Cars v bikes: 10 good reasons to switch to pedal power

From the IrishTimes.com


Cars and bikes – or at least those who propel them – seem to be forever at war. Motorists are always giving about cyclists, who they believe have a death wish and a poor understanding of the rules of the road, while cyclists are eternally convinced that wilfully ignorant motorists drive with barely a thought for the safety of their fellow road-users.

The tension can cause significant personality shifts in both camps: otherwise decent people can turn into frothing monsters in a heartbeat. Pricewatch can say this with a degree of certainty because we have been that frothing monster on more than one occasion – sometimes with mortifying results.

Not long ago, we were cycling down Dublin’s O’Connell Street on a bright and sunny morning. All was well with the world. Then a taxi driver – they can be the worst of motorists – honked their horn as they came up behind us.

Rather than looking to see what was the cause of the taxi driver’s concern, Pricewatch immediately went into uber-defensive mode and started gesticulating wildly, and in a not entirely pleasant fashion, at the cabbie who had had the temerity to beep at us.

Then he pulled up alongside us and explained that he had been alerting us to the fact that our wallet was dangerously close to falling out of our back pocket, finishing with the words “you f**king muppet”.

He was right. It was muppet-like behaviour on our part but despite that incident – and many others when we have let ourselves down – we remain firmly in the cycling camp, and, in honour of National Bike Week, we thought we’d look at all the ways the bike is miles better than the car.


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Shimano Unveils Ultegra 8100

Employing the latest technologies from elite DURA-ACE R9100 road components and through its proven System Engineering approach, Shimano’s ULTEGRA R8000 series delivers refined rider ergonomics, increased shifting performance and confident control in all riding conditions. Featuring expanded Rider Tuned gearing configurations, more shifting and braking choices and the power of Shimano’s E-Tube Project customization, ULTEGRA R8000 is designed to meet the specific needs of the broad spectrum of performance road cyclists.

From road racing to mixed-terrain adventures, ULTEGRA R8000 is more versatile than ever before. Available with either Di2 electronic or mechanical shifting, each system is also available in either rim brake or hydraulic disc brake options. Expanded Rider Tuned gearing options—including Shimano’s widest-range new 11-34T performance road cassette—enhance drivetrain versatility. ULTEGRA R8000 also utilizes Shimano’s low-profile SHADOW Rear Derailleur design for optimal shift performance and a sleek appearance. For Di2 shift systems, Shimano’s SYNCHRO and SEMI-SYNCHRO Shift programming continues to open up new possibilities.


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Santa Ana River Trail Bike Ride and Festival – June 11

The Santa Ana River Trail Bike Ride & Festival is presented by the PRCSD and Riverside County Regional Park and Open-Space District and promotes a healthy and active lifestyle highlighting the Santa Ana River trail. The event for all ages features two free community bike rides from Ryan Bonaminio Park to Martha McLean Park (4.5 miles round-trip) and to Hidden Valley Nature Center (14.5 miles round-trip).  Activities and light refreshments will be available at each locations with water stations along the trail.  The festival includes food vendors, health and safety fair, activities, entertainment, opportunity drawings, bike safety demonstrations and a BMX showcase.

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New Metro Bike Share launch could mean an additional 400 cyclists on city streets every day

From PasadenaNow.com


The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority bike sharing program will launch officially in Pasadena on Friday, July 14. If statistics on bikesharing use collected by Metro hold true for Pasadena, city streets could see an additional 400 cyclists on city streets every day.

Image: Metro

The rollout this summer of 400 bicycles is expected to see 31 kiosks from the Arroyo Seco on the west to Allen Avenue on the east, and from Hammond Street on the north down to Fillmore Street on the south.

This just the latest in a string of Metro Bike Sharing programs rolling out across the region this year. But combined, the region’s bike share expansions will result in approximately 1,400 bicycles at up to 125 stations across LA County.

In Pasadena, it is estimated that there will be a minimum of at least one trip per bicycle per day as Metro riders detrain and grab the easily-accessible bikes to take to the streets — and some of those riders might be either inexperienced at riding city streets, or just a little rusty.

But Metro, along with a host of City leaders and bike advocates, is feeling positive over the new wheels.

“The Metro Bike Share program offers a unique, shared economy means of transportation that is both economical and good for the environment by providing bikes as new mobility options that get people out of their cars for short trips around our beautiful city,” said Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek.

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Your Comprehensive Guide to Faster Climbing

From Bicycling.com

Want to get better at climbing? Here’s (nearly) everything you need to know.


It’s one thing to grind your way up a steep climb, body rocking back and forth, bike barely moving forward–or even staying upright. It is another to gracefully ascend into the high mountains, your movements a lesson in fluidity, efficiency, and grace. Indeed, handling truly steep ascents (10 percent gradient or more) requires both fitness and skill. Here are some of the keys to progressing beyond survival mode when climbing.


Spin (More) to Win

Rather than grinding away in a larger gear, shift into an easier gear in order to keep your cadence high. Aim for at least 80 rpm, 90 if you can muster it. For most cyclists, this higher spin rate will lengthen the time before their legs become flushed with momentum-killing lactic acid.

Of course, one’s ability to keep the legs churning will be influenced largely by the available gearing on your bike. It used to be that if you wanted to ditch the heavier triple chainring setup, your only alternative was a 53-39 double chainring, which frankly doesn’t bode well for going up steeps hills. That 39-tooth little ring is too large for most amateur cyclists to spin up really steep hills. But nowadays many, if not most, bikes come stock with 52-36 mid-compact setups, or even 50-34 compact gearing. The smaller little ring allows you to spin that higher cadence. And while you do lose some top-end speed because of the smaller big ring, unless you’re a wannabe sprinter this shouldn’t be too big a deal.


Practice Standing Up…

When a climb becomes so steep that your cadence drops below 70 rpm, it is time to rise out of the saddle. This allows you to use your upper body to help your legs keep the pedals moving. In order to get comfortable and efficient with this position, use long, gentle hills to practice moving from a seated to standing position. Your seated position should be with hands on the bar tops near the stem. Pull lightly, keeping shoulders and hips square. This keeps your upper body relaxed to reduce energy cost and maximize lung capacity.

Before standing, switch your grip to the brake lever hoods. Rise and bring your hips forward, straightening and lengthening your lower back and opening your chest. The saddle’s nose should just brush the back of your legs. Try not to pull with your arms on easy hills because it taxes your muscles with little return in speed. Let your weight help as you smoothly pull your body over one pedal, then over the other. Pull up on the right hood as you push down with your right foot, alternating right arm/right foot, left arm/left foot. The bike will rock subtly beneath you, establishing a rhythmic powering of the pedals.

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Opening of Greenway Trail along LA River in Studio City celebrated

From DailyNews.com


Helen Giroux stopped — and stared stunned on Saturday — at a hand-crafted iron gate whose twisted forms looked like waters swirling in the nearby Los Angeles River.

Beyond it, a hillside path leading down to a new Zev Yaroslavsky L.A. River Greenway Trail was lined with yellow daisies, orange poppies and enough blooming jimsonweed to form a lavender bugle corps.

“What a beautiful gate,” exclaimed Giroux, a Studio City resident of 33 years. “The grandeur of open space is epitomized in that gate.”

The half-mile greenway was dedicated Saturday during a garden trail ceremony that drew more than 100 Los Angeles city and county officials, river advocates, Native Americans and local residents.

They hailed a Greenway Trail that provided a missing link for a 4-mile walk from Whitsett Avenue to Coldwater Canyon on the north bank of the L.A. River.

They hailed a garden paradise of more than 3,000 California sycamores, walnuts and shrubs and flowers, to become a future home to birds, butterflies and insects.

They praised a long-ago vision to boost river water quality by capturing stormwater runoff through a system of bioswales.

And they credited former county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky for putting up the vision — and $460,000 of its $2.4 million tab.


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For you bike commuters: Hi-Viz Cycling Gear On the Cheap

From Bicycling.com

Here are eight ways to get seen for under $100


It’s every driver’s responsibility to look for cyclists; “I didn’t see him” is not a valid excuse for a crash. But when it comes to being seen, there are things we can do to stand out a more and demand that driver’s attention— and just a few strategic and affordable items can really increase your profile.


Garneau Knee Warmers 2

Warmers are so simple and so brilliant: a tube of lycra with a fleecy, brushed interior face to keep your joints warm in chilly weather like those early-AM summer rides. Garneau’s version has silicone grippers to keep them in place and come in this bright yellow color, which helps draw driver attention as you pedal. $29.00


Specialized Reflect

Since the human eye is drawn to motion, for cyclists no piece of hi-viz gearoffers more bang for the buck than socks, which make your spinning feet into flashing indicators— and Specialized’s Reflect Tall does double-duty. The seven-inch sock is offered in neon orange and yellow, and also features a one-inch band of reflective yarn for more visibility at dawn or dusk. $25.00


Bell Overdrive MIPS

Bell is synonymous with helmets, and the Overdrive MIPS is a great example of why. Light weight with 19 oversize vents to help keep you cool, while the nylon roll cage and MIPS liner help protect your noggin from impact and rotational forces. And, it comes in this screaming-bright yellow hue to help you stand out. $100.00

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The 17th Annual Los Angeles River Ride is on Sunday, June 4th, 2017!

When: Sunday, June 4, 2017

Where: 2 start locations at The Autry in Griffith Park (4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles) or Marina Green Park in Long Beach (386 Shoreline Drive, Long Beach)

10 Great Routes to Choose from:

From The Autry in Griffith Path: 100-mile, 70-mile, 50-mile, 36-mile, 25-mile, and 15-mile routes, plus The First 5 LA Family Ride presented by Metro

Long Beach routes are back! From Marina Green Park in Long Beach: 100-mile, 70-mile, and 25-mile routes.

Join over 2,000 other riders, and enjoy a great day of bicycling fun, exploration, a post-ride expo, a raffle, live music, and more. All participants receive a t-shirt, goodie bag, and finisher’s medal. All proceeds benefit the work of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, a non-profit organization working to make all communities in L.A. County healthy, safe, and fun places to ride bikes.


Register Here

Great Streets Upgrade Makes Mar Vista’s Venice Blvd Safer For Walking, Biking

From LA.StreetsBlog.org


Construction on Mar Vista’s Venice Boulevard Great Streets makeover is not quite complete, but new protected bike lanes and pedestrian crossings are already in use. The improvements extend 0.8-miles along Venice Boulevard from Inglewood Boulevard to Beethoven Street in the City of Los Angeles’ Mar Vista neighborhood.

This stretch of Venice Blvd was included at the outset of the mayoral Great Streets Initiative announced in 2014. It is also one of the 40 dangerous priority corridors identified in the city’s Vision Zero Action Plan. According to a city fact sheet, since 2011, this stretch has seen 48 pedestrians and cyclists seriously injured in crashes. Additionally, city speed surveys found 15-18 percent of drivers breaking speeding laws by exceeding the 40 mph speed limit.

The current improvements were the subject of an extensive community input process that got underway in 2015, under the leadership of City Councilmember Mike Bonin, the Mar Vita Community Council and the Mar Vista Chamber of CommerceProtected bike lanes, new mid-block crossings, and a road diet were announced in 2016, but were delayed as the city sought and obtained control of the street which had been overseen by Caltrans.


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Tour de France favourites: form ranking

From CyclingNews.com


Rating 10 contenders in May


1. Richie Porte (BMC Racing)

Previous rank: 5th

Overview: The season may be long but momentum is a prized currency and one that Porte has squirreled away with a number of impressive performances. In Romandie he was light years ahead of Froome and several other Tour contenders with an assured display in both the mountains and against the clock, and if, unlike last year, BMC Racing don’t leave their best GC asset at the side of the road, he will surely challenge for the podium this July. Up next is the Dauphiné, a race in which he could and should have made the podium last year.

Highlight: Winning the Tour of Romandie at the end of April to make it two WorldTour stage races out of three in 2017.

Lowlight: The cold day in Paris-Nice still raises question


2. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

Previous rank: 2nd

Overview: Valverde hasn’t raced since winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège in April, meaning for the first time since the season began he hasn’t topped headlines or added to his palmares in over a month. Heading into June, the Dauphiné marks a switch for the veteran, too, with the emphasis shifting back to stage racing and a chance to add to his phenomenal run in week-long races, which includes wins in País Vasco, Catalunya, and Ruta del Sol. And while the Dauphiné is a step up in terms of competition there’s no doubt that Valverde will fancy his chances at winning a third crown to add to his titles from 2008 and 2009.

Highlight: Polishing his Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Flèche Wallonne trophies at home.

Lowlight: A dry month of May but a rest was surely needed.

Next race: Critérium du Dauphiné


3. Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo)

Previous rank: 3rd

Overview: While Nairo Quintana has been flogging himself at the Giro d’Italia, Contador has been quietly going about his business both at home and in Tenerife, topping up his form ahead of, quite possibly, his final Tour de France. Well rested and motivated, he heads to another Dauphiné where he will look to take on Porte and Chris Froome for the top step on the podium. Last year Contador started brightly, wining the opening prologue at Les Gets before being pushed off the podium in the mountains but this year he will be looking for a consistently strong performance in which he starts on the front foot and maintains that level all the way through.

Highlight: Sadistically watching Quintana tire himself out at the Giro and knowing – first hand – how that might hamper the Colombian in July.

Lowlight: Still to win a race in 2017.

Next race: Critérium du Dauphiné


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