biking


And the streak of consecutive days riding my bike endeth at 5 — faaaaar short of the 50 I’d hoped for. The following reasons are ALL excuses why I didn’t ride yesterday: a super early start to the day (had to be at the office at 6AM); driving (more like crawling) to Santa Monica’s REI and home after work to pick up the kayaks; voting; two glasses of wine with dinner.

Oh well, let’s try for 49 out of 50.

One/tenth down, 9/10ths to go! Getting a lowly tenth of the way toward my goal of 50 rides in 50 days was achieved with these commutes to and from work:

For my fourth of 50 consecutive days riding my bike I elected to head east on Sunset Boulevard to Chinatown before heading back through downtown.

The last bike commute of the year was also the first of the year, now that I’m gainfully employed with a brand new full-time job. And with a resolution to pedal more miles than I drive there will be many to come in 2014.

Since I’m on the verge of going another two weeks without posting, here’s a little stopmotion somethin’ from August 17:

I broke my long streak of not going on night group rides to saddle up and ride the streets in memory of one of the bike community’s most unique members — EddieBoyinLA, nee Edward Alvarez — who succumbed to illness and left us earlier this month.

The news of his death galvanized riders young and old. The turnout to celebrate him was incredible and the ride reminded me of how much I used to love getting out on my bike to course through the dark city with a bunch of loveable miscreants, ne’er do wells, degenerates, and rabblerousers. In general, saints all.

Rest and ride in peace, EddieBoy.

Notes: I did something different dimensionally this time and inserted portions of real-time footage “replays” into the timelapse. The first is at the 2:55 mark when we went through the 2nd Street Tunnel. The second is at 5:20 as we rode out of Chinatown north past the Cornfield park where a huge rave-style event was taking place. Lastly at 7:29 at Lincoln Park using a still I shot I got, I paired it with audio of that rider who scaled the statue with a megaphone to lead everybody in an “I say EDDIE, you say BOY!” cheer.

Though not without cause given how little I’ve been riding this year, any reports of my having forgotten how to ride a bike all over the dang place have been greatly exaggerated, as seen in this to-Whittier-and-back of 46-miles Saturday, split in the middle by eight hours of classroom instruction at Rio Hondo College.

I must say that the “out” half beginning in the near-deserted early morning was much more enjoyable than the “back” portion in the late afternoon, which involved scads of traffic, a ceaseless headwind along the entire straightaway length of Valley Boulevard, and me riding in something of a zombie-fied state due to fatigue and my internal fuel tank being almost completely empty.

The morning ride was also enjoyable because of the nearly six-mile-long game of leapfrog you’ll see in the above vid that I have on the nearly Valley Boulevard with an MTA bus that began near Cal State LA and didn’t end until I bailed onto the Rio Hondo Bikeway in El Monte.

But the other thing that ran out of gas too early was the camera, konking out after a brief respite spent at Lincoln Park.

Full roundtrip route: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=5953724

There’s velo drama in Northeast Los Anglees, and you know it has to do with bike lanes because that’s the SINGLE MOST GALVANIZING ISSUE to communities across the city nowadays. In this case, it’s the proposed, supported, vetted, approved, and funded plan to add Class II bike lanes on North Figueroa across Northeast Los Angeles.

All was going accordingly until a righteously indignant area mouthpiece orchestrated and staged an anti-lanes campaign citing the complete and total devastation that would be wreaked upon area businesses and stakeholders if any vehicular traffic lanes were sacrificed for dastardly cyclists.  The bike community reacted initially with something of a collective “Pfffft!” a bit like the way Gov. Gray Davis dismissed the recall campaign that ended up successfully putting a “Former” before his title and a Schwarzenegger in his chair. And sure enough the rhetoric proved loud enough to gain the traction needed to get the noodle-spined Highland Park Neighborhood Council to reject the proposed, supported, vetted, approved, and funded lanes in favor of an alternative route that, of course, stays off Figueroa, and is ironically as weak as those naysaying councilmembers’ aforementioned backbones.

That in turn has gotten Los Angeles City Councilmen Jose Huizar and Ed Reyes — both of whom who have been very pro-bike in the past — to suddenly backpedal their support and slam on the brakes pending additional input regarding the alternative route.

In short the lanes are in serious danger of being disappeared.

It is entirely similar to the actions taken by the Burbank City Council in the mid-2000s, when they ignominiously caved to resident pressure and outcry (with claims that more bikes would bring greater gridlock — and crime!) and slaughtered a proposed, supported, vetted, approved, and funded route connecting the LA River Bikeway with the Chandler Bikeway.

So you know I sat myself down and tapped those councilmen out a letter, the gist of which is if you guys wanna deny the entire city those bike lanes I’ll still ride there, but when I do I’ll deny the business in your districts my entire wallet. And the point being that the decisions they make not only effect their constituents but those beyond their jurisdictions:

Councilmen Huizar and Reyes,

I am an avid urban cyclist who has ventured all over this city on two wheels. I am disheartened by the tactics used by some in the community against the proposed bike lanes on North Figueroa, and I am dismayed that it is having the desired effect in getting both of you to step back and suddenly qualify your previous support.

Personally, I ride all over the greater Los Angeles and Southern California areas with or without bike lanes beneath me. And if, like the Highland Park Neighborhood Council, you bend to the pressure being exerted to kill these lanes in your districts — lanes previously approved and funded — you can bet for sure I’ll continue to utilize Figueroa through the Northeast area.

But here’s the problem. Axe those lanes and I also guarantee that whenever I’m on those rides, I will make it my own personal mission to purposely avoid doing any business at ANY establishments on those routes throughout your districts.

If I’m dying of thirst coming back from a ride around the Rose Bowl I’ll either quench it somewhere in South Pasadena or wait until I’m west of downtown. If I’m on a ride that’ll leave me hungrier than a bear I’ll either pack a lunch with me or just suck it up through Eagle Rock and eat in Glendale.

It’s not much money for sure, but it’s mine. And I for sure won’t spend it in districts led by purported bike-friendly councilmembers who can so readily backpedal on what is clearly an IMPROVEMENT to the communities they serve.

Do the right thing, gentlemen. Support and build the North Figueroa bike lanes.

Sincerely,
Will Campbell
Silver Lake

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