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…
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.”
I was super happy when Edward, the owner of Peddler’s Creamery in downtown LA, approached me at the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s holiday open house to hang art in their gorgeous space. It’s so pretty… that they just won “Best of 2013″ by Interior Design Magazine! Taking it for the ‘budget’ category amongst international competition – congrats! Plus the ice cream is super delicious and pedal churned!
Stop by and enjoy some ice cream and art. Up through January 2014.
From Krista Carlson’s
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.”
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 bikebike.org.
Tall bikes are cool. They’re DIY, creative and usually funky personal projects where the creator has brought 2 – 3 scavenged frames and parts together to create something fun and challenging to ride. In April of 2013 for ‘cicLAvia to the sea’ Richie Trimble debuted something so monstrous it’s become it’s own phenomenon: StoopidTall.
Richie wore a ‘GoPro’ and the video had over a million hits within days. It’s insane to watch from the safety of a computer and kind of mind blowing to realize he rode it 15+ miles through LA surrounded by moving traffic, 110,000+ other cyclists, most of which have no experience riding bikes and have never seen anything like this. StreetsblogLA captured the moment rather well.
STUPIDTALL is 14.5′ tall and barely made it under one of the freeway overpasses the cicLAvia route was on. And then they went to San Francisco to shoot a commercial and STOOPIDTALL got a fancy paint job!
Yes, but can it be STOOPID-ER?
Thursday, December 26, 2013 STOOPID TALLER was revealed:
Listening to “All Things Considered” anywhere in America yesterday, December 1, 2013 and you might have heard this one..
As a lifelong NPR fan it was pretty sweet to get this surprise over the holiday weekend, with friends from all over the country freaking out and reposting it on facebook and twitter.
Check out the full article and audio here.
Of course when you’ve spent a 40,000+ hours on a project it’s hard to hear anything that isn’t the sweet sound of praise. But writer Alex Schmidt did us all a tremendous service by bringing in two somewhat jarring voices. The first Herbie Huff, who is a friend of mine, sort of negatively pointed out that you have to be pretty invested into a bike in order to participate -ie. already have a bike. That’s ..true. It’s a short piece so there wasn’t time to counter that we also work with bike shops to offer super awesome package deals for new commuters and that the cost of biking vs. driving means you could get 17 new bikes each year for the same cost of maintaining one car. (On average according to people who count that stuff.)
Next is the really outrageous part everyone’s talking about (hello, LA Bike Trains?) when a woman, Jackie Burke, agreed to speak and be named saying,
“It’s like they enjoy taking up the lanes,” says Jackie Burke, who has lived in Los Angeles her whole life. She says bicyclists drive her crazy when she’s in a car and has to slow down for them.
“It’s very frustrating, to the point where I just want to run them off the road,” Burke says. “I’ve actually done one of those drive-really-close-to-them kind of things to kind of scare them, to try to intimidate them to get out of my way.”
At first I was a little horrified thinking that anyone listening would be put off from either looking into LA Bike Trains or participating because of such outrageous comments. But in having a national audience, we’re already seeing a silver lining: that recent yet neglected LA City anti-harassment ordinance that no one has been bold enough to use? That might be changing soon. For more commentary check out Niall’s blog post. He does a really clever thing by pointing out that you can contact NPR and let them know how disturbing the quote was, particularly that it was thrown in there without any condemnation or pointing out that it’s super illegal and deadly.
NPR’s listener feedback form.
I would hope that with enough ‘feedback’ a new story directly dealing with this will create a powerful new national dialogue on respect and human dignity.
Here is Niall’s letter that you might consider using as a template for your own response.To the editor:
You deserve praise for covering the L.A. Bike Trains phenomenon, in which experienced bike commuters help novices learn how to travel safely by bike. It was horrifying, however, to hear the comments of Los Angeles resident Jackie Burke, who admitted to wanting “to run them [cyclists] off the road” and said “I’ve actually done one of those drive-really-close-to-them kind of things to kind of scare them, to try to intimidate them to get out of my way.”
This kind of sociopathy is seriously disturbing, and I as I ride my own bike around the streets of Los Angeles, I shudder to think how many motorists hold the view that it is ever OK to use a motor vehicle to intimidate or threaten another human being. Does Ms. Burke not realize that she is admitting to having committed menacing and assault?
I urge Ms. Burke and others with a similar attitude to get some perspective. City and suburban streets are not freeways. They provide access to homes and businesses and have to be usable by everyone and by all types of vehicles, including slower-moving ones. There is no entitlement to drive as fast as one wants all the time, and drivers need to be prepared to share the street with different types of vehicles that are legally allowed to be there. Sometimes this means waiting for a few seconds until it’s safe to overtake. And it really is a matter of seconds — I drive on Los Angeles’ streets too, and I rarely spend even so much as 30 seconds waiting to pass a bicyclist. Considering that traffic signal cycles can sometimes create delays of a minute or more, the delays caused by bicyclists are trivial, and certainly not worth risking the serious injury or death of another human being over.
With gas prices rising and the cost of living in urban areas going up, bicycles are going to be a fixture on the streets of American cities for many years to come as commuters try to slash costs. We need to cultivate a more humane environment on our roadways to accommodate this new reality. A well-connected network of protected bike lanes, separate from car traffic, would do wonders to ease tensions, as would bicyclist and motorist education regarding the rules of the road for each.
Until we get these things in our cities, would-be bicycle commuters are left to their own devices, and groups like L.A. Bike Trains are going to keep using safety in numbers to bring novices into the fold. Instead of threatening these people from the inside of her vehicle, perhaps Ms. Burke should go on a ride and get a cyclist’s perspective on traffic.
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.
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)
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.
A little over 24 hours ago Pharrell Williams released a music video. Hosted on it’s own interactive website, 24hoursofhappy.com it follows people blissfully jamming out to the song all over Los Angeles over the course of 24 hours. I didn’t quite get it for a little while, but it’s my favorite new media project in years. Like Vito Acconci, but enjoyable.
The meditation like quality of watching people having their ‘happy’ moment in public streets, on bike lanes, in alleyways and unglamorous everyday places is irresistible. If the individual or location at any moment seems kinda uninteresting, just forward to the trio of boys rocking out near skid row, or the lady happily bouncing around in her electric wheelchair. It’s an interesting to try to figure who the paid actors are, the regular people, the celebrity cameos and of course Pharrell himself. He appears every hour or so in different locations and consecutively more awesome outfits. Like this:
It’s basically impossible not to fall in love with the song (I wasn’t into it at first, but after several plays watching people do their thing.. I loved it) and at the same time, Los Angeles. In the way that Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” was a soundtrack and inspiration to New Yorkers from the worst projects to the fanciest luxury rooftops and millions of others imagining what New York is – “Happy” perfectly captures what it is that makes LA so ..magical. The art direction is beautiful and seamless but most of the locations are on public streets that locals will recognize as being gross or dangerous, just in front of a freeway entrance, a McDonalds or a Home Depot. LA is a place that invites you to discover beauty and happiness beyond the surface of things like say, strip malls. And unlike NYC where the main vision of happiness is too often extreme wealth – LA is a great place to be a weirdo or just be yourself and enjoy the moment. “Happy” does something that music rarely does; instead of telling people to aspire to wealth, power or fame – it celebrates the joy of here and now.
“Happy” was directed by We Are From LA and produced by Iconoclast – which is awesome because they’ve also collaborated on other projects. Can’t wait to see what they do next!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: Friday, October 24, 2013
TIME: 7 -11pm LOCATION: 4357 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, California 90029
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – Opening Friday, October 24, 2013 The international art movement begun in 2003 celebrates ten years of art, advocacy and community with the first ever gallery show. Family members, Ghost Bike and transportation advocates, artists and friends will be in attendance. Ghost Bikes are memorials honoring cyclists who are fatally – or sometimes critically – injured due to unnecessary collisions on streets not designed for shared traffic.They are a unique and positive response to a terrible event. By using art communities around the globe have begun making individual memorials a powerful public awareness tool. Ghost Bikes are not put together by family or friends, but by local bike advocates to pay respect while making it publicly known that a death has occurred and making it obvious that a street or intersection is dangerous. Ghost Bikes of LA is an informative and inspiring look at how art and awareness are bringing people closer together and changing our cities for the better.
- Sunday, Oct. 27: 12 – 4pm family members speak + How to make a Ghost Bike
- Saturday, Nov. 2: Ride to Hollywood Forever’s Day of the Dead
- Thursday, Nov. 14: 7pm LA Memorial Ride on Andy’s Candle Light Vigil
- Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013: 4-8pm Closing Reception
Red#5 Yellow#7 is a gallery dedicated to advancing the mainstream dialogue on contemporary cycling issues.
A Bicycle Gallery
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