Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I really like this video put out by Rivendell. It shows something utterly trivial to most cyclists, but for a newbie like me, I learned a few new things. Rim tape? I was wondering what that stuff was when I read some mentions about it in some Craigslist posts. Talc? I guess I'm going to buy some baby powder. Here's the video if you are interested in watching it.

Monday, August 4, 2008


This is a picture of my brother after getting into a biking accident. He was visiting me for what would have been a week of rest and relaxation. I recommended that he should take my bike out if he was bored while I was out. He took the offer and I gave him a choice of two places to go to, Peter's Canyon or Irvine Regional Park/Santiago Canyon and told him how to bike out to either spot. For the most part both spots aren't too technical (as far as I can tell). If there are parts that are too steep, I usually walk the bike up or down. For some of the descents, I usually break pretty hard to get down the hill unscathed. Well he decided to go to Santiago Canyon, which is a pretty cool ride through woodsy Irvine Park, a dam, and some nice terrain. Unfortunately there are a few downhills with really lose ground. So while I'm at church, my wife comes up to me and tells me that my brother just called and he needs help. He said he fell while biking and might have broke a bone and needs to get to the ER. This immediate sense of stress overcomes me and we get in our car and head out to him. He went down this hill near the dam which descends into a ranch and fell off the bike, landed on his shoulder and flipped back on to his feet. Covered in scratches and caked on dirt, he sat on the hill for a good 20-30 minutes to recompose himself and get over the exhaustion and vertigo associated with a really hard fall. He then took my 28 pound bike and lugged it back up the hill and walked the bike through a mile and half of dirt trails, up a small hill and a few street blocks back to my apartment. I really don't know how he made it with what turned out to be a broken clavicle. He got back to my place, tried to clean up and after a while, decided to call us to take him to the ER.

A few days later my neighbor, who seems to be an avid mountain biker, saw me and asked about my brother. I told him that he was okay, just in pain, but should recover. My neighbor then told me that the moral of the story was to not ride alone. Being a typical older brother, I replied that my younger brother should not have been riding recklessly. But a little bit later, I thought about it and yes, I agree that riding alone might not be the safest decision to make. What if he was seriously hurt and could not walk or get a hold of me on phone and could not contact anyone? I wouldn't know what to do. So I was really lucky this time that he didn't end up unconscious or incapacitated. I know that there are a ton of riders who go out alone and just trust that they won't get hurt. The majority of my rides are alone, and I'm a beginner. I am apt to riding stupidly and recklessly and sometimes we just can't help but ride alone.

For any readers out there (if there are any) do you have any thoughts on this topic? Thanks.

Also a good thing to do for those of you who have medical insurance: find out which hospitals you are eligible to go to under your specific medical plan. Although my brother's needs weren't urgent, we had to take more time that I'd like to find a suitable hospital for him which accepted his medical insurance.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


So I was able check out the critical mass happening in Santa Monica.  Apparently they meet every first Friday of the month at the Santa Monica Pier.  I'm not sure what I was expecting, but as I rode my bike out from Venice Beach, where I was parked, I was thinking, "Wow these streets are narrow, how are they going to get through."  Anyway, I rode out with my friend King and we were pretty late to the gathering so we had to ask a few people where the group was.  We pretty much wandered around Santa Monica grazing through the road, bike lanes and the occassional sidewalk.  After about 30-40 minutes of riding, we realized that we might not find the mass so we road back to Santa Monica on Main St. As soon as we met up with a few friends for dinner, the mass came through.  The first group was about maybe 30 strong at first.  It was tailed by two motorcycle cops.  I noticed at the cross street, there were two more motorcycle cops just parked at the light monitoring the Mass.  A minute later, another group of bicyclists came through, playing trance music, decorated in neon lights and glow sticks.  Apparently the Santa Monica Critical Mass stops at traffic lights which staggered the ride into several different packs.  Several more groups made their way down Main Street.  We decided to follow one of the last groups, with a mixed bag of cyclists.  A few were riding road bikes, a few took cruisers, one guy even rode a Lefty mountain bike.  We ended up at this circular intersection at Main and Winward Ave where the group congregated, playing more trance and chatting away.  This group left a pretty decent impression in my mind.  They seemed to follow the traffic laws and as far as I can tell, Santa Monica is pretty bike friendly.  I may do this run again if I'm in town.  Just remember to bring lights and obey the laws, especially at the beginning of the run as the police will try to set an example early in the ride.

Friday, August 1, 2008


I will be taking my first ride on Critical Mass tonight in Santa Monica. I'm new to biking so from what I understand, this event is pretty controversial. Bikers hate it because it can give biking a bad name. Drivers hate it because they cause gridlock. Cops hate it because presents a protest and lends itself to sometimes a pretty chaos. On the other hand, the bikers who go on this ride will go on it as a way of "taking back the streets". I don't really know what I feel about this ride. I've read about some pretty dangerous confrontations happening because of this ride and there are a lot of respected bikers who oppose this event. We'll see tonight.