April 2016

The Best USB-Rechargeable Bike Lights

From Bicycling.com

Bontrager Ion 700 USB
The smallest model in our test delivers 700 lumens of bright light that is wide in scope and long-reaching, rivaling that of the 800-lumen Light & Motion Urban 800 Fast Charge at $80 less. We love the stretchy silicon band that quickly and easily mounts to anything from a beach cruiser’s steel bar to a mountain bike’s oversize 31.8mm riser. Small marker lights on the sides increase visibility and safety. The Ion is not perfect—some testers thought its irregular-strobe mode was distracting to the rider (and, potentially, oncoming traffic), adding what seemed to be an unnecessary setting to toggle through on the bar. And it’s the only light in this test that doesn’t come with a helmet mount.

Price: $100
Weight: 138g
Battery Life: 700 lumens, 1.75 hours; 450 lumens, 3 hours; 200 lumens, 6.75 hours
Info: bontrager.com


Niterider Lumina 750
Light output for the Lumina 750 is similar to the other two finalists, but the beam is narrower and projects farther. Its light has a cooler, bluish tint that tends to wash out colors a bit more than the other two, making it the least desirable for riding off-road, where you read terrain conditions according to shades of light and dark. Testers found the wing-nut-style handlebar clamp difficult to install initially and transfer between bikes, but once in place, it’s secure. An included quick-release easily allowed us to slide the light on and off, and the helmet mount is the better of the two tested here.

Price: $140
Weight: 183g
Battery Life: 750 lumens, 1.5 hours; 350 lumens, 3 hours; 200 lumens, 5.5 hours; 40 lumens (“walk mode”), 18 hours
Info: niterider.com


Light & Motion Urban 800 Fast Charge
This light has the greatest output of the three at 800 lumens, the best beam pattern, and a warm and natural light that’s pleasant to the eye. Its rubber-strap handlebar mount is stable and easy to secure. When attached to a helmet with the included mount, the 122g Fast Charge feels noticeably light. Amber side lights offer additional visibility. But in the end, value edged this most-expensive light out of the win.

Price: $180
Weight: 122g
Battery Life: 800 lumens, 1.5 hours; 350 lumens, 3 hours; 175 lumens, 6 hours
Info: lightandmotion.com

From Bicycling.com

The Los Angeles Bicycle Festival

As much as we’d love to pretend otherwise, not everybody loves bicycles. But everybody does love celebrating, especially when the festivities involve art, music, food, and a beer garden. This the aim behind the upcoming Los Angeles Bicycle Festival, which will be transforming the car-enamored city into a bicycle paradise with one day of art, DJs, demos, workshops, vendors, food, and a beer garden. The festival is designed to entertain, educate people about bicycling, and connect the cycling community to the wider population of Los Angeles.

Taking place on Sunday May 08, 2016, the Bicycle Festival will function like a two-wheeled “Bicycle Disneyland.” Attendees can explore MTB-land, LA Bike City, Roadland, e-Bikeland and the Kid’s Bike Village, while popping in for refreshments at the beer garden or one of the many popular food trucks.

The festival is hosted by the Bicycle Culture Institute, a non-profit organization whose mission is to unite, mentor, and raise awareness for groups working to advance the cycling. It is designed to engage the wider community with bikes by breaking down many of the most common barriers to cycling in a format that is accessible, practical, and fun. Scheduled workshops include everything from Bike Commuting 101 to Legal Rights for Cyclists to How to Ride in Heels or a Suit.

Speakers, artists, and vendors are diverse enough to attract many of Los Angeles’ existing cycling communities, while encouraging them to bring their friends and family along for the ride. Los Angeles has an enviable climate for year-round cycling, but unfortunately only has a cycle commuter rate of 1%. The festival is drawing on the support of Los Angeles’ current cycling community to bring bikes to the mainstream.

Since the festival will be taking place on Mother’s Day, the organizers are tying in Cyclofemme rides from all over the city to the festival at the steps of City Hall.

The Los Angeles Bicycle Festival is set to take place at Grand Park at 221 N Broadway Avenue, from 10am to 7pm. Tickets range from $10 – $55, and can be purchased in advance from the LA Bike Fest’s Kickstarter page, where you can also get fun gifts such as temporary tattoos and tote bags in the image of the festival map. Visit the Facebook page for more information, and contact Nona Varnado if you have any questions, or to learn about vendor and sponsorship opportunities.

Find out more on their Facebook.com page

Opinion: Hey, L.A. drivers: Don’t honk at bike riders

One of the great things about Los Angeles is that honking is a regular and acceptable part of driving. How else would be communicate such vital information as “the light is green and you are still looking down at your phone, stupid.”

I enthusiastically take part in this great L.A. motoring tradition. I’m an impatient, aggressive driver and I beep when the spirit moves me. When it’s my turn to get blasted for a bonehead move, I shrug and consider it fair play.

But my sanguinity about the horn-blowing culture has changed since I became a bike commuter in March. I’ve been tooted at as I biked in light traffic and heavy traffic, as I’ve crossed an intersection, even stopped at an intersection waiting for the light to turn.

A Metro bus honked at me once as I rode in the big, green obvious bike lane on Spring Street. Just this week a truck beeped at me as it passed me while I pedaled in the bike lane on Glendale Boulevard, even though it didn’t have to slow down for me. It startled me enough to send me wobbling toward a parked car. I caught myself before crashing, but wanted to scream after the truck: “What? Why?!”

What makes it all the more vexing is how courteous I’ve been since I traded two wheels for four. I did not want to be one of those entitled bikers who fly through stop signs and then sneer as cars slam on the brakes. I don’t take the horn-inducing liberties that I do in the Prius. I follow the rules.

The beeping doesn’t happen every day and the vast majority of motorists are exceedingly considerate to me. But it does happen often enough that it’s becoming a concern. Maybe some are genuinely trying to send me information they think will help my commute. But the only message I hear is this: “You are about to die.”

I think there’s often a less-altruistic motive behind the beeps, driven by the inchoate rage experienced by drivers finally freed from the grind of the freeway who find themselves in crawling neighborhood traffic and having to slow down even more to make way for some perky bicyclist in a bright orange jacket who can bypass the cars and will probably get home first — and get a workout in the bargain. I know. I’ve been there.

There may be some ignorance too. Once I was so frustrated by a driver who laid on the horn behind me that I confronted him after catching up with him a few seconds after he passed me. (That’s right. I had slowed him down in the race to get to end the of the block. ) I yelled, “Don’t honk at me.” His response was that I should get out of the road because he didn’t want to hit me. Then I called him an unkind word. I’m not proud.

Read more at LATimes.com

Snow and sub-zero temperatures at Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Racing for 253km is hard enough, but throw in snow and sub-zero temperatures and this year’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège became a true test of endurance. Here’s how the peloton kitted itself out to deal with the extreme weather.

Images and story here

The 10 Best Bike Rides In Los Angeles

One of L.A.’s most beloved features, its iconic shoreline, is graced with its very own paved bike path—the Marvin Braude Bike Trail, aka The Strand. With a northern tip touching Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades and a southern bottom brushing Torrance County Beach, the 22-mile stretch provides an easy cruise for bicyclists hoping to experience many of L.A.’s beloved beach towns, including Santa Monica, Venice, Marina del Rey, Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo. Countless spots offer eats and drinks along the way, and when in Venice, we suggest Venice Ale House, located at the Venice Boardwalk and Rose Avenue. Gary Kavanagh of Gary Rides Bikes brings up another pro to this path: “Going pier hopping from the Santa Monica Pier to the Redondo Beach pier has always been a personal favorite since becoming a local to the Westside.” The bikeway tends to attract crowds, so bikers beware, it can become a bit of an obstacle course in some spots (we’ve spotted a Segway or several rolling along the route). Regardless, it serves as an excellent, easy, flat ride along the shimmering Pacific.

Connecting Culver City to the coast, the Ballona Creek bicycle path follows the waterway for about seven miles from the above Marvin Braude Bike Trail in Playa del Rey to Syd Kronenthal Park in east Culver. Offering picturesque views of the Ballona Wetlands, the Baldwin Hills and the Santa Monica Mountains (on a good day), the paved path receives nods from many LAist readers as well as Gary Kavanagh of Gary Rides Bikes, who notes, “The Ballona Creek path is a great way between the coast and Culver City, and with the Expo Line phase 1 completed, has become a valuable and separated from traffic bike connection with the Metro Rail system.”

Biking along the Los Angeles River is a favorite choice of LAist readers, as well as Ted Rogers of BikingInLA and Carol Feucht of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. And this 7.4-mile stretch beginning in Atwater Village and heading up through the Glendale Narrows provides one of the greenest routes, with views of birds and the San Gabriel Mountains. There are also several parks along the route, including Griffith Park, Oso Park and Rattlesnake Park. Feucht says of the Narrows:

What makes the Glendale Narrows so great is that it is one of the few sections of the L.A. River that has a dirt bottom. Plants and birds (and trash) thrive here, and you can also see some strange sights on occasion, like people biking “on” the river (They’re like Jesus on a bike!), people fishing, teenagers making out, artists painting, and, as you know, that giant rubber ducky. There are also pocket parks and exercise machines for folks to take a break from their rides or walks.

Riders should note that some cyclists complain of air pollution along the bikeway thanks to its proximity to the 5 Freeway. The age-old clash between cyclists and pedestrians has existed along this route as well, but as Rogers says, “A little courtesy on both sides goes a long way.”

As L.A.’s largest park, Griffith Park brings more than just The Autry, Greek Theater, L.A. Zoo, Travel Town, Griffith Observatory and Griffith Merry-Go-Round to Angelenos, it’s also blessed with a scenic, tree-lined, nine-mile bike loop. And it incorporates the L.A. River Bike Path, too! Cyclists can either start from the northern tip by taking Zoo Drive at Riverside Drive or advance from the south by taking Crystal Springs Drive at Los Feliz Boulevard. The two routes join inside the park, forming the loop. Rental bikes are available inside the park if you’re without your own set of wheels.

A few LAist readers gave the bikeway along the Metro Orange Line shout-outs, and we can’t forget about our northern neighbors. The bikeway and pedestrian path parallels the four-mile Metro Orange Line Extension from the Canoga Station across the San Fernando Valley up to Chatsworth. It also links up with the Sepulveda Dam Bike Path.


Anyone who’s lived or played in Long Beach has likely pedaled along its placid shoreline, taking in views of affordable beachfront housing and the majestic Queen Mary. Beginning at Shoreline Village, the 17-foot-wide concrete trail bids adieu to the lighthouse and cuts through the sand for about 3.1 miles to Alamitos Bay. Belmont Brewing Company, perched above the path at the start of the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, serves as the perfect spot to stop and refuel, with beachfront seating to boot.

This route, as cleverly named by Jon Riddle and Sarah Amelar, authors of Where to Bike Los Angeles, forms the shape of an abstract four-leaf clover in Santa Clarita. The finishing touches were recently added to the route, which consists of 100 percent paved bike paths. With only one or two street crossings, the tree-lined journey hugs the Santa Clara River, running alongside and over the river and its tributaries. Bicyclists can hop onto the path from multiple locations, and nearly a dozen parks can be accessed along the route.

A vintage route with much history, The Donut in Palos Verdes goes back at least 50 years to a time when the loop began at, you guessed it, a donut shop. Jon Riddle and Sarah Amelar, authors of Where to Bike Los Angeles, laud the path as “probably our favorite ride,” noting that it’s not for the average bicyclist. The 28-mile circuit of rolling hills proves strenuous, following Palos Verdes Drive along the Palos Verdes Peninsula from the south to the east and looping back around. Cyclists training for races know this route well, and most of the trip consists of bike lanes. One of the more scenic biking experiences, cyclists, while keeping their eyes on the path, of course, will take in views of the glistening Pacific, Catalina Island, Point Vicente Lighthouse, Point Fermin Lighthouse, Fort MacArthur, architecture and plenty of open spaces.

Another recommendation from Ted Rogers of BikingInLA, this route is not one you’ll find listed on Yelp, Wikipedia or other local cycling blogs. It’s Rogers’ “all-time favorite ride,” and he was kind enough to share it with us:

Depending on where you start, you can experience virtually all of Los Angeles on a single street, from Chinatown through Elysian Park and Hollywood, along the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, and past the mansions of Beverly Hills and UCLA. West of the 405, it turns into an exhilarating mix of hills and curves leading up to Pacific Palisades, followed by a high-speed descent down to the coast. From there, you can head up PCH through Malibu, or down the coast bike path to Santa Monica and Venice.

It’s not a ride for the faint-hearted, though. The east end features some of L.A.’s crappiest bike lanes, while riders have to contend with heavy traffic in the Hollywood and WeHo sections, and high-speed traffic through Beverly Hills and Westwood. West of the 405, it takes a confident rider to contend with speeding drivers who tend to pass way too close on the many curves. Best time to ride it is early Sunday morning, when traffic is at its lightest.

Another insidery recommendation comes from Damien Newton of Streetsblog Los Angeles, and it sounds like the perfect mixture of city streets and the ‘burbs.
My favorite bike ride used to be the one from where I lived in Fairfax to Downtown Los Angeles. I’d get on 4th Street right where it started outside Park LaBrea and ride it east until I hit midtown. At some point before MacArthur Park I’d cut south and take 7th into Downtown. It was the best of both worlds, quiet residential L.A. and the bustle and excitement of a major street.

From LAist.com

GoPro adds overlaid performance metrics to footage

It’s pretty rare nowadays to get home from a ride without seeing someone with an action camera mounted somewhere on their bike. But, for those who want to overlay performance metrics like speed, distance and heart rate onto their footage, until now Garmin’s VIRB camera was the only option.

As part of its newly announced Developer Program, GoPro cameras can now not only be operated using Polar’s V800; metrics recorded by the watch can also be overlaid directly onto footage from the action cameras.

Details are still a bit thin, but we’d expect the V800 to be able to control basic features such starting/stopping recording and displaying information like battery life and remaining memory.

The GoPro Developer Program has been quietly ramping up for about year and promises to bring other collaborations to the action cameras. While Polar is one the early adopters of the ‘Works with GoPro’ functionality, the Developer Program has allowed third parties to create GoPro approved apps, devices, mounts and housings that will seamlessly integrate with action cameras. The camera brand already has colaborations with BMW, Fisher-Price, Telefonica and Timecode Systems, with more in the pipeline.

Read more at BikeRadar.com

California Bicycle Laws

The California Vehicle Code contains the state laws that specify where and how bikes must operate. For the most part, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers. (CVC 21200).

There are some specific rules. Below, for your benefit, we summarize the key sections of the law that relate to cycling.

If you’re moving as fast as traffic, you can ride wherever you want.

If you’re moving slower than traffic, you can still “take the lane.” The law says that people who ride bikes must ride as close to the right side of the road as practicable except under the following conditions: when passing, preparing for a left turn, avoiding hazards, if the lane is too narrow to share, or if approaching a place where a right turn is authorized. CVC 21202. Unfortunately, some motorists and even police don’t understand cyclists’ right to “take the lane.”

Use the bicycle lane. On a roadway with a bike lane, bicyclists traveling slower than traffic must use the bike lane except when making a left turn, passing, avoiding hazardous conditions, or approaching a place where a right turn is authorized. CVC 21208

Ride with traffic. Bicyclists must travel on the right side of the roadway in the direction of traffic, except when passing, making a legal left turn, riding on a one-way street, riding on a road that is too narrow, or when the right side of the road is closed due to road construction. CVC 21650

Mopeds and high-speed electric bikes are not like regular bikes. Gas-powered bicycles and type 3 electric bicycles (with top assisted speeds of 28 mph) may not be used on trails or bike paths or lanes unless allowed by local authorities. They may be used in bike lanes or separated bikeways adjacent to the roadway. CVC 21207.5 They require helmets and may not be operated by people under age 16.

Low-speed electric bicycles are almost like regular bikes. Type 1 and 2 electric bicycles (with top assisted speeds of 20 mph) are allowed wherever regular bikes are allowed unless a sign specifically prohibits electric bicycles.

Bike path obstruction: No one may stop on or park a bicycle on a bicycle path. CVC 21211

Sidewalks: Individual cities and counties control whether bicyclists may ride on sidewalks. CVC 21206

Freeways: Bicycles (including motorized bicycles) may not be ridden on freeways and expressways where doing so is prohibited by the California Department of Transportation and local authorities. CVC 21960
Toll bridges: Bicyclists may not cross a toll bridge unless permitted to do so by the California Department of Transportation. CVC 23330

Brakes: Bicycles must be equipped with a brake that allows an operator to execute a one-braked-wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement. CVC 21201(a)

Handlebars: Handlebars must not be higher than the rider’s shoulders. CVC 21201(b)

Bicycle size: Bicycles must be small enough for the rider to stop, support it with one foot on the ground, and start safely. CVC 21201(c)

Lights: At night a white headlight visible from the front must be attached to the bicycle or the bicyclist. CVC 21201(d) and CVC 21201(e)

Reflectors: At night bicycles must have the following reflectors:
• Visible from the back: red reflector. You may attach a solid or flashing red rear light in addition to the reflector.
• Visible from the front & back: white or yellow reflector on each pedal or on the bicyclist’s shoes or ankles
• Visible from the side: 1) white or yellow reflector on the front half of the bicycle and 2) a red or white reflector on each side of the back half of the bike. These reflectors are not required if the bike has reflectorized front and back tires. CVC 21201(d)

Seats: All riders must have a permanent, regular seat, unless the bicycle is designed by the manufacturer to be ridden without a seat. Bicycle passengers weighing less than 40 lbs. must have a seat which retains them in place and protects them from moving parts. CVC 21204


Helmets: Bicyclists and bicycle passengers under age 18 must wear an approved helmet when riding on a bicycle. CVC 21212

Head phones: Bicyclists may not wear earplugs in both ears or a headset covering both ears. Hearing aids are allowed. CVC 27400

Cell phones: Unlike motorists, cyclists are permitted to use a handheld cell phone while riding. Be careful!

Alcohol and drugs: Bicyclists may not ride while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. CVC 21200.5
Hitching rides: Bicyclists may not hitch rides on vehicles. CVC 21203

Carrying articles: Bicyclists may not carry items which keep them from using at least one hand upon the handlebars. CVC 21205

Pedestrians: Bicyclists must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians within marked crosswalks or within unmarked crosswalks at intersections. Bicyclists must also yield the right-of-way to totally or partially blind pedestrians carrying a predominantly white cane or using a guide dog. CVC 21950 and CVC 21963

Parking: Bicyclists may not leave bicycles on their sides on the sidewalk or park bicycles in a manner which obstructs pedestrians. CVC 21210

From CalBike.org

Treat yourself to a smoother, more confident ride with a set of 28mm tires

From Bicycling.com

Tires, and tire pressure, are the easiest and least expensive way to change the way your bike rides. Bigger tires are smoother, better at absorbing shock, generally more resistant to flatting, and provide more traction.

This is why, a couple of years ago, road bikes started appearing in shops with stock tires measuring 25mm instead of 23mm. Now, thanks to the wanderlust that’s taking more of us off-pavement, and our collective growing desire to ride longer and more comfortably in more conditions, 28 is starting to become the new 25. (Extra clearance on an increasing number of road frames with disc brakes means it might not be long before 30 or even 32 become popular, but for now 28mm is what fits into modern road frames with short-reach rim brakes.)

1. Vittoria Rubino G+
Rolls quickly and provides good feedback, with a smooth, damped ride.
$56, 280g, 28.1mm

2. Continental GP4000s II
Plumps out to a whopping 30mm, making for a velvety ride and great grip if you can fit it into your frame.
$70, 254g, 30mm

3. Clement Strada LGG
A steadfast performer: light, reasonably durable, provides decent grip and a relatively smooth ride.
$50, 247g, 28.3mm

4. Bontrager R3
The lightest, narrowest, and fastest-feeling of the group, with reflective sidewalls for extra visibility.
$55, 246g, 27.7mm

All tires were measured at 100 psi on rims with 17mm internal width.

Are Disc Brakes Dangerous To Road Cyclists?

Following Fran Ventoso’s gruesome injury at Paris-Roubaix, the UCI has suspended testing of disc brakes in all road races. What do you think – is it the right call, or were they too hasty?

We’ve also got MORE speculation about motorised doping, after a French TV channel reportedly found 7 bikes with hidden motors at high profile races. The question is – who would be crazy enough to try and fool the cycling world in light of the first scandal just a few months ago?

Elsewhere, we check out possibly the world’s most eco-friendly bike and a ‘smart’ aero bike that has raised millions on KickStarter. And of course, we’ve got the best tweets, captions and comments in all of cycling.

Breathless Agony Ride Saturday, May 7

Are you ready to test yourself on the Toughest Century in Southern California?

If you can complete all 4 Passes with 114 Miles and 12,000 Feet of Climbing, you will qualify to purchase the special Breathless Agony Century Jersey.

Rider Limit
This year we will be limiting the number of riders to 600. There is no day-of-ride registration. This ride is becoming more popular and we are forecasting that it will sell out quickly. Register early to assure yourself a place.

King of the Mountains Century Challenge
If you can complete the 4 Pass Option of the Breathless Agony Century, you may then go on to qualify for the King of the Mountains Century Challenge at http://planetultra.com/portfolio/king-of-the-mountains/

The Breathless Agony Century is honored to be Stage 2 of the 3 Stages in the King of the Mountains Century Challenge.

Will this ride be held if it rains or snows?

Yes, the Breathless Agony Ride will be held whether it rains or shines. There are NO REFUNDS. It might even be snowing between Angelus Oaks and Onyx Summit — the ride will be continue anyway (but we would not recommend you continuing unless you are extremely well prepared).

What are the Start Times?
Please arrive early and be prepared to start between 6:30 A.M. and 7:00 A.M. You can start earlier than 6:30 A.M. as long as you checkout with the timekeeper but this may result in you arriving at the First Rest Stop before it is open.

Will the Course be closed to traffic?
This course will not be closed to traffic and will not have police patrolling the roads and intersections. The road surface conditions will be “terrible to excellent” depending on weather conditions prior to the ride. Traffic regulations must be adhered to at all times: Safety is our most important issue.

Learn more and sign up here.