Tag Archive for Tour de Fat

Suspect arrested in hit-and-run death of Michael Vega; bike-jacking bank robber and Sat’s Tour de Fat

Let’s start with good news from the Inland Empire.

The Press Enterprise reports an arrest has been made in the late August hit-and-run death of Michael Vega in Rancho Cucamonga.

According to the paper, published news reports and a phone tip led police to a truck driven by construction worker Jason Cox; after inspecting the vehicle, they arrested Cox on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and hit-and-run resulting in death or injury.

It will be interesting to see how they can make the intoxication charge hold up, since Cox had over two weeks to sober up.

The paper says he’s being held in the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga on $250,000 bond.

But before you get too excited, remember this is the same DA and court system that let the street racing killer of Jorge Alvarado off with just three lousy months in jail.

Thanks to Joe Devito for sending the link.

Update: The Inland Valley Daily Enterprise reports that the tip that led to Cox’s arrest came as a result of a video plea for information from the Sheriff’s Department that was posted on their website Tuesday.

Deputies received a tip Wednesday evening pointing them towards Cox, who drove a work truck for a construction company in Chino. When Police inspected the truck, they found heavy front-end damage, as well as paint the matched the truck and the bike.

Cox will appear in court on Monday.

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A Santa Ana cyclist chases down a bike-jacking bank robber with the help of a stranger, recovering his bike and leading to the arrest of the thief, who had previously failed to carjack three separate vehicles.

The thief may want to consider a new career once he gets out. Which isn’t likely to be anytime soon.

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This weekend’s big bike news is the return of Tour de Fat at L.A. State Historic Park — a full day of bikes and beer, starting with a can’t miss bike parade through Downtown from 11 to noon, with registration for the parade starting at 10 am.

Entertainment runs from noon to 5 pm. I’ll be there volunteering at the LACBC booth until at least 1 pm, so stop by and say hi; anyone who signs up for LACBC membership gets a token for a free beer.

And if you hurry, there’s still time to sign up to trade your car for a bike worth up to $2,250.

Admission is free. Costumes are encouraged, but remember the forecast is for temperatures in the mid to upper 90s on Saturday. So you might want to dress for the weather and wear as little as possible.

And no, you don’t need arrive by bike; there’s plenty of parking in the area, and it’s walking distance from the Chinatown Metro station.

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Don’t forget tonight’ Dinner & Bikes (& Cupcakes) with Elly Blue, one of the cycling community’s leading writers and thinkers, presented by LACBC affiliate Santa Monica Spoke.

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The Los Angeles Valley College Valley Star newspaper takes a look at California’s recently passed three-foot passing law. Jessica Simpson’s dad is given permission to drink again following an August DUI arrest, as long as he stays out of cars, bikes or motorcycles; nice to know the courts take these things not very seriously. West Hollywood teams with Sustainable Streets to offer a free Confident City Cycling course this Sunday. Courtesy of my friends at Altadenablog comes word of a lifelong cyclist and ex-Marine who won’t let MS stop him from riding, turning to Altadena custom bike-maker BlackSmith for a competitive hand bike. A Shell Beach physician is killed by a big rig after allegedly riding through a stop sign in San Louis Obispo; for some reason, a local TV station quotes bike injury stats from the Royal — note that word — Society for Prevention of Accidents. A bicyclist is injured every nine days in Mountain View; maybe he should learn to ride more carefully. It’s starting to seem like open season on bike riding pastors, as a Crestline Baptist minister is injured on a training ride.

People for Bikes wants your helps landing a $250,000 grant. The League of American Bicyclists responds to the National Women’s Bike Summit in Long Beach by announcing the launch of Women Bike to encourage greater female ridership. Analyzing Ebony magazine’s unhappy bicycle wedding. New bike helmet impact sensor automatically calls for help if it detects an impact. Bike Lawyer Bob Mionske offers advice on how to cover your ass if you lead a group ride. The massive Interbike trade show cracks down on non-industry entries; I’ve got a press pass, but no money to go, dammit. A suburban Iowa town is the latest to attempt to ban bikes. A Houston cyclist avoids serious injuries after falling 25 feet off a bridge. A Michigan judge agrees to sentence a hit-and-run driver to a minimum term after she pleads guilty, despite a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit. Why cyclists do the things we do. Remarkably, a jury concludes that it was just a coincidence that a New Jersey driver happened to run down and kill the teenage boy who vandalized his car. New York is failing to protect its vulnerable road users; a blind Detroit attorney sues the city for failing to stop reckless cyclists. Not surprisingly, a Brooklyn driver isn’t charged after hitting a cyclist and driving through a fence into a 50-foot pit. Courtesy of our friend Zeke comes word of a South Carolina salmon cyclist who was the victim of a hit-and-run; also by way of Zeke is a nice story of a successful 25-year old bike shop — as well as word that Albert Einstein came up with the Theory of Relativity while riding his bike. No, really, if you’re going to carry 12 grams of dope on your bike after dark, use some lights.

Editors at the Washington Examiner fan the flames of bike hatred with a highly inflammable headline unsupported by the even-handed article. Edmonton cyclists get their first bike box, which is one more than L.A. cyclists have. Better UK bike commutes through technology. As usual, British courts give a slap on the wrist to a killer driver who failed to see a cyclist before running him over; they’re almost as bad as New York. The World Anti-Doping Agency considers amnesty for riders who confess to drug use, but too late to help Lance, who rudely insists on riding anyway. You won’t want to miss the tongue-in minutes of an appeasing — not appealing — Aussie bike club.

Finally, after a driver attempts to run a cyclist off the road, they talk it out like British gentlemen. And it turns out giving birds the bird won’t stop Aussie avian attacks.

L.A.’s Ultimate Bike Weekend marred when cyclist hit in Tour de Fat adjacent wreck on Saturday

You’ll have to excuse me.

I’d planned on a post offering my thoughts on yesterday’s third CicLAvia — not the third year, as many press outlets have mistakenly reported — as well as Saturday’s Tour de Fat.

But here’s the Cliff Notes version: Major mondo fun for all.

As usual, CicLAvia offered a wonderful opportunity to experience the city car-free, and the added spur onto Central Avenue was inspired; I’d love to see it go further into L.A. biking’s undiscovered country. And the many admonitions to slow down seemed to result in a safer and more enjoyable event.

Hap Dougherty offers his usual great photos, as does Streetsblog’s Damien Newton; while the Times offers a good write-up. And KABC-7 tells the story well, as well. (Update: forgot to mention that the next CicLAvia will take place April 15, 2012, with another scheduled for next October; earlier I somehow mistakenly wrote April 4 even though I knew better, thanks to westculvermonicaside for the catch.)

Having learned from the past, I didn’t even bother taking my camera this year. So many people take so much better photos of the event that my meagre camera jockey efforts are wasted in comparison.

And even my non-biking wife and dog had a great time at Tour de Fat, though the latter seems to enjoy any event in which Santa Monica Spoke’s Cynthia Rose rubs her belly.

Then again, my wife might enjoy it too, given the opportunity.

Unfortunately, the even was marred for many when a cyclist was hit by a car in front of Nick’s Cafe on Alameda Street just outside Tour de Fat.

Harv Woien initially gave me the heads-up later that night. Somehow I missed it, apparently passing through that same spot just moments before the collision. Twitterers @Revolbike and @GraphikDeziner added what they knew about it.

Meanwhile, @fts_acer sent a detailed, first-person account of wrenching effects of witnessing the wreck.

Gotta start off by saying I didn’t witness the accident per se, but I was standing literally on the corner of the intersection where it happened, on the patio at Nick’s Cafe across the street from LA Historic Park, facing the other way and heard an obvious (very loud) collision behind me, and immediately turned around to see a cyclist tumbling off the front right fender of a Ford Expedition, his bike literally coming to pieces under the SUV’s tires.

The loud noises were a combination of the SUV’s body work (front right lower bumper and passenger side door) getting dented in, the SUV’s right side view mirror getting broken, and the bike being crushed under the car, completely demolished.  Most visually stunning was the Aerospoke broken to bits and the disembodied tire/tube flailing about as the cyclist came to rest next to the car.

Notably, there were no screeching tires involved.  For the record, I used to work for BMW as a test driver and I am very familiar with the sound of tires whining under the stress of anti-lock brakes as well, and that sound was also absent, implying the driver was either not at all on the brakes leading up to the collision, or wasn’t on them very hard.

The driver stopped, thank heaven, staying in the car, perhaps in shock, a young woman with a few passengers in there.  The rider was conscious and moving as we ran over, he was rolling onto his back and took off his messenger bag.  No blood, outwardly didn’t look like any broken bones or anything, but he was definitely mentally out of it, tried to stand up and fell back down.  Noticed he wasn’t wearing a helmet.

Luckily there were two police officers already stationed at the same intersection to watch over the event, so they were running up the same time we were.  A couple friends and I tried to lend a hand, but the police shooed us away so we stood and watched from a few feet back.  Medics were called.

The guy started talking to the police, who cleared the scene of onlookers and diverted traffic, using their squad cars to block off part of the road.  The driver got out of the car and said the rider “scared the shit” out of her.  The rider said she “scared the shit” out of him, too.  In other words, one or both of them were obviously not paying attention.

Frankly, it scared the shit out of dozens of cyclists who rode by, visibly mortified just by the aftermath of what happened.  I think most cyclists get that feeling when they see or hear that a cyclist and a car got into it.

No witnesses stepped forward, there were just about ten of us that heard the crash and ran to see if we could help.

My friend who was there with me says he knows that stretch of Spring is well-known for speeding, that drivers are typically very careless through that area.  I suppose that’s hearsay, but who knows how fast that SUV was going before the collision.  IMHO, under the conditions, with so many bikes and pedestrians obviously attending an event at the park, nothing about 25mph would have been safe.  But that’s just my opinion, I suppose.

Anyway, this all amounts to little more than an excessively detailed anecdote but hopefully it helps.  I hope the rider will be okay.

The police at the scene were not interested in talking to us, only in securing the scene, but I wouldn’t mind trying to give them a statement for what it’s worth, would you happen to have any idea how I would go about that?  What division it might be, etc?

I directed Acer to the LAPD’s Central Traffic Division, as well as the department’s bike liaison Sgt. David Krumer.

I agree with his suggestion that speed limits should be temporarily lowered on streets next to major events like that. And I second his hopes that the rider is okay; if anyone has word on his condition, send us the (hopefully) good news.

……..

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a major bike hangover this morning, with symptoms ranging from rubber legs to an overwhelming desire for sleep. And I’ve got an important work assignment due by morning that I should be working on right now.

Then again, all work assignments are important, right?

Before I go, though, a couple of great links.

First up, Russ and Laura, the Long Beach biking expats behind the must-read The Path Less Pedaled — who I had the pleasure of meeting over the weekend — are offering one last SoCal presentation Tuesday night in El Segundo before they once again hit the road. I can’t make it, but I’d strongly recommend attending if you can.

I’ve got an LACBC Planning Committee meetings to chair that same night; 7 pm Tuesday at Downtown’s Pitfire Pizza at 2nd and Main. We’ll be talking about what programs, plans and legislations you’d like to see implemented as we move forward, whether on a local, county or state level. So we’d love to have you join us if you can tear yourself away from Russ and Laura.

And finally, the BBC offers a great look at the non-existent war between cyclists and drivers — including this wonderful quote:

“When we make improvements for bicyclists, often the biggest beneficiary are people who drive motor vehicles.” — Mark LearBureau of transportation traffic safety program manager, Portland, Oregon

Definitely worth the click; thanks to L.A. Streetsblog for the link.

Gov. Brown inexplicably vetoes 3feet2pass, Tour de Fat and CicLAvia on tap this weekend.

I lost a lot of respect for Jerry Brown today.

California’s once and current governor had a chance to sign SB 910, a common sense bill mandating a simple three-foot passing distance when passing a cyclist. Legislation that has passed in 19 other states already, and been signed by a long list of governors including Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Jeb Bush, Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman.

In other words, some of the leading conservative lights in the GOP.

In fact, the only other governor to veto a three-foot passing law up to now was Tea Party conservative Rick “The Executioner” Perry.

Not exactly good company our governor is keeping these days.

He reasoning doesn’t exactly pass the logic test. Or the smell test, either.

Courtesy of BAC Vice Chair Glenn Bailey

While he claims to support bicycle safety, he vetoes the bill that would do much to improve it, taking the advice of Caltrans and the CHP — two groups that probably understand California bike law and bike safety less than anyone else he could find.

His primary concern, based on advice provided by those decidedly bike-unfriendly state agencies, is that drivers would suddenly jam on the brakes to slow down to 15 mph to pass cyclists when they couldn’t pass by three feet.

Yet they have to do that right now, because current law doesn’t allow drivers to cross the center divider to go around cyclists, as the bill the governor vetoed would have. Which means that motorists either have to slow down and follow riders in front of them, or attempt to squeeze past dangerously.

Or just run them over.

And the dangers the Governor so desperately fears have so far failed to materialize in any of the 19 states that have a similar law now — and have had for as long as 38 years.

So I’d like to issue Gov. Brown a challenge.

Let him get on a bike, and I’ll pass him by less than three feet at 35 to 40 mph. And we’ll see if he thinks it’s safe.

From this moment forward, Gov. Brown has the blood of every cyclist who’s injured or killed by a too-close pass on his hands.

I hope he’s planning to observe Yom Kippur.

Because he has a lot to atone for.

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Moving on to happier things, this weekend marks two of the biking highlights of the year, with Tour de Fat on Saturday and an expanded CicLAvia on Sunday.

As I’ve noted before, CicLAvia reminds riders to be nice, as well as offering other tips for cyclists.

Be nice – CicLAvia is for everyone – 8-year olds and 80-year olds. Folks will be walking and skating. CicLAvia welcomes families, beginners, on foot, on skateboard, on wheelchair, on training wheels. This isn’t a race. It’s not the Tour de France or the Wolfpack Hustle (and we love those, too), this is CicLAvia. Keep an eye out for slow moving traffic, pass with care (the way you want drivers to pass you every day.) Wherever CicLAvia gets really crowded, walk your bike. If you see pedestrians trying to get across CicLAvia, help them out. (If you’re looking for a fast-paced workout ride, maybe take a long ride to and from CicLAvia – check our feeder ride listing.)

Though overall the route is very flat, we had a couple of serious injuries last year on two hills. These hills are minor, and many of us bike them every day. In the interest of safety, we’ve instituted two MANDATORY DISMOUNT ZONES going downhill on hills. These are at:

  • 4th Street just west of Boyle Avenue (in Boyle Heights)
  • New Hampshire just north of Beverly Blvd (in East Hollywood)

I’m not sure about those dismount zones.

While they won’t be a problem for riders with old school pedals, walking downhill for those of us who wear cleats could pose a whole different set of problems.

KCRW’s Shortcuts blog offers good logistical advice. Santa Monica Spoke is hosting a feeder ride from the Westside. Other rides will funnel in from almost every direction. Bikeside will be hosting political candidates and the LAPD.

As for me, I plan to take a quick loop around the route, then hang out at the LACBC bike valets at the plazas in Olvera Street and Little Tokyo during the afternoon.

So look for me there.

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The other big event takes place on Saturday at L.A. Historic State Park when the massive bike and beer filled carnival that is Tour de Fat rolls into town.

Sponsored by New Belgium Brewing — makers of my favorite American ale — and benefiting the LACBC, C.I.C.L.E. and Bicycle Kitchen, Tour de Fat is about as much fun as you can with your clothes on, a brew in your hand and your bike parked nearby. A weird, wild and wacky celebration of all things bikes and beer.

Best of all, admission is free. And beer is just $5 a pint.

It all kicks off with a bike parade from 11 to noon, with beer, bands, contests and other assorted entertainment from noon to 5 pm.

Costumes are strongly recommended. As is fun, as you’ll see from last year’s photos.

Besides, it’s Yom Kippur. Might as well have something else to atone for.

Not you, Jerry.

You’ve done enough.

Tour de Fat sets a date, Malibu Sheriffs don’t get it, and 6 month suspension for killing Roger Grooters

“Oh I used to be disgusted, and now I try to be amused.” — Elvis Costello, (The Angels Want to Wear My) Red Shoes

One quick breaking news note:

Tour de Fat has officially set a date for this year’s return engagement, coming back to Los Angeles on October 8th. Better yet, that’s one day before the city’s 4th scheduled CicLAvia, making for a full weekend celebration of cycling in L.A.

The bad news is, October 8th is also Yom Kippur.

You’d think someone would check the calendar before scheduling a date in a city with such a large Jewish community, many of whom are active cyclists. And might appreciate having a day full of beer and bikes to atone for.

.………

File this one under the heading of They Just Don’t Get It.

Malibu City Council approved a three-hour Bicycle Safety public workshop, to be held on a Saturday morning at a date to be determined. Great news so far, as cyclists have been pushing for an open discussion of the problems we face riding in and through the ‘Bu, while city officials — particularly members of the city’s Public Safety Commission — have been surprisingly open to dialogue with the biking community.

And then there’s the Sheriff’s Department.

“It should be noted that the Sheriff’s department expressed concern about whether a workshop would be a benefit to the city’s goals of improved safety. During previous discussions with members of cycling organizations and bike clubs, the Sheriff’s liaison stated that the cyclists continued to disagree with the Sheriff’s interpretation of the law. There was additional concern expressed that the goal to open communication between motorists and cyclists would not likely be achieved through the workshop as it is doubtful that many non-cycling members of the public would consider attending,” the staff memo adds.

So, discussion is only worthwhile when we think they’re right?

Maybe we continue to disagree because the Sheriff’s Department in Malibu continues to interpret state law incorrectly. Despite the best efforts of cyclists to point out that we do in fact have a legal right to ride in the traffic lane, and that nothing in state law prohibits riding side-by-side in order to safely control the lane when necessary, even — or especially — on busy highways like PCH.

And somehow, given the passionate hatred expressed towards cyclists by some Malibu residents, I doubt getting the non-riding public to attend will be a problem.

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Oh. My. God.

The driver who ran down cross-country cyclist and former USC Athletic Department employee Roger Grooters has had his license suspended for just six months and fined a paltry $1,160 by a Florida judge.

Six lousy months of being prohibited from driving — and no jail time — after carelessly killing another human being. Before being allowed back on the roads to do it again to someone else.

That isn’t even a slap on the wrist. They might as well have given him a cigar and a pat on the back for reducing the state’s surplus cyclist population.

Clearly, life is cheap in Florida.

There are no words. At least, none that I’d want to use here.

But I can tell you where I won’t be spending my next vacation.

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In our continuing coverage of former Tour de France winners accused of doping, Lance officially retired once again on Wednesday. Contador’s decision to ride this year’s Giro may be a polite way to avoid being banned from Le Tour, while Spanish meat producers say he’s full of mierda. A physician says he was fired from a Spanish bike team when he refused to dope the riders. And UCI threatens to sue Floyd Landis over his allegations of a cover-up; Dave Moulton says Landis has a right to be ticked off.

If you’re as disgusted as I am with all the endless doping and cheating charges, denials and countercharges, try following the Twitter feed of rising star Taylor Phinney, whose cheerful optimism could restore your faith in pro cycling.

Or even in humanity.

.………

The Seattle Times offers an in-depth and very insightful look at the seemingly inevitable conflicts between drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, and the anger that springs from it. If you don’t read any of the other links on here today, read this one.

Meanwhile, Seattle Bike Blog asks how you handle anger while you’re riding. And the Wall Street Journal says if road rage wasn’t bad enough, now we have to deal with sidewalk rage.

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Santa Monica’s Planning and Community Development Department invites you to participate in a special workshop to help transform the Bergamot area into an urban transit village, including pedestrian and bike linkages to the Expo Line, Bergamot Arts Center and other destinations. The meeting takes place from 6:30 – 9 pm tonight at Pier 59 Studios, 2415 Michigan Ave in Bergamot Station.

Bike Long Beach is hosting a bike ride for the city’s next Bicycle Master Plan workshop this Saturday, Feb. 19th. The ride departs from the Silverado Park Community Center, 1545 W. 31st Street at 10 am; the workshop begins at 11:30 am. And take a look at what they’ve accomplished already.

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A new petition urges Maryland to stop senseless bicycle deaths; then again, do any bicycle deaths make sense? Maybe it’s time to take something like this nationwide. Thanks to Kim for the heads-up.

.………

Big bike happenings Downtown this week as DTLA Bikes opened on Wednesday, and the city’s first bike corral officially opens Friday. If you liked October’s first CicLAvia, you’ll love April’s on the same route. Glendale’s Safe and Healthy Streets Plan moves forward to make the city safer for cyclists and pedestrians; meanwhile, Glendale and Burbank cooperate to request Metro funds for transportation improvements, including a bike boulevard on Kenneth Road. At least some San Diego business people get that bikes are good for business, encouraging people to Bike the Boulevard this Saturday. The 2011 NorCal High School mountain bike racing season kicks off Feb. 27th; why didn’t they have that when I was in school?

Sunset Magazine lists bike sharing, bike planning and car-free festivals — including CicLAvia — among their top 100 cultural trends in the West. Actor Matthew Modine and filmmaker David Holbrooke will host a nationwide mountain bike event on October 8th — yes, once again on Yom Kippur — to call attention to women’s rights in Afghanistan; then again, you haven’t mountain biked until you’ve bombed straight down a volcano. Bikes in the national parks are not just for tourists. The 17-year old Utah driver who killed a cyclist because her vision was obscured by birthday balloons will face misdemeanor charges. Bike Portland offers an alternate explanation for a recent cycling death. Favorable results are in for Portland’s cycle track and buffered bike lanes. The rich and powerful try to take down New York’s Prospect Park West bike lanes, including former NYDOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall and her husband, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. Current ABC and former CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour rolls on two wheels. In an all-too-familiar story, a Florida family is devastated when the father is killed in a cycling collision. In case you ever wanted to see what it’s like to vicariously run down a jay walking cyclist, here’s your chance.

In a typically illogical, knee-jerk motorhead response, a UK Member of Parliament suggests banning bikes from a highway to keep cyclists from getting killed, rather than doing something to keep drivers from killing them. A new car hood design promises to protect cyclists and pedestrians in collisions; instead of building safer cars, why not make safer drivers? Creative things to do with old bike parts. An Irish man accidently runs down and kills his own biking father. A triple confrontation with a road raging driver convinces a Sydney rider that angry drivers can make a cyclist’s life hell. Kiwi cyclists call for repealing New Zealand’s mandatory helmet law.

Finally, KCET’s Departures offers an exceptional in-depth look at the abused, and slowly recovering, L.A. River from the Headwaters to the Sepulveda Basin. Kudos to KCET; this one of the best examples I’ve seen of using online media to tell a story. Meanwhile, Flying Pigeon blogger Rick Risemberg looks at the graffiti and grace of the Downtown section of the river and its bike path.

Congratulations to new LACBC board members Lourdes Lopez, Steve Boyd and Carrie Ungerman.

Catching up — UCLA’s new Bike Library, photos from the Agoura Road crash site, lots of links

Click to enlarge

While L.A. and other local cities are talking about bike share programs, UCLA is actually doing something about it through an innovative Bike Library program.

Rather than the typical short term rental programs found in a typical bike share, students can rent a bike on a daily, weekend or weekly basis — or for an entire quarter.

UCLA Transportation and UCLA Recreation, through funding provided for by The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF), recently launched a campus bicycle library. The UCLA Bike Library provides bicycles for rent to UCLA students for only $35 for the entire quarter. The bicycle rentals are available through the UCLA Bike Shop, located in the John Wooden Center’s Office of Outdoor Adventures. The bicycles available for rent are Felt Café Series hybrid city-style, 8-speed cruisers, which come equipped with front and rear fenders, front and rear lights, a rear rack, and even a cup holder mounted on the handlebar. Students also have the option of renting a combination cable and u-lock, and a helmet to go along with their bicycle.

At $35 a quarter, the Bike Library may be the last affordable aspect of a UC education. And one of the smartest.

Speaking of UCLA, UCLA Transportation’s short film Bike-U-Mentary was named Best Short Film at the Los Angeles Film and Script Festival.

.………

The Daily News talks to the wife of James Laing, the cyclist killed by an alleged drunk hit-and-run driver in Agoura Hills on Saturday; don’t read it if you don’t want to wipe away a tear when you’re finished.

Former LACBC board member Chris Willig sends along photos of the spot on Agoura Hills where Laing was killed. Clearly, the roadway was not a contributing factor, although a better design would place the bike lane along the curb with a wide buffer between it and the traffic lane.

He also notes the presence of a wine tasting club in the area as a possible explanation for why the driver may have been drunk behind the wheel at 3:45 in the afternoon.

A view of Agoura Road where James Laing was killed on Saturday.

Chalk marks faded by recent rains show the scene of the collision.

On a related subject, Chris reports that the cyclist in the previous Agoura Hills collision at Cornell Road and Mulholland Highway was injured, rather than killed. I had been told by a back-channel source with access to police reports that still-unidentified rider had died several days after the collision; I’ll reach out to the authorities once again to try and get the accurate information.

Nothing would make me happier than to know I was wrong about something like that.

.………

I had to leave early, but by all reports, Tour de Fat was a huge hit and I had fun while I was there. I got some good photos, but an usually busy week has kept me from putting them online yet. In the meantime, Ohai Joe has some great videos of the event to keep you entertained — and for those of you who didn’t go, let you know what you missed so you won’t make the same mistake next year.

And Madeline Brozen notes that the entire event ran on solar power and resulted in only eight pounds of trash, while raising $13,000 for LACBC, C.I.C.L.E. and Bicycle Kitchen.

.………

The father of Rabobank rider Robert Gesink died Saturday, two weeks after crashing in a mountain bike race. BMX cyclist and MTV host TJ Lavin is showing signs of improvement after being critically injured as a result of missing a landing. Lance isn’t quite done racing yet. Just one month after having a baby, Olympic gold medalist Kristin “No Relation to Lance” Armstrong announces her comeback.

.………

Stephen Box looks at the planned Hollywood Bike Hub nearing approval from the Metro Board. West Hollywood may be on the verge of becoming more walkable and bikeable. Damien Newton reminds the press that “crash” and “accident” are not interchangeable; I try to avoid using “accident” on here since so few of them actually are. The architecture critic for the Times calls for a better-connected L.A., from better bike lanes and sidewalks to buses and subways. Claremont Cyclist offers a meditation on the biking derriere. LADOT Bike Blog looks at the traffic diverters that make a Bicycle Friendly Street bike friendly. An OC bike advocate says every issue in bike safety has already been solved; you just have to match the problems to the solutions in recent bike plans from Portland and, yes, Los Angeles.

Tucson forms a new Living Streets group. Arizona’s biking congresswoman doesn’t hesitate to yell at drivers. Why is it that no one ever says we won’t build any more highways if some drivers refuse to obey the speed limit — or that there are too many cars driven by out-of-control motorists? Three questions to ask your congressional candidates before you cast your vote. Slap a $5 sticker on your helmet, and get a discount at participating businesses. Advice on winter riding for those in more cold-weather climes. A Chicago cyclist is doored and run over by a bus, but will survive; needless to say, the driver who doored him left the scene. The NYC cyclist killed in a dooring last week had moved to the city to help the disadvantaged. A New York limo driver comes to the rescue of an L.A. tourist attacked by a cyclist with a long rap sheet. Yes, there are scofflaws in New York bike lanes, and no, they’re not the cyclists; thanks to Stanley for the heads up. Charleston police search for a hit-and-run driver who hit a pedestrian riding a bicycle; is it just me, or is there something wrong with that description?

Campagnolo unveils a new electronic gruppo. Toronto cyclists have to live with a new bike-hating mayor who said it’s your own fault if you get killed. The Guardian looks at the Bike Snob’s guide to cycling tribes. Town Mouse gives London’s Boris Bikes a go. Cyclists may have a persecution complex, but we really could use segregated bikeways. The 2011 Giro will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy. A year in jail and no driving for three years after a road raging motorist viscously beats a cyclist who flipped him off. An Indonesian cycling group calls for bike lanes in every city throughout the country and life insurance for cyclists.

Finally, you don’t have to know the language to get this bloody cartoon about bike helmets. But if you really want to know, Copenhagenize is happy to translate it for you.

And thank goodness we don’t have to worry about Trek’s advanced technology falling into the hands of terrorists.

This weekend Tour de Fat is where it’s at

I admit, I’ve thought about it.

This Saturday, someone will get a new bike from New Belgium Brewing. And all you have to do is turn over your car keys and agree to commute by bike for the next year.

It’s tempting.

I mean, my little car is just two years away from the age of consent. And I’ve been using it less and less in recent years as I’ve turned from driving to biking, transit and walking, and my clients no longer seem to feel a need to see me in person in this digital age.

In fact, my tax records show I put less than one thousand miles on my car last year; many Angelenos do more than that in a slow month.

There also seems to be a perfect symmetry to it, since New Belgium is located in my hometown, and makes one of my two favorite beers — and trust me, I’ve probably tried a few thousand beers just to get it down that far. Though which of those two I like best seems to vary from day to day, depending on my mood and what I happen to have on hand.

And I doubt I have to tell you which one I find myself craving as Tour de Fat approaches.

Someone will be riding this bike home — and to work for the next year.

But then there are days like Wednesday, when I ferried three people home from a meeting on a rainy night. And that’s a damn hard thing to do on a bike.

So I’ll be keeping my car, if somewhat reluctantly.

But I will be riding bright and early to the first-ever Los Angeles edition of the Tour de Fat on Saturday, scheduled to take place from 9 am to 5 pm this Saturday, October 23 at Los Angeles Historic State Park just east of Chinatown.

It just happens to be happening just two weeks after a surprisingly successful CicLAvia, leaving local cyclists lusting for another fun bike event.

And from what I’ve heard, Tour de Fat is a hell of a lot of fun.

There’ll be a bike parade through the streets of Downtown starting around 11. And music and entertainment — and yes, beer — throughout the afternoon.

Tentative Schedule:

  • 10:00 a.m.     Bike Parade Registration
  • 11:00 a.m.     Bike Parade Launch
  • 12:00 p.m.     Performances Begin
  • 12:20 p.m.     The SLOW RIDE
  • 1:30 p.m.       Great Bike Story Contest for New Belgium Cruiser Bike
  • 2:35 p.m.       Car-for-Bike Trade Celebration
  • 4:50 p.m.       Faux Finale
  • 4:55 p.m.       Faux-Real finale
  • 5:00 p.m.       Curtain Closes

Acts:

In fact, I have it on good authority that the New Belgium people were teaching their volunteers the proper way to pour a beer on Wednesday evening, just one floor below the LACBC board meeting.

And yet, they didn’t send a single pint our way or ask for any volunteers to test their efforts.

But the event is free — and no, the beer isn’t — but any money raised will go to a good cause. Or three, since it’s a fundraiser for C.I.C.L.E., LACBC and the Bicycle Kitchen.

You can preregister here to save some time waiting in line. And costumes are strongly encouraged.

Personally, I’m thinking about going as a MAMIL.

Remember, biking under the influence is illegal in California, so limit your alcohol consumption just like you would if you were driving. And 25% of the biking fatalities in the U.S. involve cyclists who have been drinking, so have fun, but be careful on your way home.

.………

Council hearings are scheduled for the proposed anti-harassment ordinance before the Transportation Committee on Wednesday the 27th, and the far less bike-friendly territory of the Public Safety Committee on Monday, November 1st. Full details on Streetsblog and LAist.

.………

Looks like LADOT has lots of bike racks, and wants your suggestions on where to put them (be nice). Romance is in the air as the Car-Less Valley Girl falls in back in love with her bike. Long Beach bike maven Charlie Gandy provides an online slide show showing what’s next for our bike friendly neighbors to the south. Speaking of Long Beach, it looks like the biking expats are going to hole up in Portland for the winter. Bike planning continues to spread throughout the county as West Hollywood gears up for a new Bike Task Force. One more reason to ride — you hardly ever hear about police finding a mummified body on a bike. Biking to the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition; check out the double-decker tall bike. Riding from Alaska to Key West to raise awareness for suicide prevention. Bicycling offers a good examination on the state of helmet design; thanks to Stanley for the heads-up. A graphic comparison of bike share programs around the world shows the U.S. has some work to do. Instead of having a basket on your bike, why not have bike that is a basket. A Colorado Springs cyclist slowly recovers two months after being left for dead by a hit-and-run driver. Why is Nashville’s new bike share program being kept under wraps? A bike rider in Ohio is convicted of dragging a dog behind his bike, in what his lawyer claims was a misguided attempt to help a stray pup. Schmuck. New York prepares to crack down on scofflaw cyclists — and speeders too — but apparently, things are so good in Brooklyn the only thing left to complain about is bikes. Mountain Bike magazine bites the dust. The BBC looks at the surge in American cycling, as we struggle to overcome a century of auto-centric planning. Italian cyclist Franco Pellizotti is cleared of doping charges. Biking through the streets of Adelaide naked from the waist down.

Finally, congratulations to Simi Valley cyclist Katie Cook, the newest national BMX champ.

And to think she only took off her training wheels two years ago.

Mark your calendar for Oct. 23 when the Tour de Fat visits L.A. for the first time

I don’t do press releases.

Not that I don’t get a lot of them these days. I seem to find them popping up in my inbox with surprising regularity these days.

But for the most part, it’s just a missive from some corporate hack trying to get me to shill a new MP3 player or New York travel, or some other thing that’s only tangentially related to bikes. And even on the rare occasion when it is actually bike related, it’s usually just an attempt to get a little free advertising.

Today, I’m going to make an exception, if only in hopes that they may reward me with a few bottles of my favorite beer, which just happens to come from my hometown — although this one runs a close second.

On the other hand, it’s also for a good cause.

The Tour de Fat has been rolling across the U.S. for 11 years now. Now finally, the nation’s biggest and best roving bike fest is coming to the nation’s second largest city, which often treats its cyclists like #2, as well.

From all reports, it’s a great time. And it will help promote cycling in the city at a time when we desperately need promoting, while contributing to the coffers of local non-profit bike organizations.

And one lucky Angeleno will get free bike in exchange for promising to live car-free for the next year.

So herewith is the full shill, fresh from my inbox.

New Belgium Brewing’s Tour de Fat Spins into 13 Cities this Season

Come ride, dance and experience the ultimate freedom: trading your car for a bike!

Ft. Collins, CO, April 15, 2010 – Clip a card in your spokes and fluff the rainbow wig …Tour de Fat is back for its 11th season! New Belgium Brewing’s traveling celebration of all things bicycle rolls through 13 cities this year, raising money and sharing bike love. At each Tour de Fat stop, one person will help honor mankind’s greatest invention, the bicycle, by handing over their car keys and committing to a year of car-free living.

For the fourth year in a row, Tour de Fat is looking for volunteers to accept the swapper challenge. One volunteer in each city will give up their car and receive a hand-built Black Sheep (http://www.blacksheepbikes.com/) commuter bike. The volunteer is chosen after submitting a video or essay describing their desire to live sans-car for a year.  To submit an application, log on to http://www.newbelgium.com/tour-de-fat.

“The car-for-bike swap is the pinnacle of the day, illustrating one person’s true belief in all that a bicycle can offer,” said Bryan Simpson, spokesman for New Belgium. “Bikes represent freedom, fun, fitness and folly while helping the environment. It’s a way of life that we live and share at New Belgium.”

Tour de Fat kicks off in Chicago on June 26 and wraps up in Austin on October 30, with first-year debuts in two cities, Milwaukee and Los Angeles. The tour originated in Ft. Collins, Colorado to increase awareness and participation in cycling as a sustainable form of transportation.  Since then, it has become a rite of passage celebrated by bike enthusiasts of all skill levels across the land.

Why Tour de Fat is a Must-Attend Event:

  • Tour de Fat encourages everyone to embrace their inner-cyclist and ride the streets as a cohesive carnival of creativity. Each show begins with a costumed bike parade that stops traffic and turns heads along the way.  (Costumes are highlyencouraged!)
  • Tour de Fat seeks to leave as small an environmental imprint as possible and composts and recycles waste from each tour stop.  The waste diversion rate for 2009 was 94 percent.
  • Tour de Fat is free to participants, but beer and merchandise proceeds go to local cycling non-profits. So far, Tour de Fat events have raised more than $1.25 million for philanthropy.
  • All musical acts perform on a solar-powered stage with decorations made from recycled materials, trucks and transport use biofuel sourced from recycled waste oils, and all vendors operate off the grid.
  • This is a pro-bike celebration, not an anti-car rally…non-cyclists are more than welcome to join the festivities.

See http://www.newbelgium.com/tour-de-fat for the Tour de Fat credo, schedules, videos and to submit your entry to swap your gas guzzler for a shiny new bicycle.  Also visit our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/New-Belgium-Tour-de-Fat/10150099069050417?ref=ts.

Tour de Fat 2010 will cycle through each of the following cities:

June 26 – Chicago, Palmer Square Park

July 3 – Milwaukee, Humboldt Park

July 10 – Minneapolis, Loring Park

July 31 – Seattle, Gasworks Park

August 14 – Portland, Waterfront Park

August 21 – Boise, Anne Morrison Park

September 4 – Fort Collins, Mothership

September 11 – Denver, City Park

September 25 – San Francisco, Lindley Meadows in Golden Gate Park

October 2 – San Diego, Balboa Park

October 9 – Tempe, Tempe Town Park

October 23 – Los Angeles, L.A. Historic Park

October 30 – Austin, Fiesta Gardens

About New Belgium Brewing Company

New Belgium Brewing Company, makers of Fat Tire Amber Ale and a host of Belgian-inspired beers, began operations in a tiny Fort Collins basement in 1991. Today, the third largest craft brewer in the U.S., New Belgium produces eight year-round beers; Fat Tire Amber Ale, Ranger IPA, Sunshine Wheat, Blue Paddle Pilsner, 1554 Black Ale, Abbey, Mothership Wit and Trippel, as well as a host of seasonal releases.  In addition to producing world-class beers, New Belgium takes pride in being a responsible corporate role model with progressive programs such as employee ownership, open book management and a commitment to environmental stewardship.  For more information, visit www.newbelgium.com.

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