Sunday morning started off like a spooky Halloween movie with incredibly dense fog limiting vision to within 40 feet. The hair-raising chill to the morning mist combined with an awkward sense of quiet cloudy loneliness made for a perfect excuse to forgo the Bike Train and remain bundled up in bed. But, consistent with good ole' California weather, the sun shined bright on the Santa Fe Dam making for a gorgeous day for a community bike ride.
The Mobile Pit Stop arrived on the scene with a warm welcome from a large group of El Monte youth and City staff. Thanks to our partner mechanics at Performance Bicycle Pasadena along side BikeSGV's very own Henry Coronado, the Mobile Pit Stop was to ready rock, roll and wrench. The crew managed to service well over 30 bicycles before the Train left the station.
After a quick head count and instructional pow wow, the 120+ person Bike Train was ready for it's North-bound departure on the San Gabriel River bike path. The Train split the evaporating fog giving rise to a picturesque mountainous backdrop. The flowing river provided an auditory pleasure that only the sounds of nature can stimulate. The Bike Train made its first stop to regroup at the trail terminus located at the base of the Azusa Canyons where the mood shifted to that of fright.
Unlike a childish Halloween scare, true weariness and concern arose when riders realized the train would travel an additional 200 yards on Highway 39, a two-lane road (one in each direction) with high speed traffic not well-suited for young and inexperienced cyclists. But, as planned, the sight of emergency lights emerged from around the mountain bend. To the groups relief, two mountain Rangers in SUV's held up vehicular traffic allowing the peloton to safely reach it's turn-around point at the beautiful Azusa River Wilderness Park at El Encanto.
Staff from the Watershed Conservation Authority welcomed the bunch with a brightly colored presentation of various park projects along the Emerald Necklace such as the Duck Farm, Parque Dos Rios and Walnut Creek Habitat among others. After enjoying a brisk canyon breeze, the gang gathered for a couple of photographs and headed back to home base.
While the Bike Train pedaled on, the Get Fit Club gathered nearly 15 people for a zen-like Yoga Hermosa session with Ruby Rose. The calm stretching was followed by non-stop, music infused, sweat drenching Zumba Fitness with Maggie Pezeshkian D.C. (video below)The workout wrapped-up just as the Bike Train was arriving.
Shortly thereafter, participants were invited to partake in the free BBQ which was sponsored by Senator Dr. Ed Hernandez and provided by Paula's Catering. The healthy menu included spicy chicken and calabasa tacos, an assortment of grilled veggies, fruit cocktails, and fruit infused waters to wash it all down.
Once everyone got a chance to eat, the crowd was rounded up one last time to conclude the day with a grand finale raffle. Raffle tickets were offered for signing in, completing a survey, and participating with one or more physical activities. Raffle prizes included t-shirts, repair kits, jerseys, water bottles, books and three grand prize Fuji bicycles (1 adult & 2 kids bikes) which were donated by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.
Unfortunately, the good times had to come to a sweet end. Until next the next Bike Train BBQ.
Ride, BBQ Slideshow
Get Fit Club in Action!
Construction photos of the Rosemead Blvd Complete Streets Project as of October 10, 2013. Pictures taken facing and heading north from the Rosemead/Temple City border.
Interbike, the largest bicycle trade show in North America, was held September 18 - 20 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, their first year at this venue. BikeSGV was in attendance for the first time thanks to good friends at REI in Arcadia. As the organization's Project Coordinator and long-time volunteer, I met with industry representatives, picked up some swag, and hung out with other cyclists and lovers of all things bike.
Let me begin by saying that Interbike has always been a dream of mine, and when REI and BikeSGV asked me to go, I was floored! My first Interbike experience was awesome. Here's why. We're not alone!
People For Bikes, a national bike advocacy group, was well-represented, with a booth front-and-center. Interbike contributes a part of its proceeds to bike advocacy organizations, including People For Bikes and IMBA, each of which hosted a breakfast to attendees. During Wednesday's breakfast, hosted by PFB, a video was shown, which moved me by its ability to capture the feel of why we ride. Honestly, it made my skin tingle a bit, in a good way.
Other local advocacy groups were also in attendance, LACBC, Inland Empire Biking Alliance, the Bicycle Collective of Salt Lake City, amongst other advocacy and non-profit groups. Planet Bike hosted a Bike Advocacy Meet & Greet on Thursday afternoon, allowing many of us to chat with other people doing the same thing in their neighborhoods and communities. We all agree that while we're seeing better bike infrastructure and legislation in recent times, there's still a lot to be done, at home, in Sacramento, and in DC.
Of course I got to check out some cool bikes and see the latest gadgets in the industry, but I'm not really about flash at all. It was more about talking to supporters, like Dahon, a local San Gabriel Valley business based in Duarte. I even got to meet the founder of the company, Dr. Hon! I also met with many other company representatives that we hope to foster partnerships with in the future.
Thanks to REI and BikeSGV for my first Interbike. Let's keep up the good work!
On a more personal note, congratulations to my buddy Alvin for taking 1st place at the drag race. This was AFTER he rode from Echo Park to Las Vegas. Great job, bud.
In 2011, the City of El Monte adopted a Health and Wellness element to the General Plan to improve opportunities for nutrition and physical activity by decreasing barriers in the built environment. Today, the city council reinforced it's commitment to Health and Wellness via infrastructure changes by unanimously approving the first bikeway in the city.
The approved bikeway on Ramona Blvd. and Tyler Ave. is slated to include Class-II bikeway striping, stenciling, way-finding signage, loop detectors, bike rack installations and the development of a multi-lingual bicycle education program. Of significant importance, the bikeway will safely connect the Metro Transit Center, Community Center, Senior Center, Aquatic Center, Arceo Park, El Monte High School and the neighboring City of South El Monte.
What's more, El Monte can now use this Ramona/Tyler bikeway as a building block in a grander bicycle planning effort that is currently underway in the region, the San Gabriel Valley Bicycle Master Plan.
Members of the Council expressed sincere excitement about the project and lauded the efforts of the bicycle advocacy community for the tireless dedication to informing decision makers about the many benefits a bike-friendly El Monte. "Many thanks to all who supported the project. Your voice, letters, and emails have made the difference." - Councilwoman, Vicky Martinez.
The San Marino City Council will consider funding the development of a Bicycle/Pedestrian Master Plan and Class II Bicycle Lanes on Lorain Rd. at the Crowell Public Library on Wednesday, October 9th (6pm).
Item 3 on Wednesday's agenda - Award of Proposal for for Professional Consultant Services to Develop a Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan - asks Council Members to decide whether to award Evan Brooks Associates $24,990 to draft the City's first Bicycle Master Plan.
Item 4 on the agenda - Consideration of Class III or Class II Bikeway Pilot Project on Lorain Rd. and Appropriation of Funds - asks Council Members to fund a Lorain Rd Bikeway, and if so, to determine if it should consist of a Class II Bicycle Lanes or a Class III Bicycle Route. Due to speeding traffic on this residential street and existing research on the benefits of bike lanes versus bike routes, BikeSGV's preferred alternative is a Class II Bicycle Lane, as it would improve safety and reduce speeding traffic the most.
Especially if you're a local resident, your support is needed in person Wednesday evening or via email. Public comment may be submitted directly to the Council via email here:
DKneier@CityofSanMarino.org , ESun@CityofSanMarino.org , AYung@CityofSanMarino.org , RSun@CityofSanMarino.org , RJWard@CityofSanMarino.org
A full City Council agenda can be viewed here.