For years the bicycle had been categorized as a toy for children, a tool for professional athletes, or a last-resort of the desperately poor—a mode of travel that required either courage or foolishness.
Yet the foolish ones were those who immured themselves in cars, alone and sequestered, for so long, draining municipal treasuries with their demands for free roads and cheap parking, clogging lungs, driving the weather crazy, walling themselves off from their world and their fellow humans.
Now that's changing, as people become accustomed to seeing cyclists everywhere—cyclists who are neither poor, nor supermen, nor derelicts. Cyclists who are just people like themselves, but riding bikes...and looking pretty happy about it.
The other day my wife Gina and I were pedaling from a music shop in Hollywood to the Farmers Market near our house, and as we passed through a nondescript intersection of two side streets, another couple out on bikes veered around the corner, while two fellows coming the other way zipped through the crossing with us. Six cyclists, meeting by chance, in the middle of an average neighborhood surrounded by shopping streets.
Over and over again it happens, on main streets and side streets alike, and the bike racks scattered round the city are more often in use than not.
The bicycle is becoming normal once again. And CicLAvia helped with that, giving everyday folks "permission" to ride their bikes on the street in that great rolling party, and get a taste of what they had been missing during the long grey era when we lived in glass and metal boxes, breathing essences of vinyl and burnt fuel.
It was a lack of imagination that held us back for so long, nothing more.
Here's a short video of the most recent CicLAvia, to give you a taste of what Los Angeles has just discovered—in case you weren't lucky enough to be there with us:
Richard Risemberg on Tue, 30 Apr 2013 09:02:07 -0800 [link]
Get a before-and-after view of LA's open streets event at Orange 20, with CicLAvia Sunday, looking forward to it, and on Flying Pigeon LA with Next Time, More Road!, looking back.
Richard Risemberg on Wed, 24 Apr 2013 08:40:02 -0800 [link]
Tomorrow's route is ambitious, and will take participants form Downtown to Venice Beach via Venice Boulevard, an old bike route from the 1970s. Some will go the whole way; most will visit just a part of it; all will find joy in our beautiful weather and even more beautiful people—with none of it obscured by metal and glass.
To whet your appetite, here are links to photos I've taken of previous CicLAvias:
Richard Risemberg on Sat, 20 Apr 2013 10:53:48 -0800 [link]
It also asks the all-important question: Why are we planning for ever-increasing car miles when the reality is completely opposite? Why the resistance to spending public money on growing modes with far higher ROIs than the fading paradigm of the car?
Send this clip to your local DOT engineers and planning departments, eh?
Richard Risemberg on Thu, 18 Apr 2013 10:17:36 -0800 [link]
While at Flying Pigeon LA, I wonder why LA isn't Signing In to install street signs along separated bike paths, when even little Culver City manages to do so.
Richard Risemberg on Wed, 17 Apr 2013 09:32:17 -0800 [link]
These are as comfortable, durable, and good-looking as our standard Charcoal version, and go well with any color of our knickers you may have of obtain, as well as most other folks' knickers. Dressy yet, tough, warm yet easy-breathing, and made to our design by The Sock Guy—who have been making cycling socks for a long time—in a US factory.
They keep the sun or the cold off your shins, and even provide a little bit of compression to keep your blood flowing while you spin the pedals. Yet they coddle you so gently that some folks sleep in them!
So click on over and get yourself a pair or two to go with your cycling knickers, and complete your look!
Don't have knickers yet? No problem! Check out our Classic Wool Knickers (limited sizes for the moment) or our brand-new City Slicker Knickers (available in sizes from 30 to 42 while supplies last).
Look Good, Feel Good, Ride Happy!
Richard Risemberg on Thu, 11 Apr 2013 19:10:24 -0800 [link]
Then at Flying Pigeon LA I note with alarm that we're Surrounded! on all sides...by little cities that beat our pants off as far as bicycle infrastructure goes. Pasadena having just joined my list....
Richard Risemberg on Wed, 10 Apr 2013 17:12:49 -0800 [link]
I was riding through an old warehouse district east of the river, which has railroad tracks embedded in the pavement. I cut one track at a bit too shallow an angle, caught my wheel, and went sliding down. Fortunately I have practiced falling, both mentally and in real life, and the landing was soft, resulting in only a skinned knee (and some skinned bar tape). Didn't bump my head in the slightest (extended my arm as a cushion, even though I had a helmet on at the time, as I 'd far rather hurt my arm than my head). Didn't even feel startled or anxious.
I can't blame the tracks. Indeed, I have crossed those same tracks many dozens of time without incident, and nothing had changed, except that I was a bit more inattentive, and perhaps a bit more cocky, than usual.
Eternal vigilance, as they say, is the price of freedom.
A minor incident, but a good tonic against complacency.
My pal Eric W. who was riding behind me may have caught it on video, if his camera was working. If that's the case, I'll post it later to embarrass myself publicly. That should help me remember!
Richard Risemberg on Mon, 08 Apr 2013 08:30:36 -0800 [link]
Richard Risemberg on Wed, 03 Apr 2013 09:29:00 -0800 [link]
Its a blend of the City and Classic knickers, but goes beyond either one with all manner of new details that make it both casual and elegant. Among its features:
- Hidden elastic—no more bunching at the back waist! Yet you can still bend forward comfortably on sporty bike or when climbing a hill.
- Single welt pocket in back: unobtrusive when empty, elegant always.
- Deep Hem Cuff: allows taller riders to let the hems out nearly 3"/7.5cm.
- Inner pocket for cell phones, multi-tools, pocket knives, food bars, duck calls, what have you.
- 100% wool gabardine for excellent wear, drape, breathability, and odor resistance.
- An extra belt loop in back to prevent sagging.
- Available in sizes 30, 32, 34,36,38,40, and 42.
The City Slicker Knicker!—now is the time!
Richard Risemberg on Tue, 02 Apr 2013 18:53:49 -0800 [link]