Archive for December 30, 2012

Presenting a passel of bike links to close out your 2012 reading, and a brief New Years warning

Welcome to the end of yet another year, with the promise that somehow, tomorrow will be different.

Numerically, at least.

Assuming we all get there.

Think of New Years Eve as the world championships of over-drinking. And almost everyone is in on the competition.

A lot of people will have the day off, and may start drinking — and yes, driving — by midday; others will get off from work early and head straight for the nearest bar, if they don’t start drinking at lunch.

From noon on, you can safely assume many, if not most, of the drivers you see will have had one or more for the road. And if you ride tonight, assume every motorist on the streets will have been drinking, if not actually drunk.

You won’t be far off.

So ride carefully, and extra defensively, at all times.

And no, I’m not kidding. I want to see you back here next year, in one piece.


If you’re going out tonight, walk, take a cab or catch a free ride on any Metro bus or train. Or if you insist on driving, consider a free tow to get back home.

Or ride a bike.

Yes, drunk bicycling is illegal here in California. But the penalty is nowhere near as stiff as a DUI, and won’t count against your license.

Granted, you might kill yourself riding home under the influence.

But at least you’re not likely to take anyone with you, unlike those who insist on pouring themselves behind the wheel.

And no, I have no sympathy for anyone who gets busted for DUI.

And a hell of a lot less for anyone who kills or injures another person because they’ve been drinking.

Seriously, don’t be that guy. Or girl.


Apathy may be the biggest obstacle facing L.A.’s 2013 mayoral candidates; at least one voter wants more bike lanes in Wilmington. The Army Corps of Engineers unexpectedly razes a section of the Sepulveda Basin, a popular Valley biking destination. The Bicycle Kitchen wants your help deciding what color to paint itself. If only more merchants realized their customers don’t always come by car. C.I.C.L.E. hosts a class for traffic-averse cyclists next month. Memorable things happen when you ride a bike. Friends hold a successful Frisbee golf fundraiser for injured Canyon Country cyclist Kevin Korenthal. A new DMV study shows unlicensed and suspended drivers are three times as likely to cause a fatal crash. Carlsbad cyclists are startled to see Superman flying past — yes, Superman. The joys of riding at night. Cyclelicious is giving away books on bikes starting Wednesday.

Bicycling lists five things cyclists should have in their cars; bike riders need cars? Turns out Kirsten Dunst is one of us. Baton Rouge has tripled its bike lane mileage in just three years; I don’t think they had any when I lived down there a few decades back. Memphis aims to be friendly to bikes as well as blues. A cyclist is killed in the other Hollywood on Sunday. Three cyclists rammed by a car in South Florida last week say it could have been a lot worse. Tampa Bay sees a big jump in bicycling deaths this year. Continuing today’s Florida theme, a cyclist is intentionally pushed to the ground by a bike lane-walking pedestrian.

Riding a bike on Sunday was once seen as a road straight to hell. The UK needs to maintain momentum now that cycling is reaching critical mass (lower case, please), even while the country sees soaring sales of black market bicycles. British cyclists move a house by bike. Cyclists push for road safety in Greenwich. Leicestershire drivers ignore an injured cyclist lying on the roadside. Walking and biking are on a dangerous arc in Scotland, as fatalities could soon surpass those of motor vehicles within a few years.

Finally, helmets are evidently now required for every waking activity. And an Italian judge says cyclists are scruple-less, because we cheat and steal low-quality drugs. So make a resolution this year to only steal top-of-the-line pharmaceuticals.

You’re worth it.

Update: Homeless man dies in collision with bike on Santa Ana River Trail

The Orange County Register broke the news late last night that someone had been killed in a collision with a bicyclist on the popular Santa Ana River Trail yesterday evening.

The collision occurred on the trail around 6 pm just north of Atlanta Avenue; the victim was taken to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana, where he died an hour later. Initial reports were unclear whether the victim was another cyclist or a pedestrian.

This morning, a reliable anonymous source in a position to know wrote to clear up the confusion.

58-year-old pedestrian Johnathan Charles Coontz was struck and killed by a cyclist on the Santa Ana river trail in Huntington Beach yesterday evening. He was a homeless guy, the type who collect recyclables, and he usually had a bike that he used for transportation and collecting cans, so my guess (just guessin’ here) is that at the time of the collision, maybe he was pushing a heavily laden bike, either while scavenging, or while returning to his encampment.

Homeless camp out in the clumps of thick shrubbery along this stretch of path. It’s not a place I ride, but not because of the homeless, who generally keep to themselves.  It’s just dark, you need really bright lights and you need to look out for drunks crossing the path.

Still hoping to find out anything about the cyclist.

There was some initial confusion about jurisdiction, but CHP will be the investigating agency.

It’s rare that a collision with a bike results in death, but as this incident shows, it can happen — and has happened before — usually involving a pedestrian, through fatal collisions with other cyclists have occurred, as well.

The statistic I’ve heard is that roughly six people are killed each year nationwide as a result of collisions with bicycles; however, I don’t know where that stat came from or how valid it may be.

But it’s a reminder to ride carefully in areas where other people may be present. I’ve seen cyclists plow through crosswalks crowded with pedestrians, forcing people to dodge them to avoid being knocked down.

And you don’t want to be the one who has to live with something like this for the rest of your life. Which is not to suggest the cyclist is at fault in this collision; we have no way of knowing yet what happened in this case.

As this recent helmet cam video from Michael Eisenberg clearly shows, it’s not always the cyclist’s fault — in fact, he reports he likely would have hit the man if he hadn’t he slowed down to 8 mph in anticipation of pedestrians in the area.

Update: The Register confirms the identity of the victim, though they list his age as 58 — or possibly 52, judging from the headline — rather than 62, and say he was a resident of Costa Mesa.

According to the paper, Coontz was riding north on an Electra Cruiser when he drifted onto the southbound side of the trail, where he collided with another rider. The other cyclist, a 52-year old man from Midway City, was hospitalized, as well.

And let’s not discount the tragedy because he was apparently homeless at the time of his death. Many people have fallen on hard times in this troubled economy, for any number of reasons. Whatever combination of factors may have brought Coontz onto the streets, there are undoubtedly those who loved him, and will miss him.

Update 2: Koontz’s family and friends remember him as one of the best surfers in Newport Beach in the 1970s.

Please accept my prayers and condolences for Jonathan Coontz, and all his loved ones.

Tonight’s post, in which I say goodbye to a friend, and your pre-New Year’s weekend links

This is a sad night.

For the last 20 years, I’ve been friends with an older couple, the parents of one of my wife’s best friends; I’ve known them almost as long as I’ve known her.

For some reason, they both seemed to like me and never failed to make me welcome in their home; perhaps, in part, because I adored them.

This bike takes a woman in her 80s riding on the beach nearly every weekday.

This bike takes an 80-something woman riding on the beach nearly every weekday, pretty pink streamers and all.

She’s charming and beautiful and sharp as a whip, even in her 80s. And even in her 80s, took her folding bike to the beach every morning, where she’d find a much younger man to unload it from her car before cruising along the coast.

Or at least she did, until her husband took ill a few months back.

He was fascinating, one of the last surviving members of a generation who knew the last world war on a first name basis, with insights and stories that covered every one of the last nine decades. And yet, he seemed equally fascinated by mine — especially the ones that involved a bike, even though he had to give up physical things like that.

That’s because his big heart was borrowed from someone less fortunate after his gave out over 25 years ago, when life expectation for transplant patients was measured in years, not decades. He spent many of the days after that volunteering at Cedars Sinai, using himself as a model to show patients with newly transplanted organs just how rich their lives could be.

Today, his finally ended.

Yes, I’m sad. If you find any typos in today’s post, blame the tears that keep welling up as I write it.

But I’m glad his suffering of the last few months is finally over. Even more, that he more than made the most of a long, full life that could have ended in the 80s.

And most of all, that I had the chance to know him.

Goodbye, my friend.

The world is a poorer place today.


A cyclist — or maybe a pedestrian — was killed in a collision with a cyclist on the Santa Ana river trail Friday; more information was it becomes available.


The Orange County Sheriff’s Coroner Division says Newport Beach lifeguard Brian Gray didn’t die from a fall from his bike after all. But they didn’t conduct an autopsy, or offer any enlightenment on how or why he died.


A passing plumber rescues a bike riding 16 year-old girl before she could jump to her death onto the Hollywood Freeway. West Hollywood considers a bike share program, possibly joining in L.A.’s Bike Nation network. Padraig of Red Kite Prayer explores the undiscovered country of inland LA; funny how L.A.’s urban riders seldom visit the coast, and coastal riders seldom bike east. Boy on a Bike tells Pasadena to clean up its act. A Frisbee golf fundraiser is planned for Saturday to raise money for cyclist Kevin Korenthal, critically injured in a Canyon Country head-on collision. Long Beach’s biking expats are making their way back home to tour Central and Southern California.

Cyclelicious maps California bike crashes, with an appropriately ugly red blotch over Southern California. Bike Newport Beach looks back at a momentous year in the city, starting with trying to create some good from the tragic deaths of two women riders, and a critically injured third, in three separate collisions in just three days. April Morris, the woman behind the very successful Newport Beach Memorial Ride, has been named cdmCyclist’s Advocate of the Year; speaking of which, Monday is the final day you can donate to the ride fund. San Diego’s Nimitz Blvd gets buffered bike lanes, at least partway. A board member of the San Diego Citizens’ Review Board on Police Practices does everything but call Critical Mass an outlaw anarchist organization hell bent on destroying America; maybe he believes Agenda 21 makes riding a bicycle treason of the highest order. A fallen Thousand Oaks cyclist and physician will be honored on the Donate Life float in this year’s Rose Parade. A Ventura engineer designs his own touring bike and sells them out of his garage. San Francisco’s Valencia street poses a risk to cyclists; unlike every other street, I suppose. Ride through the scenic Marin Headlands.

Bicycling offers an online generator to tell you what to wear to suit the weather when you ride. Pelonton talks with Connie Carpenter, the only Olympic cycling champion I’ve ever ridden with. Rumor has it Grey’s Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey is abstaining from sex to focus on competitive cycling; yeah, right. Sprint offers an app to help stop distracted driving. AAA — the national one that supports bikes, unlike their local CA counterparts — calls for interlock devices for anyone convicted of drunk driving. Las Vegas physician commutes — and makes his rounds — by bike. Why do bikewear manufacturers insist on making women riders look ridiculous? Two Washington motorists are killed after mistakenly turning onto a bike path and plunging into a river. A Montana man is sentenced to five years in jail after nearly striking a cyclist and a pedestrian before his 7th DUI arrest; I guess the first six weren’t enough. What kind of wine goes with learning to fix flats? Maybe driving while drowsy should be against the law. Baton Rouge is getting more bike-friendly, thanks in part to the local bike advocacy group; compared to when I lived there, anything short of getting run off the road by rednecks and drunken frat boys would be friendlier. Visiting the bike embedded in a tree on Washington’s Vashon Island.

You can call him Sir Bradley Wiggins now. A British cyclist challenges his Parliament member to ride with him after he’s knocked off his bike twice in three months; surprisingly, she agrees. The London Guardian sues Lance Armstrong to get back the money they lost in a libel case over doping charges, while a UK writer says l’affaire Lance killed innocence in sports fans the world over; seriously, if you’re surprised that any pro cyclist doped, you haven’t been paying attention. Heartless thieves steal a British boy’s new bike on Christmas Day, while a hero postman rescues a paperboy’s stolen bike. Edinburgh cyclists get a new segregated bike path. An Irish man loves riding but hates his fellow cyclists. BMC pro rider Alessandro Ballan is out of intensive care, minus a spleen, following a high-speed crash. A Swedish bike group says failure to clear snow off bike paths first makes streets more dangerous for everyone. Japanese authorities confirm that 31-year old adventurer Haruhisa Watanabe was killed in a collision with a car while riding near the arctic circle in north western Russia. South African cycling made major strides in 2012, yet it remains a country of fearless, adventurous, thick-skinned and often eccentric cyclists. Careless Kiwi cyclists are criticized for posing a risk to other road users; the country averages less than 10 bicycling deaths a year, while I suspect the number of motorists killed by cyclists would be somewhat lower.

Finally, British police now believe a code-breaking, bike riding MI6 agent “probably” crawled into a suitcase dumped in a bathtub on his own, padlocked it from the outside and stayed there until his desiccated body was found weeks later.

British police also reportedly believe in the Easter Bunny, the Loch Ness Monster and Agenda 21.


New Years Eve is the year’s high holiday for drunks, and the weekend leading up to it isn’t much better. So assume that every driver you see has been drinking; chances are, you won’t be far off.

Reading between the lines — did California Governor Jerry Brown kill a bike rider with his pen?

Sometimes the irony is as tragic as it is overwhelming.

It was just a few years ago that the New Jersey Star-Ledger published an editorial ridiculing efforts to pass a three-foot passing law in the state — one day after printing a story proving the need for it.

The paper said that while they supported “protecting bicycle enthusiasts,” they feared a society in which drivers could get a ticket for passing a cyclist at just 2’11”, and called the proposed law unenforceable.

Pity they don’t read their own newspaper.

Just 24 hours earlier, they’d run a story about a 78-year old man who died after being passed so closely by a school bus that witnesses thought the driver had hit him. Police initially investigated the death as a hit-and-run before concluding that the bus never came in contact with the rider.

It just passed so closely that the rider, an experienced cyclist who averaged 5,000 miles a year on his bike, lost control and fell, fatally, off his bike.

Something a three-foot law might have prevented. Or at the very least, could have provided a basis to charge the bus driver for his death.

Now we have a very similar situation right here in California.

Except instead of an editorial providing an ironic context, we have the veto pen of a misguided governor to blame.

And instead of a 78-year old victim, it was a visiting professor at UC Berkeley who died when he was passed by a dump truck last July.

Israeli professor Shlomo Bentin, a renowned expert in cognitive neuropsychology, was riding his bike next to a line of cars when he was buzzed by the dump truck — once again, so close that witnesses at the scene believed the truck had hit him.

Yet investigators, relying on video, interviews and forensic analysis, concluded that the truck never made contact with the rider.

And even though state law requires drivers to pass at a safe distance without interfering with the safe operation of the bicycle, authorities felt they didn’t have enough evidence to make their case.

Something that probably wouldn’t have been a problem if we had a three-foot passing law in place.

Anyone who has ever been in Bentin’s position knows the sheer terror that comes with having a massive, multi-ton vehicle mere inches from your elbow.

It takes near-superhuman self control not to overreact in that situation, where the slightest mistake could result in a serious, if not fatal, collision with the passing vehicle – or a crash into the parked cars on the right that could throw you under the truck’s wheels or into the path of following cars.*

Or cause you to simply fall on your own, as Bentin and the rider in the New Jersey case appear to have done with tragic results.

And make no mistake. While most falls from a bike are harmless, any fall can be dangerous.

Yet thanks to the veto pen of our misguided governor, California drivers still have no standard in place to tell them what is and isn’t a safe passing distance.

And as this case clearly shows, any pass that doesn’t actually come in contact with the rider is effectively legal under current law.

Even if the rider dies as a result.

Had the governor not vetoed two straight safe passing laws — including one he indicated he would sign after vetoing the first — Shlomo Bentin might be alive today, training the next generation of neuropsychologists.

Or at the very least, the driver could have been held accountable for fatally violating the three-foot rule, rather than walking thanks to the current nebulous and virtually unenforceable standard.

Instead, the governor traded our lives, not for the implausible reasons he gave for his vetoes, but as a political favor to groups he evidently felt were more important than mere bike riders. Or so I’m told by people in a position to know.

Bentin’s body should be laid at Governor Brown’s feet — figuratively, if not literally. Because he’s traded the safety of every bike rider on California streets for political expediency.

And he should be held accountable, morally and politically, for Bentin’s death, and any other cyclists who have been Jerry Browned following his vetoes, or will be.

Our governor has blood on his hands.

And nothing he can do will wash it away.

*If you find yourself in a similar situation, the best course of action is to bail to your right if there’s room — even if that means going over a curb or off the roadway; road rash or a broken arm is a lot better than getting run over. If there’s no room to your right, hold steady and try not to react in any way; it’s not easy, but this is one situation where doing absolutely nothing could save your life.


A Canyon Country bicycle advocate was seriously injured in a collision on Saturday.

Kevin Korenthal was riding south on Little Tujunga Road when a 16-year old driver lost control rounding a curve, crossed the center line and hit him head-on. He was airlifted to the hospital, where he underwent 7 hours of surgery for injuries including three broken vertebrae in his neck and back, as well as a broken wrist, tibia, fibula, scapula and femur.

The founder of the Santa Clarita Valley Trail Users, Korenthal lost his lower left leg as a result of another cycling collision 21 years ago; the latest crash left a steel rod in the amputated leg bent at a 45-degree angle.

Thanks to Michele for the heads-up.


Finally, the Times offers a great look at L.A.’s jet-beating Wolfpack Hustle.

Surprisingly — or maybe not so much, given the number of cyclists who work for the Times — it offers a fair, balanced and objective look at a leading segment of the city’s formerly underground bike culture.

Although as usual, some of the comments leave something to be desired.

Owner of PV Bicycle Center died while riding in Malibu Hills last weekend

Just getting word this morning that Steve Bowen, owner of the PV Bicycle Center, died of an apparent hear attack while riding above Malibu on Sunday.

Bowen was reportedly climbing up a hill with a friend when he collapsed, and a passing motorist flagged his companion down to tell her he’d fallen. A physician stopped and attempted to revive him, without success.

I won’t waste your time trying to tell you more about Bowen or what happened to him. To the best of my knowledge, I never had the privilege of meeting the man; Seth Davidson of Cycling in the South Bay did, and writes far more beautifully than I ever could about the loss of his friend.

Read it, and you’ll understand why I regret not knowing him. And why the local cycling community will be poorer for his loss.

Bowen was the 74th cyclist to die in Southern California this year, excluding gunshot victims, and the 24th in Los Angeles County, matching the total for last year as well as the average for the past six years. And he is at least the third rider to die of natural causes in SoCal this year; it’s likely that others have, as well, but have not been publicly reported.

I include deaths from natural causes in the fatality totals since in many, if not most, cases, it’s impossible to determine if riding or a fall from the bike contributed to the physical events leading up to the death, or if they were what cause could have triggered a heart attack or stroke; however, that does not appear to have happened in this case.

But to avoid splitting hairs to a near-infinite degree, I now include all deaths from any cause other than gunshots in these totals, which is why they are unlikely to match the figures from law enforcement or highway safety agencies.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Steve Bowen, and all his family and loved ones. Thanks to Jim Lyle for the heads-up.

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house…

…not a creature was stirring, not cyclist, Corgi or spouse.

A happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Bad news on Christmas Eve — Hero Newport Beach lifeguard dies in apparent solo fall

This is not the news any of us want on Christmas Eve.

According to Corona del Mar Today, a hero lifeguard has died after an apparent solo fall.

Thirty-eight-year old Brian Gray was found laying face down near his bike at 2:02 am Friday at the intersection of 26th Street and Newport Blvd in Newport Beach. A police spokesman says he was simply fell while riding his bike; he died the following day in a local hospital.

The news site reports that Gray, a lifelong resident of Newport Beach, was one of the rescuers who saved the life of 13-year old Dylan Scott of Riverside when he was buried in the sand in 2006; he received the Bravo Award from the American Red Cross, along with other lifeguards involved in the rescue.

In addition to his work as a lifeguard for the past 21 years, Gray worked as a courier for the Newport Beach Fire Department; paramedics reportedly recognized him at the scene.

Of course, as in any solo fall, the question is why.

Given the hour, it’s possible that Gray may have been drinking and simply fell off his bike.

However, it’s also entirely possible that he fell as a result of being brushed or buzzed by a passing car, leaving little or no evidence behind to point to a dangerous pass that may have resulted in the rider’s death — which I suspect happens far more often than any of us realize.

Or he could have simply lost control of his bike for any number of reasons, something that happens to even the best riders, myself included.

This is the 73rd cycling fatality in Southern California this year, three above the total for last year, and the 14th bicycling death in Orange County this year. Remarkably, it’s the third bicycling fatality in tiny Newport Beach, with a population of just 86,000 — though it should be noted that the area is a popular biking destination, drawing in far more riders than its small size would suggest.

Gray is also the 14th SoCal rider to die in a solo fall in 2012, and third in Orange County.

So please, let’s be careful out there.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Brian Gray and all his family and loved ones. It’s hard enough to lose someone you love, but especially tough this time of year.

Thanks to David Huntsman for the heads-up.

A manger full of virtually wise man-free Christmas Eve links for those who survived the weekend

Since you’re reading this, we can assume you managed to survive, not only Friday’s Mayan apocalypse, but this past weekend’s last chance before Christmas full-contact shopping marathon.

And since I’m writing this, we can also assume I somehow managed to control my reaction to the jerk who honked and gestured angrily for my wife and I to get the hell out of his way as we walked through a Costco parking lot.

After all, had I followed the advice of the NRA’s leadership, I might have fired off 20 or 30 rounds from my fully automatic military-style assault rifle before realizing that I don’t in fact own one.

Or want to.

I have a hard enough time controlling the knee-jerk reaction of my middle finger when confronted by aggressive, hostile and/or threatening motorists. God forbid if the one next to it was attached to a trigger at the time.

But still.

It’s remarkable just how shallow the holiday spirit is revealed to be when confronted by the realities of a packed parking lot.

That’s not to say I didn’t see a lot of smiling faces this weekend.

It’s just that none of them were in cars at the time.


A great read for the holidays, as a bike shop worker explains that Santa is just as real as Bigfoot, courtesy of Kent’s Bike Blog.

It’s not that I believe in Santa Claus. It’s just that, like Batman and honest politicians, I prefer to live in a world where such things might actually exist.

And in the footsteps of Luka Bloom’s ode to the joys of bicycling, singer Nora Schlang offers a CD full of bike songs, including this one asking for a big red bike for Christmas.


Cycling’s governing body finally approves equal prize money for men and women at the world championships; now how about equality on the world tours?  It’s long past time for equal pay for equal work in women’s cycling. But at least Amgen is considering sponsoring a separate but unequal women’s tour in Northern California.


L.A.’s Bike Nation bike share program kicks off in Downtown next April, and teams with the Clippers’ Caron Butler to donate bikes to LA Boys and Girls Club members. The Asian Journal looks at LADOT General Manager Jaime de la Vega. Santa Monica Patch maps the location of the city’s five traffic deaths this year, including the still unsolved case of hit-and-run cycling victim Erin Galligan. Vincent Chang and Bike SGV are creating a paradigm shift in SoCal cycling. The Claremont Currier offers a nice look at longstanding bike shop Coates Cyclery. CLR Effect rides the West fork of the San Gabriel River; that’s one I want to try one of these days. Long Beach opens a full-blown multi-media campaign to educate cyclists and drivers about bike safety — although the ad in the story seems to show cyclists riding blissfully in the left lane.

Good looks at the world’s first bikes made from 100% recycled aluminum; something we mentioned here a few weeks back. A young Santa Ana cyclist is expected to survive being shot when he’s challenged over gang affiliations. Bike helmets have to be certified to meet safety standards while skateboard helmets don’t, making them riskier for the BMX riders who use them. Prison inmates refurbish bikes for over 80 children in Imperial County. If you’re going to steal a bike from an El Centro Walmart while carrying illegal drugs, watch out for poles. UPS delivers by bike in Santa Maria; if they’d do that in Santa Monica, I wouldn’t mind so much if they used the bike lane. I’ve never been a 49ers fan, but that might change if they keep building bikes to donate to needy kids; next year, though, let’s make it 490 bikes, not 49. If you’re a white or Hispanic male cyclist, you could represent Verizon in a Bay Area commercial; evidently blacks and Asians — or women, for that matter — don’t fit the image the massive communications company wants to project. A Sacramento cyclist is killed when he swerved to avoid a puddle in a heavy rain; if you ride in the rain, remember that a bike is the last thing drivers are looking for in adverse weather.

Bicycling says how you act can determine whether you get a deal at your local bike shop; I can sum it up in four words — don’t be an ass. Some riders are doing more than dream of a bike Christmas. A New Mexico jury awards $2.1 million in a cycling collision, but places half the blame on the cyclist for allowing himself to get left crossed. The Colorado Mesa University cycling team is looking for a new coach after the current director is implicated in one doping scandal too many. Chicago plans to become a world class bike city, again. Just what Boston cyclists don’t need, as the Boston Globe gets a new anti-bike editor. An upstate New York cyclist dies three months after he was struck in a drugged hit-and-run collision; yes, the driver has been found and will face charges in his death. New Yorkers respond to a proposal to require licenses and insurance for bikes. Jerry Seinfeld cruises New York in Porsches and a Pinarello racing bike. A Long Island cyclist is beaten and robbed by eight to 10 men who fled with his bike. A woman is shot and killed by an apparent acquaintance while riding in West Palm Beach; a 16-year old cyclist was shot and killed a little further south in Miami. A Florida driver plowed into a group of cyclists, injuring four; thankfully, none critically. An Aussie woman learns to ride at the ripe old age of 35.

Turns out bicycling keeps more than just your body in shape. London cyclists will get a new way to bypass stopped buses without having to ride out into traffic, while the Guardian questions whether London Mayor BoJo is spending wisely to encourage safety. A Coventry cyclist maps his own bike network inspired by a clock face. BMC Racing pro Alessandro Ballan is severely injured in a high-speed solo crash while training. An Italian rider becomes the first woman to circumnavigate the globe by bike, completing the trip in just 152 days — or maybe not; thanks to Richard Risemberg for the tip to the second link. The Spanish Supreme Court rules that 2005 Vuelta winner Roberto Heras deserves his title back despite testing positive for EPO during the race; maybe Lance should sue and get his titles back, too. A Sydney man is stabbed when a group of teenagers insist on borrowing his son’s bike; at least, that’s what they called it. A Kiwi driver insists cyclists are putting everyone at risk by riding two and three abreast and — gasp — riding in the traffic lane. A Singapore drunk driver is fined a whopping $1250 for killing a cyclist. Once transportation for the masses, bikes are the new status symbol for China’s rich. If you want to talk extreme cycling, let’s start with riding to the South Pole.

Finally, if you’re going to steal a bike on test ride, don’t leave your name and phone number at the shop first. And a Massachusetts driver rear-ends another car while driving distracted.

By a gerbil.

And no, I don’t want to know any more details, thank you.

The L.A. hit-and-run epidemic claims yet another victim

There’s been a lot of talk about L.A.’s hit-and-run epidemic lately, largely driven by a pair of L.A. Weekly articles.

Today it claimed yet another victim.

According to the L.A. Times, a bike rider, identified only as a Latino man in his 20s or 30s, was killed while riding on the 900 block of East 43rd Street in South L.A. around 8:50 Friday morning. The victim was riding west on 43rd when he was hit from behind by a pickup; the driver fled the scene, leaving an innocent man to die in the street.

Police are looking for a red, late-model pickup, possibly with gardening tools in the back. Anyone with information is urged to call the LAPD Central Traffic Division Detective Meneses at (213) 972-1850 between 7 am and 5 pm weekdays; call the division watch commander after hours or on weekends at (213) 972-1853. Or visit, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.

He joins a long line of local hit-and-run victims; in fact, 10 cyclists have been killed in L.A. County hit-and-runs in the last two years alone. Too many of the drivers have never been identified, let alone charged their crimes — including the killers of Erin Galligan and Benjamin Torres earlier this year.

And it’s not just bicyclists who are the victims.

This is the 72nd bicycling death in Southern California this year, and the 23rd in Los Angeles County, leaving the county one behind the total for last year.

My prayers and deepest sympathy for the victim and his loved ones.

Update: The identity of the victim has been confirmed as 31-year old Sergio Rodriguez; there will be a press conference on Thursday, February 7th to announce a person of interest in the case. 

The health benefits of biking, and a call to be careful riding today

I’m on the run today, so my apologies for not offering a full update this morning.

But I didn’t want to let the week pass without offering this thought about the health benefits of bicycling from Michael Eisenberg.

Glad to hear your wife is recovering. I had a heart incident a couple of years ago. Since then, I’ve taken up cycling, including commuting 30 miles round trip every day, and weekend rides like today’s 70 miler. I’ve lost 64 lbs, lowered my blood pressure to the point that I no longer take BP medications, lowered my blood sugar to normal numbers even after discontinuing diabetes medication, and improved my cholesterol numbers to well within normal too.  Keep preaching.

There are lots of reasons to ride.

But whether you’re riding for fun, exercise, transportation or any other reason, you’re saving your own life with every pedal stroke you take.

And that’s a good thing.


One other quick note.

Today is the last working day for a lot of people before Christmas. And that means a lot of office parties, and people getting off work early and starting their holiday celebrations on the way home.

So if you’re riding any time after noon today, ride defensively. And assume every driver you meet on the road has been drinking.