Cycling adventures in L.A. – New Year’s Eve Group Ride

Posing in front of the USS Iowa

Posing in front of the USS Iowa

Photo by Khoren Edward Mirzakhanian

Every Tuesday, The Source will highlight some of the many adventures Angelenos have with their bikes. So don’t forget to take your camera with you before you start pedaling throughout Los Angeles!

For this week, we share a photo by Khoren, who took part in a large group ride on New Year’s Eve with two of top Los Angeles based cycling groups: Wolfpack Hustle and Cyclones. The ride started around downtown Los Angeles and stopped at San Pedro, where the group posed in front of the USS Iowa before heading to the nearby San Pedro Fish Market to grab a well deserved lunch. Yum! What a way to start the new year!

Want to submit your own cycling adventure in Los Angeles County? Email us the photo at sourcemetro@gmail.comtweet us @BikeMetro or post the photo to our Flickr group (in the description please give us permission to use it on The Source) — we’re especially interested in adventures that involve using transit for part of the journey. Safe Riding!

Bike along the Orange Line for Sunday Funday with Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition

sunday

The first LACBC Sunday Funday bike ride of 2013 parallels the Metro Orange Line. The 40-mile ride will take you along sights such as the Great Wall of Los Angeles, the Encino Velodrome, the Munch Box and more. Meet up at the Metro Red Line North Hollywood Station at 8:30 a.m. on January 6 for the ride out at 9 a.m. Bikes are allowed on all Metro buses and trains.

Sunday Funday rides are free to LACBC members and one guest. So bike for free by getting yourself invited as a guest, sign up for membership online or become a member at the ride for a discounted price.

Cycling: An addiction I won’t quit for the new year

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I’ll just come out and say it. One of my goals for 2013 is to bike 10,000 miles before this year comes to an end, which is almost double the distance of what I rode in 2012. Tommy Godwin, an English cyclist rode 75,065 miles in 1939, so I don’t think my goal is impossible. Of course, I’m no record-breaking Tommy Godwin, but I am — like him — a cyclist passionate about riding bikes.

Comically, some of those around me question such a goal. If you had approached and asked me two years ago what word would best describe me, ‘cyclist’ would have been the last answer I would have given. Back then, never in my wildest dream would I have imagined identifying myself as a cyclist, let alone riding in tight spandex, climbing up the freezing mountains of Santa Monica or the hills of Palos Verdes with other cyclists at seven in the morning on a Sunday. But here I am today, doing just that.

What in the world happened?

Well, what happened was I put my legs over a bike, rode it, and became addicted – badly.

Maybe it was the natural high from my body releasing endorphins during rides, the loving and supportive members of the cycling community whom I’ve come to respect and love, or the growing appreciation I now had for the beautiful culture behind cycling that had me addicted. Whatever it was, I was hooked.

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Hooked to the point where I found myself feeling irritable and agitated when I was unable to ride – loathing at the thought of going even a day without being on the bike. Hooked also to the point where the first thought that entered my head shortly after waking up was: a bike ride sounds good this morning.

It was a serious love affair with the bicycle.

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Bike sharing coming to downtown Los Angeles in April!

A bike sharing station in Mexico City. Photo by Denis Bocquet, via Flickr creative commons.

A bike sharing station in Mexico City. Photo by Denis Bocquet, via Flickr creative commons.

Here’s the news release from Bike Nation, the private firm that will run the program:

Bike Nation Announces 2013 Rollout Plan for Downtown Los Angeles Service Area;

BETA System to Begin Implementation in April 2013

Privately-Funded L.A. program expected to reach 4,000 bikes and 400 stations;

System to be fully connective to Bike Nation installations in Anaheim, Fullerton and Long Beach

December 20, 2012 (Los Angeles, CA) – Bike Nation announced today its plans for its 2013 rollout of Los Angeles’ first major bike share program. The system will officially launch in Downtown in April 2013. Last week, the LA City Council unanimously passed a motion that directs staff to create a permit process for Bike Nation’s bike sharing stations to be placed in the public right of way. Bike Nation is currently working with the City for all necessary approval processes and permitting that will pave the way for the company to implement its privatized bike share business model. Unlike other North American bike share programs, Bike Nation is able to privately fund the bike sharing program without the requirement of any government funding or subsidies and will monetize the program through membership and usage, sponsorship and advertising.

Earlier this year, Bike Nation created a website where the general public can have input on the station locations in Downtown through its Suggest a Station website. The Southern California-based privately-funded bike share company has previously announced plans to install up to 4,000 bikes and 400 stations throughout Los Angeles.

The announcement was made during a bike giveaway to the 8 – 12 year old participants of the Los Angeles Boys & Girls Club bike program by Bike Nation executives, with L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Bike Nation’s Community Ambassador and L.A. Clippers forward Caron Butler on-hand.

“We are excited to put stations on the ground in Downtown Los Angeles and begin the process of rolling out our bike share program and providing a safe, low-cost, healthy transportation alternative to Los Angeles residents,” said Derek Fretheim, Bike Nation Chief Operating Officer.  “The Company has already begun its site planning in anticipation of the City Council Motion and created a sample permit package consisting of initial station locations.”

“I am happy to serve as Bike Nation Ambassador and today’s event is just one example of things to come,” said Butler. “Bicycling and youth fitness has been a passion of mine for many years now. I am excited that through this bike-sharing program people will have the opportunity to consider biking as a viable transportation option while also becoming more fit.”

Los Angeles Clippers Forward and Two-Time NBA All-Star Caron Butler was named Community Ambassador for Bike Nation in August 2012.  Butler, founder of Caron’s Bike Brigade, is a longtime supporter of cycling in order to encourage healthy living.

The initial preliminary Downtown station locations will include:

  • Union Station
  • El Pueblo/Olvera Street
  • Caltrans Building (2)
  • City Hall (2)
  • County Hall of Administration Building
  • LAPD (2)

Bike Nation recently has already installed multiple stations in Anaheim and is expect to open the system to the public in early January. The bike share company has also previously announced extensive bike share programs in Fullerton and Long Beach, which will be launching in 2013. Bike Nation user memberships are transferable to any city within its bike share systems.

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Proof LA is a bike friendly community!

Photo by Kelly Martin/LACBC

Los Angeles was recently ranked as a “Bicycle Friendly Community” by the non-profit League of American Bicyclists.  First District Councilmember Ed P. Reyes, joined by city leaders and bicycle enthusiasts, accepted the award on behalf of the city on Thursday, Oct 18. The ceremony took place near the Red Line MacArthur Park Station.

This is the first time Los Angeles ranked a Bronze status. L.A. has supported the cycling community in recent years with the approval of the Bicycle Master Plan. This has led to the addition of 75 miles of bikeways in 2011 alone and sets the stage for 1600 miles of bikeways over the next 30 years.  The city has also aggressively increased bicycle parking, incorporated bicycle friendly streets and has tried out innovations like green bike lanes and bicycle corrals.

It should also be noted that a past winner at the bronze level — the city of Claremont — was moved up to the Silver Category. If you haven’t been to Claremont, hop on Metrolink, which stops in the city’s downtown that is also adjacent to the Claremont Colleges. Very nice place for a fall or winter pedal and/or walk.

Reminder: West Valley bike ride tomorrow a.m.; good Carmageddon counter-programming

 “This ride is welcomed by Metro’s Media Relations, and Metro’s Bike Program whose mission is to make bicycling

more viable in L. A. County.  Since Metro is asking people not to drive, it is a perfect opportunity to bike instead!”

BIKE CARMAGEDDON!

The West Valley Ride

Lead By:  Jesse Fuller and Matt Weintraub

Saturday, September 29, 2012

9:30 am until 12:30 pm

Metro Orange Line Chatsworth Station

San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles, CA 

Route 1 – 12.5 miles along Orange Line Bike Path (beginning-intermediate):

http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=5664857

Route 2 – 34 miles showing off some of the new bike lanes

in the West Valley (intermediate-advanced):

http://www.gmap-pedometer.com?r=5664875

We leave Chatsworth Station at 10am.

We will be visiting the Japanese Gardens at Balboa Park by 12noon

(free admission for riders I hear).

Facebook Event Page:

https://www.facebook.com/events/222874334507505

If there is any further information you need about the ride, please let me know.

Jesse Fuller |  jeshii@gmail.com  |  (818) 264-4647

 

Bike-Escalators: Should they come to LA?

Photo by Mikael Colville-Andersen

“GET OUT OF THE WAY!” A woman yelled at a cyclist while both were going up the escalator. The impatient woman was enforcing the unwritten rule that one side of an escalator should be cleared for those who wished to walk up it. The cyclist with his bike on his left side, now under the pressure from the woman, looked around on the crowded escalator for a way to clear a path for her to move ahead. No luck. The escalator was packed, and the woman would have to wait.

“YOU’RE NOT EVEN ALLOWED TO BRING BIKES ON THE ESCALATOR!,” the woman yelled once more before exiting.

As uncivil the woman’s reaction was to the cyclist blocking the escalator, she was in some ways correct. Objects such as strollers and bicycles aren’t allowed on Metro escalators, and cyclists are asked to take the stairs and elevators instead. I have yet to see it done, but I’ve been told that failure to obey such rules can result in a citation.

And, more than a disruption to the flow of movement, bicycles aren’t allowed on escalators for safety reasons as well. There have been cases where bicycles were accidentally dropped on escalators, injuring the people below. And, I’ve witnessed a few times when cyclists walking their bikes up would accidentally hit the face of the person behind them with their bike’s rear wheel by accidentally swinging it sideways.

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Pro Walk/Pro Bike conference wrap-up

A bike rack in bike-friendly Long Beach. Photo by Marie Sullivan/Metro.

Just before eight on Thursday morning, a few shamed drivers walked from their cars, past a sizable bike corral and into the Long Beach Convention Center for the last of three days of the Pro Walk/Pro Bike 2012 conference organized by the Project for Public Spaces. The 800-plus “zealots” sported a decidedly more casual dress than most professional convention goers. Messenger bags replaced briefcases and bike lapel pins adorned nametags on many of the attendees.

Work group sessions included speakers from bicycle advocacy groups, bike and pedestrian coordinators from municipalities across the country, directors of Safe Routes to School programs and traffic engineers.

Long Beach's success with expanding bike infrastructure was featured prominently in the conference, in addition to the city's new general plan. The plan used decreased parking requirements to lure business downtown and increase density, at a time when density was a dirty word. It looked to cities like Vancouver and Tacoma for inspiration, and called for the first “parklets” – which are street parking spaces converted to parking spaces – south of San Francisco (Long Beach now has three).

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Bill sponsored by Metro to ease construction of bike lanes moves to Governor's desk

Here's some good news from last Frida, when a Metro-sponsored bill cleared the Assembly in Sacramento. The bill would allow class II bikeways — that's bike lanes along existing roadways, in plain English — to be built without agencies having to do time-consuming and time-gobbling environmental review studies to determine the impact of bike lanes.

In recent times, some anti-bike lane activists have tried to force agencies to perform the studies, alleging that re-striping streets to include bike lanes may cause more traffic — even when no vehicle lanes are lost.

Here's the update Friday from Metro's government relations staff:

Just a short while ago, AB 2245 (Smyth) passed on the Assembly Floor on a concurrence vote of 63-0. The measure, sponsored by Metro, would allow for a modified exemption from the California Environmental Quality Act for certain bike lane projects. The bill now moves onto the Governor's desk for signature.

 

Wolfpack Hustle: 2012 Midnight Drag Race

From state-champions to local big shots, there are tons of super fast cyclists that claim to be fastest of the fast. However, there’s only one way to settle who’s fit to be throned with the title as the fastest cyclist amongst the chatter of the cycling community, and that readers is through this year’s upcoming Wolfpack Hustle’s Midnight Drag Race.

Wolfpack Hustle, the very same local bike group that raced one of JetBlue’s planes to come out victorious during last year’s Carmageddon, and held one of the biggest underground races in the West Coast of the United States by crashing the L.A. Marathon Course last March, is back in action to thrill the cycling community once more this year.

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