Brunching in Burbank Along the Sunny River Path

Eat your heart out, east coast. Today we enjoyed a 70 degree sunny, clear blue sky as we rode a few miles along the LA River Path into Burbank for brunch. We followed the beginnings of a network of bike lanes and sharrows in Burbank to our restaurant, Sweetsalt Foods, on Riverside Drive. It was about an 18-mile ride round trip. Burbank has recently approved both a bicycle master plan and a city general plan (for development and growth) and will soon be seeing better alternative transportation infrastructure that will make riding there even better. Might today’s group also suggest to the city smoother roadways and improved road conditions? Somewhere along those roads I hit a bump that gave me a snake bite (punctured tube from it pinching the two sides of the rim inside the tire). Not fun to walk out of the restaurant to, but luckily last December’s bike workshop brushed me up on my flat tire skills!

On the path heading north to Burbank from Atwater Village.

On the path heading north to Burbank from Atwater Village.

February Bike Brunch group

Flat tires are never convenient but easily (and quickly) can be changed to get back on the road.

Flat tires are never convenient but easily (and quickly) can be changed to get back on the road.

 

Guest Post: Suzanne from La Bella Preme Cycling Event

This June, women from all over the region are taking part in Le Bella Preme cycling challenge, a ride of with three distances for riders of any skill. I first met Raelynn at the Women’s Bike Summit in Long Beach last year and believe in her spirit to get any and every woman on a bike and feeling confidant and empowered for it. Today’s guest post is from Suzanne M., a fundraiser and participant for La Bella Preme. If you decide to join the challenge, come find me there!

JOIN ME (AND MY NEW BIKE) FOR LA BELLA PREME!

I just registered for a cycling event. More specifically, I just registered for La Bella Preme Women’s Cycling Challenge. Here’s the thing though: I don’t own a bike. I know how to ride one, I just don’t own one. And even though I’ve run several marathons over the last few years, this will be my very first cycling event. Ever. But that’s okay at La Bella Preme.

On June 1, 2013, women of all cycling abilities will toe the starting line together at La Bella Preme’s inaugural event in Malibu, California. (Do cyclists even say “Toe the starting line” or do they say “Wheel the starting line”? I guess I’ll find out when I become a cyclist). La Bella Preme was designed for women cyclists, by women cyclists, and welcomes beginners and pros alike.

Riding right alongside me at La Bella Preme will be Sue Fish, a pioneering female motocross racer and cyclist who was recently inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame.  With a nickname like “The Flying Fish”, Sue is not someone I would typically have any business riding against. But that’s the thing at La Bella Preme – I’m not riding against Sue, I’m riding with Sue. In addition to challenges that level the playing field and give me a flying chance to beat the Flying Fish, cycling professionals like Sue and her B4T9 Women’s Cycling teammates, Jill Gass and RaeLynn Milley, will be on hand to mentor novice riders like me.

As if that wasn’t enough to convince me to register, the event starts and ends at Triunfu Creek Vineyards in the heart of the Santa Monica Mountains. Instead of eating stale bagels and washing them down with tiny cups of sports drink while being rushed out of the post-race area as I’ve experienced at countless marathons, we will celebrate and be celebrated after a long day of riding at La Bella Preme.  We will change into clean clothes and relax in real chairs while enjoying good food, fine wine and the company of new friends.

So how did a non-cyclist like me (or rather a “soon-to-be cyclist” like me) hear about La Bella Preme? I heard about it at work. It’s an Event 360 produced event and we are partnering with local non-profits. La Bella Preme participants have the opportunity to fundraise on behalf of I Am That Girl, Little Bellas and Girls on the Run of Los Angeles County; three organizations that are making a difference in the lives of young girls across the country and around the world.

Now you’re probably starting to understand why I signed up for La Bella Preme without even thinking about the fact that I don’t own a bike. Making new friends, making a difference, getting some exercise and following all of that up with good food, fine wine and camaraderie sounds like the perfect way to spend a Saturday (or, really, any day). You, too, can register by clicking here. My new bike and I will see you in Malibu on June 1, 2013. .

Suzanne Mooney is a Fundraising Consultant at Event 360. Please send her a note at smooney@event360.com.

Suzanne M.

A few months ago I wasn’t a cyclist, but I am now. I bought my first road bike on Friday, January 18, 2013, and I can’t wait to participate in La Bella Preme Women’s Cycling Challenge. I’ve been a runner for years but when I attended Interbike in September, I met some incredible women and found myself becoming increasingly interested in cycling. Now I have a bike, I’m a cyclist and I’m excited about participating in my first event.

The 4th Hand Tool

Sounds out of this world from the fourth dimension, doesn’t it?

handtool

In many circles, this tool is also called the Cable Stretcher but “4th Hand Tool” is its more common moniker. This tool handily pulls the cables for the derailleurs (the shifters) and brakes in order to free up a hand of your own to tighten nuts and bolts. As one reviewer on Amazon writes, “When your bro’s paw is wrapped around a cold one and you need another hand…,” essentially this tool gives you the extra hand you need when you need to tighten a cable. I especially find that this tool offers me the strength that my simple tug won’t deliver to make my brake tension that much more responsive.

While the handle is loose, slide the cable through the grooves at the top with the flattened arm butted against the brake or derailleur (the part that shift your chain). When you clamp the handles, the tool grabs the cable and pushes off the brake or derailleur, pulling the cable taut. While one hand holds that tool, the other is then free to tighten the nuts or bolts to lock the cable down. There is a handy little video where you can see the clamping and pulling action of the tool on eHow.

Emerald S.

My name is Emerald and I have been commuting by bike for about 5 and a half years. I started biking because of convenience (living in a smaller town where many people bike and having a car isn’t practical) and for environmental reasons. All of my small commutes were on bike and I felt great about it. For about 2 years, I even biked to school everyday, which was only a 6 mile ride but up a mountain.
image

Now I live in Los Angeles and I have a 10 mile commute to work (and 10 back) which I do about 2-3 days of the work week. I try to do my small errands on bike and take it to the red line when going into Hollywood or Downtown. I even sometimes bike in fancy clothes when I am going to an event which calls for it. Being a cyclist in this city is not easy and not always pleasant, but I feel great about it. Commuting by bicycle helps me save money, reduce my stress, increase my physical activity, and perhaps most importantly – be ONE LESS car in Los Angeles. I feel great about being a female cyclist and being able to fix everything on my bike and help other people do the same. Cycling for me is an empowering activity – both physically and mentally.

Combination Wrenches

Wrenches

A set of chrome-vanadium metric wrenches, open at one end, box/ring at the other. This type is commonly known as a “combination” wrench.

Fixed Wrenches are made of a single piece of metal, and only fit specific sizes of fasteners.

Combination wrenches, like the picture above, are chrome double-ended wrenches with an open end and a box end that are the same size bolt on each end. This is the most useful and most common general-purpose wrench style. The box end tends to be stronger that the open end and are the best side to use for high torque uses, because it can contact more than two or three corners of the bolt. They are sized by metric millimeters.

Nuts and bolts have a six-sided shape which is usually spoken of as a hexagon. Stripping of the sides will occur if you do not use a tightly fitting wrench. The length of each wrench is related to the amount of force needed to tighten each size nut, so the force needed on your part should be the pull of three fingers. If the amount of effort required to tighten a nut or bolt increases, stop immediately as either you will break something or you are pulling the thread out.

Common uses of these wrenches are a size 15 open-end for pedals or a size 15 box-end for axel bolts (instead of a quick release skewer) to remove tires (commonly on fixed gear or mountain bikes). Sizes 8 and 10 are also the most common for various bolts and nuts on the bicycle.

Tiffany O.

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!