It’s time again for the Golden Pedal Awards, Metro’s annual competition for stories about commuting via bicycling. We collected nominations all throughout Bike Week LA and will be publishing a Why You Ride series with one winner a week — to remind us that every week is Bike Week!
Our first winner this year is Justin Resnick — probably “the bikiest guy in LA,” according to his colleague Rick Gutierrez, who nominated Justin for a Golden Pedal Award. Justin studies bicycle and pedestrian planning as a UCLA urban planning graduate student, serves as the president of the UCLA Bicycle Coalition, and works for the LADOT Bike Program. He bikes from Santa Monica to UCLA almost every day and to downtown Los Angeles one to two times a week. (And according to Rick, Justin bikes everywhere else too, including “nights out on the town.”)
Name: Justin Resnick
Start: Santa Monica
End: UCLA or downtown Los Angeles
Distance: 5 miles to UCLA, 18 miles to downtown LA
Time: 25 minutes to UCLA, 75 minutes to downtown LA
Justin commutes on a single-speed road bike that he built himself. He makes the ride easier by using “business-like” bicycle accessories that allow him to shift quickly from his bike to the office. His panniers, for instance, look like standard briefcases and have shoulder straps for carrying, as well as flaps that roll down to hide the pannier hooks. His shoes look like regular office shoes, but have clips that attach to his bike pedals (for more efficient pedaling). He calls his outfit being a “cyclist in stealth mode.”
As an intern in LADOT’s bicycle outreach and planning group, Justin puts his biking experience to good use by creating citywide policies on bicycle wayfinding signage. He’s also helped the UCLA Bicycle Coalition (a regional partner of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition) work with administration and faculty to fund and implement several projects, such as bike counts and bike safety programs.
Why is Justin such an advocate for bicycling? He said:
“Bicycles can solve a lot of challenges that we currently have in urban transportation. We have issues with traffic congestion, air quality, public health, equity, and helping low-income communities. Bicycling can help us address these problems. It’s a clean mode of transportation; it’s very reasonably priced; you get exercise. Almost 50% of all trips in LA County are less than three miles [long]. If we can encourage everyone to make those trips by biking or walking, we can really increase the health and vitality of our city.”
Justin admits that he is in “the 1% of cyclists who will ride anywhere,” regardless of whether or not there are bike lanes on the road. (As a college student in Wisconsin, he regularly biked to class even when temperatures dropped to -30°F; after college, he was a competitive cyclist). But this has just made him more aware of how essential it is to work with the “broader bicycling community, recognizing the breadth of users that we have in this city”:
“It’s important to plan for the occasional cyclists – whether they’re pulling a child trailer along or getting their groceries – and put in the type of infrastructure they would want to see. Focusing on them helps make the road safe for all of us.”
Thanks Justin for your hard work! We’ll be sending you a Nathan reflective LED safety vest, one year of bicycle roadside assistance from Better World Club, reflective safety decals from RydeSafe, and some Clif Bars to help make your commute safer and more delicious.