Flying Pigeon LA inventory on Saturday, December 27, 2014

This inventory is a quick walk-through of our dynamo lights, frame locks, and some of our low-cost and not-so-low-cost city bikes.

This episode features some affordable new bikes from a small Taiwanese manufacturer, XDS. These are bikes specified perfectly for LA commuting or recreational riding and priced to move. Ooh! Ooh! This episode also features “Biking There” by Bikeyface and Richard Risemberg’s “Our Own Day Here”. Both books are available in our shop and cost a measly 10 bucks.

A bunch of other stuff including our updated selection of frame locks from ABUS and Trelock – with plug-in chains of the heavy duty or the lightweight variety as well as the option to remove a key from the lock when it is unlocked (thus avoiding snapping your key off in the lock!).

Any questions?

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A Return to Normalcy

It’s undeniable that bicycling to get places is slowly becoming the “new normal.” Every time I ride Midtown’s Fourth Street, I see more pedalers than motorists, even in the rare rains, and that happy disproportion is greater now than at any time I can remember. Fourth Street has been my beat for decades; I’ve used it to get to work, to shop, to visit friends, and I’ve been denting my rims on its potholes for thirty years.

Likewise Fountain Avenue, a street more heavily afflicted by cars than Fourth is: while cyclists by no means outnumber drivers here, I see rider after rider passing me going west as I head the other way on my weekly run to South Pasadena, shining like bright seeds of hope amid the chaff of motor traffic.

And Downtown, of course, buzzes with bikes, despite the clumsy throngs of buses, trucks, and cars obstructing the bike lanes (as well as the rest of the street). I see more and more women riding everywhere, and folks of all colors and ages wearing a bewildering variety of regular street clothes along with diminishing numbers of riders dressed in specific bike-identified couture such as shants and jerseys as well as the much-maligned Lycra®.

And Santa Monica, as regular readers will know, swarms with everyday folks on everyday bikes, who throng the happy everyday businesses of Main Street.

In other words, we’re not so special any more.

I know a lot of my fellow riders will feel a twinge of dismay at this growing acceptance of cycling. A lot of us like to use cycling as a symbol of rebellion, wearing outlandish hairstyles ranging from punk crops to dreadlocks to just plain windblown mess, and some go so far as to mimic the “colors” favored by outlaw motorcycle gangs.

And this is good: the Dominant Culture deserves to be rebelled against. But there comes a time when rebellion has to go out of style, because the population is coming over to our side. That moment hasn’t actually arrived, so don’t dig up that unused comb quite yet. But it’s coming. More and more of “them” are now “us.”

In a way it is, to borrow President Warren G. Harding’s phrase from the time of World War One, a “return to normalcy.” After all, bikes were once the dominant form of urban transport, and they have remained the most energy-efficient and the most socially-beneficial throughout the long dark night that car culture, based on laziness and an illusion of elitism, imposed on our world.

Harding’s normalcy didn’t last, but our new normal had better. The world just can’t take business-as-usual anymore. It’s killing our planet, our cities, our wealth, our health, and ourselves, one by one on the streets.

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Get Sum Dim Sum Ride on Sunday, December 21, 2014

Join the Flying Pigeon LA bike shop on our last ride of 2014! Meet on Sunday, December 21, 2014 at the shop (located at 3404 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90065) at 10 a.m. The ride departs at 10:30 to a local restaurant for brunch and returns around 1 p.m.

The Get Sum Dim Sum ride is free of charge (well, you have to pay for the food!), requires no reservations, and is slow-paced. The point of the ride is to cruise, enjoy good food and good company in this beautiful metropolis.

Bring a working bike and some cash (we try to keep it to $12 and under per person when we get dim sum).

There is more info on our Shop Rides page here.

There is a Facebook Event for this ride.

Any questions?

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Crooked: Cedillo commits to diagonal parking, labels locals “bullies” and “the 1%”

Councilman Cedillo hosted some hastily organized meetings the week of December 3 in order to apply for Metro’s Call For Projects grant program. Out of his four projects, only one made the cut to be submitted to Metro: a diagonal parking plan for a few blocks of North Figueroa Street.

Figueroa For All caught wind of a city council hearing to approve sending Cedillo’s project (in a package with many other projects) to Metro. The hearing took place on Tuesday, December 16, 2014. Here is an 8-minute video of some of the proceedings:

Ted Rogers at Biking In LA wrote about the day:

“Word from yesterday’s LA City Council session is that Cedillo turned a deaf ear to the pleas of bike riders begging for a safer street on North Figueroa, and instead went forward with a plan to install diagonal parking rather than the bike lanes called for in the city’s already approved bike plan.

As anyone who has ever ridden or driven past cars attempting to back out of an angled parking space can attest, that does the exact opposite of improving safety.

Standing in the same chamber where retired councilmember Bill Rosendahl famously declared that “the culture of the car is going to end now!,” Cedillo insisted that he would not be bullied by cyclists.

I didn’t know that the pleas of a traffic minority group begging for a safe place to travel on our streets amounted to bullying; it seems more like a constituent group lobbying an apparently uncaring elected leader for relief, to me. Which is the very definition of democracy in action.”
Ted Rogers, “Morning Links: CM Cedillo turns a deaf ear to pleas of bike riders, portraying cyclists as bullies from the 1%”, Biking In LA, December 17, 2014

A lot of people have been repeatedly disappointed with Councilman Cedillo’s actions regarding safe streets and bike lanes. He seems to be more concerned with public relations rather than governing. Based on the feedback we’ve gotten after the hearing yesterday, the calls for a bike- and pedestrian-friendly North Figueroa Street will only grow louder and louder as Cedillo’s first term in office drags on.

This is a beautiful city and it deserves more thoughtful leadership! Let’s hope we get some in the near future.

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Since Biking in LA’s ever-diligent Ted Rogers has reported very nicely on rogue Council Member Gil Cedillo’s tantrum at yesterday’s meeting, this post can move on to broader issues.

In summary, Cedillo stamped his feet and claimed that hundreds of his constituents are “bullies” because they oppose his blocking the implementation of a road diet for North Figueroa Street. This road diet was approved in multiple community meetings and has been engineered and funded. Unfortunately, all that happened under the aegis of Cedillo’s predecessor, Ed Reyes, and apparently that offends Cedillo’s primitive ego: for he has also blockaded the opening of Ed Reyes park, a charming would-be community space that waits forlornly behind closed gates in a desperately park-poor neighborhood off 19th Street. Cedillo claims he opposes theo road diet for “safety reasons.”

But this statement makes no sense whatsoever, and let me enumerate a few reasons why.

1) Road diets improve street safety for all users: motorists, bicyclists, walkers, and commercial drivers. This has been proven over and over again in studies all over the United States (copies of many of which I have sent to Cedillo). You can read them for yourself here. In fact, no less than the Federal Highway Administration says that road diets of the sort proposed for Figueroa bring about a a 29 percent reduction in all roadway crashes, and lists them among its “proven safety countermeasures.” In addition, it says that bike lanes “create a buffer space between pedestrians and vehicles,” greatly reducing deaths of the sort that Figueroa has seen far too many of lately.

2) The benefits of road diets go beyond safety. Road diets have been proven to improve business activity by slowing down traffic and attracting more potential customers on bikes and on foot, thereby giving retailers and service providers more visibilityMdash;and reducing demand for expensive parking. (Ironically, Cedillo’s plan substitutes four blocks of angled parking for the road diet—in a portion of Figueroa that is liberally supplied with vast off-street lots. Angle parking has been found to increase crash rates, in part because it induces more on-street parking, which requires negotiating with free-flowing traffic.)

3) Road diets do not increase travel times. They reduce peak speeds, which increases safety, but, because they smooth traffic flow, point-to-point travel times remain the same in most cases, and occasionally are slightly shorter. The LADOT’s estimate that drivers would have to spend an extra 41 seconds (that’s right, 41 whole seconds!) to traverse five miles of Figueroa were the road diet implemented was based on outmoded algorithms. Real-world experience has shown that this is not the case, even in congested New York City.

Cedillo knows most of this, or should. His office is in possession of most of the studies mentioned. Why does he continue to oppose the road diet? Is is just his ego, as some claim? Is he beholden to outside money, as his campaign finance records imply? Or does he really believe that speeding cut-through traffic is the holy grail of our city’s nascent Great Streets program?

In any case, Cedillo is an embarrassment to the council, to the city it purports to serve, and to the very notions of democracy and human reason. Northeast Los Angeles deserves better than this. Much, much better.


Bixby and her human test ride cargo bike at Flying Pigeon LA

There is not much to report here outside of a dog giving its human a ride in my bakfiets.

The dog is Bixby who has been navigating for her human as they make their way across the country via Yuba Mundo cargo bike to raise awareness about pet adoption.

Bixby, like any 21st Century pooch, is fully connected to the internet with her own web-site (, Twitter account (@wheresbixby), and Facebook Page.

Bixby and her human visited our shop a week ago to ride in CicLAvia in South LA. It was great to talk about all the wild adventures the duo had in making their way across the country and Bixby was so patient with us humans. Bixby’s adventure on a Yuba Bicycle made us seriously reconsider carrying these rear-loading cargo bikes in our shop again.

So, what do you think? Are there people in LA looking for a Yuba?

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STORM THE BASTILLE! Fight Cedillo’s Anti-Bike Machine on Tuesday, Decemeber 16, 2014

Image from Dr. Alex Thompson during the Hummer vs. Bicyclist maelstrom of 2009

Councilman Gil “Anything But A Bike Lane” Cedillo has attempted to kill bike lanes on North Figueroa forever with a proposal to install diagonal head-in parking on a four block stretch of Figueroa.

The money to pay for this scheme would come from Metro. The full city council is voting on a package of project applications to Metro on Tuesday.

If you can make it to City Hall on Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at 10 a.m. and speak in opposition to Item 22 (CF 14-1680) you’d do our entire city a favor.

There is a Facebook Event for this STORMING OF THE BASTILLE.

If you can’t make the meeting, send an email! The LACBC prepared an email message you can use by clicking here.

The LA County Bicycle Coalition published a call to action:

With 24-hours notice, buried in an attachment to an arcane council file, Councilmember Gil Cedillo revealed his intentions for the controversial North Figueroa “Great Streets” project on Tuesday. During years of community input into the Bicycle Plan and Mobility Plan, community meeting upon community meeting, rides and marches, safe streets advocates have rallied under a vision of a “Figueroa for All” that would create a safer street for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users and drivers. In other words, a complete street. Squashing this community vision for an inclusive and equitable street, Cedillo’s vision swaps bike lanes for diagonal car parking–a clear violation of the City’s Bicycle and Mobility Plans as well as Metro’s new Complete Streets Policy. (Metro is the agency that Cedillo is applying to for funding.) It appears that the lofty rhetoric that accompanied North Figueroa’s selection as a “Great Street” has come crashing down amidst Cedillo’s lack of vision.

While Councilmembers are treated with extreme deference on matters in their district, Cedillo is now asking the full City Council to sign off on his incomplete street and spend City staff resources applying for funding for a project that will be out of date before the ink is dry on the application. We ask you to write the City Council requesting that they uphold the integrity of citywide plans and refuse to include North Figueroa in the City’s funding application unless it includes a complete street. If you are able, please join us at City Council on Tuesday, December 16, at 10 a.m. to speak on this item (Council File # 14-1680). Email to let us know you’re coming.

Earlier in this saga: Cedillo held a round of hastily planned community meetings to improve his Metro Call For Projects score.

You can see the results of his meeting on December 3, 2014:


Brand-new Bike Corral on Midtown’s Larchmont Boulevard

There was a surprise bike corral installation Wednesday, December 10, at 10:30AM, on Larchmont Blvd near Hancock Park!

A few weeks ago the LADOT’s Elizabeth Gallardo, whom I had been hounding about Larchmont for months, emailed me and said that there was a “spare” bike corral in stock, and would I like to do the legwork with Larchmont merchants to prepare an application. That meant finding a “sponsor” (who would agree to keep the corral clean) and asking other nearby merchants to sign letters of support for the corral. It also meant finding a place to put it, so I spent a day traipsing around the charming little one-block shopping street in search of a “non-controversial” spot for the thing. I found a large area of street between the angle parking and the curb cut to a surface lot that was painted off-limits to cars but was otherwise completely unused. In fact, as Ms. Gallardo noted this morning, a corral in this spot will also protect pedestrians in the adjacent crosswalk from the inevitable scofflaw drivers who swerve around those motorists polite enough to stop for walkers.

I went straight to Village Wine, Spirits, and Cheese, one of whose owners, Simon, commutes to work by bike, pitched the corral to him (he needed no convincing), and hooked him up with a number of other bike-friendly businesses on the street for the required approvals. The Above the Fold newsstand, Burger Lounge, and Go Get ‘Em, Tiger coffeehouse were among the ones signing on.

Ms. Gallardo, who was my contact for the project, emailed me a few weeks later saying that all was good and that the corral would be installed by early 2015. Then, a few days ago, I received a surprise email revealing that it would be installed this week!

And as you can see, it was….

Simon and the wine shop (which also serves some of the best sandwiches in the city) have gone one step farther and agreed to sponsor a public bike repair stand near the corral. More on that when I have details.

Local cyclists kept doing double-takes as they passed by the shiny new corral, and folks started using it even before the installer was done drilling, grinding, and bolting. So pedal your butt over to Larchmont and join ‘em. We lost thirty-three bike racks there a short while ago; now we’re getting a few of them back.

Park this one full, laddies and ladies, so the merchants will support us when we ask for another one across the street!


Kiddie Bike Rally in Sycamore Grove Park on Sunday, December 14, 2014 #fig4all #sisemueve

We’re hosting a free bike, skate, and scooter festival and you’re all invited! We will have some snacks and drinks for the kids … and pinatas!

Join us! This Sunday, December 14, 2014 from 12 p.m. until 4 p.m. at Sycamore Grove Park (located at 4702 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90042).

Want to get your kid riding a bike? Scooter? Skateboard? This is a perfect opportunity. We are mostly going to be playing around, doing some craft activities, and riding on the paths through the park.

This isn’t a birthday party – just a great time to get together with friends and neighbors. Please feel free to bring friends, your picnic blankets, and baskets. Don’t forget your bike, scooter, or skateboard(s) as well!

If it rains on Sunday we’ll reschedule the party.

There is a Facebook Event for this Kiddie Bike Rally.

Getting there:

Sycamore Grove Park has its own Metro Gold Line train station (rad!) – but Metro calls it “Southwest Museum Station”. Never mind that. Focus on this: it can get you to within 50 yards of the park for $1.75 with room for bikes, strollers, baskets, etc.

The park is also well-served by the 81 bus which runs the length of North Figueroa.

Driving: exit Avenue 43, head towards Figueroa and make a right, park is on your right. Street parking or a lot by the NE corner of the park is wide open and free of charge.

Any questions?

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Spoke(n) Art Ride on Saturday, December 13, 2014

Hot chocolate and pan dulce is the theme for this Saturday’s free-of-charge Spoke(n) Art bicycle tour of art galleries in NELA. Show up at Flying Pigeon LA bike shop (3404 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90065) on Saturday, December 13, 2014 at 6 p.m.

The slow-paced trek to art galleries leaves at 6:30 p.m. The route is planned just before the ride leaves, but we’re going to stop and have some pan dulce and hot chocolate along the way in a local park.

More information about the ride can be found on the Bike Oven’s Spoke(n) Art Ride page.

Want to rent a bike for the ride? This month we’ve got a few single-speed beach cruisers for rent – $20 each (including blinky lights).

There is a Facebook event for this ride.

Any questions? Email

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