Take Action: Carson Master Plan of Bikeways watered down

July 30, 2013 at 10:26 am | Posted in Bike News, Get Involved | 3 Comments

We are asking those who live, play, or work in Carson to send emails to Carson City Council and advocate for the originally drafted Bike Plan.  Since the draft plan was released, bike lanes on Avalon, Watson Center Road, and Wilmington have been removed, including cycle-tracks on Albertoni and University.  

The opportunity for Carson to provide real improvements to encourage safe bicycling has hit a snag.  What was originally planned to be a robust network of bike routes, bike lanes, and separated cycle-tracks has been watered down due to opposition, namely from the Watson Land Company and the StubHub Center, formerly the Home Depot Center.  Given a recent bicyclists’ death in Carson, we hope that elected officials realize the urgent need to make the streets of Carson safer.

The City of Carson has been working on developing their Master Plan of Bikeways for over a year to build off of a few scatterings of bike lanes and bike routes in the city.  Community support grew as the project moved ahead, with several well-attended community meetings, biking events, and consultation with city staff and the bicycling community.  Over the course of this process, the Master Plan of Bikeways evolved into a draft that the community was impressed with and grew confidence in.

Since then, major players in the city have put their foot down in opposition to parts of the plan.  At June’s Planning Commission meeting, StubHub Center (home to the Velo Sports Center) and Watson Land Company were successful in diluting the proposed plan, which in its current form, is heading to City Council on August 6th.

Here are the arguments against certain aspects of the plan, and who was behind them.

  • The Watson Land Company expressed concern about installing bike lanes where there is heavy truck traffic, which include many of the arterials in Carson because of the large industrial presence in the city.  Watson Land Company believes bicyclists are put in danger if encouraged to ride in bike lanes alongside heavy traffic.  Despite the plan’s effort to install colored buffered bike lanes along Wilmington Avenue, where no travel lanes would be removed and is one of the few North/South corridors in Carson, Watson still rejected the idea and had the project removed.  The same goes for Watson Center Road, originally planned for a standard bike lane without having to remove a travel lane, now gone.

Watson Land Company has always prefaced their disinterest in bicycle improvements in Carson with safety of bicyclists as their main concern.  Unfortunately the feelings are not based in reason.  Time and time again we see studies that show bicycle lanes make it safer for bicyclists, marking a clear designation for bicyclists and other users of the road.  It appears Watson Land Company wants to maintain the status quo, where currently bicyclists and trucks need to share the same travel lane, and somehow in their minds that is safer.

  • StubHub Center (what used to be the Home Depot Center) also cited safety concerns and disruption of traffic flow to/from their facility, specifically by installing cycle-tracks and bike lanes on Central, Victoria, and University.  These streets (and Avalon) encompass both StubHub Center and Cal State Dominguez Hills, where many people bicycle to campus and also to the Velodrome.  Despite their main parking lots facing Avalon and Victoria, StubHub Center was able to exclude cycle-tracks on University from the plan because it would require the removal of one travel lane.  Albertoni was also eliminated from the plan because of concerns of ingress/egress for StubHub Center despite the fact that it does not affect the 91 Freeway on/off ramps’ turn lanes.  The StubHub Center has asked that we clarify their position – you can find their letter citing specific concerns in a commission report here.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition is looking to continue to advocate for safer streets for all users in Carson.  As we anticipate passage of the Carson Master Plan of Bikeways at August 6th’s City Council meeting, we want to make sure that the integrity of the approved plan is based on sound studies and rooted in desires from the community.  We strongly disagree with Watson Land Company’s assertion that adding bike lanes to a corridor will make biking more unsafe.

Take Action: Tell Carson City Council to preserve the Master Plan of Bikeways’ original intent of having a cycle-track on Albertoni and University, and preserving the proposed bike lanes on Avalon, Watson Center Road, and Wilmington. 

If you cannot make the meeting on August 6 at 6 p.m., please call Mayor Dear at 310-952-1700 ext 1000 and email the rest of council at:

jdear@carson.ca.us
myfrancisone@yahoo.com

lholmes@carson.ca.us
mgipson@carson.ca.us
arobles@carson.ca.us

City of Los Angeles Turns Attention Back to Hit-and-Run Epidemic

July 24, 2013 at 11:32 pm | Posted in Bike News | 5 Comments

The Public Safety Committee will hear the LAPD report on Friday, July 26th at 8:30 AM in City Hall Room 1010.  Please join LACBC in requesting that the City take a leadership role to fix state law to increase penalties for hit-and-run.  You can also write the committee members at councilmember.englander@lacity.org, councildistrict15@lacity.org, councilmember.bonin@lacity.org, and councilmember.ofarrell@lacity.org.

Los Angeles’ high rate of hit-and-run collisions disproportionately affects bicyclists and pedestrians, the most vulnerable travelers on our city’s streets.  Many of us have friends left injured by fleeing drivers, or have been victims ourselves.  The Los Angeles Police Department, at the direction of Councilmember Joe Buscaino, produced a report with hard numbers confirming our perceptions: nearly 60% of those severely injured or killed by hit-and-run drivers are pedestrians and another 14% are bicyclists.

That is over 90 pedestrians and 20 bicyclists being severely injured or killed in the City of Los Angeles every year.  The number of bicyclists severely injured or killed spiked to 31 in 2011–almost 3 per month.

By any measure, this is an unacceptable crisis in public safety.  LACBC eagerly awaited the LAPD’s report detailing steps the department is taking to curtail the hit-and-run epidemic.  Unfortunately, the report made considerable effort to debunk the LA Weekly article and defend the City’s hit-and-run rate as comparable to other cities.  Deeper analysis reveals the opposite: Los Angeles continues to be among the worst cities, behind only Chicago in injury and fatal hit-and-runs per capita.  Angelenos have a greater than 1 in 1,000 chance of being injured or killed in a hit-and-run every year.

How does the LAPD come to a different conclusion?  Instead of calculating exposure to hit-and-run like any other crime stat (i.e. how likely is a person to be a victim), LAPD chose to compare hit-and-run rates per vehicle-mile traveled (VMT).  Because Angelenos are addicted to their cars and drive more per person than all other cities compared in the report, this dilutes our hit-and-run rate in the department’s analysis.  Cities with more pedestrians and bicyclists and less driving come out as more dangerous in the LAPD’s report, despite being considerably safer.  LAPD’s report calculates that New York is 56% more dangerous than Los Angeles.  In fact, Angelenos are 122% more likely to be the victim of an injury or fatal hit-and-run than New Yorkers.  The result is highly misleading and undermines the sense of urgency to fix the problem and make our streets safer.

Ranking by Per VMT Hit-and-Run

  1. Chicago
  2. New York
  3. Houston
  4. Los Angeles
  5. San Francisco
  6. Seattle

Ranking by Per Capita Hit-and-Run

  1. Chicago
  2. Los Angeles
  3. Houston
  4. Seattle
  5. New York
  6. San Francisco

Despite this flawed comparative analysis, LAPD does make strong recommendations to change department practices, improve data collection, and amend state law.  These proposals align closely with LACBC’s priorities and we look forward to working with LAPD and the City Council to push for state legislation to enhance hit-and-run penalties.

Climate Ride 2013 Recap

June 20, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Posted in Bike News, LACBC Events | 1 Comment
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Congratulations to our LACBC team for completing the 5-day, 320-mile California Climate Ride! Our team and individual members not only met their fundraising goals, but Team LACBC was also the highest fundraising team!

Team LACBC enjoying a free beer for being the team with the most money generated!

Team LACBC enjoying free beer for being the team with the most money generated! Photo courtesy of Lisa Liberati.

We’re catching up with some of our riders who participated in this ride. We first have Gregory Laemmle. Greg led the LACBC team as the team captain and also in terms of fundraising. He was pleasantly surprised that people generously donated to his ride so readily.

“People are concerned about climate change,” Greg says.  “Maybe not enough to become daily bike commuters, or to put solar panels on their roof, but concerned.  And so they were generally only too happy to contribute toward this cause.  I relied strictly on mass e-mails and Facebook posts.”

In terms of training, Greg was thoroughly prepared for this ride, although he had to make a few adjustments in his schedule to make time on the weekends for longer rides. What Greg really enjoyed about these ride was that a few friends and other Climate Riders tagged along with him to train. He also was able to ride in new places such as Nichols Canyon and Old Mulholland Highway. Being able to ride 50 miles on consecutive days allowed him to climb over 20,000 feet with no aches, pains, or injuries.

Greg is already extremely excited for next year’s ride, and even though they may change the route, he knows that it will open up more opportunities for other riders to see different scenic parts of California. He is also proud of the LACBC team for raising the most fundsand cannot wait for recruitment. He hopes to bring a larger team, as well as raise more dollars.

Next we have one of our featured riders, Michael Rippens. As Michael prepared for this race, he worried about the weather conditions for the Climate Ride with previous rides being faced with rain. Luckily this year, the ride did not have to deal with rainy weather and everyone fared with beautiful, sunny days, with the tradeoff of some heavy wind.

One of Michael’s misfortunes during this ride was a slight “wardrobe malfunction” where his wind vest got caught into his front wheel which caused him to flip over. Luckily he did not have any serious injuries and was able to finish the ride. To top it off, Michael was able to challenge himself by doing the optional century ride on Day 3!

Here’s a quick scenic video of the ride!

Lastly, Michael felt that even through the struggles, the ride was completely worth it. “But, the best part about the Climate Ride, by far, was all the amazing and inspirational people I met along the way. Each and every rider and support person had an interesting personal story as well as a passion for cycling, preserving the environment and making our world a better place to live. I certainly made some lifelong friends on the ride and I can’t wait ‘til next year to do it all over again!” As it was an unforgettable experience for him, he along with Greg cannot wait for next year!

Team LACBC after the ride at San Francisco City Hall! Photo courtesy of Lisa Liberati.

Team LACBC after the ride at San Francisco City Hall! Photo courtesy of Lisa Liberati.

Thank you to all of the Team LACBC Climate Riders: Lisa Liberati, Laurie Gelardi, Kathy Gelardi, Marc Horwitz, Leonard Laub, Yvonne Ascher, John Cork, Michael Rippens, and team captain Greg Laemmle!

Thanks again to our intern Vincent Ho for writing recap of the ride and to Michael Rippens and Greg Laemmle for speaking with us!

Spring Street to Remain Green-ish

June 19, 2013 at 9:44 pm | Posted in Bike News | 5 Comments
Compromise design for Spring Street bike lane

Compromise design for Spring Street bike lane

By now you’ve probably heard that the beloved Spring Street green bike lane is set to receive a makeover. Today’s vote by the City Council scales back a project that was installed in late 2011 to much fanfare and acclaim by downtown residents, bicyclists, and livable streets advocates. Despite steadfast support from Councilmember Huizar and the Downtown LA Neighborhood Council, film industry representatives were able to repeatedly delay the vote and force a compromise.

While the outcome is a step backward for the continued revitalization of Spring Street through downtown’s Historic Core (the Spring Street Park opened just this week!), the new design is not all bad for bicycling Angelenos. Today’s decision begins the next chapter of the City’s green lane pilot program, which tested different designs and materials on Spring Street and on 1st Street in Boyle Heights. As a result, LADOT now has a much better idea how to install green lanes to maximize their effectiveness while minimizing their cost. The compromise design preserves much of the safety benefit of the full green treatment at a fraction of the cost since color is only used at the most important locations. In some ways, the final* design on Spring takes the best of both existing pilot green lanes to create a hybrid approach. The savings from the Spring Street repainting will get poured back into bike infrastructure elsewhere in the city, including potentially new green lanes.

Which bike lanes would you like to see painted green? Let us know in the comments.

Please take a moment to thank Councilmember Huizar for being a champion of livable streets in the City of Los Angeles. From bike lanes to parklets to bike corrals, Huizar is leading the charge to reclaim our streets for people. You can email him at councilmember.huizar@lacity.org.

*The compromise design approved today includes elements that have not before been used in the United States and will require a request to experiment from the California Traffic Control Devices Committee. A decision by the CTCDC may alter the ultimate design to improve safety.

Thank You from the 13th Annual Los Angeles River Ride

June 13, 2013 at 5:28 pm | Posted in Bike News, LACBC Events | 1 Comment
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Photo: Brian Minami

We at LACBC are in our 13th year for the River Ride, and each year we have different experiences, challenges, and triumphs in putting this massive event together. This year, we added a new ride–the 25-mile Long Beach Loop– and 2,400 riders came out to ride the river on a gorgeous Sunday. As always, we would like to thank the army of folks who helped make the River Ride possible: the participants, to the volunteers, the sponsors, and the supporters.

Thank you to the following people and organizations:

  • Stewart and Lynda Resnick– The ride wouldn’t have been possible without them.
  • Former Mayor Richard Riordan, for his sponsorship and for leading off the rides
  • Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, his deputy Lori Wheeler Garcia, and NBCUniversal, as well as River Revitalization Corps. for their work on the River and the beginnings of Greenway 2020
  • Our LACBC River Ride Fundraisers: River Ride Fundraising Champion Nancy “Tish” Laemmle, Carrie Ungerman, Paul Des Marais, Douglas John, Kevin Hopps of Team Hopps, and Sebouh Asparian
  • LA River Swim Team and Fathers and Sons for playing music for us
  • Councilmember Tom LaBonge for the potties
  • Councilmember Ed Reyes for all his support over the years, he was given the Howard D. Krepack Service to Cycling Award
  • CH2MHILL, a longtime River Ride supporter
  • Pocrass & De Los Reyes, our  new friends and new supporters
  • Laemmle Theatres, longtime River Ride supporters
  • County Supervisor Don Knabe and Deputy Erin Stibal
  • County Supervisor Gloria Molina and Deputies Teresea Villegas and Martha Jimenez
  • New Belgium Brewing and Aimme Gilchrist, our longtime friends and supporters who made the VIP beer garden and booth possible and donated another awesome New Belgium Cruiser Bike to our Runner-up fundraiser
  • The REACT team for keeping everyone on the paths safe
  • INCYCLE and Specialized for the kids’ bikes
  • Aquarium of the Pacific, Port of Long Beach and TERN made Long Beach start and finish possible
  • Cafecito Organico for helping us wake up at 4 a.m.
  • DTLA Bikes for the awesome bikes for our raffle and fundraisers
  • KOA, our longtime friends and supporters
  • REI, our longtime friends and supporters
  • VBT Biking and Walking Vacations awesome Bike Trip to Tuscany prize
  • Cynergy, Performance Bikes, El Maestro, Bike SGV, Downey Bicycle Coalition, and pit stop captains for pit stop and tech support
  • Our local chapters and Neighborhood Bike Ambassadors for running the info booth
  • Our volunteers: goody bag stuffers, REI wristband pickup teams, route markers, ride marshals, office help, registration folks, SAG drivers,   parking attendants, kids’ rodeo helpers, and more
  • Our graphic design volunteers: David Fletcher and Aislinn Glennon
  • Clif Bar and Brooke Donberg
  • Yelp and Katie Burbank
  • American Apparel for our t-shirts
  • Walt Disney Company and Adam Gilbert for the free parking
  • Whole Foods Beverly Hils
  • FIRST 5 LA, Lucie Spencer Murray or Run Kids Runs, and Tana Ball of Youth Educational Sports for the kids’ ride
  • Kat Namey, who led off the rides in her colorful tights and with her tall bike.
  • The Autry National Center
  • The River Ride Committee, which had the all good snacks

Our awardees–Councilmember Ed Reyes, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, and NBCUniversal (represented by Universal Studios Hollywood President and Chief Operation Officer Larry Kurzweil)–stand with our executive director Jen Klausner.

At Sunday’s River Ride, LACBC was also delighted to recognize three leaders for their contributions to bicycling and the Los Angeles River:

  • Councilmember Ed Reyes, who represents neighborhoods west and north of Downtown and a significant stretch of the LA River, was honored with the Howard Krepack Service to Cycling Award for his many years of championing bicycling on the Los Angeles City Council.  Reyes may be less vocal than some of his colleagues, but he has always worked diligently and passionately behind the scenes to advance bicycling in underserved communities as a social justice issue.  LACBC expresses our deepest gratitude for his support and wishes him well as he leaves elected office at the end of the month.
  • Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky has long been a champion for bicycling on the County Board of Supervisors, including shepherding the County’s Bicycle Master Plan in 2012.  Earlier this year, Yaroslavsky secured over $13 million for planning and construction of the LA River Bike Path along NBC Universal’s river frontage.  Yaroslavsky is working feverishly to see this project break ground under his watch.  LACBC commends Supervisor Yaroslavsky for his commitment and steadfastness on behalf of the LA River.
  • Universal Studios Hollywood President and Chief Operation Officer Larry Kurzweil accepted an award on behalf of NBCUniversal for their unprecedented financial contribution to the LA River Bike Path.  In response to LACBC and river allies, NBCUniversal recognized the LA River’s potential and stepped up as a corporate steward.  LACBC eagerly awaits pedaling along Universal Studios at future River Rides.

Thanks for coming out! You can check out photos from the day on the LACBC Facebook page.

Meet Andy and the Aus, LACBC Super Volunteers!

May 30, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Posted in Bike News, Get Involved | Leave a comment
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Andy Au

Eric, Andy, and Amber Au wear their LACBC best.

Meet Andy Au, one of our most dedicated volunteers here at LACBC.  He has been with us since hearing about the LA River Ride back in 2010. This upcoming LA River Ride will be his 4th time participating in this event, and he will once again be bringing two awesome children, Amber and Eric, along to ride and volunteer to help control the crowds.

Andy has always found riding a bicycle as a great way to get around. As a child, he used to ride around for fun but while in college at bike-friendly UC Davis, bike-riding became his main source of getting around to class and also to the grocery store. Easy add-ons such as a water bottle holder and a simple basket allow him to not only ride around but also run errands.

Andy sees bicycling growing in the next few years. He sees that the amount of people who ride will increase with upcoming bike-sharing programs coming and with more advocacy from communities here in Los Angeles. Andy helped in the process with the South Pasadena bicycle lanes and also shows up to LACBC events to show support and to also help out whenever he can. As people are biking more here in Los Angeles, one thing that makes him feel great is that he is able to give back and help with causes such as advocacy and safety.

Andy is also a driver but knows that we all should share lanes and recognize each other. For fun he enjoys taking his children out to bicycle, which has made the Au family become some sort of local “bicycle celebrity family.” In interviewing his children, we found out that he wears a bright vest with his children, which can be very embarrassing for them, but they acknowledge that it helps make them safe by being seen.

Amber and Eric brought up ideas on why bicycling is great: more control, getting around faster, and, of course, stronger legs! When asked why we should advocate for bicycle lanes and safety, they responded that it is important to be safe and also they want riders to feel comfortable. On a final note, they also said that we all should still pay attention and stay focused by not zoning out when riding.

You can find Andy, Amber, and Eric at several LACBC events including the 13th Annual Los Angeles River Ride on June 9th! Interested in volunteering with the the Aus and the hundreds of other volunteers that make River Ride possible? Sign up to volunteer by checking out the River Ride Volunteer page.

Meet Team LACBC Climate Rider Michael Rippens

May 8, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Posted in Bike News | 2 Comments
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Last but not least in our showcase of our LACBC Climate Riders, we have Michael Rippens. Michael has been a member and volunteer for the LACBC since moving back to California over seven years ago. He was also one of our winners in our Laemmle Theatres contest last month.

After Michael’s college years, he found himself living in Brooklyn, New York, and saved up money to purchase a “cheap, clunky, Frankenstein-esque hybrid bike.” He mainly used his bike to run errands and to meet up with friends and one day he was invited over to a Critical Mass ride from a friend of his who works at Time’s Up.

While doing this he collected donations in a box with the Climate Ride logo on one side along with “Air for People” and “People for Air”.

At CicLAvia – To the Sea, Michael collected donations in a box with the Climate Ride logo on one side, along with “Air for People” and “People for Air.”

“My mind was blown!” he recalls. “Taking over the streets of Manhattan at night with hundreds of other cyclists. . .  was hugely empowering and probably the most fun I ever had on two wheels. I’d never before felt ownership of city streets in that way and realized that the roads are public spaces that should be made safe and accessible for everyone–not just cars, cabs, and the occasional parade. Just as importantly, I had the epiphany that the simple act of riding a bicycle could be a powerful tool for engaging in activism and inspiring change.”

After moving back to Los Angeles, Michael purchased a road bike to get around, and when he went on his first Critical Mass ride, there was a lot of frustration in how difficult and unsafe it was to get around via a bicycle. He soon became a member of LACBC and continued commuting to get around wherever he could via bike. Soon Michael heard and attended the AIDS/Lifecycle Ride in 2007 and had a great experience from it. While riding this, he was able to pick up the bike touring bug that has gotten him to continue riding not just locally but beyond the L.A. County limits.

In terms of preparation for the ride, Michael has been training with a couple of friends by going on weekly rides to build up stamina and mileage. They all went on a overnight tour to San Diego. Sadly, a week after the tour and after he found out that he was a winner in the Laemmle Theatre contest, Michael injured his elbow from a pickup soccer game. Luckily, nothing was broken and he has been recovering through therapy. Although he is somewhat nervous about the rigorous five-day Climate tour, he is still determined to ride for the causes he supports.

Through the ride, Michael hopes to raise awareness of environmental issues and also support LACBC in our daily goals. He hopes that riding over 300 miles without burning a single drop of gasoline will make a bold statement in how we get around and that there are alternative ways that are more efficient, healthier, and also environmentally-friendlier—such as a bicycle!

Says Michael: “I bike to make a statement that bicycles belong on city streets and that our infrastructure needs to evolve in order to allow biking to be a safer, more efficient and practical alternative to driving. I bike as a tool for raising awareness and support for causes that I care about and to hopefully inspire others to support my efforts even if they can’t ride themselves. I bike to experience nature while also expressing my respect for the environment by transporting myself in a sustainable, non-destructive manner. I bike to stay active and healthy and to feel a sense of accomplishment and pride by challenging myself physically. But mostly I bike because it’s just darn good fun.”

Michael also knows that alternative means of transportation are hard to swallow but he also knows that organizations like LACBC and movements like the Climate Ride are here to educate and spread the word on these types of issues.

On an ending note, Michael is still working hard to fundraise for the Climate Ride. At the last CicLAvia on April 21st, he brought along a floor pump and searched around for anyone who would need air for their tires. Michael collected donations in a box with the Climate Ride logo on one side along with “Air for People” and “People for Air” to advertise this event on top of fundraising. Although he only managed to raise $18 during the ride and a little more on his donation page, his favorite moment came when a kid standing on the side of the road pointed and screamed out “Hey, it’s the People for Air!” It made him laugh and gave him an idea that maybe he should start up an organization named that. Wouldn’t you support an organization named People for Air?

Lastly if you would like to make a donation to help Michael, do can do so here.

He’ll also be co-hosting a karaoke fundraiser this Friday night if you want to sing some tunes and support LACBC and his Climate ride. Here are more details from Michael:

Join us this Friday, May 10th for an evening of song, dance, food, drink, prizes and good vibes all in support of the 2013 California Climate Ride. It’s free to get in, but proceeds from song donations and the silent auction will benefit three Climate Ride beneficiaries: Los Angeles County Bicycle CoalitionGreenAmerica and B-Lab!

When: Friday, May 10th / Karaoke from 7 pm – 10 pm / Hang out from 10 pm – late

Where: Subrosa – 3416 Glendale Blvd., L.A., 90039 (Enter trough the alley next to Thank You For Coming)

Why: To help stop climate change and have fun while we’re at it!

What can I win: Silent auction prizes may include bike gear, movie tickets, a guitar and even a virtual Climate Ride experience!

Hosted by Climate Riders Michael Rippens & Garrett Schneider. This event is made possible by the generosity and awesomeness of Thank You For Coming. We encourage everyone in L.A. to visit TYFC for lunch, dinner, a quick snack, or to just drop in and say “hi.” They will be open for dinner during the Fun-Raiser.

Many thanks to our intern Vincent Ho for writing another profile and for Michael Rippens for joining our Climate Ride team and taking the time to speak with us!

Meet Team LACBC Climate Rider Laurie Gelardi

May 1, 2013 at 4:10 pm | Posted in Bike News | 1 Comment
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Laurie has been riding for about two years and has found out about the Climate Ride from LACBC.

Laurie has been riding for about two years and has found out about the Climate Ride from LACBC.

Continuing on with our The Climate Ride highlights, we’ll be highlighting Laurie Gelardi today. Laurie has been riding for about two years and has found out about the Climate Ride from LACBC. She has participated in various rides and triathlons and has a serious passion for cycling. At first she started riding as a form of exercise but to also improve her health. Soon enough she felt the benefits from riding as it grew more upon her and has also changed part of her lifestyle with Laurie commuting to work by bicycle.

In preparation for the Climate Ride, Laurie is still making progress as there are still a few weeks before the ride begins. The ride will be challenging for her since she will be riding roughly 300 miles over a span of 5 days, but she is looking forward to this ride with excitement as in the past with previous events she has attended.

Laurie will also be riding with her partner, Kathy. They are both excited for the Climate Ride and also for the experience. They do not always have time to ride together since they trade off workout times to watch their children. Although they know the ride will be challenging, they know that it will be enjoyable since they will be riding together and also enjoying the beautiful California scenery.

Kathy will be joining Laurie for the Climate Ride.

Kathy will be joining Laurie for the Climate Ride.

Laurie hopes to bring more advocacy and awareness for bicycle lanes through this ride. As a commuter, one question that is sometimes posed to her is, “Aren’t you scared?” At times she is scared, but as one who wants to bring change into the community, Laurie does not allow the thought of being scared to stop her. Safety and the environment are important issues not only for herself and her two children, but also for others in our current and future generations to enjoy as well. Aside from preparation, Laurie and Kathy hope to meet their fundraising goals, which as been a challenge since they are asking the same group of friends and family to meet their requirements. On a final note, Laurie says, “For our health and the health of our environment, we need to get off the couch and out of the car.” So get up and enjoy some fresh Spring weather outside!

If you would like to support Laurie and Kathy, LACBC, and the Climate Ride, you can donate to Laurie’s ride here and Kathy’s ride here.

Thanks to our intern Vincent Ho for writing this profile and Laurie Gelardi for taking the time to speak with us!

Meet Team LACBC Climate Rider Lisa Liberati

April 25, 2013 at 4:12 pm | Posted in Bike News | 2 Comments
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Leading up to the Climate Ride in May, we’ll be highlighting some of our team riders and their stories with why they are participating in this event. Although it is only almost month away, there is still a lot of preparation left, such as meeting fundraising goals, raising awareness, training for the 300 mile ride from California’s Redwoods into the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and much more.

In this series of people we will be highlighting, the first person up is Lisa Liberati. She has a unique goal of riding 50 miles in 50 states in honor of her 50th birthday. She has already signed up to ride in twelve states so far with plenty more planned in the future. You can read more about this and her at her blog here.

Lisa Liberati

Lisa’s unique goal has brought up a lot of excitement here at LACBC.

Lisa first learned how to ride at a young age but then stopped once she left to college. Along those few years of not riding, she decided to take part in the first California AIDS Ride in 1994. Sadly, the night before the ride, the bicycle she was supposed to ride was stolen. Luckily, she was able to borrow another bicycle, though it was a heavy mountain bike.  Looking back, this ride was the hardest ride to her since she said that she was under-trained. After this ride, Lisa took a break and stopped riding for years.

Back in 2008, while on a UC Davis summer study abroad trip in France, she had a professor who was an avid enthusiast. Aside from learning more about cycling, the Tour de France was going on, allowing her to follow it throughout her trip. While in Paris, she got back onto a bicycle again using Vélib’—a bicycle sharing system.

After her summer program, she started to follow the Tour de France. Two years ago, Lisa was given a mountain bike from her neighbor. After spending more money than what it was worth to get it back up and running, she made a deal with herself that if she rode her bicycle everyday during the Tour de France, she would buy herself a more suitable bike. She concocted a miniature version of the Tour de France route each day by riding on hills, the oceanfront, and even crossing rivers. A fun note about her ride following this tour was that she looked for wine from each region of France that they toured to try.

Halfway through the tour, Lisa was talking to a student’s mother and she brought up that she was giving away a bike sitting away in her garage. Highly interested, she took the bike; it was a dusty, ten-speed with strange, old pedals. Looking at it, Lisa had a feeling that it would change her life. She took the bike to the stop to get work done on it and the mechanic  complimented her with “Great ride.” After doing research on the bicycle that she received (“Pinarello Banesto”), it did change her life.

“We have the best climate for cycling,” says Lisa about why she rides. “We need to fix the air and the traffic. Making Los Angeles more bicycle-friendly is a win for everyone: cyclists, walkers, drivers. . . anyone who breathes the air.”

Overall, cycling has changed the way Lisa has organized her life. With a busy work schedule, she knows that she has to prepare well in advance by blocking off dates on her calendar and keeping it free. This week, she is working on her final fundraising push wanting to hit her $3,000 goal. Aside from all this, cycling has made her rethink her perspective in Los Angeles by asking herself various questions such as: Could I ride here? Could I climb this hill? How would I get here? And where would I park by bike? Lisa is highly involved in examining her environment and talking to others about it as well as improvements that can be done. LACBC is an outlet for her to keep on these issues through meetings, but it also allows her to find out fun events.

If you would like to support Lisa, LACBC, and the Climate Ride, you can donate to her ride here.

Thanks to our intern Vincent Ho for writing this profile and Lisa Liberati for taking the time to speak with us!

LACBC Storms Washington D.C. for National Bike Summit

March 14, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Posted in Bike News | 2 Comments
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NBS2013 CA group

Eric Bruins, Alek Bartrosouf, Jen Klasuner, Cody Phillips, Cynthia Rose, Colin Bogart, and Dan Dabek before meeting with congressional representatives and staff.

There’s nothing quite like a national conference of leaders in the bike movement to inspire us and recharge our batteries for the coming months.  Last week, 750 bicyclists from around the country descended on our nation’s capital to ask congress to support active transportation.  LACBC was represented alongside over 70 Californians making the trek east, including our own Jen Klausner, Eric Bruins, Colin Bogart and Alek Bartrosouf.  Also in our posse were chapter leader Cynthia Rose of Santa Monica Spoke, LACBC board member April Economides (who co-presented on Bike-Friendly Business Districts and Bike Tourism), and Dan Dabek from C.I.C.L.E.. Cody Phillips, a college student and mountain biker from Altadena, also joined us to meet with congressional staff.

This year’s National Bike Summit was jam packed with information and inspiration thanks to a timely Bikes Mean Business theme and the second annual National Women’s Bicycling Forum.  We were addressed by livable streets luminaries including U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.  There were also plenty of breakout sessions on diverse topics such as the economic impacts of bike tourism and mountain bike access in national parks.  Most interesting for wonks like me (Eric) was the research commissioned by the League of American Bicyclists uncovering what policymakers actually think of us, and how we can shape our messaging to most effectively reach them.  Another highlight was the release of a joint PSA between AAA and the League asking people to “Share the Road”.  Much of the conference was recorded on video and posted to the League’s blog, for your viewing pleasure.

Shadowed by Bicycle Retailer and Industry News magazine, we met with staff from 17 of the 18 members of Congress that represent part of LA County and both of California’s senators.  We asked our representatives to:

1) Join the Congressional Bike Caucus chaired by Democrat Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin,
2) Come to an event or see a project in your district, and
3) Sign on to a letter to Secretary Ray LaHood about performance metrics for the Highway Safety Improvement Program.

Alek, Cynthia, and Colin use D.C.'s bikeshare to visit the Capitol.

Alek, Cynthia, and Colin use D.C.’s bikeshare to visit the Capitol.

For a bit of background on ask #3: the federal transportation bill passed last year, known as MAP-21, devolves most transportation decision-making to the state and local level.  But, it also charges the U.S. Department of Transportation with creating performance metrics against which states will be evaluated for effectiveness in spending their federal money.  As anyone who’s ever been to school knows, when your teacher tells you what’s on the test, that’s what you spend your time studying.  We are asking USDOT to create a specific metric for bicycle and pedestrian safety so that states will be held accountable for their results.  This is important because when you just tell a highway engineer to make a road “safer”, they will usually make it wider and straighter, which we all know encourages drivers to go even faster and makes it less safe for those walking and biking.  But, when you ask a highway engineer to make a road safer for bicyclists and pedestrians, they’ll design projects that make the road safer for everyone, including shoulders on rural roads and bike lanes or even cycletracks on city streets.

Thanks to the League for putting on an amazing summit and keeping us up-to-date during the overhyped “snowquester.”  And thank you to our members for supporting this incredibly important work.

Check out the Streetfilms from the Women’s Bicycling Forum and the National Bike Summit.

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