Debate over weaponizing police bikes goes on, UCI honors brutal bike-riding dictator, and a mountain bike video break

Today’s common theme reprises yesterday’s discussion of bike cops using their bicycles as weapons.

Bicycling examines whether bikemakers should stop selling bicycles to police departments, after cops were accused of using them against protesters.

Meanwhile, a Michigan TV station profiles how the state police’s tactical bike team trains for crowd control, showing glimpses of the tactics people are complaining about.

And Red Kite Prayer’s Padraig really doesn’t know what to make of it all, noting bikes have been used effectively to shield riders against mountain lions, but protesters don’t pose the same kind of threat, if any.

Photo by Shane Aldendorff from Pexels.

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You’ve got to be kidding.

Cycling’s governing body has bestowed its highest honor on Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the bike-riding president of Turkmenistan.

Never mind that in this case, “president” is a euphemism for a dangerous, brutal dictator.

As Cycling Tips puts it,

Today, Berdimuhamedov presides over one of the most repressive regimes in the world. According to Human Rights Watch, the president has complete control over public life, energetically suppressing alternative political and religious expression. In the ‘elections’ since claiming power, Berdimuhamedov has enjoyed up to 98% approval, which is the kind of landslide that seems purpose-built to raise eyebrows.

In 2019, Reporters Without Borders put Turkmenistan as the worst country in the world for press freedom, behind even North Korea, and the country has the highest number of political prisoners out of all former Soviet states, against whom torture is reportedly practiced. The word ‘coronavirus’ is banned, homosexuality is illegal, child and forced marriage is still prevalent, gender inequality is entrenched, and dissidents are ‘disappeared’ into prison for indefinite sentences.

But other than that, he’s a nice guy, right?

Not to mention the one who’ll host next year’s world track cycling championships.

Now he can hang a certificate awarding him UCI’s apparently unnamed highest honor on his wall, presented unanimously by the organization’s steering committee.

Which doesn’t carry the slightest whiff of corruption, does it?

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You’ve worked hard enough this week. So take a six-minute mountain biking break today.

Or maybe you’d prefer a few tips and tricks to build out your own bike.

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NFL All-Pro defensive end Ndamukong Suh is one of us, too.

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Sometimes, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

A 24-year old BMX rider was busted for throwing a rock through the window of a Santa Rosa bike shop during the George Floyd protests last week. You’d think a bike rider would know better, but apparently you’d be wrong.

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Local

Streetsblog details plans for new bus lanes on 5th and 6th Streets in DTLA, including protected bike lanes on the left side of the one-way streets.

The Los Angeles Fire Department rescued a mountain biker who got stranded near Oat Mountain above Chatsworth; fortunately, he wasn’t injured.

La Cañada Flintridge received a $50,000 grant for new bike racks and EV charging stations from the South Coast Air Quality Management District; the grant will pay for new 20 racks throughout the city.

 

State

A bike rider suffered serious injuries when he was t-boned in San Diego’s East Village, after allegedly running a stop sign; fortunately, his injures were not expected to be life-threatening. As always, the question is whether anyone other than the driver involved actually saw him blow the stop.

Two men face a long list of charges after being arrested for the murder of a Visalia woman, followed by the hit-and-run death of bike-riding woman in Tulare as they fled from police.

A pair of Fresno County bike riders were seriously injured when they were hit head-on by a possibly distracted driver who crossed onto the wrong side of the road; one of the victims was an off-duty police officer.

Berkeley will get two miles of Slow Streets, with lanes blocked off on one side to provide space for people to bike and walk while maintaining social distancing.

Oakland News Now continues their bizarre obsession with a Bay Area bike rider who posts video of two wheeled, stop sign-running escapades through the city. Note to Oakland News Now — I believe the word you wanted was reckless, not wreckless. Unless maybe you’re complimenting them on avoiding crashes.

The bicyclist killed in a Sonoma County hit-and-run on Sunday was identified as a Kensington man; he was unidentified at first because he wasn’t carrying any ID. Yet another reminder to always have some form of identification, including emergency contacts, with you when you ride.

 

National

Strava wants to make you a local legend.

Lawyers have released video of a Portland sheriff’s deputy slamming a drunk bicycling suspect against a wall, allegedly fracturing his skull and causing multiple brain bleeds, resulting in a 19-day hospital stay. The action doesn’t start until around the 12 minute mark of the nearly 13 minute video.

Here’s your chance to ride Colorado’s epic 14,264 foot Mt. Evans while it’s still free from cars this summer, offering more than 3,600 feet of climbing over 14 miles.

After he was ticketed for running a stop sign last week, a black Ohio man complains that he’s been stopped by police nine times; he says he was riding without lights just after dawn because he doesn’t want to have interactions with anyone while he’s riding.

Horrifying assault on free speech and freedom of the press, as Maine police officers intimidated a Streetsblog editor in his own home, in apparent retaliation for his role in a recent protest, as well as comments he made online.

The New Yorker examines the bicycle as a vehicle of protest in the 21st Century.

Bikes are still booming in DC as the district prepares to reopen, and shops sell out of lower cost bicycles.

Police seized guns and a KKK grand dragon robe from the home of the Virginia avowed racist who allegedly drove his car into a crowd of protesters on Sunday, hitting a man riding a bike.

Nice story from North Carolina, where a kindhearted bike cop let a little girl attending a protest ride her police bike, and gave her a hand to do it.

 

International

Road.cc takes a look at the best panniers and racks. Meanwhile, sister site Off Road.cc offers a beginner’s guide to bikepacking.

You, too, can ride what may be the most tech-heavy bike ever for a shade under sixteen grand.

An English county is overriding a local mayor who opposed installing pop-up bike lanes, believing they would encourage too many inexperienced bike riders. Which is kind of the point, yes.

It takes a real schmuck to steal a pair of bicycles from a 90-year old British man who rides his bike every day. Or used to, anyway.

The tiny Isle of Man, nestled between England and Northern Ireland in the Irish Sea, with a population smaller than Santa Monica, could become the first European nation to require all bike riders to wear helmets.

A pair of Aussie professors say don’t take the analogy too far, but the conflict between drivers and bicyclists has the characteristics of an ethnic conflict, with driving being the equivalent of whiteness and roadway segregation like apartheid.

 

Finally…

Presenting what may be the ugliest cycling kit ever made. Maybe more adults would obey bike laws if we got ice cream, too.

And this is what your bike would look like if you could ride at the speed of light.

You’d probably win a few Strava KOMs, too.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask, already. 

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