Thursday, December 17, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Dr. Christopher Thompson admitted to racing down Mandeville Canyon in Brentwood, California in his car July 4th of 2008 at about 45 miles per hour. The road is a popular winding 5 mile climb. The speed limit is 30. Two cyclists, both very experienced, were also headed down the hill, going between 29 and 30 miles per hour. Thompson, who was speeding, decided that the cyclists were not going fast enough. They exchanged words, Thompson pulled in front of them and slammed on the brakes.
One cyclist's face went through Thompson's rear windshield and the other cyclist flipped over and badly hurt his shoulder. Thompson told the responding police officer he did it to teach the cyclists a lesson.
Bike Girl would like to point out that these cyclists did absolutely nothing wrong. Below is the applicable part of the California Vehicle Code.
21202. (a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations: ...
Now Bike Girl is not going to bother to include the rest of it because this part already shows the cyclists were perfectly fine riding in the middle of the road. If they are riding at a speed of normal traffic, which one assumes would be law abiding traffic, they do not need to move as close as practicable to the right hand curb or edge of the roadway. Normal traffic is not allowed to go faster than 30, and the cyclists were going between 29 and 30.
Bike Girl wishes that more drivers were educated about the rules of the road. She thinks if they knew this short vehicle code provision, there would be less animosity between traffic modes. However, Bike Girl knows there will always be jerks on the road, like Doctor Christopher Thompson.
Thompson faces 10 years in state prison for the 6 felonies and 1 misdemeanor he was convicted of.
Read more about the case here
Friday, October 16, 2009
Things are looking up in Santa Monica. Politicians there are toying with a strategy that could meaningfully reduce traffic and encourage cycling and walking.
You can read the article by clicking here.
This exchange took place just after the woman in her snazzy gold sedan merged into Bike Girl with no turn signal, nearly smashing into her front wheel, less than 5 feet from a red light, where the driver had to stop, still straddling the lanes.
“Lady, you were in the middle of the road,” the woman said. This is true. Bike Girl was in the middle of the right lane on a 5 lane road with construction on the tiny shoulder. The middle of the far right lane is exactly where Bike Girl should have been.
Bike Girl, like any cyclist, endures a lot of abuse from drivers, and she endures it on a regular basis. She endures it with a smile and a wave, and occasionally a yell of, “aaaaah!” Bike Girl also makes a conscious effort to obey the rules of the road. She even uses hand signals to turn in a town where drivers seem to believe their signals, speed limits, and even license plates are optional.
But today’s stony-faced, gray-haired, female driver found Bike Girl’s breaking point. Her blunt response that she would rather kill Bike Girl than be 1 second late sent our usually fearless protagonist to the curb, sobbing for 40 minutes.
Bike Girl sobbed because she’s tired of fighting. She’s tired of risking her life to get to work. She’s tired of memorizing license plate numbers of truck drivers who hit-and-run her and laugh. She’s tired of explaining the law to confused police officers. She’s tired of hearing that making her commute safer is infeasible. She’s tired of politicians who can get credit for being bike-friendly without actually doing anything to improve the bike-ability of their district.
Today an emergency room doctor is on trial for intentionally slamming on the brakes in front of two experienced cyclists and sending them to the ER.
Today a beautiful child is an orphan because of a truck driver’s inattention, and that truck driver is home with his family.
Somewhere a cyclist will be killed and journalists will ask if that cyclist was wearing a helmet. They will be shocked to hear that the cyclist died despite wearing that magical piece of styrofoam.
Please help fight this fight. Because while Bike Girl loves to ride, today, Bike Girl is tired of fighting.
If you want to fight, you can start by reading this.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Bike Girl loves plans. There is nothing more elegant than a well laid, and well executed plan. She also loves bicycles. In fact, she even named herself after bicycles (BIKE Girl people, BIKE Girl).
Because of those dual loves, and her current address in Los Angeles, one would think Bike Girl would be ecstatic about the Los Angeles Bicycle Master Plan. It has a good name. It has bikes, plans, Los Angeles, and it's the Master of all plans. Bike Girl would love to peruse the plan and participate in the debate about the plan.
But unfortunately, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation does not want Bike Girl to comment on the plan.
The LADOT even went so far as to make sure that not a single meeting is in Bike Girl's area. It is no secret that Bike Girl has her base of operations in City Councilman Tom LaBonge's district. One would think that the "Bicycle Councilman's" constituents would want some say. But no meetings are in Hollywood. Plus, there are none in the hipster-cycling meccas of Echo Park and Silverlake. Nor is there a meeting in cyclist-dense East L.A.
Bike Girl could also submit comments online, but oh! only until November 6th. Bike Girl has a very busy schedule of bike riding, bike racing, bike wrenching, bike blogging, oh, and working. How could she possibly get through 212 pages, with 351 pages of appendices by then?
Our beloved protagonist is not the only one the LADOT does not want to comment on the Bicycle Master Plan. It has strategically timed the 6 month late release of the plan so that Neighborhood Councils cannot review the plan. Bicycling Activist Dr. Alex Thompson says the short deadline for comments makes it nearly impossible for his NC to react.
Bike Girl may even go so far as to say the deadline makes participation "infeasible."
Cyclists who want to participate in debate on the Master of all Los Angeles Bicycle Plans can e-mail West LA Councilman and City Council Transportation Committee Chair Bill Rosendahl at Councilman.Rosendahl@lacity.org. Ask for the deadline be pushed to January 4th, 2010.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Artistic Cyclist Ines Brunn performed in Los Angeles at a recent Bicycle Film Festival event. She lives in China, and regularly wears a mask to protect herself from breathing in pollution.
Recently, this mask gave her an added measure of protection. Instead of re-telling her story, Bike Girl encourages readers to check out Ines's blog about the experience here
That's right, Bike Girl's job as a fearless protagonist is not a particularly highly-paid position. While some would call her co-habitation with the bikes "cozy," Bike Girl often fantasizes about the day when she will be able to afford her fantasy bike storage solution.
If Bike Girl had unlimited resources, she would expand her collection and have a climate controlled chamber for each bike. While she's at it, she may as well hire several attractive mechanics to clean each chain link of each bike after every ride, and keep less-often-used steeds at their shiniest by wiping them down with cloth diapers each day.
If Bike Girl had more realistic, but greater resources, she would get a two bedroom apartment, with one bedroom for tucking in her bicycles. This room would have hanging bike storage on the walls, and included a workbench and stand so Bike Girl could get grease under her fingernails.
In lieu of a whole room just for bikes, Bike Girl would like a living room with extremely high ceilings. If she had that, she could use her cunning to create a pulley system like this.
But until Bike Girl breaks out of the lower middle class, she will continue climbing over her Girl Bike each morning, banging her head on the touring frame behind the couch, and pretending her go-fast bike is some sort of modern art piece, hanging on her wall.
Our fair protagonist wants to know how her readers store their bikes. She encourages them to leave comments.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Even Bike Girl sometimes gets burned out on riding a bike. Whether it's the honking drivers, the smog, or a slightly unhealthy dose of over-training, Bike Girl's love of biking has a tendency to wane.
But lately, our fair protagonist has been experiencing a surge in enthusiasm. This may partially be due to her having recieved a new book in the mail about bikes. It may be partually due to the natural Enthusiasm Cycle she experiences from season to season. It may also partially be due to the coverage of the Giro D'Italia she's been watching on the internet.
While watching said coverage, Bike Girl came across this video, which expresses her current feelings about riding pretty exactly. For those who are "working" and cannot click on the video, the quote follows:
It's not to show me or show something. It's good to get back and that is what I like. And that is riding my bike and enjoying my bike and go stronger and stronger day from day. -Fabian Cancellara of Team Saxo Bank
Cancellara is Swiss and finished 157th after Stage 4. He's also 28 years old and has very Hollywood good looks. But back off ladies. He's married!
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Today, Bike Girl decided it was time to lighten up. She threw care to the wind, donned a summer dress, and headed out for a slow ride on her extremely feminine girl-bike. Bike Girl loves her girl-bike. When she's on it, she cannot help but smile. She also cannot break 12 miles per hour, which is a lovely change.
She rode to work with her hair blowing freely in the wind. She took the side roads, and wore no helmet. Pedestrians smiled, drivers gave her more room than usual, and when the wind blew, she accidentally gave a bus driver quite a show.
While riding in the sunshine, stress melted away. Sore muscles were not felt. And Bike Girl had a great deal of fun.
Friday, May 1, 2009
What happens when the people who are supposed to be protecting that right decide simply not to? This happens.
Well in response, this happened. Cyclists stormed the Bastille to force the politicians and the police to answer to the mistreatment of cyclists in the city.
Bike Girl is joining other members of the Bike Writers' Collective in condemning the treatment of cyclists by the LAPD and members of the L.A. City Council.
Until the people who are supposed to be protecting cyclists' rights step up, Bike Girl suggests readers learn the vehicle code in their area.
This pamphlet and this post helped Bike Girl learn the rules of the road, and how to bike defensively.
This is where the rules are for riding a bike in California.
This is the Cyclists' Bill of Rights, endorsed by the L.A. City Council.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Fellow Bike Writers' Collective embers Gary Rides Bikes and WestSide BikeSide have the details.
If the links don't work, it is because the sites have gotten so many hits, they have crashed. See Midnight Ridazz to weigh in.
Bike Girl made a mistake this week that only a novice makes. She did not properly maintain her bicycles. Yes, that's a plural. Bike Girl was nearly late to work because not one, but two bikes were out of commission.
One might say, "I thought Bike Girl had N+1 Bikes and could therefore always hop on a trusty cycle and ride off into the sunset." But one may not be aware that Bike Girl has been down-sizing her fleet. She now technically has 3 bike FRAMES, and only 2 sets of wheels. But that is not the issue.
The issue is, our fearless protagonist did not think to pump up her tires until 5 minutes before the last possible moment she could walk out the door in order to get to her destination on time. At that point, Bike Girl's pump decided to fail. Actually, it was a big "F" Fail. The pump let all of the air out of her tires, and would not put air back in. Bike Girl's attempts to fix the problem Failed. This happened on all four of Bike Girl's wheels as she tried to interchange the wheels to get a complete set.
By this point, Bike Girl was late. She thought about using her fancy schmancy CO2 containers to fill the tires. But being already late, and thinking about how much CO2 containers cost, Bike Girl decided to hop in the car instead.
The moral of the story is, one should check one's steed thoroughly when putting it into the barn at night. That way, when one needs to get going in the morning, one's trusty steed is ready to ride!
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
The above bicycle is long gone; sold to a lovely lady on Craigslist for more than it was worth. The basket was procured from a pile at the Bike-ro-wave in Santa Monica. It was pre-loved, meaning it was already completely crushed when I found it. I believe it cost one dollar. The Bike-ro-wave, as well as the Bicycle Kitchen and the Bike Oven are great places to find random parts and accessories for cheap.
Bike Girl now prefers a rack and panniers to carry around her groceries or other items. The rack goes on the back and is not bulky and ugly. Panniers come in many stylish designs, plus they’re detachable. So if you’re not carting around random Stuff, they don’t need to be on the bike.
As far as the style-factor on regular bike baskets:
The Copenhagen-ize blog has some lovely posts on customizing bike baskets.
Bike Girl personally thinks there is a Correct Basket for every bike. Though panniers are her favorite all-purpose pick.
Friday, March 27, 2009
This particular Math purports to calculate the efficiency of a cyclist as compared to a car. While Bike girl has no intention of fueling her bike rides with gas, she was interested to find out how man Miles Per Gallon she would get if she suddenly woke up one day and had transformed into some sort of science fiction car/cyclist hybrid.
Bike Girl immediately plugged in her weight, and a reasonable touring/commuting speed of 12 miles per hour. Using complex Math, the widget calculated Bike Girl would get 979 miles per gallon!
Intrigued, Bike Girl tried again with a quicker pace of 16 miles per hour, thinking surely her efficiency would improve.
Bike Girl’s efficiency actually dropped to 809 miles per gallon.
Now surpassing mere intrigue, Bike Girl’s fascination with the calculator grew. She moved the miles per hour back to 12, and entered her Pre-Cyclist weight. (Bike Girl was once a more voluptuous protagonist than she is now.) Only 930 miles per gallon. It turns out shedding a few pounds increases efficiency!
Try it Here
To read more about Bike Girl's tendency towards all things nerdly, click Here or Here or Here
Friday, March 13, 2009
As a cyclist, Bike Girl enjoys a certain amount of suffering. She’ll frequently don tight clothing and pound her legs and lungs into submission. How sexy does that sound? But there is one thing that crosses Bike Girl’s threshold for pain. That thing is the saddle sore.
One would not think something that looks very much like a pimple would incapacitate a protagonist as fearless as Bike Girl. But this tiny pimple, when in Certain Places, can make riding a horrible, horrible experience.
Furious googling yields a plethora of home remedies for the tiny bumps. Bike Girl has tried a number of them, with limited success. They range from using a cream usually reserved for cow teats, to drying them out with isopropyl alcohol, to applying a steroid cream. Bike Girl’s usual cocktail is obsessive cleaning with witch hazel or antibacterial soap, followed by a dab of Tea Tree oil.
However, even with the most wonderful treatment, the only true way to get them to go away is with time off the bike. Since Bike Girl doesn’t like this solution, she generally prefers to avoid getting them in the first place.
She advises fellow cyclists to remove their sweaty, sweaty bike shorts or underpants as soon as possible after riding. While certain cyclists Bike Girl knows love to languish in their chamoises (chamoi? chamoisez?) as they eat far too much food after a ride, this is not advised. Never wear a chamois twice without washing it. Wipe down at your destination. On long rides, some readers may wish to venture into the squishy world of chamois crème. (Known more colorfully in some circles as Butt Butter)
But despite these precautions, saddles sores sometimes happen anyway. Bike Girl invites her readers to share the intimate details of their own regimens in the comments section.
Our fearless protagonist found herself on Craigslist, searching for a cheaper solution to her N+1 problem. She was hoping for an 80’s bike with a triple chain-ring she could convert to become a touring machine.
During her search, Bike Girl came across a stylish looking vintage number with nice components. However, despite the long description, she was unable to find the bike’s size. Bike Girl emailed the seller, thinking this was an oversight. Here is the conversation that transpired [with commentary in brackets].
Bike Girl: you didn't post the size [ok, so maybe that was a little terse]
Seller: your welcome [that’s actually how the seller spelled that word]
BG: so you're not going to say what size it is? [Bike Girl is confused]
Seller: only if real interested...tire kickers-not so much [Bike Girl thought this was a bizarre response]
BG: Well how would I know if I'm interested unless it is my size. What a bizarre thing to not post.
That's like saying "I'm selling some pants, but I refuse to say what size they are." Or "I'm selling a picture but I won't show it to you first."
No one is going to click on your posting unless they're looking for a bike. If they're looking for a bike, they need to know what size it is to know if it will fit them. If it won't fit them, then there's no point in them looking any further.
I'm not sure what your definition of a "Tire Kicker" is, but you will waste a lot more of your time having people come look at the bike and it not being the right size than if you just post the size so people know if you're wasting THEIR time or not by drawing them out to look at a bike that will have no chance of fitting them.
Seller: get a friggin life instead of telling people what to do or how to advertise...i could tell you were a nag from the get go and thats why you got the answer i gave-there are many like you on cl...[Bike Girl was out to buy a bike, not out to nag]
BG: Just have to say, out of all the bikes I've bought on craigslist, and out of all the bikes I've inquired about, I've never encountered such resistance from a seller to telling me the size of the bike. It really was a simple question from an interested buyer.
Seller: here's another clueless person trying to school me on how to advertise and how little i know about bikes...
" you obviously don’t know what you’re talking about – your ad says campy and campagnolo- which are the same brand-- If you knew what the numbers meant you would know road bike sizes are usually in cm, not inches – it’s not a mountain bike or a kids bike- If you really knew bikes you would’ve put the size info in the ad. I’m embarrassed for you. "
this ignoramus doesnt know that road bikes WERE measured in inches by trek in the early years.
as for campy,i used it for search engine keywording which this idiot didnt know crap about...
So i had to school them and deal with their stupidity.
If you ever sell stuff on cl you will see plenty of foot in mouth syndrome and free advice syndrome...
At this point, Bike Girl told the seller it was obvious she didn’t want to sell her the bike, and told the poor seller she was sorry she had to deal with that person. Bike Girl wishes this seller the best of luck, but hopes other hapless potential buyers do not have any questions about the frame size.
Bike Girl’s quest for a new bike continues…
Bike Girl Goes Shopping Pt 1 and Pt 2
Friday, March 6, 2009
Bike Girl believes the plus sides of the Randonee are many. It's low-priced, and it is green.
Excited about her new green bicycle, she headed out to the store in Santa Monica to pick it up. When she arrived, there was bad news. The one that had been shipped to that store had a faulty shifter. The Santa Monica REI sent her out to the REI in Rancho Cucamonga.
This excursion required a long car trip out to the middle of nowhere during the week, which was pretty stressful for our protagonist. Yet being extremely stubborn, Bike Girl made the trek, picking up the bike, and returning to her homeland just in time to be five minutes late to work.
In her haste, she did not check the bike as thoroughly as she should have. It turns out the lovely, yet customer-service challenged woman who put together the bike at the Rancho Cucamonga store had put together the bicycle incorrectly. Besides that, Bike Girl found that even the extra small size had too long of a top-tube for a short lady.
Thanks to REI's wonderful return policy, the bike was taken back to the store, and Bike Girl's quest for a touring bike continued...
Related: Bike Girl Goes Shopping Pt. 1
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
As Bike Girl's loyal fans remember, adding to one's bicycle fleet is a mathematical inevitability, because of the N+1 equation.
The bicycle Bike Girl seeks is very specific. It is a road bike with a triple chain ring in the front and braze-on's for touring. It also fits her perfectly.
Finding this bicycle has been quite a trial. Bike Girl has had to dust off her noir-film-esque detective skills.
In order to get back into the blogging groove, Bike Girl will chronicle the arduous process here.
Related: Bike Girl Goes Shopping Pt. 2