Tag Archive for L.A. River bike path

Just another ride on the Westside, and the Department of DIY finds a way on the LA River

Please forgive yesterday’s radio silence.

I try to post something every day, or weekday, anyway; even bike bloggers need a little time off. But sometimes the demands of daily life get in the way.

And sometimes, I just need to get in a good ride on a perfect fall LA day. Good ride being a relative term, if Westside drivers have any say in the matter.

Then there’s the problem of the day’s designated Preventer of Productivity climbing up unbidden for an extended round of petting, ear scratching and belly rubs, forming an impermeable barrier between my laptop and lap.

Fortunately, I’ve learned to edit video one handed.

Sienna on lap

Then there’s another project that’s been occupying most of my time lately, which I hope to share with you in the coming weeks as progress allows.

Stay tuned.

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Meanwhile, Patrick Pascal sends word that the Department of DIY has been hard at work on wayfinding signage on the LA River bike path near the southern end of the Frogtown section, which he describes as “both professional and also informative, useful and long overdue.”

Word is that the city is working on a half million dollar wayfinding system of their own, which will cover bikeways across the city.

But whether they can do a better job than the person or persons who took it upon themselves to craft these particularly well-done on-path street signs remains to be seen.

la river path denbyA well-deserved tip of the hat, whoever you are.

Brit twit tweets she hit cyclist, bike rider attacked on L.A. River path, cyclists may get Jerry Browned again

In today’s lead story, a common sense-challenged motorist is in deep doo doo with British authorities after she tweeted about hitting a cyclist.

And claimed it was her right, since the bike rider doesn’t pay the country’s road tax. Which was actually eliminated roughly 80 years earlier.

“Definitely knocked a cyclist off his bike earlier. I have right of way – he doesn’t even pay road tax!,” “#Bloodycyclists.”

And yes, hit-and-run is a crime in the UK, just like it is here. Especially if you confess to it online.

Thanks to everyone who forwarded this one to me.

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The LAPD promises to step up their mostly non-existent patrols along the L.A. River bike path after a Glendale man is violently attacked in an apparent gang assault in order to steal his bike.

I’ve long argued that L.A.’s separated bike paths, most of which are hidden from public view along river banks, should be regularly patrolled by uniformed bike cops to deter crime.

Not that anyone has listened, of course.

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Rails to Trails says cyclists are about to get Jerry Browned once again, as our anti-bike governor threatens to cut funding for the state’s Recreational Trails Program; thanks to Allan Alessio for the forward.

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In an absolutely disgusting column, a Denver writer apparently assumes she is the only bicyclist who observes traffic regulations.

And blames riders like you and me for making motorists mad enough to kill — even though the case that inspired her hateful diatribe involved a cyclist killed by drunken, wrong way, though admittedly bike-hating, driver.

Using the same irrational logic she employs, domestic violence victims should also be blamed for inciting violence by angering their attackers. And while we all agree sexual assault is wrong, it must be the victims’ fault for wearing their skirts too short or jeans too tight, right?

I though we’d outgrown that kind of offensively misguided thinking decades ago.

Except, evidently, when it involves people on bikes.

If a driver attacks another human being using a motor vehicle as a weapon, it’s because there’s a dangerous psychopath behind the wheel.

Not because a bicyclist — or every damn bicyclist on the road — run stop signs.

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A more rational writer responds to the same case by suggesting that when motorists start to obey all traffic laws and regulations, then — and only then — can they start getting pissed at cyclists.

As I recall, someone once said something similar about those without sin casting the first stone.

Naw, that’s just crazy talk.

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Rising BMC rider Tejay Van Garderen wins the Amgen Tour of California; turns out he’s from my hometown, though he went to the wrong one of the other high schools. And three-time ToC winner Levi Leipheimer hangs it up after his recent doping ban.

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The Buffalo News reports that a bike riding upstate New York boy thanked the paramedics who saved him after one of the most gruesome freak injuries I’ve heard or read about.

Caide recalled the accident – in detail.

“My friend bumped into the back of my bike tire, and I fell,” Caide said. “He flipped over me, and that’s when the right brake handle went into the right side of my stomach, and then my intestines came out.”

Something tells me I’m going to remember those last six words for a very long time.

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Join Figueroa for All in fighting for bike lanes in Northeast L.A. Los Angeles gets its first commuter bike trains, which may not be what you think. Bikeside comes back to life to predict the winner of Tuesday’s election; oddly, I made pretty much the same prediction on my own. UCLA hosts its first bike-powered concert this Friday. A San Pedro driver complains about taking 45 minutes to drive his kids half a mile to school, as drivers and bike riders counter-protest a recent road diet; hint to driver — your kids could walk that in 15 minutes, tops.

Beware the handlebar-basketed beach cruiser-riding bike path stalker in Rancho Santa Margarita. Temecula is now officially bike friendly. San Diego cyclists may get concrete barriers along a freeway where a car left the road and killed a bicyclist on a separated bike path. Guess Hollywood won’t be filming there either, as San Diego’s Nimitz Blvd goes green thanks to newly painted bike lanes. Our neighbor to the south will honor 95-year old cycling legend Gordy Shields. A bike riding San Jose teenager is killed on his way to school, the ninth cyclist or pedestrian killed in the city this year; thanks to Rebecca Wong for the heads-up. Remarkably, a six-year old Rohnert Park bike rider survives being run over by a multi-ton garbage truck; police may blame the victim, but there’s something seriously wrong when a driver can’t even see what’s directly in front of his truck.

Outside offers bike commuting essentials; if you ask me, the only real essentials are shorts or pants, without which you’re liable to get arrested. Seven reasons conservatives should embrace bikes — if you can find an actual conservative these days, that is. Maybe what you really need is a self-monitoring helmet complete with accelerometer and wireless communications capabilities; or you could just, you know, ride a bike. A new study suggests you’re not as visible at night as you think you are. Who could have predicted that a New Mexico woman who got a slap on the wrist for killing a cyclist in 2010 would be arrested for DUI and careless driving just three years later? A visiting MIT scientist from Japan is killed riding her bike in Boston. A passing New Jersey bike rider saves a family from their flaming home. New York’s bike share program is based on ideas from around the world; predictions of carnage when it opens next week are just a distraction. A New York writer astutely notes that bikes that heavy and slow aren’t likely to terrorize anyone. Georgia looks to lower their rate of bike deaths, something that should be top of the agenda everywhere.

A Toronto man is killed trying to perform stunts on a bike share bike. So much for cycling being clean these days, as French rider Sylvain Georges is the latest to be busted for doping.

Finally, boldly go where most of us have enough sense not to go; no, seriously, I’m sure you wouldn’t look like a total geek in your new Star Trek cycling jersey. And it’s not quite warp drive, but a French cyclist set a new record of 163 mph on a rocket powered mountain bike, just slightly faster than my best speed, albeit without the rocket power; thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the link.

Raise funds for the L.A. River bike path, meet the candidates in CD13 and promote bike lanes in NELA

It’s one of the most frustrating things about riding in Los Angeles.

One of the city’s crown jewels, the L.A. River bike path may be a joy to ride where it goes. But it has too many gaps its way to the coast.

Now the LACBC is working to complete the path in just seven years, providing a single, continuous pathway from Canoga Park to Long Beach.

And you can help by signing up to raise funds. Or just contributing to one of the fundraising teams.

You could even win a bike trip to Tuscany, a bike from DTLA bikes or other prizes.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition has long been fighting for a safer, cleaner, quieter form of transportation for all Angelenos whether they bike, walk, or drive. The Annual Los Angeles River Ride provides much of the funds LACBC needs in order to transform the face of Los Angeles County and give future generations the option of enjoying Los Angeles by bike! This year’s Annual Los Angeles River Ride also incorporates a campaign to complete all 51 miles of LA River Bikeway. Imagine it: a completely car-free uninterrupted bike highway running right through the middle of Los Angeles, from Canoga Park to Long Beach!

When you raise funds for the River Ride you are contributing to this campaign. What a legacy to leave, the knowledge that you helped make such an enormous and positive change to the landscape of the 5th largest economy in the world. In addition to helping LACBC do such great work, high fundraisers win great prizes.

The top prize for the highest fundraiser is a bike trip to Tuscany, courtesy of VBT. We also have a prize for the fundraiser who gets the most people to donate to the cause: a bike from DTLA Bikes. Runner-up prizes include a New Belgium Brewing Cruiser Bike and signed copies of Where to Bike Los Angeles. Prizes are guaranteed for meeting fundraising minimums at the $100 (LACBC socks), $250 (River Ride jersey), $500 (access to the River Ride VIP tent and beer garden), $1000 (recognition at LACBC donor and supporter party), and $5000 (custom vintage cocktail mixology, tea ceremony, or dinner with our Executive Director and Board President) levels. Go to www.la-bike.org/riverride for more information.

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Seriously, could you run over this smiling face?

You, too, could wake up to a face like this.

Okay, so it’s not bike related.

But as someone who adopted a rescue dog a couple years ago, I can attest it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. You don’t rescue a rescue animal, they rescue you.

And here’s your perfect chance to get rescued at the city’s largest annual dog and cat adoption event, at the La Brea Tar Pits on Wilshire Blvd this Saturday and Sunday.

Ride your bike there, and spend an afternoon petting some cute furry friends who could use the love.

Or better yet, pedal home with a new best friend.

You won’t regret it.

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Bike Talk airs every Saturday at 10 am; listen to it live or download the podcast from KPFK.

Bike Long Beach hosts Bike Saturdays every weekend; ride your bike to participating local shops and business throughout the city to get special offers and discounts.

Photo courtesy of Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious

Photo courtesy of Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious

Caltrans is hosting Bike Local! Bicycles as Everyday Transportation (pdf), a month-long exhibition highlighting “a wide variety of affordable commuting and recreational bikes, classic bikes, materials on biking safely, illustrations of bike-friendly street-design, videos of bike commutes, a wall-size map of bike routes in Los Angeles County, and displays of biking accessories that make riding safer and easier.” The exhibit takes place in the Transportation Museum at District 7 Headquarters, 100 South Main St., Los Angeles, CA 90012. Hours are Monday through Friday, from 8 am to 5 pm through June 1.

Saturday, May 4, The LACBC Civic Engagement Committee is invites you to Bike the Vote with an informal Meet and Greet with the candidates for L.A.’s 13th City Council District to replace outgoing councilmember and mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti; both candidates have promised to attend. The event takes place at Golden Road Brewing5410 West San Fernando Road, from 1 pm to 4 pm; Golden Road Brewing is promising participants $4 pint specials of their Point the Way IPA, GR Hefeweizen, and Get Up Offa that Brown beers. The event will be preceded by a short bike ride starting at Sunset Triangle Plaza at noon, departing for Golden Road Brewing at 12:15 pm.

Flying Pigeon LA hosts their monthly Brewery Ride on Saturday, May 4th; this month’s ride will visit some of the business in Northeast Los Angeles to show bikes mean business, and that proposed bike lanes on Colorado Blvd and North Figueroa are nothing to be afraid of. Meet at Flying Pigeon, 3404 North Figueroa, at 3 pm, departing at 3:30. Highly recommended for a very smart cause.

The next ride in the LACBC’s popular series of Sunday Funday Rides takes place on Sunday, May 5th with the L.A. State Historic Park Out ‘n’ Back ride. The ride meets at L.A. Historic Park, 1245 N. Spring Street in Chinatown at 10:30 am, rolling at 11 am for a fun, family-friendly 12-mile ride through the Arroyo Seco hosted by Board Member Trent Strong, followed by a BBQ with options for vegans and carnivores.

Warm up for Bike Week and River Ride with the Tour of Long Beach 2013 on Saturday, May 11th, featuring a bike fest and rides ranging from a 5-mile Family Fun Ride to 31 and 62 milers through the bike-friendly streets of Long Beach, along with a full century through Long Beach and down the SoCal coast to Laguna Beach. Proceeds go to support pediatric cancer research at Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach.

Ventura County and West Valley riders can take part in the 28th Annual Cruisin’ the Conejo Bike Ride on Saturday, May 11th. Rides range from a 12-mile children’s junior tour and 35-mile fun tour, to a 68-mile metric century and a 100-mile full century; all rides start and finish at 649 Lawrence Drive in Thousand Oaks.

The Amgen Tour of California rolls through the state starting in Escondido on Sunday, May 12th and ending in Santa Rosa on the 18th. This year’s race bypasses L.A.; the nearest stages are Stage 3 from Palmdale to Santa Clarita, and Stage 4 from Santa Clarita to Santa Barbara.

This year’s Bike Week will take place May 13th – 19th, starting with Fix Your Bike Day on Monday the 13th, Guided Ride Day on Wednesday, May 15th, Bike to Work Day on Thursday the 15th, and Bike Local Weekend from Friday, May 17th to Sunday the 19th, offering discounts to bicyclists who mention Bike Week. Pledge to ride your bike on Bike to Work Day and you could win a free bike from REI.

2013-posterThe 10th Annual Blessing of the Bicycles is scheduled for 8 am to 9:30 am on Tuesday, May 14th at Good Samaritan Hospital, 616 Witmer Street, between 6th and Wilshire. The multi-faith event is always one of the high points of Bike Week. And it never hurts to have a little divine protection when you ride.

Pasadena celebrates Bike Week as well, including Ladies Night on Wednesday, May 15th from 6:30 to 9:30 pm at Paseo Pasadena, 280 East Colorado Blvd.

Culver City-based Walk ‘n’ Rollers invites you to a family-friendly Bike Week Group Ride on Wednesday, May 15th from 2:30 to 3:30 pm. Meet at the pedestrian bridge over Ballona Creek.

Also on the 15th, the Antelope Valley’s High Desert Cyclists will screen the award-winning documentary Bicycle Dreams at 7 pm, at 1031 West Ave M-14, Suite A in Palmdale.

373034_423885610958180_1943767416_nThe annual Ride of Silence falls in the middle of Bike Week, on Wednesday, May 15th, honoring fallen cyclists and calling attention to the need for safety. The biggest ride in the Los Angeles area will take place at the Rose Bowl starting at 6:30 pm and rolling at 7; I also hear there may be a ride in Downtown L.A., details to follow. Other Southern California rides take place in Gardena, San Clemente, Temecula, Rancho Cucamonga, Thousand Oaks and Ventura, as well as the 2nd Annual Anthony Martinez Jr. Ride of Silence in Oxnard. Highly recommended to send an important message, as well as a little emotional healing.

The Education Committee of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council will host a Bike Rodeo at 10 am on Saturday, May 18th at Micheltorena Elementary School, 1511 Micheltorena Street. Children from 5 to 12 are invited to participate; free bikes and helmets will be available for those who need them.

Also on the 18th, the Eastside Bike Club is collaborating with the El Sereno Healthy Star Collaborative on a family-friendly slow is cool community ride starting at 12:30 pm at El Sereno Middle School, 2839 N Eastern Ave, departing at 1 pm.

The Plain Wrap Ride rolls through the Inland Empire on Saturday, May 18th starting at 8 am at Coates Cyclery, 760 East Foothill Blvd in Pomona. Online registration for a very affordable $25 ends May 15th; day of event registration is $35. Thanks to CLR Effect for the link.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s Civic Engagement Committee usually meets at 6:45 pm on the last Tuesday of each month. However, the May meeting has been cancelled to give members a chance to recover from the long, long campaign season; the next meeting will take place June 25th to discuss where we go from here, location TBD. You don’t have to be an LACBC member to participate; email bikinginla at hotmail dot com to be added to the discussion list.

Sunday, June 1st, women riders of all abilities are invited to take part in La Bella Preme. The event starts and finishes at the Triunfo Creek Vineyards, near the corner of Triunfo Canyon and Kanan Roads, with rides of 11, 31 and 63 miles along the Malibu coast. Click here to learn more.

Caltech Bike Lab teams with C.I.C.L.E. to offer a series of free defensive cycling classes; the next one take place on Saturday, June 8th at Caltech Y, 505 S. Wilson Ave in Pasadena. RSVP to bike@cicle.org with the date you want to attend.

Registration has opened for this year’s LA River Ride, to be held Sunday, June 9th, starting and ending in Griffith Park. If you haven’t done the River Ride, I highly recommend it; if you have, then why haven’t you registered already?

Now that you’ve had a taste of CicLAvia to the Sea, mark your calendar for the next edition when CicLAvia rolls down L.A.’s iconic Wilshire Blvd on Sunday, June 23rd. The ride rolls, walks, scoots and skates from Downtown to Fairfax — on both sides this time, I’m told —  from 10 am to 3 pm with a focus on exploring the city’s art and architecture. CicLAvia returns to an extended Downtown route on Sunday, October 6th.

Here’s your chance to bike the famed Las Vegas strip and the surrounding Las Vegas Valley, with the 6th Annual RTC Viva Bike Vegas Gran Fondo Pinarello on Saturday, September 21st. The event will offer routes for riders of all levels, from a 17-mile ride to 60-mile Metric Century and a 103-mile Gran Fondo; the longer rides will visit the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and Lake Mead.

Money for bikes in Universal plan, bikeway blocking bus layover to be fixed, 4 new LAPD bike liaisons

Lots of news to catch up today after yesterday’s unplanned day off.

There are days I feel like a rodeo clown, getting up one more time than life can knock me down.

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In an apparent victory for L.A. cyclists, the massive new Universal Studios project is approved by the L.A. Planning Commission after the company promises to find room for bikes along the L.A. River. Universal promises to contribute $3 million for an extension of the L.A. River bike path along the property, as well as $500,000 for bike lane improvements and $375,000 for bike path planning.

Hopefully, that means they get that a bike path along an improved L.A. River could be a tremendous asset for them, as well as the city. And that encouraging people to ride to the studio could provide a low cost bike boost for their business.

Then again, they could just be throwing money at us in hopes we’ll go away.

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I’ve gotten an update from Lynne Goldsmith at Bike Metro about the bus layover on Rinaldi Street in Porter Ranch that we discussed last week.

According to Goldsmith, the layover for Line 243 had existed long before the bike lanes were striped, and were not taken into consideration when the lanes were striped. And no one apparently noticed until Michael Eisenberg brought them to our attention.

As a result, we can expect the segment will be restriped soon.

With luck, they’ll narrow the traffic lanes and stripe around the bus layover to maintain the bike lanes through the layover; more likely, the area around the layover will stay as it is, and the city will simply create a break in the bike lanes.

Hopefully they can come up with a creative solution that works for everyone.

And much thanks to Goldsmith for being so responsive.

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As you may know, LAPD Sgt. David Krumer has been reassigned, and is no longer the department’s bike liaison — much to the regret of anyone who had the pleasure of working with him over the past few years.

With his departure, the department is unveiling a new plan that will place a bike liaison at each of the LAPD’s four traffic divisions. In theory, that should provide greater responsiveness, as you’ll now be able to call someone who knows the local streets and the officers who patrol them.

Whether that works out in practice depends a lot on the officers who will be picking up his load.

And it remains to be seen whether the department will still maintain a central bike liaison at LAPD headquarters to deal with issues that affect the entire city, or riders who have issues that the local liaison can’t or won’t solve.

Or whether the very successful Bike Task Force that has worked to help the LAPD transform itself into one of the nation’s most progressive and bike-friendly departments will continue to exist.

Some of those questions may be answered at 4 pm next Thursday when LAPD invites L.A. cyclists to meet the department’s new bike liaisons in room 374 of the new LAPD headquarters Downtown.

According to the LADOT Bike Blog, the new liaison’s are:

  • Sgt. Thomas Tavares, Central Bureau Traffic Division, 213/972-1864
  • Sgt. Jon Aufdemberg, South Bureau Traffic Division, 323/421-2588
  • Sgt. Emalee Baptiste, Valley Bureau Traffic Division, 818/644-8030
  • Sgt. Chris Kunz, West Bureau Traffic Division, 213/473-0125

You’d be smart to program those four numbers into your phone before your next crosstown ride.

And speaking of the LAPD, they’re partnering with two Downtown bike shops to offer a $5 discount on Kryptonite U-locks.

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Governor Jerry Brown has just four more days to sign or reject SB1464, the recently passed three-foot passing bill, to make up for the one he vetoed last year.

If he does nothing, the bill becomes law by the end of day Sunday, or maybe Monday, depending on your source. And does nothing to redeem the low opinion many cyclists have of him as a result.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Calbike also notes that we’re also waiting for Brown’s signature on a bill to allow Caltrans to experiment on new bikeway designs.

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The Splinster peer-to-peer bike rental program has now gone nationwide, allowing you to rent an unused bike directly from the owner anywhere in the U.S. Or rent yours to someone else if you don’t need it for awhile.

Then again, bike rental seems to be a booming business everywhere.

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Taggers shoot a bike rider in North Hollywood; the victim is expected to be okay. A study of the York Blvd road diet and bike lanes shows fears that it would kill business were off base. KNBC-4 says this weekend’s Carmageddon is cause for cyclists to celebrate; Streetsblog notes lots of car-free bike activities over the auto-cataclysmic weekend, or check out ARTmageddon with Flying Pigeon on Saturday. The LACBC’s Tall Bike Bobby is back from his tour of the West Coast. Bike Nation will be offering free bike rentals for next weekend’s CicLAvia. LADOT wants your help to pick a new east-west route through the Valley. Richard Risemberg is shocked to find scofflaws on two wheels — and four. The Elite Track National Championships take place in Carson this weekend. An Oregon cyclist was seriously injured in a hit-from-behind collision on Angeles Crest Highway; or make that two, as another rider is severely injured the same night in La Cañada Flintridge.

Did they really have to do a study to prove Caltrans still doesn’t get bikes and pedestrians? A public service will be held October 6th for Newport Beach bike victim Dr. Catherine Campion Ritz. Newport Beach will sponsor a memorial ride to honor the two cyclists killed there two weeks ago; more importantly, they’re raising funds for bike safety — and the city will match donations on a three-to-one basis. When cyclists are dying, there’s no such thing as a bad idea if it could lead to a good one. A new video looks at salmon cyclists riding into trouble in Newport Beach. San Clemente considers a Dutch-style bike plan. San Diego’s airport goes bike-friendly; thanks to @bikeSD for the heads-up — and for giving the airport a good prod. A bike film fest is coming up in Redlands next month. California college cyclists complain about inconsiderate and inexperienced cyclists. For a change, there’s justice for cyclists in Northern California. A Sacramento writer asks why we tolerate the carnage on our streets; why indeed.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood blames 80% of dead pedestrians for their own deaths. Bicycling offers up 25 upgrades for 25 bucks or less. If you’re going to ride with an open bottle of booze in your hand, don’t crash into a police cruiser. Defusing tensions between cyclists and drivers in Colorado. An Idaho woman is dragged behind a bus when the driver pulls out as she’s removing her bike from a rear rack. A hit-and-run Kansas driver is accused of intentionally running down a cyclist he mistakenly thought was a pedophile. New York City urges taxi passengers to look to prevent dooring bike riders. Despite the city’s vast increase in bike lanes, cyclist and pedestrian fatalities are up in New York; a new study shows most are the fault of lawbreaking drivers. A bike riding Gotham father loses his life on the Boulevard of Death. A Texas father is shocked that GEICO would be despicable enough to deny the claim after a driver hits a student cyclist on a Safe Route to School; clearly, he hasn’t dealt with many insurance companies when it comes to bikes. A teenage Texas driver screams at the cyclist he just killed for coming into his lane; witnesses report he was driving recklessly.

Turns out bike lanes don’t create costs for Vancouver drivers. Riding brakeless is blamed in the death of a young Montreal fixie rider. British stats show drivers were at fault in most collisions last year, while just 1% of bike collisions were due to the cyclists’ failure to stop or yield. Britain sees a 9% increase in bicycling fatalities and serious injuries. UK drug users are almost twice as likely to drive under the influence. A bleeding UK cyclist is saved by a baby diaper. A road raging Brit rider punches out a car’s windshield. In a long-held dream for many riders, some British truck drivers will spend half a day riding bikes. Yom Kippur gives Israeli cyclists a chance to ride car-free, but the nation needs to do more to support increasing ridership levels. A former Aussie cycling champion stabs the coach who sexually abused her.

Finally, Bikeyface considers whether bike marketers really do have women figured out.

Big news in the local bike world that has nothing to do with stripping a certain cyclist of his titles

For once, cycling is the top news story around the world.

But not for reasons any of us would have wanted.

So before we get to the sad tale of yet another former Tour de France winner, let’s catch up on some bicycling announcements that have made their way to my inbox over the last few days.

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First up is what sounds like a very fun afternoon at Golden Road Brewing. And a chance to work on those 16 ounce curls in preparation for next month’s Tour de Fat.

The Pub at Golden Road Brewing is pulling out all the stops for Rider Appreciation Day on Sunday, August 26th – a finish line of sorts for their week-long celebration of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge with New Belgium Brewery. Cycling enthusiasts are invited to swing by The Pub, park their wheels at the complementary bike valet and grab a pint of Golden Road or New Belgium beer to watch the last leg of the race from 11:00am to 1:00pm. The first 100 riders to show up will receive New Belgium bike bells, and a New Belgium Fat Tire beach cruiser will be raffled off at the conclusion of the race.

Raffle tickets will be sold for $5, the proceeds of which will benefit the Bicycle Kitchen. A donation bin for spare bike parts for Bicycle Kitchen will be on site as well, with each spare part donated resulting in a free raffle ticket.

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Culver City announces that a section of the Ballona Creek bike path will be closed for maintenance next week.

We want to advise you that the Ballona Creek Bike Path will be closed starting Monday, August 27 through Friday, August 31 from 7 AM to 4 PM between the National Boulevard and Overland Avenue entrances. During this temporary closure, maintenance will be conducted including: tree trimming, graffiti removal, concrete repair, and the addition of trail markings using thermoplastic. Signage will be posted at the Overland, Duquesne and National entrances to alert path users about this closure.

Meanwhile, the L.A. River bike path will be closed for maintenance next week as well, from PCH to Anaheim Street.

The Los Angeles County Flood Control District will be performing environmental clean-up activities adjacent to the Los Angeles River Bike Path between Pacific Coast Highway and Ocean Boulevard from August 27 to September 7.

The Bike Path from Pacific Coast Highway to Anaheim Street will be closed from approximately 8 AM to 3 PM weekdays beginning August 27 and lasting until approximately August 31.  Riders will be detoured onto San Francisco Avenue, one block east of the path.

From Anaheim Street to Ocean Boulevard there will be intermittent delays due to these activities.

For information contact Mr. Dan Sharp, Flood Maintenance Division at (562) 861-0316 or visit http://dpw.lacounty.gov/bikepathclosures/

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Testimony in the murder trial of Anthony Ray Lopez indicates passenger Christopher Isenhower got out of the vehicle to yell at cyclist Armando Villalobos, and urged Lopez to hit him with his truck.

So why the hell isn’t Isenhower facing murder charges as well?

As I understand it, anyone who incites another person to violence shares full culpability for the crime under the law.

Unless the victim is a cyclist, evidently.

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Almost 41-year old Jens Voight wins the fourth stage of the USA Pro Challenge in a four-hour solo breakaway. Did I mention that he rode alone for four hours — and won by three minutes? Meanwhile, cycling prodigy Taylor Phinney hangs in there, despite a painful fall in the first stage.

On the other side of the Atlantic, Joaquim Rodriguez increases his lead over Chris Froome in the Vuelta by a factor of 10, from one second to a whopping 10 — despite gaining just five seconds on the day. And no, I can’t explain that.

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Lance Armstrong throws in the towel in the US Anti-Doping Agency witch hunt, and will be stripped of his titles; you can read his full statement here. World cycling body UCI is waiting for details before acting; it would be interesting if USADA strips Lance of his titles but they don’t. As usual, Red Kite Player nails it, while this simple chart puts it all in perspective.

Fellow ex-Tour de France doper Floyd Landis — remember him? — settles with prosecutors to avoid fraud charges for lying to all of us to raise funds for his defense.

And it’s two down, one to go, as USADA is undoubtedly preparing to go after the last remaining American Tour de France winner, accusing Greg LeMond of gaining an unfair advantage from the shotgun pellets in his ass.

Don’t get me wrong.

It’s not that I’m defending Lance. I’m just sick of the whole damn thing.

And something tells me this will cause more harm to USADA — and anti-doping efforts in general — than Lance in the long run.

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L.A. Sheriff’s Detectives recover a stolen custom-built bike nearly three months after it was stolen, and sold to another man. USC students get portable separated bike lanes. Glendale’s Bicycle Transportation Plan goes before the city council for final approval on Tuesday. San Diego’s Union-Tribune asks if CEQA is bad for the environment; as long as environmental regulations can be used to stop bikeways, the answer is yes. A Visalia cyclist is severely injured in what appears to be a classic SWSS (single witness suicide swerve); police should be banned from considering the testimony of drivers who kill someone if they’re the only witnesses, since they have a clear motive to lie.

After Portland closes a street to save cyclists from too-frequent right hooks, a vindictive business owner responds with a state-wide ballot initiative to require licensing for cyclists because some run stops; when you can get drivers — who are already licensed — to obey the law, let me know. Cyclists have a rare opportunity to ride Colorado’s Pikes Peak on a trial basis next month; if you ride it, be on your best behavior, since we all know bikes and not cars are the real problem, right? It’s been awhile since we’ve checked in with the Springfield Cyclist, who notes bikeways sprouting up around town. A Chicago bike blogger dissects that anti-bike Chicago Tribune column I mentioned here Thursday. New Orleans police have a bike-a-day quota. Two New York cyclists chase down a strong arm thief to recover a stolen bike. Our NC buddy Zeke discusses the recent visit of Long Beach biking expats Russ and Laura.

Saskatoon police point speed guns at cyclists on a bike path in anticipation of a possible speed limit. A British police officer is found guilty of dangerous driving after rear-ending a cyclist at twice the speed limit. A UK woman is killed after falling from her bike as a bus passed; I would point the finger at a too-close pass, one more reason for a minimum three-foot passing law, which comes up for a vote in the California Assembly today. An African school principal accidently kills a cyclist; nice to know he didn’t do it on purpose.

Finally, Torrance opens a new extension to Del Amo Blvd — and bans cyclists and pedestrians in apparent violation of state law, which allows cyclists on all roads open to motor vehicles with the exception of some freeways and expressways; thanks to JG for the heads-up

Note to the Law Office of Daniel W. Dunbar — if you’re going to use so much of my work, it might be nice if you gave me credit. I’m just saying.

Bike lanes and possible road diet on Fiji Way; split decision in Earl Cox Angeles Crest road rage case

Just a few quick notes to start the week before I either A) go out for the ride I’d planned, or B) succumb to the heat and follow the dog’s example by going back to sleep.

Right now, I’d say it could go either way.

……..

Evidently, the county is taking their new commitment to bike-friendliness seriously, as shown by the beefed-up bike plan recently adopted by county supervisors.

A recent ride through the Marina revealed that commitment is about to make its way onto the pavement, if it hasn’t already.

Riders who take the beachfront Marvin Bruade bike path, aka South Bay and Santa Monica bike paths, through Marina del Rey have long been frustrated by the condition of the bikeway through the County-owned lands.

As if the cracked and crumbling, tree-root upraised conditions of the off-road pathway weren’t bad enough, riders have had to deal with the on-road portion on Fiji Way leading from where the off-road pathway ends to where it connects with the Ballona Creek bike path — including a painted prohibition against side-by-side riding that’s unsupported by anything in state law.

And with a nearby sheriff station to ensure compliance, if they happened to have too much time on their hands.

But it looks like things are in the process of changing.

Initial markings have appeared on the pavement sketching the outlines of an apparent road diet on Fiji Way, reducing the over-wide traffic lanes that encouraged speeding by the few car that actually use that street, and installing bike lanes for the hundreds, if not thousands, of cyclists who ride the street every hour on sunny days.

It’s hard to tell yet, but it looks the road could be cut from four lanes to two in places, with bike lanes more than wide enough to be ridden two-abreast, and placed safely against the curb in a no parking zone. And definitely reduced at the turnaround, where riders have had to contend with lost tourists and right-turning locals for far too long.

You can see the markings for that section in the short video below.

But however it turns out, it looks like a big improvement is on its way soon.

……..

Cyclist/attorney Dj Wheels reports that Earl Cox has been convicted of simple assault in the Angeles Crest road rage case in which he was charged with yelling at three separate groups of riders, and deliberately swerving at two of them — all because he thought they were being rude by riding in the roadway and felt a need to teach them some manners. However, Cox was acquitted on the more serious charge of assault with a deadly weapon for using his car as a weapon. Sentencing is set for September 12th in Burbank; I wonder if he’ll get more time than Patrick Roraff got for actually killing Jorge Alvarado.

The Orange County Bicycle Coalition sends word that police are on the lookout for a high-end bike thief suspected of riding off with a pair of Colnagos from SoCal dealers.

An Iowa driver ran a stop sign, swerved and hit a cyclist, then backed up, got out of his car and threw the rider’s broken bike at him before punching and kicking him. Only after he evidently felt he had sufficiently assaulted the victim — by car, bike, fist and foot — did he flee the scene. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

Sam Ollinger of the must-read Bike SD sends word of a tragic man-bites-dog twist in the seemingly endless reports of bike collisions, as a car overturns after striking and slightly injuring a cyclist, killing the driver. I’m grateful the cyclist survived relatively intact, but sad that anyone has to die on our streets.

Improvements are underway on Jefferson Blvd in Culver City at the notorious stretch where an allegedly drunk and/or distracted Christine Dahab plowed into a group of late night riders, injuring 13 — some severely. The road will now include five-foot wide door-zone bike lanes from Duquesne Ave to Higuera Street, as well as bike parking and improved access to the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook. Thanks to Dan Mick for the link.

Finally, I’m booked in the morning, but anyone who can get to Van Nuys Tuesday morning should consider attending an L.A. Planning Department hearing on the proposed expansion of Universal Studios. As you may be aware, Universal is planning a dramatic expansion of their theme park property, including a left coast version of their popular Harry Potter park in Orlando FL. The problem is, the company has consistently blocked expansion of the L.A River bike path along their property while proposing a crazy-quilt alternative virtually guaranteed to keep cyclists away. As far as I’m concerned, alternate routes are great in that biking-infrastructure-starved part of town, But they’ll have to build their park over my dead body unless they agree to extend the bike path along the river as a condition of approval — and pay for it, for that matter, just for being such jerks about it. The meeting takes place in the Council Chambers at Van Nuys City Hall starting at 9:30 am.

And yes, you can quote me on that.

A little this, a little that: a little bike courtesy goes a long way, NIMBY homeowners battle Expo bikeway

Once again, the issue of conflicts between fast riders, slow riders and pedestrians rears it’s ugly head on the L.A. River bike path.

A slower rider complains about cyclists he calls “speed racers” brushing past and cutting in too close, and wonders why they can’t just slow down.

The answer is not, as the story suggests, imposing speed limits on riders or taking other steps to slow faster cyclists. Or, as some riders have suggested, getting non-cyclists the hell off the bike path.

It’s a simple matter of showing other path users the same courtesy you expect them to show you.

Even though it often seems few things are less common than common courtesy these days.

But really, it’s very simple.

For slower riders and pedestrians, always be aware of your surroundings and other people on the path, keep to the right and leave room for faster riders to pass you.

For faster cyclists, remember that it’s a multi-use path, which means that other people have every bit as much right to be there as you do. Always slow down, announce your presence — ie, “on your left” or “passing on the left” — and pass carefully, waiting until the way is clear and it’s safe to do so. And whenever possible, give other path users the same three-foot passing distance you expect from drivers.

If you can’t manage that, find another place to ride or walk.

There are enough jerks on the roads without bringing that crap onto the paths we use to get away from it. And them.

And that goes for every other bike path, too.

Thanks to Mike for the heads-up.

………

In the most astounding example of bold-faced NIMBYism this side of Beverly Hills, a group of Westside homeowners have filed a federal environmental lawsuit attempting to block the bike path — yes, bike path — along the Expo Line extension into Santa Monica.

Because, evidently, we cause more harm to the environment than all those trains rushing past. Especially after filling up on Danger Dogs $1 burritos.

Of course, what they really fear is all us big, bad bike riders besmirching the safety and sanctity of their neighborhood. And are willing to ridiculously abuse existing environmental laws to stop us.

We can only hope the judge recognizes this for what it is, and tosses them out on their NIMBY ass. And sticks them with the court charges.

………

It Magazine invites you to celebrate the end of bike month with a panel discussion on Greening Your City: Biking Los Angeles, moderated by actor Ed Begley Jr. on Saturday, May 26th in Pasadena; panelists include LACBC Executive Director Jennifer Klausner, former LA District Attorney and Paris cycle chic photographer Gil Garcetti, C.I.C.L.E. Executive Director Dan Dabek and Bike San Gabriel Valley co-founder Wesley Reutimann.

And L.A.’s Council District 14 joins the LACBC, LADOT, and the Downtown LA Neighborhood Council to host a Downtown Bicycle Network Open House next Wednesday.

………

Despite the urging of GOP party leaders, Tea Party Congressional representatives once again target all federal bike and pedestrian funding in an attempt to force the socialistic funding of highways by people who may or may not use them.

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No wonder American kids are so fat.

At least 60 Michigan high school seniors are suspended for — get this — riding their bikes to school, even though they were escorted by the city’s mayor and a police car. Something tells me it may have been one of the principal’s last official acts at that school.

Thanks to Erik Griswold and Matthew Gomez for the heads-up.

………

LACBC board member Steve Boyd talks about the new Tern folding bikes, which GOOD says could transform transit; GOOD also takes a look at L.A.’s lowrider bike club. LADOT offers a list of new bike rack locations, while the new Orange Line bike path extension is nearing completion; oddly, without having to content with an environmental lawsuit from over-privileged homeowners. New bike lanes appear in Boyle Heights. Nightingale Middle School students ask for bike lanes so no more kids will get hurt. Seems like there’s one in every crowd, as Will Campbell and another rider stop for a stop sign and let a crossing driver pass — who then has to jam on his brakes when a trailing jerk rider blows through the stop. A writer for the Daily Trojan says more bike lanes won’t solve USC’s problems, but fewer bikes would. The annual Bike Night at the Hammer Museum returns Thursday, June 7th. A look at bike polo in North Hollywood Park. Beverly Hills is surrounded with sharrows, but can’t seem to figure them out. Sunset magazine looks at a Glendale woman who embraced biking to take back the suburbs. Welcome to Mike Don, the newly hired director of the South Bay Bicycle Coalition.

The state Senate votes once again on whether California cyclists deserve a three-foot passing law; a nearly identical law passed both the Senate and House last year before being vetoed by our misguided governor. Meanwhile, the L.A. Times says the proposed three-foot law is sort of better than nothing. Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious has developed a statewide map showing the location of bike-involved collisions reported to the CHP; wrecks from the last 24 hours are shown in yellow, older ones in red. Grant Fisher, the cyclist critically injured in San Diego the same day Robert Marshall was killed, is now paralyzed from the waist down, but with a better attitude than most of us; heads-up courtesy of BikeSD. In better news, Baron Herdelin-Doherty, the cyclist seriously injured in the collision that killed cyclist Nick Venuto when a driver flew off a San Diego freeway and landed on the bike path they were riding, says he’s almost back to health almost a year later. Camarillo cyclists are about to get bike lanes over Highway 101.

George Wolfberg forwards a look at some unusual and artistic bike racks; something else Beverly Hills says they just can’t manage to do. Bicycling offers advice on how to avoid rookie roadie mistakes. GOOD looks at the history and psychology of sharing the road. A year later, Utah authorities are still looking for the hit-and-run driver who killed a 24-year old cyclist. Portland cyclists are going to get a new bike highway on the left side of the road to avoid buses; local Portland groups look to develop a crowd-sourced case for bike advocacy. Seattle’s Cascade Bicycle Club seeks to train grassroots bike activists. On the eve of the Exergy women’s stage race, a Bay Area women’s pro team has their bikes stolen; hats off to Boise police for getting them all back. A South Dakota drunk driver plows through three kids riding their bikes; link via Witch on a Bicycle. Whatever issues we have in here in L.A., at least you don’t have to worry about a deer jumping over your bike, though you may have to watch out for cougar killing SaMo police. Bicycling declares Dallas the worst bike city in America. Trial is starting in the case of the hit-and-run driver accused of killing a Maryland Senate candidate in 2010. A vigil is held for Mickey Shunick, the Lafayette LA woman who disappeared riding home from a night out; it couldn’t hurt to say a prayer if you’re so inclined. The six best cities to take a bike vacation.

A former Vancouver city councilor says the city’s bike share program will fail if riders are required to wear helmets. A Toronto cyclist was trying to walk away when he was deliberately run down by a cab driver. A London writer says Chicago gets it right and they don’t. London’s transportation department says six of the city’s most dangerous intersections are safe. One of the UK’s top teen cyclists battles back against meningitis. That inflatable bike helmet is about to hit the market overseas for the equivalent of $525; I think I’ll keep using my $65 Trek hard hat.

Finally, a British Member of Parliament is hit from behind by a minicab at a red light, then yelled at by the driver for not getting the hell out of his way. It may be worth noting that the cab belongs to the same Addison Lee cab company whose owner recently encouraged cabbies to drive illegally in bus only lanes, and said it’s cyclists’ own fault if we get hit.

Oops.

A little this, a little that — social media bike thieves, a jerk cyclist and a leading blogger dumps on LACBC

They’re getting smarter.

According to an email circulating in the local cycling community, the L.A. Sheriff’s Department has broken up a bike theft ring that used social media to identify what bikes to steal.

The email reported that the suspects would identify bike owners through Facebook, Craigslist and geotagged photos, and exchange emails using a fictitious name and email address. Then they would research their victims and their homes online before driving to their houses at night, breaking in and stealing their bikes.

The thieves used the names Joe Wayne and Mark Silverstein, both using Yahoo accounts. They may have negotiated with their victims about buying a bike or just about riding; victims may have emailed them a photo of their bike before it was stolen.

According to the email, most of the bikes that were recovered have been stripped of their components; however, the Sheriff’s Department has around 40 frames and 100 wheels they hope to return to their owners.

I’m not going to post the name and contact numbers of the Sheriff’s Lieutenant who sent the email online; however, if this story sounds a little too familiar to you, email me at the address on the About page and I’ll send his contact information to you.

Thanks to Eric Bruins and the staff at Geklaw for the heads-up.

………

Mike tips us to the story of a hit-and-run of a different sort, as a volunteer working to help clean up the L.A. River is the victim of a cyclist who failed to stop after crashing into her.

So let’s make this very clear.

If you hit someone while riding your bike, you have just as much of an obligation to stop as anyone else. No matter who’s at fault.

And while it’s called the L.A. River bike path, it’s actually a multi-use trail, like most off-road bike paths in the L.A. area. Which means pedestrians have as much right to be there as you do, whether they’re cleaning up the river or out for a late night stroll.

And whether you like it or not.

Yes, they have an obligation to use the bikeway safely and watch out for other people, whether on two wheels or two feet.

Just like you do.

And anyone who yells at pedestrians to “get off the bike path” — let alone fails to stop after hitting one — is just a jerk.

Meanwhile, the comments offer the usual distasteful back and forth that seems to occur whenever anything involving a cyclist occurs.

As a famous L.A. area resident put it 20 years ago this week, can we all get along?

………

You’re invited to participate in a webcast with pro cyclist Levi Leipheimer at 1:30 pm on Monday, May 7th.

The webcast is open to the public; however, you must have a Ustream profile or log-in using your Twitter account in order to join the live chat, or ask questions using your Facebook account. And if Levi likes your question, you’ll win a limited edition Levi poster from CLIF Bar.

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In other upcoming events, this Saturday will see a free Tour de Palmdale Poker Run Fun Bike Ride to celebrate the city’s hosting of the 6th Stage of the Amgen Tour of California.

Riders will meet at Marie Kerr Park, 2723 Rancho Vista, and ride a 30 mile course through the city, picking up a playing card at each stop; the one with the best poker hand at the end of the ride wins. Thanks to Michele Chavez for the tip.

And everyone who rides PCH — or would like to — is invited attend a progress meeting on the design of the Pacific Coast Bike Route Improvements Project between Busch Drive and the western Malibu city limit. The meeting is scheduled for 10 am to noon in the Multi-Purpose Room at Malibu City Hall, 23825 Stuart Ranch Road.

………

Erik Griswald forwards a couple of stories, as a Bay Area TV station goes after those damn law breaking and non-helmet wearing cyclists.

And an 18-year old Chandler AZ cyclist can thank the deity of his choice after he was right hooked by a 69-year old driver while walking his bike across the street — apparently with the light, and most likely in a crosswalk.

Even though he ended up with a broken collarbone and tire marks across his chest — and even though the driver assumed she had just hit the curb and kept going on her way to Famous Footwear — a police spokesperson said it was just a tragic accident, and no charges were likely to be filed.

So lets get this straight.

A woman fails to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, never even looking in the direction she’s actually turning. Then continues merrily on her way, oblivious to the fact that she’d just literally run over another human being.

And the police say it’s just an oops?

Just thank God you don’t live or ride in Chandler AZ.

………

Santa Maria cyclists are mourning the death of a popular club leader who was run down by an 84-year old driver who failed to negotiate a turn on PCH.

I suppose that will just be an “oops,” too.

………

Thanks to the multiple people who have sent me links to the many, many stories about the Berkeley hit-and-run that was captured by bike cam, leading to the arrest of a typical scumbag ex-con.

There’s really not much left to say about this one.

Except that it offers dramatic evidence that every cyclist should have a bike cam of their very own. I’m starting to consider it every bit as important as lights or a helmet.

After all, while lights can help keep you from getting hit and a helmet could offer some protection if you get hit, a cam could offer proof of what happened if you do get hit. And as this case shows, help catch the driver if he or she flees the scene —as happens in a third of all L.A. collisions.

And it seems to be absolutely necessary to build a case under the city’s still-untested cyclist anti-harassment ordinance, which still hasn’t seen its first test case.

Of course, I should talk.

I don’t have one yet myself, thanks to a budget so tight it squeaks. Maybe GoPro or Contour would like to sponsor a poor, lowly bike blogger.

Hey, it could happen. Right?

………

LA/2B and GOOD invite you to imagine your ideal car-free day in L.A.; the winner will receive $500 to make it a reality.

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Finally, Mikael Colville-Andersen, author of Copenhagenize and Copenhagen Cycle Chic — and arguably the world’s leading bike blogger — takes the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition to task for its standard liability waiver for group rides, describing it as a “massive marketing/advocacy FAIL.”

Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.

Maybe Denmark is a far less litigious society that ours. Maybe he just doesn’t understand American legal culture. Or maybe his rabid campaign against bike helmets has led to a little confusion due to one too many falls.

But even so, he should have realized that the waiver form comes from the LACBC’s insurance company and was written by their lawyers, not the coalition’s. And that use of that form is a requirement to even get insurance, without which a non-profit organization such as the LACBC would be unable to host rides, since the legal fallout from a single fall or collision could be enough to wipe out the entire organization.

He’s right, though.

The form could be written a lot better. But that’s a matter to take up with the insurance companies and lawyers, not a non-profit leading the fight for safer streets and improved access for cyclists in L.A. County.

And which just wants to let local cyclists enjoy a simple bike ride.

Without getting sued.

Happy Bike Month!

Random thoughts on last Sunday’s River Ride; simple new rules for rude River Riders

Now that life has finally settled down a little, let’s talk about last Sunday’s successful L.A. River Ride.

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Just a few of the riders resting at the Long Beach pit stop, turnaround point for the 70-mile ride.

First off, a huge thanks to everyone who made this ride possible.

It never fails to amaze me that a largely volunteer organization can pull off an event like this every year. And do it well enough that riders not only come back year after year, but that it keeps growing.

In fact, the one comment I heard more than anything else during and after the ride was how well organized it was.

Credit for that goes to the relative handful of LACBC staffers, as well as the many volunteers who put in countless hours in the weeks leading up to the event. Without them, it wouldn’t have happened — let alone been the success that it was.

So if you had anything to do with it, there are over 2500 cyclists who owe you a round of thanks.

And a special thanks to JJ Hoffman, who once again did the impossible as River Ride Coordinator, along with Volunteer Coordinators Martin Lopez-Iu and Erik Alcaraz.

Update: I inadvertently left Erik Alcaraz’s name out of the sentence above when I first posted; my apologies to Eric, and thanks to Carol Feucht for calling that to my attention.

……..

Several people gave up their Saturday so we could enjoy a clearly defined route.

I was particularly grateful to the people who sacrificed their Saturday to mark the route and keep us all from riding off the rails.

It took me awhile to catch on to how the riders ahead of me invariably knew just where to turn. And yes, I confess that I can be a little slow sometimes.

Once I finally spotted those little tags on the pavement, I was never again in danger of being lost. Even in parts of town where the route strayed far from the river and on which I had never before set foot or tire.

Anytime I started to get confused, I just cast my eyes down to the pavement, and within a few minutes I’d know exactly where to go and what to do.

Now, if someone could just provide the same service for my life.

……..

As we neared Long Beach, concrete and graffiti gave way to beautiful wetlands.

I do have one criticism, though.

The one part of the ride that wasn’t so successful was the exit from the bike path back to the finish at the Autry Museum at the end of the ride, where cyclists leaving the bike path were thrown into bumper-to-bumper traffic with little or no idea where to go.

And while it’s one thing to expect experienced riders to contend with crowded streets, it’s another to ask little kids and parents returning from the family ride to know how to navigate between traffic lanes jammed with frustrated drivers.

More attention needs be paid to the end of the ride next year, including the possibility of arranging for traffic cops to rein in motorists and direct riders safely back to their destination.

……..

After the ride, I had the privilege of talking with biking attorney Howard Krepack, who had allowed me to ride as his guest — and for which I remain extremely grateful.

Part of our discussion centered on the dangers posed by thoughtless road design and construction work that fails to consider the safety of cyclists.

Discussing bike safety with GEK Law's Howard Krepack; I'm the one in full bike drag.

Krepack has spent the last year or so dealing with exactly that problem, resulting from construction work on PCH that left an open trench and loose gravel on the side of the road where countless riders usually pass safely every day. Yet in this case, the lack of consideration given to the needs of all road users left a dangerous situation uncorrected for a full weekend, resulting in a number of riders being seriously injured.

I saw a similar sort of thoughtlessness on the lower section of the L.A. River Bike path below Vernon — which this time, fortunately, only posed a potential danger.

It was at a section where the southbound path forked, with the left fork continuing downriver by passing under a bridge, while the right fork led up to the roadway.

In between was a white concrete retaining wall, with the butt end facing directly towards oncoming riders. And no signs or painted warning of any kind to alert riders to the dangerous obstruction placed directly in the center of the pathway leading up to it.

A moment of indecision or distraction — or getting crowded off the path, which was a distinct possibility at times on Sunday — could easily have resulted in serious injuries.

Cyclists in Long Beach, with the legendary Queen Mary in the background on right.

Of course, since it’s a permanent part of the pathway, it’s a danger riders will continue to confront on a daily basis until it’s fixed.

Or until someone is seriously injured, or worse.

All because someone failed to think about the safety of cyclists on a pathway intended for our use.

And because of a quirk in state law, no one will ever face any liability for such a dangerous obstruction, or have any legal obligation to fix it.

……..

Speaking of getting crowded off the pathway, there was an ongoing problem throughout the ride of a handful of bikers behaving badly.

To be fair, the overwhelming majority of cyclists seemed to be very considerate, as riders of widely varying types and abilities went out of their way to make room for one another and ride safely.

Unfortunately, though, a few riders seemed to think they had no obligation to ride safely around their fellow cyclists. Time and again, I found myself or other riders passed by mini-pacelines with no warning and just inches of clearance, or in some cases, even grazing other riders as they rode by.

In one particular case, I was amazed to watch a slower rider being passed on both sides simultaneously, with no warning whatsoever and just inches to spare on either side — and an unprotected drop of over 30 feet to the concrete riverbed below.

A very bored paramedic, one of the best signs of a successful ride.

Had he been startled by the unexpected pass, all three could have found themselves tumbling down the steep embankment. And they could have easily taken a number of other riders with them, myself included.

So for anyone unclear on the concept, here are a few rules to remember for next year’s River Ride.

Or any other ride, for that matter.

  • Don’t pass unless you can do so safely. That means don’t start a pass if you can’t get back before oncoming riders get in the way, or if there’s not sufficient room to do it without interfering with the safe movement of other riders.
  • Always pass on the left. Cyclists will instinctively move to their right when startled or if they feel a need to avoid objects or other riders, and won’t expect to find you there.
  • Don’t pass closer than an arms-length distance to another rider. While you may be used to passing shoulder to shoulder in the peloton, it’s guaranteed to startle, threaten and/or piss off most riders. Like me, for instance.
  • Never try to pass a rider who is already in the process passing someone else. That’s just begging for trouble, even under the best of circumstances.
  • Call it out before you pass. A simple “On your left” or “Passing left” will avoid the overwhelming majority of collisions — let alone altercations — between cyclists.
  • That said, shouting “Left! Left! Left!” is not French for “Get the hell out of my way.” Other riders are under no more obligation to get out of the way of jerks on two wheels than they are the ones on four.
  • Speaking of jerks, calling out “Rolling” does not give you a free pass to run red lights; particularly when there is cross traffic waiting for the green — and especially when a few dozen of your fellow riders are already stopping.
  • Never put other riders at risk. Save your aggressive riding tatics for race day, when you’re riding with people who are presumably willing to assume the same risks, rather than people who are just out for a good ride on a nice day.
  • Show a little respect to everyone you pass. It’s entirely possible that the rider you just cut off could run you down and drop you like freshman English if the mood strikes. Or that the plump girl or guy struggling to finish the 30-miler could end up being the hottie on the century who won’t give you the time of day in another year or two.

……..

One thing seldom comes up in the seeming endless conflict between cyclists and equestrians over who should have the right to ride off-road trails.

Undoubtedly, some riders could show more consideration to other trail users. But I’ve never seen a bike leave a massive, steaming and slippery pile of crap in the middle of a heavily used pathway.

I am legally required to clean-up after my dog — and do so gladly — even though she does her business out of the way, where no one is likely to step or slip in it.

Yet horse owners seem to feel no similar obligation to clean-up after their animals. And left several mounds of manure in the middle of the river bike path on the busiest day of the year, where it posed a health and safety danger to everyone that passed.

Thanks again to Howard Krepack, Lisa Waring and the entire GEK Law team for the chance to ride with them on Sunday.

A rising and reviving L.A. River — and a 10th annual ride to celebrate it

Someday it’s gonna rain, someday it’s gonna pour, someday that old dry river, it won’t be dry any more. — Dry River, Dave Alvin & The Guilty Men


Los Angeles tried to kill its river.

Unlike other cities where life revolves around the streams at their hearts, L.A.’s central river has been abused and ignored, and all but forgotten.

Admittedly, it was an act of self-defense, after one too many violent floods. And so they dammed it and tore up the riverbed, straightened its course and lined it with concrete to in an attempt to tame the usually mild and sometimes wild river and transform it into the world’s largest culvert system.

Instead they created a popular movies set, home to key scenes in everything from Grease and Chinatown to Terminator 2 and Transformers. As well as a massive canvas for countless taggers. And the site of odd events and dramatic rescues, human and otherwise, that transfix L.A. nearly every time it rains.

And so the city turned away from it, other than a relative handful of cyclists who continued to ride the bikeway that follows the river channel for much of its lower length. Sometimes holding their nose.

Yet, the river refused to die.

And in a comeback every bit as improbable and unexpected as Robert Downey Jr. or Mickey Roarke — or Jay Leno, for that matter — the L.A. River is slowly coming back to life.

Led largely by groups such as Friends of the Los Angeles River and L.A. Creak Freak’s Joe Linton and associates, efforts are under way to revitalize the river, and extend the bikeway its full length, from the harbor in Long Beach to Canoga Park.

Now one of the key steps in that revitalization, the new park on the site of the former Albion Dairy in Lincoln Heights, is up for review. While the deadline for offering comments online has passed, you can still comment on the plans — and insist on the inclusion of a bikeway paralleling the river —  from 6:30 to 8:30 pm this Thursday at the Downey Recreation Center, 1772 N. Spring Street.

There will also be free refreshments, which should be enough to get the cycling community out.

Speaking of the L.A. River, Joe Linton offers advice on who to call on those not-infrequent occasions when the access gates to the county’s many river-channel bikeways remain locked long after the risk of rushing water has passed.

And no, it’s not Joe. Or Stephen Box. Or even me, for that matter.

Meanwhile, you have a perfect opportunity to explore the L.A. River bikeway for yourself at the recently announced Los Angeles River Ride.

Sponsored by the LACBC — which has been revitalized itself in recent years — the L.A. River Ride is one of the city’s largest and most popular rides. It’s scheduled for Sunday, June 6th, with rides ranging from a 15-mile Family Ride and free Kids Ride to a relatively flat Century. And just about everything in between.

Full information and registration form for the 10th Annual L.A. River Ride are available by clicking here.

From what I’ve heard, it’s a lot of fun.

So maybe this time, you’ll see me there. And vice versa, I hope.

Update: Janette Hoffman emailed to remind me about the role the L.A. River Ride has played in pushing for the revitalization of the river, with a 2006 postcard campaign urging the mayor to complete the bike path — including the recently completed section between Fletcher and Fig, which will be part of this year’s ride. She also met with the Gateway Council of Governments in 2008, resulting in re-striping of the path and removal of graffiti between Maywood and Long Beach.

………

California’s car-centric Traffic Control Devices Committee (CTCDC) gave a big, fat screw you to cyclists at a meeting in San Diego last week, refusing to allow cyclists to be represented on the committee. The Times looks at the big changes taking place in suddenly bike-friendly Long Beach, yet fails to note the death of a cyclist there just a few weeks ago. Enci Box explains how to make L.A. safe, effective and more enjoyable for cyclists. Damien Newton notes that comments may not be allowed when the Council considers the anti-harassment ordinance tomorrow, but suspects Rosendahl might argue otherwise if a lot of cyclists show up. Dr. Alex argues that speed limit increases should be put on hold at the TranspoComm meeting that follows. The LAPD busts a Downtown bike theft ring selling hot bikes on Craigslist. Living well without a car. A helmetless Pink and husband ride the streets of L.A.; Carson Daley puts on his helmet and sticks his tongue out at photographers on Ocean Blvd. A town in North Carolina considers a clearly well thought-out plan to ban bikes from the bike path. BikeDenver unveils a series of public service announcements to promote bike safety. A look at Carlos Bertonatti, the drunken schmuck musician who kept going after driving over — and killing — a Miami cyclist last week. Kenosha, WI revises their cycling laws after a cyclist is ticketed for drinking from his water bottle. Yet another city gets (legal) sharrows before L.A., this time in New York’s lower Hudson Valley. Bike Radar provides a heads-up for the upcoming Handmade Bike Show and Rocky Mountain Bicycle Fest. A New Hampshire man threatens cyclists, misses his arraignment, and gets a slap on the wrist. Sydney replaces the site of drunken brawls with a hub for cyclists, including outdoor café, bike shop and showers. Hello, is anyone in L.A. listening? Hello? Finally, a Hummer driving cyber bully threatens cyclists in New Zealand — and claims to have already run two off the road — then quickly backs off after riders unmask his identity; thanks to the Trickster for the heads up!

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