Tag Archive for bike racing

Morning Links: The real reasons bike riders keep dying, $100k OCTA bike safety grant, and Oaxaca Day of the Dead race

Last week, Peter Flax explained why the NTSB — the National Transportation Safety Board — was wrong about their call for mandatory bike helmets to cut the rising rate of bicycling fatalities.

This week he’s back to spell out the real reasons people are dying on our streets.

And it ain’t a lack of helmets.

He starts by recounting the last decade’s decline in bicycling deaths.

Then this.

The situation seemed great—until it wasn’t great. Right around 2011, things started arcing in the wrong direction. In 2010, a total of 618 cyclists were killed—hardly miraculous, but the lowest toll in at least 40 years. Then every year after that, the number of casualties has gotten progressively worse. The newly released 2018 statistics mean that the fatality rate for riders has risen 37 percent in just nine years—and NHTSA data indicate that the death rate for urban and female cyclists has soared even more.

So while the NTSB analysis focused primarily on encouraging or mandating greater helmet use, as well as things cyclists, road designers, and carmakers should do so riders are more conspicuous to motorists, those factors don’t really explain why a serious, sustained uptick of deaths began in 2011. It’s not like helmet use had a major decline, or cities ripped out quality protected bike lanes, or high-viz apparel or auto headlights got worse. These factors, especially related to road design, might have an impact on fatalities going forward, but they don’t explain why more cyclists have been dying in the past decade.

It’s a must read for anyone who wants to understand what the real problems are, and why we keep dying.

And do something about it.

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Orange County’s OCTA announces a grant to improve bicycle safety and education.

The Orange County Transportation Authority has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety for a year-long community program dedicated to pedestrian and bicycle safety classes and distribution of safety equipment for people walking and biking.

The aim of the program is to increase safety and reduce traffic-related injuries and fatalities. OCTA will use the funding as part of the agency’s ongoing commitment to deliver transportation solutions, including for active transportation – biking, walking and skating.

“OCTA appreciates the strong partnership we have formed with the state’s Office of Traffic Safety to work toward enhancing safety on our streets,” said OCTA Chairman Tim Shaw, also a City Council member in La Habra. “OTS has provided grant funding for the past three years to develop programs improving conditions for walking and biking, and ongoing grant funding will help us with one of our primary goals of reinforcing safety throughout Orange County.

Activities to be funded by this year’s grant include:

  • Pedestrian and bicycle safety classes
  • Distribution of bicycle lights and helmets
  • Distribution of reflectors for pedestrians

The need for increased safety training is clear. Bicycle and pedestrian-related collisions have been on the rise for the past decade.

“No matter which way you get around, you play a part in roadway safety,” OTS Director Barbara Rooney said. “These grant programs are intended to educate residents on ways they can make themselves and those around them safe when they walk or bike.”

The pedestrian and bicycle safety program and distribution of safety materials will occur throughout 2020. Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

For more information on bicycle programs and safety in Orange County, and to stay updated on where classes are being scheduled, visit octa.net/bike.

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The LACBC is looking for volunteers to help give out free bike lights to riders who don’t have them in Koreatown next week.

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Tune into Bike Talk at 6 pm tonight to hear, and maybe chat with, Juli Briskman, the Virginia woman who lost her job after flipping off Trump’s motorcade.

And responded by running for office — and winning.

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

A 13-year old New York boy credits an Emergency 911 app on his phone with scaring off a group of older boys on bikes who tried to rob him.

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Local

A 35-year old Fontana man was arrested for a Pasadena hit-and-run that left a juvenile bike rider hospitalized with critical injuries; he was booked on suspicion of hit-and-run and DUI resulting in serious injury or death. Let’s all say a pray or offer best wishes that the kid makes a full and fast recovery.

People for Bikes invites you to join the weekly Ride and Pint mountain bike ride rolling out of Pedlar’s Fork in Calabasas every Thursday. You can find it, and other great rides, through their Ride Spot app.

The future of Santa Monica’s Breeze bikeshare is in doubt as it faces stiff competition from dockless bikeshares; the city will have to fork over $225,000 in subsidies just to keep it operating for the next year. West Hollywood has already pulled the plug on its money-losing sister operation.

 

State

Seven Orange County communities will host the first Meet on the Beach festival, offering a carfree open streets experience along 1.5 miles of Beach Blvd to reimagine what the street could be. Thanks to the Orange County Bicycle Coalition for the heads up.

Temecula is opening a new pump track bike park this Tuesday.

A new 32-page manual put together by a pair of San Francisco advocacy groups explains how to build protected bike lanes that work for everyone, including pedestrians and disabled people.

The long-promised bike and pedestrian lane on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge connecting Contra Costa and Marin counties will open tomorrow, despite continued efforts in some quarters to convert it to a yet another lane for motor vehicles. Because everyone knows just one more traffic lane will solve all our traffic problems forever.

 

National

EcoWatch makes the case for why your next car will be a bike.

Joe Biden attempts to boost his run for president with a new infrastructure plan that’s heavy on high-speed rail, transit and bicycling.

An Oregon Republican proves conservatives can support bicycling, too, as he announces his run for Congress.

Be careful carrying that bike. A 74-year old Detroit man was found dead after he fell down the stair while trying to carry his mountain bike up them.

He gets it. An op-ed in the New York Daily News calls for eliminating free parking to pay for free transit.

Britain’s Beryl bikeshare brand makes a beachhead in New York’s Staten Island, booting Lime and Jump; meanwhile, Lyft is pulling the plug on their e-scooter operations in six smaller market cities.

After a Virginia boy’s new bike was stolen, his bighearted neighbors pitched in to buy him a new one. Stories like this remind us that there’s still a lot of good in this world, despite how it may seem these days.

Florida’s Jack the Bike Man says he needs a miracle to keep giving thousands of refurbished bikes to kids in need, after the building housing the nonprofit was sold and the new owner jacked his rent up over $100 grand a year.

 

International

Cars could be killing us even without touching us. A new study has linked pollution from motor vehicles to brain cancer for the first time.

Bicycle Retailer reminds us that Trump’s trade war with China is still going strong, and the bikes are losing.

Your next bike helmet could be a custom-made, 3D printed number with individual hexagon-shaped crumple zones that the company says is safer than MIPS or WaveCel — if you have an extra $390 on hand.

A writer for Gear Patrol offers lessons learned from Trek’s mountain bike camp at the Whistler resort in British Columbia.

A pair of British doctors set a new Guinness record for circumnavigating the globe on a tandem bike, covering 18,000 miles in 218 days and 22 hours, breaking the previous men’s record by nine days.

He gets it. An Irish letter writer reminds the anti-bike crowd that roads are a public service that we all pay for.

A European bikemaker came up with a smart, if somewhat creepy and invasive, sales promotion, scanning Paris license plates to determine how much CO2 each car puts out, and using that figure to offer the owner a discount on a new bicycle.

Tom Vanderbilt explains how he went from riding solo to taking his family along, thanks to a trip to Italy.

Now that’s more like it. A stoned, speeding Australian driver will spend the next 11 years behind bars and be prohibited from driving for two decades after walking away from the crash that killed a Dutch woman riding a bike.

 

Competitive Cycling

Britain’s Cyclist magazine recalls the Motorola team that rose from the ashes of America’s late, great 7-11 team after the convenience chain declared bankruptcy — including the tragic death of Italy’s Fabio Casartelli in the 1995 Tour de France.

The UAE Team Emirates cycling team is considering legal action against Croatian pro Kristijan Đurasek following his four-year ban for doping. But cycling officials keep telling us the era of doping is over, right?

 

Finally…

Now you, too, can get your very own ebike branded by your favorite soccer team — as long as your favorite team is Paris Saint-Germain. When your round-the-world bike trip gets interrupted by a water-logged passport, just fly home and get a new one.

And nothing like a little Dia de los Muertos mountain bike racing in the middle of Oaxaca.

 

Downey man dies after crashing in Long Beach masters race; victim identified as Beverly Hills teacher Gerry Gutierrez

Sadly, we got yet another tragic reminder today that bike racing can be a dangerous sport.

And this time, it happened in our own back yard.

The following notice went out Thursday from the El Dorado Race Series by Bikeable Communities, via email and Facebook.

Tuesday at the El Dorado Race Series in Long Beach.

We are deeply saddened to report that our friend and colleague Gerry Gutierrez passed away earlier today.

We know that everyone in our community is saddened at this incredible loss and want to give heart felt condolences to his wife, Stephanie, to his entire family and his many many friends. He truly was a very special member of our community and a beloved family man.

When available we will post any information on a memorial and a location where people can post their condolences and comments about this wonderful and much loved man.

Then there was this in an email from Allyson Vought.

Sadly, Gerry had a crash in the Masters race on the first lap at El Dorado her in Long Beach for reasons yet to be revealed and he never regained consciousness.

I and many others had the great pleasure to know Gerry from our group rides together, and he was a great rider with a warm and engaging soul. His Pop’s, Gerry Gutierrez Sr. was a racer from the 90’s at Eldo as well, and had JUST returned to riding from much prompting from Jr. 

According to Gerry Gutierrez’ Facebook page, he lived in Downey and worked as physical education teacher in Beverly Hills.

Gutierrez posted this from the previous week’s El Dorado race on Facebook.

It was his final post.

 

Unfortunately, no other information is available at this time. Hopefully, we’ll get more details soon.

This is at least the 44th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 18th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Gerry Gutierrez and all his family and loved ones.

Thanks to Allyson Vought and Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

Morning Links: Even more bike racing news, fix LA traffic by biking to school, and FL gets serious about bikeways

Once again, there’s just too much bike racing in the news.

In a huge upset, Aussie journeyman domestique Mathew Hayman claims a surprise victory in Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix classic; the 37-year old rider says he’s proof dreams can come true. And that he’s sorry he won.

Britain’s Ian Stannard becomes the first rider from his country to podium at Paris-Roubaix, while Cycloscross Magazine looks at how cross riders fared in the race. Deadspin calls it a day in hell, but Vavel says it was one of the best Roubaix races in modern times.

And you have to see Peter Sagan put those bike skills to work by simply riding over another rider’s bike after a mass crash.

On the other hand, another bike race, another cyclist injured by a race moto.

Meanwhile, Alberto Contador says not so fast on those retirement plans after winning his fourth Tour of the Basque Country title.

British Olympic cycling gold medalist Laura Trott says the growth in women’s cycling is incredible.

Speaking of which, 41-year old Kristin Armstrong won the women’s title in the Redlands Classic, finishing 33 seconds ahead of defending champ Mara Abbott, who was riding with a broken collarbone; Matteo Dal-Cin wins for the men.

The pros weren’t the only ones competing, as over 600 children got their chance to ride across the finish line. As part of the Classic, people with disabilities learned how to ride adaptive bicycles.

And hundreds of local families have to say goodbye to the riders they’ve been hosting for the last week.

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Local

An OpEd for the Times suggests four easy fixes for LA Traffic, including biking or walking to school. Which is now illegal at one Texas school.

New Echo Park Adult Literacy Coordinator Richard Risemberg complains about LA’s disconnected bike network, noting that bike riders have to keep going even when the bike lane ends. Which it usually does. And congrats to Rick on the new gig.

As if there wasn’t enough drama on the streets, a Beverly Hills play centers on the death of a London cyclist in 1958.

Metro CEO Phil Washington makes a surprise appearance at an El Monte workshop to explain plans for the new transportation tax.

Long Beach will hold an open house to discuss their new bike master plan on Thursday.

 

State

In a seriously cringe-worthy incident, a San Clement BMX rider was impaled in the abdomen when the seat came off his bike.

The Desert Sun says a planned Palm Springs road diet is likely to annoy the local anti-bike contingent, but isn’t likely to affect many drivers. And really, isn’t annoying the bike haters what it’s all about?

A local charity gives a 13-year old Cathedral City boy with cerebral palsy a new adaptive bicycle.

A San Francisco orthopedist says love your bike, but leave it more often, because crosstraining is vital for cyclists.

 

National

When his bike lock won’t open, a Spokane man learns you can use bolt cutters to free your bike with patrons from a crowded restaurant looking on, and no one will care. Somehow, this is not comforting.

No bias here. A Montana letter writer says the tiny minority of thrill seeking cyclists shouldn’t be allowed in wilderness areas, because mountain bikers are incapable of riding safely.

A New Hampshire driver is fined just $2,000 and loses her license for a whole 90 days for killing an 83-year old bike rider. And she can get that back if she just makes an equal donation to Safe Routes to Schools. Evidently, the life of an old man isn’t worth much in the Granite State. At least not if he rides a bike.

Gun control advocates are riding from Newtown to DC to honor the children and teachers killed in the Sandy Hook shooting; the governor of Delaware will join them on the ride to help deliver a petition to Congress.

Philadelphia will invest $300,000 in a network of protected bike lanes.

A Columbia University student learns it can be challenging to review a bikeshare system if you don’t know how to ride a bike

Now that’s more like it. Florida establishes a $25 million annual fund for building bicycle trails, financed by vehicle registration fees; the money will be used to complete a coast-to-coast trail across the state, possibly followed by twin 800 mile trails from Pensacola to Key West on either coast.

 

International

Next time you’re in Tijuana, be sure to show up at a bike delivery-based vegan taco shop by bicycle to get a 15% discount.

Caught on video: An English woman lets it rip on YouTube about being treated like a second-class citizen just because she rides a bike.

The leader of Britain’s Labour Party is captured riding his bike on Google Street View.

Brit bike scribe and historian Carlton Reid explains to motorists that the reason bike riders don’t always use bike paths is because they’re usually terrible. Which is often the case here, as well.

Local residents threaten disruption and possible violence in response to a bike event in the UK next weekend. The best way to tell you’re dealing with NIMBYs is when they assure you they’re not NIMBYs. And violence? Seriously?

An Irish mother refuses to ride a bike and won’t let her children ride on the streets after she was knocked off hers by an aggressive cyclist; maybe she should talk to some Aussie women about overcoming their fears.

An Indian randonneur says cycling is an addiction for him; he owns a world record for riding across eleven Himalayan passes. Meanwhile, a small but growing group of women take up recreational riding in Mumbai.

 

Finally…

Practice is good, even if it means a bike cop face plant. If you’re going to run down a cyclist and chase him with a metal bar, try not to do it directly in front of the cops.

And don’t you dare take your hands off the handlebars in Cyprus.

 

Morning Links: A very sad weekend in bike racing, and bikesplaining from a windshield perspective

You think?

The head of the Professional Cyclists Association says lessons have to be learned from the death of Belgian cyclist Antoine Demoitié, who was killed in a collision with a race moto on Sunday, and that rider safety must come first.

Then again, those lessons should have been learned by the collisions with race vehicles that left Taylor Phinney, Ian Crane and Matt Brammeier seriously injured, as well as mid-race collisions with motor vehicles that injured Sergio Paulinho, Peter Sagan and Jesse Sergent and Sébastien Chavanel.

And those are just in the last two years.

Meanwhile, Demoitié’s Wanty-Gobert team has withdrawn from its upcoming races, while pro cyclist Marcel Kittel argues that safety in the peloton should be as high a priority as doping.

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More bad news from the world of bike racing.

Twenty-two year old Belgian rider Daan Myngheer died of a heart attack while competing in the Criterium International in Corsica.

And 29-year old Oregon rider Randall Fox was killed when he hit a guardrail during a race in Washington on Saturday; he was a Ph.D. candidate competing for the Oregon State University cycling team.

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A Clovis letter writer tries to explain bike safety and the law to bike riders from a decidedly windshield perspective, and gets it almost all wrong.

So just to clarify, there is nothing in California law requiring bicyclists to ride single file, nor is there any requirement that cyclists separate themselves by a few seconds distance.

In fact, bike riders are legally allowed to ride two or more abreast in any lane that can’t be safely shared with a motor vehicle — and it’s often safer to do so to increase visibility and control the lane to prevent unsafe passing. It’s also safer and more efficient for groups of cyclists to ride close together, rather than spaced out.

Despite his protestations, no passing zones prohibit drivers from crossing the center line to pass another vehicle; they are not intended to keep bicyclists from passing one another, or even slower cars, as long as they don’t cross the center line. There is also no requirement that cyclists enter the traffic lane to pass anyone if there is room to do it on the shoulder.

And someone should tell him who poses the real danger on our streets.

Because it ain’t the ones on bikes.

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Local

A Santa Monica writer says if you’re traveling through the city at rush hour, you either need to walk, skate board or ride a bike, or find a new age CD to keep calm in your car.

A proposed Metrolink station near Rio Hondo College in Whittier would connect to the San Gabriel River bike path, giving Eastsiders an alternative to driving the freeway. Or driving, period.

A Lancaster family is trying to win a $5,000 adaptive bike for their 17-year old special needs daughter; she’s currently in first place in the voting with over 13,000 votes.

 

State

A San Bernardino man was shot while riding his bike following an argument with two men in a black Acura; no word on his condition.

Sad news from Fresno, as a 16-year old bike rider was the victim of a fatal hit-and-run. And a 15-year old Benecia boy died when he lost control of his bicycle and crashed into a street sign.

Modesto special needs kids learn to ride a bicycle at a five-day adapted bike camp.

San Francisco safety advocates question whether the city’s commitment to Vision Zero is being watered down to preserve parking.

 

National

IBM is helping the US women’s track cycling team gain an edge as they prepare for the Rio Olympics.

Bicycling offers advice on how to avoid fading during a long ride. Tip #7: To avoid fading during your ride, don’t get faded before it.

In between races, Vermont-based cross-country pro cyclist Lea Davison mentors the next generation of female riders.

A local TV station looks at the lack of equity in Boston bikeways, as some neighborhoods have benefitted from decades of bike lane construction, while others remain virtually untouched. And you can probably guess which ones.

New Jersey officials are quarreling over bikeshare, as Jersey City complains that Hoboken’s Hudson Bike Share is hogging all the public bike racks that could be used by its own Citi Bike system.

 

International

A Brit octogenarian offers advice on how to keep riding into your 80s.

A 67-year old Sri Lankan cycling champ looks back on his 50 year racing career.

Recreational riding is growing on the quiet, remote roads of China, as locals say spring is the perfect time to ride.

Aussie advocates point out that a bike lane without any signage or pavement markings is nothing more than a confusing line of paint on the street.

 

Finally…

Now you, too, can emulate motorists by turning your bike into a rolling ad. As if there wasn’t enough drama already in the relationship between drivers and cyclists.

And when you’re trying to make your getaway by bicycle, try to keep out of patrol car bumper range.

 

Morning Links: A moving look at Dave Mirra and the need to succeed, and bike racers get blown and disinvited

Let’s just jump right in today.

Triathlete Jordan Rapp writes movingly about the suicide of BMX legend Dave Mirra, and the emptiness that comes with a constant need to excel at the highest level.

Rapp himself was nearly killed in a collision with a Camarillo hit-and-run driver in 2010, and survived only because a passing stranger saved his life. Yet came back just eight months later to nearly podium in the Ironman Arizona triathlon.

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Even in the off season, it’s hard to get away from racing news.

Let’s start with word that motor doping may have been going on a lot longer than anyone realized, as a video surfaces of an electric motor hidden in a 1970’s era road bike.

American cycling great Evelyn Stevens will attempt to set a new women’s hour record at the Olympic training center velodrome in Colorado Springs CO at the end of this month.

Russia, which appears to have returned to its Soviet-era state-sponsored doping, takes a page from the Lance/Lloyd playbook by denying any problems in its cycling program.

The world’s number one ranked cycling team gets treated like number two, as they’re disinvited from the Tour of Qatar for demonstrating a lack of respect — by taking too long to get dressed and walk to the podium.

And sometimes bike racing blows, as wind knocks cyclists competing in a Spanish race off their bikes. Thanks to joninsocal for the link

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Local

Here’s a warning for anyone riding Mulholland Highway, as a motorcycle site reports someone may be sabotaging the roadway by pouring oil on curves. That could pose a real danger for bicyclists as well, especially on fast descents.

Glendale residents discuss what changes they want for local parks; one calls for a bikeway along the Verdugo Wash.

The latest podcast from Streetsblog’s Damien Newton discusses Pasadena parklets and Complete Streets on Las Tunas Drive in Temple City.

Metro suggests 16 places you’ll be able to explore once the Gold Line extension opens, including the Duarte Bike Path and Santa Fe Dam Recreational Area. Or spice up your ride with a visit to the Sriracha factory.

 

State

You only have until end of business day today to offer comments on Caltrans plans to close eight miles of Highway 101 through San Luis Obispo County to bicyclists, cutting off a key route for bike tourists without providing any alternative.

When paving engineers work in a different department from city planners, the result can be dangerous for cyclists, as a recent Berkeley collision shows.

Sad news from Sacramento, as a bike rider was killed by a driver heading back to a Super Bowl party; somehow, the victim “came out of nowhere” despite being in the roadway. Seriously, no one, ever, comes out of nowhere; the question is why the driver failed to see him.

 

National

A Seattle writer tries to connect the dots to say there’s a vast bikeshare conspiracy in the city.

A Las Vegas paper looks at the city’s coming bikeshare program in the downtown area.

Tres shock! An El Paso TV station catches a pair of cyclists running a red light to catch up to their riding partner, who made it through on the green. Although you have to wonder how many scofflaw drivers they might have caught by leaving their camera running at the same location.

A $9,000 investment in enclosed showers and a camping area for cyclists helped save a Montana town at the crossroads of two major bike touring routes.

A Cincinnati protected bike lane comes under attack before it can even be finished, despite support from neighborhood councils.

Wisconsin legislators nix a plan for a contraflow bike lane through the Capital Square in Madison; instead, bike riders have to keeping going all the way around the square and up a hill.

Over 20% of residents in three DC districts commute by bike, pointing the out the need for better bikeways through the city.

A Virginia epilepsy foundation wants to eliminate bicycle collisions resulting in death or serious brain injury. So naturally, they tell kids to wear helmets, rather than urging people to drive safely.

Just weeks after a man rode one of New York’s Citi Bike bikeshare bikes across the US, a former Spice Girl evidently rode one all the way to Miami Beach. Or maybe the Daily Mail just has no idea what city they’re actually in.

 

International

London businesses overwhelmingly support a proposed new cycle superhighway through the city. Meanwhile, a London cop is caught on video taking advantage of one of the city’s cycle superhighways to bypass traffic with his emergency lights flashing. Which could be an argument for bikeways, since people often raise imaginary fears of emergency vehicles stuck in traffic to argue against them.

A British bicycling website sings the praises of bananas, calling them a superfood that proves God is a cyclist.

Not even the mayor of London can bike past security at a top secret high-end fundraiser ball for Britain’s Conservative Party.

Remarkably, no one was seriously hurt when a speeding Irish driver tried to pass a group of cyclists on a training ride, only to realize too late there was an island in the middle of the road and cut back in, hitting several riders; one rider was reportedly thrown 75 feet through the air.

South African police stress that bikes are not allowed on a freeway after a drunk driver plows into a group of 30 cyclists on a training ride, killing two.

Australian police issue 806 tickets in a three-week bicycle safety crackdown, only 89 of which went to motorists. And even then, mostly for driving or parking in a bike lane. If half of all safety violations involve riding without a helmet, maybe it’s the law, not the behavior, that has to change.

More proof bicyclists face the same problems everywhere, as a cyclist in the Philippines regrets her reaction but refuses to apologize to the driver who harassed her for riding in the traffic lane.

 

Finally…

Seriously, don’t go off on someone in a wheelchair when she asks you to move into the street so she can get by. If you really want to see that video of a Brit cab driver whacking off while he reads a porn magazine, feel free. Or you can just read about it, which seems like a much better alternative.

And for the equivalent of just $56,000, you can own a 92-year old British bike shop once bombed by the Luftwaffe.

 

Don’t miss this weekend’s most exciting bike event — the Huntington Park Gran Prix

Luchador-flyer-650

The first time Wolfpack Hustle organized a race, they beat a jet from Burbank to Long Beach.

Since then, they’ve grown to become the organizers behind of one of Southern California’s most dramatic racing campaigns, the Unified Title Series, drawing top racers from throughout the US and overseas.

Two races are already in the can, the Shoreline Crit in Long Beach and the Civic Center Crit in Downtown LA. Now the final race in the series, the HP Gran Prix, is gearing up for single-speed battle this Saturday in Huntington Park.

I’ll let Wolfpack Hustle explain the race itself.

This scenic sprint race finale on Pacific Ave in Huntington Park is where the Fixed Gear and Freewheel categories merge and compete as one division Men’s and Women’s. This race is single speed only. Individually qualified competitors will go head to head in top 16 bracketed elimination rounds until a winner is determined. First place Mens / Womens will receive Wolfpack Hustle Dog Tags.

But this is so much more than just a bike race.

While most cities merely accommodate racing — if they allow it at all — Huntington Park is pulling out all the stops for a Lucha Libre themed bike party this Saturday.

In addition to the all-out racing, you’ll find giveaways including a Samsung tablet, Beats headphones, three Sole Bikes, three Bern bike helmets and HP Gran Prix T-shirts, just to name a few. And all you have to do to get a raffle ticket is to show up on a bike.

You’ll also find some of the area’s best food trucks, including:

  •             The Grilled Cheese Truck
  •             Slanging Corean Food Truck
  •             El Gallo Giro
  •             Dino’s Chicken

As well as an expo featuring find top vendors and organizations:

  •             Everton Bikes
  •             Herbalife
  •             Metro
  •             Eco Rapid Transit
  •             Chamber of Commerce
  •             LA County Department of Public Health
hpgrandprix2014floorplan-01

Click to expand

It all adds up to one of the most exciting and entertaining spectator events of year, taking place from 5 to 9 pm this Saturday, on Pacific Blvd between Florence and Zoe in Huntington Park.

Be there for some epic racing and a serious good time. Or wish you had.

Don’t believe me? Check out last year’s action, which went down as one of the best bike events of the year.

 

LA’s hit-and-run bike body count climbs; Lakewood Sunday Funday and Brentwood Grand Prix

Add another name to SoCal’s climbing bike body count.

It made the news all over town when 18-year old Inglewood High School star athlete Markeis Vonreece Parish was killed in a hit-and-run while crossing the street at Crenshaw and 78th Place last month.

What I missed at the time, or the stories I read failed to mention, was that he was walking his bike in an unmarked crosswalk when he was hit by a speeding Mercedes with enough force to send his body sliding a full block to 79th Street, and stripping him of his clothes as he skidded across the pavement.

And even though he was identified as a pedestrian at the time, that makes him more than just another notch in the seemingly endless epidemic of hit-and-runs plaguing Los Angeles and other Southern California cities.

It makes him one of us.

And I apologize for the delay in acknowledging that.

The collision occurred at 6:15 pm on Saturday, July 20th; the car was found less than an hour later, roughly two miles away at Imperial Highway and Spinning Avenue. To the best of my knowledge, no arrest has been made, despite reports that the identity of the driver is common knowledge within the community.

This is the 55th bike-related fatality in Southern California this year, and the 24th in Los Angeles County; that compares to 23 in LA County for all of last year.

It’s also the 9th bicycling death in the City of Los Angeles, compared to five in each of the previous two years. And it’s the 13th fatal hit-and-run involving a bike rider in Southern California since the first of the year; eight of those have occurred in LA County — seven in the City of LA.

My sympathy and prayers for Markeis Parish and all his family and loved ones.

………

Bike Talk airs every Saturday at 10 am; listen to it live or download the podcast from KPFK.

Bike Long Beach hosts Bike Saturdays every weekend; ride your bike to participating local shops and business throughout the city to get special offers and discounts.

CD4 Council Member Tom LaBonge hosts his annual Tour LaBonge each Wednesday through August 17th.

Metro continues to offer a series of free bike safety classes throughout the LA area, including classes this weekend in Downey, Hacienda Heights and Culver City, as well as a Spanish language class Monday in Azusa.

There will be a memorial ride for San Diego cycling legend Gordie Shields today at 9 am, starting at Pepper Park, 3299 Tidelands Ave in National City.

The next edition of the LACBC’s Sunday Funday Rides takes place this Sunday, August 4th, with a Lakewood Family ride led by board member Steve Boyd. The easy ride along the San Gabriel River Bike Path offers options of six and 18 miles, returning along PCH. The ride is free for LACBC members and a guest; meet at Del Valle Park, 5939 Henrilee Street at 9:30 am, rolling at 12:30 pm.

The best of California bike racing comes to LA on Sunday, August 4th when the Brentwood Grand Prix rolls through the streets of the Westside with the SCNCA Elite State Criterium Championships. The racing starts at 7 am and continues through the Women’s Cat 1 – 3 and Men’s Cat 1 – 2 at 2:15 pm and 3:15 pm, respectively. And you won’t want to miss the kid’s races at 12:45 pm.

The Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee meets at 7 pm on the first Tuesday of each even-numbered month; the next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, August 6th at the Hollywood Neighborhood City Hall Community Room, 6501 Fountain Ave.

The USA Cycling Elite Track National Championships returns to the bike-unfriendly StubHub Center in Carson next weekend, with events starting Friday, August 9th and continuing through Sunday the 11th.

Downtown Long Beach will host its inaugural Bike Drive-In starting at 6 pm on Saturday, August 10th in the parking lot across from Fingerprints Music at the intersection of Fourth and Elm streets. The evening will feature live music from three bands, followed by the bike-centric animated feature, The Triplets of Belleville.

The Planning Committee of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition hosts a panel discussion on What Do Elected Officials Want to Hear on Thursday, August 22nd at 7 pm in the Edison Room on the 1st Floor of LACBC Headquarters, 634 S. Spring Street. Free for LACBC members, $10 for non-members.

The second annual Clitoral Mass — yes, you read that right — women’s ride rolls on Saturday, August 24th from 4 pm to midnight. Riders assemble at Watts Towers, 1765 E. 107th Street.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s Civic Engagement Committee meets at 6:45 pm on the last Tuesday of each month to discuss how to elect and influence bike-friendly politicians. The next meeting will take place on Tuesday, August 27th, site TBD. The meetings are open to everyone, and you don’t have to be an LACBC member to participate; email bikinginla at hotmail dot com to be added to the discussion list.

Here’s your chance to bike the famed Las Vegas strip and the surrounding Las Vegas Valley, with the 6th Annual RTC Viva Bike Vegas Gran Fondo Pinarello on Saturday, September 21st. The event will offer routes for riders of all levels, from a 17-mile ride to 60-mile Metric Century and a 103-mile Gran Fondo; the longer rides will visit the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and Lake Mead.

Bike SGV invites you to join them for their 2013 Awards Ceremony and Fundraiser on Saturday, September 28th from 5 pm to 11 pm at the San Gabriel Mission Grapevine Arbor, 320 South Mission Drive in San Gabriel.

CicLAvia returns to an expanded version of the original Heart of LA route on Sunday, October 6th.

Update: San Diego bike racer killed in velodrome fall

For the second time in less than a month, a Southern California bike racer has died — a reminder of just how dangerous it is to compete at the higher levels of our sport.

I began getting reports yesterday that a bike racer had died, but couldn’t find any confirmation. However, San Diego’s  Fox 5 now reports that Jackie Price Dunn has died following a fall at the San Diego Velodrome Tuesday evening.

Reports are she was left brain dead after touching wheels with another rider and hitting her head hard on the riding surface. According to the Fox report, she was kept on life support until her organs could be harvested for transplant.

She was 33 years old.

According to the Crank Cycling website, Dunn only recently began bike racing, rapidly rising to Cat 3 in less than two years after taking up the sport in 2012. The site reports she took up boxing after her naval officer husband was transferred to San Diego in 2008, losing over 80 pounds.

As she continued to get in shape, she discovered bicycling through competing triathlons, and started track racing in recent months. She was a member of the Catalyst Racing Cycling team, which offered a brief memorial on their Facebook page.

Her death comes less than a month after Chris Cono was killed during a criterium in Rancho Dominguez, leaving the tight knit racing community doubly shaken.

The San Diego Reader reports the San Diego Velodrome Association is currently being sued, along with the City of San Diego, by a cyclist who suffered a fractured skull and collarbone when the rider next to him hit a rough spot on the track and swerved into him.

The suit alleges that the group governing the Velodrome knowing allows cyclists to ride a dangerous and defective track. The outdoor track was last resurfaced in 2010.

This is the 37th cycling fatality in Southern California since the first of the year, and the fifth in San Diego County. She is also the 6th cyclist to die in the past week.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Jackie Dunn and her family.

Thanks to David Huntsman and Stefan and jg for the heads-up.

Update: In a comment below, Matt Ruscigno says he was there on Tuesday night, and that there seemed to be nothing about the relatively slow-speed fall that seemed out of the ordinary at the time. And he notes there will be a memorial ride in Coronado this Saturday.

There has also been a memorial fund set up to help defer expenses for her family. 

Update 2: VeloNews offers a look at what happened, and who Jackie Dunn was. Then there’s this from the Catalyst Facebook page I linked to above:

In the past year Jackie decided that cycling was going to be her newest and greatest adventure. In that short amount of time Jackie made a huge impact in SoCal women’s cycling, quickly catting up from the 4s to the 3s, racing as much as she possibly could on the road & on the track. Along the way she recruited a ton of women into the sport with her contagious passion and positive attitude. This season almost every local women’s Cat 3/4 race podium has either been graced by Jackie’s presence or by someone who was encouraged into the sport by her. 

Update: Popular Pasadena bike racer killed in Rancho Dominguez

More bad news.

Word is slowly spreading that local rider Christopher Cono was killed while racing in the Carson area Sunday afternoon.

Other reports, including one from Michael Wagner of CLR Effect, identify him as Christopher Contreras of Velo Pasadena; he says the death occurred at the CBR Memorial Day Criterium in Dominguez Hills.

No word yet on why the discrepancy in identifying the victim; condolence messages are appearing under both names.

According Wagner, Contreras was injured when he hit a light standard at full speed in the pro race, and died after being transported to a hospital.

Sadly, H&S Bicycles reports Cono/Contreras leaves behind a wife and small child.

There is always an assumed risk in racing; we hope the worst will never happen, while knowing it can at any time. It is the chance we all take when we push the limits, and the loved ones we leave behind who pay the price.

So far, there has been no report of the death in the media.

Once confirmed, this will be the 29th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, over half of which have occurred in L.A. County.

My prayers and sympathy for Christopher (Cono) Contretras and all his family and loved ones.

Update: The confusion over the victim’s name has been cleared up; Christopher Contreras went by the name Cono. The H&S Facebook page reports he raced for Gruppo Velo, where he served as Race Director; plans are in the works for a ride to benefit his family. 

In addition, Michael Wagner has added more to his post, writing movingly about a fallen racer he did not know, but who was a member of the local racing family; he also identifies him as the founder of the popular Fortune 700 stage race.

Unless someone captured him during the race, this photo of Contreras and his son, along with L.A. Olympic legend Nelson Vails, may have been among the last ever taken of him.

Photo by Lynn Ingram, via Facebook

Photo by Lynn Ingram, via Facebook

Update 2: Kryxtanicole offers a touching tribute to a rider who touched her life, if only briefly, and inspired her to ride without fear.

I remember the night we met; when my first impression of him was that he was intense, in a good way. When you live with conviction it’s infectious, and that’s how he was. Cycling was not just a big part of his own life, it was something he was passionate about sharing with others.

It’s definitely worth clicking on the link and reading the full piece; thanks to H&S Bicycles for the link.

While I didn’t know Chris, his death hit me hard, as it clearly has many others. And the more I learn about him, the harder it hits.

By all accounts, we lost a very good man yesterday.

Update 3: Writing on the Wolfpack Hustle blog, L.A. cycling icon Roadblock describes watching the ambulance slowly round the final turn, not knowing his friend was inside. And the lesson learned to make time for the people and things that really matter in life.

Make time to ride with your friends and with future friends. You never know when someone will no longer be here especially with a sport as dangerous as competitive cycling. I feel like a pillar of LA cycling has collapsed. It’s just not real… it’s like looking at the familiar downtown skyline and seeing one of the skyscrapers now gone.

And Christy Nicholson writes on SoCalCycling that there will be a Memorial Service for Contreras next week, and that a previously scheduled criterium will be turned into a benefit for his family.

Memorial Service
There will be a Memorial Service for Chris at Cabot & Sons Mortuary in Pasadena on June 7th at 6pm.

Cabot & Sons Mortuary
300 Fair Oaks Ave
Pasadena, CA

3rd Annual Kool ‘N Fit Criterium Benefit Race
On June 9th, the 3rd Annual Kool ‘N Fit Criterium will donate all proceeds to benefit the Chris Contreras family. This is a great opportunity for the SoCal Cycling Community to come together and lend their support and help Chris’ family during this sad time. Race Flyer >

Update 4: A fund has been established to raise money for Contreras’ family.

Cheering on Brentwood Cat 1 racers, SaMo police catch a bike thief, and a weekend’s worth of links

Congratulations to Velo Club La Grange on another successful Brentwood Grand Prix on Sunday.

Even my non-biking wife, whose eyes glaze over at the mere mention of bicycling, was highly entertained. As was the Corgi, who can be heard cheering the riders on in this brief clip from the from the Cat 1 and 2 crit.

At least, I think she’s cheering.

………

When Santa Monica police saw a man using a bolt cutters to remove a lock from a $1500 Trek, he told them he had lost his key. However, using their Sherlockian powers of deduction, they quickly noticed it was a combination lock.

Needless to say, he is now under arrest.

Thanks to Stanley E. Goldich for the heads-up.

………

The UCI, the agency governing international cycling, insists that USADA has no authority to pursue charges against Lance Armstrong; the question is, do they want to prosecute him themselves, or derail the charges?

Meanwhile, ex-Tour de France winner Alberto Contador says he’s grown up during his doping ban.

………

The hit-and-run epidemic has become so severe even cops are victims. Beverly Hills may or may not discuss proposed bikeways, and may actually get bike racks in the hopefully soon-to-be-former biking black hole; thanks to Mark Elliott of Better Bike for the heads-up. La Cañada Flintridge becomes the latest local city to develop a new bike plan; link courtesy of Erik Griswold. A La Puente man suffers serious injuries in a fall on the San Gabriel Canyon Road after losing control on a descent and crashing into the mountain. A Bakersfield firefighter takes on the quarterfinals of Olympic sprint cycling, while a Temecula woman wins silver in team pursuit. A Bay Area cyclist faces deportation for riding on the wrong side of the street. Sonoma cyclists confront a summer of sorrow.

Bicycling looks at seven fast, fun and affordable road bikes; affordability being a relative term, of course. UCONN basketball coach Jim Calhoun breaks his hip falling off his bike, surgery was successful. Rochester-area cyclists gather to honor a pair of cyclists, one killed and one seriously injured. Lights, reflective clothes and a helmet aren’t enough to save an Ohio rider. A New York ethicist tries to justify running stop signals on a bike. Thirty years after graduating, a former Baton Rouge resident takes her first ride to school. A fleeing Florida criminal kills two cyclists in an attempt to get away from police; that would be two counts of felony murder, right? Is a Florida bikeway a bike path to nowhere, or a key link in a future bike system?

The family of the cyclist killed by an Olympic media bus asks that his death not be used for political point-scoring by pro-bike advocates. The next generation of British bike racers suffered a tragic loss as an 18-year old member of their developmental squad dies after crashing into a wall. Is this really a safe junction? British success in Olympic cycling has lead to an explosion in the MAMIL population. Brit riders are kicking ass in the velodrome. Bald, beautiful and an Olympic gold medal winner in track cycling. Once again, the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain offers a list of links that puts my modest efforts to shame. Salzburg, Austria suffers an increase in cycling deaths. David Hembrow demonstrates how to get parked cars off the streets.

Finally, in a breathtaking attack of rationality, Caltrans proposes lowering the speed limit — yes, lowering — on the Pasadena Freeway to 45 mph. Now if they can figure out a way to drop the limit on a few other roads. And a motorist chases down a hit-and-run driver who fled after hitting a bike rider, and captures it all on video; Cyclelicious speculates that it may have been shot here.

………

Best wishes to Rick Risemberg, aka Mr. Bicycle Fixation, for a full and fast recovery; thankfully, he’s living proof that even serious cyclists like you and me need to take care of ourselves. And with luck, he’ll be around a long time to remind us all.

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