It happened again.
This past Sunday, I rode to CicLAvia from my home in Hollywood and back again, my longest ride yet since I’ve been back on my bike.
Along the way, I passed numerous riders, some heading to or from CicLAvia, others appearing to be making their way back from a weekend ride.
I was dressed in casual clothes, preferring to leave my spandex at home for such a popular and populist event.
But as I passed the various riders, I noticed a phenomenon I’ve written about before. Riders dressed casually, in similar attire, would smile and nod as they went by, while spandexed cyclists in their club kits would pass by without a hint of recognition, as if I my choice in bikewear had rendered me invisible.
Experience has taught me it goes the other way, as well.
If I’d been wearing my riding kit, the other spandex-clad riders would likely have acknowledged me, while the casually dressed cyclists would pedal by without so much as a glance or nod in my direction.
Even though I was the same rider, with the same skills, I would be seen differently depending on what I was wearing, and unconsciously assigned to one bicycling clan or another, acknowledged by those who saw me as one of their own, and ignored by those who didn’t.
And as I note in the piece above, we somehow insist on subdividing ourselves into countless other cliques and niches, based on everything from what we ride to why.
Yet we all face the same problems on our streets. And we are all bound by the desire to ride our bikes in peace and safety, and return home again to those we love.
We are stronger together than we are apart. Whether calling for safer streets and an end to bike theft, or confronting angry homeowners who value their free parking over our lives.
So the next time you see someone on a bicycle who you seem to have nothing in common with, give them a nod and a smile anyway.
We have more binding us together than the superficialities that set us apart.
For those who missed it yesterday, here’s the link to the Harvard Med School article listing the five top health benefits of bicycling, along with their bizarre advice to wear spandex and a helmet while you ride your beach cruiser, but not on the street. PDF courtesy of J. Patrick Lynch.
Today’s common theme is where to go one your next dream ride.
HuffPo lists the best rides in the US and Canada, none of which are in California.
An Irish paper list nine beautiful bike rides around the UK.
And a Kiwi website ranks the ten most epic bike rides you can ever do — including biking to the South Pole.
Great news, as Dutch rider Annemiek van Vleuten is back on her bike after her terrifying crash while leading the women’s Olympic road race.
Here’s an impressive stat. Every member of Britain’s Olympic cycling team has won at least one medal in Rio. Including British cyclist Becky James, who recovered from a cancer scare to win two silver medals.
Britain’s cycling coach responds to accusations that they somehow manage to peak at the Olympics every four years by saying the other teams just didn’t show up. German gold medalist Kristina Vogel insists the Brits have an unfair advantage, though she can’t figure out what it is.
Congratulation to Azizulhasni Awang, who became the first Malaysian to ever medal in track cycling.
The San Diego Union-Tribune describes BMX, which starts Olympic competition on Thursday, as part horse race and part roller coaster.
And former pro Ted King says he has a lot more fun now that he’s retired.
CiclaValley questions whether Metro’s new $22 million tunnel connecting the Orange and Red Lines in North Hollywood is worth the money, arguing that the intersection it bypasses remains dangerous and could be tamed with bike lanes. I’ve made the same argument; Metro could — and should — have saved millions and improved safety by fixing the intersection instead of tunneling underneath it.
The LACBC is looking for volunteers for a bike and pedestrian count in Inglewood this September.
A new Echo Park restaurant focusing on mescal cocktails promises to have plenty of bicycle parking. Which is certainly better than getting diners drunk and sending them out to their waiting cars.
Pasadena is planning to conduct a road diet and build a curb-protected bike lane on Union Street, after receiving a Metro grant to build ten new bicycle corridors throughout the city.
San Diego bike rental shops say their business has been adversely affected by the city’s DecoBike bikeshare system.
A plan to restore wildlife habitat in Oak Park could jeopardize dirt jumps popular with off-road and BMX riders.
Instead of preventing injuries, a San Francisco cyclist’s helmet may have caused them, as it appears to have been used to beat him severely in a vicious assault he can’t even remember.
San Francisco’s Arguello Blvd is about to trade parking spaces for bike and pedestrian safety enhancements.
The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition held a panel discussion on how to get more diversity in bicycling, which included the LACBC’s Tamika Butler.
An 18-year old Sonoma bike rider was seriously injured when he swung wide to make a sharp curve on a steep descent, and was hit head-on by a mail truck.
Bodega Bay is opening a new bike and pedestrian path named in honor of a long-time resident who lost her life in a traffic collision.
Bicycling looks at the history of the chamois.
Kids, don’t try this at home. An 80-year old Washington man was injured when he jumped on the back of a moving pickup after he saw the driver making off with his bike.
Seattle cyclists complain about dangerous crashes caused by streetcar tracks. But the city doesn’t know if there’s really a problem because they don’t bother to track it.
Life is cheap in Idaho, as a driver pleads out to a reduced charge in the death of a man riding home from work, and walks with a net of just three days in jail and $457.50 in fines and court costs.
A Missouri mother credits police for getting her young son’s bicycle back after it was stolen at gunpoint. Seriously, what kind of lowlife scum pulls a gun on a little boy?
Chicago cyclists angered by the death of a bike rider who was killed when a truck swerved into a bike lane responded by smashing the windshield of a construction truck that was parked in the same bike lane the next day; the victim was described as a radiant and shining star who would have made beautiful art. Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the heads-up.
Illinois changes its vehicle code to say every bicyclist is entitled to the same rights as motor vehicles, including that of right of way.
Boston’s mayor backs lowering speed limits in the city to 25 mph in order to save lives. LA’s Vision Zero will fail unless our leaders somehow find the courage to do the same here. And enforce it. Which seems unlikely when they don’t even have the courage to preserve bike lanes called for in the Mobility Plan.
New York gave in to community pressure to remove a parking protected bike lane and go back to an unprotected driver’s side lane; a councilman says you don’t inconvenience the entire community for the sake of a few bike riders. Which misses the point entirely.
Bike safety is still an issue for women in Toronto. And everywhere else, for that matter; women riders face threats, harassment and dangers beyond those faced by male riders.
Life is cheap in the UK, where a driver got a whopping £165 fine for careless driving — the equivalent of just $215 — for killing an aspiring bike racer.
Ten cyclists were injured in what was described as a horrific pile-up during a regional race in Wales.
A German cop was able to bust a fleeing drug suspect after he commandeered a kid’s bike when his car got stuck on a narrow path.
A kindhearted Israeli man does what his country should have, and buys a new bike for the eight-year old Palestinian girl who had hers confiscated and destroyed by border guards.
An Indian bike rider was killed, along with two children in cars, by glass-coated kite strings used to battle other kite flyers. As if there weren’t already enough hazards on the roads.
Why settle for just one bike cam when you can record 360-degree video for a mere $4999.99? If you’re going to drive drunk on a street closed to private vehicles, and nearly hit a cyclist after a cop tells you to slow down, might as well pop a cold one when they finally pull you over.
And we only have to worry about drivers raising a stink.