Tag Archive for Oakland

Oakland settles Biking While Black bust, bicycles don’t cause congestion, and woman on bike shoots road raging driver

My apologies for yesterday’s unexcused absence.

You know I’m having problems when I can’t even manage to post to say I won’t be posting anything. 

On another note, remember that tomorrow is a legal holiday.

It’s hard to say what it will be like in this extremely effed-up year, but three-day holidays usually mean an increase in traffic the afternoon before as people get off work early to get a jump on the weekend — often after stopping for a drink.

Or several. 

Those who still have jobs, anyway. 

So just be careful if you’re riding this afternoon. 

Use a little extra caution, ride defensively and watch out for careless drivers. Because they won’t be watching for you.

Photo by Ana Arantes from Pexels.

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Oakland officials reached a $147,500 settlement with Najari Smith, the founder of Richmond’s Rich City Rides bike co-op.

Smith was arrested, but never charged, for resisting arrest when cops accused him of playing music too loudly while on a group ride, even though witnesses reported he responded to them respectfully.

Richmond’s mayor said arrest of the respected community leader was nothing more than a case of Biking While Black.

Police also destroyed his bicycle and the bike trailer he used to tow the sound system he routinely used when leading group rides, for no apparent reason.

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No surprise here. Unless you’re a driver.

Bike riders have been urging motorists to be patient for years, insisting that the time they spend following a bike rider only amounts to a few seconds out of their day.

Turns out, we were right.

Writing for Forbes, Carlton Reid explains that a new Portland study confirms bike riders don’t cause traffic congestion, despite the common perception. And that any loss of time caused by someone on a bike is “negligible.”

“Bicycles are not likely to lead to reduced passenger car travel speed, despite their differences in performance capabilities,” says the study, conducted in Portland, Oregon, on roads without bicycle lanes.

“Bicycles do not reduce passenger car speeds by more than 1 mph,” add the study authors concluding that cyclists are not guilty of “negatively affecting travel speed or creating congestion.”

That negligible delay also means the common argument that bicycles cause increased auto emissions by delaying traffic is just so much smoke.

“A general concern of motorists [concerning] the presence of bicycles on roads without bicycle lanes is that they will impede motor vehicles because of their differing performance characteristics, which may serve to increase congestion and vehicle emissions,” explained the study, finding that a 1 mph differential in speed caused by the presence of cyclist would not cause congestion.

And by not being a cause of congestion, cyclists’ presence on roads is not a cause of increased emissions from motorists, either.

It also means that the common motorist maneuver of speeding up to pass someone on a bike, then cutting back in front of them — referred to here as MGIF, or “must get in front” — is just a needless waste of effort that increases danger for everyone on the road.

So the next time you have an impatient driver on your ass, keep your finger holstered. And tell them to just take a breath and get over it, already.

Yeah, that’ll work.

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I don’t even know what to make of this one.

A Detroit driver is dead after an apparent road rage dispute with a man and woman riding bikes.

When the driver pulled over and got out of his car, armed with a knife, the woman pulled out a gun and shot him dead. Which sounds like self-defense.

And yes, she had a permit for a concealed weapon.

Although someone should tell Detroit’s Fox-2 that it was a bike-riding woman who pulled the trigger, not merely “the cyclist’s girlfriend.”

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Looks like Calbike is finally endorsing speed cams.

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I want to be like her when I grow up.

Happy birthday to 1930’s Hollywood star Olivia de Havilland, who’s still one of us, even at the ripe old age of 104.

Thanks to Tim Rutt for the heads-up.

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A new ad for Dutch ebike maker VanMoof was banned by French advertising authorities, after apparently hitting the auto industry a little too close to home.

Although by banning it, they simply ensured that it will be seen by an exponentially greater number of people.

Speaking of VanMoof, they’ve been honored with a prestigious design award for the year’s best ebike designs.

Thanks to David Wolfberg for the tip.

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This is who we share the roads with.

https://twitter.com/GentesSinSuerte/status/1277774192801460225

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Is it bad luck to almost run over a bear with your bike, or good luck you didn’t hit him?

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

Speaking of Biking While Black, a London bike rider was stopped by a cop for “anti-social behavior,” accused of not wearing a helmet and hi-viz, or having a license on his bike. None of which are required in the UK.

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Local

Remember, you can get free 30 minute rides on LA’s Metro Bike bikeshare this weekend, starting Saturday. Or save up to a third off monthly or yearly passes.

Britain’s Prince Harry is one of us, after he was spotted, but not photographed, riding at Surfrider Beach in the ‘Bu. Hard to believe the paparazzi actually missed a celebrity, and a formerly royal one at that. And note to Hollywood Life: Merely stopping to watch the waves does not a surfer make.

 

State

You can drive a stake through the heart of California’s auto-centric focus on Level of Service, aka LOS, as the state replaces it with the more accurate Vehicle Miles Traveled, or VMT, which takes into account all forms of travel.

A San Diego pediatrician is back riding his bike a month after he had titanium rods attached to his spine, after fracturing three vertebrae when he stepped in to protect a security guard who was being attacked by a patient at La Mesa’s Sharp Grossmont Hospital.

California’s switch from LOS to VMT may be intended to reduce traffic, but don’t expect to see sidewalks and bike lanes in San Diego County’s backcountry.

Ventura County will join Los Angeles County, and most of Orange County, in shutting down the beaches over the 4th of July holiday weekend, including  many beachfront bike paths.

A Lodi bike rider remains in critical condition after he was struck by a driver on Sunday.

 

National

A writer for Forbes offers advice for women on how to buy a road bike. Assuming you can actually find one these days. A bike, that is. Although women are getting harder to find, too. 

A bike and donut date with her son teaches a mother that every day is an opportunity for a “once in a lifetime” moment.

Livestrong is still around, apres Lance, and has suggestions on what bike bags to buy.

Arizona traffic fatalities dropped to a three-year low in 2019; however, bicycling deaths were up, despite a decline in bicycle crashes.

A Denver TV station says not only are bikes in short supply now, but getting one in time for Christmas may be a challenge.

Unbelievable. A Kansas City TV station reports a 15-year old kid was killed by an “on-duty vehicle” belonging to the US Service. But takes until the very last line of the story to mention that the vehicle had a driver.

NFL Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith is one of us, as he shares his interval workout with Bicycling, and discusses his Dallas-based fondo. Thanks to Jeff Vaughn for the link.

There is something seriously wrong with anyone who could run down a 13-year old kid and leave him to die on a Chicago street; the driver now faces two well-deserved felony counts for leaving the scene and failing to report the crash, as well as a pair of misdemeanors. To make matters worse, the boy was killed just after getting his first bicycle.

This is the definition of tragic irony. A woman who was critically injured in a collision with a Chicago Department of Transportation truck driver while riding her bike works as a safe streets ambassador for the department.

The Detroit News says the Covid-19 pandemic is pushing American cities to adopt a Copenhagen-style bicycle model. Someone tell that to LA’s “climate mayor.” Please.

A coalition of current and former staffers called on Bike New York, the nation’s largest bicycle education program, to do more to become actively anti-racist.

An Atlanta bike rider is a hero after loaning his bicycle to a cop in foot pursuit of a murder suspect on a local bike path; the suspect is now in custody on a murder charge.

A pair of Florida sheriff’s departments are the proud recipients of two dozen police fat tire ebikes, courtesy of country music star Brian Kelly of the group Florida Georgia Line.

 

International

A Calgary nonprofit donated 190 bicycles to local families, in part to keep kids from sitting at home stressing about the coronavirus.

Ford is updating a European campaign urging drivers to share the road, and keep bike and e-scooter riders safe in the age of Covid-19.

London drivers are dealing with popup bike lanes by driving onto sidewalks to get around barricades.

Britain’s Daily Mail offers a panicky report that e-scooters will be legal in the country as of Saturday, fearing that cities will be overrun and people may die. Never mind that the biggest risk scooter riders face comes from drivers, not scooters.

A British railway worker is being hailed as a hero after interrupting a bike thief, then sticking around after his shift to look after the bike and ensure it got back to its owner.

Bike-friendly Paris now has an e-bikeshare service. Which is more than can be said for Los Angeles these days after Jump’s retreat from the market.

Thirty-one miles of Parisian popup bike lanes are expected to be made permanent following the reelection of Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

A new ranking of the world’s top 90 cities for bicyclists named Utrecht the world’s best bike city, topping Munster, Antwerp, Copenhagen and Amsterdam. The top US city was San Francisco at 39, followed by Portland at 41; shockingly, Los Angeles actually made the list at 57.

The Netherlands’ famously helmet-free reputation could be due for a shakeup, after a think tank recommended that the country mandate bike helmets for children and ebike riders.

 

Competitive Cycling

No surprise here, as the US national championships have been cancelled for this year for every category except collegiate cycling, marathon mountain biking and cyclocross; the current champs get to hold onto their titles for another year.

 

Finally…

Call it virtual virtual cycling. Your next ebike could be made of wood. Except for the motor, of course. And the tires. And the chain. Probably the gears, too.

And they get it.

https://twitter.com/BritishCycling/status/1278349622688260096?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1278349622688260096%7Ctwgr%5E&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Froad.cc%2Fcontent%2Fnews%2Fcycling-live-blog-1-july-2020-275047

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Thanks again to Matthew R for his generous monthly donation to support this site, and keep it coming your way every day. 

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

Morning Links: Smith vindicated for BWB, Beverly Hills Complete Streets meeting, and more e-scooter news

Good news.

The Alameda County DA’s office has dropped the charges against Najari Smith, founder of the Richmond, CA bike co-op Rich City Rides.

Smith was arrested by Oakland police on August 3rd while leading a weekly social bike ride, ostensibly for illegally playing amplified music.

However, witnesses at the scene were convinced he was busted for Biking While Black.

A statement released by the Oakland Police Department in response to the public outcry over the arrest said Smith was “impeding traffic” and “refused to provide identification or any information that would assist the officers in identifying him.”

Even though Smith says he cooperated with the officers and provided them with two forms of ID.

Fortunately, he won’t face any serious consequences for the misguided arrest. Although no one can give him back the two days he spent locked behind bars before making bail.

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Beverly Hills will hold a workshop to discuss Complete Streets in the former Biking Black Hole tomorrow night.

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Long Beach’s first evening Beach Streets event takes place this Saturday. Let’s hope CicLAvia follows their lead and schedules a few evening or nighttime events.

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Today’s common theme is yet another return to the e-scooter debate.

After a Cleveland woman was killed by a DUI driver while she was riding a scooter, the focus was on the dangers of scooters, rather than the dangers of drivers who admit snorting heroin before getting behind the wheel.

Streetsblog gets it, saying scooters aren’t a public safety hazard, but streets designed only for cars are.

He gets it, too. A Portland writer says if it makes sense to charge for scooters to use city streets, then it also makes sense to charge proportionately for cars to use them.

No bias here. The Philadelphia Inquirer says the e-scooter sky is falling, and it’s time for panic before they besmirch the city’s streets.

BuzzFeed says people with broken bones and missing teeth are turning up in ERs around the nation as a result of scooter crashes, although no hard data is available.

Bloomberg may have the smartest take, saying scooters pose a serious challenge to the reign of cars by providing convenient first and last mile solutions, as well as transportation for quick errands.

And Santa Monica is dealing with the problem of haphazardly parked scooters by providing designated scooter parking on the sidewalk. Although a better solution would be to replace a car parking spot with parking for the more efficient scooters.

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Local

Streetsblog offers a review of Sunday’s sparsely attended open streets event in Huntington Park and Vernon, which could have benefited from better promotion.

CiclaValley previews Bike Walk Burbank’s 4th Annual Midnight Ramble this Saturday.

Still no word on who is behind the rash of shootings at Malibu Creek State Park, or whether bike riders, hikers and campers are safe there after a camper was murdered earlier this year.

 

State

The California Sun lists seven must-see California destinations operated by the Bureau of Land Management.

The 11th Annual Bike the Bay rolls this Sunday across the iconic San Diego Coronado Bridge and around the San Diego Bay.

Stockton residents have installed a ghost bike for a rider who was killed in an unsolved 2016 hit-and-run.

This is who we share the roads with. A San Jose woman called the police after she got home at 2 am, and discovered a dead pedestrian lodged under her truck; she was not arrested, despite driving with a suspended license and an outstanding warrant for theft.

 

National

The Seattle Times applauds nearby Bellevue for a pilot bike lane project that uses a variety of separators, from bollards to planters, to determine what works best and how it’s accepted by the public and business owners.

An Albuquerque man offers an impassioned Op-Ed calling for drivers who hit bike riders to face justice and for the city to do more to protect bicyclists, after his friend who refused to own a car was killed by a hit-and-run driver while riding his bike.

Texas Senator John Cornyn welcomes riders to this week’s Hotter’n Hell 100 in Wichita Falls, after helping out as a volunteer last year.

An Iowa bicyclist offers advice on how to avoid killing someone on a shared use path. Because someone recently did.

A Catholic monk stops in Oklahoma on an unsupported cross-country ride to promote religious unity; his indirect route has taken him over 4,000 miles to get just halfway across the US.

Video has been released of the crash involving the hit-and-run Kentucky mayor that sent a 16-year old girl to the hospital. It’s hard to see, but it appears to show the mayor’s SUV hit the girl’s bike without knocking her down, supporting his contention that she rode off without stopping.

A Detroit website examines the Motor City’s use of road diets to successfully remake its streets.

Pacific Standard magazine looks at ghost bikes, including a moving ghost bike prayer written by Pittsburgh minister.

New ped-assist bikeshare ebikes are the alternative transportation alternative for New Yorkers stranded by the shutdown of a major subway line. Not surprisingly, the mayor didn’t show up for his own widely promoted ride to promote them.

Oops. A New York cop admits on video that his supervisor ordered officers not to ticket people who park in bike lanes.

Pennsylvania police crack down on groups of teens who block traffic with their bikes and shout obscenities at drivers.

Now you, too, can own your very own dockless bikeshare bike, because Ofo may be no more in DC, but a local bike co-op is selling off some of their bikes for the low, low price of $100.

 

International

A writer for the New Republic says the modern automobile must die in order to fight climate change.

The Mother Nature Network provides photos of 18 spectacular pedestrian and bike bridges around the world.

A European website looks at Complete Streets design in Vancouver, where they’re busy doing it right.

A Toronto writer recommends having your bike tattooed with a registration number from Britain’s Bike Registry to prevent theft and help recover it if it is stolen. I recommend the free Bike Index registration, but whatever you do, register your bike somewhere. Now.

WTF? A Toronto newspaper asks if bikeshare users give “real” cyclists a bad name. Unless your bicycle is imaginary, you’re a real cyclist until the moment you step off it.

A Hamilton, Ontario website calls a newly resurfaced road design “deranged” after the city blocks off space where a curbside bike lane could go, then paints sharrows in the traffic lane.

An Irish mayor has turned his own reserved parking space into a bike corral.

A bill in the Israeli Knesset would require all ebike riders to wear a helmet any time they’re on their bikes.

 

Competitive Cycling

Bicycling tells you how to watch the Vuelta, if you’re willing to fork out the bucks; the race starts this Saturday, but won’t be carried on American TV. Let’s all send a big FU to NBC, which has decided to charge to stream the races they used to carry on cable.

No wonder women’s cycling is so exciting. A new study shows female cyclists race at a greater intensity than their male counterparts, who sustain more load and volume over longer courses.

Pro cyclist Lauren Hall retired after winning the final stage of the Colorado Classic, ending a career that included three national track cycling championships, and two second place finishes in the US road cycling championships.

The pros are going with snub nosed saddles.

 

Finally…

When your on-camera bike ride is only for the cameras. This is who we share the roads with, too; thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

And always try to look up from your phone before hitting a parked car.

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Eid Mubarak to all observing Eid al-Adha today.

 

Morning Links: Bay Area bike advocate busted for Biking While Black, and LADOT officer blocks a DTLA bike lane

Was a Richmond bike rider busted in Oakland for Biking While Black?

Najari Smith, the founder and executive director of non-profit group Rich City Rides, was handcuffed and taken into custody on Friday for the crime of playing amplified music while leading a group of kids on a celebratory ride, and forced to spend the weekend in jail.

Which at it’s worst is a violation of the vehicle code, and a just ticketable offense.

Like LA’s East Side Riders, Rich City Rides operates as a bike shop/co-op dedicated to building a better community by getting the people of the economically depressed area onto two wheels. And Smith is respected, if not beloved, as the peacemaking leader of that group.

In fact, Streetsblog reports that Smith was trying to calm young riders angered by the aggressive police tactics when he was arrested. And that he remained calm and respectful throughout, turning down his music when requested by officers.

Not that it appeared to make any difference.

According to Streetsblog, Oakland police issued a statement saying Smith was taken into custody for repeatedly refusing to provide identification after officers approached him for blocking an intersection. Even though that’s not what was written in the citation.

However, police in the East Bay area have a history of cracking down on groups of young black bike riders.

And a Stanford University study showed Oakland police ticketed black riders at six times the rate of white bicyclists, in a city that’s less than one-third black.

Photo shows Najari Smith with the trailer and sound system he was using when he was arrested.

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What does it mean when the people responsible for keeping drivers from blocking bike lanes are the ones blocking them?

In more ways than one.

A bike rider who prefers to remain anonymous forwarded this video of a confrontation with an LADOT Traffic Officer who not only stopped in a DTLA bike lane in heavy traffic, but passive aggressively stood next to her car refusing to move an inch so the rider could get by.

Maybe she was under no obligation to move until she was damn good and ready.

But is it too much to expect a little common courtesy from a city employee, when stepping aside for a few seconds wouldn’t have affected her job performance in the slightest?

Apparently so.

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Once again, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office plea bargains a serious crime down to a mere caress on the wrist, as a French citizen was sentenced to time served — a lousy 18 days — for ramming his SUV into a group of people in DTLA.

That’s despite facing up to eight years on the original five counts of assault with a deadly weapon.

Seriously, how can we expect drivers to take traffic crime seriously if the DA doesn’t?

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Awhile back, we linked to a story about a rapidly growing petition from an Australian anti-bike group that was calling for bicyclists to be required to ride single file.

Now Cycling Tips reveals the results of a months-long investigation in to the hidden face behind the Facebook group behind the petition.

And their surprising discovery that it may be a well-known cyclist who turned against the local cycling community, after most of the local group rides had turned against him.

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Local

Seriously? Public TV station KCET offers ten basic bike tips for a satisfying ride. And the first one is “Wear a helmet.” As I’ve noted before, I never ride without one. But bike helmets should be seen as the last line of defense when all else fails, never the first. Better advice would be telling people to ride defensively.

Keep Rowena Safe is asking for an all-hands on deck turnout for tonight’s meeting of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council’s Transportation and Neighborhood Safety Committee, to counter a suspected effort to undo the successful Rowena road diet.

It’s going to be a busy few months on SoCal streets, as Santa Monica Next announces details of October’s two-mile COAST open streets event in the coastal community. That comes one week after the epic CicLAvia celebrating the LA Phil’s 100th birthday, and a little more than a month after Long Beach gets in on the act.

 

State

Some people just don’t get it. A community planning group in Ramona wants San Diego County to prioritize improving traffic safety before building bicycle and pedestrian facilities. Never mind that building them is how you improve traffic safety.

You’re invited to re-imagine Downtown Ontario tonight with pop-up buffered bike lanes on Euclid Avenue, as well as extended sidewalks and parklets, followed by a free concert in the town square.

A San Jose sidewalk rider asks everyone to just chill out, because he says it’s not that bad, and the streets can be dangerous. Never mind that sidewalk riding is illegal in downtown San Jose, and riding on the sidewalk actually increases your risk of a collision.

 

National

The rich get richer. Portland gets a beautiful new two-way protected bikeway through an industrial zone, even if no one knows its there.

A San Diego native plans to ride an electric wheelchair across the Cascade Mountains through Washington State to call attention to improving accessibility to the outdoors; he was paralyzed when he crashed his bike into a tree ten years ago while he was a student at UC Santa Cruz.

One Tucson AZ letter writer insists not all people on bicycles are jerks, while another says some bike riders don’t use common sense — like walking their bikes across busy intersections. Sure. As soon as drivers get out and push their cars across them.

An Op-Ed in a Colorado newspaper says mountain bikes shouldn’t be banned from wilderness areas.

A Colorado triathlete recounts the story of the horrifying crash with a careless driver that left her severely injured — and how the police and press got the story wrong because they could only talk with the driver afterwards.

A Colorado town pats itself on the back for improving safety for bike riders — by banning them from riding on sidewalks in the central business district.

Witness the Ofo graveyard, where yellow Dallas dockless bikeshares go to die. You’d think they could donate some of those bikes to homeless or underprivileged people. But evidently, you’d be wrong.

 

International

CNN looks at how children around the world get to school. Hint: Kids in the US don’t ride bikes. Or walk, for that matter.

A bike rider in British Columbia suffers potentially life-threatening injuries when he’s hit by a driver. But all the local paper seems to care about is the road that was closed as a result.

Calgary bicyclists complain after the city botched several bike path detours, forcing riders onto dangerous streets. Sort of like the repeated closures of the LA River bike path around Griffith Park, part of which remains closed through next year.

The Royal Canadian Mounties have recovered ten racing bikes stolen from a Malaysian track cycling team last month, hidden in an abandoned property outside of Edmonton.

An English bike rider wants to thank the bystanders who lifted a car off his leg following a crash.

A British children’s TV host is offering a reward for the return of his stolen ebike, which he named after his brother who died last year after suffering from Down’s Syndrome and dementia.

The New York Times offers a moving look at Jay Austin and Lauren Geoghegan, the American bike tourists murdered by ISIS terrorists in Tajikistan. Thanks to David Drexler for the heads-up.

Israel announces plans to build nearly 375 miles of bike paths to connect with existing paths, forming a 750-mile bikeway stretching across the country.

An Australian city attempts to save lives by experimenting with the equivalent of an 18 mph speed limit.

 

Competitive Cycling

The women’s winner of last year’s Colorado Classic will join the winner of the 2018 women’s Amgen Tour of California, and over 80 other riders, as she attempts to defend her title in this year’s race.

Aussie cyclist Simon Gerrans decides to call it a career after 14 years, with wins in Milan-San Remo, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Santos Tour Down Under, as well as stage wins in all three Grand Tours.

Maybe Gerrans shouldn’t be the only one to retire. Germany’s Tony Martin’s comeback from a fractured cervical vertebrae is on hold after his doctors say another fall right now could be fatal.

Scottish residents complain about being trapped in their homes by the time trial in the European road cycling championships.

 

Finally…

Who says you need a truck to move your belongings to a new home? Call it whatever you want, a fanny pack by any other name is still a fanny pack.

And this is not the proper way to carry a bike on your car.

Credit Santa Monica Mountains Cyclery with the link.

 

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