Get your camping gear & picnic baskets! Hang out like it’s the 1800’s with speed suits!
facebook event details
Carson, California 90746
+originally published at Orange20Bikes.com
Get your camping gear & picnic baskets! Hang out like it’s the 1800’s with speed suits!
facebook event details
+originally published at Orange20Bikes.com
A few weeks ago I was in Las Vegas for Interbike, focused on the mass commercialization of bicycling (meh) and spent last week in New Orleans ( <3 NOLA!) for bike!bike! the indie non-conference mainly focused on bike co-ops. Next month I’ll be in the bay area for the CalBike summit. I’ve just finished giving 7 (!!) talks on things from working with non-profits, city agencies and community outreach to branding, bike trains, illegal activist art and getting more women on bikes. In other words, it’s been exhausting, rewarding and revolutionary.
And I want to share it with you!
So please be patient (and encouraging!) while I bring all these things together, collect images and links. If you’ve got a few dollars, donate me some coffee (or better yet – New Orleans DAIQUIRI) dollars.
Here’s what’s coming up:
As part of our Women on a Roll series last week, we showcased the importance of confidence in getting more women on bikes. In our live webcast, we delved into the impact and influence of educational outreach — providing relevant and welcoming classes and programs that provide women the skills and self-assurance to ride (and wrench!).
But confidence extends beyond the classroom, co-op or the bike shop.
Out in Los Angeles, Nona Varnado is “conducting” a different kind of outreach to encourage hesitant riders to give biking a try.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I had the chance to catch up with Varnado at Interbike — but she’s certainly not new to the scene. She’s been focused on increasing the number of women on bikes through her fashion line, mentorship, and advocacy for years. Immediately, two of her (new) projects stood out to me as particularly innovative and promising when it comes to increasing confidence and community among women: LA Bike Trains and an art gallery focused on cycling.
In this Women Bike Q&A, Varnado shares some insight on how she’s helping to drive the exciting bike scene in the City of Angeles.
1) You fairly recently moved across the country from New York City to Los Angeles — what was that transition like and how would you describe the bike community in LA?
Even before I set foot in Los Angeles, I was given a call by a fantastic community organizer named Patrick Miller who spent two hours on the phone with a stranger telling me how supportive the local political scene is (coming from the NYC cycling advocacy world I was immediately jealous); that biking in LA was all about big, non-competitive rides based around creative themes; that there are bike co-ops all over the city and the most interesting groups and personalities are headed by women. He then took me on my first Passage Ride, re-introduced me to TJ Flexer at Orange 20 Bikes and several leaders of the LA bike community.
It’s only in the past few years that women have started to equalize or exceed men in advocacy or planning. But in LA you see the Ovarian Psychos, The Bodacious Bike Babes (BBB!) in the community, Ma Bell holding it down at the Bike Kitchen and an overwhelmingly female staff at the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. It creates a different kind of atmosphere that’s more social, welcoming and complex. We all have our place and there’s plenty of space for everyone. Which is not to say there isn’t the usual bike drama. That totally happens. But more relaxed.
2) One really exciting project you’ve launched is LA Bike Trains. Tell us a little bit more about that. What is it and how did it get started?
When I moved to LA I discovered a whole new social bike ride culture. Giant or small groups that would meet up around a theme, usually at night, and ride as a moving party. I had heard of Midnight Ridazz, but it seemed very strange to me that people, even within the city, would drive their bikes to a mellow ride and then drive home. In New York City, and other places I’ve lived in, riding a bike in a city is pure transportation (or sport), so I recognized that as a key cultural difference. At the same time, I almost became a car person because riding around LA seemed so terrifying. I realized that there’s a complicated series of things that a potential bike commuter/city cyclist has to learn in order to ride safely (or at least confidently) and the only way to do that is to ride and learn from other people who have that knowledge and experience. Google maps might help, but only if you’re already there in terms of experience.
From my friendship with Kim Burgas who runs bike trains in NYC, I realized the combination of social rides for transportation could be a serious game changer for a place like Los Angeles. I saw what has traditionally been small friend/co-worker groups as a scalable transportation model that can be flexible enough even for the complexity of a megalopolis. I’m usually opposed to phrases that have become popular business jargon, but in this case it’s completely appropriate: empowering a huge number of people too afraid or uncomfortable to bike, even occasionally, is something that can show the world that sprawl is not something that we as a society have to turn our backs on. And if Los Angeles can do it – anyone – at any time can do it. So far the response has been fantastic. People were waiting for something like this. We’re currently 10+ routes and looking to find a way to raise money in order to expand.
3) You’ve gotten a lot of press and interest even in the first few months of the Bike Trains — what have been been some of the challenges and successes?The biggest challenge has been being turned down for fiscal sponsorship. I’ve put in a year of work and it’s emotionally hard to pack it in and keep going without support or a financial path forward. Everything costs money. The success and reward comes constantly from working with a team of volunteers who are the best and brightest in the cycling advocacy community, continually impressing me with their creativity and generosity.
We’ve become a team that several organizations look to in order to advance policy, outreach and community development in just a few months. When one of our conductors got harassed by an uninformed highway patrol officer, it became such a viral issue that we could bring the LAPD into conversation. That’s amazing. On an individual level the conductors all agree that it’s the direct impact we have on specific individuals. For example: When you see someone go from barely able to ride through an intersection without freaking out, to showing up with a brand new bike and telling you about how they ride to work even when there isn’t a bike train. We’ve had conductors fix up bikes, help riders get into better shape, get people educated about bikes and local resources and begin to develop a whole new demographic of confident, happy bike commuters.
A lot of our riders are people that the rest of the bike industry doesn’t want to address: adults who don’t race, don’t understand anything about bikes, don’t identify themselves as cyclists and don’t yet understand why a bike should cost more than $150. By the time they’ve participated even just two times most people start to get it. Our biggest supporter is Orange 20 Bikes, an independent shop in East Hollywood that’s very mission aligned with LA Bike Trains. They’ve supported us financially, provided logistical support as well as being the first shop to offer a package deal for LA Bike Trains. The goal with that is to help get people on a quality geared road bike with a helmet, lock and all the support of a local bike shop for an affordable price. We’d like to work through as many barriers to participation as we possibly can.
4) Your not just a conductor, but also a curator too. Why did you create R5Y7?
I have been producing a line of women’s urban cycling apparel since 2008 and struggled with connecting to potential customers. I saw that two things were necessary: We need more women riding everyday and I need to be able to interact with the public in an open environment where conversations can happen organically. No woman is going to buy pants on the internet unless the return policy is as free, easy and well known as Zappos. A small brand can’t afford to do that, so you’ve got to be in a spot where people can find their way to you, touch things, try them on and give feedback.
In working on problem #1 (not enough women riding bikes everyday), I saw that the ‘retail’ solution would also be an excellent advocacy tool. No one really knows how to effectively bring in non-cyclist to talk about bikes. But what if we had a really awesome gallery that just happened to revolve around bikes, able to frame the conversation to the art/design community or education and entertainment demographics? R5Y7 is an experimental lab: We can see what works — and what doesn’t. We’ve found new ways to engage a sleepy and disparate local network with informative lifestyle workshops. The gallery installations appeal to other media outlets and visitors. The ability to do fancy product launches for a fraction of the expected cost means more sexy bike brands can access the LA market – and that LA will respond by showing up and doing what other cities have:make cycling desirable.
I love being able to go back to my roots as an artist through curating shows. The workshops are immediately gratifying and much easier, but there’s a transformative power that objects have. It gets boring talking all the time. Visual experiences are key.There’s also the constant sense that it’s impossible and just when I’m afraid that I may have gone too far people respond to artist calls, journalists show up to parties and people some times even buy things. It’s wild.
5) How do you think the Bike Trains and R5Y7 tie into your overarching goal with The Bird Wheel — to create a more welcoming bike culture for women?
I think the most important part of reaching out to women is to do so from an authentic and creative voice that acknowledges that things aren’t perfect. But that imperfection, exploration, trying things out is inherently interesting and rewarding. LA Bike Trains is partially a tool for someone to have a non judgemental guide help become knowledgeable without embarrassment (a process many women feel more comfortable with) as much as it is a breakfast club. R5Y7 is similar: We try to provide interesting or beautiful experiences without requiring anything more than showing up – but if it resonates than it can become a lifelong interest or passion.
The Bird Wheel was always intended to bring a female perspective to a wide range of timely subjects. At the same time I try to be transparent that I’m not unbiased. The most rewarding experience that I remember having from writing The Bird Wheel is when the amazing Laura Solis biked from the Bronx to an event I held in Brooklyn (and on a workday!) to thank me for introducing her to all the amazing advocacy and culture groups she’s at the forefront of… through reading the blog. I never knew!
There’s been a few neat women’s bike shoes, but in general they’ve been men’s shoes in a smaller size/unisex and …very casual. So you can imagine how my little heart skipped a beat when I saw that London shoe designer Tracy Neuls (known for her delightful heels – shoes that are at once whimsical, practical, comfortable and gorgeous) had done a collaboration with TokyoBike.
And you know what’s real: you’ll need a black pair, a light neutral pair, maybe gray and if you like to stand out, the obvious accent color is red. No stupid patterns, trendy one season colors or cheap materials. Oh, and the reflective aspect is thoughtful. Gush.
+Spotted at de zeen
At dirt bike demo at #Interbike2013 the purple sparkle stylings of the hunky Straggler from Surly stood out like a cyclocross sex bomb. As hypnotic as it is in person, there’s 2 big questions:
#1 How is it different than the Cross Check?
#2 How does it compare to the All-City Macho Man/Nature Boy in ride or style? (I’ll leave that for another post)
Surly gets that the Straggler is confusingly similar to the Cross Check and blogged about it.
Since bike nerds love geometry, let’s look at that first:
|Seat Tube Length
|Top Tube Length
|Effective Top Tube Length
|Head Tube Angle||72.0||72.0||72.0||72.0||72.0||72.0||72.0||72.0||72.0||72.0|
|Seat Tube Angle||75.0||74.5||74.0||73.5||73.0||72.5||72.5||72.0||72.0||72.0|
|Head Tube Length||3.6||3.6||3.6||3.6||4.2||4.8||5.7||6.5||7.3||7.8|
|Seat Tube Length
|Top Tube Length
|Effective Top Tube Length
|Head Tube Angle||72.0||72.0||72.0||72.0||72.0||72.0||72.0||72.0||72.0|
|Seat Tube Angle||75.0||74.5||74.0||73.5||73.0||72.5||72.5||72.0||72.0|
|Head Tube Length||3.6||3.6||3.6||3.6||4.0||4.8||5.6||6.3||7.1|
Got that? Good. No? Don’t worry, it’s basically extremely similar and both are fun to ride. If you haven’t drank enough kool-aid to get into geometry to that level of detail – go out and ride the two right after each other. It’s the best way to know which one is going to rock your world anyway.
*Hidden Special Secret Knowledge Bonus: If you’re tall (over 6′) it gets hard to fit regular sized bikes. Surly makes bikes that size unusually well for tall people.
From Surly, “the Straggler, Surly’s long overdue disc brake equipped cross bike. The first thing you’ll probably notice is that it’s got disc brakes. Good, now that we got that out of the way let me point out a couple more things that make it stand apart from our venerable CrossCheck. The rear dropouts have been totally redesigned with a couple things in mind – Disc brakes, rear derailleur, single speed, and ease of wheel removal. The Straggler frame & fork is also ED coated to help to improve the life of your frame. The Straggler fork is using the Long Haul Trucker dropouts, mid blade & crown eyelets to accommodate a wide verity of fenders and racks.”
From my test ride: This is in some ways a trend bike: disc brakes + cyclocross aspects (drop bars) with enough fork/tire clearance to start dropping jargon like Monster Cross! Which is cool, because unlike fat bikes – I’m super into that. Cyclocross is wicked fun, but those bikes also make amazing touring bikes, everyday commuters and trail. What’s not to love?
On the dirt demo trails it was an awesome juxtaposition from some of the overly designed full suspension ulta-whatever bikes that seem to remove the rider from the feel of the road or the bike. The Straggler feels connected, fast & fun. Dig it!
Sometimes the third time IS the charm. On a third re-introduction to state legislature, Gov Brown has signed the revised Three Feet for Safety Act.
From the ktla article: “Assembly Bill 1371 was authored by Assemblyman Steven Bradford of Gardena.. Existing law requires drives to pass while keeping at a “safe distance,” but the new law establishes exactly what that distance is: 3 feet.
The city of Los Angeles — known for generations as a car-centric locale — sponsored the bill. In recent years, enthusiasm for cycling in L.A. has been buoyed by the support of a growing activist community and politicians such as former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. The city in 2010 launched a “Give Me 3″ graphic campaign encouraging drivers to create a safe cushion between vehicles and bicyclists.”
The “Give Me 3″ #giveme3 slogan was developed by artist Danny Gamboa, of ZKO Films and avid Ghost Bikes activist in Los Angeles. Upon hearing news of the bills passing, Danny exclaimed an elated, “finally!” and joked that “I’d like to thank Antonio Villaraigosa’s Elbow for starting this campaign that lead the 3 foot law.” It belies the years of work that advocates from all levels: grassroots campaigners and individuals, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition at the city/regional level and the California Bicycle Coalition at the state level.
“Earlier versions of the 3-foot passing law were vetoed by Brown in 2012 and 2011, with the governor expressing concern about certain provisions that troubled Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol, according to the Los Angeles Times.”
And each time the bill was altered – for better and for worse. According to Ted Rogers, of ‘Biking in LA’ –
KTLA: “Violations are punishable by a $35 base fine, which comes to $154 with additional fees, according to the California Bicycle Coalition. Drivers who collide with cyclists and injure them while violating the law will be subject to a $220 fine.”
At a Public Safety Committee in LA it was voiced that the reason for such a small fine was to encourage officers to ticket – without either personal feelings that the offense wasn’t worth a fine or to be subject to sympathy that the offender wouldn’t be able to bear the expense of a more severe fine. Considering that you pretty much can’t park in LA without accidentally racking up $50-$200 in fines, it smells of… something.
KTLA: “The law, among 15 signed by Brown Monday, is slated to take effect Sept. 14, 2014.”
Advocate and LA Bike Trains conductor Michael MacDonald explains the delay: “the law has been enacted and will go into effect 9/16/2014 after law enforcement and municipalities have been educated on the change to the vehicle code.”
Twenty-one states have similar laws, according to a list compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures in June.”
Like the Lock Ness Monster or Yeti, a desk you can spin at while being able to do the computer work that everyone has to do is something that people have talked about for years. Every few years I’d see a prototype (usually in an asian industrial design competition), but otherwise it remained a kind of urban legend. So imagine my excitement when I found an American company that had not only built a prototype, but had gone through production and evolved to a version 2.0 selling for only $349 or $850. No way! I had to try it out.
First: this desk is raw, heavy steel. Astoundingly sturdy. And very easy to put together if you’re strong enough to handle the pieces. And pretty! Tall men (like Wolfpack Hustle‘s Don Ward) mistook it for a standing desk, which it would be good for – but a little too high for a normal size person like me. (5’7″)
Kickstand Furniture is designed by Dan Young and they’ve already been featured in Wired, Grist, psfk, Treehugger, Trend Hunter and the New York Times. So I was super excited when Dan offered to send Red#5 Yellow#7 a bike desk to display during the ‘Bikes in the House!’ show July 12 – Aug 23, 2013.
By now you get the idea. But the fun is in the experience. Here’s a local cyclist checking it out:
Dimini Design is the talented Lauren Thomas, from Toronto Canada. Her ‘Birdhouse Bike Rack’ had already caught the attention of Martha Stewart and several international design publications before being featured in the ‘Bikes in the House!’ show at Red#5 Yellow#7 in Los Angeles.
It’s both a gorgeous and functional piece, made in Canada. The ‘rack’ is designed for small top tubes, the kind you’d see on old steel road bikes and would be adorable way to store a small profile single speed commuter bike. Because of the proximity to the wall, you won’t be able to fit mountain handlebars on this indoor wall mounted wood rack.
The ‘birdhouse’ is perfect for storing a helmet, keys, patch kit or other small things. We were super lucky to have Lauren in LA during the show opening (she was doing a design project in Pasadena!) and was the first person to ring in the show with a group of friends and awesome energy. She does a lot more than just these gorgeous bike racks, so keep up with her design adventures!
At first the welded racks seem a bit wobbly, but as soon as you place a bike (or two!) on them, they’re solid. The cute anchor and arrow details are also there to hang a helmet, keys or other things off of, so your place has instantly become more attractive and organized. No more bike pile! They’re ideal for apartment dwellers or renters who can’t drill into their walls, but still want a lovely way to store bikes indoors. They’re made with repurposed materials and though hard to photograph, look pretty fantastic just about anywhere.
Here’s the Anchor rack installed with a Jamis bicycle supplied by Orange 20 Bikes:
We were also fortunate to get their adorable hand stamped wood coasters and a custom hanging lamp, made from recycled bicycle handlebars (and using their gorgeous Edison light bulbs that you can get on their website!) Originally commissioned for the San Francisco Levi’s flagship store, the lamp was one of three light fixtures in the show (with Bo Mopera’s desk lamp and Carolina Fontoura Algaza’s chain-delier)
Training Sessions start today!
In 2009, we counted 14,000 bicyclists and 62,000 pedestrians. In 2011, we counted over 15,000 bicyclists and 75,000 pedestrians. How many people on bikes and foot will be counted this year? Every two years we get our clipboards out, remind ourselves how to use tally marks, and invite everyone to participate in a massive data collection endeavor. The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and Los Angeles Walks present the 2013 Los Angeles Bicycle and Pedestrian Count!
The dates for the L.A. Bike & Ped Count are:
How you can help:
1. Sign Up to Volunteer!
We have over 120 locations (see map) all across the City of Los Angeles, and there are three counts times for each one. We need hundreds of volunteers to make sure that people on bikes and people on foot are getting counted. Most locations only require 1 volunteer, so shifts will fill up fast. Sign up soon to get the location and time you want!
Sign up for a count shift!
All volunteers will get a super fresh Bike & Ped Count t-shirt and an exclusive invite to our bumpin’ post-count volunteer party!
1A. Sign Up for a Volunteer Orientation.
After you’ve signed up for a shift, sign up to attend a volunteer orientation. We’ve changed the method for data collection for this count, so all volunteers are required to attend an orientation, even if you’ve done bike & ped counts with us in the past. Note that you don’t have to sign up for an orientation in your count area. All orientations will be the same – just sign up for the location that is most convenient for you.
2. Spread the Word.
3. Donate to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Count.
It takes time, energy, and resources to make the bicycle and pedestrian count happen! It costs roughly $25 to fund a count location, and we have over 120 locations this year. Make a donation to LACBC for a donation that really goes a long way and counts.
Get your data collection on, and remember that who gets counted counts!
Join LACBC or renew your LACBC membership to help make L.A. County a healthy, safe, and fun place to bike and for a chance to ride away with a trip for two to Tour de Fat – San Diego on September 28th!
Anyone who becomes an LACBC member or renews a membership between August 15, 2013 and September 12, 2013 will automatically be entered 5 times in a drawing to win a trip for two to New Belgium’s Tour de Fat in San Diego. The winner and a guest, plus their bicycles, will travel on the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train, enjoy two nights at the swanky Omni San Diego Hotel, and follow their folly at New Belgium’s Tour de Fat – San Diego, a bike and beer festival that has no equal.
Tour de Fat – San Diego takes place on Saturday, September 28th, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Golden Hill Park and benefits our friends at the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition and the San Diego Mountain Biking Association.
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