nuts_dried_fruit
When you’re on a long ride, it’s important that you keep your energy levels up and stay hydrated. The best way is to eat a range of foods that releases their energy slowly over several hours.

Before you head out on your ride, it’s worth snacking on a high energy food like a banana or a slice of bread spread with peanut butter. Pack a few snacks for the journey too. You’ll want to keep your backpack as light as possible so prioritise what you take. Of course it’s important to take your cellphone just in case there’s an emergency, but you can also use it to check your route on Google Maps or even Cheeky on Twitter when you stop for a break. You should also take a multi-tool, patches or a tube, a water bottle and some lightweight energy food. Here’s a few high-energy, super-nutritious snacks you should consider packing for your next ride.

Dried fruit
Quality carbohydrates come in the form of fruits and vegetables. But rather than packing fresh fruit – which is heavy and could end up bruised by the time you come to eat it – why not pack dried fruit instead? Dried apricots, cranberries and banana chips pack in plenty of vitamins as well as fructose, perfect for giving you an instant boost of energy.

Salted savory snacks
Cycling burns a lot of calories and requires oodles of energy which means you’ll be sweating a lot, especially on a warm day. When you sweat, not only do you lose water but you also lose salt. Replenish your salt levels by eating snacks like crackers, pretzels or even peanuts and almonds. Nuts are brilliant for boosting your energy, plus they’re packed with protein and healthy polyunsaturated fats.

Instant energy boosts
Sometimes you just need an extra boost of energy so you can power through those final few miles or tackle a steep hill. So why not grab a handful of raisins – they’re low in calories but high in energy and antioxidants. Figs, the new miracle fruit, also make great cycle snacks. Dried or fresh, figs pack in the same amount of nutrition and are ideal for boosting your energy levels. You could even pack a few carrot or celery sticks if you have room.

It’s probably not a surprise to anyone that Los Angeles, a city of automobiles, is experiencing a horrific epidemic of hit and runs that only seem to get more and more appalling. 

Local news organizations are slowly getting better at covering collisions where the driver has fled. LA Weekly, in print and online, has gone above and beyond by actively calling out the LAPD and city government to address the problem, via their coverage, which paginates for dozens of incident reports and calls for action. On Thursday, July 24, LACBC posted an article describing that the LAPD would be presenting their report to the LA City Hall Public Safety Committee the next morning along with proposals for improving the situation. Hooray!

Unfortunately, the report was deeply flawed in how the LAPD determined their supporting statistics from the available data. This centered around framing the report on hit and run crimes vs miles traveled.  The standard metric is incidents per capita.  In our opinion, the LAPD’s choice suggests that the priority of the LAPD is to keep vehicles moving unhindered rather than create a safe environment for residents.  It also skews the statistics, relative to other cities nationwide, to give the appearance of fewer hit and runs because of the unusually high number of miles locals travel due to sprawl.

With less than 24 hours notice, the burden of jobs, other things to do we organized a special LA Bike Train to City hall; representing as a unified group to witness the report by LAPD, respond to their suggestions and offer our voices. Our group included Don Ward, from Wolfpack hustle/Midnight Ridazz (and LA transportation advocate of the year in 2011), TJ Flexer, owner of Orange 20 bikes in East Hollywood, Nona Varnado, co-founder of LA Bike Trains and LACBC staff, Charles Dandino, engineer and LA Bike Trains conductor, Steve Issacs of Sweet Ride USA and a handful of other cycling advocates. We met up with Eric Bruins, Policy Director at LACBC.
977464_10151522328466976_824350919_o
The report is criticized as taking a defensive stance rather than simply reporting the problem.  This makes sense as it was generated in response to a story criticizing the LAPD’s handling of these problems, but it solves nothing. The presentation, like the report, from Deputy Chief Mike Downing, seemed to hinge on the appearance of caring. The presenting officer spoke about his concern and empathy for the situation, and then proceeded to also say that  hit and run “accidents” are not tracked, investigated or prosecuted with the same priority as other crimes such as robbery, because robbery is a directed crime.  This statement came under fire based on the following logic: A collision is an accident, however, after a collision has occurred the driver makes the conscious decision to flee the scene.  If, for example, a cyclist is hit and injured by a hit and run driver the similarities to a robbery are undeniable: the driver has made a decision to flee, there is likely bodily harm, and the cyclist will have lost money on medical bills, bicycle repairs, time off work, and possibly be permanently paralyzed or killed.

It should seem self evident; however the report and presentation by the LAPD is just confusing enough for someone not paying close attention to believe that it’s being taken seriously. It’s not. Or as the LA Weekly put it:

In June, LAPD chief Charlie Beck released a controversial hit-and-run report that critics thought was more about public relations damage control on the heels of the Weekly expose than addressing the concerns of Buscaino and bicycling advocates.

One of the primary problems in this situation is the lack of education, structure and awareness within the LAPD and the CA Highway Patrol about exactly what the laws are. The laws are awful, but there isn’t education in place to communicate to officers whatever the current state of those laws are. Don Ward in his 2 minutes was also able to bring up that when collision occur that police officers discourage cyclists from filing a report, telling them that “nothing will come of it” or that it will be long, complicated, expensive and possibly pointless. They then fail to investigate the reports which are filed and for statistical purposes only count collisions that result in something more serious than “property damage.”

While we arrived as an organized group ride comprised of people who have experience with public speaking, I was particularly moved by the blonde woman who attended alone to speak of her experience as a hit and run victim; her primary objection was that the public, civic and state discourse cannot be improved until we remove the term ‘accident’ from the hit and run conversation. She was clearly nervous to be speaking in such a formal situation, but presented a compelling case that was well received by 12th District L.A. Councilman Mitch Englander, chair of the public safety committee.
council_folk

One of the primary concerns bicycle advocates have in reversing the trend is that the penalty for a hit and run is less than the penalty for a DUI. The way the law is currently written there is incentive for drivers to flee. As Don Rosenberg’s research suggests, many drivers guilty of hit and run behavior would fail a breathalyzer or be guilty of driving without a valid license. This was the general state of the conversation – most of us got up to speak and asked that hit and run incidents be investigated with the same protocol, priority and follow through as any other violent crime, regardless of the severity of injuries. Do that by: Making the penalty for fleeing the scene of a collision equal (or greater) to a DUI, automatic license revocation and seizure of vehicle.

 

Perhaps the most interesting, as well as infuriating, information that came out of the meeting was not in the LAPD report, but the gaps in policing and current legal recourse, as brought up by several individuals; from advocate Don Ward, to 15th District L.A. Councilman Joe Buscaino, but most intensely from Don Rosenberg, whose son was killed in a hit-and-run in San Francisco, called as an expert witness by Mitch Englander. His personal introduction makes it clear that it is only passionate citizens who can bring about change, as “Quite frankly, the department doesn’t give a damn about this issue.”

 

His findings were extremely simple – so simple it seems incredible city police departments have never put this together. Hit and run incidents are rarely solved.  Most hit and run crimes are committed by people who do not have a license or are driving on a suspended license which elevates their punishment if they are caught.  Furthermore, many hit and runs are committed by drunk drivers but the penalty for a hit and run is significantly less than the penalty for a DUI.  As he mentioned, it’s extremely rare that a society is able to look at a specific class of violent crime and find that a strong majority of offenders all fit the same profile in a way that can actually be addressed to drastically reduce the problem.

 

When the city counsil members questioned Deputy Chief Mike Downing, the conversation seemed to turn to the reasons why the LAPD did not feel that the current system of how hit and runs are handled needed a drastic update. He described an overworked traffic enforcement department and ambiguities that muddled the conversation. To our slight astonishment the, LAPD did mention Critical Mass as why bicyclists don’t get respect by their agency even during a hit-and-run epidemic. Why do we need to talk about this? Because there is a larger historical framing that people outside of the cycling movement still strongly associate with anyone riding a bike in an American city. Critical mass has been a wonderful, then mostly horrible aspect to urban biking that we just can’t get away from. That it appeared in Deputy Chief Mike Downing’s comments means that we haven’t gotten past it, and that many influential members in the  LAPD (and police departments across the nation) still hold all urban cyclists at fault for their feelings about critical mass. Which is bad. And that means that since we’ve sinned in this unpardonable way they’ve institutionalized our marginalization.

 

The good news is that it takes surprisingly few individuals to change things. There are plenty of pro-cycling supporters within the LAPD, but we need to codify that within the department and at the neighborhood, city and state levels. Showing up in a group of your friends, like we did, can have a massive impact on the outcome of these meetings. When your representatives at any level know their constituency is in favor of making streets safe for biking and walking, they’ll start to make it happen.

 

City counsil was sympathetic to the concerns of cyclists.  Mike Bonin of the 11th district was particularly supportive, reaching out to bicycle advocates who arrived early for the committee meeting.  After the report, public response and expert testimony Councilman Mitch Englander suggested that, among other things, “hit and run accidents” should no longer be called accidents because there is nothing accidental about fleeing the scene and to increase the penalty for hit and run offenses. The attitudes and language of the city counsil members was greatly encouraging.

Nona Varnado with contributor Charles Dandino.

Los-Angeles-City-Hall

Tomorrow the LA City Council will hear the LAPD report on hit-and -runs along with recommendations on how to improve the situation. And it’s a surprisingly hopeful event that’s super important to have cyclists representing. See LACBC’s write up about the meeting & it’s implications.

To show our support for safe streets we’re running a special (alt. Route 004) Bike Train, so that you can easily find the meeting, ride with friends and get excited about making LA a safer and more enjoyable place to live and ride.

Meet at:

Friday, July 26, 2013

Caffe Vita
4432 W Sunset Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Meet at 7:45 am
Roll out at 7:55 am
Arrive at 8:30 am

4470 West Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA

4.8 mi – about 28 mins
1. Head southeast on W Sunset Blvd toward Virgil Pl
3.4 mi
2. Turn right onto N Beaudry Ave
0.5 mi
3. Turn left onto W 1st St
0.8 mi
4. Turn left onto N Main St

Destination will be on the left
0.1 mi
Los Angeles City Hall, Los Angeles, CA 90012, USA

*facebook event details

Don’t forget to sign up for regular weekly LA Bike Trains!
psst!  …you can also follow our adventures on facebook & twitter

know your rights

Tuesday, July 23, 2013
6:30 – 8pm
Red#5 Yellow#7
4357 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90029

Joshua Cohen, (http://losangelesbicycleattorney.com/) will give a bird’s-eye overview of legal and factual issues cyclists need to be familiar with to safely navigate the streets of Los Angeles. This overview includes:

  • What is the structure of the legal system?
  • What laws govern cycling in Los Angeles?
  • How does the legal system protect cyclists?
  • How does the legal system not protect cyclists?
  • Is it enough to know and follow the law?
  • What are the realities confronting cyclists?
  • How can cyclists protect themselves from the inadequacies of the legal system?
  • Practical considerations to protect yourself.

Followed by Q&A

summer training nutrition

Summer Edition.

Note: While this event is focused on women’s nutrition and training, men are welcome!

New to riding in the heat or beginning to train more seriously? This is a great opportunity to learn from elite female athletes how to balance nutrition, hydration, optimal weight and other concerns while eating delicious healthy stuff.

An overall nutrition review with basic concepts of nutrition for endurance (race, touring, longer commutes and recovery) using real food. We’ll have recipes and samplings as well as reference books and perhaps some a presentation covering the basic concepts of cycling nutrition. PLUS fun recipes to go home with!

Taught by Dorothy Wong w/Kristen Osborn.

Our certified nutritionist:
Kristen is thrilled to talk with women cyclists about achieving their best performance through healthful diet and event fueling and recovery strategies. She is an avid mountain biker who races at the sport level.
Kristen is an employee wellness dietitian at Loma Linda University Health. Kristen earned a Bachelors of Science from Cornell University and a Masters in Nutrition Science from Colorado State University.

Held next door to Orange 20 Bikes at:

R5Y7 Gallery

4357 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, Ca 90029

Thursday, July 18, 2013
7-8pm

I first discovered the New York Times article via my #BikeNYC friends, only to see that several other cities were represented (but with far less activity on the maps, presumably those other cities don’t have as many rabid NYT readers). As something to explore, the NYC map is the most interesting – so far.

NYT map

Gizmodo had a good article articulating how the project came about and comparing it to Strava, which was informational but also funny. The map invites cyclists to add ten-word blurbs to a map of the city. They range from practical advice (“Avoid Brooklyn Bridge unless it’s early or late”) to jokey (“Williamsburg Bridge is a drag strip for Category 6 racing”). You can also toggle onto a secondary mode, which pulls data from the popular GPS tracking app, Strava, to show which routes are most popular amongst users. There are already plenty of different mapping options for cyclists who need directions, but this interactive grants us access to a secondary layer of information: all of the tips and tricks that, normally, take years of experience to amass.

Awesome! But what about Los Angeles?

It exists! Along with Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Denver, Chicageo, St. Louis, Atlanta, Miami, Toronto, Boston & D.C.

NYT LA map

As the founder of L.A. Bike Trains, I’m SUPER interested in maps pertaining to cycling in Los Angeles County, not just the hot spots in downtown, Silver Lake and Santa Monica. Where there are people, there’s a need to make bicycling a pleasurable and easy to figure out experience. The very next day I came across Commuterama.com another interactive transportation map, this one dedicated to LA.

comuterama

I was bummed, however to see that it’s another driving tool, like the popular waze app that “brings 30 million drivers together.” Usually to suggest ‘off streets’ that push aggressive drivers trying to shave time off their trips onto small residential streets, where cyclist are told they belong and feel they’ll be safe because it’s clear from the traffic issues of the main avenues. Does anyone else see the inequality and potential problems from that approach?

Instead of developing alternatives to the unsustainable model of a car for everyone and every trip, why are we not pushing development of maps like the NYT biking map? If Waze was ethical, they’d keep cars off biking routes (which they don’t) and if Commuterama really wanted to make LA a better place to live, it would be a multi-modal approach that would encourage public transportation and biking alternatives. The good news is that Commuterama is looking for public feedback and because they’re supported by LADOT, they’re likely to bend to any significant response asking for things like public transit and biking features/information.

 

So drop them a line:

Feel free to share any ideas and wishes you may have about your commute by emailing ideas@commuterama.com.

 

{UPDATE: LA Bike Trains, reached out had a *great* talk with the commuterama.com team about bringing bike routes and infrastructure into what they are developing. Yeah LA!!!}

It’s gonna be a minute until we have something as beautifully fleshed out as http://labikemvmt.org/

but the #BikeNYC People’s history (rough unedited, slightly embarrassing ..for me, anyway) video is online, thanks to Dedicated Lane Productions. I’ve yet to transcribe the full 90+ minutes, but I’m sure it will be amazing project for my retirement years. GIANT PROPS to Red Lantern Bicycles, not just for hosting, but for being a true home. I feel happier and more loved just hanging out at that wonderful space, from the bike shop in back (Holla at Brian & Chombo!!!) to the good people making organic deliciousness (coffee, tea or comedy?) and gluten free cafe treats up front. I definitely could not have done this as well without Lena. You know who you are and you are awesome and appreciated.

Video #1
There’s not much in the first minute beyond us figuring out how to get talking. Then Mike Green (my BFF aka: BikeBlogNYC) does a great job of introducing all the panelists. (1:35) The first speaker, Time’s UP! Bill Di Paola, (9:20) gives an impassioned and inspiring social bike history beginning in the 1980′s on how Time’s UP! got started.

 

Video #2
Chris Kim gives a NYC Messenger centric history of biking in NYC since 1996.

 

Video #3
Caroline Samponaro, from Transportation Alternatives gives a history of NYC biking since 1980′s and Hodari Depalm clarifies the Bike Ban was killed by the messenger community. Ken Stanek refers to Charles Komanoff’s writings. Charles was originally scheduled to speak, but was unable to attend due to a funeral. Thankfully Charles is a prolific writer!

 

Video #4
I introduce Taliah for an outrageously long 1:30. Taliah Lempert (Bicycle Paintings) describes how she discovered cycling in NYC and how she became a full time artist dedicated to painting bikes.

 

Video#5
Chris Kim enters into the conversation by clarifying how critical mass has changed in NYC, it’s impact and decline. Austin Horse makes a cameo. Ken Stanek talks what came out of Critical Mass. And we have unplanned audience participation! Oops.

(psst! Videos 6 – 13 will be posted in a following update)

classroom

Interested in riding bikes, but intimidated by LA streets or just not sure how to ride with the confidence of an experienced urban bike rider? You’re in luck! This class is designed to teach adults how to use a bicycle with confidence and competence for pleasure, utility and sport under various practical conditions.

[Please RSVP to the facebook events page so we can know how many to anticipate.]

From 9am – 10am we’ll have classroom based instruction at R5Y7: a bicycle gallery located at 4357 Melrose Ave. Close to the Vermont/Santa Monica Red line and LACC.

The Basics
• The Bicycle
• Maintenance Basics
• Clothing and Equipment

Bicycling in Traffic
• Your Role in Traffic
• Avoiding Crashes
• Hazard Avoidance Maneuvers

From 10am – Noon we’ll finish our classroom (gallery) overviews and do some guided on street riding. Starting with the bike lane on Heliotrope and progressing as people are comfortable.

Co-Taught between the legendary Dorothy Wong, a UCI certified instructor and director of SoCalCross with Siobhan Dolan, cook at LA’s bicycle kitchen and organizer of the LA Ladies Bicycle Brunch series.

This workshop is geared towards adults who have little or no experience riding a bike or who need help learning the skills and confidence to begin riding in urban traffic.

lane

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.