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Tuesday, March 26th
Offsite Blogging CIX
This week you get two views of the potentials unlocked by the installation of bike lanes on Silver Lake's Rowena, in the northeastern reaches of Los Angeles. Read Healthy,Wealthy, and Wise at Orange 20, then check out An Opportunity for a Real Network Now at Flying Pigeon LA; they do cover different ground.

Richard Risemberg on Tue, 26 Mar 2013 16:46:57 -0800 [link]  

Saturday, March 23rd
Seeing the Light
Took the leap and bought an SP PV8 dyno hub and B&M Lumotec Cyo lamp, had my friend Wes Oishi of Soundcycles build up the wheels, and tried them out after dinner last night.

All I can say is, WOW! The light output is astounding; with essentially the same LED as my previous battery lamp, this thing lights up the road far and wide with a bright and relatively even illumination, clearly showing every nook and cranny of LA's shattered streets. Almost all the light goes down onto the road in a well-defined long rectangle, with plenty of side coverage into areas where you are likely to turn.

My other lamps have sent a lot of lumens up into the trees, where they didn't really do me much good. Bless those German government regulations!

Basically, every lamp I've had before, including super-bright ones, is a piece of crap next to this. And the Cyo isn't even B&M's best lamp.

I had Gina ride up ahead at one point to report on how it looked from in front, and she said that it was highly noticeable, but that she was surprised to find that it didn't blind her. (Those German regulations again.)

The SP hub, which felt typically notchy in the hand, spins freely when built into a wheel. I don't really notice any drag. My concern is the rather narrow 50mm flange spacing. I've heard good reports from previous users, but will evaluate it again after five or six thousand miles.

I'll post a more detailed review on the main site here after many more rides and miles, but for now I feel as though this was money really well spent. I love riding at night; I hate being unable to see the road while worrying about when my battery will die.

I got the Cyo R version, slightly less bright than the N but with better illumination right in front of the bike, necessary here in Pothole City.

Richard Risemberg on Sat, 23 Mar 2013 08:02:15 -0800 [link]  

Wednesday, March 20th
Offsite Blogging CVIII
This week's Orange 20 post, A Park in the Day, riffs on the bleak parking lot across from our prestigious art museum to ask whether, just maybe, bikes could save America from drowning in blandness.

And our Flying Pigeon post talks about Money: the Other "Green" in Cycling, and how so many people get in the way of their own prosperity by jumping to the conclusion that bike lanes will depress their businesses--when real-world experience shows the opposite is true for most retailers.

Richard Risemberg on Wed, 20 Mar 2013 16:42:38 -0800 [link]  

Sunday, March 17th
Jasmine and Song
I've felt the first whiffs of jasmine as I ride through Los Angeles, an impossibly joyous scent that fills the streets with sweetness every spring. Even a small scattering of the tiny white flowers on a hedge in a side yard can cleanse your soul of every irritation or sorrow for at least a few seconds, and once the season is full, bands of perfume cross your path several times a block wherever there is jasmine.

The motorheads in their boxes miss it; it's a gift for us and the walkers.

Likewise the mockingbirds, who have commenced their singing in the last week or so. Their song is powerful, melodic, and ever-varying; they have no set call but imitate other birds (or even mechanical sounds if they have a definite pitch), and they mix all the snippets of melody they have picked up in their lives in actually skillful compositions that I at least can listen to for hours. At the last Velo-Retro ride, a fellow who visits LA from Wisconsin now and then remembered last year and asked if he could expect to hear the birs again; he was too early by a week.

Again, it's a gift for us and the walkers—assuming we aren't cramming our ears with canned music through earbud or headphone. A mockingbird's song is a kind of natural jazz, tonal and improvised, and often with an air of minor-key mystery.

A ride is never just a ride at this time of year!

Richard Risemberg on Sun, 17 Mar 2013 21:39:20 -0800 [link]  

Wednesday, March 13th
Offsite Blogging CVII
This week I compare how LA and SF handle bike lane blockages caused by roadwork in Lane Brains on Orange 20's blog, while at Flying Pigeon I muse a bit on LA's Main Drag, and how local cyclists adapt to its chaos and clutter.

Richard Risemberg on Wed, 13 Mar 2013 15:33:13 -0800 [link]  

Thursday, March 7th
Three Feet Please in California
Bicycle Fixation has just posted a petition to California's Governor Jerry Brow asking that he support the next safe passing law sent to his desk—he has vetoed the last two.

If you live in California, please sign this petition!

You'll find it at Three Feet Please!

Dear Gov. Brown: With the failing struggle to maintain sprawl draining our municipalities' budgets, we must do everything we can to promote bicycling for local travel, which will reduce wear and tear on infrastructure and alleviate road and parking congestion. Yet careless motorists frequently "buzz" cyclists, with often dire results--worse, we often see posts and comments erroneously claiming that cyclists have no right to the road, and that it is permissible to engage in this sort of intimidation against them.

Your repeated vetoes of three-foot passing bills have sent a signal to the population that cyclists are expendable and that only drivers matter to you.

Please support--or initiate!--the next safe passing bill to protect the thousands of cyclists who are doing their part to protect our environment and our economy both.
Find out more about safe passing laws in the US at Joe Mizereck's Three Feet Please website.

Richard Risemberg on Thu, 07 Mar 2013 10:15:43 -0800 [link]  

Wednesday, March 6th
Offsite Blogging CVI
This week, my post for Orange 20 goes Beyond the Race Face to look at bikes and disabilities, while the screed for Flying Pigeon describes how NE LA's Atwater Village has become a Habitat for Humanity since the introduction of bike racks and a pedestrian plaza.

Richard Risemberg on Wed, 06 Mar 2013 13:35:18 -0800 [link]  

Tuesday, March 5th
Once again poor little crumbling 4th Street has provided me a small but genuine gratification, for as I rolled along its broken pavement, so out of place between the rows of stately mansions, I again saw more cyclists than drivers on the route.

I note this almost every time I ride 4th, and I ride it eight to twelve times a week, day and night. I've gone so far as to count both the cars and the bikes I see, just to make sure my inclinations aren't distorting my impressions, and the numbers confirm that, bureaucratic classifications aside, 4th Street is functioning as a bicycle boulevard.

This despite its horrible pavement, cracked, ridged, and sown with potholes. The street is just too useful as a direct connection for east/west commuters, and a link between neighborhoods and nearby businesses for locals. It's also pretty, and of course it's considerably more pleasant to ride along it than in the narrow frenzied lanes of busy 3rd Street. Though the occasional cars do almost universally break the speed limit by as much as they can, the street is simply too narrow to be comfortable to most scofflaw motorists.

The LADOT seems to have been scared away from making any improvements to the western segment of the street—ironically, the part that sees the most cyclists—as its graceless attempts at explaining exactly what a "bicycle boulevard" was (although a truer name would be "neighborhood greenway") scared some residents into intransigent opposition.

But LA's cyclists continue to use this serene, tree-shaded route to get themselves to work, to shopping, to visit friends, regardless of LADOT's timidity and ineptness. More bikes than cars...and it was well past rush hour too.

Richard Risemberg on Tue, 05 Mar 2013 20:11:32 -0800 [link]  

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