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longbeachcyclists.com

May Cycling Fun in Long Beach, California

On the first Sunday of each month, the free, Cyclone Coaster ride (slow pace—a celebration of old and unusual bicycles) departs from Portfolio Coffeehouse (Fourth at Junipero) at 10:00 am.

Also, on the last Saturday of each month, the free Velo Caravan ride (slightly faster pace, calling together ‘classic’ bikes and others) departs from the Bicycle Stand bike shop (1824 E. Broadway, one block west of Bixby Park), at 10:00 am.

In addition, the month of May is packed with special events. Click to the right to see events scheduled by Bike Long Beach.

Long Beach is a wonderful city. The bicycle is a fantastic way to get around!

And keep in mind that many cafés and restaurants now offer ‘Bike Saturday’ discounts to customers who show up on bike.

There will be $5,000 in prizes given away during May. Go to BikeLongBeach dot org to register and for more information.

Path Less Pedaled are now in Oregon

Cyclists Russ Roca and Laura Crawford—friends to many of us here in Long Beach—are now in Oregon. They recently concluded close to two and a half years of cycling adventures across the USA and as far as New Zealand.

Russ and Laura are starting a new chapter of their lives in the Portland area. We remember them fondly and wish them well.

Check out PathLessPedaled.com to find out what Russ and Laura are up to now, and to review entries of their many cycling travels, both as adventurers in the countryside, and as urban cyclists now familiar with many cities and towns.

Enjoy the huge number of beautiful photographs at PathLessPedaled.com documenting Russ and Laura’s travels and saluting friends met along the way. Also, be sure to review Russ and Laura’s equipment recommendations (as part of YOUR getting yourself prepared for your own grand adventures).

Ciclavia in Los Angeles—Sunday April 15

Join the FOURTH CicLAvia on Sunday, April 15th. It’s free. Police close many miles of L.A. streets to motor vehicle traffic along the CicLAvia route from 10:00 am till 3:00 pm. Tens of thousands of cyclists and walkers and joggers participate. There’s no start or finish… go anywhere and any direction along the route (click on the map)… and be sure to stop at any of the hundreds of outdoor cafés along the route to sit and chat with friends and enjoy the delicious quiet of a non-motorized streetscape. This is Los Angeles in our favorite dreams!

Inspired by Bogotá, Colombia’s Ciclovía—the original, weekly street closure event—CicLAvia opens Los Angeles streets to pedestrians and bicyclists, creating a temporary web of public space on which all of us can walk, bike, socialize and celebrate. On the 15th of April 2012, ten miles of L.A. roadways will temporarily close to car traffic and open for recreational purposes. From Boyle Heights to Downtown, and past MacArthur Park to East Hollywood, also north to El Pueblo/Olvera Street, and south as well, CicLAvia encourages us to make active use of our streets… and rediscover roadways and neighborhoods that, in a car, too often go unnoticed.

From Long Beach on bicycle, an easy way to get there is to board any northbound Blue Line Metro train, deboarding at the Washington Station or at any station beyond that. For more details, check out www.ciclavia.org.

Last Saturdays Classic Bicycle Ride

Join the Velo Caravan — a fun, monthly ride around Long Beach that brings together friends and lots of classic bicycles.

Road bikes, mixtees, touring bikes, middleweights… and more.

If Audrey Hepburn herself shows up, I suppose we won’t be too surprised.

The ride starts at 1824 E. Broadway —The Bicycle Stand shop — about one block west of Bixby Park. Show up shortly before 10:00am last Saturdays of the month. Velo Caravan rides are organized by The Bicycle Stand, phone (562) 279-4936.

Photography, Bikes, Family AND Nature – Let’s do it!

Something near and dear to me (when I’m not volunteering for LB Cyclists) is professional photography.  Recently, LB Cyclists was contacted by staff from “Get the Green” to help spread the word on their LA Metro area based photo contest for kids!

The basics:

Get out in nature with your kids (age 13-18) and hand them the camera!  For a great location in Long Beach, I would highly recommend a family bike ride down to El Dorado Park Nature Center (find the “Friends of El Dorado Nature Center” on Facebook) Let us know if you need a route- we’ll help get you there!

Contest started January 18, 2012 and ends March 14, 2012.  Please take the time to look at their informative website for rules and PRIZE information!

Thanks for supporting a creative activity aimed at environmental sustainability!

Bernadette

Snaps of Cyclavia Nine-Ten-Eleven

Cyclists Donald and Sarah Moore share snapshots of fellow cyclists taken during the recent CycLAvia. L.A.’s third CycLAvia took place on 9/10/11 (the 9th of October of 2011).

CycLAvia is about celebrating Los Angeles in a non-motorized way. A route of city streets that runs past Los Angeles City Hall is closed to motorized traffic for five hours. Many tens of thousands of cyclists and joggers and walkers enjoy the pleasant quiet of city streets that every other day are noisy and dusty from all the cars, trucks and buses. Don’t miss the next CycLAvia… scheduled for April 12th, 2012.

Thank you Donald and Sarah for sharing the following photos.

Jessica swapped her car for a bike

Congratulations and best wishes go out to Jessica Alexander of Long Beach who is opting to live CAR FREE. Jessica traded her old car for a new bike!

At the October 8th Tour de Fat event in Los Angeles, Jessica was honored for having responded to Tour de Fat’s call for someone to step up and donate a car in exchange for a new bike. Jessica said yes she would make the trade… and she DID.

Check out the YouTube clip to enjoy Tour de Fat’s delightful celebration on Jessica’s behalf. Also, read about Jessica at TradeMyCarForABike and at the Factory blog “Life According to Chelsea.”

In coming months, Jessica will have lots to tell us about CAR-FREE LIFE in LONG BEACH, California. For that, check out Jessica’s blog—Of Bikes and Beers.

Ciclavia in L.A.—Sunday Oct 9

Free open streets for walking and bicycling!

¡Calles abiertas a los peatones y ciclistas! ¡Gratis!

An expanded route of Los Angeles streets will be closed to motorized traffic Sunday, October 9th, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.

The Los Angeles CicLAvia means free, family-friendly cycling, jogging, and strolling through downtown L.A.  (This will be L.A.’s third one!) People from far and wide will be there, including many friends from Long Beach.

CicLAvia is not a race. It’s a fun opportunity to enjoy L.A. on your bicycle or on foot… without the noise and fumes of nearby vehicle traffic!

Click on the map to enlarge it on your screen.

The route T’s at L.A. City Hall. From there you can head west to the Bicycle Kitchen (northwest of MacArthur Park)… and/or east to Hollenbeck Park in Boyle Heights… and/or north to Chinatown… and/or south to the African American Firefighter Museum near the 10 freeway. You can start anywhere along the route. You can head in any direction.

You can stop anywhere you like. There are rest hubs at the four end points and also at MacArthur Park and close to City Hall. You’re sure to come across friends or discover a new, favorite café.

To get to L.A. from Long Beach, it’s easy and inexpensive to board any northbound Blue Line train. The one-way fare (including bicycle) is just $1.50.

For more information, go to www.cicLAvia.org, or contact info@cicLAvia.org.

Bikeshare in Washington, D.C.

Donald Moore, secretary of Long Beach Cyclists, recently visited Washington, D.C. with his wife Sally. While there, they tested out some Capital Bikeshare bikes—the D.C. and Arlington, Virginia public bike rental system, with bikes available at more than one hundred unmanned Bikeshare docking locations sprinkled about town. In D.C., the first thirty minutes of a Bikeshare rental is free with a swipe of your credit card. Thus, for short hops, you can cycle from one D.C. Bikeshare dock to another at no cost whatsoever. Beyond thirty minutes, the rate for rented bikes is very low. You can visit D.C. and Arlington without a car—absolutely! Might Long Beach offer something similar in the future? Donald files this report:

Sally and I just returned to Long Beach from a wonderful vacation in Washington D C.  Fourth of July fireworks there were by far the most spectacular and beautiful display we have ever seen.  D.C. has recently been rated as the best city to live in the USA.  With its many cultural attractions, museums, parks, and varied neighborhoods (and its bike friendliness), the high rating is not surprising.

To and from the airport, Sally and I took a shuttle. We also took one taxi ride—a mistake, as I think the driver took us the long way. And we took the Metro once. Other than those trips, Sally and I went everywhere around D.C. using the public bike rental system known as Capital Bikeshare.

D.C.’s bike rental system is very similar to the one called Sevici that Sally and I used last year in Sevilla, Spain. (I reported about the Sevilla system April 11th, 2010 on this website. Click the blue Sevici tag at the bottom of this post to then quickly scroll down to “Cyclists From Long Beach Visit Spain.”)

The first thirty minutes of any Capital Bikeshare rental is free. The next thirty minutes is $3.00. On the first day, Sally and I each bought a 5-day Bikeshare “membership” for $15. You obtain “membership” with a swipe of your credit card at the unmanned payment kiosk at any of the many Capital Bikeshare stations. $15 was all it cost us to use bikes two to six times a day for the rest of our stay.

Each time we rented a bike, I would swipe my credit card, check the “Are you over 18?” box—yes, I am still over 18, just like last time—and I would receive a code that for the next fifteen minutes would allow me to release any one bike I might select from its docking station.

Rental bikes and Capital Bikeshare stations look new, with no signs of wear. Sally said that the bikes did not appear to be the same bikes she saw when she was in D.C. several months ago.

The Capital Bikeshare website states that 1,100 bikes are available for rental at 110 stations. Like the bike rental system in Sevilla, Spain, the D.C. bikes are heavy. They are designed for circus bears or worse.

The D.C. bikes have step-through frames, a 3-speed internal geared hub for pulling stumps, a luggage rack on the handlebars, dyno lights that function on whenever the bike is moving, chain guards, and fenders. The bikes seem well designed for their intended purpose. Other than the fact that the bikes are very heavy, I note that the bikes do not have rear-view mirrors, their brakes seem mediocre, and their lights quit when stopping at intersections. I felt that their gearing was too low; I easily climbed hills in any gear. Maybe Capital Bikeshare bikes were geared for typically overweight American tourists.

If a bike was not working properly, (they always did work flawlessly for us), you could depress a button at a bike’s dock with an icon of a wrench. (I believe this marks that bike as ‘out of order’ until repaired by a Bikeshare mechanic.)

There were usually enough bikes at each Bikeshare station, and there was usually an empty dock to park yours when you were through, though not always. If there were no empty docks, you could phone the ‘help’ line and get 15 additional minutes (free) to find another nearby dock. I actually used this number… and a real live person answered my call… and was very helpful! No, I am not kidding!

The iPhone App that I downloaded before my trip to D.C. that would help me locate Capital Bikeshare stations never worked—that was a problem. Fortunately, at each station there is a large map indicating the locations of all 110 stations.

The system seems to get a great deal of use. About one third of the very numerous bike riders we saw cycling around D.C. were riding Bikeshare bikes. Using the Bikeshare system seemed to be as fast a way to get around as using the Metro, buses, a taxi, or at times even using a private car.

There appeared to be many more bike riders in D.C. than in Long Beach. Car drivers, even taxi drivers, seemed much more mild-mannered and respectful of bikes and of each other. D.C. has numerous bike paths, though driving attitude seems to make the biggest difference.

There is a nice, two-way bike lane down the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue that keeps cyclists separated from motor traffic lanes. There are bollards at intersections. However, we saw that at intersections the cyclist can turn either left or right. Without caution, one could cause a ‘right hook’ impact with a fellow biker.

I did not see any recumbents in D.C. on this trip.

Overall, I would give Washington D C an ‘A’ for bikability. It’s hard to imagine how cycling could be any better in such a busy, bustling city center. For more information, go to www.capitalbikeshare.com.

Donald Moore, secretary of Long Beach Cyclists.

Bikestation Long Beach — new location

The Bikestation of Long Beach moved to its new, permanent facility downtown on July 27th, 2011. Be sure to stop in to check out the new structure.

The Bikestation’s new home is located along First Street between Long Beach Blvd. and Pine Avenue. It is an integral part of the downtown transit hub.

Bikestation is about day-use and long-term safe bike parking for commuters, and it is about rental bikes. Also, staff mechanics can fix your flat tire or do a bike tune up. Bikestation is run by Mobis Transportation Alternatives, Inc., a firm specialized in multimodal transportation systems. Mobis runs Bikestations in a growing number of cities, including Washington, D.C.  The very first Bikestation was here in Long Beach, California.

The following images trace Bikestation as it has moved four times over the past fifteen-some years.

Back in the mid 1990s, Bikestation Long Beach was a brand new idea. The first temporary Bikestation structure was placed on what had been an empty plot of land along First Street immediately west of the Promenade. (Since then, a multi-level condominium with first-floor commercial spaces was built on that parcel.)

East Village artist Anna Wooten created the following drawing, celebrating the Bikestation in its first Long Beach home.

In 2000′s, the Bikestation moved several hundred feet east into a second temporary structure.

In 2009, that second structure was demolished.

Between 2009 and July, 2011, Bikestation was housed on Broadway, one block to the north.

On July 27, 2011, Bikestation moves into its new, permanent, two-story facility on First Street east of the Promenade.

Go to www.mobisinc.com for more information about multimodal transportation system projects in planning and underway in many cities. Also, check out www.bikestation.com.

To learn about projects coordinated by the City of Long Beach to help make our city a great place for cycling safely on city streets, check out bikelongbeach.org.

Also, you are encouraged to participate and support the activities of the various cycling groups in the region… most of us operating on little more than shoestrings and enthusiasm.