Saturday, March 27, 2010

March 2010 Los Angeles Critical Mass

Last night was a perfect spring evening for a bike ride around Los Angeles. A good crowd of perhaps 300-400 riders gathered for Critical Mass at Wilshire and Western. There was a warm breeze blowing through the city, and everyone was in a jolly mood. The route was a little different in that we headed west all the way to Beverly Hills, turning onto Rodeo drive and continuing up to rest at a pocket park on Sunset and Camden.

From there the ride headed back east on Sunset, making a fateful right turn going down San Vicente. For one rider of a fixed gear bike, his lack of experience (and brakes!) was no match for the effects of gravity. At the bottom of the hill the ride was holding for a red light. He was unable to stop on his own. Luckily a White Audi arrived at the perfect moment, and with a loud smack the rider slammed at full speed into the front of the car with so much force that the radiator dumped all it's coolant onto Santa Monica Blvd. The rider was thrown violently off his bike to the horror of all the riders. Miraculously, the rider sprung to his feet and pumped his fists in the air. Everyone's jaw hit the ground and the ride rejoiced in the averted disaster. No one could believe what they just witnessed. Perhaps he was spared due to white "ghost" bike he was riding.

Fairfax & Santa Monica

The night wouldn't be complete without a "Circle of Death" at Hollywood & Highland.

Michael and I called it a night after we declined to follow a brave (or stupid) pack of riders that went on the 101 freeway, leaving about 100 to find their way to Echo Park.

Overall, it was a fun night but also more dangerous than usual. Inexperienced riders continue to put themselves at risk needlessly, riding without helmets and riding beyond their skill level. Slower riders that couldn't keep up were dropped by the pack. The brakeless, fixed gear ghost bike rider could have been seriously injured but escaped without a scratch. Motorcycle Police in Hollywood were seen pulling over cyclists for running red lights.

One trend I am seeing is more women riders. Hopefully as the weather improves, the ride will continue to grow in strength, quality and safety. I feel lucky that nothing truly bad happened.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Wolpfack Hustle: The L.A. Marathon CRASH RACE

Wolfpack Hustle Crash the Marathon from AMBUSHE on Vimeo.

Wolfpack Hustle Marathon Crash Race 2010 from The Bicinity on Vimeo.



Last Sunday, I woke up at 2am to ride the L.A. Marathon course on my bicycle with about 400 other riders. I somehow convinced Michael that this was a good idea, and he willingly met me for the cold early morning ride to Tangs Donuts at 3am. The organizers were slightly overwhelmed with more people than they expected. No bother, we just hung out at Tangs, drank coffee and ate bagels and donuts until such time as it was deemed the race should start. Off we headed towards Dodger Stadium. Apparently the race started before everyone realized and before I knew it, I was riding my heart out for the next 69 minutes 28 seconds, riding across Los Angeles, thru Echo Park, Silver Lake, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Westwood, Brentwood and finally Santa Monica to finish near the Pier.

It was the most fun I've had on a bike, and I can say with pride I think I finished in about 70th place. After hanging out for a bit thanking all the riders that I drafted during the race, I rode home and got back just in time to wake Heather and run out to the corner coffee shop to sip on lattes and cheer the wheelchair racers as they passed by!

Seeing all the disabled athletes doing what I just did was beyond inspiring, and I made sure they heard me cheering them on. Oh, and then there was 25 thousand people following after them!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Fargo Street Hill Climb 2010

On Sunday, Heather and I rode to Echo Park to see if I could once again successfully climb the steepest street in Los Angeles. Like the groundhog, a sure sign of the coming of spring is a gathering of cyclists intent on climbing Fargo Street.

After a Double Fargo, I was hungry, so we continued riding all over the city.

We had brunch in Silverlake at Flore, then headed to Griffith Park for a rest under a tree to digest a bit...

...before climbing up to the Observatory to take in the views.

We then rode to Barnsdall to catch a bicycle culture exhibition...

and finished at Heath Ceramics for a Wedding themed event complete with wine, cake and white dresses.