Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Avid bike blog readers may be aware that there is a pilot sharrows project going on in Los Angeles right now. They are popping up in a few places. This was my first sighting! I found these near a friend's house in the Miracle Mile/Wilshire Center part of town on a small two block stretch on 4th Street roughly between Wilton and St. Andrews.

These sharrows have been placed within the last couple of weeks.

Sharrows are a particularly cheap way to make cyclists feel safer on the roads and to make drivers aware that cyclists belong on the road and not on the sidewalk. I applaud Los Angeles for getting with the program and installing sharrows. Better late than never! Hopefully the pilot program will be a big success and we'll begin to see them all over the city.

I'm particularly excited to learn that sharrows are planned for Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice. Currently riding on Abbot Kinney is a bit treacherous. It's one lane in each direction with lots of highly-sought-after street parking, opening car doors, pedestrians, aggressive drivers, and perhaps worst of all - wrong way cyclists. Weekends are particularly hairy with people coming from all over to hang out at bars, shop, dine and go to the beach. Despite all this, lots of cyclists (myself included) bravely stake their claim and ride the boulevard. Hopefully the new lane markings will help. I'll post photos of those as soon as they are placed.

Here are links to a few blogs if you want to know more about the Los Angeles sharrows program or cycling in Los Angeles in general.

LADOT Bike Blog
Streetsblog Los Angeles

Please comment if you've seen any sharrows in Los Angeles, or if you have sharrows in your home town and would like to comment on whether or not you feel they help.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Bike Lane Blue.

Riding home from work today I saw these bike cops on Venice Blvd.

When I got home and saw myself in the mirror I realized with my black wool cycling jersey and my silver helmet, I kinda looked like a bike cop myself!

Okay maybe not quite. :)

I would have liked to get some better pictures of the cops but they were pretty fast and dropped me shortly after I snapped that picture.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Bake Sale Hauling.

I had to do a bit of shopping yesterday on my lunch break. I am participating in a bake sale today, and had to buy some supplies and a few other groceries as well. It was quite a haul so I thought I'd document it. A year ago - before I bought my bike and became interested in the idea of utility cycling, I did not know that such a feat was even possible. Today with the help of a couple of grocery panniers, it's no big deal. Over at EcoVelo Alan wrote a post yesterday about how indispensable grocery panniers are to the utility cyclist. If you needed more proof, here it is.

This is everything I carried with me on my bike. One pannier is my personal stuff (basically the contents of my purse), my work stuff (Kindle etc.), and my bike stuff (U-Lock, bungees, set of gloves in case it gets chilly etc.) and the other pannier was the groceries. I'm proud to report that the eggs got home in perfect condition too!

On my way home I was even asked by a passenger in a car about my panniers. You can see my earlier post about these panniers if you'd like to know more about them. Did all that extra weight make my commute more challenging? Yeah. I was moving a bit slower than usual and I arrived home a bit sweatier than I normally would but it wasn't that big a deal. Carrying the weight on the bike instead of on my body makes it quite doable. Give it a try!

This post is an entry for the "Let's Go Ride a Bike" Summer Games. (Learning Experiences - Carry a load on your bike.)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Gratuitous Bianchi Beauty Shot.

Over on Tumblr it's GPOYW - Gratuitous Picture Of Yourself Wednesday. Here it's GPOMBW Gratuitous Picture Of My Bike Wednesday! Enjoy.

Taken on a week day lunch break - Santa Monica bike path.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Coffee Date.

My boyfriend and I went out for a coffee on our bikes. In an homage to bike blogger and coffee devotee Meligrosa of Bikes and the City and Change Your Life Ride a Bike, I photographed our beautiful coffee drinks from Intelligentsia. Intelligenstia is a bit on the "sceney" side for me, but you can't deny that they make a mean cup of coffee.

Almost too pretty to drink.  Almost.  :)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Test Riding a Vintage Mixte.

In an earlier post I mentioned that I'm looking for a project bike that I can refurbish, build up as a single speed, and basically use as a training ground for how to fix a bike. To that end, I test rode this vintage mixte.

I liked the bike, but I'm not convinced it's the right one for me. Really I'd like to find something that is cheaper and more stripped down since I will most likely be replacing most of the components. It's really the frame that I'm after. This one was going for $260.  The same day on Craigslist a mixte frame that was already re-powder coated was selling for $100 but I just missed it. I think that would have been perfect!

The bike's owner thought I was a bit unstable when I asked him to take a picture of me on the bike. I fibbed and told him it was so I could better gauge the fit of the bike.

After assuring the bike's owner that I could indeed test a ride a bike in platforms, I gave the bike a spin keeping in mind Velouria's tips for what to look for in a vintage mixte. The mixte had really skinny tires and was positively racy compared to my Bianchi Milano. I was a little apprehensive about trying to shift gears since I'm used to an idiot proof internal gear hub and don't have much experience with derailleurs and no experience at all with those downtube shifters. I did manage to shift into a higher gear once and it was kind of thrilling! My overall impression was how much faster this bike goes compared to mine with the same amount of effort. One feature on the bike that I really liked was that it had brake levers in two positions on the drop handle bars. That made me feel a lot more secure riding with such a different style handle bars.

I'm glad I got to try this bike but I will continue to look.

This post is an entry for the "Let's Go Ride a Bike" Summer Games. (Learning Experiences - Test ride a different type of bike than you normally ride.)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Secret Admirer.

Today I rode my bike to the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica to visit the Apple Store and REI.

As part of the "Let's Go Ride a Bike" Summer Games, I left a fellow cyclist a note on their bike.

Ever since I became interested in bikes I've always had a thing for the Electra Townies. They are just so cute! I like the way this one is accessorized with a wicker basket and brown leather saddle and grips. Very pretty.

I hope my note brightened their day (and that they don't think I'm some kind of stalker)!

If you like the idea of leaving a note for a fellow cyclist take a look at these "Your Bike is Hot" spoke cards.

This post is an entry for the "Let's Go Ride a Bike" Summer Games. (Social Cycling - Leave a nice note on a bike.)

First Friday on Bikes.

My boyfriend and I rode our bikes over to Abbot Kinney Blvd. on Friday night. The first Friday of the month is knows as "First Fridays" on Abbot Kinney. The restaurants and shops stay open late and there are a lot of gourmet food trucks parked up and down the street. We had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants The Tasting Kitchen. First Fridays can be a bit overwhelming - the streets are packed with people, many of whom have had a lot to drink.  Parking is a nightmare which is why biking there is the best option.
My bike date.

He loves his Masi.

His super cool Chrome cycling shoes.

I didn't enclose any pictures of myself from this night because I forgot to take off my helmet for the photos and I looked like a super dweeb!

This post is an entry for the "Let's Go Ride a Bike" Summer Games. (Social Cycling - Schedule a bike date with a friend or partner.)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Bikerowave and Breakfast.

Today my boyfriend and I went out for breakfast in the neighborhood and decided on our way to stop by the amazing bike co-op Bikerowave. Wow!  For only $7 an hour you can learn bike repair from an expert and have access to all the tools and space you need to repair or build up a bike. The guys in the shop were as cool as can be, the place is not-for-profit, and is staffed by passionate volunteers. It's really special.  I have a dream of finding a little vintage mixte frame and building it up as a single speed like this, and once I find the frame I'll be doing all the work at Bikerowave. I have a lot to learn about bike maintenance, repair and building, but the idea of being self sufficient and being able to fix or build up my own bike is really exciting.

Breakfast was at this great place The Curious Palate.

Our bikes patiently waiting for us to finish breakfast.

Both these places are just a couple of examples of how great the neighborhood of Mar Vista is.  I've only been living here for a few months and I'm really loving it.  It has a nice, neighborhood feel and it's incredibly walkable or bikeable.  New great places are popping up all the time, the bike lane on Venice Blvd. is great, and we're just 2 miles from the ocean!