Sunday, July 30, 2006

Bike workshops for chicks

I DEFINITELY need to check these out soon: two ongoing bike repair workshops run for and by women - the occasional male mechanic on hand.....

For someone who loves all-things-bike as much as I do, its embarrassing how little I know about how to deal with them. There's always been "someone else" who can fix stuff for me....generally, though not always, a dude.

But theres really no excuse, with these two relatively local resources, Bitchen Kitchen and The Bike Oven XX. Bike wrenching, tea/snacks, and chatting w/ other ladies who love bikes.

Okay, the "relatively" part is kinda my excuse, being car averse, its a bit of a haul to the east side. Wish there was a bike kitchen closer to Santa Monica....hmmm.....

Bike Oven XX meets every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month, 1:00 - 4:00 Next one meets August 12th.

And Bitchen (gotta go just for the name!) meets every Monday nite at the Bicycle Kitchen, 6:30 - 9:30.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Oil Free Odyssey

This is amazing.....

A human powered journey (check the map above), crossing continents and oceans, from the artic to the arid, from the bicycle to the canoe, rowboat, wooden the ole two legs.

Voyage visionaries Tim Harvey and his team are traveling the world using forms of transport that don’t rely on fossil fouls, to raise awareness about climate change. The website is replete with incredible photos and humorous, harrowing stories about their ongoing adventures - definitely worth a visit:

"It began as a dream to adventure by zero-emission means: Vancouver to Moscow by human power. The dream then grew - to circle the world without fossil fuels. It is taking over two years.... on a route across five continents and two epic of frostbite, blizzards, bandits and high seas storms. Now on the home stretch, journalist-filmmaker Tim Harvey brings you along as he slogs for a cause - a greener future where all of us burn fewer fossil fuels."

And Tim’s ride is a fully loaded Xtracycle!

I was so inspired by the site that I dropped a line to Tim, curious to hear if they would pass through Los Angeles, and if so, might we do a little awareness raising here? Got a super nice reply – a jaunt through LA sometime in September just might work, esp. if there were opportunities for spreading the word.

So going to put this out to the sustainable transport community here, see if we can entice these green adventurers to our urban jungle…..

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

My bike lost weight!

A self-indulgent post here: just picked up my NEW BIKE yesterday, thrilled to no end. It's the most beautiful little sleek creature I've ever seen....Thanks to the incredible generosity of my biker friends - Riley, Tim, Jay, and Keii - who donated their super nice extra parts and time to the "lighter bike for Anna" cause.

Here I am towing it home from Helen's on the back of my Xtracycle, blurry with bliss....

And here I am worshiping it.....was so excited I didn't even notice the lack of pedals, so must wait one more day to try it out, oops.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Pedi cabs gettin' fresh

Went on an impromptu San Diego voyage Sat. nite with my friend Wendy and her pet guts sidekick.

And was stunned by the amount of pedi-cabbers in town. We were having cocktails at a bar downtown, streets were PACKED, and I started noticing all these hot young bike cabbies toting people around.....

Thought it was the coolest thing, and chatted with a few of them, only to hear their sad woes - f*&%$ing hard work, little pay, and much competition.

Like this kid here, from the Czech Republic, lamented there being more bike cabs than passengers some times.

Which dampened my short lived fantasy of starting a bike cab service in LA a bit. Still, kinda cool, reminded me of when pedicabs had their brief glory here.

Company trades Ads for Bikes

One of the worlds largest outdoor advertising companies JC Decaux, launches an interesting green scheme, providing cities with specially adapted bikes and racks in exchange for rights to more sites to place their outdoor ads.

Bikes are computerized and tracked - people check 'em out with credit cards - free for 1st half hour - most urban trips tend to be 1/2 hour or less. And are scanned once re-parked for tire pressure, lights, brakes and gears.

Post from Treehugger, posing question: "A win win situation or pact with the devil?"

It sounds like a good deal....but then I don't know much about the company or nature of their ads.

The self-register bike system sounds like a VERY cool thing, a way to institute a free city bike that discourages theft.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

New Site for Midnight Ridazz

Earlier post on my virgin Midnight Ride. Groups been steadily gaining momentum, now so legit they have their own site.

Gotta get a bitchin' posse to join next time, yeah!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Picture's worth a thousand words.....

View of the 10 freeway heading east at around 7:00 p.m. This is why I choose bike over car whenever humanly possible. Can't imagine dealing with this sorta road rage every day, count my blessings that I have the option to opt out......

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Bike Love

Photo from a recent Xtracycle adventure to the Santa Monica Pier's Twilight Dance Series.

And the girls that belong to the Xtracreatures......

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Win a FREE BIKE!!!

Lack of a bicycle can be a pretty significant obstacle to, well, riding one. If that's stopping you, enter Bicycle Magazine's Biketown Program to win a free "around town" bike.

To enter: fill out the entry form here and write a little essay (don't sweat it, only 50 words or less), on how/why owning a bike would change your life.

Editors choose the best 50, and give away free bikes - yours to keep forever! Bikes are donated by some top notch companies - Giant, Fuji, Shimano, Electra.....They'll check in with the winners for a few months after the giveaway to see how you're doing with it, and will feature a few winners in their magazine. See what some past winners have to say about their BikeTown adventures.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Bitchin'spinners on the rise

Have met a few awesome rabble rouser chicks recently, Siel (aka Green LA Girl) and Summer, both femme-forces in the sustainability world; both taking up the sustainable transport challenge with a vengeance.

We recently biked to a few eco-events - Green Drinks, and a showing of "Who Killed the Electric Car", which lead to a few discussons about bike commuting, the evils of oil, the need for better/easier/sexier alternatives, and the urgency of it all.....the film is hard hitting - highly recommended.

Both bitchin'spinners have been blogging about these recent bike adventures, and inviting their respective networks to get involved. Summer offers some "out on the town w/ bikes" tips, and Siel started a kick ass series on "de-caring", check it out and voice your opinion, a cyber-critical mass of sorts.

How ARE we doing with the local bike scene in LA? Next post, a comparison of LA vs. other metropolitan areas on bike friendliness....and how to get involved on the home front.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

mapquest for bikers

My friend Siel (aka Green LA Girl) has been working on "de-car-ing", and documenting her progress in cutting back on the ole petro-guzzler.

Being newish to the bike commuting world, she wondered if a night bike ride to LA Green Drinks would be possible on streets with bike lanes. And what our route would be either way.

So I looked it up on Bike Metro, a tool for plotting bike routes. It works like mapquest, you enter your destination, your ability level, hill tolerance, and it gives you a suggested route.

I've used it to get to places on the east side - Hollywood, Echo Park, even Studio City. On the whole it's been pretty reliable, and I've found myself mainly on streets with bike lanes. Not sure if this is a criteria, or how one even finds out which streets have bike lanes, there must be a list somewhere.....

Bike lanes or no, drivers can be pretty clueless in terms of bike awareness. Though it doesn't stop me from commuting, and though tooling around Santa Monica is fairly safe, its still an issue - we really need more driver-awareness about sharing the road.

Monday, July 03, 2006

In one corner, the bicycle......

Another cool bike-related post on Treehugger on bikes as a superior form of efficient transport. Which I applaud whole heartedly, recognizing that for some, its a matter of changing one's viewpoint/routine/approach to the whole thing. Like factoring in commute as exercise time - forgoing the drive to the gym, that sort of thing.

Cites some interesting research on the calories needed per passenger-mile to power a bicycle compared to a car. Not surprisingly, the bike comes out squeaky clean:

"...a bicycle needed only 35 calories, whereas a car expended a whopping 1,860. Bus and trains fell about midway between, and walking still took 3 times as many calories as riding a bike the same distance."

Though the word "calorie" in our body conscious society instantly connotes the enemy, really its just a measure of energy - energy we can burn cleanly ourselves, say on a bike, or less so, in a car.......