Tag Archive for local bike shops

Social distancing for bike riders, anti-bike sabotage on San Gabriel River Trail, and tell the state bike shops are essential

Just how far is safe on a bike?

I got that very interesting question from reader Maruta Taube yesterday, who was wondering how to maintain social distancing from another bike rider.

As she points out, the usual advice to maintain six feet of separation between yourself and others doesn’t work on a bike.

Assuming the experts are correct that Covid-19 droplets linger in the air up for to three seconds, you’d ride right through their viral-loaded expectorations if the rider in front of you sneezes or coughs.

Unfortunately, though, algebra and I took an instant dislike to one another back in the day. And haven’t made up since.

So I put the question to the Twitterverse last night, and it didn’t take long for people much smarter than me on the subject to come back with the answers.

Since relative distance is tricky to work out when you’re stationary, let alone moving, my take would be to follow three seconds behind another rider, which is easy to gauge by counting the seconds between when you each pass a stationary point.

Then give the other person as much space as possible when passing.

Just like you wish SUV drivers would give you.

As someone else pointed out, however, some reports indicate that the virus can linger in the air for hours, rather than mere seconds.

That refers to aerosolized particles, which occur under relatively rare circumstances in public spaces, as opposed to the heavier droplets expelled when someone coughs or sneezes.

The LA Times offers a great explanation in their story on how you can catch coronavirus.

Photo by Burst from Pexels. You can easily judge the usual six-foot social distancing space by the length of a standard bicycle.

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Evidently, the fishing line strung across a Seal Beach bike path we mentioned yesterday is nothing new.

Richard Rosenthal writes to say another rider was attacked on the San Gabriel River Trail in a similar fashion last month, and forwards this comment from Nextdoor.

Again, this kind of sabotage is not just a harmless prank, but a violent assault intend to harm innocent victims, in an apparent attempt to frighten people off the path.

Like several other comments I received, Rosenthal points the finger at a nearby homeless camp.

Let’s just hope the police take this seriously.

And catch the people responsible — and hold them accountable — whoever it turns out to be.

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Calbike wants your help to tell the state that bike shops and bike repair are essential services.

We salute those essential workers who have to travel — health care workers, delivery staff, maintenance people, and everyone else who is keeping society going — and we want them to be able to bicycle for their essential trips.

Biking at a safe distance from others is also one of the outdoor activities allowed while we try to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Now more than ever, a bicycle ride is important for our physical and mental health.

If biking is essential, bike shops are, too. 

That’s why we are sending a letter to the California State Public Health Officer, Dr. Sonia Angell, asking her to affirm that bike repair shops are essential services.

We need your support to deliver a strong message to Sacramento that bikes are vital in this time of social distancing. Please add your name to the letter to show your support.

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Al Williams forwarded news that iconic parts maker Campagnolo was forced to shut down by the Italian government until at least April 6th as part of the country’s coronavirus clampdown.

So any orders received before that date won’t be processed until after they reopen.

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Beach parking falls like dominos as people up and down the SoCal coast continue to ignore calls for social distancing.

Following the lead of Los Angeles and Santa Monica, parking lots have shut down in Long Beach and Manhattan Beach, as well as all California state parks.

Meanwhile, Orange County has closed all county parks and trails, along with parking lots for all county beaches; some OC cities are following suit.

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After many false alarms this week, KNBC-4 reports the popular Runyon Canyon hiking trail will close before the weekend due to overcrowding.

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Not only is Stephen Colbert one of us, he can change his own bike tube, too.

Cycling Tips mostly approves, sort of.

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Nothing like a little urban riding through the, um, streets of Ensenada.

Unless maybe you’d prefer ripping through a British Columbia bike park.

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Local

Reese Witherspoon’s young son is now one of us, too.

 

State

A man and woman were both critically injured in a collision while they were crossing the street in Santa Ana Monday night. One of them was either riding or walking a bike; both deserved better.

In a truly bizarre crash, a Modesto man was killed when he tried to step between the dual trailers of a moving big rig that was blocking the crosswalk, apparently intending to step over the hitch between the trailers; that corner is the site of frequent bike and pedestrian collisions.

 

National

Ebike prices continue to drop, despite the ongoing tariff war; one new ped-assist bike checks in at just $1,499.

An Ohio family took a break from home schooling for a cold weather bike ride.

Nice move. After a Syracuse NY bikeshare pulled its bikes from the streets in response to New York state’s lockdown, they handed them over to local restaurants for their delivery workers to use.

Long Island communities now have a new excuse to crack down on groups of bike riding teenagers, saying they’re putting themselves at risk of contracting coronavirus. Which may be true, but follows months of heavy-handed attempts to make the bike-riding kids go away. Even if the kids do act like jerks way too often. 

New York’s 40,000 bicycle delivery riders are heroes in the battle against Covid-19, as the risk they take allows countless others to stay safely at home.

North Carolina bicycle component maker Industry Nine says they want to make ventilator parts to confront the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis, but haven’t been able to cut through the red tape. They’re not the only bicycle company rising to the challenge in the world’s time of need, though. Or trying to, anyway.

DC’s mayor shuts the city down to halt the spread of coronavirus, but makes no bones about bike shops providing an essential service.

A Georgia bike advocate contemplates the role of bicycling in our brave, new coronavirus world. Seriously, this is not the future I ordered.

A 71-year old Florida woman was killed when she was left-crossed by the driver of a landscaping tractor after allegedly running a stop sign on her bike. As always, the question is whether there were any independent witnesses who saw her blow the stop — and whether the driver actually stopped, either.

 

International

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a London doctor’s bicycle while she’s working up to 13 hour days treating coronavirus patients.

No surprise on either count, as 80% of people in a British town say they’d ride their bikes if there were more separated cycle tracks, while two-thirds say bicycling is currently the least safe way of traveling around the city.

UK bike shops are seeing a surge in business as people buy new bikes or fix old ones as an alternative to taking public transit, though not everyone agrees they provide an essential service. Michigan bike shops are seeing a jump in sales, too.

VeloNews looks inside a new art exhibition celebrating the 100th anniversary of Italy’s legendary Columbus steel tubing company — which is good since it’s on lockdown with the rest of the country. Probably a good thing, too, because I’m not sure I could resist the temptation to walk off with that Mario Schifano painting if no one was looking.

A Sydney, Australia bookshop turns to bikes to serve their customers after they were forced to close.

The Korea Times looks back at Seoul’s bike-riding Wind Eaters of a hundred years ago.

 

Competitive Cycling

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will now be held on some undisclosed date in 2021, putting preparations for athletes in limbo.

 

Finally…

Clean and lube your chain with one hand. Whacking someone with a bike seat is not an approved usage for it.

And there’s more than one way to maintain social distancing.

Only you can prevent coronavirus, Lime pulls out of California and Washington, and Lundquist catching up to Lee in CD12

Okay, so it’s not about bicycling.

But Curbed’s Alissa Walker has penned a very good, and very important, call to fight the Covid-19 coronavirus in your own home, saying the choices we make today will help those closest to us.

And everyone else, too.

Meanwhile, a Portland writer says it’s time to make some streets mostly carfree during the pandemic, to create the space necessary to allow people to practice the social distancing that’s impossible on narrow sidewalks.

Or you could just settle for a few Zwift doodles while you cycle inside, if you prefer.

Even though Calbike says riding your bike outside is risk-free.

From Covid-19, anyway.

https://twitter.com/CalBike/status/1239975127569141761

Photo by Korhan Erdol from Pexels.

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Those ubiquitous e-scooters could soon be a lot harder to find, as Lime is suspending service in California and Washington State to avoid spreading the coronavirus, while Bird is cutting back but not quitting.

Meanwhile, Uber faced a Sunday deadline to get their Jump bikes and e-scooters off the streets of Los Angeles after refusing to comply with the city’s requirement to provide realtime user data.

The company swears it will file suit in federal court over the requirement this week, though that could be complicated if the feds join the county in closing courthouses.

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It looks like Loraine Lundquist is catching up in her bid to unseat City Staffer B, better known as CD12 Councilmember John Lee.

Just after the vote, it was revealed that Lee allegedly accompanied previous councilmember Mitch Englander on a $30,000-plus bribery and escort filled weekend in Las Vegas.

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I’m not the only one concerned about the survival of local bike shops and other bike businesses during the pandemic and resulting closures and economic slowdown.

Cycling Industry News offers their help to any bike business that needs assistance, or who has a story they want to share.

Maybe they could start with San Jose bike co-op Community Cycles of California, which sent out an email saying it’s being forced to shut down, except to help those for whom riding a bike is an essential service.

And they could use your help to survive the shutdown.

With that said, as you can imagine, we have financial uncertainties ahead. Therefore, we ask for your help to endure what is going to be a difficult start to a cycling season. Since shopping with us won’t be an option for a few weeks, your tax-deductible donation can provide relief for missed revenue during that time.  Here are some ways your donation helps:

  • $50      Sponsor one bicycle for an adult in need
  • $100    Sponsor one bicycle with safety package (lock, lights, helmet) to an adult in need
  • $300   Sponsor one mechanic-in-training
  • $500   Sponsor one mobile repair clinic providing 20 free repairs
  • Or please consider making a recurring donation. Thank you.

Thanks to Robert Leone for forwarding the email.

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Speaking of Leone, he also forwards word of the latest road closures in Camp Pendleton.

CLOSURE UPDATE as of MARCH 16, 2020:

  • Stuart Mesa Road – Northbound and Southbound lanes CLOSED from Las Flores (41 Area) to Las Pulgas Road.  *Open for Emergency Traffic only.
  • Beach Club Road – CLOSED to the public in both directions.  *No Emergency Traffic
  • Basilone Road – OPEN to the public in both directions.
  • Vandegrift Blvd – OPEN to the public in both directions.  *Right-hand eastbound lane CLOSED in Box Canyon.
  • Del Mar Gate – CLOSED inbound and outbound until further.

Please check Facebook for updates.

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Clearly, stunt cyclist Danny MacAskill is not a weight weenie, or non-electric bike purist.

And can do the same stunts he’s famous for on a 50 pound ebike.

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Finally found someone who shares my daily bike commute.

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Local

If you were going to participate in May’s Herbalife24 Triathlon Los Angeles, 5k and Bike Tour, you can start making other plans.

Santa Monica is suspending all user fees related to the city’s Breeze bikeshare.

 

State

Tragic news from San Jose, where an 82-year old woman was murdered by a heartless hit-and-run driver as she was trying to cross the street. I’d like to say older people deserve better. But everyone does.

A spokesperson for San Francisco’s mayor says yes, you can still ride your bike, despite the shelter in place order for seven Bay Area counties. And bike mechanics can continue to provide an essential service.

On the other hand, no one is going to go to jail for breaking the Bay Area ban.

Redwood City police busted an alleged 18-year old perv who grabbed the breast of a 13-year old girl as he was riding his bike.

 

National

Heartbreaking news, as an Idaho woman survived for some time after she was struck by a hit-and-run driver while riding her bike; it’s possible she might have survived if the heartless coward had just called 911 instead of leaving her lying in a ravine until her body was discovered three days later. Seriously, there’s not a pit in hell deep enough for someone who could do that.

If you need a job to tide you through the pandemic, Whole Foods in New York is hiring bicycle delivery workers.

New York’s DOT is still dithering over how to accommodate Gotham’s coronavirus bike boom, as commuters flee crowded transit in favor of bicycles.

Police in New Jersey thank a dozen or so Good Samaritans who spilled out of nearby buildings to help officers lift a car off a bike rider, who was trapped underneath after a crash. Fortunately, he only suffered minor injuries.

Another reminder that bike riders are far tougher than many people think, as a Pennsylvania man rode his bike several blocks to get help after he was beaten and stabbed by a pair of robbers; thankfully, he’s expected to be okay. Note to Williamsport Sun-Gazette — the past tense of ride is rode, not road.

A DC website looks at the first women’s bicycle, which was invented in the city and currently resides in the Smithsonian. Even if it does look a little worse for wear. And unlike modern bikemakers, they didn’t just pink it and shrink it.

The bike-riding backup quarterback for the New Orleans Saints is packing his bicycle and moving to Carolina, where he will presumably continue riding it to home games.

Bike lawyer Bob Mionske takes a look at the recent bust of a Florida bike rider for allegedly fleeing from police and resisting arrest for the heinous crime of…wait for it…rolling a stop sign, and not responding to a police command he couldn’t hear.

 

International

Cycling Weekly recommends eleven bicycling books you can read while you shelter in place.

Road.cc offers helpful advice on how to choose the right tyre width for your bike and how you ride. The same advice should hold for tires over here, too.

Now that’s more like it. Bogota is fighting the coronavirus by expanding their bikeway network, adding 72 miles of new bike routes in an effort to reduce crowding on the city’s transit system.

The British bike industry teamed with advocates and academics to urge Prime Minister Boris Johnson not to ban bicycling in response to the Covid-19 coronavirus, and exempt bike shops from any imminent retail closures.

E-scooters may finally become legal in the UK. Just in time to be severely restricted or banned as the pandemic spreads.

 

Competitive Cycling

After an Oregon town was forced to cancel an annual mountain bike race, they responded by turning it into a virtual competition.

Organizers have pulled the plug on next month’s Paris-Roubaix classic, as well as the Tour of Yorkshire, Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

 

Finally…

Your next bicycle could be a BMW, assuming you have a spare $5,500 lying around. Nothing like riding over 30,000 miles without leaving your living room — and no, I don’t want to be like him when I grow up.

And there’s more than one way to create social distance.

 

 

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

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

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

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

I don’t have a solution.

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

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

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

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

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

Image by Michael Gaida from Pixabay.

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

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

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

At least one person responded, calling the decision irresponsible.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And you’d be right.

Fox News doesn’t even buy that crap anymore.

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

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

Thanks to John Murphy for the tip.

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No bias here.

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

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

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

Yes, even people in cars.

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

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

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

Thanks to Robert Leone for the last two links.

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

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

Thanks to Marvin D for the heads-up.

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

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

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Local

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

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

 

State

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

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

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

 

National

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

International

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Competitive Cycling

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

 

Finally…

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

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

 

Morning Links: F*** Black Friday & and support your LBS instead, ebiking clergy, and handicapped people ride bikes too

I doubt I have to tell you Thanksgiving is coming.

Which means the unofficial holiday dedicated to worshiping unbridled consumerism and spending will inevitably follow, as day follows night, and doping allegations follow cyclists.

Which is why a writer for Outside clues you in on tested and approved Black Friday deals for bike riders.

But seriously, screw Black Friday.

Get out and ride your bike instead, to burn off that Thanksgiving dinner and restore some semblance of post-holiday sanity, then go spend some money at your local bike shop the next day for Small Business Saturday.

Maybe you’ll find some of these things to kick off your holiday shopping.

Speaking of which, a few years back, David Kool, owner of Santa Monica Mountains Cyclery, wrote what remains the best explanation I’ve seen for why supporting your local bike shop matters.

Because it does.

Photo by Michael Gaida from Pixabay.

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A surprising common theme today: Ebikes and the clergy.

Starting with a Sacramento nun who combines her love of bicycling with her vocation to serve those in need, riding her ped-assist adult tricycle to perform outreach to the homeless.

Then there’s this Brooklyn priest, who’s nearly as evangelical about his ebike as he is the church.

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Carry this one with you to your next public meeting, when someone will inevitably insist that handicapped people can’t ride bicycles.

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This one from Spain is scary as hell. And naturally, the driver flees the scene afterwards.

Maybe they forgot to make eye contact.

Let’s just hope the victim is okay.

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It’s our first ‘Tis the Season of this year’s holiday season.

And more than one.

The bighearted owners of a Santa Maria gym are raising funds for a bike rider who’s learning to walk again after losing the use of his arms and legs in a bicycling crash.

Around a thousand volunteers turned out in San Jose on Saturday to build 2,400 bikes as holiday gifts for low income kids.

Tennessee community members turned out in force to raise $2,000 to buy an adaptive tricycle for a four-year old kid suffering from an extremely rare gene disorder.

It’s not unusual for a cop to make a woman cry. Except in this case, it was a kindhearted Louisville KY cop who dug into his own pocket to buy her a new bicycle, just 20 minutes after she told him the bike she used as her only form of transportation had been stolen.

A Louisville KY radio station held its annual bike collection drive and bike build to ensure around 2,000 children will have a happy holiday season.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war is all too real.

A Birmingham, England bicyclist became just the latest victim of that country’s recent anti-bike terrorist fad of pushing people off their bikes from a passing car, shattering his arm and destroying his bicycle in the process.

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Local

Government Technology says the recent CoMotion LA conference pushed attendees to rethink the nature of mobility in a city with fewer cars.

LAist explains how Santa Monica brought order to the city’s e-scooter chaos.

 

State

The San Diego Association of Governments, aka SANDAG, is giving you a chance to put you money where your passion is, offering $3,000 mini-grants for “local programs and organizations that encourage people to choose biking as their main form of transportation.”

San Diego could be the next landing spot for Brooklyn-based Revel’s dockless, Vespa-style mo-peds; one EPA scientist says “I hope Revel users have signed their organ donor cards.” Because that sort of extreme safety judgement is exactly what the EPA does, right?

A San Diego family estimates they’ve saved as much as $150,000 by trading their cars for bikes and transit.

The annual Eroica California vintage bike ride will return to Cambria next April — assuming it can find a new home.

San Francisco’s new transportation chief wants to create a city where cars are no longer king.

Berkeley is working on its own Vision Zero plan, with a goal of eliminating traffic deaths and injuries by 2028.

Sad news from Sacramento, where a homeless bike rider was killed by a hit-and-run driver, who may have been seen swerving all over the road.

Once again forgetting the lessons of induced demand, a Sacramento-area highway project would remove bike lanes from a causeway to widen I-80, replacing them with a separate bike/ped crossing. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the tip.

 

National

Somehow we missed this one, as The Verge ranks the transportation modes in the Wizard of Oz; surprisingly, the bicycle came in second behind the ruby slippers. Personally, I would have gone with the witch’s flying broom. And maybe toss in a few of those flying monkeys, too.

Arizona’s annual El Tour de Tucson rolled on Saturday with nearly 6,000 participants, including former congresswoman and gunshot survivor Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, former astronaut and possible future senator Mark Kelly. Another participant was riding after suffering multiple skull fractures and a collapsed lung last year while training for the ride.

The newly elected mayor of Lewiston, Maine, hit a woman walking in a crosswalk with his van two weeks before the election. So naturally, it’s people riding a bicycle and a scooter in the bike lane who get the blame.

A Manhattan bike messenger shares a bike rider’s view of the streets after getting $240 worth of tickets for riding though a yellow light.

A Long Island writer tells the tale of Mile-A-Minute Murphy, who set the first bicycling world speed record by riding 61 miles an hour while drafting — and crashing into — a train.

DCist tries to crack the city’s #2 case, talking with a repeat poop smearer to try to answer why someone has been smearing crap of unknown origin on bikeshare bikes and scooters for the last few weeks.

Los Angeles continues to fall further behind the rest of the country, as Washington, DC commits to building 20 miles of protected bike lanes over the next three years.

Chris Pratt is one of us, going for a “brisk” Atlanta bike ride with semi-famous wife Katherine Schwarzenegger.

Palm Beach FL authorities make an extremely belated arrest in a six-year old case where a driver killed a homeless vet riding a bicycle, while traveling at twice the speed limit. And tried to let the woman he was with take the blame. Be forewarned, this was a horrifying crash, and the story gives a graphic description of it.

 

International

Travel & Leisure says cities around the world are cracking down on e-scooters; CNN agrees, saying scooters could be running into serious trouble, in part because they disproportionately affect people with disabilities.

Cyclist says don’t let winter weather keep you from riding. Especially here in LA, where temperatures sometimes drop all the way into the 60s. Brrrrr.

Game of Thrones star Kit Harrington is credited with saving a woman’s bike from thieves, noticing she’d left it unlocked and carrying it into the pub where she worked.

There’s a special place in hell for anyone who would steal a ghost bike; a British Columbia writer found a stolen ghost bike that had been stripped of its wheels, not far from where the victim had been killed.

A British Columbia city councilor says forget drive-thrus, what the world really needs is a few good bike-thru restaurants because bicycles run on calories.

I come across a lot of horrible news, but this is the worst I’ve seen in years, as heartless Toronto motorists continued to drive around a hit-and-run victim as she lay dying in the street next to her bicycle.

Life is cheap on Canada’s Prince Edward Island, where a speeding driver got a whole two years behind bars for killing a bike rider — despite driving 25 mph over the speed limit, fleeing the scene and reeking of alcohol when police found him hiding under a house five hours after the crash.

File this one under you’ve got to be kidding. A Scottish police chief says close passes by motorists aren’t a problem, and it makes more sense to target people on bicycles because drivers aren’t causing any wrecks. Meanwhile, councilors in another Scottish city insist the real problem is those damned inconsiderate bicyclists who ride two abreast, just because they don’t want to get killed or anything.

A British man went to the market to buy some cat food, and left with someone else’s bicycle — then someone else stole it from him four days later.

A Cork, Ireland dealer will take your car in trade for a new ebikeSpeaking of Santa Monica Mountains Cyclery, they beat that by seven years, working with the car dealer across the street to accept cars in trade for a new bicycle

India’s Congress Party promises a job for every family in one state, along with a free bicycle for every girl whose family earns less than 10,000 rupees a month — the equivalent of $139.

 

Competitive Cycling

Sometimes just riding a bike is cheating. A woman has received a lifetime ban from the Shanghai Marathon for using a man’s number and riding a bicycle instead of completing the race on foot.

French pro Elie Gesbert was lucky to escape without any major injuries when he became just the latest cyclist to be hit by a driver while training.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to ride drunk, try not to get in a crash with a police car. Who doesn’t need a Vogue-designed Shinola bike?

And no, the bicycle wasn’t invented in ancient India some 1,800 years before the first European velocipedes.

 

Morning Links: Upcoming bike events, why people stop going to public meetings, and a look at a friendly little OC bike shop

Let’s start with a few upcoming bike events.

The GiddyUp! Cycling Film Tour will unreel tonight at the Ahrya Fine Arts by Laemmle theater in Beverly Hills, offering a global showcase of films capturing why we love to ride.

Celebrate NoHo’s new Metro Bike Bikeshare with an informal bikeshare celebration ride tomorrow. And yes, there will be donuts involved.

Metro will be offering another of their BEST bicycle education classes this Sunday in West Hollywood, with emphasis on developing group riding skills to see you safely through next weekend’s Meet the Hollywoods CicLAvia.

The Orange County Wheelmen will be hosting a new century ride from Irvine to Carlsbad on September 7th.

………

If you’ve ever wondered why people stop coming out for important public meetings, these tweets should give you a pretty good idea.

https://twitter.com/hippierunner/status/1159201025951031297

By all reports, last night’s public workshop in Eagle Rock to discuss plans for a North Hollywood to Pasadena bus rapid transit line was much better managed, without the anti-transit threats, harassment and intimidation of previous meetings.

You can sign here to show your support for the plan, which preserves existing bike lanes.

………

This is why you need to support your local bike shop.

The Orange County Register’s David Whiting talks with a former domestique who runs a tiny bike shop in Rancho Santa Margarita, where customer service and ensuring everyone leaves with a smile matter more than pumping out high priced merchandise.

You’ll never find that kind of service online.

Or at most bike shops, for that matter.

………

This is who we share the roads with.

https://twitter.com/DashCamTwats/status/1156659172836040707

………

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

Someone continues to sabotage Australian bike trails, this time in Adelaide by stringing fishing line at neck height; fortunately, a woman discovered it before anyone got hurt.

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

A Michigan cop suffered minor injuries trying to stop a bike-riding leaf blower bandit when he attempted to knock the man off his bike, but missed. And missed with his taser, too.

Tragic news from New York, where police are looking for a hit-and-run bike rider who killed a 60-year old pedestrian. And as often happens, it sounds like bicyclist wouldn’t be in trouble if he’d just stuck around after the crash.

………

Local

Sixteen Metro Bike stations are now up and running in North Hollywood, Valley Village and Studio City in the San Fernando Valley.

We already know that Katy Perry is one of us, taking her bicycle with her torrid to her shows; she’s also taken her $19 million Beverly Hills mansion off the electric grid to reduce her carbon footprint.

Burbank is cutting speed limits around schools to 15 mph in a much-needed effort to improve safety.

A pair of bike-riding transients were busted for a failed attempt to steal a pair of bronze statues from a Covina business after the shopping cart they were towing them in toppled over. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

 

State

Irvine bicyclists can now expect to share the streets with Amazon Prime delivery robots and their human minders, at least for now.

San Diego mountain bikers are on edge after a man was shot in the hand by a robber who stole his bicycle on Tuesday.

The Voice of San Diego says the city is undermining its own climate action goals by continuing to prioritize cars over people on Morena Blvd.

A salmon cyclist suffered minor injuries when he was hit by an SUV driver while riding the wrong way in a Ramona bike lane.

A San Luis Obispo paper looks at why the city has lost two bikes shops in a single week. Like the owner of one having to work a second job just to keep the shop afloat.

A Los Altos writer says yes, it is legal to ride a bicycle in many places in California, but there’s no good reason to scare or inconvenience others.

 

National

If you lost your fully loaded AR-15 rifle while riding on an an Anchorage AK bike path, a man found it while walking his dog. And the police would like to talk to you.

A Utah woman reflects on the life-changing moment when you learn to ride a bicycle.

Denver announces plans to lower speed limits on several streets in response to recent bicycling deaths.

A Lutheran bishop rides RAGBRAI, and considers the spiritual aspects of the popular ride across Iowa.

A Chicago woman turns herself in for a hit-and-run so bad her bike-riding victim remains in critical condition over three weeks after the crash; she’s been charged with felony hit-and-run and DUI counts. She should also face charges for attempting to coverup the crime by replacing her car’s mirror and windshield the day of the crash. Although it will be interesting to see how they can make the DUI charge stick without a blood, breath or field sobriety test.

A group of young men are apparently mugging bike riders in the Windy City. A bikeshare rider was the victim of the third attack in less than a week.

After taking up bicycling in honor of her late bike-riding husband, a Chicago woman was crushed when someone stole her bike in South Carolina. Until she got it back when the thief tried to sell it to a legitimate dealer.

Jeff Goldblum is one of us, going to Detroit to visit a bikemaker and take part in a slow roll ride, and leaving the city with a new bicycle.

Indianapolis bike riders are getting new bikeways, courtesy of a dollar per day fee on scooters.

This is how Vision Zero is supposed to work. New York responds to recent bicycling deaths by rushing to install 45 blocks of new protected bike lanes in Brooklyn.

Take a 13-mile sightseeing bike tour of Manhattan on the Hudson River Greenway.

A writer for c|net credits his new WaveCel helmet with saving his life when he was hit by driver in an unprotected New York bike lane.

 

International

Road.cc offers an updated bicycle to English dictionary, while Rouleur provides all the bicycling quotations your two-wheeled little heart could desire.

No bias here. An Ottawa letter writer generously allows that not all bike riders break the law, just 95% of them, while calling for mandatory licenses and insurance. Just wait until someone tells him how effective that’s been for motorists.

The CEO of British foldie maker Brompton says ebikes will lead to a mega transformation of the bike industry in the near future.

Evidently, it helps to be British royalty-adjacent to get your dogs’ stolen cargo bike back.

No bias here, either. A UK motorists group says it doesn’t matter if traffic deaths are down, London’s Vision Zero is a “counter-productive road safety fantasy.” And suggests that if you really want to reduce bicycling crashes, stop encouraging people to ride bikes.

Or here, either. A trucking website says forget requiring new truck standards so drivers can actually see the road around them, because bikes just don’t belong on London’s narrow streets, and all bike riders should be required to pass a proficiency test instead.

Paris plans to expand a network of bike paths to the outlying suburbs to make it easier for commuters to bike to work.

Vienna, Austria is fighting motor vehicle usage with a subsidized cargo bikeshare program.

Right-wing Austrian politicians are calling for a ban on bike trailers after two small children were killed when a driver slammed into the trailer their mother was pulling behind her ebike, while calmer voices say the real problem is cars and the people driving them.

Turns out Luxembourg isn’t all that bike friendly after all.

Heartbreaking story from Hiroshima on the 70th anniversary of the first atomic bomb attack, where a three-year old boy was buried with his tricycle until his bones were exhumed 34 years ago and moved to the family cemetery.

 

Competitive Cycling

American cyclist Chloe Dygert Owen honored former teammate Kelly Catlin after winning her second gold medal at the Pan American Games with a runaway victory in the individual time trial. She previously won silver with Catlin, who took her own life earlier this year, in the team time trial at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

 

Finally…

The next time a seagull attacks you on your bike, try giving it the stare down. Apparently, if you want to keep bicyclists safe on both sides of the road, you have to ask pretty please.

And you may not be going anywhere, but at least you’re art.

Or maybe riding art.

 

Guest post: Looking for a Bike? Shop Local and Shop Small. You’ll Be Glad You Did.

As you may have noticed by now, I’m a firm believer in supporting your local bike shop.

So in honor of today’s Small Business Saturday, I’m reposting a couple of guest columns from two years ago, by bike shop owners explaining why that matters.

And you can support this site by donating to the Fourth Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive.

………

Last week, I asked if any bike shop owners or employees wanted to explain why you should do business with your local bike shop this holiday season.

First to respond was Linda Coburn of Pedego 101 in Westlake Village, who explained the importance of buying your ebike locally.

Today we hear from David Kooi, owner of Santa Monica Mountains Cyclery in Woodland Hills, one of the city’s most popular shops for road and off-road riders alike.

Not to mention the shop that created one of the bike world’s most brilliant marketing efforts by partnering with the car dealership across the street to allow people to trade in their car for a new bicycle a few years ago.

………

By David Kooi

Are you looking for a bike? Here are some reasons why you should visit your local bike shop.

Personal Attention and Friendly Expert Advice

Choosing the right bike isn’t always easy. These days, there is a different bike for just about every type of riding and terrain. A good local bike shop is staffed with friendly, helpful experts. Go in and talk to them about the kind of riding you would like to do. They will help you make the right decision. Choosing the right bike will ensure that you’ll get the most from your purchase. If you pick the right bike, you’ll enjoy riding it. And, if you enjoy riding it, you’ll ride it more often. If you pick the wrong bike, it might languish, covered in dust, in your garage. And nobody wants that.

cute-kid-on-a-bike

Quality Products

The bikes you’ll find at your local specialty shop are usually better quality bikes than you’ll find online, at department stores, or at big box retailers. Why? Most of the best bike manufacturers only sell their bikes through local, independent shops. Why would they do that when they might be able to sell so many more bikes online or at Wal-Mart and Costco? It’s because they recognize the importance of dedicated specialty shops. They count on these shops to educate their customers on the value and features of their bikes. And they trust these shops to build, fit, and service those bikes properly and professionally.

A Professional Bike Build

When a bike arrives at a shop or at your local Target, it’s in a box full of parts. Some of it is partially assembled in a far-away factory, but it needs a good amount of work and fine-tuning to get it ready to ride. Whom do you trust to build your bike? At a good local bike shop, your bike will be assembled by an experienced professional mechanic and test-ridden for safety. When you go out for your first ride, you can be confident that the bike is safe.

Fitting

Bikes come in difference sizes. Then, within each size, the bike needs to be adjusted to the individual rider. If you buy the wrong size or don’t get a proper fit, you probably won’t be happy with your bike. When the bike is set up perfectly for you, you’ll be comfortable and happy – and you’ll ride it a lot more. And, if you’re a rider for whom speed matters, a properly fit bike will make you faster. When you buy your bike from a local shop, the bike fit is often included with the purchase of your bike. Further, if you need additional guidance on how to use the bike, most shops are happy to teach you about how to use the shifting, the brakes, and other essential features.

group-cruiser-ride

Maintenance

Bikes, much like cars, need maintenance. Some maintenance can be performed at home, like keeping the right amount of air in the tires, cleaning the bike, and lubing the chain. Your neighborhood shop can teach you how to do those things. More complex repairs and maintenance should be performed by experienced mechanics. A good local bike shop is home to such people. Furthermore, some amount of maintenance is typically included with your purchase when you buy from a local shop.

Accessories

When you get a new bike, you’ll likely need some other items to maximize your enjoyment of that bike. The friendly, knowledgeable experts at your local bike shop can help. The right pair of gloves can help with numb fingers. The right pair of shorts can literally save your butt. A good set of lights and a properly fitting helmet could save your life. A well-stocked flat/repair kit could save you from an Uber ride home. Or maybe you just want some flashy, fancy socks to match your new ride? Whatever you need, a good local bike shop will have the expertise and the selection to help you.

david-with-local-school-kids

Community

Your neighborhood shop is often a hub for the local cycling community. They can tell you about where to ride, about local events, and about local clubs and teams. They also might host clinics and classes about bike safety, bike handling, bike repair, and bike maintenance.

A good local bike shop also gives back to your community. At my shop, we work with local elementary schools to help get more kids on bikes. We teach local Boy Scout troops about bike safety. We donate bikes to the local Boys & Girls Club for kids in need. We sponsor a mountain bike team at a local high school. And we’re always looking for opportunities to do more. That’s how communities work.

boys-and-girls-club

You can also get to know the people who work at your local shop. Most employees are passionate about cycling and excited to talk about it with anyone. Employees don’t turn over at the same high rate as the big box retailers. You can get to you know them. They’ll recognize you when you come in the door. In these days of the Internet and Big Box domination, you might find it nice to have a small, welcoming place to go where everybody knows your name. And they’re always glad you came. At most shops, you are welcome to stop by and say hello and check out the newest gear – even when you don’t have any plans to buy anything new. Or, imagine you find yourself out riding and want to refill a water bottle. Someday, a drone sent by Amazon.com will fly up to you to refill it for you, but in the meantime, feel free to stop by a shop along your route.

SMMC staff Michael B., David Kooi, Mike P., and Patrick O.

SMMC staff Michael B., David Kooi, Mike P., and Patrick O.

A Vibrant Local Economy

Do you want to make a difference in the local economy and in the lives of your neighbors? When you spend $500 at a small local business, you change their day. You get noticed. You get remembered. When you shop local and shop small, your money matters. The money you spend helps to pay the rent. Your money keeps the lights on. Your money pays the salaries of people working there. Those people, in turn, use that money to shop locally and the cycle continues. They pay for tuition. They buy stuff for their kids. They go out to eat at local restaurants. Your money keeps storefronts occupied, keeps your streets and sidewalks clean, and helps sustain a vibrant community. When you shop local, you make a difference.

When you spend $500 at Target, Wal-Mart, or Amazon, you won’t move their quarterly earnings per share one tenth of one penny. You’re just a tiny part of a larger demographic.

Price

Don’t assume that you’ll get the better deal online. Give your local shop a chance. You might be surprised to discover that your local shop is competitive with online prices, especially when you factor in the value of the products they are selling and other services provided. And, in the end, maybe you’ll find yourself willing to spend a few extra bucks for the friendly, expert service, the quality products, and to contribute to your community and local economy.

storefront

About the Author

David Kooi is the owner of Santa Monica Mountains Cyclery in Woodland Hills, California.

Santa Monica Mountains Cyclery, 21526 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills, CA 91364

david@smmcyclery.com

818-456-4105

www.smmcyclery.com

www.yelp.com/biz/santa-monica-mountains-cyclery-woodland-hills

………

If any other bike shop owners or employees want to weigh in on the subject, just email me at the address on the About page.

 

 

Morning Links: Two favorite LA bike shops on the block, and Jesse Creed tackles Complete Street failures in CD5

Here’s your chance to get into the bike business.

Because two of LA’s favorite bike shops are now for sale, allowing buyers to step into already existing and successful businesses.

NELA’s Flying Pigeon LA is on the block thanks to owner Josef Bray-Ali’s bid to unseat LA City Councilmember Gil Cedillo in LA’s 1st council district.

Meanwhile, Orange 20 owner TJ Flexer is looking for someone to take over Orange 20 Bikes, the iconic shop anchoring East Hollywood’s Hel-Mel district, as he moves on to other opportunities.

It would be a shame to lose either of these shops. Let’s hope someone steps up to save them.

………

Speaking of city council candidates, Jesse Creed has written a must-read Op-Ed in the LA Daily News calling for Complete Streets.

Creed, who’s taking on incumbent Paul Koretz in CD5, criticizes Koretz’ failure to ensure safe streets, sidewalks and bikeways following construction of the Expo Line.

Never mind Koretz’ ongoing efforts to keep Westwood Blvd dangerous by single-handedly blocking the bike lanes that would have calmed traffic and improved safety for everyone.

………

‘Tis the season.

A Rams fan donates eight bicycles to the CHiPs for Kids toy drive in honor of Luis Sanchez, the five-year old boy killed when a suspected drunk driver crashed into his home as he was writing a letter to Santa asking for a bike.

A Victorville non-profit is giving 170 bicycles to kids who show a need and perform well in school.

The Fresno Hell’s Angels — yes, those Hell’s Angels — buy and assemble 800 bicycles for local kids.

A Boise, Idaho organization is calling for bicycle donations, as they’re currently 100 bikes short of their goal of giving 415 bicycles to kids who’ve never had one before.

A Texas company builds 100 bikes to give to children of first responders; last year they gave bikes to children of local soldiers.

An Oklahoma car dealer helps collect over 350 bicycles for distribution to children who need them.

An Iowa car dealer is collecting 400 bicycles to donate to children in a four county area.

Terre Haute, Indiana’s Bikes for Tykes program is giving over 400 bicycles to area kids.

Volunteers in Manitoba, Canada work 24 hours straight to build 334 bikes to give to kids.

Great idea from a British town, as bikes refurbished by homeless residents go on sale to local studentsI’d love to see a program like that here in Los Angeles.

And two LA cops play Santa Claus after a bike rider spots a duffel bag full of packages that had apparently been lost or stolen.

………

Spanish pro Joaquim “Purito” Rodriguez calls it a career after 17 years and 14 Grand Tour stage victories.

Sad news from France, as a rising young cyclist died in a fall while hiking.

Ella Cycling Tips takes a deep dive into the story of transgendered bike racer Jillian Bearden.

………

Local

Metro is lowering its walkup price for Downtown’s Metro Bike bikeshare to just one dollar for the first half hour from Christmas Eve through New Year’s Day.

CiclaValley says a new traffic light on Riverside Drive is a recipe for disaster, with the light almost invisible as it’s hidden behind trees.

Kanye is one of us, as he rides his BMX on the streets of Los Angeles in a full-face helmet. So actually, it might have been anyone in there.

Bike SGV is selling refurbished bike for the holidays through 12-23, with most under $100.

A Santa Clarita radio station looks at Sunday’s Finish the Ride Holiday Challenge.

 

State

Caught on video: A La Mesa man is lucky to have his bike after security footage show a man pulling bolt cutters from under a blanket and cutting the lock on his mountain bike; evidently, the thief was frightened away before he could take it.

San Diego police release photos of a suspect vehicle in last month’s hit-and-run that injured a bike rider in Linda Vista; police blame the victim for running a stop sign.

The annual Tour de Palm Springs moves next door in 2018.

A 33-year old driver was allegedly stoned when she fled the scene after running down a woman riding her bicycle in a marked Moorpark bike lane; she faces charges of DUI and felony hit-and-run, while her 62-year old victim was hospitalized with major injuries.

A Berkeley website recounts the miraculous recovery of a new mother run down by a stoned driver as she biked home from work last February; she recently ran a 5k, just 10 months after a wreck no one expected her to survive.

A 23-year old Stockton driver is under arrest for allegedly fleeing the scene following a crash that killed a bike rider, as well as two passengers in his car.

Sad news from Sacramento, where a cowardly hit-and-run driver left a bike rider to die in the street following an early morning collision.

 

National

Bicycling says there’s never been a better time to be a bicycle entrepreneur.

Here’s your chance to be a test pilot for a new heads-up display for cyclists made by a company that specializes in displays for fighter pilots. Saying “zoom, zoom!” when you ride is purely optional.

A Seattle bike co-op is helping to reduce the recidivism rate for juvenile offenders by teaching kids how to fix a bicycle.

A Washington cyclist thanks drivers for the courtesy, but urges them not to wave him through intersections when they have the right-of-way.

An Albuquerque NM cop received a hero’s award from the mayor for digging into his own pocket to buy a bike for a 12-year old boy after his was stolen on his birthday.

An ex-cop in South Dakota has seen positive results for his Parkinson’s Disease from using medical marijuana, allowing him to attempt a 300-mile bike ride across the state.

Mason City IA is trying to buy an elevated rail line through the city to create a five-mile High Line bikeway.

A Wisconsin woman faces charges after drunkenly driving her car on a bike path and getting stuck on a bike bridge. Although that can happen here in the City of Angels, as well.

Ohio could be the next state to adopt a three-foot passing law, after the legislature sent a bill to the governor’s desk.

A writer for the New Yorker offers a tongue-in-cheek list of all the reasons he’ll never ride a bike in the city.

An Op-Ed in the New York Times says forget Times Square, it’s time to banish cars from all of Broadway.

A Georgia driver was under the influence of six different drugs and reaching for her cellphone when she crossed the center line and struck three cyclists, killing one.

 

International

Bloomberg says looking good is easier than ever, as the competition is beginning to catch up to Rapha.

The New York Times looks at Costa Rica’s La Ruta de Los Conquistadores, calling it the world’s toughest mountain bike. And which may or may not involve crocodiles.

Madonna’s son is one of us, as he starts a job as a London bicycle delivery rider.

A British couple adopt a dog that adopted them as they rode their bikes back to their hotel in Greece.

Cyclists in the UK face the same problem riders do in this country — drivers who think they know the laws regarding bicycling, but don’t.

Cycling Tips stumbles on a Frenchman with a remarkable bicycle collection at this year’s Tour de France.

One more reason to hate Adolph Hitler — the biggest bike theft in Danish history. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

No bias here. Australian police are looking for a road raging cyclist who allegedly punched a car passenger in the face for no apparent reason. As we’ve said before, there’s never any excuse for violence; however, the story doesn’t make the slightest mention of what led up to the incident.

 

Finally…

Once again, a bike gets the blame for causing a crash — except this time, no one was on it. Always a good idea to toss your bottle of cheap booze before the police get there

And you’ve got to do something when it snows in Portland.

………

 

Guest post: Looking for a Bike? Shop Local and Shop Small. You’ll Be Glad You Did.

Last week, I asked if any bike shop owners or employees wanted to explain why you should do business with your local bike shop this holiday season.

First to respond was Linda Coburn of Pedego 101 in Westlake Village, who explained the importance of buying your ebike locally.

Today we hear from David Kooi, owner of Santa Monica Mountains Cyclery in Woodland Hills, one of the city’s most popular shops for road and off-road riders alike.

Not to mention the shop that created one of the bike world’s most brilliant marketing efforts by partnering with the car dealership across the street to allow people to trade in their car for a new bicycle a few years ago.

………

By David Kooi

Are you looking for a bike? Here are some reasons why you should visit your local bike shop.

Personal Attention and Friendly Expert Advice

Choosing the right bike isn’t always easy. These days, there is a different bike for just about every type of riding and terrain. A good local bike shop is staffed with friendly, helpful experts. Go in and talk to them about the kind of riding you would like to do. They will help you make the right decision. Choosing the right bike will ensure that you’ll get the most from your purchase. If you pick the right bike, you’ll enjoy riding it. And, if you enjoy riding it, you’ll ride it more often. If you pick the wrong bike, it might languish, covered in dust, in your garage. And nobody wants that.

cute-kid-on-a-bike

Quality Products

The bikes you’ll find at your local specialty shop are usually better quality bikes than you’ll find online, at department stores, or at big box retailers. Why? Most of the best bike manufacturers only sell their bikes through local, independent shops. Why would they do that when they might be able to sell so many more bikes online or at Wal-Mart and Costco? It’s because they recognize the importance of dedicated specialty shops. They count on these shops to educate their customers on the value and features of their bikes. And they trust these shops to build, fit, and service those bikes properly and professionally.

A Professional Bike Build

When a bike arrives at a shop or at your local Target, it’s in a box full of parts. Some of it is partially assembled in a far-away factory, but it needs a good amount of work and fine-tuning to get it ready to ride. Whom do you trust to build your bike? At a good local bike shop, your bike will be assembled by an experienced professional mechanic and test-ridden for safety. When you go out for your first ride, you can be confident that the bike is safe.

Fitting

Bikes come in difference sizes. Then, within each size, the bike needs to be adjusted to the individual rider. If you buy the wrong size or don’t get a proper fit, you probably won’t be happy with your bike. When the bike is set up perfectly for you, you’ll be comfortable and happy – and you’ll ride it a lot more. And, if you’re a rider for whom speed matters, a properly fit bike will make you faster. When you buy your bike from a local shop, the bike fit is often included with the purchase of your bike. Further, if you need additional guidance on how to use the bike, most shops are happy to teach you about how to use the shifting, the brakes, and other essential features.

group-cruiser-ride

Maintenance

Bikes, much like cars, need maintenance. Some maintenance can be performed at home, like keeping the right amount of air in the tires, cleaning the bike, and lubing the chain. Your neighborhood shop can teach you how to do those things. More complex repairs and maintenance should be performed by experienced mechanics. A good local bike shop is home to such people. Furthermore, some amount of maintenance is typically included with your purchase when you buy from a local shop.

Accessories

When you get a new bike, you’ll likely need some other items to maximize your enjoyment of that bike. The friendly, knowledgeable experts at your local bike shop can help. The right pair of gloves can help with numb fingers. The right pair of shorts can literally save your butt. A good set of lights and a properly fitting helmet could save your life. A well-stocked flat/repair kit could save you from an Uber ride home. Or maybe you just want some flashy, fancy socks to match your new ride? Whatever you need, a good local bike shop will have the expertise and the selection to help you.

david-with-local-school-kids

Community

Your neighborhood shop is often a hub for the local cycling community. They can tell you about where to ride, about local events, and about local clubs and teams. They also might host clinics and classes about bike safety, bike handling, bike repair, and bike maintenance.

A good local bike shop also gives back to your community. At my shop, we work with local elementary schools to help get more kids on bikes. We teach local Boy Scout troops about bike safety. We donate bikes to the local Boys & Girls Club for kids in need. We sponsor a mountain bike team at a local high school. And we’re always looking for opportunities to do more. That’s how communities work.

boys-and-girls-club

You can also get to know the people who work at your local shop. Most employees are passionate about cycling and excited to talk about it with anyone. Employees don’t turn over at the same high rate as the big box retailers. You can get to you know them. They’ll recognize you when you come in the door. In these days of the Internet and Big Box domination, you might find it nice to have a small, welcoming place to go where everybody knows your name. And they’re always glad you came. At most shops, you are welcome to stop by and say hello and check out the newest gear – even when you don’t have any plans to buy anything new. Or, imagine you find yourself out riding and want to refill a water bottle. Someday, a drone sent by Amazon.com will fly up to you to refill it for you, but in the meantime, feel free to stop by a shop along your route.

SMMC staff Michael B., David Kooi, Mike P., and Patrick O.

SMMC staff Michael B., David Kooi, Mike P., and Patrick O.

A Vibrant Local Economy

Do you want to make a difference in the local economy and in the lives of your neighbors? When you spend $500 at a small local business, you change their day. You get noticed. You get remembered. When you shop local and shop small, your money matters. The money you spend helps to pay the rent. Your money keeps the lights on. Your money pays the salaries of people working there. Those people, in turn, use that money to shop locally and the cycle continues. They pay for tuition. They buy stuff for their kids. They go out to eat at local restaurants. Your money keeps storefronts occupied, keeps your streets and sidewalks clean, and helps sustain a vibrant community. When you shop local, you make a difference.

When you spend $500 at Target, Wal-Mart, or Amazon, you won’t move their quarterly earnings per share one tenth of one penny. You’re just a tiny part of a larger demographic.

Price

Don’t assume that you’ll get the better deal online. Give your local shop a chance. You might be surprised to discover that your local shop is competitive with online prices, especially when you factor in the value of the products they are selling and other services provided. And, in the end, maybe you’ll find yourself willing to spend a few extra bucks for the friendly, expert service, the quality products, and to contribute to your community and local economy.

storefront

About the Author

David Kooi is the owner of Santa Monica Mountains Cyclery in Woodland Hills, California.

Santa Monica Mountains Cyclery, 21526 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills, CA 91364

david@smmcyclery.com

818-456-4105

www.smmcyclery.com

www.yelp.com/biz/santa-monica-mountains-cyclery-woodland-hills

………

If any other bike shop owners or employees want to weigh in on the subject, just email me at the address on the About page.

It's the 2nd Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive! Donate today to help keep SoCal's best source for bike news coming your way every day.

Donate to the 2nd Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive to help keep Southern California’s best source for bike news coming your way every day.

 

 

 

Morning Links: Bad news isn’t the problem, a Breeze-y day in SaMo, and bikes aren’t a priority in Beverly Hills

No.

Writing for Bicycling Retailer, Rick Vosper discusses what he says is a nationwide decline in bicycle sales, and places the blame in an unexpected place.

Press coverage of bicycling fatalities, which he says has driven down the rate of bicycling in this country by scaring people off their bikes.

Even though his own stats show bike sales increased 13% from 2000 to 2012.

His response is that, taking inflation into account, retail sales at bike shops actually dropped 9% over that same period when measured in constant dollars.

However, that fails to consider a little thing called the Internet, which became the go-to place for many shoppers over the same period. Just ask local book stores what effect online sales had on their business.

If you can find one.

It also fails to account for the Internet’s role in facilitating used bike sales, which have boomed over the same period.

And sales have been affected by the drop in prices for many items, as improved manufacturing techniques and overseas manufacturing have driven down the price of everything from carbon frames to high-powered bike lights, even as high-end bike prices have skyrocketed.

He goes on to argue that the perceived drop in sales is driven by a 37% decline in the number of bike riders in the US from 2000 to 2014, as 7.5 million Americans have stopped riding their bikes.

In fact, according to Vosper, just 11% of people in this country rode bikes in 2014, down from 15% in 2000, and 21% in 1995.

Except no one else seems to believe that.

In fact, by every appearance, ridership is booming in this country. And not just anecdotally.

The Statistica website traces a rise in bicycling from 47.16 million people who had ridden a bike in the previous 12 months in 2008, to 67.33 million in 2014, before dropping slightly to 66.72 this past spring.

Meanwhile, the 2012 National Survey of Pedestrian and Bicyclist Attitudes and Behaviors reported that 18% of Americans over the age of 16 rode a bike at least once that summer.

People for Bikes cites even higher numbers from a benchmarking survey taken last fall.

According to their study, over one-third of all Americans over the age of three rode a bike at least once in the previous year. That’s 100 million people.

Hardly a decline by any measure. So whatever forces may be limiting bike shop sales, it’s not due to a drop in ridership.

However, even if the numbers don’t support his conclusions, he still raises a point worth discussing.

When I started writing about bicycling fatalities in 2010, it was because no one else was doing it.

Too many times, the loss of a rider’s life wouldn’t merit more than a few lines in the local press, if that. And too many times, the victim was blamed when the circumstances pointed to a different conclusion.

So I set out to shine a light on these tragedies in order to memorialize the victim, shame the press into doing a better job, and hopefully force our governmental leaders to do something to stop the carnage on our roads.

It can be argued that those last two goals have been met, at least in part.

The press is finally paying attention. Maybe too much attention, by Vosper’s account. Most, though not all, fatal bicycling collisions are now reported in the press, though there’s still not enough focus on the person who was killed in the crash.

And with the commitment to Vision Zero currently spreading across the country — including right here in Los Angeles — our leaders are finally committing to ending the deaths, not just of people on bikes, but everyone who travels our roads.

So maybe we don’t have to shine that light anymore. Or at least, not as brightly.

I know these stories are hard to read. Trust me, they’re even harder to write.

It’s worth thinking about, and a discussion worth having as we move forward.

………

The Breeze finally blew into Santa Monica today, as the city’s new bikeshare system officially opened; Streetsblog offers some great pictures of the grand opening.

However, the LA Times notes that the system may not work seamlessly with Metro’s coming system, while Streetsblog’s Joe Linton says that doesn’t really matter.

And hopefully, users won’t ride them down a flight of stairs.

………

Just incredible.

Better Bike’s Mark Elliot explains that after four years of failed promises, Beverly Hills has finally admitted that updating the Biking Black Hole’s nearly 40-year old bike plan just isn’t a priority.

Then again, it never has been, since none of it was never implemented.

It will be interesting to see what happens when scores of foreign tourists take to the city’s bike-unfriendly and largely infrastructure-less streets when the Santa Monica bikeshare system expands to the city.

It may be a good thing it’s just a straight shot down the road from Cedars Sinai.

………

You may need to rethink your riding plans for the weekend. Both Glendora Mountain Road and Glendora Ridge Road in the Angeles National Forest will be closed all weekend due to high winds.

………

Local

Nice gesture from the East Side Riders new ESR Bike and Skate Shop, as they replaced the bike stolen from an 11-year old boy by a man who pushed him off the bike he’d just won in a raffle.

Good to see the LACBC’s blog make a comeback, with a detailed explanation of LA’s new Mobility Plan 2035 and what you can do to support it. Meanwhile, UCLA’s Daily Bruin takes an in-depth look at the current state of the plan. Although I’d expect better from former LA County Commissioner Zev Yaroslavsky, who says the plan was “cooked up in an ivory tower” and rushed through the political process; evidently, an over five-year public process wasn’t good enough for him.

KPCC looks at the new Go Human campaign that puts a human face on traffic safety.

Bicycle Retailer continues their tour of LA-area bike shops.

Santa Monica parents are pushing for crossing guards at dangerous intersections to protect children walking and biking to school.

 

State

A San Diego captain offers advice on how to prevent bike theft for the marina crowd.

A new Palo Alto bike and walking trail would form the spine of a Bay to Ridge Trail running through the Stanford campus.

Here’s your chance to get involved if you live in San Francisco, San Mateo or Santa Clara counties, as Caltrain is looking for bicyclist representatives for their advisory committee.

San Francisco messenger bag maker Timbuk2 offers a new line of bike bags for women.

Natomas cyclists now have a shiny new bike fix-it station.

Advice on how to safely share the road and pathways from the active transportation coordinator in Davis.

 

National

Amtrak expands bike service to the New York to New Orleans Crescent Line this week, even if it does bypass bike-friendly Anniston AL.

A Seattle-area paper argues that shifting to bikes would be a big benefit to the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and slowing climate change; a new study shows a shift to transportation cycling could save cities $25 trillion — that’s trillion, with a T — while reducing CO2 emissions 10% by 2050.

Kentucky senator and presidential candidate Rand Paul may enjoy riding his bike, but thinks federal funding for bike lanes belongs in the same category as turtle tunnels and squirrel sanctuaries. But at least he’s skilled at alliteration.

Maybe we’re making progress, as New Yorkers don’t complain about a proposal to remove a traffic lane and parking spaces to make room for a protected bike lane.

The Washington Post looks at why bike lanes have become heated symbols of gentrification, in the wake of a dispute over a planned bike lane in front of an African American church; leaders of the church have claimed it would violate their freedom of religion by removing parking. Thanks to Allyson Vought for the heads-up.

 

International

A British man who stabbed a bike rider to death in a random attack has been sentenced to an indefinite term in a psychiatric hospital for treatment of schizophrenia.

London’s Telegraph offers 11 rules for commuting by bike. It may be a sponsored post, but the first 10 tips aren’t bad.

An English driver has pled guilty to killing a cyclist during a road rage dispute.

Someone stole a Brit triathlete’s $17,000 Trek.

A Philippine professor says the way to reduce congestion in the country is to get people out of their cars and onto bikes and feet.

A Singapore taxi driver gets nine months, and a 10-year ban from driving, for the DUI death of a bike rider after falling asleep, crashing into a parked car, then backing into the cyclist.

 

Finally…

Presenting the perfect bike lock for people who are all thumbs. The real winner of a British cycling sportive will be whoever figures out how to hold two versions of the same race at the same time in the same place.

And world road champ Peter Sagan got married in Slovakia over the weekend in a ceremony that involved a top hat, tight rope and a chainsaw.

 

Today’s post, in which I don’t recommend which bike to buy

In the aftermath of yesterday’s AirTalk program — which you can still hear by downloading the podcast — I received the following comment from Mario:

Really enjoyed your talk today on KPCC. I am mostly a mountain biker and have been thinking about buying a road bike…it is tough riding in paved roads on a mountain bike. So making our roads safer is one of the most important considerations for me in road riding. The second is the selection of a good bike (not too expensive). Would appreciate any advice you may offer on selecting a good road bike for under $2,500.

I wish I could offer an answer. I really do.

But choosing the right bike is a highly personal decision. It depends on how, where and why you intend to ride, what kind of deal you can get, and what feels right between your legs.

For instance, I don’t do a lot of bike commuting. I do most of my work from home, so there’s not a lot of need to ride from my bedroom to the living room. And one reason we chose this overpriced neighborhood is because almost everything we need is within walking distance.

So the overwhelming majority of my biking is recreational, which in my case means riding fast and far.

On the other hand, a lot of it is done on the mean streets of L.A. — which means my bike has to be responsive enough to carve through traffic, and sturdy enough to absorb shocks without making me feel like I’ve been riding a jackhammer all day.

So before you go shopping, make a list of the qualities that are important to you. And let that serve as your roadmap in selecting the right bike.

Another bit of advice is to buy the best frame you can afford. As time goes on, you can upgrade all of the other parts. But your frame will be the backbone of your bike for as long as you own it.

For that price, you can get a good steel or aluminum frame, or an entry level carbon frame. Personally, I don’t like the ride of aluminum frames — or aluminium, for any subjects of the queen who may be reading. Steel tends to be durable and shock-absorbing, and these days, usually weighs a lot less than you might think. Carbon offers light weight and speed; its ride and durability depends a lot on frame construction and geometry.

REI offers a good, simple primer to get you started.

The key is to ride a lot of bikes before you narrow your focus. Visit a bunch of bike shops and ride a variety of brands, types and models to determine what feels right to you.

As you narrow it down, pick two or three bikes that best fit what you’re looking for, and take them for extended test rides under a variety of conditions — fast, slow, cornering, hills, city streets.

I fell in love with my bike based on a quick spin around the shop. But it was only after I bought it that I discovered the handling gets squirrelly at faster speeds in an upright position; I have to ride the drops or risk a wipeout.

On the other hand, once I’m in the drops, it carves corners like a Ginsu knife.

But if I’d taken it on more extensive test ride, I would have known that handling issue before I bought it. And that might have affected my decision.

I’m also a big fan of local bike shops.

It may seem like you’re getting a great deal online, but the service you’ll get from a local dealer before and after the sale can make a huge difference in how much you enjoy your bike.

When I walk into my local shop, they know me, they know my bike and they know how I ride. And that makes a big difference. They’ve also gone out of their way to solve any problems I’ve had — from patching it up after the Infamous Beachfront Bee Incident, to replacing broken wheels and sending it back to the factory when the paint blistered.

I can personally recommend Beverly Hills Bike Shop, Cynergy Cycles in Santa Monica and any REI location — I’ve been a member for over 20 years.

While Helen’s is popular, I’m not big on their flagship Santa Monica store. However, I’ve found the staff at their I. Martin store to be helpful and knowledgeable, without the attitude. And Chris at the Westwood Helen’s is both a great wrench and a great guy; tell him I sent you.

I’ve heard nothing but good things about Orange 20 Bikes. And Josef at Flying Pigeon has an amazing knowledge of bikes from around the world.

That said, if I was shopping on your budget, I’d start by looking at the entry level Trek Madone, though you might have to bargain a little to get it out the door at that price. I’ve ridden Trek almost as long as they’ve been making bikes, and I’ve been lusting after the new Madone since the day it came out.

You also can’t go too wrong with anything from Specialized or Bianchi.

So, readers, what do you think?

If you had $2,500 gathering dust in your bike budget, what would you buy — and where would you buy it?

No offense to any bike shops not named here; my observations are based on my own personal experience here on the Westside. If you think your shop and/or bikes deserve consideration, leave a comment and tell us why.

………

Dr. Alex asks where Councilman Rosendahl has gone now that we need him. Speaking of Flying Pigeon, the next Get Sum Dim Sum Ride rolls out on Sunday. The upcoming Bike ADventure to The End of Civilization doesn’t sound half BAD. Santa Barbara sees more bikes on city streets. Proof that silence is not always golden when it comes to bikes and hybrid vehicles. Colorado’s Department of Transportation puts bikes and pedestrians on equal footing with cars. Evidently, the debate over aggressive cyclists has gone on for over a century. Master framebuilder Dave Moulton says there’s not much difference between a right and a privilege if they can take it away. Note to Idaho bike thieves: don’t mug a cyclist while the police are watching. A great examination from Copenhagenize on how to reach cyclists to change behavior — without discouraging riders. The view from Budapest, where bike shops close for the winter. Maybe this will sound familiar: a British driver is convicted of intentionally striking and seriously injuring a cyclist. Finally, prepare to get pissed off — a former Aussie roads minister says bikes don’t belong on the roads. Maybe that’s why he’s a former minister.

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