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A Bone Of Contention With Regards To The Long Dead L.A. Marathon Bike Tour

March 14, 2015 in Biking in LA, Events, News, Sports

laweaklyOne of the first places I turn to of late if I’m looking for anti-cycling news and views is the L.A. Weakly. More often than not, it seems they’ve adopted the less-enlightened view of the urban activity shed by the Los Angeles Times a few years ago. Which is why I was so surprised to see this positive article in this week’s issue on tomorrow morning’s Marathon bike ride, as it moves from guerrilla event toward a potential for full legitimacy.

Of course, that didn’t mean the feature wasn’t wrong on an historic point:

Article quote: “For years, the L.A. Marathon’s route was a loop. Before the footrace began, an official bike ride was held with corporate sponsorship and everything. But in 2009, the marathon route was changed to a straight shot from Dodger Stadium to the sea, and the bike ride was dropped for fear that thousands of cyclists wouldn’t be able to get their bikes home.”

If you want to drink that Koolaid as to the demise of the Bike Tour being on a loop route that couldn’t coexist with an A-B marathon route, go ahead. But in 2007 when the marathon introduced a point-to-point route that began in Universal City and ended downtown (and continued again in 2008) the Bike Tour’s approximately 10,000 bicyclists pedaled on a SEPARATE loop route that began and ended in the vicinity of Exposition Park. Imagine that. PS. I know this personally because in 2007 I actually did both events that fateful day.

So my advice is to put down that Dixie cup and understand that the marathon’s leadershit (NOT a typo) under owner Frank McCourt, didn’t kill the 15-year tradition of the Bike Tour because it was concerned the poor wittle cycwists wouldn’t be able to find their way home after cwossing the finish wine. Nah, they simply and unceremoniously dumped the popular Bike Tour component after 2009 — and did so under the blazingly false pretense of developing a corresponding “world class” cycling event to replace it. When they didn’t spend a fraction of a second creating that, Don “Roadblock” Ward, gawd bless him, stepped in all guerrilla-style and the Marathon Crash Race was born, now perhaps ironically to evolve into what may very well one day become a legitimate “world class” bicycling component on Marathon Day.

Bonus clip: My timelapse from 2009 and what would be mine and the last bike tour (I had pedaled in every previous one back to the event’s inception in 1995).

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Fast cars on a track..life gets interesting this weekend

March 11, 2015 in Driving, Entertainment, Events, News, San Gabriel Valley

Seriously, one of my favorite events is always involving cars on a closed circuit track where you can run ‘em through an obstacle course. It gives you a better sense of what the car is about, how its built than the typical around the block test drive.  You’ll get your chance to do just that this weekend at the Ecoboost Challenge at the Santa Anita Park in Arcadia on Saturday 3/14.

Ford hosts the event and challenges the top competitors on the track.  Fusion vs Camry, Escape vs CRV, Prius V vs C-Max, and F150 vs Silverado.  You get to do them on a track and compare how they handle…or don’t.  How fast they accellerate and brake, steering nimbleness and all the stuff you normally don’t get to do.  With the hybrids the track is geared towards seeing who can get the best mpg….I won with 68.5 with a CMax Energi last year.

The ABSOLUTE best part of the entire day is the ST Performance Academy.   First year it was both a Focus ST and Fiesta ST, last year it was just a Fiesta ST on a timed, fast as you can go on a track, after a bit of coaching prior to your run.  Best of 3 laps is your time in the competition.  It if weren’t for a ringer last year I would have placed 2nd on the course, but I’ll take a respectable third when its only a few tenths behind #2.

You can particpate simply by registering and bringing your Driver’s license to the track at your appointed time.  REGISTER HERE.

I’ll be there 3/13 on a press pass and drop spoilers before you get to the course yourself.  If you do the ST Performance Academy, and like, who WOULDN’T, post your time and we’ll see who amongst us at the best.

Deets: Ecoboost Challenge Saturday March 14/2015 Santa Anita Park, Arcadia CA MAP HERE

Look What I Found: P. E. Railway Map From The Way Back

February 7, 2015 in History, LA, Mass Transit

When I read current stories with headlines along the lines of “Subway To The Sea Could Reach Century City By 2026,” it makes maps like the one below of Los Angeles’ mass transit system from 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, ONE HUNDRED and 1, 2, and THREE years ago seem all the more simultaneously sigh-inducing glorious and heartbreaking.

Feast yer eyes upon the elaborate system we had way back in the year Nineteen Hundred and Twelve (cleek to enlargify) and as you do consider not only:

  • the comparative low amount it would have cost to keep and upgrade through the years versus what it cost to dismantle entirely in favor of the huge sums required to build our long over-burdened freeway system;
  • and the massive amounts it will be costing us to be able to get to Century City in 15 years (probably more like 18).

Lines_of_the_Pacific_Electric_Railway_in_Southern_California_1912_(uclamss_294_b120_1)

12 Days of Giving: Red Star Riders

December 22, 2014 in Biking in LA, Blogging (in) LA, LA, Seasonal

This is the one of several posts by us outlining charities and non-profit causes near to our heart.

Do you remember your first tricycle or bicycle? I remember several from my childhood and have fond memories of receiving one of them for Christmas one year. I was in my early teens and there was an elaborate scavenger hunt of clues that ultimately led to the new wheels in the garage. While I rarely ride now, as a child I loved having a bike. It was a means of some freedom and independence long before being able to drive a car.

I know I’m not alone in my nostalgia, which is why I wanted to bring some awareness to an awesome organization called Red Star Riders. Red Star Riders is a non-profit group started by Los Angeles area pediatric physical therapists. Their mission is to raise funds for families of children with special needs to purchase AmTryke®  therapeutic tricycles. Not only do these dedicated professionals hold fundraising events, but they also donate their time to assist the children in being properly fit for each customized bike*.

Photo used by permission from Red Star Riders

Photo used by permission from Red Star Riders

 

Through some targeted fundraising, Red Star Riders has been able to assist several families in getting bikes for their kids this holiday season. However, letters like the one below keep coming in. Jocelyn is a 6-year-old girl with Rett Syndrome. She cannot walk, cannot talk and has little function of her hands. Jocelyn’s mother sent the flollowing:

My typical daughter, Rylee, is 4 years old and Santa is bringing her a big girl bike for Christmas. I know I have to give her a typical childhood, but my heart is breaking with sympathetic envy for my 6-year-old daughter, Jocelyn, who has Rett Syndrome and cannot ride a typical bike. I have been searching for a modified bike for her to have under the tree Christmas morning right next to her sister’s. What a Christmas morning that would be for her! However, special bikes are over $1000 and, embarrassingly and regrettably, that is not something we can afford for Jocelyn. Christmas is always bitter sweet for us. She is a happy girl, regardless of her daily struggles and limitations. She loves being outside and a family bike ride seems like a fantasy, but I have hope that one day, we will be able to have one.

Jocelyn’s bike will cost $815. Jocelyn’s story is similar to many of the families waiting for bikes for their kids. Your donation can help joy, self confidence, independence, improved quality of life, physical activity, and so much to the children on the waiting list. Please click HERE to make your tax deductible donation.

Used by permission from Red Star Riders

Used by permission from Red Star Riders

 

*Yes, the term “bike” is used loosely here. Kids “ride bikes.” So what if they have three wheels, a seat belt, trunk supports, or other adaptations. It’s a bike.

All photos and the contents of the letter used with permission by Red Star Riders. 

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Even the L.A. Auto Show is in the Happy Holidays mode

December 22, 2014 in Driving, Entertainment, LA, Seasonal

Fun little video recapping some of the more spectacluar reveals at this years L.A. Auto Show.  I can tell you from experience we’re getting better stuff shown here than Detroit for the most part.

In just 3 weeks I’ll be at NAIAS in Detroit. Its a fun show, but ours is way bigger physically and has the best reveals.  They still get North American Truck and Car of the year, so we need to figure out how to wrangle that out of their meat hooks.

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Nixle alerts coming DUI Enforcement Road Blocks

December 15, 2014 in Driving, News, Social issues, Which Side?

DUI Enforcements 2014Its that time of year again.  A few of us will get tanked and get behind the wheel, a few will get caught, a few will pile up their car and maim themselves or others.  LAPD, L.A Sheriff, CHP and local police agencies get huge grants to fight DUI and hopefully stave off the worst of the consequences of drunk drivers.

Here are two alerts by LA Sheriff on the for this coming weekend addressing the DUI/CDL Checkpoints for this weekend in Norwalk and Paramount.

I suppose we can thank the ACLU, but in CA when the DUI Enforcement zones are announced and road blocks are going to be included in the program they have to announce date and time.  Nixle is a great way to make sure you get alerts of when these DUI check points are going to in place and what times.  Make sure your designated driver has been a tea totaller and you’ll be fine.

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Mercedes Benz does an Art Car

November 24, 2014 in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, Events

MBartcarfront I missed the Benz press conference and reveal…busy shooting elsewhere so I missed the point behind the Art Car. I have no idea why or who did it but its different.  Quality work event.

I’ve got a few detail pics after the jump.  Pretty nifty stuff.

Sound off in the comments on why you think they did it and the meaning of it all.

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No One Walks in LA

November 24, 2014 in Biking in LA, Events

lam

Forgive me internet, for I have sinned. It has been nearly 1200 days since my last post.

Since my last posts on here, which covered topics like the Donut Summit and a burger-eating contest, I have been exploring a different type of competitive venture in our fair city: endurance athletics. Read the rest of this entry →

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L.A. Auto Show…press days round up

November 22, 2014 in Downtown, Driving, Events, News, Seasonal, Transportation

I have to tell you the cacophony of the Auto Show during press days is very different than that of public days. Its not thousands of people meandering about, but a herd mentality of media types running from one press conference and reveal to the next. Its usually a couple in a row in one hall where you shuffle a few feet at time vying for the best seat to hear/see and be the first on stage for photos when its over. Its 15 minutes of manufacture hype with 5 minutes of photo op, then 5 minutes to get to the next show. Insanity.

Also different is that the manufacturers have stuff that is available for press days only. The reps I talked with didn’t think the live demo of the iRoad in this video would take place for public days…so thats my lede. Read the rest of this entry →

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#RockingRewind the Hyundai after party

November 21, 2014 in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, Events, Music, News, People

What is L.A. Auto Show press days without a manufacturer party or two? My absolute favorite is the Hyundai party. Again this year at the Hotel Figueroa a few blocks from the show itself.

Mermaids.
Circus performers.

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Yes, they were our live entertainment. Nearly shat myself when they were announced to be our entertainment for the evening. Tons of fun, she hasn’t lost her edge. Totally fun night.

Finally, an app to shame parking turds

November 20, 2014 in Driving, Parking Tards

Legendary Angelyne's legendary Corvette's legendary parking job.

Legendary Angelyne’s legendary Corvette’s legendary parking job in 2009.

For years, blogging.la has served as a clearinghouse for photos of rude parkers, most often committing the sin of parking across the line and taking up two precious parking spots. Unfortunately, beyond posting the photo along with some snark and overhyped indignation, there was never the full satisfaction of knowing whether or not the “parking turd”* ever saw them publicly shamed.

Now all that is about to change.

Yesterday, Dennis Romero at LA Weekly reported about PL8CHAT, a new app that allows users to text drivers via their license plate numbers.

We immediately thought of the satisfaction that would result from being able to tell a driver what a complete idiot he is. Imagine being able to inform someone about the rules of the road or just about plain parking etiquette.

Yes, IMAGINE! Not only can we post photos online of these human embarrassments, we can then text them to let them know they’ve been suitably shamed on social media. Read the rest of this entry →

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There is one wtf in every crowd

November 20, 2014 in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, Events, News, Seasonal, Transportation

Day 1 of L.A. Auto Show Press Days did not disappoint

spongebob

Toyota’s Sponge Bob Tribute minivan

Of all the truly amazing things at this years L.A. Auto Show this one stopped me in my tracks and I thought wtf. Prolly the best use of a minican ever. If you want to see what Toyota is really capable of check out their FT1 concept.  Vette…they have your number and are gonna kick you square in the crotch.

More pics in my flickr album.

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L.A. Auto Show press days this week then the grand opening to the public

November 16, 2014 in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, Events, LA, Transportation

Are you ready? I know I am. Press Pass in hand I’ll be doing nothing but press events and shooting hundreds of amazing concept and production autos coming our way Press Days 11/19-20/2014.

Thursday evening 11/20/2014 is the Preview Party.  It does cost you, but the proceeds go to benefit the Grammy Museum’s music education programs.  I did this event a few years ago and its simply amazing.  Great food and booze all over the place.  Meander through the event, meet the Manufacturers reps that are there for Press Days and really get to know about the cars.  If you’ve got $275 per person to spare its worth it and its for a great cause.  Of course since this is a non-profit organization a portion of your ticket is tax deductible.

Friday 11/21/2014 the Show will open to the public.  You can buy your tickets direct HERE.

Starting on Wednesday I’ll be posting pics from my cell phone through the day. That evening the entire days worth of images will be uploaded to flickr.  Thursday I repeat the process with the addition of driving “green cars” and that days shoot will be posted up for consumption  late in the day and Friday.  By Friday I’ll be posting stories here and on SoCalAutoBlog.

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Street Seen: L.A. Bus Stops Can Be The Loneliest Places

November 8, 2014 in Art, environment, LA, Mass Transit, Photography, Transportation

busstop

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Protesters Marching around Hollywood and Highland

November 5, 2014 in Driving, Hollywood, Law, News, Social issues

A crowd estimated at 75-200 folks is marching along Hollywood and Highland area.  Twitter @Hollywood311 has been giving out info as far as where they are and what they’re doing.

What is unclear is what they are protesting.  Appears to be disorganized.  One person commented that its in protest of some sort of alleged police brutality in the area recently.  The consistent theme I’m seeing is that LAPD is trying to keep them off the streets to minimize traffic disruptions.

Anyone have details on the beef?  On why they insist on inconveniencing others?  If so sound off in the comments.