November 1, 2016 § 22 Comments
Props to Garret Unno, anti-bike signage NIMBY dude from Palos Verdes Estates, for this gem:
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.
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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.
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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 Munson: Simply 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 Performance: Everything 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 Color: Printed 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:
- 2016 Greatest Advocate: Sarah Barraclough for BMUFL/Master Safety Plan advocates
- 2016 Best Bike Shop: Performance Bicycle
- 2016Best Young Rider: Ivy Koester
- 2016 Best Old Rider: George Pommel
- 2016 Most Improved: David Holland
- 2016 Best Club: Long Beach Freddies
- 2016 Best Event: Dana Point Grand Prix
- 2016 Wanker of the Year: Denis Faye
- 2016 Belgian Award: James Cowan
- 2016 Group Ride Champion: Elijah Shabazz
- 2016 Best Sponsor: Beachbody Performance
- 2016 Best Male Racer: Justin Williams
- 2016 Best Female Racer: Katie Donovan
- 2016 GC Award: Joe Yule
- 2016 Crashtacular Fred: Marvin Campbell
- 2016 Strava KOM: Chris Tregillis
- 2016 Most Happy to Help others: Chris Gregory
- 2016 Most Fun: Sochin Lee
- 2016 Best Spouse/SO: Jeanette Seyranian
- 2016 Ian Davidson South Bay Rider of the Year: Tony Manzella
Until next year, thank you!!!
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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.
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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.
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September 29, 2016 § 44 Comments
On Monday night there was a traffic safety committee meeting held by the city of Rancho Palos Verdes. You think committee meetings are boring?
This one wasn’t.
It featured a guy who began by complaining about people taking pictures. The chair told him he was “out of order” which is nice speak for “shut the fuck up” and informed him that it was a public meeting, open to the public, held for the public, and publicly regulated under the Brown Act, which publicly regulates public meetings.
The guy was not mollified by the law because he was part of a contingent who demanded that the city put up signs saying “Bikes Must Ride Single File.” No matter that this isn’t the law, and no matter that the California Vehicle Code doesn’t prohibit riding two abreast, no matter that the committee has given extensive, detailed PowerPoint presentations on CVC 21202(a) and its exceptions, and no matter that the most fundamental principle of statutory construction is that the law permits everything that is not specifically prohibited.
In Rancho Palos Verdes these NIMBYs had come to the meeting to advise what they thought the law should be and to demand that the city put it on a sign. Right? Because after inventing a few new anti-bike provisions for the vehicle code they could follow it with signs that said, “No poor people,” “No Torranceites,” “No San Pedroians,” and of course “No people whose last names end in a vowel.”
It was clear that, having bought a second-hand home with an ugly garage on top of a hill and surrounding the whole faux estate with an iron gate and guard shack, this guy thought that the public meetings were private, too, and no amount of explaining that the meeting was “public” seemed to have any effect on him at all.
Because polysyllabic words and laws and facts kept getting in the way of his opinions, the guy followed up his outburst a few minutes later by showing the middle finger at what appeared to be the committee. When the sheriff’s deputy came over and told him he couldn’t flip off the committee, he told the deputy that he hadn’t been flipping off them, he’d been flipping off … me. For taking pictures.
I hadn’t said a word the entire meeting and when I looked back he threw a fleck of paper at me while raising his middle finger again for emphasis. There I was, back in Third Grade with the classroom bully showing me the finger, throwing spitballs, and daring the teacher to get on with her job. If you think it’s extraordinary that a grown man would go to a public meeting and show his contempt for public participation by flipping people off and flinging flecks of paper at his imagined enemies, you need to come to one of these meetings.
But what’s more extraordinary is that the very people who flipped us off, threw things, and booed Delia Park at the previous meeting when she described the catastrophic injuries of a friend belong to the same anti-bike contingent that opened the meeting with an appeal for civility and made pointed complaints about the militant biker bullies–never mind that not a single cyclist in any public meeting has insulted, attacked, threatened, or made an obscene gesture to anyone ever, and never mind that several cyclists began by thanking the committee for their efforts.
One first-time biker attendee later commented that “I thought you were exaggerating, Seth, but these people really are batshit fucking crazy.”
The discussion point of the meeting was colossally stupid. A handful of NIMBYs on Crest Road were seeking to apply the city’s event permitting ordinance to “organic” groups of ten or more cyclists. Unable to understand the law’s intent–regulation of large events that had a significant impact on the public right of way–these folks yammered on endlessly about how the law should be applied to local, unorganized, organic bike rides.
Under the ingenuous pretense of “safety,” though none of them had consulted any of the cycling groups whose safety is most imperiled in traffic collisions, and after having a prior petition to ban cyclists from the roadway being unceremoniously booted due to its patent illegality, they were now trying to regulate unorganized group bike rides in the hope it would make things somehow more orderly, i.e. get rid of bikes. When I asked one of the NIMBYs whether or not he would attend a free Cycling Savvy course to get educated about the law from the cyclist’s perspective, he told me he was “too busy” because he “had a 16-year-old who was just getting his driver license.”
Well, of course! No responsible father with a new young male driver in the family would possibly be able to make time to go learn the law and safe traffic skills that have to do with cyclists, especially the cyclists who allegedly cause so many traffic problems up on Rancho Palos Verdes Estates Wish We Were Palos Verdes Estates Crest Road.
The details of the ordinance appeared irrelevant to many of the NIMBYs, the main “detail” being no detail at all but rather its most salient feature: The ordinance specifically applies to “organized” events. Speaker after speaker on the cyclists’ side tried in vain to explain to the waxed-in brains of the NIMBYs that THERE IS NO ORGANIZER FOR THE DONUT RIDE. But they either didn’t understand, wouldn’t understand, or couldn’t understand.
It’s true that you can’t fix stupid, but in this case you couldn’t even shut it up. The committee, obviously perplexed by having to deal with something that made no sense at all, referred it for further “study by staff.” This will presumably involve someone sitting in a lawn chair watching groups of cyclists go by at 25 mph and trying to determine if they’re “organized” or “in a group” or “ten or more.” One fool suggested that group riders be required to ride with identifying stickers, a great idea that was used with much success in the late 1930’s.
A cyclist speaker offered the NIMBYs a thousand bucks if they could find the organizer of the Donut Ride, which one of the crazypants asserted was any person who mentioned it on their web site. Kind of like, you know, how you’re an organizer of the Super Bowl when you note on your blog its location, date, time, and the teams who are playing.
Almost three and a half hours later the meeting adjourned, but not before one guy spent several minutes complaining about committee member David Kramer’s “conflict of interest” because in addition to his duties as a committee member he was formerly an officer of Big Orange. We’ll set aside for a minute the fact that nothing on the agenda affects Big Orange as a club at all, another detail that didn’t matter because it so obviously contradicted this guy’s attack.
Lacking any ability to understand that Big Orange doesn’t have a single organized ride in RPV, and unable to do anything other than wave tax returns and Secretary of State filings, this bonehead repeatedly insisted that Kramer “recuse” himself.
Kramer repeated, as he always does, that the committee makes no decisions (ergo there’s nothing to be recused from), that all committee recommendations must be voted on by the city council which has the power to accept, reject or modify anything done by the committee, that the committee acts in a volunteer advisory capacity only, and that his activities as a cyclist have long been public, but the NIMBY didn’t care. All that the NIMBY could grasp is that Kramer is a cyclist, Kramer belongs to Big Orange, therefore Kramer has a conflict of interest. Of course with NIMBY logic, all of the motorists would have to recuse themselves from the committee, too, since no motorist could possibly be expected to be neutral on issues that affected cars. But in an absence of understanding and in a surfeit of ignorance, facts meant little, and one of the NIMBYs assured me outside the building that a lawsuit would be brought to remove Kramer from the committee.
“You’re not going to like that,” he said. I could only hope that he retained a very expensive lawyer with a huge, nonrefundable retainer.
In line with the NIMBY hatred of cyclists on Crest, riders recently reported a white Toyota Corolla buzzing, honking at, and harassing cyclists going up Crest in, surprise, single file. It’s hard to understand what they meant by civility, except perhaps this: Please shut up and go away from RPV.
The next day was Tuesday. I mentally flushed out the cremains of the night before with a good bike ride, one of those organic rides without a leader or promoter that’s been going on for over 30 years, and that evening I was back at another city meeting to witness another series of mindless assaults on cycling. This one was at Palos Verdes Estates.
At the end of the meeting I was accosted by a guy who claimed to be “Frank Ponce” and who “wanted to talk” to me. Imagine a pudgy bully whose hairpiece has been dipped in a bucket of chiGrecian Formula, clad in a two-for-one suit from Men’s Wearhouse, wearing an imitation of a fake Swiss watch and looking like he wanted to kill you.
Then imagine another guy, larger, blobbier, dumber looking (possible? yes!) who was also wearing a sandwich board with my picture on it and the caption “This Clown Wants More Signs.”
This clever fellow had discovered a picture that was on my web site and was now going to expose me as an advocate for bike signage. Plus he was going to call me a clown. Unfortunately, Mom’s allowance must have been a bit on the low side because the construction of the sign had the quality you normally associate with a cardboard roof used by a homeless person to cover his shopping cart.
How a person can strap on a homemade sign and duck-waddle around in public while calling someone else a clown is a metaphor for the wholesale absence of reflection, perspective, or self-awareness that the bike haters displayed at every turn. I was waiting for the Sandwich Clown to ask for gas money since Mom had perhaps kicked him off the couch for the evening, the best explanation for him even being out of the house.
Upon leaving the parking lot, Mr. Men’s Wearhouse, still furious that none of the cyclists would engage with him or take him up on his unspoken offers of a duel using tubes of Rogaine, taunted me as I walked by. Rumor has it that the fake watch consortium is going to set the wheels in motion to “revoke my law license.” It will be fascinating to watch the $99 suits tangle with even more words, rules, laws, and procedures, seeing as they still haven’t been able to read and understand CVC 21202(a) and its exceptions. Imagine their surprise when someone tries to draw them a stick-figure diagram of what an anti-SLAPP motion is and what attorney fee sanctions look like.
As I left the parking lot, catcalls ringing in my ears, it occurred to me that there it was again! Third Grade! Another flaccid wanker thinking that no one could possibly resist the idea of jumping into a verbal sewer with him. I kept walking, slightly pleased that with so little effort I’d taken up permanent residence into such a small and sand-filled head. And best of all, I was staying there rent-free.
The PVE City Council meeting itself was something of a clusterfuck. Because the council had seen the large turnout of cyclists in past meetings and been inundated by NIMBY emails complaining about outsiders/flatlanders/transients influencing their special snowflake on the hill, they sought to do an end-run by moving the time from 5:30 to 7:30 in order to conduct a workshop on traffic safety. It was never articulated as such, but the idea seemed to be to wear down the cyclists with an earlier meeting that would cut off speaking times. The plan only half-worked because the fire marshal had to stop people from entering after the room filled to capacity with cyclists.
While the tiny Men’s Wearhouse contingent had vociferously sought to rally the anti-cycling troops for the meeting, the packed-to-capacity council chambers were filled predominantly with cyclists. When asked to stand if they supported BMUFL signage, only a smattering of the 90+ attendees remained seated. If the plan had been to get all the concerned PVE residents out in force, it worked, because the meeting showed what we’ve known all along: Most residents don’t give two ratfucks about five new BMUFL signs and the only ones who oppose them are either still subsidized by Mom or are retired or are woefully underemployed or all three.
The workshop, although ostensibly held to educate the council as to this “complex” issue of four signs, seemed in fact to be Traffic Safety Principles 101 for the Completely Clueless NIMBYs. It was a rehash of many, many presentations I’ve heard in bits and pieces from the city’s traffic engineer, and it was all politespeak for “These BMUFL signs are legal, you dumbshits.”
But the problem was this: If the NIMBYs were so thick-headed that they couldn’t understand CVC 21202(a), and if they were so pig-headed that they refused to recognized the legality of BMUFL, how in the world was the workshop going to educate them about something as complex as “basic principles of traffic engineering”? Their go-to guy was a stooge in a sandwich board and a sub-literate, flabby realtor in a cheap suit whose Linked-In profile picture reminds me of a hubcap thief from the 1920’s. These people were going to be “educated” about engineering and the law?
No. They were not.
It was like having a civil rights lawyer address a group of Trump supporters on the illegality of segregation.
Civil rights lawyer: “Segregation is illegal.”
Trumpers: “But we hate black people.”
CRL: “It’s still illegal.”
Trumpers: “No, it isn’t.”
CRL: “Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).”
Trumpers: “Can we change the law just for here? PVE is unique!”
CRL: “No. It’s the supreme law of the land and codified in numerous federal and state laws and the California Constitution.”
Trumpers: “We still hate black people. We still hate integration. We love segregation. We don’t understand why we can’t have it. We grew up with it. And we’ve lived here since 1984.”
The part of the workshop that did work was that it promptly concluded at 7:30, before even a fraction of the cyclists had gotten to speak out in favor of BMUFL signage. This served the city and the NIMBYs’ agenda perfectly: It delayed the decision on the signs even further, it forced the cyclists to come back again (and again and possibly again), and it let the BMUFL advocates know that the city wasn’t going to easily and quickly fold to the recommendations of its own attorney, traffic engineer, safety committee, and what one NIMBY at the last traffic committee meeting referred to as “transients.”
The other part of the workshop that worked out exquisitely for the NIMBYs was that the latter half of the workshop degenerated into “cyclists running stop signs.” No matter how many times the police say they have limited resources, no matter how many times people point out that stop sign violations are equal among cars and bikes, and no matter how many times people point out that stop sign violations have nothing at all to do with BMUFL signage, once the Dreaded Stop Sign Issue is raised, everything goes running down into the gutter.
It’s as if you convened a meeting to discuss space travel and no one could stop talking about stop signs.
Bike Advocate: “BMUFL signage is legal and saves lives.”
Men’s Wearhouse: “Bikes run stop signs!”
Bike Advocate: “So do motorists but that’s not the issue.”
Men’s Wearhouse: “Bikes run stop signs!”
Bike Advocate: “Yes, but today we’re here to discuss BMUFL signage.”
Men’s Wearhouse: “Norm is videotaping all the scofflaw bikers running stop signs!”
Bike Advocate: “Yes, we’ve seen samples of the high quality videos made by Mom’s Couch Productions. But today we’re here to discuss BMUFL signage, how it’s legal, recommended by the city engineer, and how it saves lives according the the NIH.”
Men’s Wearhouse: “Blobbly Bob is going to make another sandwich board showing bikers running stop signs!”
Bike Advocate: “I hope it’s a wide one.”
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September 16, 2016 § 34 Comments
Ever since the combat with the cities of Rancho Palos Verdes and Palos Verdes Estates began over the installation of a few signs (more NIMBY agitation over this than over the federal class action lawsuit alleging gang behavior and city complicity, yo), I’ve been testing the theory that local residents dislike cyclists.
What I’ve found is that for they most part, they do not. At worst the don’t care. At best they actually like us. The Lunada Bay Boy on Mom’s Couch and his NIMBY vidiot-recorder who are making such hay with their hatred of cyclists are a tiny slice of nastiness and venom in otherwise pretty nice bunch of folks.
I’ve reached this conclusion by running the following scientific test throughout PV when I cycle.
- Approach walker, jogger, leaf blower, gardener, trash truck operator, woman pushing stroller, dad getting into his car on the way to work, etc.
- Wave when it’s safe to do so.
- Say “Good morning!”
- Alternatively, say “Hello!”
In virtually every instance people smile back, return the greeting, and/or wave.
There are always one or two people over the span of several days who are so deeply sunken in their reverie of how they’re going to evict their son from their couch, or who are so sour that nothing can penetrate their misery, that they pointedly stare at the ground or grumpily refuse to make eye contact.
But you know what? They are a tiny minority. Pretty much everyone else doesn’t object in the least to the fact that you’re on a bicycle.
Not only that, but the occasional grumpster, like the lady yesterday who said “Good morning!” back to us and followed up with “I can hear you in my bedroom talking at 6:00 AM!” are amenable to conversation. One of our riders stopped and spoke with her and explained that whoever she was hearing, it wasn’t us because we don’t ride at that time on that road.
The lady then … gasp … apologized.
This is the great evil of a few diehard haters and the cesspool of angry comments that makes up places like NextDoor, where you can post anonymously with no fear that you’ll ever have to reveal your name and explain your bizarre notions to real people. The evil is that the perception — “Residents hate cyclists!” — creates reality.
Fortunately, with the simple act of a few free smiles and liberal use of the greetings you learned in kindergarten, the myth can be shown for what it is, that is, much sound and fury, signifying either nothing or a very uncomfortable couch.
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