Shore Thing: Bike The Big Port Bridges This May

To the men and women of the city and all ships at sea! The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has announced its 2010 Tour de Cure Ship-To-Shore Bike Ride will take place May 2, providing cyclists the opportunity for reportedly only the second time in the history of the world as we know it to pedal across the famed 6,060-foot-long Vincent Thomas and the 5,134-foot-long Gerald Desmond bridges to raise crucial fundage for the ADA in its fight against diabetes.

The Ship-To-Shore rides begin and end at the Queen Mary and offer five distinct routes from 8 to 61 miles in length, including a 10-miler where cyclists will return to post-ride festivities via a harbor cruise. Each route will feature fully supported rest stops with food and refreshments. To participate, individuals must raise a minimum of $150.

As a fan of taking my bike (most of the time legally) where it’s usually not allowed, you know I’ll be raising the money so that I can cross those bridges when I come to them! Hope you will, too.

Make Your Bike Count!

IMG_1642A friend forwarded me an email from someone at the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition indicating that the LACBC will conduct an L.A. bicycle and pedestrian count this September.

According to the email, “[w]e hope to use the data from this fun and civic-participatory event to furnish evidence for the need for more urban planning integrating mass transit, cycling, and walking.  Bicycle counts are basic city planning tools that help change policy to encourage cycling.  Most major US and European cities have them.  This will be LA’s first, and we plan to do it right while having a good time.”

Some of our local biker/bloggers may have further insight into this issue.  Otherwise, this sounds like a worthwhile endeavor to me.  If you would like to have some influence in choosing the intersections to be included in the census, click here. And count me in for two bikes and a pair of feet!

Bikerowave seeking new location!

Even though I’m an East-sider, I have frequented the Bikerowave fairly often. I did a couple Cubcamp rides and the now-infamous CubCamp Extra Credits Ride (Santa Barbara to Silverlake), which left from the Bikerowave. And in a world of ever-increasing capitalistic endeavors in our bicycle scene, it’s nice to know that there’s still a not-for-profit bicycle collective that exists solely to help people get on bicycles, regardless of how much money they have. (Props, of course, to both the Bicycle Kitchen and the Bike Oven, too!)

 

Workin on bikes at the Bikerowave
Workin' on bikes at the Bikerowave (Photo credit: Alex Thompson, licensed through Creative Commons.)

  Continue reading “Bikerowave seeking new location!”

Ride A Bike To Work Week (from Glendale?)

montrose, CA

Everyone’s talking about bicycles these days. it’s almost like, “Hey did you see that wacky new invention? You ride around on only two wheels, not four!” Not since the days of Ginger has there been so much hoopla surrounding locomotion. Well, alright, I’m exaggerating a little, but there a lot of people discovering the excellence of pedaling to work this week. I hope the fascination sticks.

For the past four years I almost never rode my bike to work. But then I didn’t have to since work (Amoeba) was only a few blocks away. I walked. But now that I’m back in Los Angeles and I’m looking for a new place to live I realize that I may not be as fortuitously near my workplace, I’m starting to consider just how I’m going to get around L.A.

In my search for a place I ended up wandering around Montrose a little. Montrose! I didn’t even know that place existed! It’s that lovely berg wedged into that gap between mountain ranges out past Glendale. And I love mountains. But I think it’s just a bit further from Hollywood than I’d be able to reliably cycle every day, and, while the Glendale freeway is nice on a Saturday, at 8 AM on Monday morning it’s a parking lot. So Glendale it is. But I’m asking Glendale residents, or indeed, anyone who cycles around that Los Feliz-adjacent terrain if they’ve discovered any terrific little routes into or out of the Sunset/Gower area.

Los Feliz Blvd to Sunset? Hyperion to Fountain? What are some of the better ways around Glendale and Silverlake on two wheels?

Filmmaker Foiled!

I’ve spent the last six months working on a short film about bicycles, and part of the production involves shooting a bicycle chase in and around the eastern neighborhoods of Downtown Los Angeles. Over the course of my scouting, I’ve come across some truly awesome locations.

Here are two of them (photos by me):

4th_st.jpg grand.jpg

At left, 4th St bridge over the LA River, looking west.  And at right, the street below Grand, in Downtown (as seen in The Terminator and Repo Man).

We’re also shooting in Chinatown and in Boyle Heights. One of the potential locations included the beautiful Mariachi Square, but after scouting in that neighborhood I discovered that the Square is under construction and every street in a 1-block radius has been closed to through traffic.

Foiled!

So the question I put to you, faithful readers is this: What are some of the lesser known but no less interesting and distinctive East La/Boyle Heights/Downtown landmarks that might lend themselves to being photographed?

Urban Cycling: Weiss Don’t Know Jack

I’ve been stewing over Councilman Jack Weiss’ statement about the inherent dangers of biking in Los Angeles ever since I read it in a post by Eric Richardson on Blogdowntown that reported on a Feb. 12 joint City Council committees meeting about how the city can better plan for bicycles. In the post, Richardson wrote that Weiss said “he rides daily before sunrise, but doesn’t feel it safe to ride L.A. streets during the day.” To be sure it’s a throw-away comment that better people can just let go, but this one that landed in my craw and stuck there.

I’m not going to dispute Weiss’ blanket impression of the risks out there on the asphalt, but as someone who regularly does “ride L.A. streets during the day” (and night) I can’t help but wonder from what experience he draws upon to fire such a loaded statement. I’d hazard the answer is: little to none. Sure, he may indeed rise before dawn every day and pedal around whatever neighborhood he lives in, but the idea of Weiss having biked to work seems only slightly less remote than that of our absentee mayor what’s his name cranking it across town from Hancock Park to City Hall.

I know there’s danger out there. As such I ride trying never to forget that I’m only as safe as the least attentive/considerate motor vehicle operator around me, and I know that my comfort level with the streets and the traffic and the rugged ragged road conditions is developed from some 20 years of commuting experience — most of it entirely uneventful. I also know that comfort level is the exception and not the rule. But unlike Weiss tossing off the same ol’ conventional doom ‘n gloom that can be discouraging to anyone considering cycling (or frustrating to those of us who do), it’s at least from a couple decades accumulated experience that I can say I feel pretty safe riding the streets of the city, under the sun or moon.

Like today. And tonight. As evidenced in this quick ‘n dirty sequence of snaps taken via handlebar cam on my morning and evening commutes; a total of 30 miles (I even took the long way home up into a bit of Weiss’ territory, just as a neener). I did it yesterday. I’ll do it tomorrow. You could do it, too. And so could you, Jack.

See you on the streets!