Bicycle Fixation Weblog

Home » Archives » January 2011 » Not All Are Fearful

Thursday, January 27th
Not All Are Fearful
Kids' Bikes in Koreatown, Los Angeles
Click for larger version
Apparently not everyone in LA thinks that kids will be instantly abducted, run down, robbed, or slain if they go out on their own. On the way home from Downtown a couple of weeks ago, i passed by this passel of kid bikes locked up to city racks in Koreatown--and not in a particularly nice part of Koreatown either.

From the evidence, the owners of these bikes are either mostly pre-teens, or abnormally short.

I don't read Korean so have no idea what sort of establishment they are parked by, but it must generate a certain amount of bike traffic to have merited the two racks. I do often see grown-ups riding bikes for travel in Koreatown--not just poor folks either, and not just twentysomethings but middle-aged folks. Maybe a salubrious habit they brought over from home.

A habit that is spreading, however slowly, to spoiled and timid "real" Americans--who have a lot to learn.

Richard Risemberg on Thu, 27 Jan 2011 08:14:16 -0800 [link]  

Wednesday, January 26th
Offsite Blogging
Besides blithering here at Bicycle Fixation, I also write weekly blog entries for two Los Angeles bike shops, both strongly involved in practical cycling, bike advocacy, and non-bike community issues. So, if you have any particular interest in SoCal doings, check out this week's offsite blogging efforts:We plan to cover these related subjects more in the near future on this blog too.

Richard Risemberg on Wed, 26 Jan 2011 17:11:01 -0800 [link]  

Saturday, January 22nd
Decisions, Decisions....
bikepath_freeway (142k image)Sometimes you gotta wonder what they were thinking....

Click on the image to the left to see a large depiction of a generally well-used bike path alongside Griffith Park. Both commuters and recreational riders, including roadies in their eternal "training" cycles, use it. It's recently been extended several miles south of its previous terminus at fletcher, and will (we expect) someday be joined to existing bike paths upstream and downstream, making for a bicycle highway connecting dozens of communities between the West Valley and the ports.

You will see that this oldest section of bike path is jammed between the river on the left and a LOUD, smelly freeway on the right.

I suppose the justification was that this would make for easy access to the park (on the other side of the freeway) with having to build bike bridges from the other bank. Because a bike path on the left bank of the river would run not next to a freeway, or even a road: it would instead take you past wooded back yards, horse stables and corrals, and a golf course. And while it would not have as much access to Griffith Park, it would have more access to neighborhoods, retail, and office parks in Glendale and Atwater than the present path has.

Now it's generally trapped between the freeway and the river.

And in fact, later sections of the bike path far downstream do avoid the freeway on the right bank in favor of parks and neighborhoods on the left.

What was going through their minds? Was it meant as a subtle insult to the cyclists of the 1970s, when this (I think) was built?

I may just ask LADOT if anyone remembers why this segment was placed RIGHT BY the freeway. No one likes it there. But there it is.

Note (1/24/11): a contact in LADOT says that the original bike plan called for bike path on one side, pedestrian path on the other--and that also the right-of-way is discontinuous" on the left bank. I've walked it for miles, though; it seems to me it would be feasible with a little money and some political will.

Richard Risemberg on Sat, 22 Jan 2011 20:07:41 -0800 [link]  

Wednesday, January 19th
Park to Park
No, not about parking, for a change!

Just posted an entry on the Flying Pigeon LA blog about the latest extension to the Los Angeles River bike path, and I wanted to send you over to look at it and the slideshow of my last ride down that segment.

Apologies to iPad users, who won't be able to see it (at least as of this writing)--but for anyone with a computer it ought to be gratifying.

As separated paths go, it's about as good as it gets in LA--almost as good as the Ballona Creek path, and with more access points per mile.

See my longer post about it here.

Richard Risemberg on Wed, 19 Jan 2011 18:39:50 -0800 [link]  

Thursday, January 13th
Classic Wool Knickers Back in Three Colors!
Trevor & Trailer
Click on the image to the left, taken by my dear wife Gina, to see a bigger version of our trailer (bought as a surprise by Gina, too) hauling knickers from the downtown factory to Bicycle Fixation Central in the Miracle Mile. (By the way, I'm wearing hemp City Knickers v2.0 as I ride.)

Yes, we have replenished our stock at last, and to make up for the long wait, we are presenting three colors this time. You can see them in the swatch to the right:We found a lost roll of everyone's favorite charcoal gabardine and reprised our original product, the OG of the Bicycle Fixation line...but of course with the improvements in cut and sewing that we've developed since that first product run over four years ago.

The Navy is available in sizes 30 to 38; the Houndstooth from 32 to 38; and the Charcoal from 34 to 42. Quantities of charcoal and houndstooth are limited.

And of course all are 100% wool--the original miracle fabric.

Click here for a closer look--and to get yourself a pair!

Elegant, comfortable, versatile, and made for riding in!

Get yours now.

Richard Risemberg on Thu, 13 Jan 2011 20:00:37 -0800 [link]  

Wednesday, January 12th
Hot Air and Gas
What's the difference between hot air and gas?

Hot air, unfortunately, isn't taxed at all. Gas--the kind you put in your car--isn't taxed enough.

As Im sure you've noted, whenever there's a blog post or an online article saying anything remotely positive about bicycling infrastructure, the comments boards light up with flaming denunciations of cyclists' right to any road space at all, premised on the invariable assertion that they don't pay gas taxes, registration fees, or the mysterious "road tax." (There is no road tax in most countries.)

Sometimes misguided cyclists chime in to say that since they own cars, they do too pay "road taxes," and so have a right to road space.

Right? Wrong!

In the US, Canada, and England, at least, the paltry taxes imposed on cars and fuel cover barely half of the costs simply of building and maintaining roads for motorists. usually the "tax gap," as it's called, is much greater, with plenty of roads paying for only 16% of their costs.

And this counts only the costs of providing asphalt--it leaves out the costs of accidents, water and air pollution, time lost to congestion induced by "free" roads, oil subsidies and depletion allowances, and of course the property tax lost when homes and businesses are replaced by asphalt handouts.

Cyclists, by contrast, need very little space for riding and parking in, and don't wear roads out at all. In fact, it's been calculated that cyclists in the US overpay in general, property, and sales taxes to such an extent that they should receive a rebate each year of around $250--providing they don't also drive.

Sound out of line? Take a look at the figures in these studies:
Whose Roads? (VTPI)

Do Roads Pay for Themselves? (USPIRG)

Do Roads Pay for themselves? (Texas DOT version)

Mainstreaming Bicycles (American Conservative Magazine)
And for good measure read about how building bicycle infrastructure actually generates more jobs than building car roads and highways--right here.

Next time some drooler's online comments get you heated up, don't just get mad--get typing! Don't let them get away with their lies!

Richard Risemberg on Wed, 12 Jan 2011 19:42:50 -0800 [link]  

Yet More Blogging....
As you may know, I also write for the Orange 20 Bikes and Flying Pigeon LA blogs, so you might want to take a look at them and see what else I'm bloviating about this week!
At Orange 20: The Gas Tax Fallacy
Who really pays for roads?

At Flying Pigeon LA: Directions Not Included
The newest LA River bike path segment
Two good sites worth visiting on their own, and I think my posts don't detract too much from the experience.

Richard Risemberg on Wed, 12 Jan 2011 15:12:29 -0800 [link]  

Monday, January 10th
Tale of Nine Cities
Just found this wonderful article on the Bicycle Fixation Twitter feed and re-Tweeted it, but couldn't let it go at only that.

It is from a site called This Big City and is a compendium of photo essays they have published about efforts to integrate bicycling into the transportation networks of nine important cities worldwide. They cover:The coverage of Los Angeles is pretty skimpy, reporting only on the Marvin Braude bike path along the beach, which has been in place for decades; to learn more about LA's efforts, see our article from last year or look at the LACBC's site or the LADOT Bike Blog, but most of the other entries seem current and sufficiently extensive for the overviews they are.

Very much worth perusing:

Nine Cities Integrating the Bicycle into their Transport Infrastructure

Richard Risemberg on Mon, 10 Jan 2011 08:46:48 -0800 [link]  

Thursday, January 6th
Four Season Jersey Clearance Sale
Got some new products in the pipeline, so we need to clear out some current inventory. We are putting our famous Four Season Jersey, aka the Ninja Road Warrior Hoodie, on sale for just $149 starting today. Supplies are limited and not all sizes are available, but this is the last of our stock for a while. You've still got a lot of winter to face, so here's your chance to face it comfortably.

Many of our customers report they wear their hoodies year-round, as they're so comfortable--one carfree gal claimed 400 days straight!--and a few perhaps overly-enthusiastic types even sleep in them.

Merino wool imported from New Zealand directly by Bicycle Fixation, and sewn by our superb contractor here in Los Angeles. Light, warm, and the most comfortable garment you'll ever put on your back.

Buy it here.

Richard Risemberg on Thu, 06 Jan 2011 08:42:44 -0800 [link]  

Sunday, January 2nd
San Diego Custom Bicycle Show Press Release
From the press release for this most worthy exhibition:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (San Diego, CA) Bina Bilenky, perpetual marketing machine at Philadelphia PA's Bilenky Cycle Works, has teamed up with bicycling maestro and framebuilder extraordinaire Brian Baylis to infuse the San Diego Custom Bicycle Show with more energy and innovation than ever. This exciting celebration of bicycle culture will take place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday April 8, 9 & 10, 2011 at the San Diego Community Concourse, 202 C Street, San Diego, CA.

Local, national and international exhibitors will display their wares. These will include independent frame builders, larger manufacturers, and makers of fine bicycle components, accessories and apparel. Special activities include a pedal powered carnival, bicycle rodeo, tall bike jousting and a kinetic sculpture parade. Seminars, demonstrations, and parties with live music will round out the festivities.

The San Diego Custom Bicycle Show is scheduled to coincide with The San Diego Gran Fondo, a massive group ride being held just a few blocks away.

"After the launching the wonderfully successful first-ever Philly Bike Expo," says Ms. Bilenky, "I am honored and excited to help Brian Baylis provide another important event for the cycling calendar."

Brian Baylis has been building, painting and restoring fine bicycles since 1973. He is also an avid collector.

"Our purpose is to inspire and educate," Mr Baylis says. "This action-packed weekend will delight and intrigue cyclists and non-cyclists alike with the endless possibilities of two-wheeled fun."
San Diego Custom Bicycle Show
Friday, Saturday and Sunday April 8, 9 and 10, 2011
San Diego Community Concourse
202 C Street, San Diego, CA 92101
Press passes are available upon request.

Richard Risemberg on Sun, 02 Jan 2011 18:05:40 -0800 [link]  

Many Are Cold, but Few Are Frozen
Sure, Twin Citians may laugh at us feeling cold with temps in the forties (Fahrenheit) here in LA, but it's a fact that when you live in a warm place, you don't invest a lot of money into warm-weather gear. So it felt pretty cold when I rolled out on my way to Pasadena to join the Véloe Retro Rose Bowl Ride this morning. Especially as I had foolishly chosen to wear my MTB shoes, which are great for climbing, with their stiff steel shank--but which are also designed to pass lots of cooling air over your tootsies. This they did most admirably today, and even the hilly eighteen miles from home to Rose bowl never warmed my toes up.

Rain was in the forecast, and, this being southern california, only eight riders showed up in total, but off we went--and enjoyed a sweet ride to Beantown, the Sierra Madre coffeehouse where we regroup and grab a cuppa. At that moment, it began to sprinkle, ever so lightly, so half the crew bugged out for home or car a few miles away. The rest of us enjoyed the hot brew and some filling pastries, and then headed off into the rain.

I've been dragging around what appears to be a mild virus, so I hopped Metro trains from north Pasadena to Wilshire & Western, where it was raining hard enough that I donned the rain cape for the three or four miles home. Fourth Street was a wonderful ride--the trees lush and green from recent wetness, the lawns thick and soft, the streets wet and the air gentle. If I hadn't been sick I would have kept on riding. A few bucks' worth of very simple technology makes a huge difference in the weather. And the day seemed to have warmed up with the arrival of the rainfall. A very good day.

Richard Risemberg on Sun, 02 Jan 2011 15:26:57 -0800 [link]  

Saturday, January 1st
New Year's Day Ride, 2011
Wandered off with no set plan this morning, except to spend a few minutes at the park with the fountain in Beverly Hills, just south of Sunset.

Of course one thing led to another, and I ended up climbing Benedict Canyon Road to Mulholland Drive, legendary crestline road the winds along the ride separating central La from the San Fernando Valley. So here's a photo I took somewhere between Benedict and Coldwater canyons, before slipping down Franklin Canyon to the flats and hence back home:

Mulhooand drive, New year's Day, 2011

A Happy New Year to all!

Richard Risemberg on Sat, 01 Jan 2011 12:01:53 -0800 [link]  

Search the Blog Archives

Browse the Archives

Environmental Activism Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

A Few Good Blogs....

Kent Peterson
LADOT Bike Blog
Lovely Bicycle!
Saddle Americana