Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Recent Adventures in Bicycling

1. On Sunday I rode the 6.5 miles from my house to the Autry National Center in Griffith Park, then 70 miles to Long Beach and back, for a grand total of 76.5 miles. This is by far the most I've ever done in a day, and it was really rewarding. I borrowed some of Bobby's spandex shorts, making a slight concession to the roadie functionalist aesthetic, but haven't yet purchased clipless pedals and shoes, so I just wore some old sneakers. While the ride did tire me out, it didn't cause incredible soreness or stiffness in the muscles. This must be because it was such a flat course, following the LA River trail for a good chunk and avoiding hills in the city areas. Thanks LACBC for an excellent LA River Ride!
2. While relaxing in Long Beach before heading back to LA on Sunday, I met Charlie Gandy, who recently moved to LB from Austin, TX to help that city plan and develop better bike infrastructure. What a cool guy! Apparently he's been getting paid as a bicycle and city consultant for 19 years, and his charm will go a long way toward smoothing out the tension between homeowners and city planners in Long Beach over improved bike routes and signage.
3. The day before the River Ride, Saturday, I helped post route signs between the LA River Center in Glassell Park and the Autry Center in Griffith Park. I met some neat bike commuters, including a man from Guatemala who told me that my bike, a Panasonic, is more common there. Finally, the mystery of my Panasonic bike is solved! It's not just the result of a VCR gone horribly wrong.
4. The Saturday before the one mentioned above I met Jeff Mapes, whose new book, Pedaling Revolution, chronicles the burgeoning bike movement in the U.S. Another smart gentleman, very informed about bike issues, and sharing a love of Portland, where he lives and writes for the Oregonian. His book was recently reviewed by David Byrne in the New York Times' Sunday Book Review. Byrne, in addition to being a creative monster, has been an avid urban cyclist for decades. I guess bicycling must be the place!
5. I got funded to do a bike tour in the midwest in August. Now the question is do I buy Ortlieb panniers that match my bright yellow Ortlieb backpack, or some of those silvery ones (see, even I'm a consumer at times)? And now I have a reason to design and construct a bicycling costume that is not splashed in ugly graphics and made out of hideous fabrics!