Tag Archive for skin cancer

Weekend Links: More on the ongoing Camp Pendleton saga, and the most asinine anti-bike bill yet

In the ongoing story of the pending Camp Pendleton restrictions on bicycle access, attorney Edward M. Rubinstein forwards this email from the Marines Public Relations Office.

Update: Cycling Through Camp Pendleton

Currently cyclists are permitted to ride through Camp Pendleton, going to and from Oceanside, upon presenting proper IDs. This is about to change. The new policy as presented by the Camp’s Public Affairs Office follows:

Camp Pendleton wanted to give you an update on our visitor access policy. We value the great relationship we have with the area cycling community and wanted to develop a process allowing bicyclists’ continued access to Camp Pendleton.  By March 1, bicyclists will be required to register in order to have access to the base.  An online process will be complete mid-February and base access will be good for one year.  Bicyclists will need to re-register every year.  Until the registration process is finalized, bicyclists will still be able to enter the base with their U.S. or State government issued identification card just like now.  After March 1, all bicyclists will need to be registered and show their U.S. or State identification when entering the base.  Once the registration process is up and running in a few weeks, we will share the link.  Our goal is to maintain a great relationship with area riders but also balance that with security and protection for our Marines, Sailors, civilian employees and families.  Thank you for your patience and understanding.


Speaking of Pendleton, Alan Thompson sends the following notice from the Orange County Transportation Authority, aka OCTA.

Temporary Bikeway Closure: January 25 – 29

Due to military operations, the US Marine Corps plans a temporary closure of bikeway access through Camp Pendleton between Las Pulgas Road and Basilone Road for construction on Interstate 5.

Please call the Caltrans shuttle at (619) 385-3267 for transfers during the closure.

Click here to download a PDF version of the map.



Congratulations to South Dakota for proposing the most asinine anti-bike bill yet.

The legislation would require bicyclists to dismount and move off the road to allow faster vehicles to pass if they’re riding in a no-passing zone without an adequate shoulder.

So does that mean that other slow moving vehicles would have to do the same? Can we now expect farmers to get off their tractors and push them off the roadway so speeding cars and trucks can zoom on by?

Looks like some SD legislators need to find a new line of work.


On a personal note, it’s now Me 2, Skin Cancer 0.

I’m rehabbing from my second skin cancer surgery, on my calf this time, a product of years of riding back in the days when the sun was supposed to be good for you, and sunscreen was something you hung over the window for more shade.

So let this be a painful reminder to slather it on before you head out for a ride.



Streetsblog asks if you would vote for Metro’s proposed sales tax increase to fund transportation projects if it doesn’t contain dedicated funding for bicycling and pedestrian projects. We fought for dedicated funding in Measure R, and lost; I won’t support another one without a significant set aside for active transportation.

A report from KPCC says you can ride in the rain if you plan ahead. And it can even be fun, if a tad damp.

The LACBC is looking for a new Development Director.

If you hurry, you may still have time to catch bike-friendly LA Councilmember Bob Blumenfield’s bike ride in the San Fernando Valley if it doesn’t rain this morning; CiclaValley may or may not be there.

A community workshop will be held later today to discuss the Inglewood Active Transportation Plan at the Inglewood City Hall Community Room.

Mark your calendar for the first ever Los Angeles Bicycle Festival on May 7th; Momentum Magazine calls the $10 in advance festival a “two-wheeled Bicycle Disneyland.”



San Diego Magazine cites the city’s move away from auto-dependency — including bikeshare, a bike-riding mayor and a $200 million bike plan — as just one reason to love the city.

More madness from Coronado, as the mayor suggests 1960s street planning as a solution to a dangerous street, apparently because he’s afraid of proliferating traffic signals.

Sad news from Porterville, as a bike rider was killed trying to illegally cross a four lane divided highway. Note to Porterville: if people are getting killed trying to cross there instead of the overpass a quarter mile away, maybe your crossing is in the wrong place.

A 79-year old San Jose man has been charged with murder in the hit-and-run death of a cyclist; he allegedly knew the man he hit with his truck, then intentionally backed over again before fleeing the scene.

A Bay Area broadcaster looks at bicyclists behaving badly by rolling stops in spite of the mayor’s veto of the Idaho stop law. Maybe he should take a look at how few drivers actually come to a stop in my neighborhood.

Nothing like living in a tourist town like Sausalito and then complaining about all the tourists, including those on bikes.



Bicycling offers advice on how to use pepper spray to defend yourself while riding your bike. And says you’re probably overinflating your tires, especially the front one.

People for Bikes provides a sneak peak at NACTO’s new transit guide that shows how protected bike lanes can work in conjunction with transit projects.

A Seattle driver rants about the cyclist who spit on her windshield — apparently unprovoked, of course — after rudely riding in the middle of the lane. Something tells me there’s another side to that story. But please, keep your phlegm to yourself.

Evidently, bikes break down a lot in Idaho, as residents of the state Google the term “bike repair” more than any other state, while Massachusetts Googles “bike courier.” On the other hand, California Googles “lion tamer” for reasons that escape me.

Boulder County CO hosts a Winter Bike Week next week. Funny how a cold weather county encourages winter time riding, and a warm weather one like LA doesn’t.

Texas Ranger pitcher and Bakersfield resident Colby Lewis is now 25 pounds lighter after taking up bicycling to rehab his surgically repaired knee.

Bicycling looks at what New York got right with Vision Zero, and how it can be improved.



Rampaging bikers tear up a town, just like in the Wild One. Except in Canada. And on bicycles. In 1897. Hey Johnnie, what are you rebelling against?

Life is cheap in Ontario — no, the one in Canada — where a hit-and-run driver got just nine months for the death of a cyclist; even the judge apologized for the light sentence.

When is a Toronto bike lane not a bike lane? When it’s also a parking lane.

London’s Brothers on Bikes program works to get mostly male members of minority groups out on bikes.

A UK driver keeps going after knocking a cyclist off his bike, but it’s the victim who faces charges after catching up to the car and smashing the passenger window with his U-lock when the driver refused to give his insurance information. I’ve said it before — just take down the license number and let the police deal with it; retaliating only gets you in trouble.

Botswana bicyclists demand protection from the country’s dangerous roads and the drivers on them.

There’s a new women’s hour record holder, as Australia’s Birdie O’Donnell rides 46.882 km — 29.131 miles — in one hour.



When you’re already high and riding your bike with meth, morphine and dope in your backpack, put a damn light on it. You can’t escape windshield bias, even in trust planning.

And it looks like my new riding kit is being recalled.


For those keeping score at home, it’s Nose 1, Cancer 0.

Six weeks after surgery for my latest cycling injury, I’m happy to report that my proboscis is now skin cancer-free and healing nicely.

Thirty years of mostly unprotected cycling resulted in a diagnosis of basal cell skin cancer — fortunately, one of the mildest forms of cancer, easily eradicated with simple surgery.

In fact, the surgery itself took just a few seconds, as the surgeon took a single slice with his scalpel, then had me spend an hour cooling my heels in the waiting room while they conducted a biopsy to make sure they got it all.

Six weeks later and skin cancer-free. Not so bad, huh?

Then came the hard part, as a pair of surgeons tugged and pulled to stretch my flesh over the gaping gap to minimize the scarring. Imagine trying to stretch your eyelid over a bowling ball, and you’ll get a general idea what it felt like.

But now I’m finally both bandage and cancer free. And, as you can see, with just a small scar as a reminder.

My doctor says he can get rid of that for me. But I kind of like it.

To me, it’s just another scar from a lifetime of riding.

And a reminder that some of our most important safety equipment comes in a tube.


Tomorrow, USDOT Transportation Direct Ray LaHood and California Senator Barbara Boxer are hosting a hearing about priorities for the National Transportation Bill. The meeting will take place Friday, February 19, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. in the Boardroom of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority at One Gateway Plaza, Downtown.

LACBC is hosting a ride to the meeting to emphasize the need for a higher priority — and more funding — for bikes and pedestrians projects. Riders are assembling at 8:15 at Union Station’s Patsaouras Plaza, or you can meet them there.


LACBC talks about the benefits of bike boulevards, including the proposed for 4th St. in L.A.; remember, how you sell them to the surrounding neighborhood is key. LAPD plans to step up enforcement of dangerous motorcyclists and other careless motorists. Gary offers advice on driving to the beach: Don’t. The Backbone Bikeway Network concept spreads to Long Beach. Orange County park rangers plan to dismantle an illegal off-road bike course. A San Diego rider rolls a stop, and faces down a confrontation with an angry driver. What do you call someone with an irrational hatred of bikes? The planned 3,000 pedestrian/bike greenway along the East Coast received $23 million in Federal funding. A cyclist who testified against Floyd Landis is charged with illegally importing Human Growth Hormone. Toyota’s gas pedal problems have been blamed for 34 fatalities between 2000 and 2008 — compared to 378 pedestrians and cyclists in the Detroit area alone. A London cyclist says the way to promote cycling is to ban car advertising. Contrary to reports of increased risk, analysis shows the rate of cycling deaths per mile traveled has in Britain has dropped 50%  since 1995. Calgary considers revising speed limits for cyclists on bikeways. Ten riders are biking from Bangalore to Mumbai to promote “Car Free Day.” Finally, the bad news is, Anchorage police attempt to shift responsibility for avoiding collisions to cyclists; the good news is, current traffic code requires drivers to yield to all human-powered vehicles.

After 30 years of bicycling, I now have skin cancer

I always wear a helmet when I ride. I wear polycarbonate sunglasses to protect my eyes. And padded bike gloves to cushion my hands and prevent road rash if I should fall.

I ride defensively, keeping a close look out for dangerous, careless and otherwise inattentive drivers. As well as dogs, pedestrians, tourists and other cyclists. And bees, of course.

But none of that prevented the sun from shining down on my unprotected face, causing a single, minute cell to mutate. And eventually, develop into a tumor hiding in plain site on the side of my nose.

It could have happened when I lived in Colorado, riding 50 miles a day, seven days a week, in the rarified high-altitude air that lets more of the sun’s damaging rays penetrate. Or maybe it began in San Diego, where the near-perfect weather invited leisurely, day-long rides around the bay or up the coast.

It might even go all the back to my childhood, when family doctors still said the sun was good for you, and suntan lotions magnified, rather than blocked, the sun’s damaging rays.

It doesn’t really matter. It’s done, and I have it.

See the skin cancer in this photo? Neither did the first three doctors I showed it to.

I have skin cancer.

For the first 10 or 15 years of my riding career, it would never have occurred to me to put sunscreen on my face. In those days, it was used to prevent sunburn, not skin cancer. And as a year round cyclist, I had a dark enough tan that sunburn wasn’t an issue.

Eventually, the various warnings about skin cancer got through my thick skull, and I started wearing an SPF 8, then a 25.

Now I wear an SPF 50 on every exposed surface, every time I ride.

Funny thing is, I noticed a hard little spot about the size of a pinhead on my nose three or four years ago; three different doctors dismissed it as harmless.

It was the fourth, a dermatologist, who didn’t.

My doctor had referred me to have something else checked out; she quickly determined that was harmless. But as long as I was there, I pointed out that other spot once again.

As first she agreed with the other doctors, since it lacked the irregular shape and discoloration typical of skin cancers. Then she looked at it again, this time under magnification, and spotted a raised outer ridge and central depression typical of basal cell cancer.

Still, she was reasonably certain it wasn’t cancer. But decided to do a biopsy just to be sure.

Then about a month ago, I was on my bike when my cell phone rang. The doctor said the biopsy had confirmed a basal cell carcinoma. As she put it, “There’s no such thing as a good cancer. But if you’re going to have cancer, this is the one you want.”

The good thing about it, she explained, was that, unlike a squamous cell carcinoma or the more serious melanoma, this type of cancer grows slowly and doesn’t spread. It can be removed surgically, with no further treatment required.

No radiation, no chemo.

But now that I’ve had the first one, I’ll be at greater risk of a recurrence, for the rest of my life.

Unfortunately, its location in the middle of my face meant that she couldn’t do the surgery. It requires a specialist capable of getting all the cancer while minimizing the scarring. She got me a referral, and I made the appointment.

For tomorrow.

As I understand the procedure, they’re going to remove all the cancer they can see, then biopsy it on the spot. If it shows they got it all, they’ll patch me up and send me home; if not, they’ll repeat the procedure until the biopsy comes back clean.

A little discomfort, a few weeks to heal and — hopefully — a small, barely noticeable scar.

I’ll be fine. Really.

But if you want to help, there is something you can do. Put on some sunscreen before your next daylight ride, and every one after that. And if you notice any unusual spots or bumps on your skin, or any moles that change shape or color, show it to your doctor; if it doesn’t go away, don’t take “it’s nothing” for an answer.

Because clearly, drivers aren’t the only danger we face out there. And nothing would make me happier than to know that my cancer helped prevent yours.

If you feel compelled to do something more, consider a donation to the American Cancer Society, so maybe they can find a cure before you or someone you love needs it.

I have skin cancer.

With a little luck, a few hours from now, I won’t.