to take a more natural approach to nutrition.

Now before I ride or go to the gym, I’ll make a smoothie with low-fat yogurt, berries, pineapple, banana, spinach, carrots and broccoli, as well as milk and orange-tangerine juice. It tastes better than it sounds, and gives me a meal high in antioxidants, fiber and natural fruit sugars, for a long-lasting energy boost without the crash that comes from processed sugar. The banana also gives me a shot of potassium to avoid cramping on long rides. And the fact that I get an entire day’s worth of fruits and vegetables in a single serving doesn’t hurt, either.

After my ride, I’ll have a whey shake with added amino acids. The whey protein feeds my muscles, while the aminos help prevent those miserable leg cramps and muscle pains that used to take me hours to recover from. Now just have a quick drink, take a shower and I’m good to go.

No aches. No pains. No cramps.

I also carry a Kashi granola bar and a box of raisins with me when I ride. If I get hungry, the granola bar will keep me going for another hour or two, with no processed sugar and just 120 calories. And I started packing the raisins after reading in Men’s Health that they were just as effective as commercial gels and bars in raising energy levels, with half the calories — and a fraction of the cost.

Of course, I still take a few supplements, but more for general health these days.

For instance, I’ve taken glucosamine and chondroitin for my arthritic right knee for nearly a decade. I stopped taking them for several months recently after questioning whether they were doing any good; however, an increase in knee pain convinced me otherwise.

I also take MSM, a natural anti-inflammatory, which, for me at least, controls my knee pain more effectively than NSAIDS like aspirin and ibuprofen, without the side effects.

I started taking Quercetin after reading the results of two studies; one showing that athletes who took 1000 mg daily had a significantly reduced rate of respiratory infections, while the other showed that cyclists who took a similar amount increased endurance by 5% — which may not sound like much, but an extra 5% can make a huge difference at the end of a long ride.

Then there are things like Cinnamon, which has been shown to lower trigylceride levels; Cayenne, which helps lower cholesterol and improve circulation; Green Tea, which improves the ratio of LDL (bad cholesterol) to HDL (good cholesterol); and Turmeric, which has shown promise as everything from an anti-inflammatory to an anti-carcinogen.

Which just goes to show that the right foods really could save your life.

 

Damien at Streetsblog reports the good doctor’s case is proceeding through the legal system, while SoapBox LA gives a detailed rundown of the hearing; not to be too cynical, but I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t plead out for probation. Evidently, Ballona Creek isn’t the area’s only deadly bike path. Thanks to Los Angeles Rides for providing links to the links for this weekend’s Toy Ride and Holiday Beer Ride. Will witnesses the intersection of hipster biker and bus. Guess which one lost? And Illuminate LA provides another perspective on the bike licensing issue.

My latest post, in which I admit to doping

There was a time in my life, not so long ago — okay, maybe longer than I care to admit — when cycling was my life.

It was right after my starving writer phase, which, as it turns out, isn’t nearly as romantic as it sounds when you’re the one starving. And since no one wanted to read my writing – or more precisely, no one wanted to pay me so other people could read my writing (whoa, déjà vu!) – I shifted my focus to something that paid every bit as well.

So for the next 6 months or so, I rode my bike.

I built my own wheels. Stripped my bike down to the bearings and rebuilt it from the ground up to make sure every part was lubed, tightened and adjusted to perfection. I stretched. I read about cycling. I dreamed about cycling.

And I rode. At least 50 miles a day, every day. Other than the occasional attentions of a cute little pastry chef, that was my life, from the time I got up until I slid my aching thighs back into bed.

And I would have snorted peanut butter, black tar heroin or thermonuclear waste if I thought it would make me a better rider.

I’ve been thinking about that lately, after our local Bike Snob pointed out yet another cyclist caught doping, on a team dedicated to riders with questionable reps.

I’ve written before about my disappointment when Floyd Landis lost his appeal, even though my initial reaction, as I watched him race, was that he had to be on something to rebound the way he did after bonking so badly the day before.

It also broke my heart when fellow Colorado boy Tyler Hamilton was busted. And I’ve long wanted to believe that Lance Armstrong is merely super-human, despite the insistence of the French, as well as Greg LeMond’s apparent insistence that he was the only clean Tour de France winner since Maurice Garin crossed the finish line in 1903.

(Am I the only one to notice that only Americans with names starting with L are allowed to win le Tour? Which means I’ll be putting my money on Levi Leipheimer if Astana can get back in.)

Then again, who’s to say that the great racers of the pre-testing era, like Bernard Hinault or the legendary Eddy Merckx, weren’t on something themselves? There’s no reason to believe they were, of course, just as there’s no proof they weren’t, other than the fact that they dominated their eras every bit as much as Armstrong did his.

But they weren’t tested, so we’ll never know for sure. And even getting repeatedly tested over a seven year period doesn’t seem to convince some people.

But then, that’s what we do. We take things.

Because if there’s something we think will make us ride a little better, a little farther, a little faster, we’ll try it. Whether it’s Lance Armstrong’s energy drink or a shot of gel for that extra boost in the middle of a ride.

Don’t believe me? Just check out the checkout counter of your nearest bike shop, and count the number or gels, bars, shots and other assorted sugar-based supplements. Or pick up a copy of any cycling magazine and see if the supplement ads outnumber the bike ads this month.

It just seems to me that there’s not a lot of difference between the creatine & amino shakes I downed back then, and doping with EPO or testosterone. One is legal, while the others aren’t. But they all build strength and boost performance.

It’s just a matter of degree.

Timur explores downtown, while a group of riders take a slightly longer tour around the city. Will manages to get back home from Newport Beach car free, despite a series of rail-based misadventures. And this just in, Damien and Gary announces that the Cyclist’s Bill of Rights has been passed by the L.A. City Council, not that it will mean anything if our local bureaucrats don’t pay any attention to the city leaders. Still, we all owe a big round of thanks to the Bike Writers Collective, who not only kicked it all off, but pushed it over the goal line.

Thank you, guys. We owe you.

My latest post, in which I admit to doping

There was a time in my life, not so long ago — okay, maybe longer than I care to admit — when cycling was my life.

It was right after my starving writer phase, which, as it turns out, isn’t nearly as romantic as it sounds when you’re the one starving. And since no one wanted to read my writing – or more precisely, no one wanted to pay me so other people could read my writing (whoa, déjà vu!) – I shifted my focus to something that paid every bit as well.

So for the next 6 months or so, I rode my bike.

I built my own wheels. Stripped my bike down to the bearings and rebuilt it from the ground up to make sure every part was lubed, tightened and adjusted to perfection. I stretched. I read about cycling. I dreamed about cycling.

And I rode. At least 50 miles a day, every day. Other than the occasional attentions of a cute little pastry chef, that was my life, from the time I got up until I slid my aching thighs back into bed.

And I would have snorted peanut butter, black tar heroin or thermonuclear waste if I thought it would make me a better rider.

I’ve been thinking about that lately, after our local Bike Snob pointed out yet another cyclist caught doping, on a team dedicated to riders with questionable reps.

I’ve written before about my disappointment when Floyd Landis lost his appeal, even though my initial reaction, as I watched him race, was that he had to be on something to rebound the way he did after bonking so badly the day before.

It also broke my heart when fellow Colorado boy Tyler Hamilton was busted. And I’ve long wanted to believe that Lance Armstrong is merely super-human, despite the insistence of the French, as well as Greg LeMond’s apparent insistence that he was the only clean Tour de France winner since Maurice Garin crossed the finish line in 1903.

(Am I the only one to notice that only Americans with names starting with L are allowed to win le Tour? Which means I’ll be putting my money on Levi Leipheimer if Astana can get back in.)

Then again, who’s to say that the great racers of the pre-testing era, like Bernard Hinault or the legendary Eddy Merckx, weren’t on something themselves? There’s no reason to believe they were, of course, just as there’s no proof they weren’t, other than the fact that they dominated their eras every bit as much as Armstrong did his.

But they weren’t tested, so we’ll never know for sure. And even getting repeatedly tested over a seven year period doesn’t seem to convince some people.

But then, that’s what we do. We take things.

Because if there’s something we think will make us ride a little better, a little farther, a little faster, we’ll try it. Whether it’s Lance Armstrong’s energy drink or a shot of gel for that extra boost in the middle of a ride.

Don’t believe me? Just check out the checkout counter of your nearest bike shop, and count the number or gels, bars, shots and other assorted sugar-based supplements. Or pick up a copy of any cycling magazine and see if the supplement ads outnumber the bike ads this month.

It just seems to me that there’s not a lot of difference between the creatine & amino shakes I downed back then, and doping with EPO or testosterone. One is legal, while the others aren’t. But they all build strength and boost performance.

It’s just a matter of degree.

Timur explores downtown, while a group of riders take a slightly longer tour around the city. Will manages to get back home from Newport Beach car free, despite a series of rail-based misadventures. And this just in, Damien and Gary announces that the Cyclist’s Bill of Rights has been passed by the L.A. City Council, not that it will mean anything if our local bureaucrats don’t pay any attention to the city leaders. Still, we all owe a big round of thanks to the Bike Writers Collective, who not only kicked it all off, but pushed it over the goal line.

Thank you, guys. We owe you.

My latest post, in which I admit to doping

There was a time in my life, not so long ago — okay, maybe longer than I care to admit — when cycling was my life.

It was right after my starving writer phase, which, as it turns out, isn’t nearly as romantic as it sounds when you’re the one starving. And since no one wanted to read my writing – or more precisely, no one wanted to pay me so other people could read my writing (whoa, déjà vu!) – I shifted my focus to something that paid every bit as well.

So for the next 6 months or so, I rode my bike.

I built my own wheels. Stripped my bike down to the bearings and rebuilt it from the ground up to make sure every part was lubed, tightened and adjusted to perfection. I stretched. I read about cycling. I dreamed about cycling.

And I rode. At least 50 miles a day, every day. Other than the occasional attentions of a cute little pastry chef, that was my life, from the time I got up until I slid my aching thighs back into bed.

And I would have snorted peanut butter, black tar heroin or thermonuclear waste if I thought it would make me a better rider.

I’ve been thinking about that lately, after our local Bike Snob pointed out yet another cyclist caught doping, on a team dedicated to riders with questionable reps.

I’ve written before about my disappointment when Floyd Landis lost his appeal, even though my initial reaction, as I watched him race, was that he had to be on something to rebound the way he did after bonking so badly the day before.

It also broke my heart when fellow Colorado boy Tyler Hamilton was busted. And I’ve long wanted to believe that Lance Armstrong is merely super-human, despite the insistence of the French, as well as Greg LeMond’s apparent insistence that he was the only clean Tour de France winner since Maurice Garin crossed the finish line in 1903.

(Am I the only one to notice that only Americans with names starting with L are allowed to win le Tour? Which means I’ll be putting my money on Levi Leipheimer if Astana can get back in.)

Then again, who’s to say that the great racers of the pre-testing era, like Bernard Hinault or the legendary Eddy Merckx, weren’t on something themselves? There’s no reason to believe they were, of course, just as there’s no proof they weren’t, other than the fact that they dominated their eras every bit as much as Armstrong did his.

But they weren’t tested, so we’ll never know for sure. And even getting repeatedly tested over a seven year period doesn’t seem to convince some people.

But then, that’s what we do. We take things.

Because if there’s something we think will make us ride a little better, a little farther, a little faster, we’ll try it. Whether it’s Lance Armstrong’s energy drink or a shot of gel for that extra boost in the middle of a ride.

Don’t believe me? Just check out the checkout counter of your nearest bike shop, and count the number or gels, bars, shots and other assorted sugar-based supplements. Or pick up a copy of any cycling magazine and see if the supplement ads outnumber the bike ads this month.

It just seems to me that there’s not a lot of difference between the creatine & amino shakes I downed back then, and doping with EPO or testosterone. One is legal, while the others aren’t. But they all build strength and boost performance.

It’s just a matter of degree.

Timur explores downtown, while a group of riders take a slightly longer tour around the city. Will manages to get back home from Newport Beach car free, despite a series of rail-based misadventures. And this just in, Damien and Gary announces that the Cyclist’s Bill of Rights has been passed by the L.A. City Council, not that it will mean anything if our local bureaucrats don’t pay any attention to the city leaders. Still, we all owe a big round of thanks to the Bike Writers Collective, who not only kicked it all off, but pushed it over the goal line.

Thank you, guys. We owe you.

Riding through the pain

I remember watching a live broadcast of Lance Armstrong in the Tour de France.

I don’t recall what year it was, maybe his third or fourth victory, perhaps. This particular day, the course went over one of the great mountain passes; as I recall, it may have been the Croix de Fer, or possibly l’Alpe d’Huez. Or maybe it was some other steep mountain pass, I really don’t remember anymore.

What I do remember, though, is Lance starting his climb at the base of the mountain as the best riders in the world were spread out in front of him. One by one, he caught each of them on that ascent. And one by one, they struggled to keep up with him, before each one cracked and fell hopelessly behind.

Of course, some people looked at performances like that and assumed he must be doping, like so many others. Others said it was his muscle structure, that he somehow had more strength and endurance than anyone else on that course.

But the best explanation I’ve heard is that he was simply willing to endure more pain than anyone else. It wasn’t that he didn’t feel it; it’s just that he didn’t let it stop him.

And that makes sense to me. You see, I’m the same way.

I suffered a serious knee injury when I was just a kid in junior high school. Unfortunately, surgery didn’t fix it, ending my football career and leaving me with a trick knee that had me in almost constant pain.

For the next few years, I had a standing prescription for pain killers, as I tried to convince someone — anyone — that there was still something wrong with my knee. But the orthopedist who did my surgery couldn’t admit that he might have failed; instead, he told my mother that I was faking it to get the pills.

Fortunately, she didn’t believe him. But that night, I went home and handed her my bottle of pain medication. And I never took another one.

Not a few years later, when another orthopedist finally fixed the problem my first doctor had insisted didn’t exist. Not in my 20s, when I fractured my back — without causing any permanent damage, thank God.

Not a decade later, when I misjudged a corner while riding through a high-speed turn, and ended up with severe road rash from my ankle to my chin. Not over the past decade or so, when that first botched operation resulted in a severely arthritic knee.

And not this past year, when a freak beachfront bee encounter put me in the intensive care ward for a couple days, and on a long, hard path to recovery.

It’s not that I don’t feel the pain. I’ve just learned to ignore it.

When I stopped taking pills for that knee, I had no choice but to learn another way to cope with then pain. Eventually, what I learned was simply to tolerate it.

Just focus on something else, and get on with my life.

It’s not like I’m a superhero or some bizarre freak of nature. It still hurts. It’s just that I made a conscious effort not to think about it. And eventually, that just became second nature to me.

Of course, that doesn’t work with everything. A sharp, unexpected pain — such as a back spasm, or a sudden injury — always breaks through whatever defenses I may have, and gets my immediate attention, just like it would anyone else. And emotional pain, like losing a loved one, can bring me to my knees.

But chronic pain, or pain I can anticipate, like the kind you experience on a hard ride, I just don’t think about.

And that’s made me a better cyclist. Because it’s given me the ability to just keep going, no matter how tired I am, how strong the wind or how steep the hill. As long as I have the strength to keep going, a little pain won’t make me quit.

Like back when I was first leaning to ride hills, for instance. I realized that I could spend my entire riding career confined to flat courses, or I could just suck it up and learn to climb.

It wasn’t easy, as any beginning climber can tell you. But eventually I was able to ride every hill on my usual riding routes, no matter how long or how high.

So I set out to conquer the ultimate challenge.

There was a hill in a nearby state park; not that long a climb, really — maybe a half mile or so. But the road was so steep, most cars struggled to get over it, and I’d never seen another cyclist even try to ride it.

And that, to me, made it irresistible.

One bright sunny day, after a good warm-up, I started up the base. I only made it about halfway up before I cracked. But I kept going, inching along, already down to my lowest gear, pedaling one stroke at a time. By the time I was 3/4 of the way up — where the hill really got steep — my legs were nothing but rubber, and my heart felt ready to burst.

But I kept going.

Finally, about a hundred yards from the summit, with the road so steep I still couldn’t see the top of the hill, I was so far past the breaking point that I could barely turn the pedals. So I started thinking to myself, “Don’t quit.”

Each time I pedaled, every time I turned the crank, “Don’t quit.”

“Don’t. Quit.

Or at least, I thought I was thinking it. But I must have been saying it out loud, because when I finally topped that hill, about a dozen people standing at the top broke out in spontaneous applause. I caught my breath, waved and rode off, embarrassed as hell.

But I realized in that moment that I could accomplish anything I wanted on my bike, if I was just willing to work hard enough, and accept the pain that came with it.

Which is just as true for life as it is for cycling.

 

Just Williams recommends Cyclecraft, the U.K.’s official bible for all things cycling — and questions why it teaches cyclists to take the lane, but the country’s driver’s manuals don’t teach drivers to expect it. Good question. Town Mouse discusses her E-number, while raising her count for roadkill and arseholes encountered while cycling. Evidently, it’s not just cyclists who have to deal with arseholes, and not just in the U.K. According to Streetsblog, Metro wants to reconcile with cyclists. Will-I-Am (the other one) spots a semi heading upstream to spawn. I wonder how many lives this could save here — and how many battles could be avoided in the ongoing war between cyclists and drivers. A writer in Petaluma questions if more bike lanes are making the roads more dangerous. Finally, the Irish Times — no, not the pub on Overland — questions whether a more Continental approach would encourage more cyclists. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get on my bike and ride until my legs fall off — not literally, I hope.

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