I’m a firm believer in miracles.
I’ve learned over the years that they tend not to occur with a parting of the skies and a booming voice from above, but in small ways that you might not even notice at the time.
Like the Venice Blvd cab driver who pulled out from the curb too quickly, and set Mayor Villaraigosa on the path to unexpected bicycle advocate.
But I never expected one to come in the form of a Twitter comment from UPS.
Recently, I’ve had my fill of UPS drivers parking their big ass brown trucks in the bike lanes on Ocean Ave in Santa Monica. Something that seems to be happening with increasing frequency in recent weeks, forcing riders to share a lane with dangerously distracted, beach-air addled drivers.
So when it happened once again on Friday, I stopped to take a photo. And when I got home, tweeted my frustration to the world, never expecting a response.
Yet that’s exactly what I got just moments later from UPS Customer Support. So at their request, I followed up with an email, including a close-up of the truck’s license plate.
About an hour later, I was on the phone with a local representative, who promised me that the problem would be dealt with promptly. And that they would speak with local supervisors and dispatchers to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.
But UPS earned some real respect for genuine customer service. And to a non-customer, no less.
It may not be a real miracle, even if it seems that way. But if more companies dealt with complaints that promptly and efficiently — or even just gave a damn — it would be a much better world.
And that really would be a miracle.
Will Campbell and John Wayne at the beginning of the ride; Will is the one on the bottom.
Allow me to offer my personal thanks to Will Campbell and special guest Mark Elliot for a truly thrilling Beverly Thrills Sunday Funday ride this past weekend.
Along with Greg Laemmle, Colin Bogart, Eric Weinstein, Niall Huffman, Carol Feucht and designated Tweeter Joni Yung for their contributions to ensuring a safe and enjoyable ride for everyone.
Not mention everyone who showed up to ride.
Or rather, especially everyone who showed up to ride.
Will offered a fun, insightful and entertaining tour of the biking black hole of Beverly Hills, starting with the very street where he learned to ride a bike (mumble mumble) years ago. And extended past the soon-to-be exploding Beverly Hills High School to sites such as the homes where gangster and Las Vegas founder Bugsy Siegel met his ignoble end, and Marilyn Monroe and Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio shared a whole nine months of connubial bliss.
The only downside was the Beverly Hills cop who decided to welcome us to their fair city by using his loudspeaker to order everyone to ride single file — which not only isn’t required under California law, but would have inconvenienced the exceptionally light vehicular traffic even more by stretching the 40 – 50 riders out over several blocks.
On the other hand, even though we were cruised by several other patrol cars over the course of the ride, the only other contact we had with the BHPD was a friendly wave in passing.
Mark Elliot shares his remarkably in-depth recap of the ride, and Hap Dougherty offers his typically great photos of the day.
And Will himself offers an exceptional timelapse video cutting the four hour ride down to a very fast and entertaining 11 minutes; don’t miss the rapid-fire notations in the upper right.
Seriously, it’s more than worth the click.
A preliminary hearing opened Monday for the two men charged with killing developmentally disabled cyclist Jordan Hickey in National City last year. According to testimony from a friend, Humberto Galvez and Juan Gomez bragged about murdering Hickey, reportedly picking their victim at random and shooting him three times with a shotgun as he rode.
Just for the fun of it.
Hickey’s mother understandingly lost control during the testimony and had to be escorted from the courtroom.
There’s not a pit in hell deep enough for these two alleged psychopaths.
LADOT General Manager Jaime de la Vega reports on what he calls L.A.’s best year ever for bicycles.
The 2011 – 2012 fiscal year saw 76 miles of new bikeways, nearly double the number the city committed to in the bike plan adopted last year. That includes 51 miles of bikeways, 21 miles of sharrows and 4 miles added to the Orange Line bikeway, as the city starts to see the beginnings of an actual bike network.
The most intriguing part, for me at least, was acknowledgement that LADOT is shifting from a historic focus on maximizing automotive throughput to a more complete focus on all forms of transportation.
Can the former department of automobiles really help the city of Angels evolve into the type of metropolis that embraces cyclists, pedestrians, and transit?
We think the answer is an unequivocal “yes”.
LADOT is committed to making Los Angeles a place where cyclists are safe and city streets make room for bicycles.
We’ll wait for Joe Linton’s analysis of just how accurate the city’s claimed mileage actually is. But just looking at L.A.’s new and improved streets suggests that LADOT is more than fulfilling their promise.
And that things really have changed in the department local cyclists have long loved to hate.
Meanwhile, the department presents their progress to the City Council Transportation Committee, and improves signage to help cyclists stay alive during the Riverside Dr. bridge reconstruction.
Mark Cavendish pulls another Tour de France stage win out of his hat, while Spartacus keeps the yellow jersey. World time trial champ Tony Martin steps up to stage 2 despite a broken hand. And evidently, 22-year old Peter Sagan really is that good, the youngest stage winner in nearly 20 years.
Once again, however, we should note that only Americans with names that start with L — LeMond, Lance and, briefly, Landis — have won le Tour.
Which means Levi Leipheimer remains our best hope for victory.
People for Bikes reports on the new federal transportation bill that dramatically cuts funding for bike and pedestrian projects. They won’t say it, but let’s remember which of our elected officials attacked cycling and/or sold us out, and cast our votes accordingly in the fall.
Meanwhile, PfB staffer Kate Powlison is among the five women riding the entire Tour de France course one day ahead of the men. Their stated goal is to inspire women to ride more often, and encourage people everywhere to tackle dreams that seem impossible.
But hopefully they’ll also inspire professional cycling to open more doors for women, either by a vastly improved women’s tour or by opening top level professional teams to female riders.
You can’t tell me that the best women aren’t as good or better than many of the men who fill out the support roles.
And might even kick some ass if given the chance.
Tomorrow marks L.A.’s can’t miss bike sale with the annual 4th of July Blowout Sale at Helen’s in Santa Monica and Arcadia. And just a few blocks away, Cynergy Cycles is extending their No Tax sale through the 4th.
Any other big bike sales we should know about this week?
Flying Pigeon offers tongue-in-cheek advice — at least I hope it’s tongue-in-cheek — on how to take your vehicular cycling to the next level. Sunday’s Peace, Love and Family ride catches the eyes of local residents. Richard Risemberg reviews the Bromptons they took to Denver. LADOT kicks off the environment impact reviews that will determine if 43 miles of projected bikeways will ever be built. The LAPD reports on a four-month old biking under the influence arrest that left a 50-year old rider injured; something tells me there’s more to the story if they’re bringing this up after so long. Beverly Hills police let a road raging driver off the hook. New bike lanes appear in El Sereno. East Side Bike Club is hosting a 4th of July Ride to see the fireworks in Alhambra. Over at CLR Effect, Michael encounters an unpleasant odor that isn’t the rider next to him, and notes that Glendora Mountain Road will be closed to motor vehicle traffic on the 4th of July, allowing for an unofficial high country ciclovía.
Readers respond to OC Register columnist David Whiting’s recent column calling for more courtesy on multi-use trails. An Orange County florist gets attention with a bicycle through the store’s front window. More on La Mesa cyclist Nicola Grossi, who lost 120 pounds in just two years of riding before dying in a solo collision on Saturday during the Climb to Kaiser ride. San Francisco bike corrals transform 30 parking spaces into 336 spaces for bikes. The Santa Rose Press Democrat says patient, defensive riding is the key to bike safety; they’re right, of course, but only because too many motorists can’t be bothered to do the same.
American cyclist and former model Dotsie Bausch overcomes anorexia to complete for the U.S. cycling team in the London Olympics. You can now get bike insurance if you live in the Portland area. A Utah man stabs a cyclist and a steals his bike; police find the bike in the laundry room of the thief’s building. Denver authorities crack down on scofflaw cyclists — including ticketing a rider for not putting his foot down on a stop, which isn’t illegal. A 90-year old Eau Claire driver kills a cyclist while driving on an off-road bike path; thanks to Witch on a Bicycle for the link. A Lancaster NY cyclist is killed by a dump truck; I usually pull off the road when I find one behind me, since they scare me as much as anything else on the road.
In shocking news, a Canadian study finds off-road mountain biking can be dangerous, and that bears often defecate in forested areas. Evidently, cowardly, murderous hit-and-run bastards aren’t just an American phenomenon — which is one word I have never spelled correctly in my life. Irish authorities consider a plan to fine parents if their children don’t wear helmets. A London lawyer is left with life-changing injuries after his skull is fractured when he’s hit in a crosswalk by a serial red light running cyclist, proving that not all bastards are on four wheels. While other traffic casualties have dropped, serious cycling casualties and pedestrian deaths have spiked in London. A new sign design warns cyclists about the dangers of big trucks. What if roads were designed the same way bikeways are? David Hembrow says the right to ride on any roads may not always be in cyclists’ best interests. Dutch police commandeer a tractor to chase down three bike thieves.
Finally, a deeply offended neighborhood watch group calls on L.A. to ban the annual Naked Bike Ride. Maybe if they didn’t watch so closely, they wouldn’t be so offended.
And just in time for the 4th, here’s your new bike anthem for the summer.
Let’s be careful out there this week. The period around the 4th is traditionally one of the most dangerous times for SoCal cyclists. Ride safely and defensively, so you can enjoy a lifetime of Independence Day riding.