Tag Archive for San Vicente Blvd

Morning Links: A slightly less sucky Westside intersection, victory for cyclists on PCH, and spreading ciclovias

It still sucks.

Although maybe a little less.

Despite the city’s best efforts — that would be Los Angeles, not Beverly Hills — the dangerously convoluted intersection of Burton Way and San Vicente and La Cienega Boulevards near the Beverly Center remains a confusing and dangerous place to ride a bike.

Writing for Flying Pigeon, Richard Risemberg notes that Los Angeles has added a bike lane along northbound San Vicente, with sharrows directing cyclists riding through to Burton Way.

The southbound side, which evidently is within the Beverly Hills city limits, currently has none. Nor am I aware of any plans to paint any bike lanes anywhere within the city other than the two already in existence, including one that matches up with LA’s lanes on Burton Way.

As it turns out, I found myself riding home from a meeting Downtown on Wednesday night, so I gave the newly restriped intersection a try.

To be honest, the bike lane on San Vicente was a significant improvement. While you still need eyes in the back of your head to watch out for speeding drivers on the overly wide lanes, I was able to ride more comfortably on the street than I ever have before — especially since parking is confined to an access road, eliminating the risk of dooring.

The problem comes in attempting to continue through the intersection on San Vicente or navigate the turn onto Burton Way.

Either of which requires contending with busy traffic on the multi-laned intersection, while somehow avoiding vehicles jockeying for position to end up reasonably close to where they want to go.

Meanwhile making the turn onto Burton Way requires crossing over three traffic lanes, then waiting for the light to change on sharrows in the middle of the street — which disappear in the middle of the intersection where you need them most to let drivers know you are, in fact, in the right place, and not just riding in the middle of the damned intersection for the hell of it.

It was bad enough at 10 pm when light traffic allows drivers to turn San Vicente into their own private speedway. I can’t imagine attempting it in the unforgiving traffic at rush hour.

I applaud the city for trying.

But unless and until bike-specific signalization is installed to give riders a head-start before motorized traffic is released, this will remain a dangerous place for bikes to be.

And I will continue my long standing practice of avoiding the intersection entirely by turning left at Colgate, then right on Holt to illegally, but safely, cross over to westbound Burton.

……..

After a cyclist on a group ride is illegally ticketed by LA County Sheriff’s Deputies for the unforgivable crime of riding abreast in an unsharable traffic lane on PCH, Cycling in the South Bay teams with the LACBC’s Eric Bruins to win the right riders should have already had.

And got the ticket dismissed when the officer fails to appear in court.

……..

CicLAvia-style Open Streets events will soon be spreading throughout LA County, including the long-rumored San Fernando Valley CicLAvia and a possible 50-mile(!) CicloSGVia through the San Gabriel Valley.

……..

Local

The LA City Council votes to sponsor a California-wide Medina alert to notify the public about serious hit-and-runs. Hopefully, this one wasn’t serious enough to qualify.

LA’s Bicycle Advisory Committee — the city’s only official voice for bike riders — meets Tuesday at Pan Pacific Park. Meanwhile, the next community meeting to discuss the inexplicably troubled North Figueroa bike lanes is scheduled for June 12th.

A new Facebook group has been formed to Bike the Vote in Los Angeles.

KCET looks at getting your bike ready to ride with a visit the Bicycle Kitchen.

Turns out Angelenos are sort of fit, after all.

The LAPD offers advice on how to keep your bike from being stolen.

Plans to save the old Riverside Drive Bridge for bicyclists and pedestrians goes down in flames.

Beverly Hills’ Parks and Recreation director says local kids have no safe places to ride a bike in the city. Then again, adults don’t have many, either.

Long Beach gets new sharrows by the shore.

 

State

The Newport Bay Conservancy won’t back a ban on cars on the Back Bay; oddly, they didn’t seem to have a problem restricting bike use, though.

San Diego cyclists raise $425,000 for cancer research.

The road-raging San Diego driver who seriously injured a cyclist on a charity ride is bound over for trial. The aptly named Douglas Lane, who failed to remain in his, could face up to three years behind bars.

Riverside County authorities ask for the public’s help in finding the hit-and-run driver who took the life of an Eastvale bike rider.

In attempting to reopen a long-settled matter of law, a professor argues that San Francisco’s bait bikes are a form of entrapment designed to target poor people. As long as those poor people happen to carry bolt-cutters with them.

Cyclelicious notes “the sun was in my eyes” is the not-so-secret password of the vehicle code. Oddly, it only seems to work for drivers, though.

 

National

Motor vehicle crashes cost every American an average of nearly $900 a year. And $871 billion to American society.

Bicycling is the fastest-growing mode of commuter travel.

Elly Blue examines what it really costs to ride a bike.

What would it cost to make the whole country as bikeable as Minneapolis.

New York City gets serious about Vision Zero, passing 11 bills to improve traffic safety.

Pro cycling scion Taylor Phinney has a second successful surgery to repair injuries he suffered during Monday’s national road championship.

 

International

A London writer says police inaction jeopardizes every cyclist.

A writer for London’s Telegraph asks if bike racing is the world’s worst spectator sport.

Adelaide cyclists cause gridlock by riding the streets at rush hour; clearly, all those cars had nothing to do with it.

Seriously? An Aussie woman calls the country’s helmet law sexist because it forces women to suffer helmet hair.

 

Finally…

Champion cyclist at 18, international drug kingpin at 32. If you’re riding under the influence, just stop for the damn stop sign. Or at least, for the cops chasing you.

And eHarmony offers 15 reasons to date a cyclist. I’ve always wondered why riders aren’t in greater demand, since anyone who can spend several hours in the saddle isn’t likely to collapse in exhaustion after five minutes of usuallly less strenuous exercise in bed. I’m just saying.

……..

Please forgive the lack of Morning Links yesterday; between Wednesday night’s meeting followed by a bad bout with bouncing blood sugar levels, writing just wasn’t an option. Hopefully today’s extended version will make up for it.

The red badge of clumsiness

This isn’t what I’d planned to write about today.

I was going write about how nice it is when the kids are back in school and most of the tourists have gone home. And for the first time since Memorial Day, we can actually use the bike path along the beach for its intended purpose.

Granted, I still had to dodge the occasional pedestrian on yesterday’s ride. And twice I was nearly hit head-on by cyclists who allowed their attentions to wander, along with their handlebars.

But compared to a few weeks ago, when it was choked with kids and pedestrians and skaters and Segways and beer-swilling recumbent-renting tourists, it was paradise. And it should stay that way as long as the weather holds out.

That’s what I was thinking about, mentally writing while I rode, when I realized I’d sucked down the entire contents of my twin 24-ounce Polar water bottles.

Fortunately, I was on San Vicente at that point, on my way back home. And I knew there was a drinking fountain on the wide, park-like median, just around a sweeping curve where the hill levels out for a bit.

So I made sure there was no traffic behind me, crossed over two lanes of traffic to the center of the roadway and clipped out of my right pedal to pull my front wheel up onto the grass. But before I could clip out of my left pedal, I heard cars approaching from behind — and I knew they wouldn’t be looking for a bike on the left side of the road with one wheel sticking out into traffic.

No problem. I just pulled my rear wheel up over the curb without unclipping my left foot, a move I’ve pulled off dozens of times.

Make that dozens, minus one.

Instead of climbing the curb, I started a slow motion fall to my left. And with my foot locked into the pedal, there was nothing I could do about it.

Fortunately, I didn’t land hard. I twisted out and jumped up, pulling my bike out of traffic and waving to another rider to say I was okay. Then I calmly filled my bottle and gave my bike a once over.

Everything looked fine, except I’d twisted the saddle. So I dug into my tool kit, pulling out a handful of hex keys — which explained why I can never seem to find one at home — and a few moments later my bike was ready to go.

And that’s when I saw the blood.

Evidently, my front cog had gouged my calf as I fell, and I had rivulets of blood running down into my sock.

I thought about just riding home like that. But aside from matters of health and hygiene, I wasn’t looking forward to the well-meaning drivers who pull up a little too close and ask, “Are you sure you’re okay?”

Been there, done that.

So I pulled a couple of alcohol swabs out of my first aid kit and wiped the cuts off, revealing a couple of deep, long cuts. Unfortunately, my sweaty, hairy legs meant there was no way a bandage was going to stay on until I got home. And yes, that’s one reason many cyclists shave their legs.

I pulled a pen knife out of my tool kit, sterilized the blade with another swab, and gave myself a dry field shave. Which felt about as good as it sounds.

Still, the bandage stuck well enough until I made it back home.

Once I got there, I gave my calf a proper shave, cleaned the cuts out and slapped on a clear bandage that virtually disappeared against my skin. Only this time, it made sense to shave my legs — both of them — rather than live with an odd bald spot until it grows out again.

Again, been there, done that.

So for once, I look like I’m fresh off the peloton. And maybe now those riders on the high-end Ti and carbon bikes will stop giving me that dismissive look after glancing at my formerly hirsute lower extremities.

I just wonder how long it will take my wife to notice.

………

Will stops at a red light, and notices history at his feet. The Tucson Bike Lawyer notes the online comments following the recent rundown of seven cyclists; apparently, it’s the responsibility of cyclists to stay the hell out of drivers’ way, rather than drivers to operate their vehicle safely. A Des Moines cyclist is struck by a hit-and-run driver; police say it wasn’t an accident. Somehow, I missed this NPR story on biking in NYC, featuring the famous Bike Snob himself. After DC authorities removed a ghost bike without informing the family, cyclists respond with 22 new ghost bikes and promise to replace them if they’re removed. More on the death of Toronto cyclist Darcy Allen Sheppard, murdered by a former Ontario AG. The Guardian asks if ghost bikes are a good idea. Finally, that’s what I get for being the last living human not using Twitter — apparently, Lance is leading cyclists through L.A.’s Griffith Park as I type this, and I’m not there.

Yesterday’s ride, after which I attend a meeting

Hi, I’m BikingIn…

Sorry, we only use first names here.

Oh. Okay. I’m, uh…Biking, and I’m a middle-finger-holic.

Hi Biking.

I promised myself I was going to quit. Really, I was. And I was doing okay. I hadn’t made a single obscene gesture or swore at anyone for over a month, no matter how much they deserved it.

Until today, that is. (blushing in shame)

Go on.

Well, there I was, riding up San Vicente on the way home from today’s ride, when two cars right-hooked me within just a couple blocks.

See, that surprised me, because most drivers there seem to be used to cyclists. And just look at me. Six feet tall and 180 pounds, bright yellow, black and white jersey. I mean, I’m pretty hard to miss.

But sure enough, some woman in a black Mercedes zipped by on my left, then cut across right my path to make a right turn. So I jammed on my brakes to avoid a collision, and next thing I know, I’m sending a one-fingered solute her way.

(Murmuring)

Then couple blocks later, bam! It happens again. This time an older guy in a ‘70s era rolling junkyard. He zooms by, cuts right in front of me to make his turn, then casually glances my way as I panic stop to avoid him. And yeah, the bird flew once again.

Five weeks of middle-finger sobriety down the drain.

Why’d they do it? Who knows.

Maybe they don’t know how dangerous it is, or maybe they didn’t know I had the right of way — same way a car in the left lane can’t cut off a car in the right lane. Could be they wanted to send a message, like the good doctor did last year, or didn’t think my life was worth the few seconds of inconvenience it would have taken to let me pass safely.

Or maybe they just didn’t care.

Worst part is, it’s not like those gestures did any good. Even if they saw it, it’s not going to convince the drivers that they did anything wrong. It just confirms that cyclists are rude a**holes, so they feel justified driving like that again next time.

Which is why I’m really, really trying to quit.

On the other hand, I could’ve flipped off the driver in Brentwood shortly after that. But I didn’t. No matter how much he deserved.

See, he was cruising along looking for a parking space. And not only was he clogging the whole right lane, he was also driving with two wheels in the parking lane, blocking my path, as well.

I checked to make sure there were no other cars coming, and swung around to pass him on the left. Then he sped up again, with no idea that I was riding right next to his driver’s side window.

The cars ahead of us were stopped at a traffic light, and there wasn’t anyone behind us. And I was going at least as fast as he was, so that meant I was moving at the speed of traffic.

And I could ride anywhere I wanted.

You see, section 21202 of the California Vehicle Code clearly states:

Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway…

But since I was moving at the speed of traffic — in fact, I’d picked up my pace a little, making me, at that moment at least, the fastest vehicle on the roadway — I took the lane.

The left lane.

Then once I was safely ahead of him, I signaled my lane change, and crossed back over to my usual position on the side of the road. Leaving one very surprised driver in my wake.

But I didn’t say one word, or make a single gesture. I mean, that’s got to be worth something, right?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to call my sponsor. And get back on the road to middle-finger sobriety.

……….

Metro finally considers lifting their ban on bikes at rush hour – hey, a radical idea like that could actually encourage people to leave their cars at home! Metblogs comments on all the non-cyclists clogging the beach bike path. A tourist in San Diego is killed after falling from a pedicab. In a truly heartbreaking report, a 90-year old Visalia cyclist is in critical condition after being struck while turning by a driver “who could not avoid the bicyclist.” Right. The NY Times asks if bicycling is bad for your bones; based on personal experience, I’d say it is if you fall. Popular Mechanics note that le Tour is a proving ground for innovations that could filter down to your level, including the new electronic shifters. A writer in the Hamptons argues for shared roadways. Finally, if you can’t find Will this morning, he’s at the Jackopalooza saying his farewells to Michael.

That’s so L.A.: Parking meters — Should I pay or should I go?

In honor of Los Angeles’ new advertising slogan, I’m starting a new semi-recurring feature highlighting the things that make this city just so L.A.

And while the focus of this blog is cycling, let’s kick it off with something that might be more appropriate for Streetsblog or maybe LAist.

Parking.

More specifically, the new parking meters in Brentwood.

As I mentioned previously, we went out to dinner in Brentwood over the weekend. And after doing my part to contribute to high gas prices, smog and global warming by repeatedly circling a several block radius looking for a parking space, we finally found one in front of the Whole Foods on San Vicente.

As soon as we got out of the car, we noticed that the city’s attempt to gouge every last dime out of its citizens free up parking spaces and increase revenues— without providing viable alternatives — had spread to Brentwood.

Meters that had previously cost $1 an hour now cost $2. And the hours of operation, which had previously allowed free parking after 6 pm, had now been extended to 8 pm.

westwood-parking-1

It might have been nice if they had posted something about the rates going up — after all, I ride through there at least a couple times a week, so I would have noticed.

But this is L.A., after all.

So we started digging for quarters, until we looked up and noticed this sign directly over our parking space:

westwood-parking-21

To pay or not pay? That was the question.

The sign suggested we could just walk off and enjoy our meal without worrying about a ticket, since it was well after 6. Yet the meter insisted we would be ticketed if we didn’t pay.

We finally concluded that a handful of quarters were cheap insurance against a ticket, even if we could — or at least, should — beat it in court. But it just wasn’t work risking the aggravation.

So the city got an undeserved buck out of us. And reinforced once again how deeply dysfunctional this city is.

And that’s just so L.A.

Next: New and improved pedestrian-free crosswalks!


A couple of must-reads: A great, in-depth report on the problems with traffic and bike lanes in the Big Apple, with lessons that could easily apply here. And an article on why California cyclists need bike lawyers, including insights on fallacy of the “I just didn’t see him defense” (#3) and the sanctity of bike lanes (#7). The increase in cycling means more riders are getting injured, while a cyclist in Japan dies after being refused treatment. Is that what we have to look forward to? Finally, the Governator takes to the road, with security — and without a helmet. Way to set the example, Arnold.

That’s so L.A.: Parking meters — Should I pay or should I go?

In honor of Los Angeles’ new advertising slogan, I’m starting a new semi-recurring feature highlighting the things that make this city just so L.A.

And while the focus of this blog is cycling, let’s kick it off with something that might be more appropriate for Streetsblog or maybe LAist.

Parking.

More specifically, the new parking meters in Brentwood.

As I mentioned previously, we went out to dinner in Brentwood over the weekend. And after doing my part to contribute to high gas prices, smog and global warming by repeatedly circling a several block radius looking for a parking space, we finally found one in front of the Whole Foods on San Vicente.

As soon as we got out of the car, we noticed that the city’s attempt to gouge every last dime out of its citizens free up parking spaces and increase revenues— without providing viable alternatives — had spread to Brentwood.

Meters that had previously cost $1 an hour now cost $2. And the hours of operation, which had previously allowed free parking after 6 pm, had now been extended to 8 pm.

westwood-parking-1

It might have been nice if they had posted something about the rates going up — after all, I ride through there at least a couple times a week, so I would have noticed.

But this is L.A., after all.

So we started digging for quarters, until we looked up and noticed this sign directly over our parking space:

westwood-parking-21

To pay or not pay? That was the question.

The sign suggested we could just walk off and enjoy our meal without worrying about a ticket, since it was well after 6. Yet the meter insisted we would be ticketed if we didn’t pay.

We finally concluded that a handful of quarters were cheap insurance against a ticket, even if we could — or at least, should — beat it in court. But it just wasn’t work risking the aggravation.

So the city got an undeserved buck out of us. And reinforced once again how deeply dysfunctional this city is.

And that’s just so L.A.

Next: New and improved pedestrian-free crosswalks!


A couple of must-reads: A great, in-depth report on the problems with traffic and bike lanes in the Big Apple, with lessons that could easily apply here. And an article on why California cyclists need bike lawyers, including insights on fallacy of the “I just didn’t see him defense” (#3) and the sanctity of bike lanes (#7). The increase in cycling means more riders are getting injured, while a cyclist in Japan dies after being refused treatment. Is that what we have to look forward to? Finally, the Governator takes to the road, with security — and without a helmet. Way to set the example, Arnold.

That’s so L.A.: Parking meters — Should I pay or should I go?

In honor of Los Angeles’ new advertising slogan, I’m starting a new semi-recurring feature highlighting the things that make this city just so L.A.

And while the focus of this blog is cycling, let’s kick it off with something that might be more appropriate for Streetsblog or maybe LAist.

Parking.

More specifically, the new parking meters in Brentwood.

As I mentioned previously, we went out to dinner in Brentwood over the weekend. And after doing my part to contribute to high gas prices, smog and global warming by repeatedly circling a several block radius looking for a parking space, we finally found one in front of the Whole Foods on San Vicente.

As soon as we got out of the car, we noticed that the city’s attempt to gouge every last dime out of its citizens free up parking spaces and increase revenues— without providing viable alternatives — had spread to Brentwood.

Meters that had previously cost $1 an hour now cost $2. And the hours of operation, which had previously allowed free parking after 6 pm, had now been extended to 8 pm.

westwood-parking-1

It might have been nice if they had posted something about the rates going up — after all, I ride through there at least a couple times a week, so I would have noticed.

But this is L.A., after all.

So we started digging for quarters, until we looked up and noticed this sign directly over our parking space:

westwood-parking-21

To pay or not pay? That was the question.

The sign suggested we could just walk off and enjoy our meal without worrying about a ticket, since it was well after 6. Yet the meter insisted we would be ticketed if we didn’t pay.

We finally concluded that a handful of quarters were cheap insurance against a ticket, even if we could — or at least, should — beat it in court. But it just wasn’t work risking the aggravation.

So the city got an undeserved buck out of us. And reinforced once again how deeply dysfunctional this city is.

And that’s just so L.A.

Next: New and improved pedestrian-free crosswalks!


A couple of must-reads: A great, in-depth report on the problems with traffic and bike lanes in the Big Apple, with lessons that could easily apply here. And an article on why California cyclists need bike lawyers, including insights on fallacy of the “I just didn’t see him defense” (#3) and the sanctity of bike lanes (#7). The increase in cycling means more riders are getting injured, while a cyclist in Japan dies after being refused treatment. Is that what we have to look forward to? Finally, the Governator takes to the road, with security — and without a helmet. Way to set the example, Arnold.

How many cyclists have died in this Brentwood boutique?

Will the carnage never end?

Ghost bike used as a display in Brentwood boutique

Ghost bike used as a display in Brentwood boutique

I noticed this window display the other night when my wife and I stopped in Brentwood for a bite to eat, and stopped by on my ride today to take a picture.

My best guess is, whoever does their displays saw a ghost bike along the road somewhere, and thought it looked cool — without realizing the symbolism. Or maybe they did know what it was, and wanted to send a subtle public service warning to the many riders on San Vicente Blvd to be careful out there.

It could be a not-so-subtle warning to Critical Mass riders to keep out of their store. Or maybe a cyclist really was killed trying to ride between their display racks.

Whatever.

Or am I the only one who thinks it’s incredibly poor taste to use a memorial to dead cyclists to pimp women’s athletic wear?

ghost-bike-window2

 

Will relates a truly frightening tale of a roadway confrontation. Maybe I really am lucky mine got away last week. The Sunday Santa Monica Farmers Market now has a bike valet. Which brings up Stephen Box’s latest post about bicycle parking in Hollywood, or more precisely, the lack thereof. And he picks up the story of how the Orange Line Bikeway became a homeless encampment.

Today’s ride, in which I chase a BMW and race a Porsche

I should have known it was going to be one of those rides.

Just three blocks from home, I come up to a 4-way stop, then went through the intersection the same time as a car going the opposite way. Only problem was, a car on the cross street began his left turn as soon as the other car passed, while I was still in the intersection — attempting to occupy the same space I was already in.

But I bit my tongue. Hard.

I mean, not one word or gesture. It wasn’t that I had suddenly become a pacifist. I just didn’t want to ruin this beautiful day. Not even when he pulled to the curb a couple blocks later, almost dooring me as he got out of his car.

Then just a few blocks after that, at another 4-way stop, some idiot on the cross street came to a full stop — in the middle of the intersection. Which meant he was blocking the path of every other person on the road, including me. Then he just sat there waiting to see if anyone else was going to go first.

Message received. Just one of those days.

So about a half-dozen minor incidents later, I found myself riding down San Vicente in Brentwood, when I noticed a large BMW preparing to enter the street from the parking lot at Soup Plantation.

Only problem is, there was a large truck parked next to the exit, completely blocking his view of the street. So he had no way of knowing if there was a bike, car, bus or the entire USC Marching Band bearing down on him.

The way this ride had already gone, I assumed the worst, and grabbed my brakes while swinging out wide into the lane. And sure enough, just as I rounded the corner of the truck, he gunned his engine to pull out, then jammed on the brakes when he saw me.

But when he saw I was slowing down, this gold-plated, double-dipped Richard-head gunned it again, clearly thinking he could lurch out in front me — except by then, I was already in front of his car. So he jammed on the brake again, as I rolled by with my hands out to the side in the universal “What the fuck?” gesture.

Once I was past, he gunned it again, then pulled up beside me with his window down, yelling something unintelligible. But it was pretty damn clear it wasn’t an apology. So that caveman portion of my brain kicked, punching out the standard fight or flight response.

And I sure as hell wasn’t going to run away.

So the chase was on.

I kicked it up a couple gears, assumed my best sprint position and picked up the cadence. And much to my surprise, I found I was actually gaining on him.

In fact, I was just about to catch up to him, prepared to give him one of the few pieces of my mind that I have left, when a Porsche pulled out from the curb directly ahead of me without looking.

So I swung hard to the left. And next thing I knew, I was racing down the left lane at about 30 mph, next to the driver’s door of a 911 — the operator of which was preoccupied with talking to his lovely passenger, and had no idea that I was there, since he hadn’t once looked in my direction.

Now, any sane person would have realized the complete idiocy of that situation, grabbed hard on the brakes, and let the Porsche go by.

But that would have meant that the esteemed Mr. Head would get away.

So I kicked it up to my smallest gear and cut in front of the Porsche. And causing the driver to jam on his brakes, with an expression that clearly said “What the holy f…!!!!”

And yes, I confess that there was a small part of my otherwise engaged brain that registered his expression, and truly enjoyed it.

But Mr. Head comma Dick was getting away, so I continued to hammer down the street. And I was only about 20 feet behind him when he pulled a U-turn and raced off in the other direction. Leaving me in the position of chasing him down once again, or getting on with my life.

I chose the latter.

I’d like to say the remainder of my ride was uneventful. Really, I would.

But I would be lying.

Maybe I’ll share it with you another time. Or maybe I’ll just pour a few fingers of good Irish Whiskey and try to forget the whole thing.

One last thing, though. All that adrenalin must have done some good.

Because I finished my usual 2-1/2 hour ride in just a hair under 2:10.

 

Evidently, I wasn’t the only one who had a challenging ride lately. Will documents the Anatomy of an Inattentive Driver, while Gary discusses a recent hit and run that put a Santa Monica cyclist in critical condition. My friend, the proprietor of the Altadena Blog, uncovers a slightly nauseating video of a fat tire ride down Echo Mountain. L.A.C.B.C announces Car-Free Friday; celebrate it by riding with City Council President Eric Garcetti. And Stephen Box marks the second anniversary of storming the L.A. Bicycle Advisory Committee’s figurative Bastille with an open letter to the new head of the Bikeways Engineering Group.

Today’s ride, in which I chase a BMW and race a Porsche

I should have known it was going to be one of those rides.

Just three blocks from home, I come up to a 4-way stop, then went through the intersection the same time as a car going the opposite way. Only problem was, a car on the cross street began his left turn as soon as the other car passed, while I was still in the intersection — attempting to occupy the same space I was already in.

But I bit my tongue. Hard.

I mean, not one word or gesture. It wasn’t that I had suddenly become a pacifist. I just didn’t want to ruin this beautiful day. Not even when he pulled to the curb a couple blocks later, almost dooring me as he got out of his car.

Then just a few blocks after that, at another 4-way stop, some idiot on the cross street came to a full stop — in the middle of the intersection. Which meant he was blocking the path of every other person on the road, including me. Then he just sat there waiting to see if anyone else was going to go first.

Message received. Just one of those days.

So about a half-dozen minor incidents later, I found myself riding down San Vicente in Brentwood, when I noticed a large BMW preparing to enter the street from the parking lot at Soup Plantation.

Only problem is, there was a large truck parked next to the exit, completely blocking his view of the street. So he had no way of knowing if there was a bike, car, bus or the entire USC Marching Band bearing down on him.

The way this ride had already gone, I assumed the worst, and grabbed my brakes while swinging out wide into the lane. And sure enough, just as I rounded the corner of the truck, he gunned his engine to pull out, then jammed on the brakes when he saw me.

But when he saw I was slowing down, this gold-plated, double-dipped Richard-head gunned it again, clearly thinking he could lurch out in front me — except by then, I was already in front of his car. So he jammed on the brake again, as I rolled by with my hands out to the side in the universal “What the fuck?” gesture.

Once I was past, he gunned it again, then pulled up beside me with his window down, yelling something unintelligible. But it was pretty damn clear it wasn’t an apology. So that caveman portion of my brain kicked, punching out the standard fight or flight response.

And I sure as hell wasn’t going to run away.

So the chase was on.

I kicked it up a couple gears, assumed my best sprint position and picked up the cadence. And much to my surprise, I found I was actually gaining on him.

In fact, I was just about to catch up to him, prepared to give him one of the few pieces of my mind that I have left, when a Porsche pulled out from the curb directly ahead of me without looking.

So I swung hard to the left. And next thing I knew, I was racing down the left lane at about 30 mph, next to the driver’s door of a 911 — the operator of which was preoccupied with talking to his lovely passenger, and had no idea that I was there, since he hadn’t once looked in my direction.

Now, any sane person would have realized the complete idiocy of that situation, grabbed hard on the brakes, and let the Porsche go by.

But that would have meant that the esteemed Mr. Head would get away.

So I kicked it up to my smallest gear and cut in front of the Porsche. And causing the driver to jam on his brakes, with an expression that clearly said “What the holy f…!!!!”

And yes, I confess that there was a small part of my otherwise engaged brain that registered his expression, and truly enjoyed it.

But Mr. Head comma Dick was getting away, so I continued to hammer down the street. And I was only about 20 feet behind him when he pulled a U-turn and raced off in the other direction. Leaving me in the position of chasing him down once again, or getting on with my life.

I chose the latter.

I’d like to say the remainder of my ride was uneventful. Really, I would.

But I would be lying.

Maybe I’ll share it with you another time. Or maybe I’ll just pour a few fingers of good Irish Whiskey and try to forget the whole thing.

One last thing, though. All that adrenalin must have done some good.

Because I finished my usual 2-1/2 hour ride in just a hair under 2:10.

 

Evidently, I wasn’t the only one who had a challenging ride lately. Will documents the Anatomy of an Inattentive Driver, while Gary discusses a recent hit and run that put a Santa Monica cyclist in critical condition. My friend, the proprietor of the Altadena Blog, uncovers a slightly nauseating video of a fat tire ride down Echo Mountain. L.A.C.B.C announces Car-Free Friday; celebrate it by riding with City Council President Eric Garcetti. And Stephen Box marks the second anniversary of storming the L.A. Bicycle Advisory Committee’s figurative Bastille with an open letter to the new head of the Bikeways Engineering Group.

Today’s ride, in which I chase a BMW and race a Porsche

I should have known it was going to be one of those rides.

Just three blocks from home, I come up to a 4-way stop, then went through the intersection the same time as a car going the opposite way. Only problem was, a car on the cross street began his left turn as soon as the other car passed, while I was still in the intersection — attempting to occupy the same space I was already in.

But I bit my tongue. Hard.

I mean, not one word or gesture. It wasn’t that I had suddenly become a pacifist. I just didn’t want to ruin this beautiful day. Not even when he pulled to the curb a couple blocks later, almost dooring me as he got out of his car.

Then just a few blocks after that, at another 4-way stop, some idiot on the cross street came to a full stop — in the middle of the intersection. Which meant he was blocking the path of every other person on the road, including me. Then he just sat there waiting to see if anyone else was going to go first.

Message received. Just one of those days.

So about a half-dozen minor incidents later, I found myself riding down San Vicente in Brentwood, when I noticed a large BMW preparing to enter the street from the parking lot at Soup Plantation.

Only problem is, there was a large truck parked next to the exit, completely blocking his view of the street. So he had no way of knowing if there was a bike, car, bus or the entire USC Marching Band bearing down on him.

The way this ride had already gone, I assumed the worst, and grabbed my brakes while swinging out wide into the lane. And sure enough, just as I rounded the corner of the truck, he gunned his engine to pull out, then jammed on the brakes when he saw me.

But when he saw I was slowing down, this gold-plated, double-dipped Richard-head gunned it again, clearly thinking he could lurch out in front me — except by then, I was already in front of his car. So he jammed on the brake again, as I rolled by with my hands out to the side in the universal “What the fuck?” gesture.

Once I was past, he gunned it again, then pulled up beside me with his window down, yelling something unintelligible. But it was pretty damn clear it wasn’t an apology. So that caveman portion of my brain kicked, punching out the standard fight or flight response.

And I sure as hell wasn’t going to run away.

So the chase was on.

I kicked it up a couple gears, assumed my best sprint position and picked up the cadence. And much to my surprise, I found I was actually gaining on him.

In fact, I was just about to catch up to him, prepared to give him one of the few pieces of my mind that I have left, when a Porsche pulled out from the curb directly ahead of me without looking.

So I swung hard to the left. And next thing I knew, I was racing down the left lane at about 30 mph, next to the driver’s door of a 911 — the operator of which was preoccupied with talking to his lovely passenger, and had no idea that I was there, since he hadn’t once looked in my direction.

Now, any sane person would have realized the complete idiocy of that situation, grabbed hard on the brakes, and let the Porsche go by.

But that would have meant that the esteemed Mr. Head would get away.

So I kicked it up to my smallest gear and cut in front of the Porsche. And causing the driver to jam on his brakes, with an expression that clearly said “What the holy f…!!!!”

And yes, I confess that there was a small part of my otherwise engaged brain that registered his expression, and truly enjoyed it.

But Mr. Head comma Dick was getting away, so I continued to hammer down the street. And I was only about 20 feet behind him when he pulled a U-turn and raced off in the other direction. Leaving me in the position of chasing him down once again, or getting on with my life.

I chose the latter.

I’d like to say the remainder of my ride was uneventful. Really, I would.

But I would be lying.

Maybe I’ll share it with you another time. Or maybe I’ll just pour a few fingers of good Irish Whiskey and try to forget the whole thing.

One last thing, though. All that adrenalin must have done some good.

Because I finished my usual 2-1/2 hour ride in just a hair under 2:10.

 

Evidently, I wasn’t the only one who had a challenging ride lately. Will documents the Anatomy of an Inattentive Driver, while Gary discusses a recent hit and run that put a Santa Monica cyclist in critical condition. My friend, the proprietor of the Altadena Blog, uncovers a slightly nauseating video of a fat tire ride down Echo Mountain. L.A.C.B.C announces Car-Free Friday; celebrate it by riding with City Council President Eric Garcetti. And Stephen Box marks the second anniversary of storming the L.A. Bicycle Advisory Committee’s figurative Bastille with an open letter to the new head of the Bikeways Engineering Group.

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