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June 04, 2009

Welcoming a New Voice in the LA BikeBlogosphere

A comment left on The Dude, this morning, led me to discover a new BikeBlogger, Gerhard, of GT in LA.

He describes his blog as one about "my records about cycling for fun and health, and otehr things that matter to me.:

In an effort to encourage a new voice that has only been at it since February here are a few of my favorite of his posts:

1. His tale of riding the Solvang Century is tinged with the knowledge that he was recently unemployed, but his joy in the adventure of the day still shines through, and the pictures are cool!:

Once all numbers were secured it was time for a final pit stop, bike and self check and head on over to the start line. This is the time when you can feel the high. There is an unmistakable energy and buzz which builds with every minute closer to the start. People smiling, talking excitedly, fidgeting, checking and re-checking gear, expressing hopes and fears and finally the “Whooo-hoooo’s” as the first group of 30 riders is allowed to leave the gate.

His descriptions of the route, the weather, the stops, the people, and the ride, are vivid, exciting, and often humorous.

43 MPH on a downhill? I can't imagine!

I've done 30 on a downhill before, in San Dimas, and that scared the hell out of me! ;-D

I've never done a century (66 mi. in 1 day is my record!), but would love to someday....an easy one, to start. ;-D

Read his story here.

2. In April a 50 mile ride results in an unexpected encounter:

As I got into Hermosa Beach I noticed that I had someone on my tail and at the next red light I turned to see who the rider was. Turns out it was a tiny framed young woman.

What happened next will make you laugh...even as you count your lucky stars you weren't in his shoes. ;-D

3. "I started talking to myself, telling me to relax my grip, shift position, get out of the saddle, roll my shoulders, pedal without hands and just keep turning the pedals, over and over and over."

Just a taste of his description of riding another Century, in April, Cruisin' the Conejo. ;-D

4. My favorite post is this one.

My ride today felt like I was a tagged deer in open season. I rode 24 miles and I kid you not, had to come to a full emergency stop twice, got cut off by a car turning right three times, swerved around four car doors carelessly flung open and barely avoided a motorcycle shooting out of a stop street disregarding the ‘STOP’ in it all together.

Today’s more than usual ‘bullets’ got me thinking about the recent movements, such as ‘bike to work week’ and ‘bike for life’ initiatives. Whereas I really support these noble quests in principle, how realistic are they for the average rider?

What follows is a thoughtful, thought-provoking, essay on cyclists, safe cycling, the places one rides in Los Angeles, and motorists, parked cars, and other things one encounters while in the saddle.

The most important thing he says in the piece deserves to be spread far and wide, and so I will share it here:

One of the biggest problems to overcome, perhaps even bigger than the inaction by city, state and fed, is the mental approach of motorists towards cyclists. The culture does not support the existence of the cyclist, who is seen as a nuisance on the road, an annoying bug to be squashed. Cyclists take too much time to get through intersections, take up valuable real estate and often behave as if traffic laws do not apply to them. Yes, many of our fellow cyclists are responsible for an unfavorable view of us as a whole.

How many times have you seen a cyclist blow through a stop sign? – a red light? – change lanes without signaling? – smash their hands on someone’s hood? – scream profanities? My guess is many times. I am not saying that I am a saint, oh no, there are times when I go through a stop sign or roll through red. (very early morning, with no cars or pedestrians in sight)

And then, yes, my absolute favorite, the interest groups. Critical Mass and one of their underground off-shoot called Crimaminal_Mass, riding on the freeway, to prove what point? In my opinion these organizations do more harm than good.

Glad to see yet another person who doesn't think much of the likes of Critical Mass. ;-D

For years I wrote about Critical Mass, including my my correspondence with its supporters, and Founders, and for years I've written about Sharing the Road (See their respective Category Archives for all the stories.), including,  most recently, about the 3 Feet Campaign, inbetween bouts of poetry, humor, and song, of course. ;-D

Read his piece called Open Season.

Gerhard is a fan of this blog, it appears, as it's in his Blogroll, and now I'm returning the favor by adding him to mine, and the above 4 posts are a good reason for you to check him out for yourself.

June 4, 2009 in Blogging Cyclists | Permalink

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Comments

Kiril, thank you for the warm welcome and the generous cross post.

You mentioned in your comments to my posts that one day you might want to do an easy Century ride.

The one that comes immediately to mind is the Amtrak Century (Irvine to San Diego).

This was my first Century, and I did that before I started blogging (I made a note to write a little story about it in the near future). This years ride is on September 12 and here is the link:

http://www.ocw.org/Amtrak/

The ride is beautifully organized and supported by the Orange County Wheelmen.

There is another Century (which is supposed to be even easier), but I have not done it, and it happens this Sunday, June 7.

Information can be found here:

http://la-bike.org/events/los_angeles_river_ride.html

Posted by: Gerhard | Jun 4, 2009 5:07:52 PM

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