Tag Archive for USC

All the news that’s left to print — USC bike plan, big bike hearts in Reno, and new SaMo Bike Campus

After being laid up for well over a week with an apparent case of the Black Death, we’ve got a lot of news to catch up on.

So go get your bike on. Get out and enjoy this perfect weather — unless you’re on the fog-shrouded coast, of course. And even then, get out and get a good ride in.

Then limber up your clicking finger and settle in for some serious reading.

And yes, I am slowly starting to feel better. I may even get back on my own bike before the month is over.

And I’m only joking about the Black Death.

Sort of.

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After seeing for myself just how bad the bike parking situation is for Trojans and visitors at USC, I had planned to attend Thursday’s campus bike plan workshop.

Unfortunately, as so often happens, life had other plans.

However, the Daily Trojan reports that Kendall Planning + Design has created what looks like a workable plan.

Rather than banning bikes from campus, as had been rumored, the plan calls for bike lanes on three separate streets through campus, along with secure bike parking. In addition, it calls for on-campus bike repair and service centers, and a bike share and rental program, as well as a possible training program to teach inexperienced cyclists to ride safely.

For a school that doesn’t exactly have a reputation as a bike-friendly campus, it looks like they’re taking their obligation to accommodate bikes on campus seriously.

And maybe, just maybe, they got it right this time.

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I love this story.

An 85-yer old Reno cyclist loses his battle with cancer, but keeps riding right up to the end, thanks to some caring people at Home Depot who built a four-wheel pedalcar out of PVC pipe to keep him rolling.

You’ve got to admire a man who loves riding his bike too much to quit, even when his doctors say it’s time. Not to mention the big hearted people who sacrificed their time and materials to make it happen.

And anyone who thinks there’s a war between cyclists and drivers should consider this story about two Spokane motorists who saved the life of a cyclist who suffered a heart attack while riding.

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Celebrate Earth Day with the official opening of Santa Monica’s new Bike Campus, which will offer training for riders of all ages and abilities. Combined with the new Bike Center and countless bike lanes and sharrows sprouting up all over town, it looks like SaMo may finally deserve that Bronze-level bike-friendly community designation I railed against when it was first announced a few years back.

I may or may not have been right back then. But these days, they’ve not only earned it, but probably deserve a promotion to the next level.

Now if they could just do something about the hordes of pedestrians that make the beachfront bike path virtually unridable during summer months, weekends and holidays.

Baby steps, I know.

And while we’re in SaMo, the Spoke urges you to support triple bus bike rack legislation.

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Recover from June’s L.A. River Ride with a laid-back bike, brunch and beer ride the following weekend. The first annual B3 charity bike ride will raise funds for the Pablove Foundation with beer and food specials, while making a loop between Golden Road Brewing, Tony’s Darts Away and Mohawk Bend.

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A few press releases and announcements that crossed my inbox this week.

GripRings allow you to mix and match your choice of 12 brightly colored rings for your flat handlebar grips. You can get a set by contributing $20 to their Kickstarter page.

Registering your bike can dramatically increase your chances of getting it back if it’s ever stolen. I’m a fan of Bike Shepherd, which offers free bike registration and stolen bike reporting, with optional tamper-proof tags available for purchase. Now Bike Guard offers free registration and free tags, as well as free notification if your bike is recovered. According to their website, they’re just bike lovers who work in the industry and are tired of seeing stolen and stripped bikes.

Classic 70s-style Solo jersey drip drying in the shower after the one and only chance I've had to wear it.

Dutch-style cycling wear manufacturer Road Holland invites you to vote on their bike photo contest; winner gets a free jersey.

My review of a very cool retro-style riding jersey from Solo Cycle Clothing has been delayed by my inability to get out on my bike the past couple weeks. However, in the meantime, you can still take advantage of their special offer; buy any Solo Classique Jersey, enter the code GILET50 and get a Solo Equipe Gilet for half price.

And Santa Monica’s Cynergy Cycles is holding a Spring Classic Sale this weekend.

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The L.A. Circuit Race rolls this Sunday just north of LAX. Bicycle Kitchen needs just under $22,000 in the next eight days to buy a new permanent home. KCRW traffic maven Kajon Cermak takes on the hit-and-run epidemic; it’s time for all L.A. media outlets to take up the fight. Joe Linton calls out LADOT for a mistaken (cough cough) answer to a 13-year old student who asked for bike lanes so he can safely ride to school; his response gets noticed outside the bike community. The LACBC takes a hard look at the city’s promised new bike share program; this is how it could look in Westwood. Battling Beverly Hills bicyclist Mark Elliot fights for a Complete Streets approach to rebuilding Santa Monica Blvd through the city — and may actually have won the day. Richard Risemberg says nothing but good can come from expanding CicLAvia to new areas of the city; even without it, neighborhoods like NoHo can be great places to ride. Meanwhile, LADOT can’t wait for the next one; neither can I, since I missed this one. A 14-year old Monterey Park rider is critically injured in a solo fall after he’s unable to control his brakeless bike on a downhill, landing head first without a helmet. Azuza police accuse a 20-year old cyclist of staging collisions for a quick financial payout, proving that bike-hating drivers who accuse us all of doing exactly that aren’t entirely crazy after all; thanks to Rex Reese for the tip (and best wishes for a speedy recovery). Pomona begins work on a new bike master plan this Thursday; Claremont Cyclist says that means it’s time for LaVerne to mind the gap.

When the overly timid Newport Beach Bike Safety Committee said there’s no proof PCH is dangerous, local cyclists got the data to prove them wrong; thanks to David Huntsman for the link. San Diego cyclists remember Charles Gilbreth, who was killed on Montezuma Road this past Wednesday; the executive director of SDCBC calls for action, while KBPS reporter Tom Fudge looks back on his nearly fatal collision in the same area, nearly five years ago to the day. A Danville high school student says just let me ride my bike in peace.

The Catch-22 of funding bike projects with gas taxes. People for Bikes explores Portland’s innovative bike network, while the city’s new buffered bike lanes work great — for drivers, if not the cyclists they were intended for. Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, was injured in a solo bike crash after taking a corner too fast. Colorado cyclists will now have a chance to ride the flatlands, although that the late date could mean riding through an early plains blizzard. Nebraska is the latest state to pass a three — or more — foot passing law. Ohio’s bike lawyer says the reason people run from collisions is because it pays. NYPD continues to stonewall the family of New York bike victim Mathieu Lefevre, while CNN asks if the department’s refusal to investigate bike collisions — not accidents — is getting ugly; thanks to Don Blount for the heads-up. A cyclist and philanthropist pledges $40 million to build a Brooklyn velodrome. President Obama welcomes the Wounded Warriors to the White House. LSU will host this weekend’s conference road cycling championships; a far cry from when I lived near campus and got run off the road on a semi-regular basis. A Florida cyclist faces arrest — and hospitalization — after punching through a window, apparently in retaliation for falling off a retention wall; no, it doesn’t make sense to me, either.

After encouraging his drivers to illegally use bus-only lanes, the owner of a London cab company says bike lanes are impractical for the city and cyclists can expect to get hit — by his cabs, no doubt — and probably while driving in a lane intended for buses. A candidate for London mayor says current Mayor BoJo is getting cyclists killed. The Institute of Mechanical Engineers calls for mandatory blind spot sensors for all UK buses and large trucks; something we could use over here, as well. Disgraced pro cyclist Riccardo Ricco gets a 12-year suspension for last year’s botched transfusion. A traveling cdm Cyclist says bikes make a fashion statement — even in Red Square; meanwhile, the Moscow branch of the Department of DIY takes matters into their own brushes.

Finally, once again a jackass driver reacts to the death of a cyclist by claiming — incorrectly — that we don’t belong on the roads because we don’t pay for them, while a like-minded jerk motorist insists it’s up to us to share the road with them — and as usual, gets the law wrong by demanding that we ride as far right as possible.

Funny how tragedy brings out the best in some people.

A campus full of steal-able bikes at USC may be a sign of bigger problems

Just a small fraction of the bikes I saw on campus.

Yesterday, I found myself on the University of Southern California campus for the first time.

While crosstown rival UCLA has earned honors as a bronze-level Bike-Friendly University  (pdf) — which may have something to do with their dramatic decrease in vehicular traffic — USC has struggled with the issue of bikes on campus.

But don’t call it a problem, please.

Cars on and around campus are a problem. Getting students onto campus from outlying areas is a problem.

Bikes are a big part of the solution, by allowing students to leave their cars at home and still have the independent mobility they need to get to class on time. As well as to their jobs and other sites throughout the city.

In fact, a full 80% of USC students consider themselves cyclists. Which has reportedly led to the usual, seemingly inevitable conflicts as riders and pedestrians vie for space on a campus that has long considered bikes an afterthought.

If they thought about them at all, that is.

The good news is, the university is working on a bike plan as we speak, with the next workshop scheduled for April 19th. The bad news, I’m told the plan calls for building bike garages on the four corners of the university, followed by banning bikes from the campus itself.

So if you’re running late for class, you’d better plan on running.

Now there’s an intelligent solution for you.

Instead of designing well thought-out bikeways into the fabric of the campus, they may banish bikes while continuing to invite cars into a massive parking garage in the heart of the university. How about building parking garages on the edges of campus, and letting drivers walk for a change?

Of course, this is all third-hand information, at best. Maybe we should plan on attending that workshop on the 19th and find out for ourselves what’s really going there.

In the meantime, a simple walk around campus showed an abundance of bikes everywhere. As well as a decided lack of bike racks.

And many of those were the old-fashioned, minimally secure and often damaging wheel-bender type — all of which were completely full.

As a result, there were hundreds, if not thousands, of bikes lying unsecured on sidewalks or leaning up against buildings and trees.

Many of those were unlocked; most that weren’t just had a U-lock attached to the front wheel, making them easy to pick up and walk off with. Even those that were locked to a rack were usually secured by the front wheel only.

Had I wanted to steal a bike — or a hundred bikes — I could have had my pick.

And then our guide mentioned in passing that bike theft was the biggest crime problem at USC.

Funny, I could have told her that.

While UCLA is far from perfect, they’ve made a point of building secure bike parking throughout the university, from secure U-racks and bike corrals to reservable bike lockers – something USC could accomplish before the end of this semester if they really wanted to do something about the theft problem.

While the lack of secure parking is a real problem, the students themselves need to learn to lock their bikes securely.

Your lock should at least secure your rear wheel and the rear triangle of the frame; ideally, it should secure the front wheel, as well. Especially if you have quick release wheels.

My approach is to remove my front wheel and secure it, as well as the rear wheel and frame to the rack with a sturdy U-lock.

Then again, it’s not just cyclists who seem to have issue with parking.

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It looks like I may have been taken in.

On Monday, I published a guest post by a writer named Brooke Kerwin.

Now Kevin Jones of the SafetyAtWorkBlog reports that he has been approached by Kerwin, as well. And that she may not be who she seems — if she exists at all.

Rather, he suspects that it may be an attempt to promote a site about distracted driving run by a Florida lawyer. And notes that virtually every article she writes links back to that same site.

It has all the hallmarks of a particularly devious SEO marketing campaign. And I apparently fell for it, along with a number of other people.

I won’t include a link to that site here, because I don’t believe in rewarding such illicit attempts to use this site to market a product or website. But you can find it yourself at distracted driving help dot com.

I’ll leave the post up, since it has some useful information.

But I’ve removed the links she included, two of which just linked back to my site, anyway.

Breaking News: cross-country cyclist and blogger killed in Florida was former USC Athletic Dept staffer

Former USC staff member Roger Grooters; photo from LSU's Cox Communications Academic Center for Student-Athletes

An already heart-breaking story just hit closer to home.

Yesterday, I mentioned that a 66-year old cyclist was killed in Florida on Wednesday while on a cross-country bike ride to raise funds for Gulf oil spill victims; tragically, he had blogged about his ride just the night before he died.

Now it turns out that the victim, Roger Grooters, was the former Director of Student Athlete-Academic Services at USC before leaving to work at LSU.

I had mistakenly said he was living in Gulf Shores, Alabama at the time of his death; he was actually living in Gulf Breeze, Florida, and had visited his home and church the weekend before his death.

Funeral services will be held Monday in Gulf Breeze.

USC officials ban bikes from campus; more enlightened UCLA wins Metro award

You don’t have to go to Blackhawk, Colorado or  St. Charles County, Missouri to find misguided leaders banning — or attempting to ban — bikes.

You only have to go as far as the University of Southern California campus.

Just days after a writer in the school’s Daily Trojan called on university officials to develop a more effective way of dealing with USC’s estimated 10,000 to 15,000 bikes a day, Dr. Charles E. Lane, Associate Senior Vice President for Career and Protective Services, responded in typically kneejerk fashion by banning bikes from the two major pedestrian thoroughfares on campus — one of which is listed as a bike lane on Metro’s new bike map.

It’s not that careless riding isn’t a problem. In fact, in a story about the ban, LADOT Bike Blog reports that a majority of students surveyed claimed to have been hit by a bike two or less times in the past year. Although the same study also shows that a majority of students feel bike congestion on campus is average or not a problem.

But the solution isn’t banning bikes. Especially not by an institution dedicated to higher education.

As LADOT BB and the Daily Trojan both point out, the problem isn’t bikes, or even the high number of bikes on campus. It’s the university’s complete and total failure to do anything to accommodate bikes or educate students on how to ride safely.

But instead of doing something about it — just what part of education don’t they understand? — they respond by banning bikes from a large segment of the school, and asking incoming freshmen to leave their bikes at home.

Then again, this is the same school that ticketed cyclists for riding in the crosswalk — even though that’s legal anywhere it’s legal to ride on the sidewalk.

Like L.A., for instance.

Now contrast USC’s bike ban with archrival UCLA, which actually encourages students and employees to ride to campus, and gives them secure places to park once they get there. Not to mention all the other schools that are busy implementing their own bike share programs, not banning them.

For a school that claims to be a leading educational institution, USC gets an F in transportation planning.

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Congratulations to the far more bike-friendly UCLA Transportation and the UCLA Sustainable Resource Center, who will be honored tonight for their short film Bike-U-mentary.

Directed by Brent Parnell, it looks at Herbie Huff and Mihai Peteu, campus bike commuters active in L.A.’s cycling community, and offers their perspectives on riding to campus and how to get started with bike commuting in the Los Angeles area.

The film will receive a Metro Rideshare Diamond Award at a ceremony this evening.

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The League of American Bicyclists is out with their latest list of Bicycle Friendly Communities.

Davis remains the only city in California to earn Platinum Status, along with Boulder CO and Portland OR. Palo Alto, San Francisco and Stanford University — not USC — remain Gold, while Folsom, the Presidio of San Francisco, San Louis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz are Silver. Long Beach and Santa Monica retain the Bronze status, along with Thousand Oaks, Irvine, Riverside, Santa Clarita. Honorable Mention goes to Menlo Park, Merced, North Lake and Palm Desert.

Los Angeles evidently remains in the dishonorable category, despite our Mayor’s Road to Damascus — or in this case, Culver City — conversion to bicycle advocate.

And don’t get me started on those Trojans.

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Joaquin Rodriguez enjoys the red leader’s jersey on Vuelta’s Tuesday rest day, then loses it in a disastrous time trial as Vincenzo Nibali survives a wheel change to claim the lead. And this year’s Tour of Britain turns into absolute carnage.

A new website says Lance Armstrong needs your help to fight doping allegations; isn’t that the approach Floyd Landis took? Meanwhile, Armstrong’s Team RadioShack gets a belated invitation to the Tour of Lombardy.

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Santa Monica’s Agensys development is approved with no bike path, though the City Council did toss in a few bucks to ease the pain. L.A City Council candidate Stephen Box takes current Councilmember Greig Smith for overreacting to complaints about new bike lanes on Wilbur Ave, and LADOT for not doing enough to avoid the problem. LADOT Bike Blog concludes its study of sidewalk riding in Los Angeles County with a look at the eastern San Gabriel Valley; evidently, the Claremont Cyclist is on his own. Streetsblog offers a photo tour of Long Beach’s new Vista Street bike boulevard. Authorities continue to investigate the woman who switched seats with her drunk boyfriend and drove away after he killed a German cyclist in San Francisco. The U.S. Department of Transportation is planning a Distracted Driving Summit on Tuesday the 21st, with online access for those of us at work or home. Time looks at where the transportation stimulus funds went. More women now bike in New York. If an angry driver would murder someone over a speed bump, what would they do over a road diet — or God forbid, a bike boulevard? The inaugural Crooked Roubaix takes riders on dirt roads through the Colorado high country at up to 10,000 feet elevation and temperatures as low as the 20s; hopefully they read these tips on fall riding wear. A Portland school reverses a ban on biking and encourages riding to class. The Guardian asks why a woman on a bike has to deal with sexual comments from jerks. Bike friendly Nottingham has been named England’s least car-dependant city, while Southport offers a bike-friendly escape for vacationing Brits. Rescued by a knight in shiny red overalls with a tire pump. Feast your eyes on the new 2011 Pinarellos and the Canyon Strive enduro bike.

Finally, a new campaign warns London cyclists of the dangers posed by large trucks but may only discourage people from riding, while cyclists launch their own campaign to get dangerous trucks off the streets.

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