Tag Archive for Highland Park

Describe Your Ride: A car-free, pre-Christmas Highland Park shopping trip

Today’s submission comes from Harv, who relates a quick ride through LA’s Highland Park neighborhood for groceries on the day before Christmas Eve.

He describes himself as a long time LA resident of who began riding for transportation at the tender age of 12, and has been active in the resurgence of bicycle activism since the bike boom of the early 1970s.

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Since I am no longer commuting to my former job in DTLA or my volunteer job in Highland Park, my most frequent repeated ride is for food shopping. A round trip of 5 miles, all hilly, with tricky freeway feeders and a dangerous intersection at Figueroa and Avenue 50. I have been car-free for three years, before then I was car very light for several years. My bike is my only transportation from home, if I want to eat, I have to ride. So let’s get started for an Xmas eve-eve run to the Food for Less in Highland Park.

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It will start with my bolting on my cut-down milk crate to the rack of my grocery bike built for the purpose. A frame low enough to step over when my crate is stacked high with groceries, 1.5 inch street tyres for stability and load bearing, a low enough bottom gear to lug up my moderate hill with 20 pounds of food, 5 pounds of rack/crate, a 5 or 6 pound back pack, and, of course, me. Without the added cargo, I can fly up my hill on one of my single speed bikes with less effort.

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OK, we descend the hill and get within a mile of the market without having to pedal at all. A short run along Griffin Avenue takes us past the playing fields of Montecito Park, which are empty today, but frequently have several ball games going. Continue past the Audubon Center and the north gate of Debs Park which usually has several homeless camps going on behind it, and then the Avenue 52 freeway feeder looms up disturbing the tranquility of the trip thus far. Here, there are I-110 on and off ramps on either side of the parkway. As I pass the first set, I glance to my left to see how many cars are backed up at the end of the off ramp stop sign. All these cars will be turning left into my path. I adjust my speed and position to minimize the conflict and sprint up the short distance to get across the bridge and duck into the residential area which provides refuge. When the I-110 was put in, about 1940, all streets in the grid across the Arroyo to Figueroa were dead-ended except for the freeway feeders such as Avenue 43, 52, and 57. So there is no way I can get across without hitting this feeder traffic.

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To avoid Figueroa and Ave 52, I wiggle through the residential area alluded to and approach the market on Ave 50 but hop onto the sidewalk before the corner to avoid the dreaded right hooking cars into the Mickey Dee’s parking lot. Finally rolling into the F4L lot after clearing the bus passengers and Big Mac gobblers, now only to dodge cars backing out of spaces and errant shopping carts rolling down the slight incline. But finally making it to the front door, I dismount and walk the bike into market, up and down the aisles, putting my purchases into the crate. My bike is my shopping cart. Every store employee knows me (after shopping there for over 20 years) and no one bats an eye.

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The return trip is the reverse, except I have to handle the downhill traffic rushing toward the on ramps on the narrow 2 lane street. I wait patiently for a break in the traffic and bounce down the broken pavement with a glance over my shoulder every few seconds. Most drivers cut me enough slack, but I still have to time myself to not be at the on ramp entrance when someone might right hook me. Then I have to cross the off ramp with similar timing, eye contact, and negotiation. Finally clear of this mayhem, I speed up on the downhill section of Griffin past the homeless encampments, the Audubon, the playing fields and turn left up my hill for the grind to the top. I eat for another week.

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If you’d like to share your ride with us, just send it to the email address on the About BikinginLA page. It can be a rant, rave or anything in between, from a few sentences to a detailed description. Or any other format you think tells the story best, however and wherever you ride.

Let’s keep the conversation going.

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.

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