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Monday, June 30th
Bilenky Interview in Cycloculture
Just wanted to tip folks off to an excellent interview in Cycloculture with Forbes Bagatelle-Black interviewing Stephen Bilenky of Bilenky Cycle Works, focussing particularly on Bilenky's growing emphasis on cargo bikes and some of his innovative designs. Well-done and well worth reading:

Part One
Part Two

Browse Cycloculture afterwards; Forbes has posted several other very good interviews.

Richard Risemberg on Mon, 30 Jun 2008 06:39:25 -0800 [link]  

Saturday, June 28th
Denmark, Britain, & Cycling
Yesterday's Guardian (UK) ran a wonderful article comparing bicycle use and policies in Denmark and Britain, of which we include a snippet here:
Copenhagen hasn't always been wall-to-wall bikes. Its first purpose-built, segregated cycle path was created only 25 years ago. Colville-Andersen says the city's bike culture was built almost from scratch. There was a political will to make it happen, funds were allocated. Funds are still allocated. "We're not bike-friendly because it's a flat city. We ride lots because of visionary political decisions."

These political decisions were unpopular at the time. Now Danes can't remember a time before mass bicycle culture. Cycle use in Copenhagen is 36% (the UK average is 2%). City officials want to see this rise to 50% by 2015, when it is hoped the city will become the world's environmental capital. To reach this target, Copenhagen is closing major thoroughfares to cars, creating bike motorways in their place. Thirty thousand bikes a day, and only 15,000 cars, use Nørrebro Street, making it a prime candidate for closure to cars.
Seems that Britain, in regard to bikes, like the US in regard to high-speed rail, feels it must reinvent the wheel rather follow well-established and highly-successful models that had the misfortune to be developed by Someone Else.

Read the entire article: Two Wheels.

Richard Risemberg on Sat, 28 Jun 2008 09:09:08 -0800 [link]  

Tuesday, June 24th
Bicycle Fixation Commuting Workshop in Los Angeles
All Shades of Green in the Silverlake area of Los Angeles is presenting Rick Risemberg of Bicycle Fixation in a Bicycle Commuting Workshop on saturday, June 28th, at 10AM. If you've been thinking of commuting by bicycle but don't feel sure of how to start, then come to this workshop! Details:
Cycles of Continuance: Sustainable Transportation Using Bicycles, with Rick Risemberg

Date: Saturday, June 28th
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 am
(With optional bicycle maintenance and
accessorizing workshop afterwards
if you bring your bicycle)
Price: $20

Learn how easy it is to get around your city on your own power or with the help of public transit--even if your city is one as vast and busy as Los Angeles! We'll cover equipment, clothing, techniques, and attitudes that make all-weather bicycling not only practical but pleasurable. Free yourself from obesity, stress, high fuel prices, and boredom, and free the planet from sprawl and pollution and the gigantic tax subsidies given to road abusers. And no, you won't need to dress in Lycra!

Presenter Rick Risemberg has been a bicycle commuter in Los Angeles for most of the last forty years, and presently, at age 55, rides a fixed-gear bicycle up and down LA's hills in all weather, to business meetings, coffeehouse visits, or just because it's a nice day out. He edits The New Colonist , an online 'zine dedicated to sustainable urban development, and Bicycle Fixation, covering the bike commuter beat, as well as designing and manufacturing a line of clothing for bike commuters.

Pre-registration is required.
Please call All Shades of Green to reserve your spot.
3038 Rowena Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90039
Please note also that the space is very small, so be sure to reserve a spot if you wish to attend.

Richard Risemberg on Tue, 24 Jun 2008 16:40:59 -0800 [link]  

Monday, June 23rd
Hot Time in the Old Town....
The Third Edition of the Stitching the River ride went off well, with a total of eight riders braving the hundred-degree heat, including iBOBs Chuck Schmidt and John Vu (and Emily!), as well as Charles Andrews from the CR list, Tim with the shaft-drive Dynamic bicycle (Nexus 8-speed), and a few other folks, all of whom had been on the ride before.

Accordingly, it was a little bit less of an exploration than before, and more of a rolling town square, as we pedaled chattily under clear, blazing skies along the Art Deco spans that connect Downtown to East Los Angeles across the concrete trench of the Los Angeles River.

We gathered, as always, in Chinatown, by the Statue of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, where we were briefly joined by a couple of fixie hipsters named Trevor and David, who disappeared as the heat grew more intense. By 10:35 everyone was there, so I gave my thirty-second pre-ride speech ("The two rules are: be polite, and don't get killed"), then led us out onto North Broadway.

The first two bridges come together in a V at the end of the Broadway span, and we arrive at them after riding only two or three minutes, so, although they are both quite photogenic, they never get as much attention paid to them as farther bridges. I think that next time I might run the route backwards, which would also have us crossing each bridge in the opposite direction, maybe giving us new views of LA. In any case, I don't think anyone had brought a camera, so the ride carried a little more momentum than usual. Our first stop came after we crossed the short flat Main Street bridge by the San Antonio Winery, where we stopped for a sip (of water, that is) and seat adjustments. I pointed out a set of railroad tracks visible through a fence: I believe that something like 40% of all goods sold in the US roll over those tracks on their way out of the harbor.

From there we rolled past the Old Brewery artists' colony (the first loft development in Los Angeles) and up the bluff for the first of many short but noticeable climbs. Once on the bluff we backtracked to the river along Mission Street and crossed again on the imposing Cesar E. Chavevz Avenue bridge, which brought us to the beautiful MTA tower, where there is a difficult left turn that, after an incomprehensible concatenation of twists and turns that can be navigated only by a combination of instinct and faith, some led us (as it always has) to Santa Fe Boulevard, where we must cross under the 1st Street bridge to get on it for the return to East Los Angeles.

We stopped on the bridge to gaze at the river and the sleepy-seeming railroad tracks (without which the entire US economy as presently structured would dwindle to a whimper), and to read the plaque commemorating an engineer of the 'Thirties who died in some unspecified manner related to the building of the span. The building has started up again: the Metro Gold Line tram's Eastside extension will cross this bridge, and the trackways are being laid now. Just east of the bridge, before the tracks sink underground, was the scaffolding for one of the stops, with sparkling and inventive new buildings already going up nearby in anticipation.

I almost led us right past the turn to the 4th Street bridge, but caught myself (with Chuck's help) in time. We stopped briefly at Sci-Arc, where, on some signboards opposite, Chuck discovered a font he'd designed for a client decades ago in prominent use. Then we looped back through a pair of winding warehouse access roads and back on the 4th Street bridge in the opposite direction.

And back up the bluff! To Boyle Street, which led us past the placid lake at Hollenbeck park, which is peculiar in that Interstate 5 squats right on it, making a deep shade over its western end. From Boyle we turned onto Whittier, the longest of the spans, and with the best view, it essentially being a wide, flat platform high in the air, crossing an area of low sheds and warehouses (and of course the river and the tracks).

A short jaunt on a tiny industrial street took us to 7th, full of little markets and tiny Mexican diners, up the (by-now damned) bluff once again, over the the massive Sears building recently bought and then sold by Oscar de la Hoya , and thence to Olympic, our last bridge, and my favorite viewing stop overlooking the Amtrak engine sheds.

Once back on the Downtown side of the bridge, we stopped for an emergency Gatorade transfusion to one of the riders who was bonking in the heat, then proceeded on a very relaxed excursion back along Santa Fe to Union Station, where we doglegged onto Alameda for the return to Chinatown.

Smoothies and pastry at Wonder Bakery were much appreciated and avidly consumed! We sat in the shade for as long as possible before heading on back home, almost all of us having arrived on bikes.

You can't keep a good ride down.

Richard Risemberg on Mon, 23 Jun 2008 07:31:48 -0800 [link]  

Wednesday, June 18th
Attention Hemp Lovers!
Just a little heads-up....

We will be redesigning the Hemp city Knickers slightly before the next batch, and changing the material. We will be moving from the hemp/tencel blend in a linen weave, to a new blend of hemp with thread made from recycled water bottles, in a twill weave.

Not only will this cloth be even more environmentally friendly than the hemp-tencel, it will resist abrasion better.

However, it costs more, so the knickers will be slightly more expensive (about the same price as the wool ones), and they will probably not be available in the original olive color.

I am going to ask, beg, and plead that they provide this cloth in olive, but so far it is available only in charcoal gray and blue. It is likely that that will remain the choice when the time comes for us to order in the yardage.

So if you love the olive color as much as we do, now is the time to order a pair of the Original Hemp City Knickers, when we have plenty in stock.

Richard Risemberg on Wed, 18 Jun 2008 14:55:41 -0800 [link]  

Take Action in Southern California
This just in from Aurisha at the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition:
Mayors of Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Cerritos, Long Beach, Manhattan Beach, Monrovia, Pomona, Redondo Beach, and San Gabriel are attending the U.S. Conference of Mayor's Annual meeting from June 20-24th and bikes are on the agenda! According to the June 10th American Bicyclist update, Mayor Chris Koos, of Normal, IL, has introduced a resolution making the case that bicycling should be integrated into our nation's transportation, climate, energy and health policy initiatives.

Let's get your mayor to be the first mayor in LA County to co-sponsor the resolution, which is currently co-sponsored by many cities, but none in LA County: John Hickenlooper, Denver, CO, John Marchione, Redmond, WA; Marty Blum, Santa Barbara, CA; R.T. Rybak, Minneapolis, MN; Jim Brainard, Carmel, IN; Al Larson, Schaumberg, IL; Ron Littlefield, Chattanooga, TN; and Joe Riley, Charleston, SC.

Take 2 minutes TODAY and urge your mayor to cosponsor the resolution! (calls preferred)

LOS ANGELES, Antonio R. Villaraigosa
213 978 0600

BEVERLY HILLS, Barry Brucker
(310) 285-1013

CERRITOS, Jim Edwards
(562) 924-6582

LONG BEACH, Bob Foster
(562) 570-6801

MANHATTAN BEACH, Richard Montgomery
(310) 802-5053

MONROVIA, Rob Hammond
626 932 5550

POMONA, Norma Torres 909-620-2051 REDONDO BEACH, Mike Gin
(310) 372-1171, Ext. 2260

SAN GABRIEL, Harry L. Baldwin
(626) 308-2816

Richard Risemberg on Wed, 18 Jun 2008 14:52:46 -0800 [link]  

Tuesday, June 17th
New T-Shirt Graphic
Don't know where our man Chuck (bicyclist & graphic artist extraordinaire) found it, but this Ride A Bike! image from the 'Thirties was too good to pass up. Take a closer look at it on our T-shirts page--it's right up on top:

A message for the ages!

Ride & Have Fun....

Richard Risemberg on Tue, 17 Jun 2008 19:06:09 -0800 [link]  

Thursday, June 12th
Stitching the River, 3rd Edition
If you're in or near Los Angeles, you're invited to the 3rd Edition of the "Stitching the River Ride" over downtown Los Angeles's Art Deco bridges in about a week and a half, on Sunday, June 22nd. We'll meet by the statue of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen in Chinatown, two blocks from the Metro Gold Line's Chinatown station, at 10AM, hang around a while, then hit the road by 10:30.

This ride is CVC-compliant--we stop at red lights, take only one lane, etc; we also stop for flat tires, photo ops, or just because we feel like it! it's a great way to see parts of Downtown that most people ignore.

It will be a brief ride, maybe 22 miles, but it includes repeated short though occasionally steep hills, some traffic, and imperfect road surfaces. Here's a Map to the meeting place.

If you want to read about my "Stitching the River" scouting ride, go to my Ride Report.

This is a social ride, and if you decide to tag along, you assume all responsibility for your own safety. But you'll enjoy it anyway!

Write me with questions or comments through our online form, please.

Richard Risemberg on Thu, 12 Jun 2008 18:27:57 -0800 [link]  

Monday, June 9th
Slight Price Increase
Sorry, folks, but our prices have crept up another little bit this month. The dollar is dropping, and our costs have gone up. Even though we don't use gasoline directly ourselves, of course our contractors do, and so our labor costs here in Los Angeles have increased. It's only fair; we've all gotta live.

We're still charging below garment industry standards for this class of clothing--less than you'll pay for anything else remotely comparable in or out of bicycling--but a price increase hurts us all, and we apologize.

We're proud to offer the best product in class, and are solidly committed to providing the finest customer service you're likely to find from any company online or off. We'll hold prices to the current level for the rest of year, and longer, if it's at all possible.

Thanks for sticking with us. And keep riding: it's one of the things that can best help get us out of this mess.

Richard Risemberg on Mon, 09 Jun 2008 06:08:03 -0800 [link]  

Wednesday, June 4th
Another Sign of Intelligent Life in the Universe
Went to my credit union today, in an interesting office building consisting of two stepped brown marble pyramids, with terraces, courtyards, and large sculpture fountains, very nice. They have two bikes racks out front, one in a nook of each pyramid, and they're generally about half-full each day...but today, in this first month of incipient peak-oil gasoline price increases, they were jam-packed!

Bear in mind that this building also has bike racks in the parking structure, and you can understand that attitudes are beginning to change, however belatedly and perhaps reluctantly.

I see a lot more folks wearing office-casual commuting into the 'hood every morning (we are just off Wilshire, an office-heavy street), even in cold or rainy weather. We're on an excellent Rapid bus route too, but folks are choosing to ride.

Let's see what happens....

Richard Risemberg on Wed, 04 Jun 2008 17:10:25 -0800 [link]  

Tuesday, June 3rd
Wool City Knickers Now Online
Okay, got the pictures taken and the web page redone, so the Wool City Knickers are online and available now (sharing the page with their hempen brethren).

A good companion to the Hemp City Knickers, these have the same cut and sizing but are made of 100% wool gabardine, similar to the cloth we use for our Classic Wool Knickers but in a beautiful deep forest green.

Not quite so casual as the Hemp version, and of course they are best hand-washed cold or dry cleaned, but they breathe better than the Hemp (or anything else!) and are suitable for both hotter and colder temperatures. They also resist abrasion better.

We've made only a few, but if folks like them, we'll make plenty more.

Take a look: Wool City Knickers

Richard Risemberg on Tue, 03 Jun 2008 19:47:55 -0800 [link]  

Monday, June 2nd
Hemp City Knickers Back in Stock!
Bicycle Fixation Hemp City Knickers are back, just in time for summer! This is our more casual, kickaround knicker for short jaunts about town, pub crawls. picnic rides, or what have you. Super comfortable, and machine-washable too! Sizes 30 to 38 available. Go to:

Hemp City Knickers

And keep an eye on this space: we'll be releasing a limited run of Wool City Knickers in a day or two. A little more expensive, a little less casual looking, more resistant to abrasion, and great knicker for commuting for those who don't prefer the retro look of our Classic Wools, but aren't quite casual enough for the Hemps. Check back soon!

Richard Risemberg on Mon, 02 Jun 2008 15:07:07 -0800 [link]  

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