LA River Commuting

Though I lived in LA before, the area where I am now is largely a mystery to me.  I worked and commuted on the Westside, rarely venturing east of 405, so being thrown in the middle of Northeast LA has been interesting!

Though I've only done it a handful of times, my commute has been amazing.  Believe it or not, there are only two miles of my 15 mile commute that are not on trails - just one example of LA's growing bike infrastructure.  

The past two weeks that I've been commuting by bike I have seen LA full of life in a way I never had before.  Jacarandas are in bloom, showering purple petals down over everything.  A flock of wild parrots chatters every morning at the first leg of my ride.  May Grey is in full effect, so mornings are cool, cloudy, and a bit misty - and we had a thunderstorm on bike to work day!!

The highlight though has to be the LA River Trail, which I take the entire length of.  It's been cleaned up quite a bit, and is now shared by cyclists, joggers, and all of the wildlife that makes the LA River its home. 

It's also the location of an awesome new Bike Cafe!!  Spoke is a rad little place that just, just opened (I was riding by as they were painting the mural) and that deserves its own write up.  I rolled in on Bike To Work Day and had coffee and a banana before continuing on my ride, and it was fantastic.  

If you're in LA and ride the trail, you can't miss it!

And, in true LA fashion, there's also a bit of weirdness on the trail.

It was gone the next day.
My commute also offers something else a bit new - hills!!  I've been riding Oblivion here since I live at the top of a hill, and also do a bit of climbing to and from work.  I'll still be using my single speed and fixed gear bikes, but probably not for commuting.

The only real downside is that I feel like the roads are so bad, I need a CX bike.  Might be a fun thing to build if I get some spare time, but I need to get the shop up and running and finish the backlog before I take on anything else.

If you ride the LA River Trail, say hi if you see me!


Amgen Tour of California

I'm still learning my way around my awesome little neighborhood, and it seems like every day I find something fantastic: The Flying Pigeon, Spoke Bicycle Cafe, Coco's Variety Store...there is a thriving bike culture here, and I love it.  

But something I wasn't expecting happened earlier today - Stage 8 of The Amgen Tour of California happened steps from my front door!!

My camera and lenses are meant for capturing still objects, and I don't have autofocus (I'm a few years behind in non-bike technology), so I didn't get any amazing shots.  But that said, here's a bit of what I saw this morning!

Pretty inspiring to watch these guys - they're ending this stage and the tour today in Pasadena.  Good luck to all of these extremely talented cyclists!



Edit: Karmic reached full funding in seven days!!  Way to go guys!

I want to take some time today to talk about someone I met - someone who truly loves cycling and wants everyone to be able to experience that feeling.  Mostly, I want to talk about what he's doing lately, since it was a bit NDA before.

I met Hong Quan for coffee in Redwood City shortly before I moved down to LA, for a bikes and coffee type meetup that involved, well, just that.  I had wanted to meet Hong to hear more about his company after he reached out to me, and I'm certainly glad that I did.  

What stuck out to me the most was Hong's passion for not only cycling, but for sharing the love of cycling.  He spoke about riding with his daughter, and how he felt everyone should be able to enjoy the feeling of riding a bike.  He really struck a chord with me.  

Hong took his ideas and willingness to want others to love riding bikes and started Karmic Bikes, with the goal to bring cycling to everyone, especially those that either aren't physically capable to do heavy riding, or are perhaps intimidated by something like the hills of San Francisco.  Now, I'll be the first to admit that I've never been a huge fan of most e-bikes, as they're expensive and bulky looking.  But seeing a photo of the first prototype made me do a double take, and hearing the price tag compared  - I didn't notice that it had a battery pack, or even that it was an e-bike at first glance.  

Three days ago (I'm a bit late, I know, I'm still moving in) the Kickstarter launched, and already they've raised more than half of their goal.  You can learn more here.  Though I can't back a full bike right now (though at $1337 for an early backer it's a crazy deal for a fully loaded e-bike) I want to share this with all of you and spread the word about Karmic as much as I can.  And I did grab a t-shirt!

I know that many cyclists scoff at the idea of an e-bike, but Hong brought up a good point: why?  Maybe the woman riding to work has a disability that makes it difficult for her to pedal up hills.  Maybe the man in the distance is elderly and hasn't been able to ride for years - what does it matter to you?  If you believe that they're "cheating" because they're faster than you, then maybe you should re-evaluate why you ride.  I have to thank Hong for a lot of what he said - he actually made me really think about the way I treat my rides and my commutes.  Ride for fun, no matter how you do it.  

I'm supporting this company because I love Hong's enthusiasm and vision for Karmic, and while I know I've complained about more people on bikes wreaking havoc by not knowing what they're doing, from the bottom of my heart I support more people riding, especially if something like this makes riding accessible to them for the first time.  

May is Bike Month, after all.  


Still Alive!

Myself and all of my beloved bikes have safely made it to LA.  I am in the middle of working, unpacking, and sorting out a lot of things - sorry for the lack of content lately.  I hope to return to regular posting soon!


Last Flowers

I rode my final commute in to work this past week, and stopped along the way to photograph some of the flora currently in bloom on my ride.  

The bay area is covered in Ice Plant, which blooms lilac or yellow this time of year.  Fitting that the blooms would just be fading as I take my last ride.

This is a drought tolerant sedum (I think) that has these brilliantly purple flowers in full bloom along Seaport.  

And the torch lilies.  I'll always love the torch lilies. 
 I'm certain I'll find just as many lovely things on my new commute, but this was a great note to end this one on.  So long, Bay Trail.  


Takhion + Tsubasa MASS

A while back I had heard plans for a collaborative project, and was really, really excited for where it was going.  Recently I not only got an update, but was given permission to show some of the photos here and do a little feature on this awesome project.  I'm psyched to bring you a preview of this collaboration between Edinvas Vavilovas of Tsubasa Bicycles and Mr. Reginald Vorontsov of Takhion!

Used with permission from http://www.tsubasabicycles.com/
I highly encourage you to visit Edinvas' site to read the whole story of this project, because this is far more than just about building a bicycle.  

"Takhion and I, founder of Tsubasa, are auctioning the Takhion+Tsubasa Mass to raise money for the war victims of Ukraine. 

Takhion lives in the Ukraine; I am Lithuanian now living in London. Having both felt the cruel hand of war we wanted to help. Takhion+Tsubasa Mass takes its name from the belief that together we are strong, even in times of hardship.

We’re working with The International Committee of The Red Cross to ensure that all money raised provides food and shelter for the orphans and victims of war."

If you are interested in donating, or bidding on this frame, please visit the donation page here, or visit their Thunderclap page here.

Used with permission from http://www.tsubasabicycles.com/
More information on the cause can also be found on Tsubasa Bicycle's facebook page.

Used with permission from http://www.tsubasabicycles.com/
As for the construction of this bike, Edinvas told me more about his single piece technology: "they [the frames] don't have joints, pieces aren't glued together as today's carbon frames are. It's made in a way, that if you'll follow one fiber, you will notice that fiber runs through entire frame i.e. BB to chain stays, chain stays to seat stays, seat stays to top tube and son on. This way of making a frame eliminates weak point and maximises durability and performance of the frame as the web of fibers of entire frame responding to the stress instead of glue at the joint." 

"Bottom part of the frame is internally bridged, including chain stays, which increase torsional and bending stiffness of up to 300% when comparing with regular economy class bicycle frame.  Frames are made using High Modulus and Ultra High Modulus unidirectional carbon fiber."

His frames also come with a lifetime warranty.  

Here are some in progress shots: 

Stainless steel headtube insert.  Used with permission from http://www.tsubasabicycles.com/
Dropouts!  Used with permission from http://www.tsubasabicycles.com/
Check out some of Tsubasa Bicycles' previous work as well.
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