Tag Archive for Tom Justice

SD teacher blames bike injury for rape charge, prolific bike racing bank robber, and award winning photog was one of us

Thanks to everyone who reached out to let me know this site was down on Friday. 

I still don’t know just what went wrong, but everything seems to be working now. 

As always, I’m very grateful for the help!

Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels.

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You’ve got to be kidding.

A San Diego teacher walked without a single day behind bars for statutory rape after claiming he had sex with a 17-year old student because of a brain injury he suffered in a bicycling crash.

Brain damage or not, there’s no fucking excuse. Keep your damn pants zipped, and leave underage kids alone.

Period.

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Today’s must read tells the story of a Chicago bike racer training for the Olympics who took up bank robbing as a hobby.

Tom Justice kept just two twenties from his first several robberies, dumping the rest in the trash or where homeless people could find it.

He eventually spent 11 years behind bars after stealing a total of $129,338 from 26 banks in Illinois and Southern California, making his escape on a bespoke racing bike.

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Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Aurelio Jose Barrera was one of us.

After he retired from the LA Times, Barrera rode his bike every morning to deliver excess fruit from neighbors’ trees to feed homeless men and women.

He won the award for a groundbreaking series of black and white photos that personalized LA’s long-overlooked Latino community back in the 1980s, when the paper didn’t think it was worth covering.

Barrea died after a fall this past week; he was just 60 years old.

Thanks to Grace for the heads-up.

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A reminder, if you need one, that the door zone is dangerous, and dooring sucks.

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Seriously, who wouldn’t want a bike ridden by a man who was declared Righteous Among the Nations for his work saving hundreds, if not thousands, of Jews during WWII, and if there’s any justice, a future Catholic saint?

And he won a few bike races, too.

If anyone has an extra 90 grand lying around, I promise to pay you back. Although it may take another lifetime or two.

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It looks like the season of bike giveaways is starting as early as all those damn Christmas movies this year.

A nonprofit founded by Specialized donated 26 mountain bikes to a Laramie, Wyoming middle school as part of a program to use bicycling to boost student success.

A Mad City nonprofit aims to change children’s lives by giving away more than 2,000 bicycles over the next year.

Over 120 children got new bikes courtesy of an Indiana charity, although that was down from last year’s 400 bikes due to a drop in donations this year.

A pair of North Carolina bike charities responded to the bike shortage caused by the coronavirus bike boom by refurbishing bikes for local children who can’t afford one.

Kindhearted Florida sheriff’s deputies gave a young girl a bicycle after learning she was walking two miles each way to get to an education center for struggling kids.

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

Just horrible. Two people are dead in Las Vegas after a passenger leaned out the window of a moving car to push a woman off her bike, then fell out of the car himself. The woman was killed when she hit her head on the asphalt, and the man who needlessly took her life died when he hit his head on a street light after skidding 150 feet along the roadway. The driver could face a well-deserved murder charge.

An English roadway is being called a deathtrap after someone removed all the plastic bollards that had recently been installed to create a separated bike lane.

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

A New York bike rider apparently didn’t take too kindly to a pro-Trump rally blocking the Brooklyn Bridge.

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Local

Despite a pandemic-induced shutdown, CicLAvia celebrated its tenth anniversary earlier this month. I was there for the first one on 10-10-10, and witnessed the inception of CicLAvia as an LACBC board member when few people thought it could really happen in auto-centric Los Angeles. Myself included.

We already knew J.Lo was one of us. And so are her kids, as they all went for a ride in Santa Monica over the weekend, while she reminded us that voting is always in style.

Long Beach needs volunteers for its annual bike and pedestrian count later this week.

 

State

A Ventura man faces attempted murder charges for a series of attacks on homeless people; a bystander suffered minor injuries when the attacker ran him down with his car as he tried to follow the suspect on his bike.

Sad news from Napa County, where a 65-year old man was killed while riding his bike; naturally, CHP investigators blamed the victim.

More bad news, as a bike rider was killed in a Eureka collision. Note to Redheaded Blackbelt — maybe don’t include a photo showing the victim’s tarp-covered body next time. No one needs to see that shit.

 

National

A HuffPost writer considers how the Covid-19 pandemic could encourage cities to step back from car-centric design. Except in Los Angeles, where drivers continue to enjoy the lion’s share of the roadway, and the knee-jerk support of elected leaders.

Wired rates the best locks to protect your bike; not surprisingly, their picks lean towards Kryptonite.

Heartbreaking news, as a new bike rider and soon-to-be father of two broke his back sliding off a Utah embankment, leaving him a paraplegic; he’s now in a coma after suffering a heart attack in the hospital.

A Wyoming bicyclist isn’t letting the shorter days stop her morning rides. Thanks to Andy Stow for catching a not-so-small boo boo on my part

A Minneapolis man discusses what it’s like to be a Black mountain biker, and the frustration of wondering if people refuse his help because of his skin color.

An 88-year old New Hampshire woman will face charges for killing an 83-year old man riding his bike. One more reminder that it’s better to take away grandma’s keys than risk spending her final days behind bars.

Providence, Rhode Island bike riders complain that the city is villainizing and over-policing already marginalized young men taking part in the Bike Life movement, and confiscating their bikes without due process.

Instead of just complaining about teenage riders weaving through traffic and popping wheelies, a Boston paper examines Bike Life to understand why.

Now that’s guts. After four years, a New Jersey man returned to the scene of an Iowa crash that left him a paraplegic while riding cross-country, and finished the remaining 1,200 miles on a handcycle.

 

International

And we thought LA drivers were bad. Bike riders Bogotá, Colombia are taking lessons in self-defense to deal with the city’s overly aggressive, road raging drivers.

London bus passengers complain about a “crazy” bike lane that cuts through a bus stop. A design that’s been used here in LA, too.

No bias here. London’s Daily Mail says popup bike lanes installed during the pandemic are being ripped out after “paralyzing cities” with gridlock. Never mind that the whole point of popup lanes is that they are temporary, but can be converted to permanent lanes if they prove successful, and removed if they don’t.

Oasis star Liam Gallagher is one of us now, riding a bike through the streets of London after doctors tell him to stop jogging.

Despite a previous vow to never ride a bike, a British man took to two wheels — and Lycra – as part of his recovery program, and managed to finish a century sportive just a year after a near fatal car crash.

A new Indian film tells the story of an unskilled laborer and his trusty, if rusty, bicycle.

 

Competitive Cycling

It’s taken seven years for former British cycling ingenue Tao Geoghegan Hart to fulfill his promise (it’s Gaelic, pronounced Tay-oh Gay-gan) but he broke through in a big way with a surprise win the the Giro d’Italia.

Hart got the unexpected opportunity when Ineos-Grenadier team leader Geraint Thomas was knocked out of the race after rolling over a stray water bottle in stage three. The race came down to a two-man showdown in the 9-mile time trial on Sunday’s final stage.

The BBC calls Hart Britain’s new cycling star. He’ll get nearly $250,000 for the win.

The 19th stage of the Giro was cut in half after riders put their collective feet down at the start, complaining about plans to add a three-mile detour to the originally planned 160-mile distance so late in the race; instead of paying out prizes for the stage, the race organizers donated the money to help fight Covid-19.

Italian cyclist Matteo Spreafico has been provisionally suspended for doping after testing positive for a drug to treat muscle atrophy following two stages. But the era of doping is over, right?

Meanwhile, the Vuelta neared the finish of the first week of racing, as American Sepp Kuss managed to annoy virtually everyone in the peloton with his breakaway tactic.

A 39-year old Placenta man completed a Ironman Triathlon, despite battling a cancerous brain tumor.

 

Finally…

If it doesn’t have pedals, it’s not a bicycle — no matter how many bike parts it has. Sometimes the demon-like ghost caught on camera is just a bike-riding kid in a Halloween mask.

And who cares about someone’s car when you can talk bikes, instead.

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

Morning Links: Garcetti skips White House run, bike riding bank robber, and Colville-Andersen thinks you’re lazy

It looks like we’ll have Eric Garcetti to kick around for the next few years.

The LA Times is reporting that Garcetti has decided not to run for president, after spending the last couple years seemingly distracted by modern day Wormtongues whispering visions of occupying the Resolute Desk in his ear.

Now maybe he’ll finally get back to fighting for his own policies like Vision Zero and the Great Streets program, which have suffered from a significant backlash while Garcetti has been crisscrossing the county testing tepid waters.

Or maybe just start fighting.

According to the article, Garcetti says he’s skipping a run for the White House because he wants to finish the work he stated.

Let’s hope he means it. And shows a lot more backbone than we’ve seen so far.

Photo shows LA Mayor Eric Garcetti signing the Vision Zero proclamation; photo from lamayor.org.

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From track cyclist, to French Foreign Legionnaire, to bank robber.

In today’s must read, Chicago Magazine tells the convoluted tale of Olympic track cycling hopeful Tom Justice, who would rob banks dressed in business attire, then change into Lycra and make his getaway by bicycle.

And a high-end handmade bike at that.

He’d throw the money in the trash, or leave it where homeless people would find it. At least until he developed a crack habit, and needed money to buy that bike.

His undoing came as he was making his latest getaway, when a cop wondered why a Lycra-clad roadie on an orange bike would be carrying a messenger bag.

It’s long read, but definitely worth your time.

But if you’re in a hurry, you can catch the Cliff Notes version here.

Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the heads-up.

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Apparently, Mikael Colville-Andersen, the host of Copenhagenize and self-appointed ambassador of Danish bicycling, isn’t a fan of ebikes, or the people who ride them.

Maybe he missed the studies that show ebikes can improve your health, while getting people who might not otherwise ride out on bicycles.

As for unfollowing him, some of us never did.

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Some people have to make an effort to take part in International Winter Bike to Work Day on February 8th.

Chances are, you’ll just have to roll out into the SoCal sunshine and ride.

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Local

Christian Bale is one of us, going for a casual anniversary bike ride with his wife along the beach in the Palisades.

Ford-owned Spin is hosting a free panel discussion on enhancing mobility, with a focus on equity, safety, and partnerships next Wednesday, as they prepare to join the LA scooter wars.

West Hollywood has stepped up enforcement of the state’s universally ignored anti-gridlock law, which forbids drivers from entering an intersection if they can’t make it all the way across, in a bid to improve safety for pedestrians and bike riders.

Turns out Lime scooters have been programmed to automatically slow down on the beach bike path through Santa Monica. Which is odd, since they’re officially banned from there and subject to confiscation.

The Long Beach Post says the city is losing a ton of money by failing to regulate dockless e-scooters.

State

Sad news from Stallion Springs, where a Bakersfield woman was killed in a crash. The Bakersfield Californian felt the need to say she wasn’t wearing a helmet, but failed to note whether she died of a head injury or if her injuries could have been survivable with one.

National

Fast Company looks at that brilliant takedown of Peloton ads we linked to yesterday, and says you’ll never look at them the same way again.

People for Bikes offers a baker’s dozen rides to add to your bike bucket list this year.

A Portland writer says no, you don’t need an ebike for family biking.

An Iowa college professor has developed a virtual reality version of bicycle Frogger to teach pedestrians how to cross the street without getting hit by a bike rider. Sad that something like that is even necessary.

Denton TX joins the universal battle over parking versus bike lanes, as business owners once again ignore studies showing they’re better off with the latter.

Bighearted Texas police surprise a boy with a new bicycle after seeing him walking his beat-up bike home.

An Ohio letter writer says she’s tired of nearly getting run down by bicyclists on a shared path. And for a change, offers reasonable advice on how to avoid it.

Rhode Island high school students competed to develop a better bike path crossing in response to a six-year old boy who was killed crossing the road on one.

Philly welcomes the UPS three-wheeled e-cargo delivery bikes with welcome arms.

In the never-ending saga of Baltimore’s drunken, texting hit-and-run bishop, the deservedly de-frocked Heather Cook has asked the court to let her spend the rest of her sentence for killing a bike rider at home.

Oops. Baltimore officials are rushing to rewrite legislation that would impose a $1,000 fine and 30 days in jail for riding a dockless scooter too fast; the penalty was supposed to apply to the scooter providers, with riders subject to just a $20 fine.

New US House Transportation Chair Peter DeFazio says the country needs to move beyond fossil fuels and improve streets for bicycling and walking.

Durham NC is getting its first buffered bike lane.

Um, maybe not. The Boston Globe suggests exploring the nation’s most dangerous state for bike riders by… wait for it… bicycle.

A Florida driver spotted a bicyclist riding on the shoulder of a highway, towing his dog in a trailer, and moved over the the left lane to give him room. Except he cut off another driver, who swerved into the right lane, clipping the first car and spinning into the bike rider. At least the dog survived; his owner wasn’t so lucky.

International

A British business insurance company built a fake Brompton bike shop for an ad campaign warning about online phishing attempts.

Life is cheap in the UK, where a driver got just four months behind bars for killing a bike rider, claiming he didn’t see the victim even though he was “lit up like a Christmas tree.”

A road raging Brit bus driver ran over a man’s bicycle, forcing him to jump out of the way as he tried to block its path.

An Indian sports site profiles record-breaking para-cyclist Aditya Mehta, calling him an inspiration for many athletes.

An Israeli MD has developed a startup to collect data on the severity of car crashes, so emergency room physicians have a better idea of what to expect when a patient is brought in. Call me crazy, but wouldn’t it be better to just avoid crashes in the first place?

That Aussie driver who filmed himself driving on a bike path while screaming abuse at a pair of bicyclists riding in the roadway turned himself into police and will answer to a number of charges, including using a cellphone while driving, offensive language and driving on a bike path. And no, there is no 1st Amendment right to swear your ass off in most other countries.

In a case of life imitating art, a Japanese man has had to make his fiancé fall in love with him every day for the last nine months, after she suffered severe amnesia following a bicycling collision.

Competitive Cycling

Accusations of sexual harassment come to pro cycling, as Quick Step rider Iljo Keisse was accused of rubbing his dick against a teenage Argentine waitress while posing for a photo with his teammates. Or more precisely, it’s always been a boy’s club where crap like has been accepted, and remains all too commonplace.

Chris Froome gets down in the gravel on his time trial Pinarello.

Forget power meters. The well-dressed cyclist will soon be wearing a patch to analyze his or her sweat.

Finally…

Probably not the best idea to get drunk and steal a bike from the local police. Or get drunk and ride one, for that matter.

And sometimes it might be better not to stop for red lights, especially if you’re carrying six bags of heroin in your sweaty hands.

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