Pizza conquers all

November 11, 2016 § 29 Comments

We showed up in force for the PVE City Council meeting on November 8, beginning with sign protests at Malaga Cove Plaza. Rather than riding our bikes, about twenty people stood on the various corners and held up signs that said “Bikes May Use Full Lane,” “3 Cyclists Dead!” and various other proclamations of our rights. We even had a young protester up in a tree!

It was fun sitting on the corner while the crazypants video nuts stood around and took videos of the protest, and the only non-fun part was that I’d pulled my fascius buttassicus muscle and had to stay seated holding up my signs. Roughly one in five cars came through the intersection, saw the signs, and gave us a shout or a thumbs up, and only a handful cursed, told us to ride on the sidewalk, or advised us to go die.

Living up to its moniker as Dick City, after the protest ended I hobbled across the street, hunched over from the spazzed-out back muscles, and a nasty old woman in a giant red Buick rolled down her window and screeched, “Get out of the street!”

In the crosswalk. So classy!

The huge benefit to holding up signage at the intersection was that passing motorists understood why we were there. After the previous protest ride one citizen had approached the group and said that people had no idea what we were advocating for or why we were riding around the plaza. It was a great point and we took it to heart, and of course our signage proved our point about BMUFL signage: IT WORKS.

People saw it, read it, understood it, and went away knowing more than when they got there. It also completely destroyed the NIMBY, Special Snowflake on the Hill theory espoused by Garrett Unno, Zoe Unno, Cynthia Bianchi, and Shannon Zaragoza that signage is unnecessary or that it somehow has to be part of a big, multi-year project.

Put up the fucking signs already.

After an hour and a half of signing we went over to the city council chambers where the mayor opened things up by praising a group of young students for taking an active interest in city government and becoming participants in democracy. Too bad the kids didn’t stick around to see the shenanigans pulled by Mayor King as she squashed dissent, illegally limited speaking times based on speech content, and showed a stony, cold heart to people’s pleas for help.

Our council meeting strategy was different because Mayor King had made it clear that she had dug in and not about to put BMUFL signs back on the agenda. In order to shut us up she had moved the meeting back to 5:30 from its regular time of 7:30, hoping that people wouldn’t be able to get off work (doesn’t she know cyclists are all unemployed?). Then she shoved public comment back to the very end of the meeting, hoping that by forcing us to wait around we’d give up and go home.

Sadly, both ploys failed. More than fifty people showed up to the combined protest and council meeting, including:

Doug P.
Kristie F.
Greg S.
Jay Y.
John W.
Joann Z.
Michael B.
Seth D.
Andrew N.
Sean S.
John K.
Greg L.
Yasuko D.
Alan K.
Michelle L.
Patrick N.
Hung N.
Alistair M.
Don W.
Ian D.
Tom D.
Geoffrey L.
Kate H.
Victor C.
Kathryn K.
Brian G.
Chuck C.
Charlie T.
Diana T.
Gary C.
Kevin S.
Larry L.
Jose G.
Mark M.
Steve G.
Alan S.
Delia P.
Leo L.
Reinaldo A.
Chris W.
Mario O.
Matt M.
Lisa M.
Lauren M.
Jeannette A.
Brent D.
Ron P.
Rebecca P.
Francie U.
Tara U.
Marv C.
Ava S.
Sarah B.
So instead of waiting patiently for our speaking “opportunity” which Mayor King had shoved to the end of the meeting, we objected to the entire consent calendar and submitted speaker cards for each agenda item so that we could provide the council with our input on the entirety of city matters up for consideration.
Kristie was brilliant and eloquent in her opposition to the city’s proposal to begin submitting draft pro/con arguments for ballot measures; Andrew N. spoke knowledgeably about the proposed increase in city funds for police patrols at Lunada Bay; Greg L. was emphatic opposing the “bad hombres” causing trouble in the city; and numerous people weighed in on the sunset provision for the fire department tax. They were so sick of us that Mayor King didn’t even bother to append the obligatory “thank you” after some of us finished.
Mayor King was livid and rather than giving each speaker the 3-minutes of time typically allotted for citizen input on agenda items, she slashed the speaking time per speaker to two minutes and then limited total discussion time to each item to six minutes. This was a blatant violation of the Brown Act and of the Ninth Circuit’s decision in White v. City of Norwalk, where the court held that public meetings may be regulated by a city council with regard to limits on speaking time, but those time limits must be content neutral. In other words, you can’t give lots of speaking time to people you like, and reduced time to those you don’t–which is exactly what she did when favored residents were given unlimited time at the lectern, and goofy cyclists cut off after sixty seconds.
If Mayor King pulls this stunt again, she can look forward to a lawsuit in federal court, and yes, the unemployed, broke-ass bike community includes hitters who are champing at the bit to fund that particular lawsuit.
The great thing about our strategy is that it really showed the need for education, both on our end and on the council’s. There is so much happening in PVE that is completely bizarre, like the $150,000 renovation of Lunada Bay Plaza designed to make it more attractive, while at the same time the city ignores bike safety and bike accommodations.
Don’t they understand that making the plaza attractive means having more pedestrians and bike traffic? Even the city council can’t possibly believe that the goal behind the plaza’s beautification is to fill the tiny area up with cars … or can they?
Finally, stuck at the ass-end of the meeting, we got to speak regarding bike signage. Mayor King made the most insincere, cold-hearted speech you’ve ever heard, and I encourage you to listen to it here, at about 2:44:58, as she tried to deflect blame by showing the fakest sympathy for the recent horrific collision a few days prior, where a person in a car rear-ended a person on a bike resulting in catastrophic injuries.
Rather than seeing this as a call to action, she stonily advised us–after chopping our speaking time to one minute and limiting the comment period to just a few minutes–that she had no plans whatsoever to put BMUFL signage back on the agenda.
Of course we had known from the beginning that she wasn’t backing down, which is why we came provisioned with much pizza, apples, meatballs, cupcakes, and other healthy party food. Hey, it’s the new normal: Twice a month the PVE city council will get to listen to the input of concerned citizens who have taken an active interest in the minutiae of the city’s governance in an attempt to better understand why they refuse to install a handful of signs.
Even with Mayor King working overtime to cut the meeting short, chop speaking times, and limit discussion, the 5:30 meeting dragged on so that we didn’t get home until after 9:30 PM, which will hopefully give the council a great idea of what future meetings hold: Beginning at the normal time of 7:30, they can expect to finish up close to midnight.
It’s the new normal because rather than doing the right thing they’ve invited the whole cycling world to get involved in their deliberations, and it’s interesting to see how it all really is related: $50,000 to tighten up enforcement for surfers where no fatality has ever occurred, but not one single nickel for signs to improve safety where three people have died. $150,000 to pretty up a plaza, but not one single nickel for signs to ensure the safety of those who visit. Long term taxation for fire department services that keep residents safe, but not one fucking nickel for signage to protect “outsiders” who travel through on public roads.
And as Mayor King is finding out, there may be ways to get rid of cyclists, but tiring them out isn’t one of them, although they did post custom notes telling us we couldn’t eat inside and we couldn’t  park our bikes indoors anymore. Next up are hall monitors.
It was pretty awesome spending the afternoon and evening with friends, eating pizza, hanging out, watching Mayor King flagrantly break the law, doing iPhone research on various agenda items, eating pizza, speaking on behalf of the dead and injured, eating pizza, and being happy. And eating pizza.
The contrast between the happy and enthused cyclists and the sour NIMBYs, not to mention the members of the council who looked miserable having to listen to flatlanders and transients opine on issues affecting their Special Snowflake on the Hill was incredible. I wanted to hand each of them a bike and an Rx to ride three times weekly. It really works.
Huge thanks to all who donated money or bought swag to help fund these activities. On to the next one, which is DECEMBER 13, 2016, 7:30 P.M. AT THE CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS, 340 Palos Verdes Drive West, PALOS VERDES ESTATES, 90274.
Maybe we’ll get in some golf practice, too.

END

————————

For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog and support people who support cycling, on and off the bike. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. You can also visit my store on Shopify, which sells socks and patches and bar tape and stuff.

A name you can trust!

November 2, 2016 § 18 Comments

I want to take a minute to introduce you to a real estate professional named Frank Ponce. Mr. Ponce has recently been active in protecting his city from ugly, useless, poorly planned bicycle signage in his community.

Mr. Ponce operates in Palos Verdes Estates and is one of the great real estate professionals of our time, a man who can help you achieve your dreams. One of the recommendations on his web site is the purchase of this amazing book:

Matthew A. Martinez has come out with yet another incredible book with no gimmicks on how to make money in real estate in the new economy. Matthew is truly
the Warren Buffett of real estate investing. I urge you purchase this book if your are a real estate professional or an investor.

Those get rich quick schemes like flipping houses is for the birds. There is no speculation here. These are sure ways to building your real estate empire within this book.  Click on the image to find out more.

In addition to recommending this incredible book with no gimmicks, and his unconventional grammatical use of “your are,” Mr. Ponce also dabbles in subject-verb disagreement, another cutting edge writing technique that is sure to get your attention and keep you focused on the excellent services he provides. (Disclaimer: I have bought a copy of this book and it is really incredible, with no gimmicks. I expect that, with the amazing tips from this book, I will soon be able to buy the apartment building in which I currently live. Thank you, Mr. Ponce!!!)

“But who is Frank Ponce?” you may be asking. I know I did. It turns out that he is one of those true success stories in PVE who hales from just north of Dodger Stadium, a guy who started with nothing and pulled himself up by his own bootstraps to be the realtor he is today. As Mr. Ponce tells it in the “About Me” section of his web site:

 I got my first taste of income properties when I was still in Junior High School working for my father and helping him manage his motels.

There’s nothing tougher than working for your dad and helping him manage his motels, plural. The hours are long and the boss is really tough on you because you have to make your bed and keep your room clean. Plus, you start at the bottom and remain there for weeks. From these humble beginnings, Mr. Ponce developed a truly humanitarian approach to life and success, an appreciation of couches, and an approach that has served him well. In Mr. Ponce’s own inimitable words:

Landlording is perhaps the single most important service anyone can provide because you are providing a roof over a family’s head. Landlording is probably the world’s second oldest profession and certainly the most lucrative. Properly managed, a good piece of income property is the closest thing you will ever come to a real live, self-propelled, self-generating money machine.

Well, who doesn’t like a self-generating money machine? Probably the same stupid people who don’t like made-up words like “landlording.” And any salesman who can juxtapose his profession with prostitution and do it with a smile, well, that’s the guy you want to entrust with the sale of your attractive, one-of-a-kind bridge in Brooklyn. Trust me.

However, Mr. Frank Ponce isn’t just a practitioner of the oldest profession after the oldest profession and the owner of a real, live, money machine. He’s also a community guy who cares about the little people he owns. Listen to Mr. Frank Ponce:

But, I am not just a landlord. I get involved in the city that I buy in. I am a member in the Chamber of Commerce, and help create Landlord clubs to help eliminate crime in certain neighborhoods. In being a landlord one needs to remember that you are the owner of a small community, and you have the power to make that little community a better place for people to live in.

It is pretty awesome that Mr. Frank Ponce never forgets, even for a moment, that he is the owner of a small community, and that making communities safer is job number one. Of course sometimes when you are landlording you have to sell the little community you own and care for, but life can sometimes be harsh. Mr. Ponce has some good advice for how to go about dealing with the little people who you own. e.g “tenants.”

Doing a thorough inspection of the exterior and interior of the property will afford you the opportunity to potentially find anything in disrepair and fix it. Of course, you don’t want to alarm or alert tenants to the fact that you will be selling the property. Just tell them that you are doing an annual inspection and give them 24 hours notice.

It may seem cruel to lie to the little people community that you own and to leave off apostrophes, but sometimes this is necessary. In addition to helping people as a landlorder, Mr. Ponce has been very active defending the Lunada Bay Boys on Mom’s Couch. Some members of this group of upstanding citizens have been sued for criminal gang activity that involves allegations of decades-long harassment and violence against non-resident surfers at Lunada Bay.

Mr. Ponce wants you to know that Palos Verdes Estates is a family friendly place, and that these allegations are ridiculous. Mr. Ponce, in a wide-ranging, intelligent, and reflective interview about the allegations of gang activity directed against outsiders, notes that as a local resident “I have NEVER had any problems with any of the surfers there.” Of course there are two sides to every story, even if the other one is completely wrong, like this one.

Mr. Ponce is similarly dismissive of the oldest profession, which it turns out includes the media. He vigorously defends the family-friendly nature of Lunada Bay in this interview with LA Weekly:

“I’m really disgusted with the media,” says Frank Ponce, who’s lived in Lunada Bay since 1998. “They’re a bunch of prostitutes. There are no gangs down there, I can tell you that right now. You get a couple idiots who cause trouble. But for the most part, everyone there, they’re older people, they just have fun and surf.”

Of course the fun-loving may include a bit of rock throwing, a touch of vehicle vandalism, a few punch ’em ups, the occasional rape threat, and the privatization of public land. However, as a valued customer you should understand that this will not happen if, like Mr. Ponce, you are a local resident of PVE. In fact, once you purchase your home you will get to know and love these fun-filled defendants. According to Mr. Ponce, “They loan me their kayaks. They are really nice people. They are business owners.”

As a real estate professional, Mr. Ponce appreciates the illegal surfer patio built by the Lunada Bay Boys on Mom’s Couch, usurping public land for private, unpermitted use. “I go down there with my kids,” Ponce said. “I use that shack to barbecue.” Although it’s unclear whether little apartment people in the communities he owns can also use the patio, as a landlorder in PVE you probably can.

As Mr. Ponce, along with Garrett Unno, Zoe Unno, Cynthia Bianchi, and Shannon Zaragoza stand up against the real gangsters in Palos Verdes Estates–the bicycling gangsters–I hope you support him with your patronage by buying a home from him. If your children enjoy riding bicycles, Mr. Ponce can explain to them that PVE is really not a very good place for that.

They can, however, take up surfing.

END

————————

I’ve set up a store on Shopify where you can buy South Bay Cycling items, the purchase of which will help pay for food/drinks/snacks at the Nov. 8  PVE City Council Bike Ride and Pizza Party, as well as for advocacy to fight the evil of people like the Unnos, Cynthia Bianchi, Shannon Zaragoza, Frank Ponce, and the Lunada Bay Boys on Mom’s Couch who zealously oppose bicycle signage.

And for $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog and support people who support cycling, on and off the bike. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

The best defense …

November 1, 2016 § 22 Comments

Props to Garret Unno, anti-bike signage NIMBY dude from Palos Verdes Estates, for this gem:

ltr_from_unno

Yes, after leading the charge to shoot down the Bikes May Use Full Lane signage, which signage was approved by the Traffic Safety Committee, the city engineer, an outside consultant, the city attorney, and over a hundred cyclist advocates, Garrett has now targeted the 3-Feet signage recently installed in PVE to advise drivers that they have to, you know, give cyclists three feet when they pass.

Nothing like being in the vanguard to protect your idyllic community at the expense of lives!!

Still, Garrett, who is reputedly an engineer at Raytheon, deserves mad props. Dude gets R done. Quiet, head down, consistent, and relentless, his hatred of cyclists has effectively beaten back a broad-based coalition of cyclists that includes actual PVE residents. To me that’s kind of weird, because a lot of people at Raytheon cycle. Do they know that their colleague is all-in when it comes to opposing signage that protects cyclists? If I had someone like that in my office, I’d read him the riot act.

Anway, One Unno > 200 Freaks in Lycra, at least according to PVE City Council math. And he’s no dummy, either: Don’t sit around waiting for the enemy, hit them as hard as you can when and where they least expect it, and press the hell out of your advantage. Momentum doesn’t come often, and a good strategist knows to roll with the tide.

It will be absolutely fascinating to watch how the Traffic Safety Committee responds to Unno’s plea, especially since they’ve already voted for the signs, recommended that the signs be installed, and worked with the city engineer to place the signs and oversee their installation. It will be even more awesome to see how the city council, if the TSC caves to Unno, votes regarding the new signage they just installed.

Stay tuned for the shit show …

In the meantime, I’ve set up a store on Shopify where you can buy South Bay Cycling items, the purchase of which will help pay for food/drinks/snacks at our next City Council Bike Ride and Pizza Party, as well as for advocacy to fight the evil of people like Unno, his wife Zoe, Shannon Zaragoza, Frank Ponce, and the Lunada Bay Boys on Mom’s Couch who zealously oppose bicycle signage in PV Estates.

END

————————

Check out the new Cycling in the South Bay Swag Store. Buy cool stuff and support cycling advocacy!

And for $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog and support people who support cycling, on and off the bike. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

 

Law abiding ride-around and civil obedience

October 24, 2016 § 18 Comments

Now that the Palos Verdes Estates city council has voted down BMUFL signage against the recommendations of its own traffic safety committee, traffic engineer, and outside consultant, it’s apparently necessary that they be reminded why signage got on their agenda to begin with: Three cyclists have died on the peninsula this year and blatant, over the top harassment of cyclists who dare to abide by the California Vehicle Code.

Moreover, the city has sent a clear message to cyclists by voting down signage: It’s okay to terrorize cyclists at will. And cyclists now report a scary uptick in harassing behavior, such as this dick move by the person driving CA license plate number 6USG423.

And from an even scarier view …

At 6:30 PM this Tuesday, October 25 (THAT’S TOMORROW), some cyclists will, as part of traffic, ride through Palos Verdes Estates and ride in and around Malaga Cove Plaza, while doing exactly what the residents have demanded: Fully obey all traffic laws and come to a complete stop at every stop sign. The idea that some residents have made, and that the city has bought into, is that PVE should not consider safer streets (five BMUFL signs) because all cyclists don’t stop at every sign, every time. The city council needs to see again how this faux demand has nothing to do with safety and is a deflection from the real issue: Cars terrorizing bikes and the city’s caving in to the howls of an angry and unrepresentative minority that wants to exclude nonresidents from cycling in PVE.

After riding in and around the plaza as normal traffic, cyclists also plan to attend the PVE city council meeting at 7:30 PM, held in the council chambers just across from Malaga Cove Plaza. During the period for public comment on matters not on the city’s agenda, cyclists will each speak for their three minute allotment, reading from the NIH study that shows signage makes roads safer for bicycles. The council failed to read this document at the last dog-and-pony-show that voted down BMUFL signage, even though it was provided to them in their materials.

If you are a cyclist who is concerned about safety on the PV Peninsula, you should come to this 100% public meeting, read for three minutes from the NIH study (a copy of the study will be available, I’ve heard), and then leave as soon as you’ve read your three minutes; no need to stick around or waste an entire night at the rest of the meeting. You won’t have to stick around for hours as at previous meetings.

Some riders have said they will be convening twice a month to ride and to publicly comment at every council meeting until the city puts the signage back on the agenda and votes to install BMUFL signage and sharrows. The more cyclists who show up and take their full three minutes to read from the NIH study or otherwise advise the council of the need for BMUFL signage and sharrows, the sooner we can expect the city council to vote to put these critical matters back on the agenda and vote to have them installed.

The city has shown that as long as the vocal anti-safety residents gnash & howl loudest, they will not vote for human lives. You should consider spending a few minutes of your time to come to the meeting and oppose such a horrible position.

Democracy only happens when people show up.

END

————————

Check out the new Cycling in the South Bay Swag Store. Buy cool stuff and support cycling advocacy!

And for $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog and support people who support cycling, on and off the bike. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

Celebration

October 23, 2016 § 16 Comments

The Fourth Annual South Bay Cycling Awards wrapped up with hardly any controversy! There are too many people to list for their wonderful contributions. No, wait, that’s not true. This is the Internet and there is absolutely no limit. So here goes!

First off is Diego Binatena, from Base Cartel. Why Diego? Because I fucking forgot to thank him last night, out of all the people who deserved mention. Bottom line? Buy his shit. It’s awesome and he’s a good dude.

This year the event hit the medium-time thanks to the Southern California and Nevada Cycling Association. They kicked in a ton of money and funded the toilets, the lights, the sound, the stage, free food, chairs, tables, pro photography services, and half the beer. In short, they made the event! My only question is this: Where were all the SCNCA award recipients? Jeez! What is it about “free food, free beer, and cash prizes” that you bike racers don’t understand?

The plus side was that there were plenty of SCNCA recipients to come collect their trophies and cash, and no group better represented the spirit of the night than the crew from SC Velo. What  fantastic bunch of kids. I think they may have even learned new cuss word or two. I always take pride in mentoring the youth.

Anyway, on to the thanks!

Jan Luke, SCNCA President. Made shit happen. Made this partnership happen. Lugged in the trophies. Lugged out the trophies. Was awesome in every way!

Chris Black, SCNCA Vice President.

David Huntsman, SCNCA Secretary. Lawyer, advocate, friend, guy who has done so much to breathe new life into SCNCA.

Armin Rahm, SCNCA Board Member. Racer, dad, promoter, businessman, friend. Showed up to show the Amis how a Bavarian drinks beer.

Justin Williams, SCNCA Board Member. Racer, cool guy, friend. Ready with a quip and encouragement, hell of a bike racer.

Suzanne Sonye, SCNCA Board Member. Legend, legend, legend. Oh, and legend.

Matt Wikstrom, SCNCA Board Member. Mr. Git R Done. Handed out checks, coordinated everything for two months before the shit show, brought more goodwill, enthusiasm, and execution to the event than anyone ever. Plus kicked the shit out of everyone on the Donut. Except those two pesky juniors.

Sean Wilson, SCNCA Board Member.

Omar Lozano, SCNCA Board Member. Promoter, dad, husband, and part of the “new face” of bike racing promotion in SoCal. Enthusiastic hard working dude who supports juniors, local, and binational racing.

Dan MunsonSimply the best. Pro photographer. Even as I write this he’s putting together a folio of the amazing evening. Prepare to be blown away.

StageOne: Designed everything. Logo, t-shirts, patches, bar tape, banners, posters, and virtually every kit worth looking at in the South Bay.

South Bay Wheelmen: Local bike club that kicked in hard cash to buy flowers for the lovely deserving recipients.

Wend Wax: Chain wax. Look. This shit works. So go get some. Ryan Dahl generously donated 20 sets of Wend Wax, a billion dollar retail value, for the award winners’ swag kits. So frigging cool.

JoJe Bars: Energy bars. John Abate and Jessica Cera’s amazing energy bars that are organic, wholesome, taste great, and give you an amazing kick in the shorts when you need a boost on the bike or off.

Beachbody PerformanceEverything you need to win, to finish, or to prop your legs up on the couch and watch the Cubs win instead of riding your bike. Beachbody has been the number one step up and deliver new sponsor for cycling in 2016.

BonkBreaker: Provided awesome swag bags to award winners containing energy snacks, energy chews, and super cool musette bags. Thank you!

Marc Spivey: Wanky Committee member who filled the venue with the right sound at the exact right time. Marc’s lifetime in the music and entertainment industry, and his passion for music has meant that every single year we’ve had sound that matches or exceeds the most famous award ceremonies anywhere.

Derek Brauch: With the help of Jami, put together the most awesome Wanky Swag Bags™ ever. Provided us with meeting space for our numerous and redundant meetings, the best analytical mind around to improve, question, improve, question, and improve until we were even better than the year before.

Trey Smith: The ghost in the machine. Every year Trey provides us with incredible sound that makes the whole thing happen.

Keedar Whittle: Fantastic comedian who kept people in stitches, hit the great stuff, didn’t shy away from politics, race, and biking, and left us all happy and glad he came.

Michelle Landes: Arranged flowers, total selflessness, and was there with a smile, encouragement, and assistance every step of the way.

Chris Gregory: Truly the Spirt of the Wankies. Whether it was ordering the Hall of Fame figurines, designing and making, the necklaces, choosing and assembling the invitations, recording and double-checking RSVPs, taking photos at the event, making elegant podium presentations, keeping things running smoothly, and always helping me just when the confusion was at its max, “thank you” doesn’t even begin to do it.

Lisa Conrad, Sherri Foxworthy, Stephanie Lin, Chris Gregroy: These four amazing women have been with the event since its inception, if “inception” is what you call a bunch of drunks in a dive bar trying to give away awards to passers-by. From the minute we said “Wankies” they donned their evening finest and showed up with shimmering with beauty, poised, happy, funny, gentle, and they’ve been here every year since. Truly, no matter how rough and sort-of-ready the biker gang crowd is, they give us all the class you can’t get all sweated up on a bike.

Jami Brauch: Jami artfully designed and stocked the swag bags despite having a newborn to care for–the bags were so great this year that people simply couldn’t resist stealing them. Can’t wait for next year!

Kristie Fox: She helped with the swag bags, she set up and managed the sales table (books, socks, bar tape, patches, t-shirts), and she singlehandedly ordered and delivered the most massive and awesome cake in the history of the awards. And cupcakes! And done with a smile and ruthless efficiency.

Strand Brewing Co.: No mere words can thank Joel Elliott and Rich Marcello for this amazing venue, for their support of grass roots cycling, and for providing the infrastructure and support to pull of this best-ever event. Oh, minor detail! FREE take-home growlers of White Sands DIPA, their top-shelf, brew, to every adult who showed up.

Tony Manzella and Echelon ColorPrinted and delivered the amazing award ceremony posters. Ansel Adams said it: “The negative is the score, but the print is the performance.” And what a performance by Echelon Color it was!

Tara Unversagt: Tara worked to get SBW sponsorship involved, helped with swag bag materials, and did the ultimate job of Cub Scout Den Mother by keeping me organized and on track throughout the event. So much fantasticness in one person!

Phil Gaimon: Best UCI US pro road racer, attended our event, made us look semi-sort of legit, and promoted what is the best Grand Fondue on the calendar: Phil’s Malibu Cookie Dough Gran Fondo. Register here, register now. Phil drove straight from Clovis, NM, to make the event. How awesome is that? Very awesome!

Daniel Holloway: As if Phil Gaimon weren’t enough, reigning US road/crit champ Daniel Holloway brought the star power and picked up right where he left off. Being a part of the South Bay community. Thank you so much for sharing.

The 2016 South Bay Cycling Awards award winners were:

  1. 2016 Greatest Advocate:  Sarah Barraclough for BMUFL/Master Safety Plan advocates
  2. 2016 Best Bike Shop:  Performance Bicycle
  3. 2016Best Young Rider:  Ivy Koester
  4. 2016 Best Old Rider: George Pommel
  5. 2016 Most Improved: David Holland
  6. 2016 Best Club: Long Beach Freddies
  7. 2016 Best Event: Dana Point Grand Prix
  8. 2016 Wanker of the Year: Denis Faye
  9. 2016 Belgian Award: James Cowan
  10. 2016 Group Ride Champion: Elijah Shabazz
  11. 2016 Best Sponsor: Beachbody Performance
  12. 2016 Best Male Racer: Justin Williams
  13. 2016 Best Female Racer: Katie Donovan
  14. 2016 GC Award: Joe Yule
  15. 2016 Crashtacular Fred: Marvin Campbell
  16. 2016 Strava KOM: Chris Tregillis
  17. 2016 Most Happy to Help others: Chris Gregory
  18. 2016 Most Fun: Sochin Lee
  19. 2016 Best Spouse/SO: Jeanette Seyranian
  20. 2016 Ian Davidson South Bay Rider of the Year: Tony Manzella

Until next year, thank you!!!

END

————————

For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog and support people who support cycling, on and off the bike. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

 

 

The price of freedom

October 21, 2016 § 41 Comments

I first met Dan Chapman about a year and a half ago. He had been riding since 1996 and was a well-known cyclist on the West Side of LA, most especially as a climber who knew every bend, turn, crack, pebble, and fence post in the Santa Monica Mountains. Somehow, we never crossed paths, which is shorthand for “He was a lot faster than me.”

By the time we met, Dan no longer rode. He had been hit by a truck and the resulting injuries to his neck and spine prevented him from ever riding again. Dan never volunteered any details about his collision and I never asked. He occasionally made oblique references to it, but still, I never asked.

Then, about a year ago, I suggested that he write something and I’d publish it. Here it is, breathtaking, powerful, gripping, horrific, and humbling, a year in the writing but a lifetime in the making.

Before and After

By Dan Chapman

When you ride, you don’t think about after. You just ride, have fun and don’t think a lot about dying. I had been riding on PCH since the early 80’s and it gradually became a place where I felt at ease, even though the cars were buzzing by just beyond my elbow. I usually left early to avoid traffic and went as fast as possible in certain areas to avoid the cars and also to trash my friends. I’ve done a lot of solo rides up and down PCH with both road and TT bike. My wheels touched every climb from Santa Monica to Oxnard many times. PCH and that endless ocean felt like home.

Here began the after as well. I awoke in the hospital two and a half weeks after being run over by a pickup truck I think near the base of Pepperdine Hill. The driver was speeding and lost control. Where the hell am I? I tried to lift my left arm but it wouldn’t move and I thought something was wrong with it. I looked over to see what was wrong and saw multiple tubes plugged into the back of my hand and realized somehow that I was in a hospital. I wasn’t capable of thinking much about anything and looked up in the cool dim dawn and saw a row of doctors looking at me. It seemed absurd but I could not muster even a tiny joke. I can clearly remember leaving my house and then waking up that morning, but in between is blank. It’s very strange to loose time. It took a month and a half to understand what had happened to me and my body.

A year after the incident, I talked my wife and son into driving to the fire station in Malibu. They helped me after the incident and transported me to the hospital. I usually visit them once a year on the anniversary to give thanks. I knocked on the door of the station and a fireman opened the door and invited us in. I told him my story so he checked on who was on duty that day so I could thank them personally. He found that he was the one who had responded. I gave him a hug and we gave them some cookies. On the drive back home, I cried.

I found participating in cycling exhilarating. At a certain point, it seemed to become less painful and more fun where I could ride and train for pleasure. I had spent a lot of time in the hills and had developed a crazy climb heavy program that enabled me to semi-comfortably enjoy the long weekend rides, (or so I imagined). I particularly enjoyed the Nichols ride, with its long casual cruise up and eventual explosion on the hill then holding with the front pack on Mulholland. It’s nice to be strong and comfortable. It’s even harder to leave it behind.

To be able to ride at a high level isn’t just being able to place well, but as we all know, it’s more about the people and landscape. Cycling is a way to visit a road, a place, the sky, the fog, and the environment. It’s difficult to lose this because these places, like Fernwood and Tuna, were like friends. I’ve driven up and down some of my old haunts a few times but it’s not the same. It never will be.

Almost four years later, I’m finally starting to visit where I rode. It was hard initially as the injuries were severe and I had trouble walking for almost a year.  I also had trouble with my stamina as I was forced to do nothing, on doctors’ orders for seven months. All of the fine tuned muscles vanished. The place where I noticed the most was in my lungs. My whole style was about breathing in rhythm to the cadence and it, like my mountain bike, wheelsets, trainer and rollers soon vanished as I sold or gave them away. It was also very emotional and this was hard to overcome, particularly when I realized that I would have to retract from almost everything to heal. Not only did I have to heal, but I had to heal from healing.

But really, it was too emotional. I thought I would break down again if I went to one of my former rides. I couldn’t handle it because what really bothered me was the sound.  I had cried so many times, not from pain, but the anguish of losing so many things that I could no longer do – basically anything athletic. My family heard me cry, the nurses, and probably the mailman. I’m making myself cry now just thinking about my crying.

Actually, riding is to be in a cocoon of noise, spinning sprockets, gears, wheels and the occasional unbelievable squeak. “I’m sorry, but did you ever think of oiling that black mess in the back of your bike”? The sound says so many things and I can identify what and who is where. Then there is the yelling at dunderheads, who like Pavlov’s Dog, continue to do the same stupid thing every week. I have no bike sound anymore. There is no one to yell at now. It’s too quiet. Then there is the silent noise, a look in the eyes and nod of the head, a pat on the shoulder as you pass an old friend, or a fist bump after a nice sprint. No one is there anymore to fist bump at thirty miles per hour.

The thing I went for a ride on that fateful day was a new pair of shoes. My wife gave me a bag after I returned from the hospital with my bloody cut up kit and at the bottom, my new shoes, perfectly unblemished. They still looked brand new and lasted exactly one half of a ride. They looked so good. I put them on and wiggled my toes. I laughed at the irony of it. I finally get a new pair of shoes and am almost killed trying them out. I had imagined myself showing up at a ride and handing out some punishment like it was easy. I would ride off the front and hear wheezing and choking sounds plus loud curses. “Do you ever fucking slow down”. However, I had no choice but to sell them. A club member responded and he came over. I showed him the shoes and then he talked me down in price. When the buyer left, it seemed many old dreams walked out with him.

It was the first week of January when I finally met the surgeon, Dr. Anthony Virella. Two things he said will stick with me forever. The first was that I was extraordinarily lucky to be alive. My face went white and I wanted desperately to go out to the hallway and stare out the window. The only problem is I could barely walk and I wasn’t sure if I could make it to the door. The second was that I could never ride a bike again. Ever.

Goodbye Golf Course (there are several), Marina, Mandeville, Three Bitches, Nichols, Amalfi, Donut, Simi, Latigo, Circle X, San Vincente, Piuma, Stunt, Mulholland, Cold Canyon, Fernwood, Tuna, Vista del Mar, NPR, Mandeville, Working Man’s Ride, Chainbreak, The Wall (again several), Topanga, Old Topanga, New Topanga, TOPS, Mulholland, Twisties, Switchbacks, Rock Store, Lake Malibou and that blazing hot day when I felt like a million dollars on Stunt, popped over the top then in to the glorious bosom of Tuna, sweating through every pore in my body. God that ocean breeze felt good. I can still feel it.

The deep well I was trapped in to recover from was also accompanied by a vicious concussion. I can’t really describe what I am inside but I was unprepared for the headaches and sleepiness that accompanied it. Three naps a day where I fell into a deep sleep and awoke to resume work became a habit.  I was given medication that caused me to be confused, which cured the headaches but left me dependent on Liz to remember my tasks.  It was frightening and disorienting. I was weaned off the medication and, yet again, struggled to recover myself again. My psyche is a giant wad of tissue paper that I slowly strip off to reveal yet another layer. There is no reward in the middle, just more paper. The headaches are still there on occasion and just as confounding.

We went to see the surgeon again in February 2013.  He said I have good news and bad news. The good news is that the hardware in your lower back is fine. The bad news is that the hardware in your neck has failed. We need to get you into the hospital as soon as possible to fix this. Come to the hospital tonight and we will prepare you for surgery. He said that there was nothing holding up my neck and that if I fell, I could become permanently paralyzed. Liz and I looked at each other, scared to death.

That night we returned to the hospital and after 24 sleepless hours, I was in the operating room again. I toured the room and asked a few questions about the procedure them laid down on the operating table and counted, one, two, three…

I awoke and found a bigger, tighter neck brace on. Instead of four screws, there were now twelve and two pieces of hardware, one in front and one in back of the cervical spinal column. They had to move the entire throat out of the way to get to the spine then delicately place it back. How did they do that? On the back of my head was a giant scar and the entire area was now numb. Now, when I get a haircut, I can’t feel the blades moving over this area.

This time, to make sure the fragile smashed bones would heal, I would not be able to do any exercise or lift more than ten pounds for four months. This was after going through the prior three months with the same precautions. Liz licked her chops at being able to yell at me some more. Oh boy, more atrophy. This time it was serious. Time and memory became fuzzy again as I clearly struggled to maintain my equilibrium. I had a much bigger neck brace on this time that caused people to stare at me, raking their eyes up an down on me like laser beams. My biggest accomplishment was making it to Trader Joes to go shopping. Liz led me around tenderly, making sure I didn’t fall or trip. Like the route of the Marina ride, I knew every pothole in the aisles, the angle to make the turn-around at the milk station and how to smoothly brake when you get in line.

I only had one dark moment, but it scared me. I can still feel it and I carry it with me everyday. I thought I wouldn’t be able to be there for Tab, that I would have to ask friends to help me raise him, to help him become an Eagle Scout and to finish high school. I could not do it, I thought, I was incapable of doing anything. I could not even care for myself. I was so frozen by fear in my hospital bed that I thought about if I had died. It’s not like Ghost, where there is a big white staircase and a bunch of cool people who really want to help you. No, it’s just dark, cold and colorless. I could feel my soul, aching. I can see it with my eyes wide open, in the early dawn, when my mind is still saying to me, better get up and get ready for the ride. And that’s what saved me.

END

————————

For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog and support people who support cycling, on and off the bike. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

 

Notes from underground

September 30, 2016 § 38 Comments

Below are my notes of the anti-bike comments from the RPV meeting on 9/26/16, so you can see the level of discourse, familiarity with the law, and general attitude that a small group of privileged, angry, NIMBY residents who live atop a hill in a gated community have towards cyclists on “their” public streets.

Lady: Atop Crest there isn’t enough space for bikes and motorists. I went to Copenhagen and Stockholm and saw how they handled cycling. They were very cycling friendly.  They have separated bike lanes. These cities are flat so they are conducive to large numbers of bikes getting along well with motorists. And the cyclists don’t even wear helmets! It would be very helpful to have signs on Crest saying “Bikes must ride single file to the right.”

Lady: Let’s elevate the discourse because last time there was name calling and bullying [She made this comment just before one of her compadres started giving the finger to the committee and throwing paper at other attendees]. Let’s work together. Residents are not bike haters, they’re just concerned residents who want to improve safety for all. Safety issues occur when cyclists take over the lane, ride in packs, or ride on the left side of the lane. Residents need to conduct their lives. Another problem is bikes going fast downhill and they’ve fallen over and that’s a hazard. I’m an RPV resident and I support signage for single file, ride to the right, and bikes shouldn’t have access to the lane.

Dude: One of the issues is that I was personally threatened driving home with children in my car when a biker hit my window. I was very frightened and no sheriff was around. Aggressive behavior is bad, we’re saying help us. You will eventually have an altercation with people who are not from this community. It’s the safety issue over and over again. There’s a bike lane and it should be used. Large groups are unsafe. There’s no reason to ride your bike all the way to Crest. This must be implemented for your safety and for our safety. There will be problems. Maybe we should limit the number of cyclists on the road. They have ways of controlling crowds like at Disney. Let’s find out the Disney rules for crowd control.

[Guy shouts at Kramer not to take photos, is told he’s out of order and that photos are legal in a public meeting. Guy flips off Kramer and is admonished by the deputy.]

Lady: It feels intimidating. It shouldn’t be you versus us. I grew up on the Hill and rode my bike downhill once; it’s harrowing and I never did it again. Most riders are experienced but some are old and teetering and I don’t want liability for hurting them. I know too much. I don’t want to hurt someone. It’s not fair. We’re forced to share. It’s big groups from out of town. They’re taking over. You’re supposed to drive to the right. They should be going slower than a car in most areas, in the middle of the lane they will stop everything. It should be single file. This is pure recreation and it’s a hazard and we’re forced to partake. I feel like it should be single file.

Dude: Kramer shouldn’t be on the committee. He has a conflict of interest. That doesn’t make any sense. I heard two stories, one at a party and a friend from Malibu comes here to ride every two weeks. They pay and ride RPV. They like the hills and it’s challenging. Someone’s making money. The city is not collecting permit fees. Traffic has gotten worse from bikers who come from ads in biking groups. On Thursday night after PV High’s open house five bikers were going around the turn. I’m going 45 they’re going 5 mph dressed in black. Police should be there this is safety. It’s not going to work. I would like to see less bicyclists on the road. Sharing should be the same. Obey the DMV.

Lady: We have a growing bike community and everything else, a huge increase in Abalone Cove deaths and severe accidents and visitors don’t know oceans and mountain roads. Hairpin turns. I prepared a huge memo, you’re lucky you didn’t read it. Joggers, beach cruisers and racers, motorcyclists, people with dogs. I gathered evidence and found tremendous mixed use. I used to ride horses here before you were born. Mountain bikers are dangerous and scare horses. We must have a vision for our semi-rural community. These are the pains of social media. Bicyclists camping on our vacant land. I’m thinking we should categorize roads like ski slopes. Some are good for bicyclists and others are not suitable for bicyclists. My son rides with Steve Bauer, a famous cyclist, he knows what he’s doing but those aren’t the people coming into our community.

Dude: Look at all these assault with a deadly weapon reports. By Greg Seyranian. All of the reports were just prior to Kramer’s presentation on traffic safety. Kramer’s phone number is on the tax returns for Big Orange. Kramer is the treasurer. Seyranian is also listed. Look at 2013 Big Orange tax returns. Same Kramer phone, the treasurer, Kramer is more than just a member. He is Big Orange. He’s the agent for service of process. He’s one of the founders, the treasurer. Please recuse yourself as it concerns Big Orange.

Lady: At the last meeting I was shocked there were no reported accidents. I found five specific accident and traffic collision reports. Four were caused by bikes. You need to get all the facts. There is a 3-foot law inconsistency. It’s not possible to comply with the 3-foot law and stay in your own lane. You might better understand our position. I think that there is an agenda and it’s to enact bikes may use full lane curriculum. It’s advertised on Big Orange web site. That agenda needs to be addressed so it doesn’t become part of a campaign. I’m glad you brought up respect. It’s hard to come up and talk in public. It’s discouraging when they’re publicly ridiculed. We are not morons for articulating our concerns. The passive-aggressive commentary is symptomatic of the behavior that raises these conflicts. Please consider all the interests.

Dude: I’ve been living here over 16 years. No choice but to drive the road. Bikes are toys. You know there is a blind spot? We are careful. You get more nervous from bikes. How can we keep distance? We’re waiting until the road is wider then swing by but it’s a dangerous situation. We don’t have a choice but to drive this road. We pay taxes, bikers never pay no taxes, we don’t have a choice but you have a choice to buy a bike and you have a choice to go somewhere else. Please go somewhere else. That’s what we ask you. Avoid the danger. Avoid accidents. Protect their lives. If car and bike hit who’s gonna get more damage? If I want to ride a bike I go to a park. We have no choice but they do.

Dude: Riding the hill on Saturday morning is advertised by Big Orange. They stop at Crest. It seems sponsored. It’s a great opportunity for more policing. Funding through permits to keep bicycles and motorists safe. The ordinance should apply to Big Orange and to all groups who use Crest for training. Kramer should recuse himself because of conflict of interest.

Dude: I’m a resident and runner. I have observed bikers in RHE and RPV, I have seen the number grow enormously. It used to be five or so now there are 35 or 40. Sanitary issues. Treat the Donut Ride as a special event and require a permit. It will put LASD on notice and give them the opportunity to monitor conduct of riders. Many in large groups violate 21202. The city should ensure the safety of the roads. The city is liable if roads are not safe.

Dude: There used to be a sign saying “road unsuitabe for bicycles.” I missed when they made it suitable. You can’t keep up with vehicles. Going downhill maybe you can. I live at the top. Bikers are on the inside line. This is our only road! I don’t know, but if you’re a bike nazi, that’s not getting along.

Lady: There’s been a great increase in bikes, let’s monitor them, I’m all for it. My son and husband are great bicyclists. The bad ones impede traffic, they cause rear ending from their poor riding skills. Many groups are here and more coming. We need to keep this semi-rural environment for us.

Lady: What is an organic ride? It’s Big Orange local rides. The Donut Run and anti-Donut Run. Top ten rides on PV. Groups that are regularly riding as part of an organized situation. We are not wanting to approach adversarially. Residents are raising safety concerns by observed safety incidents on roads not safe for bikes, pedestrians, and motorists need to be addressed and the statute applies and until revisited it should be uniformly applied.

Lady: I’m a Crest resident. I’d like to see us live here safely. How will you enforce the ordinance? This is new and we’ll set parameters. The ordinance is to manage people and it takes money and when the city looks at enforcement, girls walking around isn’t a safety issue, but if we have funding we can intro a pilot program to see what data we have. As we develop guidelines we should look at it. Or if they’re not impinging then the groups shouldn’t be included.

Dude: There’s an impact, let’s look at the impact. Where are the needed rest stops at Marymount? Additional law enforcement to cite motorists and pedestrians. Funding from somewhere. Big Orange can’t say we are not responsible. Girl scouts don’t impact, runners and Sierra Club don’t impact. This is a good time to say let’s try it.

Dude: Certain time too, a certain time. Liability and making sure they have some kind of insurance policy. Whoever posts about the ride is responsible. Clearly it is advertising. Notice for the event shouldn’t be 90 days should be in a week, five days. Hand them a sticker or something or we should have police just designated for that ride. Certain areas should have rest rooms, different containment, stop refresh, and ride in a singe file lane. I’ve driven behind some shaky legs. I disagree about lemonade stands. There’s no liability to us for girl scouts that would apply to that.

Lady: I can understand organic rides. But a lady told me they had time trials going up and down Crest. You can’t relieve yourself in public. I’m sure you’re very good about that Mr. Kramer.

END

————————

For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog and support the antidote to tinfoil crazypants: reason, fact, law. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

 

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the Biketivism category at Cycling in the South Bay.