Covina cyclist found dead, physician calls for helmet law, Contador continues to pout

November 28, 2010

A 55-year old Covina man apparently died of natural causes while riding his bike on Saturday. The man, who has not yet been publicly identified, was found lying unresponsive in Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park in San Dimas.

.………

Writing on HuffPo, a physician calls for a mandatory helmet law for all cyclists, motor and otherwise. While I strongly favor helmet use — but oppose making it illegal not to — I’d like to know where he got the unsourced statistic that bike helmets reduce traumatic brain injury (TBI) by 95%.

He also fails to mention that falls are the leading cause of TBIs in the U.S., followed by traffic collisions, hitting or getting hit on the head, and assaults. Or that 45% of injury-related deaths occur in and around the home.

Clearly, the solution is to mandate helmet use for everyone, 24/7.

You know, just in case.

And in another example of America’s obsession with bike helmets, a North Carolina cyclist is killed riding without lights after dark.

Oddly, the reporter focuses on her lack of a helmet, which may or may not have helped, but ignores the obvious risks posed by riding without lights; after all, if she’d been using lights, whether or not she had a helmet might not have mattered.

.………

Tour de France champ Alberto Contador claims to have proof his failed drug test was the result of eating tainted meat, and insists he might just quit cycling if he’s banned.

Meanwhile, the World Anti Doping Agency tells Spain don’t go easy on him or else. And ex-Tour de France champ Floyd “I swear I’m clean and would never, ever dope — oh wait, yeah, I guess I did” Landis says clenbuterol is common in the peloton and guilty riders are protected. Is it just me, or is Contador’s “clear me or I quit” attitude actually starting to make Floyd Landis look good? Or like less of a pathetic lying jerk, at least?

Or maybe not the only one, anyway.

In other pro news, politics may play a role in the investigation into Lance Armstrong, and rising star Taylor Phinney may focus on the road classics rather than track events, and may defend his world pursuit crown

.………

The Times discovers the local bike polo scene. Gary reports on cycling issues at last week’s SaMo City Council meeting. A Castaic woman gives thanks that her husband is still around for Thanksgiving, even if he is in the hospital with serious injuries following a hit-and-run. Claremont Cyclist explains why pelotons function the way they do, and captures Thanksgiving morning in Claremont. Being able to bike to work isn’t the only thing that makes San Louis Obispo the happiest place in the U.S., but it clearly doesn’t hurt; thanks to Stanley for the heads-up. Santa Maria sends its proposed bike plan back for revisions. A Vacaville writer says two wheels are as chic as four. The death of a German tourist in San Francisco last August has been ruled vehicular homicide.

Once you go clipless, you never go back. In a bizarre case, an Oregon cyclist blows through a red light, crashes into a car and rides off — only to be found later stripping to his underwear. My hometown runs a holiday Bikes for Tykes program to recycle unwanted bikes for at risk children; something that L.A. might want to consider copying. Dottie offers her typically lovely bike-centric view of winter’s arrival in the Windy City. As if cyclists didn’t face enough risks, a Tennessee trail rider stops to look at a squirrel and gets bitten by a rattlesnake. Stumbling on a 1944 Swiss Military bike in Boston. In a clear case of the press just not getting it, a NJ cyclist gets doored, but the local paper says he crashed into the truck’s door; technically true, but kind of misses the point. Washington DC’s new-found commitment to bike infrastructure is making the city easier to get around; evidently, though, the city’s new bike share program has a top secret station that requires security clearance. A hit-and-run DC cyclist sends two pedestrians to the hospital, one in critical condition.

Cycling England touts the health benefits of cycling to medical professionals. Apparently, even a video recording of a motorist’s threat isn’t enough to get a prosecution. Women make up just 25% of the people who participate in London’s bike share program; one politician says it’s because of traffic and too few places to clean up. Talking bikes with noted designer Paul Smith. A 10-year old Brit boy invents a device to warn drivers about bikes on the road.

Finally, what I want to find in my stocking this Christmas.


Today’s post, in which I am truly grateful — and only complain a little

November 25, 2010

Oddly, Thanksgiving is still being held this year, despite marketers’ attempts to bypass it in favor of endlessly extending the holiday shopping season.

Or am I the only one offended by Christmas carols that began playing in stores before Halloween this year — let alone repeated attempts to move Black Friday up by several weeks. And since when has a day that marked retailers’ profits finally moving into the black become a holiday in its own right, anyway?

I won’t bore you with a list of things I’m thankful for. I’ll just acknowledge, as the LACBC pointed out, this has been a very good year for local cyclists. By far, the best in my memory, in fact; a year when the voices of cyclists finally shook the halls of government.

And our civic leaders actually did something about it.

I hope you’ll take a moment to appreciate the people and blessings in your life, as I do in mine. And I’d like to thank you for taking the time to read what I have to share, whether it’s your first time here or you’re a long time regular.

I have a lot to be thankful for.

And I’m very glad that Thanksgiving still means something.

.………

Bike Skirt offers thanks for her many bike blessings, while Damien Newton says thanks to all Streetsblog readers and supporters.

.………

Streetsblog interviews Aktive, who’s gone from a non-rider to a leader in the cycling community in just 14 months. The hard-won Hollywood Trader Joes bike racks disappear without warning. Local residents call for a road diet on Colorado Blvd in Eagle Rock. Continuing with Wednesday’s theme, a Santa Cruz County driver is arrested for allegedly running a cyclist off the road, then making a U-turn to come back and threaten him.

A reminder that not all tragic deaths occur on the road. When it comes to pro racing, a good excuse is all in how you frame it. Tips on the art of winter commuting; if it gets much colder here, we may need them ourselves. Despite being in effect since 2008, Vancouver, Washington’s mandatory helmet law is widely ignored and unenforced. Some of the city hall staffers who promote New York bike lanes ride in them, too. A Brit cyclist learns how to ride in New York.

Bromptons graduate from geek chic to everyone’s favorite commuter bike. London’s bike share program opens up to non-members next week. Police warn the UK’s new Deputy Prime Minister not to commute by bike to Downing Street. Oxford students buy bike lights to avoid tickets, then return them afterwards. A cyclist missing for eight hours is found with a broken leg and suffering from hypothermia after she was possibly struck by a car. A New Zealand rider asks why are cyclists are being picked on after the carnage of recent weeks. Cycling communities around the world reach out to those in need this holiday season.

Finally, a writer says I’m not a F***ing cyclist, I’m a Ruby’s daddy on a bike, while the Initiative Director for the South Bay Bicycle Master Plan says that she didn’t hear one single motorist yell an obscenity at a cyclist while she was in Amsterdam.

And if you’re looking for the perfect condiment for that turkey, it appears L.A.’s favorite native-born hot sauce has been around a lot longer than we thought.

Best wishes for a very happy Thanksgiving.


On zombies, boogey men, murderous drivers and Dr. Christopher Thompson

November 24, 2010

Evidently, drivers aren’t really like zombies after all.

I’ve been catching up AMC’s Walking Dead lately — a must for fans of the mindless flesh-eating oeuvre, especially those of us who prefer the classic slow-moving zombies to their zippier modern brethren.

Watching it caused me to briefly entertain the notion that those swarming undead masses hungry for human flesh might make a decent metaphor for some of the deadlier drivers with whom we find ourselves sharing the roads.

But it didn’t really fit.

While too many drivers operate mindlessly behind the wheel, and allow their cell phones and other distractions to divert their attention from the road, the simple fact is that most drivers aren’t actually out to get us, despite how it sometimes seems. And while there may be great swarms of them swirling around us, the overwhelming majority of motorists are more concerned with the minutiae of their own lives than the presence of those of us on two wheels.

And yes, that is every bit as good and bad as it sounds.

Still, there are some scattered in that great mass of humanity on our roads who really do want to cause us harm.

Think of it as the early stages of a zombie infestation, when there are still just a few infected souls feasting on the unsuspecting.

Take David Mark Clark, the Bay Area man accused of intentionally running down four separate cyclists in a six minute hit-and-run rampage, for instance.

Or the driver who made a U-turn to come back and hit Opus the Poet, nom de web of the author of Witch on a Bicycle.

As long time readers will know, Opus has made it his life’s work to report on collisions and assaults involving cyclists, and offer advice on how to avoid similar situations yourself.

But what you may not know is that he himself is a survivor of a horrific near-fatal collision that left him with lasting life-changing injuries. And the simple fact that he’s still here riding and fighting for other cyclists makes him far more than just another bike blogger in my book.

In the last few days, though, he revealed that he finally found the driver who hit him; ironically, by the time he finally found the driver, the man was already six feet under in a local cemetery, the victim of another collision. And for the first time I’m aware of, Opus explained just what happened — and what it’s like to know he’ll never have a chance to confront his attacker:

There’s not much to tell from before the wreck. Until I got hit Dallas and Richardson cops would shadow my commute route because as one cop put it “Son, you are an idiot magnet.” and they could get a month’s worth of tickets from people acting stupid around me on my after midnight commute home. Garland cops couldn’t have cared less. Just before I crossed into Garland someone in a white pickup shouted at me to “Get off the Fucking road!” and a few minutes later someone in a white pickup shouted the same thing doing about 65 MPH just before I got hit by him….

Well in spite of finding out the guy I wanted to torture to death with blunt impact trauma has already died life must go on (just not for him). I never will get to find out why he made a u-turn around a median to come back and kill me, what inspired that level of rage. I think that’s the thing that bothers me the most about this whole “resolution” thing, it doesn’t resolve anything. I want to know “Why?” so I can do something about it in the future. Of course if the answer to “Why?” is “Because I’m an asshole and don’t like bicycles on the road.” there isn’t much I can do about that except request some kind of screening during the driver’s license test that prevents people like that from ever getting a license, along with stricter laws against driving without a license, ideally the same penalties as carrying concealed without a CHL. Whatever, I’m just glad the asshole population on the roads in control of deadly weapons of mass destruction has been reduced by one.

Then there’s our own biking Boogey Man, the good doctor whose name we invoke to frighten young cyclists — knowing full well that the man who used his car to attack two cyclists in Mandeville Canyon is locked safely behind bars.

Except, as noted here recently, there’s no guarantee he’s going to stay there.

Not surprisingly, Dr. Christopher Thompson is appealing his convictions for mayhem, assault with a deadly weapon (his car), battery with serious injury, and reckless driving causing injury.

Surprisingly, though, cyclist and attorney Dj Wheels, who has followed the case from the beginning — and brought all of us into the courtroom with him — says he may have a point. While he’s still giving it some thought, he says it looks like Thompson may have some interesting, and potentially valid, arguments.

According to Wheels, Thompson’s appeal is based on six key grounds —

  1. Trial court erred when it allowed evidence of alleged prior conduct
  2. Trial court erred in finding appellant presumptively ineligible for probation
  3. Failure to object to jury verdict forms was ineffective assistance of counsel
  4. Trial court abused discretion in failing to grant probation
  5. Trial court abused discretion in awarding Peterson and Stoehr attorney fees of $20,000 each as restitution
  6. Appellant entitled to one additional day of presentence custody credit

Whether the appellate court will agree should be determined sometime next year. But it’s possible that 2011 may see Dr. Thompson back on the streets.

I think I’d rather take my chances with the zombies.

Especially the slow ones.

.………

In a victory for Santa Monica cyclists, their City Council considers relaxing the penalty for riding on the sidewalk, while the City Attorney acknowledges that the city’s bike licensing law doesn’t comply with state law.

Now if someone could just tell Long Beach.

.………

LACBC offers a cheat sheet courtesy of bike attorney Ross Hirsch in case you’re hit by a car. The new Elysian Valley segment of the L.A. River Bike Path is finally open. One of L.A.’s best wrenches (aka bike mechanic) has been running a great series of photos of bike shop decals from around the country, now gathered in one place; I have one I’ll have to send him. LADOT Bike Blog says December will be a busy month for local cyclists; you can add another Streetsblog fundraiser to the list. Highlights from yesterday’s Living Car-Free in Southern California live chat from KPCC, or read the complete transcript. The Mandoline Grill food truck offers a ride-up discount. SoCal mountain bikers will raise funds for five-year old Tyler Blick in his battle with leukemia on Friday with the 24-hour Le Tour de Tryptophan. Public bikes pop up in the Gap’s San Francisco flagship store.

Electric cars and hybrids will soon make noise to warn others on the road. Eugene, Oregon cyclists get a beautiful new car-free bridge. NYDOT Commissioner Jannette Sadik-Khan is interviewed in Esquire, while the city puts out a call for graffiti-resistant one-size-fits-all bikes for its new bike share plan. The head of AAA in the DC area insists bike lanes are part of a war on drivers. A cyclist killed Sunday in Gulfport, Alabama devoted his time to charity work, despite being homeless. Three — or maybe three-and-a-half — U.S. teams will compete on next year’s pro tour.

Here’s your chance to ride with one of cycling’s all-time greatest riders, as Eddy Merckx promises to ride in a new B.C. Granfondo. A London cyclist complains her coat seems to make her invisible to drivers; I’ve got a blue jersey that seems to do the same thing. A dog walker is upset when an off-road race blocks access to his favorite trails. A blind Scot pedestrian is injured by a hit-and-run cyclist. Spanish cyclists win the right to ride on the sidewalk.

Finally, a Kiwi writer says bikes and cars are a dangerous mix — and suggests banning them from the roads for our own good, since drivers can’t be bothered to drive safely. Tell that to Octavio Orduno, who’s still riding at age 102


Stop complaining and join something, already

November 22, 2010

Writing for Orange 20 Bikes, Richard Risemberg of Bicycle Fixation observes that while surrounding cities are throwing down bike love, L.A. has meetings…and more meetings.

There’s no excuse. Size doesn’t matter: New York and Chicago, the cities that bracket us in size, are going great guns on bike infrastructure, and they also have the issues of budget constraints, poverty, diversity, and a multiplicity of languages and culture that LA officials have used to excuse our slow crawl towards a Bicycle Millennium.

Don’t get me wrong; there’s a lot of great work being done for cycling in LA. I wrote it up last year. But most of it’s being done by NGOs such as the LACBC, CICLE, and so forth. LA’s government seems to be in a reactive mode. And that isn’t the way to get things done very quickly.

Still, it’s what we have. This means that making Los Angeles a true bicycling city is up to us for now.

Yeah, that means you too. Look up those organizations linked to in the previous sentence and lend a hand. The more of us are involved, the louder will be our voices (and our votes). Eventually they’ll have to listen.

He’s right.

It’s up to us. And there’s strength in numbers. It’s not enough to ride your bike and bitch about how bad things are here. You need to get involved.

The sad fact is, if you combined the total membership of every bike advocacy organization in the L.A. area, at most, maybe 10% of the cyclists who ride on a daily basis belong to one, based on the estimated number of riders in the new bike plan.

And that number drops to 2% or less of the people who ride on a monthly basis — many of whom would ride more often if there was sufficient infrastructure in place to make them feel safer on our streets.

So get involved.

Don’t wait. Don’t think about it.

If you don’t already belong to an advocacy organization, sign up today.

Join the LACBC. Join C.I.C.L.E. Join Bikeside. Join Santa Monica Spoke, the South Bay Bicycle Coalition, Long Beach Cyclists or any of the other local advocacy groups.

Make it an early New Years resolution to find one that supports your goals and interests.

But join something, now.

Because one voice is easily ignored. But together, the cycling community will have a powerful voice to shake the halls of government, here in L.A. and the surrounding SoCal communities, as well as in Sacramento and D.C.

And we haven’t even cleared out throat yet.

It’s time to be heard.

.………

A recall has been ordered for Full Speed Ahead BB30 Gossamer double crank sets; bikes affected include 2010 and 2010 models from Bianchi, Cannondale, Felt, Fuji, Quintana Roo, Litespeed, Raleigh and Scattante. The cranks affected are painted black with “Gossamer” in white lettering or white with “Gossamer” in black lettering, and have serial numbers beginning with 10B, 10C or 10D; injuries have been reported as a result of defective cranks.

.………

LAPD wants your help to find the hit-and-run driver who ran down an 81-year old woman in Koreatown. Santa Monica invites cyclists to an open house to discuss the city’s Bicycle Action Plan on December 13th. New bike corrals in Long Beach. A suspected drunk cyclist is hospitalized and arrested after fracturing his skull in a fall. Ex-Long Beach cyclist Laura Crawford explains what it feels like to have an emotional breakdown in the middle of a cross-country bike ride. Claremont Cyclist asks what kind of person drives in a bike lane. People in Bakersfield would be a lot better off if they all followed the lead of cyclists. A 73-year old Santa Maria cyclist is killed in a SWSS (Single Witness Suicide Swerve), as the driver claims the victim inexplicably turned in front of him.

Idaho cyclists sue after being to get off and walk on a popular bike path. The Kansas City Star applauds the city’s progress in creating biking infrastructure. Detroit’s M-bike takes a look at a 1894 patent for a suspended Bicycle Trolley-Car. A driver is accused of trying to pass too closely in a fatal 2009 collision with a cyclist; as usual, he claims the cyclist suddenly swerved into him. A New York cyclist collides with a 7-year old kid on the Brooklyn bridge; some wonder why this is even a story. The Wall Street Journal looks at the conflict between cyclists and drivers resulting from New York’s boom in biking, while the New York Times examines the backlash to the rapid expansion in biking infrastructure and asks what readers think. A Virginia cyclist says there’s no reason to be a scofflaw, while a writer for Alta offers advice on how to respond to accusing drivers. A Florida cyclist killed Sunday was a serious triathlete and the area’s unofficial ambassador for bicycling.

Buildings don’t cause traffic, people do. A recovering engineer questions the road standards that have destroyed our cities and put us all at risk. Bike commuting can save you up to $8,000 a year. Advance on what to do when you’re being followed by an angry threatening driver. A CNN writer says giving up his car was the best decision ever. Bicycling is safe and healthy modern transportation, but could be a lot better. Beginner and experienced bike locking techniques. Two separate cyclists celebrate the joys of riding alone and the zen of solo cycling. How to align a bent derailleur.

An 81-year old Vancouver man is killed in a collision with a cyclist; reportedly, the cyclist was traveling at 50 kph — 30 mph — which should have resulted in serious injuries the rider, as well. Birmingham, England cracks down on dangerous drivers who put cyclists at risk. The UK will increase penalties for drivers who fail to display their license plates; it’s about time California did the same. Two women are sentenced to community service and supervision for assaulting a cyclist. A look at the sad condition of bicycling infrastructure in Italy. The state of cycling in St. Petersburg. An Australian study shows 87% of bicycling collisions are caused by drivers; most resulting from unsafe left — our right — turns.

Finally, it helps to be a mind reader to understand why some drivers hope we get run over. And while the name of the column is Road Rant, a Cleveland writer takes a surprisingly positive view towards sharrows.


Champion triathlete Jordan Rapp survives a near-fatal hit-and-run to compete again

November 20, 2010

On November 22nd, 2009, Jordan Rapp set a course record in winning the Ford Ironman Arizona triathlon.

Four months later, he was nearly killed in a horrifying Camarillo hit-and-run, suffering two severed jugular veins, losing over two liters of blood and shattering his face, collarbone and shoulder when he broadsided a truck that turned into the path of his bike. Authorities believe the suspect in the case, Marco Garcia-Ortiz, may have fled to Mexico.

This Sunday he’ll defend his championship in Tempe, Arizona.

And the man who saved his life will be watching.

Update: Rapp not only completed the race today, he nearly made the podium by finishing fourth — capping an amazing comeback over the past eight months. I may just have a new hero.


Breaking news: Michael Nine case ends in hung jury; retrial begins next week

November 20, 2010

Somehow, I missed this story last night; fortunately, Richard Masoner at Cyclelicious seldom seems to miss anything.

He sends word that the trial of Jose Louis Huerta Mundo, charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter in the July death of cyclist Michael Nine in Newport Beach, has ended in a hung jury. According the Daily Pilot, there’s no word on how the jury broke down in in favor or against conviction.

However, the courts aren’t wasting any time; a new trial is set to begin on Tuesday, November 23rd.


Memorial ride for James Laing, and why it’s important to remember those who died

November 20, 2010

Jim Laing, photo courtesy of his sister Peggy Laing-Krause

Late word is that the memorial ride for James Laing scheduled for Saturday morning will be held rain or shine.

Sponsored by the San Fernando Valley Bicycle Club, the easy, 16-mile ride is being held in memory of the cyclist killed by an alleged drunk hit-and-run driver in Agoura Hills on October 23rd, and will visit the roadside memorial where he was killed. The ride is scheduled to begin at 8 am at the Agoura Hills Bicycle John’s, 29041 Thousand Oaks Blvd.

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to be there; if you can’t, or if you read this later, I hope you’ll join me in offering a short prayer or a moment of silence for Jim, his wife Lulu and all of their family and loved ones.

.………

A couple of friends raised a good point lately.

They said that, while they enjoy reading about biking in this overgrown traffic-choked city we call home, it’s depressing to read about the seemingly endless barrage of deaths on SoCal streets lately.

I couldn’t argue with them; that’s something I’ve worried myself. And trust me, if you think it’s depressing reading things like that, try writing about them.

So let me explain why I do it.

It’s certainly not to suggest that cycling is dangerous. The number of people killed or injured on bikes pales in comparison to the number of miles we ride every day. And as studies have shown, the benefits of bicycling more than outweigh whatever risks we may face on the roads.

Though you can certainly improve your odds by doing simple things like using lights after dark, signaling, stopping for red lights and riding with traffic.

But there are reasons why these stories need to be told.

First, it’s import to remember the victims.

Except in rare cases, traffic fatalities seldom make the news. Or if one does, it’s usually just a few paragraphs buried in the paper or on a news website.

If you’ve been a reader here for awhile, you may have noticed that few things offend me more than a news report that doesn’t tell you much more than someone was killed while riding a bike.

Nothing about how it happened or why, or who was responsible; nothing about the victim or the heart-wrenching hole that’s been torn in the lives left behind. Sometimes, not even a name, or any follow-up once it’s released.

On rare occasions, the press gets it right. Other times, I feel like someone has to make sure they aren’t forgotten. And when I look around, I see that someone is usually me.

I’ve received enough comments and emails from family and friends of the various victims to know that it offers at least some comfort to know that someone, even a total stranger, cared enough to say something.

Second, I want to put whatever pressure I can on the mainstream media to same them into reporting these stories.

Somehow, we long ago reached the point where traffic fatalities ceased to be news. The 33,000 or more deaths that occur on American roads each year have come to be seen as collateral damage, the cost of getting from here to there — if we even stop to think about it at all.

We don’t want to consider the carnage on our highways, or the 93 people who leave home every day and never return.

But it’s something we have to think about, because the cost is too damn high.

The average American driver has long ago forgotten that a motor vehicle is an exceptionally dangerous thing. When we look at our cars, trucks, vans and SUVs, we see friendly, almost anthropomorphic machines that carry our loads and get us where we want to go.

And no one ever looks in the mirror and sees a careless, distracted or overly aggressive driver.

But maybe we should.

It’s responsibility of the press to be that mirror, and force us to take a cold, hard look at ourselves. Even if we don’t like what we see.

It may be too much to ask them to report on each of the nearly 31,000 or more fatal collisions every year (the numbers don’t add up because some collisions result in more than one death). But the relative handful of bicycling deaths — 630 nationwide last year — can, and should be, reported.

Because along with pedestrians, we’re the ones most vulnerable to the actions and distractions of those with whom we share the road.

Finally, it has to stop.

No one should have to risk their life simply because he or she decided to go out for a bike ride, or chose to benefit our city and planet by choosing a healthier and less harmful mode of transportation.

Compared to 33,000 total traffic deaths, 630 may not seem like much. But even one death is one too many — let alone 14 in the last four months alone.

As others have pointed out, the death of a cyclist is no more tragic than the death of pedestrian or a motorist, or any of the other countless accidental or violent deaths that occur in our cities everyday.

I learned a long time ago, though, that I can’t fight every fight, no matter how much I may care. But this is one I can take on.

I’m a cyclist, and this website is about bicycling.

That makes it my fight.

Our fight.

And I intend to do everything in my power to make sure that the last bike death was the last bike death.

If we can do that, then the loss of people like Jim Laing and Danny Marin may not feel any less tragic or heartbreaking than they do today.

But maybe, just maybe, some good will come out of them.

.………

In a non-bike related case, a driver with two previous DUI convictions gets 15 years to life for causing a fatal freeway collision by trying to pass rush hour traffic on the shoulder at over 70 mph while high on grass and prescription drugs.

.………

Bike Talk airs Saturday at 10 am; listen to it live or download the podcast from KPFK.

Flying Pigeon sponsors its next Get Some Dim Sum Ride on Sunday, November 20th, including a visit to the Arroyo Arts Collective 18th Annual Discovery Tour; riders meet at 10 am at Flying Pigeon LA, 3714 N. Figueroa St. in Highland Park.

Flying Pigeon and the Bike Oven host the free Spoke(n) Art Ride on the 2nd Saturday of every month; the next ride will take place on Saturday, December 11th, starting 6:30 pm at 3714 N. Figueroa St. in Highland Park.

Bike Long Beach sponsors a two part Traffic Skills 101 Course to teach cyclists how to ride in traffic. November’s session has been cancelled due to expected rain; the next class is scheduled for Wednesday, December 15th from 6 – 8 pm, with part two following on Saturday, Dec. 18 from 9 am – noon at Cal State Long Beach.

Mark your calendar for the LACBC’s all-day Holiday Open House on Tuesday, December 28th at the Library Alehouse, 2911 Main Street in Santa Monica. Festivities begin at 11 am and continue until closing with great food and beer, fun and raffle prizes; a percentage of the days sales will be donated to the LACBC.

Explore the effects of bicycles on art and culture at Re:Cycle — Bike Culture in Southern California, at U.C. Riverside’s newly relocated Sweeney Art Gallery at the Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts3834 Main Street in downtown Riverside, exhibition continues through December 31st.

The Bikerowave will ring in 2011 with a New Years Eve party, starting at 8 pm on December 31st at 12255 Venice Blvd.

..………

Damien Newton presents three more candidates to lead LADOT; lets just hope the Mayor reads Streetsblog. Bicycle Kitchen still has workshops open this month, including one Saturday morning on wrenching bottom brackets and headsets. And I though getting a flat from a late night pothole was a problem. CicLAvia explores uncharted territory, as the biking community finally discovers South L.A. Work starts on the northern extension of the Orange Line Bikeway. Bikes and ebikes crash the L.A. Car Show. Pasadena City College students discuss why they ride. Bike-banning USC may soon provide cyclists and pedestrians with their own bike boulevard; maybe one day they’ll even be a Bike-Friendly University, but I’d put my money on UCLA first. Charlie Gandy invites you to ride Long Beach in search of the perfect tres leche. Just Another cyclist covers the vital topic of bike lights, particularly now that it’s getting dark earlier. A Palo Alto cyclist is hit by a salmon hit-and-run driver. To clip or not to clip, that is the commuting cyclists’ question. San Francisco cyclists get five new green boxes on Market Street.

Sure, you can prepare your bike for winter storage, but why would you — especially if you live in L.A.? Good advice: grant yourself permission to be a beginner. Helmet cams and carbon wheels for junior racers won’t be banned after all. A comparison of bike commuting benefits in the US and the UK. A Portland writer says please don’t dump your trash in the bike lane, or you’ll hurt his dad. Serial numbers and Samaritans unite three hot bikes with their owners. An OKC thief makes his getaway by bike with a large flat-screen TV. A Chicago cyclist decides to keep riding after getting doored. People for Bikes offers an introduction to federal funding for bicycling, while Streetsblog DC says the GOP wants to take transportation funding back to the 1950s and an influential group fights bike projects in the district. A DC cyclist gets hit by a cab, then ticketed while still in the hospital — without ever speaking to a cop about the collision. Family members question whether a rider’s apparent solo accident was actually a homicide.

A Toronto cyclist killed in a collision with a streetcar may not have been able to see the traffic signal. Alejandro Valverde fails to overturn an Italian doping ban. Biking Barcelona’s beachfront bikeway. After a Kiwi cyclist is fatally doored, officials decide to remove the offending parking spots. Unbelievably, the Singapore driver who hit a cyclist, bouncing him off her windshield, before driving home with the bike still stuck under her car, gets off with an $800 fine. Pneumatic tires — like the ones on your bike — were invented because John Dunlop Jr. had a bumpy ride on his trike.

Finally, to help get you in the mood for the upcoming holiday season, how about a Christmas tree made entirely of bikes?


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