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How do you follow-up a ride like last weekend’s OC Gran Fondo?

Not easily, but bikeNewportBeach charter members Dan Murphy and Matt O’Toole wanted to keep the party going, so Dan proposed a ride to Huntington Beach to check out their bike racks; I came along as photographer.

Dan Murphy and Matt O'Toole

Why the interest in bike racks? Well, Newport Beach is lagging compared to nearby cities and the racks we do have are deemed by many bike rack connoisseurs as unfit for consumption. We thought some documentation might be a good first step to making an eventual recommendation.

For me to join them at the Newport Pier, I first have to cross to the peninsula.

Take the Balboa Is ferry to get to the Newport pier from CdM

You can't beat this route! The Balboa ferry is a good way to start any ride

I get to the pier before them, so I’m looking around to find my first bike racks of the day.

Fishermen need bike racks, too. A ribbon-rack at Newport Pier.

This is the first of many ribbon-style bike racks we’ll see today. We hate them.

A good bike rack allows two points of contact to secure the bike and hold it up straight. Ribbon racks cause bikes to slump into each other potentially damaging a spoke.

You’ll see these ribbon racks all over town and you can thank Don Webb, former Director of Public Works, City Council member and Mayor. In 2009 Don interrupted a presentation I was giving on bikes racks during a Bike Safety Task Force meeting, “I like this rack; you install them at one end then the other and you’re done.” At first I thought he was kidding; he wasn’t. I had failed to consider the ease of installation of these bike rack carnivores. Next thing I know, a long-standing request for bike racks at Orange and Coast Hwy is installed. Guess what kind?

Newport's newest bike rack at Orange and Coast Hwy. Too bad it's too close to the wall to actually secure a bike

Bicycle friendly cities are installing ring racks and inverted U racks. We like these, even if they’re half submerged in sand. Notice how this U rack supports the bike at two points.

The U rack is a favorite, even if it's half submerged in sand. Seen along the boardwalk in Huntington Beach.

Our destination is the HB pier. There’s a lot of U racks installed under the pier; they get a lot of use.

Bike racks should be set 3' apart. Under the HB pier we find our favorite U racks installed just right.

When we started the ride we debated — should we take photos on the way up to Huntington Beach, or relax and shoot them on the way back?

Since one of my real reasons for coming along was the promised beer at the halfway point, I proposed shooting on the way up. It turned out to be the right choice because as we left Fish Camp in Sunset Beach a thick fog was rolling in; we had to fight a headwind all the way back and no one was in the mood to stop for photos.

As rated by the League of American Bicyclists



Frank Peters

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This Post Has One Comment
  1. It was a fun, informative ride that you described very well, Frank. Putting aside the efficacy of the racks, isn’t it amazing at the sheer number of bike racks found within 1/4 mile of the Huntington Beach Pier vs. within that same 1/4 mile of the Newport Pier? It would probably be expecting too much for the NB City Council to spend an hour at the HB Pier, but how about the NB Bike Committee members? They might be amazed at the difference in number of people, diversity of activities, and outdoor fun factor. How much of this has to do with the large number of people who arrive at the HB Pier without the assistance of a car? Contrast this with the biggest activity by the NB Newport Pier- the never ending circling of the parking lot by cars looking for an empty parking space. Bikes are certainly not the entire solution, but they are certainly part of the answer.

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