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Change from the bottom up


“I’m not sure that I speak for everybody, but I suspect one thing that unites us...


is that we’ve all given up on changing from the top down...


but we all believe in change from the bottom up.� — Marisa Bell


Saturday, February 12, 2010


I am one of a handful of Angelnos who has never owned car.


eflection


I kind of gave up on the idea of getting a bike. I knew that even if I got a bike, it would be sitting in the garage because I thought it would be too complicate to ride. Thursday, Feb. 12, 2010 There are only few people I knew who ride bikes. They say I should get one for myself, since I do not have a car. I’ve always thought that riding a bicycle on the road was dangerous, and also embarrassing to ride a bicycle. People also think that someone who rides bicycles are stupid or poor. I just couldn’t imagine myself riding bicycle. But I‘ve decided to disregard all the worries and to make my own bicycle to ride after hearing about Bicycle Kitchen. Bicycle kitchen is non-profit organization filled with tools and stands for working on bikes. This organization was founded to help people work on their bicycles. Building a bicycle for myself? That sounded fun and to build my own bike, it would give me wheels to go around on. I am still not convinced about riding a bike but building one won’t hurt me. I don’t have to ride it if I don’t want to after building it. I went to Bicycle Kitchen to build my own Bi-cycle. My friend Yae-ji accompanied me to the place because she had to give me a ride. Unexpectedly, there were a lot of people inside a the tiny store, waiting for their turn to build their bicycle or to fix them. The colorfully labeled bicycle tools, the hanging bicycles from the ceiling, and people helping each other caught my attention.


who would ride a bicycle in L.A.? They must be poor or stupid to ride a bicycle... The “cook�, the volunteer, at the desk was ready

totally different reaction. After hearing Col-

and willing to explain to me how everything

lin, she was excited and wanted to build one for

works. I asked him that I would like to make

herself too! To choose a donated bicycle, Yae-

a bicycle from scratch. He first introduced

Ji and I followed Collin to the pantry, where

himself. His name was Collin. Then he began to

all the donated bicycles were stored.

explain how I can start making a bicycle and how Bicycle Kitchen works. After I saw all the tools and he explained how it works, I was a bit worried about building a bicycle. But Collin told me everything would be fine and told me not to worry. However, my friend Yae-Ji had a


We went in to the pantry to find a bicycle that

Some spokes in one of the wheels were gone,

was right for us. I saw a red beach cruiser and

the wheels weren’t turning, the front tire was

knew it was the bike I was looking for. Collin

flat, the back tire was gone, the chains were

told me that he had been waiting for somebody

loose, and the headset was malfunctioning.

to pick this bicycle since it was “the most

Unfortunately We could not work on the bicycle

beautiful bicycle” that they had in the pantry.

today because it was closing time. So we just

He also told me the bike was from the movie,

added our name tags to bikes and left. I can’t

“Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure”. Yae-Ji choose a white

wait until next week to fix my bicycle!

road bike for herself. Yae-ji choose a white road bike. After choosing the bicycle I was so excited to build it to make it ridable.


I’m building my bike out of new and used parts from their selection of donated parts.


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% Total Non-Car Commuters

% Bike Commuters

14.99 0.63

% Pedestrian Commuters

% Public Transit Commuters

3.72 10.64


16.53 % of households do not own a car


THE WHEELS OF PERCEPTION


“you are crazy to take the risk riding a bike on the street” “This is a road, you moron! Why don’t you ride on the bike path?!” “you don’t belong on the road because you don’t pay gas tax.” “Cycling is for the poor”


“It is widely held that those who do not own cars are either stupid or poor. Well, I’m not poor, and I’m not, well, I’ll let you decide if I’m stupid. “

I’m not like most people in Los Angeles. That’s what I tell the folks back in suburban New York. No, it’s not because I’m not writing a screenplay (I am), nor because I don’t own an answering machine (I do). I break the third rule of survival: Despite the fact that I am college educated with above average income, I do not own, in fact, I have never owned, a car.

/ 49

If I don’t mention this, they might hear me tell of my beautiful commute along the sand, the surf and the palm trees through which I often see dolphin and seal. They might actually hear a report from Los Angeles that is remarkably similar to what is portrayed in the movies.

My most often asked question is simply: “How do you get around?” Let’s start with work. Usually I ride a bicycle. I live in Venice and work in Culver City. My favorite route is the South Bay Bicycle Trail through Marina Del Rey where it connects with the Ballona Creek Bicycle Path, which leads all the way to Culver City The trip is gorgeous, especially on the way home in the evenings with orange skies splashed behind silhouetted palm trees and ship masts. In the morning, if I take the time to look, I often see dolphin playing in the surf not fifty yards from shore. Ballona Creek is virtually a freeway for bicycles. There are on-ramps and off-ramps, and it is uninterrupted by cross traffic. These eight miles take me anywhere from thirty to forty minutes, depending on which way the wind is blowing. When I require a less scenic view, Venice Boulevard has a bicycle lane, as do many surface streets in Los Angeles. L.A. is more bicycle friendly than you may know. “What do you do when it actually rains in Los Angeles?” is usually my next question to which I answer, “I get wet, of course”. While this is true, it is only by choice. Public transportation is a real option for me, and I often use it even on sunny days when I feel like reading a newspaper on my way to work. If I time it right I can get there in forty minutes on the Culver City Bus system. This compares to twenty to twenty-five minutes by car, depending on traffic. This is pretty good, considering the time you spend on the bus is useful.. Don’t knock public transportation until you try it!


RIDING IN LA Being an eligible bachelor, I am often asked: “How do you date?” To this I usually respond by reminding the person that the entire People’s Republic of China, home to more than one billion dating, mating and bearing people, share amongst them all of three cars. Three cars! One billion people! Our species has survived over forty thousand years without cars, why should it be so difficult to imagine courting without them? On a more practical level, I add that1 (It’s the nineties, women can drive, 2) bicycle dates are very cool, and when absolutely necessary, you can rent a car for crying out loud! Think of the possibilities. The rental of an exotic car for a first date can be justified with the money you save not owning a car to begin with. Then if you can keep it a secret until the second date you can show up with a different exotic car, and really knock her socks off. It can get complicated, though. At what point do you let her know you don’t own any car at all? And what if she notices that your key chain is from Zippy Rent-A-Car?

None of us knew how bad things were going to get. I remember being afraid we would be asked to evacuate the city, and calculating that it would take me twenty hours to get to Mexico on my bicycle, no matter what the traffic. The real reason I forsake a car in Los Angeles has nothing to do with surviving the riots, preserving the environment, staying in shape, or any of that. It has to do with quality of life. I was on a subway in New York City recently when a young woman sitting to my left asked how many stops it would be to Port Authority. I couldn’t help her, but the man to my right overheard and answered her. He even pointed out a map on the wall and showed us both where we were in relation to the passing landmarks. A lengthy discussion ensued in which I learned the woman was Canadian and returning home from a year in Asia. The man was a carpenter who had quit smoking twenty-five years ago. Before our thirty minute ride was over, I knew more about these two people than some of my closest neighbors in Los Angeles.


The real reason I forsake a car in Los Angeles has nothing to do with surviving the riots, preserving the environment, staying in shape, or any of that.

Think about it. The only unifying cultural institution in Los Angeles are the freeways. And everyone yells and shoots at each other on them. One stands about the same chance of meeting someone new in Los Angeles, outside of their chosen career, as they do in getting into a wreck, or perhaps getting on Mark and Brian’s “Freeway Love Connection”. For me, getting around in Los Angeles with a car would be like taking a shower with a raincoat on. It just wouldn’t be the same.

/ 28

Like the time while in school when my good friend married a rich woman and had the reception at her Bel Air mansion. Being a starving student, I had not even a bicycle to my name. Busses just don’t go through those neighborhoods and I couldn’t bear the thought of being seen walking up Bel Air Road to the party. So I took busses as far as I could, and then called a cab. It took me to the valet right outside the doorstep, and I arrived in style. When it was time to go, I called another cab, and after making sure everyone saw me get in, I instructed the flustered driver to drop me off at the end of the road where I sat and waited for a bus.

I have since lost whatever respect I ever had for people who judge others by what they drive. I can remember getting into an argument with the valet attendant outside the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills over my bicycle in the presence of a contingent of Jaguars and Mercedes convertibles. I had paid $200.00 to attend a symposium sponsored by the L.A. County Bar Association and had called ahead and was assured that the attendants would be able to direct me to a location where I could lock my bicycle. I unflinchingly went toe to toe with the little twit for 2 minutes before eyeing a parking meter across the street. These handy little devices are everywhere in this city, and with the right kind of lock, work nicely for securing a bicycle. The snot got no tip from me. Los Angeles is a city with problems, many of which are auto related: Pollution, gridlock, street parking, car / stereo theft, and of course, the exploding cost of auto insurance which I happen to think is a scam, and I take some pride in my ability to thumb my nose at them. There will always be people who will judge me by what I drive. I wear their scorn proudly.


Saturday, February 20, 2010


Who would start a place like this? why waste his time and energy for cyclists? He Must be crazy!

Saturday, February, 2010 I went to Bicycle Kitchen with Yae-Ji again. The second day at the kitchen! Today I met a cook named Evan. He told me that I had to start with the spokes first. To do that I had to take out the back wheel. Using

a wrench that was hanging

one the wall, I unscrewed the wheel from the bicycle. I had never used a wrench before in my life. I even had trouble finding a wrench on the wall to fix my bicycle! After taking the wheel out I did not know what to do again. While I was standing there, confused, Evan came over and told me what to do. He knew that I was shy and I didn’t want to ask stupid questions.


The cook was super nice. He answered all of my stupid questions.


I had to find the right length of spoke to fit into my wheel. Then I had to put the spokes in the wheels and put the nipple on the end of the spoke. You turn the spokes key to the left to tighten and right to loosen them. I tighten the spokes by twisting the nipple. Evan helped me with this a lot since I got confused. He answered all the stupid questions I had and helped me when I seemed lost, even when I didn’t even ask him for help. After a while I felt comfortable talking to him. While I was tightening my spokes, I asked him how the kitchen started. He told me that the first time he heard about the kitchen was from his friend. He told him about a crazy bicycle messenger who gutted a kitchen in Eco-Village and was serving pizza, beer and doing bike maintenance out of it. Who would start a such a place? Who would waste their time and energy to create this place? With these questions in mind, I kept tightening the spokes until they felt the same as the others.


SPOKES / CONNECTING AT THE CENTER


A bicycle messenger named Jimmy Lizama started the Kitchen in 2002, when he was living in the L.A. EcoVillage, a residential cooperative near Vermont and 1st STREET. I am a 1st-generation Honduran-American raised in and around Downtown Los Angeles, Pico-Union, Koreatown and East Hollywood. While living in Los Angeles, which has been 95 percent of my life, my home has never been more than 6 miles from my place of birth. I am also one of a handful of Angelenos who has never owned a car, though I have had a license to drive in the past.

/ 42

Currently I live with my partner in an intentional community called the Los Angeles Eco Village (LAEV). I have been part of this community for 5 years and strive to become even more involved with this part of my life. I am the

founder of the Bicycle Kitchen/La Bici Cocina, a non-profit volunteer-based community bicycle repair and bicycle culture center, now located in East Hollywood, formerly located in a gutted-out single apartment at the LAEV. It is the aspiration of all the founders and volunteers at the Bicycle Kitchen to improve the quality of life in Los Angeles through instituting the bicycle as a commonplace form of transportation, recreation and expression. As I (and all others at the Kitchen) am not paid for my involvement there, I earn a living as a Service of Process Bicycle Messenger in Downtown L.A.. I have been a mes-


JIMMY LIZAMA Spokes key / used tighten for replacing spokes


Tenants didn’t have a good spot to park their bikes, so Lizama installed racks in a vacant studio apartment. A repair area went into the kitchen, and the place filled with riders hanging out and working on their equipment. senger for 7 years and have traveled through several parts of the world to compete in bicycle messenger competitions. Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art, has most recently found me exploring spiritual connections in my consciousness in fashions I don’t believe I have encountered before. It has been through my involvement in these diverse communities that I arrive at my convictions: I love Los Angeles,

I love bicycles, I love sustainable and just practices. In all I do – as an Eco Villager, a Kitchen volunteer, messenger, domestic partner, capoerista – I look to these communities and their individuals for guidance. Their dynamic philosophies, their radiant energy and their deep vision of the future in L.A. and in the world propel me in my bike path through life and develop my growth as a strong leader when called upon to be one.

/ 45


Los Angeles, CA 90029

706 Heliotrope / 46

In January 2005, they moved the venture to the storefront on Heliotrope, and the Kitchen became a nonprofit organization. The place has been such a success, it hasspun off similar co-ops elsewhere in the city and given a boost to the neighborhood, which is informally known as the Bicycle District. The idea started on June 7, 2007 during a discussion on LA Fixed where the Los Angeles fixed gear community pooled together ideas and came to a consensus on the official name and physical location of the Bicycle District.

It’s hard to ignore the number of cyclists that you see rolling through Heliotrope at Melrose (now refer to as “the heart of the Bicycle District”) due to the presence of Orange20 Bikes and the Bicycle Kitchen on that block. Before, it was hard to believe that this block, which is so important to the LA cycling community, did not yet belong to any particular neighborhood or district of LA — thus, the opportunity to claim this district as our own. Then on July 1, 2007, during the Bicycle Film Festival’s block party in LA, it made it official and posted the first signs declaring the existence of LA’s new Bike District.


Perhaps the most hallowed crossroads in the Los Angeles bicycle culture is the intersection of Melrose Avenue and Heliotrope Drive.


Saturday, February 27, 2010


Why would they work at bicycle kitchen? I would get frustrated if I worked there...


People ask all these stupid questions.

Saturday, February 27, 2010 Ma Bell, just like the other cooks, was so helpful. She and I worked on the tires. When I first saw her. She looked familiar. I knew I saw her somewhere else but did not know from where.


especially when I get stuck with fixing a biycle...

She just loves hanging out in the kitchen. She doesn’t like doing things for other people because it goes against the “do it yourself” spirit of the Kitchen. However, she loves to give people a vague idea of what they need to do and to watch them figure it out themselves. She thinks that this is what Bicycle Kitchen is all about. Since the wheel was not turning, Ma Bell and I checked to see if there was problem with the hub. After detaching the hub from the wheel we found that some bearings in the hub were broken. We decided to change it. We had to find the right-size bearing from the donated and used bearing drawer but it wasn’t easy to find. We searched about 30 minutes to find the right one. However, the worst part was putting the hub back together. Since my bicycle was from the 1950s, putting the hub together was a little more difficult than with the newer bicycles.


and I have to search through a million used parts just to find the right one.


HUB / BICYCLE KITCHEN


Bicycle for Tu It’s as easy as riding a bike.

There comes a time in every bicycle’s life. A crossroads of sorts. That inevitable day, after the initial I’m-gonna-ridethis-sucker-everywhere honeymoon phase, when its owner parks it in the garage to languish, never to be seen again. Don’t let yours suffer such a dismal fate. Instead, dust off your old friend and take it to the Bicycle Kitchen, a community work space where you can either bring your bike back to life or donate it and start from scratch. The Kitchen teaches people how to build the bikes of their dreams or just learn to fix them. One hour of stand time costs $7 and includes an instructor and the use of

any tools you’ll need. Parts and materials are sold separately, but, since everything is donated, expect to pay a whole lot less than you would at a regular old bike shop. Your completed two-wheeler will end up running you $100 to $150 dollars. Not bad, considering that most rides are at least double that and, when you’re finished putting yours together, repair shops will be a thing of the past. The scene’s less Tool Time than cool hangout. Programs include Earn-a-Bike (a youth mentoring program), Bitchen (ladies only), and organized monthly group rides — all making for a modern community center that anyone can get mixed up in.

/ 63


We do not sell bikes, nor do we fix bikes for you. What we do is teach people to work on their own bikes. Many people already know how to work on bikes, that’s fine too, we’re here if you need us but we’ll leave you alone if you don’t... unless you’d just like to like to chat. Although we don’t sell bikes we will price a “Project”. A Project is a bike you build at the kitchen with some or all of our used parts. A price is decided upon at the beginning based on the basic parts you will be working with and the amount you can afford. Many people have built entire bikes from our motley pile of old parts, often a few parts will have to be bought new. Every Project is unique. / 66

The Bicycle Kitchen is a non profit educational organization. We are a group of volunteers who run a space in Los Angeles filled with tools and stands for working on bicycles. Our hope is that you will come down and work on your bike! We will help you. We ask $7 per hour DONATION, (no one is turned away for lack of funds). We have almost every tool you could need and every shift at least one of us will be able to answer whatever question you may have... In Addition to tools we have tons of old donated bike parts and some semi-complete bikes, every now and then we get a fully operational bicycle.


Each of us, (roughly 30 volunteers) offer our time for different reasons, but mostly we all love bikes and we all think that a city filled with bikes is a good thing for lots of reasons. Working on a bike at the Kitchen is always more fun than watching TV. We welcome anyone and everyone, we won’t laugh at you if your bike is the wrong color or yell at you cuz you want to put ape hangers on a 10-speed. One of the most common things we do is fix flats, if you don’t know how to do that you should come down for sure and learn, then you will never be stranded again. Being able to work on a bike is very liberating. Once you learn about your bike you’ll learn more about “biking” and you might enjoy it even more than you already do.

it has spun off similar coops elsewhere in the city and given a boost to the neighborhood, which is informally known as the Bike District.


THe cooks share recipes and the of riding the ci of Los Angeles


e stories ty / 69


These days you can expect a waiting list to get rack time with any of the 50 or so “cooks� who rotate through to assist. The place has been such a success.


My career is in architecture.

I’m a graphic artist

I cut hair, make bootleg liquor, play with animals and garden.

Music. I’m a musician.

I’m a photographer. I take pictures of bands.

I’m a musician! And capture strange sounds for movies.

I am a documentary filmmaker.

I’m a musician. I play piano and I perform and teach music.

I’m a bicycle messenger

I play piano and I perform and teach music.

I’m an engineer

I’m a grad student at USC getting my MBA.


“Aaron Salinger is one of the founding Cooks of the Kitchen. He used to walk up to me after a stressful shift. I was usually all dirty. My clothes would have grease all over them and my hands were black with grease as well. Aaron would laugh at me and say, “Look” and then walk away. His hands were as clean as they were before walking into the Kitchen. That is what the Kitchen is all about. After understanding that philosophy, wrenching rarely stresses me out anymore.”


Saturday, February 27, 2010


Riding at night for FUN? I never knew that existed.

Saturday, March 27, 2010 While I was working with Ma Bell on my tire, she asked if I had been to any rides before. As I opened my mouth to answer “no�, I realized that I saw her interview online, a few days ago. She was being interviewed as a cook from Bicycle Kitchen. I was searching for some information about Bicycle Kitchen and came across the interview. She was one of the founders of Bicycle Kitchen and Midnight Ridazz too.


I had preconceptions about Midnight Ridazz and other night rides.


this person, is really nice and spends her time helping people. She is one of the founders of midnight ridazz.

I told her that I saw her interview. She was surprised and we started talking about the Midnight Ridazz. I asked so many questions about the rides since I did not know too much about them. I had some preconceptions about rides. I thought the rides would be too dangerous. Riding with people I do not know at night, drinking, blocking traffic and riding around dangerous parts of Los Angeles at night? I just didn’t get why they would do it. There must be reasons why these people love to gather at night and ride together.


TIRES / ON THE ROAD TO A NEW CULTURE


“THERE WERE EIGHT OF US, AND WE WENT ON A TOUR OF THE FOUNTAINS “There were eight of us, and we went DOWNTOWN.”


“Los Angeles is an incredibly beautiful city with incredibly rich architecture and history that you totally miss and have no chance to participate in when you are in a car” – Marisa Bell


LOVE


LOVE

After that Jensen and Bell would arrange periodic outings, each with its own conceit. Once it was prom. Another time it was the Tour de France; the electrical towers of Griffith Park became the Eiffel Tower, and the L.A. River was the Seine. Bell calls those original rides a love letter to L.A.

TO LOS ANGELES


”It’s fun to ride your bike over a bridge or under an overpass. If you’re on a bike, you can notice that little restaurant you never noticed before and actually stop in and have a taco.”

/ 92

Roadblock was on the inaugural expedition in 2004. A graphic designer named Kim Jensen, aka Skull, invited him, Ma Bell, and other friends to explore the city at night. “I didn’t know anybody else,” Roadblock says. “There were eight of us, and we went on a tour of the fountains downtown. It was so fun.” “Los Angeles is an incredibly beautiful city with incredibly rich architecture and history that you totally miss and have no chance to participate in when you’re in a car,” she says. “When you’re on a bike, you actually experience what’s going on around you. It’s fun to ride your bike over a bridge or under an overpass. If you’re on a bike, you can notice that little restaurant you never noticed before and actually stop in and have a taco.”

Los Angeles was slow to catch on. More than a decade after cyclists had begun filling Bay Area streets, Critical Mass in L.A. was drawing 10, maybe 15, people. These days hundreds congregate at Wilshire and Western for the monthly event, and offshoot Critical Mass rides have popped up around the region, filling out the calendar on the Midnight Ridazz Web site. Although the city has long had bicycling enthusiasts—one club, the Los Angeles Wheelmen, has been around since the late 19th century—what’s going on now represents a departure from the sport cycling scene. For the first time L.A. boasts a thriving bike culture. There are bike musicians, bike artists, bike outreach groups, bike party animals, even bike filmmakers. Some are pure


Track pump / a heavy duty pump with a bigger chamber than a hand pump–makes inflating tires quick and effective

punk, others are part eco-warrior, but they all embrace the bicycle as a means of defining themselves and of reshaping Los Angeles. Last April a bunch of devotees had a wild idea. At the height of evening rush hour they entered the eastbound 10 freeway in Santa Monica at Cloverfield and slipped between the congealed lanes, exiting at Centinela. They got back on at Bundy to climb the towering interchange ramp onto the 405 and exited at Santa Monica Boulevard, filming their invasion from multiple angles. The fellow in the cape on the seven-foot-tall bike was Richie

Thomassen (he prefers RichToTheIE, but everyone knows him as Richie), who spliced together the shots, added a soundtrack, and posted his handiwork on the Web. They called themselves the Crimanimalz. Members say they formed in response to the police cracking down on Santa Monica Critical Mass, but the freeway ride also highlighted the inefficiencies of car culture. At least that was part of the motivation. “It’s ultimately bike activism,” says Alex Cantarero, who thought up the ride with Morgan Strauss, a graduate student at Antioch University. “Inside of that, it’s a stunt, it’s performance, it’s jackassness.” A 29-year-old graphic designer, he’s sitting with Richie and Strauss in front of the Santa Monica apartment he shares with his mother. The following day the Crimanimalz would go on the freeways for a third time.


Anxiet Midnight Ridazz expanded quickly. Huge crowds would meet at the Pioneer Chicken in Echo Park and stream into downtown, snarling traffic and pissing off the LAPD.

The Mamas and the Papas decided to disband the ride, breaking it down into smaller gatherings held each week. Bell and Jensen handed the reins to Roadblock, who created the Ridazz Web site to allow people to post events. A full social calendar has evolved, including Taco Tuesdays, the Nakid Ride, Sins and Sprockets, Bicykillers, the People’s Ride, Friends of the Friendless, Mom Ridaz, Los Angelopes, and Roadblock’s own Wolfpack Hustle, a high-speed foray through 30 to 50 miles of dark cityscape. According to plan, the calendar has spread the crowd around, but as long as rides involve corking and alter the flow of car traffic, troubles with law enforcement aren’t likely to go away.

“It got so big, it was like a thousand people—police, helicopters, arrests, knives being pulled, guns being pulled, fights—and we just couldn’t be responsible for all of that. I’m willing to get arrested for my principles, but I’m not willing to be arrested for some drunk asshole being an asshole.”


iety Attack “It grew to be kind of a monthly anxiety attack,”


We’re not getting in people’s faces


/ 97


Saturday, March 6, 2010


I got along with the cooks. This place is more of a hang out to me now.

Saturday, March 6, 2010 It is already the third week of building my bicycle. I see these cooks every weekend and even met new people to share and learn not only about fixing bikes but about the bicycle culture. Just learning about these people is as fun as building the bicycle. Since I am so new to this culture and the people, I just want to learn more about everything in general.


I learned about the cooks and the people building the bicycles. some are students, some are pediatricians, some are even designers.


The one thing they have in common is the desire to fix things themselves, which I see as empowering.


I had to join a chain. Matt helped me with this. He is a new cook to the kitchen but he helped me a lot with my bicycle and to manage tasks. Matt is an engineer. Just like the other cooks, he just volunteered because he loves bicycles!


CHAIN / PEOPLE WHO REFLECT COMMON VALUES THAT FORM COMMUNITY


PURE PUNK


ECO WARRIORS Critical Mass in L.A. was drawing 10, maybe 15, people. These days hundreds congregate at Wilshire and Western for the monthly event, and offshoot Critical Mass rides have popped up around the region, filling out the calendar on the Midnight Ridazz Web site. Although the city has long had bicycling enthusiasts—one club, the Los Angeles Wheelmen, has been around since the late 19th century— what’s going on now represents a departure from the sport cycling scene. For the first time L.A. boasts a thriving bicycle culture.

There are bike musicians, bike artists, bike outreach groups, bike party animals, even bike filmmakers


ARTISTS


but they all embrace the bicycle as a means of defining themselves and of reshaping Los Angeles.


RIDA

danya / shotgunBOOMBOOM / mmaceda / smelson / palucha66 / Chickenwing / schmoolie / buckchin / FuzzBeast / BoneCrush / alec / bar-

leye / KiMS1 / trickmilla / braydon / mattspeed / coldcut / Kakihara / RickDarge / mechazawa / ruinedbyidiots / Troya_13 / SugarHooker / sancho1 / Tarmonster. / et / marleydog / rickboyardee / ekl / Man-

nysCarWash / FMLY / ScooterHayes / joshhaglund / Girl Power / OsnapsonJC / mr rollers / SET2STUN / Gav / Joe Borfo / vigilAnthony / GodLovesUgly / POOH / Huey555 / slowrighthand / Dedicated818 /


AZZ

swanthewhitepig / itsdefnit / Roadblvock / sinaphile / basshead-

jones / X-Large / bloodfeast666 / Domingo / BICYKILLER / mikeywally / dayone / Jeff Yess / lebiram13 / crossbones / iride4satan / alicestrong / Alfredo / Debut213 / theroyalacademy / Wild Bill / Jet-son

/ _iJunes / Coe coe buttaa / Aktive_420 / LouisAve / SnapperS / md2 / Gern / outerspace / el sabroso / larsenf / bentstrider / goosegoose

/ ridetime / rev10 / liquidpremium / AIDS66 / TheDude / feelingrandy /

superblueman3 / ezzie / TacoBella / monovsstereo / xlilxhernx


Want to ride?

/ 116

Group rides often involve at least a little unlawfulness, as riders at the back of the pack tend to ride through ride lights while fellow riders block traffic in order to keep the group together. In Santa Monica, the police have been known to issue dozens of tickets during Critical Mass, homing in on those who fail to stop at red lights but also issuing tickets to people whose bicycles aren’t in compliance with the law. For the tamest rides, choose one scheduled during daylight hours.


Some are more raucous than others, but in general the crowds are friendly and the skills and stamina required are minimal.

C.R.A.N.K. MOB

Critical MASS

This Westside party ride may be the rowdiest of the big events. There’s a fair amount of drinking and pot smoking, but plenty of people abstain, too. It meets at 9:30 on the first Saturday after the third Friday of the month at Sawtelle Boulevard and La Grange Avenue. Participants cover little ground, hanging out more than they actually pedal; go for the party, not the exercise.

Though Critical Mass got rolling with a political agenda— to take back the streets from cars—local rides seem more social than activist. Several take place in the county, and while there are people who help organize, Critical Mass is leaderless by design. Central L.A. Critical Mass meets at Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue on the last Friday of the month at 7 p.m., and can attract a couple of hundred people. There’s a lot of overlap with the Midnight Ridazz crowd (see below), minded, in part because it begins during rush hour. Expect to ride at least 12 miles at a leisurely pace. San Fernando Valley Critical Mass takes place on the first Tuesday of the month, meeting at Victory Boulevard and Woodley Avenue at 7:30 p.m. in Van Nuys by the racks along Orange Line Bike Path. Santa Monica Critical Mass has shifted from monthly to weekly gatherings as the Santa Monica Police have cracked down on cyclists running red lights and—from the police department’s perspective—disrupting automobile traffic. It meets on Friday at the Santa Monica Pier at 6:30.


URBAN Expeditions Along with its schedule of classes, C.I.C.L.E. organizes fun rides (including family-friendly “urban exploration” tours) geared toward newbies. The rides, held twice a month, are held by a pair of certified cycling instructors and are usually less than seven miles. Each ride covers a different precinct of the city. One might start at Union Station, another at a park in the Arroyo. 323-478-0060 or e-mail them.

Los Angeles wheelmen The city’s oldest recreational bicycle club organizes (daytime) rides all around the city for various skill levels. Put on your spandex, bring your road bike, and be prepared to exert yourself; newcomers are welcome to sample a couple of rides before joining the club. The Wheelmen’s site also features handy bits on repairs, the law, and other clubs.

Midnight Ridazz Whether you want to go on a bar crawl, a nocturnal endurance ride, or a architecture tour, the calendar on this site has the specifics you’ll need. If there’s a main Midnight Ridazz ride, it would be the one that meets on the second Friday of the month. To know where, though, you have to go to midnightridazz.com and check the extensive calendar. After gathering at 9:30, people get rolling at about 10 pm, when the streets are fairly free of traffic. Rides can go on for 18 miles, but the pace is slow, the atmosphere easygoing. The site’s photo gallery can be entertaining, too.


A day doesn’t go by in L.A. during which organized bicycle excursion ISN’T going on

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Chain tool / essential for chain adjustments and connecting chains. if you have a unique chain, you will need a matching chain tool


Saturday, March 6, 2010


Thursday, March 13, 2010 Next, Matt and I worked on the pedals. We took out the pedals and cleaned the bearing, and put new grease so that the pedals could turn a lot smoother. I asked if I was almost done with my bicycle. I just wanted to try my red cruiser out on one of the rides!


BICYCLE ACTIVISM?!


Me being part of this bicycle activism?

bicycle activism: advocating the bicycle as an alternative mode of transport, or the creation of conditions to permit and/or encourage bicycle use, both for utility and recreative cycling.


Not all cyclists are political, Not all activists only ride to prove a point.

He told me that he was surprised that I was actually interested in riding the rides which I initially thought were dangerous and stupid. That hit me on the head. Really, why did I want to ride my bike now? He told me that it is like being part of bicycle activism too. Bicycle activism?? He told me that his was the start of my bicycle activism. I am building a bike, using a used bike, learn to repair it myself, and want to try for one of the Midnight Ridazz rides. Its like pedaling towards bicycle activism. Well, overall maybe bicycle kitchen changed me by talking to this people and simply building this bicycle. Maybe I am learning something about bicycles and its culture.


PEDALS/ TOWARDS BICYCLE ACTIVISM


Bicycling as a Social Movement

If someone were asked fifty, or even twenty, years ago if they thought bicycling would ever become a social movement, they would likely laugh out loud. Even today some would gawk at the notion of something as recreational, sporty, and (frankly) childish as bicycling being considered a social movement. Yet it is difficult to deny that what once was leisure now is a charged political issue. For years, rallies have been held for bicyclists, hundreds of community and nonprofit groups seek to advance any number of bicycle-friendly agendas, federal Congress persons are part of a Bicycling Caucus, and campaigns have targeted nearly ever facet of society. Most generally, those participating in any of the above courses of action seek to encourage the proliferation of bicycle infrastructure, bikable communities, bicycle safety, and overall bicycle use. It is evident that today, bicycling is a social movement. Cornell Professor of Sociology Sidney Tarrow believes that social movements are a form of contentious politics, which “occurs when ordinary people, often in league with more influential citizens, join forces in confrontations with elites, authorities, and opponents. Such confrontations go back to the dawn of history. But mounting, coordinating, and sustaining them against powerful opponents are the unique contribution of the social movement.”1 Indeed the bike movement has had its roots in the lower and middle classes – often among those who cannot afford an automobile – and faces strong cultural, economic, and political opponents. It has evolved from the short-term and loosely organized realm of contentious politics and become a social movement as time has worn on.


Bicycling, once seen as a simple pleasure from childhood, has become a political act. - from the documentary “Pedal Power�


fight ing Stephen Box is a big guy, six feet two and broad shouldered. Bike frames crack under the strain of hauling him along the pitted streets. He’s 50, but with his Brillo pad goatee and Dickies shirts, he seems younger—at least until you spot the reading glasses atop his crew cut. Like other bike activists, he’s taken it upon himself to edify just about anyone he can about the virtues of cycling, and he’s demonstrated a particular interest in educating the police. After Roadblock received his citation on the VeganBananaPenis ride, Box visited the LAPD’s central station with others to inquire about the department’s enforcement of the dusty license law. He has stepped in as an “observer” for cyclists who’ve been detained by police for traffic violations. Not long ago he received a call from Alex Thompson, the part-time Crimanimal, who was riding with friends near Box’s apartment in Hollywood when they came across two officers arresting a cyclist. Soon enough, one of them was in cuffs, too. After arguing with a watch commander over the phone, Box pedaled to the station to continue the


athem a full-court press,” he says. “That’s the basis of any civil rights movement, and ‘movement’ is right now what we’re talking about.

city

Box, the son of Nazarene ministers, moved here from Australia at seven. “Neither one of us is a citizen,” he says, “but I assure you we’re quite sensitive to the unique, wonderful mess that makes up this city that we live in. We don’t take it for granted. We really do believe that it’s up to us to initiate change. And I’m not so foolish to think that if we wait for our leadership to lead us to the promised land, it’s going to happen anytime soon.”

I point to the bike lane that traces the sloping curve of Sunset as progress. “Actually, we don’t like this bike lane,” he says, blinking from underneath owlish eyebrows. It runs too close to the parked cars, Box says, “so every door is going to significantly take the bike lane, which means you’re constantly being threatened with either hitting a door or having to dart into traffic on the uphill.”


Box speaks swiftly, packing his words together. As his sentences pile up, you can feel yourself flag. Spelunkering through a conversation on traffic engineering, he can get vehement and wonky, but he has a romantic’s optimism. Ask Box what he wants from the city, and he’ll explain that increasing the number of cyclists and pedestrians would improve the environment. He doesn’t only mean less pollution. “I’d like for this to be a great city,” he tells me. “I can’t say it any clearer. I know great cities. You know great cities. How we interact on the street is a metaphor for how we interact as a people.”

Both insider and outsider, Box is not the city’s only committed bicycle advocate, but he crosses more lines than others. He is friends with people who helped create the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, the closest thing L.A. has to mainstream bike advocacy; at the same time, he also endorses the by-any-means-necessary approach of the Crimanimalz. He will hector politicians, irritate bureaucrats, and even ride the freeway to make a point. He’s recruited bloggers to join his Bike Writers Collective and is a frequent presence on other blogs, where he’ll alternate between rallying support and wagging his finger.

In September Box attended a Transportation Committee hearing at city hall. He provided public comments on a proposal to reorganize the Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee, a panel of citizens appointed by the city council. Box considers the panel to be ineffectual. He had managed to get appointed a couple of years ago. A week later his aggressiveness got him unappointed. The transportation meeting marks a small victory since Box has been pushing to rethink the panel. As we leave the meeting he introduces me to planners and council staff and talks to other activists. Then, admiring the lobby’s marble floor, Box pauses. “Want to see something?” he asks. He tests the lock on a door to the city council chamber, and we go in to ogle the ornate woodwork before a guard arrives and invites us to leave.

In one of his more colorful entries, Box recounts how a bus driver honked at him as she drove by. At the next signal, when he confronted the driver, she told him to get on the sidewalk. Instead Box parked his bicycle in front of the bus and tried to enlighten her on everything from the law to traffic safety to civil rights. Incensed, the driver edged forward, into the bike, but Box stayed put. A passenger got off the bus and spit on him. Box wouldn’t move. After Enci arrived, having called the LAPD for help, they found themselves arguing the point in handcuffs. “Stephen is very passionate, and I think he wants all take and no give in some respects,” city councilman Tom LaBonge says. The first time the two butted heads was when they disagreed over whether bicycle racks should be installed at the Griffith Observatory. Box won that battle. Lately they’ve been at odds over the annual Holiday Light Festival in Griffith Park, during which cyclists are prohibied from riding through except on one car-free “bike night.” LaBonge fears the consequences of families pedaling among cars in the dark; Box says the ban is discriminatory, and he has devoted enormous energy to fighting the decision in City Hall, at the Caltrans headquarters, and in LaBonge’s office.


Box had spent five years working with Habitat for Humanity in Kentucky before he returned to L.A. and began producing music videos for bands like Korn, Limp Bizkit, and Sugar Ray. That was about the time he started riding a bike. The activism came later, after he and Enci began riding to the theater to avoid the hassle of parking. They launched a city-centric blog, Illuminate LA, and cycling—the notion of transforming the metropolis—came to consume him. Now he’s a paid consultant for the city. He has lobbied dozens of neighborhood councils to adopt the Bicyclist’s Bill of Rights, which he cowrote. He sits on bike-related committees—for California State Parks, the Metro, Caltrans.

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The person with whom he’s probably clashed most is Michelle Mowery, a member of the Caltrans committee that Box belongs to and the senior bikeways coordinator at the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. To Box she has come to typify the department’s disregard for cyclists. “I think that some of their recommendations are bad and conflicted, and Michelle Mowery’s not a planner,” he says. “She’s a spokesperson. She’s not an engineer.” L.A. covers an area larger than San Francisco, Portland, and Manhattan combined. Its network of roadways extends some 6,500 miles. Its network of bike lanes and bike paths extends a wan 174 miles, and because the latter are usually in parks or along waterways, they don’t benefit the average bike commuter. Activists want more. For instance, they suggest transforming thoroughfares that have two narrow lanes in each direction into roads with a single wide lane in each direction, which would provide additional room for cyclists. “There have been examples in other cities where if there is one lane, people move at a moderate speed,” says Box. “With two lanes people race each other and slow each other down. They’ve reduced the size of streets and actually moved cars and people and buses and bicycles more efficiently.” Given the heap of rejection that advocates have to circumnavigate each time they engage the city, it’s tempting to view their proposals—no matter how modest—as unrealistic. In such a built-out city, with armies of competing bureaucracies and a government that is hog-tied by the disparate

interests of its council members, progress happens an inch at a time. Asking for bike lanes is radical enough, and they cost relatively little. “It’s not about money,” says Mowery. “It’s about ten feet, and that’s the bottom line.” We’re in a conference room that borders a sweeping plain of gray cubicles at the LADOT headquarters downtown. Mowery moves to the white board and sketches a streetscape to illustrate how lanes must be a minimum of ten feet wide. There’s often not enough room to accommodate the existing lanes, street parking, and a bike lane. To remove street parking, let alone a traffic lane, would be beyond Mowery’s reach. “At that point it’s a political decision,” she says, “because the business community is going to lose their mind and congestion is just going to pile up if we take a travel lane unless we can show it’s a street that has a very low volume of traffic.” But everyone knows L.A. can do a better job. The improvements it does provide bicyclists can seem half-baked—bike lanes that come too close to parked cars or end abruptly or appear on only one side of the street—because they’re the products of too many compromises. Box combines his utopian streak with the absolutist bent of an NRA lobbyist, and that can leave people in Mowery’s position feeling abused. “You know, we’re trying to implement this stuff,” says Mowery, “and he’ll go to council and tell them why he thinks it’s not a good idea to do instead of supporting our efforts to move these things forward.” To someone working in that gray sprawl of cubicles, griping about whatever progress can be made seems nonsensical. “I am now convinced that it’s not really about the bike,” she tells me. “It’s about visibility, showing up in media pieces, getting somebody to put a camera on him. I really don’t think it’s about moving the bike agenda forward. I think it’s about Stephen’s personal issues.”


“This is not about a bike. This really is a civil rights issue—my ability to move.” — Stephen Box


Saturday, Saturday, March 20, March 13, 2010 2010


The last part to fix! The headset! with this fixed I could finally ride my bicycle. I was impetuous to fix the last parts. Now I did not have to wait for cooks to come and help me. Once

Matt told me what to do, I understood

what I had to do and I knew what tools to use. Using y-socket tool, I unscrew the headset. I removed lock nut and washer and I had to clean all parts in biodegradable solvent and wipe the set races. That seemed easy so I quickly cleaned them. However, because I was in such a hurry to finish my bicycle, I lost the order of the headset. I had to put them in order; The Locknut, washer, upper sup upper dust seal ball bearings and upper one.

Also

I lost one of the screws. Dropping a crew in the Kitchen is a pain because there are a lot of screws that are scattered in the kitchen because other people drop them easily too. I had to find the other used screw that fits on to my bicycle again, knowing that it will take me so long to find the right one from the used parts‌ I should have been more careful.


There is a parallel between me building a bicycle and Bicycle Kitchen building the bicycle culture. Just like Bicycle Kitchen is making changes to the bicycle culture in one step at a time, I am also making changes to my bicycle in the same manner. I came in not knowing anything about bicycles. Through their services and tools, they have peaked my interest in the bike culture and they have done the same for others. By providing a space in which little tweaks can be performed, the founders of Bicycle Kitchen started to make changes from the bottom up.


HEADSET/ CHANGE THE POINT OF VIEW


“My number one complaint is that most cyclists aren’t predictable,” - Dan Gutierrez

The bicycle can be disorientingly ambiguous. Is it a plaything? Sports equipment? A vehicle? The State of California has settled on the word device. Riders can be equally ambivalent. For every cyclist who regards himself as a vehicle operator, you can spot ten who behave like rolling pedestrians or, worse, vehicle-pedestrian hybrids seemingly oblivious not just to vehicular statutes but natural law. They ride against traffic, which is illegal. They alternate between the road and the sidewalk, which is dangerous. They run lights, which is both. says Dan Gutierrez, a 46-year-old physicist and satellite engineer who lives in Long Beach. “That annoys me greatly, because I don’t want to hit somebody on a bike or another motorist, for that matter. But I find that with cyclists, half the time I can’t tell what they’re going to do. They don’t signal. They don’t ride in a way that conveys what they’re going to do.”


Playing Sports equipment Device Vehicle

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Bicycle Kitchen

Bike Oven

The Kitchen will provide you the tools and expertise to repair, refine, or, for that matter, rebuild a bike. The suggested donation is $7 an hour. Call ahead to make a reservation, else you might find yourself on a waiting list. Âť 706 Heliotrope Ave., Los Angeles

Josef Ali-Bray operates this offshoot of the Bicycle Kitchen in Highland Park. Ali-Bray also sells $300 Flying Pigeon Bike, a Euro-style cruiser that is a favorite in China, up the street at 5711 N. Figueroa St. Be sure to call ahead before showing up. Âť 3706 N. Figueroa St., L.A.


Bikerowave Cooperative

The Hub

The Westside version of the Kitchen was cofounded by Alex Thompson, the UCLA graduate student who also helped form the C.R.A.N.K. MOB fun ride. Morgan Strauss, who helped conceive the first Crimanimalz freeway ride, is head mechanic. Âť 1816-A Berkeley St., Santa Monica,

Grand Opening of The HUB in long beach in April 3, 2010. Âť 1741 Long Beach Blvd. Long Beach

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Long Beach makes way for bicycles


A dozen notables mounted bikes outside the entrance to Long Beach City Hall late last year for the unveiling of a metallic bicycle sculpture with a lofty proclamation: “Long Beach, the most bicycle friendly city in America,” it reads in bold steel lettering under the likeness of an antique bicycle. It was a little premature, leaders admit. “But we’re striving for that,” said City Manager Pat West, a longtime cyclist. While other cities spin their wheels, Long Beach is joining the ranks of places such as Portland, Ore., San Francisco and New York City that have made safe passage for bikes a priority, even at the expense of traffic lanes. And as Los Angeles reviews comments to a draft of a bike plan that proposes 696 miles of new bikeways, Long Beach is taking action. “Long beach is a built-out city and yet they’re finding a way to make east-west and north-south corridors that are safer and more inviting,” said Jennifer Klausner, executive director of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, a nonprofit advocacy group. “There’s no reason L.A. can’t do the same thing. It doesn’t have to be the slow-moving cog in the machine.” At a time when cities are cutting expenses across the board, Long Beach has raised $17 million in state and federal grants to improve its bike system through traffic improvements, education and bike share programs. In the next six months, the city will be resurfacing 20 miles of streets to include new bike lanes, part of a plan that includes painting and paving more than 100 miles of bike infrastructure. In spring, the city hopes to install traffic circles on lesstraveled streets parallel to thoroughfares and designate them “bike boulevards” -- preferred routes for cyclists. Also in the works are plans to replace entire lanes of traffic with protected bikeways. And in what’s bound to be a controversial move, the city is looking at taking away prime parallel parking spots -- the ones most convenient to shops and restaurants -- and putting “bike corrals” in their place. “We can fit 15 customers where we used to fit one,” said Charles Gandy, the city’s bike mobility coordinator. “This is about differentiating Long Beach from L.A. and Orange County.”

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City planners have gone far and wide for input, bringing in experts to give advice, the mayor of Bogota, Colombia, and Copenhagen’s traffic engineer among them. It was a little premature, leaders admit. "But we're striving for that," said City Manager Pat West, a longtime cyclist. While other cities spin their wheels, Long Beach is joining the ranks of places such as Portland, Ore., San Francisco and New York City that have made safe passage for bikes a priority, even at the expense of traffic lanes. And as Los Angeles reviews comments to a draft of a bike plan that proposes 696 miles of new bikeways, Long Beach is taking action.

Street by street, cyclists and motorists are seeing changes, the most dramatic of which took place last summer when lanes of green paint appeared on one of the city’s busiest stretches, providing an early test of how the city will balance car traffic with cyclists’ rights to safe routes. The green strip created a “sharrow” -- a 6-foot-wide space in the middle of the right lane of traffic on both sides of 2nd Street in Belmont Shore. It was intended to be a stark reminder that drivers must share the road with cyclists. But when the green lane appeared last summer, it startled drivers and cyclists alike in the often traffic-choked retail district, drawing national attention for pitting the two against each other. “City puts bicycles directly in the path of motorists,” USA Today wrote in a blog post.

"Long beach is a built-out city and yet they're finding a way to make east-west and north-south corridors that are safer and more inviting," said Jennifer Klausner, executive director of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, a nonprofit advocacy group. "There's no reason L.A. can't do the same thing. It doesn't have to be the slow-moving cog in the machine."

“There was a lot of confusion from cyclists and motorists because there was green paint all over the place,” said Dominic Dougherty, manager of the Bikestation, a business that provides bike rentals, parking and repair in downtown Long Beach. “And confusion breeds anger.”

At a time when cities are cutting expenses across the board, Long Beach has raised $17 million in state and federal grants to improve its bike system through traffic improvements, education and bike share programs. In the next six months, the city will be resurfacing 20 miles of streets to include new bike lanes, part of a plan that includes painting and paving more than 100 miles of bike infrastructure.

“We haven’t given cyclists any more privileges than before the green stripe, we’ve just made it more obvious,” he said.

In spring, the city hopes to install traffic circles on lesstraveled streets parallel to thoroughfares and designate them "bike boulevards" -- preferred routes for cyclists. And officials have enlisted a corps of volunteers -- from young, fixed-gear-riding hipsters to paunchy, middle-aged road cyclists -- to help out with tasks such as bike counts, which will help determine where more bike lanes will be placed.

Gandy said the green strip “better articulates the existing law,” which allows bikes to travel with vehicular traffic.

But others say the green lanes have emboldened cyclists too much, with many weaving in and out of traffic, riding four-deep and making the already clogged street impassable. “We just don’t understand” the purpose, said driver Anne Long, an insurance agent who lives blocks from 2nd Street. “Are we supposed to pull over and go around them? I just stay behind them and go really slow until there’s an opening in the other lane.” But others say that slowly, behavior is changing; cyclists are being more consistent about where they ride and drivers are being more attentive.


The city is proactive in becoming more cyclist friendly, even creating ‘sharrows’ for bikes and cars to share lanes. “When it first got put in we thought, ‘Oh, my God, everyone is going to get murdered,’ “ said Jean-Marie Garcia, a hair stylist who rides her baby-blue beach cruiser to work on 2nd Street every day. “But gradually, over time, drivers have adjusted. They’re slowing down.” Volunteers counted bikes before and after the green lanes appeared. According to a December report by the city, the number of cyclists on 2nd Street increased by 29% while the number of bikes on the narrow sidewalk waned by 22%. And there have been only two incidents since they debuted, both involving cyclists running into cars. Calling the green lanes an early success, the city is undertaking other bike-oriented enhancements. Last month, crews painted more green on two busy intersections where early morning road bikers congregate. The “bicycle boxes” give cyclists a designated place in front of cars to safely wait for the signal to change. The city is also working with businesses and community groups to provide incentives such as 20% lunch discounts for cyclists -- to get people to ride to work, shops and restaurants. The port-adjacent community also has some built-in features that may ease its quest for bike friendliness. For one, it’s flat and built on a grid -- easy to get around on a simple beach cruiser. While it’s a city by any measure, its digestible size makes bike transportation a more plausible alternative than in the sprawl of Los Angeles. And the city already has continuous bike paths along three of its borders: the San Gabriel and Los Angeles rivers and the beach.

“We have such a huge advantage over other cities because we have these things,” said City Manager West, who rides a road bike around town on the weekends. “We’re doing a lot of things outside of the box -- at least for Southern California,” he said. One example is the city’s spin on a recent rise in bike thefts: It’s a good thing, West and others joked, because after all, it indicates more people are out riding bikes. And Long Beach is getting attention for its efforts. This week, the city is hosting delegations from some admirers: transit planners in Los Angeles, Glendale and other nearby cities who would like to draw inspiration from the Long Beach bike plan. It’s a shift for Long Beach, where, like in many other Southern California communities, the car still reigns supreme, said Andréa White-Kjoss, president and chief executive of Bikestation, the Long Beach-based firm that has seven bike transit centers in California, Seattle and Washington, D.C. “If we can do it here,” she said, “you can do it anywhere.”

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Traveling together down a street isn’t adversarial the way it is in a car; it’s fun. Truth be told, running lights can be, too—the spike of adrenaline, the gravity defying sensation of traveling unencumbered. You’re with your group. You belong. But for how long? Will the police suck the joy out of these gatherings? Is this just a blip on our cultural time line, not unlike raves? Perhaps. Maybe one thing leads to another. People become seduced and let the bicycle into their lives.


Next come the errands, then the commuting. It’s not likely, but then, neither is L.A.’s bike culture. C.R.A.N.K. MOB, Midnight Ridazz, Critical Mass—they could well be the sip of Kool-Aid necessary to sell people on the whole bike thing. No pressure to ride your guts out with a bunch of type A roadies or mud-crusted mountain men. No need for anything but the most basic of bikes, and voilà—less pollution, less congestion, then one day, the mythical infrastructure.


Now let’s saddle up and ride!

Cycling is safe and fun Cycling is safe and fun Cycling is safe and fun Cycling is safe and fun Cycling is safe and fun Cycling is safe and fun Cycling is safe and fun Cycling is safe and fun Cycling is safe and fun Repeat after me:


100,000

T

PEOPLE RIDE THEIR


O

240,000

BIKES EVERY DAY

...and 24,000 of them commute to work by bicycle!


Saturday, March 20, 2010


I am FINISHED WITH MY BICYCLE!


Through this process, I realized that there are a lot of people cycling in LA but a lot of it was contained within a sub-culture or performed in areas of LA I was not familiar with. There was no centralized force in the urban cycling community. Now there are more cycling communities that are joining to advocate to make Los Angeles a more bike-friendly city and embrace the bicycle culture.


While working on my bicycle in the Kitchen, I noticed a lot more people on bikes. Urban bicycling in LA has grown exponentially through the effort of cyclists, rides, and the bicycle communities. I do not attribute this spike in cycling popularity entirely to the Kitchen, but I do think The Bicycle Kitchen has contributed significiantly to its popularity around Los Angeles. I think there are a lot of varied and complex factors that have led to bicycling becoming popular in LA. The Bicycle Kitchen, The Bike Oven and The Bikerowave as well as the organized mass rides give people that opportunity to see each other and realize that there are a tons of people all over LA county that love to ride bicycles. This encourages more to get on their bikes and feeling empowered through this kind of interaction.


I had no clue about bikes except how to ride them, but now .I learned so much about bicycles, the bicyclists and the culture. I enjoyed learning and getting my hands dirty. Every time I go to Bicycle Kitchen I think I’ll leave having learned something. I’ve changed my perceptions and wrong myths that I had before about cycling in Los Angeles. They are actually changing people.


bicycle kitchen is a tool. just like a tool helps to fix parts on a bicycle, bicycle kitchen fixes LA by building a bicycle culture.


If you know how to fix your bike, you’ll ride it. The more you ride, the more you’ll love your bike. The more you love your bike, the more you’ll ride it.


These guys have done a lot to promote everyday cycling culture in Los Angeles.


they are changing Los Angeles’ bicycle culture from the bottom up.


Copy credits: “Spokes People“Los Angeles magazine, January 2009 By Matthew Segal “Carless in Los Angeles” by Michael Bateman, “ How to Make a Critical Mass,2004.http://www.scorcher. org/cmhistory/howto.html Long Beach makes way for bicycles” - Los Angeles Times, January 26, 2010|By Tony Barboza, “Cycles of Contention: Aspects of Bicycle Activism” Tarrow, Sidney Power in Movement: Social Movements and Contentious Politics; 2 nd Ed .. 1998. Cambridge University Press. New York, NY. pp. 2; Bicycle Transportation Alliance. Viewed June 5, 2004.http://www. bta4bikes.org/act/advocacy.html, `Bicycle Transportation Alliance – Advocacy. http://www. bta4bikes.org/act/advocacy.html

Design by: Kahae Kim Copy edited: Kahae Kim © 2010 by Kahae Kim Codova St, Pasadena CA 91106 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission. All images are © the artists, reproduced with the kind permission of the artists and/or their representatives. Photo credits: 2008 Photograph by Dustin Snipes; Yae-Ji Shin



change from the bottom up