Tag Archive for Schwinn

Columnist who wrote about bus bike theft leaves LA, the massive cost of traffic violence, and restoring your faith humanity

LA Times City Beat columnist Nita Lelyveld penned her final piece for the paper, which included a reminder of one of my favorites.

In a story from nine years ago, she told how two strangers on a bus became close friends when one rescued the other man’s bicycle from a would-be thief.

A story that started right here a few months earlier.

She also told my own story of taking in a homeless man’s corgi so he could get back on his feet. Which literally saved his life when he saw the outpouring of love and support that resulted, much of it from readers of this site.

Along with a followup from earlier this year, relating how my wife and I had become friends with the now formerly homeless man, and the new puppy that filled the hole in our lives after our own corgi died.

To be honest, I’m not sure I would have trusted anyone else with the story.

Nita’s moving on to Portland, Maine, where she’ll be the new city editor for the Portland Press Herald.

Their gain, LA’s loss.

Photo by Maria Orlova from Pexels.

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Sometimes, I don’t even know what to say.

So just let these numbers sink in: 112,519 people who weren’t in cars — mostly pedestrians and people on bicycles — have been killed by drivers since 9/11.

And nearly 2 million — yes, million — American traffic deaths since 1975, which would make it equivalent to the 5th largest city in the US.

Somehow, we have to make our fellow Americans care enough to finally do something about it.

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I’m usually not one for surveys, but I might make an exception this time.

PeopleForBikes wants your opinion on what it’s like to ride a bike where you live for their 2022 City Ratings, and promise it will only take five minutes of your time.

Anyone who does will be entered to win prizes, including this Schwinn Orange Krate bike.

From PeopleForBikes

Then again, the fewer people who respond, the better my chance of winning the bike I wanted as a kid, but never got.

So forget I said anything.

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This is who we share the road with.

Phil Gaimon posted video this morning of the aftermath of a road rage incident in Boulder, Colorado. Although it’s not clear if the driver severely beat the victim, or ran him down with his car, then got out to look at him.

The good news is, the driver has been identified, and may yet be held accountable for his crimes.

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As usual, drivers make the best case for protected bike lanes.

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Let’s interrupt the usual news with a few stories to help restore your faith in humanity.

A nurse on Hawaii’s Big Island discovered it takes a village to recover a stolen bicycle — in less than a day, even — while reminding everyone to get vaccinated.

Bighearted Texas cops used donations from local businesses to give a new bike, helmet, lock and lights to a man formerly homeless man who had been walking 14 miles round trip to get to his job in another town.

Kindhearted Oklahoma cops dug into their own pockets to buy a new bike for a special needs man, after the bicycle he used as his primary means of transportation was stolen.

Firefighters in Waukesha, Wisconsin opened their own wallets to buy a used bicycle for a man whose bike was destroyed in a collision with a driver, after learning it was his only means of transportation.

An anonymous Good Samaritan surprised a Virginia girl with a new bicycle, leaving it on her porch with an unsigned note a month after hers was stolen.

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Clean transportation nonprofit Calstart is looking for a new director of innovative mobility.

Although even after reading the job description, I’m still have no idea what that means.

But something tells me I’m probably not qualified, anyway.

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

A road raging Aussie driver drove over a bicycle and took off with a bicyclist clinging to the hood of his car, in a confrontation that began when a group of bike riders complained about the driver swerving into them; the driver can be heard on the video saying “I will fucking destroy you, I’ve got money mate.” And there’s nothing scarier than an angry driver with money, right?

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

A bike-riding parolee was busted for “terrorizing” a Venice community by slashing car tires with a folding knife and shattering a window in the west LA neighborhood with a brick.

A man was permanently banned from a Washington Walmart after entering the closed store on his bike, riding around the store pocketing drinks and candy bars before threatening security guards with a meat cleaver.

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Local

Los Angeles CD4 Councilmember Nithya Raman appeared to throw long-standing plans for a 4th Street Neighborhood Greenway under the bus in a meeting with Larchmont area homeowners, agreeing to oppose proposals for bike and pedestrian traffic signals on 4th and Highland, and 4th and Rossmore. Even though they would benefit local residents as much as anyone else, without causing any harm.

Metro Bike is offering two weeks free for any passholders who refer a friend.

Simon Cowell is still one of us, taking his ebike for a ride through the ‘Bu, a year after shattering his back crashing an electric motorcycle. Which the press still insists on calling an ebike.

 

State

Paso Robles is looking for public input for a planned bicycle pump track, to be designed by the same firm that built the skate park for the Tokyo Olympics.

Drivers were outraged by the estimated 5,000 people on bicycles who turned out for the 5th annual Santa Cruz Ride Out and “clogged traffic for hours.” In other words, kind of like drivers do all by themselves multiple times a day.

 

National

Bicycling makes their picks for the best ebikes of 2021 — including LA-based Aventon — with prices starting at just $999 and going up. Way up. I can’t find this one on Yahoo, so you’re on your own if Bicycling blocks you.

A father and daughter duo rode their antique Penny Farthings across the US from San Francisco to Boston, covering 3,314 miles in 57 days. Then turned around and rode across the US from north to south, for a total of 6,100 miles.

Forbes reviews the new book by the guy who took a New York bikeshare bike on a ride across the US in search of a new home, before settling on — and in — Tusla OK.

Heartbreaking news from Wisconsin, where an 88-year old man was killed by a driver while trying to make a left turn on his bicycle. Anyone who makes it to that age deserves better, damn it — and safer streets to ride on. Never mind that it takes the local paper until the penultimate paragraph to mention that the pickup that hit him even had a driver.

Chicago Streetsblog tells the sad story of protected bike lane proposals killed by parking pushback. Something tells me Los Angeles could produce an even greater tearjerker.

This is the cost of traffic violence. A 70-year old retired creative writing professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and former Alaska Writer Laureate was killed in a Maine bicycling collision last week.

 

International

After a Toronto councilmember had her own bicycle stolen, some unsympathetic residents blamed her for supporting shelters for the homeless, accusing them of taking her bike.

A pair of British men are on trial for murder in the death of a young father, after he accused one of them of stealing the other man’s bicycle to buy more drugs; the alleged killer swears he didn’t mean to harm the victim, despite repeatedly punching him and stomping on his head. I’d hate to see what he’d do if he did mean to hurt someone.

Welsh residents complain about plans for a “national standard” BMX track over fears that it will add to traffic congestion. More proof that NIMBYs are the same everywhere.

 

Competitive Cycling

It’s starting to look like the only thing that could keep two-time defending Vuelta champ Primož Roglič from the red leader’s jersey is falling off his bike. Which is exactly what happened yesterday.

Tragic news from Spain, where ultra-distance cyclist Ana Orenz was competing in the unsupported, nearly 2,00-mile Transiberica race when she suffered “devastating” injuries after crashing into a wild boar during a high-speed descent; Orenz suffered a broken neck and spinal injuries, as well as severe head trauma, and lay alone in the roadway unable to move for two hours before she was found. A crowdfunding page has raised nearly $41,000 of the $58,700 goal.

 

Finally…

Who needs a Bookmobile when you’ve got a cargo bike? Now you, too, can have your very own Louis Vuitton bicycle, complete with awkward hand brakes that look chic but will probably kill you, for the low, low price of $27,000.

And it takes a pretty smart dog to be this knowledgable when it comes to doping.

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

Morning Links: Tuskegee Airman — and bike rider — Robert Friend dies at 99; and minding a Duarte bike shop at 101

Let’s start with the passing of a real American hero.

LA’s own Robert Friend, one of the last surviving members of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen, died on Friday, just months away from his 100th birthday.

The 99-year old Lt. Colonel flew 142 missions over Europe and North Africa during World War II as a fighter pilot in the all-black squadron, before going on to serve in Korea and Vietnam. He was later attached to NASA as an Air Force liaison, working on the Titan, Atlas and Delta rockets and the Space Shuttle program.

Not to mention overseeing the infamous Project Blue Book for five years, as the once top secret program investigated over 12,000 reports of flying saucers and other mysterious airborne objects.

Here’s what the Washington Post had to say about his flying career.

Although Col. Friend occasionally discussed Project Blue Book in interviews, he was far better known for his record as a Tuskegee Airman, notably for a two-week stretch when he twice averted disaster.

Striking an oil barge in Germany on Dec. 14, 1944, he unleashed a barrage of 50-caliber bullets that triggered an enormous, mushroom-shaped explosion, nearly taking down his aircraft. “The flame completely engulfed the diving ship,” the Pittsburgh Courier reported at the time. “Friend said it was sort of like being in hell. He managed to pull his ship out at the last moment.”

Days later, he faced bad weather and mechanical difficulties while flying over Italy. Disoriented in the darkness, praying to avoid crashing into a mountain or ejecting over the water, he took his chances and bailed out — and recalled in a 2006 lecture that he found himself parachuting toward a mountain.

“I hit the side of the mountain, slid down to the ground and saw a woman running to me with a knife in her hand,” he said, according to a Washington Post report. An alarmed Col. Friend soon found that she was no Nazi sympathizer. In an act of wartime desperation, he said, she simply “wanted the silk from my parachute.”

Robert Friend was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroism, as well as the Congressional Gold Medal given to the entire unit.

The Tuskegee Airmen had to battle racism and discrimination, both in the military and in the Jim Crow South surrounding their Alabama base, before being allowed to face the Nazis.

Yet they quickly earned a reputation as some of the finest fliers on either side, their success in the air eventually leading to the full-integration of the US military.

And eventually, the United States itself.

If that’s not enough, Friend was also one of us, a supporter of Ride 2 Recovery well into his 90s, riding with wounded vets on the seven-day, 465-mile UnitedHealhcare Ride 2 Recovery California Challenge from San Francisco to Los Angeles when he was 94.

Robert Friend will be buried with full military honors over the fourth of July weekend.

He leaves this world a little poorer and smaller than it was just a few days ago.

And so is the Southern California bicycling community.

Photo shows Robert Friend as a young officer, from the CAF Red Tail Squadron website

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Somehow, we missed this one earlier this month.

Duarte’s Loyd’s Custom Bicycle Shop is back in business, nine months after 101-year old owner Gordon Loyd Gibbons left to have cataract surgery.

The shop, which specializes in restoring classic Schwinn bicycles, has been in business for 50 years. And Gibbons says he’ll keep running it “until the good Lord takes me.”

Speaking of Schwinn, reading that story led me down a rabbit hole to the discovery of my first bike, a hand-me-down, hand-me-down, hand-me-down that passed through all three of my siblings before it got to me.

And had been repainted so many times there wasn’t a hint of its original ID beyond the Schwinn badge.

So I had no idea just what it was until recognizing it in a 1960s Schwinn catalog.

Although if I ever make it out to Lloyd’s shop, I may look for that classic 10 peed Schwinn Varsity I’ve always wanted, instead.

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CyclingSavvy instructor Gary Cziko sets out to ride his bike on each of the streets in LA’s Vision Zero High Injury Network at rush hour, recording the results on a nausea-inducing 360° bike cam — starting with Lincoln Blvd in Venice.

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Breathe LA is teaming with SCAG — the Southern California Association of Governments — to host a panel discussion of key mobility and transportation issues facing the greater Los Angeles community in DTLA this evening.

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No bias here.

In yet another example of biking while black, a black bike rider was stopped and handcuffed by police in Michigan for the crime of not having a light on his bike as he rode to his second job in the next town over — even though he was holding a flashlight to fulfill the requirement for a light.

And was incorrectly told he had to have an ID just to ride a bicycle.

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This is who we share the roads with.

Seven motorcyclists were killed, and three injured, when a pickup driver pulling a flatbed trailer slammed head-on into a motorcycle club comprised of active duty and veteran marines.

Witnesses reported the truck was swerving uncontrollably across the roadway prior to the crash.

Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the tip, who also notes the prevalence of reporting without an apparent driver involved, or anyone else who might be responsible, other than the victims.

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Local

Yes, there are more bike riders and pedestrians on LA freeways.

A group of bike riders led by UCLA climate scientist Alex Hall are riding from Oakland to Los Angeles on the 550-mile California Climate Expedition to witness the effects of climate change firsthand, while raising funds for the UCLA Center for Climate Science.

E-scooters haven’t made their way to many economically challenged parts of the San Fernando Valley yet — if they ever do.

Some residents of the San Fernando Valley say don’t expand the LA River bike path when some segments are littered with trash and needles. Not to mention throwaway people who have nowhere else to go, right?

A bighearted real estate agent donated 50 bicycles to Pasadena’s Elizabeth House, for the kids of pregnant women who’ve suffered from homelessness and abuse. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

You could win the new Stranger Things BMX bike at next weekend’s popup event to promote the show at the Santa Monica pier.

About damn time. Santa Monica will spend $3 million to improve the beachfront Marvin Braude bike trail north of the Santa Monica pier, including widening the path to create separate walking and biking paths. Now we just have to get Los Angeles on board for their section, as well.

 

State

A San Diego teenager suffered a broken leg when he crashed into the side of a pickup whose driver cut him off while he was riding lightless.

Two San Diego boys who disappeared while on a 1993 bike ride were honored with a new plaque on an existing memorial in the San Diego South Bay National Wildlife Refuge, 26 years after they were found murdered in a riverbed.

The Coachella Valley will add another 15 miles to the planned 50-mile CV Link bike and pedestrian path encircling the Valley. Thanks to Richard Fox, who was interviewed extensively for the story, for the heads-up.

A Ventura letter writer complains about the newly installed bollards along a protected bike lane on Telephone Road, calling on the city to get rid of the ugly “white plastic picket fence posts.”

An 82-year old San Luis Obispo man is suing the local airport after a gust of jet blast knocked him off his bicycle. Seriously, who could possibly have foreseen jet blast at an airport?

A bike-riding Fremont man was charged with a hate crime for throwing rocks at several Muslim men and threatening them with a large stick; he already has a lengthy criminal record for violent behavior.

Sad news, as a survivor of the Paradise Fire, and the town’s unofficial ambassador, has died of a heart attack suffered during a 39-mile bike ride through Mendocino County.

 

National

A Eugene OR letter writer says bicyclists need to be licensed, insured and pay for their own bike lanes. And stay the hell off major roads when there’s a parallel bike route. Because apparently, the taxes bike riders already pay just aren’t good enough. And people on bikes never, ever need to take the most direct route to where they’re going, unlike motorists.

A pair of Denver bike advocates relate the lessons they learned on a conference junket visiting Copenhagen, one of the world’s most bike-friendly cities.

Boise, Idaho has opened a new state-of-the-art bicycle parking facility with room for 42 bikes in an existing parking garage. Even if it does look more like they’re preparing for a steel cage death match.

Four Houston teenagers are under arrest for allegedly testing out their laser gunsight on an apparently random bike rider in a drive-by shooting; the victim saw the green dot on himself just before they shot him in the arm.

A Dallas pastor is trying to bring America together by riding a bike across the country and striking up conversations with strangers about life and spiritual matters.

Apparently, Arkansas horse and mule riders don’t need to stop for stop signs anymore, either.

Chicago residents have embraced the new 606 bike and pedestrian trail, even as it has contributed to gentrification in the former low-income and industrial neighborhoods it passes through.

Even the Twin Cities has a gender gap, with twice as many men riding to work as women.

Once again, a dangerous motorist is able to stay on the roads until it’s too late, this time in Ohio, where a 15-year old bike rider was killed by a speeding motorcyclist riding with a suspended license and two outstanding traffic warrants.

A Nashville columnist says this scooter madness must end, because it’s not the micromobility revolution we need. Meanwhile, an e-scooter rider who was killed in a collision shortly after the devices were introduced to the city, sparking calls for a scooter ban, was riding at twice the legal alcohol limit at the time of the crash.

No bias here, either. A new study shows that nearly 25% of New York bike riders fail to stop for red lights — which means that 75% do. Half of all riders came to a full stop, while another 25% stopped, then proceeded when they thought it was safe.

An injured bikeshare rider says the NYPD ignore reckless driver behavior that victimizes bike riders.

Kindhearted New York Yankees players dug into their own pockets to buy a new adaptive bicycle for a 14-year old boy with a rare seizure disorder. I’ve never been a Yankees fan, but I may cut them a break after this.

The Wall Street Journal asks if you should trade in your car for an ebike. Short answer, yes. Even if most of the story is hidden behind a paywall.

Three Florida police officers were honored for saving the life of a 41-year old man after he went into cardiac arrest while riding his bicycle.

A Florida man has undergone over 60 hours of surgery, and run up countless medical bills, after a hit-and-run driver dragged him over half a mile under his pickup as he fled. A crowdfunding page has raised nearly $7,500 of the modest $10,000 goal after eight days.

 

International

The CBC wonders if it’s rude to blast Bon Jovi from the speakers on your bike. It should at least be a Canadian artist like Bryan Adams or Alanis Morissette, let alone someone from this century. 

Nice move. A Canadian bikeshare adds an adult tricycle, enabling people with disabilities to ride, as well.

Royal-in-law James Middleton, younger brother of Kate, says his five therapy dogs are devastated after someone stole the bakfiets he uses to cart them through the streets of London. Though someone should tell People that the “unique bike” “with a cart upfront” is just an everyday cargo bike. 

The parents of a 21-year old woman who was killed in the London Bridge terrorist attack have founded a London to Paris fundraising bike ride.

A British cyclist who hold the record for the London to Paris crossing now sets his sights on a new record for crossing China’s Desert of Death. Call me crazy, but I’d assume they call it the Desert of Death for a reason.

Brit bicyclists have set up a crowdfunding campaign to help pay expenses for the bike rider who was ordered to pay up to £100,000 — the equivalent of over $127,000 — in damages after colliding with a distracted pedestrian who stepped off a curb in front of him, even though he had the green light, had honked his horn to warn her, and had swerved to try to avoid her. The page has already raised well over 100% more than the original £21,300 goal in just three days. 

I want to be like her when I grow up. An 81-year old Scottish grandmother has set a new record as the oldest person to ride the full length of the Great Britain.

Evidently, Copenhagen hasn’t always been bike friendly. After former INXS frontman Michael Hutchence suffered a serious head injury when he was the victim of a road raging cab driver in the Danish city, it changed his personality and set him on the path to his eventual suicide in an Australian hotel room.

Thailand’s new king is one of us, as he goes for an incognito bike ride with his wife and massive entourage in Lucerne, Switzerland. Although his fashion choices leave something to be desired.

Madrid’s pollution-fighting ban on motor vehicles could be in jeopardy as a new conservative government moves in.

A Bangladeshi midwife in her 70s still rides a bicycle around the countryside delivering medications.

Tres shock! Aussie drivers are stunned and appalled to learn that bicyclists not only are allowed to ride two abreast, but actually encouraged to do so. Which says a lot less about people on bikes than it does about drivers who don’t know the law.

Thousands of Malaysian children will get recycled bicycles after a Mandalay entrepreneur bought up 10,000 bikeshare bikes that were abandoned when the companies pulled out of Singapore and Malaysia.

 

Competitive Cycling

Geraint Thomas explains what it’s like to experience a high speed bike crash — without actually having to go through all the pain and stuff.

Cyclist questions why so many pro teams are failing to make the podium.

Don’t look for American Tejay Van Garderen to challenge for the podium in next month’s Tour de France, after he was assigned to ride in support of team leader Rigoberto Uran.

Annapolis, Maryland welcomed the finishers of this year’s RAAM, aka the Race Across America, including six-time champ Christoph Strasser.

Must be in the genes. Milwaukee’s Nick Reistad spent five years as a pro cyclist, including stints with the US National and Jelly Belly teams; now his six-year old daughter is about ride in her first race.

A British ultracyclist learns the hard way that you can’t set a new 24-hour record if you don’t stay on your bike. And you can’t do that if you spill water on the track.

Apparently, women’s cycling has the same problems the men do with massive crushes of fans crowding the peloton.

 

Finally…

Nothing says 2019 like a bikeshare-by shooting. Who needs an ebike when you’ve got an electric unicycle?

And when you’re carrying over a pound of weed, maybe try not to call attention to yourself by stealing a bicycle.

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Thanks to David Erickson for his generous donation to help support this site. Your support to help keep SoCal’s best bike news coming your way every day is always appreciated. 

Like a bike shop in a surf riot, Helmets on Heads on the Eastside, and what I did this weekend

Just a few quick notes after being tied up inside all weekend.

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Somehow, bikes always seem to end up on the losing end.

Even in the middle of a surf riot.

Last night proved that problems with “unruly crowds” aren’t confined to urban areas, as a crowd got out of control leaving the US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach.

And of course, immediately attacked the first bike shop they saw. Evidently, they couldn’t find a surf shop to trash in Surf City.

Earlier reports indicated the shop was looted, but it looks like just one bike was stolen from the window of the Easyrider bike & skate shop after someone threw, yes, a stop sign through it.

We’ll pause for a moment to consider the irony.

Apparently, a second bike was saved by employees playing tug-of-war with looter wannabes, using a bike instead of rope.

Our anonymous OC/Southbay source happened to be riding through in the immediate aftermath.

So a few hours ago, I pull up at a controlled intersection (controlled by five cruisers with lights & uniformed officers) and chat up a bored officer who’s just standing’ around keepin’ an eye on out, and he says right now they’re really cracking down and nailing people for every little thing. So I point out that I don’t have my bike light on. He says that’s too minor to deal with. “People just don’t bring bikes to riots.”

Well, Hunny PD. They should know.

ATTENTION, HOOLIGANS: IN HUNTINGTON BEACH, CALIFORNIA, YOU CAN CONFIDENTLY FLEE RIOTS IF YOU STEAL A BIKE.

People are sweeping the shattered glass off the curbs and only catching most of it before it hits the gutter. Main Street’ll be safe enough to ride by morning, though. And the officer said there’s a street sweeper coming in a few hours to clear PCH.

Thank god the Open’s over.

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If you find yourself on the Eastside Wednesday, you might take a few minutes to meet BMX star Steve McCann and watch Schwinn do a good thing.

Helmets on Heads and Schwinn Bikes Provide Free Bike Helmets to kids from Variety Sports Club, July 31

BMX star Steve McCann to speak to kids about the importance of helmet safety

What:

Helmets on Heads, a comprehensive national education campaign from Schwinn Bikes, in association with the ThinkFirst National Injury Prevention Foundation, is visiting Variety Boys and Girls Club in Los Angeles on Wednesday, July 31st. More than 250 members of the Variety Boys and Girls Club will receive a new bicycle helmet courtesy of Schwinn.

Educators from ThinkFirst Los Angeles County Chapter will discuss the importance of protecting the brain and fit each kid with a new Schwinn helmet. BMX star Steve McCann will be on hand to assist with helmet fitting, as well as to encourage the kids on safe and fun bike riding, along with helmet safety.

Helmets on Heads is committed to educating one million kids about bike helmet safety over the next 10 years. The organization offers tools and opportunities for educators, local communities and families to get involved and take action in protecting themselves and those around them.

For more information on Helmets on Heads please visit www.helmetsonheads.org.

One quick caveat, though. All the helmets are already spoken for, and none will be available to anyone other than the kids from the Boys and Girls Club.

Correction: I just got word that this event is not open to the public after all, so I’ve removed the time and location. 

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STM_165x248_1Let me give a belated shout out to my friends at Clif Bar, who sent me their latest flavor to check out. There may not be a lot of perks to this job, but getting free food ranks pretty high on the list.

Note to brewers: I’m more than happy to sample your wares, as well.

I’m just saying.

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Finally, about this last weekend.

I spent both days at a retreat for the Board of Directors for the LACBC (Saturday) and an LACBC Board/Staff workshop (Sunday).

I don’t often talk about my role with the LACBC here, since I want it to be clear that I’m speaking for myself, rather than than the LACBC or any organization I may be associated with, when I speak to the media or write on this site.

But allow me a moment to say I’m very proud to play a small part with such an outstanding organization. The people who work or volunteer for the LACBC are among the finest I have ever had the pleasure of being associated with. And dedicated to making to making the 88 cities and unincorporated areas that make up LA County better, safer and more inviting places to ride a bike — and helping make those communities healthier and more livable for everyone, whether they ride or not.

If you aren’t already a member, you owe it to yourself and your community to become one.

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Even if you never ride a bike, you owe it to yourself to support a group working to improve commutes and make our streets safer for everyone on them.

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