Friday, November 26, 2010

Schism in Los Angeles Critical Mass

While most Angelenos were figuring how they could stuff 3 plates of turkey into their pie holes, a dedicated and perhaps obsessive group of cycling enthusiasts were furiously debating the schism that has formed over the future direction of Los Angeles Critical Mass. On the Midnight Ridazz website there are at least 3 active discussions full of divergent opinions, various theories, ideas and strategies for tonight's ride. Also, there are 3 rides listed tonight called LACM, and 1 ride called Alternative to Critical Mass. On facebook there is the Los Angeles Critical Mass Event Listing.

Let me see if I can sort this out a bit.

It would appear there are at least 2 different rides tonight riding in 5 different packs.

The Alternative to Critical Mass will seek to have 4 different groups of riders observe all the laws of the road, riding in the right lane, stopping as required at all controlled intersections, and generally doing nothing to warrant a citation from LAPD.

Los Angeles Critical Mass will most likely be closely monitored by LAPD, which may or may not enforce CVC.

So the choice is yours. How are you going to ride tonight?

Alternative of Critical Mass meets tonight at Lafayette Park at Wilshire and Hoover at 6pm and rides at 7pm.

Los Angeles Critical Mass meets every last Friday of the month at Wilshire and Western at 630pm and rides out at 7:30pm

Monday, November 22, 2010

A day at the Los Angeles Auto Show


Yesterday I visited the Los Angeles Auto Show with my dad. Dad was interested in seeing the Porsche Cayman, a car he's been lusting after ever since it came out.

Porsche Cayman

We discussed why Porsche hasn't yet placed a 600hp engine in that body, creating a mid engine super car. If they would, their 911 flagship would probably be spanked by this upstart, so, for now, you can only get 320 horses in the Cayman.

Porsche Ruby Red

Dad even got to go back stage and view the Ruby Red color sample that would make for a fine looking car someday. Someday Dad!

Fiat 500 Topolino

Next I wanted to see the Fiat 500, and inquire as to its performance potential. Unfortunately, no one at the booth has even driven the car yet, so we'll have to wait.

Fiat 500

The original Topolino was by far the cutest car at the show.

Fiat 500 Topolino Rear

Plus my STRiDA made a new friend.

Fiat 500 Folding Bike meets STRiDA

After that, we checked out a few other marks before Dad's interest level dropped and he took off. Luckily, I had my STRiDA and happily continued viewing the show, while people ignored the cars around them and asked me to transform my bike for them. Between STRiDA sales pitches, I saw the Nissan Leaf,

Nissan Leaf

visited Subaru and Ford and got to have a nice conversation with the Dutch about their vision for Saab moving forward, which includes deprogramming all GM errors and returning the mark to Swedish heritage of hatchbacks that kick ass in the snow, perhaps even electric.

Saab Electric Wagon

I also learned why Volkswagen won't be bringing the Corrado/ Scrirocco to the USA. With the exchange rate being where it is, that car would cost $80k in the US. I love me some peoples car, but not that much...

Volkswagen Convertible

I also got to scold SMART for putting such a low tech engine in their forward thinking car, thus giving it fuel economy worse than a Prius with less than half the space. At least they brought a bike! It caught more than a few eyes as I was standing there.

Smart e-Bike

I also got to scold Ford for not importing their euro-spec Focus with an advanced 300hp engine to the US.

Ford Focus (Not) Euro Spec

Funny that an American car company hides their best cars in europe where Americans can't have them.

Coda Electric Car

I have high hopes for So Cal based Coda and their all electric sedan that boasts better mileage numbers than Nissan's Leaf. Good luck boys, may the electrons be with you!

Oh, and here's some 4 wheeled candy that also caught my eye:

Jaguar's Concept Car

Jaguar Concept side

Jaguar Concept front

Jaguar Concept Rear Left

Morgan then and now


Morgan OG

The ultimate driving machine

BMW M3 Racecar

The best bang for your supercar buck, tried and true


Ballsy Upstart Suzuki is more than a flash in the pan

Suzuki Bonneville Speed Racer Front

Tuner heartthrob Honda CRX 2010 edition


See the rest:

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Riding around town

Some recent group rides I've been on:

Santa Monica Critical Mass


Taco Tuesdays


Ride With No Name


This coming friday is Los Angeles Critical Mass. There's been a lot of discussion about how the LAPD will be monitoring the ride. In the past few months, we have seen various strategies employed by LAPD ranging from rolling street closures and full escort to haphazard enforcement of CVC. This has resulted in many cyclists complaining of a lack of clarity on behalf of LAPD. Are they here to keep us safe and escort the ride or are they here to crack down on violations of the vehicle code? I think LAPD will attempt to bring greater clarity to what they are looking for LACM to provide in terms of compliance with CVC. Here's what I'd like to see happen:

LAPD fully enforce the following violations:

1. Crossing the double yellow
2. Tagging
3. Harassment by cyclists of pedestrians and motorists and vice versa
4. Unsafe riding, especially if it leads to injury of fellow ridazz
5. Blantant public consumption of alcohol and other controlled substances
6. Littering

LAPD turns a blind eye to the following violations:

1. Red Light Violations committed by the Mass, including cyclists stopping in intersections to control cross traffic
2. Bicycle Light and Brake Equipment “Fix It” citations
3. Helmet citations for minors

LAPD either assists the ride by providing rolling street closures or allows the Mass to "cork" intersections as they have done safely for many years in hundreds of cities around the world.

LAPD has recently offered some of these concessions if the route were to be made available to them. Critical Mass is inherently a group with no leader and routes are not preselected. Could there be a compromise between these two poles? Come out this Friday and find out. Be prepared! Bike Lights, Hemlets, Spare Tubes and an Understanding of California Vehicle Code are highly recommended!

What do you think? More importantly: What does your council member think?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

UCI Cyclocross L.A. Weekend in Griffith Park!

I knew riding bikes was fun, but cyclocross ups the ante. This must be the funnest thing ever invented! Plus these riders have an amazing sense of humor. Behold classical chamber music at the top of a set of stairs!

There were many levels of competition from beginner to UCI Elite pro racers. Some rode single speed bikes, some rode advanced cyclocross bikes, some rode hard tail "29er" mountain bikes, but they were all having fun and going all out on this 1 mile course that included stairs, hurdles long uphill climbs and endless turns.

I tried riding it on Heather's Trance and with over inflated tires managed a 7 minute lap time. The fastest elite races rode the course in 4:58. Humbled, yes. Inspired, most definitely! As soon as I can find room for one, I'll be buying a cyclocross bike!



Ryan Trebon

Adam Craig

Chris Horner
Chris Horner

Ben Bostrom
Ben Bostrom

I know nothing about this sport, so forgive me for only recognizing Tour De France veteran and 10 place finisher Chris Horner decked out in Radioshack attire, as well as AMA Superbike Champ Ben Bostrom. These stars were no match for the pair of elite men at the front of the race, Adam Craig and Ryan Trebon, who put on a "clinic" in cyclocross 101, finishing well ahead of the rest of the field.


I did meet the mother of a young up and coming racer named Casey Williams from Big Bear. At 16 years of age, Casey has shown tremendous skill and potential and will certainly be a name to watch in the years ahead. He has a brother as well, and the two are very competitive, which reminds me of the Schleck brothers across the pond. American cycling is in good hands with these young men.

Thanks goes to the organizers of this event, So Cal Cross and the hard working series director Dorothy Wong, who's dedication and perseverance resulted in this amazing race in Griffith Park. I hope this is just the beginning of more competitive cycling events in Los Angeles. Thanks Dorothy!

Here's all my photos from both days:

Friday, November 5, 2010

Kyle Field and his Waxing Marks at Taylor De Cordoba

Last night, I met Heather at the gallery to finish installing and lighting Kyle Field's latest solo show, Waxing Marks. I have to say, it's one of the cleanest shows we've ever installed, and it's Kyle's best work yet. Ten jewels sparkle on the walls like little worlds full of wonder. He even made a video promo for the show which I was so stoked to put on YouTube!

It's really an honor to work with such talented artists like Kyle. He has such a great spirit and his creativity is contagious! I'm literally stopping myself from hopping on my bike, tuning Little Wings on my iPod and riding to Baja California in search of some tasty waves, warm sun and desolate pueblos to photograph.

Waxing Marks opens with a reception from 6-8pm this Saturday November 6th at Taylor De Cordoba.

2660 S La Cienega
Los Angeles

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

An Open Letter to the leaders of our City concerning the Los Angeles Bike Plan

2 generations of Los Angeles Native Cyclists enjoy CicLAvia on 10-10-10

Dear Mayor Villaraigosa, Council President Garcetti and all members of the city council not currently under criminal investigation (just kidding, you to Councilman Alarcon ;),

Let me start with you, Mayor Villaraigosa. It annoys me to no end that you broke your elbow in a bike accident, and now you aren't leading the charge to make Los Angeles a bike friendly city. All the research shows we could reduce pollution, improve health, improve commute times, improve business activity and realize the dream of making Los Angeles a Green City by adopting robust cycling infrastructure measures. You have a bully pulpit and yet you don't say anything inspiring at all. This bike plan totally sucks and you say nothing? Mayor Villaraigosa, are you hearing us? We're just asking for an improvement over 1996 plan, and actual implementation of said plan. This is a joke! We're not stupid! Don't insult us and insult yourself by remaining silent on this.

At least email the Planning Commission with your own private thoughts on this crappy bike plan if you're not man enough to say it in front of cameras!

Better yet, appoint the experts of BikeSide to be your personal bicycle advisors to whip this plan into shape! They have some excellent talking points here.

Eric and the rest of the peanut gallery, please please please wake up and listen to your constituents. We are demanding a safer Los Angeles, where the streets are not machines of danger, death, pollution and sorrow, but can serve to unite us. We will support you if you support us. If you choose not to, we will fight you with all our hearts, this I promise.

Your Watchful Employer,

Alex de Cordoba

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