Ride lots! Sustained aerobic exercise—the kind we get on those long, luxurious bike rides—builds your brain.
Last week, Tucson, Arizona’s Bike Shop Hub posted the following photo of a “bike lane” built so badly it would be laughable if it weren’t so depressing. The raised bike lane, which appears to be on the shoulder of an overpass, angles in to join up with the sidewalk…right through a metal barrier. It’s the bike lane equivalent of building a highway that casually veers into a brick wall. While it’s hilarious in the same way this is hilarious, the photo just highlights the second-class citizen approach many city planners still take to bicyclists. Money is poured into road projects for cars, and if a little bit is set aside for bike projects, so little care goes into their planning and execution that we end up with infrastructure so bad it’s barely usable.
Being cheap means always paying the lowest price for everything. Being frugal means spending enough money to get your money’s worth. Don’t be cheap; be frugal.
More and more cities are becoming bike-friendly. If you have good bike infrastructure in your city, commuting to work via bike or at least doing some of your errands on a bike can save you money. Plus, it’s good for your health and good for the environment.
According to a 2015 AAA study, it cost $8,698 a year for the average sedan owner. You can certainly get a bike for less than that but if you are going to be biking a lot, you want a quality two-wheeler that is comfortable and reliable. While you can certainly spend much more, you can get a good commuter bike for as little as $300 or $400 according to bicycling.com. Any lower than that and you may have the same problems you encounter when you buy a cheap car: constant repairs. (If you can avoid paying to having your bike tuned up by becoming a “DIY” expert, you can save even more.)
If you’re able to give up your car, that’s a big savings, more than $8,000 a year. But even if you keep the car and use the bike more often, you can save on things like gas, parking and wear and tear on your car.
If you’re new to bike commuting, don’t buy your bike online or from a big box store. Go to a proper bike shop where the staff are knowledgeable and can help you not only pick the best bike for the circumstances of your commute but advise you on the accessories you need: a helmet, lights, and a lock to keep you and your bike safe.
Read more at csmonitor.com
CicLAvia heads back to it’s anniversary route through the Heart of LA on October 16 as Boyle Heights, Chinatown, DTLA, and Westlake will host the country’s largest open streets event! Streets will be closed to cars and open for cyclists, pedestrians, runners and skaters to use as a recreational space.
New to CicLAvia? Here are some things you need to know for October 16:
General event information: please contact CicLAvia at 213.355.8500 or email@example.com
For concerns regarding the street closure permit, please reach out to the City of Los Angeles: 213.847.6000
From the PasadenaStarNews.com
PASADENA >>> In an effort to get people out of their cars, Pasadena is transforming into a more bicycle friendly city with reduced lanes on some of its thoroughfares.
Many of the road diets make room for a network of designated bicycle lanes that will eventually integrate with a bike-share program starting next year.
The goal isn’t to slow down motorists, but to give space to pedestrians and bicyclists who have little room on the roads now, said Rich Dilluvio, the pedestrian and bicycle coordinator for Pasadena’s Complete Streets Division.
“It makes it a more pleasant place to live, to ride a bike, to be a pedestrian and to drive,” Dilluvio said. “We think these streets can handle the traffic, they’re just going to have to behave differently.”
The city’s recently updated general plan tasked Dilluvio’s department with making the streets more “complete,” a term used to describe finding a balance between pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists.
Improvements over the next 10 to 15 years include cutting out lanes on Union Street, Orange Grove Boulevard and parts of Colorado Boulevard. On Union, one lane will become a two-way bicycle track separated by a curb and parked cars.
Even further out, lanes on Orange Grove and Colorado Boulevard, east of Hill Avenue, will be replaced with buffered bike lanes — essentially a double striped line that runs between moving and parked cars.
Some residents were worried the changes will cause safety problems, with hard-to-see bicyclists riding past parking garages as drivers try to exit. Business owners close to Union Street were concerned about losing parking spaces.
Some street parking will go away, but it’s unclear how much, Dilluvio said.
Pasadena has already added a bike lane to part of Cordova Avenue and plans to extend that to Marengo in the near future. The transportation department added green striping to lengthy portions of Marengo to warn drivers to watch for bicyclists. Similar green warnings are planned for Union Street, Dilluvio said.
The enhanced bike system will be needed next summer, when a Metro bike-share program adds hundreds of rentable bikes to stations scattered across the city.
Next year, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) will move ahead with a plan to bring 34 bike-share stations with 490 bikes to Pasadena, said Laura Cornejo, deputy executive officer in charge of active transportation.
Metro’s core mission is to get commuters to the Gold Line light-rail or bus stops without driving a car. The bike-share stations will dot Pasadena’s most dense districts, with most ending up on the north-south and east-west thoroughfares between the Rose Bowl and the Gold Line’s Allen Avenue stop, according to a preliminary map of stations provided by Metro.
The city is still working out exactly where each station will go and has begun meeting with businesses and employers, according to Conrad Viana, of Pasadena’s transportation department.
A bike-share system allows users to pull a bike from a bike rack, ride it to work or a transit stop, then drop it off at a different strategically placed docking station for a fee.
The Metro board still needs to approve the Pasadena contract with Bicycle Transit Systems, the same company that built and operates bike-share in downtown Los Angeles, Cornejo said. Metro approved a two-year, $11-million contract with BTS in June 2015.
Riders can walk up to one of 60 downtown L.A. bike stations and pay $3.50 per ride for trips under 30 minutes. But Metro board members and many members of the public said that was too expensive, so the board began a sale of $1.75 per bike trip through September. Under the standard pricing, riders can also obtain a monthly pass for $20 with unlimited free trips up to 30 minutes each, or buy an annual pass for $40 and pay $1.75 for each 30 minute trip.
In order for bike-sharing to work, a city needs an infrastructure of bike lanes and cycle tracks, but the cycle track on Union won’t happen until at least 2021, with the new bike lanes on Colorado and Orange Grove even further out.
Protected bikeways, like the one planned for Union Street, are the “gold standard that people of all ages feel most comfortable riding in,” said Wes Reutimann, executive director of Bike San Gabriel Valley and a Pasadena resident. But Pasadena won’t have any protected routes ready by the time the bike-share program comes online.
Pasadena is woefully behind other cities, he said.
“Only one of our Gold Line stations (in Pasadena) is serviced by a bike lane and that is the Sierra Madre Villa (station) and that just happened,” Reutimann said. “Pasadena has even more work to do than Downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Long Beach.”
Pasadena was chosen as the second Metro bike-share city — of a possible 20 — because of its large student population. The city is also a destination city for employment, shopping, dining and entertainment with expensive parking, Reutimann said.
Reutimann said he wants to see more bike-share stations north of the 210 freeway, where members of the Pasadena low-income community can have access. Currently only two bike-share stations are planned above the freeway, with two more near the Lake and Allen avenue Metro stations, according to the preliminary map.
The slow pace of Pasadena’s bicycle infrastructure is due to funding and red tape, Dilluvio said. The city has to acquire grants for the projects.
“We’re kind of upgrading what we have and then adding to the future,” he said.
Read more at PasadenaStarNews.com
Through neighborhoods gritty and grand, Bob Geren pedals to work.
That’s not so unusual these days, this being L.A. and all, where traffic snails at the pace of Pedro Baez. What makes Geren’s commute unusual is that his office is Dodger Stadium. And that his desk is 330 feet down the lines.
The team’s bench coach bikes to almost every home game, artfully dodging – as per his company’s tradition – potholes, broken glass, texting motorists and the other pitfalls of an urban commute.
His route takes him from the Pasadena theater district, to Los Robles, then down through South Pasadena and to the Arroyo Seco bike path. From there, he takes Griffin Avenue. He crosses Avenue 43, enters Chinatown and takes the pedestrian bridge over the 110 to Elysian Park, which cradles the stadium.
“I feel great when I get here,” he says of the 15-mile ride, which takes him about an hour.
He has never been clipped by a car, and only once has suffered a flat tire. In 10 minutes, he had repaired the flat and was back on the road.
After the blowout, the avid cyclist switched to a heavier bike, with thicker tires less likely to succumb to the pinpricks of a city roadway.
For 7 p.m. games, he likes to arrive by noon, which makes for some short nights and quick mornings.
Like baseball itself, his ride can be a grind, especially on hot days. Doesn’t help that the last leg is uphill, O’Malley’s Mansion rising like Xanadu above the Sunset gate.
The sun is high when he arrives, the clouds usually burned away. On legs still recovering from the rigors of a catching career, he huffs, he puffs, he stands to pedal. Ooooch.
Once in the clubhouse, he showers, then goes through a pregame routine that includes chatting with players about how they’re feeling.
“I try to get a pulse of what’s going on,” the San Diego native says.
As bench coach, he is the manager’s right-hand man, helping with lineups, substitutions, anticipating not just the next play, but two or three plays ahead … even two or three innings ahead.
Since coming aboard this year, Geren has quickly established himself as a sturdy presence, and Manager Dave Roberts praises Geren’s insights, the help he gives, the calming influence, his experience.
“Bob doesn’t just coach the players, he coaches the coaches,” Roberts says of his top assistant.
During games, Roberts will bounce his options off Geren: bunts, pitchouts, steals.
“Late in a game,” Geren says, “I might look out and say ‘do you want to play the line here?’ You want infielders in, or infielders deep? Do you want the pitcher to throw over?’”
They are the sorts of skills honed as manager of the Oakland Athletics for four-plus years, then as New York Mets bench coach for four more.
The biking came about after two knee replacements, following a five-year MLB career. With the Mets last year, he rode a stationary bike each day at the stadium, to keep the knees limber and strong.
That led to his unusual commute with the Dodgers. He found an app that showed the best route from Pasadena to the ballyard. He was soon hooked.
After games, his wife, Pam, meets him and they load the bike on their SUV for the 20-minute ride home.
Riding makes economic sense — he’s able to save gas and get by with one car.
Even more important, it gives Geren time to ponder the game ahead, to think clearly and creatively about the injuries, slumps, hot streaks, snitty fits, hubris, fatigue, frustrations and jet lag that bedevil a baseball team over the course of sports’ longest season.
Geren was interviewed for the Dodgers’ top job before Roberts was selected, then heard about the bench opening. With family still in California, and a mother about to turn 90, Geren concluded it sounded like a fine fit.
And it is.
“I’ve never been happier in my baseball career,” he says. “It’s because of the person Dave Roberts is.”
Geren admits to wanting to manage again. At 54, he is probably an ideal mix of experience and vigor, and entering what has become a prime age for managing. (Joe Maddon is 62; last year’s World Series managers were 61 and 66.)
If the Dodgers continue their winning climb, he’ll probably get another shot, leaving a sizeable hole for the team eventually to fill.
Till then, the long-distance Dodger will keep pedaling, past the traffic that sometimes rushes a little too close, over the crinkled concrete that rattles his knees, to his outdoor office on the hill.
For motorists, the California Incline was always a glorious and scenic way to journey between Pacific Coast Highway and the bluffs of Santa Monica along Ocean Avenue.
Bicyclists and pedestrians who traveled the Incline, however, may not have such fond memories.
The narrow, crumbling sidewalk that ran alongside the road made for a treacherous, crowded passage. Cyclists and pedestrians often had to move off the sidewalk and onto the roadway in order to pass each other.
The rush of speeding cars just a few feet away made it difficult to relax and enjoy the stunning beach views on the horizon.
That all changed on Thursday as city officials unveiled a new and improved California Incline with great fanfare, one they promoted as being more safe and inviting for pedestrians and bicyclists.
The changes were part of a $17 million seismic upgrade for the Incline, which was closed in April of 2015 and eventually demolished to make way for the new span.
The four-foot-wide sidewalk that was once a crumbling lifeline for walkers and cyclists on the old Incline is gone. It’s been replaced by a much wider, smoothly-paved road with clearly marked lanes for bikes and people.
And pedestrians and cyclists are now shielded from passing cars by a concrete barrier.
These changes were welcome news to the scattering of pedestrians and cyclists who sampled the new Incline on Thursday after it opened to the public. But some wondered whether the new designs went far enough.
Vince Malmgren, an avid cyclist, said he wished the new bike paths “were a little bit wider, but it’s definitely a lot better than what was there before.”
That sentiment was echoed by another rider, Julie Schy. “I don’t think it’s wide enough,” she said. “I personally think it’s too narrow. You have to be single file. I see accidents.”
But her cycling companion, Norman Meyers, disagreed.
“I think it’s plenty,” he said. He welcomed the opening of the Incline and said he planned on using it to bike into Santa Monica from the beach bike path. “Now we can get to all the shops and restaurants, no problem. This will be life-changing for us,” he said.
The new Incline has one pedestrian path and two bike lanes. If you stay within the lanes, each bike path is less than four feet across, as is the pedestrian path. At the bottom of the hill all three lanes merge into one that turns into a ramp connecting to a bridge that crosses PCH.
The bridge over PCH is also new, replacing an older, chain-link cage. The new bridge has a more open design so you can enjoy the final leg of the journey toward the beach from the Incline.
That’s a route that Graham Simon often took when he would hop on his beach cruiser and head down the Incline to play beach volleyball before the Incline was closed. “It was sketchy because we would ride our bikes down the sidewalk and cars would be zooming up from the PCH and going pretty fast,” he said. Now, he says, “the barrier alone makes such a huge improvement.”
Even with the added safety features, cyclists and walkers will still have to contend with the fact that the Incline is, well, an incline. It features an eight percent grade.
“It’s a little bit steep, admittedly,” said Kyle Kozar, Bike Share Coordinator with the city of Santa Monica. “But I don’t think it’s going to be a big deal, even riding up it.”
Santa Monica city engineer Lee Swain had some advice for cyclist heading down the Incline: “Enjoy the views, but of course be safe. Make sure to test your brakes,” he said.
Swain said that the Incline was originally built as a dirt trail in the late 1800’s. It opened to vehicular traffic in 1905.
The last time it had serious construction work was almost 80 years ago, well before modern seismic codes were put into place.
The old bridge was actually a series or five partial bridges, according to Swain. The new bridge is one continuous, 750-foot-long span. It’s also 52 feet wide, which is more than five feet wider than the old bridge.
While the focus Thursday was on what’s new with the Incline, officials also pointed out what didn’t change.
As a nod to the past, the iconic, porcelain-coated Santa Monica sign that stood at the Incline’s base is back, spiffed up and featuring more energy efficient lights. The Incline’s new outside rail also recreates the archway motif featured in the old bridge.
The bluffs along the Incline look the same to the casual eye, which was the intent. But change happened here, too. More than a thousand special nails were drilled into the soil without defacing them, Swain said. This preserves the weather-worn appearance of the bluffs while at the same time making the area stronger in the event of an earthquake.
“A lot of people really loved the natural beauty of the erosion that has occurred over many, many years,” he said.
Santa Monica Mayor Tony Vazquez said that more than 90 percent of the project’s cost was paid by federal funds.
A separate $2 million construction effort to renovate the nearby Idaho Trail Overcrossing is almost finished as well, and should be ready by the end of September, he added.
Every month, we curate a collection of the gear that brings the most color to our cycling lives. This month’s roundup comes from Bicycling‘s free-range, Boulder wingnut Joe Lindsey, who lives for the summer dawn patrol, road or mountain.
1. Q36.5 Base Layer 2
A base layer is a range extender; a good one is worth more than a jersey. The Q36.5 blows away every one I’ve tried in 20 years, with its luxuriously soft fabric that has a strange alchemy of characteristics: warm but airy, light, and with taffy-like stretch. Dries in moments. Never stinks. It’s one of the top five pieces of cycling apparel I’ve owned.
2. Silca Seat Roll
For 15 years, my seat pack has been a square of waxed cotton canvas I bought from Rivendell for $3, secured to the rails with a Jandd ankle strap. Sadly, Rivendell no longer sells it. When mine finally dies, the Silca Seat Roll will replace it. It’s 26 times the price, but don’t hate: Based on Silca’s obsessive focus on quality, I predict that this handmade, limited-edition seat roll will outlast me.
Price: $80, with CO2 inflation kit
3. Pegoretti Duende
I’ve seen this conversation play out on many a bike-industry ride. Brand rep: “What’s your personal bike?” Journalist: “A Trek/Specialized/Giant/Cannondale.” Rep: “You should test our new Cannondale/Giant/Specialized/Trek! It’s X-percent stiffer/lighter!” Here’s how it goes with me. Rep: “What’s your personal bike?” Me: “Pegoretti Duende.” Rep: “Oh. That’s a nice bike.”
Price: $3,350 (frame set)
4. Twelve-inch Staub fry pan
A too-short list of what I’ve cooked in this cast-iron pan: hash browns, bacon, caramelized Brussels sprouts, pan-charred asparagus and tri-tip, soffrito for an all-day Bolognese sauce, cassoulet, fried eggs, quesadillas, and more. The enamel coating frees me from the inane cast-iron cleaning myths, which is good, because I use this pan almost every day. (Pro tip: Pick up a less-expensive cast-iron skillet from Lodge in the Bicyclingstore.)
5. Panaracer GravelKing tire
What if a tire could feel fast and supple, wear like a pair of Carhartts, rarely flat, and cost one-third to half of some Euro models? What if that tire was available in a 28mm width, with a pleasing rotundity that makes chip seal and broken pavement feel like new tarmac and mutes chop-and-rattle dirt roads? It would be 100-percent badassity—and this would be it.
Price: $45 per tire
Most bike maps are too complicated.
This is not because I am a simpleton, I like to think. It’s because all those curves and corners and superfluous details just get in the way of the goal, which is figuring out where to ride, how to ride there, and how hard it will be.
There is a solution. A new bike map, the one you see above, is not too complicated.
Graphic designer Zach Lee’s aptly named Boulder Bike Map borrows from subway schematics and ski resort maps to present Boulder, Colorado’s extensive road (and groad) rides in a manner that is simultaneously detailed and wonderfully simple.
Lee pared down the mass of information found on traditional road or trail maps using the well-established design language of Harry Beck’s original London Tube map. He then added cycling-specific difficulty ratings for each road using the color-coding of ski resort maps. Green is easy, blue is moderate, black is nasty. Extremely nasty climbs (the double black ski equivalent) are red because, as Nigel Tufnel taught us, a black line can be none more black than it already is.
The result is a map that provides the essentials — where does the road go? What does it connect to? How hard is it to ride? Is there a coffee shop at the end? — without crushing riders beneath a mountain of unnecessary information, like the frequency and radius of each corner between here and Timbuktu.
It’s what all bike maps should look like. It’s oriented using the predominant landmarks of a given locale — in Boulder’s case, the easily spotted Rocky Mountains — and is scaled roughly to the time it’s going to take a rider to get somewhere. That means that a big climb gets a longer line and more space than a flat road of the same distance.
“Since I was a young graphic designer, I was always inspired by transport maps, I loved them,” Lee said. “Beck’s maps, Massimo Vignelli’s of the New York subway; this whole project started when I realized that we can find a way to share local route knowledge in way that’s very simple and digestible.”
Read more at http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/09/news/this-is-what-bike-maps-should-look-like_419994#v5TpqWKV7kZQZXlx.99