New fork for the soon-to-be new 29er picked up with the trusty (and
delightfully squeeky) Ross Eurotour.
'What a life' indeed.
Category Archives: bike
New fork for the soon-to-be new 29er picked up with the trusty (and
Wanted to let everyone know that bikeswarm.org is being updated regularly by a handful of authors. Can’t wait for the photos from tandem cyclocross!
My friend Enci just wrote mini-dissertation called The Case Against Bike Paths. Wow. I use them regularly, but only when riding ‘road’ when I’m heading to the coast. For commuter purposes they are not very useful, at least here in Los Angeles. Incidentally I came across this post while on the Twitter page for the first time. I said I drew the line just before Twitter, but a more tech savy Swarm! member set up the Swarm! Twitter account. Follow us?
Next up the ubiquitous Stephen Box lays out what exactly a good bike plan should be: LA’s ‘Best’ Bike Plan Bringing Home the Bacon. Thank you both for making the city a better place for us all.
This past Saturday I did not ride the Mulholland Challenge as I had planned. Well, as I had hoped, but did not plan, therefore no ride. I can’t believe it is mid-April already!
I love that ride and the beautiful course. I rode it in 2007 and it remains firmly planted in my memory as the ride that showed me the potential I have on a road bike. In other words, I thought past riding events with only the goal of finishing them. Pushing myself for several hours (7 to be exact) was novel and surprisingly fun. This year I just didn’t have the miles in to make it worthwhile. Same with last year. Then I ran the checkpoint at the top of Decker Canyon where a SAG’ed rider took this sticker, literally.
Instead some friends and I rode the Midnight Express benefit ride for the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition. Meeting at midnight at Union Station, the ride travels along the Arroyo-Seco to the Angeles Crest highway. I love this route and have always wanted to ride it at night (someone even described this ride as ‘pretty much designed for you’, which I do not disagree with…). From Clear Creek we descended Angeles Forest highway for a shortwhile before beginning the climb up to Mill Creek summit (4910ft). This section has two distinct memories for me. One is when Morgan rode back from the Tour of Two Forests double (12 hrs) in Santa Clarita with Megan, Max and I behind as a practice run for the 508. The other is when I rode 60 miles along this route to a 32-mile road race where I then had my ass handed to me.
Sunday morning (~2am) as I descended toward the ‘bridge of awesomeness’ in the dark and cold (~35 degrees) with Michael, I was thinking about how smart Alex was for having tyvex envelopes for us to slip under our jerseys and how I was towing the line, albeit it knowlingly, of comfort and warmth in only a jersey, vest and arm warmers, when I flatted. Ever think, ‘Damn I’m so cold but as long as I keep moving I’ll stay warm?’ or ‘My hands are so cold I can barely shift gears’? So there we were trying to fix my flat with shaking arms and stubby fingers. Miserable? A little. But I’m glad I had the experience so I can draw on it when I am in worse situations. Because really, it wasn’t THAT bad.
A little while later we pedaled over the summit and had one final freezing descent to the Acton train station to wrap up the 50 miles. A few riders who had left early were huddled under some heat lamp-like lights (!?) and we all waited for breakfast. It was worth it. Thanks to the influence of Swarm! volunteers there were vegan pancakes, sausages and cinamon buns. Topped off with hot coffee. Yum. The plan was for the riders to get on the 7am metrolink train to Union Station. But on a beautiful morning, in the mountains, already dressed for cycling, why not ride back?
Michael and I took our time and cruised back up and over the two passes before each heading our respective ways. I got in a quick nap before we had people over at our new place for a chill Sunday potluck. Budge has some photos up here.
I’ve been thinking more and more about the parallel or analogy that bikes and bike riding are for my life.
It’s obvious that 1) I can’t make up my mind about much 2) My interest comes and goes in huge waves 3) I don’t excel at anything, but do quite a lot to make up for it 4) I don’t nurture relationships as much as I could (rust on the stem bolts on my Seven? What am I thinking?) 5) I always want to do slightly more than I’m willing or able to put effort into.
Here are some going-ons:
Next weekend here in Los Angeles is the Bike Summit, Saturday 9am to 4pm. I had not heard much about it and was hesitant to get involved (I never really did), but looks like a great day of workshops and speakers. The preceding Friday, the 6th, I am part of the Root Down ride, a bike tour through the city stopping at historical points in LA bike history from 1999-2009.
I’m going to be talking about More Than Transportation, a bike weekend event with workshops, rides, races, parties, etc that happened in 2002, 2004, 2005 (part of Bike Summer) and 2006. I wanted there to be a stop about the time in 2004 that Critical Mass rode through three grocery stores to support the striking Safeway workers, but it is not going to happen. That night was amazing.
Speaking of protests and political activism, I’ve been painfully keeping up with Green is the New Red, a site that “focuses on how fear of “terrorism” is being exploited to push a political and corporate agenda.” Will articulates how the “T-word” is being used to silent legal environmental protest (see the 5 step process). It’s saddening to read what has been happening, but the existence of this site and the material they are putting together is helping to fight it. Check it out, it’s worth your time. And to all of you mainstream environmental groups who think this does not pertain to you, I have this poem:
And I realized that I have not reported on our 24-hour race in Tucson, which was two weeks ago now. Oops. It was great fun. Riding, hanging out, eating, sleeping, chilling, making hot drinks, riding, repeat. I’ll try to get more together for that.
[This is an old post that never made it out of draft status.]
When I was 21, my life pretty much revolved around politics. I was seriously dating a girl at the time and we connected heavily through politics. I was of the anarcho-punk ilk and she was of the ‘graduated at 20 with a double major and speak 3 languages’ ilk. We actually discussed at one point the feasibility of going to Chiapas to fight with the Zapatistas (yeah, yeah, I know how ridiculous that is).
I have this vivid memory of being on the train in NYC with her, coming back from visiting my father in Brooklyn, and I said something about having five bikes. Not that I had them at the time, but that at some point in the future there were five different types of bikes I would like to own. She laid into me about how hypocritical and consumerist that would be of me. And how it went against so much of what I was about. What the hell does anyone need five bikes for?
Her and I did actually go to Chiapas, but we remained unarmed (mostly went to bakeries and bought Marcos dolls). Eventually a bike would come between us; when I rode cross country she broke up with me. What does this have to do with a bike check? Well, even in my over-zealous idealist youth, I was willing to make exceptions for bikes. I really had no idea at the time how much of a medium they would be in exploring and experiencing the world. But here we are.
A one-off custom frame from Trystan Cobbett and Bernard from Seven. It has the Ritchey break-away system. Pretty much the only time other bike kids talk to me is when I’m on this. I’ve long grown tired of that front wheel. My original fondness of it was more of a nostalgia for BMX mags.
I got a red light ticket today! On Boyle and Olympic right in front of the Sears Building. Bummer.
It’s such an easy light to go right on red because:
1. You have a clear line of cross traffic, 2. You are going slightly downhill, 3. the Westbound lane of Olympic is really wide.
It’s totally safe!
I don’t know what is worse: The usual jerk cop or the one that is super friendly and almost apologetic. There was not much disagreement about what happened (unlike my taking the lane ticket three years ago) and he said because I was in such a rush he would write quickly so that I’d be on my way. His biggest concern seemed to be about the ‘danger’ of splitting lanes (riding in the space between two lanes of traffic) and hitting the intersection at about 15 MPH. I guess a warning was not a possibility.
I stole this right from www.commutebybike.com. If you ride bikes this makes so much sense. The seemingly nicest people will scream obscenities at you. Sometimes it is so out of place that you have to just laugh at it.
yo Los Angeles,
I love you. I never thought I would, but these last five years have been fantastic. Especially the bike riding. I remember when LA Critical Mass was the only ride and it started at 5th and Flower and was mostly messengers. Then came More Than Transportation 1, 2, 3 and 4. By 2005 we had Bike Summer. Then Midnight Ridazz blew up and we have more groups and rides then I can keep track of. Each passing day I am enthralled by the number of people on bikes. The people are here, but where is our city? What are you doing?
Metro Board tonight passed the half cent sales tax proposal for November, but a huge chunk of the money is for highway widening. And they refused to allocate any specific amount (1% was requested) for cyclists and pedestrians.
I don’t want LA to be Portland. That’s why I live here. But can I have a little Portland in my LA? How about some Copenhagen? I’d even settle for some Oslo.
Here are some articles I’ve read this week that kept me motivated. Enjoy.
Two great articles came out this week addressing fear and cycling.:
De-car-ing: The idea of cars as safety devices is a post in the LA Times ‘environmental’ blog, Emerald City. She answers the questions: Why do we feel so safe in our cars? Is cycling in the street dangerous? It’s written well and will help with those inevitable conversations with co-workers.
The second is from the legendary Bike Snob NYC, Get Over It: Surmounting the Obstacles to Cycling. If you’ve never read Bike Snob NYC let me be the first to say: Welcome to the internet. A lot of people have a lot to say. But most people who you would like to hear a lot from, say very little. Then there is Bike Snob NYC. He’s like the smartest person you know combined with the funniest person you know and, this is the best part, bothers to share both qualities with everyone else. Usually there is an indirect relationship with the amount of useless information you know about bicycles and sense of humor but thankfully there are exceptions.
Lastly, here are my two favorite quotes that mention getting punched in the face:
‘Never buy a bike from someone you can’t punch in the face.’ -A disgruntled eBay auction winner
‘Everyone has a plan till you get punched in the face.’ -Mike Tyson
In lieu of actual posting, which is often the case when I am away, I have some other writings any readers of this blog should be interested in. The first is an article from the excellent Streetsblog LA. They often cover bicycle topics and their most recent post, How to Make LA Bike-friendly gives good discussion and links to some of LA’s movers and shakers.
I have been fighting the incredible urge to post about this since I first heard, but Oprah Going Vegan is too huge. I hope my high school girlfriend has heard the news. She use to make sit through episodes after school AND use to fight with me about not eating meat. What’s up now girl!!! That’s what I thought.