November 12, 2010

Why The Cycling Dude Mattered, and Why I Am Damn Well PROUD OF IT!

Dear friends, and fans, of this blog, and anyone who stumbles upon it via Google, other Search Engines, or some website that still links to me....

It has been almost 3 months since I retired this blog to little notice, or fanfare...

I never intended to post here again.

But God, Fate, or something far more complex, had other ideas.

Earlier this week, on my other Blogs, I revealed to my small, but growing readerships, something that has been a part of my life since 2 weeks after I announced the closing of this blog:

50, Alone and Newly Unemployed in Ca., With the Rest of My Life Ahead of Me: Now What?

This morning a comment was posted, to a 5 1/2 year old post on this blog, that brought tears of pride to my eyes, during this very trying time in my life.

This comment is the single greatest Honor that I have ever received for my efforts with this site...and makes all of it worth the effort.......

Nov. 12, 2010:

Thank you for honoring the shop I have grown up in and love. We are still an old time shop but are trying to keep up with the times with the Kopp's Cycle Website

Charles Kuhn - Owner

The Comment was left here: Kopp's Selling Bikes since 1891 - A story I posted in March 2005

Thank you Mr. Kuhn...I am grateful, beyond mere words, for your kindness. ;-D

As a History Buff there is one aspect of the Kopp's site that makes it very special, and extremely important:

The History Page.

Mr. Kuhn has written an absolutely wonderful essay, and included, a few amazing, and beautiful, old photos that will blow you away.

The most important of the photos is the one of the store (1901 !), on the main page, that entices you to read his essay.

There are other photos of some of their vintage Items for sale and other things including a letter from the 1930's, that can be seen on a seperate Photos link.

I hope he plans to share more of the store history on his site in the future.

Such a past should be proudly shared for all History, and Cycling, Buffs to enjoy, and not hidden away. ;-D

One more thing... As long time readers know I made a special project of highlighting the oldest cycling shops still in business, and that had an online presense, and had a list in the sidebar (Now found on Musings of a Mad Macedonian), and wrote a series of blog posts about them, which you can explore at your leisure ( Meet The Elder Statesmen ( and Women! ) ), and it pleases me no end that, at long last, that list can finally, finally!, have a link to a website for the Kopp's Store. ;-D

Out of respect for Mr. Kuhn, and his comrades on my list, I plan to keep the series going on Musings.

 ***UPDATE - 11/13/10***

I wrote Thank You letter to Mr. Kuhn, and he very graciously replied.

As well as telling him about this post, I wrote:

Dear Mr. Kuhn:
 
Lord knows that I tried, this morning, but mere words can not do proper justice to the very great honor you do me by your comment to my 5 1/2 year old post.
 
Your missive brought me to tears...tears of pride, and gratefulness that 7+ years of Bike Blogging really, truly, mattered, and was not done in vain.
 
Hardly anyone has even noticed I quit Bike Blogging, and mine was probably the oldest such blog in the USA. ;-D
 
The last 3 months have not been easy ones for me, but you absolutely made my day today. ;-D
 
I had given up all hope that Kopp's would ever create a website, to tell you the truth, hee, hee! ;-D
That photo on the main page, of the guys in front of the store, is a beautiful, and priceless, bit of History.
 
I do not know if you explored my blog, aside from finding my post, and am curious how you found it, but you may have noticed that the place had been retired, in August, and most of the extensive links in the sidebar moved to one of my other blogs.
 
I have done several things: 
 
I wrote a post on The Cycling Dude, that shares your comment, and serves as a sequel, of sorts, to my original review, as well as a sincere thank you.
  
I posted a variation of the same post on my other blog, and added a link to the Kopp's website to the "Bike Shops: Pre- 1941 - The Elder Statesmen [ and Women, too! ]"  List in the sidebar of that blog ( Musings of a Mad Macedonian  ).
 
I also am re-dedicating myself to keeping an eye out for more such stores to write about, and add to the List.
 
As you can tell you just may be the oldest surviving such store in the world (Only a company in Italy, so far, even comes close!). ;-D
 
If you know of, or ever find, others, with online presenses, that qualify for this List, please let me know. ;-D
 
I have no plans to continue the news, and activism, side of what I did on The Cycling Dude, at Musings (Even though I broke some major stories over the years.), because others, with bigger audiences, more knowledge, connections, time, and resources, than I (Including some who got their start by being inspired by my early work) serve that need very ably, however I will continue writing about, and share photos of, my bicyling adventures, including what I do via the blog my Cat writes (Over there we have 2 ongoing Photo Series about Cats, and other critters seen on my Bike Rides.). ;-D
 
Archives:
 
There Once Was a Mad Macedonian on a Bicycle..... 

Street Seens: Cats Outdoors, Thru the Daddy Cam 

Seen & Heard: Critters With Cats on the Brain 

Sincerely yours, Kiril Kundurazieff

His reply:

Hi,

Thanks for the reply.
 
I use google to alert me of new posts that mention Kopp's and your blog post got flagged so I checked it out as well as a little of the rest, I will have to check out the links you sent.
 
I ask anybody that stops in the shop to let me know of any older outfits and so far none have.
 
I can tell you love bikes, cats and life and wish you the best of luck.

You seem to be someone who experiences life while the rest of us just live.
 
Best,
Charlie

***END UPDATE***

****MARCH 5TH, 2011****

 Hello, again!

Regular readers of this blog may remember those times, over the years, when I covered the cycling related work (Among other health related interests) of Randy Eady, of Glider Rider, founder of Kosharey Rhythms Therapeutics, and Seat and Feet, and writer of a blog for Children & Nature Network.
 

Our friendship goes back to 2006, and we finally met in March of last year.

My report of that day, complete with photos, and links to all previous stories, can be read, beginning here:

Summit in San Clemente: Cycling Dude Meets Glider Rider to the Sound of Beating Drums

I'm listed on LinkedIN, as is Randy, and it was there that Randy did me the kindness of giving me my first "Recommendation", on Friday.

 

Kiril is a talented, responsible, ethical, professional writer. I've frequently relied on his technical writing skills (in numerous social media platforms) to represent a balanced and -- humorous -- perspective to expand/add tremendous value to the underlying message I'm delivering in health and sustainable lifestyle advocacy. Great work that can be easily sampled at various blog sites he maintains and supports.

A very cool Birthday Present, indeed.

Thank You, Randy, your support, and encouragement, means a lot to me.

 

November 12, 2010 in Life, The Bike Trail, and Everything, Meet The Elder Statesmen ( and Women! ), The Opinionated DUDE | Permalink

August 05, 2009

Thoughts on Bicycling and Socialism

“Socialism can only arrive by bicycle.”

A quote attributed to Chilean Socialist Politician Jose Antonio Viera Gallo.

Over on my other blog, Musings of a Mad Macedonian, I went on a rare Political Rant, this morning. ;-D

Dear Mr. President, I Respectfully Disapprove.

THEN...On a whim, I did a Google Search for "Bicycling for Socialism".

I know, I know...I'm a Baaaad Boy! ;-D

Much to my surprise I found more than a few interesting results. ;-D

Mark, of Thought on Bicycles, and the Simple Life, wrote in February:

Socialism??

That's been a political buzzword, lately. I hate the thought of it but a lot of cyclists are enthusiastic about the whole socialism thang. The general thought process from the cycling socialist point o' view is that spreading around the wealth of America will make it harder and more expensive for the general public to live and, therefore, drive more people onto bicycles and away from their automobiles because it's so much cheaper to ride than it is to drive (for general, everyday stuff)..........

I REALLY want to see more people riding bicycles!! It'd be a (personal) dream come true for a mass of people to jump on bikes.....Rich, poor, skinny, round, short, tall, straight, gay, famous, infamous, and the invisible people too. Ride to work, ride to school, ride for leisure, and ride competitively.......It's all great stuff! I don't want the Guv'ment to legislate everybody onto bicycles though!! We'd be losing more than we gain.

He then lists 6  advantages for making everybody ride a bicycle.

And 6 disadvantages to making everybody ride a bicycle.

Read: Socialism??

Matthew Yglesias recently had a accident on his bike, and blogged about it, resulting in a ton of comments, some debating the question of whether "falling off a bicycle makes “an extremely strong case” for socialized medicine" as he tries to claim.

Socialism, Capitalism, and the Banality of Health Care.

Random Rants, of Singapore, writes a fascinating essay, in Sept. 2008, as the 1st of a multi-part "Rant" that, for some reason, turned out to be his last post on his blog:

One tends to blame the nature of Singaporean drivers, infamous for not giving way to other road users and their negative attitudes towards cyclists because “they do not pay road tax thus they have no right to use the roads”. Or we blame the government for not building cycling lanes for us to potter about on our 2 wheel commie-mobiles in tax free bliss. After all, in creating cycling lanes along the roads, the government has to give up opportunities to tax us up to 6 times over, from COE, to road tax, and GST on the car which leads to fuel tax and ERP, not to say parking as well. The infrastructural cost of building cycling lanes are high, and short of raising the low income tax it is difficult to justify expending such a huge amount of money on an extra strip of tarmac when that can be used to generate more revenue.

There is little initiative for the government to implement cycling lanes; pressure from society is still fairly low, given the justifiably negative perception that cycling is sweaty and dangerous, with reckless children (and in recent years foreign nationals) zipping recklessly on the sidewalks. To argue that cycling reduces carbon footprint is a fairly moot point as well. Given that our roads are almost at capacity during rush hour, it is impractical to mark off a portion of the road as designated cycling lanes a la London or Seattle. Thus it would seem that unless cars are reduced as an act of legislation one would need to build into the road reserves, which currently are simply grass verges and storm drains. Coming back to my point on the ecological sensitivity of cycling, while the act itself is sustainable, the creation of cycling lanes, with the repaving of the road reserves and the supporting infrastructural works, has an ecological impact that probably outweighs the benefit, especially if it doesn’t displace the pollutive car as a mode of transport.

Read the rest: On the Socialism of Cycling Lanes, Public Transport and Subsidised Transit: Part 1

If you think the notion of Socialism and Bicycling is a relatively recent phenomenom, think again!

As a history lover I found this post, on another very short-lived blog, Socialists, cycling and Sunny Spain! absolutely fascinating! ;-D

As an offshoot from the the Clarion Cycling Club, the National Clarion Cycling Club 1895 still wishes to support the original principles of the Club which was formed in 1895. The slogan of the original Clarion Cycling Club is “Socialism the Hope of the World” with the motto “Fellowship is Life” and “Lack of Fellowship is death”.

In the late 1880s the bicycle boom and rewakening of socialist principles through various organisations in Britain gave birth to the “synchronisation” of the coming of the Safety bicycle with the spread of Socialism. Tom Tyas, secretary of the Handforth Clarion Cyclists’ Clubhouse recalled it as “a happy combination of natural forces”. The bicycle itself “brought within easy reach all the things which the new philosophy taught (people) to enjoy”. It offered an “escape from city life after the daily round of toil” and gave them “the power to roam on the King’s Highway”.

Read the whole wonderful article: The National Clarion Cycling Club 1895.

For more on the history of the club, there is this wonderful page full of posts, and of old photos! ;-D

In the mid 1930's the Clarion grew rapidly (1934-1,600; 1935-1,200) to about 10,000 members with branches in many towns. However the start of the Second World War (as did the WW1) stifled its growth.

The National Clarion Cycling & Athletic Club still functions today with branches from Bolton to Brighton.

On their History Page is the following:

The Clarion House was built to be a non-profit making co-operative with any excess money to be used in spreading the word of socialism.

This was no accident, no coincidence. It was planned in the hope that others would take it as a model of how society as a whole ought to be organised.

Fascinating stuff, their History Page, and picture collection. ;-D

There are no doubt many other articles I could list, from the hundreds of thousands of results Google came up with, but these will more than suffice to, I hope, stimulate discussion. ;-D

Now, I know that some of my fellow Right-Wing Riders are gonna freak out over the possibility that ridng their Trusty Steed, hither, and yon, could be construed as support for Socialism, but I'm here to say...

CALM DOWN!

Take a deep breath, relax, and KEEP ON PEDALING! ;-D

Do so secure in the knowledge that I, and other long time Conservative BikeBloggers, have your backs.

Um, hee, hee! ;-D

August 5, 2009 in Blogging Cyclists, The Opinionated DUDE | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 08, 2008

British Journalist Apology Over Call for Decapitating Cyclists Just an Afterthought

In the aftermath of the call for violence by Matthew Parris it became the 2nd most complained-about piece of 'journalism' for 2007, according to the (UK) Press Complaints Commission.

Jolly Good of the Brits for speaking up!  ;-D

Mr. Parris column of January 3rd left a lot to be desired in the face of the outrage of the Cycling Community.

In what appears to be an insincere apology, this poor excuse for a journalist responded at the very end of his column in what comes across as an afterthought:

I offended many with my Christmas attack on cyclists. It was meant humorously but so many cyclists have taken it seriously that I plainly misjudged. I am sorry.

There are so far 40 comments, in response, and few seem in a forgiving mood.

This sums up the consensus:

Classic self-righteous bluster from bullies who know they're in the wrong - stand firm, Matthew!

At least he 'apologized', which is more than his Editor, at the Times of London, has done.

Go here to read the reactions.

Tejvan Pettinger, of the British Blog, Cycling Info, has this to say:

What This Episode Shows

  • Times have shown they care nothing for journalistic integrity.
  • Parris, made a misjudgement, maybe he sincerely regrets it, or maybe he was just a bit taken aback by the response.
  • As quite a few commentators have mentioned if the word ‘cyclist’ had been subsitituted for another minority; - more serious action would have been taken

What would I do If I met Matthew Parris in the street?

  • I would probably ask him whether, as an ex MP and responsible journalist, he had any good ideas to try and reduce the annual death toll of cyclists on British roads. I look forward to that article very much.

The full response is here.

In case you missed it, and think behavior like that suggested by Mr. Parris couldn't happen, please read my post from yesterday:

Fullerton Man in Trouble for Making Bike Trail Holes

January 8, 2008 in Share the Road, and Trail: Safety Matters!, The Opinionated DUDE | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 31, 2007

British Journalist Calls for Decapitating Cyclists

An Award-winning Journalist, author and former MP, who writes a column for the Times of London, has felt the need to write about cycling and cyclists:

A festive custom we could do worse than foster would be stringing piano wire across country lanes to decapitate cyclists. It’s not just the Lycra, though Heaven knows this atrocity alone should be a capital offence; nor the helmets, though these ludicrous items of headgear are designed to protect the only part of a cyclist that is not usefully employed; nor the self-righteousness, though a small band of sports cyclists on winter’s morning emits more of that than a cathedral at evensong; nor even the brutish disregard for all other road users, though the lynching of a cyclist by a mob of mothers with pushchairs would be a joy to witness

Well, excuuuse my British!

What the Bloody Hell?

Where does Mr. Matthew Parris, this arsehat, get off attacking all cyclists for the actions of the inconsiderate minority?

He doesn't have a Baldy Notion of the harm he is causing with such calls to violent action.

In the 1st paragraph alone he attacks the clothes some of us wear and the single most important piece of equipment a cyclist can put to use, but our intelligence as well.

BOLLOCKS!

No, yet another cyclist-generated horror – and a new one – has come to my attention this Christmas. They’re chucking their empty cans of hi-energy drinks into hedgerows as they pass.

Bin-liners in hand, a group of us, infused with the seasonal goodwill that illuminates this column, of course, decided to walk a mile of a pretty and winding lane that had become particularly badly littered this winter, and collect it all. It’s amazing how much of the stuff there is when you start looking, and we ended up with a whole sackful. And what was the principal offending item? Plastic bottles and empty cans of Lucozade, Gatorade and other blood-sugar-boosting products were lodged high in hedgerows at cyclist level. Forgive me, but pedestrians were not the culprits here.

He goes on a roadside clean-up and without actually witnessing anything blames cyclists for all the empty plastic bottles he picks up.

"Cyclist-Level", he says: Um, what type bicycle, how old and how tall, and what sex are the miscreants? Be specific, man.

What is the carbon footprint of a panting, sugar-gulping, chocolate-chewing, Lycra-clad leisure-cyclist? a) His or her journey is totally unnecessary; b) whole convoys of cargo boats steam the Atlantic to bring the molasses to be energy-intensively refined for them; and c) the chemical processes that generate the vile materials that clothe, shoe and helmet a cyclist – not a man-made fibre among them – will be poisoning entire provinces of China.

Not all cyclists wear lycra on our rides and many rides ARE "neccessary" because many of us commute, or run errands and for many cyclists their bike is their only source of transportation or used in combination with Mass Transit.

He takes to task all cyclists for the bad manners of the minority:

But it’s the bad manners one cannot forgive. Driving or walking, don’t you just hate the way that, riding two or three abreast, they shout and curse at you or whir their angry little bells, as though it’s your problem that they need to clear the way? In just one little posse of these monsters there are levels of self-satisfaction that could power a small religious crusade.

Does cycling turn you into an insolent jerk? Or are insolent jerks drawn disproportionately to cycling?

2 can play that game, ya know. ;-D

Riding the street, don’t you just hate the way that, coming up behind you when you legally take the lane, they shout and curse at you or honk their ungodly horns, as though it’s your problem that they can't go 55, in a 30 zone, for 5 freakin' minutes? In just one little traffic jam there are levels of self-satisfaction that could power a huge religious crusade.

Does driving a car turn you into an insolent jerk? Or are insolent jerks drawn disproportionately to motor vehicles?

Opinions such as this ill-informed and hate-provoking column set Motorist - Cyclist Relations back considerably because it feeds the stereotypes of the ignorant-about-cycling public concerning the recreational and transportational benefits of cycling not to mention the legal rights of cyclists to sharing the road.

To say that all cyclists are rude, careless and filled with contempt for other road users is as wrong and ignorant as saying all motorists are the same toward cyclists. 

He owes the Cycling Community a huge apology.

The response to his attack has been swift and vocal, with over 158 and counting comments so far. ;-D

One interesting response to this casting of nasturniums on all cyclists came in the form of a column, today, by a British Triathlete, Alison Steed, who writes that "Piano wire is no laughing matter for the 150 cyclists who die each year":

To be fair, there are some inconsiderate cyclists around. But there are plenty of rotten drivers too, and the chances are that they will do more harm to us than we will do to them.

Agreed, on both counts.

Although Matthew was (probably) joking when he suggested putting piano wire across the road at head height, you may be surprised to learn that it does actually happen, albeit with fishing line in the instances I know of. What may seem a joke could end up killing someone - and for what, because you don't like cyclists, or cycling?

Until I see him in print make such a claim I must believe that he was serious.

It does not surprise me anymore what people will do to take their anger out on cyclists, from fishing wire across a trail, to reaching out the passenger side window of their car to push a cyclist in the side (Actually happened to me once! Read the 1st post I ever wrote for this blog 5 years ago.).

There are already so many other dangers. This year while out training for a triathlon I was knocked off my bike by a van driver who sent me flying into the verge and didn't even bother to stop to see if I was all right. Another cyclist had two pints of milk poured over her by louts in a car overtaking her, blinding her long enough to have had a bad crash if something had been coming close behind. Thank heavens there wasn't, but I doubt these idiots had planned it that way.

I use certain search terms to get Google Alerts about cycling stories in print, and am so disgusted by the number of accident stories end up in my in-box, not to mention the occasional attacks on cyclists.

Perhaps some people think these events are amusing, or even that we deserve it, but I cannot understand why. At least we are not clogging up NHS waiting lists with diseases that could be avoided with some cardiovascular.

The scary part is that there are people out there who DO think it's amusing and that we deserve it.

It is people like these who make un-informed cyclists think they are safer riding on the sidewalk.

Yes, we may ride two abreast at times, but more often than not we move out of the way. We pay taxes, too, and have every right to use the roads. So forgive us if that makes us “self-righteous”.

Most knowledgeable cyclists behave responsibly on the trail and on the street, taking the lane, calling out "On Your Left!", or "On Your Right!" in some countries, slowing down, moving right, merging left to make turns at intersections ( Or the other way in some countries.), and more, and it is irresponsible to blames us for the behavior of the inconsiderate, or un-educated few.

When I see dangerous, or impolite, behavior by cyclists I often say something to the miscreant and pass out a card, explaining that info that will make them a better cyclists can be found online if they take the time to look and learn.

Despite the ignorant and hateful reactions of a few I think I reach and educate more people than not.

As for bottles being slung into the hedgerows by cyclists - well, maybe this happens, I cannot say that it doesn't. But for anyone serious about the sport, over-the-counter bottles are useless - they don't fit on bottle cages and are extortionately priced. So maybe Matthew should point the finger at runners instead; I believe he can do a mean marathon himself.

She is right that over the usual sports drink bottle won't fit in a bottle cage.

She is wrong to join Mr. Parris in the finger pointing attempts to find a culprit unless she has actually seen such behavior.

The idea that all cyclists behave in the same appalling way as Matthew describes is as ridiculous as saying that all cyclists take performance-enhancing drugs. Some do, but clearly to label everyone that way is rubbish.

We cycle because we enjoy it, despite the dangers and the idiocy of some other road users. And a bit more consideration all round - from columnists and drivers as well as cyclists themselves - might do much to reduce the death toll.

She ends on a strong note.

Ignorance of the rules of the road are a problem on the part of both sides and education needs to be an ongoing thing for everyone in order to reduce, if not eliminate the dangers.

Her article has begun to get comments including from some who think it was an effort to mollify the Cycling Community.

The Dec. 27th article by Mathew Parris and comments: What’s smug and deserves to be decapitated?

The Dec. 31st article by Alison Steed, and comments: A Joke that Will Sicken Cyclists.

A Tip of the Hat to Tejvan Pettinger, of Cycling Info Blog, for bringing this to the attention of a wider audience, and writing a great response, and for finding a little humor in the situation afterall. ;-D

Aside from leaving a comment to the article by Mr. Parris, there are other ways to express yourself:

  • Make a Complaint at the Press Complaints Commission
  • Contact the Times directly
  • ****UPDATE 1/1/08****

    I've joind the New Year's Day Trackback Party over at Stop The ACLU  as a way to share this story and spread the word about BikeBlogs in general. ;-D

    ****END UPDATE****

    December 31, 2007 in Share the Road, and Trail: Safety Matters!, The Opinionated DUDE | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    August 25, 2006

    Hey, Typepad, A Bicycle Would Be Quicker!

    As everyone with a Typepad Blog knows the Six Apart folks have been adding features related to Technorati Tag creation, and Pinging.

    Now, in a fascinating, and revealing, 2 minute Video, that speeds up the lengthy journey, it is finally shown just how all our info gets delivered to Technorati!

    If you've set your blog to be publicized, you've got a direct connection to the most popular blog search service, and we make sure your TypePad blog gets priority handling on the way to rest of the web.

    After watching the clip all I can say is....

    How old school!

    A Bike Messenger would be faster! ;-D

    And before you ask: The time taken to lock, and unlock, the bike, and the fire hydrant visit by Fido, cancel each other out, still making the Bike Messenger faster. ;-D

    August 25, 2006 in The Opinionated DUDE | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 11, 2006

    A Thank You from the LACBC

    Received by e-mail yesterday:

    Kiril,
    It was a pleasure to meet you, and thank you for blogging about your visit to our office. Passion like yours is greatly needed in the cycling community. Keep it up!

    Monica Howe
    Outreach Manager
    Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition

    Encouragement like this, coming from a person far more deeply involved, and connected, in the Cycling Community than I will ever be means a lot to me.

    From my desk, here at The Maceyugoserbulgarigreekadonian Compound, I do what I can to make this site worth the visit ( And hoped for return visits, and links. ).

    Other than my stats, the only way I know for sure of its usefullness to others, is when comments are left to a post, someone links to a post, adds me to their Blogroll, or list of resources, or I get e-mails of various sorts too varied to describe.

    Thank You, Monica, for your kind words.

    August 11, 2006 in The Opinionated DUDE | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 09, 2006

    Thank You LACBC!

    The scene is a small, cramped, 8th floor office in an old, refurbished building in downton Los Angeles....

    The 2 members of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition are deep into discussing whatever it is that such advocates of cycling talk about during the long 8 hour days they put in at the office when in walks a dude wearing a bike helmet, and carrying a bag.

    The puts his finger to his lips, gazes mischieviously at them, and says:

    "There's a Right-Wing Cyclist in the building!"

    "Where?" is the reply...

    "Why, me, of course", says the helmeted one, with a smile, "I'm The Cycling Dude". ;-D

    Let me start at the beginning....

    A few days ago I received an e-mail from someone in LA named Valerie.

    She was looking for a route for a bike ride from downtown LA Balboa Park in San Diego her and some friends were hoping to take later this month.

    She is relative new to cycling, it seems, and bravely jumped in with some long distance rides before deciding on this one:

    I got into cycling this past Feb.- trained for the AIDS Lifecycle (SF to LA in
    early June).  It was a great experience, feeling stronger as the week progress.
    Prior to that I did a double century (Sat./Sun)from Santa Monica to Santa
    Barbara and back with Shifting Gears, which was fantastic.  This is purly a
    hobbie, but am used to riding for many hours at a time.  This weekend I did 2
    45 mile rides back to back.

    Having written about my rides from Seal Beach to Oceanside I was able to provide that part of the route, and tell her that she could get to Seal Beach, from the LA River Bikeway, on Pacific Coast Highway.

    It was the beginning , and ending, that needed to be worked out.

    I have long had a route from Oceanside to San Ysidro mapped out, but there was a question about one section north of downtown San Diego, along a dedicated Bike Trail, that I've had no answer for.

    This Sunday  I'll go down for a ride on this trail to get my answer.

    Yesterday I solved the 1st stage by exploring the portion of the LA River Bikeway, from Long Beach to Vernon, for the 1st time ( I'd done the Long Beach part years ago as part of a ride that begins on the Rio Hondo Trail in El Monte ).

    The ride to downtown LA, from where I started, at PCH, is a 23 mile ride, with Bikeway part about 15 miles of the ride.

    Getting off at the end point of the Bikeway, Atlantic Blvd. you continue with a nearby right on District/ Leonis Blvd., turn right on Soto, left on 1st, then right on Alameda to arrive at Union Station ( alternatively you could continue on Soto to turn left at Cesar Chavez, and ride to Union Station. ).

    The reverse of this is Vals start to her journey.

    It is one that will reward her with the joy of admiring some really cool mural artwork, on the sides of buildings, from those with Hispanic themes to one long, and gorgeous, one at the packing plant of a a very famous company, just before she leaves Soto to head for the Bikeway.

    Once I got to Union Station I had one more stop to make, before dinner, and that was the LACBC office on Spring St.

    I had only thought to stay for 15 min., leaving my card, and a few flyers, and maybe getting a few copies of the recent issues of their newsletter, but ended up visiting for just over an hour!

    Matt Benjamin is the Planning Director, and Monica Howe is the Outreach Manager, of the LACBC, and they were very interested in what I had to say about The Cycling Dude, and I spent time talking about it, my purposes, and goals, and showing it to them on their computer screens.

    They seemed suprised at the amount of links I'd compiled, and impressed by my efforts.

    I told them about an inaccuracy on the LA BIKE MAP that I discovered on my ride ( Leonis and District, are the same, with Downey Rd. the dividing line, but only Leonis is on the map. ), and informed them of the death of the creator of a certain popular website ( Ken Kifer ), and the history of Bike Shops ( See my sidebar for a list of old shops, and this archive. ), that they did not know.

    They were kind enough to provide me with a nember of things in addition to copies of their newsletter, The Bicycle Times ( Also available as a PDF Doc on their site. ):

    The 2005 Ventura County Bikeways Map.

    The 2003 Santa Clarita Bike Trails Map. ( This moring Parks and Rec promised to mail me the new one! )

    Pima County Az. -- SHARE THE ROAD 2006: A Guide for Bicyclists, and Motorists.

    This booklet is a wonderful little resource of tips, and vehicle code info, even detailing the cost of various fines!

    A phone call, this morning, to the office of the Tucson Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, will get me a copy of the current Pima County/Tucson Metro Bike Map sent in the mail!

    A Flyer about the Better World Club, which bills itself as providing the nations only Bicycle Roadside Assistance.

    THANK YOU LACBC!!

    In the 3 years I've been blogging I've focused so much on compiling links that I've not had time to explore them, and write about them, but now I believe it's time to start, thus doing more to explain why the sites are useful, and worth your time to explore, and make use of.

    Besides many of them are useful resources for cycling news, and events, to Blog about, as well.

    After my visit i rode over to one of the oldest ( Born in 1908! ), and most popular, restuarants downtown for dinner: Philippe: The Original.

    While it has an extensive menu it is justly famous for its French Dip Sandwiches.

    I had the Lamb, along with sides of their wonderful potato, and macaroni salads, washed down with 2 bottles of beer ( I took the train, and bus, home, so don't freak out! ).

    Best $15 I ever spent! ;-D

    The dining experience, and the atmosphere, of this establishment are hard to adequately describe in words. You must experience it to understand why people adore the place, including Dodger fans, and Bicyclists.

    After dinner I went to Union Station, and commited my 2 Good Deeds for the Day!

    2 cyclists recently arrived after a ride from Seattle were trying to find out what bus to take to get to Orange County, and where to catch it, and so i gave them my Bus book, and directions.

    An elderly, disabled African-American gentleman ws having a hell of a time figuring out the new ticket machines for Metrolink, so I, never having used the infernal contraption myself helped him get his ticket.

    I then headed downtown to start my own journey home, discovering along the way just how much the area is changing with new businesses, and expensive Loft Apartments sprouting in old buildings that the last time I was there, a few years ago, were long abandoned, and looked awful from the outside.

    Skid row is still there, and so are panhandlers, and crime, but real, significant, change is in the air in all parts of the downtown.

    August 9, 2006 in The Opinionated DUDE | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    June 17, 2006

    Memories

    Sorting thru those old route slips has brought back a flood of memories.

    Riding the 3 miles or so from my house in Pomona to Boneli Park, and then around Puddingstone Lake, before heading back home became a regular occurance for me in the mid 90's.

    I remember the squirrels, playing chicken with us cyclists, with amusement to this day. ;-D

    I used to ride into San Dimas Canyon, and up to the Dam, and back down, then up into a hillside section of San Dimas that took me to a wonderful downhill back down to Baseline Ave.

    Looking at the the old route slips I noticed that there were a few that I actually did, and marked down the miles.

    I rememer riding from Claremont to San Bernardino on which I husgged streets just below the foothills, and then went up old Cajon Blvd to Devore before heading west again, after "Eating at Joe's", to my Uncles house in Fontana.

    There is a small mountain range, a collection of hills really, that seperates Fontana from Riverside, and I once rode completely around the base of it, culminating in an excruciating climb up Sierra Ave from Riverside County back into San Bernardino County.

    I once rode from Ontario Mills Mall the 46 miles or so south, through the Cow Country of Chino, into Riverside County, past Corona, all the way to, and around, Lake Elsinore.

    I caught the last bus to Riverside only to learn that the bus I wanted to catch there, for some reason didn't have a bike rack, and so I had to rtake a different route, and ride another 18 miles to get home again.

    I rode from Pasadena to Pomona, and Pasadena to Whittier.

    I took the Metrolink Train to Santa Clarita so I could ride from there to Pasadena, mostly on Foothill Blvd, after a nifty ride through a pass on the Old Road that paralled the 5 freeway.

    I rode my bike from Pomona, thru Chino Hills, thru Carbon Canyon, and Yorba Linda to ride the Santa Ana River Bike Trail for the 1st time, all the way to Newport Beach.

    On a Mountain Bike.

    Damn I was tired! ;-D

    I rode a mountain bike for my 1st ride on the San Gabriel River, and Rio Hondo Trails, and my 1st excursion up into the San Gabriels on Highway 39, as well.

    I rode the Bike Ride that occurs before each LA Marathon, twice, and thus was introduced to a Critical Mass of riders that truly boggles the mind.

    No politcal antics here, just individuals, and families, out for a good time.

    I remember riding a tour of the city of LA, with hundreds of cyclists chaparoned by cops on Bikes, and a police car out in front as pace car, all to raise money for a cause.

    I rode around Griffith Park for the 1st time on another such tour of the city as part of the annual Bike Expo.

    I rode in the disasterous Critical Mass at the 2000 Democratic Convention in LA, and barely escaped being arrested.

    It was a while after this that I bought my current Trusty Steed.

    I have done a lot of cycling in the past decade, and taken  many photos to record my adventures.

    I look forward to many more years of doing both. ;-D

    June 17, 2006 in The Opinionated DUDE | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    June 14, 2006

    The Ride's the Thing

    Over a decade ago I took to riding my bike for more than just commuting to and from work, and shopping.

    One of my sisters encouraged this by suggesting I ride to, and around, Bonelli Park in San Dimas, CA.

    I learned of  books by the prolific Don and Sharon Brundige:

    Bicycle Rides: Los Angeles County - 4th ed. pub. in 2000.

    Bicycle Rides: Orange County - 5th ed. pub. in 2001.

    Bicycle Rides: San Diego and Imperial Counties - 2nd Ed. pub. in 1997.

    Bicycle Rides: Inland Empire - Revised Ed. pub. in 1994.

    Bicycle Rides: Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties - 2nd ed. pub. in 1998.

    These inspired me to venture even further out, camera in hand.

    In the process I also learned to love the Thomas Guide Map Books. ;-D

    I took rides in  LA, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Orange County between 1992 and 2002, and have several photo albums to show for the adventures.

    I set a project for myself:

    Using some of the routes by the Brundiges as a guide, I then used the Thomas Guide Map Books to expand on many of those rides by adding streets, and changing the routes to suit my interest, and whim, and also keeping in mind how I could get to the starting point by bus, or train, and home again the same way from the end point ( These were not round trips ).

    I then got the notion to pour over those Thomas Guides to create routes of my own, and these compose the majority of my collection of routes!

    I had this naive notion that I'd be able ride far more often than I ended up doing.

    Life has a way of getting in the way of what one hopes to accomplish in life, sometimes leading you down paths you never dream you will take.

    In Jan. 2003 I began this Blog, and in the following Spring moved to the OC.

    While I have written about bike rides taken in the last 5 years, those long, glorious, adventures have been infrequent, due to the things going on in my life.

    Therefore I've come to a decision:

    Why wait to share all those rides?

    I've got a 10 day vacation coming next month, and so I'm using part of it to kick start my return to the longer rides I've chronicled by taking the train, and riding outside the OC, a couple of times. ;-D

    I've got over 85 rides ( Distances and terrain, mostly unknown by me ), in several counties, in a notebook waiting for me to ride them before writing about them on the Dude.

    Problem is that they have been languishing for a decade!

    I am announcing the following initiative:

    To gradually post the routes ( After turning them into optional round trips in some cases, and seeing if there is a need to update them further. ), with bus, train, and car directions, and parking suggestions, and encourage readers to take the rides, and come back and leave comments on them.

    If, and when, I actually do a ride myself, then I will add an UPDATE to the post with one of my pattented Ride Essays, and maybe add pictures, too.

    Speaking of pictures... now that I've got a digital camera, I think I should try to return to all the rides I've written on before, here, and maybe add some pictures. ;-D

    MY ARCHIVES ARE AS FOLLOWS:

    Riding Los Angeles County.

    Riding Orange County.

    Riding Riverside County.

    Riding San Bernardino County.

    Riding San Diego County.

    Riding Santa Barbara County.

    Riding Ventura County.

    If anyone has suggestions for routes that I should explore and write about, send me an e-mail, and let me know.

    BTW, I have NOT forgotten the swag I brought home from my trip to the LA Times Travel Show in Jan. 2005. ;-D

    ***UPDATE - 6/16***

    I've divided the routes by county:

    LA COUNTY = 63

    ORANGE COUNTY = 8

    SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY = 5

    SAN BERNARDINO/RIVERSIDE = 11

    I also have 7 old LA WHEEMEN routes, and 3 I don't know who they are from.

    Maybe I'll add to, and embellish, those as well, eventually.

    *** END UPDATE***

    June 14, 2006 in The Opinionated DUDE | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 23, 2006

    Will My Bike Ever Forgive Me?

    More to the heart of the matter, will my FEET ever forgive me?

    I've been too pooped to post the last few days because I was involved in a competition at work that led me to forsake riding my bike during Ride to Work Week. ;-D

    A Supervisor picked this past week to have a contest at work that was intended to get folks off their asses, and exercising, and engender a little cameraderie.

    We have a parking lot that, when you walk 5 laps around it you will have walked a mile.

    From Sunday to Saturday whoever walked the most laps would win a portable DVD Player.

    Anyone who walked 20 laps would be entered in drawings for 2 other cool prizes.

    By Thursday  only 3 people were left in contention for the top prize:

    A 60 year old Caucasian Woman.

    A 20-Something African-American Woman.

    A 46 year old White Guy who normally bikes to work, and writes a BikeBlog.

    Look, I hadn't planned on winning this thing, honestly, but by Thursday I realized that I could easily do just that, and in fact should, and so pulled out all the stops.

    I had not come in on my days off like the 2 Ladies, but had come in an hour or so early, and stayed the same late each day.

    The 2 ladies were not being honest in their counts, and were trying to avoid posting their scores before me, even though they left for home each day before me.

    I decided that they needed to be taught a lesson in what the Honor System really meant.

    I came in 2 hours early on Friday, and 6 hours early on the last day, and did not post my scores until late Sunday, forcing 1 competitor to not only post her scores, but post a last day score half what she's posted the previous day ( Still not honest, though ).

    It was clear to all who won, and even to a few, I learned, what I had suspected.

    I walked 517 laps in 19 hours over 6 days, and won by 98 laps. ;-D

    With 3 Blisters my feet are terribly put out with me, and with a nifty matching red coloring, from Saturday, my lower legs are REALLY burrning with annoyance as well. ;-D

    Mr. Excitement's Neighborhood screamed at me parts of both last 2 days, especially as I hobbled that last afternoon, and evening, through the finishing laps. ;-D

    In situations like this you later learn that "Aloe Gel is your friend!". ;-D

    Anyway I'm going to be getting back in the saddle later this week, and just trust that the bike doesn't get a flat in revenge for my forsaking it for more than a week. ;-D

    May 23, 2006 in The Opinionated DUDE | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack