Archive for April, 2010

From GreenLAGirl’s blog I found it, and also found it will be the headlining film of the upcoming Long Beach Bike Festival.

GreenLAGirl writes:

Riding Bikes with the Dutch — the brainchild of Long Beach resident and filmmaker Michael Bauch — highlights not high-speed bike racing or flashy bike maneuvers, but everyday cycling as a convenient, healthy, and eco-friendly mode of transportation.

In addition to films, the festival will feature everything from Fixed Gear contests to a CYCLESTYLE Fashion Show. Bicyclists and the bike-curious will get to race in a Bike Push/Pull event, play bicycle polo, take a 30 mile “see cruise” ride around Long Beach, bid on bike-centric art works created by artists at the Plein Air Bicycle Painting event — and enjoy general festivities and merrymaking with food, music, bike-friendly vendors, and more.

In case you missed my preview post over on LA Metblogs, I’ve gone and done rustled us up some group ride goodness for next month, beginning May 1, with a replay of my 10 Bridges Ride, only this time done in reverse.

It will depart at 10 a.m. from SilverSun Plaza at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Parkman Avenue in Silver Lake. So if you’re available and interested, join me there and we’ll be part of a unique few dozens of angelenos who’ve biked over the 10 bridges spanning the L.A. River between Chinatown and Vernon.

Lunch afterward at the always wonderful Blue Star restaurant in the Scrap Metal District.

Just a not very satisfactory morning. Wolfed down some leftover chicken as I was getting ready to leave for work and it triggered that allergic reaction I’ve written about finally self-diagnosing in the past in which my esophagus basically plays the Black Knight and closes up in full “None. Shall. Pass.” mode.

So I spent the next hour wearing myself out hacking, gagging and coughing the chicken back out of me. It normally doesn’t take that long, because I’ll normally sense when the reaction starts and wisely stop eating. This time I was running around getting my crap together and just gobbling the half a chicken breast barehanded like a cro-mag. So by the time I recognized the symptoms it was all jammed in down there, and subsequently it all had to come out.


I should’ve just notified my superiors that I was gonna work from home — which I’m gonna start to do officially next week — but see, if I bike to work every remaining day this week, my last day in the office will see me break the 2,000 bike miles barrier for the year so far.

So once my esophagus relaxed and I’d recuperated enough from that ordeal onto my bike I went, and it was headwinds the whole freakin’ way in. To add to my misery, I flatted at 4th Street and Westminster — on top of flatting last night on the way home by LA City College.

When it rains it pours. But whereas last night’s flat was a result of a poorly sealed patch on the tube, this morning’s flat wasn’t the result of any bad innertube repair. It was this fucker sitting there on the tip of my filthy index finger, yanked from the inside of the rear tire that it had wormed its way through the tread (click for the bigger picture):

Putting my hopes on a doomed-to-fail stick-on patch getting me the remaining 11 miles to work, I set out again into the headwinds that found me whether I was pedaling south or west.

The patch failed at Venice Boulevard in Culver City. Not wanting to patch again and without any other spares I had confidence in I rode slow on the mostly deflated tire to Palms Cycles and ordered me up five new tubes.

“Five?” the clerk asked in surprise.

I was in no mood to justify or be explanatory or cordial. “Is that a problem?” I asked.

Dude shook his head and rung me up. Then I went outside and swapped out the flat rear tube for one of the new ones and the rest of the way to work was uneventful, save for the incessant headwinds.

Of course, after arriving I tweet vented my frustration about the winds and the flats and a follower tweeted back wondering what kind of tires I was using because he commutes pretty much every day and has had something like two flats in seven years.

Don’t tell me that. I don’t wanna hear that. Shit like that makes me ornery.

Why? Because today’s two flats were Nos. 10 & 11 for 2010. I think I had something like 34 last year. I’m a flat magnet. Two in seven. Pesh. Good for you, but keep that factoid to yourself.

The irony is, I’m rolling on a pair of Gatorskins, purported to be one of the toughest, flat rejecting tires around. But the reality of rolling 2,000 miles back and forth across Los Angeles in four months is that unless I opt for solid rubber, it doesn’t matter what shoes my 8Ball is wearing: I’m gonna get waaaaaay more than my fair share of flats.

The biggest joy I get from wearing my videocam sunglasses isn’t the capture of footage demonstrating bad road behavior. Rather it’s the mundane scenes they record in passing, moments otherwise forgotten that instead I get to faux up and celebrate.

Oooooooooo! Art Project! Taking a page from my friend Stephen’s book when he posted lakeside prints of the much-mourned and long-gone lotusflower of Echo Park Lake’s lagoon, I wouldn’t be surprised if the occaional still doesn’t start showing up, staked out in the vicinities of where they were snapped!

Coming back Saturday night from our inaugural visit to The Thirsty Crow Bar — our new favorite neighborhood watering hole — we decided to get some food to-go from Cowboys & Turbans up the street, one of our new favorite local eateries. In going there we passed a gathering of cyclists in the parking lot at SilverSun Plaza, getting ready for a group ride hosted by the MOM Ridazz crew, a group I’d heard of but didn’t really associate with because their reputation precedes them as partiers (their logo prominently features a marijuana leaf), and who did little to endear themselves to me when I found photos posted of a past MOM Ridazz ride some months ago in which one participant thought it awesome to climb the fragile Echo Park Lady of Lake statue. I’m sure their rides are great for those they appeal to, but they’re just not my bag.

Anyway, while waiting for our order outside Cowboys & Turbans, Susan and I were talking and in the distance I heard a loud thump, but it took a few seconds to register that the noise didn’t sound good. Stepping into the street and looking east up Sunset, I saw a person down in the bike lane next to a bike, and another person kneeling down next to them.

At first I thought it was just a case of a spill, but as I got closer and saw there wasn’t a second bike, I wondered if there’d been a car involved. Sure enough after getting the injured cyclist and his messed up bike out of the street, I found out the woman had opened her car door and he’d barreled into it — loud enough that I heard it 100 yards away and with enough force that the door now wouldn’t close.

The nasty knot on his knee, an abrasion to his back and some other aches and minor scrapes notwithstanding, the young man was lucky. Besides seeming not to have hit his helmetless head, he also avoided sprawling out into traffic where he might have been struck by another vehicle.

As with any traffic accident with injuries I wanted the police contacted, but the young man begged us not to, claiming he was fine, and despite my best efforts to encourage him at least to go to a hospital to get checked out, he was understandably amped on adrenaline and that just wasn’t really a priority to him.

Eventually the MOM Ridazz participants began their ride (which is where he’d been heading). Passing us the downed cyclist called out to them and a couple of his buddies came to his aid. His rather blunt explanation that he “got hit by a motherfucking car” with the apologetic driver right there drove her to tears and I did my best to calm her, telling her that thankfully it wasn’t any worse and that the first opportunity she had she should file a report with her insurance company — especially if he didn’t want to go to a hospital and  no one wanted to call the police.

In the chaos of the victim talking with his buddies and trying to get the bike working I wished everyone well and Susan and I got on our way home.

Coming home last night from work in the still-light late afternoon I opted to go the “long way” east across Jefferson to pay my annual spring visit to the Exposition Park Rose Garden, then up Figueroa to 2nd to Glendale around Echo Park Lake and home via Sunset.

Everything was awesome, up until I was northbound on Fig approaching 4th and the latest in the endless stream of inbred motorists dickwads — this one in a full-sized silver pick-up — passes less than two feet from me and lays on his horn despite having room to pass me without the honk and also to move to the left.

Here he is in mid-pass from my sunglasses cam, close enough not only to scare the crap out of me with or without the horn, but also close enough for me in the truck’s wake to get a solid whiff of the skunkweed emanating from the closed cab.

In the next frame, you’ll see he’s further up the block, prepping to make a right turn on 4th and either oblivious to or not interested in  my loud and heated invitation for him to stop and let me physically demonstrate my disdain upon his head and ass until he apologized for being a self-entititle cromag with no respect for anyone but his drug dealer.

Now here’s where it gets interesting. In the next frame I’ve arrived at 4th and I’ve wisely decided that the dipshit isn’t worth chasing down, much less the prison time I’d incur from stomping a hole through his stomach. So I stay on Fig and give the truck a dismissive wave and shake of the head as I pass. Trouble is those two fixie riders on the sidewalk you see there? They see me wave and for some stoopid reason they think I’m dissing them.

Of course I don’t know this until I get up between 3rd and 2nd streets and pull off to the side of the road, seething and half-hoping the truck might be coming back onto Figueroa from 3rd. This doesn’t happen, but in short order the two fixies pass me and the second guy makes a deliberate effort to dismissively wave at me and shake his head as he goes by, like so.

At first I’m all WTF, but since I’m not the dimmest bulb on the chandlier I figure they must’ve thought I was insulting them as I passed them at 4th and they were returning the favor. So, when traffic cleared I get in the left lane for my turn on to 2nd and catch up with them at the intersection, where I seek confirmation of my theory. The guy smiles and shrugs when I ask him if they thought I’d been dissing them and so I tell him he’s got it all wrong, that  I had been waving at a truck on 4th that had almost hit me, not them.

Dude didn’t look too convinced and was all “Whatever you say, man.”

I started to launch into a defensive sermon about my love for bikes and how I’d be the last sumbitch on the streetz to behave so ignorantly toward another cyclist, but I could tell it was lost on him so I just went on my way home chuckling at how only in my world can a motorist harass and disrespect me with absolutely no consequences — and in the end I’m left having to placate to some sensitive misinterpreting cyclists all because I elected to do the right thing and avoid confronting the bastard.


LAist posted this photo on its website and in light of the MTA’s plans to raise fares this summer I just had to put my — shall we say: spin — on the the transit monopoly’s current ad campaign:



Photo by RobeRt Vega via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr