Tag Archive for why we ride

Morning Links: Rescuing a dog in your back pockets, beating the world champ on an ebike, and why women ride

CBS News provides more information about the Georgia mountain biker who rescued an injured dog, carrying the pup on his back as he rode back into town.

“We stopped to regroup and he came out of the woods to greet us. He was really thin, ribs showing and had a lot of road rash and a broken leg,” Little told CBS News. He says he and the other cyclists fed the dog and gave him water, but knew they couldn’t leave the dog in the woods. Little didn’t have a car to transport him, just a bike. So he hoisted the pup onto his back, and rode into town looking for help.

“Right when we returned to my local bike shop to get him some more water and food, we instantly ran into Mrs. Andrea who was in town from Maine,” Little said. “She decided to keep him and get him checked out medically.” Little says Shaw took the dog off his hands, and not only got him medical help, but a new home.

And if you look closely, you can see the dog’s feet inside his jersey pocket, answering the question of how he did it.

Thanks to Jeff Vaughn for the link.


World champ Peter Sagan isn’t used to losing. Especially not to a grandmother with a pacemaker.


A nice spot promoting women’s cycling is actually an ad for European carmaker Škoda, which claims their cars are designed for cyclists.



Metro has released the new Metro Vision 2028, their 10-year plan to reshape how we get around in LA County, including by bicycle.

LA’s failure to build a safe bike network gets a national stage, as NPR follows-up on the LA Times recent attempt to ride one of LeBron James’ possible routes from his Brentwood home to Staples Center. And suggests he may be better off sticking to an elliptical. Thanks to Evan Burbridge for the heads-up.

Speaking of LA’s failure to fix the streets, the city is hiring a $250,000 consultant to suggest fixes to gridlock and the embarrassment of seeing homeless people that could keep tourists away. I could do that for half the price, since we already know the solutions — house the homeless, and build out the bike plan and improve bus service to give people safe alternatives to driving. 

Monterey Park will consider approving the city’s first bikeway since it adopted a bike plan in 2014 at tonight’s city council meeting.

Malibu Magazine examines the coast’s killer highway, as PCH cuts a swath of destruction through the city that effects everyone, regardless of how they travel.



The brother-in-law of the bike rider killed on a Santa Cruz bridge last week says experienced bicyclists are afraid to ride in the city, despite the presence of several bike companies.

San Francisco reverses plans to delay badly needed safety improvements on one of the city’s most dangerous corridors.

Yosemite struggles with how to manage the daily crush of cars choking the nation’s premier national park. The obvious solution is to ban private vehicles entirely, which don’t belong in a natural setting like that in the first place.



Bike Snob tells motorists not to talk to him when he’s riding a bike.

Seattle is struggling to become more bike-friendly as the cost of projects soar. Meanwhile, the reason more people don’t bike in Seattle’s Chinatown is the lack of infrastructure makes them feel unsafe. In other words, pretty much like everywhere else.

How to tour Seattle by bikeshare.

Let’s conclude our visit to Seattle with a letter from a Lycra-wearing menace who says don’t honk and yell if you’re angry at bicyclists, demand contiguous, protected bicycle lanes instead.

A couple on an Alaskan fat bike and rafting tour discover that you can, in fact, have too much adventure.

This is why people continue to die on our streets. An Idaho man was sentenced to up to 30 year behind bars for his sixth DUI offense, while he was still on probation for his fifth violation. Seriously, it shouldn’t take six strikes and you’re out before the courts finally decide to do something. A second offense should result in jail time and a lifetime driving ban.

You can now get your kicks on Bike Route 66 through Missouri and Kansas.

Chicago police are criticized for continuing to ticket black bicyclists at a higher rate than white riders.

Bicycling can be a pain in the butt. Fortunately, the famed Cleveland Clinic offers advice on how to avoid saddle sores.

The family of a Minnesota man killed in a Kansas collision while competing in this year’s cross-country Trans Am Bike Race asks drivers to pay attention to the road.

A Rochester, New York public safety campaign currently under production swathed a pedestrian in bubble wrap and wrapped a bicyclist in Christmas lights to show how far vulnerable road users have to go to be noticed.

Baltimore uses water-filled K-rails to create an instant road diet and barrier-protected bike lane across a dangerous bridge. Proving that it is possible to create an inexpensive temporary, removable pilot project without going through the endless public meetings required for a permanent installation. Then making it permanent once it proves successful.



Vancouver Island declares war on fun, banning children’s bike riding and other outdoor activities from the streets, and decreeing that they should only be used for motor vehicles. Although the wording of the law would appear to prohibit transportation riding by adults, as well.

Yorkshire, England, is considering banning bike riders from the routes used in the Grand Depart of the 2014 Tour de France, after bicyclists are accused of fueling road rage by anti-social behavior and hogging the narrow roads. Although needless to say, the real conflict is carried out in the comment section of the local paper.

The Telegraph recommends the best bicycling vacations in France.

A New Zealand website talks with The Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan about his documentary retracing the route of the first English-speaking team to compete in the Tour de France, in 1924


Competitive Cycling

Google’s doodle honored the legendary Gino Bartali on what would have been his 104th birthday.

No, Toms Skujins was not caught motor doping in the Tour de France.

Vincenzo Nibali says the reason modern bike racing looks boring boils down to the specialized training of the riders. And because it often is.

Rouleur remembers Fabio Casartelli, the last cyclist to die in the Tour de France, killed by crashing head-first into a concrete barrier while descending the Col de Portet d’Aspet in 1995.

Britain’s Cyclist asks a reasonable question — is it time to regulate doping rather than ban it?

Tuesday’s stage of the Tour de France may have been boring, but the one-day women’s Le Course was anything but; the BBC offers a play-by-play recap of the race.



Always wait for the drawbridge to finish opening before trying to ride across. When a car blocks your path, just walk over it; bonus points if you can bunny hop it.

And sometimes, the real action is above, not in, the peloton.


Thanks to John Hall for his continued support of this site. It’s the ongoing generosity of readers like him that allows me to bring you SoCal’s best bike news every morning.


Riding random thoughts on a semi-rainy day

This is me climbing the walls.

Between today’s semi-threatening weather and an unrelenting workload — not that I’m complaining about having work in this economy, mind you — I find myself riding a wave of seemingly random thoughts rather than the bike I’d like to be on.

Partly because the bike I’d like to be on is finally ready to ride.

For some reason, I’ve never had the love for the 6-year old LeMond at the top of this page that I had for my now 30-year old Trek.

Maybe because it feels every little bump, and never felt nailed to the road like my old bike did. Or maybe because I’ve had my old bike longer than I’ve had my wife, and haven’t built the memories on the new one that I made on the old one — my bike, that is, not my wife.


Although I’m sure the infamous beachfront bee encounter would certainly stand out, if only I could remember what happened.

Then again, that was before a broken wheel kept me off my bike for the last three weeks. Although I was happy to have the loan of a surprisingly lithe, plush and easy to ride red Urbana bike in the meantime.


But over the weekend, the kind folks at Trek and Beverly Hills Bike Shop — which isn’t actually in Beverly Hills, even though the sidewalk in front of it is — replaced my wheel under warranty, for which I thank both. So now I find myself jonesing to get out for a long ride on my own bike, and realizing just how much I’d missed it.

Especially since I got a report today that the virtually unridable sidewalk bike path along Sepulveda Blvd that we discussed yesterday may have finally seen a little improvement, along with the badly cracked Class 1 path through the Marina.

And unfortunately, that time off my bike is starting to show in the snugness of my waistband. And evidently, there’s a reason for that.

According to a formula in a recent issue of Bicycling, I burn about 1,000 calories an hour. (Weight divided by 2.2, multiplied by 12 if you ride between 16 –19 mph; my normal cruising speed is 18 – 20. Or multiply by 16 if you ride 20 mph or higher, by 10 if you ride 14 – 16, 8 for 12 – 14, 6 for 10 – 12, or by 4 if you ride less than 10 mph.)

So that’s somewhere around 10,000 –12,000 calories a week I haven’t been burning. And 3,500 calories plus or minus equals 1 pound of weight gained or lost.

The fun, not-so-little Urbana I borrowed — love those big, bouncy glow-in-the-dark tires

It also explains, in least in part, why a recent study suggested that biking on a regular basis could add up 14 months to your life. Although as far as I’m concerned, extending the quality of life is every bit as important as extending the length of it.

Which is why I plan to keep riding as long as my body will let me. That and the fact that there’s almost nothing I’d rather do.

And that could help explain yesterday’s article in the Times, which said that sales are down for electric bikes. While an e-bike may provide efficient, sweat-free transportation, it can’t provide the same health benefits or the sheer satisfaction and physical joy of pedaling a bike.

E-bikes can also cost every bit as much as, and sometimes more than, a Vespa-style scooter — even an electric one — while being more difficult for a beginner to ride. And you can’t always ride them everywhere bikes are allowed.

So I think I’ll stick with my bike, thank you. The one with the new wheel, tire and cycling computer.

And I plan to pedal its skinny GatorSkins Downtown for Tour de Fat this Saturday — and burn a few thousand calories in the process, which should just about make up for the calories I expect to consume there.*

* Biking under the influence is illegal in California, so limit your alcohol consumption just like you would if you were driving.


Word broke Monday that a SoCal golfer died after being struck in the head with a golf ball; there’s no truth to the rumor that Mayor Villaraigosa may propose a mandatory helmet law for everyone on the links. Contrast the massive media coverage his death received with the minimal coverage given most biking fatalities; then again, golfing deaths a pretty rare, while a death on the streets just isn’t that usual. Thanks to Rex Reese for the heads-up.

And in a story that defies rational explanation — or rather, in which the explanation doesn’t seem rational — Witch on a Bicycle points out that authorities in a Massachusetts town blame a bicycle rider for plowing down two parking meters before crashing into a car. Call me crazy, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cyclist who could knock over a solid steel parking meter post. Let alone two.


Next year’s Tour de France looks like one of the more challenging routes in years, with six high mountain stages and four summit finishes. As expected, a Spanish cyclist ends the year ranked #1 in the world — but it’s Rodriguez, not TdF winner and tainted meat eater Contador; Tyler Farrar is the top American at #9. And Lance is well on his way to fathering his own team as he becomes a dad for the fifth time.


Streetsblog asks where the next CicLAvia should be. The Claremont Cyclist discusses the 2nd Annual Mike Nosco Memorial Bicycle Ride; this year’s ride will benefit Andreas Knickman, the son of former pro racer Roy Knickman, in his fight against cancer. Bikeside’s Mihai Peteu reports on last Friday’s memorial ride for Daniel Marin. A Long Beach cyclist is threatened with tickets in retaliation for questioning an officer. Gary continues to shine a light on the Santa Monica City Council race, as two more candidates respond to his questionnaire on biking and land use issues. Will questions just how much a bike is really worth. Bicycle Fixation takes an in-depth look at bike parking, comparing a well-designed rack with a modern relic from the best-forgotten past. San Francisco aims for a 20% bike share by 2020, and a bold path forward for Bay Area cyclists. The Sonoma County GranFondo hit-and-run is now being investigated as an intentional assault. Advice on what to do if you’re stopped for riding in the lane, in response to a sheriff’s deputy who just didn’t get it. Bike lawyer Bob Mionske is interviewed by a Cleveland radio station. A reminder to check your auto insurance, because the uninsured motorist coverage can protect you on a bike. A Kansas City cyclist known locally as the Bike Man is gunned down and left to die in the street. New York Critical Mass riders win a nearly $1 million settlement; half will go for legal fees. An NYC cyclist shoots a cop when they try to stop him for riding illegally on the sidewalk; seems like a bit of an overreaction to me. NFL quarterback Tom Brady and supermodel wife Gisele Bundchen ride bikes sans helmets. Why drivers should love Toronto’s new bike boxes. Eight months in jail for running down a cyclist and leaving the scene while driving with impaired vision. A 6-year old cyclist is clotheslined when he rides into an over-extended dog leash.

Finally, biking can do more than just get you from here to there, it can also lead you home to a family you’ve never known. Or it can provide the path to true love — or not, as the case may be — in one of the cutest short films I’ve seen in ages.

This is why we roll.

I hadn’t really planned on riding today, but I suddenly found my schedule booked for the next few days, or possibly, weeks. Fortunately, I had a brief window of opportunity this morning before going in for an MRI this afternoon for yet another follow-up to the infamous bee encounter.

So naturally, I grabbed my bike and hit the road.

The very first thing I saw was a dog peeing on an Obama sign; following the giddiness of yesterday’s election results, that seemed to sum up the current state of politics in this country.

As I rode, I found myself giving some thought to why we ride.

Of course, every bicyclist has his or her own reasons for climbing up on the saddle. But for me, it’s not a question of transportation, or concern for the environment, or even a reaction to high gas prices.

No, my riding is primarily of the recreational variety, though I suppose there’s also a social element to it, as I sometimes fall in with other rider and enjoy the company of a new-found friend, at least until our routes take us our separate ways.

It’s also my primary form of exercise — and a very effective one, at that. I started riding seriously again about three years ago, after a layoff of a few years. Since then, I’ve dropped 45 pounds, lowered my blood pressure, resting pulse rate and cholesterol levels. And I’m no longer embarrassed to get caught without a shirt on.

That’s what I was thinking as I rode today.

Then I looked up and saw a perfect azure sky coming to rest on a sea as smooth as glass, with only a few small breakers rolling gently into shore. As I rolled down the coast on a nearly deserted path, I watched pods of dolphins playing just off shore, while pelicans dive-bombed straight down into the surf like a squadron of feathered Japanese Zeros.

And it occurred to me that life seldom gets better than this.

In that moment, I realized that this is why I really ride. Because there are moments like this that only occur on a bike; I could have seen the same things walking along the beach, but it just wouldn’t be the same. Because so many of the best moments of my life have occurred as I rolled silently along mountains and plains, bayous and bays, and countless urban scenes of every description.

And because, as Timur pointed out in the second link above, it’s fun.

Really, really fun.


Connecticut now requires drivers to allow at least three feet of separation when passing a cyclist on state roads, something I called for here recently. An Indiana paper reminds you to take extra precautions when riding through the cold and dark. Finally, the Washington Post reports that vigorous exercise — such as bicycling on hills — can help a woman cut her risk of breast cancer 30%.