Tag Archive for Hugo Soto-Martinez

PR plug for killer socialite, transportation ideas for CD13, and ex-Tour de France champ discussed in racist recording

Forget Black Friday. It’s just three more days to the official start of the 8th Annual BikinginLA holiday fund drive!

Thanks to our longtime friend Jim L for getting us off to an early start with his generous donation!

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The pre-trial PR campaign is kicking into high gear.

Wealthy socialite Rebecca Grossman, co-founder of the prestigious Grossman Burn Center, wants us to know that she is just so very misunderstood, and isolated from all her rich friends.

Just because she killed two innocent little kids while speeding along on surface streets at what police investigators have estimated as up to 80 mph in a 45 mph zone.

No, she says, she wasn’t drunk or street racing with her friend, former Dodger Scott Erickson, even though they were reportedly zig zagging and leap frogging one another’s cars.

And no, I don’t remember him, either.

I do, however, recall her victims, 11-year old Mark Iskander and his 8-year old brother Jacob, who were violently run down as they were crossing the street with their family.

She faces 34 to life if she’s convicted on both murder counts, and is walking free on $2 million bail pending a March trial.

Hopefully she’ll show up for that one, unlike five previous hearings.

Seriously, LA Magazine should be ashamed for allowing themselves to be used like this.

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Today’s must-read comes from Streets For All founder Michael Schneider, who has 11 transportation suggestions for newly elected CD13 Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez.

The ideas range from implementing the Sunset4All Complete Streets project, and the Temple Street lane reduction and bike lanes blocked by outgoing Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, to capping the 101 Freeway with a public park.

It’s more than worth the eight minutes it will take to read.

Let alone turning all the ideas into action.

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The LA Times has compiled an annotated transcript of the racist and otherwise offensive recording that lead to the resignation of former City Council president Nury Martinez and LA County Federation of Labor chief Ron Herrera.

The recording has also lead to repeated calls for councilmembers Kevin de León and “Roadkill” Gil Cedillo to resign, although the latter will be leaving next month anyway, after losing his bid for re-election, while the former refuses to do the right thing.

The conversation also bizarrely featured disgraced ex-Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.

Kevin de León
Over the weekend, I called a buddy of mine who is a former U.S. attorney.

Nury Martinez
I have one of those, too. It’s good to have one of those.

Kevin de León
Cool. We’re very close. And he, he had the Lance Armstrong case too, when they were going to indict Lance Armstrong.

Nury Martinez
The cyclist?

Kevin de León
The cyclist. Yeah.

Nury Martinez
What did he do? Doping. Is it doping

Kevin de León
Yeah. And the case was coming out of the L.A. office of the U.S. attorney’s office here…

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Enter this number in your phone. And take it with you when you ride.

Meanwhile, Ann Arbor, Michigan, is considering following New York’s lead by offering a bounty on drivers who block bike lanes.

Maybe our new councilmembers could consider something like that here.

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This is who we share the internet with.

That was followed by this comment, from someone who apparently fails to grasp the concept of a protected bike lane.
Car drivers have to move over in the lane for obstructions all the time (mail trucks, trash trucks, etc.). How hard is it for a biker to move over? What happening to sharing the road?

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

No bias here. A regional transportation group has put a Des Moines, Iowa model bike safety on hold, somehow fearing a backlash over the common sense reforms.

A British driver was caught on video speeding down a protected bike lane, either oblivious to or not caring about the oncoming bike riders who were forced out of the lane.

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

A 20-year old man in the UK was sentenced to six-months time served for rebelling against his parents attempt to have him committed by brandishing a machete while riding with a group of other bike riders, even though the only injury anyone suffered was a dog bite after the group was chased by a small pack.

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Local

Babe star James Cromwell added his voice to a campaign to halt plans to restore the ecologically degraded Los Angeles Ballona Wetland Ecological Reserve, which includes plans for a ten-mile bike and pedestrian path; no word on what the pig had to say.

Ride hailing and micromobility provider Lyft has pulled all of their bikeshare bikes and e-scooters out of Los Angeles and Santa Monica, after failing to secure a longterm contract from city officials.

Glendale has received a $6 million state grant for the Verdugo Wash Visioning Project, which will create a 9.4-mile-long linear park and nature trail for walking and cycling, courtesy of Assemblymember Laura Friedman.

 

State 

A mountain biker used his bike as a shield when he was charged by a mountain lion on a San Luis Obispo trail, leading to a brief standoff before the big cat retreated. Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up.

The $20 million bike and pedestrian path on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge is entering the final year of its four-year pilot program, as impatient motorists chomp at the bit to get it back.

The CHP has released a photo of the suspect vehicle in the hit-and-run that killed a man riding a bike in North Highlands earlier this month.

 

National

Fortune says the four-year old e-scooter industry is finally getting around to being as green and sustainable as they claimed, after quietly polluting for years.

No irony here. A Portland bike rider was lucky to escape serious injury when he was run down by a red light-running hit-and-run driver in a crash caught on video, while he was riding to an event to mark the World Day of Remembrance for victims of traffic violence.

A Kansas City business owner says his business is suffering because Missouri drivers are apparently incapable of figuring out a parking-protected bike lane.

A decades old Fayetteville, Arkansas bicycle charity is shutting down after giving away tens of thousands of bikes to kids in need; the 76-year old wife of the man known locally as the Bicycle Man continued the program for nine years after his death, and hopes to give away another 1,000 bicycles before shutting down after the holidays.

‘Tis the season. A Louisville country music station has collected over 1,500 bicycles, as well as monetary donations for Toys for Tots and the Salvation Army, to ensure that every local kid has a gift for the holidays.

The rich get richer, as New York announced plans to expand the city’s bike lane network next year.

A 60-year old New Jersey man is on his 14th bike trip across the US; he’s covered over 39,000 miles since he first hit the road on his ‘bent five years ago, after recovering from getting hit by a drunk driver.

‘Tis the season, too. A kindhearted Baton Rouge, Louisiana lawyer is giving away over 450 new bikes to local kids.

 

International

In honor of the World Cup, Road.cc creates their own all-star team of bike-riding soccer stars.

British residents say they want a bike with an ABS anti-lock braking system.

An Irish paper is up in arms after local officials “wasted” the equivalent of nearly $12,000 building a 600-foot separated bike lane, complaining it’s an “embarrassment” that even bike riders don’t want.

Pink Bike features seven weird and wonderful bikes currently for sale on the platform.

Hanoi, Vietnam is considering establishing a public bikeshare service to to reduce traffic congestion and environmental pollution, with 1,000 bikes at 94 stations.

 

Finally…

Your new fixie could be a Wu-Tang Clan bike. That feeling when the kids are riding on thin ice. No, literally.

And bike riding while blind and blind drunk.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Video highlights LA Vision Zero fail, missing OK bike riders murdered, and Times endorses Soto-Martínez in DC13

It’s been seven years since Eric Garcetti signed the Vision Zero declaration, which committed Los Angeles to ending traffic deaths by 2025.

Okay, you can stop laughing now.

It wasn’t long before the city realized just how hard that would be, and how much change it would require, before quickly shoving it far back on the shelf where they hoped no one would notice.

Funny thing is, though, we told them that. The city held a series of public meetings and solicited comments from the public — without bothering to enlist the advocates who had fought for it.

But we showed up anyway.

One of the biggest things people stressed in these meetings was that it would require wholesale changes in how we get around. Something that somehow didn’t make it into the final Vision Zero Action Plan, which instead proposed a policy of nibbling at the edges of the city’s most dangerous corridors, in hopes the combined incremental changes might somehow make a difference.

You can see how well that worked out.

Another thing we stressed was the need for a change in attitude among LA drivers, assuring the city the program would fail unless there was a large scale reeducation campaign informing motorists that they don’t, in fact, own the road, and that even the best drivers are capable of killing and maiming innocent people unless they learned to drive carefully around vulnerable road users.

And to use the long-abused and misused term, to share the road with people on bikes and on foot, making room and giving them a wide berth, rather than running them off the road.

That, too, was ignored.

I mention this because of this video posted by father and Streets For All founder Michael Schneider, as a driver on what should have been a quiet side street threatened to call the police because Schneider had the audacity to ride a cargo bike in the street with his four-year old kid.

https://twitter.com/schneider/status/1582041692110102529

I share it, not because it’s uncommon, but because this sort of crap is all too common.

There are few of us brave enough to mix it up with motor vehicles that haven’t run into drivers like this at one time or another. Sometime literally.

The attitude persists among too many drivers that streets are for cars, and too dangerous for people walking or on bicycles, without grasping the irony that they are the very people who keep that way.

Until that changes — or rather, until our elected leaders care enough about saving human lives to actually do something to make it change — Vision Zero will continue to fail.

And people will keep dying needlessly on our streets.

Photo from LA Streetsblog

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Speaking of Vision Zero, a pair of NACTO executives argue that cities urgently need to fix dangerous arterial streets, which make up just 15 percent of all roads but are responsible for a whopping 67 percent of pedestrian deaths.

And Streets For All is urging you to support a proposal for a pedestrian plaza on deadly Sawtelle Blvd at tonight’s Zoom meeting of the West LA Sawtelle Neighborhood Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee.

Because clearly, it’s up to us to keep pushing for a safer, more livable city for all Angelenos.

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It never seemed like the story of the missing Okmulgee, Oklahoma bike riders was going to end well.

But the real story is so much worse than anything we imagined.

The four friends inexplicably disappeared after setting out for a bike ride Sunday evening. A massive search turned up nothing, until their bodies were found Friday — shot, dismembered and dumped in a local river.

To complicate matters, it turns out the men were killed while committing, or at least planning, a crime. Although just what that crime might have been is unknown at this time.

Cellphone records show they traveled to a pair of salvage yards, five and eleven miles from where their bodies were found. One of which showed “evidence of a violent event” nearby.

Police are looking for a person of interest in the case, who also disappeared Sunday night, and reportedly may be suicidal.

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No, it’s not.

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This effectively makes the case for why slower speeds save lives, showing the difference between roughly 50 mph and 20 mph.

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Inspiring video demonstrating that bikes aren’t just for the able-bodied, as British pro mountain biker James Anderson competes despite suffering from Monoplegia, an acute form of Cerebral Palsy.

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

Police in New York are looking for the bike-riding man accused of two sexual assaults in the East Side and West Village neighborhoods. There’s not a pit in hell deep enough. 

A British mother of four claims she was forced to sell drugs after failing in debt to a drug gang, after she was busted for peddling heroin and coke by bike.

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Local

The Los Angeles Times makes a surprising endorsement, picking challenger Hugo Soto-Martínez over incumbent CD13 Councilmember and acting council president Mitch O’Farrell.

Councilmembers Kevin de León and “Roadkill” Gil Cedillo have been stripped of their committee assignments, as pressure mounts for them to resign in the wake of a racist taped conversation that was leaked last week.

People for Mobility Justice is teaming with Metro to host a free bike tour of East LA taco vendors and bike infrastructure this evening, starting at Mariachi Plaza.

WeHoVille gets the candidates for West Hollywood City Council — or most of them, anyway — on the record for their support, or the lack thereof, for proposed protected bike lanes on deadly Fountain Ave. Too many of whom insist on seeing it from a windshield perspective, preferring to protect parking and high-speed traffic over human lives. 

Metro is hosting a webinar meeting tonight to discuss bike and pedestrian improvements near the planned Sepulveda Blvd G Line — aka Orange Line — station.

Metro has released an interactive map of its Draft Prioritized Active Transportation Network, showing where in LA County the agency thinks it should make multimodal improvements

 

State 

No surprise here, as pedestrians made up 25% of all traffic traffic fatalities in California in 2020, with pedestrian deaths climbing 4% over the previous year.

Carlsbad’s Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream is hosting a fundraiser today for a local firefighter and his 16-month old daughter, after their wife and mother were killed by a driver while riding her ebike with the girl in August.

Sad news from Kern County, where a Bakersfield man was killed riding a bicycle in the city early Saturday morning.

San Francisco is headed for its worst year for traffic deaths and injuries in 15 years, making its goal of zero traffic deaths by 2024 increasingly unlikely; researchers blame inadequate and misdirected police enforcement.

More sad news, as the CHP is searching for the hit-and-run driver who killed a man who was riding a bike in Sacramento just after midnight Sunday; the victim wasn’t carrying ID and hasn’t been identified. Meanwhile, a CHP officer is in critical condition after he was struck by a drunk driver while investigating the crash.

 

National

He gets it. CNN’s Chris Cillizza uses Black Panther’s African utopia of Wakanda as a model to illustrate why it’s time to move our cities beyond the failed and destructive age of car culture.

A mom of twins offers a rave review of her first thousand miles on an e-cargo bike.

Cycling Weekly shares some of the best custom and yet-to-be-released handmade bikes from Portland’s seventh annual Chris King Open House, while Cycling News highlights five bikes from London’s recent Bespoked custom bike show.

The Las Vegas Raiders are adding additional bike racks and planning to stripe bike lanes outside their stadium, in response to demand from fans riding bikes to the games.

Horrible story from Michigan, where a bike rider was killed when he was dragged several blocks underneath a car by a hit-and-run driver.

The New York Civil Liberties Union is arguing a case before the state Supreme Court, demanding that cops and courts treat search and seizure of people on bicycles the same as they do people in cars.

 

International

A new international study shows a bike rider in New York is 25 times more likely to be killed than a similar rider in Vancouver, and faces roughly the same risk as a bicyclist in Auckland or Buenos Aires. Unfortunately, Los Angeles wasn’t included in the study.

This is who we share the road with. A Welsh driver was allegedly using Facebook and Instagram behind the wheel, moments before killing an off-duty police sergeant as she was riding a bicycle; he claims it was his 13-month old son using his phone at the time of the crash.  Sure, let’s go with that.

 

Competitive Cycling

An Irish columnist marks the 10th anniversary of Lance Armstrong’s downfall by arguing that his punishment was “draconian and probably excessive,” but caused by the same “bloody-mindedness” that led to his seven Tour de France wins.

Former Italian great Mario Cipollini was sentenced to three years and a fine of 85,000 euros — the equivalent of nearly $83,750 — after being convicted of domestic abuse and threats against his ex-wife and her current partner.

US national road race champ Kyle Murphy has signed with L39ion of Los Angeles, as the LA-based cycling team apparently looks to compete as a Continental team next year, after dominating the American crit scene.

Zwift is sponsoring the first physical location for the LA Bicycle Academy, a cycling team founded and led by people of color to help young people from underserved communities enter the sport.

 

Finally…

That feeling when the internet has misses the point entirely. Or when your only race fan is a monkey. No, a real one.

And apparently, bicycling fashion has changed just a tad over the years.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

WeHo merchant calls for licensing cyclists, racist Palo Alto road rage attack, and Hugo calls for carfree Hollywood Blvd

No bias here.

The owner of West Hollywood’s gay-forward novelty boutique Block Party says forget bike lanes and install EV chargers instead, while trotting out all the old cliches about licensing bike riders.

Fast forward to 2022, a debate about removing the parking lanes on Fountain and to install bike lanes in their place, eliminating two for cars to drive. Those bike lane people are ferocious in their arguments. If you had to drive a bike and cars whipped past you it might cause a sense of anger that you deserve a safe space too. But perhaps bike riders who choose to use the road should also be licensed. Maybe they should pass a written test to travel 40 miles down the road. Perhaps they can pay a license fee to help offset the cost of these installations. As a partially sighted part-time driver I can say that it is difficult to drive past the bikes who often show little respect for the road weaving in lanes. But that is another story.

Because apparently, our tax money doesn’t count — even though it pays for the roads he drives, whether we use them or not.

Never mind that studies have repeatedly shown that a licensing program for bicyclists would cost more than it would bring in, while dramatically reducing ridership exactly when we need more people on bikes. Or that bike riders pose a lot less risk to others than people in cars do.

Especially people with bad eyesight.

Besides, are you really going to tell a six-year old she can’t ride her bike because her license expired?

So maybe the next time you’re in WeHo, stop in and tell him why you’ll be spending your money somewhere else.

Besides, not many of us can really pull off the spangled banana hammock look.

Not that our significant others would actually want us to try.

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Crap like this really pisses me off.

A Black Palo Alto man was the victim of a racist road rage attack and hit-and-run last week, for the crime of riding his bike in the traffic lane.

In other words, exactly where he should have been.

The victim had moved into the lane to pass a driver who was attempting to park. Yet when he stopped at the next stop light, he was accosted by a white pickup driver for “riding in the middle of the road.”

The two men began arguing, at which point the truck driver called the cyclist, who is Black, a racial epithet. The victim reported to police that the driver spat on him, reached out to grab his arm, and then drove the truck into the side of the bicycle. The cyclist fell to the ground.

The cyclist said the truck drove over his bicycle, and the driver turned north on Webster Street and then east on Lytton Avenue. The cyclist later saw the truck turn back onto University Avenue heading east and continue driving. The cyclist’s leg had a small laceration, which paramedics treated at the scene. His bicycle was damaged but remained rideable, police stated.

It’s possible that the victim could have moved into the lane suddenly, without signaling or checking behind him, and cut off the driver. Or not.

None of which justifies violence, let alone racism.

The local police are investigating it as a hate crime, as well as an assault with a deadly weapon and injury hit-and-run.

Which is good, because there’s just no excuse for this. Ever.

Period.

And no pit deep enough for someone who could do something like this.

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Things could finally be looking up in Hollywood.

While CD13 Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell has called for a much needed Complete Streets makeover of Hollywood Blvd, challenger Hugo Soto-Martinez has raised the ante with a call for pedestrianizing sections of the iconic tourist attraction.

Meanwhile, Los Angeleno examines the race between O’Farrell and Soto-Martinez; while O’Farrell has been justly criticized for blocking bike and traffic safety plans until recently, Soto-Martinez is calling for more bike lanes in the district.

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Finish the Ride and the LACBC hosted a Clean Air Ride over the weekend.

Speaking of which, Metro will offer free bus, train and bikeshare rides tomorrow for California Clean Air Day.

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Someone did an impressive job trolling St. Louis officials by installing old bike helmets and an official looking public notice calling on pedestrians to use them crossing the street.

All to call attention to the city’s unacceptably high death rate.

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Evidently, ebikes have been around a lot longer than you may think.

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

Horrible story from the UK, where police are looking for four men who chased down a 21-year old bike rider with their car, then got out and stabbed him to death, apparently because the driver had crashed into the victim.

No bias here, either. A victim-blaming road sign in England’s Hertfordshire county instructs bike riders to “Please consider other road users.” Because anti-social bike riders kill so many motorists, evidently.

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Local

Streetsblog eyes the new bike lanes on 1st, 3rd and 7th Streets in DTLA.

Your next bike could have a “Los Angeles” frame with a camo finish. Although that color choice may not be the best option if you actually want drivers to see you.

Santa Monica announced a crackdown on scofflaw drivers who park on the city’s sidewalks and parkways starting next month, urging people to “stop parking like a jerk.” Now tell them to do bike lanes, where the city has allowed delivery drivers to park for decades with no repercussions.

 

State 

Streets For All offers a full recap on transportation-related bills signed or vetoed by Governor Newsom, as well as bills that died in the state legislature. Meanwhile, Streetsblog offers a similar roundup of active transportation, transit and climate bills.

LAist takes a deep dive into California’s new Freedom to Walk Act, which doesn’t actually legalize jaywalking after all; it’s still technically illegal to cross the street in the middle of a block, but police are now directed not to cite it unless crossing poses an imminent danger. However, California’s restriction against jaywalking only applies to blocks with a traffic signal on each end, so it’s already completely legal anywhere else.

The CHP has received a $1.2 million federal grant to “promote the importance of drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians looking out for one another so that everyone can safely share the road.” Maybe they could put the money to better use by giving their officers more training in bike law and bicycle crash investigations.

The victim in Sunday’s fatal head-on crash in Fresno County has been identified as a 51-year old Anthropology professor at Clovis Community College; the driver of the Acura supercar who needlessly took her life as she rode her bike has been identified as a 47-year old Clovis man. Thanks to Keith Johnson for the heads-up.

 

National

Streetsblog talks with Elizabeth Creely, of the San Francisco-based grassroots advocacy organization Safe Street Rebel, on how to start a grassroots safe streets movement in your city. Or you could ask Streets For All founder Michael Schneider, who’s done a helluva job in just a few short years.

Singletracks revisits their most popular mountain bike product reviews.

Great idea. Bentonville, Arkansas will host the first-ever bike festival for deaf bicyclists next week.

Eleven scenic Hudson Valley bike rides for your next trip to the Empire State.

Philadelphia is investing $23 million in the city’s Vision Zero budget for next year, $6 million more than originally proposed. That compares with $38.5 million in Los Angeles, which has a population 2.5 times higher; LA would have to spend another $20 million to match Philly’s per capita spending.

Mississippi’s Gulf Islands National Seashore has reopened with the first phase of a new bike and pedestrian pathway, with the second phase due in two years.

 

International

The fourth annual Ebike Future Conference will be held virtually next week, including a virtual expo that will run automatically for the next 22 days.

Bike Radar examines why people and businesses are swapping cars for bikes, transforming their lives and operations by taking to two wheels.

Forget micromobility. The latest trend is minimobility, with three and four wheeled vehicles designed to carry one or two people and fill the gap between bicycles and motor vehicles. Which is a pretty damn big gap, if you ask me.

While bicycling fatalities continue to climb in the US, British bike deaths dropped 21% last year.

Brussels is the latest major European city learning to love the bicycle; the Belgian capital has already come a long way from its car-centric past.

Here’s another one for your bike bucket list, as two riders explore archeological relics and forested parks — and the local hospitality — by biking Jordan’s ancient trade route.

No, an Indonesian bike shop isn’t giving away free ebikes in response to a government gas price hike.

Former Italian pro Omar Di Felice announced plans for a record bike ride across Antarctica, riding to the South Pole and across the continent to the base of the Leverett Glacier and back.

 

Competitive Cycling

Once again, the pro peloton is justifiably complaining about race conditions, saying “UCI doesn’t care about our safety,” after complaints about dangerous conditions in the CRO Race were ignored by officials.

Pinarello unveiled the world’s fastest 3D-printed bike, allowing maximum customization for Filippo Ganna in his attempt to set a new hour record.

Red Bull looks at L39ion of Los Angeles founder and multiple national crit champ Justin Williams, and his mission to change bike racing for the better.

 

Finally…

Get a Covid shot, get a shot at winning a bicycle. Apparently, bike surfing is an effective way to make sure drivers see you at night.

And few people realize that sharrow is a portmanteau of arrow and sheep.

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G’mar chatima tova to all observing Yom Kippur tonight. 

Thanks to Matthew Robertson for his latest monthly donation to help keep all the best bike news coming your way every day. Any donation, no matter how large or small, is always deeply appreciated. 

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

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