Today’s post, in which I’m blindsided by a former friend

Alex Thompson makes his feelings clear.


You’ll have to excuse me, but for once, I don’t even know what to say. Until recently, I considered Alex Thompson a friend and an ally in making the city’s streets safer for cyclists.

I say until recently, because he’s made it clear that’s no longer the case.

His choice, not mine.

I respect Alex. I liked Alex. I’ve supported his efforts at Bikeside and linked to his commentary; even when on those rare occasions when I’ve personally disagreed with his comments, I felt they were worth wider consideration.

And I’m linking to him today, as he unveils the first in what he promises will be a five part attack on some of the things I’ve written, as well as on me personally.

I don’t intend to get into an online flame war; that’s one of the things I hate most about the internet. And while I disagree with much of what he has to say this morning, I don’t think you’re interested in a point-by-point rebuttal.

So I wish Alex well.

If he really wants to attack me, then fire away.


Stephen Box criticizes LADOT’s new sharrows for placing cyclists in the door zone, and allowing drivers to pass too closely; oddly, he seems to hold the LACBC somehow accountable for LADOT’s engineering. Meanwhile, BAC Chair Glenn Bailey notes in an email that LADOT didn’t bother to inform the city’s own Bicycle Advisory Committee about the sharrows, and that, for now at least, they only stretch for about half a mile and on just one side of Fountain.

Oh, and watch out for those potholes.


Graduation cycle chic at Caltech. New York cyclists envy our newfound relationship with the LAPD. The RAAM leaders hit Trinidad CO three days into the race, one-third of the way across the country. Instead of just fighting a new law, some Florida cyclists want to ban bike lanes all together. Two thousand riders will spend the next week riding the Rockies. $2.4 million settlement for cyclist killed after hitting a lane divider that shouldn’t have been used. After a cyclist is killed, local residents demand that the speed limit be cut in half — even though her death had nothing to do with cars or speed. Riding in style in Savannah. A mother questions whether bicycling is too dangerous for her kids. Dave Moulton looks at the bicycling, reiki practicing road-rage driver who intentionally struck four cyclists in San Francisco. Alberto Contador studies Lance and Pantani to see how it’s done, then rides out to conquer Alpe d’Huez in the Dauphine. While other cities get parking protected bike lanes, Copenhagen gets bike-parking protected bike lanes. After a Swedish cyclist is intentionally struck by a driver, the rider faces charges for riding in the roadway. A law-abiding Critical Mass comes to Moose Jaw. Dubai plans to empty the roads of inattentive and unsafe drivers.

Finally, a look at World Naked Bike Ride around the globe, including London, Ottawa, Toronto and Halifax.


  1. Chewie says:

    Really? A bike activist civil war? I thought the problem was unsafe roads, encouraging more people to ride, educating law enforcement, putting pressure on electeds and finding ways to spread the word.

    I don’t think many people care about nuances beyond that, or who goes to the most meetings.

    Frankly, I think it’s a victory that people are even writing about this at all, and it seems a bit silly to focus so much on minor differences instead of uniting for better cycling conditions.

    • bikinginla says:

      I agree, Chewie. I can assure you, it’s going to be a one-sided civil war. I’d much rather fight the problems we face rather than each other.

      • I didn’t see your coverage of my experience at the Kitchen as referring to Bike Co-Ops exclusively. What I read was that you were including my experience and your own story to ask a question to the bike community/industry as a whole. I don’t know where Alex gets that you were facing off with Bike Co-Ops. And for the record, neither was I. I was talking about a recurring pattern at the Kitchen, specifically.

  2. Digital Dame says:

    I’m flabbergasted. What does he hope to achieve by this? If he had problems with your positions on things, why take it to the net? Why not talk with you personally? If he disagrees with you, fine, he has his own blog (apparently) where he can voice his own opinions. This is like playground antics.

  3. Todd says:

    Had the chance to make use of the Sharrows twice on Saturday night and saw absolutely nothing to complain about. I think they will turn out to be a tremendous asset.

    I frequently ride on Fountain (several times a week for the last decade)and the stretch between Vermont and Western is the worst stretch from Silverlake to West Hollywood because of the mix of a narrow street filled with impatient… and inattentive (people).

    Sharrows on the road will only reinforce the fact that bikes do belong on the street.

    Keep up the good work.

  4. Kevin says:

    “I thought the problem was unsafe roads, encouraging more people to ride, educating law enforcement, putting pressure on electeds and finding ways to spread the word.” Chewie has it right. Also, glad to hear from Todd that he’s liking the Sharrows. It’s a good way to start a week… with kudos rather than criticisms.

  5. John says:

    “… a narrow street filled with impatient Armenians …”

    Which “impatient Armenians,” the ones I ride with to get mezes at Carousel? Maybe the Armenian National Champion racer who owns Velo Pasadena, one of the best bike shops in the area?

    • bikinginla says:

      Thanks, John. With everything else going on, I missed that reference. I make it a policy not to allow negative ethnic references on here — I apologize to you and anyone else who may have been offended.

  6. Opus the Poet says:

    The Soapbox in LA blog is closed, according to Blogger. Nothing there, even the archives are gone. Maybe the wayback machine still has it?

  7. todd says:

    In my previous comment, I meant no ill will towards any particular ethnicity or religion. I was simply trying to create a more vivid description to what I perceive to be the two major hazards on that stretch of Fountain based on years of personal experience. It certainly was not meant to be degrading and I apologize for presenting it in such a manner.

    • bikinginla says:

      I didn’t really think you did, Todd. But ethnicity is kind of a touchy subject here in L.A., so you never know when someone will take offense at a comment that was meant in jest. And as long as I was editing that remark, I figured I might as well delete the religious reference, too.

      After all, you never know if Tom Cruise might reading.

  8. ubrayj02 says:

    Thompson needs a hug, a nap, a good meal, or a stern talking to about picking his fights judiciously. Maybe all of the above.

  9. If Alex disagrees with your assertions of Fisher, then why didn’t he say so, right here on your blog? As a reader of both you and Alex, his article seems very much like a personal attack if he couldn’t be bothered to state his disagreement here. I notice he didn’t comment on the other post he mentions either.

  10. @ubrayj02

    I found your blog quite by accident. I was looking a bikeside to read about something else & saw the ridiculous attack piece on you. I tried to write a thoughtful critique of Alex’s piece based on some of his statements and some past experience with him and he quickly decided to censor my post and my follow ups. Then rationalized to his readers that my comments were personal attacks (as per his brand new comment criteria).

    Long story short. I look forward to reading you more now that I know that you are here. Anybody important enough to receive a full scale attack from alex must be worth reading! 🙂

    • bikinginla says:

      Welcome aboard, Patrick. And thanks for the best smile I’ve had in two days!

  11. danceralamode says:

    Ted, another commenter and myself are actually having an interesting discussion about the way you chose to frame my Bicycle Kitchen story. If you can stomach it, would you mind visiting the Bikeside blog and (ignoring Alex)answering some questions for us? The conversation is around the 40 comment mark between myself and a Greg Thomas.

    • danceralamode says:

      I also understand if you don’t want to. These kinds of discussions (the real discussions) are interesting me as I learn more about the blogosphere.

      • bikinginla says:

        40? Oy vey.

        I’ll take a look and see if there’s anything I can contribute without starting WWIII.

        • danceralamode says:

          Maybe it’s not worth it. But I’d like to show that a worthwhile debate about how we blog or questions about how we blog can be answered. Maybe something positive can come of all this? Or maybe I’m hoping for too much. Again, it might not be worth it. You know how idealistic I can be.

          • bikinginla says:

            Never lose that idealism, Amanda; that’s one of your most charming qualities.

            I’ve responded to the discussion, for what it’s worth. But look quickly, before it gets censored as a “personal attack.”

            • danceralamode says:

              Yeah, I think your enemy number 1 and I’m enemy number 2. I saw it though!

            • danceralamode says:

              Maybe it’s the wine and pizza I’m enjoying for dinner, but the “et tu, Brute” totally made my day.

              You know, no blogger is perfect. From my side of the coin, I blog to share my experiences with the world. If I get something wrong, or if I misinterpret something, put it in my comments section (as you say). I try to be as fair as possible, regardless of my personal feelings, on approving people’s posts. As long as it’s not too obscene, I approve it. If you look at my blog, you’ll see a lot of insults hurled my way. Alex is willfully misconstruing what is a personal attack so no one can say anything about what he has written and how he writes, which is ironic, because that’s exactly what he wants to criticize about you.

              You’re not perfect, I’m not perfect, Alex isn’t perfect. No blogger is perfect. But attacking each other when all we want is the same thing? So pointless. How does in-fighting get ANYTHING done?Okay, I’m done rambling off aimlessly now.

  12. danceralamode says:

    Patrick aka Trickmilla! I haven’t gotten a full-scale attack yet, but definitely an attack. How do I rank? Lol!

  13. Nancy says:

    I appreciate your blog. Please don’t stop advocating for bicyclists because someone finds your posts to be less than 100% correct, and feels he needs to prove something!

  14. bikinginla says:

    Thank you, Nancy, and everyone else who has voiced their support in this matter.

    This is not going to make me quit. If these attacks show that I have made any errors, I will correct them on here, just as I have when anyone else has pointed out something I may have gotten wrong. If not, I trust that my readers, and the larger biking community, will see it for it is.

    I do think it’s tragic that some people feel it’s more important to divide the biking community by attacking those who agree with them on most matters, rather than fighting the real problems that prevent safe cycling in Los Angeles. We are far stronger when we fight together rather than amongst ourselves.

  15. Will Campbell says:

    Rather than harsh on anyone, I’m just going to point out that Ted and Alex are awesome assets to the bike community and I hope this infighting stops and they both continue to make Los Angeles a better place to bike.

    • bikinginla says:

      I agree, Will. I can’t see how anyone gains from this.

      And thanks for the kind words.

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