Last night I was riding home from a friend’s place after purchasing his rollers (the bicycle ones, not to be confused with the bird or the photographer) . I was on my bike, with my bike-specific bag hauling a device made for riding my bike in place. I’m not sure if this is ironic, unnecessary, obvious or some combination of all those, but when I passed a cute girl on Fountain Ave (with new sharrows!) I realized how ridiculous it all is. But, I love ridiculousness!
Category Archives: city
My Google Reader is poppin this morning. First this post with a chart outlining that the number one killer of children is motor vehicles. Number one. Think about that. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tells us that in 2007 over 41,000 total people were killed by automobiles. What makes it all the more tragic is that we take this as ‘normal’. Well, life is dangerous and we have to drive, right? No, we don’t have to. We’ve just spent the previous 60 years giving space and priority to moving automobiles as fast as possible. This has to change. And it is. Slowly.
Folks do what they can. For some in Oakland it’s this dance for their friend who was killed in a car at this corner.
What’s your dance? Get out there and do it.
Sarcasm is such a great political tool. This poster mocks the one put out by the LAPD after they invited themselves to Critical Mass. There is some background here.
You can see the video of LAPD kicking and assaulting cyclists on last month’s Critical Mass. The double standard is amazing.
If the police beat people = it was an isolated incident.
Well, It’s not quite officially summer, but there are a number of summer-like events this weekend. It’s overwhelming, almost. The price of being involved in so much. Let’s see if I can get it covered.
Saturday I was planning on racing the second edition of the 12 hours of Temecula series. I raced the first one back in January and actually got around to writing about it. But, along came tangible proof of the existence of a mystical ride called the Santa Monica 100, a ride linking up 100 miles of mostly single track in the Santa Monica mountains. So drive over an hour, pay $85 and ride in circles or do a free, DIY, local event? Duh. Since there isn’t much info on the site here’s their page on everyone’s favorite vegan-owned social networking site: facebook. I think I’ve ridden most of these independently, linking them up should rule. Anyone else on single-speed? Will Dave Zabriskie be there again? I heard about this ride last year, but missed it and I just kept hearing about Zabriskie riding it on a 29er with drop bars. And since I know very little about professional road racing I used this lone fact to root for him for the Tour of California.
If you aren’t coming mountain biking with me, you should be walking stairs as Saturday and Sunday is the second edition of the Big Parade, a 2-day, 35-mile walk covering over 100 stairways from downtown LA to the Hollywood sign including urban camping. You can do all of it, which I did last year and it was a blast, or pop in and out and do sections that interest you. It’s a slice of LA most people have no idea exists. Get out to this! The website is a wealth of info. You can follow on twitter to catch them.
If deep down you feel that walking and clothing are inhibiting, you can skip out and head over to the World Naked Bike Ride. Seriously. The LA ride leaves around 4pm from Echo Park after a popular sporting event ends. Social network with fellow naked cyclists here.
Also Saturday night vegan MMA fighter Mac Danzig has a fight and some friends are organizing a vegan potluck to view it. Why not?
While all this is happening here, I’ll be thinking about my friend Aidan who was on my support crew in Norway when I raced Norseman, possibly the only triathlon that requires a crew, because he’s on a race that explicitly does not allow a crew or any outside help at all- the Tour Divide. Starts today at noon in Banff and ends 2745 miles later at the Mexican border. One stage, no entry fee, no prizes. My kind of race! I wish I was there, actually. I wrote about the race a bit in 2008, including info from when I rode the Canada to (almost) Mexico section in 2006. Aidan is racing single-speed, but I’ve confidence in anyone who has finished the Alaska Iditarod Invitational. Crush it Aidan!
Lastly, I’ve a half dozen unfinished posts from previous events I’d like to get up soon. Too busy doing to write about the past! This is my public commitment to get them up!
From this year:
Cool 24 hour mountain bike race
Mt. Laguna Bicycle Classic
LA County Bicycle Coalition LA River century
Boggs 24hr mountain bike race
To/from Mt. Whitney Summit from Los Angeles via public transit (seriously!).
Have fun in the world this weekend.
I’ve been following this series at Good magazine, Walking in LA, by Ryan Bradley. It’s terrific. From there Sasha found a link to a story about our friend Dan Koeppel’s The Big Parade called Walking for Walking in Los Angeles. On the top photo our Swarm! socks make a center stage appearance. Anyway, in the most recent post he discusses parking and how it affects the ‘feel’ and layout of downtown:
If you took all of the parking spaces in Los Angeles’s central business district and spread them horizontally in a surface lot, they would cover 81 percent of downtown. I know this because of a paper called “People, Parking, and Cities” by Michael Manville and Donald Shoup at UCLA’s Department of Urban Planning [pdf here]. This “parking coverage rate,” they write, is “higher in downtown L.A. than in any other downtown on earth. In San Francisco, for instance, the coverage rate is 31 percent, and in New York it is only 18 percent.” Their paper goes on to show how this glut of parking keeps downtown from having a vibrant city center, because downtowns in general “thrive on high density … the prime advantage they offer over other parts of a metropolitan area is proximity—the immediate availability of a wide variety of activities…. So long as its zoning assumes that almost every new person will also bring a car—and requires parking for that car,” they conclude “[downtown Los Angeles] will never develop the sort of vital core we associate with older urban centers.”
I read it this like this: You can’t have both. Either give up your car and work toward compacting DTLA or keep your car and your parking and don’t complain! But it’s never quite that simple. As I say over and over, most people cannot or will not believe that their individual actions matter and can change the environment and culture we live in. Oh, but they do!
Today was overcast and unseasonably not warm; a great day for a 2.5
hour run in Griffith Park. It's no secret that I live in LA primarily
for the sun, but I miss weather changes. Too much sun is monotonous!
I'm sure those of you in less awesome climates (anywhere not here I
imagine) have no pity for 'too much sun'. It's like photography,
everything gets washed out.
Anyway, this is a sketchy ladder that leads to a technical scrammble
on one of my favorite routes in the park. This still counts as
The other day I had to make a long commute to the South Bay and I didn’t have time to take the more pleasant coastal route, but I did take the road bike. From East Hollywood to the South Bay is through the urban sprawlish LA that I can avoid on 90% of my commutes. I took my road bike cause I can easily hold 20 MPH, take the lane and not worry too much about busy roads.
On the way back I was on a wide, fast road and had to make a turn that is always tough for cyclists: when the left lane (of four) splits off. I took the lane and made the light, but sure enough someone is on their horn behind me. Keep in mind I’m hauling ass. They drive by and yell indiscernible obscenities and I respond with some. As is often the case, I catch them at the next light. I calm down (a little) and roll up to the drivers side window and before I could say anything she says, ‘This isn’t a bike lane, get out of my way!!’ I tell her I know there’s no bike lane, maybe there should be and I had no where else to go. And I add, ‘but see, I didn’t even slow you down. We are at the light at the same time.’ We have the slightly heated exchange any urban cyclist is familiar with. I don’t need to give the back and forth. The passenger even jumps in.
Then she says, ‘Are you married?’ I answer no and keep ranting to her about cycling, safety, etc, not quite processing the question. Then I look at her and she smiles and winks. What? The passenger laughs and say, ‘No you just didn’t!’ The light changes and as they roll away the driver says, ‘See you around.’
WTF. It’s not often I get totally thrown off by someone! It made me smile that the interaction completely changed. Maybe she’ll be nicer to cyclists in the future?
Then back in my neighborhood a woman in a car throws a half-full plastic fast-food soda container out of her window. I catch her at the next stop sign (of course) and tell her not to litter in my neighborhood.
-Mind your own business!
-It is my business, don’t throw your trash in my neighborhood.
-Fuck you, honky!
You can’t win them all.
Instead of preparing for my 24 hour mountain bike race this weekend, I’m writing about veganism and getting worked up over bike/pedestrian policy here in Los Angeles and nationwide. Six and seven years ago when I first got involved in bike advocacy in Los Angeles the bar was low, as were my expectations. Any improvement or mere mention of bikes outside of our circles was reason for excitement. Fast forward to 2010 and I’m almost overwhelmed with the progress. Almost. We are making gains, but now I want more. It makes so much sense in our unique position today with the economy, environmental concern and a renewed interest in urbanity to shift resources to promote bicycling and walking. But then LA Dept of Transportation General Manager Rita Robinson says stuff like I wish we were New York and could magically make things happen. Argh.
It’s up to us to show her it is not magic. To start here is a post by the US Dept of Transportation in support: What we know about bike infrastructure: people want it. This is the freakin US DOT!! I never could imagine seeing this just a few years ago. And here we are. But, and this is a big but, too many people are not seeing this. Or understanding it if they are. Too few people get this:
As anarchist academic and hero-to-many Howard Zinn says, ‘You can’t be neutral on a moving train.’ Everything is political. Your actions do matter. If you ride a bike, exclusively or occasionally, it’s up to you to share the statement above. AND its political importance. Bicycle infrastructure is good for everyone. Fewer people in fewer cars has social, environmental, health and personal benefits. So study up and share with others. We cannot wait for policy change to come from people like Rita Robinson. We need to change ourselves and to share these benefits with our circles.
Donald Shoup’s page at UCLA
are a good start.
Here’s a challenge. While I am riding my single-speed mountain bike for 24 hours this weekend, can you send one of the links above to 24 people?