This is what we need: not cycling presented as a playtime-for-daredevils sort of activity, but as a part of daily life. Cyclists who are just folks going somewhere, using workaday bikes on regular roads. Maybe things like this only reflect what is already happening, maybe they encourage it to happen more; I'll take it either way.
More to Kaiser's credit, the ad links not to a come-on for more members, but to a page promoting a variety of healthful activities, including socially-healthy stuff--one link in it is titled "Create Healthy Communities," and includes sublinks to such topics as "Create a Greener World."
Well, since I've made you see the ad, you might as well check out the Kaiser Permanente Thrive site too.
We'll be back on Kaiser in January ourselves, thanks to changes at Gina's workplace, and we're glad. it's about as good as healthcare is allowed to get in the USA.
Off to South Pasadena now--38-mile round-trip, on a glorious warm winter day in Southern California, to have coffee with Velo-Retro's Chuck Schmidt at Buster's by the Gold Line station.
Richard Risemberg on Tue, 30 Dec 2008 09:16:42 -0800 [link]
I still had my social duties: although my mother neither knows nor cares what day it is any longer, today was shopping day, when I resupply her larder and distract her from tormenting her caregivers for a little while. (She's nuts, but she's still tough!) And so I put on my rain cape and rode over to the supermarket by her house a few miles away.
It's only the sweet light of the rain that can make a supermarket parking lot look in any way charming, but it does, and so I snapped this picture of my Bottecchia waiting faithfully in the rain for me to come out of the store. Wearing her showercap too!
I delivered the food, including a couple of cakes for Mom and the caregiver, Alejandra, and played the fool a while to amuse the old bird.
When I left, the rain had stopped, though the streets were still wet; with fenders on the bike I could get away with just a wind shell to keep me warm.
I took the second photo since I complain a lot about the blandness of Los Angeles, and it is to show that many parts of town are really quite pretty...this is Fourth Street, on my way home, and a route that may become part of a "bicycle boulevard" soon.
Now I'm home, but I'm wondering...the rain ride was so nice...maybe I can find a pizza joint that's open today, and treat myself to a ride for lunch....
Richard Risemberg on Thu, 25 Dec 2008 11:02:31 -0800 [link]
Griffith Park is a great ride that, with my usual route, throws three climbs at me, which I call the Three Bears: the first--Cahuenga Pass--is Papa Bear, a longish and moderately steep climb that unfortunately parallels the Hollywood Freeway, but that fortunately offsets that by often presenting the rider with wild mustard, purple sage, lavender, and other desert plants. Just past the turnoff to Mulholland Drive, the road drops down quickly to Barham Boulevard, where you turn right for a short climb I call Baby Bear. From the top of Baby Bear you drop steeply down (and dizzylingly fast, if you're on a coasting bike, which I was not) to Forest Lawn Drive, which runs between the LA River (hemmed in by various studios at this point) and the famous cemetery, which gives way eventually to the chaparral hills of the park itself.
A right turn brings you to Travel Town, the steam engine museum where I spent many happy hours as a child. Another right turn brings you face to face with Mama Bear, a two-lane road winding among oaks and sycamores. It is deceptively steep, actually the hardest workout of the ride. At the top of this climb you pass by the road that goes over the park back to Hollywood (now open only to bikes!). I wasn't that ambitious today, and dropped into the little valley behind the zoo, where I took the first two pictures. (And yes, I've seen plenty of rattlers in Griffith Park, and signs of the big cats too. Even though the park is nearly smack dab in the middle of Los Angeles's 15 million or so denizens.)
More oaks, interspersed with picnic lawns, golf course, and side roads leading to camps and more golf courses. (There are fire roads too, but riding on them gets you a ticket.)
A mile or so farther on is the merry-go-round and a huge picnic area, where I photographed the old oak tree and Crystal Springs Drive. A couple more miles of rollers and I was back in heavy traffic at the intersection of Riverside and Los Feliz, where I resisted taking the ten millionth photo of the Mulholland Fountain. Instead, I went on to a stairway that I use as a shortcut to Glendale Boulevard, which would bring me back to Silverlake, then Hollywood, then home.
To make it a utility ride, I stopped at one of my local resellers and gave them a sales pitch.
But the real utility was the pleasure of the day, the park, and the hills.
A couple of hours, twenty-five or thirty miles, and a Sunday morning well-spent on the bike.
Richard Risemberg on Sun, 21 Dec 2008 16:56:20 -0800 [link]
I think bikes are a positive response to almost everything that is wrong with American mainstream society today. Bikes are cheap, simple, and democratic and sexy in a very different way than riding around in a car. Bike transportation is about individuality but not about excess. Bikes are congenial and social. Bikes force us to be in our bodies and help us to know and love our bodies as they are. (Ted White)To read the entire article, go to Bikes Point the Way to a Sustainable Future.
[In] this bike subculture there's no person who is the best, who is winning, or getting the most money. It's a pretty equal community in that everyone can excel, but not have to be the top dog. (Robin Havens)
Richard Risemberg on Thu, 18 Dec 2008 07:20:16 -0800 [link]
One of my favorite things about cycling is that it can reward suffering with joy. Another thing I love about it is that it often rejects those who don't understand this. Cycling teaches you that there's such a thing as necessary suffering and such a thing as unnecessary suffering, and that sometimes a short cut is a dead end.Well said, BSNYC!
To read the complete post, go to his December 17th entry.
Richard Risemberg on Wed, 17 Dec 2008 13:35:57 -0800 [link]
It also meant I had to remember where all my rain gear was.
Fortunately, the half-garage where we keep most of the bikes has a Wald basket (one of the slip-on types, which Gina had rejected several bikes ago) hanging on one wall, and if I can't find what I'm looking for anywhere else, it's usually there. Out came the Carradice Pro Route, the ragg wool gloves, and the promo baseball cap that keeps the glasses dry. It's Mom Feeding Day (I do all her shopping as well as manage her bills and care), so I threw a couple of canvas shopping bags into the JANDDs, and off I went!
I took it easy--ain't racing, wet or dry--but still I was able to notice decidedly more surefootedness from the Schwalbe Marathons than I'd ever felt I'd gotten from Paselas. Besides plain wet streets, I had to deal with fallen sycamore leaves, pines needles drifted up in the shade, deep puddles, and the usual potholes and other signs of civic infrastructure deterioration. The Marathons were wonderful all around, even on the way from the market to Mom's, with the Bottecchia carrying a heavy rear load, which, being lower of trail, she doesn't care for.
When I left to come back home the storm had moderated to one of my favorite weathers, a light pattering rain that always makes me think of springtime. (Why, I don't know, as it rarely rains in spring out here, and I've lived here most of my life.) The notorious potholes of 4th Street (which I wrote up once) fazed them not at all.
And the cape worked its magic, keeping me almost entirely dry. I was wearing wool, of course: Wool City Knickers v.20 and knicker socks below, and an Italian navy sweater up top, plus the ragg wool gloves.
Nice day all around so far. Tonight will see a little more riding, just after dark.
Richard Risemberg on Mon, 15 Dec 2008 13:05:16 -0800 [link]
The sun was bright, the air was crisp, the sky and ocean deep blue, and our bikes were waiting for us to get tired of blowing hot air and get back to riding.
Sometimes the highest utility is to go out and enjoy the universe. My kind of practical cycling!
Richard Risemberg on Fri, 12 Dec 2008 17:24:20 -0800 [link]
Responding to your feedback, we've swapped out the waistband adjustment tabs for belt loops. and kept all the other great features, such as the articulated knee, the bit of elastic in the high-cut rear of the waist, and the hidden pocket.
Wear them everywhere, from office to bar to alleycat; you'll love them so much you'll ride even more, just to have an excuse to put them on!
Check them out now: the City Knicker v2.0.
Richard Risemberg on Tue, 09 Dec 2008 08:45:14 -0800 [link]
- Wool city knickers version 2.0 will be in stock this week! We will have them in forest green and dark charcoal, and they will now have belt loops instead of adjustment tabs--a change many of you suggested.
- We are out of stock in black knicker socks in the L/XL size, but our new sock contractor is knitting them as we write--and the new version will have over double the merino wool content. (Black only.)
- Classic wool knickers are out of stock except for size 34, and we will not have more until the end of January. At that time we hope to release another limited edition for you fancy dressers, and will definitely restock the standard version that everyone loves.
- LSD knickers are down to sizes 34 and 36, and when they're gone, they are gone forever.
- James Black Hats are in good supply for now, but the forest green is selling rapidly, so if that's what you want, now is a good time to move on it!
- Four Season Jerseys are selling well, with XL sold out in all sizes and both hemp and merino, and Larges gone in merino. Plenty of S and XS in stock, including a few orange ones; M in charcoal only and running low. We won't make more till next year.
- We'll be testing a sample of our upcoming summer jersey soon--more later.
- Looks like, if things go well, our much-anticipate touring short in either hemp or wool gabardine (or both) should come out in spring of 2009.
Richard Risemberg on Mon, 08 Dec 2008 07:05:23 -0800 [link]
I hope still to experiment a bit with different bars--that pop-top stem, ugly as it is, does make that easy: no more retaping when you swap! But I suspect I might not. Eventually ya just gotta stop fiddling and start riding, don't ya?
So that's what I did today, after swapping the old Nitto B115s back in. Much more comfortable than the Promenades had ever been for me!
Now I've got to get around to mounting the Tubus Fly rack on it and seeing how it handles panniers. Should do all right. Then there's that front basket to play with, if Gina doesn't take it for her town bike. I'd prefer a front rack, but that's out of budget for the nonce.
And eventually, I want to find a trailer for Trevor--a two-wheeled cargo trailer, for rag biz runs and general toting of stuff. Preferably one from Bikes at Work, but at this point anything that can haul rolls of wool and boxes of finished knickers will have to do.
Of course we'll let you know what we come up with.
Richard Risemberg on Sat, 06 Dec 2008 17:31:20 -0800 [link]
Larchmont is a one-block, village-like shopping street that really is a neighborhood hangout, as close as you get to a town square in Los Angeles. And many, many visitors arrive by bike. Since my mother lives near there, I'm at Larchmont quite often, and I go, alone, or with Gina, or to meet friends, quite frequently.
I'd written to our council member, and had heard from his office that they were indeed hoping to compensate for the loss of bicycle parking. The "hoping" part had me worried, though.
But now I read in the Larchmont Chronicle that they are definitely going to install more bike racks for us!
Whether they're going to use the clever slip-on devices that convert former parking meter poles into bike racks such as Seattle is installing, I don't know, but "new racks will be installed," according to the paper's quote of Tom LaBonge.
Since this is hardly the time to be making bicycle transportation less convenient, this is good news. Small steps such as these will take us far, in time.
Richard Risemberg on Thu, 04 Dec 2008 16:17:07 -0800 [link]