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Posts from the Bicycling Category

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Councilmember Jose Huizar Promotes a More Bikeable Downtown L.A.

Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar is excited about the future of bicycling in downtown Los Angeles. At a press event yesterday, Huizar took a test spin on one of Metro’s bike-share bikes. SBLA Streetsie-winner Huizar sees bike-share as one key feature of “a snowball effect” virtuous cycle for central Los Angeles: more bikes on the street will trigger more safety-in-numbers, which will prompt more city investment in bikeways, which will lead to even more bicycling.

Metro’s 1000+bike 60+station bike-share system is coming to downtown “this June – though it might slip,” according to Huizar.

Huizar recently announced that protected bike lanes will be coming to downtown’s Spring and Main Streets. These improvements are part of an umbrella “DTLA Forward” initiative for a more walkable, bikeable, livable downtown Los Angeles. DTLA Forward includes these two bikeways, pedestrian head-start signals, green alleys, street trees, and a handful of other worthwhile (but not quite transformative) downtown initiatives, plus a (quite transformative) “Your Downtown L.A. Vision Plan” [PDF]. The Vision Plan, created under the auspices of the Downtown L.A. Neighborhood Council with support from the So. Cal. Association of Governments (SCAG), calls for all downtown streets to be complete streets.

Spring and Main Street currently feature a couplet of buffered bike lanes. The Spring Street lane was the city’s first (somewhat controversial) green bike lane, and now its first partially-green pavement bike lane. The protected bike lanes are expected to be implemented in late 2016, after a handful of community outreach meetings.  Read more…

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Cycling Without Age Documentary “Finn” Screens Tomorrow

Have you ever wondered what will happen to you when you are too old to bicycle on your own? There is an organization called Cycling Without Age that pushes for “the right to wind in your hair” for people of all ages. Cycling Without Age links volunteers with elders for trips on board “trishaws” – essentially a rear-steering tandem tricycle.

Cycling Without Age - image from the organization's website

Cycling Without Age

This weekend, Angelenos can learn more about Cycling Without Age by enjoying a short documentary entitled “Finn.” The documentary screens at the All Sports L.A. Film Festival at 10 a.m. tomorrow –  Saturday April 16 – at the L.A. Live Regal Cinemas at 1000 W. Olympic Boulevard in downtown Los Angeles. “Finn” tells the story of an 81-year-old man taking a Cycling Without Age bike tour from Denmark to Norway in 2015. Thanks to a crowdsourced appeal, Finn and his daughter Lis are coming to “Hollywood” for the screening.

The short film is laying the groundwork for a longer documentary “The Grey Escape” which readers can find out more about via its Facebook page.

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Love L.A.’s Bicycle Festival? Support the Fest on Kickstarter

The Los Angeles Bicycle Culture Institute is seeking your help, through a Kickstarter campaign, to bring back the popular Los Angeles Bicycle Fest this Mother’s Day, on Sunday, May 8. The campaign just crossed the $1,000 line, but needs another $2,500 to make its goal.

This year’s festival is more of a bicycle theme park; the event organizers at the Bicycle Culture Institute refer to this year’s Festival as a “Bicycle Disneyland.” Different areas of Grand Park will have different bicycle themes so families can explore different kinds of bikes and different parts of the Los Angeles bicycle community.

It was important to the event organizers that the Festival appeal to both hard core bicyclists and people just out for a fun afternoon. For a more casual attendee, there will be food, music, and other attractions. For a more serious bicyclist, there will be plenty of vendors, resources, advocates, and ride groups to visit.

“Bike Festival is special, because you don’t even need a bicycle to discover a theme park, a world of bicycles, with your whole family,” says Bicycle Festival organizer Nona Vornado. “You’ll enjoy music, and great food, and an awesome day in downtown. But in order to make that happen, we need your support.”

To make a donation, purchase some schwag, or buy your ticket, visit the Bicycle Festival page at Kickstarter or the Bicycle Culture Institute Website.

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Long Beach Bike-Share To Launch 100 Bikes At Beach Streets On March 19

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia demonstrates Long Beach's new bike-share system. All photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia demonstrates Long Beach’s new bike-share system. All photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

At a kick-off event this morning, the city of Long Beach celebrated a soft launch of its new bike-share system, called Long Beach Bike Share. There are currently two stations in operation, with a dozen bikes. The system will fully publicly open at the Saturday March 19 Beach Streets open streets event.

The 4-mile March 19 Beach Streets will be the first open streets event in downtown Long Beach, extending eastward through Belmont Heights. The route [PDF] is primarily along Broadway, with spurs on Pine Avenue and Cherry Avenue. Beach Streets is looking for volunteers.

Long Beach Bike Share currently has two hubs installed: one at City Hall, the other on Third Street at the Promenade.  Read more…

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L.A. County Bike Advocates Nominated For National Awards

Nominee Cynthia Rose interviewed by Clarence Eckerson for an upcoming Streetfilm. Photo by Joe Linton

Nominee Cynthia Rose interviewed by Clarence Eckerson for an upcoming Streetfilm. Photo by Joe Linton

Next week, bike activists will gather in Washington D.C. for the National Bike Summit convened by the League of American Bicyclists. On Monday March 7, the national Alliance for Biking and Walking will be hosting their 2016 Advocacy Awards for excellence in the walk and bike advocacy.

Los Angeles, and its L.A. County Bicycle Coalition, has potential for a near sweep of the five national awards. There are five L.A. finalists named, though two of them are in the same category.

Congratulations and thank you to all the nominees, and especially our friends at the LACBC and Santa Monica Spoke:  Read more…

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#DamienTalksSGV 5 – Gold Line Opening and Women on Wheels

Today, #DamienTalks to Habib Balian, the CEO of the Gold Line Foothills Construction Authority and Amy Wong with Women on Wheels a project of Bike SGV.

Damien Talks SGV logoThis weekend, the long-awaited extension of the Gold Line to the San Gabriel Valley Foothills will finally open. Balian discusses the advocacy and work that led to the extension and the excitement that the line will be open soon. It is likely that any sales tax on the fall ballot will include another extension of the Gold Line, so Balian and his team are preparing in the eventuality that funding becomes available in 2017 for an extension all the way to Montclair.

Our second segment features an interview with Amy Wong of Women on Wheels, a project program of Bike SGV (WoW.) WoW works to create safe spaces and events for female bicycle riders to meet, have fun, and improve their bicycle skills. Wow has a couple of events coming up, a social on Sunday, March 13, and the LA to SGV: Sister Cities Ride & Mechanics Class with the Ovarian Psycos on Saturday, March 19.

#DamienTalks is supported by Foothill Transit, offering car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the new Gold Line Stations across the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling into the heart of Downtown L.A. To plan your trip, visit foothilltransit.org. “Foothill Transit. Going Good Places.”

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“Ovaries so Big…” that They’ve Got Their Own Documentary

Ovas Taryn Randle and Maryann Aguirre speak with the crew working on the documentary about the group. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.

Ovas Taryn Randle and Maryann Aguirre speak with the crew working on the documentary about the group. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.

The Ovarian Psyco-Cycles have been a game-changer in the Los Angeles cycling landscape. And now, with a documentary featuring the stories of three of their members set to debut at South by Southwest (SXSW) this year, they are essentially announcing that they are here to stay. Y con ganas.*

The Ovas first burst into the cycling community’s consciousness in 2012, when former Streetsblog writer Kris Fortin wrote a two-part introduction to a group of bad-ass womyn of color with “ovaries so big, [they] don’t need no fucking balls.” (Part two is here)

Fortin’s exploration of the life challenges that had brought the womyn together and the sisterhood that grew from cycling and reclaiming the streets as a group elicited cheers from readers here and around the country.

Then the Ovas decided to hold a “Clitoral Mass” bike ride to celebrate their two-year anniversary and some folks lost their damn minds.

While the idea of carving out space for womyn and womyn-identified folks — particularly those of color — who don’t feel their experiences are validated or welcome in other cycling spaces is not terribly controversial right now, conversations around equity, inclusion, and the mobility of those on the margins had yet to really take root in the livable streets movement. So, the idea of a female (identified)-centric ride caused a bit of a stir.

The Ovas were accused of exclusion by some and of misandry by a (thankfully) small minority of disgruntled men. Some of the critics threatened to show up and crash the ride. A few even took it upon themselves to organize a counter-balancing ride for “Brovarian Psychos,” where those poor and oppressed (and grammatically-challenged) souls seeking to promote “man-ism, jism, mens’ rights, reform of family court, selective service, anti-male stereotypes, to counter-manginas and white knights, and restore balance to the force” could finally feel supported.

Despite all the foolishness, the Ovas’ first event went off peacefully. And instead of the world ending, the ride became something of an institution — a day of sisterhood and solidarity around which riders from around the Southland and beyond were willing to adjust their summer schedules so they could be sure to be in town. It even inspired a national movement and, in 2013, saw sister rides spring up in Oakland, Toronto, New York City, Atlanta, and Chicago. Last year’s ride was no different. Hundreds — many of them new to cycling — showed up in the heat to spend a day exploring the city, sharing meals, dancing at pit stops, and engaging in conversations around social justice.

Riders circle up for the 2015 Clitoral Mass event. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.

Riders circle up for the 2015 Clitoral Mass event. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.

The Ovas’ visibility has helped change stereotypes about who bikes and complicated the conversation around what cycling and, more broadly, accessing the public space, means to different communities. Read more…

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Army Corps, LADOT Announce Circuitous Detour For LA River Bikeway Closure

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers installing flood barrier along L.A. River. Image via USACE

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers installing flood barrier along L.A. River. Image via USACE

Due to this year’s El Niño storms, the federal Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is clearing vegetation (arguably illegally according to a similar regional water board lawsuit) in the most natural areas of the L.A. River. USACE is also adding temporary flood barriers along the river in the middle of the central stretch of L.A. River bike path. The flood barriers have closed the river bike path between the 134 Freeway and Fletcher Drive. The closures apply not just to bicycling, but also to the equestrian crossing from Atwater Village to Griffith Park.

The closures are temporary; USACE Twitter suggests that they will be gone around mid-April.

The circuitous detour xxx

The circuitous detour encouraged by USACE and LADOT. Image via USACE [PDF]

USACE, via twitter, encourages cyclists to avoid the bike path closure by taking a rather circuitous detour, apparently a route planned by the L.A. City Department of Transportation (LADOT). The detour is mostly fairly quiet streets, but to get to these streets, cyclists are shunted onto bike-unfriendly arterials – Los Feliz Boulevard and Fletcher Driver – for stretches littered with freeway on- and off-ramps. The detour is not marked with signage. It is apparently only for folks who find it via Twitter or the USACE website.

Would drivers settle for an un-signed circuitous detour like this? Think of all the publicity afforded to detours during recent freeway closures for bridge demolitions.

For subway construction in downtown L.A., LADOT installed detour bike lanes on Hill Street south of First Street. Could the river path closure be a good excuse for temporary (or permanent) bike lanes to be added to Riverside Drive between Los Feliz Boulevard and Glendale Boulevard? These would create a relatively direct detour route – and connect with existing Riverside Drive bike lanes between Glendale Boulevard and Fletcher Drive.

Winston Churchill said “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” Certainly it appears that the USACE is taking advantage of an alleged crisis here (the L.A. River has a history of flooding in La Niña years, but not El Niño years) to generate lots of work to advance their agenda. Could LADOT have used El Niño to spur some bike lane implementation at the same time? There is still time.

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#DamienTalksSGV 4 – Mural History and Bicycle Education in El Monte

Welcome to episode 4 of #DamienTalksSGV, an episode that focuses primarily on two projects in El Monte. We didn’t plan it that way, but sometimes these things happen.

Damien Talks SGV logoFirst, #DamienTalks with David Diaz Avelar about Historia de los Monteros, a collaborative effort between a handful of groups to explore the lost history of El Monte’s mural culture. Day One, East of East, and the South El Monte Arts Posse have programmed six events featuring discussions, bike rides, and lectures all focused on this topic. The next event is March 5; find event details at the Historia’s webpage or the event poster.

If David’s name (or voice) sound familiar, that is because he is the same person we interviewed in the last #DamienTalksSGV for another project: advocacy for the Las Tunas complete streets project in Temple City for Bike SGV.

Speaking of BikeSGV, our second guest is Jose Jimenez, who runs Bike SGV’s bicycle education center in El Monte. Jose discusses the brief history of the center, upcoming programs and invites everyone to come visit to learn how to ride, fix or improve their bicycle. The education center schedule can be found at the Bike SGV website.

#DamienTalks is supported by Foothill Transit, offering car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the new Gold Line Stations across the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling into the heart of Downtown L.A. To plan your trip, visit foothilltransit.org. “Foothill Transit. Going Good Places.”

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Ride4Love Rides Again: More than 200 Cyclists Roll for Unity, Love in Watts

Watts is LOVE. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.

Watts is LOVE.
Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.

“This is such a great turnout!” was something I must have heard come out of my own mouth somewhere between 20 and 30 times during the East Side Riders’ Ride4Love last weekend.

And it was.

I mean, they always get a good turnout.

Last year, just under 200 cyclists showed up for the event.

But I still clearly remember the days when it was a struggle to get folks to come to Watts — the days before people believed there could be such a thing as a South L.A. bike community and the days before the clubs around South L.A. and the larger Southland were so well-connected and supportive of each other.

So, I would not be lying if I said that seeing more than 200 riders of all origins, stripes, and ages rolling in harmony through the streets of a community I love so much made my heart feel like it might burst.

Decoration on the bike of a ride participant. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.

Decoration on the handlebars of a ride participant. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.

A bursting heart, however terribly cheesy it may sound, was actually quite apt for the day.

The Ride4Love is the East Side Riders’ (ESRBC) signature event, timed to coincide with Valentine’s Day and intended to highlight both the beauty of and the challenges remaining in the Watts community.

Giving back to the community has always featured heavily in the event, either through more direct action, like feeding the homeless, or by setting an example of positivity for the community by showing that the African-American and Latino communities are stronger when they ride together as one.

Determination. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.

Determination. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.

Recognizing that they were a largely local group, the community was thrilled to see them. Read more…