Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Slow Sunday Scenes: Obi-Wan, Our Only Hope

There was no lack of bicycle travelers in the Village Sunday morning, indeed there may have been more than normal. Normal; that is an important word in bicycle advocacy. Just as the great masses of recreational cyclists have helped to make it normal to expect to see bicyclists out on the roads, so too do cyclists dressed in everything from cutoffs to baggie shorts, teeshirts, blouses, and pantaloons help to normalize two-wheeled, human-powered transportation for everything from few-minute errands to longer work commutes.

On any given Sunday, if I am not mistaken refers to football. But since that activity is a third of a year in duration, it might just be better applied to cycling. On any given Sunday riders of all types, varying experience and ability, riding a menagerie of mechanical machines converge on the Claremont Village. They come in for breakfast, to shop, for the farmers' market, to socialize, just to enjoy being outside. How can something that is so normal on one hand, seem so revolutionary on the other?

closing the gap

arriving 1

arriving 2

arriving 3

moon over rhino


arriving 4

arriving with musical instruments

arriving by schwinn

leaving with flowers

the well-dressed cyclist

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Up the Road: Pomona Bike-In Movie Night

Co-sponsored by the Pomona Valley Bicycle Coalition and the Pomona Valley Film Society, ET, The Extra-Terrestrial includes the great escape, a perpetual listee on any survey of "best of" bike scenes. It will be a hyuuuge evening, a clear winner of a way to spend a couple hours, beginning at sundown. Check the event page for more info.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Monday Blues: The Rise in Bike Theft

Bikes are popular. I know that because the rate of bicycle theft around here rose by up to 80% (depending on location) between 2013 and 2015, the most recently complete statistical year. During that year, theft of bikes from the College campuses increased 81%, from 81 stolen bikes in 2013 to 147 in 2015. Within the City of Claremont bicycle theft increased 69%, with 59 bike stolen in 2015, up from 35 in 2013. An additional stat highlights how college and university campuses have become magnets for bike thieves - of the 59 bikes stolen within the City (excluding the Colleges) during 2015, 43 of those thefts happened within three blocks of the Colleges.

Those statistics and rate increases point to an unfortunate fact - bikes, even when locked up, can be easy targets. Officers of both the city police department and of campus security department stop suspicious individuals riding bikes, as well as vehicles (particularly pick-ups) carrying multiple bikes but, without any way to check for a rightful owner, there is often nothing that can be done. Because of this the police highly recommend registering your bike with the National Bike Registry.

The use of "bait bikes" is another tool the police have used to combat the rise in theft: "We have been using bait bikes and have had some success with these bicycles being stolen and being able to locate the suspect and make arrests. Unfortunately, the word is out that the College campuses are a target-rich environment for bicycle thefts and it will take some time to counter this belief among the thieves that frequent both the campuses and our nearby City streets."

I share this information not to scare anyone, but rather to emphasize the need to be aware, and to take precautions when we park our bikes. Many are the times I have ridden up to a cafe, left it outside (with plenty of people around watching me do so) and gone in to order drink or grub, trusting to the honesty of those people and my helmet lock - the effectiveness of both being questionable. The few seconds of inattention, as I place my order, is all it would take. Similarly, I don't know how many times I have ridden through the Village, or the Colleges, and spotted improperly secured bikes, others with wheels missing, or wheels only, remaining.

What can you do to combat bike theft?

1) Buy a good lock and use it. 2) Whenever possible, bring your bike inside. 3) When locking outside, I tend to favor locations that are active with a lot of passing foot traffic, rather than secluded areas. I don't recall every reading a study about the relative effectiveness of different locations, but a publicly visible one seems more secure than a secluded one. 4) Be aware. 5) If you see something suspicious, report it. 6) Register your bike through the police department, or National Bike Registry.

Thanks to Walt for providing a copy of the Police Commission Report from April of 2016

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Making an Impact

You know, I don't get out to the road races like I used to, but if I did, I would be seeing riders from a team in orange and white stepping up to the podium on a regular basis. They are very good at what they do. Impact Racing p/b 1 on 1 Financial believes in more than just having a good ride, however. They believe in helping others to have a good ride as well. To that end the team regularly donates to various causes. For instance, and during the first half of this year alone, the team contributed funds to the Bear Valley Trails Foundation to help maintain the Skyline Trail up at Big Bear, and another significant donation to the Marshall Canyon Service Project. On this Sunday many of the team rode into the Village to present Rio Olympian Samantha Bosco (member of the Paralympic cycling team) with a big $500.00 check to help defray the cost of transportation to the Summer Games. 

Though I had planned to be present at some point during the day-long fundraiser, I was especially pleased that my timing coincided with the arrival of the Impact guys and gals. The moment was a classic example of the meaning of community, coming together to help a fellow member meet a goal.

All day long, everyone who bought a bagel, a sandwich, a cup of coffee at 42nd Street Bagel Cafe in Claremont, and whether they were aware of it or not, were making an impact with 20% of their purchase. That is significant and deserving of recognition. Now, I couldn't take photos of all those people but I am going to guess that they are just as proud as the team in orange and white, to extend a helping hand in true meaning of community.

Impact Team riders with Samantha and Andrew Bosco

Saturday, July 23, 2016

White Flakes and Red Dots

White flakes drifted out of the sky. They speckled the tabletop, upon which they'd fallen during the night. I had to brush them from the chair before I could sit down with my morning cup of coffee. The fragile white spots were incongruous with the color of the sky. These were not the flakes of winter's snow; winter was another place, another time. These flakes were born of something altogether different, carried in from an inferno sixty miles distant.

Red dots speckled the air quality map, a localized cluster of them grouped right around home - Pomona, Chino, Ontario. If Claremont had been shown on the map it would have been colored the same ominous shade. Unhealthful for everyone. One nagging voice told me to heed the warning - read, catch up on some bike maintenance, turn up the music and chill. If I hadn't recognized its disguise, I might have confused it with the voice of reason. Few would find fault with the take it easy plan on a day such as this. But then came the counter argument - you already missed riding yesterday, and do you really want to miss two days consecutive?

I didn't think so. 

Many of my local trail riding mates are up north - a week-long Ride-a-palooza as they call it - Oregon and then Mammoth. I promised myself I would not miss out this year, and, well... here I am, breathing in who-knows-what, while riding a shortened route around Bonelli on a Saturday mid-morning. 

Speaking of Bonelli, Pokemon hunters have invaded the place though they, fortunately, don't seem to be particularly adventurous, keeping to the paved areas around the lake. Their numbers also seem to be greatly decreased, whether because of location or because they've have begun to realize the futility of searching for imaginary monsters, I don't know. Flash fads, I gave this one a week, but suppose it will last longer. I wonder if those who were focused on their phones noticed the real life creatures all around?

a lot of buzzards turning circles up in the sky this morning

grim sky, grim face

which ever way you breathe, the air is one quarter smoke

the mountains might have been a good place to ride this morning,
a close-by escape from the worst of the heat, but a smoke haze was dissolving them

Red Flag: CHWP is Closed

Due to a regional red flag warning, the Claremont Hill Wilderness Park, which was closed Friday, will remain closed through Saturday. Scheduled reopening is Sunday 24 July.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Ibis Nights: Tree 2012

"Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky." - Kahlil Gibran

Normally a Tuesday ride (because there don't seem to be any other regular local rides happening that night) Ibis Nights fell on a Wednesday this week. Not that Ibis Nights are not flexible, and often vary between the three most mid-week evenings. Anyway... tree 2012 - though its massive branches (veritable trees in their own right) begin to diverge from the trunk way down low to the ground, and kind of create the impression that the tree may not be all that big, those splayed branches give this tree a big and far-flung canopy. Slightly off the Cross Town Loop's beaten path Tree 2012 can only be approached by crossing an extensive sink of leaf litter. I had no ruler to pull out of my jersey pocket, but I an confident that sink exceeded six inches, and probably more than eight in places. Much as sand makes it exceedingly difficult to pedal, so too do leaf sinks; without any momentum, and with little leafy twigs sprouting from between my spokes, I was quickly brought to a standstill while trying to make my way to that patch of day's last light.

The weekend is here and, hot as it is going to be, get out and enjoy what life has to share.


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