Monday, November 13
For a while I was considering spraying my bike with the reflective coating available in a spray can (available at Home Despot)... then I started to use it for commuting advocacy - circling out road hazards, stops, dangers to the commuter...
Then today a friend of mine sent me a link about reflective tires.
Yes, reflective tires.
Okay, yes the music may be annoying, but you can turn it off through a 'button/link' at the bottom of their site.
Apparently, rather, according to the SweetSkinz website, the tires are made out of a rubber composite that has reflective material embedded within it. Considering how tires are made these days, this is entirely possible - and to take it even further, which they have, the manufacturer can embed graphics into the tread as well. I haven't tried these yet, but I am interested. They do have only one tire in the road version, and it's a think 26 at that. Cushy, no? That may be on the thick side for my liking, but probably best considering the conditions of Los Angeles roadways. The other products are mostly mountain bike and bmx tire sets - each with varying graphics that are successful to some extent. ... Check it out, and if you've got them on your bike, do share about their quality, durometer (ie, how soft/hard of a rubber is it) and most importantly, if they actually work!
Sunday, October 29
Wednesday, October 25
Sunday, October 22
A word to those traveling east on Wilshire Blvd, near Curson: the Tar Pits are busting out all over, and best to mind your puddles, or be blessed with a christening of goo.
I can't really say I was that upset to find viscous lumps of tar all over my pink pants after hopping up a curb through what appeared in the dark to be a regular old water puddle. There is something magical about the La Brea Tar Pits being right here in the city, bordered by an art museum, a pseudo-utopian housing project, and a magnificent east/west corridor. Learning about these pits in science class as a young midwesterner, I imagined them to exist in the Middle of Nowehere. To find them jammed into the urban environment, paved over and embellished with dramatic sculptures of mastadons, was an odd surprise.
It's unfair to blame nature for curdling up out of the ground when you least expect it, but if you want to save your pants from getting extremely soiled, it's a good idea to steer clear of tar puddles.
Thankfully, last night, a generous old time fiddler was on hand with a flask of Tennessee whiskey. Jack Daniels managed to cut the tar pretty well, though further experiments later at home involving degreaser, rubbing alcholol and WD-40, found the latter to be the big winner for tar removal. The bike needed a cleaning anyhow, but this is the second pair of pink pants to be consumed by street stains.
Friday, October 20
Sunday, October 1
Friday, September 22
Ilia Pankin, a 23-year-old avid cyclist, former Downtown LA messenger, and employee at Performance Bikes in Santa Monica, died Monday night of injuries he suffered in a hit-and-run accident. The accident occurred at Santa Monica and Wilshire boulevards, where witnesses told police that a large, dark-colored SUV struck Pankin. The suspect turned himself in late Tuesday afternoon. No further details have been released by the police. Read more.
A memorial ride is being organized by Ilia's friends and family and will be held this Friday night, 9/22, at 9pm at the intersection of Santa Monica & Wilshire. Anyone on a bicycle is welcome. Please have lights and helmets, and feel free to bring candles and lighters for the fountain memorial. Riders from Bike Oven and CICLE will ghost ride a bike in Ilia's honor. Satellite groups will meet and ride to this event together:
* Santa Monica: Performance Bikes (5th & Broadway), 8pm
* Downtown LA: Bridge between 3rd & 5th on Flower, 7pm
* Midtown: Wilshire & Western, 8pm
Thursday, September 21
Tuesday, September 19
Start: Factory Place
End: Joy Mart in Little Tokyo
Route (via Google Maps)
Mileage: 18 miles.
*Our Thursday rides usually start at 8:00PM but it's been requested that this one start a little earlier. We're going to say 7:30PM but we'll be gone for sure by 8:00PM so if you want to join us, aim to be at the starting point before 7:30PM.
Sunday, August 27
Saturday, July 22
Congrats on the national exposure Orlando!
Saturday, July 15
You'll find a few photos of this and past adventures here.
And here is a link to YouTube for some video if you like.
Friday, July 7
Friday, June 16
send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
or if you prefer flicker or something like that send me the URL.
our Bici Cocina and this blog are alive and well thanks to you all.
Thursday, June 15
Rally for an Oil Free Congress
Gas prices are off the charts, the situation in the Middle East is unstable, scientists are warning that global warming is at a tipping point, and last month, MoveOn members decided that �clean, sustainable energy� should be one of our key goals. That�s why it�s time for an �Oil-Free Congress.�
On Wednesday, June 28th�right before the 4th of July when gas prices will be front and center as folks plan for the long weekend�we�re going to be holding gas station rallies across the country. We'll tell Congress it's time to say no to Big Oil's money and become Oil Free. Sign up for an event near you or host your own..
Tuesday, June 13
Monday, June 12
Saturday, June 10
Tuesday, June 6
Saturday, June 3
First off we took a wholly unique route outta Chinatown that involved spiraling access ramps to pedestrian walkways paralleling the 110 Freeway. Down a stinky staircase and over to Riverside Drive we next entered the L.A. River Bikeway from it's humble unlighted, dip-filled Frogtown endings north of Figueroa to its proud, well-paved and much more illuminated beginnings next to the 134 Freeway. After that it was up, up and away into the heart and height of Griffith Park (the route through the park is the same that I posted here back in February). After all that climbing up to the top we found the temps oddly warmer than down at street level and we were serenaded and scoped out by a pair of great horned owls before winding our way back down and through the tunnel under Mt. Hollywood...
...and past the Greek Theater on our way back to civilization. I didn't get a chance to nab a lot of snapshots, but I do want to give an appreciative photographic shout out to the kind riders who marvelously personified the No Rider Left Behind ethic in coming to the aid of my friend Alice in speedily patching her tube after she flatted on the river path just north of Fletcher:
UPDATE: Stephen Roullier's pix of us nightriders are available here.
Tuesday, May 30
There I am on my 42nd birthday yesterday with my trusty Ibex at 1,386 feet above sea level on the floor of the Panamint Valley at the end of my 17-mile downhill on Wildrose Road, which began at Mahogany Flats Campground at 8,133 feet. The Panamint Mountains of Death Valley are in the background and I’m pointing to the 11,049-foot Telescope Peak, which is where I had hiked to with my wife and friend Rachel about 23 hours previously.
I have never been so high, literally and figuratively.
Saturday, May 27
Last night I joined up with the central LA critical mass ride. There were about 60 of us, including the always-fabulous sound system that turns our rolling conversation into a rolling saddle-dance party. After some tug-of-war at the front of the ride, we veered towards South Central, to visit the South Central Farm [or] and show support for the struggle happening there. [In (very) short, the Farm is the largest contiguous urban farm in the entire country. It has been producing for 13 years, and it supports 350 families of very low income, mostly recent immigrants. It is an irreplaceable resource for the 350 families, South Central, the city of Los Angeles . . . for the planet.]
For the last 3 years, the families and organizers have been applying themselves full-time to staving off eviction by the city after the city decided to sell the land out from under the farmers. Myriad paths have been traveled in an attempt to save the farm. As of a few days ago, what appeared to be the final path had ended up short and now the farmers are awaiting, in a hypervigilant state, the sirens of the police as they arrive to forcefully remove the farmers and allow the bulldozers onto the land to tear up their livelihoods/community/culture and replace it all with a large concrete warehouse.
Our ride through South Central residential streets was met with confusion, mostly, but also the cheering and clapping and reciprocated “peace” signs that we get from pedestrians and some motorists when we go the usual north or west direction from our starting point. In reality, the “confusion” I just ascribed to most who witnessed our passing last night was something more than that. Most people don’t know what critical mass is, so there is some confusion for people who see a very motley group of people NOT in racing clothes (for the most part), on bicycles and trailing a large sound system. We aren’t carrying signs or passing out xerocracy, lately, so there’s really no indication what we are riding for. In fact, that is our most commonly received question: “What are you all riding for??” My usual response: “Fun!”
While everyone has some confusion about us, the majority of folks we saw last night in South Central met us with suspicion. Like the farmers, the whole of the low-income people of color in this city (this nation) have reason to be suspect of unusual people entering their community. In short, their own hypervigilance begs, “are these people here to exploit us?” So the joy of sharing a different vision of a Friday night with the children who were running on the sidewalk, cheering at us, was sharply counterweighed by the squinted eyes and crossed arms of the weathered men in front of their humble homes and the momentary stress our large group with no obvious purpose caused them.
And so our mass birthed out of 41st street heading east, crossed the blue line tracks and took a sharp turn north on Long Beach Ave., past the main entrance to the farm as a whole line of activists were walking around the perimeter of the farm, holding candles and cheering at the vision of us flooding into the street and past them. We did a loop around the entire farm in the opposite direction of the marchers, and on the far side of the farm the people on watch with walkie-talkies took notice and quickly picked up their radios to report / get feedback on what all the people on bikes with a sound system was about. Hypervigilance.
As we rounded the bend back towards the main entrance, our cacophonous and blinking mass of cyborgs was in distinct juxtaposition to the tranquility of the quiet vegetables and the palpitating candlelight at the farm. Then, out of our group, came a loud “beeeoooooop!” police-car-imitating yelp originally meant to get the attention of motorists who might otherwise crush us, as cyclists, if they weren’t forced into attentiveness by the threat of a cop car in the vicinity. Most people have no idea about this sound, so any non-cyclist who witnesses it has nothing to conclude except that there is a cop car behind the mass of cyclists . . . or, in the case of THIS situation, if someone saw that it was, in fact, a cyclist’s mouth that made the sound, that the farmers’ hypervigilant state was being mocked. It’s like entering a sweatshop in downtown LA and yelling “La migra!” Insensitive, idiotic, or both. As the cop car imitation is now a greeting in the cycling community, another cyclist shot a loud “beeeeeooooooooop!!” back. I did what I could to quickly shut those people up, and I think no hard feelings were experienced by the farmers guarding the front gate, as they allowed us in. We all stayed for some amount of time, hearing the speakers, eating some food, touring the farm, enjoying the music, checking to see how Julia Butterfly Hill, up in the oldest tree at the farm and on her 11th day of a hunger strike, was doing.
The night was not ruined, but the issue arose: as a subculture in this city, we have a responsibility to be sensitive to other subcultures. We, of all people, should be able to identify with the vulnerability and concomitant hypervigilance that being in a subculture can cause. While a large group of our cyborg beings of flesh and bicycle steel might be considered threatening in some places, we’re usually roaming the city by ourselves, and, as such, we are vulnerable to the much larger and sometimes much faster-moving cyborgs known as people in cars. Whether we dwell on it or not, we are aware of our vulnerability. If someone behind us honks, we jump because we are in, even if we don’t know it, a hypervigilant state. If we hear a skidding car somewhere behind us, we think “oh SHIT . . .” because the car could be heading straight for us. It is ironic and appropriate that from this vulnerability was spawned the cop-car-imitation as a weapon against those that could harm us.
We are imitating a (multi-leveled) oppressor in order to manipulate another oppressor. And so our weapon was inadvertently turned last night, for a moment, against a sister subculture in this city: some recent immigrants of low income that are finding sustainable, culturally appropriate ways to exist.
It’s easy to be caught up in one’s own experience, regardless of who you are. This is a call to each of us, as members of some cultures and some subcultures and as over-privileged in some regards and under-privileged in others, to THINK . . . about those around us and their positionality and to be sensitive to such, particularly when they are inhabiting a more oppressed subculture than we can claim.
Thursday, May 25
Today was the launch ride, heading north from L.A. with a show planned tomorrow in Santa Barbara. Fans, family, friends, and well-wishers were all invited to join and ride along, and so we did just that. The group gathered in Venice beach at 10am PST and began the trip through Venice and Santa Monica towards Malibu.
Abby, Amanda and accompaniment at the start.
Amanda chats with a fellow rider
The band rejoined us at the first rest stop, although they had gotten high since we saw them last. Tunes included "O When the Saints" and "Happy Trails". Great stuff.
The girls christen the new bikes in the Pacific ocean.
We continued on up Pacific Coast Highway, which required stowing of the camera and paying full attention to the road. The shoulder width varies and traffic flies by at a crazy rate of speed. My buddy and I turned around at a rest/gather spot and wished them a great tour and a safe ride.
Returning to the city via PCH. Not a bad way to spend a Thursday. ;)
You can keep up with tour updates here
View their archived live show on KCRW this week here. Bicycles! Shadow puppets! (requires Real Player)
Wednesday, May 24
Venice at Arlington. At this point the sign says Bike Route.
Venice at 2nd Ave. Now we have Bike Lane all the way until the Bike Lane is actually there at San Vincente.
Venice at 4th Ave
Venice at Norton
Venice at Crenshaw
Venice at Wellington
Venice East of San Vincente
Redondo at Washington. Metro's new Bike Maps for the city have Redondo listed as a Bike Route. Well, the signs say Bike Lane so I will ride them as the law states I can.
Redondo at Bangor
Redondo at Jefferson. This is the 1st sign on Redodno headed south that says Bike Route. Once you turn the corner, if you refer to earlier posts on this topic, the signs become Bike Lane again, but of course - there is no Bike Lane on Jefferson.
More to follow, as well as a summary of what I have been thinking about while shooting these and the possible implications for riders rights and the city/county's responsibilites. Ride on and Ride safely!
Tuesday, May 23
Monday, May 22
Here's the link (registration may be required to read the stories).
Saturday, May 20
So if you happen to find yourself from mile 12.4 to mile 17.5 between Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights and the L.A. River Bikeway entrance south of Vernon, you have the team of Howard Hackett (left), Bruce Dobb (right) and yours truly to thank for keeping you headed in the right direction.
Friday, May 19
And the lives of the three (known) cyclists that have been murdered by motor vehicles in last nine months in Los Angeles
And the fear that many cyclists in the city face every day
And the fear which imprisons millions of would-be cyclists in small metal boxes as they suffocate themselves and the planet
We rode in silence.
May our actions change the face of the city and turn fear into hope and suffering into joy and suffocation into lungs filled deeply with high levels of nourishing freedom and low levels of particulate matter.