Bike racing and bikeways come to DTLA, and lots of links and events for your weekend reading pleasure

May 19, 2012

Now that I’ve caught up on sleep after a busy bike week — I mean seriously, why can’t people bike to work at a more reasonable hour, like maybe noon? — let’s catch on the news before moving on to this week’s events.


AG2R La Mondiale rider Sylvain Georges leads from the first mile to win a dramatic stage 6 of the Amgen Tour of California; Dave Zabriskie holds onto the leader’s jersey he won on Thurday in the Bakersfield time trial. And Kristen Armstrong wins once again in the women’s annual token appearance in the Tour of California.

On the other side of the Atlantic, Mark Cavendish wins his third stage of this year’s Giro, despite a couple of crashes the first week, while Joaquim Rodriguez keeps the leader’s jersey. Liquigas-Cannondale’s Damiano Caruso hopes to win best young rider; I’d vote Taylor Phinney for gutsiest young rider after cycling on this for the past week.


Big news on the local bike lane front, as B.I.K.A.S says the new bike lanes on NELA’s Via Marisol probably won’t get a lot of use. Three new bike lanes prove there’s cycling life south of the 10 Freeway. LADOT plans a full interconnected bikeway network in Downtown L.A. within the next 13 months or so; I’ll be glad when I don’t have to dodge cabs and buses on 7th street east of Figueroa anymore.


LACBC offers advice on how to lock your bike. A non-biking reporter rides to work in Glendale. One in ten California drivers are on their cell phones at any given time. Calbike asks you to contact your state Senator to ask for a safe passing distance. Bike thieves hit Coronado. Four decades of manning a Bike to Work station in Palo Alto. A San Francisco attorney with two previous speeding convictions is arrested in the hit-and-run death of a cyclist in Dublin CA. New separated bike lanes in are bad for everyone according to a San Francisco writer. The father of a Napa City council candidate is killed riding back from a half century when a 20-year old driver drifts off the road. A bicyclist is killed after falling into a Fresno canal.

Five things every mayor should know before starting a bike share program; link courtesy of Alan Thompson. Science is still trying to figure out how we balance on a bike. Save up to $9,000 a year by balancing one on your way to work. Now you can get that stainless steel DeLorean you always wanted, just with two fewer wheels. Are bikes the next great technology platform? Albuquerque cyclists will soon get a bike/pedestrian bridge over I-25. A Denver cyclist slams into a police car after allegedly running a stop sign. The women’s pro tour hits Idaho next week; maybe some day they’ll get the attention they deserve, right Amgen? L.A. expat Amanda Lipsey says bikes equal smiles, and Missoula ain’t L.A. A Tulsa bike thief pulls an endo attempting his getaway. An Indiana driver slams on his breaks in front of a cyclist; the rider responds by pulling out a gun and shooting him. Chattanooga area police refuse to enforce Tennessee’s three-foot passing law unless the driver actually makes contact with the rider; I guess that’s one way to be sure the distance was less than three feet. Joe Jonas loses his bike to thieves. Questions surround locations for New York’s new bike share. It’s as easy as learning to ride a bike — again. A Florida driver won’t face charges after killing a cyclist with morphine, muscle relaxant and a tranquilizer in her system.

Vancouver cyclists have to deal with close calls and narrow streets. Seven things you should give up to be a happy cyclist; can’t say I’d argue with any of it, even if I often fail to practice them myself. UK police threaten to prosecute a five-year old for riding his bike on a promenade; no, really. A professional Brit pollster dismantles a recent highly misleading anti-bike survey.

Finally, if Norman can ride a bike, so can you. Even if he does have twice as many legs and a lot more hair. And even supposedly sensitive women bloggers take it out on cyclists.


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

Bike Long Beach hosts Bike Saturdays every weekend; ride your bike to participating local shops and business throughout the city to get special offers and discounts.

DTLA’s popular Downtown L.A. Bicycles hosts the Grand Opening of their new Santa Monica location at 7th and Wilshire in Santa Monica starting at noon on Saturday, May 19th. Events include a custom Yoga routine designed for biking, BMX bike demonstrations, an interactive safety scavenger hunt, raffles and much more.

Pasadena wraps up Bike Week with the free All City Ride and Bike Week Pedal Party, from 6:30 pm to 11 pm on Saturday the 19th. The ride starts and ends at Paseo Colorado, 280 East Colorado Blvd.

Cap off Bike Week with a Bike Exhibition hosted by the Santa Monica Spoke at the annual Santa Monica Festival on Saturday, May 19th from 11 am to 6 pm at Clover Park, 2600 Ocean Park Blvd, offering a full day of music, dance, visual arts, food, information and shopping. Admission is free, and there will be a bike valet.

The Culver City Bicycle Coalition is looking for volunteers for the city’s bike count on Saturday, May 19th and Wednesday, May 23rd.

The Amgen Tour of California concludes with a penultimate Ontario to Mt. Baldy stage on Saturday, May 19th, and the final stage from Beverly Hills to L.A. Live on Sunday, May 20th, with the race starting at 10:10 am and an expected finish between 11:40 and noon.

Speaking of the Tour of California, you’re invited to ride the Downtown leg of the final stage with the Nissan Ride Before the Pros on Sunday the 20th. Riders of all ability levels can ride the 5-mile closed circuit from 8 am to 9:30 am starting at Staples Center. Think of it as a mini-CicLAvia; free registration required.

Also on the Sunday the 20th, the younger set can join in the inaugural Kidical Mass Bixby Knolls bike ride, from 1 to 3 pm beginning and ending at Los Cerritos Park in Long Beach. The four mile ride will be led by Long Beach Bike Ambassador and Olympic cyclist Tony Cruz, and feature complimentary ice cream, music, free tune ups, yoga demonstrations and a blessing of the bicycles.

Anyone who rides PCH — or would like to — is invited attend a meeting discussing design of the Pacific Coast Bike Route Improvements Project between Busch Drive and the western Malibu city limit. The meeting is scheduled for 6 pm to 8 pm on Wednesday, May 23rd in the Multi-Purpose Room at Malibu City Hall, 23825 Stuart Ranch RoadNote that the meeting has been moved from Saturday the 19th; the Saturday meeting has been cancelled.

San Diego cyclists are invited to Ride to Vote on Wednesday, May 23rd to advocate for safer bicycling facilities in the city. The all ages ride will assemble at 5 pm at the fountain in Balboa Park for an easy 11-mile ride. While the organizers strongly support independent candidate Nathan Fletcher for mayor of San Diego, they want to send a message that they will strongly support any candidate, regardless of party, who genuinely embraces a vision of a people-friendly San Diego.

Los Angeles cyclists enter the political realm when the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s new Civic Engagement Committee meets for the first time promptly at 6:45 pm (note the new start time) on Tuesday, May 29th on the Mezzanine level at LACBC headquarters, 634 South Spring Street in Downtown L.A. Help us get us work to get candidates for mayor and city council in Los Angeles and other area cities on the record for their stands on bicycling issues to ensure the election of more bike-friendly political leaders.

The Palms Neighborhood Council will host their 19th Annual Bike Rodeo on Saturday, June 2nd from 10 am to 2 pm at Palms Elementary School, 3520 Motor Ave. The event is free for Palms residents and children attending Palms area schools.

The Antelope Valley’s High Desert Cyclists hosts a series of monthly Brunch Rides starting at Marie Kerr Park on 30th Street West in Palmdale on the second Saturday of each month. The comfortably paced 15 to 20 mile rides will visit a local restaurant or coffee shop for brunch before returning to the starting point; organizers promise no rider will be left behind. The next ride is scheduled for Saturday, June 9th at 7:30 am, with successive rides scheduled for July 14th, August 11th, September 8th and October 13th.

L.A.’s favorite fundraising bike ride rolls out on Sunday, June 10th with the 12th Annual L.A. River Ride; this one just keeps getting bigger and better every year. Six different rides, from an easy family ride to a fast, flat century. Funds go to support the LACBC in building a better, more bikeable L.A. County; save $10 if you register by May 15th.

Recover from The L.A. River Ride with a laid-back bike, brunch and beer ride the following Saturday, June 16th. The first annual B3 charity bike ride will raise funds for the Pablove Foundation with beer and food specials, while making a loop between Golden Road BrewingTony’s Darts Away and Mohawk Bend.

Sunday, July 1st, Shuntain Thomas, the Real Rydaz and We Are Responsible People (WARP) will host a ride through the streets of South Los Angeles to raise attention to the problem of childhood obesity and streets as recreational space. The ride starts at 10 am at Exposition Park, and ends at a street festival at 86th Street and Vermont Avenue.

The 4th Annual California Tour de Dreams 2012 will take place August 9th through 19th as cyclists will ride 540 miles from UC Berkeley to UCLA to educate communities about the passage of the California Dream Act and advocate for passage of the Federal Dream Act; register online by May 31st.

Bikes are normally banned from the famed San Diego – Coronado Bay Bridge, but you can ride it on Sunday, August 26th, during the 5th Annual Bike the Bay, to benefit the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition. Get an early registration discount through April 30th.

Early registration has opened for the national Pro Walk/Pro Bike® conference to be held September 10th through 13th in Long Beach. The 17th annual conference is sponsored by the National Center for Bicycling and Walking, and Project for Public Spaces.

This year’s Tour de Fat will take place on Saturday, September 15th at Los Angeles State Historic Park — and this time, it’s not scheduled on the Jewish high holidays, so everyone can attend.

Mark your calendar for the next CicLAvia from 10 am to 3 pm on October 14th; more details to follow.

Bakersfield bike racer dies in Sunday stage race crash; Culver City gets an honorable mention

May 14, 2012

Bad news from Bakersfield, as top local bike racer Suzanne Rivera was killed in a Mariposa County stage race on Sunday.

Apparently, she rear-ended a support van that had stopped on the shoulder during a steep downhill. Rivera will be honored on Wednesday’s Bakersfield Ride of Silence.


The League of American Bicyclists releases their latest list of new bike-friendly cities; congratulations to Culver City for getting an honorable mention.

And nice work to the hard work put in by LACBC-affiliate Culver City Bicycle Coalition to help make it possible. Thanks to CCBC member Steve Herbert for the heads-up.


Peter Sagan keeps the leader’s jersey in the Amgen Tour of California, despite a spill and a flat; Cyclelicious captures his shadow crossing the finish line. Maybe Levi Leipheimer is just playing possum. And Sunday’s final stage finish at L.A. Live may lead to Sportsageddon as the Kings, Dodgers, Clippers and the ToC collide in DTLA.

Can we just call a time out on all the blank-ageddons for awhile?


There are plenty of people who live car free in L.A. every day, so why plan a day around it? LADOT is hiring a Pedestrian Coordinator as well as an Assistant Pedestrian Coordinator. The 10 busiest bike intersections in L.A.; I ride four of them on a regular basis. Better Bike recaps the meeting that lead Beverly Hill’s Traffic & Parking Commission to reject two of the city’s five proposed underwhelming bike pilot projects. As if Bike to Work Day wasn’t enough, you can join in on Bike from Work happy hours, as well. A 50-something cyclist is injured after getting rear-ended by a car in Pasadena. A recap of last weekend’s Montrose Historical Bike Ride. New bike racks in Redondo Beach thanks to the Chamber of Commerce.

The California Department of Transportation offers advice on bike safety for Bike Week. San Diego endorses Scott Peters for Congress. A four-year old Palm Desert boy is hit by a red light running schmuck truck driver while crossing the street in the crosswalk with his mom. Santa Maria police question whether a cyclist was really hit by a car, as he claims. How cars should turn right when bikes are around.

The Sierra Club, which hasn’t always support cycling, seems to be coming around. AAA endorses a more bike-friendly America; does that mean they’ll stop fighting bike safety measures in California? Bike lawyer Bob Mionske looks at drunk biking laws. Walk Score rates the most bikeable cities; maybe L.A. can get a bike score of its own soon. Maybe they need an L.A.-style anti-harassment ordinance in my old hometown. Then again, maybe bike education would make for safer cycling and driving. Turns out riding a bike is the fastest way to get around Boston. New York uses liquor licenses to fight back again scofflaw bike delivery people.

Turns out that bike-unfriendly Toronto is even less bikeable than Saskatoon. A British motoring organization claims over half of all cyclists run red lights; turns out it ain’t necessarily so once you get the facts. An Aussie city considers a proposal to waive the country’s mandatory helmet law for riders on separated bikeways.

Finally, Alabama film maker Katie Rogers talks about her in-process film about going carless in L.A., which just got funded on Kickstarter today. And if this car runs you over, at least you’ll know why.

Catching up on news — and deals — from the bike world; a bakfiets load of Mother’s Day links

May 13, 2012

Looking for a deal this weekend?

Right now, you can get 20% off the Mini Monkey Light I reviewed last year, or save 10% on Dutch-style cycling attire from Road Holland. And you can still get half off a cycling vest when you buy a retro-style jersey from Solo.

Or you can bid on bike items in the California Bicycle Coalition’s online auction through the end of the month.


The Amgen Tour of California kicks off on Sunday. On the eve of defending his title, Chris Horner still doesn’t remember his vicious crash in last year’s Tour de France. Bissell rider Eric Young rises from the Little 500 Cutters team made famous in Breaking Away, to a competitor in the Tour of California. And six weeks after getting hit by a car while training in Europe, Levi Leipheimer says he’ll ride, but not compete, in the ToC.


Damien Newton says we may never know what happened to Susanna Schick, aka Pinkyracer. Bike and business-friendly non-politician Austin Beutner backs out of the L.A. mayor’s race. The LACBC offers a series of tips to get started riding for Bike Month. It you build it, they will come; the green Spring Street bike lanes see what the Times calls a moderate boost in cycling traffic and Streetsblog considers an explosion in ridership, while L.A. sees a 32% increase in cycling in just three years. A cyclist illegally rides the 101 Freeway — and in the middle lane, no less — but at least he had clothes on. LADOT Continues to tweak the Expo/Gramercy crossing on the Expo bike path. What it means to be an HIV positive cyclist. Highland Park’s Flying Pigeon bike shop will soon be moving to a new location on North Figueroa. Paris Hilton rides with her puppy in Hollywood. Montrose will host a kid’s bike safety rodeo on Saturday, May 19th. Progress continues on highly anticipated Calabasas bike café Pedalers Fork, which is now looking at a fall opening. Simi Valley rejects new bike lanes at the urging of local businesses, who evidently assume we don’t spend money; local cyclists beg to differ.

It looks like California’s simplified three-foot passing bill will pass the state legislature, and the governor promises to sign it this time after vetoing a similar bill last year. The Times visits the bike-friendly Long Beach borough of Bixby Knolls. Long Beach’s biking expats say it’s time to redefine the roadtrip. Orange County’s annual Breathless Agony ride tortures participants with 12,000 feet of climbing. Corona del Mar cyclists will finally get sharrows on the Coast Highway after a member of the city’s Task Force on Cycling Safety has a change of heart. Laguna Beach ranks as the most dangerous town for cyclists and pedestrians among 98 California cities of similar size. San Diego cyclists get their first bike corral. A 75-year old Santa Cruz man dies in a solo fall after going over the handlebars, despite riding at a leisurely pace. The CHP recommends a misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charge against the 84-year old driver who drifted onto the shoulder of Highway 1 to kill a cyclist. Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious deals with the helmet morality police. Drivers should treat green bike lanes the same as any other bike lane; and no, they don’t have to worry about slipping on the paint. Tulare County says we all can share the road. Did Alameda police protect the driver who killed a 13-year old boy, as his mother suspects? Thanks to Erik Griswold for the link.

People for Bikes is now officially halfway to their goal of one million pledges; if you haven’t signed up yet, what are you waiting for? No offense to the anti-bike leadership in the U.S. House, but 83% of Americans want to maintain or increase funding for bikes and pedestrians, not cut it. Don’t try to ride between a fire truck and a parked car; seriously, just don’t. A New Hampshire police chief wants cyclists to stop chatting and ride single file; thanks to Eric Griswold for the heads-up. Bikeyface offers another great look at the cycling life, this time on biking in the other guy’s shoes. A Pennsylvania teenager is seriously injured in a horrible accident as a mower bar protruding from a truck strikes him in the chest while riding; thanks once again to Eric Griswold for the heads-up. A Syracuse cyclist is shot in the eye with a BB gun from a passing car; yet another reason to always wear shatterproof glasses when you ride. A cycling poet rides 40 miles a day cross country with a communal typewriter in tow; thanks to Stanley E. Goldich for the heads-up. A Charleston SC cyclist is killed in a sideswipe collision barely six months after killing a pedestrian as the driver in a DUI collision. Even in South Carolina, there are too many hit-and-runs. Alabama film maker Katie Rogers — no relation — is less than $1100 away from funding her Kickstarter project to finish a documentary on living carfree in L.A.

Even Dickens dealt with an out of control driver who wasn’t held accountable for his crime, though his solution seems a little extreme. What some consider Britain’s dumbest cycling lane isn’t; rather, it’s a modified form of sharrows. A UK driver walks with a suspended sentence after ramming a teenage cyclist in a road rage attack. Why there’s no war between drivers and cyclists in the Netherlands. A little boy riding with training wheels becomes the iconic image of Russia’s political protests. A look at the world’s top 10 cycling destinations from a Malaysian perspective; two American cities make the list, and no, Los Angeles isn’t one of them. The second Pedal Asia podcast is now online, offering a fascinating look at cycling on the other side of the world.

Finally, the Eastside Bike Club’s Carlos Morales offers proof that dogs can ride bikes, after all. And L.A. cycling expat Amanda Lipsey says a donation to support the U.S. Bicycle Route System could keep zombies at bay, or at least give you an escape route.

Maybe that’s why a Seattle cyclist seems to have traded his bike for something a little faster.

Happy Mother’s Day!

A press conference to celebrate bike racing in bike-unfriendly Beverly Hills

February 8, 2012

A high-end location for a bike race — or a press conference for one.

Maybe it wouldn’t seem as strange to anyone outside the L.A. area.

Yet somehow, I found myself on a sunny SoCal morning in the biking black hole of Beverly Hills, listening to some of this country’s best pro cyclists describe the city’s Tiffanyed streets as the ideal starting point for the final stage of the Amgen Tour of California.

Yes, that Beverly Hills, with not one inch of bike lane within its jewel encrusted borders.

The day's guest stars make their way one very short block up Rodeo Drive.

The Bulgari burgh where West Hollywood and Los Angeles bikeways roll within blocks of its city limits. Then stop almost without warning, leaving riders to fight for road space with Ferraris, Bentleys and massive high-end SUVs of every make and measure.

Not to mention the midrange rentals of countless tourists, and low-end rides of locals just passing through.

A city that hasn’t updated its bike plan since the 1970s. And even then, proposed routing riders through the alleys of the Golden Triangle to keep us from impeding the progress of their many impatient drivers.

To their credit, Beverly Hills has formed an ad hoc committee to finally update that plan. Yet seem to be throwing up so many roadblocks and limitations that the final result is almost guaranteed to fail.

City Manager Jeff Kolin, Tom Danielson, defending champ Chris Horner, David Zabriskie, Patrick Dempsey and some guy with a camera.

Or at least likely result in something of little value to the everyday riders who mostly pass through on their way to somewhere else. Like sharrows on Charleville, which is already a relatively easy road to ride, and where shared lane markings would merely mark the space we already use.

And which wouldn’t have done a damn thing to protect me last week when I nearly did a face plant on the back of an SUV, courtesy of a door-flinging driver.

Yet there they were, biking and Hollywood royalty alike promoting the Tour of California, and announcing the route of this year’s multistage race.

Don’t get me wrong.

The ToC has made great strides in recent years, with last year’s race the most competitive and exciting yet.

And this year’s edition promises to be better yet, as it meanders its way through the late, great Golden State by way of Santa Rosa, San Francisco, Livermore and Bakersfield, et al, with mountaintop finishes on Mt. Baldy and Big Bear Lake.

Amgen Tour of California Executive Director Kristin Bachochin at the podium.

And followed by a final route that will start on Rodeo Drive before following Santa Monica Blvd — where Beverly Hills officials have been dragging their feet on a commitment to make the boulevard bike-friendly when it finally gets a makeover in a few years.

Then it’s up Doheny and off to Hollywood, reverse engineering the route of the L.A. Marathon before winding down to finish at L.A. Live.

As I, and a couple of other cyclists listened to the press conference, surrounded by confused tourists wondering who the hell these spandex-clad celebrities were — though they did seem to recognize Grey’s Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey — it was hard not to get excited.

After all, what’s not to like about a race that will bring some of the world’s best male pro cyclists — though sadly, still no women — within walking distance of my own home. Even if it is a long walk. And one that leads to an alternate and much richer reality.

Hollywood star, cancer fundraiser, serious cyclist and bike advocate Patrick Dempsey.

And one that would be followed by a race through the same mean streets we all ride on a regular basis. Although it would be more exciting if the Amgen riders had to contend with the same careless, distracted and angry drivers we do.

Now that would be a race.

It’s also long past time that the top women’s racers were allowed to compete on an equal stage alongside the men, just as the late, great Coors Classic did with great success decades earlier.

But it didn’t take long to be reminded that we were in Beverly Hills. And that cyclists aren’t exactly welcome there.

As the press conference was winding down, a gentleman came out of the exclusive haute couture store next to where we were standing, and firmly but politely asked us to move the bikes we’d leaned against the wall since there didn’t seem to be any bike racks around.

According to him, they were blocking the store windows — even though the seats and handlebars barely reached the window’s bottom ledge.

It is Beverly Hills, after all.

And they’re just not that into us.

13-year old girl critically injured in OC hit-and-run; Tour of California press conference in Beverly Hills

February 8, 2012

A 13-year old girl was critically injured in yet another Southern California hit-and-run when she was run down in a Santa Ana crosswalk on Monday.

She was riding north on Greenville Street when she was hit by a vehicle travelling west on Warner Avenue at 7 p.m. The jackass who hit her — and I use that term advisedly — kept going without making any attempt to stop, leaving it to bystanders to attempt to offer aid and comfort as she lay bleeding in the street.

Do I really need to mention what I think should be done if they ever catch the jerk?

Anyone with information is urge to contact the Santa Ana Police Traffic Division at (714) 245-8214.


Actor Patrick Dempsey, and pro cyclists Dave Zabriskie and Tom Danielson will hit Beverly Hills Wednesday morning for a press conference for the Amgen Tour of California.

Do I really need to point out the irony the Westside’s least bike-friendly city — with not one inch of bikeway anywhere within the city limits — hosting the nation’s biggest professional race?

No, I didn’t think so.

But maybe Patrick, Dave and the gang will stop by tonight’s Bike Up! LA benefit for the California Bicycle Coalition while they’re in town.


A road raging driver runs a young L.A. cyclist — and afterwards, says he’s glad he did.

In 1908.

Sad how some things never change.


Roadblock asks what will it take to create safe streets in L.A. — and offers advice on how to ride safely in the meantime. LACBC’s highly successful City of Lights starts a youth program on the Eastside. Matthew Ruscigno explains how to travel fast and light on your next bike tour. Gary writes about exception bike writer and advocate Elly Blue. LADOT is testing surfaces for the Spring Street green bike lane to find one that will stick around for awhile. Better Bike looks at the laws governing cycling in California, and says you’ve got 30 days to convince the Westside COG to make it more ridable. Learn how to maintain your bike for just $10 in Santa Monica. An unnamed 22-year old Lancaster man is killed while riding without lights in Butte County.

A Santa Rosa runner suffers a broken skull when she turns in front of a passing cyclist who fled the scene; and yes, while it’s up to the runner to make sure the way is clear before turning around, a hit-and-run cyclist is every bit as much of a schmuck as a hit-and-run driver. A Santa Barbara cyclist wants to thank the people who came to her aid — and talk to the driver who failed to see her in the bike lane. Kern County could get a new bike master plan. An Orange County cyclist is awarded a $6 million settlement following a 2009 collision with a John Wayne Airport shuttle bus.

Engineering streets to improve health. Looking at Lance Armstrong as the fallen hero of a Greek tragedy. Biking non-profits are doing well despite the bad economy. An advice columnist explains why cyclists should ride with traffic. Las Vegas’ very own Gran Fondo will start on the Las Vegas Strip the day after Interbike, and offer a ride over the Hoover Dam. Organizers of a Denver century ride drop a requirement that riders reveal their income in order to register; gee, who could possibly object to that? Houston cyclists are being harassed by a man in a black Honda. A Philadelphia driver faces charges for running down a rider while high on drugs — the day after he was arrested following a three-car collision. Dave Moulton’s legendary Fuso frames are about to be born again.

The Telegraph’s London Editor says the vast majority of British cycle lanes are either totally pointless or actively dangerous, but the carnage claimed by some simply isn’t real; meanwhile, a writer for the Evening Standard says he gave up cycling because it was too dangerous — but blames other cyclists, as well as bad streets. A British father uses cycling to fight back from brain cancer; thanks to Ed Cable for the heads-up. London cyclists may get a jump on other traffic at red lights, while Paris cyclists get permission to go through red lights.; thanks to David Huntsman for the link. Odd math, as Alberto Contador is banned for two years but could be back racing by August, which seems somewhat less to me. New Japanese road markings tell bike riders where to go.

Finally, BMC phenom Taylor Phinney has a discussion with his body; evidently, the guy is as funny as he is fast. And I wish I had this T-shirt when I still lived in Colorado.

Collision maps reveal L.A.’s unsafe routes to school; more tragedy in pro cycling (and not just Lance)

May 24, 2011

I knew L.A. wasn’t the safest place to bike or ride.

But it never really sank in until I saw the maps.

Safe Routes to Schools has joined with the LACBC to call attention to just how far this city has to go before children to walk or bike to many schools, especially in lower income areas. New collision maps based on TIMS data (the Transportation Injury Mapping System) clearly shows how many injuries and fatalities occur near schools.

Just take a look at this map showing three years of collision data for South L.A. alone.

And I hope you have a stronger stomach than me when you realize that every dot on that map represents a human being injured or killed on our streets.

Of course, they weren’t all children. But these maps make the strongest argument yet that we have to improve safety around our schools.

“Traffic collisions, and the death or injury of Los Angeles’ people, especially our youngest community members, is heartbreaking and impacts everyone,” says Alexis Lantz, Planning and Policy Director at the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.

While the city has recently allocated $1.2 million to develop a citywide strategy to provide safer routes for children and their parents to get to and from school — and anyone else who happens to ride or bike nearby — there’s clearly a lot to do.

And a long way to go.

“Now with the TIMS data, the State of California has provided an amazing tool that allows us to see the neighborhoods, intersections and streets of greatest need and make strategic investments.  We need the City to provide staff, and create a plan to implement safety improvements quickly, so we can see our transportation priorities shift.  For too long, there has been a focus on moving cars to the detriment of our health and communities, the City of Los Angeles needs to put safety and people first,” says Jessica Meaney, California Policy Manager, Safe Routes to School National Partnership.

I mean, seriously. Just look at the maps.


In pro cycling news, Movistar rider Xavier Tondo was killed in a freak accident when he was hit by a garage door while leaving for a ride; friends and fellow pros remember him. Conspiracy theorists may note that he had recently told authorities about being approached by a doping ring.

Mikel Nieve scores his second mountain stage win in the Giro, as Alberto Contador surges to more than a four minute lead leading up to Monday’s rest day before the final week of racing.

Levi Leipheimer and Chris Horner cross the finish line atop Mt. Baldy at virtually the same time to clinch the Amgen Tour of California for Horner. The Claremont Cyclist spends the morning with Rabobank. What it’s like to ride the Mt. Baldy stage of the AToC. Horner wraps it up on Sunday as HTC rider Matthew Goss wins the final stage and Lance Armstrong’s Team RadioShack takes the first two places in the general classification. Bicycling offers video of post-race reactions, while the Daily News is too busy talking with fans to get the details straight.

Between Chris Horner’s exciting run and the race up Mt. Baldy, this is the first Tour of California that seemed, to me at least, like a legitimate contender as a top-tier cycling race. Now if they can add another challenging stage or two — like maybe a peak-to-peak route around the San Diego area ending with a climb up Mt. Palomar, where snow wouldn’t be a factor — they might have something. Although going head-to-head with the Giro will always be a limiting factor.

And in case you’ve been in a coma the past few days, CBS’ 60 Minutes reported that former friends and teammates of Lance Armstrong  have turned on him to accuse the seven time TdF champ of doping; no one seems to care that George Hincapie reportedly confessed, though. If the accusations against Lance Armstrong are proven, he faces serious jail time; at the very least, his reputation will be in tatters. Tyler Hamilton’s lawyer discusses why the rider finally came clean. Former pro Scott Mercier says doping was pervasive when he was racing in the ’90, and UCI responds with the expected shock and indignation.

A writer for asks the same question a lot of riders are asking right now: what happens when your idol and inspiration lets you down? And Italian police reportedly find nothing in an impeccably timed raid on Team RadioSchack’s hotel at the Giro.


LACBC releases a great new video explaining the upcoming 7th Street road diet and bike lanes in your choice of three popular languages. Meanwhile, those new LED lights on the Elysian Valley section of the L.A. River Bike Path are out of order for the foreseeable future after thieves steal the copper wiring.


Streetsblog wants your questions for LAPD Sgt. David Krumer, the department’s popular point man for the cycling community. LADOT Bicycle Services unveils a nifty new website. L.A. bike attorney Howard Krepack argues that the safety of cyclists has to be considered during road work, as well. Richard Risemberg looks at the art of riding in Santa Monica. CicLAvia wants to know what you think about the proposed expansion routes into Boyle Heights and South L.A. The Times looks at some unusual bike designs. Santa Monica riders review that city’s proposed bike plan. The recent presidential visit gives a UCLA employee a chance to ride the Westside.

A reader corrects the Press-Enterprise for saying cyclists are required to ride as far right as possible; the writer insists that possible and practicable mean the same thing. A Fresno-area cyclist’s tragic death in a solo bike accident could help up to eight other people through organ donation; I’d want some good to come out of it for someone if anything ever happened to me. Surprisingly, California ranks 20th on the list of bike-friendly states; surprising we’re that high, that is.

USA Today notes a nationwide movement to make the streets safe for cyclists; thanks to Zeke for the heads-up. That great epiphany moment that turns non-cyclists into confirmed riders is a myth. Fifteen reasons to fall in love with your bike. Elly Blue continues her excellent Bikenomics series with a look at riding while broke. Evidently believing them to be magic talismans that will ward off injury, a writer calls bike helmets the most important safe cycling habit — above, say, stopping for traffic signals, remaining visible or riding with traffic, or any of the other riding habits that might keep a helmet from being necessary. A firefighter’s career could be over after a cycling hit-and-run. New Jersey authorities seem unclear on the concept, as they instruct riders to share the road with fast moving traffic, rather than requiring speeding drivers to slow down; it may be time to retire Share the Road entirely. A New York actor and personal therapist explains why he’ll be riding the 10th Anniversary AIDS Ride. In a classic example of press bias, an 11-year old West Virginia boy is sideswiped while riding his bike, yet the local press reports that he collided with the car; thankfully, they note the car was not damaged.

The return of bike season means the return of road rage. Buy a Victorian London house, and get your very own bike museum. Police tell cyclists to stay off the 2012 Olympic mountain bike course. Scott cyclists pay to ride a new freeway for just one day, though not all do it to celebrate. This is what bike parking is supposed to look like; a Brit company tweets to take credit. A video look at the Pillars of Italian Cycling. How about a Norwegian-style bike lift? Jakarta gets its first bike lane, which immediately turns into parking for three-wheeled pedicabs.

Finally, video captures a cyclist getting by a car, and landing on his feet. And apparently, the solution to dropping off a bike and still getting back home is to throw your Dahon on the back of your Urbana — sort of like tossing a Mini in the back of a Hummer.

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.


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