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:

geo-no-gusset-1 The Straggler:

42cm 46cm 50cm 52cm 54cm 56cm 58cm 60cm 62cm 64cm
Seat Tube Length
16.5 18.1 19.7 20.5 21.3 22.0 22.8 23.6 24.4 25.2
Top Tube Length
19.8 20.2 20.7 21.5 22.2 22.8 23.4 23.9 24.5 25.2
Effective Top Tube Length
20.5 20.8 21.1 21.7 22.2 22.8 23.4 24.0 24.6 25.2
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
BB Drop 2.8 2.8 2.8 2.8 2.8 2.8 2.8 2.8 2.8 2.8
Chainstay Length 16.5 16.5 16.7 16.7 16.7 16.9 16.9 16.9 16.9 16.9
Wheelbase 38.8 38.9 39.2 39.6 40.0 40.6 41.2 41.6 42.2 42.8
Standover Height 28.7 29.5 30.3 30.6 31.2 31.9 32.6 33.3 34.1 34.8
Head Tube Length 3.6 3.6 3.6 3.6 4.2 4.8 5.7 6.5 7.3 7.8
Fork Length 15.7 15.7 15.7 15.7 15.7 15.7 15.7 15.7 15.7 15.7
Fork Rake 1.7 1.7 1.7 1.7 1.7 1.7 1.7 1.7 1.7 1.7
Stack 21.0 21.0 21.0 21.0 21.6 22.3 23.3 24.0 24.7 25.2
Reach 14.8 14.9 15.0 15.4 15.6 15.8 16.1 16.2 16.6 17.0


The Cross Check:

42cm 46cm 50cm 52cm 54cm 56cm 58cm 60cm 62cm
Seat Tube Length
16.5 18.1 19.7 20.5 21.3 22.0 22.8 23.6 24.4
Top Tube Length
19.9 20.3 21.1 21.5 22.0 22.4 22.8 23.6 24.0
Effective Top Tube Length
20.6 20.8 21.3 21.5 22.0 22.4 22.8 23.6 24.0
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
BB Drop 2.6 2.6 2.6 2.6 2.6 2.6 2.6 2.6 2.6
Chainstay Length 16.5 16.5 16.7 16.7 16.7 16.7 16.7 16.7 16.7
Wheelbase 39.0 39.1 39.6 39.6 39.9 40.1 40.5 41.1 41.5
Standover Height 28.8 29.6 30.3 30.6 31.2 31.9 32.7 33.4 34.1
Head Tube Length 3.6 3.6 3.6 3.6 4.0 4.8 5.6 6.3 7.1
Fork Length 15.7 15.7 15.7 15.7 15.7 15.7 15.7 15.7 15.7
Fork Rake 1.7 1.7 1.7 1.7 1.7 1.7 1.7 1.7 1.7
Stack 20.8 20.8 20.8 20.8 21.2 21.9 22.7 23.4 24.1
Reach 14.9 15.0 15.3 15.3 15.5 15.5 15.7 16.0 16.2


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’

“This one was written specifically to address Gov. Brown’s rationales for vetoing the last two bills. It allows drivers to pass at less than three feet if necessary, but requires them to slow down and pass safely, rather than slowing to 15 mph as in the first version. And it doesn’t contain any provision allowing drivers to briefly crossing the center line to pass cyclists, which was the reason given for vetoing the last version.
On the other hand, it would appear to apply to passing any cyclist in any situation, rather than just in the same lane. Which means drivers would have to give you three feet, even if you’re riding in a bike lane or parking lane.”

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.”


In celebration of AB 1371 passing, the LACBC staff says, "Give Me 3" in front of the poster that we collaborated on with Midnight Ridazz, LADOT, LAPD, and artist Geoff McFetridge back in 2010. Incorporating the winning slogan submitted by Danny Gamboa, these posters started appearing in bus shelters and public amenity kiosks around L.A. County in the summer of 2010.

In celebration of AB 1371 passing, the LACBC staff says, “Give Me 3” in front of the poster that we collaborated on with Midnight Ridazz, LADOT, LAPD, and artist Geoff McFetridge back in 2010. Incorporating the winning slogan submitted by Danny Gamboa, these posters started appearing in bus shelters and public amenity kiosks around L.A. County in the summer of 2010.

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:

dimni logo

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.

display_3q_grandeIt’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.

diminiThe ‘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!


Birdhouse Bike Rack on display in ‘Bikes in the House!’ at #r5y7

For ‘Bikes in the House!’ we were honored to show several pieces from local Silver Lake artist Josh Chauvet aka. So & So Design. Like these amazing handmade double bike racks:

anchor rackarrow rack

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!

2013 Los Angeles Bicycle and Pedestrian Count:
Who Gets Counted Counts

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:

  • Tuesday, September 10, 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
  • Tuesday, September 10, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, September 14, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

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.

  • Wednesday, September 4, 6:30 p.m.: Fire Station No. 89 – 7063 N. Laurel Canyon Blvd., 91605 (Valley)
  • Wednesday, September 4, 6:30 p.m.: Glassell Senior Citizen Center – 3750 Verdugo Rd., 90065 (East)
  • Thursday, September 5, 6:30 p.m.: location TBA (West)
  • Thursday, September 5, 6:30 p.m.: LACBC Headquarters, Mezzanine Level – 634 S. Spring St., Downtown L.A.  (Central)
  • Saturday, September 7, 9:30 a.m.: TRUST South L.A. – 4331 S. Main St., 90037 (South)
  • Saturday, September 7, 2 p.m.: Southeast L.A. – Watts WorkSource Center – 10950 S. Central Ave., 90059 (South)

2. Spread the Word.

Share this link or our Facebook event with your friends and encourage them to join in on the bike and ped count fun! Also, feel free to pass around this half-sheet flier.

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!

Quick Links:


Want to support LACBC’s work & have the chance to win a fabulous prize while you’re at it?

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.

Join LACBC or renew your LACBC membership today!

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.

Read the complete sweepstakes rules here. Many thanks to Amtrak California and the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition for sponsoring the sweepstakes.


Today: The final day of Bikes in the House! Closing party 6:30-9:30pm
+ #BikeLA ‘Meet the Culture Makers’ mixer

dimini design

It’s been a fun show transforming the gallery into a fancy living space, complete with a bike chain chandelier from Carolina Fontoura Alzaga, a functional bike desk you can get work at while spinning from Kickstand Furniture, bike furniture from local LA artists Steve Campos and Bo Mopera.1013108_10151511142251976_1943466942_n

For the first time on the West Coast (and in some cases America!) we installed unique artist designed indoor bike racks from all over the world; Alexa Lethen’s minimal Bike Hooks, from Germany, the Birdhouse Bike Rack handmade in Canada by Dimini Design, Long Beach’s Daniel Ballou displayed his internet famous, ‘a very nice bike rack,’ local Silver Lake So & So Designs showed two unique double racks welded in a tribal and nautical theme as well as a custom lamp original commissioned for the Levis flagship in SF.


bike hooksbicycle glasswareRounding out the center displays of home goods and gifts, NYC’s Taliah Lempert send a fantastic collection of her bike print stationary, bike coloring book and recycled bike bracelets. Framed bike prints from ARTCRANK LAX hung on the walls. Bike glassware, linens and environmentally responsible bike themed Lunchskins showed that bikes are, indeed beautiful enough to be brought into any room of your home.

All bikes & helmets provided by Orange 20 Bikes.

+ All items are for sale. Inquire for details.
nona @

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.
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.

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.


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