Biking in the AV

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The joys and challenges of riding in the Antelope Valley

Great fun at CicLAvia, OccupyLA, Metrolink provides bicycle car

October 10th, 2011
Trindel and Richard Maine

Trindel and Richard Maine on the 4th St Bridge at CicLAvia

Sarge, Richard and Trindel Maine, and I woke up bright and early on Sunday morning and caught the 6:39 am Metrolink train to CicLAvia.

This time, just as many or more cyclists were there as the last time, but there were also lots of other non-cycling activities going on, like “street chess,” dodge ball, walking tours, and OccupyLosAngeles.

OccupyLA protestor

"Lucy" with her sign at LA City Hall

The OccupyLosAngeles people were on the south lawn of City Hall. The atmosphere was peaceful and organized. As I walked my bike through on the sidewalk, I heard lively discussions and saw some folks cooking breakfast for others.

As I was leaving, I met “Lucy” with her sign in support of teachers and asked if I could take her photo. She told me that in 1973 she cycled across Africa and the Middle East.

Trindel and Michele

Trindel Maine and I ride in CicLAvia

We rode almost the complete CicLAvia route, but somehow we missed the Chinatown spur. The liveliest part of the route was on the South LA spur, which had block after block of brightly decorated vendor booths selling all kinds of products and delicious-smelling food.

Metrolink Bike Car

Metrolink Bicycle Car on the Antelope Valley Line for CicLAvia

Eventually, we had to head back to the AV on the train. Metrolink provided us with a Bicycle Car, which was the icing on the cake of a wonderful day.

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Breaking News: Governor Brown vetoed SB 910

October 7th, 2011

SB 910 Veto Message

Governor Brown has vetoed SB 910, the 3-foot passing law.

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UPDATED: 3rd CicLAvia will be this Sunday, October 9, 2011

October 4th, 2011
CicLAvia

CicLAvia

UPDATE: Metrolink will have “bike cars” on all trains for CicLAvia.

It’s that time again. Yes, another CicLAvia is coming up this Sunday in Los Angeles. What’s CicLAvia, you ask? Well, it’s a 5-hour festival on wheels through the streets of Los Angeles — without cars. You heard right. No cars.

The route of the earlier 2 CicLAvia’s was about 7-1/2 miles long from Boyle Heights to Hollywood (or vice versa, depending on where you started), and this time they are adding some “spurs” north into Chinatown and south to add more mileage and allow more people to take part. They are also encouraging other forms of activity besides cycling, so that it’s not just for those on bikes, but for everyone.

Counts varied, but by all estimations, hundreds of thousands took part in the 2 earlier CicLAvias. Seeing that many bikes and bikes of every imaginable type and kind taking the street is a sight to behold.

Those of us who live in the Antelope Valley can get to CicLAvia easily by taking the Metrolink to Union Station using a $10 weekend pass. Part of the new route is just across the street from Union Station near Olvera Street.

The official CicLAvia website and the CicLAvia Facebook page have more info and directions. Check out the many videos of previous CicLAvias to get an idea of what it feels like. And then make a plan to go. You won’t regret it.

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Why You Should Avoid the Door Zone

September 29th, 2011

This video edited by Dan Gutierrez is very important.

It’s crucial for cyclists to stay out of the door zone — not just watch for opening car doors — because you won’t have time to take evasive action. The video shows that a rider hit by an opening car door is invariably thrown onto his or her back in the adjacent lane, helpless to avoid being run over by traffic.

Watch the video and consider seriously what your riding position should be in relation to car doors.

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Winning Campaigns Training in October

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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Painted Turtle Ride

September 7th, 2011

Painted Turtle

They are having another Painted Turtle Ride this weekend on Saturday, September 10, 2011. I did it last year with Beverly and it was a lot of fun. My most vivid memory of the ride is when we ran over a rattlesnake. Fortunately, it was already dead.

This year, like last year, are 18-mile, 36-mile, and Metric Century routes.

Details are here.

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SB 910 passes Assembly, goes back to Senate

September 7th, 2011

3 feet

3 feet to pass bikes safely

California Senate Bill 910, the bill that would require drivers to pass at a distance of least 3 feet from cyclists, passed in the California State Assembly yesterday. The vote was 41-20.

That is, according to Streetsblog LA and the California Bicycle Coalition. The vote count on the Official California Legislative Information page was 44-25. The bill’s status as of September 6, 2011, is “Read third time. Passed. Ordered to the Senate.”

According to Streetsblog, the bill now goes back to the California State Senate for re-approval because of some technical changes made in the Assembly before going to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature. California Bicycle Coalition says, however, that the bill “now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature.”

I know many of you wrote to our local Assemblyman Steve Knight and urged him to vote for SB 910. Unfortunately, Assemblyman Knight’s vote on the measure was NO.

When the Senate voted on SB 910, our Senator Sharon Runner’s vote was reported as “no vote recorded.”

Now that the measure returns to the Senate, let’s tell Senator Runner how important it is to vote YES.

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Biking in LA reports on cyclists hit by car on Saturday morning ride

August 28th, 2011

The AV Press reported on an incident that occurred Saturday morning (though they did not list a time) in which two cars collided and two bicyclists on a morning ride with a group out of a bike shop (the Block Shop ride) were hit.

Ted Rogers reports on the incident in Biking in LA and a rider on the ride shared what happened in the comments.

I’m still confused about where this happened. The AV Press says it occurred on Ave L at 4th St West, but I don’t believe that 4th St West goes through or has a light. I think it was 4th St East. I know there is a light there. It’s only a block from where Sarge works at 3rd St East and Ave L.

I believe the speed limit on Ave L on this section is about 55 mph. Whitney says the driver ran the red light at high speed, which probably means the driver was going faster.

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SCAG 2012 RTP/SCS Workshop in Santa Clarita

August 28th, 2011

Last Monday, Sarge and I attended a workshop about the Southern California Association of Governments Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy at the Santa Clarita Activities Center in Santa Clarita.

Sarge ended up attending by default, more on that later. I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t sure what this was all about.

They showed a well-put together slide show which explained what SCAG is considering in developing its new Regional Transportation Plan. You can see that slide show here. [This is a PDF file]

Not only is this the exact slide show that we saw, but it also includes the responses those who attended made during Keypad Polling, which took place after we came back from breaking up into smaller group to talk about what we’d like to see the transportation plan focus on.

As the small group I was a part of talked about what we’d like to see, it became clear that many a few of us would like to see more frequent public transit that makes better connections. We would also like to see the different transportation entities have better communication and offer better tools for people to use to make better connections.

Which is, coincidentally, why Sarge ended up coming to the workshop: I missed my Metrolink train by 10 minutes, having read the schedule incorrectly, so he picked me up at the train station and drove me to Santa Clarita. There wasn’t another train for another hour and 35 minutes.

During the breakout session, I also expressed the need for a bicycle network to connect the far-flung North Los Angeles County communities and for the need for safe bicycle lanes and paths within the communities.

The Keypad Polling was a lot of fun and I felt it was the best part of the workshop, because it gave us instant feedback about our responses. It felt like the people who had developed the questions were truly interested in our answers.

Take a look at the video and the slide show, and let me know what you think. SCAG doesn’t actually fund or carry out the plans, but my understanding is that the eventual plan that they develop will act as a blueprint for local communities to follow over the next 25 years.

My question is, will it have any teeth?

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Bicycling to the Movies

August 22nd, 2011

Sarge and I biked for the fourth time this Sunday to the movie theater at the Antelope Valley Mall.

Sarge and bikes at the AV Mall Cinemark 22

We have yet to find any official bicycle parking there, but the handicapped poles have come in handy for locking up the bikes.

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