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Home » Archives » April 2008 » Batavus Cargo Bike in Los Angeles

Tuesday, April 29th
Batavus Cargo Bike in Los Angeles
Stopped by Hel-Mel today--that's Heliotrope & Melrose, AKA the "Bicycle District," AKA the home of Orange 20 Bikes, Pure Luck vegan cyclist's pub, Scoops (the world's best ice cream), and the place that got it all rolling, the Bicycle Kitchen!

I was there for lunch & ice cream, but when I saw TJ hauling this Dutch cargo bike out the door of Orange 20, I had to go bother him about it, even though they weren't officially open yet. From Batavus, it sports a chaincase, three-speed internally-geared hub, built-in generator lighting, fenders, and a big old porteur-style rack in front to complement the heavy-duty rear rack--all for around a thousand bucks, which is a pretty good deal these days:

batavus_cargo_bike (279k image)

Definitely something we need to see more of in Los Angeles! If you're local, check it out at Orange 20, or go to their website at for more pictures.

Richard Risemberg on Tue, 29 Apr 2008 15:51:35 -0800 [link]  

Monday, April 28th
New Carfree Group on Facebook
If you're a Facebook sort of guy or gal, there's a new group there dedicated to car-free and car-lite quote:
This is a group for all those that consciously make decisions in their life, whether large or small, to reduce their use of the private automobile.

This is for all those who are sick of being trapped in sprawling suburbs with underfunded and inadequate public transportation systems.

This is for those who are tired with cars and all their associated costs including registration, insurance, gas(petrol), services, parking, tickets and the actual car, just so they can function in society.

This is for those who are sick of sitting in traffic, period!

This is for those who would like a more healthy, sustainable, and environmentally-friendly lifestyle.

This is for those who like to reverse the social, economic and environmental damage caused by a car dominated culture.
If you're reading this post, you're pretty likely to be interested in this group, so click on over to Car-Free by Choice! on Facebook and join in!

Richard Risemberg on Mon, 28 Apr 2008 20:02:43 -0800 [link]  

Beach Weather
Certainly a tribute to global warming that we are having nearly 100° weather in April, but so we did this weekend (and it continues, slightly abated, today). The people poured out of their houses and towards the beach, of course--and it was good to see that so many of them did so on their bikes.

I wandered off early Sunday, riding past the airport and eventually ending up on the Pacific Coast Highway a little past where I'd been intending to end up, but no matter: every mile was fine on the Bottecchia fixie, so I doubled back and stopped at the foot of the Hermosa Beach pier for a sandwich. And as you'll see in the photos below, I found not only food but bikes, lots and lots of bikes, everywhere I went:

You know you're in a bike-friendly place when the little French bistro has a pastry named for Paris-Brest-Paris!

Looking back from the end of the pier.

Cycling and fishing--for some, this might be paradise....

Bikes locked to the railing of the pub.

My Bottecchia, with three more bike rack arrays visible in the distance. There is a total of fourteen or sixteen sets of bike racks here; most of them were full. (I parked at the less-busy streetside end of the plaza.)

A nice forty-five or fifty mile day, pedaling every inch, and folks on bikes everywhere, even away from the beach.

Richard Risemberg on Mon, 28 Apr 2008 15:14:47 -0800 [link]  

Sunday, April 27th
Another Glimpse of Tomorrow....
As I was riding back from running a small chore for Gina, on 8th Street near La Brea, heavily urbanized area adjacent to an ultra-ritzy neighborhood: a well-dressed, matronly lady, serenely pedaling an Electra Amsterdam into Hancock Park, with a bag of groceries in a folding basket on either side of the rear rack. Beatific smile on her face, and a friendly greeting in response to my nod 'n' smile....

Maybe folks really are starting to get it.....

Richard Risemberg on Sun, 27 Apr 2008 14:30:47 -0800 [link]  

Wednesday, April 23rd
Enduring Value
lygie (90k image)When I go to the Farmer's Market on 3rd & Fairfax here in LA (this is a seven-day-a-week market), I usually park in the much less interesting adjacent mall, simply because, in the mall's parking structure, there are numerous and much better bike racks--you can't actually use a U-lock in the racks the Farmer's Market provides.

So I bought my (mostly local) vegetables and headed back to the bike to go to my next appointment, when I saw a venerable gentleman locking this chrome bike up next to my Green Gopher.

Well, I had to chat him up a bit, for the bike was an ancient Lygié, beautifully lugged, with what looked like the original chainguard and fenders, and a single toptube-mounted shifter.

The fellow had had it for thirty years, and both he and it had endured on the streets of LA!

Just made me happy to see, so I figured to stick it on the blog here. (And I promise, I'll start carrying my real camera around; this has been happening all too often to leave to the Crappy Cell Phone Cam.)

Richard Risemberg on Wed, 23 Apr 2008 14:02:20 -0800 [link]  

Saturday, April 19th
Getting Loaded....
No, not what you think, though I was having a local microbrew ale at Pure Luck, the vegan bicyclist's pub on the same corner as Orange 20 Bikes and the Bicycle Kitchen. What I mean was bikes carrying big loads, such as this Xtracycle rig that pulled up whilst I was chowing down on my fried spring rolls:

Xtracycle at Pure Luck (79k image)

Yes, it was carrying a guitar, a chair, and a backpack, and possibly more...but that, though impressive, did not amuse me as much as the fellow who rode up to the Kitchen on his bike...carrying another entire bike strapped to his messenger bag, and looking quite comfortable for all that! (He had removed the wheels and strapped them closer to the center of the load, but still!)

Nothing we didn't know could be done, you and I, but it's good to see it becoming closer to routine.

While the dustbin-of-history types are taking food out of the mouths of Third World babies to fuel their cars, at least someone somewhere in this self-centered, self-defeating nation is using their imagination, not only to "save the planet," but to live a passionate life connected with the earth.

Richard Risemberg on Sat, 19 Apr 2008 14:42:51 -0800 [link]  

Wednesday, April 16th
The Green Gopher at Work
Took the Green Gopher, my '84 Trek 610 fixie portage bike, downtown today on a buying trip for the next run of City Knickers (due in a month or so), and couldn't help taking some cellphone shots of the poor critter bearing an absurd burden of pocket lining, elastic, zippers, fusing, and an old Pasela tire I dropped off later at the Bicycle Kitchen for them to give away to some impecunious but dedicated rider....

Ah, the power of bungee cords!

gopher_garment_1 (74k image)

gopher_garment_1 (74k image)

And here he is getting a well-deserved rest in a corner of the factory office:

gopher_garment_1 (74k image)

It was a wobbly ride, but we made it! Cheers!

Richard Risemberg on Wed, 16 Apr 2008 19:32:42 -0800 [link]  

Monday, April 14th
More and More Bikes
market_bikes (86k image)This morning, while trundling our dirty clothes to the laundromat (I walk over, pulling our laundry basket on a photographer's folding dolly), I saw several people evidently commuting to work by bicycle--including a gentleman in his sixties wearing avery conservative shirt and tie!

The, while taking a doughnut break during the drying cycle, I saw at least five more people during a one-block walk--all riding in regular clothes, and heading somewhere, most of them carrying bundles or bags of some sort.

Once the clean clothes were stowed, I pedaled over to the grocery to do my mother's shopping for her, and when I came out from the store, yet another practical bike was locked to the shopping cart corral along with mine!

In Japan or Denmark or Holland this would not be news, but that it's happening in Los Angeles, Ground Zero of Carmageddon, and that it involves all kinds of folks who wouldn't have considered utility bicycling before, is cause for celebration, I should say!

All told, in two or three short passages along side streets, totaling perhaps twenty minutes of exposure if that much, I saw at least six or seven practical riders besides myself, and only one of them had even a glimmer of the "enthusiast" look.

Richard Risemberg on Mon, 14 Apr 2008 17:44:26 -0800 [link]  

Sunday, April 13th
Copenhagen's Main Street to Become a Bicycle Boulevard
From the Copenhagenize blog we hear that the Nørrebrogade, one of Copenhagen's main streets, is to be changed to a bicycle boulevard. To quote:
Each day 75,000 people use the street. Of them only 15,000 are motorists, whereas 35,000 are cyclists, making this route one of the busiest in the city for bikes. This being Copenhagen there are bike lanes in both directions, but bicycle congestion makes it tricky riding this route. There is little room for making the bike lanes as wide as on other streets, so removing the motorised traffic is the only way to create safer bike lanes.

There are shouts of protest to be heard, most involving claims that the shops on the street will suffer from lost business. The same shouts were heard back in the 1960's and 1970's when Copenhagen began creating its vast network of pedestrian streets, at the expense of the car. Businesses didn't die. They thrived from the increase of pedestrians and cyclists. As we pointed out in an earlier post, cyclists are better shoppers than motorists, too.
A most gratifying development! To read the entire entry (and more about this in the rest of the blog) go to Copenhagenize.

Richard Risemberg on Sun, 13 Apr 2008 13:05:21 -0800 [link]  

Thursday, April 10th
They've Finally Had Enough!
Looks like our northern brethren and sisthren have had it with car culture and the slavish thrall in which it holds the alleged representatives of the people. The Canadian advocacy group Streets Are for People! has initiated a petition to the government requesting, in properly formal language, that it stop pandering to the motorheads, and succinctly and cogently lays out just why.

Here's the text of the petition:
WHEREAS Car Culture has destroyed and alienated our communities and dominated our public space;
WHEREAS equitable mobility is a right, and transportation is a need to all, including the young, the elderly, and those who refuse to drive;
WHEREAS Ontario is sorely lacking in infrastructure for active and public transportation (ie. In most of the province there is no choice but to drive a car);
WHEREAS a reported 26% of Ontario's economy is directly linked to an auto-manufacturing sector that year after year has proven volatile and unsustainable, requiring billions of dollars in government loans and subsidies under the constant threat of laying-off thousands of workers at a time;
WHEREAS Ontario has covered hundreds of thousands of acres of our country's most fertile farmland with concrete highways and suburban housing developments, and whereas our imported food supply is increasingly threatened in this time of climate change;
WHEREAS The Ministry of the Environment issued 39 Smog Alerts in 2007, a year with 86 days of air quality at worse than 30 AQI (Air Quality Index);
WHEREAS pollution from smog is directly linked to asthma, breast cancer, leukemia, and the sedentary lifestyle of the auto-dependant is linked to the epidemics of diabetes and obesity that increasingly plague our country;
WHEREAS Toronto Public Health reports that 440 deaths per year in the city of Toronto are directly linked to pollution from cars, and Ontario Medical Association estimates 5800 deaths yearly in Ontario from smog;
WHEREAS the Canadian Institute of Child Health sites traffic injuries as the leading cause of injury and death in Canadian school children;
WHEREAS billions of dollars are currently spent on the health system to treat accident victims, victims of smog, treatment of diseases linked to our societies reliance on the automobile.
WHEREAS financial decisions made by the Ontario Government have a drastic impact on global climate change and the ability of our biosphere to support life.

WE the undersigned petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

1. Stop any tax-breaks, subsidies or loans to the automotive sector.
2. Create a public awareness campaign exposing the ill effects of automobile dependency.
3. Ban the advertising of automobiles (just like cigarettes).
4. Immediately allocate money to pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, public transit, and an inter-city train system, including programs to help shift our labour force into these sectors.
5. Amend the Highway Traffic act making street closures for community festivals distinct from closures for general road construction.
6. Put a halt to development projects that do not support the use of public and active transportation.
7. Create programs to encourage the development of small-scale, mixed organic and natural farming of food for the local market, with tax breaks for hiring labour instead of labour-saving, pollution-creating machines.
8. Measure the cost of all government spending with a triple bottom line, (including social, environmental and economic impact.)
9. Stop subsidizing the destruction of our farmland, the poisoning of our air and the general ill health of our people.
10. Make policy decisions considering the value of life over the value of money.
It won't do any good to sign the petition if you're not Canadian, but if you are, go to The Petition Site and do so; otherwise, read it for ideas you may be able to enact in your own territory. (It's easiest to read if you click the button marked "View Whole Petition.")

Richard Risemberg on Thu, 10 Apr 2008 15:23:59 -0800 [link]  

Thursday, April 3rd
Riding in Traffic Video
We were just referred to a very good video on the basics of bicycling in traffic as traffic. It's short and very well-done, and we recommend it to new riders especially; however, it's a useful refresher even to those of us with many decades of experience. On YouTube:

Richard Risemberg on Thu, 03 Apr 2008 11:35:15 -0800 [link]  

Wednesday, April 2nd
New Batch of Classic Wool Knickers Has Arrived
A new batch of the Classic Wool Knickers has arrived today--well, I got on the bus with our folding dolly and picked them up, to be precise. (Some day, a bike trailer...or at least a porteur rack!) Not a huge batch--cashflow, taxes, etc.--but all sizes from 30 to 40 are in stock right now, so if you've been waiting, now's your chance!

Meanwhile, we're preparing to restock the Hemp City Knickers, and will be adding a small quantity of Wool City Knickers, in a deep forest green, as well. About five weeks off.

And our Special Secret Surprise Wool Jersey Project is proceeding apace...with luck, two months, maybe even less!

Stay tuned....

Richard Risemberg on Wed, 02 Apr 2008 18:47:06 -0800 [link]  

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