The world of cycling has opened my eyes to so many opportunities and people around me. 4 years ago I was introduced to the LA biking scene and it completely changed my life. I met many wonderful people and experienced LA in a whole new way. As a woman, it felt so liberating to be on the city streets at night. I felt invincible. Unfortunately, I was the victim of a hit and run, but during recovery I was already back on a bike. Over time I was influenced to ride longer and faster, soon completing centuries – something I never pictured myself doing. In 2009 I participated in AIDS/Lifecycle, an annual 545-mile bike ride from SF to LA that raises funds to fight the AIDS epidemic. The whole experience was so beautiful that I’ve signed up for the next ride in 2013. It’s incredible how a simple activity on wheels has enriched my life so much. I love my bike!
Back in action in 2013 and ready to ride and dine with you all!
This month’s ride will be on Sunday, February 24. The ride will start at the corner of Fletcher Drive & Crystal Street. Crystal Street is called Ripple on the west and Crystal on the east. There is a light at this corner so it makes turning on Crystal easier. Crystal ends in a cul-de-sac, where we will all meet to hop onto the River Path and head up to Burbank. We will be brunching at Sweetsalt Food Shop on Riverside Drive. Menu and restaurant info here: http://www.sweetsaltfood.com/
Ride starts at 10:00am and we’ll be happy with food in our bellies by 11:00am. If you can’t make the ride, meet us at the restaurant!
Once again, our beautiful graphics provided by Nicole Smith.
Having a bicycle repair kit with you on the road can make the difference between a short stop and a long sit on the side of the road waiting for a friend to pick you up. It’s a small bag or roll you can carry in your messenger bag, pannier bag or attached to the frame that will carry a small set of tools needed for most minor repairs on the go. You’ll find your personal preference for how you like to carry it with you, but let’s start with the basic tools you need that comprise a good repair kit.
CO2 & Pump or Mini Tire Pump
1) Multi-Tool – If you need to adjust any nut, bolt or screw on the bike. A basic one shouldn’t be more than $10 or $15 and will have the most common sized hex wrenches, socket wrenches and screwdrivers. You can go up in tool count from there, but beware it gets heavier too. Two of the best brands are Park Tool and crankbrothers.
2) Tire Levers – Carrying a set (typically 2, sometimes they are sold as 3) will help you remove the tire from the rim to change a flat. If you have the room, carry 2 so that one can hook around the spoke while you use the other to slide under the beading of the tire all the way around. They are made out of nylon or steel. You can guess that one is slightly more expensive, but another thing to consider is size. The steel levers are usually longer and this may affect how you have to cart them around while on the bike. You can find these at any bike co-op or your local bike shop.
3) Patch Kit – Ideally, you want to find one that has several patches, a small square of sandpaper and glue. Glues can widely vary in quality but make sure it at least says self-vulcanizing. You can also find self-adhesive tube patches, but I still prefer the classic system of glue and patch. The self-adhesive tube patches are lighter to carry because there are simply less pieces, but I doubt that it would last as long as a glue-patch system so I would ride to a bike shop within a day or so to check out the tube.
4) Air – Can’t use a tube with no air in it! There are two ways to solve that problem. One is carrying a mini-pump that you can attach to your frame or throw in a bag. The other is to use CO2 cartridges and an inflator trigger pump. “Roadies” tend toward the CO2, as do triathletes and anyone else whose motto in life is ‘lighter is faster’. A pump can attach to your frame and be just as easy for everyday cycling. I have both – the CO2 in my small saddle bag for faster club riding and training, the pump on my commuter bikes. Be sure to practice with the CO2 before you encounter a problem on the road! Make sure the mini-pump has the ability to fit both schrader and presta valves.
5) Money – If you are close to a bike shop, you can buy a spare tube. If you’re near a pay phone, you can cash in to get a quarter or two. You can call a cab. You can rent a car. Kidding, just wanted to see if you were still reading. Point is, Mom always told you to have an emergency fund. This almost counts.
6) Tubes! The key element to making a tire a complete wheel. A tube should really never cost more than $5 anywhere. When I have a busted tube and I use the one from my kit, I buy two at a shop as soon as possible. One for home and the other to replace the kit spare. Maybe that math doesn’t work out so well, because I have 7 tubes at home. OK, don’t follow me word for word. But I will say that the fastest and easiest thing to do when you get a flat is to just throw a new tube in, patch the old one at home, then use the old one as a spare in your kit. So I always have a new tube somewhere, even in the car. Man, I am really not making sense. No one’s going to follow my advice now!
Finally, consider the different options that are out there to carry your repair kit. A small bag that wraps around your seat stem and tucks neatly under your saddle like this, or a tool roll (like Mopha or Burrito Roll) that can do that but also be tossed in a pannier or messenger bag. Lots of styles abound so have fun choosing something that makes you happy! And safe riding!
It’s rainy and it’s been a long year (can you believe it’s December already?!) so let’s regroup as a community and put our skills to the test. This month’s event is a Bike Workshop focusing on basic bike maintenance and repair, fixing a flat, and putting your bike on the stand/getting comfortable in a bike shop setting. Then we hop on our bikes, take a quick ride to learn about nighttime safety and wet weather tips and end at the YAS Silver Lake yoga and spinning studio for a half hour yoga for cyclists class. SO. MUCH. FUN! All in one workshop
Don’t miss this!
It turned out to be a pretty lucky day for the brunchers this time. The skies parted and the sun even came out for the hours we hit the road and broke bread together. Thanks to everyone who came for a fantastic time!
The ride was 7 miles through Griffith Park and climbing up Trash Truck Hill (also known as Garbage Truck Hill, but really, what’s the difference?) and back down to our starting location at the corner of Los Feliz Blvd and Crystal Springs Dr. If you liked the route, you can find the Strava details for it here and the full Google Maps view of the route here. Post up on the Facebook page if you’re ever interested in riding it with a partner!
After the ride, we headed for Village Bakery & Cafe in Atwater Village. Their pastry display case made me feel like I should do the Hill one more time before indulging! Bummer we didn’t make it to the Autry Museum Farmer’s Market but it’s a delicious outdoor option for a future brunch.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
The date is set – November 17.
The location is chosen! Let’s ride together through Griffith Park. Meeting at the corner of Crystal Springs Drive and Los Feliz Blvd to start. It’s near the pony rides and Crystal Springs is what Riverside Drive turns into heading into the Park. We’ll go for about an hour, a wee bit of climbing (Garbage Truck Hill) and a lot more downhill, ending at the best destination of all – FOOD! The Autry Museum has a farmers market on Saturdays and have a slew of food tents and food trucks to choose from, a great lawn to enjoy and no doubt good weather with some sun shining above us. Can’t beat that in November!
The map inset is blown up a bit bigger for you to find our start.
RSVP in the comments below or to brakingthelimits//at\\gmail(dot)com. See you there!
Extra special thanks to Nicole for creating the artwork. Check her out at Talisman.
This past weekend I participated in a 70-mile charity ride for the Aptalis Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. I had never gone that far on the bike and didn’t think I could make it. It was hot, dry and hardly a bit of shade could be found (sorry East Coast Frankenstormers). I didn’t train, only relied on my commuting and a prayer to get me through. What I found was that charity rides can be no-stress, fun ways of challenging yourself on the bike and feeling stronger as a rider. I had way more fun than I expected and learned to love these kinds of rides. Here’s why I would sign up for every charity ride I could find:
1) The cheerleaders! You exit the starting point – cheering. You come to a rest stop – cheering. You exit the rest stop – chanting. You come in sweaty, exhausted, and so tired to the finish line and you want nothing more than to be off the bike finally - cheering loudly! How can you beat that? The volunteers of a charity ride have smiles on their faces despite being up earlier than you, are counting on you to support the cause and do what those with cystic fibrosis (or many diseases) cannot, and are REALLY, REALLY glad you came. You can’t help but smile when you pass the cheerleaders, and frankly, you should smile big. You are great for getting out there and pushing yourself! Too bad you can’t have a cheering section everywhere you went. Your chain falls off on 4th Ave near Fairfax. Woohoo, you can do it! You are climbing that not too steep but annoying hill on Sunset Blvd near Dodger Stadium. Go! Go! Push! You pedal your way into work on a Monday. YAY! You’re grrrrr-eat!
2) The food & drink! Charity rides can be big or small, but they will always come with perks for participants. My CF ride held the start/finish at Golden Road Brewery in Atwater Village and there is nothing like a cold, refreshing pint of beer after a long, hot ride. Most charity rides will have lunch provided, a bagel spread for breakfast, even food trucks at the finish area. The fun snacks at the rest stops along the route can be sugary sweet but just what you need. I definitely did not need to eat two peanut butter and fluff sandwiches. Fluff!
3) The route! Like I said, I had never done 70 miles on the bike before this. Maybe 50 miles if I round up somewhere. The route map was provided days in advance so you can drive it or follow it on Google Maps to get comfortable beforehand. I was really excited to see we were heading to Long Beach! I’ve heard of long journeys on bicycles down to this alt-transpo mecca but I didn’t think I could ever do it. Now was my chance to learn the safest route and the rest areas on the way so I can now do this trip anytime I like. There are varying distances you can sign up for, so there are options for all the riders in your group. Charity rides can teach you about new routes, new hills to train on, new sharrow lanes or bike paths you hadn’t seen before or could translate from online map to real life directions. It’s a great way to learn to ride more of your city!
4) New friends! I signed up for this ride alone. Mostly because I didn’t think I could do 70 miles and figured it was easier to bail at the first sign of struggle without answering to someone. And just as I expected, I thought I was going to turn around at the 20 mile mark, then the 25 mile mark, then again…until I met a group of women riding their first 70-mile route too. Sharing laughs and getting to know each other made the time fly by, helped me forget about the burning in my legs and absolutely kept me going to the finish line. We found we shared a lot of passions and interests and now keep in touch and have things planned together.
To become a stronger rider and to challenge yourself to the next level of riding, I can not recommend charity rides enough. There’s no competition to beat the fastest time so there is more room for camaraderie and fun. Heck, it took me almost 6 hours to make it back to the finish line and I don’t care. I experienced a great day on the bike and can’t wait to sign up for my next charity ride.