Tag Archive for smoke

Watch for dangerous smoke and closed roads in SGV, Shoup on parking minimums, and Bahati gets star treatment

My apologies for yet another unexcused absence yesterday.

Which seems like it’s starting to be a habit.

I spent most of Tuesday night being tormented by demons when I should have been working.

Either that, or my neuropathy, which is mostly managed, if not controlled, most of the time, flared up to a devastatingly painful level.

I’m leaning towards the first explanation, myself.

Then last night, I lost a few crucial hours to an extended internet outage, thanks to a certain cable provider who shall remain nameless. Which means we still have more to catch up on tomorrow.

Assuming there’s not some other minor disaster waiting in the wings. Just part of this annus horribilis we’re all dealing with this year.

And yes, that’s two n’s, thank you.

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Be careful breathing in the San Gabriel Valley for the next several days, after officials issued a warning about smoke from the Ranch2 fire.

Smoke from wildfires can cause serious health and breathing problems, both short and long term. Especially when you’re sucking it in on a bike.

A simple rule of thumb is, if you can smell smoke, stay inside and don’t ride. But if you have to, wear a good quality mask to filter as much of the smoke as possible.

Trust me on this one.

Meanwhile, several road closures remain in effect:

  • San Gabriel Canyon Road/Highway 39: closed at Northbound Hwy 39 at Sierra Madre Avenue (southbound Highway 39 is closed at East Fork roRoad)
  • Glendora Mountain Road: closed from Big Dalton to East Fork
  • Glendora Ridge Road: closed from Glendora Mountain Road to Mt. Baldy Road
  • Santa Anita Canyon Road: closed from Arno Drive to Chantry Flats Road

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UCLA parking meister Donald Shoup explains the problems with parking minimums.

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South LA’s own Rahsaan Bahati gets the star treatment from Peloton.

View this post on Instagram

Excited to see this come to life with @pelotonmagazine. Shout out to @truecomms for the hard work getting this together. I was able to finally work with @jordan_clark_haggard he took some sick photos in downtown Los Angeles. A lot of people are inquisitive about my bike. The bike is a paint job done by my good friend and bad ass dude @mphpaint. Crazy talented dude who is a jack of all trades and master of many. The bike is one-of-a-kind and will not be made again. I have played with the idea of doing something similar that I could produce for the public but that's at least 12-months out. With that said, check out the link as the Bahati Foundation 10th Anniversary kit is for sale. All proceeds go to the Bahati Foundation.

A post shared by Rahsaan Bahati (@bahatiracing) on

 

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Another edition of celebs on bikes.

Country singer Luke Bryan is one of us.

Coldplay’s Chris Martin is one of of us, going for a solo ride in the Hamptons.

Halle Berry might be one of us, posing on a bicycle for a photo shoot, though not actually riding it.

Semi-presidential candidate Kanye West is sort of one of us, too, preferring to do his riding indoors by crashing an Atlanta cycling class.

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The Department of DIY strikes in Guadalajara, using a three-wheeled cargo bike to paint their own bike lane.

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Don’t let anyone tell you there’s not enough room on the street.

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

This one would fit in the section below, as well. A ten-year old British boy was traumatized when a group of older boys on bikes dumped a carton of milk over him as he was riding his bike.

A British amateur bike racer was pushed off his bike by someone in a passing car, describing it as more terrifying than coming under enemy fire when he was in the military.

Then there’s this.

https://twitter.com/krebscycling/status/1295813416649666562

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

Sticking with the UK, authorities are looking for an apparently crazed bicyclist who refused to let a driver pass, then spit on his car and dented it with his bike. As always, there’s undoubtedly another side to the story. But bad behavior is never the right solution.

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Local

Now that’s more like it. A killer drunk driver got 15 years for the hit-and-run death of a pedestrian in Pasadena last year.

 

State

San Diego is launching a new bike blog to get more commuters out on their bikes.

 

National

Cycling News offers tips for weight weenies, with five ways to quickly cut the weight of your bike. Although one of the best ways to improve your bike’s performance is to reduce the weight of the person on it.

A pair of studies show riding an ebike provides good exercise, and is as safe as any other bike.

One more way our laws keep dangerous drivers on the road until it’s too late. A legal loophole allows drivers who’ve lost their license in one state to keep driving in another.

A recall has been issued for the Ripper Jr., Ripper MIPS Jr., and Ripper MIPS bicycle helmets because they don’t comply with federal safety standards.

A pediatric ER doctor suggests tips on how to get your kid to wear a bike helmet.

Portland’s Department of Transportation is responding to the Black Lives Matter movement by working to become an actively anti-racist organization.

Nice. A couple hundred Chicago bike riders turned out to show the streets some peace and love.

Kindhearted Minnesota cops gave a new bike to a young girl after hers was damaged when she was hit by a driver; the bike was one of 12 donated by local Shriners for deserving kids.

A Flint, Michigan bike rider was critically injured when he was run down by a cop responding to an emergency call. As usual, the person on the bike gets the blame, especially since he’s not around to give his side of the story.

An Indianapolis man got his custom-made twin-chain-drive bicycle back five years after it was stolen when someone dropped it off at a bike co-op.

That’s one way to solve the problem. The NYPD has inexplicably eliminated bicycling injuries from their Traffic Stat portal, making the problem disappear overnight.

This is why people keep dying on our streets. A Delaware judge ruled that a driver who struck and killed two men as they were standing with their bikes outside a restaurant couldn’t have foreseen that he would have the seizure that caused the wreck, even though he had a history of seizures and hadn’t always followed his doctor’s orders or treatment plans.

A crowdfunding page has raised over $800,000 for the family of Connor Hinnant, the five-year old North Carolina boy who was fatally shot point blank by a neighbor, apparently for the crime of riding a bike on his lawn.

A Myrtle Beach SC bike rider is suing the city, alleging he was right hooked by a cop in a marked patrol car while he was riding in a marked bike lane. At the very least, he wants his bike replaced.

 

International

Cycling Weekly patiently explains the difference between gravel and ‘cross bikes.

An English town somehow equates dangerous bicycling with illegally feeding sea gulls, fining people the equivalent of $130 for either one.

Life is cheap in the UK, where a distracted driver walked without a single day behind bars for killing a bike-riding Royal Air Force officer while on the phone with his daughter. Meanwhile, a 78-year old driver walked with a suspended sentence for killing a bike rider ten years his senior.

Bike friendly Amsterdam is deteriorating, and at risk of collapsing back into the sea. Although all the bikes in that photo will make you forget everything else.

Talk about a close call. A Turkish boy was lucky to avoid serious injury when he rode his bike out from a side street and into the side of a passing car.

Now that’s a good dad. An Indian man rode his bike 65 miles to take his son for an education test, hoping to get him into a better school.

A Russian website remembers the first Russian to ride a bike around the world, in 1911, before dying when his plane was shot down in WWI.

 

Competitive Cycling

Dutch pro Jos van Emden figuratively nailed his thesis to the church door, listing ten proposals to improve safety in the peloton, including air bags along the rails near the finish, and a system of yellow and red cards to punish dangerous riders.

In a shocking move, Team Ineos has dropped former Tour de France winners Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas from their Tour roster, denying Froome a shot at a record-tying fifth win.

 

Finally…

Gotham bike riders want to know where to stick it. The best truck for backing over your kids.

And who needs a bike lock when you’ve got fake bird poop?

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

Morning Links: Bikes and Veterans Day, bad air is bad for biking, and Wicksted murder arraignment delayed

Writing on the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI, Forbes’ Carlton Reid notes that the first British soldier killed in what was once known as the “war to end all wars” was one of us.

Meanwhile, a New Zealand writer spent a month bicycling through the fields and cemeteries of France to remember the war’s dead, and contemplate the monster of endless war.

And veteran’s group in Oklahoma City uses bicycling to fight PTSD.

On a personal note, my own grandfather was a doughboy, and fought in the trenches of Belgium and France in WWI.

I wish I knew more about what he did. But the war wasn’t something he wanted to remember.

Let alone talk about.

I hope you’ll join me today in remembering him, and all those who have served our country, on this Veteran’s Day, and thank them for the sacrifices they made.

Let’s pray that our world will one day regain its senses, and learn to settle disputes without bullets and bombs.

But until then, let’s at least take better care of those who come back home.

And remember that not all scars are visible.

Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch, who wants a copy of that poster in the upper left, which was taken from the Forbes article, for the first link. 

Then again, so do I.

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Streetsblog has advice for confronting California’s wildfires — don’t bike until the air clears.

Smoke from a fire contains ash particles that can harm your lungs, as well as countless toxic chemicals that can do long-lasting damage.

Never mind the problems it can cause for allergy and asthma suffers.

So the best advice is, if you smell smoke, don’t ride. Or run. Or engage in any other physical activity outdoors.

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Arraignment was delayed once again for Sandra Marie Wicksted, who’s accused of murder for using her car to kill Leslie Pray as she rode her bike in a Claremont bike lane, as well as four counts of attempted murder for swerving at other bike riders before she killed Pray.

However, delays like that aren’t unusual.

Serious cases often see a number of postponements as prosecutors attempt to work out a deal, and defense lawyers get their cases together.

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In case you missed it over the weekend, family members identified the victim of Thursday’s fatal bike crash on Santa Monica Blvd in West LA as 31-year old Glendale resident Frank Guzman.

A GoFundMe account to help pay his funeral expenses has raised over $4,000 of the $5,000 goal in just two days.

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Local

UCLA ER physicians say they’re seeing a jump in scooter-related injuries, averaging one a day between their two facilities; they urge all scooter users to wear a helmet.

He gets it. A member of the Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition compares road diet deniers to anti-vaxxers.

Wolfpack Hustle is postponing the Wolfpack Hustle All City Century scheduled for tonight due to poor air quality from the fires.

 

State

A carfree San Diego PR agency owner is attempting to combine social equity and healthy living.

Berkeley’s mayor takes advantage of a popular bike festival to promise quick action on a protected bike lane.

Robert Leone forwards news that Campbell police corralled a bike thief using a bait bike. The LAPD won’t use bait bikes because the City Attorney’s office fears claims of entrapment.

The San Francisco Examiner suggests the only thing more perilous than riding a bike in the Bay Area is leading the city’s bicycle coalition.

 

National

A tech website looks at how bikes have changed over the past 25 years. Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the link.

Taking a road trip by bike to the Colorado National Monument.

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes is all too real. Three Portland men face well-deserved charges for booby trapping a popular bike path by tying strings across it at face and neck level; a woman suffered cuts and bruises around her eyes, chin and neck when she ride into them.

A Minnesota college is training engineering students to design and build bicycles, both to get jobs in the bike industry, and develop skills that will transfer to other fields.

Nearly 1,000 bicyclists turned out for the annual Cranksgiving ride in St. Louis to help raise funds and collect food to the distribute to the needy over the holidays.

A Cape Cod letter writer can’t seem to imagine any reason why anyone who isn’t in financial distress would ever want to ride a bike, let alone why the city should build Complete Streets to accommodate them.

LA bike riders aren’t the only ones having trouble with blocked bike lanes; New York bike riders are pretty ticked off about it too.

 

International

Horrifying news from Trinidad & Tobago where two bicyclists were killed — including a celebrity chef — and eight others were injured when a driver plowed into a club ride, despite a police escort; the driver claimed he lost control after blowing a tire. To make matters worse, a bike advocacy group says there are no trained traffic investigators in the country.

A London assembly member questions whether the city’s Metropolitan Police are doing enough to fight bike and pedestrian deaths.

Not many American bike riders can relate to Britain’s 16,500-mile bicycling network. But the fact that half of it is “crap” due to poor maintenance and pavement conditions, that most of us can relate to.

An English city is putting up signs welcoming polite bike riders.

The UK’s BikesUpGunsDown movement aims to stop gun and knife crime by building better bike skills.

A Brit writer says the perfect bike ride is one you do with friends.

Berlin gets its first protected bike lane.

A Kiwi writer suggests that dockless bikeshare and e-scooters means it’s time for new road rules to govern how we behave around others. Meanwhile, a new homegrown dockless bikeshare is subjected to the same abuse others have suffered.

An Australian news site says drivers subjected a leading bike advocate to vile abuse before he was killed in a crash last week. And apparently didn’t even stop then.

 

Competitive Cycling

Pro cyclists offer their thoughts on a proposed power meter ban in next year’s Tour de France.

 

Finally…

It takes a real schmuck to get out and swear at a crash victim before fleeing the scene — even if the driver is a woman. You can stop counting ballots, we have a winner in the worst bike name ever.

And is it okay to give someone the bird if you’ve got a smiley face on your glove?

 

All I need is the air that I breathe — riding through, and surviving, the smoke

I was going to add a link to this on my next post. But the more I think about it, the more important this information is right now.

Damien Newton has put up a great story on Streetsblog on how cyclists can cope with the bad air from the fires in the L.A. area.

It offers advice from C.I.C.L.E.’s Shay Sanchez, as well as Joe Linton, Roadblock and Ron Milam (and you’ll find my 2 cents in the comment section).

Read it before your next ride. Your health could depend on it.

The fourth season

There’s a common myth that Los Angeles doesn’t have any seasons. It’s not true, of course.

In fact, we have four distinct seasons here.

There’s summer, which anyone would recognize. Then there’s winter, which most people from more northerly climes might recognize as…well, summer. Highs in the 60s and 70s — even the 90s, at times — broken by periods of intense rain. Well, usually, anyway.

The third season is relatively brief. Instead of spring, we get June Gloom, in which the marine layer spreads over much, if not most, of the city. For somewhere around three to five weeks, we may not see the sun until late afternoon, if at all — those who live near the coast sometimes don’t see it for weeks at a time.

Then there’s fourth season, which falls between summer and winter. Or in other words, right about now.

Fire season, we call it.

It’s the period that follows L.A.’s typically long, dry summer, between the time the rains usually stop in March or April, and before rains start again (hopefully) in November. Which means that all the plants that grew during the previous winter’s rains are now dry as the proverbial bone. Then the Santa Ana winds start, resulting in single-digit humidity and near-hurricane force winds.

So all it takes is a spark. Or a group of careless students. And Southern California goes up in flames once again.

This past week, we had three major fires simultaneously, in Montecito (near Santa Barbara), Sylmar (north of L.A.), and in Northern Orange County.

Normally, unless the fires are somewhere close — like Malibu, for instance — the sea breezes protect the Westside from the smoke, making it seem like any fires are distant events, unrelated to our daily lives.

Not so this time.

Despite major fires on three sides, Saturday morning started out a beautiful day, but by early afternoon, the smoke was drifting up from the Triangle Complex Fire in Orange County. And by evening, the entire city was covered in dense smoke.

By Sunday morning, our entire apartment smelled of smoke, and the normally clear view outside our window looked like a heavy fog, the spire of the Mormon Temple that dominates our western view barely visible just a few blocks away. I was surprised to see a few cyclists out on the road, despite the smoke; I was having enough trouble breathing just walking across the street.

Monday afternoon, the winds shifted, and the air was starting to clear, though you could still smell of smoke everywhere. By this morning, the fires were largely under control, and most of the homeowners were allowed to return home — those who still had homes to return to, that is.

And by late morning, the sea breezes started up again, and the air was fresh and clean once again, so it was possible to get back to normal activities, without fear of what it might be doing to my lungs. Which for me, meant getting on my bike and taking a fast ride down the coast.

The weather was ideal, and the bike path along the beach was nearly deserted, as it often is this time of year. Which is a pity, because fire season can be the perfect time to ride.

Once the smoke clears, anyway.

 

Courtesy of C.I.C.L.E., the Sacramento Bee reminds us we all need to do better out there, drivers and cyclists alike — a thought the local Las Cruces, NM paper echoes. Maybe someone’s trying to tell us something. Gary and Timur remind us about the City Council’s Transportation Committee meeting this Friday to discuss bike-related issues; Streetsblog explores the issues to be discussed, starting here and here. A writer in the Burbank Ledger responds to a recent letter writer who complained about all those damn bikes on the local bikeway. Our local Bike Snob (not the N.Y. version with the readership the rest of us would kill for), discusses the merits of lying non-car bike stickers. And finally, a blogger in Richmond, VA says forget the bike lanes, give us the entire streets.

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