Tag Archive for Bureau of Street Services

Morning Links: LA as West Coast e-scooter capital, vehicular murder slap on wrist, and CiclaValley takes a spill

Assistant Director of LA Bureau of Street Services Greg Spotts says Los Angeles could become the shared mobility capital of the West Coast.

Spotts notes that 11 companies have applied to provide a total of 37,000 e-scooters, dockless bikes and ebikes to the mean streets of LA.

The city has a series of community meetings coming up to discuss dockless mobility, starting with one in DTLA on the 26th.

Putting 37,000 alternatives to driving on the street is a good thing. But key to the success of any dockless mobility program is providing safe places to ride and park them.

Hopefully, this will spur development of the city bike plan, as city leaders finally recognize the need for safety. And drivers are more willing to sacrifice a few feet of roadway to get scooters out of their way.

It could happen.

The city also needs to provide on-street parking facilities — ideally converting one parking space per block for e-scooter and bike parking.

We should also require every e-scooter to be equipped with a low-volume beeping device to warn pedestrians when one is approaching. And let people with limited sight know when one is parked in their way.

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Talk about getting the story wrong.

Yesterday we linked to a Kansas story about a teen driver getting a reduced sentence for killing a bike rider in a hit-and-run, but criticized the paper for leaving out just how long he would be behind bars.

Apparently, they left a lot more than that out.

Like actual length of the sentence, which turned out to be just two years — far less than the 16 years the prosecution requested.

Not to mention the fact that the crash was intentional.

A passenger in his car told police the driver passed the man as he was riding in the opposite direction, and made a U-turn to deliberately run him down from behind before fleeing the scene.

And never mind that the victim was Latino and the driver was white, giving a racial tint to both the murder and the lack of justice. .

Amazingly, the judge excused the driver’s behavior because of his young age, clean record and that he had accepted responsibility. Although that came long after he had abandoned the car and gone home to play video games, later calling the police to report his car had been stolen.

Sure sounds like taking responsibility to me.

But no matter how sorry he might claim to be, there is no way to justify just two years behind bars for murder.

If he had used any other choice of weapon, from a gun or knife, to a rock or broken beer bottle, it would undoubtedly have been taken more seriously.

Or maybe the problem was just a victim on two wheels, with a Hispanic name.

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A conservative columnist goes out of his way to illustrate exactly what’s wrong with America’s political divide, saying it’s time for liberals to get the hell out.

And they should use “public transportation or ride your ridiculous bikes in your ridiculous bike shorts to your shriveled hearts’ content!” somewhere else, while all those “normal” Americans keep gleefully destroying the planet with their massive SUVs.

Except by repeatedly plugging his books makes it all come off as a shameless effort just to sell a few more.

I don’t care whether you’re conservative, liberal or anything else. Or whether you walk, bike, ride transit or drive.

We’re all need to stop demonizing one another, and work together to make this country succeed.

Period.

And the same goes for our cities and states.

Because the alternative isn’t pretty.

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CiclaValley offers a firsthand view of what it’s like to blow a tire during a descent.

And to have members of one university cycling team help you up while their rival school just rides on by.

Fortunately, he escaped relatively unscathed, walking away with a few bruises and a banged up wheel.

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I want to be like them when I grow up.

A 73-year old Cherokee elder in Oklahoma overcame excessive weight and crippling diets by taking up bicycling in his 60s; now he’s off insulin, and rides across the reservation when he’s not competing in races around the world.

A 77-year old Chicago woman is biking across the US with a group of other older riders.

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Local

You still can’t legally ride an e-scooter in Torrance. The city is slow-walking approving e-scooters, even as other South Bay cities are moving forward with legalizing them.

Speaking of the South Bay, a Kiwi writer raves about his visit to the beachside cities, including an extensive description of a guided bike tour along the beachfront Marvin Braude Bike Trail.

Long Beach is planning a $1 million project to add bike lanes along Edwards Blvd to connect the quarter-mile street with the beach. Correction: Wrong Long Beach, dammit; this one’s in New York. Thanks to Chris Buonomo and James for the correction.

Long Beach police use fake bullets to apprehend a bike rider with a fake gun.

State

The Mercury News comes to the not-so-shocking conclusion that some people don’t like Complete Streets or improving safety if it means they’re going to be slightly inconvenienced.

At least one city is making progress in fighting bike theft, as the crime drops 25% in San Francisco.

Speaking of San Francisco, Uber-owned Jump dockless ebikes are cutting into Uber’s own car-hailing business in the Bay Area. And the company says they couldn’t be happier.

National

The Atlantic says Washington’s Birthday used to be celebrated by taking your bike for a spin, instead of countless car and mattress sales.

Traditionally libertarian Nevada is considering a proposal to require anyone under 18 to wear a bike helmet when they ride.

The Colorado legislature is considering following LA’s bad example by banning red light cameras in an apparent attempt to keep the streets dangerous.

A bighearted Michigan man founded a program to give bicycles to local kids, refurbishing and buying 150 bicycles in its first year.

Cambridge MA is making progress in its goal of reducing car ownership, but is only halfway towards its goal of a 15% reduction by next year.

Residents in a Louisiana city vow to fight a plan for an offroad bike path that could require removing trees and roadside signs.

Kindhearted Florida cops dug into their own wallets to buy a new bike for a man in his 80s after his was stolen.

Heartbreaking story from Florida, where a man was killed in a crash while riding his bike, the same day searchers fund the body of his missing daughter in a swamp; relatives don’t believe he had learned about her death before he was killed.

International

Ella Cycling Tips examines the studies, and concludes that what you wear or what sex you are may affect how closely drivers pass you. Or maybe not.

Cycling Weekly examines how much protein bicyclists really need in their diet.

Bike Radar considers what they consider the five most confusing topics in bicycling.

You may be out of luck if your bike gets stolen in London, as a special police bike theft unit is redeployed to fight youth knife crime.

A British woman got three years for crash that left a bike rider with serious brain damage; she was still high on coke from the night before when she ran him down in the early afternoon crash — 16 times the legal limit, in fact.

A polite Brit bike thief returned a purloined two-wheeler with a note of apology, saying he borrowed it to avoid a three-mile walk home at three in the morning.

A new Irish TV series explores the lack of bike lanes in the Emerald Isle compared to the rest of Europe. If you can’t imagine a TV show like that in the US, let alone a series, there’s probably a good reason for that.

Here’s another one to add to your bike bucket list, which must be getting kind of long by now — a mountain biking trek through the South Caucasus Mountains in Azerbaijan. Unless maybe you’d rather experience India’s tropical state of Goa.

Officials say road safety must be improved in Zambia, where bicyclists and pedestrians make up 70% of traffic deaths.

Competitive Cycling

No ego here. The legendary Eddy Merckx says yes, Peter Sagan is complete cyclist, but he was better.

Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas insists he is definitely not riding in the Giro this year.

A Canadian cyclist rode 5249 laps around a velodrome in 24 hours — the equivalent of 457 miles — to raise funds for much needed repairs; he brought in over $59,000, more than doubling the original $25,000 goal.

Finally…

Nothing goes together like bikes and booze. We may have to deal with LA drivers, but at least we don’t have to worry about getting a monitor lizard stuck in our spokes.

And why shovel the stuff when you can just ride your own bicycle snow plow?

Morning Links: Upcoming bike events, and LA tries out a cute little street sweeper for protected bike lanes

Just a couple quick upcoming events.

Celebrate the Race Across America tomorrow in Oceanside with the RAAMapalooza festival to see off the team racers. Although they can probably expect a nasty letter from the lawyers for a certain copyright-conscious music festival.

Bike SGV will team with Metro’s BEST program to host a free slow roll to the drive-in for movie night on the 23rd.

Also on the 23rd, Glendora will hold ribbon cutting ceremony for the San Gabriel Valley’s newest greenway trail. See flyer on the left.

And the following day, CicLAvia returns to the northern San Fernando Valley, with a route connecting Pacoima, Arleta and Panorama City.

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LA Street Services may be having a midlife crisis.

The city bureau is trying out a cute little Italian number to keep the city’s protected bike lanes clean.

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Local

Former E! News personality Marc Malkin reveals he’s HIV positive after completing last week’s AIDS/LifeCycle Ride; the Malibu Times features photos from the ride as it passed through on PCH.

The Easy Reader News remembers long-time South Bay bike advocate Julian Katz, who passed away last week at age 88 after a long, full life.

 

State

A San Jose columnist agrees that too many drivers pass bike riders on blind, curvy roads when they can’t see what’s coming; a bike rider says signs saying “Do Not Pass Bicycles on Blind Corners” seems as obvious as “Do Not Hit Yourself in the Head with a Hammer.”

A Palo Alto columnist says she’s not opposed to roundabouts, as long as they’re somewhere else. Funny how so many people with no knowledge of traffic planning become experts when it’s on their street; the facts are that roundabouts actually reduce injury crashes by 75%.

Pink Bike visits Marin, where mountain biking was born and mountain bikes are banned from most trails.

 

National

You can make your next Rapha purchase at the Apple Store.

Moving piece from Bicycling, as a writer remembers her father, and how bicycling brought him back to himself as he slipped away due to Alzheimers.

Pedestrian and bicycle deaths have doubled in Washington state in just the last five years. A Seattle radio host responds by doing the math herself, concluding that you’re much safer driving a car than walking or riding a bike, and that encouraging more people to ride is just driving up death rates. She seems to be forgetting that its those people in cars who make it dangerous for everyone.

Wired says Seattle is ground zero in the bikeshare wars, as several dockless bikeshare firms have moved into the void created when the city’s traditional docked bikeshare went belly up.

A Philly magazine takes a test ride on the city’s new parking-protected bike lanes, and offers advice to drivers on how to not park in them.

Streetsblog says no, a bike lane didn’t do in a New York deli, despite what the owner says.

No bias here. A Charlotte NC TV station somehow conflates LimeBikes and e-scooters with wheelie popping kids weaving through traffic.

 

International

Bike ridership in Edmonton has doubled since the city opened a nearly five-mile grid of protected bike lanes in the urban core.

The Globe and Mail offers five changes Toronto can make to improve street safety for bicyclists and pedestrians. I particularly like the last one — change the decision makers.

An op-ed in the same paper says bicycling is not a contact sport and Toronto has to do better for bicyclists’ safety, while the paper concludes that the city’s Vision Zero is a failure.

A writer for the Guardian says Canadian cities are designed for cars, not people — and people are paying the price.

An Ontario writer says sharrows are a failed experiment and have to go.

The question is, will you answer when your new GPS-equipped handlebars calls to say your London bike is being stolen?

No bias here, either. An English letter-writer says 70% of bicyclists are just uncontrolled yobs who ride through red lights and on the sidewalk.

A UK paper discovers a “hilarious” mishap captured by Google Maps. Although I doubt many people find a little kid falling off a bike funny, let alone hilarious.

Bicycling contributes over $7 billion to the British economy each year, making it more important to the economy than the British steel industry. So you can expect Trump to impose tariffs on bikes and bike parts any day now.

A young Irish girl made the equivalent of $13 washing bicycles. And got a nearly $200 littering ticket for the hand drawn sign she made to promote it.

An Irish writer says no, really, bike riders would prefer to not share road space with trucks, buses and cars.

Survivors of the Kindertransport and their descendants will ride 600 miles across Europe to trace the route taken by 10,000 Jewish children to escape Nazi Germany 80 years ago at the dawn of WWII.

A member of Kenya’s parliament takes to her bike to encourage more people to ride in an effort to reduce Nairobi’s world-class traffic congestion.

A Botswana bikepacking club is teaching 30 young school kids life skills and how to mountain bike.

In LA, we deal with rude drivers; Aussie cyclists just deal with ‘roos.

 

Competitive Cycling

SoCal’s Coryn Rivera edged the great Marianne Vos by the width of a tire to take the second stage of the UK’s Women’s Tour; Rivera holds the leader’s jersey heading into today’s third stage. No need to worry about spoilers, since video of the race — or even the finish — doesn’t appear to exist.

Outside looks at the rapid rise of Ayesha McGowan, the first African American Cat 2 cyclist, who intends to become the first black woman on the pro tour.

You’re invited to put your money where Phil Gaimon’s mouth is, and donate to support his grudge match race against fellow former pro Fabian Cancellara on July 1st.

 

Finally…

How to do a few speed drills on your Penny Farthing. That feeling when you film your son riding his bike, and later find a ghost watching out the window.

And to everyone who dreamed of seeing Peter Sagan naked in the shower, today is your lucky day.

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Eid Mubarak to all observing Eid al-Fitr today!

 

Morning Links: Motions to inspect broken bike lanes move forward, and keeping dangerous drivers off streets

Maybe our broken bike lanes might get fixed after all.

Streetsblog is reporting the approval of both of motions calling for the inspection and maintenance of LA’s bike lanes and bike paths at Wednesday’s meeting of the City Council Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee.

However, assuming the motion passes the full council, there’s still a long way to go, as Joe Linton points out.

Greg Spotts spoke on BSS’s (Bureau of Street Services) efforts to address issues keeping street pavement in good repair. The city faces a reported $3-4 billion backlog in street maintenance. With some recent street repaving monies from the S.B. 1 gas tax and Measure M, BSS is stepping up its efforts to inspect and maintain streets, and now has dedicated staff working to inspect and repair asphalt on city bike lanes.

Spotts noted that BSS has identified 300 bike network locations that need “large asphalt repair.” BSS crews are currently working their way through these sites, having completed 19 repairs to date.

And those are just the ones they know about.

But at least the city has hired six new people to fix and maintain bike lanes.

Meanwhile, there may be hope for LA’s crumbling streets.

Councilmembers Mitchell Englander and Joe Buscaino say at current rates, streets and sidewalks in Los Angeles won’t be repaired in time for the 2028 Olympics — missing the games by a mere 20 years or so.

But money from Measure M and the new state gas tax increase could provide a source of funding that would allow the city to speed up those repairs.

We can only hope.

Of course, if the proposition calling for the repeal of the gas tax qualifies for the ballot, and California voters decide they’d prefer crappy streets and lower gas prices, all bets are off.

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I’m not always a fan of Bike Snob.

But he nails it this time, saying our current system of licensing drivers and motor vehicles is “woefully ineffectual and does little to keep dangerous drivers off the streets.”

Meanwhile, a Canadian writer asks if driving is a privilege, why is it so hard to revoke?

It’s like Traffic author Tom Vanderbilt put it — a driver’s license is too easy to get, and too hard to lose.

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Curbed’s Alissa Walker takes a deep dive into the subject of sidewalks, and comes to the conclusion that they’re not even necessary.

Yes, the CEO of Ford, the company that essentially put automobiles on U.S. streets, is calling for a “complete disruption and redesign of the surface transportation system.”

What Ford is preparing for—and championing through its bike share and microtransit shuttle services—is the fact that streets will no longer be planned around this binary use of cars versus everyone else. And the place for new modes to mix is not a narrow broken sidewalk: It’s the safe, shared, slow, well-maintained street that has walking at its core.

Instead of a one-size-fits-all equation of lane widths calculated to move cars quickly, with pedestrians pushed off to the side, the definition of a city street will change based on what people need, neighborhood by neighborhood, says Greg Lindsay, director of strategy for the urban mobility festival LACoMotion.

It’s a great read. And may challenge your concept of what a street should be.

It did mine, anyway.

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Great idea. A new youth racing program at the LA Velodrome aims to develop at least one track cyclist for the US Olympic Team at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

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Local

Westside bike co-op Bikerowave is hosting a fast, 25 – 30 mile woman-led ride tonight, and every Thursday. The co-op is also hosting a moderate paced ride to the East LA Art Walk this Sunday.

Sant Monica Spoke and the Santa Monica Planning department are hosting a Kidical Mass ride this Saturday.

 

State

San Luis Obispo decides to move forward with a modified version of the bikeway that’s been drawing all the bike-hating NIMBYs out of the woodwork. Proof that not all NIMBYs live in Los Angeles. It only seems that way.

A new bike and pedestrian trail project would connect downtown Redding to the Sacramento River Trail.

 

National

Streetsblog questions whether the dockless bikeshare revolution is just a mirage.

A former pro explains how he learned to love wearing a helmet mirror.

The new chairman of the Federal Reserve is one of us, as he struggles to convince his security detail to let him keep up his eight-mile bike commute to DC.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune offers tips on how to ride your bike at Mardi Gras, for those lucky enough to go. Pro tip: Avoid Mardi Gras Day, when it’s too crowded move, and go the weekend before when the crowds are smaller and it’s more fun.

 

International

How to roll the dents out of your steel frame bike.

Canadian bicyclists are urged to bike commute tomorrow as part of the international Winter Bike to Work Day. Try not to suffer too much under LA’s sunny skies and 80° temperatures.

Here are ten beautiful places in the UK to add to your bicycling bucket list.

British advocacy groups are “deeply concerned” about plans to ban bikes from a highway that’s a popular time trial route.

In a win for the gig economy, bicycle couriers for Britain’s National Health Service win full employment rights, after their employer had argued that they were self-employed contractors.

That gold-inlaid custom bike built for Irish mixed martial arts champ Connor McGregor cost the equivalent of nearly $21,000.

More proof that bike riders face the same problems everywhere. An Aussie bicyclist complains about pedestrians and dog walkers making a beachfront pathway a nightmare.

 

Competitive Cycling

Australia’s 3,500-mile Indian Pacific Wheel Race has been cancelled following the death of pioneering ultra-distance rider Mike Hall in a collision during last year’s race.

A French design firm reimagines the dreaded broom wagon. Although they somehow think riders in the Tour de France will be able to hop on board to catch a rest, then rejoin the race when they’re feeling better.

 

Finally…

Why should ‘bent riders miss out on all the fat bike fun? Anyone can race a dual snow slalom on skis; try it on a bicycle instead.

And when a dockless bikeshare company fails, it becomes the UK’s cheapest bicycle.

In every sense.

Morning Links: Union Station Bike Hub opens today, and LA wastes millions earmarked to fix crumbling streets

I hope you’ll forgive my unexcused absences for the past few days.

The good news is, my wife is doing well, and should be back home from the hospital before the week is over.

And my beleaguered laptop is up and running again, leaving me somewhat poorer, but back on the job. Let’s hope it stays that way.

We’ll just assume that nothing important happened while we were gone.

Right?

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LA’s biggest Bike Hub is opening today at Union Station. The new Metro site will offer secure parking for up to 200 bikes for $5 a week, or $60 a year.

Photo by Metro’s Julia Salinas, taken from The Source website.

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KCET examines the crumbling state of LA’s streets, and the risks it poses to people on two wheels.

Not to mention the needless expense to the city, as the Bureau of Street Services has returned tens of millions of dollars to the city, rather than making desperately needed street repairs, even as the city pays out millions in legal settlements to injured riders.

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It’s been a heartbreaking few days for elderly bike riders.

A 76-year old man was killed in a collision while riding his bike in Bakersfield; John Rous was a well-known and longtime member of the local riding community.

An 80-year old British bike rider was killed in a collision with Tesla, which may or may not have been driving itself.

An 83-year old man in the UK was killed when his bike apparently hit a pothole; new rules could mean that more British potholes won’t get fixed.

An 86-year old Indian man was killed in a collision with a truck as he was riding his bike to an outdoor gym.

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Rest easy, folks. Ed Sheeran is playing guitar again, and promises he’ll keep riding his bicycle, despite injuring both arm in a recent crash.

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Let’s catch up with a couple of stories we missed from last week.

Manhattan Beach voted to install sharrows and bike route signs throughout the city. Even though one councilmember is afraid they’ll just embolden cyclists to ride exactly where they’re supposed to.

UCLA students plan to form their own neighborhood council, and split with the “NIMBY and obstructionist” Westwood Neighborhood Council. While the story is about housing, the Westwood NC has also been active in blocking much needed bike lanes in the area.

Mobility advocates gathered in Leimert Park for Untokening California to discuss creating greater equity in transportation.

Next year’s CicLAvias will include a seven-and-a-half-mile route from Disney Hall to the Hollywood Bowl on September 30th, with performances by the LA Philharmonic orchestra along the way. And ending with a free performance by the orchestra at the Bowl.

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Local

A writer in the UCLA paper calls for an awareness campaign to get students to walk and bike more safely.

Bike SGV names Doug Strange their Community Advocate of the Year; the founder of the reborn La Verne Bicycle Coalition will be honored at their 2017 “Noche de las Luminarias” awards dinner next month.

Pasadena-area Rotarians will meet this weekend to assemble 300 bicycles for underprivileged children.

Santa Monica is moving forward with plans for a “radical” transformation of traffic-choked Lincoln Blvd into a more human-scale Complete Street.

 

State

Newport Beach police are looking for man riding a red cruiser bike who was seen following a San Bernardino County prosecutor before she was severely beaten while jogging in a park this past August.

A Riverside bike rider was shot in the leg as the result of an attempted robbery.

In a bizarre story, a Bakersfield man died in police custody shortly after using a fake gun to threaten a woman riding her horse on a bike path.

Sad news from the Sacramento area, where a 19-year old North Highlands man was killed in a hit-and-run while riding his bike.

Sacramento State University is now a silver-level BFU. And no, that does not stand for Big Effing University.

A Marysville woman has been arrested in last week’s hit-and-run that left a bike rider seriously injured; she was taken into custody after calling the police to claim her car was stolen before the crash. An excuse that never seems to work in real life.

 

National

The GOP Senate wants to take away your measly $20 monthly benefit for riding your bike to work; the Bike League has more information on what you may be about to lose.

Architectural Digest examines how the threat of vehicular terrorism will change our cities in the wake of the New York bike path attack.

Bicycling offers tips on how to wash your bike.

A Seattle grandfather is suing after being left a paraplegic when he crashed into an unmarked bollard on a bike trail, which probably shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

An Iowa bicyclist says no, really, it’s much safer if she doesn’t give you any warning as she glides past on the sidewalk. That is what is technically known as a load of crap.

Evidently, flipping off the president pays. A Virginia woman who was fired from her job after her employers learned she was the bike rider who was photographed flipping off the presidential motorcade will receive at least $77,000 from a crowdfunding campaign. She says she did it because he wouldn’t have heard her through the glass.

 

International

A new crowdfunding campaign promises to turn your bike into an ebike for just $299, with an extra eight pounds of weight.

The Cuban record holder for the world’s tallest tall bike is working in tandem with the previous record holder, LA’s Richie Trimble, on a 20-foot tall tandem.

A Montreal website offers tips on how to stay safe and warm on your bike this winter. Which is especially good advice here in Los Angeles, where it sometimes gets down to a frigid 60 degrees.

Actor Robert Pattinson is one of us, as a gossip site freaks out when he’s spotted riding his bike in London without a helmet. Which is perfectly legal there, just as it is here.

A new UK survey shows 78% of people support protected bike lanes, even if the politicians don’t.

Three people were injured when a French driver with “psychiatric problems” deliberately plowed his car into a group of students.

Lithuanian students illustrate how much space cars take up, and how little bikes need.

A Mumbai website says everyone has a right to be safe when they ride a bike, from milkmen to champion cyclists.

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Competitive Cycling

VeloNews reminisces about the great Bernard Hinault on his birthday.

Cyclist magazine explores why Chris Froome isn’t considered a legend.

Phil Gaimon released a statement about repeating the rumor that Fabian Cancellara was a known motor doper in his new book, after the Swiss rider’s lawyers demand the removal of the book.

 

Finally…

It’s a sad day when a dog has better form on an upright bike than I do — even if he does need training wheels. No matter how threatened you feel by drivers, riding with an AR-15 is probably not the answer; neither is claiming you just found it in the street and were taking it to the police station.

And if you’re going to ride your bike with a stolen Glock in your pants, put a damn light on it.

The bike, that is, not the gun.

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Thanks to John P. Lynch for his generous contribution to support this site, as well as his kind wishes for my wife and laptop.

 

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