Tag Archive for smoke

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.


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.


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.


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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.

%d bloggers like this: