Tag Archive for WWII

Morning Links: The bikes that won the war, CA projects anti-Vision Zero jump in traffic deaths, and Jump Bike rates jump

Seventy-five years ago today, my dad was on his fifth day in France, after landing in Normandy on D-Day+3.

That is, three days after the bloody landing on Normandy Beach that marked the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany.

He was lucky that, as an MP, he was stationed mostly behind the front lines.

Mostly being the key word.

No so for the men of the 390th Bomber Group stationed in Suffolk, England.

David Drexler reports how they relied on bikes when they weren’t in the skies over Germany.

I am recently back from my trip to Tucson, Arizona.

In Tucson is the Pima Air and Space Museum — a phenomenal place — the Smithsonian of the West for Air History.

There is a special Hanger for the 390th Bombing Group who are alleged to have been instrumental in winning WWII:

“In the spring of 1943, the 390th Bomb Group was activated in Blythe, California with four squadrons: the 568th, 569th, 570th, and 571st. In July, the Group’s air and ground troops were assigned to the 8th Air Force and dispatched to Suffolk, England for missions over Europe. The 390th’s B-17 Flying Fortresses bombed aircraft factories, bridges and oil refineries. A total of 714 airmen sacrificed their lives in the cause of freedom.”

Part of the 390th Museum is a tribute to the importance of the bicycle in WWII along with an actual bicycle that was used in England during the War.

I like the Brooks Seat — not a lot has changed in 75 years for Brooks.

I’m always struck by just how young the men and women we sent to war were, a bunch of kids who literally saved the world.

And just how many never returned.

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So much for Vision Zero.

Streetsblog reports that states are responding to a new federal government program to cut traffic deaths by projecting an increase instead.

Including right here in the late, great Golden State, where state officials say efforts to improve safety will result in an increase of 412 deaths a year, on top of the state’s already too high carnage on the streets.

Never mind that the projections are supposed to be aspirational, and attainable.

In that case, why stop at 412? California can easily attain even more blood on the streets just by doing what we’re already doing right now.

That’s something to aspire to, right?

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Prices just jumped for one leading brand of dockless ebikes and scooters.

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Brandi DAmore forwards Bike Index’s take on that stolen bike they helped recover 12 years after it went missing.

recovery

BIKE INDEX RECOVERS A BIKE STOLEN 12 YEARS AGO

“No one knows what use the bike performed during the years it was missing but, 12 years later, its new mission is to transport my son to perform some very important work.”

This might be a new record. 12 years after its theft in Iowa City, a bike has returned to its owner thanks to Bike Index. Picking up right where he left off, the bike’s owner now uses it to commute around Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago where he works. Bike Index has recovered over $8 million in stolen bikes. Make sure your bike has the best chance of returning to you if it’s stolen – register your bike on BIke Index right now.

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Local

Metro hosts another of their BEST Rides tomorrow, along with People for Mobility Justice and TRUST South LA, as they celebrate Juneteenth by visiting venues along Central Ave from the legendary Green Book, which lists motels and other sites where blacks were welcome during America’s more openly racist past.

The Long Beach Post profiles the owner of the New York-based Propel ebike shop, which is opening its second location on Broadway in Long Beach. Someone tell him they need to advertise here on BikinginLA. No, go ahead, I’ll wait.

 

State

The California Senate Transportation Committee met to discuss a number of bills, including improving bike lane guidance at intersections. Meanwhile, Active SGV offers an update on the bills they currently support in the legislature.

San Diego’s Blind Stoker’s Club enables visually impaired bike riders to pedal throughout the county on the back of a tandem, with a sighted rider up front.

Sports Illustrated says we never really knew NFL star Kellen Winslow II, following his conviction for rape and indecent exposure in San Diego; he was caught in part by Strava data that put his bike near one of the assaults.

Sad news from Lake Elsinore, where a 19-year old man was killed riding his skateboard in a Lake Elsinore bike lane. Evidently, painted bike lanes aren’t any safer for people on skateboards than they are for people on bikes.

An 81-year old ‘bent rider has filed suit against the San Luis Obispo County, the county airport, Caltrans and the FAA after a gust of jet blast allegedly knocked him off his bike and into traffic, resulting in severe injuries and damage to his bike.

San Raphael has opened a new bike and pedestrian bridge across a canal.

A local paper offers more on the life and death of famed Petaluma bespoke framebuilder Bruce Gordon.

A Redding woman repeatedly stabbed a man, leaving him with life-threatening injuries, then calmly rode off on her cruiser bike.

 

National

Bike Snob confesses to riding on the sidewalk with his kids. And says if your city is “plagued by those pesky sidewalk cyclists,” it means its bike infrastructure totally sucks.

Tesla’s new Enhanced Summon feature allows the car to maneuver out of parking spots and come to the driver, instead of the other way around. So who cares if it can’t recognize narrow objects like people on bicycles?

Three groups of riders from my college fraternity will set out from Santa Monica, San Francisco and Seattle to ride across the US this summer, and raise three-quarter of a million dollars for disability awareness.

Bicycling’s Selene Yeager offers tips to build up the strength you need to ride hills. I learned to conquer hills by riding up the steepest one I could find as far as I could go, then coming back the next day and doing it again, going a little further each time until I could ride it without stopping.

Your next ebike could charge itself as you ride, giving you almost unlimited range.

Oregon is moving forward with their version of an Idaho Stop law, allowing riders to treat stop signs as yields, but still stopping for red lights.

Seattle sort of responds to complaints from bicyclists about cuts to the city’s new bike plan, but not really.

Once ski season is over, Aspen CO turns to thoughts of singletrack.

A Denver bike shop gave a new bicycle to a little girl, after a TV station aired a story about the girl selling lemonade to replace her stolen bike.

That’s more like it. A new ordinance in Wichita Falls TX requires drivers to change lanes to pass vulnerable road users, including bike riders, or slow 20 mph below the speed limit to pass.

Sounds like fun. An annual Milwaukee bike ride celebrates both Mexican and Polish culture with a rolling norteña and polka party.

After St. Paul MN police were unable to recover a teenage boy’s stolen bike, despite arresting the thief, they replaced it through a program designed to do exactly that.

A local paper says a South Bend IN bike delivery rider for Jimmy John’s isn’t about to put on the brakes. Not that his bike has any.

That’s more like it too. A Maine bike coalition reminds drivers that state law allows bicyclists to ride anywhere in the traffic lane where they feel safest.

If you’re going to build a bike path that ends at the airport, you might want to inform the FAA — as a Massachusetts town learned the hard way.

New York’s police commissioner remains trapped in the last century, saying he opposes attempts to legalize ebikes and e-scooters because he’s not sure they’re safe. If that’s the criteria he’s going to use, he probably supports banning cars, too.

 

International

An English bike rider says after a car driver apologized for a near collision, a bus driver traveling in the opposite direction pulled up next to them and blamed her for the close call, calling her a homophobic slur in the process.

The UK’s Cycle to Work program now offers commuters up to 39% of the cost of any new bicycle, including ebikes, to get more people riding to work. We need something like this in the US, let alone in Los Angeles – as long as it comes with safe infrastructure so people with actually use it.

A British lawyer explains why a bike rider didn’t get a farthing after he was injured hitting a pothole during a closed road sportive.

An Australian researcher says a lack of safe streets is a big reason why many people in the country don’t ride bicycles.

 

Competitive Cycling

Chris Froome underwent six hours of surgery to repair multiple broken bones, after the four-time Tour de France winner crashed into a house at 34 mph when a gust of wind caught the wheel of his time trial bike just as he took his hand off his handlebars to blow his nose. Froome was reportedly on a reconnaissance ride for Wednesday’s time-trial stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné; he’ll now miss that, as well as next month’s Tour de France. And probably everything else this year.

Speaking of Froome, he’ll win the 2011 Vuelta from his room in the ICU, because erstwhile champ Juan Jose Cobo was retroactively busted for doping.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to steal a bike in Canada, put on a helmet first. Even drivers think drivers are being more aggressive abound bike riders.

And now you can help clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by wearing a piece of it on your head when you ride.

 

Morning Links: Bike-riding spy in Nazi Germany, Inside the Issues clips, and solving US health crisis with bikes

There’s not much about bikes in this story.

But something tells me you’ll want to read it anyway.

A 98-year old woman, now living with her husband in Los Angeles, describes what it was like to infiltrate Nazi Germany as a 24-year old, blue eyed blond Frenchwoman who lost her sister and 29 other relatives in the Holocaust.

As Allied forces entered Germany, she borrowed a bicycle to ride to the southern part of the country. And posing as a frightened German citizen, found out from a Nazi officer where the remnants of the German army were waiting to ambush the Allied Forces.

There’s no telling how many lives she may have saved, or how much her bravery may have shortened the war.

A reminder that you never know who that little old lady once was.

Like maybe a 4’11” bike-riding hero who helped save the world.

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Unfortunately, I can’t link to Friday’s Inside the Issues report about LA bicycling issues on the Spectrum News 1 channel, since they don’t archive their shows online.

Never mind that people paying for their cable and internet service might actually want to see it if they missed the initial broadcast. Let alone everyone else who doesn’t get SoCal Spectrum service.

Let alone Inside the Issues.

But at least they’ve tweeted a few clips from the show, including one with yours truly talking about the Frederick “Woon” Frazier tragedy.

And yes, my choice of attire was entirely intentional.

They also posted this too-brief clip of new LACBC Executive Director Eli Akira Kaufman, followed by a clip from their report on ghost bikes.

Which I didn’t know they were doing until I arrived at the studio wearing that shirt.

Hopefully they’ll post clips from the same Inside the Issues show with Curbed’s Alissa Walker and CicLAvia ED Romel Pascal.

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A 409-page benchmarking report from the League of American Bicyclists says more bicycling and walking could solve America’s public health crisis, as well as reduce traffic congestion, and shows where it’s getting better and worse to ride a bike in the US.

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To help get you in the mood for Valentines Day, CBS News says the key to a happy marriage may be a tandem bike.

Or at least it’s worked for a New Jersey couple who’ve been riding together for 45 years.

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Bystanders in Oaxaca formed an impromptu cheering squad for a late night family bike ride.

Thanks to Pedal Love for the link.

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Nothing will cure a case of the Mondays faster than this thread from Peter Flax, showing a number of classic Hollywood celebrities were each one of us, too.

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Local

LA Magazine examines how the mostly student-led group Westwood Forward successfully created the North Westwood Neighborhood Council, splitting off from the existing Westwood NC, which had fought to restrict “bike lanes, nightlife, and new housing.” And anything remotely resembling fun.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton says forget expensive highway projects in the mayor’s 28 by 2028 program to accelerate Metro projects for the ’28 LA Olympics; instead, he says focus on transit and equity, as well as expanding open streets, bikeshare and protected bike lanes.

Los Angeles could be about to fix a “bureaucratic quirk” that left hundreds of streets unrepaired because they were officially withdrawn from use. Even though no one actually bothered to close them, or anything.

This is who we share the roads with. An allegedly stoned driver plowed into a crowd of people in Fullerton as they left local nightspots early Sunday morning, seriously injuring ten people. But sure, tell us again how you were nearly killed by someone on a bicycle that one time.

This is who we share the roads with, part two. An apparently drunk or stoned woman carefully drove around security barriers and into the lobby of the San Pedro police station, then backed out with a cop hanging onto her open door — and with her baby in the car.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District, aka AQMD, is moving forward with a proposal for a half-cent sales tax increase to fund clean air projects. Someone should tell them there’s nothing cleaner than bicycles and bike lanes.

State

San Diego faces a more than half a billion dollar deficit in funding to fix a backlog of transportation infrastructure projects, including streetlights, bike lanes and sidewalk repair.

A Santa Barbara bicyclist says he’s the one who was seriously injured in a crash with a truck driver on Gibraltar Road last year; he’s now fully recovered and back to riding the popular climb, though he’s now descending at 12 mph instead of 30 mph.

Santa Barbara is planning a pair of road diets to slow traffic and improve safety under the city’s Vision Zero plan.

Santa Maria is stepping up police enforcement and working on new bike and downtown streetscape planes to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Napa County’s new bike plan proposes another 453 miles of bikeways, to compliment the county’s existing 142 miles. Although those totals include bike routes, which are pretty meaningless except for wayfinding. And not always then.

A Marin columnist says a six-month trial period for a bikeway on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge makes sense, saying it should go back to a car lane if it has low ridership during peak hours. Only if cars get just a six-month trial period to prove it actually cuts congestion before reverting back to a bike lane.

National

Bloomberg endorses the Dutch Reach to prevent doorings and save bicyclists’ lives.

Bicycling celebrates Black History Month with 15 “rad, influential and super-fast cyclists” they say you need to follow on Instagram.

More from Bicycling, arguing that if Congress is serious about fighting climate change, any Green New Deal has to include support for bicycling.

The Onion says always make eye contact with drivers, so they’ll feel guiltier when they run you over. The satirical newspaper adds that “only 62 total Americans are intelligent and thoughtful enough to operate a motor vehicle.”

Inspired by Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, five Australian musicians rode their bikes from Sallisaw OK to Bakersfield to recreate the Joad family’s journey on just $420 — the modern equivalent of the $18 the Joads got for selling all their belongings — busking and relying on handouts along the way for the rest.

A Minnesota man raised $30,000 dollars for charity by riding his bike 11,000 miles around the permitter of the lower 48 states, saying it wasn’t as hard as he thought it would be.

A bike-riding Tennessee columnist says bicyclists don’t deserve the treatment we get from motorists. Amen, brother.

A speeding drunk driver gets a well-deserved five years behind bars for killing a 74-year old Boston grandfather as he was riding his bike.

She gets it. Writing for The Conversation, a Harvard research scientist says bicycle-friendly cities should be designed for everyone, not just wealthy white cyclists.

A Connecticut man is living his best life as a self-appointed, bike-riding costumed traffic superhero.

A columnist for the New York Post gets it, saying drivers need to start paying to use the city’s streets in order to fight traffic congestion.

No one seems to know why bicycle and pedestrian deaths are up in the DC area. Although I think most bike riders and pedestrians could take some pretty good guesses.

International

An automotive website asks if a McLaren designer has created the perfect folding ebike.

A travel writer for the LA Times experiences a carfree ciclovia in Santiago, Chile.

The late, great Albert Finney got his start playing a blue collar worker in a British bicycle factory.

British comic Rowen Atkinson is one of us in real life, as well as on the screen.

An 82-year old English great grandmother is back riding a bike despite losing her vision, thanks to a local bike library’s program to get blind people on tandems.

Residents of Glasgow, Scotland hold hands to form a human-protected bike lane to call for a more concrete one. Thanks to Megan Lynch.

The Winter Bike to Work Day was a success in Minsk, Russia.

A pair of German bike tourists pause in the United Arab Emirates on their three-year journey around the world, saying the country has the worst traffic they’ve seen.

No bias here. The Daily Mail says Aussie truck drivers are outraged after bike riders won a three-year battle to have large trucks banned from a busy street, rather than focusing on a successful effort to improve safety and traffic flow.

An Australian website asks if it’s a country of horn-honking hulks and road-ragers, noting that one in five Aussies say they’ve experienced road rage or aggressive driving directed towards people on bicycles.

“Anarchistic” rogue mountain bikers are being blamed for the extinction of the endangered plants in an Australian national park.

An Australian professor bizarrely compares advocates calling for an end to the country’s mandatory bike helmet laws to climate-change deniers and anti-vaxxers.

More proof that drivers are the same everywhere. Four days after opening the Philippines’ first protected bike lane, drivers are already using it as just another traffic or parking lane.

A Japanese newspaper says bike riders need to have better manners and be prepared to pay significant damages for crashes with pedestrians, as a government panel considers what would be the right level of compensation.

Competitive Cycling

British pro Scott Auld tells how survived a chain reaction crash caused by a careless driver that sent him down a ravine, and nearly cost him his life.

Sad news from Pakistan where a 4-time national champion died of cancer at just 32 years old.

Finally…

When you’re setting off on a bike tour of another country, it’s usually best not to start out riding salmon on a major highway. Who needs an ebike when you’ve got a strong dog?

And at last someone’s come up with a solution to LA’s crushing traffic problems.

Just let me know when Fleet Week rolls around.

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Thanks to Danila O for her generous donation to support this site, and keep bringing SoCal’s best bike news coming your way every day. Donations of any amount are welcome any time, for any reason.

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