A succinct summary of why San Diego kinda sucks for cyclists, and a massively growing list of biking events

Lately, San Diego cycling has been in the news far too often and for all the wrong reasons.

The city and surrounding areas have continued their unacceptably high average of a bike fatality a month over the past 16 months, including the recent deaths of David Ortiz and Chuck Gilbreth.

Yet the local police seem to think drivers can’t be held accountable if they don’t have to scrape the rider’s remains off the road.

The city seems to have a problem with inattentive drivers, exacerbated by surface streets designed like mini-freeways for maximum motor vehicle speed.

I recently received an email from a rider who goes by the nom de bike of gottobike, who succinctly summed up the situation in San Diego, and which I wanted to share with you.

San Diego has beautiful weather for year around cycling; however, the streets and highways are far from safe and the San Diego Police Departments policy on enforcing laws to protect cyclists is basically “no autopsy, no foul”.

In pursuit of higher levels of service for motorized traffic, bicycle and pedestrian access has been designed out of most of our local streets and highways. One of the deadliest traffic designs that has gained favor amongst San Diego traffic engineers is the extremely long merge tapers for transitioning from city street to freeway. These are essentially extended death zones for cyclists, especially with the abundance of aggressive / incompetent / malicious motorists that we face every day.

We do have a few nice cycling areas; however, these are largely located in wealthy neighborhoods far from places of employment and are best enjoyed on weekend sport rides.

San Diego can be nice for the spandex and carbon recreational cyclist; however, for the daily commuter San Diego is a dangerous and toxic no man’s land.



Bike Talk airs every Saturday at 10 am; listen to it live or download the podcast from KPFK.

Bike Long Beach hosts Bike Saturdays every weekend; ride your bike to participating local shops and business throughout the city to get special offers and discounts.

The annual BikeFest Tour of Long Beach rolls on Saturday, May 5th, with rides of 31 and 62 miles, as well as a Gran Fondo, and day-long bike festival; proceeds support pediatric cancer research at Miller Children’s Hospital of Long Beach. I wish just once they wouldn’t schedule around my anniversary so I could go.

This Saturday will see a free Tour de Palmdale Poker Run Fun Bike Ride to celebrate the city’s hosting of the 6th Stage of the Amgen Tour of California. Riders will meet at Marie Kerr Park, 2723 Rancho Vista, and ride a 30 mile course through the city, picking up a playing card at each stop; the one with the best poker hand at the end of the ride wins. Thanks to Michele Chavez for the tip.

Saturday, May 5th, Culver City’s Walk ‘n Rollers will host a free Kids Bike Safety Festival at El Marino Language School, 11450 Port Rd, from 10 am to 3 pm to teach children how to ride their bikes safely and encourage them to bike to school more often.

The Eastside’s Ovarian-Psycos Bicycle Brigade will celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a women-only full moon ride kicking off at 5 pm at Proyecto Jardin, 1718 Bridge Street.

This month’s LACBC Sunday Funday ride sounds like fun, as board member Greg Laemmle leads a pair of rides exploring L.A.’s historic trains and stations on Sunday, May 6th. The main route will offer a mostly flat, moderately paced 25 mile ride starting at the Union Station courtyard, 800 N. Alameda at 10 am; this will meet up with a 10 mile ride starting at Glendale Train Station, 400 West Cerritos Ave, at noon.

The L.A. River bike path will be closed for a 5K Fun Run from 4 am to 11 am on Sunday, May 6th, between Los Feliz Blvd and Marsh Park.

It might be worth the long drive to Davis CA for the first ever Legends Gran Fondo sponsored by the United States Bicycling Hall of Fame on May 6th, featuring America’s first Tour de France winner Greg LeMond — the man whose name is on my bike —  as well as former World Champion Ruthie Mathes, Olympic silver medalist Nelson Vails, and other members of the Hall of Fame.

You’re invited to participate in a live webcast with pro cyclist Levi Leipheimer at 1:30 pm on Monday, May 7th. The webcast is open to the public; however, you must have a Ustream profile or log-in using your Twitter account in order to join the live chat, or ask questions using your Facebook account. And if Levi likes your question, you’ll win a limited edition Levi poster from CLIF Bar.

Beverly Hills will hold a final public hearing on the city’s proposed bike pilot bicycle routes during a special meeting of the city’s Traffic & Parking Commission at 7 pm on Wednesday, May 9th in the Beverly Hills City Hall, 455 N. Rexford Drive, Room 280A.

L.A. Streetsblog holds it’s third annual fundraiser at Eco-Village116 Bimini Place on Friday, May 11th starting at 6 pm; admission is $25 on a sliding scale based on ability to pay.

May is Bike Month. The first National Bike to School Day is scheduled for May 9th, with National Bike to Work Week taking place on May 14th through 18th, and National Bike to Work Day on Friday the 18th.

Here in L.A., Bike Week kicks off at 10 am Monday, May 14th at Expo Park/USC Station, which is also the starting point for the Expo/Mid-City Bike Ride starting at 8 am. Good Samaritan Hospital’s annual Blessing of the Bicycles will take place on Tuesday, May 15th from 8 am to 9:30 am in front of the hospital at 1225 Wilshire Blvd; expect a great breakfast and bike swag, with non-sectarian bike blessings from virtually every faith found in L.A. Bike to Work Day is Thursday, May 17th, with Bike to School Day on Friday, May 18th.

Pasadena offers a busy Bike Week as well, with rides ranging from A Taste of Pasadena and Ladies Night, to a Mayor’s Ride and Bike-In Movie Night from Monday the 14th through Saturday the 19th. Check with CICLE.org for more rides and full details.

The annual Ride of Silence takes place in the middle of Bike Week on Wednesday, May 16th, with Southern California rides in Irvine, Pasadena, Rancho Cucamonga, Carlsbad, Temecula, Thousand Oaks and Ventura; a ride will be held in Oxnard in memory of six-year old Anthony Martinez Jr.

The Amgen Tour of California will kick off with the first of eight stages on Sunday, May 13th in Santa Rosa, with Southern California stages from Palmdale to Big Bear on Friday, May 15th — where you can enjoy the full VIP experience, including free cowbell — Ontario to Mt. Baldy on Saturday the 19th, and the final stage from Beverly Hills to L.A. Live on Sunday, May 20th.

The Culver City Bicycle Coalition is looking for volunteers for the city’s bike count on Saturday, May 19th and Wednesday, May 23rd.

Ride the Downtown leg of the Amgen ToC final stage with the Nissan Ride Before the Pros on Sunday the 20th. Riders of all ability levels are invited to ride the 5-mile closed circuit from 8 am to 9:30 am starting at Staples Center. Think of it as a mini-CicLAvia; free registration required.

Also on the Sunday the 20th, the younger set can join in the inaugural Kidical Mass Bixby Knolls bike ride, from 1 to 3 pm beginning and ending at Los Cerritos Park in Long Beach. The four mile ride will be led by Long Beach Bike Ambassador and Olympic cyclist Tony Cruz, and feature complimentary ice cream, music, free tune ups, yoga demonstrations and a blessing of the bicycles.

Anyone who rides PCH — or would like to — is invited attend a meeting discussing design of the Pacific Coast Bike Route Improvements Project between Busch Drive and the western Malibu city limit. The meeting is scheduled for 6 pm to 8 pm on Wednesday, May 23rd in the Multi-Purpose Room at Malibu City Hall, 23825 Stuart Ranch Road. Note that the meeting has been moved from Saturday the 19th; the Saturday meeting has been cancelled.

The Palms Neighborhood Council will host their 19th Annual Bike Rodeo on Saturday, June 2nd from 10 am to 2 pm at Palms Elementary School, 3520 Motor Ave. The event is free for Palms residents and children attending Palms area schools.

L.A.’s favorite fundraising bike ride rolls out on Sunday, June 10th with the 12th Annual L.A. River Ride; this one just keeps getting bigger and better every year. Six different rides, from an easy family ride to a fast, flat century. Funds go to support the LACBC in building a better, more bikeable L.A. County; save $10 if you register by May 15th.

Recover from The L.A. River Ride with a laid-back bike, brunch and beer ride the following Saturday, June 16th. 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 BrewingTony’s Darts Away and Mohawk Bend.

Sunday, July 1st, Shuntain Thomas, the Real Rydaz and We Are Responsible People (WARP) will host a ride through the streets of South Los Angeles to raise attention to the problem of childhood obesity and streets as recreational space. The ride starts at 10 am at Exposition Park, and ends at a street festival at 86th Street and Vermont Avenue.

Bikes are normally banned from the famed San Diego – Coronado Bay Bridge, but you can ride it on Sunday, August 26th, during the 5th Annual Bike the Bay, to benefit the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition. Get an early registration discount through April 30th.

Early registration has opened for the national Pro Walk/Pro Bike® conference to be held September 10th through 13th in Long Beach. The 17th annual conference is sponsored by the National Center for Bicycling and Walking, and Project for Public Spaces.

This year’s Tour de Fat will take place on Saturday, September 15th at Los Angeles State Historic Park — and this time, it’s not scheduled on the Jewish high holidays, so everyone can attend.

Mark your calendar for the next CicLAvia from 10 am to 3 pm on October 14th; more details to follow.

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