Archive for General

Let’s call it a sick day

Lately the bike news that seems to be increasing at an exponential rate, while find myself fighting to focus despite a change in medications that has me working at half speed.

Sunday it all caught up with me.

So let’s hit the reset button, to steal a phrase from our former Secretary of State. I’m taking today off in order to get some rest, and try to function like a normal person again.

That means no new post today.

If you missed it, you can catch up with the weekend news, as well as Sunday’s tragedy in Cathedral Springs.

Get out there and ride your bike, and I’ll see you bright and early on Tuesday.

Morning Links: Gov. Brown approves bike rider traffic school, too much Seth, and Peter Flax pens two must reads

Big news from Sacramento, as a bill allowing traffic schools for bike riders survives Jerry Brown’s veto pen.

The bill allows local jurisdictions to create diversion programs for traffic violations committed by non-motorists, such as bicyclists and pedestrians. Which means you could pay your penance with a few hours of class instead of a large fee.

But the real benefit is that it will provide a way to educate bike riders who may not be clear on the law, such as salmon cyclists who believe they’re riding the right way by facing traffic.

I’m told by police officers that many cops have been reluctant to ticket bike riders because they don’t think the relatively minor infractions are worth the large fees.

Of course, there are exceptions.

So you might be more likely to get a ticket when you roll that stop. But you could actually learn something from it.


That last link came courtesy of Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson, who’s been on a roll lately.

And I don’t mean with his new titanium pulley wheels.

He tells the story of accompanying a bike rider to court for a bogus ticket for riding inside the traffic lane, which is legal anywhere there is not a marked bike lane.

Anything right of the limit line is not considered part of the roadway, and you aren’t legally required to ride there, though you can ride on the shoulder or in the parking lane if you choose.

The single exception is that you are legally required to ride in a bike lane where one exists, though you’re allowed to exit it to avoid obstacles such as debris and parked cars, to pass another rider or pedestrian, or to make a left turn.

These kind of must-use laws should be repealed, as they have been in some more enlightened states; it should be up to the rider to decide where he or she feels safest, without second guessing from a cop who may not understand the many safety choices riders are forced to make.

Getting back to Seth, he finds the law on his side when he’s assaulted by a teenage ham and mustard-throwing car passenger, for a change.

He also pens a post dripping in sarcasm about a call to the courthouse on November 18th for the arraignment of a driver who aimed his car at a cyclist just for the hell of it.

And he’s hosting his own awards show at the Strand Brewing Company in Torrance next month, which should be a hell of a good time. If I win anything, I’ll expect someone to step up and speak about the plight of Native Americans on my behalf.

Seriously, Seth writes one of the best blogs on bicycling, here or anywhere else. Put it in your reading list, and make a point of checking in now and then, if not daily.

And I’m not just saying that to return the favor.


Mad Men producer Tom Smuts rode to the Emmys from his home in Santa Monica for the second time, accompanied by an entourage of actors and fellow producers, along with bike advocates and former pro cyclists, to send a clear message about everyday bicycling for anyone paying attention.

Peter Flax of the Hollywood Reporter went along for the ride.

Now if we can just get some of the many bicycling actors to join Ed Begley Jr in riding to next year’s Oscars.

Yes, I’m taking to you, Russell Crowe.

Not to mention Anne Hathaway, Patrick Dempsey, Liev Shreiber, Naomi Watts, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jessica Alba, Kate Hudson and far too many others to single out.


Speaking of Peter Flax, the former Editor in Chief of Bicycling magazine offers a great overview of the current state of bicycling in the City of Angels for Los Angeles magazine. And pretty much nails it.

Which shouldn’t be too surprising for someone with his background.

Call it your must read for the day.

My understanding is he’ll be penning a regular column for the magazine, so let’s hope this is just the first of many.


Once again, CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo has blood on his hands.

A pedestrian was critically injured in a hit-and-run while trying to cross North Figueroa in a marked crosswalk Friday evening, in an area that would have undergone a road diet a couple year ago. Not just to install bike lanes, but to slow traffic and improve safety.

Instead, Cedillo arbitrarily cancelled the fully funded and paint-ready project for reasons known only to him. And personally guaranteed the street would remain one of the most dangerous in Los Angeles.

Nice work, councilman.


Copenhagenize sends word that you’re safer on a bike than on a sofa, at least in Denmark.

Safer Than on a Sofa


The Christian Science Monitor writes about the return of the world championships to the US, although a restaurant owner says the races are bad for business. And mixing the races with Civil War imagery? Probably not the best idea.

US women scored first and second in the under-23 junior women’s individual time trials at the world championships, while a Danish rider won the men’s title; the top American man finished 10th. WaPo looks at two young men competing in the U23 road races this week who could be the next superstars of American cycling.

American great Kristin Armstrong will attempt to cement her comeback from her latest retirement in today’s time trial; a podium spot would guarantee her a place on the US team for the Rio Olympics. But New Zealand’s top women’s time trial rider is out with a broken collarbone that refused to heal in time.

On the men’s side, a fully recovered Taylor Phinney could drive the US team to greater success than anyone expected. He talks about what it meant to win the team time trial on Sunday.

This is what the racers competing in the world championships might be riding if there were no rules limiting bicycle design. Thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the heads-up.

Not even a closed-off race course is safe from intoxicated drivers, as a Richmond driver with a long list of traffic offenses led police on a brief high-speed chase after somehow driving onto the worlds course; not surprisingly, police say he was under the influence of some unspecified substance.

And if the doping era is really over, why do people keep getting caught? And yes, women and mountain bikers do it, too.



The Long Beach Post profiles two local natives who rode 4,500 miles from NYC to LBC while covering their journey on the blog Westward Wheels.

A Westside Urban Forum panel tackles the question of healthy communities; bikes are just part of a very big picture.

Feeder rides are already starting to form for next month’s CicLAvia. This one from USC looks to be both educational and fun as they travel up from campus along the coming MyFig corridor.



A San Diego cyclist looks for the hit-and-run driver who nearly severed her foot.

It’s the age-old battle of bike lanes versus parking spots in Chula Vista, as businesses worry about the loss of parking for bike lanes that would help get riders off the sidewalk.

A Riverside welder turns discarded bike parts into art.

Cyclists from Santa Clara and San Mateo counties call for Vision Zero to eliminate traffic deaths in their area.

A majority of San Francisco supervisors support allowing cyclists to treat stop signs as yields; however, they can’t change state law, and the non-binding ordinance will need the support of the SFPD to have any effect.

The bike-riding ranger of Mount Diablo State Park has retired after 24 years of rescuing riders and ticketing scofflaws.

Chico makes a well-intentioned proposal to stop bike thefts by banning ghost riding and dismantling bikes in public. Nice idea, but it would also stop people from fixing their bikes in the driveway or riding home with a friend’s bike.



Protected bike lanes are popping up in unexpected places. A writer for the Green Lane Project says they’re are even more useful in snowy climates. Which is not a problem we’re likely to have anytime soon.

Caught on video: Dashcam view of a cyclist getting hit by a Seattle police car after the rider went through a red light; the cop was using lights and siren at the time.

Sales go up nearly nine percent after Salt Lake City installs a protected bike lane, though local merchants credit the overall street improvements; business in one store jumped 20% when a 20 mph speed limit went into effect.

What good is an Albuquerque bike lane if drivers are allowed to park there illegally?

Chicago’s bike plan improves equity after all.

New York’s mayor says he believes in bike lanes and they should be “well established” in all five boroughs, even though installation has slowed under his administration. If you say you don’t believe in bike lanes, does another one die?

A writer for the New York Times says bicycling doesn’t need to be a collision course, citing the need for better infrastructure, more alert motorists and safety-conscious cyclists.

More proof cyclists are tough: After a New Jersey man is shot in the back while riding with his nephew on his handlebars, he keeps going until he gets to a friend’s house.

The DuPont manager who killed a Delaware cyclist in a hit-and-run admits he was on the wrong side of the road, admits to drinking even though he swears he wasn’t drunk, and thought he just ran over some tree branches. You’d have to be pretty damn drunk to mistake a bike rider for a tree branch.

The Birmingham AL bikeshare system scheduled to start this week has been delayed due to inclement weather; a Taiwan typhoon prevented production of the bikes.



A 23-year old New York woman is taking a solo trip around the globe to collect stories about climate change.

Montreal proposes a revamp to its code for bicycling; one without mandatory helmets, unlike other Canadian cities, and allowing cyclists to roll through stop signs if no other traffic is present. But drunk and distracted biking is out.

When is a Canadian bike rack not just a bike rack? When it looks like a swastika.

Caught on video: After a British cyclist gets buzzed by a delivery van,  the driver apparently tries, and fails, to do the same thing with the car stopped just ahead.

A Parisian writer offers lessons learned from learning to ride a bike at the ripe old age of 29 using the city’s bikeshare system.

An Indian cyclist makes a stop in Cameroon on his round-the-world journey to promote HIV/AIDS awareness; it’s the 106th country he’s visited since 2004.

A South African cyclist spends two years riding his bike 25,000 miles to see the rugby World Cup. Only to watch his team suffer the greatest upset in the history of the event.



Don’t argue with a man who nearly runs you over while looking for his cat, or you might both be charged with disorderly conduct after he whacks you with his cane. We may have to deal with angry LA drivers, but at least we don’t have to worry about kangaroos.

And if you’re going to pull up in your car and demand money from a bike rider, make sure he’s not a plain clothes cop first.


One last note. I really wanted to attend Thursday’s discussion on what Vision Zero means for LA, with LADOT maven Seleta Reynolds and Leah Shahum of the Vision Zero Network.

But it just happens to fall on the 30th anniversary of my 29th my birthday, so I’m going to be spending that night with my family, instead.

If you’re planning to attend and would like to cover it in a guest post for BikinginLA, just let me know.

Vision Zero talk


Weekend Links: Bike rider killed in Compton, a Canadian slap on the wrist, and it’s a triple-video weekend

Somehow, I missed this one earlier in the week.

Yet another young man has been shot and killed while riding his bike, this time Monday night in Compton.

The Sheriff’s Department says the 27-year old victim was targeted by the shooters, while a woman standing nearby was injured, apparently as collateral damage.

Thanks to Jaime Kate for the heads-up.


In case you need a reminder how much fun it is to ride a bike, this girl’s reaction should do the trick.


Caught on video: My friends at the West Seattle Blog post a first hand view of what it’s like to get right hooked by a massive semi-truck. Remarkably, both the rider and his bike survived almost unharmed.

As they note, you may want to hit the mute button if innocent ears are around, since they finally found someone who swears at drivers more than I do. And with good reason.



A Canadian driver went to play the slots after hitting a cyclist, leaving him to die alone in a ditch. Common sense suggests she’d face a murder charge for her callous indifference to human life, and sped the next several years behind bars.

Instead, she was fined a whopping $2,000, sentenced to community service, and lost her license for a whole month.

Clearly, life is cheap north of the border. At least if the victim is riding a bike.


If you don’t read any other link today, take a few moments for this fascinating obituary of the sword swallowing, prize fighting, blood drinking Irish cycling legend Mike “Iron Man” Murphy, who slept in hay to prepare for races, and rode 40 miles afterwards just to cool down.


Just eight days till the first world championships on US soil since ’86.

The reining world champ explains why he’s not the favorite, and says the hilly course means anything can happen. The San Diego Union Tribune handicaps the favorites, precious few whom are Americans. But if you happen to find yourself in Charlottesville VA next week, you can hang out with the US team.

Alexis Gougeard won Friday’s stage of the Vuelta in a solo breakaway, setting up Saturday’s penultimate leg in the mountains around Madrid. After crashing early in the stage, second place Fabio Aru lost three seconds to leader Tom Dumoulin, doubling the margin between them to just six seconds; however, he may lose more time if he’s penalized for an assist.

Mark Cavendish crashes out of the Tour of Britain — yes, there’s another race going on — with a shoulder injury.

And Marina del Rey women’s cyclist Lauren Mulwitz accepted a six-month ban for failing a drug test at June’s Manhattan Beach Gran Prix after she tested positive for marijuana. Yes, she was banned for pot, which has never been known to enhance anyone’s performance.

Seriously, why should anyone care if she or any other athlete takes a toke? Especially in California, where’s it’s just this side of legal.



Writing in the Daily News, a former Republican candidate for state assembly says the new mobility plan is all about whining about cars, and declares the new Reseda Blvd Great Streets protected bike lanes a failure. Somehow, they’re accused of making traffic worse even though no traffic lanes were removed; although admittedly, they do force drivers to actually look before jumping out of a car for a change.

The LA Times looks at what it’s like to ride the seven-day AIDS/LifeCycle ride from San Francisco to LA. Including being surrounded by men on bikes in red dresses.

A Glendale rider describes getting hit by a car that didn’t leave any passing room, let alone the three feet required by law.

Thousand Oaks will host their own two-mile ciclovía on Halloween.



Don’t try this at home. A San Diego man tackles the man selling his stolen bike after tracking it down on Craigslist. There are too many similar stories that went dangerously wrong; just call the police and let them handle it.

San Francisco’s SF Gate asks if it’s time to charge bike riders a road use fee. Actually, if you’re going to be fair about it, they owe us a refund.

A California appeals court rules that the environmental assessment for a new Danville housing development should have considered bike safety.



The trailer has dropped for The Program, the movie about Lance the Doper, staring Ben Foster, the doper.

Bicycling talks with the founder of Advocate Cycles, which will donate 100% of their profits to bike advocacy groups.

Honolulu busts bicyclists who illegally ride the sidewalk for a whole 100 feet between a bike lane and a multi-use path.

A Colorado cyclist is riding 12,000 miles to raise awareness about sex trafficking, while a Virginia man is riding cross country to raise money for the homeless.

Boston makes changes to a street where a bicyclist was killed in a right hook by a semi while she was riding in a bike lane. Every city, everywhere, should study the cause of any fatal collision, then fix the problem to keep it from happening again.

Hugh Jackman, aka Wolverine, is one of us, as he rides the streets of New York on his Scott mountain bike. Why is it that the press criticizes anyone who doesn’t wear a helmet, but makes fun of anyone who does?



An Ontario, Canada website says investing in bicycling is the smart thing to do, saying the province doesn’t have a traffic problem, it has a health problem.

If you build it, they will come. Bicycling is booming in Vancouver BC, as the city invests $4 million a year in bikeways and greenways. Although it doesn’t help when even the mayor of nearby Victoria is a victim of thieves who stripped her bike during a meeting to approve bike parking in a new development.

A Brit woman charges a cyclist the equivalent of nearly $5 to refill his water bottle — from a garden hose, no less — then dumps it out when he can’t pay.

A Copenhagen firm wants to be the Uber of bikes for hire. Although they couldn’t have picked a much worse name than AirDonkey; maybe it sounds better in Danish.

Speaking of Copenhagen, maybe someday the anti-bike forces here will say LA isn’t Jakarta, instead.



A South African cyclist swears he had a suitcase full of syringes to lance the boils on his butt, while an official says they were for filling bike tires with sealant. Sure, let’s go with that. It’s such a no brainer to use the term no brainer when talking about bike helmets that anyone who uses the phrase no brainer to talk about bike helmets is just showing their own need for an effing copy editor.

And nothing like a little sex shaming to sell boy’s bikes.


Today’s post called on account of illness

Not mine. My dog’s.

The past 24 hours have been a whirlwind of vet visits, unplanned pre-dawn walks walks, and the scent of second-hand kibble wafting through our apartment.

Not to mention trying to comfort a sick puppy. And explaining to a hungry Corgi who hasn’t kept her last two meals down why she isn’t getting the next one.

So please forgive today’s absence.

Hopefully there will be good news from the vet today. And we’ll be back tomorrow.


LA bike rider attacked with machete, bad news from Hemet, plus Bicycle Coffee and pleasant private bike cops

In one of the most horrifying attacks in recent memory, a Los Angeles man may have kept his bike, but lost one of his thumbs.

And nearly his life.

According to multiple sources, a 43-year old man was walking — or possibly riding — his bicycle near the intersection of West 12th Street and South Burlington Avenue around 12:30 am Sunday, when he was attacked by four men who tried to steal his bike and wallet.

One of them hacked at him with a two-foot machete, resulting in a severe cuts to both arms, as well as a fractured skull, in addition to having his left thumb cut off; early reports suggest he was likely to lose his right hand, as well.

Despite his injuries, he somehow managed to run a few blocks to get help; at last report, he was hospitalized in critical condition. However, he was able to keep both his bike and his money.

The attackers were described only as young adult men, possibly 18 – 21 years old, who fled in a green four-door sedan. According to police, the attack did not appear to be gang related.

For some reason, the victim was initially described as an 18-year old man before police corrected the report.

Let’s hope he recovers quickly, and that police catch his attackers.

And let this be a reminder that no bike is worth your life.


Brace yourself for bad news.

A man was found dead on Hemet biking trail on Sunday, hours after a 33-year old mountain biker was reported missing.

The victim has not been identified yet, and here’s no confirmation yet that it’s the missing cyclist. But it doesn’t look good.

Hopefully, we’ll learn more soon.

Update: Authorities have identified the man found dead as 33-year old Hemet resident Shane Gainer, but for some reason, won’t confirm if he is the missing cyclist. No cause of death has been determined. 


Bicycle-Coffee-1Now let’s switch to a happier subject.

On Sunday, my wife and I made a short trip to the Hollywood Farmer’s Market at Ivar and Selma, just a few blocks from the Hollywood and Vine Metro station.

Sans bikes, since she doesn’t ride. And without the Corgi, since even well-behaved dogs aren’t allowed under LA County health rules.

The purpose of our journey was to find the elusive Bicycle Coffee Company.

Elusive, because the LA branch at Santa Monica and Western is only open Friday though Sunday. And despite our best efforts, we hadn’t been able to get there when the doors were open.

Bicycle-Coffee-3On the other hand, we knew they were at the farmer’s market every Sunday, just a short subway ride way from our apartment.

It took some searching to find their Nishiki-towed bicycle cart — yes, there’s a reason for their name — hidden back behind the other vendors near the Arclight, nee Cinerama, Theater, and just in front of Umami Burgers.

We left with a couple bags of what is reputed to be some of the area’s best coffee, each accompanied by a free cup of joe with purchase.

And the knowledge that next time, we can just order our beans and they’ll deliver by bike within a roughly 10-mile radius.


On the way out, I stopped to admire a bike belonging to one of the security guards with the BID Patrol at the farmer’s market.

Rosales-1And found myself talking with retired LAPD officer and dedicated cyclist Jim Rosales, who was happy to point out the 29” wheels and disc brakes, as well as the rear rack for the panniers he usually uses but decided to leave at home that day.

We talked about his volunteer work patrolling the Santa Monica mountains, the road bike he rides in his spare time, and the fixie he’s currently building. As well as his favorite bike shops, including the Performance Bike his brother-in-law wrenches for in Pasadena.

Kanagi-bikeAll in all, a pleasant talk with another rider. And one more example of a conversation that would never have happened behind the wheel.

Then just as we were about to leave, I noticed the pink handgrips on his partner’s bike. So he called her over, and fellow BID security officer Cortney Kanagi was happy to show us her matching pink handcuffs and the pink grip on her handgun.

Proof that you can be feminine while riding a bike.

Or subduing a suspect.


Bike share unexpectedly opens in DTLA

All photos by Patrick Pascal

All photos by Patrick Pascal

But maybe not the way we expected.

LACBC board member Patrick Pascal sends word of what may be the city’s first real bike share system, which opened recently in Downtown LA.

No, not the Live Nation system promised by then-Mayor Villaraigosa what seems like ages ago.

And no, not the one promised by LA Metro, which is supposed to open sometime in 2016, even though a vendor hasn’t been selected yet. And even though it may or may not be compatible with the upcoming system opening soon in Santa Monica.

515-S-Flower-Bikes-3This one offers a single location, inside the office tower at 515 S. Flower. And membership is limited to the bankers, lawyers and other professionals who work within.

According to the sign inside, they just need to present their security badge to check out a bike, complete with optional helmet, for a free three hour ride through the city.

I don’t know about the men and women who work there, but I can go a long way in three hours.

Although presumably, the bikes will be used mostly to run errands, run out to a quick meeting or go to lunch in the immediate area.

But whatever they’re used for, it’s nice to see the building’s operators step up and provide a useful service for its tenants, without contributing to Downtown traffic.

Maybe some other businesses will follow suit.

And maybe, just maybe, we’ll actually see a public bike share open up one of these days.

Because it’s damn hard to ride promises.



Do something today to make the world a better place

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

— Dr. Martin Luther King

Enjoy your holiday — assuming you get one — but take a few minutes to remember why we celebrate it. Then do something about it.

I’ll see you back here tomorrow.


Today’s post, in which I talk pain and what the hell is wrong with me

When I started this website over six years ago, the first decision I made was that it was not about me, but rather, about bicycling. If I did write about myself, it was in the service of a larger point. 

Today, I’m breaking that rule. 

If there’s a larger message to come out of this, I don’t know what it is. 

I have struggled with whether to write this. But I have been open in discussing my diabetes up to this point; to not finish the story seems somehow dishonest.

And it affects my ability to maintain this site and bring you the bike news you’ve come to expect.

So if you’re interested, read on. If not, no hard feelings; feel free to skip it and come back another time.

Either way, we’ll be back to discussing bikes in the next post. And you can find today’s Morning Links here


Let’s talk pain.

As a long-time cyclist, I thought I knew what it meant to suffer.

From the pain of struggling to make it up a tough climb or somehow make it back home when you ran out of gas miles before. To nursing bruised and broken bones and flesh, or debriding a massive case of road rash.

But nothing I’ve been through in 30-plus years of adult riding — or anything that came before — prepared me for what I’ve experienced this past summer, and the months since.

But at least now it has a name.

Diabetic Amyotrophy, to be exact.

Which means I beat the odds once again. First by developing diabetes without any of the usual risk factors other than a family history. Then developing a form of diabetic neuropathy that affects just 1% of adult diabetics.

I should play the lottery more often.

Unlike most medical conditions, it’s easy to point to when it began. According to my calendar, I took my last recreational bike ride in mid-June; my last ride for transportation at the end of July, as the pain started taking over my life and forcing me off my bike.

Surprisingly — both to me and my doctors — it came as I was gaining control over my diabetes.

When I was first diagnosed in April, I had an A1C — the key marker of diabetes, measuring blood sugar levels over a three-month period — of 14.5. A figure that was, quite literally, off the charts, as I discovered recently when I noticed the graph on my doctor’s wall only goes up to 12.5.

In fact, one of my doctors — I have a virtual peloton of physicians these days — said the biggest surprise was I hadn’t ended up in diabetic coma. Or worse.

No wonder I’d felt like crap.

Yet, despite being repeatedly told it would be impossible, I was able to bring my blood sugar back down to normal levels less than three months after my diagnoosis. My most recent A1C was just 5.8 — a level that would be on the high end of the normal range for a non-diabetic.

And through diet and medication alone, without having to go on insulin.

In fact, low blood sugar is a more of a problem these days, as I have to carefully monitor myself to keep from crashing.

As my diabetes improved, though, the pain increased. Until it became the single defining factor affecting my life.

My doctor advised me to just wait it out, guessing that it was my body’s reaction to lowering my blood sugar too far too fast. And that it would simply go away in time.

Instead, it continued to get worse. So I finally got a referral to a physician specializing in diabetes, and was lucky to find one who takes the Sherlock Holmes approach to diagnostics.

As in, when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

So we began a months-long journey through a wide range of exotic blood and neurological tests in an attempt to discover what it wasn’t. Including some very scary things.

And once everything else had been considered and dismissed, we were left with this:

Diabetic amyotrophy, also known as proximal diabetic neuropathy, diabetic lumbosacral radiculoplexus neuropathy, and diabetic polyradiculoneuropathy, occurs in patients with diabetes (more likely in those with type II than type I). It usually involves weakness followed by wasting of muscles, and excruciating pain in the muscles of the thigh, hip, and buttocks.

Bingo. Although excruciating is putting it mildly.

What it doesn’t mention, though, is that the pain comes in three distinct flavors.

The first is a constant burning or freezing sensation in my feet, like they’re alternately on fire or encased in a block of ice.

Next comes uncontrollable muscle spasms in my calves and thighs lasting hours at a time, and resulting in a sensation like the lactic acid build-up that follows a hard ride. But many times worse.

Finally, I’m subject to intense, sudden shocks that come with no warning, strong enough to drop a grown man — namely me — to his knees. And striking anywhere from the waist down.

And I do mean anywhere.

Yes, even there.

You know those movies where they torture someone by shocking him with a car battery? My body doesn’t need any help to torture me. I can do that all by myself, without the need for external electricity.

The pain is constant, without relief, ranging from moderate to, by far, the worst pain I’ve ever felt, feared or imagined. Sometimes it’s just one of the three forms, at other times, all three at once.

And it’s worse at night. Much worse.

Which meant I spent most of my summer on the couch; awake all night from the pain, trying, usually unsuccessfully, not to wake my wife in the next room with my muffled cries of pain. Then curled up in a ball all day desperately trying to get the sleep I didn’t get the night before.

Relief, when it finally came, was in the form of a powerful anti-seizure medication used off-label for neuropathic pain. But it would only help for a day or two, at best, as my doctor slowly ratcheted up the dosage.

It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that it finally reached a level that offered any significant help. It doesn’t make the pain go away, but on a good day, helps bring it down to a more tolerable level.

Not that there are many of those.

Or more precisely, there are bad days, and less bad days.

On better days, I can function almost normally for a few hours, though even just going shopping with my wife is enough to wear me out. Going out on my own, unsupervised, requires cutting back on the amount of medication I take, and accepting the pain that comes with it.

And overdoing it means a relentless bout of pain that can last for days; it took over a week to get it back under control after spending just a few hours at the LACBC’s Firefly Ball recently.

There’s also a fine line between taking enough medication to control the pain and being unable to function. Too little and the pain knocks me on my ass; too much and I’m a virtual zombie until it finally wears off.

And even then, there’s no guarantee it will be enough to overcome the pain.

As a result, I’ve been unable to work, since I can’t commit to being anywhere, or being conscious enough to meet a deadline. Or guarantee that my head will be clear enough to be productive or that the pain won’t drive me back to bed.

Not that I have work to do. In fact, I haven’t worked a single day since the onset of my diabetes towards the end of last year.

Or an hour, for that matter.

It’s also kept me from making the changes I’ve wanted to this website; usually, it’s all I can do just to keep it going every day.

Or almost every day, as you may have noticed. Some days I’m just not up to the simple act of pounding out a new post.

And it’s kept me off my bike for nearly four months. While I’m determined to get back to riding, I don’t know when that will happen. Or if I can ever get back to riding the way I used to.

My life is now centered, not on the things I used to do, but the pills I have to take.

I’m finally starting to accept that.

Up to now, I’ve been fighting to overcome my pain and get back to normal. Now I’ve finally accepted that isn’t going to happen.

This is my new normal.

I have to accept that this is a chronic, and possibly permanent, condition. It may go away on its own someday, just as unexpectedly as it came on. Or it may be something I have to deal with all day, every day, for the rest of my life.

Fortunately, I’ve learned the hard way that I’m stronger than I thought I was. And I can endure more than I thought was humanly possible.

My challenge now is to find a way to live my life, regardless of what’s going on with my body. What that means, I have no idea.

But I’m looking forward to finding out.

And other people have overcome far worse.


Morning Links: What DTLA can learn from NYC, guilty plea in Fallbrook hit-and-run, new distracted driving app


What Downtown LA can learn from New York City — starting with road diets and pedestrian plazas.

Metro wants your help to plan possible bike share locations.

Setting an example by what you wear when you ride.

The LA Times endorses closing a loophole that allows hit-and-run drivers to buy their way out of criminal charges.

The LACBC offers photos from Sunday’s Hot August Bikes at Amoeba Records.

The sixth edition of the Santa Monica Museum of Art’s popular Tour de Arts rolls this Sunday.



Laguna Beach city councilmembers get on their bikes to get a feel for bike safety.

Anaheim opens up for comments on the city’s proposed bicycle master plan.

San Diego cyclists plan to recreate last week’s ill-fated Fiesta Island ride that sent several riders to the hospital, thanks to an allegedly drunk and possibly high wrong way driver.

A Fallbrook driver pleads guilty to a hit-and-run that seriously injured a cyclist.



Not surprisingly, the more cities invest in bicycling infrastructure, the more they get out of it in the long term.

New heads-up display app gives drivers something to pay attention to. Other than what’s on the road in front of them, that is.

How to claim your place among the wealthy elite on bikes.

Bike lawyer Bob Mionske rebuts arguments that call for licensing cyclists.

The 18-year old Aspen kid who beat Lance on a mountain bike rides his first year as a road pro, while Taylor Phinney is back in BMC colors, albeit far from ready to race.

A Pittsburgh shopper goes on strike against his favorite store until they install bike racks.

A scofflaw Jared Leto illegally rides on a New York sidewalk. As has been pointed out before, though, few cyclists will ride on the sidewalk if they feel safe on the street. Celebs included.



A look at what may be Britain’s most dangerous bike lane.

London’s Evening Standard looks at bike bells.

A New Zealand political party calls for scrapping the country’s mandatory helmet law to boost bicycling.



A British gang drives off with a woman’s car after tricking her into thinking she’d hit a cyclist. Of course, that wouldn’t work in LA, because the driver probably wouldn’t stop.


Morning Links: New e-book from bike writer Rick Risemberg, conviction in Phillip Richards hit-and-run case

Our-Own-Day-HereWe have a lot to catch up on after this weekend’s breaking news, starting with a new e-book from one of LA’s leading bike writers.

If you’ve been following this site for awhile, you’ll know that we link to pieces written by my friend Richard Risemberg of Bicycle Fixation on almost a daily basis, whether on his own site, or as a guest writer for Flying Pigeon and Orange 20 Bikes.

Now he’s collected some of his best essays for the new volume, Our Own Day Here.

While many of the chapters focus on bicycling, the tome goes beyond bikes to examine “how the way we travel, live, and shop shape our lives and our souls, and reveals the richness of experience he finds in city living.”

Among the subjects covered in these sometimes poetic, sometime humorous essays are cars, transit and bicycling, economics and politics, development, as well as the sense of place and the places that make it happen.

As he notes, some of the pieces have appeared on various websites, as well as in the pages of local and national publications, while others have never seen print or pixels before.

I haven’t had a chance to read it myself yet, though I hope to offer at least a partial review soon.

But knowing Rick, and the insightful quality of his writing, I’d highly recommend giving it a read. Especially at the low download price of just $4.99 — with a 10% discount through Smashwords with the code BU84L through the end of August.

It’s also available through Apple’s iTunes Store, and for Kindle through Amazon.

So what are you waiting for, already?


The driver charged with killing popular Beaumont cyclist Phillip Richards has been found guilty on charges stemming from the fatal hit-and-run.

Jurors convicted William Donald Johnson of both gross vehicular manslaughter while under the influence and hit-and-run causing injury, with enhancements for leaving the scene of a collision and causing great bodily injury.

However, the jurors split on an additional murder charge; the Riverside County DA is unsure if he will be retried on that charge. He will be sentenced October 3rd; no word yet on how much time he faces.

Johnson’s wife Kari had previously pled guilty to aiding in Johnson’s escape in the hit-and-run, and was sentenced to 90 days in jail and three years probation.


Tragically, the bike rider most seriously injured in that wrong-way collision on San Diego’s Fiesta Island that sent eight cyclists to the hospital is paralyzed from the chest down as a result.

Meanwhile, the driver responsible pled not guilty to felony DUI with injury and possession of a controlled substance after meth was found hidden in a very private place.


That other notable cyclist from my hometown sets out today to win his second USA Pro Challenge, while Jens Voigt says this will be his last pro tour after 33 years.

Caught on video: A nasty crash in the Eneco Tour takes out Italian cyclist Eugenio Alafaci, as well as the cameraman filming it.

And former world champ Mario Cipollini is hospitalized after a car turns in front of him on a training ride.



CityMetric looks at a tale of two bike lanes on North and South Figueroa.

A virtually unrecognizable Kesha goes for a bike ride on Venice Beach.

LAist offers photos from the opening of the Levi’s Commuter pop-up in DTLA.

Now you, too, can slug your java from an Every Lane is a Bike Lane mug.

Streetsblog and Santa Monica Next will host a forum for SaMo city council candidates next month.

The San Gabriel City Council holds a special session on Tuesday (pdf) to discuss the city’s proposed bike plan.



A Desert Hot Springs man is under arrest after police found him riding with bolt cutters on a stolen bike. And it wasn’t even the one he was seen stealing on surveillance video.

Sad news, as the San Francisco bike rider seriously injured in a collision with a fleeing car thief last month was taken off life support on Saturday.

After his custom-made bike is stolen, Redding residents pitch in to help a developmentally disabled man build a new one.



Our slow cycling, casually dressed president goes for a family bike ride on Martha’s Vineyard.

An OpEd writer for the New York Times reminisces on her life on two wheels, while a writer for Crain’s New York, who lost his own son in a bicycling collision seven years ago, explains the city’s new Vision Zero policy.

The New York Post applauds the NYPD’s crackdown on cyclists who “terrorize pedestrians and endanger life and limb,” and calls on the city to make it permanent. On the other hand, they seem to be fine with the lawbreaking drivers who kill a hell of a lot more people than cyclists ever could.

Caught on video: Continuing today’s New York theme, an NYPD officer is caught leaning in to deliberately block a bike lane, evidently just for the hell of it.

Finally leaving Gotham, a Maryland cyclist pens a powerful open letter to the hit-and-run driver who cracked his ribs and ran his bike over.



CNN lists the world’s best cycling cities; only one US city is on the list. And no, it ain’t LA.

A Montreal office building cuts a cyclist’s lock and impounds her bike, even though it was parked on public property; if they have such a problem with parked bikes, maybe they should put in a decent bike rack.

Britain’s Top Gear host calls for separated bike lanes and greater tolerance on the roads.

Turns out cyclists are human beings, too. Who could have imagined?

At least they’re showing an even hand, as Aussie police target scofflaw cyclists and the law-breaking drivers who pose the greatest risk to them and others.



Breckenridge CO hosts a replica of the Eiffel Tower made entirely of bike parts. And Ford learns the hard way that using a convicted bike doper probably isn’t the best way to market their cars.


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