Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Bike Week LA is in full swing

This week LA Metro is sponsoring Bike Week throughout the greater Los Angeles area. If you cycle get out and ride all week. Show Angelos what life could look like if more of us moved under our own power.

You will have the opportunity to engage with bike shops, retailers and our evolving mass transit system and experience some of the many resources around town.

Here's a small sampling of what's on tap this week. 

Cycling Discounts

The Blessing of the Bicycles at the Good Samaritan Hospital
Where: Good Samaritan Hospital, 1225 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90017
When: 8am - 9:30am
The 12th annual Blessing of the Bicycles promises your bicycle safe passage through the streets. Join us for the ceremony and presentation of the Golden Spoke Award hosted by Good Samaritan Hospital
 Bike-in Movie
Where: Marsh Park on the LA River
When: 8:00-10:00pm
Ride to Marsh Park along the LA River to view the Bike Shorts Film Program, co-hosted by Ghost Bikes that explores the theme of Bike Love. Look out for City Rides that lead to the park that evening. We will have bike valet and popcorn!

See the week's schedule at http://www.metro.net/bikes/bike-week/

Close the week at the Aika Trading open house in Santa Monica from 11am to 7pm.

For more happenings in Santa Monica check out Buy Local Santa Monica and our friends at Santa Monica Bike Center.

How will you make the most of Bike Week LA?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Who's up for the National Bike Challenge?

So every Friday evening I ask myself, "How much can I get done this weekend without getting into that car until Monday?" Despite the wonderful feeling of cheating traffic and the endorphin rush from even a casual ride, I often feel like I could have done more. Starting May 1st I will have the support of thousands of riders to spur me on.

People For Bikes is hosting the National Bike Challenge. It will run from May 1st through September 30th. This is a chance for avid and want to be cyclists to join with others to log as many miles as possible over a five month span.

Click the image above to join  as an individual or as part of a group. Log your miles and having fun supporting other riders. Beyond publicly tracking your personal miles this can be a real community event.

Join with other to create a team.

Make a it work team building exercise.

Get some parent / student P.E. time in and cut the school pick up line down. 

Knock on a few doors and make your neighborhood streets safer and slower.

In any sporting event there is always room for a side bet. Create a local challenge or pit one state against another, all in the name of health and fun of course. 

Here's my local challenge: Santa Monica, let's roll big on this one. 

As we have entered spring I see posts of cyclist around the country and world excited to finally have a break in the snow or warm enough temperatures to enjoy a bike ride. 

Come on, we live in Southern California. We haven't seen good snow within two hours of here in a few years. The least we can do is make the best of this horrible drought and ride our bikes. 

While it will be warm and often down right hot the majority of this five month challenge, it's not like many parts of the country. No 100% humidity, 95 degree days here on the west side. Let's ride!

What will you do to make the most of the 
National Bike Challenge?

Thursday, March 5, 2015

SM Bike Center Supports Local School

A big thank you to the folks at Santa Monica Bike Center for donating a cargo bike rental to a local pre-school's fundraising auction. Thank you to Abbey and Andrea for putting together such a nice package.

Photo courtesy of Santa Monica Bike Center

The Xtracycle EdgeRunner will be made available for a half or full day rental to the highest bidder. They even threw in some other goodies to make it a truly fun day for one lucky family. As with so many schools, donations are key to helping them deliver the type of quality early childhood education that establishes a love for learning.

SM Bike Center has one of the best selections of cargo / family bikes rentals I have seen. In addition to the EdgeRunner the center offers the Taga and Cabby. If you and the kids are ever in need of a trusty steed for a family bike ride in Santa Monica head down to Colorado Blvd. and 2nd St.!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Why LA drivers are wrong about cyclists

She'll talk road diet when a vehicle can stock a supermarket
                                    According to one radio host this should be what we all drive on the streets of Los Angeles.

This post is an expansion on my initial reaction to local KABC talk show host Cristina Perez. 

Let me open by saying I like cars. Those who spend time around me know that I currently have three on my short list. There is the entry level Scion FR-S to make up for the Mazda RX-7 I couldn't afford in college. The new Corvette Stingray looks like a dream. I am also happy to welcome Alfa Romeo back to the U.S. with the arrival of the hot 4C. 

With that said I am compelled to illuminate the flaws in the argument against city cycling in a recent segment of the Judge Cristina show. A link to the segment is at the end of this post. 

Each segment she treats like a case. This one was bikes vs cars. Callers are witnesses. The host, a former television judge, presides over the case and renders a verdict. 

Hopefully my response will give anyone examining optimal urban transportation a broader perspective. It's about moving people and stuff for people, people!

Should we give bicyclist and pedestrians more room on the road?

Problem one:You are assuming that whomever makes up WE owns the roads. You are also making a distinction between groups of people trying to get from A to B, as if cyclists and pedestrians are something other than humans moving through the city. Roads are for people. People moving from one place to another. Roads are about moving goods from one group of people to another group of people. Cycling and walking are just as much a form of transportation as driving. Not only that, it is healthier and more, well, human. 

More room for cyclists will increase traffic.

Problem two: In the short run that would most likely happen. Properly protected bike lanes would encourage more riders that may not be giving up a car for a bike to decrease the total number of cars on the road. There is friction with any change. That doesn't me we don't change. 

To make the argument that more bikes equals more traffic ,100% of current drivers would have to continue driving. You can't drive and bike at the same time. Also the rate of new drivers being added to the system each year would have to remain the same. 

National Geographic

Actually fewer young people in the U.S. are taking to the roads via car according to the U.S. DOT. The expense of cars, traffic, lack of power, environmental concerns and Internet have dulled some of the luster of that once coveted first car.

In the long run more cyclists would make the roads less congested. More drivers would eventually want to join in the fun.  This would leave the designated car portion of the road open to those who must use a motorized vehicle.

B-Line PDX delivering the goods!

Judge Cristina also questions the cyclist. She asks "How is the truck delivering the supplies for the cyclist's latte going to get to Starbucks in all the increase traffic due to the proposed road diet?" In the city center who says you need to have a huge truck to deliver most goods? My evidence is a company called B-Line. They deliver all manner of commercial goods in the heart of  Portland. They have even worked with a national brand to deliver in the city center for their clients. I can't stand those box trucks double parked blocking traffic. How about you judge?

Others are right sizing their commercial fleets as well. Haven't you noticed the increase in small cargo vans like the Ford Transit Connect and Nissan NV200? Many of the big trucks are running around the city practically empty. I know, I use to work for a major office supply company. Part of the training was to load  a 20-30 foot box truck and make deliveries with the driver for a day. None of the trucks we loading in those predawn hours were fully loaded. 

It's not safe for bikes to be on the road.

Problem Three: You are absolutely right. Especially when drivers take your position regarding the humanity of cyclist and pedestrians.

I submit that we should treat threats to human health equally. When a product or practice is not safe for the people that use it and those in the general vicinity we seek to remove the product or change the practice. It's funny that when it comes to cars we seek to blame the victim. 

Cars are the problem in city centers not people. Based you your reasoning all people not in cars should not be allow on the roads because cars are too dangerous to be near. I am just going to let you ponder the reasoning of that position for a minute.

Mother Jones Dec. 2014

We have a huge war on guns in the U.S.. Often times the damage people do with guns in inner cities is evidence to further the idea of gun control. Following that reasoning we should be much more concerned with fighting a war on cars because more people die due to cars than by gun fire.

Car drivers pay taxes, bicyclists don't.

Problem Four: Judge, a witness for the car started this portion of the argument with a flawed assumption. It is incorrect to believe that 100% of cyclist do not have cars. Many people have both cars and bikes as a mode of transportation. So bicyclists are paying taxes for road use too. In Los Angeles many pedestrians are walking to or from their cars. Would you have a sidewalk tax as well?

If it is a matter of paying your fair share I would be happy to pay an annual bicycle registration fee. Just base it on vehicle size and how much your vehicle damages the roads. A good portion of road repairs in cities are due to heavy pounding by large trucks and the high volume of passenger vehicle traffic. Bikes on the other hand are so light that roads dominated by bikes would have almost zero maintenance cost for years on end.

Bike & trikes can haul!

There is another tax revenue advantage to having more bicycles on the road. A reasonable scenario is that the majority of transportation cyclist are auto drivers a well. If those auto drivers used their bikes at a ratio of 70/30 for example, the government wins. A driver would pay 100% of their share as a driver through annual registration and gas taxes but drive 70% of the time.

Also, it is funny that during breaks in the segment on the dangers of bikes on the road the lead story is about the Exxon refinery in Torrance that blew up. It refines oil into gas, for cars. Not only did it endanger the people at the refinery the local residents and schools were ordered to shelter in place. Why? Because of the toxic cloud descending them.

The day we can stock a supermarket, Whole Foods, by cyclist is the day we go on a road diet.

Problem five: When I initially heard these comments I thought she said, "When you could bring a load of groceries home by bike we can talk about a road diet." To hear the actual statement unedited is comical. Based on her closing statement the only vehicles that should be on the road are tractor trailers and bobtail trucks. With your reasoning Judge Cristina, people wouldn't be allowed to drive that new Infiniti you were promoting during the commercial break. Drop offs at the local elementary school would be more of a nightmare than it already is today. 

By the way here's a small sample of what can be accomplished on a bike:


Where I agree with the good judge and her callers.

I agree with you, bikes and cars shouldn't share the road. At least not the way American urban street are designed today. Wouldn't it be ridiculous for pedestrians to walk in the lanes with cars? Asking drivers to be responsible for managing a three foot gap when passing or as one caller mentioned, a two hundred yard buffer before making a right turn in front of a biker is not practical. 

St. Albert Gazette

Give cyclist protected bike lanes. Organize modes of transportation on the street by speed and weight. Leave pedestrians where they are, put people riding bikes next to them, then parked cars and people driving in the middle. Add a fixed barrier between cyclists and cars. This will bring peace of mind to everyone. Drivers don't have to worry about bikers and bikers don't have to worry about cars. At least not as much.

Most of my driving, especially on the weekends is within five miles of home. We are in Southern California, there are only about thirty days of weather wet enough to leave your bike at home. People are trying to move about the city. Let's use the best tools for a given task. 

Judge Cristina think about it like this, let' say you brought a framed painting home and asked your husband to hang it, or hung it yourself. You would think he was nuts if he came from the garage wielding a sledge hammer and a railroad spike to hang a picture frame on the wall. 

"Look at your garage as a transportation tool box." - Stephen Mosca, Go-One U.S.A.

Zigo Leader 

The technology is here with cargo bikes and electric assist. You don't need a three to five thousand pound vehicle to move six bags a groceries or two fifty pound kids ten blocks. It can be done by bike and in style. 

If you'd like to listen to the entire radio segment you can find it here.

Judge Cristina Perez can I take you on a bike ride?

How do you work to educate motorist and other citizen on the benefits of cycling for all city dwellers?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Bike Haul Challenge vs KABC radio host

So on the way home today I heard this from a local radio host:

Photo by la.streeblog.org
Paraphrasing: [They want to narrow the roads so bikers and pedestrians have more room. They want to put us on a road diet! Let's talk about a road diet when you can get a whole load of groceries home on a bike.]

Photo by la.streeblog.org

Yes, let's talk about it!

Judge Cristina Perez, allow me to introduce you to the cargo bike. You can find a cargo bike to suite almost any need HERE.

Madsen Cycles Kg271 Bucket 40 gallon capacity

Why would this radio host hold such a low opinion of a bike's capabilities? There are two main factors that might deter you from shopping by bike if you aren't familiar with your options.

Distance: I have grocery shopped in five urban and suburban communities as Californian thus far. Not one store has been more than 2.1 miles from my home. Most food shopping as well as other household errands happen within five miles of home. So we are not talking about complete a stage of the Tour de France.

Weight: Groceries are heavy. The bikes you are about to see can swallow a weeks worth of shopping for a family four and the rider would barely know it. 

Enter the Cargo Bike: Let me start with what I know. The Cetma Cargo which is hand built in sunny Venice, CA., is a prototypical example of a Long John. There are many quality options on the market. This bike can easily handle five bags of groceries in it's standard form. If you option the rear rack and add two panniers your haul could end up at seven or eight bags. 

Cetma Cargo Largo with new dishwasher

What easy pick up, delivery and recycling with the Cetma

There is also the Long Tail. Xtracycle, Yuba, Surley and even Trek offer great options. With the right accessories including bags and straps you can handle five of six bags of food without feeling much of a difference between a cargo bike and a regular bike.

Red bag on each side holds two bags or groceries each

Speaking of regular bikes, singles and small families can handle the weekly or semi-weekly (if you eat like we do) grocery run with simple tools like the trailer below. 

Travoy by Burley Design
My favorite is the Burley Travoy. This commuter trailer is a go anywhere hauler. It is a folding dolly with removable bags. When you are finished shopping simply attach it to the seat post of your bike and off you go. 

I think you get the point. Groceries by bike can be a cake walk. 

Judge Cristina Perez if you are willing I'd love to take you on a ride and then we can talk road diet. Yes?

Calling all bike commuters and cargo bikers. Please share a photo of your best grocery and errand hauls on the Bike Locally Facebook page. Let's enlighten and broaden some minds.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Vote now for your Most Loved Santa Monica Business

Come one come all! If you live, work or play in Santa Monica it is time to show you love. Have some fun with the 2nd annual Most Loved Santa Monica awards.

Cast your votes HERE for the most loved bike shop, restaurant, health food store and more. 

I like these bike shops in particular because they all have at least one cargo bike available to test ride. 

Santa Monica Bike Center

It's mostly known for rentals but you can buy the Xtracycle Free Radical and the Taga. These are some great local get it done bikes.

Aika Trading

This new business has the opportunity to be voted for a most loved new business and a most loved bike shop. They carry high quality bikes and accessories to make it easy to leave your car at home for all your local goings on.

Downtown LA Bicycles

This shop is in a prime local on Wilshire Blvd. carries several city bikes and the Virtue Gondoliere.

Helen's Cycles

This place is a Santa Monica legend. You can find a long tail hauler called the Trek Transport. Helen's covers the spectrum of cycling for the whole family.

Runner up

Bike Attack

Here you can find one of the great family haulers Babboe cargo trikes. This is the only place you can find them in Santa Monica. On the down side they don't keep one in stock to test ride. 

Which bike shops in Santa Monica do you most love? 

Get out and vote for your choice before the end of February!