BIKE CENTER NEWS & EVENTS

Bike Center Debuts New Retail Space

IMG_0883This month, we completed an upgrade to our retail space and now provide a unique variety of European cycling lifestyle brands. The new selection includes leather saddles, compact toolkits, high-quality saddle and shoulder bags, sturdy wicker baskets, and other items for the urban cyclist. Brooks England, one of the featured brands, was originally established in 1866 as a manufacturer of leather goods for horseback riding. For 150 years, Brooks’ innovative design has kept up with the times while maintaining a signature classic look, and they are now known for their iconic saddles, as pictured to the left.

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We are also proud to be carrying Royal Dutch Gazelle bikes, a century-old company born in the Netherlands in 1892. Gazelle bikes are sleek but durable, and ideal for city riding, as they “[offer] the perfect combination of smooth cycling, clever design and robust quality.” The company was awarded it’s “Royal” title by Dutch Princess Margriet in 1992 for maintaining impeccable standards of quality for 100 years. Gazelle (and the SMBC) believe that the better your bike is, the more often you’ll ride it, and that there are few better investments than a great bicycle!

IMG_0887Another manufacturer with Dutch roots and a long heritage is Basil, founded as a small village cycling shop in 1934. Basil produces functional wicker and wire baskets, bags, bells, and other accessories. The Bike Center is one of only 5 retail locations in Santa Monica to carry the Basil brand. The wicker basket (left) is ideal for trips to the beach, local farmer’s market, or fitness class, since it’s easily detachable and has hinged handles!

Whether you are new to urban cycling or have been commuting for decades, high-quality, reliable gear is one of the best ways to make riding easy and comfortable. We are excited to be offering such a great selection of accessories to help Santa Monica riders integrate more bike trips into their daily routines.

The Progress and Future of Santa Monica’s BAP

MERYL ELLINGSON, Santa Monica, CA

Year’s end is always a time of celebration and reflection. 2016 was a turbulent year, but for the local cycling community, it marked the one-year anniversary of the Breeze Bikeshare in Santa Monica and the 5-year anniversaries of both the Santa Monica Bike Center and the implementation of the Bike Action Plan.

Six years ago today, the first Bike Action Plan (BAP) workshop was held at various stations in Santa Monica. The BAP was born out of the Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) which solidified the City’s commitment to creating and maintaining highly functional, livable neighborhoods. As a response to the community’s concern over auto congestion and urban mobility, the City put in place its ambitious No Net New Vehicle Trips goal. The LUCE and the BAP have together been admired as exemplary cases of consensus-based planning, with various engaged stakeholders, including the public, coming together to decide how resources are used and to what ends. (Check out a quick read from 2011 here)

FinalBAP_smallSanta Monica has made huge strides since December 13, 2010. The community earned a Silver Level Bike Friendly Community designation in May 2013 and is striving for Gold. New bike lanes, Breeze Bikeshare, commuter facilities at the Santa Monica Bike Center and its proximity to the newly opened Expo line have all been factors in “encourag[ing] residents, employees, and visitors to make bicycling their transportation of choice,” which is the overarching mission of the Bike Action Plan. Cynthia Rose of Santa Monica Spoke, the local chapter of the LACBC that has done heavy legwork since 2009 to push the plan through, affirms, “We have seen a blossoming and growing bike culture that includes both daily riders, families on bikes, bikeshare and multimodal lifestyles — from suits to spandex it is all happening in Santa Monica!” She also notes attendance at family events such as Kidical Mass and Safe Rides to School and a high percentage of female cyclists as marked victories of the past several years.

Still, the goals of the BAP and LUCE are long-term and continuous, and it’s important that the momentum of the past 6 years is built upon. In the spirit of looking ahead at what’s to come, Jason Kligier, Bike Program Coordinator for the City of Santa Monica, says, “In the coming year we are going to continue building on our momentum by adding green paint to many of our bike lanes, installing over 1,000 bike racks, planning another edition of COAST [Santa Monica’s open streets event], working on regional bike share integration, and advancing multiple projects in the pipeline with community outreach and design work.” Indeed, as 2016 comes to a close, we can celebrate not only what has been accomplished, but also the fact that these accomplishments expand the capacity to build on progress in 2017 and beyond.

 

Riding Hills For Hillary: Four Cyclists Ride Across America For Hillary Clinton

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DARIUS POPENHAGEN, Santa Monica, CA

On September 6, 2016, a group of 4 people left from Portsmouth, NH, and rode across America in support of then presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Their ride ended on November 14th at the Santa Monica Pier, just a block away from the Santa Monica Bike Center. With an election season that was a roller coaster of emotion in and of itself, we thought it would be interesting to ask the group a few questions about how the idea came about, how they campaigned while on the road, and how the election results resonate with them now that the race for the White House is over.

The core group of cyclists included Ben Feldman, James Daudon, Mike Bienkowski, and Meredith Bird. Interestingly, the team was a West and East coast collaboration, with Ben and James being from Oakland and Seattle, respectively, while Mike and Meredith both call the Boston area home. The group’s experience levels varied; Ben admitted, “I had no prior experience bike touring. I did a little bit of mountain biking in college. I knew how to change a flat tire, but that was the extent of my bike maintenance knowledge before this trip.” Meredith and James had similar amounts of cycling experience prior to the ride, and the three knew each other as fellow alumni of Colorado College. Mike was the most experienced rider of the group, having led bike tours for high school students for the past several summers with a company called Overland, based out of Williamstown, MA. Meredith met Mike through Overland, and the group coalesced from there.

I hear you guys left during some bad weather, which is ironic given the tempestuous state of this election. What were the goals going into the ride and how did the idea come about?

“Many of us on the trip may have had different personal goals for beginning the trip, but Riding Hills for Hillary was originally designed as an effort to get millennials excited to vote for Hillary by supporting the campaign in a unique and fun way. Many of us were excited about working for the campaign and going on a very long, physically challenging adventure but Meredith Bird was the one who had the brilliance to combine these two ideas and envision a bicycle powered campaign. Election season seemed like a really interesting time to see a cross-section of the country and we are also very excited about collecting peoples’ stories along the way and sharing them with our followers on the coasts. Although this was not the primary goal of our trip initially, in the aftermath of this election, which is still a complete shock to most liberals along the coast, making contact with people with different political persuasions seems to be the more important goal of our trip.”

After riding through red states, blue states, and swing states, what kind of reaction did you get from the public and did it vary based on where you were?

“Throughout this trip, everyone we spoke to was extremely kind to us. Even the Trump supporters we spoke with were very impressed by our undertaking and congratulated us for our efforts.”

How did you choose the route?

“We planned our route to bike through as many swing states as possible.”

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Setting politics aside for a minute, what was the most beautiful part of the ride in terms of scenery? What was the most brutal and challenging?

“I can’t speak for everybody on this trip but my favorite part was biking through Monument Valley in Navajo Nation. In particular, one stretch of the road between Bluff and Mexican Hat (a region of Utah) where we dropped about 2,000 feet over 15 miles. The sight lines of the red mesas, bluffs, and towers were incredible. I had to dip out for some family business during the Iowa section of the trip. From what the others said, Iowa was the most difficult leg of the journey by far. Lots of rolling hills and very crummy dirt roads. Meredith hit a gravel patch while riding down a steep hill on the way to Nebraska and had to get 19 stitches in her thigh.”

It seems like riding was only part of your mission. Tell us about the work you did off the bike. 

“During our rest days, we would connect with the local campaign office, to volunteer, like the coordinated campaign, Hillary for America. Depending on the time during election season and local state laws prohibiting certain political activities, what we did at each site varied. Primarily, our time was spent registering voters and canvassing around the area.”

This election highlighted the massive divide between the different political ideologies in America. You rode across the whole country and saw many different cities, communities, and people. What were the issues/policies that you were focused on going into the trip? Did any others become more apparent or important after your experience?

“The cities we passed through in Middle America seem to be going through a revitalization right now, with new technology industries, lots of development, and young people moving to the area. Conversely, many of the small towns we biked through had many vacant store fronts and fewer employment opportunities. These small towns are not benefiting from the social welfare programs that have helped many poor urban-dwellers, nor are they benefiting from the tech boom that’s taken place in urban areas. As you might imagine, these rural towns were where we saw the most ‘Make America Great Again’ yard signs. Moving forward, an important issue for policymakers should be how to support people living in communities that have been forgotten in the midst of rapid urbanization. And an issue for us all to address is the need to bridge the information gap between urban and rural areas.”

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Did you see anyone out there riding for Trump?

“As far as we know, nobody ever undertook a bicycling campaign effort for Trump. However, there is a motorcycle gang called ‘Bikers for Trump 2016′ that was organizing rallies during the election. A man on a Harley Davidson wearing a ‘Bikers for Trump’ t-shirt passed us on the side of the road in Pennsylvania, but did not stop to chat with us.”

Any word from Hilary? Did she offer to join the ride at any time?

“We did not hear from Hillary. I understand that she was pretty busy, but I’d like to think that if she had some more spare time she would have joined us for the ride.”

Where were you on election night? What are your reflections on the ride given the outcome of the election?

“We were in Las Vegas on Election Night. Many of us are still processing what this all means, but the results certainly revealed the information and ideological gap between rural and urban parts of the country. “I suppose that it feels like there is a greater urgency to work for social justice and environmental causes, but these causes have always been worth fighting for. I certainly took Obama for granted during his 8 years as President and perhaps, I also got a little bit comfortable under his administration.”

Although we didn’t all ride across the country, this past election and the months leading up to it did feel like a long arduous bike ride…the outcome perhaps like a flat tire at the top of a giant hill… Looking forward, how does your experience impact your outlook and how will you continue to spread your message?

“Great questions. Many of us bikers, and millennials, are currently doing a lot of introspection. It feels like this country’s movement in the direction of social progress has reversed and many of us are now questioning our place in history. I am now considering moving to a place with a little more political diversity.”

Will you ride again in 2020?

“Depends who is running for president! Election season is a fascinating time to bike across the country, I would highly recommend it.”

For more info about Riding Hills for Hillary check out their Website here.

Measure M — How Could Your Vote Help Change The Future of Los Angeles?

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DARIUS POPENHAGEN, Santa Monica, CA

The Ferris wheel on the Santa Monica Pier, the Hollywood Sign and the Downtown L.A. skyline are some of the most iconic images of Los Angeles. Unfortunately, there is another icon that is just as well known to residents, tourists and even those who have never visited California: The endless trail of gridlocked traffic that spans across the entire city on freeways and surface streets… for hours everyday… even on weekends.

On Election Day, Angelenos have an opportunity to cast their vote on Measure M, the Los Angeles County Traffic Improvement Plan, which aims to improve mobility by implementing a half cent increase in sales tax. As a result, Los Angeles County could generate around $860 million per year to both improve and build new transportation infrastructure. Focusing on our roads, freeways, and public transit, Measure M would direct attention towards the overall connectivity of our mobility options, including bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.

There is no denying that Los Angeles is a car-centric city and for the past few decades we’ve neglected other mobility options like public transit, bicycling, and walking. Our bias towards the car isn’t all our fault and is partly because we have not really been able to depend on public transportation. In the past, train lines haven’t extended far enough to efficiently connect passengers with their destinations and the overall lack of bike lanes/bike ways throughout the city has made it tougher for most people to commute by bike.

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The Expo Line, which now connects Santa Monica with the rest of Los Angeles, has seen a significant increase in ridership since it’s expansion to downtown Santa Monica. With a viable link between the east and west sides of the city, residents and tourists can explore Los Angeles without having to depend on driving their car. Additionally, bike share options at either end of the train line, such as Breeze Bike Share on the west and Metro Bike Share in downtown, extend the reach of transit options even further.

The popularity of the Expo Line extension symbolizes a changing mentality throughout Los Angeles. In 1968, a plan similar to Measure M, Proposition A, was proposed but then rejected by voters. At the time, the measure struggled to gain traction and even The Los Angeles Times did not publicly support the proposed funding for public transit through out the city. Alternatively, Measure M is receiving a different response from both residents and the media. The Los Angeles Times is now a huge supporter of the measure, stating that “L.A. County residents need alternatives to sitting in soul-crushing traffic. Vote yes on Measure M.”

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Despite support for Measure M, questions still remain regarding how it will actually change the way we commute and navigate our city. The basic goals are to ease traffic congestion, expand rail and bus systems, repave and repair local streets, and increase accessibility of public transit for seniors, students and the disabled. Additionally, Measure M would potentially create over 465,000 new jobs in Los Angeles County.

More specifically, there would be a new train station for LAX, a tunnel through the Sepulveda Pass, and significant extensions to the Green, Purple, Crenshaw and Gold lines. There would also be new transit lines and bus corridors through out the County and a street car through Historic DTLA. Huge improvements would be made to our freeways including truck and carpool lanes on the 5, an express bus lane in each direction on the 405, a 110 express lane to the 405, as well as several other major freeway projects.

Measure M proposes a massive make over for the current public transit and road systems that we use every day. These improvements will have a lasting effect on the way we travel around our city and the efficiency of our daily commute. The Santa Monica Bike Center is excited about the potential changes that this plan could bring forth and we urge all voters to educate themselves on Measure M and make an informed decision on November 8, 2016!

 

New Jersey Man Rides to Mount Whitney for Charity

Bill Zuppa with his Jamis Aurora touring bike that has been used on his "Georgie Ride" since 1999.

Bill Zuppa with his Jamis Aurora touring bike that has been used on his “Georgie Ride” since 1999.

Santa Monica, CA – September 2, 2016 – Bill Zuppa, a New Jersey resident and bike enthusiast, embarked on his annual “OneManOneBikeOneChild” ride this morning to raise funds for special needs children. This year, Zuppa will ride from the Santa Monica Pier to Mount Whitney in Inyo County. The strenuous 220 miles will see Bill riding through Labor Day Weekend, a time that most people use for rest and relaxation. Bill is using the time as an opportunity to ride his bicycle and raise money for a cause that he holds close to his heart.

For the 20th year Zuppa’s “Georgie Ride”, as he calls it, will be in honor of his nephew, Georgie Caunt, who had cerebral palsy and died, in 1995, at age 14. Each year, the funds raised by Zuppa’s ride are donated to the Piscataway Regional Day School, which Caunt attended. Specifically, Zuppa has worked with the school to ensure that the funds are donated to one child of the schools choosing.

“Doing something you love to do without concern for personal gain or monetary reward, and giving it purpose and meaning by assisting someone in need, is simply the best.” Zuppa said of the annual ride.

After this year Zuppa has his eyes set on a few future rides. Most notably a trip to the Haleakala Volcano in Maui, Hawaii.

If you would like to sponsor Zuppa, donations can be made to One Man, One Bike, One Child, P.O. Box 1172, West Caldwell, NJ 07006.

For more information, please contact outreach@smbikecenter.com.

City of West Hollywood Approves Citywide Public Bikeshare Program

City of West Hollywood Approves Citywide Public Bikeshare Program

 New Service will Deploy 150 ‘Smart Bikes’ in 20 Self-Service Stations in West Hollywood

 Program is Anticipated to Launch in Spring 2016

 WEST HOLLYWOOD, August 19, 2015 – The City Council of the City of West Hollywood, at its regular meeting on Monday, August 17, 2015, approved the creation and implementation of a citywide public bikeshare program. West Hollywood’s new bikeshare, which is expected to launch in Spring 2016, will be operated by CycleHop, which plans and runs bikeshare programs throughout North America. CycleHop will also be launching compatible bikeshare programs in Santa Monica, in Beverly Hills, at UCLA, and in Long Beach in 2016.

“Bringing Bike Share to West Hollywood means more residents and visitors will have a transportation option that’s also great for a healthy lifestyle,” said West Hollywood Mayor Lindsey P. Horvath. “The more bikers we have, the safer biking will become, which will eventually transform our
car-centric culture.”

West Hollywood’s bikeshare program will feature 150 Social Bicycles (“smart bikes”), which utilize wireless technology to allow riders to use a smartphone app to reserve bikes, pay for membership, and track and share ride data with friends in online social networks. The bicycles will feature light-emitting diode (LED) headlights and taillights, and cargo baskets. To tackle steep climbs to Sunset Strip, the smart bikes will feature eight gears. Twenty self-service stations will be constructed throughout the City, and the City will seek to locate a limited number of additional stations at key destinations outside City limits. The City will soon be launching a suggest-a-station website to solicit community input on desired bikeshare station locations citywide.

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‘It’s Like Riding a Bike’ Means Nothing to These Adults Trying to Learn – THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Santa Monica, Calif., has a thriving cycling culture, with an extensive network of bike lanes. A commuter bike-loan program facilitates cycling to work. The city plans to unveil a bike-share program in November. But even here, plenty of people have no clue how to ride.

RPA, a Santa Monica-based advertising agency, learned that after it launched a program among its staff that included a charitable incentive for cycling. “We realized some of our young associates weren’t participating because they don’t know how to bike,” said RPA’s Annie Elliott.

So the agency hired Ron Durgin, co-founder of Sustainable Streets, a nonprofit that offers cycling classes, to teach the few employees brave enough to admit their deficiency.

As dozens of cyclists whizzed by on a shorefront bike path, Mr. Durgin rolled out basic bikes with hand brakes and no gears for the apprentices. The biggest challenge is overcoming the fear of falling, he said. “Adults have all these psychological barriers that kids don’t have.”

EXCERPT – WALL STREET JOURNAL, MIRIAM JORDAN

 

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View the Full Article Here

New and Improved Bicycle Friendly Business Application!

With Aika Trading and Cyclepathic Fitness recently joining the ranks of Santa Monica most bicycle friendly businesses (see updated 2015 Santa Monica Bicycle Friendly Yearbook here), it’s time to let the business community know that the application has been updated and it is more efficient than ever!

The new format for the application includes multiple choice questions that allow for a faster and easier completion time (pilot testing reported average completion in 45 minutes). The new application also allows for quicker turn-around time on the designation and feedback reports. There is still plenty of opportunity for businesses to boast of their unique bicycle friendly efforts. There are now 4 deadlines per year, with the next one on July 15, 2015.

“Since the Bicycle Friendly Business program originally launched in 2008, nearly 1,300 businesses have applied, and over 960 businesses have been awarded the BFB designation.  Like the other Bicycle Friendly America programs, BFB applications have been on the rise in recent years, and we don’t expend this trend to change any time soon.  Here at the League, we have been thrilled to see growing enthusiasm for bicycling from among the private sector, and so we’re working hard to accommodate continued growth in demand for the BFB program.” – League of American Bicyclists

To support the continued growth of the Bicycle Friendly Business program, there is now an application fee, based on the number of employees at the location applying (only one location is allowed per application).  See the table below for pricing, including the discount through July 15!

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Useful Links:

BFB Applicatiion Preview

Attributes of BFB

BFB Overview Spring 2015

Full List of nationwide BFBs

Q&A with SMBC’s New General Manager!

As of May 1st long time employee, Andrea Aponte, officially became Bike Center General Manager. Ron Durgin remains a Managing Partner and is now overseeing implementation of Santa Monica’s new Bike Share. Andrea has been with us since opening day in November of 2011, working her way from Rental Assistant at the front desk to Assistant Manager and now General Manager. She’s also a certified League Cycling Instructor (teaching Adult Learn to Ride classes and Confident City Cycling classes).

1.How did you first become interested in cycling?

When I moved up to Los Angeles and began attending USC in 2004 I got back to riding a bike. I still owned a car at the time and it soon broke down on me. It was beyond repair so I decided to donate it and became inspired to practice what I preached in regards to my passion for the environment. I did not buy another car and instead started commuting by bicycle to campus and to my tutoring job in South LA. The more I rode, the more my interest grew. I started to educate myself and adopted a cycling lifestyle.

  1. What’s the story on your sweet pink road bike?

I’m not too much of a girly-girl, but my coral-colored Centurion Ironman bike is definitely the prettiest thing I own! The bike is about as old as I am, built around 1985. It totally compliments my love for all things vintage. It was a gift from my father-in-law, who’s also a cyclist. Despite its steel frame, I’ve now done two Centuries on it. One of its more interesting features is the small 24” front wheel.

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2015 Santa Monica Sustainable Quality Awards Bike Sponsorship

At this years 20th annual Sustainable Quality Awards, the Santa Monica Bike Center encouraged attendees to travel the emission free way to the most notable sustainable business event in Southern California. The Bike Center sponsored the ticket prices for the first 35 registrants that arrived by bike. This year’s initiative brought attention to the importance of bicycling as a direct way to reduce auto trips, meet GHG emission reduction commitments, and promote active living.

This sponsorship was a huge success, and over 30 people rode their bike to the event! This success reflects a dramatic increase in attendees who bicycled to the event. In 2014, only two people arrived to the Sustainable Quality Awards by bicycle.

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In 2010 the City of Santa Monica adopted its Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) as part of Santa Monica’s General Plan. One of the important goals stated in the plan is, “to achieve numbers like those in Davis, California, where bicycling trips represent up to 14 percent of work trips, and Copenhagen, Denmark, where the number rises to over 35 percent (Santa Monica LUCE, 4.0-34).” The Sustainable Quality Award event attracts 250 attendees. Applying the City’s 14% goal to the number of attendees, at least 35 people should arrive by bike.

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