Recovery rider

July 11, 2017 § 19 Comments

A year is longer than you think. It was almost that long ago that John Abate was hit and left for dead as he pedaled on an early morning ride in Encinitas, California.

The person — if the category human applies, which I doubt — who committed the felony was never caught.

John suffered a range of serious injuries, as you might expect, and but for good timing, the presence of a friend, and the best medical care, he would likely not have survived. The one thing that the hit-and-run driver couldn’t damage, however, was John’s prodigious will to live, recover, and thrive.

Even so, I was surprised to see him at the 805 Criterium this past Sunday, looking fitter and happier and healthier than the last time I’d ridden with him, almost two and half years ago. Not content to make his comeback at a four-corner industrial crit, he had decided to test his legs in the most punishing event of the year.

And the people who ended up getting tested were the ones who rode against him. Quick, fast, aggressive, and the consummate team rider, he turned in a stellar ride in the 35+ race, making sure the door was closed for good when teammate Charon Smith went up the road in the winning break. But what was more awesome than that was to see John back in the mix, recovered.

Recovery is tough, as John will tell you. In some ways, you have to be ready for it. It’s not like a low-hanging ripe California orange that you effortlessly pluck off the branch. Recovery is a commitment, a dedication that you renew every single day, an idea that whatever it takes to recover, you’re going to do it.

The results are there for everyone to see.

abate_805_2017

Copyright 2017 by Phil Beckman; Purchased with Commercial Use License.

END

———————–

For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog and get none of the news that’s fit to print but all the news that’s fun to read. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

Resist, occupy, stick it to the man, etc.

July 8, 2017 § 27 Comments

I had one the nicest things happen to me yesterday that’s ever happened in my professional career. A group of friends who had been wrongly pulled over by a L.A. County sheriff’s deputy, then harassed, then wrongly cited for obeying the law, invited me to a thank-you dinner.

The thank-you was because I defended all eleven of the sixteen defendants who decided to fight the bogus charges. I’d like to say that everyone was acquitted due to my amazing legal skills and brilliant courtroom wizardry, but with the exception of one actual trial, all of the cases were dismissed because the citing officer failed to appear.

Of course nothing is as simple as it sounds. Deputy Castro, the outrageous and offensive cop who wrote the tickets, did appear once, for the first trial. With the help of expert testimony from Gary Cziko, and on-deck help from Geoff Loui, and due to the deputy’s confusion, dishonesty, misrepresentation, and ignorance of the law, in that first trial the defendant was acquitted.

Deputy Castro was amazed and even a bit angry when the judge ruled for the cyclist; we were kind of shocked as well. It’s not often that the court puts on a full trial, replete with expert witnesses, to fight a bike citation that carries no DMV points and that the People have already offered to settle for fifty bucks.

That one small win had big consequences for the rest of the defendants and for the cop. Deputy Castro, shortly thereafter, was transferred out of the traffic division. You can imagine that the captain was not pleased. Castro had called in a helicopter and five additional squad cars to write up the sixteen cyclists. Additionally, most of the citations had to be amended because Castro had put down the wrong location of the violation. When you tote up the officer time, helicopter time, squad cars, time spent processing, then amending the tickets, it was a significant action on the part of the department given the minor nature of the “violation” of CVC 21202a.

Deputy Castro looked foolish to the court as she lied and contradicted herself under cross-examination, but you have to think that where she really lost face is with her fellow deputies — going to all that trouble to call out so many officers to write a stupid bike citation that she couldn’t even make stick. Keep in mind that cops have pride about their work. No policeman, with the possible exception of the Thank-Dog-He’s-Gone-Deppity-Knox, takes pride in being known as a bike ticket violation writer. It’s drudgery, has zero cachet, garners zero professional respect, and is only done when there is either (a) absolutely no other law to enforce or (b) when the city council has demanded a cyclist crackdown. (a) and (b) almost always occur in tandem …

In the short term, the willingness of the cyclists to challenge these trumped up charges led to one terrible cop being booted from the traffic beat. In the long term it reinforced to the Lomita Substation that there really are more important law enforcement issues in Rancho Palos Verdes. It communicated that with limited resources, the department would be well advised to go pick on someone else, as these fake citations will be fought tooth and nail.

The cyclists who chose to fight instead of pay had to “waste” time and energy in contesting the charges. Compared to the settlement offer of $50 and no DMV points, it might seem like a waste; each defendant had to go to court twice: Once to plead not guilty, and once to appear for trial. But it wasn’t a waste, far from it. It educated the court, it educated the sheriff’s department, and it empowered cyclists to shift gears from being victims to being advocates.

In addition to fighting all eleven tickets, the defendants re-calendared their trial dates so that in the event one of them lost, we’d still have the opportunity to appear again. Since traffic court judges rotate, that increased the chance of getting a different judge and it would have forced Deputy Castro to appear eleven separate times. The one trial we did took well over an hour; that’s a bunch of overtime the department would have had to pay.

If you compare the time and money that was spent fruitlessly trying to convince the Palos Verdes Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes city councils that cyclists are traffic with legal rights, with the the time and money that was spent fighting the tickets, which successfully changed personnel and policy, it was the best advocacy imaginable. We spent hundreds of person-hours at city council meetings only to be beaten down and targeted by crazypants trolls. The public records request (publication forthcoming) I did on Robert Chapman, local PVE sillypants and bike hater, only confirmed that traditional political advocacy doesn’t work very well on the hill. Sometimes you have to suit up and go to fuggin’ court, even when it’s “only” traffic court.

Contrast our political advocacy with the effectiveness of fighting bogus tickets. The cops don’t show up, the tickets get dismissed, and everyone realizes it’s a shit-show, including the police, who are now more reticent to waste time writing the stupid citations in the first place. It dawns on everyone that the PV Peninsula has problems that are more significant than 21202a violations and bicycle stop sign tickets.

Unfortunately, there are still far too many cyclists in the South Bay who are willing to pay the reduced fee and get on with their lives. It’s too much pain and effort to re-calendar, go down to court twice, and deal with the whole headache. So last night, at the thank-you dinner that was ostensibly for me, I took the opportunity to thank all of the people who were willing to stand up for themselves and for others as well. And if you don’t mind, I’ll take this small space to thank them again.

END

———————–

For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog and get none of the news that’s fit to print but all the news that’s fun to read. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

Justice for Johnny

June 14, 2017 § 169 Comments

I will make this brief. USA Cycling is now “grappling” with whether or not James Doyle intended to knock down John Walsh in this video. Several commenters, here and on Facegag, have argued that you can’t really know what was in Doyle’s mind when he hit Walsh’s bars and therefore it wasn’t intentional.

Newsflash: You don’t understand intent or how it is shown.

  1. Intent can simply mean knowing the likely outcome of your actions. If you shoot a pistol in a crowded movie theater you can’t claim you didn’t intend to kill someone because in your mind you weren’t trying to kill the specific person who was hit by the bullet. You are presumed to know that firing the gun is dangerous. Therefore you had the requisite intent to be convicted of the crime.
  2. Proving intent doesn’t require the defendant to sign a confession saying “I intended to knock down John Walsh and send him to the ICU with life-threatening injuries.” You can prove it by physical evidence, by statements, by circumstance, and by past behavior.
  3. One eyewitness said that during the neutral lap after the crash, Doyle said that he had told Walsh to “give him more room and too bad for Walsh when he didn’t.” There was also allegedly a now-deleted Facegag post on Doyle’s page that intimated that the taketown was intentional. Countless riders have notified USAC that Doyle repeatedly exhibited the kind of aggressive behavior that crashed out Walsh. Admission, allegedly written statement, video, repeated past behavior–and USAC can’t immediately reach a decision?

USAC is already prepping the surgical field for a punishment that is less than a lifetime ban from sanctioned events. Chris Black, an SCNCA board member who has admitted that he has no role in the process but who nonetheless is close to the USAC official in charge of discipline, sent this gem yesterday to an outraged racer:

black_text

Wow. Not enough to take substantial action? What would it take? And why would he possibly say “the video by itself” when USAC has received numerous statements about Doyle’s behavior? To top it off, USAC is advising that it is more helpful to have eyewitnesses–sure, just like it’s more helpful to have a signed confession. But absent that there is plenty of evidence to carry the burden of proof here. Why are all these non-lawyers, non-judges, non-bike racers trying to pretend they are the U.S. Supreme Court?

My guess is that Chris Black has no idea what an intentional takedown is. [Note: several readers wrote to correct my misstatement regarding Chris’s racing background. Chris is an active racer with a long history.] What’s even more extraordinary is that Black is a former CHP officer and USAC official, proving once again that a lifetime of law enforcement and officiating has zero correlation with proper understanding or application of the rules.

Instead of making an outraged statement to the effect of “SCNCA will not tolerate reckless or dangerous riding in its events, much less intentional takedowns,” Black makes his unasked for and unprofessional judgment of what the evidence actually means and, more incredibly, how he thinks USAC will behave as a result.

Compare that with Manhattan Beach Grand Prix, whose organizing club, South Bay Wheelmen, is considering whether to ban Doyle from their upcoming race after viewing the video. Unlike Chris Black, non-bike racer, SBW members actually race and they don’t want a jackass like Doyle anywhere near them. SCNCA has lost over one-third of its members in the past year and a half, and with people like Black making absurd and reckless statements like the one above, it’s easy to understand why.

It’s also interesting to note that the promoter of the race where this occurred, Jeff Prinz, has been studiously silent, no doubt hoping that this won’t negatively affect participation in his upcoming July 2 race. Note to Jeff: Now would be a great time to reassure racers that Doyle won’t be allowed to race CBR, in July or ever. If you need someone to cover Doyle’s $35 entry fee so that you don’t suffer personal hardship by losing a race entry, hit me up and I’ll see what I can do.

Also, a criminal complaint has been filed regarding Doyle’s despicable actions. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department has assigned DR number 17-022995 to the complaint. Please call (714) 647-7000 if you were an eyewitness or have video evidence that can assist with the investigation. Give them the DR number above so they can route you to the proper person.

END

———————–

For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog and get none of the news that’s fit to print but all the news that’s fun to read. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

 

Felony battery

June 13, 2017 § 124 Comments

When you enter a USAC bike race you waive most of your rights to sue anyone for negligently hurting you during the race.

But you don’t waive your right to sue people who intentionally hurt you. And you don’t ever waive your right to be protected from felony battery.

At the California masters state bicycling “championships” on Sunday, held in Ladera Ranch by promoter Jeff Prinz, a guy named James Doyle pulled a move that looks to me like a flagrantly intentional takedown. To view the video you have to type in either the password ladera45 or doyle.

The victim, John Walsh, wound up in the hospital with a bleeding brain, broken collarbone, broken back, and other ICU-worthy injuries.

If you are not a crit racer the takedown may not look obvious. If you are a crit racer, you will be shocked. Note that Doyle’s move appears completely premeditated. He is squeezed against the curb as he tries to pass at about 3:17, then backs off, waits for a gap to open, accelerates through, then lowers his shoulder and hits Walsh’s bars hard. Walsh is blindsided and goes down on his head. Doyle never looks back and sprints off.

In my opinion this was intentional, and not simply because I’ve raced countless crits and have seen riders make contact countless times and have been bumped countless times.

I believe this was intentional because in addition to the video, which is crystal clear, I know James Doyle. He is a despicable person. I’ve ridden with him and raced with him and I’ve been teammates with him, and the only way I can describe him is in Jekyll-Hyde terms. One minute he is super nice, a great teammate, and the next moment he is uncontrollably enraged.

Here are things I have personally witnessed this very bad person do:

  1. Scream psychotically at a woman on the Donut Ride who was startled when he came shooting up through a narrow, barely-wide-enough space between her and the curb. Note: This is exactly what he did in the video that shows him crashing out John Walsh.
  2. Scream psychotically at any number of riders on any number of days who were startled when he came shooting up through a narrow, barely-wide-enough space between them and the curb. Note: This is exactly what he did in the video that shows him crashing out John Walsh.
  3. Scream psychotically and challenge a very big and muscular (and friendly and gentle) cyclist to a fight when Doyle startled the cyclist with an outlandishly aggressive move on the Donut Ride. Note: This is similar to what he did in the video that shows him crashing out John Walsh.
  4. Scream psychotically and challenge a rider, who also happens to be a homicide detective, to a fistfight during the finale of Telo. Doyle then added to his douchebag bona fides when he called the guy a “cupcake” after the detective laughed and declined Doyle’s invitation to beat the shit out of him. The “cupcake” is super friendly and has by his own count been in more than 300 fistfights (and lost two). People would have paid good money to watch fistfight No. 301 and the resultant tooth donation that Doyle would have made to the pavement that day.

These are only a few of the incidents that got James Doyle kicked out of our club. Numerous riders in SoCal have seen his antics and been appalled by them. One friend described him as “The most dangerous rider I have ever seen because he rides every ride and competition as if it were a short-track motorcycle race. He makes no distinction between aggressively riding on the last lap sprinting for a win and fighting for 38th position on the second lap of the race.”

I don’t know what to say except that USAC better revoke his license permanently; Jeff Prinz better make a public statement and ban this jerk from his races; SoCal riders better ostracize Doyle when he shows up; someone better file a felony battery crime report; and James Doyle better lawyer the hell up and pray the DA doesn’t press charges.

UPDATE: Preliminary indications from Chris Black at SCNCA are that USAC will likely not find anything in the video that would warrant disciplinary action. If you think otherwise, and/or have examples of Doyle’s dangerous riding, hostile and aggressive behavior, please email chodge@usacycling.org.

UPDATE II from USAC: On Jun 13, 2017, at 8:47 AM, Hodge, Chuck <chodge@usacycling.org> wrote: “USA Cycling has already begun an investigation under our Policy III. Per our policy all riders are afforded due process when there is the possibility of revoking membership rights.”
_______________

Chuck HODGE
Vice President of Operations
USA Cycling
210 USA Cycling Point, Suite 100
Colorado Springs, CO  80919
Mobile: 719-229-0732

Phone: 719-434-4264
Fax: 719-434-4316
chodge@usacycling.org
http://www.usacycling.org

Follow us! Twitter   Facebook  You Tube

END

———————–

For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog and get none of the news that’s fit to print but all the news that’s fun to read. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

Fresh air

June 11, 2017 § 12 Comments

Yesterday I sponsored a peloton skills clinic, taught by Rahsaan Bahati and assisted by Big Orange club members Greg Seyranian and Jon Stark. We had thirty-two riders show up for the free event, which took place on Westchester Parkway.

For ninety minutes Rahsaan talked, answered questions, and rode two laps around the Parkway so that we could practice the things he taught.

Education is a critically missing component from most bicycling organizations. It’s hard to understand why, as a condition of its existence, every bike club doesn’t have an ongoing education requirement. Actually, it’s easy to understand.

  1. Most people who run a club think they are experts with nothing to learn.
  2. Most people who race bikes think they invented cycling.
  3. Most club members are wholly unaware of educational opportunities, because typically THERE ARE NONE.
  4. Most cyclists would rather ride badly and get hurt than devote several Saturdays a year to improving or, dog forbid, teaching others.
  5. 99.99999% of all non-cycling family members have no idea, none at all, how dangerous riding a bike can be if you do it wrong.
  6. Safety has no place in any racing club I’ve ever belonged to except, if you’re incredibly lucky, as an add-on to kit design, race reimbursement, board squabbles, fights over sponsorship, training, and Strava competitions. Usually it’s completely non-existent.
  7. Most clubs refuse to pay money for professional instruction. But they will pay for parties!
  8. Most racers think race survival skills = road safety skills.
  9. Most new cyclists ape the attitudes of the more experienced ignoramuses.
  10. There’s never enough time to do it right, but always enough time to do it over … in the hospital.

This clinic was strongly supported by the Big Orange membership, with about forty riders and three board members giving up the precious, golden Saturday riding hours of 8:00 to 10:00 to enjoy the clinic, which was an outgrowth of the first one put together by Big Orange rider and board member Joann Zwagerman.

I’ve been racing since 1984 and riding competitively (i.e. like a freddie) since 1982, and I learned so much listening to Rahsaan. Few people in LA have any inkling how knowledgeable this man is, and it’s not until you’ve actually listened to him that you can even begin to appreciate his warmth, kindness, gentle instruction, and profound understanding of what goes into competent bike handling.

Even though we’re the only community with a Rahsaan, your community has experts who possess great knowledge about riding safely, and they would love to share it. If you’re on a club board or in any position of leadership and are not aggressively pushing education to your membership, you are failing everyone. And if you don’t think you can find someone who knows enough to teach, visit the CyclingSavvy website to get started.

END

———————–

For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog and get none of the news that’s fit to print but all the news that’s fun to read. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

 

 

Upgrade points plus DON’T GET KILLED!

June 5, 2017 § 18 Comments

SCNCA president Sean Wilson and CyclingSavvy guru Gary Cziko went to great lengths and expense over the last year to design a class for the SCNCA junior training camp, which was successfully run in January, 2017. They are now are offering a USAC-sanctioned traffic safety class this coming June 11.

One of the bonuses for this class, aside from helping keep you out of the meat wagon, is that, thanks to Sean and SCNCA board member David Huntsman, the class has been approved for USAC upgrade points. There are a lot of needs out there in the SCNCA catchment, but few opportunities to change things at the USAC level. The concept of using actual classes and education to keep junior riders from getting killed is a top priority and the SCNCA board has supported it wholeheartedly.

The class offers two upgrade points for 5-4 upgrades, 1 upgrade point for 4-3 upgrades and 1/2 a point for 3-2 upgrades. All of this for learning how to not get killed riding the edge of a narrow lane. Few efforts by the SCNCA are as deserving of praise and participation as this one.

Of course, many bike racers don’t yet see the value in CyclingSavvy-type instruction. What’s more astounding, actual “coaches” and “mentors” who are responsible for the lives of their charges somehow think that their “common sense” and “life experiences” and “racing with team Bumblefuck sponsored by Bill’s Sewage Treatment back in the 80s” is a legitimate substitute for skills, coursework, and understanding the law.

The location for the clinic is awesome: Redlands, a town with a rich history in SoCal cycling, and a place where riders don’t have to fight with the snarl of LA/OC/San Diego traffic. The cost is also incredibly low considering the benefit of the classes, the professionalism of the coursework, and the effectiveness of instruction: $50 for juniors and U23, $75 for elite and older riders.

If you’re involved with junior cycling in SoCal, if you ride a bike, or if you ever intend to ride one, this is a great time to give your riders and yourself the chance to survive and thrive on the bike for the rest of your life, not just while doing circles in a parking lot. And a “few short training sessions with CHP” will not — trust me– cut it.

The course will also include an on-road component so that participants get to practice what they’ve learned. As a longtime CyclingSavvy participant and class participant, I can assure you that this course can keep you alive. Participants will practice using parts of the Tour of Redlands, where cyclists learn to navigate some of the most intimidating spots in town safely and comfortably.

Now is the time to slow down, take a deep breath, and do some “non-race” learning that will help you ride better, race better, and most importantly, live longer. A lot longer.

Location: Bikecoach.com Fitness Studio, 700 Redlands Blvd., Suite M, Redlands CA 92373 More Information: http://www.gsandiamo.com
Contact: Sean Wilson; sean@gsandiamo.com

END

———————–

For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog and get none of the news that’s fit to print but all the news that’s fun to read. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

The 16.7-year subscription

April 27, 2017 § 18 Comments

A giant box arrived at the office from Jessup Auto Plaza.

Sketch, for sure.

The name “Jessup” has long been associated with a wide variety of cycling beatdowns and shenanigans in SoCal, mostly as a result of legend Andy Jessup. A few years ago, Andy got shoved into the barricades at Redlands, smashed his hip, tore open an artery, and almost died.

His recovery was long, painful beyond belief, but inevitable. Just to show he could, replete with rebuilt joint and enough PTSD to spook a combat platoon, he suited up and did a couple of races last year.

Still, a box from Jessup Auto Plaza …

I opened it up and found this:

envelope

And this:

letter

And this:

swag

Andy must have taken especial note of my filthy water bottle nozzles and my love of cookies and my chapped lips! But most especially, this:

check

Mrs. WM was not impressed with the swag. “Where we onna put your more bikin junk?”

“It’s not junk, honey, it’s awesome swag.”

“I got one drawer onna underwear and bra and you got four drawer onna old tire and smelly bikin socks.”

“But look, honey! These bottles are the best. And all clean nozzles! Camelback!”

She scowled. Then she saw the blank check. “Thatsa blank check.”

“Yes, but it’s dedicated to the Wanky Defense Fund.”

“Not no more it isn’t,” she said, snatching it.

“Hey! That’s blog subscription money! At $2.99/month that’s a 16.7-year subscription! Gimme that!”

She turned her back and carefully wrote “Mrs. WM” in the payee line. “Itsa bout time some on your deadbeat reader onna payin. If you was atta McDonald’s like you wastin time onna that blog we’d be onna time and a half last ten years and retirin.”

“Now just a minute,” I said. “My blog provides a very important service.”

“Finally,” she said, as she walked out the door to the bank.

END

———————–

For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog and get none of the news that’s fit to print but all the news that’s fun to read. 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.