Biking in the AV

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The joys and challenges of riding in the Antelope Valley

Archive for the ‘LA Bicycle Coalition’ Category

Winning Campaigns Training in October

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

The Alliance for Biking and Walking and the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition have joined forces to host a bootcamp in Los Angeles for cycling advocates from Friday, October 14, 2011, through Sunday, October 16, 2011. It’s called Winning Campaigns Training.

The Alliance’s Winning Campaigns Training is a three-day boot camp for bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations. This action-oriented workshop gives novice and veteran advocates the tools to create and manage powerful campaigns to increase biking and walking in their communities. Our proven curriculum is led by longtime advocates and national experts with firsthand experience conducting — and winning — bicycle and pedestrian campaigns.

At Winning Campaigns Trainings, you’ll learn how to:

  • Choose the right issue
  • Set realistic but visionary goals
  • Choose the best strategies, tactics and timelines
  • Map out the power structure in the community; support and leverage allies; neutralize and convert enemies
  • Communicate effectively, reaching the right audience with the right message through the right media
  • Raise money for the campaign
  • Strengthen your organization for the next, bigger victory!

I’m signed up to attend, but it would be great if others from the Antelope Valley cycling community register to go as well. Sign up here.

They’ve already sent some “homework” to do, which begins with brainstorming with others in our organization — AV High Desert Cyclists — to come up with 3 potential campaign ideas.

I’ll be posting this information to the High Desert Cyclists’ Google group and the AV Bicycle Coalition page on Facebook, asking for help with this “homework,” so that we gain as much as possible from this training.

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Jennifer Klausner and I ride around the AV

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Jennifer Klausner, Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, drove up to the Antelope Valley from Los Angeles yesterday afternoon for a ride. She wanted to take a spin around the Valley, so I mapped out a route that would take us from Palmdale into Lancaster and back.

Essentially, we made a big loop from west Palmdale up 30th St West to Lancaster Blvd to THE BLVD to Sierra Highway. At Ave J, we picked up the Sierra Highway Bike Path and rode that to Ave O to 15th St West, which became Ave P-8, and back to 30th.

Ave O

Ave O between Sierra Highway and 10th St West

We were having so much fun that I forgot to take any pictures until we stopped for a snack on Ave O.

Jennifer Klausner

Jennifer Klausner stopping for a drink on Ave O

At this point, our notorious AV wind kicked up and made the rest of the ride even more interesting.

We saw only a few other riders. One of them was on THE BLVD. He was heading west and taking the lane. We saw a fellow riding on the bike path coming north from Palmdale towards Lancaster. We saw another guy riding in the wrong direction on the other side of Sierra through hotel parking lots and another rider coming up to the intersection of a street with the bike path, again on the wrong side of the street. I think of all the riders we saw, only one was proceeding on the proper side of the street.

We have our work cut out for us as far as educating AV bike riders how to ride safely.

When Jennifer comes back to the AV, she’d like to go mountain biking on the trails off Ave P-12. If you’d like to come along, let me know.

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High Desert Cyclists meeting tonight

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Don’t miss the monthly meeting of the High Desert Cyclists at 7 pm this evening (06/20/2011). It’s going to be at Nick’s Pizzeria, 43755 15th Street West, Lancaster. Nick’s is located at the center of the -L- in the High Desert Medical Center shopping center.

I’m sure a topic of discussion will be joining up with Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition to further the cause of cycling in the Antelope Valley.

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AV High Desert Cyclists joining forces with LACBC

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Paul Avila, president of the Antelope Valley High Desert Cyclists, and I rode from Palmdale to the Sagebrush Cafe in Quartz Hill yesterday afternoon to meet with Jennifer Klausner, Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.

Jennifer Klausner and Paul Avila

AV High Desert Cyclists voted at our May meeting to become a component organization of the LACBC. We met with Jennifer as part of that process.

Jennifer was warm, open, and extremely knowledgeable on bicycle advocacy issues and understanding of the particular conditions that cyclists live with every day in the AV. We discussed how joining forces will benefit both organizations.

Some of the things we talked about included high speed limits on AV arterial streets, lack of wide outside lanes, streets that are wide on one side and narrow on the other, opportunities for motorist and cyclist education, and outreach efforts to cyclists and the community at large.

We look forward to a long and fruitful partnership.

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LA River Ride 2011

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s 11th Annual LA River Ride was held on June 5, 2011. There were 100, 70, 50, 35, and 15-mile options.

My friends Bill Lockton, Sharlene Wills, Steve Herbert and I rode the 50-miler. I rode on my road bike, Steve opted for his commuter bike, and Bill and Sharlene rode Sharlene’s Bike Friday tandem.

Sharlene, Bill, and Steve at River Ride pitstop

The weather was perfect, overcast with very little wind, and the course was great with much more newly opened bike path than in previous years.

My third time on the LA River Ride, this was a personal success. The first time I rode with my friend Beverly Familar. I didn’t ride fast enough to keep up with her. The slight rollers underneath overpasses felt like enormous hills to me.

The second time, I rode with Steve. At mile 17, we were on the street and had to get back onto the bike path. This is where I had a spectacular fall that left my knee torn up and the front wheel of my bike out-of-true. At the pitstop a mile after that, I decided to call it quits.

This time, I felt terrific, didn’t fall at mile 17, though someone else did fall right in front of me. By mile 30, I had a big burst of energy, and at the finish I didn’t even feel like we’d gone 50 miles. Bill attributed this to the training effect. He said, “Training really pays off.”

Charlene, Bill, and Michele at River Ride pitstop

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Cycling in the Desert: The Challenges and Joys of Biking in the Antelope Valley

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

(Originally published on LA Streetsblog on May 18, 2011, as the third installment in LA Streetsblog’s series on bicycling around L.A. County as part of their Bike to Work week coverage.)

The Antelope Valley covers an immense area 60+ miles north of the City of Los Angeles. Within the valley are 2 large cities with populations above 150,000, Palmdale and Lancaster, and several smaller desert communities. Politically, the valley is part of 3 different counties — Los Angeles, Kern, and San Bernardino — with most of the population living in Los Angeles County.

Cycling is very popular here as a recreational sport. You can ride only a short distance and find yourself out in the country. On a Saturday or Sunday morning with various cycling clubs or groups, you can go out on a peaceful ride through the countryside with fairly empty roads and gorgeous desert views for miles and miles. You might experience high winds, but hey, that’s character building.

Caffe Racers on the windy California Aqueduct. (Michele, Brian, Sarge, and Alex)

The flip side of that is that in the city cycling for transportation is more difficult, though not impossible. The people who laid out the roads here did so on a grid pattern with arterials on a mile and half-mile grid. Most of those arterials have very high speed limits of 50, 55, and even up to 65 mph. This makes biking challenging, even on the streets that have bike lanes.

Wide bike lane narrows on Lancaster Blvd


(more…)

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