Bicycle Fixation Weblog

Home » Archives » September 2011 » Diversity...of Bikes

Sunday, September 25th
Diversity...of Bikes
I stopped at the Santa Monica Farmers Market today to have a chat with fellow bike advocate Eric Weinstein there, and on leaving I noticed an amusing diversity of bikes parked next to my old Bottecchia at the bike valet:

Diversity of bikes at the Santa Monica Farmers Market bike valet

There's a streetified Cannondale hardtail MTB, a Waterford production fixie, and a Swobo fixie, then a Schwinn MTB; not in the frame were dozens more singlespeeds, fixies, cruisers, hybrids, and road bikes, most sporting racks or baskets.

The bike valet is there every Sunday--there are permanent city signs reserving the space--and ti's always heavily used, even on rainy days. (In fact, today was drizzling slightly.) The sidewalk racks were full as well, as were many of the racks on other blocks of Santa Monica's Main Street.

In fact, when I turned up Rose Avenue on a whim (to see where it went), I noticed a profusion of racks (in this case put in by LADOT, since it's outside of Santa Monica)--well-placed in front of restaurants, boutiques, and other small businesses. Over a dozen between Main and Seventh. And plenty of bikes locked to them, matching well-filled tables and sales floors behind the sidewalk.

This despite a road surface barely better than what you'd find in a Third World warehouse district.

And finally, a small victory: Gina had often complained to our local Whole Foods market of their inadequate bicycle parking, consisting of one wheelbender rack taken up mostly by Magnas, Motivs, and the like. Most customers parked awkwardly to the cart corral. (Yes, they willingly gave up several parking spaces to their carts, but nothing worthwhile for bicycling customers.) Finally I just said we should lock to the wire barrier by the outdoor tables, which we have been doing for several months.

Well, now Whole Foods has remodeled the outdoor seating and included some...well, I'm not quite sure what to call them, so let's say bike retention modalities. I wasn't along when Gina snapped this iPhone picture, but I'll make a point of checking them out soon, though I don't care much for Whole Foods.

They look as though they're set a bit close to the wall, but they do say "BIKE RACK" on them, and include a cutout of a bicycle. And they've got to be better than what was (or rather wasn't) there before.

New bike racks at Whole Foods

At the Third and Fairfax store in Los Angeles.

Richard Risemberg on Sun, 25 Sep 2011 21:21:33 -0800 [link]  

Thursday, September 22nd
The New Knickers Have Arrived!
Well, I hitched the trailer to the Trevor Wong, the big orange fixie, and rode downtown yesterday morning to pick up a new order of Classic Wool Knickers from our factory. Sorry you all had to wait so long, but it's the factory's busy season (and we are not their only customer), plus there were some quality control issues that had to be resolved--and were, of course.

So they're in stock and online, and they're beautiful! Lush wool flannel suiting in dark charcoal, with our classic burgundy gusset, and warm olive brown with a black gusset. The flannel exhibits an elegant drape while being almost sinfully comfortable. It will also keep you cozy during fall, winter, and early spring commutes, frosty rambles, and two-wheeled evenings out.

The olive brown gabardines are slightly lighter but every bit as suave and coddling, and a wee bit tougher. These are in very short supply; we made only a very few.

As usual, sizes shown in the dropdown menu are what is available. If you wear the larger sizes, please don't hesitate as lately they have been selling out quickly.

See them, and our remaining stock of Midnight knickers in wool gabardine, here.

Look good, feel great, ride happy!

Richard Risemberg on Thu, 22 Sep 2011 15:20:23 -0800 [link]  

Wednesday, September 21st
Offsite Blogging XXXI
Two more to ruin your day Orange 20 I complain about the "bike lanes to nowhere" on Cahuenga north of Hollywood Boulevard in The Road to...Somewhere or Other.

And at Flying Pigeon I join the Dutch Embassy's "ThinkBike" touring bikeways designers on a ride from Playa del Rey to downtown in Riding Bikes with the...Americans.

And so, having used my quota of ellipses for the week, I leave you to enjoy (or endure, according to taste) two more posts on the local cycling scene.

Richard Risemberg on Wed, 21 Sep 2011 21:57:49 -0800 [link]  

Monday, September 19th
A Different Kind of Roundabout

Gina and I were bopping all around town on a Metro day pass last Saturday (including a visit with Greg Townsend to confer about her upcoming custom randonneuse), when we decided to make a quick stop at ArtCyle in East Hollywood.

ArtCycle is a one-day street opening that moves cars off a stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard between Vermont and Hillhurst and frees it for use by cyclists, artists, food trucks, crafts and tradespeople, kids, local residents, and visitors from all around the neighborhood and all around the city. It's only a few steps from a Metro Red Line stop too.

ArtCycle includes a number of art and architecture themed bike tours as well.

We got there a little too early for the big fun, but there was still a lot to see--including the best use of old bike frames we've ever encountered. Click on the video to take a look, and see if you don't agree that the contraption is both unutterably charming and a great way to get kids thrilled about riding.

Highlight of our day!

Richard Risemberg on Mon, 19 Sep 2011 12:58:38 -0800 [link]  

Wednesday, September 14th
Offsite Blogging XXX
Triple-X rated this week, thanks to my fondness for Roman numerals, bringing you two revealing stories....

One, at Orange 20, exposes the charms of Culver city's nascent sharrows and wayfinding program in The East Side of the Westside.

The other, at Flying Pigeon LA, shows you how much size does matter in Round and Round We Go.

Richard Risemberg on Wed, 14 Sep 2011 14:20:58 -0800 [link]  

Tuesday, September 13th
Knicker Delay
Ah, well...the factory I work with downtown is very very good, but also very very small. And so, the knickers which had been promised for Friday last are now re-promised for Monday next.

They will be well worth waiting for, being a reprise of the charcoal/burgundy combination that we started with, and that has proven to be enduringly popular. But we all will have to wait.

So, while you're waiting, you may as well take a photo tour of said factory, right here at Bicycle Fixation!

Richard Risemberg on Tue, 13 Sep 2011 15:38:44 -0800 [link]  

Saturday, September 10th
Night and the Neighborhood
I rode out last night to Flying Pigeon LA, a local bike shop in the Highland Park district of Los Angeles, run by ex-developer and longtime activist Josef Bary Ali. Josef's dedication to cycling and its place in healthy urban neighborhoods is (often to the detriment of his income) tireless and far-reaching, but last night's meeting kept it close to home, discussing what to suggest to the city to improve the currently rather dreary condition of figeuroa Street, on of northeast LA's main drags and its primary boulevard connection to downtown. (There is also the superb Gold Line train, as well as the ancient and miserable 110 freeway.)

The crowd was small (as is the shop, where we met) but enthusiastic, despite my own regular interruptions to suggest talking points or reference studies, and the food--vegan Vietnamese dishes from the Good Girl Dinette nearby--was delicious. It was beautifully obvious that everyone present really cared about street life and neighborhood commerce.

Figueroa is currently little more than a freeway with sidewalks, far too wide for the motor traffic it carries, resulting in audacious and oppressive speeding as potential customers zip past the hundreds of small shops and restaurants without a sideward glance. Bicycling on the street is uncomfortable, and crossing it on foot is deadly. A road diet, such as the city recently graced 7th Street with, is in order, and the discussion centered on how to make its benefits known to the neighbors and merchants who have never experienced anything but bleak streets and car traffic at the front steps.

Everyone thinks that all their business comes from drivers, though they are almost always wrong, and even the ones who incline to favor a new idea are hesitant. Merchants tend to be personally conservative, and no one wants to be first.

So outreach plans were the subject of the day, and a lot of good ideas went on the list to be refined and decided upon next month.

The ride home, on a soft and still-warm autumn night, was sweet. I rode along the newest stretch of the Los Angeles River bike path (most of whose lamps were not turned on, by the way; I'll email LADOT forthwith), and, followed by one of the other attendees who wanted to see new parts of town on the way home, wandered through Cypress Park, the back side of Silverlake, and East Hollywood before descending onto home turf near Hancock Park.

Free food, good company, loud talk, and a long ride home: a good way to spend an evening. And if we do well, we'll get to make a little bit of Los Angeles just that much more human after all.

Richard Risemberg on Sat, 10 Sep 2011 08:42:14 -0800 [link]  

Wednesday, September 7th
Offsite Blogging XXIX
Here we go again, with two posts once more focussed on Beverly Hills....

At Orange 20 I report on a surprisingly good meeting with that city's ad hoc Bike Plan Update Committee in Pinch Me, I'm Dreaming.

Which I temper at Flying Pigeon LA with a post moaning over the 90210's tentative bike route network and its failings in The Road to Nowhere.

Richard Risemberg on Wed, 07 Sep 2011 16:06:14 -0800 [link]  

Tuesday, September 6th
A Day at the Beach
After weeks of fairly serious writing and editing on the GRID project I am working on, plus guest reporting on various bureaucratic bike doings (many of them positive for a change!) on other people's blogs at Orange 20 and Flying Pigeon LA, it's a nice beak to report on just some pure sensual pleasures of riding a bike.... The clean wind of autumn, the pale light of cooling days, and bright colors of bikes and cyclists by the ever-present Pacific Ocean just a few miles west. Of course, I went to the Bridge at Playa del Rey, one of my favorite places in Los Angeles, as regular readers of this blog know all too well by now!

Here, for example, is a gentle wolfpack of beflagged and ribboned bentriders regrouping on the Bridge prior to a lounge down the bikepath:

recumbents_theBridge (179k image)

And here is a mixed bag of roadies, cruisers, and kids rolling along the south jetty of the Marina del Rey:

cyclists_southjetty_MdR (123k image)

Overall, nothing spectacular...but damn it, it sure is satisfying to be out there on such a day, in such company, on a bike!

All that's missing is a bistro, an outdoor table, and some bread and wine...right on the bridge. With a bike rack, of course. Wouldn't that be something!

Richard Risemberg on Tue, 06 Sep 2011 08:27:53 -0800 [link]  

Thursday, September 1st
Seventh Heaven
7th St. Cycle Track
Click to enlarge
Seventh Street is one of the roads I use most often in my daily riding around Los Angeles. It is a pleasing route into Downtown for me: the hills aren't too bad, the traffic isn't too thick, the pavement is in what passes for "good condition" in Los Angeles, ie, it doesn't look like the aftermath of a mortar bombardment.

And it goes right to the heart of the garment district (excuse me, now called the "Fashion District") where, of course, I often roam buying materials for our Bicycle Fixation clothing line, or checking in at LCCouture, our contract factory.

There are also meetings at LACBC, City Planning, and LADOT that I occasionally infest, plus visits for sheer pleasure, as I love Downtown these days. Aplace that used to be filthy and dull is now dirty, amusing, and invigorating, and crammed with great little restaurants from felafel joints like The Sultan (felafel to vegetarian me, at least, though they call themselves a chicken joint), to Veitnamese fusion house Blossom, to highpockets établissements such as Bottega Louie, to a plethora of coffeehouses, noodle shops, Japanese restaurants, bars and other words, places to eat and drink.

7th St. Cycle Track
Click to enlarge
I ride Seventh quite a lot, almost as much as I ride Fourth.

So, you can imagine how pleased I was to find that Seventh, dear old bleak Seventh, finally stuck to its road diet and became LA's newest next-generation roadway!

Nice, fat bike lanes, mostly away from the door zone, a short section of buffered cycle track, and the four traffic lanes cut down to one each way plus a two-way center left turn channel.

The left-turn lane, by getting motorists waiting to go into driveways and side streets out of traffic, has actually increased the capacity of the roadway for motor vehicles--no more backups, no more wild lunges to the inside lane to get around left turners stalled by opposing traffic. The car lanes seem less congested to my eye--and I've ridden it post-diet numerous times now, morning, noon, and rush hour.

And the bike lanes are much more comfortable to ride in than the old shared lanes.

Best of all, our much-maligned LADOT got them done a month ahead of schedule!

They're really quite well done, and run from Catalina in Koreatown all the way to Figueroa for now. (Extensions to East LA are coming soon.) If you're in Los Angeles, give them a try.

Then go get something to eat.

Richard Risemberg on Thu, 01 Sep 2011 08:17:23 -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