Skip to content

Posts from the C.I.C.L.E. Category


An Interview with C.I.C.L.E.’s New Managing Director Vanessa Gray

C.I.C.L.E.'s new Managing Director Vanessa Gray. Photo: Vanessa Gray

C.I.C.L.E.’s new Managing Director Vanessa Gray. Photo: Vanessa Gray

Vanessa Gray is the new head of Cyclists Inciting Change thru Live Exchange, best known as “C.I.C.L.E.” Dan Dabek, the last to steer the C.I.C.L.E. team, recently departed for the East Coast, where his partner is pursuing higher education. Streetsblog L.A. wishes Dabek a teary-eyed farewell, and welcomes Gray to her new gig.

Streetsblog: First off, just in case someone is reading this who isn’t already familiar with C.I.C.L.E., tell us briefly what it is.

Vanessa Gray: Cyclists Inciting Change thru Live Exchange (C.I.C.L.E.) is a nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles, working to promote the bicycle as a viable, healthy, and sustainable transportation choice.

We believe that our cities can be places that support an overall high quality of life–where people can enjoy clean air, calm and friendly streets, and closely-connected and diverse communities.

We envision our streets as vibrant, welcoming spaces that safely accommodate all road users and prioritize the safe passage of people–on bike, on foot, by wheelchair, by bus, and/or by train.

Tell us about yourself. What’s your background? Where are you from?

I was brought up in the military through the Air Force. We would move every 2 to 4 years. I’ve lived in places such as Libya, Tripoli, Okinawa, Japan and traveled through Guam and Wake Island. I usually tell people I’m from the near the last base where my father retired, Vandenberg Air Force Base in Northern Santa Barbara County. However, I can say I actually grew up on bases in Africa and Asia.

Prior to joining C.I.C.L.E. as its Managing Director, I worked as a Senior Communications Specialist with SEIU, as a Communications Deputy for an L.A. City Councilwoman, and a Manager at Beverly Hills Pavilions. Last October, I coordinated Safe Routes to Schools’ Walk to School Day at Micheltorena Elementary School.

How did you get interested in bicycling?

At college in Virginia, I had a used Fiat to get around, but it would break down every other week. I spent all my meager work study money trying to keep that crummy car running. Finally, it broke down again and I told my mechanic Tony (yes, that was his name) don’t fix it again. I instead took my work study check to the nearest bike shop and bought a hybrid bike. It was my main transportation through college and beyond. During the summers, I would ride to 3 different lifeguarding jobs. I was in the best shape of my life.

Read more…


Partnerships Offer Chance for New Riders to Join Ride 4 Love in Watts

The Ride4Love has always been about family, community, and service. Sahra Sulaiman/LA Streetsblog

The Ride4Love has always been about family, community, and service. Here, founding member Tony August-Jones (right) introduces his youngest kids to the ESRBC way of life. Sahra Sulaiman/LA Streetsblog

I won’t be able to be at the Ride4Love in Watts this weekend, and I am more than a little bummed out about it.

The Ride4Love is the East Side Riders‘ (ESRBC) biggest event of the year.

Timed to fall around Valentine’s Day, it is a special event that the ESRBC has long used to highlight both the strengths and challenges in their community.

Founding members John Jones III (president) and his brother Tony August-Jones, who grew up in the area, were taught to give back from a young age. Even while their own family had faced a number of struggles, their mother had always worked hard to offer the needy a place to find shelter or food, or both. It was not unusual for their four-bedroom house to have as many as fifteen people living in it at once, sometimes more.

Once the bike club was launched six years ago and Fred Buggs Sr., Ronnie Parker, and others were brought into the fold, giving back soon became a core part of the club’s activities. So much so that the founders’ children have all cited helping others as one of the things they like most about participating in the club.

Fred Buggs Jr. and Joshua Jones cite feeding the homeless as one of the activities they enjoy. Sahra Sulaiman/LA Streetsblog

Fred Buggs Jr. and Joshua Jones cite feeding the homeless as one of the activities they enjoy. Sahra Sulaiman/LA Streetsblog

In doing the work that they do, the ESRBC is well aware of the unfortunate stereotype that paints Watts as a dangerous place. Certainly, I haven’t been shy in dedicating pages to airing some of the deeper intransigent issues that plague the area and impact access to public space. But, even in acknowledging these realities, the ESRBC, as do I, want outsiders to understand that Watts is so much more — it is full of wonderful folks who care deeply about community. Read more…


League of American Cyclists Awards Los Angeles Bronze Medal for Bicycle Friendliness

Has CicLAvia helped make Los Angeles more bike friendly? The League of American Cyclists says it has. Photo:L.A. Streetsblog/Flickr

Over the last two and a half years, Los Angeles turned a corner. While the city has a long way to go to be a safe and welcoming city for pedestrians and cyclists, things are getting better. The change in attitude has also changed the debate from, “What can the city do to make things better?” to “Is it doing all that it can?”

Earlier today, the League of American Cyclists stepped into the discussion by awarding the city a “Bronze Medal” for bicycle-friendliness.

“Los Angeles is honored to be recognized by the League of American Bicyclists for our work making LA a more bike-friendly city,” said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “From building 1,600 miles of bikeways over the next 30 years to increasing the number of bike racks in the city by 80 percent, we’re making it simpler and safer for Angelenos to get around on two wheels.”

Earning the Bronze is an accomplishment for a city, and mayor, that are taking bicycling seriously as a form of transportation. However, the League has four levels of bicycle friendliness: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. While advocates were happy to give the city its due, they also don’t want the city to settle for reaching the bottom rung of the ladder.

It was just two and a half years ago that cyclists had to take bicycling safety campaigns into their own hands. Photo: March 10, 2010,

“There’s still plenty more to do, but recent progress has been unprecedented – and worth acknowledging ” writes Joe Linton, an advocate who has literally done it all from the founding of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC), to working as the executive director of C.I.C.L.E., to planning the first River Rides, to being the first staffer for CicLAvia.

“Mayor Villaraigosa and the LADOT deserve a great deal of credit for implementing more than 50 miles of bike lanes last year, hosting CicLAvias, and generally beginning to pay more attention to active transportation. Let’s hope that LADOT continues to make great progress, and hopefully aims for silver or gold very soon.”

Many advocates hope that the city uses this award as a springboard to become a truly great bicycling city. Neither Portland or Long Beach became bike-friendly cities overnight, and the size of the city and its car-centric planning could leave cyclists with a long hill to climb before true bike-friendliness is achieved.

“In the span of about 10 years, we have achieved what many thought was impossible in this car-centric city. At this rate of progress, it could be possible in another 10 years for Los Angeles to be known as a premier bicycling city. Keep in mind, Copenhagen’s status didn’t happen overnight. It took almost 40 years for the Danish city to reach 40% of the population using bicycle transportation,” writes Dan Dabek, the executive director of C.I.C.L.E.

No matter how one counts it, Los Angeles shattered all of its previous records for building bicycle facilities in the last year. The city says it constructed 75 miles of new bikeways, Streetsblog’s count was 62. But, even if one chooses Streetsblog’s math over the official tally, 62 miles of new bikeways was still more than the previous three years put together.
“This award would have been unthinkable just a few years ago,” begins Ted Rogers, author of the popular Biking In L.A. news site. “When I started my blog a little over four years ago, which was my introduction to bike advocacy, Los Angeles was a very bike-unfriendly city. There were no sharrows, few bikeways connected to one another, and the only major bike lane built in recent years unceremoniously dumped riders off with no warning in the middle of high-speed Century City traffic a few blocks from even more bike-unfriendly Beverly Hills. And, we had no voice whatsoever in City Hall or LADOT.”
In its press statement announcing the award, the League noted the diverse advocacy groups representing all parts of the city, be they advocacy organizations such as the LACBC, groups that encourage and train cyclists, such as C.I.C.L.E., or the city’s various bicycle co-ops.

One of the featured groups is Multi-Cultural Communities for Mobility (née City of Lights), a bicycling organization designed to engage and empower immigrant and non-English speaking communities. City of Lights has become a national model for advocacy organizations in other cities. Read more…

No Comments

Mark Your Calendars: August 9th Night of Streetfilms to Benefit Shay Sanchez

On Thursday, August 9th, join us for a night of Streetfilms, tacos and good company as we raise funds for the Kick Butt and Get Better Fund to benefit our friend Shay Sanchez at the Flying Pigeon Bike Shop (3304 N Figueroa Street.) The event is brought to you by L.A. Streetsblog and Bike Nation. All proceeds from the door, t-shirts, food and raffle will benefit the fund.

What a team.

Flying Pigeon has always been the home for Streetsblog’s Eastside fundraiser, but thanks to the contribution of Bike Nation we can afford for this year’s fundraiser to go to a different and very important cause.

If you don’t know Shay, you can read here about how her battle with Lupus Vasculitis has taken its toll on the body of one of the Los Angeles bike community’s leading lights.

Through it all, the founding CICLista has managed to keep helping people, using her struggle to bring more attention to Lupus Vasculitis.

We’re not having a suggested donation for the event (unless you want food, more on that later), but this is for the best of causes. One of our friend’s is sick and could use our help. She would do the same (and more) for us.

If you can’t make it, you can donate directly, right here:

This is the second stop on our “Eastside Tour.” The Tour is sponsored by Bike Nation, The Robert Group, Miceli Infrastructure Consulting, Civic Enterprise and Occidental College’s Urban and Environmental Policy Institute.

1 Comment

C.I.C.L.E., Valley Bikery, Celebrate Opening of Bikery’s First Storefront

CICLE’s Dan Dabek is our host at the opening of the Valley Bikery.

The Valley Bikery celebrated a major milestone this Saturday, when it opened the doors of its first “store front” co-op space at 14416 Victory Boulevard in Van Nuys.  The Bikery will be open every Tuesday from 7:00 to 10:00 P.M. and 2:00 to 5:00 P.M. every Saturday.

To mark the occasion, Bikery staff held a free bike maintenance clinic for nearly a dozen cyclists.  Later in the afternoon, Cyclists Inciting Change through Live Exchange (CICLE) led a nine mile bike ride from the Bikery to Lake Balboa with a stop at the Encino Velodrome.  A brief photo essay on the day’s festivities can be found after the jump.

Streetsblog would like to congratulate the volunteers of the Bikery on opening their first store front space.  The Bikery joins the Bicycle Kitchen, Bike Oven, Bikerowave and City of Light’s Bici Digna in operating a co-op out of a centralized space. Read more…

No Comments

Job Opening: Changing of the Guard at C.I.C.L.E.

Screen_shot_2010_06_17_at_9.29.43_AM.pngIn addition to the great "urban expeditions" rides, CICLE also published guides to help people ride.
In the somewhat turbulent world of bicycle advocacy, there are only two high-profile advocates in Los Angeles that I've never heard a bad word spoken of: Cyclists Inciting Change thru Live Exchange's Shay Sanchez and Liz Elliott. However, for a variety of reasons C.I.C.L.E.'s founder and executive director have decided to take a step back, not away, from their rolls to let new leaders step forward. A copy of the letter that the CICLEistas sent out is available after the jump.

The good news is that this means that a new position has opened for a new leader to step up. C.I.C.L.E. is hiring a new managing director to, take the lead in programming rides and other events, update the C.I.C.L.E. website, and basically handle the day-to-day maintenance of the non-profit. I have a copy of the job listing available here for anyone's that's interested in applying. Their hoping to have the new managing director on-board by the middle of next month.



Bike Corrals for the City of Los Angeles

3_29_10_corral.jpgA bike corral on York Blvd.  Rendering by Matt Schodorf

Due to Los Angeles City Council leadership and community advocacy, bike corrals may soon be coming to Los Angeles. The April 14th meeting of the city's  Transportation Committee is scheduled to hear a council motion on implementation of a pilot corral in Northeast Los Angeles. Here's the backstory on how that came to pass.

Matt Schodorf is a bicyclist and a small businesses owner. He and his wife own Cafe de Leche - a coffee shop at the corner of Avenue 50 and York Boulevard in Highland Park. York Boulevard, a former streetcar right-of-way, features old-school Main Street type buildings - very walkable with very little car parking. Schodorf noticed that many Cafe de Leche customers (and staff) arrive by bike and by foot. He got the city (LADOT) to install three of their standard inverted-U bike parking racks. Those racks fill up, with both bikes and dog leashes, so Schodorf kept thinking about how to increase the supply of local bicycle parking.



C.I.C.L.E. Announces Campaign to Make N.E.L.A. More Bike Friendly

11_18_09_nela_cm2.jpgPhoto of Ciclists in NELA via C.I.C.L.E.

Yesterday, C.I.C.L.E. announced that they are ready to take the next steps in advocacy when they announced their "North East L.A. Campaign."  Generally, C.I.C.L.E. has focused their advocacy efforts on helping people get, and stay, on their bikes by providing classes, workshops and social rides.  However, the group hasn't spent a lot of energy on traditional advocacy concerning engineering and enforcement issues.

At least in N.E.L.A., that is going to change.  While C.I.C.L.E. hasn't announced the goals or platform for the campaign, that is going to wait until after meetings with members and other cyclists in the community, the potential campaigns the Ciclists list are all engineering treatments.  Many of those treatments would be "first ever" for the City of Los Angeles if they were to come to pass:

- Bike Boulevard: implement a bicycle boulevard in NELA.

- Bike Parking: implement innovative bike parking in NELA, possibly bike corrals (proposed in this council motion.)

- Colorado: implement bike lanes on Colorado (east of Figueroa approved in 1996 bike plan,  interest in additional stretches from TERA  and others)

- Eagle Rock: extend the Eagle Rock Blvd bike lanes (in the draft 2009 bike plan)

- Figueroa: implement bike lanes on Figueroa (north of Ave 60 approved in 1996 bike plan)

- Fletcher: implement bike lanes on Fletcher Drive (approved in 1996 bike plan)

- Sharrows: implement sharrows in NELA, in appropriate places, possibly including the Eagle Rock Blvd bike lane gaps for right turns at York and Avenue 36.

- York: implement bike lanes on York Boulevard (approved in the 1996 bike plan)

If you have any ideas for C.I.C.L.E., feel free to leave them in the comments section.  However, if you want to commit to helping with the project, you should leave a note for C.I.C.L.E. at their blog.


C.I.C.L.E. Wants You and Your Family to Ride Your Bikes

11_4_09_cm.jpgFamilies that Mass together, stay together. Shot of May 2008 Passadena Critical Mass

Sometimes when there’s breaking news, such as dissolving light rail contracts, verdicts from trials, public hearings on major transit or bicycle plans, it’s easy to lose sight that sometimes Livable Streets activism can be as simple as encouraging your children, or parents, to use their bikes, take transit or think of ways to move around without cars.

Cyclists Inciting Change through Live Exchange (C.I.C.L.E.) has been preaching this sort of personal advocacy for years.  Now they’re asking the question, "how can we encourage more families to ride together."  Earlier this week they announced the beginning of their "Families And Bikes" (F.A.B.) program that seeks to answer that question and put theory to reality.  The first step is to gather information and ideas from their supporters.  You can help by taking their survey or posting a comment on the article announcing the program.

C.I.C.L.E. lists a lot of great reasons that we should be encouraging families to take bike trips together, be they recreational, to the store, to run errand or to school.  From the announcement:

With epidemic obesity and Type 2 diabetes rates continuing to rise,
promoting city bicycling, as a family activity, can be a great way to
(literally) get entire families moving toward increased levels of
fitness and a greater quality of life. Unfortunately, many parents
living in the Los Angeles area are choosing not to bicycle with their
children on city streets, and many view bicycling as an impractical or
even an unpleasant transportation option for their families.

They go on to point out that this isn’t just an L.A. problem, and provide examples from around the world that show parents skittish about putting children on bikes in urban settings.

The good news is that there are some solutions already out there.  A recent article challenged parents to work with schools to make cycling a "cool" and practical way to get to school.  Locally, City Lites hosts a ride every spring that has, literally, thousands of South L.A. children bicycling from park to park.  Also, C.I.C.L.E. board member David Pulsipher, when he’s not working on the Bike Plan with Alta Planning or on the next C.I.C.L.E. event, writes Kids, Bikes, Dads, a great resource for families interested in getting the children on bikes at an early age.

Instead of leaving your suggestions for what else C.I.C.L.E. can be doing, leave those suggestions at their blog; let’s fill the comments section with what riding with your family meant to you as a child or as a parent.  I’ll go first.


Book Review: C.I.C.L.E.’s “Bicycle Lifestyle Guide”


Cyclists Inciting Change Through Live Exchange (C.I.C.L.E.) has been a leader in getting adults onto bicycles and out of cars through positive messaging, education, and urban bicycle training.  Their messaging has always been positive, to focus on the fun and benefits of biking rather than, in their words, "making people feel like schmucks for driving."

Their latest effort, The Bicycle Lifestyle Guide continues their tradition of light-hearted messaging with 30 pages of full color, illustrated fun.  The book is filled with tips and guides to encourage people to increase their bike usage by using their bike for local trips to build up a base before trying larger trips.  The advice and information contained within the Guide is probably familiar to regular Streetsblog readers, but the colorful illustrations and dynamic layout make The Bicycle Lifestyle Guide a great tool to encourage friends and family to consider bicycling as a great way to get around.  Those who read The Guide and decide they want to make a change in their life might consider taking some of C.I.C.L.E.'s street courses such as the upcoming Can You Handle It street riding lesson or Learn to Ride a Bike (for adults) class.

The The Bicycle Lifestyle Guide was written and partially illustrated by Shay Sanchez.  Eric Cushing and Al Zesatti also helped with illustrations, photography and layout.  You can get printed copies of The Bicycle Lifestyle Guide here and can get more information about the booklet and C.I.C.L.E. at their website.