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May 31, 2004

When Activism Hurts Cycling

A month ago I wrote about a website promoting an event that I felt would give a bad name to cycling activism.

The piece, about Bicycling in the Buff, got 2 comments of particular note, 1 of which deserves a response.

Pete, I AM large, and am actively working on becoming newsworthy. ;-)

The number of visitors to this place since the relaunch, in March, has far outrstripped the number of visitors to my other blog over the first few months of ITS beginning.

My growing list of links is unique in the Bloggerve..... what's that? You say you thought I was talking about the size of something ELSE?

I thought that was what YOU meant. ;-)

Seriouslly, though, last I heard nudity in most public places was illegal, at least in America.

My problem, though, has much more to do with the Ultra-Liberals, Far-Leftists, Environmentalist Wacjkos, and Anarchists behind the scenes of the Critical Mass Movement, who often have an agenda not neccessarily in keeping with the best interests of Bicycling, and Bicyclists.

The events, and methods of protest, these groups use are often dangerous to cyclists, and motorists, and many folks who attend these events find themselves in situations they didn't bargain for ( My Critical Mass experience ).

Motorists, and others in the general public, witness these events, and come away with negative impressions of Bicycling Advocates, and bicyclists in general.

The Media reports these events as if they were important and newsworthy, when they are not, and in the cases where a protest turns ugly, and arrests result, the media coverage hurts legitimate cycling advocacy efforts.

Is it any wonder some folks hate cyclists, and believe, misguidedly, that we don't belong on the road with them and their Cars?

The truth of the matter is that these protesters, and activists, are a miniscule number among the worlds advocates, and riders, and their positive impact is easily offset by the negatives.

The overwhelming majority of advocates are engaged in efforts that give a positive image of Cyclists, and are accomplishing good, and important, things everyday.

The News Media would do well to notice, and would provide a great service if they covered this more often.

One of my goals here is to do just that, as often as I can, and to also take note of those things I think are not in the best interests of Road Cycling, and Cyclists.

As long as I have been cycling there is still a lot I do not know, but one thing my links, and reporting, will allow me to do, as well as my readers, is to continue to learn.

The more informed I am, the better, and the more informed my readers are, the better off they will be.

By the way, MY spot in society is far from a comfy one, and I don't even own a car.

I'm a recovering ex-Liberal, whose politics are moving steadily further to the right on many issues.

May 31, 2004 in Critical Mass, The Opinionated DUDE | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 30, 2004

For Cyclists, it's a Stretch

When taking a bike ride of any real length like 10 miles or more, have you ever thought of the benefits of a few minutes of stretching BEFORE, and even AFTER, your ride?

I used to never do it myself, until I learned why I should.

Here is an article on James Raiia's website that makes for informative reading.

Stretching: It's For Cyclists, Too
by Brad Walkert

May 30, 2004 in The Well Read Cyclist | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bicycling Yosemite

James Raia has written an excellent piece on a Cycling trip through Yosemite National Park sponsored by The Sacramento Wheelmen, and the Sacramento Bike Hikers.

With rides named Jolly Old East Nicolaus, Deviled Ham Sandwich and Pepe Le Pew's Stinkin' Sweaty Ride, two Sacramento-area cycling clubs offer escapades for beginners to experts.

The Sacramento Wheelmen and Sacramento Bike Hikers also offer popular tours to Yosemite National Park, where embellishment or clever nicknames aren't needed.

"We sort of hijacked this ride from the Sacramento Wheelmen," said a chuckling Steve Cimini, who with co-organizer Hazi Alwan recently traveled with about two dozen Bike Hikers members on a five-day journey to the park. "They put on a similar tour, and Hazi and I participated in it a few years ago. We kind of looked at each and said, 'You know, we could do a better job.' "

Cimini's remarks speak to the friendly nature between the two clubs and also to the attractive nature of pedaling in Yosemite, an exceedingly popular destination. Both clubs offer the same approach - recreational enjoyment.

Read the full piece here:

Cycling in Yosemite: A Pedaler's Paradise

May 30, 2004 in The Well Read Cyclist | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 27, 2004

Macon Bikin'

Bike to Work Week gave many newspaper reporters story material, and did wonders for spreading the word about bicycling.

One such story was by Joe Kovak, Jr. of the Macon Telegraph, in Georgia.

His story begins:

Colin Whelan had been riding his bicycle to work for more than 20 years and thought he'd encountered most everything - mad motorists, bumpy roads, dense fog - until one morning last summer when, splat, he was struck head-on by a jelly doughnut.

"It caught the very edge of my helmet and I had this jelly going right down the side of my body," Whelan says.

The incident didn't deter him from his commuting habit - 10 miles to work, each way - to and from Robins Air Force Base.

"At least it wasn't a beer can," Whelan says.

His story goes on to share the views of several local bicyclists on the benefits of commuting by bike, and why they do it.

This was a nice human interest story that will hopefully get more folks on bicycles.

Middle Georgia cyclists relish riding to work--5/17/04

May 27, 2004 in Cycling News Network | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 24, 2004

Venturing Forth for a Worthy Cause

When I took my ride from San Clemente to Oceanside, the other day, I came upon a group of riders who DID get permission to ride through Camp Pendleton itself that day.

7 riders ( 5 guys, 2 gals ) on a cross country trip from San Diego to Alaska on a ride preparing them for the much longer journey they are going to undertake later this summer.

These people belong to an organization called VENTURE.

It is "an adventure-mentoring organization using outdoor expeditions to benefit the world and discover the soul."

The team leader Jimmy Papia , and Stephanie Falk took a few minutes to talk with me, and they told me how they got permission to ride through the base apparently believing the only other option was to go all the way around somehow, instead of up the freeway.

I passed out some of my cards, and wished them well.

This summer these young people will bicycle from Alaska to Panama in six weeks to raise $30,000 for Cry Africa, an organization committed to fighting AIDS and spreading the gospel in Africa.

The website for the organization is here: VENTURE.

On this page are links to an info page about the organization, a link to the list of team members, and a link to a page which will house the content of their journal about their journey after it begins.

I wish them well, and will check the journal over the summer to see how they are doing.

May 24, 2004 in EVENT GUIDE (California and Selective Others) | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Celsius 1414 Revisited

I have paid another visit to a blogger I discovered a few weeks ago, and have found 2 pieces well worth your reading pleasure.

The first piece should serve as inspiration to all cyclists.

Itseems that Robert has had several bouts with illness that left him unable to enjoy cycling, but he has slowly begun to return to health, and regained the physical fitness to pull off some difficult rides for him.

He begins:

A year and a half ago when I got back into cycling after being sick, I wanted to head to this park about a mile away from our house. It's (a relatively mild) uphill all the way, with the park itself sitting on a big hill with a keen view of the valley and mountains in the distance. Unfortunately I was so out of shape, I couldn't make it. In fact, I could barely make it to the base of the park's hill, having to walk my bike the rest of the way.

Read about how he has not only tackled that hill, but taken a much further ride, in
The Hill.

In an amusing little tale Robert tells about nearly being responsible for an unusual potential victim of road kill, in Snake in the gutter.

Celsius 1414 is being added to my List of Cycling Bloggers. :-)

May 24, 2004 in Blogging Cyclists | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 23, 2004

Cyclists and Atlanta Radio Station Make Nice

The League of American Bicyclists is reporting that bicyclists in Atlanta, and the management of a local radio station have agreed on what to do about a dispute over comments made on on an April edition of the Don Miller Show.

The actions include disciplinary action against the hosts of the show, an on-air apology, and the broadcasting of a series of public service announcements promoting bicycle safety.

The agreement was hastened by a local and national outcry from bicyclists and pressure on the parent company of WNNX and Susquehanna. "Once again, bicyclists reacted with fury to a mindless attack on our right to the road and our safety," said Andy Clarke, Executive Director of the League of American Bicyclists.

The radio station's parent company had written a statement that reads in part:

"All of our Senior Managers have been apprised of the issues raised by this incident and directed to convey to the individual stations that such material will not be tolerated by our stations."

The League will work with the parent company to deliver a series of PSA promoting safe bicycling and sharing the road on Susquehanna radio stations nationwide.

Local advocacy groups met with folks at the local station, and the show hosts have apologized on air and the station will air a series of public service announcements (PSA) to promote safe bicycling, National Bike Month, and sharing the road (including ABC's Share the Road Century in September). Other promotional efforts are also being considered.


May 23, 2004 in Cycling News Network | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bush Bounced By Bicycle

Proof positive that either the President of the United States should stick to Road Cycling, or that his Mountain Bike is a secret Democrat.

We already knew that John Kerry's Bike is a Republican so it was only a matter of time before a Liberal was discovered among the Presidential Recreational Entourage.

President Bush suffered cuts and bruises early Saturday afternoon when he fell while mountain biking on his ranch, White House spokesman Trent Duffy said.

Bush was on the 16th mile of a 17-mile ride when he fell, Duffy said. He was riding with a military aide, members of the Secret Service and his personal physician, Dr. Richard Tubb.

"He had minor abrasions and scratches on his chin, upper lip, nose, right hand and both knees," Duffy said. "Dr. Tubb, who was with him, cleaned his scratches, said he was fine. The Secret Service offered to drive him back to the house. He declined and finished his ride."

Bush was wearing his bike helmet and a mouth guard when the mishap occurred. Duffy said he didn't know exactly how the accident happened.

"It's been raining a lot and the topsoil is loose," the spokesman said. "You know this president. He likes to go all out. Suffice it to say he wasn't whistling show tunes.""

When told about Bush's mishap, Kerry said, "I hope he's OK. I didn't know the president rode a bike."

I find it very hard to believe that Kerry had no clue that the President was not a bicyclist.

Bush Suffers Cuts, Bruises While Biking

Memo to Mr. Kerry:

Psst... The SHRUB likes Bicycles, Pass it On!

May 23, 2004 in Cycling News Network | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Camp Pendleton Route Follow-up

On May 3rd I wrote about the only route I knew about to get through the Camp Pendleton region, from San Clemente to Oceanside.

Several people left comments that only led to more questions, and showed me that we all needed a clearer picture of what our options were.

Cycling South Thru Camp Pendleton to Oceanside.

After several phone calls, and the asking of questions I took the 18.25 mile, 2 hour ride on Wednesday afternoon, and evening.

This entry is the 100th entry to The Cycling Dude, and what follows is my report of my ride.

Let me begin by acknowledging the following people, and agencies, for taking the time to answer my questions:

Ranger Zone of the Orange County District Office of the Ca. State Parks & Recreation Dept..

CHP Officer Latulippe, of the Oceanside Office.

A helpful MP at Camp Pendleton.

Laura Williams, Secretary of Traffic Operations for District 11 of CalTrans Traffic Dept..

The route described by me earlier, for getting from Las Pulgas Gate to Oceanside is only good during times when civilian access to Camp Pendleton is not restricted.

That time is not right now.

Right now anyone driving a car, or riding a bike, needs to have a Military ID to travel anywhere on the base, or be accompanied by a person with such ID in order to do so.

The other option is actually a year round option for those unwilling to travel through the base when the choice to do so is available.

Instead of going left from the bike path to the Gate, a cyclist turns right, goes under the I-5, and enters the southbound entrance to the Interstate.

Let me begin at the beginning:

( All distances are aproximate )

By car one takes I-5 south to the Christianitos Rd. exit, and turn left to park on the street, or in a parking lot next to the nearby Carl's Jr. restuarant, on El Camino Real.

By Bus a person can connect to the OCTA #1 anywhere along PCH ( Pacific Coast Highway ), from Long Beach to San Clemente, and take the #1, south, to the end of the line next to the Carl's Jr..

The Bike Path begins next to the southboud entrance to I-5, on Christianitos.

The first mile is on a wide path that finally narrows to enter old PCH, and after another hilly mile and a half you reach Surf Beach.

At 3.8 miles you arrive at the entrance to San Onofre State Park Bluff, and Campgrounds.

This area is open from 6am to 10pm.

By this time you have passed the Nuclear Power plant, and have hugged the freeway, and railroad tracks.

Now you are entering a widened stretch of road that has a series of more than 150 parking spots for campers, and more campground restrooms than you can shake a stick at.

There are numerous opportunities to stop, park your bike, and traipse down a path to the beach if you are so inclined.

During the busy summer season this stretch can be a tad hazardous to navigate because of the campers, their offsping, and their pets, and so caution is the watchword.

At the 7 mile mark thru traffic ends at a fence, and a bike path begins as you travel beyond the Campground, and travel onwward.

At 8.2 miles you can take a path, to the right, that ends overlooking the beach.

At 8.8 miles the trail veers left, under the Interstate, and then right again, so that you are now to the east of I-5, and on an abandoned stretch of road that has been turned into a marked Bike Trail.

This trail ends at 10.33 miles when you reach Las Pulgas Road.

The ride, so far, has been a scenic ride, of solitude, on mostly flat terrain, in stretches of near wilderness, except for the concrete, and campground ammenites.

Now, turning right, the cyclist travels under the interstate, and turns left to enter I-5, and travel along the freeway shoulder for the next nearly 8 miles to the Oceanside Harbor Dr. exit in Oceanside.

The ride has a few hilly stretches that are no big deal, and there are a couple of exits, and on-ramps for a rest stop where you will have to watch traffic very carefully, but otherwise this ride among the gas guzzlers is quite uneventful, as you travel through Camp Pendleton.

You will be reminded to get off when you see the white sign, with black letters telling Cyclists it is now time to exit the intersate. :-)

Go right on Oceanside Harbor, to reach the Harbor itself, or turn left, then right, past the gas stations, and Denny's, and onto Old Highway 101 to reach a bus stop for the North County Transit Bus #395 located a few blocks away at the Robertito's Taco Shop at Surfriders Way.

If you wish to retrace your route, by bicycle, just get back on the norhtbound I-5 and have at it, when you are ready.

I went and talked to 2 MP's at the base entrance nearby, and learned from Mr. Andres, and Mr. Collins, that the surface street route supposedly isn't that much longer than the route I'd just taken.

However, after seeing it by bus, I have to wonder.

From Christianitos Gate to Oceanside Harbor Gate has got to be a LONG haul, but I also believe the ride from Las Pulgas to Oceanside may make for a 23 mile, instead of 18 mile ride, at least.

The bus runs every 2 hours, and is always packed. Bring your drivers license, or state ID, or you won't be allowed on the bus.

Oh, and bring $1.75 for the fare.

The bus ride gives you an up close, 90 minute, view of the base.

The route follows, pretty much, the route a Cyclist would take, except for detours through several of the Camps to drop off or pick up soldiers, and civilians.

The south end of the territory is full of residential areas, complete with shopping centers, near various bases, but the further north one goes the more distant the bases are from each other, and the more rugged, mountainous, and hilly the terrain becomes, and the roads become 1 lane in either direction in many sections.

This is a ruggedly beautiful region.

A cyclist will find him, or herself, alone with nature, and the rugged beauty of the the surrounding countryside, and would have to come well prepared for at least a partial day trip by bringing plenty of liquids, snacks, and a spare tube or 2.

I envy those who have the opportunity to bike through this region whenever they have the chance to do so.

One amusing thing I saw was a sign for the 11 Marines NBC Defense.

I laughed as I imagined our military preparing to defend itself from Tom Brokaw, and wondered if there was an ABC, CBS, PBS, and CNN Defense as well. :-)

Anyway, there you have it.

This should clear up, once and for all, the options for bicycling through this area.

If there is anyone who has ridden the base from Las Pulgas Gate to Christianitos Gate, or the reverse, share the route, and your experiences with us, for future reference.

*** UPDATE -- MARCH. 2005 ***

The Route described in my previous post has been re-opened as described here

May 23, 2004 in Riding San Diego County | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

May 18, 2004

Raising Funds for Bike Path at UC Santa Barbara

This is an interesting story being reported in the May 2004 QUICK RELEASE, the newsletter of the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition:

Students vote for bikes

Students at UCSB recently voted for an assessment of $3 per student/quarter through summer of 2007 to pay for a new campus bikepath. The path, costing an estimated $500,000, will provide a missing link in the bikepath network.
The initiative was sponsored by the Associated Students BIKES committee headed by Edward France. The 120-yard path will serve not only students traveling between Chemistry and Engineering, but also other bicyclists coming from the Obern Trail and wishing to connect to the UCen, the "Pardall Corridor" bikepath, and Isla Vista.
Initial work could begin this summer with moving a trailer and landscaping, but the actual path may wait until 2005. At the same time, students voted to continue supporting the Associated Students' Bike Shop with a $0.75/student quarter fee.

May 18, 2004 in Cycling News Network | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack