Meeting The Neighbors

Posted December 20, 2014 By Frank Peters

Do you have neighbors like these, too?

The ones you seemingly have nothing in common with, but then how would you know – all you ever do is nod “Hello” as you pass in the parking lot.

I did.

Jim and Denise live directly next door, you can’t get much closer as neighbors, proximity-wise that is, but we seldom had more to say than a comment about a pretty sunset.

Until this past Thursday.

I was standing in their driveway looking up at my house, which has been scaffolded for a week as we repaint. It’s coming along nicely and it’s fun to observe the process. That’s when Denise backed out of her garage with her new bike.

“Hey, nice Pedego!” Everything changed in an instant, “I’ve got 3 Pedegoes in the garage!” She was impressed, surprised.

Yes, she knew my son worked in the nearby store, but she bought her’s in Irvine near work. She’s a teeny bit famous, as she’s the first owner of the new Pedego Boomerang electric bike. I told her I had seen the Facebook post featuring her, but with a helmet and glasses I didn’t recognize her.

The Boomerang has a low step-through that a lot of us are gonna like.

The Boomerang has a low step-thru that a lot of us are gonna like.

In just a few minutes we’ve arranged a double-date — Jim’s suggesting bike-to-lunch on the peninsula.

I can tell everyone’s excited – who can’t use a bike buddy right next door?

IMG_7151a

 

     

Pre-Turkey Ride

Posted November 26, 2014 By Frank Peters
First to arrive

Me on my Pedego are the first to arrive

We had a gorgeous day for this annual bike ride. Our group of 5 more than made up for our small size with friendly chats along the route.

As I often do, we stop at Irvine Terrace Park to practice safe braking. That’s when I discover Fabricia’s junker bike (she is visiting from Michigan and just bought the bike for a week’s worth of riding) didn’t have a rear brake. This causes me a little concern as the next leg of our journey is straight downhill. Not to worry, she’s had just enough time on the bike to know how to compensate. Off we went heading for Balboa Island.

After making a point of telling everyone to bring money, guess who doesn’t?

I always stash a large bill in my bike bag just for such occasions, but the Balboa Is ferry operator didn’t want to take it, so Michael Glenn treated for my ferry fare. Money problems on a fun bike ride? Not really — but I did have exact change for the return ferry.

Christian's bike

Christian’s Detroit-built Shinola

On the ferry

On the ferry: Christian, Frank, Michael and Marco

I’ve biked to the Wedge many times, but seldom do I lock up the bike and walk to the water. We did today.

The Wedge didn’t look like the mighty monster this morning — it was flat, calm and inviting. This is home turf for Michael Glenn, so he contributed great tidbits and stories along our peninsula route.

at the Wedge

Christian, Fabricia, Marco and Michael at the Wedge

Lunch at Sessions

Lunch at Sessions, 29th and Newport Blvd.

When someone else is entertaining the group I can take a break and enjoy the ride, too. I have to admit that when I took everyone for an early lunch and discovered Michael hadn’t been to Sessions, I felt like I was showing everyone a good time.

Back to money issues… Christian only has 2 dollars for lunch, so I am happy to treat. He gives me one and the change for 2 sandwiches gives me enough for the return ferry fare. The money shortages added to the serendipity and lunch tasted better for the both of us.

The ride is starting to take on a rolling party flavor – we linger for awhile, sharing stories before it’s time to push off.

The group starts to thin as we head back – first Christian then Michael. “Who’s gonna drop out next?” I say wondering if my Michigan companions know their way back, but I’m just kidding. The smaller threesome allows even more intimate conversations as we pile onto the ferry for the trip back…

A Classic route from the Civic Center to the Balboa Is ferry and the Wedge

A classic route from the Civic Center to the Balboa Island ferry and the Wedge

 

     

Pre-Thanksgiving Ride, UPDATED

Posted November 20, 2014 By Frank Peters
Newport Beach has great riding

The Newport Beach Pavilion from Balboa Island

Meet at the Civic Center at 10am Wed Nov 26th for a fun, sociable bike ride.

Our route:
We’ll ride to Balboa Island, take the ferry to the peninsula, visit the Wedge and head to the Newport Pier. A bike riding buddy from Long Beach took me to lunch at a new deli, Sessions Sandwiches, at 28th and Newport Blvd – a hole-in-the-wall with great food. Alternatives abound.

The weather will be sublime — your east-coast friends will be jealous.

Bring $2.50 ferry fare and lunch money.

 

     

Let’s Make It Safe For Kids

Posted November 8, 2014 By David Huntsman

There’s a lot of potential in that wide sidewalk…

Nobody is ever going to let their kids ride bikes to Newport Coast Elementary School in the street, even if there are bike lanes, because San Joaquin¬†Hills Rd has a 55MPH speed limit and, believe me, drivers don’t even adhere to that.

But there’s a very wide sidewalk (by US standards). Why not stripe it with a bike lane so kids can use it to get to school, the park and the shops at three corners of the intersection on Newport Coast Dr and San Joaquin Hills Rd?

That way dog walkers and joggers won’t be spooked when backpack-laden kids zip past on bikes on their way to class every morning.

 

     

Surf ‘n Turf Tours the Coast

Posted November 5, 2014 By Frank Peters
Mother Nature contributed spectacular weather for the ride

Catalina Island views — Mother Nature contributed spectacular weather for the ride

The California Bicycle Coalition‘s inaugural Surf ‘n Turf Tour continued its way down the coast. After Halloween rain showers we enjoyed spectacular clear skies and warming temperatures – ideal conditions for touring.

This ride is fully supported, all we have to do is pedal. Our backpacks are gathered each morning after breakfast, a truck and 2 support vans take care of us at every step. We have 5 support staff which do an excellent job of keeping it all carefree. They’ve studied the route and lead us along some of the most lovely scenery in the world.

Iconic views along the Pacific Coast Hwy

Iconic views along the Pacific Coast Hwy

Lots of rolling hills on the Palos Verdes peninsula

Lots of rolling hills on the Palos Verdes peninsula

Each afternoon we roll into our accommodations – on Day 2 that’s a hostel in Santa Monica. Picture 10 men packed into 10 bunk-beds and one bath. Like school kids on a sleep-over, we stayed up telling stories, bonding.

Dick and Janet

Blogger Janet Lafleur with husband Dick, ready to roll

The Manhattan Beach pier.

Good spot for a SAG stop: the Manhattan Beach pier

Riding into Long Beach our destination for the night is the Queen Mary; several of us have never visited. There will be a swank dinner with lots of local bicycle advocates, many familiar faces.

Tour sponsor Pedego Electric Bikes offers the highlight of the evening — founder Don DiCostanzo surprises the audience: he will draw from the raffle tickets until a woman wins the step-through beach cruiser he’s donated and until he draws a woman’s ticket, those men will win an eBike for their significant-other. The audience thrills as it takes two reaches into the fishbowl to find a woman’s winning ticket. Last stop of the evening – eBike rides on the Promenade deck!

Laura was our tour photographer

Laura Lukitsch, our tour photographer

A quiet route south

A quiet route south

Day 4: Queen Mary to Irvine and beyond

Day 4: Queen Mary to Irvine and beyond

Day 4’s route is right in my back yard. I’ve designed this route and today I’m asked to lead. It’s an honor and one I couldn’t manage without the eBike. With a little electric boost I’m able to stay in front of this athletic group.

It’s another gorgeous morning and we’re especially lucky to be riding almost exclusively off Coast Hwy, so everyone can relax and concentrate on the views. A little tailwind doesn’t hurt.

I’ve marked all the best spots for short breaks and each stop deserves a short story. There are the green Sharrows on 2nd Street in Belmont Shore to tee up. The Huntington Beach pier looks quiet this time of year, so I describe the 4th of July crush and the live music venues – how bicycle advocacy leads to an interest in Placemaking, which is done so well right here. At the Newport Beach pier, if you pause for a few minutes you can see the maze etched into the centerpiece courtyard and you can smell the leftovers from the fishing fleet’s early-morning catch. Our SAG stop happens to be right opposite a particularly crowded section of beach bonfire rings, so how can I resist telling the story of the AQMD’s efforts to reduce air pollution from the toxic pits? Most don’t know of the adverse effects from breathing woodsmoke.

I’m on a roll now, in more ways than one, so at lunch everyone gathers as I hint at my next story. I’ve rehearsed this surprise goodbye: it’s election day and I’m off to party with my favorite local candidates — I’m dropping out of the ride. It’s hard to leave my new best friends, but bicycle advocacy requires double doses of political support and tonight may offer new opportunities to ask for help.

As the group moves out, turning left for San Clemente, I pedal right on my ride home, alone.
 

     

Surf ‘n Turf Tour, Day 1

Posted November 1, 2014 By Frank Peters

The California Bicycle Coalition’s Santa Barbara to San Diego Surf ‘n Turf Tour kicked off this morning.

The Halloween rain storm added drama and puddles at the start. We had a little rain, just enough to claim bragging rights, otherwise it was a brisk and beautiful day for this inaugural bicycle tour.

IMG_6735.JPG

Ed France and several members of the local Santa Barbara County Bicycle Coalition joined us for this first leg.

IMG_6736.JPG

Laura’s our videographer — on a Brompton.

IMG_6737.JPG

IMG_6740.JPG

Lots of climbing on Day 1

Lots of climbing on Day 1

The Pedego City Commuter

eBike on the ride: the Pedego City Commuter

Pedego Electric Bikes sponsored the ride and they lent me a beautiful, bronze-colored City Commuter. It attracted a lot of attention from the mostly skinny-tire group.

How far does that battery last?

I can say it lasted all 45 miles of this rigorous first day, up Casitas Pass to the Lake and down to Ventura, with plenty of power to spare.

 

     

A Plan to Move Forward

Posted October 28, 2014 By Frank Peters

City Council

Tonight the Newport Beach City Council unanimously approved the Bicycle Master Plan.

In process since 2009 when Councilmember Nancy Gardner started the Task Force on Bicycle Safety and continuing through Councilman Tony Petros’ final push to get the Plan prepared, the City now has a comprehensive document to address bike safety issues.

There’s a lot to do and it will take years. Many people have contributed, but due for some special recognition is Public Works’ Brad Sommers who has risen to the occasion; he understands the challenges and knows what must be done.

It will take money to implement, but the Plan opens the door to funding from state and regional sources. I’m guessing that the oft quoted $20 million to deliver the Plan will be found sooner than most people might think.

 

     

Master Plan Goes to Council

Posted October 17, 2014 By Frank Peters
Nancy Gardner

Nancy Gardner

It started back in 2009 when Newport Beach Councilwoman Nancy Gardner convened the Bicycle Safety Task Force. She laid the groundwork for what would evolve into the Bicycle Master Plan Committee, chaired by Councilman Petros. The plan goes to the City Council 7pm Tuesday October 28 and it’s likely to enjoy widespread support.

There’s a lot in the plan – read it here – and as it’s implemented over the next few years we’ll see major improvements in safety for cyclists, for all roadway users because studies have shown that improving safety for one class of users benefits everyone.

Make plans now to attend this historic City Council session. Passage of the Master Plan will be a fitting tribute to Gardner as she wraps up 8 years on the Council.

 

     

Garden Grove Open Streets Event

Posted October 12, 2014 By Frank Peters
Car-free streets for walking, biking and dragons

Car-free streets for walking, biking and dragons

Two Open Streets events in 2 weeks here in Orange County — today’s event in Garden Grove was a smashing success!

The route was unique – a mini-grid around the Civic Center and Historic Main Street – it took me awhile to find my way, but there were delights tucked away along many sections of the route.

CicLAvia's Aaron Paley lent his considerable experience to the event

CicLAvia’s Aaron Paley lent his considerable experience to the event

Free of cars, like all the similar Los Angeles events, Garden Grove Open Streets came just a week after Santa Ana’s SoMoS, the first cyclovia in Orange County.

Pick up a piece of chalk...

Everyone had something to say — pick up a piece of chalk…

Dancing to Michael Jackson tunes

Dancing to Michael Jackson tunes

Could we host a cyclovia for ourselves? What would car-free streets in Newport Beach look like? Where would we stage it? What would we showcase?

 

     

Yes For Density: Yes On Y

Posted October 9, 2014 By Frank Peters
Y so much interest

Y so much interest? — A big turnout at the Civic Center last night

It was standing room only at the Civic Center last night as Speak-Up Newport hosted a debate on Measure Y.

The turnout surprised everyone; the No on Y folks ran out of handouts.

My wife and I wanted to hear the details. Besides bicycle advocacy, the beach fire rings have made us more politically aware, so this election year we’ve participated more than any other time. We’re late bloomers.

We were also the only ones to arrive by bike, but that’s not surprising here in Newport Beach where people love their cars.

That’s part of the concern over Measure Y – many are afraid that increased development at Newport Center will bring more traffic and the bygone, halcyon days of carefree driving around Corona del Mar will become a distant memory.

That’s one possible outcome, of course, but even more likely, Measure Y will be a baby step towards less congestion. How can that be?

Now I’m no spokesperson for or against Measure Y, but I have lived and worked in New York City where people would be amazed at our provincial concerns over a higher density future. No one drives a car in NYC because there’s no place to park and besides, you can walk, take the subway, or hop on a Citibike to get where you’re going. That works because of density. Elevators, it turns out, are a great way to move people, so living vertically makes sense.

If you haven’t been to NYC and have lived here your whole life then I can understand your doubts. We live in one of the great sprawl capitals of the world and none of it can work right without lots of cars. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Density offers new lifestyles, ones that appeal to today’s Millennials – they’d prefer to walk their neighborhoods and bike to work. Prior generations loved the idea of suburban life, but the increasing commute time on traffic choked streets has been buzz-kill for that lifestyle. Increasingly we’re all waking up to the fact that time spent in the car leads to obesity and heart disease. Walking and biking are the antidote and density makes it all work.

A post-Measure Y Fashion Island with high-rise residential will add opportunities for shopping and entertainment to those who want to walk or bike to work. In my case, I’m intrigued with a more urban lifestyle in retirement. The single family home is a little isolating, not to mention, too much to keep up with. I’d gladly trade my lovely view with 3,000 square feet for a similarly dramatic high-rise view and 1,300 sq ft. – in a heart beat. So long as there’s lots of bicycle parking, that is.

I’m voting Yes on Y.

at the Civic Center last night

at the Civic Center last night