Monday, March 26, 2012

The heir and the spare

On March 15 I purchased a 2nd bicycle for $100. I got it off of Craigslist, and it's an inexpensive Next brand, which is sold through Walmart. I purchased it with the simple idea of having a 2nd bike for when a friend comes to visit this summer so that we can go riding together. She is quite anxious to ride down to the beach and all around. So, I figured $80-$100 would be my budget. It was purchased in my neighborhood, so I walked the 1.5 miles to where it was and rode it home. The tires needed air, and the seat is quite springy - almost like riding in a car with shocks that need to be replaced, but otherwise it felt solid and would do for what I purchased it for. It's basically a hybrid like mine. I have since outfitted it with a bell, water bottle cage, and I have a small front double pannier on its way from China. That will be as much as I accessorize it. I actually ended up buying two bells, but I couldn't get the first one to secure around the handlebar, so I purchased a 2nd one that was identical to mine, and which I KNEW would fit. Now to figure out what to do with the first one. Donate it or something. I am not sure how long I will keep the bike after my friend leaves because it does take up a fair amount of living room real estate. However, I have also been thinking that maybe it could be the bike for local errands that I am not willing to take my more expensive bike on, so the jury is still out to its fate.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Lock, Stock and Barrel

Today I finally redeemed the $25 gift card to Helen's Cycles that I had been given by my parents for Christmas 2011. I had been wanting a bike lock for a long time, even though I know it will still be a little scary to leave it locked up, even for short periods. Due to the shape of my bike frame, however, it is impossible to mount it onto the hybrid, not to mention the two lower water bottles get in the way, mostly for lack of room. However, it is just the right size to travel in the pannier. The lock wasn't $25, btw, but $45, and I might get another of the Kryptonite cords for $10. I actually had to ask how to best position the lock on the bike to be sure the bike would still be there when I came out of where ever, so I got some advice on that. I'm hoping that having a lock will facilitate me being able to expand my life on two wheels because normally the bike doesn't ever leave my hands when I'm out and about.

After I went to the bike shop, I. Martin Imports, which is a subsidiary of Helen's Cycles, I continued to have a regular bike ride on one of my routes. When I was in the Beverly Hills area heading west on Cashio to Doheny and getting ready to turn north on Doheny, I found myself with a cycling group heading east on Cashio and also turning north on Doheny. I stayed at the back of their pack so as not to interfere with them, but the interesting thing was, my hybrid kept pace with them! They were doing about 15-16 mph going up Doheny, and then the group split apart at the Santa Monica Blvd crossing with some continuing north on Doheny and others heading east on Santa Monica Blvd. I followed the ones on Santa Monica Blvd since I was going that way anyhow, and they got up to speeds of 20 mph , and again, I met their speeds. I even broke my own record and got up to 21 mph! I was so excited. However, we got separated at a stop light with me getting left behind, and by the time the light changed they were far gone. However, I was tickled to have kept up with them for about 2 miles! So, if I can keep up with them on a hybrid, I should easily outpace them on a road bike. Ha!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Collision 101

I keep forgetting to mention that I saw a bike crash the other day. I was in the drive-through at Jack In the Box, and was behind a limo. The drive-thru was sort of an alley situation. When the limo driver got his food and pulled forward, he was struck on the rear passenger-side door by an east-bound cyclist on the sidewalk. The cyclist went down and seemed to have banged his elbow pretty good but was otherwise all right, and the limo driver kept inspecting his car for damage.

The one at fault was the cyclist. First of all, although there is no law in California against riding on the side-walks, this cyclist wasn't using common sense to slow down at driveways and alley ways (danger zones for sidewalk riding). Second, he was heading east but on the north side of the street, which wasn't even flowing with traffic. If he was going to be on the sidewalk, he should have at least been on the south side of the street. Actually, though, he should have been riding in the street and flowing with the traffic. Had he been doing that, the accident never would have occurred.

I ride in the streets about 95% of the time. If I should happen to pop up onto the sidewalk, it's only temporary to avoid a traffic snafu that is potentially hazardous.

This is a great instructional video on safe riding (in Colorado, but it is broadly applicable):

Safe Bike Riding

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Today I again took my bike into the bank on the way to work, but afterwards had to make a decision which way I would then head south. Normally I wouldn't consider Robertson Blvd. as it is too crowded, single lanes, and just downright obnoxious. However, I'd never ridden the northern end of Robertson before. I've ridden the southern end from Robertson/Guthrie to one mile south underneath the 10 freeway to catch the bike lane on Venice Blvd, but I had avoided the upper part. However, I did take it down to Olympic Blvd today, then headed east on Olympic two blocks to Shenandoah, then headed south to my destination. I have to say, I don't like Olympic blvd either for the fast traffic and the city buses - something that continues to scare me. It would be helpful if Olympic had bike lanes, but it does not.

I was delayed a little at work from leaving at my normal time (5:00), so I ended up leaving closer to 6:00 and by the time I got home it was pretty dark. I need to investigate getting some lights for my wheels to help be more visible to others, even though I have flashing lights in back and the front.