Wednesday, December 20, 2006

BC bike powered billboard

Ah those Canadians and their bikes!

Check this one out:

For five days, a group of volunteers in a Vancouver parking lot kept Rudolph bright and shiny with pedal power, to demonstrate the energy efficiency of LED lights.

And bicycles, no?

Project was sponsored by DDB/Vancouver and BC Hydro, don't know anything about them, but (predictably) dig the concept - a festive way to illuminate our tremendous, often overlooked human power......

Granted, message was really about LEDs, but we velovangelists will fixate on the bike.

Judging by some of the comments, not everyone thought this was such a "bright idea", taking pity on the poor volunteers (doesn't their voluneer status imply a certain amount of willingness?), or finding it just plain "weird".....

Whats even weirder? LA's seasonal contribution to global warming - Xmas lights. The front lawn displays during the holidays is be....believed....

Highly doubt any Angelenos are pedaling to stay lit.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Bike Safari Re-post

Didn't think to bring my camera, but will borrow from Siel's post on our Sbx Bike Safari on Saturday.

She explains the reason behind our multiple Starbuck's visits (with own cups of course) in detail on Green LA Girl.....I'm repeat posting because our transport was bicycles.

Ron even rides an Xtracycle!

Next time anyone wants to organize a little bike-tivism, I'm game.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

60 miles a day and SINGin'!

Just came across this wonderful interview series on LA bike commuting.

NRDC's Daniel Hinerfeld chats with Slate Magazine editor Andy Bowers (who I remember from high school, though he was a few years my senior...) and local cycling guru Scott Sing, who commutes up to 60 miles a day on two wheels!

What makes these interviews so great is the difference between all three commuters, from their mileage, to the reasons they've chosen bikes as a viable form of transportation. Scott is definitely a hard core (life)cyclist, while Daniel and Andy ride distances that are perhaps more comprehensible to the average city dweller.

Which is a wonderful contrast, illustrating that we need not all be wiry, lean bodied, car eschewing distance riders to do our part.....simply replacing a few short trips - to the market, running a few weekend errands, etc. makes a difference.

Or how 'bout to the gym?

On that note, Andy makes a point that made me pound my fist on the table and shout "YES!", which is a little embarrassing in that I'm all alone at the moment. Nevertheless, I quote:

"How American is that, that you would drive your SUV to a gym, to use a machine that uses electricity to simulate a bicycle, when you could just ride your bicycle?"

An absolutely insane concept. Granted, we've got work to do yet to improve safety conditions for cyclsts, something I plan to address in greater detail for my bike-related contributions on the Worldchanging LA blog.....

Meantime, wear your helmet, choose chill streets, and light your bike up like a Christmas tree, 'tis the season.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Ladies day at the track

Without a doubt, this was the biggest adrenaline jolt I've had in a long while.

This past Saturday, I went to a free womens clinic at the LA Velodrome, thanks to a random last minute invite by my adventurous cycling buddy Dora. Neither of us had the faintest clue what we were in for, but were intrigued to find that the Velodrome, one of the finest facilities of its kind, was offering free training sessions for women, part of a larger effort to promote women's cycling.

I had a look at the website the day before, saw photos of cyclists riding what seemed to me like impossibly steep walls.... and had crazy, anticipatory dreams that night.

We arrived with stomachs aflutter, to find about 50 other women all geared up, munching on snacks provided by the center. We were then greeted by Bonnie Bourque and Julia Cross from the Womens Cycling Challenge, who both assured us this would be a safe, rewarding experience.

This was the third in a 4 part clinic series (all free!) so about half the lasses had already been certified to ride, and headed straight off to the track. The rest of us had an hour Certification Class from Roger Young, who explained the basics of how to ride safely, proper etiquette on passing, and how to not slide off the track.


We were then fitted with a bike, and let loose to give it a whirl. Bonnie kindly let me use her custom built styley track bike, adding with a wink "just don't crash, I'll be keeping my eye on you!"

I must've spun around that track a good 20 times before I could muster up the courage to climb up the wall a bit. Kept chickening out. And then a clearly experienced woman rode up alongside and asked "how ya doin'?" with a friendly smile before zipping up the wall. This simple gesture was all I needed to force my body to just give it a try.

WHAT A RUSH!!!!! Thank you rider-chick, whoever you are.....its the little things - a kind word, a friendly wave, that make a world of difference.

I'm normally not much of a high speed, thrill seeker, and enjoy the outdoor aspect of cycling more than anything, but this was an insane, super fun sensation, had a blast.

The next clinic is January 6th, I definitely plan to be there, and so will Dora, judging by the huge smile on here face here......

Gettin' down and dirty w/ my ride.....

I've been a very bad bike parent of late. But I vow to change my ways, starting today....

Went to a basic bike mechanics workshop at Cynergy last week, which mostly covered the hows and whys of keeping a clean machine. Boy did I need this.

"A happy bike is a clean bike" was the overall message. A little weekly maintainance saves big time on long term heartache (and $!) and prevents the scene you see here - one hour and three filthy rags later, I could finally see a glistening chain 'neath the crud buildup.

To avoid this, a simple wipe down with a dry and a wet rag will mostly do the trick - wipe the chain clean with a dry rag before lubing, add your lube of choice, then give it another wipe down after a few minutes. You can certainly get more involved, a quick google search on cleaning your bike yields TONS of results, with detailed how tos for more hard core hygeinists.

Treat your bicicleta like the goddess she is - keep her lubed and purring, she'll thank you in the long run.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Cynergy Cycles

I think I've found what I'm looking for in a bike store.

Went on a ride Saturday morning organized by Cynergy Cycles - the newest bike shop on the West Side. Though just around the corner from my house, this was my first visit - somehow I had this notion that it catered to high end, performance racer types......

Our ride was awesome, John Wike - a road racer whose been around the BLOCK, you can read about him on the site - lead us down to PV, to the "doughnut" loop and back. On the ride, I learned more about Cynergy, and was impressed with what I heard. They are trying to promote education/service as well as just sell bikes, and offer ongoing workshops/clinics on bike maintainance, basic skills etc.

In fact, there's a clinic tomorrow nite, 6:30 - 8:00, basic maintainance, lord knows most of us need this.....

After our ride, they offered free coffee - a critical post ride perk, and get this: they sell two 100% FAIR TRADE/ORGANIC blends!! The Big Ring and The Early Break - major points. I'm so easy to please.

I learned about the Saturday ride from some of you ladies at Riley's art studio hangout last week, hoping some lasses will join me again this Saturday, 9:00 at Cynergy, 23rd and Santa Monica. Check out the shop, and sign up for a clinic!

Wheeled Wanderlust

Even trusty trailers get the travel urge....heres my friend Wendy's Xtracycle on a recent jaunt over to Catalina. Wendy and her man came along as chaperones - unsupervised bikes can get a little rowdy.

I learned from Wendy that you can ride over to Marina Del Rey, hop on board for Catalina WITH your bike, and then roll off on the Island ready to tool automobile necessary.

And with an Xtracycle, you can tote camping gear and be 100% self sufficient!