You can learn a lot on a bike.
It was on a ride through tiny town of St. Martinville, Louisiana, on the edge of the massive Atchafalaya swamp, that I stumbled up a beautiful little church, one of the first built in the state.
And first learned the story of St. Martin de Tours who, as an officer in the Roman army, used his sword to cut his own cloak in two so he could give half to a tattered beggar.
That image has stuck with me ever since, gnawing on the back of my mind as I wonder whether I do enough for others in need.
That’s why I was struck by this first person report from the Eastside’s Aurelio Jose Barrera, who gets up early a few times a week, loads up his bike with donated food, and rides out to feed those in need while the city is still sleeping.
I don’t know if that makes him a saint.
But in my book, it makes him a hero.
I received the following report from an Orange County rider this morning, and thought it was worth sharing.
On Friday night, going southbound on Bolsa Chica, I noticed a length of purple ribbon lying in the gutter. I thought: Is that the purple ribbon from Michael Bastien’s memorial? And on approach, I noticed that the bike was kind of awry. It also looked unchained, but without time to check it out, I was left wondering all weekend. On Sunday morning I investigated, and sure enough… the purple ribbon wrapped around the power pole was drooping and the purple flowers were atilt. I tied a bow as best I could and started tidying up. The flowers in the hollow saddle had been flung to the ground, so I replaced them. The reflector had fallen from its conspicuous perch next to the cross nailed into the pole, and I couldn’t affix it so I just angled it between a spoke & the seat stay so it would catch headlights.
And then I just kind of stared. Because the busted lock and chain are just lying on the sidewalk. Dunno how long they’ve been there, or whether there’d been a theft attempt or what, but the ghost bike’s been unlocked & unmolested for at least the past three days.
Meanwhile, still no action by the DA against Bastien’s killer.
By now, you’ve probably figured out that I’m a big fan of Ride 2 Recovery, a program that uses bikes to help wounded vets recover and make it all the way back after their service overseas, physically and emotionally.
On March 28th, you’ll have a chance to help out while enjoying some of the most scenic and challenging roads in Southern California when the first ever 103-mile Bear Claw Classic — aka Seven Canyon Climb — rolls through the Santa Monica Mountains.
There will also be a 55-mile route, and a much easier 25-mile Honor Ride Los Angeles, or Cub Route, through Westlake Village and Thousand Oaks.
Sounds like a good ride for a great cause.
CiclaValley reports there will be two CicLAvia meetings in the San Fernando Valley tomorrow; motivated riders could make both.
A San Diego cyclist is hospitalized after he was hit while allegedly running a red light; as always, the question is whether anyone other than the driver who hit him actually saw him go through it.
San Francisco’s Vision Zero group maps out where you’re most likely to be hit by a car while walking or riding.
Next City looks at what the last four presidents have done for bicycling, while the Atlantic points out Washington’s birthday used to be celebrated by bike. And Streetsblog offers photographic proof that most of the recent presidents rode, too.
Lance is ordered to repay $10 million of the $12 million he received from a promotions company.
Residents of a low-income Baton Rouge neighborhood will finally get sidewalks along a dangerous street, with a multi-use bikeway on one side. And yes, that street was pretty hair-raising when I lived down there a few decades back.
The hit-and-run epidemic has hit Florida, doubling the number of incidents in Pensacola over the last three years.
Nice. After a 12-year old Florida girl’s bike is badly damaged in a collision, sheriff’s deputies not only ticket the driver, one arranges to get the girl a new bike from Walmart.
Now that’s more like it. A Brit teenager gets a year in jail for injuring a bike rider by throwing a bottle at him from a moving car. Note to US police: he only pled guilty after his DNA was found on the bottle, proving it is possible to actually investigate assaults against cyclists like you would any other hate crime.
In LA, you’re lucky if you can even find a bike rack; in Japan, cyclists get fully automated underground bike storage systems.
And a new kind of steel promises stronger, lighter bike frames, replacing titanium for high-end bikes at a fraction of the cost.
On a personal note, many thanks to C.S. Meszler. Your note made my day.