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  • Donate 2014 charity dollars to make Bicycling AWESOME


    Make your 2014 charitable dollars work! Help us reach $50k to develop the mobile app HERE

    2014 Accomplishments:

    While most of our programs are focused on Los Angeles, we’re also working to bring these fun and helpful learning tools to other cities – and countries! In February 2015 executive director Nona Varnado will be speaking in Bogota (ciclovia) and Medellin (World Bike Forum), Colombia on how to bring DIY bike culture to communities to create positive social change.

    The mission:

    Bicycle Culture Institute is a non-profit organization focused on mentorship, developing a resource library and broad media attention for a diverse range of voices about bicycling. We help other non-profits, coalitions, co-ops, ride groups and large companies focus on their primary mission by developing high quality education programs, workshops and training.

    Based on 15 years of innovative cycling culture projects including: race development, community organizing, brand development and traditional advocacy. We believe in making friends, learning from other cities and individuals around the globe to build connections between people.

    You can support BCI’s general operating fund or make sure your donation goes 100% to the #LABIKETRAINS mobile app. We’re pretty excited that this little project has some big potential to transform cities like LA into great places to ride for everyday transportation.

    Not into paypal? Checks can be written to: Bicycle Culture Institute and mailed to 5918 Willoughby Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038


    We need you to keep the good work up. Social media likes feel nice, but they don’t keep the wheels moving. To say thank you to anyone who contributes financially, we’d like to offer:

    • Any donations over $50 get a handwritten thank you note
    • Over $250 special 1:1 bike ride (1 hr) in Los Angeles with any active LA Bike Train conductor (pending scheduling)

    Over $500 you can choose:

    • Get your logo on the L.A. Bike Trains jersey
    • “Special Valet Service” with founder Nona Varnado
    • the official L.A. Bike Trains ‘Conductor’s Kit’ a reflective saddle bag with Lezyne brand mini-pump, tools, lever/patch kit, energy snack and first aid items.
    • Invitation to private events, rides and parties in 2015

    and Thank you. Paying attention and helping us spread the word is a HUGE help. If you can’t contribute $ this season, consider offering some of your time and talent. email us at: hello @ bicycleculture .org



    via Twitter
    via facebook
    via instagram 

  • L.A. Bike Trains needs YOU!


    Thanks for a great 2014. Help us make L.A. Bike Trains better and more accessible for people all over Los Angeles in 2015! Only 10 questions will make a big difference.

    Here is a link to the survey:

    Make GREAT use of your 2014 charity dollars and help us reach $50,000. The new app will connect up to 1 million people in LA County with great bike routes, education and encouragement to make riding a bike to work and school AWESOME.

    Thanks for your participation!

  • Women in the Bike Industry


    SaraiPhoto: Nikki Inglis

    At first glance, the article “These Are the People You Need to Know in the Bike Industry” is a solid list of industry rockstars. Everyone wants to know the quiet (and not so quiet) leaders, the mainstays, the ones who have been around the block, using their passion and experience to drive the industry.

    But failed to notice all the other people that you need to know in the bike industry. You know, the ladies.

    There could have been at least a few women in the lineup without much additional effort, but it does indeed require effort. On the surface the bike industry and sport is made up of a lot of dudes. The term MAMIL (middle-aged men in Lycra) exists for a reason.

    It is a real thing.

    However, it doesn’t take long to realize that while they are a large part of the whole, they are still only part of the whole. I’d like to add a few amazing women to this list but instead I’m going to call them “Women You Want to Know Because They Are Badass”

    Kate Rau—Executive Director of the Colorado High School Cycling LeagueBailey Hundo Board of Directors.

    Nicole Preston—Director, Special Events at American Diabetes Association (Tour de Cure), League of American Bicyclists Board of Directors.

    Nona Varnado—Founder and Executive Director of Bicycle Culture Institute, Founder and Editor at Bird Wheel.

    Sarah Lehman—CEO Enve Composites.

    Susie Wunch—Founder and Editor of VelojoyWomen Bike Advisory Board.

    Robin Farina—President of Women’s Cycling Association.

    Tori Bortman—Founder and Owner of Gracie’s Wrench, Author of theThe Big Book of Cycling for Beginners.

    Leah Flickinger—Executive Editor at Bicycling Magazine/Rodale.

    Carolyn Szczepanski-Reinertson—Director of Communications atLeague of American BicyclistsWomen Bike Advisory Board.

    Karen Bliss—VP of Marketing at Advanced Sports International.

    Elayna Caldwell—Brand Director at SRAM Mountain BikeIMBABoard of Directors.

    Cindy Koziateck—Co-Owner and CFO of Stan’s NoTubes.

    Dorothy Wong—Series Director of SoCalCross.

    Elly Blue—Founder at Wheelwomen Switchboard, Publisher at Elly Blue Publishing.

    Anna Schwinn—Lead Engineer at All-City Cycles, Team Captain atKoochella.

    Kristy Scrymgeour—Owner of Velocio Sports, co-founder of Velocio.

    Lindsey Vories—Founder and Director of Ladies AllRide.

    Joan Hanscom—Marketing and PR Manager at ABUS Mobile Security.

    Carla Huckee—Global Marketing Manager at Niner Bikes.

    Jenn Dice—VP of Government Relations at PeopleForBikes.

    Kate Powlison—Senior Marketing + Communications Manager atPeopleForBikes.

    Deanne Buck—Executive Director at OIWC.

    Tanya Quick—Co-founder of CycloFemme, Founding Principal atLanguage Dept.

    Of course, there are many, many more names that should fill this list. Having worked in the industry for a decade, I focused on the women that I personally know and have had the distinct pleasure of working with. These women are incredible examples of leaders, elemental components of companies and advocacy organizations, as well as innovators and entrepreneurs.

    On a side note, I would be remiss without mentioning the other blatant truth here. Gender diversity is not the only diversity that we as an industry and sport are lacking. Race, ethnic, cultural, age, and economic diversity is largely absent.

    Diversity creates equality and breeds innovation. Without those things we risk stagnation and miss out on an entire population of would-be cyclists and bike riders.

    I won’t pretend to know how to fix all of these issues but if we start with growing women’s cycling, I think we can make some progress. Women are generally known to be incredible community builders.

    We could go on at length about why or how we got here. But I believe there is a universal sort of idea that we can start with to be our guide to a better future.

    While the bicycle played a significant role in women’s history, women have not played a significant role in the history of cycling, or so the story goes. Just like in the tech world, women have largely been omitted from the history book of cycling.

    Women are left without the stories of endurance, grit, innovation, leadership, and heroism. We are left without a history of women riding bikes.

    So, how do we go about creating that inclusive culture, one where we all have a place?

    The first answer is simple, we all need to invite someone different from ourselves into the world of cycling. We can do this through programs, clubs, teams, group rides, and other initiatives that speak to an audience that we are not a part of.

    The second answer is simple too, support those that are doing the inviting. And make a commitment to stick with it for the long haul.

    The third answer, also simple. Tell really good stories with words and images of the different bikers and cyclists, old and new, the inviters and the invited.

    Here is your challenge I challenge you to write really good stories and take really good pictures of people riding bikes who don’t look like you, act like you, smell like you, eat like you, talk like you, or even live by you.

    Sarai Snyder is the founder of and co-founder of CycloFemme.


  • Half the Road

    “Half The Road” trailer from kevin tokstad on Vimeo.

    The Bicycle Film Festival Womens Program at the 2014 Los Angeles stop of their tour had only two films: a short by local racer and former BFF producer, Jen Whalen, and the documentary ‘Half the Road.’  There seems to be a lack of women focused or directed films about biking out there, so perhaps it isn’t a surprise that the major take away is: gender bias in cycling is freakishly bad and geared towards silent acceptance. With 10+ years of riding, racing, organizing and advocating for bikes behind me, I was thrilled to see so many legendary female racers open up about their personal stories, lives and how the shameful lack of respect for women in professional cycling is unnecessary.

    When the the film reviews for ‘Half the Road’ started getting published online, I agreed and felt defensive. Was it too long? Yes. Did it take an aggressive name calling stance towards the evil UCI officials/henchmen keeping women from opportunities or respect?  Yup. The cinematography and production values could have been better too, but seriously? In telling the movie going audience that a movie is too long and negative, you’ve just killed off the audience that will be the most impressed by this movie: the ones who are not already super familiar with these issues and are more likely to have that “ah-ha” moment watching it.

    For those of us tired of hearing how things are broken, it was actually really awesome to watch director Kathyrn Bertine point fingers at specific UCI officials, name names, cite specific discriminatory rules and respond to dismissals with epic stories of a forgotten women’s TdF, massive endurance events and the incredibly moving first hand story of Kristin Armstrong’s latest olympic gold medal. Bertine points out exactly how things can change. Is it biased? Absolutely. Now, it’s up to the audience to act on it and thankfully ‘Half the Road’ provides that roadmap.

    Go see ‘Half the Road.’ Bring a snack and get a coffee afterward. Then start a revolution where you are.

    FRI APR 25 in SAN FRANCISCO, CA at Bicycle Film Festival
    SUN APR 27 in NEWPORT BEACH, CA at the Newport Beach Film Festival 11:30am
    MON APR 28 in NEW HAVEN, CT at Rave North Haven 12 at 7:30p
    WED APR 30 in NEWPORT BEACH, CA at the Newport Beach Film Festival 8:15pm
    WED APR 30 in GRAND JUNCTION, CO at Carmike Seven at 7:30pm
    SAT MAY 3 in SILVER CITY, NM at the TOUR OF THE GILA / Besse-Forward campus auditorium, 7pm
    TUE MAY 6 in BALTIMORE, MD at the Landmark Harbor East at 7:30pm
    WED MAY 7 in BOISE, ID at Northgate Reel Theater at 7pm
    WED MAY 7 in SEATTLE, WA at Landmark Harvard Exit Theatre at 7:30pm
    THUR MAY 8 in MEQUON, WI at Marcus North Shore Cinema at 7:30pm
    TUE MAY 13 in BOULDER, CO at Century Boulder 16 at 7:30pm
    THUR MAY 15 in NANTUCKET, MA at Nantucket Dreamland
    FRI MAY 16 in DENVER, CO at the SIE Film Center
    MON MAY 19 in BOCA RATON, FL at Cinemark Palace 20 7:30pm
    THUR MAY 22 in CHATTANOOGA, TN at Carmkike Majestik 12 6:30pm
    SUN MAY 25 in PORTLAND, OR at Hollywood Theater 7pm
    SUN-TUE JUNE 1-3 in ALBUQUERQUE, NM at the Guild Theater
    TUE JUNE 3rd in CHICAGO, IL at AMC River East 7:30pm
    SCOTLAND PREMIERE! MON JUNE 12 in EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND at Edinburgh Festival of Bicycles 
    TUE JULY 15 in SALT LAKE CITY, UT at the Utah Film Center
    THUR JULY 24-27 in ST. LUCIA, CARIBBEAN info Here
    SUN OCT 5 in BLOOMINGTON, IN at Buskirk-Chumley Theater
  • Women Take Center Stage at National Bike Summit
  • The Backstory

    So happy to see Carolyn Szczepanski’s profile of the last 10 (!) years of bicycle + culture projects get published in Momentum Magazine today. My favorite thing about press is that it’s like knowing you’ll get a present, but you never really know what it is until a bunch of your friends send you links or have a giant smile on their face while waving a magazine in the air.


    (PSST:  Also, it was super fun to shoot that image in downtown LA with the awesome Hal Bergman.  I’m already thinking about what a gallery installation of his apocalyptic #bikeLA photos and stop motion pieces would look like…)

  • Save Wolfpack Hustle’s #marathoncrash
    Wolfpack Hustle's L.A. Marathon Crash Race is a really big deal in its' 5th year.

    Wolfpack Hustle’s L.A. Marathon Crash Race is a really big deal in its’ 5th year.

    Action alert:

    • Call Eric Garcetti/ LA Mayor’s office and let him know that without Wolfpack Hustle thousands will still crash the L.A. Marathon; without control, safety checks or insurance. Save#marathoncrash 213.978.0600

    While at the National Bike Summit in Washington DC, I learned from Don “Roadblock” Ward that the Wolfpack Marathon Crash Race, due to take place in only a few days – had receive a letter from the City of L.A.

    (Wolfpack Marathon Crash Race) “is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment in county jail for a period not to exceed one year. You may incur liability for any costs related to City services deployed for an event held in violations of Section 41.20.”

    Standing next to my co-workers from the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and other LA bike advocates, we couldn’t help be a little shocked and wonder who was responsible for pulling the plug on an event that had been happening with the support of the LAPD and the wide acknowledgement of the City – while also being a transformative “cicLAvia” like experience awakening people to the wonders of being able to ride 26.2 miles through Los Angeles, car-free. So wonderful is the experience – for first time racers and first time recreational participants – that the event has encouraged a whole new generation of racers and urban bike racing.

    Streetsblog LA (as usual) broke the news with an excellent story,

    Wolfpack Hustled: City Pulls Support for Marathon Crash, Threatens Legal Action

    when the LA Times picked it up with their article, Popular pre-L.A. Marathon bike ride canceled after city permit snag

    StreetsBlogLA then had some salient points on the LA Times article here.

    LA Weekly followed that up with:

    Bicyclists Plan to Crash L.A. Marathon Course — Despite City Shutdown

    Indeed so much hype, lack of clarity and contention between the city’s questionable ‘tactics’ resulted in the LA Times going live with an open discussion on what might actually be happening:

    L.A. Now Live: Discuss fallout of cancelled pre-L.A. Marathon bike race.

    While in DC – advocates from LA and nationally participated in a photo campaign to urge L.A. City to “Save Marathon Crash Race.”

    What You Can Do (NOW!)

    Call Eric Garcetti/ LA Mayor’s office and let him know that without Wolfpack Hustle thousands will still crash the L.A. Marathon; without control, safety checks or insurance. Save#marathoncrash 213.978.0600

  • NYC 2005-2014: Time lapse into a bike & ped friendly city

    NYC: Remember when it was impossible to imagine the city could ever be bicycle friendly? Like, just a few years ago? It’s pretty incredible to watch the transition happen – and so inspiring. If you can make complete streets there, you can make it anywhere…

  • Changing the Cycle ESRBC

    Changing the Cycle – ESRBC from Giovanni Moreno

    The East Side Riders (and their neighboring crew the Los Riders) are doing amazing things in Los Angeles. I was stoked to see this fun, inspiring video showing some of the great things happening in Watts. Check it out! Giovanni Moreno:

    “During the 1992 L.A Riots negative images resulting from the chaos were propagated through news channels and viewed around the globe. Thereafter, the perception of the southern region of L.A, where South Central, Compton and Watts coexist, became tainted. Positive news rarely followed afterward, and when I witnessed positive events in my neighborhood, they went unmentioned in the news. The positive side of this region of L.A, I realized, hardly gets the attention it deserves.

    Being a filmmaker born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, while studying Film & Television at UCLA, I made a promise to myself; my first film was going to show the good energies spreading in L.A. When I seen the positive impact East Side Riders Bike Club was making in their community since 2008 (Fighting diabetes, heart disease, feeding the homeless, and getting a diverse community involved by riding a bicycle), I knew this was it. For 4 months I biked with the team around L.A, meeting with different bicyclists from different areas, age groups, and ethnic backgrounds coming together united as one to ride a bike. It amazed me how we were all riding together to one rhythm under the sun. Every pedal we pushed seemed to take us further away from 1992… I just had to capture the movement.

    Transforming these towns one by one, little by little, they are Changing the Cycle. They have also been a strong advocate in adding Bike Lanes in L.A and are succeeding at the goal. Now I don’t want to spoil the film for you.. I hope you enjoy the short…Spread the good word.”

  • Why BIKE BIKE is awesome.

    From Krista Carlson’s

    Cultivating Conversations at BikeBike 2013: A Recap in Urban Velo



    In between workshops attendees went on rides, ate local food, and danced to local live music together, all the while continuing to share stories and ideas.

    “I wanted to find my peers who were struggling with the same things at the same point,” said Nona Varnado, “ and I also wanted to be able to share my knowledge so that people can get to where I am faster, and we create more of a peer group of people who are trying to, from the bottom up, create this sort of social change.”

    While it was her first time attending BikeBike, Varnado, a key organizer of ArtCrank, L.A. Bike Trains and the Red5Yellow7 bike-art gallery in L.A., is no stranger to community bike projects, and facilitated seven workshops throughout the weekend. “It’s BikeBike—If you don’t do it, it might not happen,” she said.

    Long involved with integrating bikes are art to elevate one another, Varnado presented on guerilla bike art to a packed house, sharing ideas and examples of ways to use art to advance goals within the community. This workshop was one of seven that she hosted or co-facilitated throughout the weekend.

     – Urban Velo liked this quote so much they re-printed it in their next issue #40 with a photo series from Bike!Bike! 2013 -

    “It’s hard to learn all of these things, because you’ve got to learn about bikes themselves, you’ve got to learn about the bike industry, you’ve got to learn about nonprofits and advocacy and how cities work. There’s just so much stuff to learn that if you’re just kind of trying to do good stuff it could take you forever—so this is kind of like a fast track–instead of trying to work really hard and bumble your way through the next 10 years, just go to BikeBike and figure it all out.”

    p32-33 p36-37

    By comparing models and sharing ideas, the trial-by-fire experiences of one organization becomes a learning tool for other groups. Coming out of BikeBike a few years ago, an online think tank of more than 600 contributors provides a forum for information sharing and discourse between annual events.

    “A lot of progress comes in the time between two BikeBikes. It all starts off from an idea being shared and getting folks really excited,” said Loconte. “One of the most surprising things is always how that problem your organization is experiencing and battling over and having a lot of issues with and not finding a way to resolve – most other shops will have very straightforward solutions that you never thought of.”

    BikeBike 2014 will be in Columbus, Ohio. For more information and resources visit

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