Friday, May 30, 2014

A New California Adventure: Biking the 17 Mile Drive and the PCH

Now as you know I went to Anaheim, California last summer and did a lot of biking. What some of you may not know is that afterwards I packed my Bike Friday into its suitcase and deposited it in the trunk of a rented convertible. It didn't emerge again until days later, when my wife and I arrived in San Francisco for our flight home.

Yeah, I know: renting a convertible to drive up the Pacific Coast Highway is a cliche, but it is a cliche for a reason. 

I did feel as though I was slighting The Sunshine State by not biking in more parts of it - especially since this journey originated in a such a car culture centric place. The autos-first mentality extended into what's called the '17 Mile Drive' which my wife and I didn't do in our rental car.

But I was left with a question: can one bike the 17 mile drive? Lucky for me, we returned to California again (this time to Monterey) so my wife could participate in  PleinAir Magazine's (sort of the Momentum Magazine for painters) Third Annual Plein Air Convention, which I occasionally visited to take photos.

Some of you may recognize this as an umbrella like the one I used when I was in Red Hook, New York to volunteer for the Bike Rodeo. As for the rest of you: I want to believe.

Monterey California is a good place for cyclists - and it has already been discovered by cyclists. The Sea Otter Classic is held there (I tried to get a press pass since it was going on while I was in Monterey but I didn't hear back in time) and the town features a bike and pedestrian trail that runs right by the water. 

There are a couple of bike rental places along the trail (and Bay Bikes in Monterey for buying things like chain lube and a pretty nice T-shirt). 

Of course since I was riding along the water while the Plein Air convention was going on, there were a lot of painters about blocking my view. But the farther away from town I'd ride, the fewer of them I'd see.

If you ride with the water on your right side, you'll eventually pass Cannery Row (Steinbeck!) and will leave the path entirely. At least one sign points the way to 17 mile drive. Being a cyclist, I didn't have to pay the fee to get in, and over the first couple of miles I thought I had found the road biker's paradise.

I was also glad we hadn't done the 17 Mile Drive in a car: on the bike I could hear the water and even pick up some chatter among the golfers talking loudly in Pebble Beach.

But the silence a bicycle provides was the main reason I enjoyed the experience - especially during the climbs when I rode into the fog and into the trees. I half expected Puck and Oberon to sidle out from behind the trees to plot some mischief.

After a couple of climbs - one of which took me past the famed Lone Cypress - the 17 Mile Drive was over and I was back on the roads pointing back to Monterey. It was easy to tell when I was getting closer to town.

Now the thing about California - especially this area - is that it really does favor cyclists since there are massive stretches of road and path that don't have any stoplights. So I poured on the miles - I'd finish the trip with 180 miles ridden over five days -  and headed in the other direction on the shoreline trail (putting the water on my left) where I eventually found a new path.

It made me wish for a path alongside of I-95 or, better still, Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. 

It was from this path I could see Isidro's Taco Shop, where I stopped to inhale lunch.

Afterward I continued on until the path ended at Del Monte Boulevard and Lapis Road, then turned around and headed back to Monterey - this time diverting through Ford Ord Dunes State Park. This featured a road that ran almost parallel to the trail I had been on, but it also leads to a very cool switchback (yes, the little fluorescent dot way out there is a cyclist).

The next day I headed off toward the 17 Mile Drive again - only this time I diverted into a town called Pacific Grove, where I literally followed the smell of pancakes to Holly's Lighthouse Cafe.

Fueled by a great breakfast and better coffee, I decided to revisit the Pacific Coast Highway and ride up toward Big Sur. 

The drive I took in the convertible a year before all started to come back to me. If I had been in better shape and had more time I would have attempted a century. The key word here is 'attempt:' even though stoplights, traffic and stop signs were absent, the hills feel different in a bike than in a car. But riding up the hills myself, feeling the acid in my legs and my heart try to punch through my rib cage, made the views all the better.

Passing the Bixby Bridge (one of several bridges built in the 1930s along this stretch) I kept climbing and revisited a key feature of Big Sur: the fog.

Last year my wife and I joked that a postcard from Big Sur could just feature white space and the words: 'Greetings from Big Sur!' because of the poor visibility in the area. As the fog got thicker I'd have to sneak in views whenever I could. 

Wanting an even bigger payoff for my efforts, so I kept hammering the pedals and soon reached Hurricane Point, where I leaned the bike against a rock and looked out over the cliffs.

Waiting for my heart rate to return to normal, I looked for a break - any break - in the fog so I could take a picture. This ended up being my best shot.

Just when I was getting ready to turn back (I had to meet my wife at a certain time late afternoon) a big Harley-Davidson pulled up with a couple in their sixties riding it. The man riding in front had a GoPro mount on his helmet and asked me if I had been able to see anything. 

I told him I had been there for ten minutes and hadn't seen much, and when he asked if I knew when it would burn off I told him I was from Connecticut and didn't know.

"I thought you would know," the man laughed. "You look like a local!"

And, with that, I had my payoff.

I thanked him for the compliment and told him and his partner to ride safe, and in moments they disappeared into the fog.

I topped off my tires and blasted back down the climb I had ascended where the fog, predictably, began to lift.

I stopped for lunch at the Rio Grill and enjoyed their pork quesadilla special. Later I stopped at a Nothing Bundt Cakes location for a cupcake (a chain I don't see in the Northeast) and made it back to Monterey as the sugar high wore off. 

The following day's cycling adventure was very short as my wife and I went to Pinnacles National Park (which, if you've never heard of it, is America's newest national park) for some hiking and light spelunking. It's a very tranquil place. My photo doesn't do it justice, but my wife's sketches did.

As the Plein Air conference continued, I kept riding - I even did the 17 Mile Drive one last time by bike and had another interesting experience I'll write about later. But for now, I can only recommend a visit to California: you may need a car to get to where you're going, but try to use a bike when you get there - if nothing else you've got something to do while your spouse is at the Plein Air Convention. Thanks for reading and thanks for riding.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

In Small Town USA for the Big Bike Rodeo

Nothing gets you off your high of the successful Bike to Work Day Event in Stamford quite like a long, solitary drive up to the one-stoplight town of Red Hook, New York. 

And I'm not saying 'one stoplight' in a derogatory way: the village of Red Hook really does have one stoplight. But it is the kind of town that people give directions by using local businesses as landmarks instead of street names. (You don't know (blank?) Everyone knows where that is!)

It is also the kind of town that city dwellers like myself has a tendency to mock from afar but admire and appreciate once you actually visit. 

I can rest my case on Red Hook's value with the existence of Taste Budd's Cafe, for example, but I'll move on. 

You see, I had promised my older sister - a village trustee for Red Hook Village, which has their own web site and everything - that I would volunteer for my niece and her Girl Scout Troop's Bike Rodeo. I wasn't even sure what it was I had signed up for. I knew I'd be tuning bikes up but unsure of the context, I brought a lot of serious tools with me in the back of my Element.  Even though this commitment meant I would be missing Bike Stamford's ride, I knew I'd be able to spend quality time with my brother in law, my niece and my sister - who promised me Memphis-style barbecue from Max's for dinner. 

On occasion I can be rented cheap.

I arrived at my sister's house late morning and quickly got the run-down: the Bike Rodeo was at the High School about a half mile away. My sister said she needed to take her car because she and a lot to carry.

I was having none of it.

When someone says to me - especially during National Bike Month - that 'we have to take the car' there is no other way for me to interpret it other than a dare.

My Park Tool work stand, pump and a couple of toolboxes nestled gently but firmly in the trailer (which I converted from the Bike Walk Connecticut/Bike Carrier Configuration to traditional cargo mode the evening before) and so did my sister's three folding chairs, a sign that read 'RESTROOMS' with an arrow pointing (people will want to know where the bathroom is, she explained) and two plastic containers filled with cupcakes. 

My sister is a Girl Scout Troop leader. I figured cupcakes would be involved somehow.

With the trailer working smoothly, we all pedaled into the parking lot of the Red Hook High School well before the 1:00pm start. I had plenty of time to set up and I didn't need it.

Since I wasn't sure I'd have access to a shady tree, I packed along an umbrella my wife has used to stay cool while sketching. The metal bracket I welded for her was placed on a taller tripod so I could stand up easily underneath and any bike I'd be working on wouldn't be in the way.

Others arrived to set up the obstacle course, water and lemonade table, and the helmet safety station. And then: this arrived.

It was a van from Kingston Cyclery, and the driver, Bob, was at the bike rodeo for the same reason I was: to volunteer to tune bikes. Kingston Cyclery set up right next to me and projected their authority with a recognized name in the community, proven expertise, and a bright red van.

I projected my authority with an apron (not for nothing: but if you put on an apron and stand next to a Park Tool work stand in a public place, people on bikes will come from miles around). 

Also, not to humble brag, but  my setup with the tiny bike trailer and my umbrella was better than his. All of my tools were at the ready - if you're gonna bring a van, park it the other way so your workstation is on the same side as the sliding side door! - and, even more important, I was closer to the water and lemonade table. 

Still, I was happy Bob from Kingston Cyclery was there. Not only did I have someone to talk to who was alive at the time 'The Goonies' hit theaters, but there were so many people attending he and I were working on bikes almost constantly and the kids didn't have to wait too long to get their bikes back. 

The work we were doing was simple: make sure the brakes, wheels and tires, and quick releases were in good shape before the kids could ride their bikes on the obstacle course. We tuned occasional adult bikes as well. 

Most of the work involved had to do with the fact that a lot of the bikes appeared were pulled from basement hibernation that very morning. Tires were low, spiderwebs were plentiful, and brake cables had stretched - which means when one squeezes a brake, the handle has to go almost all the way to the handlebar before anything happens.

As a bonus, I brought along some cable ends, so if a bike featured a frayed cable I'd snip it a bit shorter and fit one to the end to give the bike a tidy appearance.

Another thing we needed to do was make sure the bikes fit the rider properly. A little-known fact about kids is they grow, which means each season of riding on the same bike brings about a few turns of a spanner to raise a seat or pivot brake levers downward so their wrists wouldn't be bent while riding (something to know for adult bikes as well: keep your wrists straight for the most comfort).

A lot of the bikes, as I learned, were hand-me-downs from older siblings - some of them seemed eager to offer tips on cycling on the obstacle course.

A treat of this event was the arrival of the mayor of Red Hook - Ed Blundell. I smiled because just the day before I got to go on a bike ride with my mayor: David Martin, who had just been given a bike by the Stamford Downtown Special Services District. Stamford has a population of about 130,000. Red Hook village has a population of 1,920 - but they need a cycling mayor just as much as any town or city. And I got to possibly become the first person in the blogosphere to take a picture of a mayor in a bike helmet two days in a row. 

Like the day before, this mayor gave a nice address about the value of cycling to an enthusiastic crowd. His, Kingston Cyclery's  and Girl Scout Troop #10201's enthusiasm for cycling were definitely a big part of why the event was working so well.

After the address, I kept working on bikes. I wasn't stumped too badly by anything (save for the Bard College student who desperately needs her back wheel straightened) and deep down was thankful the Red Hook Police and the organizers were making everyone sign a waiver of some kind. 

A couple of fixes stood out, such as the woman whose rear rack rattled badly. It wasn't hard to figure out why. 

I usually give bonus points for creative fixes, but not when the bike is actually equipped with mounting points for racks (and these are clearly visible). I fixed it quickly and got rid of the rattle. 

I had to repair the rear rack of another bike, too. While the girl and her parents stood watching, I bent myself over the bike rather awkwardly which slightly smushed the passenger (I forget the passenger's name).  One of the parents suggested we move the passenger, so I quickly changed my posture so they rack wouldn't rub against the back wheel and the passenger would be comfortable. 

From time to time, I got a question I wasn't comfortable answering. For instance, a little boy of about six kept playing with my Park Tool pump (I'd usually use the work stand I brought but if the child showed interest in watching what I was doing I'd sit on my toolbox and showed them what the problems on their bike were) while I was working on his brakes and asked "Doesn't this sound like someone farting?" referring to the sound the air makes when it leaves the nozzle.

I carefully told him it sounded at first like his tire was losing air, and, since he showed an interest, I allowed him to try to pump his own tire.

It was around this time I grew an even greater appreciation for Kingston Cyclery and other local bike shops: there definitely is a customer service skill one has to have.  After several minutes of working on this kid's bike, I asked him to hop back on it so I could see how much higher to raise the seat. Then I had to ask him to get off the bike again. 

"What's your name?" I asked.


I wasn't expecting that response. "Because I don't want to keep calling you, 'you.'" I said.

The six-year-old was having none of it: "I don't want to give it to you," he said.

"Why?" I asked.

"Because if…you might work for an evil organization, and if you work for an evil organization you might be able to find me where I live."

I glanced over at the kid's mom, but she was laughing (possibly at me, possibly at something else). I wasn't sure how to respond. What evil organizations do you know? Any of them have an underground lair with bike parking? Are any of them looking for a communications director?

Instead, I politely replied: "I can only assure you that I don't work for an evil organization. Can you just get off your bike so I can fix the seat?"

By the end of the afternoon I had lost count of the number of bikes I had worked on and the number of times I had to move my umbrella so the shade could stay over me. Everyone was having fun, and every time I'd turn to my sister and use the word lemonade as a verb (present tense) she'd bring me a cup. 

Shortly after four, we packed everything up and rode back home. I changed my shirt and my sister fulfilled her promise by taking me out to Max's for dinner. I thanked her and left, returning to my home city of Stamford by about 9:00pm. 

Overall, I found my experience as a volunteer Bike Guru at the Village of Red Hook's Bike Rodeo a fun one. The adults and kids had a great time and between the helmet fittings and the bike tune ups, everyone was ready for the Tour de Red Hook (which is what it sounds like) the next day. 

If your town, no matter the size, wants to have a bike rodeo too, I urge you to follow the example of the one-stoplight town of Red Hook New York and have one. You'll be glad you did. And if you live in Red Hook and need a new bike or an old one tuned up, visit Kingston Cyclery's new location in town just across from Holy Cow Ice Cream. Everyone knows where that is. Thanks for reading and thanks for riding. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Bike to Work Day 2014 - The Report from Stamford

As most of you know I've spent a good part of the last couple of weeks doing work for Bike Walk Connecticut to promote Bike to Work Day - a thoroughly enjoyable assignment that has come to an end. 

A component of it had to do with a bike sign I made the afternoon before the Five Boro Bike Tour. Made from foam board and letters leftover from various DIYBIKING.COM signs, I assembled it in my living room in less than two episodes of 'Justified' season 1 on DVD.

I sometimes measure time with television. 

During the weekdays I contacted as many people and companies as I could think of, wrote press releases, letters to the editor, sent notes to reporters, did what I could to help Connecticut Bike to Work Day Event hosts promote their events, and tried to get people to take the BikeWalkCT Bike to Work Day pledge. That part especially wasn't easy. Early in the week, some graphics person in the WTNH News 8 staff put a much darker cloud on Friday than on any of the other days, which were already iffy to begin with. Bike to Work Day rapidly began to transform into Oh-No-Please-Don't-Let-It-Rain Day. 

(However, while I'm on the subject: I do need to thank News 12's Kathryn Hauser as well as WTNH's Gil Simmons and Teresa Dufour for mentioning Bike to Work Day in their early morning reports - and on Twitter. I wanted as many motorists out there to be more alert than ever should they have to peer out into the world through a rain-streaked windshield. Telling everyone to be extra cautious made the whole day better and everyone safer).

As I already reported, it was difficult to get anyone to talk about Bike to Work Day before the event, but just over the past several days, a few interesting things began to happen - and none of them had to do with Alec Baldwin.

It started for fun, but I began taking pictures of my silly bike trailer/folding bike setup in front of bike shops and small businesses that I liked and later emailed them the photos. Several of them - Pacific Swim Bike Run, Lorca, and Danny's Cycles shared the picture. Even and Bike New York surprised me by posting it on Facebook, and my gym/yoga destination: Exhale Spa - which is having free core fusion classes during their Fusion Fest event next week - did too. 

But the real work in Stamford was being done by the Stamford Downtown Special Services District and South Western Regional Planning Agency. The poster they made was showing up in different independent businesses around town, and there was a lot of buzz around the fact that the DSSD was going to present Stamford mayor David Martin with a bike. Even Congressman Jim Himes was slated to attend Stamford's Bike to Work Day Event. 

So this morning, even though it wasn't raining, I stretched a hotel shower cap over my helmet, put on a rain jacket, and rode my bike and trailer to Veterans Park - arriving a few minutes before the 7:30 start time.

My worries that the forecast was going to keep everyone away faded quickly as it was actually turning into a fairly pleasant morning. So much so, I ditched my jacket the moment I got there. Before long, cyclists began arriving and enjoyed some service on their machines by Danny's Cycles.

I also chatted with someone from Fleet Feet Sports, one of Lorca's Bedford Street neighbors that frequently organizes group runs. I don't run, but if I did, I'd run with Fleet Feet. Maybe that's a good pull-quote for their testimonials page. Never mind.  

After getting a great breakfast at the Vanchetta Food Truck I wandered back through the tents and the still-building crowd in time to spot Congressman Jim Himes arriving in style.

Connecticut's fourth district - or as Stephen Colbert might say, the 'fightin' fourth!' - was officially represented.

The congressman impressed me by remembering the brief meeting we had in Stamford several weeks earlier (mentioned in a piece I wrote for Bike Walk Connecticut), and impressed me further by saying he had read my post/white paper on the future of bike share. Congressman Himes, by the way, holds a membership key for Capital Bike Share

As the crowd built up, Mayor David Martin materialized as did others from DSSD. Before the speeches I was able to take what would become my favorite shot of the day: a picture of my congressman taking a picture of my bike trailer. 

Shortly after, Sandy Goldstein, the president of Stamford DSSD, took to the stage and gave a short but energetic speech. Much to my amazement, a brief part of her address was quoting a letter to the editor that I wrote the Stamford Advocate days earlier that was published in today's print edition (under the headline 'Peddling Bike to Work Day').  It was the part about how I asked Stamford drivers to realize how much time they spend in traffic watching traffic lights go from red to green and back again without moving. I immediately thought of the scene from When Harry Met Sally when Bruno Kirby's character gleefully exclaims to Carrie Fisher's character: "Nobody's quoted me back to me before!"

Congressman Himes (pictured) leaned his kickstand-less, not-quite-as-old-as-dirt Specialized bike on the ground and gave a great speech on the value of cycling. His words were carried over the crowd quite well with the aid of SpeakerBike, which, seen on the left side of the picture below, has become an integral part of Stamford's cycling lore.

Mayor David Martin took to the stage to thank Sandy for the introduction before giving a speech of his own and accepting the bike, which was being presented by DSSD and Allied Barton Security Services. The bike, which came from Danny's Cycles, looked good as the blue cloth that covered it was unfurled. 

I glanced to my left and saw Christina Chiarelli of, thinking back to when I spoke with her and then mayoral candidate David Martin when I did my Cycling with Candidates project last summer. Martin indicated to me and to that he wanted to have his own bike when elected mayor so he could use it to get around the city. I took him at his word but still thought to myself: I'll believe it when I see it.  

Well, I saw it. 

Minutes after the speeches, several people mounted up to take a ride with the mayor and the congressman to the government center, which was once again a Groundhog Day-like moment as I recalled the last time I rode there. I mounted up my folding bike and, trailer in tow, followed the group to the government center. Much to my good fortune, the trailer neither failed nor caused any problems for any of the cyclists. I would have felt horrible if Congressman Himes crashed into me and fell - especially if it was captured on video someone would probably try to use the footage for an attack ad.

But the ride went well with no rain and (thankfully) a lot of patience from Stamford's motorists. It was possible that they were just as happy to not have to drive in a deluge as we were with not having to pedal in one. 

At the government center, we all laughed and talked for a little while (though I truly regret not trying to take a group picture) before we headed off our separate ways. I thanked the Mayor and Congressman Himes before pedaling back to the event to again thank the DSSD for making it all work.  

After the tents came down, I headed up Bedford Street and stopped in front of Lorca (which is having their  to celebrate with a cappuccino. I looked out onto Bedford Street, watching people pass by my stopped bike, and began to feel a sense of relief that it wasn't just me who felt Stamford is a great city that just needs attention. I began to wonder again what Bedford Street would look like with sensibly designed bike racks.

I began to wonder how many more cyclists would attend tomorrow's People Friendly Stamford ride (Saturday, May 17th) that starts at Latham Park now that Saturday's forecast looks great.

I began to wonder whether more people were taking the Bike Walk Connecticut pledge now that the weather wasn't as apocalyptic as once feared. 

Do you think your city could work better for cyclists? Begin to wonder, then begin to take action. Thanks for reading and thanks for riding.  

(You can view Christina Chiarelli's report on Stamford's 2014 Bike to Work Day Event by clicking here).

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

DIYBIKING.COM Presents: How to Not Ride Like Alec Baldwin

As the Jen Selter of cycling - except without the fit figure or massive social media following - I feel as though it is my duty to talk about what we should all be doing anyway (cycling) safely, which is something everyone should know since Bike to Work Day is now just two days away.

Here in Connecticut, there are a lot of people every day taking the Bike Walk Connecticut Bike to Work Day Pledge and even more going to any one of the Bike to Work Day events happening around the state on May 16, but it hasn't been easy to get anyone to talk about safety before the events. I'm hoping local media talk about the accident yesterday in Fairfield in the broader context of how to be safe, but sadly I haven't seen that yet. 

But now cycling is really in the news: Alec Baldwin, the star of such classic films such as Beetlejuice and The Shadow, was stopped and eventually handcuffed by New York City police yesterday. Let's hope this thing moves a little beyond the usual celebrity-behaving-badly Page Six stuff and opens up a bigger dialogue about riding safely.

So without further delay, here are DIYBIKING.COM's Top Five Tips on How to Not Ride Like Alec Baldwin:

1) Follow the rules of the road

Cyclists run red lights all the time and it has to stop. Period. I don't know if you've seen the terrific flyer from the SWRPA/Stamford Downtown Special Services District promoting the Stamford Bike to Work Day Event, but all the cyclists in the photo (and if you look closely you'll see me in the group) are stopped at a red light. But cyclists, especially in New York City, aren't known for this. So please; when you come to an intersection, stop at the red light. If you are in front of a car or right beside one, make eye contact with the motorist. The driver will realize he or she is sharing the road. 

2) Ask yourself: would you do this in a car? 

All around the world I've seen cyclists riding on sidewalks, riding the wrong way and weaving in and out of parked cars (I saw even more fascinating rule breaking in India). Since you're supposed to follow the rules of the road, don't do any of these things. One can share sidewalks with pedestrians if you're dismounted and the bike is being pushed, but no riding on the sidewalk. And don't weave in traffic. It's understandable to move over to one side to let a car overtake, but always ride predictably and stay visible: you wouldn't drive at night with your lights off, so if you bike at night, have lights on and wear some good reflective clothes - there is even a New York City based company called Vespertine if you don't want to dress like the Daylighter marker you used to use to highlight passages in a high school textbook. 

3) Ask yourself: what does the driver see/where does the driver look? 

Remember the Staying Safe While Riding at Night feature? That post demonstrated just how differently the same setting looks in the daytime (pictured above) compared to the nighttime.

The star of The Marrying Man was riding the wrong way, and even though if it may look safe and there are no oncoming cars visible, it doesn't mean it should be done. Cars pull out of parking spots and drivers may be more focused on their cell phones or on not scratching the car in front of them to see a cyclist - not to mention the fact that smugmobiles/hybrids like the Prius are so quiet it's hard for a cyclist to hear an engine running on even the quietest of streets. Alec Baldwin is tall, but from what I saw in the New York Post photos, he wasn't wearing anything exceptionally bright. If he was hit by a car, the driver wouldn't say 'Oh my god! I just hit Alec Baldwin!" but instead, "What was that?"

4) Say yes to a helmet with a rearview mirror and say no to headphones. 

Also in the New York Post photo: Baldwin without a helmet.

I like my bike helmet and rearview mirror so much that I bring it everywhere when I travel. When I biked in Delhi and Gurgaon a few months ago, I was the only cyclist I saw on India's roads who was wearing one. Some guy who was laughing at my appearance even took a picture of me at a red light - probably to post it on Facebook. I didn't care. There are lot of fashionable helmets available today, and even it you don't have a Project Runway-worthy helmet, any cranial protection looks better than a closed casket funeral. Period. And a tiny, helmet mounted mirror goes a long way to show what's coming up behind you and how fast its moving. Not only that, but if you travel, it is nice to move the mirror to the other side of the helmet (like I do when I went to London to research Barclay Bikes) as a reminder to bike on the left. 

5) If you come in contact with the police, pay attention, cooperate and be respectful. 

This is whether you break a law or not; sometimes there are construction sites and a traffic cop present giving very vague hand signals. Watch them closely, do what they say, and don't go on Twitter later to disrespect them. If you are a celebrity cyclist - like, say, the supporting actor in Working Girl - never assume that police know who you are or care. Whether you are 1% or among the 99%: you are a person who has chosen a lightweight and beautifully made machine to help you get around. It's a wonderful thing, and if you follow just a few simple safety measures,  it will remain a wonderful thing.

This is Bike to Work Week, and Bike to Work Day is Friday. I want as many people to ride to work as possible. I also  want Don Sterling off my television and the images of safe and happy cyclists on it. Whatever the press can do to help with that be most welcome. Thanks for reading and thanks for riding.