Meet at the Civic Center at 10am Wed Nov 26th for a fun, sociable bike ride.
Meet at the Civic Center at 10am Wed Nov 26th for a fun, sociable bike ride.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Ed France and several members of the local Santa Barbara County Bicycle Coalition joined us for this first leg.
Laura’s our videographer — on a Brompton.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
I saw a lot at the City of Santa Ana’s inaugural SoMoS “no cars” Ciclovia-style event on its three miles of Main Street last Sunday. People walking, skating, big wheeling and riding bikes. Experiencing the street as streets were experienced for centuries, before the invasion of cars. It was a hot, but wonderful day.
It was as I left for my bike ride back to the coast that I saw the small crowd of young people standing proudly with their bikes. Fast bikes, fixed-gear and single speed, and some bike racing clothing.
It was the image of the day for me. If I had to guess what was going on I’d say these kids enjoyed their time at SoMoS, but now, as it ends, are asking, “Now what?”
4pm on a Sunday is awfully early to call it a day when you have something as stimulating as a Ciclovia under your belt.
CalBike’s Executive Director Dave Snyder had me on the phone a few weeks ago,
Why don’t you come along on the Surf ‘n Turf Ride?
I was just looking for an excuse to do a multi-day ride; this one begins in Santa Barbara and ends in San Diego. Since I’ve only done the southern half of this route, I’m looking forward to the Santa Barbara to Santa Monica segments.
My contribution, besides raising $2,500 to benefit CalBike, is to offer advice on routing the group through Orange County. See my route map here – I called it “Stay off Coast Hwy”. Debbie Brubaker gave me a call to review my route suggestions.
As you can see, I’m recommending the group get off Coast Hwy — and why not? Who among these statewide bike advocates will know of the extensive off-road trails through Huntington Beach and Irvine? Throw in the Balboa Island ferry and route them along the Back Bay onto the San Diego Creek Trail where they’ll ride without worry — out where it’s quiet at mid-day, suitable for chatting up new friends. This route does turn the Queen Mary to San Clemente segment into a full 55-mile ride, but it’ll be low-stress and mostly flat. Consider coming along for the day.
Help me make it to my fundraising goal — make a donation.