Two wheels good: a beginner’s guide to commuting by bike



ave you ever noticed how cheerful your cycling colleagues are when they arrive at work in the morning? That’s because their commute is quicker and cheaper, they are full of endorphins from the exercise, and they have avoided being crammed on to hot, overcrowded public transport.

The good news is it’s actually very easy to follow their lead. Commuting by bike is an intimidating prospect for a lot of people, but it shouldn’t be. A surprisingly small amount of kit is required, starting, unsurprisingly, with a bicycle.

If you own one already, use that. Just make sure you check that there is air in the tyres and that the brakes are in good condition, particularly if you haven’t ridden it recently. Ask a cycling buddy to help, book it in for a service at your local bike shop, or find a tutorial on YouTube – basic bike maintenance is easy, even for total beginners.

If you don’t own a bike, consider a local cycle hire scheme. With 11,500 bikes, London’s Santander Cycles is the biggest in the country, but bikeshare systems are spreading, from nextbike in Glasgow, which is expanding this autumn, to Mobike and Ofo, which launched this summer in Manchester and Cambridge respectively and are set to expand further.

The government’s Cycle to Work scheme, meanwhile, offers big savings on the price of a new bike: your employer buys the bicycle, which you then “hire” from them through salary sacrifice (the savings come from the fact that you’re not paying tax and NI on the fees), and you buy it outright at the end of the 12-month hire period.

Once you have your bike sorted, there are a few other things to consider, in terms of clothing, accessories, and staying safe on the road. Front and back lights are a must – USB-chargeable ones avoid the hassle of changing batteries and are more environmentally friendly.


Read More

Three New Ped/Bike Bridges Coming to the L.A. River


There are three promising active transportation bridge projects underway to connect bike and walk trails along the central natural-bottom Glendale Narrows stretch of the Los Angeles River. These bridges will encourage walking and bicycling, bring together communities long divided by the river, and set the stage for great non-motorized access to planned river revitalization and naturalization.


1. Glendale Narrows Riverwalk Bridge

This week, California Assemblymember Laura Friedman announced that efforts are moving forward to fund a bicycle-pedestrian bridge connecting Glendale to Griffith Park. The project is known as the third phase of the Glendale Narrows Riverwalk. The initial Riverwalk phase is already in place with a linear park and bike/walk path extending along the north side of the river about 0.6 miles from Bette Davis Picnic Area to Flower Street.

The bridge will be located at the elbow of Flower Street, just downstream from Dreamworks and very near the intersection of the 5 and 134 Freeways.


This week, Friedman was successful in inserting a $20 million allocation for the new bridge into a bond measure expected to go to voters for approval in 2018. The ballot measure is State Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin De León’s S. B. 5the California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access for All Act of 2018, which still needs to be passed by the state legislature.

Assemblymember Friedman, a former Glendale City Councilmember and a champion for active transportation there, emphasizes the link between Glendale and Griffith Park stating:

We’ve worked for years to get this project off the ground. Thousands of residents on the Glendale side live in the shadow of Griffith Park with no way to get there without braving the freeway or driving for miles on city streets through Burbank or Los Angeles. The bridge isn’t just a link between neighborhoods, it’s connecting people with open space, miles of bike paths, and economic opportunity, all while creating jobs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and congestion on our streets and freeways.

Friedman’s press statement quotes support from L.A. City Councilmembers Mitch O’Farrell and David Ryu, the later of whom expressed excitement over connecting more people to “one of L.A.’s greatest treasures… Griffith Park.”

If approved by California voters in 2018, the start of construction would likely be 2019 or later.


Read More

The Forsyth Cup – Wolfpack Hustle Winners

Youngsters sometimes come to us asking for a young blood division. We always say, when it is your time, it is your time. Witness the latest Dog Tag holder, barely older than the prize itself. Chloe Patrick, at 12 years old becomes the youngest Wolfpack Hustle champion. Chloe dominated a field of seasoned track racers executing text book moves at perfect moments to slice through the match sprint eliminations and to the top step at the Forsyth Cup.


17 year-old Rafael Solorzano takes the Dog Tags after top showings in all 3 points rounds of the Wolfpack Hustle Forsyth Cup. Even as 2nd place Jordan Zhdonov scored highest in points, it was in the match sprint eliminations where Rafael sliced through to the top step. In addition to the Dog Tags, Rafael took home $275, the champion jersey and a set of Conquer Elite cranks! Chris Hildreth took home 3rd place after a spirited match sprint for the minor final.


Wolfpack Hustle – The Forsyth Cup – Sept 16

500m / 500m Mens Womens Qualifiers
Top 12 advance to Miss n out finale
Miss n’ out elminations for all others to advance to remaining 12 Finale slots.
Dog Tags and cash


Read More

6 of the best bike locks


The ’80s and ’90s saw an arms race between lock makers and bike thieves that eventually settled down when lock makers figured out how to make locks that would resist everything but hefty portable power tools. Here’s our selection of the locks that have the right stuff.

A sufficiently determined thief can breach any lock. However, for the best locks ‘sufficiently determined’ means ‘carrying a portable angle grinder’. That’s not a cheap tool in itself, and while it’s quick, it’s also very conspicuous.

One technique of your professional thief is therefore to damage the lock so you can’t open it, and then come back late at night with the big guns. If you find your lock mechanism made unusable — filled with glue, for example — break the lock yourself. Hiring an angle grinder will cost you about £20 for the day.

That’s about the only way you’ll quickly get through most of our lock selection here. The more you pay, on the whole, the longer it takes to breach a lock with unpowered brute force attacks, to the point where a thief won’t bother with the best locks, but move on to easier pickings. It’s a sad truth that the basis of on-street bike security is to make your bike too much trouble so a thief will nick someone else’s.

Read More