Thursday, October 30, 2008

Holy...

Well, due to some technical difficulties I've decided to change up the content for today's entry. See I saw an article on Wednesday about how the Department of Highways and Transportation or something (Basically the Federal branch of the DOT) was working out some sort of “500,000 mile bike route” across America. But since there's something going on with the Internet Voodoo Box I can't get online to pull down the details. So instead I'm going to tell you all about what I saw on my way home from work....

I was actually on my way over to a friends house as I was heading south on Cahuenga blvd. I was under the 134, just north of Riverside when I couldn't believe my eyes.

(I've made this childish sketch so you can see what I'm talking about)


I see this Black Cadillac Escalade or something brake all of a sudden as it was turning right off of the highway off ramp onto Cahuenga. I look and an can see a head, flailing arms and handle bars. I can also see sparks coming from under the SUV and I know already what's happened. The sparks tip me off that the bike is being dragged under the car, and I know that there's someone under there as well. I sped up to see if the guy was hurt. I was actually preparing myself for the worst, assuming that he was hurt, and I was just trying to see how badly. He looked to be pinned under the SUV. The girl jumped out, scared out of her mind. He was yelling for her to back the car up, so I assumed that his legs were pinned by the wheels. Fortunately he was just under the body of the car, and his bike had shielded him from being run over completely. I also think, that lucky for him, she wasn't going very fast when she hit him. She was very apologetic and was obviously shaken. She kept saying “we'll take care of this, let me give you my insurance info” and it was obvious to me that since he was up and moving, not crying in pain and in a generally good mood that she was ready to go. So I called 911. Then the AAA Locksmith guy who also stopped called 911. And it just so happened that a Motorcycle officer was pulling someone over so we had a pretty quick response. Now, I'm not going to make an agenda speech out of someones misfortune, but there was definitely some ignorance and negative attitudes towards cyclists at the scene.

The officer advised me to give both parties my info, so I did. I realized at that point, as both parties were giving info and the cops and firemen were investigating that both parties were at fault. The only way the bicyclist could have been where he was was if he was riding on the sidewalk, and in turn, riding against traffic through the intersection. That doesn't absolve the driver of responsibility though. When the girl jumped out of the car, It sounded like she was having a side conversation, and I wondered if she had been on the phone when the impact happened. She did have an ear piece so she was legal, however if she was talking she was still distracted. It really sucks to think that if this guy had just been following the rules of the road that this wouldn't have happened. He wouldn't have been there, at that moment in time, and she wouldn't have hit him.

I gave the guy my card, and told him to contact me if he needed to. I felt horrible driving away, knowing that this guys primary mode of transportation had just been completely destroyed, and this girl's car was just fine. Worse of it was that he was on his way to work, and he was probably going to be late, and he's probably got a family to feed. And what about her? She just gets to drive home, obviously shaken, but physically no worse off. I feel awful for that guy, just a dude and his bike, trying to make ends meet anyway he can. Sure they were both partly in the wrong, but look at who really truly lost in this situation.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

iMapMyRide...Awesome.

Almost 3 years ago I decided to take myself off the grid. I decided that I would learn to work with my hands and I would live off of cash. I lived in a house where I wasn't on the lease and none of my bills were in my name. I was well on my way to getting off the grid and living anonymously in a big city. Then I decided to open a checking account... I know right? Big step with that checking account. I thought to myself, "Man, here I go, sliding straight back onto the grid". Well yesterday I bought an iPhone, and along with it I downloaded a little App called iMapMyRide. Slippery slope my friends, the Grid is a slippery slope.

Anyway, I've used Map My Ride since May of 2007 with varying success. I was on early, back when they were still replying to e-mails about different problems. I started strong and was posting in a regular basis. It was conceptually awesome, but there were a lot of inconsistent problems and troubles. When I got my Garmin last December things kind of changed and I stopped posting on MMR as much. I was off the page for a few months and then popped back on to see what was going on with the site. It had totally changed. There were adds all over the place cluttering it up and they were beta testing some new mapping technology. I tried it out and it just didn't work. I got another e-mail from MMR the other day so I popped back on. The adds were still there, and the site was still a little cluttered, but it was looking better. I decided to update my profile and stuff.

I'd also been thinking about getting an iPhone for a while. When I saw that MMR had put together an App for the iPhone. I did a little research, and some of the wording for the App was a little weird, and it made it seem like the App might not work unless you set your phone to stay unlocked. I got the iPhone, and then downloaded the App since it's free and I figured I didn't have anything to lose.

I decided to test the app tonight on my ride home from work. I'd played around with it a little after work before leaving and decided it did look pretty cool. When I rolled out of work I set the App up, got it started and stuck the phone in my pocket. My thought was that if my pocket didn't turn the App off, then when my phone locked it would turn off. I headed home on the 4 mile ride. I stopped at a parking lot and checked the phone, and lo, the App was still running. Well, It had paused, but there is a resume function so it picked up right where it had left off. When I got home I checked the phone, hit STOP and it had recorded the 3.96 mile trip. I hit "SAVE" and went in to check my laptop. I logged into MMR and there it was, my route from not 10 minutes ago:



This tool is pretty sweet. I was really impressed. This might just bring me back into the MMR fold full time.
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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Modeling... It's Hard Work

Many of you may not know, but I'm actually a retired, world famous male model. You'll never see me in photo spreads, nay, I only worked the runway. But lo I retired many years ago, fed up with the champagne lunches and Hollywood parties with movie stars. I retired to focus on cycling, and being a recruiter, which are my two true loves in life. I've always thought that since I'm a cyclist now, and I do so many ridiculous rides that cover some ridiculous lengths of road that everything else that I would have to do in life would be that much easier; since everything else would be judged in the framework of "well I rode 107 miles and climbed 9800 ft. so this should be cake" You know what I'm saying? So on Sunday morning when I got a call from Julian to come out and do a top secret photo shoot I thought to myself, Meh... this will give me a chance to get in a 10-12 mile recovery ride and then sit around with friends all afternoon. It'll be cool, not stressful like runway work. Despite having given up modeling to focus on cycling and my career full time I decided to help out. So I rubbed some baby oil on to give myself a nice glisten and rode over to Julian's condo. We chatted for a bit, he showed me what they were trying to do, gave me my motivation and a cold glass of still Gerolsteiner water with 4 ice cubes... just the way I like it. The photographer Woke up from his nap and was like "Is the talent here? Oh, why yes!" upon spotting me, calves and quadriceps shimmering in the early afternoon sun. There must have been some kind of miscommunication since my limo wasn't there and instead we all piled in a couple cars and headed over to Pasadena, it was OK though, I like these guys so I let it slide. We took some chill shots on the road that crosses under the 134 overpass and suicide bridge, and then we rolled over to Buster's coffee and shot some over there. Now, I know what you think, chill shots right? easy right? wrong. We're all sitting there absolutely baking in the sun, it was tough to sit and sip my mocha and look stunning, believe you me. And this establishment DIDN'T have still Gerolsteiner!

After much mocha sippage we piled back in the cars and headed over to Griffith Park. We drove up Fern Dell and parked, then rolled up one of the restricted roads behind the observatory. At this point Joseph had joined the group, and promptly began making me look bad as he really seemed to be keen on what looks good on Camera. He was over emphasised every move as he descended down the hill. Whatever though, I was trying to keep things low key and natural, and not let strikingly good looks overwhelm the shot and mute the rest of the group. I'm wicked sexy, and I look good on the bike. So we shot some descending shots, some climbing shots, and then Joseph and I rode up this dirt path like a thousand times and I was all like "Where's my still Gerolsteiner with 4 ice cubes?!?!"

After the Dirt road set we rode down to the cars and headed out. Except we had to wait a little since Joseph had locked his keys in his car. We went back to Julian's ate, took a couple more shots, and then I hitched a ride home as it was pretty dark. All in all though it was a pretty successful shoot. It's not often these days that someone can draw a retired male model of my caliber out of retirement, so everyone should feel pretty special. Because I'm awesome to the awesomest degree.
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Monday, October 27, 2008

Ride Report: SpookTacular Century

Man... It's been a while since I've written a post that starts with this picture ya? Amtrak Century was the last century I did, and that was back in the beginning of September, so it's been almost 2 months since I've done a century ride... and You know what? My legs, lungs, heart, arms, shoulders and brains could all tell. Spooktacular was a F&%$ing nightmare.







It probably didn't help that after Amtrak my training consisted of excessive beer drinking and shorter and shorter weekday rides that eventually disappeared all together. It also probably didn't help that the longest ride i'd done since Amtrak was the 70 miles just last weekend. The Spooktacular ride would prove to be deceptively difficult, and for starters I wasn't even properly prepared.

I awoke the morning of after having spent the night in my car at a small campsite exceptionally close to the start of the event. I drove over to the start so I wouldn't be charged for parking overnight. I checked in around 5:30, got ready, ate some leftover pasta for breakfast and then sat around and waited for the sun to start coming up. Once I felt it was sufficiently light enough I rolled out. The ride started easy enough with rolling hills through the western outskirts of Bakersfield CA. The ride then took a left hand turn onto the 178, which was to be the road most heavily traveled for this event. The 178 is a road well summed up in this picture here:



It's a poorly maintained road that winds it's way through cattle grazed hills of farmland. There's no yellow line, and just enough room for two cars coming at each other to pass if one pulls slightly off the road, which in many sections would cause the car to fall down the hillside. I was on this first section of Breckenridge road early in the morning, and the sun was just rising as I crested one of the many hills, and honestly it was quite breathtaking.

The road did exit this sparse landscape and entered one that was lightly scattered with trees of different types. The first sag stop followed not long afterwards, and the riding partner who I had teamed up with at this point and I decided to get a quick fill on water. Brock also informed me that the road was about to get incredibly difficult, but that it wouldn't be too bad, whatever that meant. He was not lying. About 5 miles after the sag stop the road pitched up, in a mean, vindictive and evil way. There was not gradual work up, there was no slight descent and then up, no. The road went from it's slow and grinding 5% and pitched skyward to a dastardly 12% which it maintained for what must have been a mile. It refrained for a bit, down to about 9%, then shot back up to 12 and 15% for a couple of sections, then leveled off for a while only to return to some high grade rollers later on. But the real test would come when we passed the weird little hunter. "only 40 miles to go" he shouted as we passed. 40 miles to what?

It turned out that he wasn't talking about anything that pertained to us, but what did lay ahead was a 14% section of road that lasted for about 3/4 of a mile. It was followed by a beautiful but chilly descent, and some other short climbs, which all eventually came to an end at the second rest stop at mile 33. It was at this point that I checked my Garmin to see how much climbing we'd done so far...6400 ft. 6400 ft. in 33 miles.



Not all of Breckenridge Highway was through hilly cow fields. Much was 13% gradient through wooded forest area" yipee!


The descent had to be guarded and slow, as much of the road was scattered with sand and debris, however it gave me a chance to check out the view concentrate carefully on the road. Fortunately I took this picture before the descent started, what a view!



That descent was fortunately followed up by some more climbing, because you know, descending sucks. Thankfully that climbing was between 5-11% but was cut tragically short by a sweeping descent that saw speeds upwards of 50 mph. I'm being sarcastic of course, at this point I'd have been happy to have not seen another positively vertical mile all day. But whoa is me, there was more, much more.

The breaking point for me came at mile 59, after the third sag stop that was at a graveyard, but still in the unfortunately hot sun. Yes, at mile 59 I'd had enough, after a grinding uphill section that was only about 5% most of the way I was ready to call it quits. But thankfully only a quarter of a mile up the road the climbing ended and it was downhill to the Twin Oaks General store. We stopped there and collected our wits, then continued the -1% descent into a blasting headwind at about 25 mph. The descent was on a road that followed a trickling river that brought us to a steep canyon. We caught another rider in the canyon and kept the paceline going. It was a much needed break for me, as I was able to take pulls and then rest for substantial periods of time. We rolled up nice and easy to the last rest stop of the day, 25 miles from the task completed. It was there that I took my most substantial break. Brock, who had family waiting went on without me, and I jumped in with a large group of older guys from the area who seemed cool at first.

However after proving my mettle with a long pull at 23 mph into a head wind on a false flat the group saw it fit to not soft pedal at the top of the following climb and leave me to suffer in the wind by myself. If any of you guys are reading this I have this to say gentleman's sport douchebags don't ever ask me to pull again. Whatever though, there was only 12 miles to go at this point so I just rubbed some vagisil on it, put my head down and hammered it out. I tempo'd the rest of the way home, got in my car and boned out. I didn't want to have anything more to do with the Spooktacular Century. Despite all the suffering, when asked a day later if I'd do it again, my answer was "Sure, why not?" Read more!

Friday, October 24, 2008

No Post Today... I know... Total Disapointment

Sorry folks, but there won't be any post today, with the exception of this. I've been wicked busy with tons of other stuff, and I just don't have it in me to write. Keep your peepers peeled for a full ride report of the Kern Wheelman's Spooktacular Century coming this Monday morning!

There's nothing to see here! Get back to work!
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

This Seems Promising.

On Tuesday, Some people in suits who like bikes gave a report to some other people in suits who work in Washington. The first group of people in suits are trying to tell the other people in suits that bicycling is good for the country, and for the American people. WHAAAAAAAA????...

I know I know, it seems obvious, and redundant and my thought was "we need to spend money to work up a 46 page report on this? I could have shown up on capital hill, told all those stodgy whosawhatsits 'see here now, we're gonna do more for bikes see' and that would have been that". But after reading the article and reading (portions) or the report it seems to also be about asking for money to fund more programs to get more people to practice "active transportation".

At first I was confounded "Active Tranpsortation?" is that like trains that move... more than other trains? I wasn't sure. So in the report I found the definition. It turns out "Active Transportation" is Governmentin' speak for "Walking" or "Riding a bike"

You see, when you're Governmentin' you can't ever call things what they actually are for two reasons: first because when you're Governmentin' you have to use large difficult words and phrases to prove that you're smarter than the next guy, and the second reason is because most likely if you were to call it what it is someone who is abject to it will shoot it down on the grounds that they have some allergy to the word you use without even hearing the plan. I know there are plenty of folks who are Governmentin' who are abject to walking, riding a bike or anything else that's not giving tax payer money to fat-cat bankers so I totally understand the need for "replacement phrases".

Whatever you call it, walking & bicycling or "Active Transportation" this report indicates that it does the population a whole lot of good, and that more people should be doing it and that the government should spend some cash on getting more people to do it. If you've read this blog more than say, once, you'd know that I'm all about getting people out of their cars and onto bikes. Now I know that often times folks can't ride bikes (a tragedy) so I'm telling you to do the next best thing and walk, or if you have to, take public transportation, or do a combination of all three, just get out of your dang ol' 4 wheeled earth killer! Ahem... sorry about that, I get a little carried away from time to time. The report has been presented, so lets do our part. Start writing to your senators and congressman, in support of Active Transportation (walking/bike riding). Tell them to read the report, and tell them to support it! Do it! Do it Now!

Want more info? great. Here's the link: www.railstotrails.org
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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cutting Edge? Not Really.

I love my single speed, fixed gear bicycle with Mtn. Bike 2" riser bars. It's flat black with white tires and white grips. I built it up because I needed a bike that I could thrash around and use as a commuter without the worry of losing a 5,000 dollar bike if I was hit by another dummy who doesn't stick around to trade insurance info...and with it's flat black paint I figured it was pretty cutting edge. But then I got to thinking, This is my second "track" bike (and I use track very loosely) and there have been many many many thousands of messengers world wide who have been riding bikes just like mine for a long time. And on top of that there are a lot of folks doing pretty crazy tricks on Fixed gears... kind of like this:



I mean that's crazy right? Totally cutting edge right?...




Oh, well uh...


Well, I guess not so cutting edge... unless you're talking about the fashion, because that's cutting edge right? Tight jeans... V-Necks? Wait, what? Meh... Whatever. Read more!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Man... That's Just Mean...

You know there is something wrong with people when you read something like this. 72 year old woman rides her bike to the grocery every day and gets harassed by some jerk. The reason? She parked her bike close to his dog. I know... He must have thought the bike was going to attack the dog or something. Read on, I've reposted the Chronicle Herald Article below:

At 72, she bikes to the grocery store for her fruits and veggies to protect her heart and lungs. She is going through daily radiation therapy in her battle against cancer, but she said only a handful of people, including medical staff, know.

But this independent Halifax senior, who asked that her name not be used, was left shaken and afraid after a man yelled at her and slashed her tires Tuesday afternoon.

The man became angry when she locked her bicycle next to his dog. The owner of the dog "said dogs were more important than bicycles," the woman said.

She said he called her an old lady and he said: "I’m going to let the air out of the tires or slash them."

But she didn’t believe him.

"It doesn’t make sense," the woman said. "If you slash them, then you don’t need to let the air out, and if you let the air out, you can’t slash it."

She left her bike at the rack at Quinpool Centre’s parking lot and went inside the Atlantic Superstore. When she came back out, the dog was still there and her back tire was flat, she said.

She walked her bike and groceries over to nearby Canadian Tire, where the service manager put air in the back tire, and then she rode off. But she said when she got to Welsford Street, she "knew something was wrong with the front wheel."

"I pulled over to the sidewalk and my bicycle had no tire at all in the front wheel, so it couldn’t steer. I fell and the bike fell and I cut my leg and my knee, and I was lying on my stomach."

A man working in a garden nearby came over and helped her up, she said.

Eventually, she saw that the front tire had been slashed. She walked the bike to Jack Nauss Bicycle Shop on Agricola Street. They put on a new tire for her and she rode home.

The woman said she would have parked the bike farther away from the dog, but the bike rack was full.

She said it was a small to medium-sized brown dog. It didn’t have much room at the bike rack because it was on a short leash and she didn’t bump into it or touch the pooch, she said.

"It wasn’t that I bothered the dog. It was just that he (the owner) went crazy and said I shouldn’t be in there, bikes shouldn’t be in there because it should be for dogs. I would say he was insane.

"I was by the door and I said to him, ‘If Mr. Roberts, the store manager, was here, you wouldn’t be able to behave like that.’ That’s all I said to him. I never argued with him."

Const. Brian Palmeter, a Halifax Regional Police spokesman, said the woman reported the "nasty, unfortunate situation" to police on Tuesday night. At this point, the case doesn’t seem to be linked to any other crimes, he said.

Officers will interview the woman and those in nearby businesses "to see if they have any video footage, or any idea who this male may be (or) if he may be a regular," Const. Palmeter said.

Police hope anyone who saw what happened will come forward.

The elderly bicyclist wants to find out who this man is. She said he is white, in his 30s, has short curly hair and "I would know him again if I saw him."

But she isn’t planning any more solo shopping trips. "I’m afraid to go back there in case he does something more."
Real Nice huh? The bike rack shouldn't be for bikes, it should be for dogs, because its... you know a bike rack. Yea. Read more!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sat-Urrrr-Day!!!!

Some days are good, some days are great, and others are pretty Epic. So far I've only had a few distinctly epic Saturdays. The Death Ride was one of those, and a few early training rides of 2007 rated highly up there... My Saturday started like so many, but unlike so many at the same time. Usually my Saturdays start before 7:00 a.m. to get on the road early and get in some ridiculously high mileage count for a training ride. This Saturday had all those elements, except the whole getting up before 7:00 a.m... yea, Eff that Poo. I really hate getting up before 8, so this weekend I woke up a little late and didn't hit the road until about 8:00 a.m. My plan was to ride from Burbank, up to Mt. Wilson, down to Big T, see how I feel and then figure out my route home. I left Burbank and took Mountain to get to Cordova and Glenoaks. From there I went up Chevy Chase to get over to the Crest. Riding the rollers through Mountain and then getting that quick climb up Chevy Chase was a good way to get ready for the real climbing on this ride. Which came very shortly after my time on Chevy Chase. I felt pretty good on the Crest. I set my lap at the light by the Shell Station and clocked 51 minutes and some change up to the Clear Creek Station, although... I did stop here and there to take a couple pictures.

Like this one...


And this one...


And this one as well...


But I digress... After Clear creek I took it a little easy as I headed up to RedBox. From there I took the left up to Mt. Wilson. The climbing up to Wilson was hard. I kept looking at my Garmin, and it kept saying 6% grade, which is nothing for me, but man that was the hardest 6% I've ever been on, that road was insane. To make matters worse I kept looking up the road and everything looked so close, but the road just kept on going. But when I got to the top, man was it worth it.

See? That's Pasadena, L.A., Glendale and some other cities down there.


From there I headed back down to Clear Creek, then down Angeles Forest Highway, then down Big T. When I got to Oro Vista and Foothill I had had enough, so I hopped on Sunland Blvd and headed home.

Saturday night was the Rock & Roller party at SiteLA in Silverlake. This was the fundraiser for the Encino Velodrome. The roller racing started around 8:00 and once that got going I shot little video clips of some of the folks racing. The party was pretty fun. The space was nice and there was a good crowd of folks there. I know I give a hard time to the hipsters but I was definitely the biggest Fred there as I drove and was wearing a button down shirt... Lame-o. Anyway, here are some pics and vids...


This is Meghan(?), she's a frame builder who spends a good amount of time at the track


SiteLA


Let the Racing begin!




video

Awesome.
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Friday, October 17, 2008

Who's Responsibility?

Every once and a while I post something that riles some folks up, which I suppose is a good thing, as getting folks riled up is kind of what I do so at least I'm getting through to some folks, whether they agree or not... A while back I wrote a piece about some stickers that I'd found and how they're important to cycling and cyclists. I also commented about how I thought that folks in cars needed to take the extra 3 seconds to look in their mirror to make sure that there was no cyclists coming up that would be negatively impacted by a door suddenly opening in their path. This is a position I stand by with great resound, Motorists in general need to pay more attention. This post is about the other side though, and it's another side that we need to hear.

That post led to a very lengthy conversation with a friend of mine who wondered: "why is it always the drivers responsibility to keep you cyclists safe?" I insisted that in many posts I call for cyclists to take responsibility for their safety (which is true) and that when I ride with novice riders I teach the rules of the road, and the steps to take to ensure safe(r) passage. Still, she was convinced that the amount of finger pointing that I direct at cyclists isn't anywhere close to the amount of finger pointing that I direct at Motorists.

Now, I'll willingly agree that most of the finger pointing I do is aimed at motorists, but in my defense it's not based on the small number of motorists who are like her; motorists who are constantly on the lookout for cyclists to make sure that everyone is safe. No, most of my finger pointing is aimed at the drivers who don't look, who talk on their cell phones or text while driving. Motorists who insist that the road is theirs, even though the lobbyists that first lobbied for smoother roads weren't motoring lobbies, but cycling lobbies... that's right, thank your local cyclist for todays asphalt standards.

Finger pointing aside, my friend brought up a great point. Why are drivers always the responsible party? On her way to work she had pulled up to the stop sign at an awkward intersection, stopped, and had begun to proceed with her left hand turn (with signal on) when a cyclist blew by the line of waiting cars, through the stop sign and nearly hit the front driver side panel of my friends car. Now, if that cyclist had hit her car, and then told me about it instead of my friend telling me about it, how differently would the story had sounded? Would SHE be the one who almost hit the cyclist? And would I have immediately jumped to take his side and condemn her as a terrible driver? It's hard to say. If it were any other driver I probably would have taken this news with a roll of the eyes, as I always hear how "The cyclist swerved into the lane" or how "the cyclist totally blew through the light" or how "they shot out of nowhere" in the litany of excuses that drivers use to excuse themselves of responsibility when they hit or kill a cyclist. But like I said before, this friend is very cycling friendly, very fair and unbiased, and very honest. I also know that the intersection she was at is a favorite of cyclists who disregard stop signs.

The double stop sign on Victory Blvd in Burbank CA, leading into Griffith Park seems to be one of the most commonly disregarded stop signs, second only to every stop sign on the Montrose Route. I've seen cyclists blow through those signs like they aren't even there, and like there is no threat of hapless drivers coming off the freeway. If I'd been in the car that morning and seen that cyclist blow through the stop sign I probably would have chased him down and had some words. Now, I'm all for blowing off a stop sign or red light here or there... IF there is zero traffic, and absolutely no one at the intersection but me. But when you roll by five waiting cars, you should know that there's going to be traffic coming from other directions. If that's the case, you don't have the right of way, and if you try to ride through it like you own the road there are going to be consequences, and consequences that aren't of the positive type.

Now, that cyclist might not face those consequences. There may be no accident, no enraged driver chasing them down with their weapon on wheels, but there will be consequences down the road (figuratively). I hear from motorists day in and day out about how so many cyclists ride with complete disregard for the laws of the road. I hear about how we all blow through stop signs, and how we roll through red lights. Then I hear how we all take up the road and block traffic. Now, I tell these drivers that we have a right to the lane if there's no bike lane (and even if there is one that's obstructed) and that I'm sure they don't follow every single rule of the road perfectly every moment behind the wheel, and until they do that they really shouldn't be throwing stones. I also point out that not all cyclists are the same, and that for every cyclist someone berates for NOT following the rules there are 10 cyclists who are following the rules who they've most likely ignored... but I'm getting to the point where I'm blue in the face with this argument. I've said it so many times that I'm getting tied of saying it.

Now, as cyclists we know that we have an inherent right to the road, it's written into the vehicle code. The invisible, and dangerously pervasive consequence of cyclists disregarding laws is this: The more we break the law, the more we alienate ourselves from it. When we alienate ourselves from the law, others stop viewing us as legally valid. Officer Rodriguez from the Santa Monica Police is right, we're cutting our own throats. If you want to be respected on the road, you have to respect the rules of the road first. Every day I'm trying to throw stones to say "Hey, respect my peoples right to the road" but every time you run a stop sign, or roll through a heavily trafficked red light you take one of my stones away.
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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Need Something To Do This Saturday Night? Encino Velodrome Fundraiser!!!

One thing I don't talk about very much on this site is partying. In my youth I used to party all the time like it was 1999 and all that stuff. As cycling became more important than drinking and drug use I realized that partying got in the way of my riding... fortunately the kind folks at Site LA have figured out how to get me back into the party scene...

Not that getting a 30 something washed out virtually unknown cycling blogger out to an event was their major priority, nay, instead their motivation has something to do with the Encino Velodrome, and raising money to help it stay in operation. Now, despite having owned two track bikes in my lifetime, I, like most tight jeaned hipsters, have never actually ridden at either "Drome" in the LA/OC area, or anywhere for that matter. No, I prefer to ride by fixies in traffic, balancing precariously while staring into the void of space in a feeble attempt to not fall while I track stand at the intersection. Despite this, I know many people involved with Encino, and I know that it provides something truly awesome for cyclists in L.A. so I'm all for giving it some dough.

I'm also all for you giving it some dough too, so go to the Rock and Roller Party this Saturday night on Sunset Blvd. and drink, race (on the rollers) and be merry!

Here's the link for the info: Sitela.org

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Freewheelin and Matthew Modine

Have you ever wondered what Matthew Modine is up to? Me neither. As far as I'm concerned Full Metal Jacket was his seminal work and everything else he's done since then has caused him to slide down hill while he grasps for clumps of turtle grass...We'll I thought that until I heard rumors from the blogosphere by way of the magic voodoo internets box that he was somehow involved with bikes and people and politics and kittens and cup cakes and... wait what?

Ok, well, you can read more about it at bikesharing blog. And for those of you who can't read I've included a moving picture clip complete with sound!



Now, really I could do without the silly chant at the end, but to each his own you know? I'm just stoked to see someone is getting involved with the cause who people other than men in tights know about. it's one thing to be a cyclist like Dave Zabriskie telling people to get right, it's another thing to have that one guy from Full Metal Jacket and VisionQuest telling you "Ride your bike!" Read more!

Monday, October 13, 2008

America the Bike Friendly...-ist rated from best to worst

Did you know there are fifty, somewhat autonomous states in the United States of America? I know! I couldn't believe it either... but apparently despite a shadowy federal government system that tells the people it governs that it will stay out if they're business yet passes laws like this the 50 states aren't all exactly the same. Anyway, I digress... According to the League of American Bicyclists Some of those states are more bike friendly than others. I know... crazy right?

Well, bikeradar.com posted the news last Monday, further proving that I'm lazy blogger who doesn't deserve his readership. According to the report, which is really just a map of the U.S. with clickable states that then give the states bike-friendly rating and a list of it's cities that get a "metal" rating, platinum through bronze, based on the five "E's"; Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement and Evaluation... all of which added together equals eeeeexciting! (get it? 5 e's in exciting... whatever shut up)

Well, Keep your pants on America, because chances are your state didn't do as well as you think it did (or as poorly for some) unless your Washington (the best) and West Virginia (the worst). Where did my fine state fall in the Rankings you ask? Number 7... Which is quite a bit better than the state where I hail from, Kansas, which ranks like it sits in this great land of ours... smack dab in the middle. Way to go Kansas, way to set those goals just above the worst half of the country... Yay for Mediocrity!
Read more!

Friday, October 10, 2008

California Bicycle Festival... December 6th!

This was in Bicycle Retailer and Industry this morning. It appears that the major groups behind it is AEG, which has something to do with that one small race in California...

Man... what is that race called again? Oh well... I can't seem to put my finger on it. Anyway, Bicycle Retailer and Industry wrote this whole long article about the event, which I'm just going here because it's late and I'm tired.

VENTURA, CA (BRAIN)—The California Bikefest is being held on Saturday, December 6 at the Crowne Plaza in Ventura Beach. California Bikefest features activities, education, exhibitors, organized rides and racing for the four areas of bicycle culture: Bicycle transportation and commuting, casual cycling, bicycle tourism and competitive cycling. California Bikefest will be held at the Ventura Beach Boardwalk, on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. California Bikefest has also recently partnered with AEG Cycling and the Amgen Tour of California. Portions of the proceeds from this event will benefit Breakaway from Cancer—a national initiative created by Amgen to increase awareness of the important access to resources available to cancer patients throughout the cycle of cancer care from prevention to education, and patient care to advocacy and financial support.

The exhibit area will be open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. This venue gives the exhibitors the opportunity to showcase their products and services to the general public during a unique event which does not currently exist in Southern California.

This event is free and open to the public. The Ventura Convention and Visitors bureau is actively marketing this event throughout Southern and Northern California, Oregon, Nevada, Washington and Utah. They have also partnered with Amtrak to promote and support transportation to the event—the Amtrak Pacific "Surfliner" stop for Ventura is a quarter-mile away at the Ventura County Fairgrounds.

Exhibitors will receive booth space starting at $100 with a matching $100 donation to the Breakaway from Cancer Initiative. Additional information, including booth pricing and exhibitor registration instructions are located on the Web site at cabikefest.com/expo, under the Expo area.

Please visit the Web site at www.cabikefest.com/index.html and review all the events and exhibitor details. Contact jerry@cabikefest.com to answer and questions or confirm your participation
See you there! Read more!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Congress Passes Bailout, Includes Bicycle Commuter Tax Act

These past couple weeks has been pretty crazy weeks, for everyone... on pretty much the entire planet. The DOW saw a historic drop, and banks nationwide are falling apart like a high maintenance trophy wife who can't find her American Express Black Card. While all of this was going on Americans are wondering what the hell happened and how the hell we got here... I have an idea as to what the root of this whole problem might be, but this isn't a political blog, so I'll keep my ideas to myself.

Through out all of this madness, there were some silver linings, and one of those was a big fat silver lining for bicycle commuters. Various news outlets and bloggers have been reporting the news that the Bicycle Commuter Tax Act was passed, so I've included the link to Bike Portland.org here in so you can read it on their website if you don't want to take my word for it. Basically the bicycle commuter tax act gives tax incentives to those who have employees who ride their bikes and those employees can get a $20 credit for riding their bikes.

Now a lot of ninnies on capital hill and the AM airwaves who like to call programs they don't like that get federal funding "Pork" have things to say about this; but really what this does is put bicycle commuters in the same place as those who take public transportation like buses or trains, as commuters who use public transportation already have a tax credit available to them. Really, bicycle commuters, although not using the traditional commuting lines, are commuting, and are able now to take advantage of the same credits issued to other commuters. While some will say that we're all of a sudden getting some unfair advantage, in reality we're just getting a fair cut.
Read more!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Check Your Mirrors

The other day I was kickin' it around on the internets machine, looking at stuff on various blogs when I came across something that I thought was really really cool, but unfortunate that it has to exist in the first place... I was looking around and I came across a picture of a parking meter with a little, 2" big sticker on it. Upon closer inspection I saw that this was the picture:



I got an e-mail from a fellow blogger about the sticker who directed me to this website: www.anti-dooring.org. It appears that these folks are really just advocating for people to take a second and look in their rear view mirror before they go swinging their door open. It's unfortunate that most folks who understand what these stickers are advocating are the folks who don't need to be reminded however it's a step in the absolute right direction. I've been doored once, fortunately I was going real slow and I was able to get mostly out of the way and I only clipped my elbow. There are many more folks however that have been killed by the very simple action of opening a car door with out looking first.

Aside from pleading with the general motoring public to be more careful when they open the door, the steps that need to be taken are this: We need wider bike lanes that keep cyclists out of traffic, but out of that 3 ft. "Door Zone". Where wider bike lanes are not an option we need "Sharrows" or painted reminders that single lanes are shared between bikes and cars, and that cars must drive in a fair and respectable manner.

It is truly unfortunate that these stickers have to be made in the first place, however I can't wait to get some of them and put them up where they are needed the most.
Read more!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Bikes for Everyone!!! In L.A. atleast.

In a highly progressive move, Los Angeles increased it's Awesomeness potential by passing a motion that requires the Department of Transportation to do stuff, and not in the way it usually does... with one person doing all the work and 4 people standing around watching...

The LAist again showed it's commitment to reporting with a bias towards cool when it dropped an article about the Los Angeles City Council voting unanimously to require the Department of Transportation to "examine the feasibility of creating a bike sharing program in the City of Los Angeles and submit recommendations to the Transportation Committee within 45 days."

The example had been set in such metropolitan areas as Paris, and at the bastions of American politics this year at the DNC and RNC. It's an idea that is quickly catching on as a feasible option for public transportation as gas prices go up and government officials begin to acknowledge a growing problem in global warming. It seems that it would be like the rental cart system at LAX, where you pick the bike up from one location, then drop it off after your done at another location. I for one am extremely happy about this, both as a cyclist and as an environmentalist. The more people we can get on bikes and out of cars the better.
Read more!