Tag Archive for conspiracy theories

Bike shops threatened by coronavirus, and Solvang Century organizer spreads false coronavirus conspiracy theory

Before we dig into today’s news, let’s consider one group that’s been ignored among all the fears for businesses and workers harmed by the coronavirus crisis.

Virtually every independent bike shop is already on the edge financially; most are lucky to eke out enough to keep the doors open each month. And too many already don’t.

Whether they’re forced to shut down, as they have been in the Bay Area, or simply are empty because people heed the calls to stay home, losing two week’s business could threaten the continued existence of your friendly neighborhood local bike shop; losing two months could lead to a mass LBS extinction.

I don’t have a solution.

Normally, I’d tell you to go into your favorite bike shop and buy something, anything. Or go in for the service you’ve been putting off too long already.

But that advice contradicts the advice of health experts to self isolate.

So if they have a retail website, maybe you can use it to order something. Or find some other way to throw them some business in their time of need.

Or at the very least, commit to going in and spending some money once this is all over, whenever that may be.

Because we all need to do something to help out now if we want them to still be here for us later.

Image by Michael Gaida from Pixabay.

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Evidently, there was a bizarre dustup in the California bike world over the weekend.

Last week, questions began to be raised over whether the Solvang Century scheduled for this past Saturday would be cancelled, after repeated calls from government officials to limit exposure to large crowds due to the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Yet despite the concerns, the ride director of the Solvang Century emailed that the event would go on as planned.

At least one person responded, calling the decision irresponsible.

Then Thursday night, Santa Barbara County health officials pulled the permit for the ride, as did city officials in Buellton and Solvang, over the “strong objections” of ride organizers.

Logically, that’s where it would have ended. Just another disappointment, in a weekend full of them, as the entire country braced for the pandemic.

But when he responded to someone asking about the cancellation, the ride director included an article about an MIT Ph.D who claimed the coronavirus is a deep state fraud intended to manipulate the world’s economies.

Then again, the researcher in question also claims to have invented email as a New Jersey high school student in the late 1970s, even though it was already in use nearly a decade earlier.

Unfortunately, the only link I can find to the original article included in the email appears to be corrupted.

But the same story appears on another site, with a slightly different headline. And includes the following tweet, which pretty much sums it all up.

If it is a deep state fraud, that means the CDC and World Health Organization are in on it. As are the governments of China, Italy and Spain.

And never mind the more that 182,000 people who claim to have gotten the disease around the world. Or the over 7,100 people who have died from it.

Let alone Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, Idris Elba and Bond girl Olga Kurylenko, a handful of professional athletes in the US and Europe, and the wife of Canada’s prime minister.

You would think a massive worldwide fraud like that would be impossible to pull off.

And you’d be right.

Fox News doesn’t even buy that crap anymore.

As the entire world mobilizes to fight what is likely to be the worst pandemic since the 1919 Spanish flu outbreak, it doesn’t help anyone to spread false conspiracy theories, regardless of your politics.

Especially when it comes as temper tantrum because a bike ride got cancelled at the last minute to keep a killer disease from spreading uncontrollably.

Thanks to John Murphy for the tip.

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No bias here.

A Fresno op-ed writer agues that California Governor Newsom is misappropriating funds from the state’s increased gas taxes by allowing them to be used for things like bike lanes and road diets.

Never mind that the law simply requires that the funds be used for transportation projects. Not just highway repairs, as he seems to insist.

Evidently, he doesn’t think bikes are a form of transportation. Or that safer streets benefit everyone who uses them.

Yes, even people in cars.

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The LACBC becomes just the latest organization to close their office and cancel organized activities due to the threat from the coronavirus.

However, the San Diego County Bike Coalition wasn’t far behind. Unless maybe they did it first.

And Adventure Cycling has pulled the plug on organized tours nationwide through next month.

Thanks to Robert Leone for the last two links.

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Late notice, but the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals is hosting a webinar starting at noon today to discuss how Edmonton and Bellingham quickly and successfully implemented bicycling infrastructure; the cost is $85 for nonmembers.

Maybe we can get Eric Garcetti and the good folks at LADOT to sit in on this one.

Thanks to Marvin D for the heads-up.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes goes on. 

A British bike rider complains that a teenage driver used his car as a weapon to deliberately sideswipe him while one of the car’s passengers filmed the attack.

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Local

Due to coronavirus concerns, the LAPD now wants you to report most nonviolent crimes online. And yes, that includes bike theft.

Bike cam video shows bars were packed in West Hollywood on Sunday, just hours before they were shut down to prevent transmission of the coronavirus. And long after people were told to remain at least six feet apart. Although that’s clearly Santa Monica Blvd at San Vicente, rather than on San Vicente, as the story says.

 

State

Calbike wants you to write a letter supporting a bill that would require the DMV to include the Dutch Reach in their training manuals.

Bad news from Santa Maria, where a male bike rider was killed in a hit-and-run Sunday night.

More bad news, this time from Central CA, where a 70-year old Madera man was killed riding his bike when he was struck by two drivers yesterday morning.

 

National

The Bike League is cooperating with Uber to train their drivers to protect bike riders, and train scooter users to protect themselves.

Road Bike Action Magazine compares three bike helmets under $150. And not surprisingly, finds the more they cost, the better they like ’em.

Horrifying news from Idaho, where a woman was found dead in a ravine, three days after she was apparently struck by a hit-and-run driver while riding her bike. Unfortunately, we don’t know how long she clung to life after the crash, or if her injuries would have been survivable if she’d gotten help right away. Which is why hit-and-run drivers should face a murder charge for making a conscious decision to let their victims die rather than calling for help.

Kanye is one of us, as he goes for a ride on his $14 million Wyoming ranch. Although that is so not a mountain bike, despite what the story says.

After researching the issue, a group of North Dakota second graders are calling on the state to require helmets for bike riders under 18. Because everyone knows grade schoolers make the best independent researchers.

It only took a deadly pandemic to get New York’s mayor to finally halt the crackdown on throttle-controlled ebikes used by bicycle delivery workers, saying they’re performing a service as people are being asked to remain at home.

The son of Georgia Congressman Tom Graves is beginning the long, hard road to recovery after suffering severe head trauma when he crashed in a crit while competing as a member of the Georgia Tech cycling team.

 

International

Cycling News rates the best shoes for gravel biking. Not all of which cost an arm and a leg. 

A pair of independent English book shops are shutting down due to the pandemic, but offering free bicycle delivery service to keep their sales going.

Apparently, big chains aren’t doing so great, either. The UK’s largest bike chain is shutting down its performance bike stores, putting over two hundred jobs at risk.

A British inquest hears how a woman was killed when an ebike battery exploded inside their mobile home two years ago.

The Guardian examines how Oslo and Helsinki cut traffic deaths to zero last year.

Spanish riders risk fines up to the equivalent of over $3,300 for violating the country’s coronavirus ban on being outside, while an Italian bicyclist denies the country’s laws even apply to him.

 

Competitive Cycling

Four-time US mountain biking champ Sonya Looney continued to ride all through her pregnancy, posting a video of her rocking the rollers at a British Columbia bike park just days before giving birth.

 

Finally…

Note to world — if it doesn’t have any pedals, it’s a scooter. That feeling when you spot your stolen bike for sale online, and the cops tell you to just buy it back.

And your old tubes could have a sexy new life on someone’s legs.

 

Malibu study suggests PCH safety improvements; a NELA paranoid bike lane conspiracy theory

Lots of news to wrap up the work week.

No, seriously, don’t take note of the perfect summer weather that finally arrived in LA this week. You’ve got important things to do. And you can live without riding your bike for another day.

Right?

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UCLA professor Donald Shoup would be proud.

The nation’s parking meister has long argued against the high cost of free parking. Now a new Malibu safety study seems to be taking him seriously, suggesting parking meters along PCH could improve safety by reducing the problems with drivers looking for free parking.

I like it.

The study also recommends putting east/west bike lanes along the full length of the 21-mile city to get cyclists out of the way of high-speed traffic. Although someone should tell them that sharrows are not bike lanes.

You can read the study here, and weigh in with your own thoughts online through September 17th; thanks to Paiwei Wei for the link.

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Anti-NELA bike lane activist Tom Topping writes in his Boulevard Sentinel newspaper that he’s being smeared by bike advocates — and oddly, KPCC’s Larry Mantle. I listened to the Airtalk program he refers to when it aired last month; actually, I though Larry was going easy on him. And having appeared on Larry’s program, I can’t say I detected a bit of pro or anti-bike bias, though word is he’s a car guy at heart.

Then again, it does make for a damn good paranoid conspiracy theory if bike shop owners and public radio hosts are all on the city payroll to ram through “vehicle removal plans” for a fast buck.

Though I’m not exactly sure who profits from road diets and bike lanes. Except, of course, for the businesses and residents who reside alongside them.

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Evidently, I wasn’t the only one to host a Bike Talk program on Tuesday. Flying Pigeon’s Josef Bray-Ali — the unnamed bike shop owner in the above conspiracy theory — hosted a discussion touching anti-bike UN paranoia, billionaires and bikes, and measuring the success of bike projects, among other topics.

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ABC’s 20/20 program takes a look at LA’s hit-and-run epidemic, which the LA Weekly takes sole credit for uncovering; I seem to recall a long list of bike advocates who have been raising the alarm for years, but what do I know? Culver City hosts the annual bike-friendly Fiesta La Ballona this weekend. The comment period for the new Union Station master plan has been extended through the end of this month. Santa Monica will hold a free festival next month to preview the planned MANGo Michigan Avenue Neighborhood Greenway; for the sake of fairness, I hope they also have a WOMANGo greenway in the works. Santa Monica’s Bike Center will try to help the city’s businesses become more bike friendly. Sunday will see a Kidical Mass ride in Chinatown. Metro and CICLE team up to offer three free community bike rides in the LA area in the next three months. County Supervisor Gloria Molina joins with the LACBC and LA County Parks and Recreation to hold a free East LA Bicycle Ride on Saturday, Sept. 7th. Ride Pablove Across America will hold an LA fundraising ride in the Valley on October 12th. Okay, so it’s not a bike race, but proceeds from the October 20th Loco Motion 10K Run will benefit the LACBC in honor of fallen cyclist Marisela Echeverria, killed while riding on PCH last year. Red5 Yellow7 will host a workshop on how to choose the right bike on September 9th. The Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition will hold its first official meeting Saturday. Incycle Bike Shop says they’re having their biggest sale of the year. Bike Long Beach explains when you can really take the lane.

Laguna Beach moves towards complete streets while trying to move bike riders off PCH; maybe the city should consider a Roman role model. Irvine is now officially bike-friendly, but that’s about all you’ll learn thanks to the OC Register’s draconian paywall. A San Diego writer proposes using the city’s unpaved canyons for bike superhighways. A bicyclist gets her bike back, thanks to a door-to-door wildfire evacuation; thanks to murphstahoe for the heads-up. Yet another holier-than-thou Napa bike rider says she obeys the law and rides courteously, but those damn speeding spandex-clad cyclists should stay the hell off the streets.

AAA says American drivers are growing less concerned about behaviors that could kill you. Biking improves employee productivity. The firing of Serotta’s founder takes some of the soul out of American framebuilding. I’ve been to Maui’s Haleakala volcano, and would not want to ride a bike off the edge of it. A sidewalk riding Las Vegas cyclist is killed in an apparent SWSS. Bicycle tourists are a major source of revenue in Arizona. It takes a village to capture a Longmont CO bike thief. BMC’s Tejay van Garderen takes the leader’s jersey in the USA Pro Challenge. A 74-year old MA pastor was murdered with a hammer while riding home on his bike. Needless to say, the New York cabbie who severed the leg of a British tourist earlier this week blames the bike rider who tried to warn him, as well as the city’s bike lanes; the Daily News reveals the bike rider may not be a nice person, but fails to note what the hell does that has to do with the wreck. Those NYC bike lanes may be key to outgoing Mayor Bloomberg’s legacy. Citi Bike rides the subway; New York bike share riders may ride drunk, but at least they don’t black out. Even a Philly bike cop can be a victim of hit-and-run. Is it time to end the longtime Share the Road campaign in Delaware — and everywhere else, for that matter?

British cycling star Bradley Wiggins calls for making helmet use mandatory; how about making it mandatory for cars to not hit bicyclists, instead? Volvo’s new cyclist detection system wins the UK’s award for best car safety system. Edinburgh is the latest city to drop speed limits to 20 mph to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians. Queensland, Australia cyclists could get a minimum 1-meter passing distance, maybe more in high speed areas.

Finally, repeat after me: If you have two bags of meth stuffed in the tubes of your bike, stop for the damn stop signs, already. And a car crashes into a San Fernando Valley post office; witnesses report the building swerved into the car’s path and wasn’t wearing a helmet.

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