Bicycle Fixation Weblog

Home » Archives » November 2009 » Splintered Saturday

Saturday, November 28th
Splintered Saturday
One advantage (among many) of working for yourself is that you can have your Saturday any day of the week; I guess mine has become Tuesday, when I ride to South Pasadena to hang out with Velo Retro's Chuck Schmidt at Buster's Coffee. Or maybe Tuesday morning and Friday morning add up to my Saturday, Friday being when I visit my mother in her "assisted living facility" and then ride on to the Bridge to hang out with my friend Bill.

So today, my actual Saturday, turned out to be as busy as most workdays I have lived through, starting with a run to the Post Office to grab some Priority Mail envelopes for shipping Bicycle Fixation products, on to my mother's house (now no longer her home) to take in the trash cans and check the mail, then on to the house where my son and ex live to check the toilet. (They rent from my mother, whose agent I am.)

Next I rode up to Hollywood Boulevard to meet with some folks at a photo store, and finally to a three-hour meeting at the Bike Writer's Collective to wrangle out improvements to the city's bicycle plan, which could certainly use some improvement.

The bicycle meeting lasted three hours, and was pretty productive, which is not always the case with meetings.

By the time it let out, the sun was almost down, and I rode home under golden skies that darkened slowly to deep indigo, clear and vibrant as only desert skies can be, washed clean by a modest rain last night.

Not many miles today, but all of them good miles. A Saturday despite the chores and meetings.

Richard Risemberg on Sat, 28 Nov 2009 19:12:29 -0800 [link]  

Tuesday, November 24th
LA's New Top Cop to Work with Cyclists?
The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and others met recently with the Los Angeles Police Department's new chief, Charlie Beck, to ask for the LAPD's help in backing off road ragers, bike thieves, and other social ills besetting the city's growing number of urban cyclists. While the LAPD has not, historically, been a friend to cyclists, Chief Beck's responses indicate that that may now change radically. Aurisah Smolarski of the LACBC reports:
LACBC, folks from Echo Park Cycles and other cyclists showed up to the meet and greet with Chief Charlie Beck on Saturday where we alerted him that physical assaults on cyclists, harassment by motorists and bicycle thefts have been increasing in LA.

Chief Beck is interested in addressing these issues seriously and has assigned Lieutenant Andre Dawson, as the bicycle liaison in his office to work with us on addressing these concerns.

LAPD will be putting together a work group to continue to work with cyclists on addressing these issues. LACBC will also continue to work with them to develop educational material that all their officers will be required to view during their roll call and training.
Here is what you can do now!

Report all assaults, thefts or acts of harassment, regardless of how minor they are. It is an initial step that we can do now, to help them track and identify where these problems are happening and to help them identify suspects.

  • Call in and report incident to LAPD precinct in area of occurrence
  • If you are assaulted: give as much info as possible regarding suspect, license plate, color of car, clothing they were wearing, etc
  • If your bike was stolen: give then as much info about the bike, serial #, color of bike, make/model, suspect info, etc

If the officer refuses to take the report or says that they do not have time, that it is not a crime or any other excuse, call Lieutenant Andre Dawson at 213-792-3551 and explain the situation to him.

He has assured us that he will make sure to take care of it and hold the officers accountable for what is happening in the area.
A litte more even-handed treatment of cyclists here at Ground Zero of Carmageddon could go a long way towards making Los Angeles something other than a traffic sump...such as perhaps a real, livable, lovable city.

I could live with that!

Richard Risemberg on Tue, 24 Nov 2009 17:27:12 -0800 [link]  

Four Season Jerseys Back in Stock!
Well, we finally grabbed our folding dolly and hopped on the downtown bus to pick up the Four Season Jersey/Ninja Road Warrior Hoodie order at the factory. (And we really do have to get a bike trailer!)

So they're here, they're beautiful, and they're in limited supply--these are not easy to sew, and we have to import the 100% merino wool ourselves from New Zealand, so this batch will be all we've got till next year.

We've made a couple of small changes: a slightly longer sleeve, for better wrist coverage when riding, a slightly shorter tail, for better off-bike aesthetics (without compromising coverage in back). The same eminently-comfortable merino rib, the same elegant charcoal and visible yet never garish burnt orange colors. Made to fit closely, so if you're a big or tall medium go for a large, etc. Slim folks of average height, get your t-shirt size.

Good top for any season (hence the name): by itself in warm weather, over a light t-shirt in spring or fall, or as a base layer for deep winter riding (or skiing). Zips up to your eyeballs for when the snow flies, and has a double-layer neck! Yet the hood buttons back for more moderate chill, and drapes nicely down the back if you don't need it at all. Many customers report having worn theirs during some part of the day for the entire year since they got it!

Get them while you can: the Four Season Jerseys!

Richard Risemberg on Tue, 24 Nov 2009 07:03:31 -0800 [link]  

Saturday, November 21st
Big Turnout for LA's First Tweed ride
Put on my fanciest pair of knickers and rode out to Union Station to join LA's first Tweed Ride as mentioned a couple of times this week here. By the time we got rolling, there was at least a hundred riders, to my eye. Lots of folks in various styles of antique attire, lots in homemade stuff, a good number in Bicycle Fixation designs, and some folks in regular clothes. No spandex that I noted!

It was a slow and very genteel (ie, no CM-type hijinks) ramble crisscrossing most of Downtown, with stops to enjoy some of LA's classic Art Deco buildings, and lots of smiles from street and sidewalk both. A couple of skateboarders rolled along with us for several miles, and ragtime played from sound systems on two of the bikes.

We wound through a lot of heavy traffic, both wheeled and legged, and even passed right by the building where BF's contract factory lives. Broadway, Spring Street, the warehouse district, a little of Skid Row, and a touch of the LA River, where we rode through a tunnel to a spot under the 6th Street bridge.

Didn't have time to stop for drinks at the end, so John Vu and I headed west, he to a meeting in Echo park, and I to a meeting with Gina and a couple of photographer friends for beer and business--which we rode to, of course. (And by the way, without hurrying, Gina and I beat them to the restaurant from our place, where we'd first met--bikes vs. SUV in traffic! And they left first!)

I'll link to photos once I find out where they are. My guess is they won't be posted till tomorrow or later. But they ought to be pretty good. Props to for making it all happen!

Update, 22 November: And here are some photos, as promised, on CICLE's Facebook page and on Flickr.

Richard Risemberg on Sat, 21 Nov 2009 21:41:29 -0800 [link]  

Friday, November 20th
LA's Tweed Ride Tomorrow
Just a reminder that, thanks to,, Los Angeles will enjoy its first official tweed ride tomorrow. ("Official" because Bicycle Fixation has been helping keep LA's riders elegant for some years now....) We plan to be there, and of course will be there, and we hear that a lot of other folks will too, including Flying Pigeon LA, LA Cycle Chic, surely some of the LACBC folks, and lots of others, no doubt.

12:30PM at Union Station. See, for more information.

See ya there!

Richard Risemberg on Fri, 20 Nov 2009 12:45:17 -0800 [link]  

Wednesday, November 18th
Northern Winter Riding Tips
For those of you that ride and commute in snow country, Chicago Bike Winter has some good tips for winter riding.

They do seem to think that body english is good enough for handling ice, of which I'm doubtful, so here's a link to Peter White's page on studded bicycle tires for snow and ice, including black ice. He also imports and sells the tires.

Many of my acquaintances in northern climes ride happily year round (a number of them wearing our wool knickers and hooded jerseys), and I think every single one of them uses studded tires, which can last up to ten seasons.

Richard Risemberg on Wed, 18 Nov 2009 14:11:13 -0800 [link]  

Tuesday, November 17th
Free US Shipping till December 15th
Time for our usual Free Shipping Sale: from now till December 15th, we'll ship any order over $50.00 free, to any US address!

No codes, passwords, or secret handshakes needed; the shopping cart is set up to do it automatically. Just spend more than $50, and ship to an address within the fifty Untied States.

Although our inventory is a bit low right now, both the Ninja Road Warrior Hoodies and the James Black Hats in L should be restocked within a few days.

So click on over to our shopping cart and see what we've got for you.


Richard Risemberg on Tue, 17 Nov 2009 07:35:32 -0800 [link]  

Sunday, November 15th
Marathon Manners Redux
You'll recall my encounter with SchwalbeUSA over severely cracked sidewalls on my Marathon tires: how they accused me of underinflating the tire (though it was never less than 25psi over its minimum pressure), but then agreed to a "courtesy" replacement (which they repeatedly emphasized was not a warranty replacement).

Well, the replacement tire also cracked, and the front is showing rather alarming (though probably not dangerous) sidewall cracking too.As long as the tire's not bulging, it is not likely to blow out; but the cracks can let road grit in, which will chew at the threads and also possibly work its way into the tire and cause a flat. (I've had the latter happen to an old pair of Ritchey Tom Slicks.)

My rims, Ambrosio Excellences, are superb: light and incredibly strong, they haven't needed a touch of the spoke wrench since I got them some 17,000 miles ago--but they are very narrow--only 13mm across the inside, according to the manufacturer's website.

The ETRTO tire/rim compatibility chart does not recommend 28mm tires on rims that narrow. So, I bought a pair of 25mm Marathons yesterday, to see what happens. Will I get to wear out the tread before they crack? Is it rim width that causes the problem, after all? Or is it the relentless UV exposure they suffer in LA? And does anybody out there want some 3/4 worn Marathons for skidding or for grocery runs? They're excellent tires, except for this one issue.

Stay tuned; we should know in a year or less.

Richard Risemberg on Sun, 15 Nov 2009 06:50:32 -0800 [link]  

Friday, November 13th
FTA Wants to Expand Bike & Ped Funding
The Federal Transit Administration just released a document proposing changes in Federal development guidelines in order to increase the funding allocated to pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure that serves the catchment area of a bus or train stop, and further proposes that the present definition of "catchment area" should be expanded.

This would definitely be a way to get more money for effective bike & ped facilities, and we should all read this closely.

Some quotes:
The success of public transportation can be limited by the problem of the "first and last mile." One of "the best present options for solving the first and last mile dilemma are...bicycles." (Andrea White-Kjoss)


Whether used for longer trips to access amenities outside the walkable radius of a public transportation station, or whether they enable direct access to a public transportation facility, bicycle amenities play an important role in encouraging public transportation use by providing riders with greater opportunities, choice, flexibility and safety for reaching their final destinations.


...A bike-on-bus demonstration program in Phoenix, Arizona that led to over 1,400 new public transportation riders per month.
And perhaps most important in terms of actually getting infrastructure put in:
Studies suggest that developments that incorporate bicycling and walking infrastructure in proximity with public transportation can reduce fiscal outlays of local municipalities towards roads and other infrastructure expansion by twenty-five percent. (TCRP Report 102: Transit-Oriented Development in the United States: Experiences, Challenges, and Prospects, Transportation Research Board, 2004)
Read the entire report at

They are asking for comments too. You may comment by going to and following the instructions.

Richard Risemberg on Fri, 13 Nov 2009 13:48:16 -0800 [link]  

Wednesday, November 11th's Tweed Ride in Los Angeles
The Tweed Ride concept finally hits LA, giving local cyclists a chance to show off their Bicycle Fixation knickers, hats, stockings, and more! Pasadena's, indefatigable local advocates of transportational cycling, are putting it on, so come to Union Station on November 21st at 12:30PM and join the fun!

For details, see

Ride ends at a downtown English-style pub for imbibition and conviviality.

Richard Risemberg on Wed, 11 Nov 2009 20:40:49 -0800 [link]  

Knickers at Work
It's a little hard to see--it's not about the knickers, after all--but here is a pair of our herringbone wool Classic Wool Knickers LLE v2.0 keeping Clayton scott comfy on a 200k brevet up near San Francisco:

Herringbone Knickers on a Brevet

Clayton reports that "They worked wonderfully." Makes me wish I'd kept a pair for myself! (They were a limited edition.)

But of course I have my gabardine Classic Wools; we're a bit low on inventory right now (though we've plenty of 32s for you fit sorts, and a smattering of other sizes as listed on the shopping cart page), but are intending to restock soon. I wear the gabs nearly every day.

Other inventory news: the Four Season Jerseys/Ninja Road Warrior Hoodies you've all been asking after are scheduled to be finished on the 16th of this month. (Of course, in our factory that usually means the 21st...!)

Richard Risemberg on Wed, 11 Nov 2009 07:39:50 -0800 [link]  

Saturday, November 7th
New Brick-and-Mortar Dealer
Those of you who live in the Northeast Los Angeles area--Lincoln Heights, Highland Park, Mount Washington, Montecito Heights, parts of Eagle Rock and South Pasadena--might want to visit our newest brick-and-mortar retailer, Flying Pigeon LA, run by hardworking bike advocate Josef Bray-Alia and his brother, and their pal John.

They'll be carrying a selection of our clothing designs, including Classic Wool Knickers, Town & Country Shorts, Ninja Road Warrior Jerseys, and knicker socks, so you can try before you buy.

In fact, you should check them out even if you don't need new clothes, since they carry, besides the (in)famous Flying Pigeon city bikes, a variety of cargo and city bikes, including Torker and Batavus, plus their own customs mods of Pigeons and other bikes.

And they're one of the biggest dealers of Schwalbe's super-tough city tires in the west!

Flying Pigeon LA!

Richard Risemberg on Sat, 07 Nov 2009 15:32:50 -0800 [link]  

Tuesday, November 3rd
A Perspective from England
Excellent article I just found, from Chapman Central in UK, neatly confounding almost all of the inane and duplicitous anti-cycling arguments you often hear from motorheads. The references are specific to British law and tax structures, but those are similar enough to those of the rest of the First World's nations to serve as a broad perspective. A sample:
Cyclists, like pedestrians and horse riders, use the roads by right of way. Drivers use it under licence. Drivers bring almost all the danger to the situation, yet it is the cyclists who should apparently take the long way round on a path with a loose surface littered with broken glass and dog excrement. Excuse me if I don't show the proper gratitude for this provision. I ride fifteen miles a day, at an average of as close to 20mph as I can manage. I am better off with other vehicular traffic than mixed in with pedestrians. Even if there was a bike path going my way, which there isn't, the roads were there first and are perfectly satisfactory. Apart from the potholes, obviously.

I pay council tax and high-rate income tax, but almost never use the bike paths the council provides from that money - they are mostly shared use, and a bike moving at the kind of speeds I do has no place on the pavement. Shared use paths are also three times more dangerous than riding on the road. The additional cost of decent bike provision over and above the necessary provision for cars and pedestrians (including leisure paths) is, in any case, small, especially if done at the time of construction. And it's funded out of council tax, which of course I pay, as do most adult cyclists.
Read it all on Chapman Central

Richard Risemberg on Tue, 03 Nov 2009 07:49:27 -0800 [link]  

Monday, November 2nd
The News Cycle....
Momentum Magazine has published the article they asked me to write on the Los Angeles cycling scene in their November/December (2009) issue, and you can read it online at their website:

Or you can get lucky and find a handsome print copy, which should be in a lot of bike shops, bookstores, and other places soon...find out where right here.

Richard Risemberg on Mon, 02 Nov 2009 18:51:42 -0800 [link]  

Another Fine Day
Another fine day on the Velo Rétro Rose Bowl Ride. Left around 9AM so I could take it easy, and arrived at the meetup at almost exactly 10:30, so I had time to loaf around, gawk at some fine machines, and chat up the regulars. Despite a stunning clear day, the crowd was smaller than usual, but it was big enough for sociability, and we rode the 25-mile loop at any easy-ish pace. And I took a couple of snapshots before we saddled up:

My old Bottecchia and a Trek representin' for the fendered folk!

Chuck's Della Santa custom.

Valiensi's Valiensi

About 70 miles fixed for me, in very dry, hot weather--think it was just short of 90°F most of the day.

And then home to a birthday dinner, cooked by the incomparable Gina!--for my son Jack--who rode his fixie over.

My kind of Sunday....

Richard Risemberg on Mon, 02 Nov 2009 09:51:31 -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