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  • Biking to UCLA just got awesome: New partnership with L.A. Bike Trains will launch 3 NEW routes on national ‘Bike to Work’ day, Thursday, May 14, 2015.

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    Los Angeles, April 28, 2015 – On National Bike to Work Day, Thursday, May 14, UCLA Transportation will launch a new partnership with L.A. Bike Trains, a project of the Bicycle Culture Institute.  UCLA Transportation and L.A. Bike Trains bring together everything you need to learn about riding on the street, navigating the city by bike, having fun, staying safe and getting inspired. Three new routes will operate on a regular schedule 3x per week starting in Koreatown, Culver City and Santa Monica and all going to UCLA’s main campus in Westwood. While the routes are intended to serve the UCLA community, anyone may participate.

    Los Angeles, long famous for being a city that requires a car to get around also has a history with auto ride share programs. The UCLA routes represent the first time bicycling for transportation has gained the support of a major local institution as a viable solution to congestion, parking and other problems. While Bike to Work day is an easy and fun way to try out bicycling – these bike trains will be operating throughout the school year.

    Volunteer ride leaders, referred to as ‘conductors’ complete training to lead groups of bicyclists through city streets and carry tools to handle common problems, like a flat tire. It’s free to participate – interested riders can sign up any time online. Anyone interested in becoming a conductor (or back-up conductor) is encouraged to email (hello @ bicycleculture.org) to attend the next round of training.

    L.A. Bike Trains will be at Ecochella, this Friday, May 1st along with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC). Look for the LACBC Bike Valet and say hi!

  • What you missed: Sea Otter 2015

    After 10+ years of Interbike, National Bike Summits and other bicycle shows, conferences and gatherings… I finally made it to my first Sea Otter. The quick version: it’s AWESOME and we should all go in a giant crew together next year.

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    SO BIG! Huge awesome courses in every discipline, the coolest bike stuff, camping.

     

    While the industry side of things continues to erode into a sad state (which is really only a bummer if you own a bike shop or report on the industry), consumer level and activist events, like Bike! Bike! or Sea Otter just keep getting more … FUN. (See earlier post on the decentralization and mix up of how activism and advocacy are evolving.) The bike industry is rapidly evolving away from the established ‘manufacturer > distributor > retailer >buyer’ chain as we’re all buying things online anyway. The only way to survive is to connect with consumers people directly. With the power of FUN! With that in mind, I went with no agenda or goals and attended zero networking anything. I entered races I had no experience in, checked out only what seemed cool and loved every minute. 

    We arrived late Thursday and my first event was the women’s 3/4 Circuit race. That’s where you get to race around the Mazda Laguna Seca course, intended for cars and motorcycles but doing that on a bike is… RAD.

    Though there are plenty of road events, the real focus at Sea Otter is dirt. Mountain, CX, fat bikes were the events and bikes that everyone was into. It’s easy to see why: Sea Otter is competitive (no city bikes or cruisers here), but approachable. Anyone can do it. Mountain bike tech, design and trails in the USA just keep getting more and more awesome. This year the mountain bike ‘grand fondo’ had over 600 people registered, myself included. It was the same course as the Pro/Cat 1&2 cross country race (held the next day) and it was gorgeous. While I now understand the special hell of trying to navigate lots of single track with too many people, it was also a really chill way to jump into something new without the fear of being destroyed or simply embarrassed by super fast/strong riders.

    Sea Otter Enduro

    Anneke Beerten racing Enduro photo from: pinkbike.com

    And not to blow up a good spot – but the camping next to the Enduro course was… really fun. Kids jumping stuff at night with no lights on Friday became kids jumping cars with only the head lamps of everyone watching on Saturday. That’s some epic bike punk action you can’t fake. A tRex statue was stolen and exchanged between rival camps a few times. Wake up, repeat.

    Recently, I’ve gotten ‘in the market’ for a mountain bike, but something that can climb. As rad as hardcore downhill is, I’ve already broken enough body parts and I enjoy climbing. At Sea Otter and other local SoCal demos Santa Cruz Bikes have been dominating in presence. The bikes are gorgeous and 100% live up to the hype. I am personally deeply in love with the 2015 Nomad. Unfortunately they are stupid expensive. 

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    I’m not sure why no one seems to be talking about MONEY directly. The bike industry talks about overall sales lagging, citing some statistics. Independent shops are having a hard time. Advocates wonder why there isn’t any industry money, people wonder why things are so expensive or hard to get. In broad strokes, it’s several things: income disparity in the US, online vs retail buying trends, and (most interesting to me) a growing love for recreational biking, stagnation in transportation bicycling… while pro racing seems to be limping along somewhere in between.

    That brings us back to Mountain Biking. It’s hot. And for someone who has done every other kind of biking (and those have all become “work”) it’s a lot of fun to discover how to ride all over again. So since the Nomad is too much money, it’s also a little …too much bike for a novice, even an overly zealous once. While walking around I ran into the Yeti ASR and was immediately into it.

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    Wait – I know what you’re going to say: they’re suspiciously… the same color. This year everyone seems to agree on a certain teal-blue. It’s not just these bikes… or even bikes. Matchy-matchy frames, components, apparel, accessories are no longer just for girls & weirdos. Lucky me, I’m super into it. ENVE is clearly leading the way with sexy rims/wheels that highlight any color scheme, which is also a bummer seeing as how they’re wildly expensive. It would be nice if Alex/Vuelta or entry level wheel companies would jump on board and let regular people in on the fun.

    The “women” specific events, products and outreach seemed really.. chill this year. No big deal. But with Juliana sharing a tent (and development) with Santa Cruz (and therefore the prestige), women’s races blending in seamlessly with men’s plus the adorable Little Bellas Day Camp

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     made the normalization of women in cycling seem to be making real gains. Even the obnoxious ‘women specific’ niche products with pink flowers sprayed on everything disappeared into a sea of cool new bike gear. Most large vendors had some noticeable women specific product – but most importantly reps could easily talk to me about fitting any of the high-end (aka “mens”) product.

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    Juliana Bikes at Sea Otter 2015

    My favorite non-bike product was definitely the EVOC line up. The new travel bag is insanely good. And it was super cool to check out their new (to be released at Eurobike) line of protection/hydration packs. In terms of usability, manufacturing tech, body fit and sexy design – I’m into it. FYI the not yet released 6 liter will fit me perfectly…

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    For all the exciting mountain stuff the bike that made me drop the microphone was the SCOTT CX Addict bike. And yes, that was mostly an aesthetic thing. That paint job? Those tires? Le sigh. It’s the Ryan Gosling of bikes. And, sadly, just as unattainable. 

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  • Ride, run or walk to support #FTR2015
    NOTE: friend Damian Kevitt, is the survivor of a hit and run crime in Griffith Park. His story, amputation and transformation into a hero of recovery turned something awful into an incredible mission to make the world a better place. It remains one of the most awesome things we’ve had the honor of being a small part of. We hope that you make time this Sunday, to participate as a cyclist, runner or walker. Go Damian!!

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    Finish the Ride, Run, Walk ‘n Roll

    Finish the Ride is happening…again!  What was a single event to commemorate a terrible event has turned into a movement, for safe city streets and ending hit and run crimes. A movement to support walking, bike riding, running, skateboarding, and having fun without fear of becoming roadkill. 

    It starts at 7:30am in Hollywood with VIP speakers, including the LA DOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds, Councilman Busciano, Councilman O’Farrell and a very special guest you’ll want to see.

    The Run, Ride and Walking events roll at 8 AM. From 6 easy miles all the way up to 50 miles, a 10K Run, 10K Walk and 10K Roll.  Yes, EVERY form of active transportation is represented, skate-boarders, roller-blades, roller-skaters, even unicyclists.  Full support with activities, water and rest stops, SAG wagon, etc. 

    The event is kid friendly and dog friendly. Please no cats or iguanas. :-)

    Everything finishes at The Autry Museum south lawn in Griffith Park with food, live music, dancing, BBQ, beer, ice cream, beer, yoga, free t-shirt, finishing medal (or ribbon, depending on the event), great goodie bag with free swag, raffle, silent auction, free stuff and good times.

    Did you know that between last year’s event, awareness campaigns, legislation and a lot of work, we dropped hit and run crimes by 16%. It all started with a little bike ride a year ago.

    Have a great time. Help make LA a safer place to live. What are you waiting for? REGISTER!

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  • CX Nationals 2015: women & independent bike racing take center stage

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    I love cyclocross, mostly because it was the first style of bike racing that I did 10+ years ago when there were 3 other women and only a few more men at a local race in New York. It was confusing, weird and dirty. Now, it’s kind of a big deal with a whole new generation of racers, organizers, companies and spectators. But let’s be clear: it’s still ‘American Bicycle Racing’ and struggling with the same problems that roadies and other disciplines face.

    Problem #1 Development.

    How do you get enough new people into the sport so that champions (and a packed field) can emerge? There’s a big backlash against USA Cycling, the governing body that determines things like points and status, from local race directors who create awesome events that get more people into the sport – but who can’t afford the crippling fees to be USA Cycling sanctioned. So racers have to choose to race ‘for the love’ or glory. There was a huge fall out when USA Cycling tried to ban anyone who raced in non-santion events in 2013. What a bunch of bullies! Roadblock from Midnight Ridazz/Wolfpack Hustle laid it out best in his response.

    Problem #2 Equality.

    Yep, it’s kind of embarrassing. A Brilliant illustration of this is found in Helen Wyman’s “Pressing the Equality Button” on Cycling News. Read it in its’ entirety.

    So, personally in 2015, I don’t think there is an excuse for women not to be receiving the same minimum prize fund. If the minimum salary in a country was lower for women, there would be riots. If prize funds were different based on skin colour or sexual orientation, there would be riots. We don’t want to riot, we want to race. We just want equality.

    What a way to kick off an event! It’s like Thanksgiving with extended family…

    But, whenever bike drama comes up: it’s also easy to fall back on the immediate joy of the moment: being on a bike, turning yourself inside out and experiencing the thrill of a new course. And that’s what we can look forward to this weekend. What I’m hoping for is that while a big new field of women and juniors show up – the conversation can take a positive new tone: making things better for everyone.

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  • Get Ready to cx Rumble!

    It’s ALMOST here! ‘Cross season that is. And even though southern California suffers nearly perfect weather all year long – SoCalCX puts on the most fun, creative events – EVAR! With the S.W.A.T. ladies getting into it, the women’s field will be bigger and crazier than ever. Mark your calendars!

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  • Get TUNED into the Wolfpack Civic Center Crit2

    Thanks to the platform provided by the Wolfpack Hustle Civic Center Crit2; women’s bike racing is heating up in LA in a big way. 200+ racers (60+ ladies!) are going to be killing it around LA City Hall/Grand Park with hairpin turns, food trucks, vendor fair and team tents to check out along the course. LACBC will be providing FREE Bike Valet at Grand Park. If you can’t be there, check out all the action via instagram, twitter and facebook.

    { Check out the KPFK – Kill Radio interview w/ Nona Varnado for a longer audio discussion }

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    Wolfpack Hustle (Official) instagramtwitterfacebook

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    Women Race Bikes instagram #womenracebikes on twitter

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    S.W.A.T. (She Wolf Attack Team) instagramtwitterfacebook

  • 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
    CANADIAN PREMIERE! TUE MAY 13 in SASKATOON, SASK. at Broadway Theater
    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
    AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE! MON MAY 19 PERTH, AUSTRALIA Windsor Theater, 6:30pm
    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
  • 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 mayor.garcetti@lacity.org

    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 mayor.garcetti@lacity.org

  • Bike Party for the Car City.

    LABCFS-facebookBIG News.

    What was only an idea at the L.A. Bike Trains December meeting is now a full blown festival that’s (gulp!) less than a month away. The festival is underwritten and hosted by AIDS/Lifecycle and sponsored by Los Angeles Bicycle Attorney, Josh Cohen. We’ve put together an awesome group of local culture, advocacy groups, bike shops and brands. Healthy snacks provided by Good Eggs LA!
    Schedule:
    12:00-12:45 Press Conference – festival areas open
    1:00-1:45 Opening Panel
    2:00-2:45 Workshops round 1
    2:45-3:30 Break – invite to roam, eat “snack time!”
    3:30-4:30 Workshops round 2
    5:00-6:00 Closing Remarks/ Raffle Winner(s) announced
    6:00-7:00 Party & Open festival
    I need you to invite EVERYONE YOU’VE EVER MET. Coworkers, neighbors, friends, family. Anyone who isn’t yet riding (because this is for them) and everyone who is riding (because it’s so awesome!) We want to see this become an annual event and we need to throw a big party to make that happen.
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  • SoCal CX: awesome fun
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    note to readers: my apologies – I’ve been so busy working this year that I’ve slacked on blogging, but that means there’s an inspiring amount of awesome content coming up!

    One of the amazing things about cycling in Southern California (and perhaps other places) is that the people leading by doing -creating the awesome cycling events and projects you always wanted to see – are almost all women! One of the best race directors I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing (and riding their courses!) is the inexhaustible Dorothy Wong. She’s the engine behind SoCalCX, The Team and is an LCI committed to teaching everyone how to ride even if it’s just along a bike path. Dorothy is a one woman movement, single handedly designing, building, promoting, managing racer development through the most welcoming and all inclusive cx race series in the US. She’s also brilliant, generous and adorable.

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    Today is CX LA part of the SoCalCX prestige series for Winter 2013. They’ve already had 1/2 dozen amazing races all over Southern California, but there’s still 6 more weekends to get out there and try a beginner’s workshop, or throw yourself into it! CX in Southern California is obviously different than most other places (what is snow? mud?) instead you’ll get dusty cornfields, the beach and other dry terrain. Today’s race might be a fun exception because it actually rained in LA, so the course just might be… wicked fun. Dot’s races are extremely beginner friendly, even alongside elite racers and have categories that include open bike category (mutant bikes! weirdos! FixieCrossie)

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    Even better – this weekend is conveniently in Downtown LA’s state historic park. Easy to get to and they’ve put together the Tour de Taste – a festival of gourmet food trucks, DJ’s and vendor tents to peruse making CX even more fun to experience as a spectator. Proceeds benefit the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition. It get started today, Saturday at 1pm and again tomorrow. Check out the schedule and description on the facebook event page.

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