Nona Varnado
Lifestyle Cycling Apparel
Bicycling Podcasts
Best of Bike Radio
NYC Builders
NYC Custom Bike Builders
  • Video from RHC Women’s Race

    The Red Hook Crit in Brooklyn is an amazing race that just gets bigger and more epic every year. This year the women’s race (and the rainy conditions) stole the show. It’s a gorgeous, amazing event that’s incredible to watch, but often it’s easy to look at this kind of race and disconnect from how inspiring these athletes are. If you’ve ever been a little ‘meh’ on the subject of women’s bicycle racing, 2014 should be the year that turns into a giant FUCK YEAH!

    Consider that of the women’s filed most of the racers were unsponsored, unattached individuals racing purely for the challenge of it. Want to see what that looks like from their perspective? Veronica Volok took ‘Go Pro’ footage of the race giving anyone the chance to see it from the rider’s point of view.


    Check out the RHC women’s race results.  It’s pretty rad to see the lap times and just how many women were making it happen. Ladies: interested in racing: study these videos cause this is what it’s all about!

    It was super exciting to see LA’s hometown criterium champion & Wolfpack Hustle rider: Jo Celso win the overall women’s first in an awesome final sprint.

    RHC14sprint

    photo: Ben Rosser

  • The Backstory

    So happy to see Carolyn Szczepanski’s profile of the last 10 (!) years of bicycle + culture projects get published in Momentum Magazine today. My favorite thing about press is that it’s like knowing you’ll get a present, but you never really know what it is until a bunch of your friends send you links or have a giant smile on their face while waving a magazine in the air.

    profile

    (PSST:  Also, it was super fun to shoot that image in downtown LA with the awesome Hal Bergman.  I’m already thinking about what a gallery installation of his apocalyptic #bikeLA photos and stop motion pieces would look like…)

  • Save Wolfpack Hustle’s #marathoncrash
    Wolfpack Hustle's L.A. Marathon Crash Race is a really big deal in its' 5th year.

    Wolfpack Hustle’s L.A. Marathon Crash Race is a really big deal in its’ 5th year.

    Action alert:

    • Call Eric Garcetti/ LA Mayor’s office and let him know that without Wolfpack Hustle thousands will still crash the L.A. Marathon; without control, safety checks or insurance. Save#marathoncrash 213.978.0600 mayor.garcetti@lacity.org

    While at the National Bike Summit in Washington DC, I learned from Don “Roadblock” Ward that the Wolfpack Marathon Crash Race, due to take place in only a few days – had receive a letter from the City of L.A.

    (Wolfpack Marathon Crash Race) “is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment in county jail for a period not to exceed one year. You may incur liability for any costs related to City services deployed for an event held in violations of Section 41.20.”

    Standing next to my co-workers from the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and other LA bike advocates, we couldn’t help be a little shocked and wonder who was responsible for pulling the plug on an event that had been happening with the support of the LAPD and the wide acknowledgement of the City – while also being a transformative “cicLAvia” like experience awakening people to the wonders of being able to ride 26.2 miles through Los Angeles, car-free. So wonderful is the experience – for first time racers and first time recreational participants – that the event has encouraged a whole new generation of racers and urban bike racing.

    Streetsblog LA (as usual) broke the news with an excellent story,

    Wolfpack Hustled: City Pulls Support for Marathon Crash, Threatens Legal Action

    when the LA Times picked it up with their article, Popular pre-L.A. Marathon bike ride canceled after city permit snag

    StreetsBlogLA then had some salient points on the LA Times article here.

    LA Weekly followed that up with:

    Bicyclists Plan to Crash L.A. Marathon Course — Despite City Shutdown

    Indeed so much hype, lack of clarity and contention between the city’s questionable ‘tactics’ resulted in the LA Times going live with an open discussion on what might actually be happening:

    L.A. Now Live: Discuss fallout of cancelled pre-L.A. Marathon bike race.

    While in DC – advocates from LA and nationally participated in a photo campaign to urge L.A. City to “Save Marathon Crash Race.”

    What You Can Do (NOW!)

    Call Eric Garcetti/ LA Mayor’s office and let him know that without Wolfpack Hustle thousands will still crash the L.A. Marathon; without control, safety checks or insurance. Save#marathoncrash 213.978.0600 mayor.garcetti@lacity.org

  • Bike Party for the Car City.

    LABCFS-facebookBIG News.

    What was only an idea at the L.A. Bike Trains December meeting is now a full blown festival that’s (gulp!) less than a month away. The festival is underwritten and hosted by AIDS/Lifecycle and sponsored by Los Angeles Bicycle Attorney, Josh Cohen. We’ve put together an awesome group of local culture, advocacy groups, bike shops and brands. Healthy snacks provided by Good Eggs LA!
    Schedule:
    12:00-12:45 Press Conference – festival areas open
    1:00-1:45 Opening Panel
    2:00-2:45 Workshops round 1
    2:45-3:30 Break – invite to roam, eat “snack time!”
    3:30-4:30 Workshops round 2
    5:00-6:00 Closing Remarks/ Raffle Winner(s) announced
    6:00-7:00 Party & Open festival
    I need you to invite EVERYONE YOU’VE EVER MET. Coworkers, neighbors, friends, family. Anyone who isn’t yet riding (because this is for them) and everyone who is riding (because it’s so awesome!) We want to see this become an annual event and we need to throw a big party to make that happen.
    LABCFSimage
  • NYC 2005-2014: Time lapse into a bike & ped friendly city

    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…

  • Changing the Cycle ESRBC

    Changing the Cycle – ESRBC from Giovanni Moreno

    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.”

  • Prints & New Work at Peddler’s Creamery in DTLA

    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.

    1452562_10151788541921976_1160261962_n 1503841_10151788600591976_1941118929_n 1488097_10151788646881976_1173363687_n

  • Why BIKE BIKE is awesome.

    From Krista Carlson’s

    Cultivating Conversations at BikeBike 2013: A Recap in Urban Velo

    bikebike

    Excerpt:

    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.”

    p32-33 p36-37

    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.

  • STOOPIDTALL

    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.

    14.5stoopidtallRichie 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.

    66878_134796220039607_1870594497_n388992_134796350039594_313573232_n

     

    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!

    1098379_167584586760770_2029600972_n

     

    Yes, but can it be STOOPID-ER?

    Thursday, December 26, 2013 STOOPID TALLER was revealed:

    1487374_205726052946623_1396925407_n1524795_205725919613303_1271965228_n226779_205726142946614_2058222252_n

     

  • LA Bike Trains on NPR’s ‘All Things Considered’

    Listening to “All Things Considered” anywhere in America yesterday, December 1, 2013 and you might have heard this one..

    Nona Varnado on NPR

     

    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.

Love it? Hate it? Let us know!

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