Tag Archive for coronavirus

LA/SaMo bike shops looted in aftermath of Floyd protests, some fine bikes on both sides, and more celebs on bikes

The rumors drifted in late Saturday night, carried on the acrid smoke from burning buildings.

By morning, they were confirmed.

On a night when we could smell the smoke from the fires on TV, and social media was filled with looters in LA’s normally sedate and formerly kosher Fairfax District, fears grew that local bike shops may have been among the victims.

Along with anyone who may have left their bikes with them for service.

Because it wasn’t just the shoe stores, computer stores, Whole Foods and Nordstrom that got looted.

It was bike shops like Spokes ‘N Stuff, I. Martin and later, Santa Monica’s REI.

My Sunday with a pair of emailed photos, above and below, that hit like a punch in the gut, revealing the front gates ripped off Spokes ‘N Stuff, with anything of value gone.

The LA Times spoke with the shop’s owner.

He’s had his store on Melrose for 20 years. It stayed open during the pandemic because it was considered an essential business. But, now, he estimates his losses from one night of looting could total $100,000.

“They not only took my bikes, they took customers’ bikes as well,” he said.

The owners of I. Martin could probably cite a similar figure.

I’m told looters broke in through the back door and emptied the bike shop in a matter of minutes.

Although in their case, the shop had been closed since March, so hopefully there were no customer’s bicycles still inside.

Then Sunday afternoon, as people peacefully protested near Santa Monica’s Tongva Park, looters were busting into businesses just a few blocks away.

REI seemed to be saved when some of the legitimate protesters stood in front of the store to turn looters away.

Except the looters came back. Later images showed the store had been ransacked, with racks and shelves emptied.

Presumably, the store’s bikes went out the door, as well; it’s not clear if REI was open for service or if any bikes belonging to customers were inside.

It’s also not clear when, or if, these stores will reopen.

Just like hundreds of other businesses, owned by major corporations and individual, often immigrant, proprietors through this troubled city.

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Needless to say, bicycling took a back seat to the protests for many people across the US this weekend.

Apparently forgetting what started the protests to begin with, a Seattle bike cop puts a protester in a chokehold after attempting, and failing, to squeeze by on his right on a sidewalk.

Turns out John Cusack is one of us, too. His bike took a beating from Chicago cops during the protests over the death of George Floyd, even if he didn’t.

And even if you can only hear it on the video.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for both of those.

When an Atlanta bike cop shoved a black woman with his bicycle during a protest, a white woman defended her by shoving him right back.

This is who we share the roads with. A Denver driver responds to a protester jumping on the hood of his car by intentionally trying to run him down. Thanks to Robert Leone for the tip.

A Philly bike cop was injured when he was run over while attempting to stop looters.

And a concierge doctor is setting aside his practice for now, responding on his bike to triage pepper spray victims during the DC police protests.

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LA bike clubs team up with advice to help keep you safe during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thanks to David Huntsman for the link.

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Tobey Maguire is one of us, doing a little offroad riding in the hills above Brentwood with his girlfriend, model Tatiana Dieteman.

Aussie actress Isla Fisher is back on her bike on the streets of Los Angeles, though it’s hard to tell who’s behind that mask.

Soccer great Christiano Ronaldo is one of us, going for a family bike ride under blue Italian skies.

Turns out Crocodile Hunter scion Robert Irwin is one of us, most likely to his mother’s chagrin, after separating his shoulder in a “massive” mountain bike crash.

LeBron James took advantage of LA’s Covid-light streets to get in a bike ride, accompanied by fellow NBA stars Anthony Davis and J. R. Smith. Thanks to Jeff Vaughn for the heads-up.

Although J.R. seemed a tad less relaxed later as he beat the crap out of someone for breaking his truck window.

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GCN takes a long look back to a forgotten age of bicycling before Strava, GPS and power meters.

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

An English letter writer describes a punishment pass by a speeding driver, accompanied by a shout to get out of the way.

A 15-year old Irish boy was chased down by a BMW driver and pushed off his bike, which the driver then threw at him.

Pro cyclists have to deal with punishment-passing jerks, too.

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Local

Streetsblog looks at the slow expansion of Slow Streets throughout Southern California, as well as repurposing streets for outdoor dining and retail.

A Pasadena writer warns about increased dangers on Angeles Crest Highway as traffic increases and parking lots reopen.

Zagster has pulled the plug on Santa Clarita’s Pace bikeshare program.

The experimental app that turned traffic lights to green for Santa Clarita bike riders has proven successful, and is now being rolled out nationally.

 

State

Tragic news from Tulare, as a woman became collateral damage when a murder suspect rolled his car during a police chase, striking her as she rode her bike.

Sad news from San Francisco, where a 31-year old bike rider was killed when he was doored by one driver, then hit by another.

 

National

Vogue offers a beginner’s guide to buying the right bike for the ultimate two-wheeled fashion accessory.

Forbes lists six relatively cheap bikes you can buy online right now. Actually, with a foldie starting at just $269, they can lose the “relatively” part.

A writer for HuffPo says the bike boom offers less obvious benefits for cities, including boosting business, greater efficiency and increasing sales for everyone.

Bicycling and trampoline injuries have spiked during the coronavirus crisis, as kids stay active while they’re home from school. Although hopefully not doing both at the same time, although that would explain the injuries.

The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay says bikes are so hot right now, you’ll probably ride one this year. If you can get past the paper’s paywall, that is.

Red Bull wants you to build mountain bike jumps like a pro.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever painted swastikas on a Lincoln, Nebraska bike path and nearby trees.

Boston experts offer advice on how to fit a big bike into a small apartment.

When a kindhearted Mississippi sheriff’s deputy and the other deacons at his church raised $250 to buy a new bike for a young boy after his bike was stolen, a bike shop owner stepped up to donate one.

 

International

The Guardian offers tips on how to make bicycling a delight.

Canadian network CTV says yes, bicycling is one of the safest things you can do outside during the pandemic.

Kindhearted officials with a Calgary towing company raised $1,000 to buy an adaptive bicycle for a special needs girl after the one she received from the local cerebral palsy association was stolen.

A new Brit rider says pop-up bike lanes aren’t so great for beginners.

Life is cheap in the UK, where a judge took pity on an unlicensed and uninsured driver, rather than the person he sent to the hospital for two weeks.

The British edition of GQ offers their list of the best helmets to keep you stylish and protected. Because all that really matters is how good you look on a bike, right?

A Scottish secondhand bike charity is changing lives by donating bicycles to employees of the National Health Service and other key workers.

The UK edition of Wired recommends their picks for the best bike helmets.

Cycle chic is reinvented Down Under as CLOB — Chic Lady on a Bike — as “cute” 1950’s inspired bikes fly out the door. Unlike LA, where bikes are flying out of doors and windows that are supposed to be locked.

Some people collect bikes. This Aussie collects cycling kits, with 250 and counting.

 

Competitive Cycling

The group that oversees the unofficial Everesting record says we almost had yet another new world’s record, but German pro Emanuel Buchmann fell just short of mountain biker Keegan Swenson’s record, which just beat Phil Gaimon’s record.

That feeling when you’re trying to outride that woman on the bike, without realizing she’s a former Olympic champ.

 

Finally…

When you get back up after falling off your bike, try to take all your fingers with you. It looks like a little mountain biking is in the cards — and on the board.

And we all have to work from home these days.

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Thanks to Matthew R for his monthly donation to help keep this site coming your way every day.

Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask, already. 

Large SD ride reportedly flouts pandemic and traffic laws, Westchester auto-centrism, and tracking US bike deaths

WTF.

A large group of San Diego bicyclists appeared to ignore any hint of physical distancing on a Sunday group ride.

Without a single face mask in sight.

Let alone anything remotely resembling common sense in the middle of a pandemic.

San Diego’s ABC10 reports that, despite reports the group was well behaved earlier on their ride, their behavior had deteriorated by the time they got to San Diego’s Pacific Beach neighborhood.

Paen told 10News that the riders in PB were unruly and rowdy. “[They were] flipping their fingers at cars [and] spitting at people,” he told 10News and added, “They were just whizzing by stop signs and past pedestrians and cars. It just seemed like they had immunity to anything on the road that was against them.”

Never mind that members of the group apparently got into a fight with a woman who had gotten out of her car to chastise them, as shown in the video above.

“[A cyclist] starts to kick on her and picks on her and it just becomes this mob mentality of bikers on this one woman who was going to yell at this [cyclist] for basically running a red light,” he said and added, “There was literally no one wearing masks or any type of gloves [and they were] all within close proximity of each other.”

According to the station, San Diego police responded to the fight, but neither side wanted to press charges.

Obviously, there’s more than one side to the story. And there’s no discounting the obvious windshield bias in the witness report.

But the optics of holding this type of ride, at a time when even small groups are prohibited — let alone hundreds of unmasked, scofflaw bike riders — is pretty devastating.

Let alone the sheer stupidity of risking the spread of an often symptomless, potentially deadly disease to their family and loved ones.

Not to mention total strangers who have the misfortune of just being nearby.

We need to do better.

All of us.

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Once again, auto-centrism rears its ugly head in LA’s Westchester/Playa neighborhood, as a motion at tonight’s neighborhood council meeting opposes taking even an inch of space for Slow Streets.

Because cars.

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Outside updated their record of every bicyclist killed on American roads in 2020, which is now up to 165 names.

Southern California is responsible for 20 of those so far.

Thanks to Melissa Wenzel for the heads-up.

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GCN demonstrates how to make your own high-level camera mount out of whatever wood you happen to have lying around.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps going.

A North Dakota woman was busted for intentionally running down a man on a bike as he tried to ride away after arguing with her.

A British bus driver vows to never ride a bicycle again after he was intentionally knocked off his bike by a couple of women after warning them he was passing; he suffered a fractured pelvis and spine, a dislocated shoulder and ruptured kidneys. And they just walked away.

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

See above. No, seriously.

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Local

Molly Shannon is one of us. And evidently, so is her daughter, as they shared a bike ride in Santa Monica.

They weren’t the only bike-riding Santa Monica celebs, though as Joe Jonas took a spin through the city, while leaving pregnant wife Sophie Turner at home.

 

State

Calbike is pushing a bill to encourage developers to provide secure bike parking in housing developments. But Megan Lynch reminds us that bike parking needs to accommodate handicapped riders, as well.

Two sections of one San Francisco roadway show how good it can be when making space for people, and how bad it is when left to motor vehicles.

 

National

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss tells drivers that going the usual 5 mph over the speed limit is contributing to America’s addiction to speeding, while putting lives at risk. SoCal drivers would have to slow down from the usual 10 to 15 mph over the limit to just get down to that.

So much for those free Strava accounts. If you want access to Strava’s leaderboard, get ready to start paying. And stop using the 44,000 third-party apps they just broke.

Apparently, bicycles really are the new toilet paper. The New York Times says bike shop shelves are empty, too, with lower-end bicycles selling out and not enough new bikes in the supply chain.

Trek says there’s never been a better time to #GoByBike.

Outside offers five things they learned from this year’s bicycle tests, like gravel bikes are the new roadies, good roadies cost six grand — or more — and the recent boom in bike built specifically for women is over. And a few lessons from their favorite mountain bikes, too.

Virtually empty, casino-lined Las Vegas Blvd may now be the world’s most expensive bikeway. Or at least flashiest.

Houston residents discuss using their bikes as a form of transportation. Radical concept, I know.

A Maine bike advocate ponders what the streets of the future will look like, as Covid-19 gives us a rare opportunity to reimagine the space devoted to motor vehicles.

The New York Times considers how to have a safe bike ride with the kids, whether on Slow Streets or the usual fast ones.

New Yorkers J.Lo and A.Rod went for a Monday bike ride. Although judging from what little you can see, her bike doesn’t look like one.

Unbelievable. A 77-year old Maryland man was killed when he was right hooked by his neighbor turning into a driveway. So naturally, police blamed the victim.

One Atlanta teen is in custody, and another is wanted, after allegedly shooting a 58-year old woman in a dispute over a stolen bike.

A Georgia couple faces charges for killing a bike rider while conspiring to deal meth. Although just what slinging meth had to do with the fatal crash isn’t clear.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is one of us, too.

 

International

Road.cc offers their own take on the best new hybrid bikes.

Your new e-foldie could cost less than a grand, and come with seating for two.

No bias here. A Toronto columnist sees a not-so-secret anti-car agenda in the movement to provide street space for people during the coronavirus crisis. Because clearly, you can’t make room for anyone else on the streets without making some drivers feel threatened.

No bias here, either, as an official with London’s taxi drivers association calls the push for bike lanes a class war (scroll down). Because only elite, educated white “eco-caramel coconut latte” swilling males actually ride bicycles, evidently. 

The Department of DIY struck in the UK over the weekend, as climate change advocates Extinction Rebellion painted their own fuchsia-colored pop-up bike lanes throughout the country.

A British driver could find out the hard way if you go to holy hell for dooring a Catholic bishop.

A 15-year old Indian girl rode nearly 750 miles to bring her injured father home on the back of her bicycle.

Once again, a bike rider is a hero, as a Singapore cyclist rescued a toddler who rode his kick scooter onto a busy street.

A new report says a proposal to allow New Zealanders to ride their bikes on sidewalks, with a nine-mile an hour speed limit, could result in savings of $24 million a year — but cost $14 million in pedestrian injuries, as well as one additional death, each year.

The global bike boom has hit Down Under, where bikes have become a key social distancing tool. Sort of like everywhere else.

Aussie bike advocates say the new temporary bike paths being built in Sydney should be made permanent. Again, like everywhere else.

No surprise here. Australian researchers conclude that harsh penalties for violating the mandatory helmet law in New South Wales are extremely excessive, and arbitrarily enforced.

 

Competitive Cycling

A writer for Medium talks with freshly bearded, former world Eversting record holder Phil Gaimon about life during lockdown.

 

Finally…

Apparently, following influencers to win a quarantine Peloton is a thing now. If you’re going to ride a hot high-end mountain bike at 4:14 am, put a damn light on it — and don’t pedal past a cop who used to manage a bike shop.

And who needs an agility course when you’ve got a bike corral?

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask, already. 

Slow Streets finally coming to Los Angeles, face masks now required in LA, and YouTubers injured in hit-and-run

Finally.

Los Angeles County has given a long-overdue blessing to the concept of Slow Streets.

And LA Mayor Eric Garcetti has suggested the city may give them a try.

According to a story from Time Out,

On Wednesday, the county announced that as part of an update to its “safer at home” order, it would allow cities to close off streets to car traffic and temporarily turn them into pedestrian-only areas.

“Local public entities may, if they want to, temporarily close certain streets or areas to automobile traffic and this would allow for increased space for persons to engage in recreational activity that’s permitted by the health officer orders,” said Department of Public Health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer in her daily briefing.

Slow Streets, a term that was virtually unheard of before the concept spread rapidly across a world afflicted by Covid-19 and the resulting lockdowns, are fully or partially closed to motor vehicles to allow people to get outside for a little fresh air and exercise, while providing enough space to allow for social distancing.

Without having to worry about getting run down by a speeding, distracted driver. Or having to leave their own neighborhood.

But as usual, LA appears to be wrapping the concept in needless red tape.

Instead of simply choosing several streets to close down across the city, as countless other cities have done, Los Angeles will make residents apply if they want one near them.

Which may or may not be approved, depending on whatever criteria will be used to vet the request.

Most likely, though, it will depend on whether the local councilmember wants them, in a city where they are virtual kings and queens in their own districts, with the power to bless or kill any street proposal.

So we may be able to get out for a little air soon. But I wouldn’t hold your breath just yet.

As usual, though, this comes because bike and pedestrian advocates fought for it.

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You’re now going to have to wear a face mask anytime you go outside in the City of Angels.

Although whether that would apply if you’re riding your bike, and not around other people, remains to be explained.

But just like deciding to ride without a helmet, you can expect to be harassed and publicly shamed by self-appointed safety vigilantes if you’re not wearing one.

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YouTube stars and influencers Marcus and Kristin Johns were both injured by a hit-and-run driver, who they say swerved directly at them in an intentional attempt to run them down as they were riding their bikes.

The driver was apparently fleeing from police following a burglary.

Neither one suffered major injuries, though they were both hospitalized. Unfortunately, however, they don’t give any date or location for the crash.

But it could explain why this story about Monday’s Toluca hit-and-run has unexpectedly blown up, with over 10,000 page views in the last two days.

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ESPN has released the trailer for their upcoming documentary about Lance Armstrong, titled simply Lance.

Which reminds me of this old classic.

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

A pair of “respected” retired woman are suspected of sabotaging a British bike trail by building traps using rocks and branches to stop unsuspecting bike riders.

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Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton says there are new bike lanes on two sections of York Blvd in NELA, with a two-block gap on a narrow section in between.

Streetsblog looks at the opening of the Rose Bowl loop to people, not cars. Meanwhile, a Pasadena writer suggests repurposing Old Town’s Colorado Blvd for outdoor dining.

Watchmen actress Malin Akerman celebrated her birthday with an unmasked ride with friends and family through the streets of Venice.

Final Destination star Ali Larter is one of us, riding through Pacific Palisades with her five-year old daughter.

Shia LaBeouf is one of us, too, riding with his with wife in Pasadena, with the family dog in tow.

 

State

San Diego is trying to pump new life into May’s moribund Bike Month by encouraging people to try bike commuting. There may never be a better time to give it a shot, with motor vehicle use at a historic low.

He gets it. Writing for a Yucaipa paper, a veteran bike cop says the far to the right law is widely misunderstood, and you’re not expected to be a gutter bunny. Although he may not have used that exact term. But still.

An allegedly intoxicated Fresno teenager hit the trifecta, crashing into a parked car, a bike rider and an apartment complex while fleeing from police; no word on the rider’s condition.

Vallejo’s annual tongue-in-cheek Obtanium Cup bike festival has been cancelled.

 

National

Time to start hoarding bicycles. The Guardian says bike usage is soaring across the US, while Bike says we’re running out of bikes, and it’s not just due to the coronavirus.

Lifehacker offers tips on learning to ride a bicycle, even if you’re an adult. Although once you actually get on a bike, you won’t feel like one.

The Verge says something better may emerge from the ashes of the scooter-sharing industry, which has ground to a halt over coronavirus fears.

A pair of Seattle bike cops are suing the city, alleging they were injured due to poorly maintained bicycles.

Los Angeles isn’t the only city enjoying cleaner air during the coronavirus lockdown. Denver is getting long-overdue relief from the city’s notorious brown cloud.

Evidently, that flawed study that incorrectly asserted that bike helmets reduce head injuries up to 85% will never die, rearing its head once again in an editorial from a Kansas paper. More accurate studies suggest helmets can reduce the risk of head injury 48%, and serious head injury 60%.

An Illinois letter writer complains that bike riders are discriminated against at drive-up windows. Just another example of windshield bias and the hegemony of motor vehicles.

Boston is considering four options to allow residents to get outside while maintaining social distancing, including Slow Streets and pop-up bike lanes.

New York is opening another 12 miles of Slow Streets now to allow for social distancing outside, along with another nine miles of protected bike lanes later this month.

An Alabama man was killed by his neighbor in a shooting that began with a dispute over the victim’s son, who was riding his bike down the street with a slingshot.

That’s more like it. A Florida city is building a new visitor’s center to attract people on bicycles.

 

International

The World Economic Forum suggests the Covid-19 pandemic could usher in a golden age of bicycling.

Cycling News looks at how ebikes are powering a worldwide revolution in post-lockdown transportation.

Road.cc lists their picks for the best road bikes priced from roughly $1,222 to $1,833. Which makes a lot more sense when you consider that translates to a nice, round £1,000 to £1,500 in the UK.

London’s historic Square Mile financial district will block some streets to motor vehicles as the city comes back to life, encouraging people to walk and ride bikes instead of driving.

The Standard says this is a chance for a more bike-friendly London.

A suspected British bike thief experiences instant karma, falling off the bike into a patch of nettles and breaking his ankle as he tried to make his escape.

The Sea Otter Classic is pulling the plug on the inaugural Australian edition of the annual Monterey bike fest.

 

Competitive Cycling

Covid-19 claims another major event with the cancellation of Colorado’s iconic Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race.

If Oregon gives the okay to resume bike racing, it will be up to promoters to prove the race is safe from the coronavirus.

Cycling News looks back at the first American to ride in the Giro d’Italia, nearly 50 years before the first American team made its debut.

 

Finally…

When protesters try to disrupt your bike shop opening, just give them a deal. Your next ebike could be a balloon that fits in a backpack. No, really.

And this is what happens when someone who’s apparently never ridden a bike tries to design facilities for them.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask, already. 

Anti-urbanist writer insists LA sprawl prevents Covid-19, and cure your coronavirus blues with a simple bike ride

What a load of crap.

In a Sunday op-ed in the LA Times, longtime anti-urbanist Joel Kotkin insists once again that Angelenos love single-family sprawl.

And that spread of the coronavirus proves they’re right.

No, really.

Let’s ignore for now his bizarre belief that Los Angeles residents love living in far-flung communities — and the resulting hours long commutes that come with it, rather than being forced to move to distant suburbs in order to find somewhere, anywhere, they can actually afford to live.

It’s his equally strange insistence that LA’s relatively low rate of Covid-19 infections compared to New York that proves sprawl is better that density.

For nearly a century, Los Angeles’ urban form has infuriated urbanists who prefer a more concentrated model built around a single central core.

Yet, in the COVID-19 pandemic, our much-maligned dispersed urban pattern has proven a major asset. Los Angeles and its surrounding suburbs have had a considerable number of cases, but overall this highly diverse, globally engaged region has managed to keep rates of infection well below that of dense, transit-dependent New York City.

As of April 24, Los Angeles County, with nearly 2 million more residents than the five boroughs, had 850 coronavirus-related deaths compared with 16,646 in New York City.

I’d say someone should remind him that correlation does not equal causation, but that would destroy his entire argument.

In Kotkin’s blindered view of the world, the virus spread rapidly through New York merely because people live close to each other and share transit systems.

And was slowed in its deadly progression through the City of Angels because we hide out in our hermetically sealed SUVs on the way to our single-family homes in socially distant communities.

Never mind that Los Angeles shut down at the first reports of Covid-19 infections and deaths, followed quickly by California, while New York waited until the virus was already widespread within the city and neighboring New Jersey.

He also conveniently ignores the fact that parts of Los Angeles are among the densest communities in the US — and by some reports, the densest. And that over half of LA residents are renters, most of those in multi-family buildings.

For his argument to bear any validity, the virus would have to tear through denser neighborhoods like Maywood, Huntington Park and West Hollywood, while sparing less dense areas in the San Fernando, San Gabriel and Antelope Valleys.

Not so much.

As this chart from the LA Times shows, the coronavirus is well dispersed throughout LA County, in dense areas as well as the sprawling single-family communities Kotkin seems to think are virus proof.

The only way to accurately determine what effect density has on the spread of the virus will be to wait until it’s over, and perform epidemiology studies to look at just how and where it spread.

Because it’s entirely possible that an area with lower population density could show a significantly higher rate of infection per capita than an area with two or three times the population.

And let’s not forget the role that redlining and racial convents have played in how LA’s communities formed, and the relative wealth and health of their residents.

Kotkin concludes by simultaneously making, and refuting, his own argument that people prefer sprawl.

At the same time, most Californians seem less than eager to abandon their single-family homes for the pleasures of what some call “elegant density.” Even before the pandemic, they were voting with their feet for less density and lower costs. Even as L.A. County’s population has started to decline, over 87% of all the growth in the region in this decade took place on the periphery where single-family homes and spacious apartments are still remotely affordable.

State policy, urban planners and pundits may decry this trend, but after a pandemic, dispersion may well seem a safer bet than densification. It turns out Californians are already headed in that direction.

Exactly.

Angelenos continue to move to far-flung neighborhoods, often against their own wishes, because those are the only places they can afford to live.

And no, over-reliance on cars didn’t save us, either.

Because it only takes a quick glance at those underserved communities to see the virus didn’t get there by transit.

I could go on. And on.

But Grist already dismantled Kotkin’s flimsy arguments in favor of sprawl six years ago.

Besides, the best argument against Kotkin’s love of sprawl is to just go outside and take a deep breath.

And let what has recently turned into the cleanest air of any major city remind you what life could be like without hundreds of thousands of people driving into the city every morning.

It’s just tragic that so many people had to die to get us there.

Photo by Josh Kur from Pexels.

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Sadly, a poorly framed article from the Los Angeles Times repeats many of the same misguided arguments about density being responsible for spreading the coronavirus.

Even though they refute it themselves.

At the same time, there’s lots of evidence that shows density isn’t destiny.

Highly populated cities in Asia, including Seoul, Tokyo and Hong Kong, have seen a fraction of New York’s cases. The same is true for America’s next densest big city, San Francisco, which issued a shelter-in-place order nearly a week before the East Coast metropolis. As of Saturday, the Bay Area city had reported only about 1,300 confirmed cases — compared with more than 8,450 in the city of Los Angeles.

Unfortunately, they insist on following the lead of too much of the American press by presenting unsupported arguments on equal footing with demonstrable evidence to the contrary.

Because opinions aren’t facts.

No matter who has them, or how loudly they express them.

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On the other hand, Times columnist Robin Abcarian gets it.

After what she describes as weeks of “major mood swings and a bizarre feeling of dislocation,” she found a simple solution.

She got together with her ten-year old niece, and went for a bike ride.

At this weird moment in history, with an invisible virus making life hell for so many, I daresay that getting outside and communing with nature, where it can be done safely in a socially distanced way, is one of the best ways to regain a sense of well-being and optimism.

I defy you to wander around the wetlands, or get up close to a colony of frisky sea lions, and not be thrilled to be alive.

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I think we can all relate to this one.

https://twitter.com/chrisfroome/status/1253702076120563721?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

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The Global Cycling Network builds a tall bike.

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Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton says LA city officials are slow walking requests to open up streets for pedestrians and bike riders to provide space to exercise while social distancing, as other cities around the world have done.

Pasadena is taking a half-step towards giving people more space on the streets, posting signs warning drivers that bike riders and pedestrians could be using them in hope that might encourage them to take their foot off the gas pedal. Okay, make that just a quarter-step.

A planning website interviews Santa Monica’s former bike-friendly city manager, suggesting Rick Cole’s resignation under pressure could be a warning for other cities dealing with heavy financial loses due to Covid-19.

The Long Beach bikeshare service has shut down during the coronavirus crisis, turning their attention to private’s rentals and bike repair instead.

Ryan Phillippe is one of us, going for a ride though Brentwood with his 16-year old son.

 

State

This year’s AIDS/LifeCycle ride has been cancelled, but fundraising to fight HIV/AIDS and support HIV+ people goes on.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports Bill Walton’s virtual group ride Bike for Humanity raised $100,000 from over 1,500 participants around the world.

Berkeley embraced slow streets decades ago, even without a pandemic to force their hand.

They get it. A Lodi newspaper calls bicycling an ideal way to get some exercise and get around town during the coronavirus shutdown.

 

National

Writing for the Atlantic, Traffic author Tom Vanderbilt says the pandemic has finally shown people the damage cars have done to our cities, and the road space they’ve commandeered.

A Nevada woman learns that riding a mountain bike again really is just like riding a bike.

A Lawrence, Kansas bike shop is reclaiming bikes dumped in a landfill by the city’s bikeshare provider, and giving them to people in need.

Last week we shared video of a St. Louis bike rider getting run down by a hit-and-run driver. Now it turns out that what the police described as minor injuries actually were cracked ribs, a punctured lung and a broken vertebrae.

Chicago Streetsblog calls the late Effective Cycling author John Forrester a worthy adversary.

Bicycling and walking continue to boom in Minneapolis.

Indiana University’s famed Little 500 has been cancelled, costing the women’s ROTC team their first chance to compete; the race was the inspiration for Breaking Away.

A book store in New York’s East Village is staying afloat during the lockdown by delivering books to customers by bike.

So much for supporting essential workers. A roving band of armed bandits are targeting bicycle delivery riders in Upper Manhattan, pushing them off their ebikes before riding off on them.

 

International

Seriously? A writer for Cycling News says riding with earphones is pointless and selfish during the lockdown, and any other time. In California, it’s legal to ride with one earphone in your ear, but not both; it’s also smart to keep the volume down to a level that allows you to hear people and traffic around you. But it would be nice if drivers were required to keep their volume down so they can hear, too. 

People around the world are getting on their bikes and trainers to raise funds to fight Covid-19.

I like him already. The councilman who got the most votes in the Dominican Republic’s latest election arrived for his inauguration on a bicycle, his preferred form of transportation for the past several years.

Bike repair is booming in Saskatoon as people turn to “the only activity left,” but the Saskatchewan city isn’t providing more road space for riders and walkers.

She gets it. A writer for London’s Independent newspaper says bicycling is booming during the coronavirus crisis, and we need to keep it that way.

British experts say bike riders are getting a bad rap, and someone on a bike is no more likely to spread coronavirus than someone taking a leisurely walk.

Sad news from Great Britain, where bicycling fatalities are running twice as high as normal for this time of year, despite the country’s coronavirus lockdown; 14 riders have lost their lives, along with another in Northern Ireland.

Welsh bicyclists are limited to riding within a “reasonable walking distance” of their home under the country’s lockdown rules, whatever that means. That can vary from a few blocks to several miles, depending on who’s doing the walking. And the question is whether the same rules apply to people in motor vehicles, or if they’re singling out transportation riders.

A Scottish advocacy group calls for more space on the streets for people biking and walking to maintain the gains seen during the coronavirus shutdown.

If you’re tired of sitting around waiting for the US to reopen, consider moving to the UK, which has a critical need for people capable of putting bikes together to clear up a 20,000 bike backlog.

A Dublin newspaper looks at the worst places to ride a bike in Ireland.

Bikes are making a comeback as Europe prepares to reopen and people look for an alternative to mass transit.

Milan plans to rebound from the coronavirus shutdown by permanently reallocating 22 miles of streets for biking and walking.

Covid-19 forced an Italian couple to cut short their six-year bike ride around the world, after crossing the Himalayas and Australian Outback.

A ten-year old Indian girl is supporting her family by pedaling around her Uttar Pradesh city peddling the face masks they’re making.

Sad news from Iran, where a 17-year old member of the country’s national cycling team was killed in a collision.

A bighearted former teacher is volunteering to deliver medications by bicycle to HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis patients in Eastern Uganda.

A Korean company is investing $8 million to provide up to 4,000 ebikes in Thailand, along with solar-powered charging stations.

Conde Nast Traveler talks with Kiwi TV producer Jemaine Clement, who’d rather do his traveling by bicycle.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cycling Weekly looks back at the career of Britain’s Madam Gray, who the credit with being the godmother of women’s cycling, helping the sport become what it is today.

 

Finally…

Nothing like getting knocked off your bike — and ticketed in the ER for violating the quarantine. How to ride RAAM without actually going anywhere.

And now you, too, can own your very own steel-framed roadie used by five-time Tour de France winner Miguel Indurain, for the low, low price of just under 60 grand.

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask, already. 

Vehicular cycling founder John Forester has died, toxic car culture, fighting for street space, and courteous CA drivers

Sad news from San Diego.

CABO President Jim Baross writes that John Forester, author of Effective Cycling and the father of America’s vehicular cycling movement, passed away last week.

Reported to me today by his son Jeff Forester

John died April 14, 2020 at 90 years of age

He was Born Oct. 1929

I have known John primarily related to bicycling and CABO. Some things I know about him off the cuff:

Author of Effective Cycling now in a 7th edition, former League of American Bicyclists Board member (was he board chair at one time?), instrumental in the formation of CABO, certainly the Father of the concepts and trainings of vehicular cycling, an early outspoken advocate for the rights of people to use bicycles on public roads, etc. etc.

Whatever your opinion of vehicular cycling, Forester was hugely influential in the ’70s and ’80s, and throughout the past 50 years. Both in affirming the place of bicyclists on our streets, and blocking the growth of separated bikeways.

He fought for what he believed right up to the end, long after most modern advocates and planners had left his philosophies behind.

But in his day, his work was a revelation, creating the framework most road cyclists employed through the last decades of the past century.

Myself included.

Thanks to Richard Masoner for the heads-up.

Cover image from MIT Press

………

Let’s talk about a great opinion piece from today’s LA Times.

Senior digital editor Matthew Fleischer writes that the coronavirus shutdowns are making it clear just how toxic car culture really is.

The coronavirus is making it abundantly clear that cars are their own kind of plague. And, in many ways, our lives are better when we don’t have to use them.

Some city leaders have come to this realization and are refusing to allow their automotive status quos to return after the lockdowns end. In Milan, Italy — one of the hardest-hit cities in the world by coronavirus — planners have already begun preparations to permanently transform 22 miles of streets for non-automobile use after witnessing reductions in air pollution of up to 70% during lockdowns.

Then there’s this.

Frankly, the idea that we can transport ourselves sustainably en masse in toxic 4,000-pound battering rams is just as delusional, entitled and self-destructive as the “liberate” protestors who are demanding a premature end to coronavirus-related stay-at-home orders…

There is no herd immunity from the damage caused by millions of personal automobiles roaming the streets at all hours.

Seriously, this will probably be the most insightful thing you read today. If not, it’s still a damn good way to spend the next few minutes.

Let’s hope Mayor Garcetti reads it.

Because he can let coronavirus derail his ambitious plans to reimagine our streets as part of an LA Green New Deal.

Or he can use this as a rare opportunity to actually make it happen.

………

Closing or narrowing streets for cars in response to Covid-19 continues to make news here in LA, across the US and around the world.

Los Angeles political advocacy group Streets For All has forged a powerful coalition of LA-area groups to lead the call to keep Angelenos physically and mentally healthy during the COVID-19 crisis.

And expressed that call in a strongly worded letter to leaders of the City of Angels.

The road space in Los Angeles is now dramatically overbuilt for the current vehicle traffic volume, causing vehicles to travel at dangerous speeds – average speeds are up 30% on our wide open roads according to LADOT. At the same time, the average width of our sidewalks is 4.4’, too narrow to allow people to pass each other while maintaining 6’ of distance. As a result, people are forced to be in close proximity with each other, risking proliferating the virus or walking, running, scooting, or biking in the street next to speeding cars. This isn’t just a street safety issue, but a public health issue as well…

While the top priority is limiting COVID-19 spread and saving lives and livelihoods, there must be a long term plan to sustain the mental and physical well being of Angelenos. Isolation and inactivity can lead to increases in chronic health conditions like heart disease and obesity and pose other mental and physical health risks that we may pay for as a society for years to come.

Therefore, for the critical reasons of equity, mental health, safety, and the physical well-being of Angelenos, we ask you to authorize the creation of an emergency people street network – using cones or other temporary infrastructure – to create additional sidewalk and open space for people to walk, run, scoot, and bike in, while maintaining 6’ of distancing. ​On neighborhood streets, this could be as simple as a few cones and a “slow down” sign taking up some of the street, calming traffic but still allowing local and emergency vehicle access. On major arteries, this could be redistributing a parking lane and/or single vehicle traffic lane on each side of the street, while taking care not to interfere with bus stops​. These treatments may also advance the Mayor’s goals under L.A.’s Green New Deal to “Activate Streets” and “Prioritize Land Use and the Right-of-Way” in ​Executive Directive 25​. All of this can be accomplished inexpensively and without the need of distracting our police or fire departments with enforcement during this critical time.

It’s worth taking the time to read the full letter. And voice your own support.

Meanwhile, KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis talks with Curbed’s Alissa Walker about closing some roads to cars so people have more space to walk, run or bike.

Salt Lake City joins the growing movement to convert streets to bike and pedestrian use.

Berlin is the latest world capital to carve out more space on the streets for active transportation in the wake of the coronavirus shutdown.

And Paris trumps everyone by readying the equivalent of 400 miles of permanent and temporary bikeways for use when the city reawakens.

………

No surprise here.

The Governors Highway Safety Association says speeding is up around the country on streets emptied by the coronavirus crisis, which means crashes are more serious, too.

Case in point, the CHP reports that tickets for speeding in excess of 100 mph have jumped 87% over the past month.

Which can either mean that more drivers are speeding. Or that more are just getting caught.

Or maybe both.

………

New York City’s mayor demonstrates that he’s never been to California by bizarrely insisting that California drivers are so courteous, they stop on every block — even when they don’t have to.

https://twitter.com/laura_nelson/status/1252979892846645248?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1252979892846645248&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fnyc.streetsblog.org%2F2020%2F04%2F22%2Fstill-defiant-now-mayor-de-blasio-wrongly-claims-california-can-have-open-space-because-its-drivers-are-better%2F

………

The LACBC and Sunset For All are teaming up tomorrow to show that bikes mean business.

………

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

A “furious” English man demands that bike riders be banned from a multi-use path along the coast for the alleged crime of failing to maintain social distancing.

………

Local

Khloé Kardashian’s two-year old daughter is one of us.

 

State

A San Diego columnist questions whether it’s time to reopen parts of the city, arguing that the fitness of residents helped it avoid the worst of the coronavirus.

I want to be like them when I grow up. A group of San Diego men up to 80 years old are still taking long rides along the SoCal coast. And the coast of Normandy.

After losing his job in a San Francisco restaurant, a Venezuelan chef turns to his native cuisine, and starts a new business delivering homemade arepas by bike. Which is literally what he named it.

Once again, a Bay Area bicyclist posts a nearly one-hour video of a ride through Oakland and San Leandro. And once again, an Oakland News blogger freaks out over his scofflaw behavior.

They get it. A pair of Sacramento mayors agree this is no time to back down on climate change, coronavirus or not.

 

National

PeopleForBikes aims to support bike shops by encouraging responsible riding during the Covid-19 crisis, along with virtual cycling.

How to turn your kid into a mini mountain bike shredder.

A pair of Idaho bike commuters are credited with helping the environment by trading gas pedals for bike pedals; one was inspired to get on her bike by attending CicLAvia when she was a student at USC.

Evidently, Texas trail users don’t like being told which way to go.

Wisconsin wrenches are raising old bikes from the dead at a record pace.

Security cam video shows a St. Louis hit-and-run driver plowing into a bike rider, hurling him into the air before flooring it and fleeing the scene; despite the head-on crash, the victim only suffered minor injuries. This video is just as disturbing as it sounds, so be sure you really want to see it before you click on the link.

Three friends from Maine end up driving 2,000 miles home when their fundraising cross-country bike trip ground to a halt in Texas after the coronavirus shut down much of the country.

After an MIT researcher blamed New York’s transit system for spreading Covid-19, a researcher from George Mason University reminds him that correlation isn’t causation, noting that restaurants and bikeshare showed the same curve — and points the finger for spreading the disease at motor vehicle use, instead.

Streetsblog says the empty streets have turned New York’s Third Ave into a dangerous speedway.

A writer for Rolling Stone takes a desolate and desultory ride through the city, feeling anger towards people flaunting social distancing rules and mourning places that may not return.

A Philly radio station says bicycle couriers have had to change their strategies to avoid spreading Covid-19. Or getting exposed to it.

 

International

She gets it. A writer for Forbes says our planet needs cities to prioritize people over cars, and this is the perfect time to do it.

The Pinkbike Podcast discusses why every new bike now seems to be a trail bike.

Cycling News says you can save time and money by learning to fit your own bike chain. Meanwhile, Bike Radar offers a beginner’s guide to road bike shifting.

Bike-riding British Columbia mounties stop a man for riding without a helmet, which is against the law there. And end up busting him for stealing the bike he was riding.

Dutch model Lilly Becker is one of us, too, going for a socially distant ride through London’s Wimbledon neighborhood.

Tragic news from the Netherlands, where an 18-year old man was stabbed to death in an apparent random attack while riding his bike; police arrested a “known troublemaker” immigrant with mental health problems.

 

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews talks with five-time Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault about his 50-mile solo breakaway through a brutal snowstorm to win the 1980 Liège-Bastogne-Liège

 

Finally…

Who needs a BMX track when you’ve got a Tribeca apartment with an awesome view of the waterfront? Why move over when you’ve got a six-foot social distancing stick?

And no, bikes aren’t “the new toilet paper.

You can actually get a bicycle.

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask, already. 

LA cuts budget for failing Vision Zero, fight for more space on coronavirus slowed streets, and a 7-year old gets bike safety

Los Angeles has failed on Vision Zero.

The program remains a vastly underfunded afterthought, both on LA streets and in the halls of power.

If they bother to think about it at all, that is.

Which is why it took shutting the city down for Covid-19 to make any impact on the rate of fatal traffic collisions. And which are bound to rebound as soon as the lockdown ends.

So what is the obvious next step for the City of Angels?

Cut the Vision Zero budget, of course.

LADOT says we won’t notice the 5% reduction for next year.

Which is probably true, because LA’s Vision Zero efforts haven’t been very noticeable, anyway.

………

Once again, today’s common theme is the fight for more space on the streets.

San Francisco follows Oakland’s lead and announces plans to open parts of eleven streetsor maybe twelve streets — so residents have more room to get out and walk. Thanks to Robert Leone for the link.

New York’s city council is looking at what other cities are doing to develop their own plan.

The Miami Herald wants to know why local governments are balking at closing streets to make room for social distancing.

London’s Guardian says the need for physical distancing means space in cities and town must be shared in new ways.

And Cycling Industry News says the case is clearly building for government intervention.

………

Nothing like developing good safety habits at a young age.

Let’s all give a round of applause to Evangelina Gatto, better known as Evie to her friends and family, for her outstanding creative skills and love of bicycling.

Her dad’s kind of a big deal, too.

………

We’ve given the Governors Highway Safety Association their share of criticism over the years.

But they get it right this time.

………

This is what a typical weekend riding bikes in San Diego looked like, pre-coronavirus.

………

Apparently, drivers are trying to get a jump on things now, and crash into bicycles before they even leave the shop.

………

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

Someone sabotaged a Sheffield, England downhill mountain bike track, ripping out a number of berms and jumps.

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

Police in Wales are looking for four total jerks who buzzed an elderly woman on their bikes and spat at her, then laughed at her.

There’s not a pit in hell deep enough for the schmuck who rode off on a bike after stealing a dog belonging to a Concord ER nurse fighting COVID-19. If you live in the Bay Area, keep an eye out for this a-hole.

………

Local

Sad news today, as Lewis MacAdams, the man who helped start the fight to restore the Los Angeles River, died yesterday of complications from Parkinson’s at age 75.

The deputy director of Climate Resolve writes that we shouldn’t squander the opportunity to reimagine LA streets provided by the coronavirus shutdown.

If you’re a fan of spring wildflowers, this is the time to ride past the Ballona wetlands on the Ballona Creek bike path. But take your hay fever medication first. Trust me.

Walk ‘n Rollers has free bicycles for kids in need during the coronavirus crisis. They can also use some kids bikes to refurbish if you have any extra lying around. Or cash helps, too.

Billions star Malin Åkerman is one of us — and no, that thing over the A isn’t a mark on your screen — as she rode through Los Feliz with her seven-year old son.

Owen Wilson was spotted riding through the streets of Venice with a friend.

Ben Affleck may not be one of us, but his eight-year old son is.

 

State

Santa Ana’s Bicycle Tree bike co-op is back in business, at least for now. Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up.

Bike sales are booming in San Diego. Thanks to Robert Leone for the tip.

Speaking of San Diego, the city is reopening all its open space parks and trails, with the exception of Cowles Mountain and the Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve Trail.

Ventura is reopening parks and trails, as long as you maintain social distancing.

 

National

Red Bull recommends 16 of the best downloadable mountain biking apps.

Pink Bike takes a video look at whether buying a used mountain bike is worth it, concluding yes. And no.

PeopleForBikes thinks we could all use a little good news right now.

VeloNews looks at Bill Walton’s virtual group ride Bike For Humanity this Saturday.

Specialized is giving you the opportunity to buy a new bike for an essential worker. Thanks again to Robert Leone.

Tucson bike shops are starting to sell out of bicycles.

El Paso is opening up its trails, as Texas prepares to reopen from the Covid-19 shutdown.

The popular RAGBRAI ride across Iowa was cancelled due to coronavirus.

A Massachusetts woman with a huge heart bought a new bike for a man battling leukemia to honor her son, who died of the disease.

A bike-commuting registered physician’s assistant at New York’s Bellvue Hospital tells the mayor she risks her life every day at work, and shouldn’t have to do it on the streets, as well.

This is why people keep dying on our streets. Witnesses saw a Pennsylvania driver toss a beer after running down a kid on a bike, his car smelled of weed, and he had seven convictions for driving without a license. And hadn’t had one since 2001.

I want to be like him when I grow up. An 82-year old Pennsylvania man is riding laps around a parking lot to raise funds for a local food bank.

Kindhearted Florida firefighters drive up with red lights and sirens to give a boy a new bike after his was stolen.

 

International

The World Health Organization says get on your damn bicycle, already.

Canadian Cycling offers their complete guide to bicycling during Covid-19. Most of which applies wherever you ride.

Road.cc offers tips on how to carry almost anything on your bike, from using your pockets to riding a cargo bike.

Toronto bike couriers say they’re risking their lives to deliver food to wealthy people.

A London bike rider offers more proof you can carry anything on a bikelike a sofa, for instance.

It takes a major schmuck to steal a bike a Manchester, England drag queen was using as physical therapy under the lockdown.

Gordon Ramsey is one of us. And getting on his neighbors nerves, as he flouts the UK’s lockdown by riding his S-Works 22 miles through Cornwall, after apparently driving to get there first.

The UK is being sued over its £28.8 billion plan road expansion plan — the equivalent of over $35 billion — for violating the country’s commitment under the Paris Agreement; the same people halted a planned expansion of London’s Heathrow airport using a similar argument.

The new and improved — and significantly cheaper — ebike from Dutch bikemaker VanMoof looks like a big hit, with positive reviews from The Verge, The Next Web, and Forbes, with prices starting a couple notches below two grand.

A movie reviewer says you’ve been getting the message of the Italian classic Bicycle Thieves all wrong.

Milan is making plans to cut car use when the city reopens from Italy’s coronavirus quarantine. Which is something every other city should be doing, or we’ll be right back in the same unworkable mess.

Madrid’s bikeshare system will reopen today, as the country slowly comes back to life.

Tragic news from Nepal, where a pair of Indian laborers died after they rode off a ravine trying to bicycle back home after they got caught in the Covid-19 lockdown.

Cycling Tips profiles the Bike Scouts, a group of volunteer bike messengers in the Philippines who ride to the rescue when disaster strikes.

 

Competitive Cycling

The Tour de Suisse is the latest pro stage race to go virtual.

A wrong turn in the Iditarod Trail Invitational left ultra-endurance athlete Rebecca Rusch in a life-or-death situation.

 

Finally…

Next time you ride a bike to the market, try getting off before you go in. Why waste a good ride, when you can mow your lawn at the same time?

And nothing like promoting your new fundraising face mask by riding on a Covid-19 closed beachfront bike path.

………

Thanks to Dennis E for his generous donation to help support this site. I’m truly blown away that someone would dip into their own funds to help out during the current financial crisis. 

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask, already. 

But don’t dump it on the damn street when you’re done.

Metro bus layover blocks San Fernando Valley bike lane, three easy steps to safer streets, and biking through the pandemic

What good is a bike lane when it doubles as a layover space for Metro buses?

That’s the question Steven Hallett asked in an email to CD12 Councilmember John Lee.

With more and more bicycles on the road, clear, safe, unobstructed bicycle lanes are vital. While there are several I would like to point out, I will address only one at this time. Just east of Porter Ranch Dr on Rinaldi St in Porter Ranch There is a bus layover zone that blocks the bike lane. It is just around a curve and is blocked by bushes, so when I am on my on a bike, I cannot see it until I get very close forcing me to either use the traffic lane or stop and wait for the traffic lane to clear. To be clear, I am not talking about a bus stop (pick-up / drop off), but a layover where one, two, and sometimes three buses are parked for an extended periods of time waiting for their run to start. On top of that, the bike lane where the buses park is very damaged —sunken and very cracked (bus stops usually have a concrete pad, this lay over zone does not!). I have been on the MTA web site to try and find out what “Rule 2.15” is that allows (illegally!) buses to park in the bike lane with no success. I certainly couldn’t park my truck there just because I wanted to! I have also emailed various departments at the MTA with no response what-so-ever, not even a polite response. I am including pictures showing the blocked bike lane, the No Parking Anytime (NO PARKING ANYTIME) sign, and the MTA sign with the reference to ‘Rule 2.15.  It is your responsibility to make our community safe!

We’ll see if he gets a response from Lee, who isn’t exactly known for his concern for anyone who doesn’t get around by car.

Especially since he hasn’t gotten anywhere with Metro.

Never mind that Lee’s got his hands full after being deeply implicated in the bribery scandal that took down his predecessor, Mitch Englander.

………

Robert Leone forwards a trio of reasonable and easy steps from the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition on how to make streets safer for people on bikes and on foot.

Too bad LA’s city leaders aren’t on their mailing list.

Publicize a reduced speed advisory to 15 mph for residential streets to keep everyone walking and biking safe. More people are walking and biking in their neighborhoods to get exercise and travel to essential services nearby. With less car traffic, people are speeding down roads, endangering those walking and biking. A reduced speed advisory publicized by the city and local police would help raise awareness and lead to fewer crashes and injuries among people and less burden on the healthcare system.

  • An additional step would be to adjust signal timing to slow vehicle speeds and ensure safety

More space for the increased number of people walking and biking. Our biking and walking networks are insufficient to meet the needs of people getting exercise outdoors and traveling while maintaining six feet of social distance. We recommend identifying streets where bikeways and sidewalks could be expanded, creating quick build or pilot bikeways and sidewalks on streets that have excess vehicle lanes. SVBC is ready to help identify streets and rally volunteers to install signs and barricades to make it work. (Oakland announced April 10 that they would be closing 74 miles/10% of streets to carssee plan).

Switch the pedestrian phase of traffic signals to be automatic and ensurethat bicycles are captured at traffic signals. Adjusting pedestrian signals so pushing a button is no longer needed to cross the street limits the amount of surfaces a person must touch, helping curb the spread of COVID-19. This is simpler for some cities than others depending on how their traffic signal system operates (either a central operating space or having to go out to individual signals). Thank you to San José and Redwood City for already doing this!

………

Calbike offers resources to help get you through the coronavirus crisis, including FAQs on riding through the pandemic, tips for new or returning bike riders, and Bike Match programs throughout the state.

………

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

Angry English villagers stop just short of getting out the pitchforks and torches, ripping the sheets off someone’s bed to demand that bicyclists stop “panting” in their village and just stay away. They’re assuming that it’s the people on bikes who may be infected with the virus, when it’s just as likely the people on two wheels risk of catching it from the villagers. Thanks to Robert Leone for the heads-up.

A proposal to allow New Zealand bike riders to use the sidewalk at speeds less than 10 mph is somehow deemed an attack on pedestrians.

………

Local

Great move from South LA’s East Side Riders Bike Club, who gave back to the local community by serving hundreds of free pancake breakfasts in Watts this week.

Isla Fisher is one of us, taking a bike ride through her Los Angeles neighborhood wearing a helmet and mask.

Chris Pine is one of us, too, as he took a bike ride through the streets of LA with English actress Annabelle Wallis.

 

State

A pair of pro cyclists have set up a unique contact-free food drive in Encinitas to benefit Feeding San Diego.

Bicyclists in San Diego’s North County are struggling to balance the right to ride while respecting state and local health restrictions.

 

National

City Lab suggests cities should stop charging fees to e-scooter companies and start subsidizing them to ensure their survival after the coronavirus crisis.

Apple introduces a handlebar mount for your iPhone.

Bike Santa Fe’s Brian Kreimendahl forwards news about the arrest of a killer hit-and-run driver, who says she thought she’d just hit a traffic cone instead of the bike rider she left dying on the side of the road. And swears she only had one drink that night. Sure. Let’s got with that.

A Colorado bike rider says stop bending the rules to ride in groups or drive to distant trailheads, and maybe do your riding inside, like she is.

A Massachusetts driver faces multiple charges including vehicular homicide for running down an entire bike-riding family while texting last month, killing the father and critically injuring the mother and adult son.

A Brooklyn urban planner says don’t overthink it because closing streets to allow exercising while social distancing is easy.

Sad news from New York, where Covid-19 has taken the life of a 55-year old man known as the best bike mechanic in Queens, just one of the 13,000 New Yorkers killed by the virus to date.

Like here in Los Angeles, New York drivers are putting the pedal to the metal on the city’s newly empty streets, with speeding tickets up 100%.

 

International

Road.cc says you can actually get a decent road bike for less that the equivalent of $375.

Cycling Tips uses Strava data to rank the 20 fastest road bikes.

Evidently, you can’t drive away from justice. After a Toronto woman repeatedly flipped off a person for filming her blocking a bike lane, she drove off before police could give her a ticket. But it will be coming in the mail, anyway.

The CBC considers just how safe it is to run or ride a bike these days.

Once again, a bike rider is a hero, as a former English Marine leaped off his bike and into action to save the life of a van driver who went off the road after losing consciousness.

Bicycling talks with the British women who beat the Covid-19 pandemic by days to set an around the world tandem record.

A writer for Bike Radar says his new Surly fixie is keeping him sane during the UK’s coronavirus lockdown. Something most people who ride bikes can probably relate to.

An Edinburgh bike shop is donating free bikes, helmets, locks and lights to key workers for six months during the coronavirus pandemic, while a new map shows locations with similar programs throughout the UK.

Inspecting bikes in 1960s Britain.

Ebike prices continue to drop, with Dutch brand Van Moof introducing their latest model for under $2,000 — roughly half the price of its current bike.

Dutch pro cyclist Dylan Groenewegen is using his time under the lockdown to deliver groceries to homebound people in Netherlands by bike while wearing his full team kit. Thanks to Stormin’ Norman for the link.

German bike shops are scheduled to rise from their enforced coronavirus slumber next week.

An Indian man is riding his bike throughout the city of Hyderabad to call attention to the need for masks and social distancing.

Palestinian women are using bicycles to bring crafts, toys and books to children shut inside by the Covid-19 lockdown.

Nice guy. The head of an Aussie civil rights organization says being told to only walk counterclockwise around a lake for social distancing is an attack on freedom. And he’s just sorry the bike rider who killed his dog in a crash didn’t die, too.

 

Competitive Cycling

A public health expert says allowing the rescheduled Tour de France to go off as planned this July is a recipe for disaster, especially if fans are allowed to attend the race.

 

Finally…

Nothing like slipping out for a casual bike ride, and ending up with a fashion review. When you’re trying to escape from the cops on you bike, watch out for the old sign post through the spokes trick.

And call it an inflatable pool noodle to make drivers maintain a little social distancing.

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask, already. 

Taking streets back from cars, petition to implement Mobility Plan during LA street work, and traffic is a virus

A couple quick notes.

First, thanks to everyone for the kind words after yesterday’s meltdown. I love what I do, but sometimes it can be a lot to handle. Especially now.

Second, I ran out of time to dip into my inbox tonight. So if you sent me something this week, I’ll try to catch up tomorrow. 

And finally, my apologies if I failed to credit anyone in today’s post. I’ve lost track of who sent me what over the past couple days, but I truly appreciate your help. Even if I do have mush for brains sometimes.

Photo by Mario Cuadros from Pexels.

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Today’s common theme is cities taking streets back from cars during the coronavirus crisis. And maybe keeping it, by making the changes permanent.

The Pasadena Star-News calls on the Rose City and the rest of the San Gabriel Valley to open up the streets, saying they’re experiencing a pandemic of walking.

The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition is pushing for more space on the streets, while Palo Alto may ban cars entirely from some surface streets.

Streetsblog takes a look at Oakland’s new network of slow streets.

Salt Lake City is considering opening some streets to bike riders and pedestrians.

Denver may have banned cars from some streets, but others stay just as dangerous and auto-centric.

No surprise here, as bike-friendly Mad City is closing traffic lanes to make room for people.

Pressure is growing on DC to give more space for walkers, joggers and bike riders.

Toronto’s mayor won’t close streets for fear of creating induced demand among bike riders and pedestrians.

Dublin, Ireland residents are pressuring city leaders to reallocate road space to people on bikes and on foot.

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Except in Los Angeles, of course.

Even though LA Councilmember Mike Bonin has called for opening up streets for bike riders and pedestrians during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, a new petition from Streets for All calls on Los Angeles to implement the city’s Mobility Plan 2035, as the city speeds up road repairs and resurfacing most drivers are stuck at home and traffic is Covid-19 light.

Yes, I signed it. And hope you will, too.

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Maybe Covid-19 makes you cranky.

Infected CNN host Chris Cuomo, brother of the New York governor, lashed out at a bike rider who criticized Cuomo’s lack of social distancing from his family and another woman at his Long Island estate.

The man followed up by filing a police report on Wednesday; the cops initially weren’t interested until the story started gaining traction.

But maybe he had a point, since Cuomo’s wife has now been diagnosed with the disease.

Thanks to Jeff Vaughn for the heads-up.

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It shouldn’t really surprise anyone to learn that traffic spreads just like a virus.

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Putting race numbers to good use fighting coronavirus after coronavirus cancels the races.

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A Thai zoo sparks outrage among animal rights advocates by making a chimpanzee ride a bike while wearing a mask and spraying disinfectant (the chimp comes on around 1:05).

But that chimp’s no chump. Everyone knows how much fun it is to ride a bike.

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

A British woman complains that she and her kids were verbally abused by a farmer while out for a family bike ride in the country, because he didn’t think they should be riding bikes during the country’s lockdown.

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

Horrible story from Santa Ana, where a man faces arson and attempted murder charges for dousing a homeless man with some sort of flammable liquid and setting him on fire, before riding off on his bicycle; the victim is in critical condition with first, second and third degree burns. Thanks to John Damman for the link. 

There’s a special place in hell for the road-raging New Jersey bike rider who allegedly punched and spat on an EMT, after nearly getting hit by allegedly riding his bike in front of the ambulance.

A British nurse says she was verbally abused and spat on by a bike rider; unfortunately, there’s no word on what led up to it. Clearly, there’s another side to that story, though.

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Local

Metro offers tips on how to ride safely for health and essential travel.

A masked dad and kid take a family bike riding on the LA River bike path in the age of coronavirus. You probably don’t have to wear a mask when you run or bike. But it couldn’t hurt.

Streetsblog says LA-area bikeshares run the gamut of coronavirus responses, from a full shutdown to business as usual.

Despite the coronavirus lockdown, construction is moving forward on the Taylor Yard pedestrian and bike bridge.

Former NBA great and current SoCal resident Reggie Miller is doing his social distancing by riding inside and learning to Zwift.

 

State

An Apple Valley bike rider had to be airlifted to a hospital after he was critically injured in a crash with a pickup driver on Tuesday.

A Bakersfield bike rider says no to grooving on the bike path. And put down your damn phone.

A Petaluma woman was arrested on suspicion of biking under the influence — and yes, that’s a thing — after attempting to ride her bike across busy Highway 101, directly in front of a CHP officer.

A Bay Area bike rider captured a moody view from Mt. Diablo over the weekend.

San Francisco advocates are working to help get bikes to essential workers.

Apparently, that European bike-riding dinosaur has a relative in Santa Rosa.

Someone in Napa Valley is selling a new Rad Cargo bike that’s never been “rode.” Maybe you can get a bad grammar discount.

A Davis bike rider spells out the benefits of biking during the pandemic.

 

National

Cannondale’s newest ebike comes complete with a built-in rear radar system.

Good grief. An Oregon bike shop owner says he’s really sorry he offended anyone with the racist, anti-Asian things he wrote on the store’s chalkboard. Which isn’t exactly the same as being sorry for posting them.

Speaking of Oregon, the state has sent the deadly, antiquated and auto-centric 85th Percentile Law to the scrapheap of history, where it belongs. Now maybe California can learn from their example.

A Washington man got his mountain bike back six months after it was stolen, when he spotted it on Facebook and met the seller with police in tow.

Reports indicate rattlesnakes aren’t social distancing on Arizona trails.

A Boulder CO book store is surviving the pandemic by making bicycle deliveries of mystery bags filled with handpicked books and tea or coffee.

The Boston Globe catches up with former UCLA and NBA star Bill Walton’s virtual Bike for Humanity solo group ride on the 25th of this month.

After a Massachusetts grocery store staffer’s bicycle was stolen while he was working, a kindhearted customer stepped up to give him another one.

New York’s bike-riding Joker comedian is back with a new episode.

Once again, a hit-and-run driver has carried the victim home with him. A North Carolina pickup driver fled the scene after hitting a bike rider, who landed in the back of his truck; the driver’s girlfriend found the victim an hour after the crash, seriously injured with multiple broken bones and no idea how he got there.

Horrible news from North Carolina, where two teenage boys sharing a bicycle were killed when they were struck by a driver; police were quick to blame the victims for wearing dark clothing and not having lights or reflectors on their bike. Evidently, the car must not have had headlights, either.

Finishing out our North Carolina trifecta, a father surprised his son by using a crane to hoist a new bike outside the boy’s hospital window, where he was spending his tenth birthday being treated for leukemia.

 

International

Cyclist recommends the 12 best bicycling documentaries.

London World Naked Bike riders will have to keep their clothes on this year, after the annual June event was cancelled. Although that doesn’t seem to have stopped everyone.

A British neighborhood plays pandemic bingo, as a man rides his bike through the streets calling out numbers. Thanks again to Jeff Vaughn.

Horrible freak accident in the UK, where a mountain biker was impaled with a tree branch through the neck after falling off a short cliff.

Bike thieves continue to target medical workers during the coronavirus pandemic, snatching the bike a Glasgow physiotherapist’s father had given her while she was busy treating Covid-19 patients in the ICU. And British bike hero Sir Chris Boardman offered to replace a $2,000 bicycle stolen from a London doctor while he was working.

Good idea. A new quick-release seatpost designed by an Italian cyclist allows you to remove your seat to prevent theft, then easily reposition it when you return.

Bad news from Down Under, where two bicyclists were critically injured when an SUV driver turned into a driveway in front of a group of riders.

 

Competitive Cycling

Bicycling talks with pro cyclists about how the coronavirus and the ensuing lockdown have affected their relationship with the sport.

Bad timing. Bianchi has been named the official bicycle of the postponed, if not cancelled, Giro d’Italia.

As we noted Tuesday, this year’s Tour de France has been postponed for the first time since 1946, while organizers released the updated stage list.

Spanish cyclist Enric Mas says the riding may be virtual, but the sunburn is all too real. And looks like the Danish flag.

Pez Cycling News talks with Brent Emery, the American track cyclist behind the design for the world’s first super bike at the ’84 LA Olympics.

 

Finally…

Nothing like biking naked after getting tased while fighting with police. Or riding cyclocross through your own garden.

And here’s the soundtrack for anyone who wants to get naughty on their bike.

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Thanks to John Hall for his very generous, very timely, and very appreciated contribution to help keep this site coming your way every day, which helped lift my spirits after a very rough few days.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask, already. 

Bonin calls for opening streets for social distancing, what to look for in a bike, and free NACTO healthy streets webinar

It’s no surprise that Mike Bonin gets it.

The Westside councilmember became the first — and so far, only — Los Angeles councilmember to call for taking advantage of the city’s newly traffic-free streets to provide more space for people to walk, bike and run while maintaining social distancing.

Responding to an increasing number of requests from residents — especially seniors, families with children, and people with disabilities — Bonin, who serves as Chair of the Council’s Transportation Committee, wrote a letter to LADOT general manager Seleta Reynolds, asking her to consider proposals and make recommendations to temporarily repurpose space on some city streets to give Angelenos more opportunities to get outside while still honoring social distancing protocols and remaining in their neighborhoods.

“During the past month, we have all experienced the ways in which our neighborhood infrastructure does not support new patterns of local essential travel, and does not provide sufficient space for local recreation,” Bonin wrote to Reynolds. “Our sidewalks are too narrow, our streets continue to be unsafe for biking, and some motorists are taking advantage of congestion-free streets to speed recklessly even as more people are moving around on foot and bike…”

“As the father of a 6-year-old, I know firsthand that being able to spend time outside is a matter of physical and emotional well-being – for children and adults. We have the opportunity right now to make our streets more family-friendly,” Bonin added.

We’ll see if anyone else on the council or in the mayor’s office joins him. Particularly since city hall is distracted by the ongoing corruption allegations, which appear to be coming to a head in the near future.

You can read Bonin’s full letter here.

Meanwhile, a writer for Bicycling calls on more cities to follow Oakland’s lead in closing 74-miles of streets to most cars.

New York advocates are calling for more safe routes through Central Park as healthcare workers take to their bikes.

Germany is busy redrawing road markings to make more space for social distancing people.

And New Zealand became the first country to fund popup bike lanes and wider sidewalks on a nationwide basis during the coronavirus lockdown.

On the other hand, DC residents are joining the Department of DIY and doing it for themselves.

GIF from Streets for All showing what’s possible here in Los Angeles, right here and right now.

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Speaking of which, David Drexler sends word that even without closing traffic lanes, Santa Monica’s San Vicente Blvd, usually home to speeding distracted drivers and double-parked FedEx vans, was so packed with socially distancing bicyclists, runners, walkers and other assorted people that it looked like a mini-CicLAvia.

And what few drivers there were had to avoid them, for a change.

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Seems like it was only yesterday we quoted heavily from Peter Flax’s article about the struggle of small local bike shops to survive in the age of Covid-19.

Oh wait, it was.

Today he’s back, talking with some of the world’s leading experts, from the legendary Ernesto Colnago to America’s only remaining Tour de France winner, about what to look for in a great bicycle.

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Thanks to Kent Strumpell for forwarding news of tomorrow’s free NACTO webinar on how to build safe and healthy streets in a time of social distancing, with nationally recognized epidemiologist Dr. Keshia Pollack Porter and former NYDOT director Janette Sadik-Khan, now with Bloomberg Associates.

It will also be live-streamed on the NACTO Facebook and YouTube pages if you can’t set up a Zoom account. Or don’t want to.

It’s not like we’ve all got anything better to do these days.

Right?

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

A Davis man faces charges after he was busted while biking for allegedly stealing a completed Covid-19 test sample. No, really.

And it takes a real schmuck to steal from a food bank.

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Local

KCET remembers longtime LA civil rights and environmental justice advocate — and bicyclist — Robert García, who passed away earlier this month at age 67.

Beverly Hills is joining cities across the US in taking advantage of the quieter streets by speeding work on the former Purple Line subway, while Los Angeles fixes potholes.

Rapper and actor Ice-T used to be one of us, sort of. After his own bicycle was stolen while growing up in Los Angeles, he stole bike parts to build his own Frankenbikes.

 

State

San Francisco police bust a hit-and-run driver who left a bike rider lying injured in the streets on Saturday.

An Oakland news blogger watches a Bay Area bike rider’s hour long video showing a ride through the city’s nearly carfree streets, but can only see the blown stop signs and traffic signals. Worst part is, he — or maybe she — has got a point.

Sad news from Napa County, where a 67-year old man was killed when he somehow fell off his bike into a 15-foot deep culvert.

 

National

Specialized is giving away 500 bicycles to key essential workers in the US on a first come, first served basis.

Bicycling looks at the best gravel bikes you can buy right now, ranging from under a grand to well over ten times that amount. And talks with some of the nation’s best bike photographers.

The coronavirus means fewer cars on the streets of Portland, and the city wants to keep it that way.

A two-time cancer survivor passes through Arizona on the penultimate leg of his eight-year bike ride around the US to call attention to the disease.

A Holland MI writer calls on everyone to be more aware on the streets, while citing a study showing scofflaw bicyclists are at fault for just 6.5% of bike collisions. Unfortunately, he doesn’t cite the study, which we’d all like to see.

A suspected stoned driver faces a half dozen charges for the hit-and-run crash that severely injured a 29-year old Indiana bike rider. Thanks to Melissa for the heads-up.

After beating breast cancer, a Virginia Beach VA woman took up bike racing and quickly rose to become a newly minted Cat 2 racer. Even if she can’t race during the shutdown.

Heartbreaking news from Georgia, where a 14-year old girl was chased down on her bike and stabbed to death, allegedly by a teenage boy as part of an MS-13 gang initiation.

Tiger King’s Carole Baskin says she’s had to give up her daily Florida bike rides due to harassment and threats from fans of the Netflix docuseries, who accuse her of killing her former husband, even though the local sheriff says she’s not a suspect.

 

International

Santiago, Chile is making its bikeshare system free for healthcare workers. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

Sign up for free online bike webinars to pass the time under house arrest, uh, social distancing, including Canadian yoga for bicyclists.

Urbanist and former Vancouver city planner Brent Toderian offers tips on how to make cities more livable during the pandemic lockdown. And hopefully keep them that way.

A pair of UK expats try to weather the storm of Covid-19, five years after moving to the Spanish coast to open a bike touring company.

British world heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua flouts the country’s lockdown rules to go for a 30-mile bike ride with friends.

Bicycling rates have jumped across Scotland, including two and three times previous rates in some locations.

A bighearted Philippine boy gives up the money he’d been saving for a new bike to help frontline workers fighting the coronavirus.

Australia’s Smart Company asks if Covid-19 means the end of bikeshare.

 

Competitive Cycling

Now you can own the scuffed-up bike that was handmade for the legendary Gino Bartali, which he rode to a second-place finish in the 1947 Tour de France — assuming you have nearly a hundred grand to invest. Put it somewhere safe, because you could end up being a holy relic if the Catholic Church finally gets around to making him a saint. Or beatifies him, anyway.

Turkey pulls the plug on all bike races through next month.

An Indian newspaper predicts a financial meltdown in pro cycling if the Tour de France is cancelled. Although for now, it looks like it’s merely being rescheduled.

 

Finally…

No one says you can’t do your household chores while you ride your bike. Nothing like building a bike lane on a bridge, while banning bikes from the roads leading to it.

And Dear Abbey says get her a bike, already.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask, already. 

Small low-income bike shops on the brink, rain breaks Arroyo Seco path again, and no LA streets closed for social distancing

It ain’t necessarily so.

At least not here in Los Angeles. Or parts of it, anyway.

Despite all the talk about a coronavirus bike boom keeping bike shops across the country busy, Peter Flax writes in Bicycling that smaller shops in some of LA’s less prosperous neighborhoods are really hurting.

And yes, that means the predominantly black, Hispanic and immigrant neighborhoods mostly south of the 10 Freeway, along with other area in East LA and the San Fernando Valley.

It is the first Friday of April, 15 days after California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a statewide shelter-in-place order. In Los Angeles, San Francisco, and other large cities in California—as well as in many other states—bike shops have been classified as essential businesses, a move that has been celebrated by some and derided by others. Some critics have argued that bike shops primarily cater to privileged fitness-oriented hobbyists and that putting shop staff in harm’s way (and risking community spread of disease) to serve recreational riders is unwise. But that assumption renders invisible the thousands of neighborhood shops in cities across the country that serve customers who mostly rely on bicycles to facilitate their livelihoods, customers from some of the most economically vulnerable communities in the U.S.

In LA, for example, Paisano’s and other shops in neighborhoods like Compton and South Los Angeles provide a vital service to people who depend on bicycles to get to and from work. These small businesses are perhaps 15 miles and universe away from LA’s affluent coastal suburbs where bike shops are typically stocked with $300 bib shorts and $10,000 road bikes.

Shops that many of us are familiar with, or at least heard of.

Like the aforementioned Paisano’s, subject of a Steve Lopez column in the LA Times.

And Compton’s Manny’s Bike Shop, home of the legendary Manny Silva, known as the godfather of lowrider bikes.

Along with others you may not know, like Linares Bike Shop, and Filipe’s #2 in Pico Union.

Shops where new bicycles sell for as little as $200, purchased on layaway. And where essential takes on a whole new meaning for people who have no other way to get to work.

Census data indicates that one in eight households in the city of Los Angeles don’t have a car. That figure is considerably higher in a low-income community like South LA.

Consider the neighborhood known as South Park—where Paisano’s is located, as well as another popular shop called Linares. Here the community is 79 percent Latino, 19 percent black, and zero percent white. According to data compiled by the real estate brand Trulia, households in this zip code have only 0.37 vehicles per capita, roughly half the median in LA. And according to an analysis published by the Los Angeles Times, the median household income in South Park is $29,518.

Many customers rely on their neighborhood shops because they don’t have the luxury of doing repair work themselves. “If you have a bad cut, you go to a doctor,” says Tejeda, who notes that most of his customers lack even the most basic tools like pumps and levers. “People bring their bikes here. It’s a trade for a reason.”

According to Flax, though, the owners are scared.

Scared of a virus that could come in undetected, carried in by a careless customer or some other visitor. And perhaps even more scared of losing their employees and businesses to a prolonged economic slump.

When asked how things are really going, Linares looks at his feet for a minute and bites his lower lip. “I’ve started closing the shop earlier now. I’m worried a lot about the business,” he says, pointing to the register. “What we make today is what me and the employees have for the day.”

And this.

When asked how business is going, Ambrosia gets animated as he responds in Spanish. “He says business has gone down a lot because people have no money, no jobs,” Mendoza says, translating before he adds his own commentary. “He is scared to work in the shop now, but he has no choice. He needs money for his house.”

Bike shops like these are the backbone of these neighborhoods and our communities, and need to be saved.

But the question is how.

The people in the local communities can’t do it. Too many are on the bottom rungs of society as it is, and the ones most hurt by the shutdown of so many businesses.

A crowdfunding campaign might make sense. But it would be hard to bring in enough donations to make a difference, and harder still to distribute it equitably to the many shops that so desperately need help right now.

If these businesses were more sophisticated, we could just visit their webpages and buy something, anything. Maybe pay off those layaways, or buy one of those sub-$200 bikes and give it to someone who needs one.

But few even have a website, and fewer still are set up for e-commerce.

As in, none.

So the best solution may be to take your bike in for service if you can, and maybe pick up something while you’re there.

Will that be enough to save these shops, and the countless other small local bike shops that are struggling to survive in these desperate days?

Probably not.

Maybe someone smarter than me has the answer.

Because you might never visit one of these shops. But we’re all going to miss them when they’re gone.

Whether we know it or not.

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So much for that.

Only two short months after the Arroyo Seco bike path was finally reopened, 13 months after it was damaged by heavy rains, it’s happened again.

Let’s hope they can get it fixed a little faster this time.

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The Guardian says cities from Berlin to Bogotá are opening new sidewalks, bike paths and bike lanes to provide safer commutes for essential workers, and allow people to exercise while maintaining social distancing.

Case in point, Oakland closed a whopping 74-miles of streets to motor vehicles; things apparently started slowly, but picked up speed as the weekend went on.

And Massachusetts is closing parts of three parkways to expand access for bicyclists and pedestrians.

On the other hand, Los Angeles is closing paths, parks and trails, and just telling bike riders and pedestrians to stay home, while allowing motor vehicles to maintain their near-exclusive hegemony over the newly nearly empty streets.

Streets for All and the LACBC are working to get street closures here. Whether they’ll be successful remains to be seen.

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This is who we share the roads with.

America’s mostly empty highways meant a team competing in this year’s edition of the very illegal Cannonball run set a new record, making the trip from New York to Los Angeles in less than 27 hours.

At speeds averaging over 100 mph — and topping out at nearly twice that.

Which means that any collision would have been instantly fatal, both to themselves and anyone they had the misfortune of slamming into.

Never mind that the likelihood of a crash increases exponentially with each tick of the speedometer.

Needless to say, the states they pass through don’t look very kindly on the scofflaw race.

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Today’s theme is babies and bikes.

An Indian man tried to carry his pregnant wife six miles to the hospital on his bicycle after she went into labor; unfortunately, the baby wanted out after three.

Meanwhile, an Indian doctor delivered a baby in more ways than one, rushing the newborn by bike to a nearby hospital after it developed breathing problems following a C-section.

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Social distancing may mean staying at least six feet away from other people. But no one says you can’t go vertical, rather than horizontal.

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In case you missed it over the weekend, Saturday Night Live offered a trio of sequestered MasterClasses, including a parody of Tiger King‘s Carole Baskin teaching bicycling.

And denying she killed her husband.

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Local

The LACBC is maintaining a list of LA-area bike shops that are remaining open during the Covid-19 shutdown. And they’ve started a Bike Match program to connect people with extra or unused bicycles with essential workers who need safe, reliable transportation.

If you’re a lucky winner, you could get your next weed order delivered on a bicycle by Tommy “Tiny” Lister, famous for playing Deebo in the Friday movies.

No, you don’t need a mask to ride your bike in Los Angeles. And neither does your dog.

Five Feet Apart star Cole Sprouse is one of us, riding his bike through the Hollywood Hills, sans mask and skid lid.

Santa Clarita urges everyone to maintain social distancing on the city’s trails, whether you’re walking, running or riding a bike.

 

State

You can keep your vintage bike on ice over the summer, because the Eroica California has been postponed until September.

A 20-year old Delhi man faces felony hit-and-run and vehicular manslaughter charges for allegedly killing Patterson resident Frankie Sanchez as he was riding his bike in Stanislaus County.

 

National

Consumer Reports offers advice on how to stay safe riding your bike when cars aren’t the only danger you face. And takes a look at how your car’s bike rack affects your gas mileage.

Bicycle Retailer questions whether the current mini bike boom will last; Specialized’s founder says yes.

A Wisconsin public radio station offers tips on how to get your bike ready to ride and what to take with you.

Chicago’s mayor says she’s not reopening the city’s lakefront bike path, even if is used by essential workers to get to their jobs.

A 13-year old Boston boy got his stolen bike back after police busted another boy with a long rap sheet riding it.

A pair of North Carolina siblings are pedaling homemade bagels to raise funds for local charities; they deliver the bagels by bike after baking them fresh every morning.

A North Carolina man made it as far as Texas on his planned cross-country ride, blissfully unaware of the coronavirus that would eventually force him to fly back home once he found out.

Former Deadliest Catch star Jerod Sechrist is one of us, attempting to make his getaway by bicycling after allegedly stealing over a thousand bucks worth of electronics from a Florida Ikea — the fifth time he had allegedly stolen from the same store. And yes, they carry electronics. Who knew?

 

International

Road.cc says unless you’re planning on road racing, a gravel bike might be the only bike you’ll need. And they take a look at 21 of the best lightweight, high-performance bike helmets. But don’t recommend which one to buy.

Bike Radar says keep riding your bike to maintain your sanity during the lockdown.

Pink Bike proves once again that pets and bikes just naturally go together.

Everton soccer manager Carlo Ancelotti is taking advantage of the English Premier League shutdown by getting on his bike to rehab his knee and get back in shape.

An English nurse is grateful to the local police, who gave her a spare bike after hers was stolen while she was working, and busted the men who allegedly took it.

Scottish mountain bikers are up in arms after the country’s top medical official tells them to stay home during the pandemic.

A British jerk on a dirt bike taunted an ebike-riding cop who was trying to stop him for violating the country’s lockdown guidelines.

Bicycling says add a trip to Mallorca to your bike bucket list.

An HIV+ Ugandan soccer coach rented a bicycle to deliver HIV and AIDS medication after the country shut down public transportation.

A Canadian cyclist finds himself on lockdown in Nepal, rather than racing in Spain as he’d planned.

 

Competitive Cycling

Just in time for the worldwide pandemic, and the resulting cancellation of virtually everything in the world of bike racing, USA Cycling is putting a new emphasis on wellness.

The Olympic Channel questions whether three-time world champ Peter Sagan can win Olympic gold in 2020That would be no, since the games have been postponed until next year, as the story makes clear.

2018 Tour de France champ Geraint Thomas wants this year’s race to go on as planned, while 2019 champ Egan Bernal is just trying not to think about it. Meanwhile, four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome is taking advantage of the coronavirus shutdown to completely recover from the crash that almost ended his cycling career.

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss says just call off the 2020 Tour de France now, and use the time before next year’s race to create a true women’s Tour de France.

Italy’s pro cyclists remain shutdown by the country’s coronavirus lockdown until May 3rd. Although Italian pro Davide Martinelli found a way to ride and give back at the same time by delivering food and medicine to elderly people in his home village.

Riders for the Deceuninck – Quick-Step team offer their insights on the 124-year old Paris-Roubaix race. None of which will matter until next year, at the very least.

Speaking of Paris-Roubaix, GCN wonders if a gravel bike would do better on the cobbles.

 

Finally…

If you can’t bring people to the church, get on your bike and bring the church to the people. What’s more Easter than a big bunny on a blinged-out BMX bike — unless it’s Easter Bunny stealing a cargo bike?

And seriously, if you’re riding your bike with two outstanding warrants and nearly an ounce of weed, put a damn light on it.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask, already. 

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