The Tour of California — a second tier tour or a better alternative?

May 24, 2010

Over the weekend, the Amgen Tour of California concluded with a final circuit race through the Thousand Oaks area, as Michael Rogers clinched the overall title by just nine seconds over Dave Zabriskie and former champ Levi Leipheimer.

The prior day featured the Downtown L.A. time trial, which failed to live up to predictions as the deciding stage when no one took control of the race. Will got there just in time to catch Leipheimer leaping past, while others focused on the bikes that weren’t in the race and the Daily News looked at the more extreme bike race fanatics. And some complained that it was just too bad that all those bikes blocked access to the action inside the Staples Center.

But the real action was further off the course, of course.

After destroying what little was left of his own credibility, admitted doper Floyd Landis attended the L.A. time trail, but didn’t talk to reporters about his accusations against Lance Armstrong, Zabriskie, Leipheimer and George Hincapie, as the Times suggested he has nothing left to lose and disappointment abounded in his hometown.

On the other hand, he may soon have company as reports indicate that at least two of the riders Landis pointed his drug-stained finger at have been offered leniency in exchange for cooperating with investigators. And not everyone loves or believes Lance Armstrong, despite his denial of Landis’ charges.

Meanwhile, in the race that carries a much higher profile among most serious cycling fans outside of California, Ivan Basso bounced back from a suspension for the Operation Puerto doping scandal — notice a theme here? — to win Sunday’s stage of the Giro D’Italia and swears he’s now clean, while David Arroyo kept the leader’s pink jersey.

And that’s the problem.

The Tour of California has the potential to be a great race — something the Coors Classic only briefly managed and the Tour of Georgia never quite achieved.

But it will never be more than a second tier tour until it can find a place on the cycling calendar that doesn’t conflict with the great classics. Most European based pro teams, and most high-level riders, would rather compete in the Giro than make the trip here for the relatively short, low profile and only modestly challenging ToC.

And given a choice, I would have much rather have watched Vinokourov, Basso, Wiggins, Evans, Sastre, et al, battle it out, if only Time Warner carried it.

On the other hand, while the men’s pro calendar is crowded, the women’s schedule is desperately in need of an American grand tour of its own. And to the best of my knowledge, there hasn’t been a high-profile multi-stage women’s tour in the U.S. since I watched Jeanie Longo, Maria Canins and Connie Carpenter battle it out in the Coors Classic before the ’84 Olympics.

So maybe it’s time for the people behind the Tour of California to consider a second race, either in conjunction with the men’s tour or on a date of its own later in the year. Because the men’s race will never be more than an alternative for the top pro teams until it can find its own space on the calendar.

But there’s a real opportunity to create the world’s most important, high profile women’s race.

And in a state that would readily embrace it.

………

The Source names their 10 Essential Bikes as Transportation Blogs, eight of which are already on my daily reading list. There was a time when L.A. bike planners actually thought big. Long Beach’s bike-touring expats make their way from Denton TX — home of the world’s greatest nuevo polka band — to Shreveport LA. The struggle to strike a balance between bikes and motorists on one of the nation’s best roads for riding. Several cyclists are injured — two seriously — in an amateur race in New Hampshire; at least one of the commenters fails to grasp the concept of racing. Cincinnati requires bike parking in any motor vehicle parking facility with 60 or more spaces. Toronto considers switching to a complete streets model. A Montreal rider offers an extensive list of safety tips, yet oddly seems to consider a bell a life-saving safety device. A Brit woman claims to have lost eight dress sizes riding in her sleep under hypnosis. A London truck driver who killed a female cyclist last year admits to being on his cell phone at the time, as the prosecutor presses for stiffer charges. Jakarta cyclists get a Bike to Work Center, not just a day. In an ecumenical approach to peace, 120 Bedouin children join 10,000 Israeli cyclists on bikes donated by a fellowship of Christians and Jews. A Cervélo rider who crashed out of the ToC crashes again, this time while driving drunk in Germany .

Finally, Australia turns into a battleground as an Aussie rider is severely beaten by a driver after flipping him off, and a cyclist provides tragic proof that cyclists can be homicidal assholes, too, by fatally pushing the 71-year old mother of a former rugby star; he told a bystander “the bitch was in my way” before pedaling anonymously away.


A busy bike weekend; the penultimate — and possibly deciding — ToC stage hits L.A.

May 22, 2010

This weekend’s bike calendar:

Saturday, the iCycle Bicycle Festival takes place at the Santa Monica Public Libraries. Head over to Culver City for the Culver City Family Bike Ride. Will Campbell continues his series of May Saturday rides with the 65 mile Two Rivers Ride. CityLites Inner City Sports Festival and Health Fair includes 23 and 5 mile bike tours. The Amgen Tour of California hits Downtown L.A. with a lifestyle festival and time trail that will probably determine the final results; Blog Downtown suggests prime viewing locations. Saturday evening, make your way over to the Bikerowave for Bikeside Speaks! with L.A. Council Member Bill Rosendahl and 36th Congressional District Candidate Marcy Winograd.

Sunday, choose from Flying Pigeon’s Dim Sum Ride, sponsored by Design East of La Brea, and Tubesteaks Under the Stars at the Bicycle Kitchen. And the ToC wraps up with a final stage in Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village and Agoura Hills.

If you want to plan ahead, the L.A. Chapter of Food Not Bombs is hosting an alleycat race in association with Bike Town Beta on May 29th; the race starts at 3 pm at the southeast corner of Pan Pacific Park. There a $5 entry fee, with all funds going to L.A. Food Not Bombs.

………

Rookie rider Peter Sagan wins his second consecutive stage of the Amgen Tour of California and stands in third overall, 9 seconds behind leader Michael Rogers; Dave Zabriskie is in second, 4 seconds back, with Levi Leipheimer in striking distance 14 seconds behind the leader. Saturday’s Time Trial should decide the winner.

In the Giro D’Italia, Manuel Belletti wins Friday’s 13th Stage in a 17 rider breakaway; Richie Porte holds on to the overall lead with a margin of 1:42.

Meanwhile, former Floyd Landis supporters turn on the disgraced cyclist after he outs himself, while cycling’s governing body stands firmly behind their “falsely accused” officials in the Landis affair. I’m sure they’ll issue a statement supporting Armstrong, Leipheimer and Zabriskie, et al, any day, right?

………

The L.A. County Cycling Collaborative is looking for a Bike Wrangler. Bike Date looks at Bike Week LA — and a hipster’s butt — while riding Downtown; LADOT samples Bike to Work Day; Damien Newton offers a photo tour. San Clemente approves a bike rental program. Four House Republicans cross party lines to support Ray LaHood’s bike-ped proposals; well, not really since he’s a Republican working in a Democratic administration. The New York Times offers advice on buying a bike helmet. Lawrence KS chooses bike maps over ghost bikes. A Bicycle Second Line will take over the streets of New Orleans on Saturday. Traffic school for red light-running riders in Mad City. A cyclist encounters the aftermath of a fatal bike collision. Instead of encouraging alternative transportation, Florida cracks down on all cyclists to punish a few. A driver in Fairfax VA loses control and strikes two young riders on a nearby bike path, killing himself and a 17-year old cyclist. The European Union investigates adding sounds to electric cars to warn cyclists and pedestrians. The BBC uses a rider’s video of a car hitting him as an excuse to bash cyclists. A New Zealand army vet denies kicking the bike of an elderly cyclist after drinking, claiming the rider just happened to fall over and die.

Finally, Bostonist lists five ways drivers piss cyclists off.

Only five?


Update: Charges coming in street-racing death of Jorge Alvarado

May 21, 2010

Bahati rider Jorge Alvarado, from the VeloNews forum

Following up on last night’s post, Dj Wheels forwards news that charges will be filed against Patrick Roraff, the 18-year old driver accused of killing pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado while street racing near San Bernardino.

According to a story in the Press-Enterprise, San Bernardino County Deputy D.A. Dan Detienne made the announcement at the Temecula Ride of Silence, which tuned into a de facto memorial for Alvarado. The ride was joined by Alvarado’s brother Louis, who rode in honor of Jorge.

“I just want to say thanks to everyone,” he said.

He then turned away from the group and bowed his head over the handlebars of his bike, no longer able to hold back tears.

The story reports that Roraff was driving on the wrong side of the road at over 70 mph when he lost control of his Honda Accord and plowed into Alvardo, who died at the scene.

Cyclists throughout the U.S. and Mexico will be watching closely to ensure that the charges reflect just how tragic, serious and needless this crime was.


A raft of bike-related court cases; L.A.’s revised bike plan MIA.

May 20, 2010

Dj Wheels catches us up on the current of court cases affecting the cycling community — some of which we’ve discussed before, along with a few new ones in the ever expanding list of drivers brought to justice.

Robert Sam Sanchez, charged in the hit-and-run death of Rod Armas in Malibu while allegedly intoxicated, had his Preliminary Setting continued to May 26 at 8:30 am in the Malibu Courthouse.

According to Wheels —

I didn’t see anyone that appeared to be there for the victim’s family, but there were plenty family members there in support of the Defendant. The deputy DA said again that there would either be a disposition on this day (ie. a plea deal entered) or there would be a date selected for a Preliminary Hearing (a mini trial before the judge to determine if there is sufficient evidence to hear the case before a jury).

William Keith Square, arrested in the hit-and-run death of a still-unnamed cyclist in Carson on April 17th, was arraigned three days later and entered a not guilty plea on all counts. A Preliminary Setting was held on May 5th, and Preliminary Hearing scheduled for June 10 at 8:30 am. Notes Wheels, “Funny how when you don’t have private counsel, the process moves a lot faster.”

Angelina Gailine Everett, accused of the hit-and-run that left an injured Ed Magos lying in the street on January 6. Dj Wheels explains —

She initially stopped, but then left the scene without rendering aid or exchanging information with the injured cyclist. The city attorney was not going to file charges at first, but after pressure from the cycling community and a promise from the newly appointed Chief Beck to request that the C.A. take a second look at it, charges were finally filed on April 6. There was an initial arraignment date of May 6, but apparently Everett did not show up. According to my sources, the city attorney might have sent the citation and notice to appear for her arraignment to an old address.  The court’s system still doesn’t have a new arraignment date entered.

Everett is charged with:

1) one misdemeanor count of leaving the scene of a collision where there physical injuries to one of the involved parties – CVC 20001

2) one misdemeanor count of leaving the scene of a collision where there is property damage – CVC 20002(A)

Naira Margaryan, accused in the death of Gerado Ramos 13 months after he was struck while riding in a Glendale crosswalk.

On September 23, 2008, Margaryan ran over a cyclist at a crosswalk in a residential section of Glendale, after allegedly blowing through a stop sign. Detective Mankarios of the Glendale PD claims the victim cyclist was somehow also at fault in violation of the Cal Vehicle Code by riding his bike on the sidewalk. The case was filed on April 30. There was an initial arraignment date of May 13, and the defendant appeared with private counsel but did not enter her plea. Arraignment was continued to June 2 at 8:30am at the Glendale Courthouse in Dept. 1.

Margaryan is charged with:

1) one misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence – PC 192(c)(2)

In a non-bike related case, former state legislator Walter Karabian stands accused of assaulting an unnamed parking attendant during a USC football game last fall. Wheels reports that a pretrial conference was heard on May 13, with another hearing scheduled for June 10 for compliance with discovery requests, as well as a Trial Setting Conference. A jury trial has been tentatively scheduled for July 19.

Yelena Krupen is accused of damaging the property of an unnamed victim in a hit-and-run collision while driving with a suspended license.

On December 3, 2009, Krupen struck a cyclist from behind with her Mercedes on Santa Monica Blvd at Bedford Ave. in Beverly Hills, causing damage to the bicycle. However, Krupen immediately left the scene after backing up off the rear wheel of the bike. Another motorist who witnessed the incident followed the Mercedes for a short distance, wrote down the license plate and returned to the scene with the info, which was later provided to the BHPD. After an investigation by BHPD and some complaints to the BH City Council for what was feared would become a dismissal, charges were filed on March 15, 2010.

Arraignment was held on March 26 and Krupen pleaded not guilty to both counts with the assistance of the Public Defender. A pretrial conference was held on April 23, which was continued to May 20. The defendant was not present but appeared by private counsel. She was ordered to be present at the next hearing.

Krupen is charged with:

1)one misdemeanor count of failing to stop and provide information at the scene of a collision where there is property damage only – CVC 20002(A)

2)one misdemeanor count of driving with suspended/revoked license – CVC 14601.1(A)

And still no word on charges against Patrick Roraff, the 18-year old driver who allegedly killed pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado while street racing near San Bernardino on April 8th.

………

Remember the new bike plan that seemed to be such a big deal last year? Yeah, me neither. LACBC seems to recall that LADOT promised us a revised plan all the way back in February, and — justifiably — takes the city to task for failing to schedule a realistic release date three months later. And oh-so-politely points the finger at the upper echelons of the department.

Seems to me that if the people in charge at LADOT wanted to release a bike plan, it would have happened already. So here’s my polite suggestion. Either get with the program, or get hell out of the way so people who actually give a damn about cycling in this city can get something done.

Otherwise, you may find L.A.’s cycling community gathered on LADOT’s doorstep with a different finger extend.

And this one won’t be pointing.

………

Richie Porte keeps the leader’s jersey in the Giro; Vinokourov starts his comeback by gaining 10 seconds on the leader, leaving him just 9 minutes and 48 seconds behind. Thursday’s Amgen Tour of California was not hijacked by Floyd Landis, despite appearances to the contrary; Michael Rogers — no relation — claims the leader’s jersey despite having the same overall time as Dave Zabriskie.

Landis-accused Lance Armstrong crashes out at the beginning of the stage, while Greg “Everyone is a Doper but Me” LeMond sides with Landis for a change; tune in tomorrow for As the ToC Turns.

Meanwhile, Blog Downtown anticipates big crowds and closures on Saturday.

………

Gary gets a pleasant Bike to Work Day surprise — along with some not so nice surprises. Bike to Work Day is celebrated in Claremont and by the LACBC Downtown, while UCLA offers Bike to School Day. Metro offers free rides to cyclists with helmets, but may have forgotten to tell their drivers. And a little Tweet pressure gets Trader Joe’s to think twice about opening in Bike Week without bike parking.

………

LADOT continues their advice for beginning cyclists. Pasadena tells cyclists to please stay off the sidewalk. A new OC bike shop will offer dial-up roadside service. Hemet police find cyclists at fault in 16 of 18 collisions; yeah, no hint of bias there. A cyclist in Oakland is killed when he gets doored by a driver and forced into a bus. On the heels of the worldwide popularity of the Tweed ride comes the Seersucker Ride; seriously, does anyone look good in seersucker? Dave Moulton notes that most drivers would give a stray dog more than three feet clearance, so why not a cyclist? The obvious answer is most people like dogs. A cyclist confesses to running red lights, carefully. Boulder CO police are looking for the speeding driver of a $110,000 Mercedes SUV who fled the scene after striking a cyclist in a bike lane. The Washington Post says sharing the road is a two-way street. Evidently, there’s a rash of narco-cyclists in Dallas; oddly, they lifted the photo from USC’s Daily Trojan. A Miami rider says a bus driver ran over him on purpose; the driver claims the cyclist intentionally collided with the bus. Truckers call a proposed new law that would require a four foot distance when passing a cyclist — five feet above 49 mph — “insanity.” Korea prepares a new mandatory bike registration plan to deal with the problem of abandoned bikes. Drivers going through bus and bike-only traffic lights are turning a Birmingham UK road into a ring of death.

Finally, this is pretty much the definition of a very lucky bicyclist.


Seriously, say it ain’t so, Floyd

May 20, 2010

By now, it shouldn’t come as any surprise.

Still, there are those who believed Floyd Landis when he adamantly denied doping during the 2006 Tour de France. And went to bat for him when he started an online Wiki doping defense movement to clear his name before ultimately losing in the Court of Arbitration.

I really wanted to believe him.

But I remember watching him bounce back from an epic bonk in the Tour, only to devastate the field and clinch the Tour the following day. And sitting in front of the TV thinking he had to be on something.

He was.

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal, of all places, broke the news that Landis had sent a number of emails admitting to doping during the 2006 Tour and much of his riding career.

The lying sack of disgraced rider said that longtime Lance Armstrong coach Johan Bruyneel introduced him to doping techniques such as steroid patches, EPO, blood doping and human growth hormone, beginning when he first started riding for Armstrong’s U.S. Postal Team in 2002. And he accuses Bruyneel of coaching him on how to use them without getting caught.

Maybe he should have paid more attention.

As might be expected after placing the blame on Armstrong’s coach, he also accuses Armstrong and fellow teammate George Hincapie of being complicit in the doping, with the clear implication that Lance was doing it, too.

Not surprisingly, Lance denies everything. Then again, so did Floyd for the past four years.

Landis, who signed with the Bahati Foundation team earlier this year in a comeback attempt, claims that former Phonak team owner Andy Rihs — the team he rode for in 2006, which was disbanded after his disqualification — knowingly picked up the tab for his doping program after he signed with the team.

And he says that he helped current Amgen Tour of California leaders Dave Zabriskie and Levi Leipheimer take EPO before a previous ToC race.

It shouldn’t shock anyone to discover that there is doping in pro cycling. Or that Floyd is every bit as dirty as the authorities claimed.

But seriously. Why do you think they call it dope, Floyd?

………

On a soggy day in Italy, the Giro leaders get caught by a devastating breakaway, possibly killing their chances on the podium. The new leader, Saxo Bank’s Richie Porte, now holds an almost 10 minute lead over former leader Vinokourov, whose best chance to climb back up in the standings might be to give Dr. Christopher Thompson an Italian drivers license.

In the ToC, Landis-accused Dave Zabriskie retains the lead with a slim advantage of just 6 seconds or less over Michael Rogers and co-accused Levi Leipheimer; unless something dramatic happens in the next couple days, it looks like the race will be determined at the Downtown L.A. time trial on Saturday.

The general conclusion is that the coverage on Versus this year has sucked, to put it mildly. Hopefully, they’ll get their act together before Le Tour.

………

Saboteurs attack cyclists in a local Maryland criterium by scattering thumb tacks at various points along the course, resulting in crashes and damaged bikes, with a number of minor injuries and at least one broken bone.

Hopefully, local authorities will recognize the seriousness of the crime and respond appropriately; while bike haters may giggle about it, this is no less a violent assault than the Christopher Thompson case.

………

By the time you read this, it will be too late to grab free food and bike swag on Bike to Work Day. Riders who could make it Downtown on Wednesday had a chance to roll through the streets with a police bike escort. And there’s still a few Bike Week events later in the week.

But has it ever occurred to anyone that people who ride to work ride home, too? Why not make a real day of it next year and set up some of those pit stops in the evening, instead?

Meanwhile, Metro’s The Source, which as done a great job of covering Bike to Work Week, is looking for recommendations for the best blogs that focus on bikes as transportation, rather than recreation. You can find some of my favorites over there on the right; email your suggestions to thesource@metro.net or leave a comment on their Facebook page.

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L.A. County announces the second round of hearings on the new county bike plan; how about putting some sharrows on PCH? Glendale will invest a $150,000 grant in upgrading bicycle infrastructure; Stephen Box examines the Glendale Police Department’s understanding of their own laws regarding riding on the sidewalk. Bikerowave speaks on Saturday with 7 bike activists talking for 7 minutes each on 7 subjects. Bicycle Fixation considers the proposed 4th Street Bicycle Boulevard and the potholes of L.A. With the publisher in L.A. for a workshop, Tucson Velo looks at the Bikerowave., after discovering our notoriously cracked pavement and lack of infrastructure. I wonder if the ToC podium girls are doping, too. A look at the return on investment for years of bike advocacy. Chicago observes the Ride of Silence, while a Detroit bike blog says the Ride of Silence comes with good intentions but sends the wrong message. A Maryland cyclist gets doored, and police ticket him in the hospital in violation of local laws. In DC, a cop orders a cyclist to use a new bike lane before it’s opened. Dogs and bikes don’t always get along. Ten cents used to get your bike across New York’s Triborough bridge. A look at bicycling in Tokyo. Five motorists go on trial for a roadway dispute that ended in the death of a London cyclist. British cyclists ride to honor Alfred the Great. The Guardian asks why British women are so vulnerable to collisions with big trucks; the conclusion is get away from the curb.

Finally, The League of American Bicyclists announces their ranking of bike-friendly states; California is dropping like a rock (pdf), having fallen from 7th in 2008 to 14th in 2009 to 19th in 2010. Washington leads the list, while Alabama takes up the rear.


The problem with Glendale and riding on the sidewalk; more on Bike Week

May 18, 2010

Clearly, there’s more to the Glendale bike death wrist slap than there appeared last week.

According to the Glendale News Press, Naira Margaryan was charged with a misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter for the death of Gerardo Ramos, who died 13 months after she ran a stop sign and struck his bicycle as he rode through a Glendale crosswalk.

Infuriating cyclists in the middle of the city’s Bike Month, Glendale authorities assigned equal blame for the death on both parties; to make matters worse, a police spokesman incorrectly said that Ramos shared the blame because riding on a sidewalk is a violation of California vehicle codes.

But as Damien Newton pointed out on Streetsblog, California delegates the decision on whether to allow or ban riding on the sidewalk to local jurisdictions — despite what the DMV’s Driver Handbook says.

So that everyone is clear about the law, here is the relevant section from the California Vehicle Code:

21100. Local authorities may adopt rules and regulations by ordinance or resolution regarding the following matters:…
… (h) Operation of bicycles, and, as specified in Section 21114.5, electric carts by physically disabled persons, or persons 50 years of age or older, on the public sidewalks.

Ok, but that doesn’t mean anything without knowing Glendale’s laws.  Here is the section on sidewalk riding in Glendale:

Glendale Municipal code 10.64.025 Bicycle riding on sidewalks. No person shall ride or operate a bicycle upon any public sidewalk in any business district within the city except where such sidewalk is officially designated as part of an established bicycle route. Pedestrians shall have the right-of-way on sidewalks. The prohibition in this section shall not apply to peace officers on bicycle patrol. (Ord. 5116 § 1, 1996)

As Dj Wheels pointed out, the intersection where Ramos was struck looks very residential.

And that’s exactly the problem. Because section C of CVC 240 defines a business district as virtually anything that isn’t made up of exclusively of single family homes.

(c) All churches, apartments, hotels, multiple dwelling houses, clubs, and public buildings, other than schools, shall be deemed to be business structures.

In other words, a definition so broad that it brings into question the enforceability of any ordinance based on it, since it would be almost impossible for a rider to know whether or not he could legally ride on the sidewalk in any given spot. What would be legal on one block might be illegal on the next — or even on different sections of the same block, as he rides past single family homes and apartment buildings, schools and churches.

Whether or not that played a role in the decision to blame to Ramos for the collision that killed him has yet to be determined — as is whether anything can be done about it.

What is clear is that Glendale cyclists are stuck with a bad law that is almost impossible to obey; and that legal authorities continue to hold cyclists and drivers equality responsible for actions that contribute to collisions — even though careless drivers pose a risk to everyone around them, while even the most careless cyclists pose a risk predominantly to themselves.

Meanwhile, master framebuilder Dave Moulton weighs in on the Gerardo Ramos case, noting that cyclists have to take responsibility for our own safety and stay off the sidewalk.

He’s right.

Studies show there’s a significantly higher risk to bicyclists riding on the sidewalk compared to street — with or without bike lanes or other infrastructure.

………

Another day, another fatal hit-and-run in LA; this one involving a pedestrian in Koreatown.

………

More Bike Week news:

Will Campbell proves himself a better man than I am by attending the Blessing of the Bicycles, and credits it to protecting him during a perfect unplanned sliding dismount; I let an hour long rush hour ride from the Westside in a cold, steady drizzle dissuade me. So if anyone knows any freelance bike-friendly priests, ministers and/or rabbis on the Westside, my bike is still in serious need of blessing.

LAPD provides a podcast of Chief Beck’s Bike Week remarks. Green LA Girl continues her excellent coverage of Bike Week throughout the LA area. The Source calls attention to Wednesday’s Downtown L.A. Ride; better hurry, because it starts at 8 am. Stephen Box astutely looks forward to the day when Bike to Work Week won’t be necessary anymore. Bicycling offers a no-excuse guide to bike commuting, while UCLA Transportation provides a five minute video look at the same subject.

Announcing a major victory for bike commuters timed for Bike Week, Metro plans to drop the rush hour ban on bikes on trains, replacing it with unlimited bikes in the articulated sections between cars, and releases a pretty new map of local bikeways, busways and train lines — though more street-level detail would help. And you can finish off the week by taking Metro to the L.A. stage of the Amgen Tour of California on Saturday; then again, you could just ride there.

………

American Tyler Farrar wins his second stage in the Giro; Vinokourov keeps the leader’s maglia rosa. On the left edge of America, Dave Zabriskie wins Tuesday’s stage of the Amgen Tour of California and takes the overall lead; Brett Lancaster won yesterday’s rain soaked stage.

………

On the political front, Claremont Cyclist endorses the LBVLA, while Damien takes an in-depth look at transportation issues in the 36th Congressional District. LACBC recruits cyclists to test ride LA’s soon-to-be-sharrowed streets; meanwhile, volunteers are wanted to make snowballs in…well, you get it. A UCLA survey question about biking and driving distances could have been phrased a lot better, and offered a better prize as well. LA Cycle Chic reports on a small but successful Mom’s Ride. Gary updates the state of cycling in semi-bike friendly Santa Monica, including a softening on bike licensing and the need for city agencies to work together; meanwhile, you’ll find more bike parking on the Promenade and throughout Downtown. George Wolfberg forwards a story from the NY Times about the ever-present fear of crashing among pro cyclists. Your word for the day: Aggromuter. An East Coast blogger asks if Boston is the new Portland; didn’t Long Beach already beat them to it? Tucson Bike Lawyer trades rings with a trike-riding toddler. A New Jersey cyclist barely avoids injury when she’s knocked off her bike by cups of ice thrown from a passing car; Texas high school students could have faced charges for assaulting cyclists with bananas. Springfield Cyclist celebrates the city’s newfound status as a bike-friendly community. Transport for London turns down an offer of help from the founder of 3FeetPlease; evidently, they have that rash of London cyclists killed by large trucks under control. Fashionable clothes, a toned bum and a tanned face equal cycle chic. Will 2010 be the Summer of Cycling? A Montreal paper says cyclists should be banned from regular roads because we’re all scofflaws — even though less than 20% ran red lights in their own study. And it wasn’t a cyclist who killed three riders in Quebec last week.

Finally, Wednesday night marks the annual Ride of Silence honoring cyclists who have died on America’s streets. Memorial rides will take place in cities throughout the country; local events will take place in Santa Monica, Thousand Oaks, Valencia, Ventura, Rancho Cucamonga, Irvine and Temecula. I have other obligations, or I’d join the ride in Santa Monica, maybe someone can take my place. And lets make sure there’s a ride in Los Angeles next year.


Bike to Work Week, a triple tragedy in Quebec, more L.A. hit-and-runs and the LBVLA is born

May 17, 2010

It’s Bike to Work Week.

The one time during the year when our local governments and various agencies fall all over themselves to prove they’re bike friendly — often in direct contrast to the other 51 weeks of the year.

And it all starts today.

I won’t waste your time with a recap of all the various events going on around town when so many others have already covered it in far more detail; just click on the links below for more information.

LACBC Bike to Work Day/Bike Week

Metro L.A. Bike Week

Bike Week Pasadena

Glendale Bike Month

Long Beach Bike Week

Claremont Bike to Work Week

Additional coverage at LA Streetsblog, the Source, the L.A. Times, Travelin’ Local and Green L.A. Girl, who notes the Sierra Club’s Bike-ku bike giveaway contest, as well as events south of the Orange Curtain in the Orange County Register. As for Bike to Work Day, there’s bound to be Pit Stop location near you.

And in honor of Bike to Work week, LAPD Chief Beck asks drivers not to run over us, noting that sharing the road is the law.

As for me, I’m looking forward to Good Sam’s Blessing of the Bicycles on Tuesday; after the ride I had on Friday — two right hooks, one left cross, one speeding buzz and a barely averted high speed crash — I’ll take all the help I can get. On the other hand, I’m still debating whether I want to spend an hour bucking L.A. rush hour traffic to ride there. So what do you think about this route?

………

Three female triathletes were killed and three others — a man and two woman — seriously injured in a horrific collision while riding on a Quebec highway. Observers blamed the crash on the lack of a paved shoulders along the highway, forcing cyclists to share a lane with high speed traffic. The driver was a volunteer firefighter who attempted to give first aid to the victims. Alcohol has been ruled out, but cruise control may have played a role, while cyclists say local drivers are “cowboys” on the roads. They may be right, as another cyclist is killed by a drunk driver just a day later.

………

The League of Bicycling Voters held its inaugural meeting at UCLA on Saturday, and took its first steps as a real political organization.

………

Tragic proof over the weekend that hit-and-run collisions affect everyone, not just cyclists.

………

Vinokourov gets the pink jersey back — and keeps it — in the Giro. Cyclelicious reports on the first day of the Amgen Tour of California, won by Mark Cavendish, while Tom Boonen gets skinned in a crash. Oh, and some guy named Lance raced, too. The ToC comes to L.A. with a Downtown time trial and bike Lifestyle Festival on Saturday the 22nd.

Of course, that will conflict with the Inner City Sports Festival & Health Fair the same day.

………

Volunteers needed to ride pre-sharrowed streets. Cyclists discover the Valley’s Foothill Boulevard on Saturday. Flying Pigeon now carries classic Dutch-style Velorbis Bikes. The Times examines the intersection of biking and real estate. Pasadena plans to become even more bike friendly, with help Ryan Snyder Associates. L.A. Creek Freak reports on the slow progress of the Arroyo Seco Bike Path. Will observes a modern version of the loaves and fishes while riding Saturday, as a $50 bread purchase turns into $1000 of food for the needy. Riding on the sidewalk may be legal, but it’s not safe — and often rude. A San Francisco Grand Jury says it’s time drivers and cyclists got along, and encourages police to ticket more cyclists. A cyclist suffers non-life threatening injuries at a notorious San Francisco intersection. Today Show weatherman Al Roker rides. Cleveland PD offers great advice on how drivers can share the road. An 11-year old Texas girl gets warning signs on a dangerous road for cyclists. Collisions are up in Boulder intersections — including a cyclist who swerved to avoid car and got ticketed for an illegal lane change. An 86-year old driver faces a $75 fine after killing a teenage cyclist and critically injuring two others. Springfield Cyclist recounts a tandem tour of the Outer Banks. A Scottish company invents a new kind of bike seat; I’ll let someone else try it first. A Brit store refuses to sell a patch kit to a 17-year old for fear he might sniff it instead of fixing his flat. A man steals a bike, but is too drunk to remember what he did with it. Four British firefighters will ride non-stop from Edinburgh to London to raise funds for a cancer charity; as an aside, Santa Monica bike blogger JHaygood documents his brother’s battle against a rare form of cancer. A bike flash mob invades a Brussels train station with Queen’s Bicycle Race.

Finally, a German cyclist has been touring the world for 24 years, 38 countries and 320 flat tires and isn’t done yet; he credits his energy to drinking his own urine every morning. And yes, you read that right.


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