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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

let's all bike to work this week!

and to the store, to the beach, and if you're like me, to almost anywhere within biking distance of home, including, of course, every yoga studio in town :)

may is national bike month, and here in LA (as well as in many other cities), this week has been designated bike to work week.

here's a brief description of the week's events, courtesy of the LA county bicycle coalition (LACBC):

The week of May 11-16 is Bike to Work Week! Join thousands of bicyclists in celebrating Bike to Work Week in Los Angeles and across the country. Riding a bicycle to work is a great alternative to driving a car that can save you money, keep you healthy and decrease pollution levels in LA.

Come out and show LA that cyclists are a growing community that need more facilities, funding, and ongoing support in Los Angeles.

Monday May 11th - Bike to Work Week's Kick-off Event at Olvera Street at 8:30am

Come out and meet some representatives from city departments, regional transportation agencies, LACBC's very own Jen Klausner and other speakers. This is a great opportunity to let them know that we need more bike facilities!

Tuesday May 12th - Blessing of the Bikes at Good Samaritan Hospital at 8:00 am


For more information, visit www.goodsam.org/news/blessing_bicycles.php

Wednesday May 13th - Downtown LA Bike Ride, Civic Center Metro Red Line Station to City Hall at 8:00am

A huge ride will be starting in Downtown LA at the Civic Center Metro Red Line Station and will ride through Downtown LA to end at City Hall. Press will be there following the ride. This is a great opportunity to show other Angelenos who do not ride yet, how sexy riding to work can be!
Let's show our Mayor and other elected officials that LA is not just for cars!

Thursday May 14th - Bike to Work Day

Commit to riding to work and join thousands of other bicyclists celebrating Bike to Work Day in Los Angeles and across the country.
Check the Bike to Work Day website at
www.metro.net/biketowork to learn more about the events planned for the day, including pit stop locations and free rides for cyclists on the Metro and other LA County transit operators!

Friday May 15th - Bike to School Day

For more information contact bike_at_school@la-bike.org. Also visit Safe Bicycle Routes for LA Schools at sr2s-la.blogspot.com


since i've recently been spending most of my time riding around town on my lime green electra townie, i decided to attend the blessing of the bikes ceremony at the good samaritan hospital near downtown LA. not only would it be nice to get it blessed to ward away evil spirits and bad karma, but it might even protect me and my bike from careless and inconsiderate motorists. or at least that was my hope.

so that's exactly what i did this morning. and what an adventure that was!

needless to say, i wasn't about to ride my bike the 14 miles from santa monica to downtown AND expect to get there by 8am. so i did the next best thing; i took my bike with me on a bus bound for downtown. in theory, it sounded simple enough: the bus would arrive at the bus stop, i'd put my bike on the rack at the front of the bus, i'd secure the bike with the support arm, i'd hop on the bus, and the bus driver would take both of us to our destination.

long story short, i left home at 6:30 this morning to ride my bike to the first stop on the bus line, i barely was able to lift my 30-pound cruiser onto the bike rack at the front of the bus (these things weren't made for short people!), and we arrived at good sam just as the 8am event was about to get started. happily, we both made it in one piece, despite my hour-long panic attack while i watched my bike bounce up and down at the front of the bus every time we hit a pothole!

the turnout was amazingly large, given the day, the time, and the location. most of the people in attendance were employees of the hospital, LAPD bike patrol officers, LACBC members, and other cycling commuters much like myself. we all stood by our bikes as the ceremony got underway.

after good samaritan CEO andy leeka welcomed the crowd of cyclists gathered in the hospital driveway, he presented the golden spoke award to councilman tom labonge (see labonge's coverage of the event, including a photo which shows me standing nearby, beside my green bike). after that, a former morbidly-obese cyclist told us about how riding a bike has helped him lose 180 pounds and has literally saved his life, and school children read essays they had written about the importance of cycling. finally, after the names of cyclists who were killed in roadside accidents were read, and prayers were said by an episcopalian minister and a jewish rabbi (somehow, the catholic nun and the buddhist monk scheduled to appear never got there), we rode past the minister as he sprinkled us and our cycles with holy water. we did a quick ride around the block, then regrouped back at the start for breakfast and some goodies from bike week sponsors.

here's a video of the local fox news coverage of the event: www.topix.com/business/healthcare/2009/05/blessing-of-the-bicycles-observed

i spent the rest of the morning at the LACBC office, helping the staff with various office tasks and talking about the upcoming LA river ride to be held on june 7th. since i had no other plans for the afternoon, i considered riding my bike all the way back home when i was done. but when i realized how long that would take (most likely over an hour), i decided to take the easy way out -- i put my bike on the speedy freeway flyer (yay big blue #10!) and got home in time to bike to and take vinnie marino's class at yogaworks on main street. what a perfect way to end a busy day!

by the way, if you haven't checked out my facebook page, i've posted some photos of my bike in action. click here to check out the photo album on the accidental yogist page (and don't forget to become a fan... i'd love to find out who all my loyal readers are!)

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