Riding through the pain

August 29, 2008

I remember watching a live broadcast of Lance Armstrong in the Tour de France.

I don’t recall what year it was, maybe his third or fourth victory, perhaps. This particular day, the course went over one of the great mountain passes; as I recall, it may have been the Croix de Fer, or possibly l’Alpe d’Huez. Or maybe it was some other steep mountain pass, I really don’t remember anymore.

What I do remember, though, is Lance starting his climb at the base of the mountain as the best riders in the world were spread out in front of him. One by one, he caught each of them on that ascent. And one by one, they struggled to keep up with him, before each one cracked and fell hopelessly behind.

Of course, some people looked at performances like that and assumed he must be doping, like so many others. Others said it was his muscle structure, that he somehow had more strength and endurance than anyone else on that course.

But the best explanation I’ve heard is that he was simply willing to endure more pain than anyone else. It wasn’t that he didn’t feel it; it’s just that he didn’t let it stop him.

And that makes sense to me. You see, I’m the same way.

I suffered a serious knee injury when I was just a kid in junior high school. Unfortunately, surgery didn’t fix it, ending my football career and leaving me with a trick knee that had me in almost constant pain.

For the next few years, I had a standing prescription for pain killers, as I tried to convince someone — anyone — that there was still something wrong with my knee. But the orthopedist who did my surgery couldn’t admit that he might have failed; instead, he told my mother that I was faking it to get the pills.

Fortunately, she didn’t believe him. But that night, I went home and handed her my bottle of pain medication. And I never took another one.

Not a few years later, when another orthopedist finally fixed the problem my first doctor had insisted didn’t exist. Not in my 20s, when I fractured my back — without causing any permanent damage, thank God.

Not a decade later, when I misjudged a corner while riding through a high-speed turn, and ended up with severe road rash from my ankle to my chin. Not over the past decade or so, when that first botched operation resulted in a severely arthritic knee.

And not this past year, when a freak beachfront bee encounter put me in the intensive care ward for a couple days, and on a long, hard path to recovery.

It’s not that I don’t feel the pain. I’ve just learned to ignore it.

When I stopped taking pills for that knee, I had no choice but to learn another way to cope with then pain. Eventually, what I learned was simply to tolerate it.

Just focus on something else, and get on with my life.

It’s not like I’m a superhero or some bizarre freak of nature. It still hurts. It’s just that I made a conscious effort not to think about it. And eventually, that just became second nature to me.

Of course, that doesn’t work with everything. A sharp, unexpected pain — such as a back spasm, or a sudden injury — always breaks through whatever defenses I may have, and gets my immediate attention, just like it would anyone else. And emotional pain, like losing a loved one, can bring me to my knees.

But chronic pain, or pain I can anticipate, like the kind you experience on a hard ride, I just don’t think about.

And that’s made me a better cyclist. Because it’s given me the ability to just keep going, no matter how tired I am, how strong the wind or how steep the hill. As long as I have the strength to keep going, a little pain won’t make me quit.

Like back when I was first leaning to ride hills, for instance. I realized that I could spend my entire riding career confined to flat courses, or I could just suck it up and learn to climb.

It wasn’t easy, as any beginning climber can tell you. But eventually I was able to ride every hill on my usual riding routes, no matter how long or how high.

So I set out to conquer the ultimate challenge.

There was a hill in a nearby state park; not that long a climb, really — maybe a half mile or so. But the road was so steep, most cars struggled to get over it, and I’d never seen another cyclist even try to ride it.

And that, to me, made it irresistible.

One bright sunny day, after a good warm-up, I started up the base. I only made it about halfway up before I cracked. But I kept going, inching along, already down to my lowest gear, pedaling one stroke at a time. By the time I was 3/4 of the way up — where the hill really got steep — my legs were nothing but rubber, and my heart felt ready to burst.

But I kept going.

Finally, about a hundred yards from the summit, with the road so steep I still couldn’t see the top of the hill, I was so far past the breaking point that I could barely turn the pedals. So I started thinking to myself, “Don’t quit.”

Each time I pedaled, every time I turned the crank, “Don’t quit.”

“Don’t. Quit.

Or at least, I thought I was thinking it. But I must have been saying it out loud, because when I finally topped that hill, about a dozen people standing at the top broke out in spontaneous applause. I caught my breath, waved and rode off, embarrassed as hell.

But I realized in that moment that I could accomplish anything I wanted on my bike, if I was just willing to work hard enough, and accept the pain that came with it.

Which is just as true for life as it is for cycling.

 

Just Williams recommends Cyclecraft, the U.K.’s official bible for all things cycling — and questions why it teaches cyclists to take the lane, but the country’s driver’s manuals don’t teach drivers to expect it. Good question. Town Mouse discusses her E-number, while raising her count for roadkill and arseholes encountered while cycling. Evidently, it’s not just cyclists who have to deal with arseholes, and not just in the U.K. According to Streetsblog, Metro wants to reconcile with cyclists. Will-I-Am (the other one) spots a semi heading upstream to spawn. I wonder how many lives this could save here — and how many battles could be avoided in the ongoing war between cyclists and drivers. A writer in Petaluma questions if more bike lanes are making the roads more dangerous. Finally, the Irish Times — no, not the pub on Overland — questions whether a more Continental approach would encourage more cyclists. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get on my bike and ride until my legs fall off — not literally, I hope.


Today’s post, in which I take the blame

August 27, 2008

I confess. It’s my fault.

That pothole you hit as you were riding home from work last night? My fault.

The bike lane that disappeared beneath you without warning, leaving you to fight your way through a swarm of angry drivers who really didn’t want you there — and let you know it? Yep, that was me.

That cop who gave you a ticket for leaving the bike lane to pass another rider — even though that’s legal here in California? I’m sorry. No, really, I am.

Because I didn’t do enough to elect government officials who were dedicated to protecting the rights of cyclists. I didn’t put enough pressure on the civil servants who work for those elected officials to ensure safe places to ride. And I didn’t write and call my local representatives, or attend legislative hearings and council sessions to support bills that would have expanded our rights, and done more to protect riders of all levels and abilities.

And neither did you.

Now, I’m not saying you didn’t try. Lord knows, I did. But the simple fact is, we didn’t do enough.

How do I know? Because we get the government we deserve. And you don’t have to look at our elected officials, and the people who work for them, very long or very hard to see that we clearly don’t deserve a government that gives a damn about cyclists.

Until now, anyway.

I’ve been thinking about this lately because Alex Thompson was kind enough to ask me write a post about the need for cyclists to get more involved in politics for the Westside Bikeside! blog. And I seldom have to be asked twice to pull out my proverbial soapbox and start pontificating about biking or politics. Or anything else, for that matter.

I won’t bore you with the same arguments I made there — you can read the full post by clicking here.

But allow me to quote from it, if only for a moment:

You see, the reason they (elected officials) think it’s okay to ignore cyclists is that they don’t think we matter. Yet, bicycle industry figures show that approximately 14% all Americans ride bikes. Which means that, out of the 10 million people who live in the County of Los Angeles, roughly 1.4 million are cyclists.

1.4 million people whose needs are not being met. And who can’t get the time of day from the people they elect.

Of course, we only have ourselves to blame. If that many people were to speak out and demand change, we could not be ignored.

There it is.

If you get involved, and I get involved, there is nothing that we can’t do. Nothing.

From passing the Cyclists’ Bill of Rights to getting a system of bike lanes and off-road paths that actually go somewhere. And an educated police force — even in smaller communities, like Santa Monica and Culver City — who understand the law and cyclists rights, and enforce them fairly and honestly.

So I’ll make a promise, right here and right now. I will never again vote for any candidate who does not fully support bicycling. And I will do everything in my power to ensure that our elected officials support and protect your rights, and mine, as cyclists.

And I only hope you will do the same.

One quick aside. See that graphic up in the corner? The one bout biking and voting? I threw that together a few weeks ago, using my extremely limited graphics skills. From now on, I will include that in any post I make about politics and voting, and every email I send to any elected or government official. Because I want them to know that my vote depends on their support.

I hope you’ll join me. Feel free to copy that graphic and use it yourself. Or if you’re a better graphic artist than I am — and let’s be honest, who isn’t? — make a better one, and I promise to use it. And post it here for anyone else who wants to use it.

 

Today’s reading: Gary continues his excellent series on Bicycle and Automobile Coexistence, discussing why riding on the sidewalk isn’t a good idea, despite what drivers yell at you. Mikey Walley discusses Bike Snob’s comments on the Swoosh’s new (?) line for fixie riders. A couple of Miami-area writers discuss the recent taxi vs. 11-rider crash on the causeway; I particularly like the 2nd letter, though that would never happen here. Or there, probably. A California city actually wants to promote riding. Go figure. An Iowa county has made it illegal for more than 10 cyclists to ride together without liability insurance. Interesting thread from Portland discusses whether helmets should be mandatory. And finally, C.I.C.L.E. suggests bikes and buses go together. And here I always thought those bikes on the front of buses were just from the riders that they’d run over.  


Yesterday’s ride, in which I emulate Mr. Campbell

August 26, 2008

I set off yesterday for a long ride, on a route that took me south on Ocean Avenue through Santa Monica.

Thanks to a slight decline, it’s easy to build up speed along there, so I was doing a relatively easy 25 mph as I approached California Ave. Maybe you know it, where the bike lane moves a little to the left, to make room for a right turn lane on the right.

Naturally, I was keeping a close eye on traffic, when I saw a small pickup truck heading north on Ocean drive past the intersection, then make a wide, looping U-turn right in front of me. So I slammed on my brakes to avoid a collision, and watched as she swung all the way across the road, into that right turn lane leading down to the California Incline.

Evidently, waiting in line with all those other cars to make that left at California had been just too much effort for her.

By the time she completed that maneuver, though, the light had changed, and she had to sit there and watch as all those cars who had patiently waited for their chance to turn left — instead of making an illegal U-turn in a vain attempt to speed up the process — went in through in front of her.

So while she sat there at the red light, waiting for the traffic she had tried to skip go by, I found myself rolling up right next to her in the bike lane — and right next to her open driver’s-side window.

Of course, keeping my mouth shut under such circumstances would require more self control than I would ever claim to possess. And certainly more than I’ve demonstrated in the past.

But before I could open my mouth, my mind flashed on Will Campbell’s description of keeping his cool during a confrontation with a driver.

So trying to keep my voice as even as possible, I asked, “Did you even know that I was there?” What I really meant was, did she even care? But I was making a conscious effort to be nice and as non-confrontational as possible.

Her answer was a non-committal “Yeah,” so I pressed my luck. “That’s a very dangerous thing to do when someone is bearing down on you that fast,” I said. “I could have rear-ended you.”

She looked up at me for the first time, and said simply, “Yeah, my bad.”

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t the heartfelt apology I was hoping for, but under the circumstances, I’ll take it.

Of course, unlike Will, I wasn’t dealing with a young Mustang-driving man hopped up on testosterone — just a young woman who gave every indication of being at least a half-bowl into her day already.

But still, everyone stayed calm. No one got mad. No voices were raised. No one suggested performing any anatomically impossible acts. And no one’s day was ruined, as we both went our separate ways.

So I have to admit it, Will.

You may just be on to something.

 

In today’s news, Streetsblog reports the conventions may not be so bike-unfriendly after all. Gary continues his tales of the recent AIDS LifeCycle ride down the Pacific coast. Will once again stands up to evil doers by riding Ballona Creek. Somehow I missed this post from Alex, in which the L.A.P.D. shows more maturity than the Culver City cops. Bicycle Fixation notes that the privileged set is starting to show a little responsibility, as well. Delaware discovers it’s not easy to build a bike culture in a car-centric state. Yeah, tell me about it. A Pennsylvania congressional candidate campaigns by bike. And finally, a Tampa cyclist pledges to ride a 100 mile Tour de Donut if the Rays clinch a playoff spot. Looks like a safe bet if any Dodger fans who want to join in


The loneliness of the long distance rider

August 25, 2008

If you’ve reading this blog for awhile, you’ve probably figured out by now that I like to ride fast. I like to ride far.

And usually, I ride alone.

It’s not that I’m antisocial. Far from it, actually. Over the years, I’ve met some great people who just happened to fall in along side me and share some dusty, lonely road or bustling city street for a few miles, or a few hours.

Some became good friends; some I never saw again. They all became a part of my life, though, if only for a moment. And in doing so, gave me a gift I can only hope I repaid in kind.

Yet at the same time, my best experiences on a bike, and the pleasure and pain that’s come as a result, have been mostly solitary. Because to me, cycling is more than just a means of exercise, entertainment and transportation.

It’s my escape. My retreat. A moving meditation that takes me away from the problems and turmoil my life, or this world, and deeper into — or sometimes, or out of — myself until those problems don’t seem to matter any more.

Chop wood, carry water.

So if my wife and I are quarrelling about something, I can sit at home and let my anger build. Or I can hop on my bike and ride until I gain a little more perspective — even if it seems like I may have to ride from here to eternity. And remember that the love we share is more than anything either of us might say or do.

Or if I’m having problems with one of my clients, I can set out on a ride plotting various means of career suicide, and return with a solution that will work to everyone’s benefit.

The day my mother died, I just started riding; I have no idea how long or how far. I don’t even remember where I went. I just rode until that ache somehow turned into a smile, and returned home missing her just as much, but remembering her laughter and love, and how much joy she’d brought to my life.

On 9/11, I spent the entire day in stunned silence, unable to look away my TV, or wipe away enough tears to dry my eyes. Then the next the 12th, I finally found the off switch and rode down to the beach, marveling at the ribbons and flags that had suddenly appeared overnight on the trees along the way. And started my life again.

When I ride, I don’t have to think about anything. Yet somehow, I seem to think more clearly, more creatively, with more insight and originality than I find anywhere else. I celebrate my victories and analyze my failures; I write headlines and stories, and quatrains and rhyme, and witty retorts I can never seem to recall once I get home.

I maintain my sanity, such as it is.

I don’t have to compete with anyone but myself and the road. I don’t have to keep up with anyone. I can ride where I want, and take the hard way home. And usually do.

Somehow, I find the same sense of solitude and peace here amid this jumble of concrete and steel that I found riding a county road high up in the Rockies, or rolling along verdant fields of wheat and corn with no one else around but the occasional combine or tractor driver.

Maybe that’s why the occasional conflict with a driver, or a pedestrian, or another rider bothers me so much. Because it jerks out of that private, peaceful world, where nothing matters but rounding the next bend or climbing the next hill. And thrusts me back into a world of conflict and anger.

So if we should meet somewhere along the way, I hope you’ll fall in beside me and share the road for a few miles, or maybe a couple of hours. But I hope you don’t mind if, after awhile, I get that urge and politely excuse myself to ride on ahead.

It’s nothing personal. That’s just who I am.

 

The Time’s Steve Lopez tries to hitch a ride, and complains about the lack of creative transit solutions — and bike paths — around here. A bike riding arsonist is arrested because he forgot to wear his spandex. Eleven cyclists were injured yesterday when a Miami cabdriver fell asleep and crashed into their ride; a local blogger attributes the incident to the same problems we face here in L.A. Will exhibits the kind of self restraint I can only hope to achieve when confronting an aggressive driver, and risks life and limb to reclaim the Ballona Creek Bikeway. A writer from Ontario, CA (no, the other one) offers advice for safe cycling, but I don’t care if the fine is $85 Canadian, I’m not putting a bell or horn on my bike when my voice is much more effective. A writer from New Milford chastises careless drivers whose actions resulted in the death of a dog, and warns that it could be a child or neighbor next time. Or maybe a cyclist.

 


No, I won’t back down

August 21, 2008

So let’s go back to Bicyling’s article about conflict resolution that I mentioned the other day.

I understand the point. Really, I do. It’s dangerous enough out there without getting into arguments with angry drivers — let alone running the risk of letting those arguments escalate into violence.

But something about the article just rubbed me the wrong way. And the more I thought about it, the more it bugged me.

Let’s start with the obvious.

I don’t know about you, but of all the altercations I’ve had, or seen other bikers have, with angry drivers, very few involved an opportunity to talk it out. Most occurred while both the car and the bike were moving; usually as the driver was following behind screaming and honking his horn. Or sometimes, as he threw something out an open window, or opened a door while passing, or zipped by so close it forced the rider — i.e., me — off the road.

Not much opportunity for a real conversation there. Usually, the rider doesn’t have time to do much more than thrust out a finger or yell a choice epithet or two as the driver rides off into the sunset.

But let’s say, this one time, Mr. or Ms. Angry Driver — no relation to Minnie, who evidently sings, as well — pulls up next to you at the red light, foaming at the mouth about how you got in his or her way, and you shouldn’t be in the roadway, and bicycles belong on the sidewalk anyway.

Not that I’ve ever heard that one before, or anything.

Now, you know he’s wrong. I know he’s wrong. And yes, even Bicycling knows he’s wrong, and suggests that you point it out. But they suggest doing it in a tone that seems so submissive and subservient, it’s a wonder they don’t recommend that you lay on your back and let the driver rub your belly.

And I’m just not going to do that.

Sure, I try to be as calm and respectful as the situation allows. And if the driver is willing to listen, I’m more than happy to explain why I rode where I did, and the way I did. Then, if he’s still listening — which experience tells me is highly unlikely — I’ll explain that it was not only legal, but also the safest thing to do under the circumstances.

I do try to avoid confrontations, and not just because they can ruin my day, and the driver’s day, and that of anyone who happens to be in earshot. But also because angry drivers are likely to take it out on the next rider they encounter. And with today’s blame bikers first mentality, we’re not likely to win any friends by arguing — even it we are right.

But the bottom line is, we have every right to be on the road, and drivers have every obligation to share it — even if they don’t have to like it.

So even though I’ve never been a big Tom Petty fan, I’m going to stand my ground.

And I won’t back down.

 

According to the Times, it’s time to ride your bike — and they list the rides to prove it. Bicycling has details on recent recalls for Look KEO and Cervelo carbon fork owners. Even in Mississippi, more people are commuting by bike. Finally, welcome to yet another member of the local biking and blogging community.


A glance of responsibility

August 20, 2008

I had planned to write about Bicycling’s recent article on defusing conflicts with angry drivers — and how I’d thought kowtowing wasn’t practiced anymore.

But then something happened on my ride Wednesday that was so surprising — and surprising that something so simple would be surprising — that I was lost in thought for the remainder of the day.

You see, part of my ride took me north on the bike path along the beach through Santa Monica and the Palisades. As I rode, I was passing pedestrians, skaters and slower riders so often that “On your left” was quickly becoming my new mantra.

Then I came upon a man who was riding slowly, pulling his child behind him with one of those trailers that attach to your bike. Just as I was swinging out to the left to go around him, he started to go around a pedestrian. But before he did, he looked over his shoulder, saw me behind him, and patiently waited for me to pass first.

I was stunned.

It’s not that things like that never happen. But they’re rare enough to make me notice when they do. So I slowed down for a moment to ride along next to him, complimenting his riding and thanking him for riding safely.

Because instead of acting carelessly, like so many riders, pedestrians and skaters seem to do there, he put his safety, as well as mine — and more importantly, that of his child — first.

We live in a society that’s quick to assess blame, and slow, if ever, to accept responsibility. We tend to make others responsible for our safety, and blame them — rather than our own actions — if anything happens to go wrong.

Like the story a few years back about the burglar who got injured falling through a roof, and filed suit against the property owner. Or a driver whose tire blew out at well over 100 mph and then sued the manufacturer — never mind that he was driving at over twice the legal speed limit.

I can’t tell you how many times a pedestrian has stepped out in front of me without looking, or another cyclist has pulled out to pass someone without first checking to see if anyone else is there. Then blamed me, rather than their own carelessness, for the near collision — even though I was the only one who kept us from colliding in the first place.

Of course, it doesn’t just happen on the bike path. I frequently see riders swerving into traffic to get around some obstacle without checking first to see if another bike, a car or a Mack truck is bearing down on them. Or consider the idiot who was riding on the wrong side of the street, then blamed the bike-riding driver who pulled out in front of him.

And it’s not just cyclists, pedestrians and the like. Drivers do it, too. Such as the one that cut me off on Montana yesterday — there’s that street again — when I was riding along side her.

I had a feeling she was going to move right without warning, so I’d been holding back a little so she could see me in her mirror; if she bothered to look, that is. Then just as I was starting to pass her, she began inching right towards an open a parking space, forcing me to jam on my brakes and swerve around her. All because she’d never bothered to check her mirrors, let alone her blind spot, and had no idea I was there.

Best of all, though, was the driver I saw honking and yelling, demanding that another car that was double parked on the opposite side of the street to move out of the way so he could make an illegal U-turn in his Escalade.

There’s only one thing these stories all have in common. In each case, they acted carelessly, and made other people responsible for the consequences of their actions, as well as for their own safety — and the safety of anyone else around them.

That’s why I was so impressed with that bike-riding, trailer-pulling father. By taking the simplest of actions — a mere glance back over his shoulder — he took full responsibility for his own safety.

And didn’t have to blame anyone else for the accident that didn’t happen.

 

The Times’ Bottleneck Blog reports on a story in the Wall Street Journal, which says San Fran’s new bike plan is being held up by a single gadfly who claims bicycling is bad for the environment. Actually, I think a far worse problem is getting mugged on the bike path. A paper from Mad City suggests cycling could be the new golf. A biker in Walla Walla posted a notice from the Washington legislature calling for more and safer bike routes — dated 1974. Finally, it looks like Gary’s car is looking for a good home.


A brief introduction to L.A.

August 19, 2008

I’ve recently noticed a number of visitors to this site from the U.K., thanks to Just Williams and Town Mouse, who were kind enough to add a link to my site. (And since I enjoyed their blogs, I was happy to return the, uh, favour.)

Since these people have taken the trouble to visit me, I thought I might depart from my usual biking banter, and offer a quick introduction to this City of Fallen Angels we call home.

And there’s one thing everyone should know about Los Angeles.

It doesn’t exist.

At least not the city you think you know. Because the L.A. you’ve seen on countless TV shows and movies is as much a creation of Hollywood as the Terminator’s invincibility or Rock Hudson’s marriage. As these things usually go, the reality is both better, and worse, than the image you may have.

For instance, the air is better than you think, and the traffic is worse.

That perfect weather you always see in shows set in Los Angeles rarely occurs in real life. Somehow, it usually seems to happen when there is a camera crew present; I think they pay an extra fee for that. And it’s long been rumored that the Rose Bowl made a pact with the devil to ensure perfect weather every New Years Day.

Also, Hollywood isn’t in Hollywood. That is, you won’t find the stars and studios that make all those TV shows and movies anywhere in the city of Hollywood, except perhaps on Oscar night, though you will find t-shirt and souvenir vendors, hookers, celebrity impersonators and other entrepreneurs dedicated to separating tourists from their money.

And I have never seen, nor have ever I participated in, a drive-by shooting.

Of course, some of the things you may think you know about L.A. are actually true.

For instance, we do seem to be a magnet for all kinds of disasters, from fires and floods, to riots and earthquakes, not to mention debilitating strikes. (We’re still waiting for plagues of frogs and locusts, and for Moses to part the Santa Monica Bay and lead his people out of Hollywood.) But things like that really don’t happen that often, and we’ve learned to take them in stride.

It’s also true that we’ve have a lot of illegal aliens here. And yes, many are from Mexico, but others come from Guatemala, China, Russia, Canada and Ireland, among others. In fact, the joke was that if you couldn’t get a table at Molly Malone’s, all you had to do was stand in the front door, yell “Immigration!” and watch half the bar empty out the back door.

As you might suspect, there are a lot of celebrities here, and we do bump into them from time to time. Personally, I’ve shared a physical therapy session with Billy Crystal, stood in line next to John Lithgow at the market, and nearly ran into Emmylou Harris rounding a corner at the mall. (Then again, I also met B.B. King, Al Green and Stevie Ray Vaughn long before I ever moved to L.A.)

The standard approach upon spotting a celebrity here is to pretend you didn’t see him or her; running up and begging for an autograph is a sure sign of a tourist. On the other hand, we’re just about fed up with paparazzi.

Speaking of celebrities, Posh and Becks made a big splash when they first got here, but they’ve kept a low profile since; I don’t know anyone who has actually seen them — including on the field for most of his first season here. And even with the most famous right foot in football (as opposed to football), our local club would still have a hard time beating Blackpool.

It’s just a pity we don’t have relegation here. If we did, the local side might play a little better.

And the Clippers would be lucky to compete on the high school level.

 

No Whip gets a ticket for making a right on a red light without stopping — just like many drivers do — while Alex endures playground taunts from a jerk with a badge. Meanwhile, a cyclist in Wisconsin discovers it’s against the law to get doored. Chicago cops take to the streets to encourage safe cycling, rather than writing tickets; I wonder if anyone ever considered that here. Illinois clarifies cycling laws in a way that actually makes sense, and could save lives. Is anyone in Sacramento listening? An L.A. rider hits the pavement, thanks to a scum-filled pothole. An Eastside rider reminds us that the city is still taking comments on revising the bike master plan (as if we actually had one before) and recommends a great place for good mole. And finally, Metblogs covers the inaugural Brentwood Grand Prix. I wonder who won the Manolos? 


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