Monday, September 29, 2008

Bike Girl Locks Up Tight

While sipping her morning tea and reading the morning paper through the very stylish glasses perched on her nose, Bike Girl encountered some unfortunate news.

The Daily News reports with the increase in the number of cyclists using their bikes to connect with public transit, has come a spike in bike theft. The Daily News says 15 bikes have been stolen from Orange Line stations this year. That’s up from 10 last year. That includes 5 from the Balboa station and three from north Hollywood.

Bike Girl applauds the Angelenos who, like her, have eschewed their cars in favor of mass transit. But she worries that these commuters will become frustrated if their trusty steeds are stolen. For tips on the best way to lock a bicycle, click here. Bike Girl recommends Kryptonite and Anti-Jack locks.

In the meantime, while the LAPD seems determined to create barriers to prevent new cyclists from riding, the L.A. County Sheriff’s department is doing something to help the increasing numbers of bike commuters.

Sheriffs Deputy Dan Finkelstein told the Daily news that security cameras are not pointed towards Metro’s bike racks. He says the Department is asking Metro to change that. In the meantime, undercover deputies planted a bait bike at the North Hollywood station and arrested three people last week for stealing it.

Metro has suggested cyclists use the bike lockers provided at some stations to store their ‘cycles during their mixed-transit travels. However, Bike Girl has been told that some commuters have had difficulty obtaining a bike locker. She was informed by a Midnight Rida’ that he had been on a waiting list for a locker for months. Metro has also suggested commuters use folding bikes. Bike Girl thinks that for some commuters, folding bikes are an interesting idea. But she also points out that these bicycles are not common on the streets of L.A. and that many cyclists, herself included, are somewhat skeptical of them.

Bike Girl would like to encourage those commuters who’ve had their bicycles stolen to buy a cheap bike, an expensive lock, and get back on the horse. For more advice on how best to lock your bicycle, check out this video.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bike Girl Can't Resist A Challenge

Green L-A Girl seems to always be issuing various Challenges to Bike Girl. After all, a Green L-A Girl challenge is what sparked Bike Girl’s Car Free Month. Now 16 days into that challenge, a new one has been issued in the form of a bloggy chain letter.

Green L-A Girl has awarded Bike Girl a Tree of Happiness award. Bike Girl is not sure what the criteria for that award are, however, she is grateful. But the award comes with a challenge to list six things that make Bike Girl happy. In the spirit of this blog’s theme, Bike Girl will keep them bike-related:

1. Making-out at red lights while riding bikes with her Significant Other.
2. Commutes where no one honks
3. Beating the Metro Rapid bus across town
4. CRANK Mob
5. Long, smooth descents
6. Riding in a skirt

Bike Girl would like to in turn, award the Happiness Tree to:

1. Illuminate L.A.

These are all blogs Bike Girl enjoys. She encourages her loyal readers to check them out.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bike Girl Goes Car Free Day 9

Bike Girl is nothing if she's not determined. Yet, she seems to have hit a snag going from Car-Lite to completely Car-Free.

Our Protagonist has a tumultuous relationship with Mornings. While Bike Girl enjoys being up in the mornings puttering about her apartment, drinking a warm caffeinated beverage and reading a book. She sometimes cannot force herself out of her cozy nest and onto a bicycle to run errands.

Curiously, Bike Girl often rousts herself before a reasonable hour to don cycling-specific clothing and join other similarly-clad riders for fast-ish rides on the weekend. But when the errand involves a non-recreational obligation, the idea of mounting a bike becomes less attractive.

While she hates to admit it, Bike Girl did call in "sick" to a certain appointment she had early in the morning this week because she could not bear the thought of riding to it. For a few minutes, she debated a secret car trip. Since Bike Girl blogs anonymously, no one would know! However, that idea was soon shot down by Bike Girl's Conscience.

Bike Girl marveled at how a different way of getting around changed her priorities in only a week.

Our Protagonist is interested to hear if any other car-free folks have noticed they make fewer trips, or have otherwise changed their habits because of their mode of transportation.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bike Girl Vs The Cahuenga Pass Pt 2

Bike Girl has to apologize for a factual inaccuracy in a previous post. She had said in this post that between 13 and 20 streetlights were out on Cahuenga West between Barham and the Hollywood Bowl.

That's not quite true.

Bike Girl made another count and found that, in fact, there are 28 streetlights out on that stretch.

Now for the nit-pickers, Bike Girl will admit that two of those 28 are right in front of the Hollywood Bowl, so the number could be argued down to 26.

But on her commute to work today, Bike Girl noticed that the DWP is doing something to make up for the blackness in the Cahuenga Pass. In the middle of the day, half the streetlights were on.

So if 28 lights are out at night, but 28 others are left on in the day, does that cancel out? Bike Girl's Math says no.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Bike Girl Goes Car Free - Day 3

Day 3 of Bike Girl's Car-Free month was a pretty typical commute. She got on her Carbon Fibre Dream Machine and cruised to work. There, she changed into the clothes she had brought the day before and ate the food also brought the day before.

So Bike Girl would like to take this time to share some haikus about riding her Carbon Fibre Dream Machine.

My feet are clipped in,
maximum efficiency
ev'ry pedal stroke.

My thighs look so good
in my tight padded bike shorts.
You know that it's true!

I think I'm so fast,
'till an old man passes me.
Then, humility.


Follow Bike Girl's progress


Monday, September 8, 2008

Bike Girl Goes Car-Free - Days 1 and 2

Bike Girl was recently passed over for an interview by Green L.A. Girl on being a car-free lady. Bike Girl was initially outraged, but that outrage lasted only moments because, in fact, Bike Girl is not actually car-free.

Bike Girl has a history of driving to work Mondays with her clothes and food for the week and biking three days. She then would drive Fridays to pick up the empty Tupperware and dirty clothes. Bike Girl also has to admit that she occasionally gets lazy and just drives for no reason. For instance, last week, Bike Girl had an ear infection, which provided an excellent excuse to remain in bed until a half hour before work and drive.

This, Bike Girl realized, is not any way for someone whose Secret Identity includes the word Bike. So Bike Girl has challenged herself to be completely car-free for thirty days. The count-down began Sunday September 7th. Bike Girl will attempt to chronicle the adventure here.

Day 1 -

Bike Girl spent the morning finishing work on her new old bike which is outfitted with a rack and panniers so she can transport various Items. Satisfied that the bike was in good working order, she set out on a ride to meet fellow members of the Bike Writers Collective at an Undisclosed Location.

Just as Bike Girl and Homegrown Evolution blogger Erik rolled up to the Location, Bike Girl's rack suddenly collapsed. FAIL! A nut had disappeared during the ride and the screw was hanging precariously in its hole. Erik theorized that the nut had come loose due to vibration on the ride over. Bike Girl discovered another loose nut, but tightened it before it could fall off.

The ever-resourceful Bike Writers helped Bike Girl rig up the rack so that she could limp home.

Day 2 -

This morning was spent tightening all nuts and screws and the brake cables for a hopefully-less-eventful commute to Bike Girl's Place Of Employment. She loaded up both panniers with her clothes and food for the week and set off for her local Metro station.

Several roads were closed on the way, but since Bike Girl rides a bicycle, she was able to hop off and walk on the sidewalk with the bicycle past the construction, and hop back on without having to take a lengthy detour.

Bike Girl used the elevators on the Metro and wondered why something can't be done about the pervasive combination of smells. It seems that every elevator at every station smells like pee, disinfectant, and mildew.

Bike Girl anticipates the car free transition will be easiest during the first week, then become increasingly difficult.
Bike Girl has successfully completed the challenge. Read more here.
Here are some subsequent posts updating Bike Girl's progress

Friday, September 5, 2008

Bike Girl Vs The Cahuenga Pass

Bike Girl has a roughly 6 mile commute to work. This would ordinarily be extremely do-able. But as fate would have it, the commute has a mountain in the middle. This would ordinarily be only a mild deterrent to the physically-fit Bike Girl. But as fate would have it, the only way over that mountain, is via the Cahuenga Pass.

For those unfamiliar with the Cahuenga Pass, It connects Hollywood to Universal City/Burbank. Cahuenga Blvd is split in two by the 101 freeway, so the northbound side of Cahuenga is on the east side of the freeway, and the southbound side on the west.

Cahuenga West may be the most dangerous street for cyclists in the entire city. It runs along the 101 and is often treated as another lane of that freeway by speeding motorists. The right lane is full of potholes, grates, and manhole covers that are not flush with the roadway. It's also a hill.

If it wasn't the ONLY way to get from Universal City/Burbank to Hollywood, Bike Girl would absolutely avoid it at all costs. However, since it is the only option, Bike Girl says a small prayer and holds on to her handlebars with white knuckles and numb fingertips.

Adding to that danger is the fact that Bike Girl has to ride this stretch in the middle of the night on her way home from the evening shift at her Place Of Employment. Oh, and did Bike Girl mention that at least 13-20 of the streetlights on the most dangerous part of this stretch are out. So Bike Girl has to traverse this stretch of road in literal blackness. (The above photo of the blackness was snapped by Bike Girl in front of the building that says Alternative on Cahuenga West)

Bike Girl considers herself pretty brave. After all, she rides the mean streets of Los Angeles. But she has been brought nearly to tears more than once while talking about this terrifying leg of her commute and has required multiple pep-talks from her significant other.

Bike Girl even invested in a Road ID so that when she is inevitably hit or killed on this stretch of road, her Significant Other and Mom can be notified to identify her body. Bike Girl's Significant Other was so worried about her; he purchased an extremely expensive, extremely powerful Nightrider light for her trusty cycle.

Bike Girl notified the city of this horribly dangerous streetlight outage in early August, but weeks later, it hasn't been corrected.

Bike Girl is more concerned because with the path through Griffith Park closed to cyclists during the Griffith Park Light (irony?) Festival, it will be absolutely the only option for more cyclists (Bike Girl gets off work after the park is closed and cannot utilize that way home.)

This stretch of Cahuenga is in Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge's district. Since Mr. LaBonge purports to be a friend to cyclists, Bike Girl would like to invite him to make this bike commute with her one evening to see how dangerous it is.

Bike Girl is calling for

1. Adequate Lighting (starting with fixing existing street lights)

2. Enforcement of existing speed limits to calm traffic and increase safety for all travelers

3. Repaving of this road, especially the right side

4. Opening Griffith Park to cyclists, not only during the Light Festival, but year round through the night so that there is more than one option for travel over the Hill.

Cyclists have the right to traffic signals, signage and maintenance standards that enable and support safe cycling according to Article 7 of the Cyclists Bill of Rights which is supported by Council Members Wendy Gruel, Bill Rosendahl, and Eric Garcetti.

Bike Girl cordially invites Tom LaBonge to drop her an email at bikegirlblog (at) gmail (dot) com and check out L.A.'s most dangerous street.

Related Posts:

Bike Girl Vs The Cahuenga Pass Pt 2

Bike GIrl Gets Stood Up

Bike Girl Watches YouTube

That New York Critical Mass rider who was knocked off his bike by a cop has had all charges against him dropped. Christopher Long was arrested after the incident in July for allegedly obstructing traffic and deliberately riding his bike into an officer.

But thanks to a bystander who was filming the whole thing, a video posted on YouTube shows NYPD Officer Patrick Rogan actually shoved Long off his bike as he tried to steer out of the way.

Officer Pogan has been assigned to desk duty while police continue to investigate.