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Archive for January, 2008

Bianchi San Jose 

With cyclocross season ending I thought I would share a picture of my Bianchi San Jose.   It is stock with the following exceptions:

34t ring in front, Salsa Bell Lap handlebars, Ritchey WCS stem and Nokian Ravagozzi S tires ( I really like these things.  They are remarkably “grippy” considering their seemingly moderate tread pattern.)

Of my four bikes, this is probably the most “fun” to ride.  Generally the gearing is great for our local terrain, however it is brutal going downhill, and can be challenging on the flats.  It’s really easy to spin it out.  With that being said, overall the gearing works pretty well.  You can’t have everything.  I might go a little bigger if I ever suck it up and race this thing.

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With the Tour of California (TOC) coming to our fine city in about 3 weeks, I thought I might share my views about the City of Santa Clarita, and how it treats its local cyclists throughout 364 days of the year. 

It is important to note that Santa Clarita is a suburb of Los Angeles, that is located approximately 30 miles north of “downtown”.  The population is primarily made up of what one might have called “yuppies” a decade ago,  and has the image of being somewhat upscale.  To be fair, I probably fall into that “yuppie” crowd, even if I do not think of myself that way.  As a result of our demographics, we probably have the largest concentration of full sized trucks and SUVs in the country.  Apparently a “minivan” is too uncool, and not nearly big enough for most, so the SUV is the vehicle of choice for most.  As you can imagine, Starbucks is pretty popular as well.

With all of that being said, Santa Clarita’s population continues to grow, even with the economic slowdown/recession.  As a result of this growth, traffic is getting worse and worse, making road expansion a necessity.  I fully understand this need, as I drive a car to work everyday myself.  I am certainly not someone who believes that cars have no place in society.  Anyway, the City of Santa Clarita’s answer to our growing traffic problem is to add more lanes to existing roads.  In other words, roads that had two lanes now have three.  Additionally, there are no bike lanes being added at the time the additional lanes are being added.  As you can imagine, this creates an unnecessarily dangerous situation on our local roads.

When this activity started last year I became concerned.  As a result of my concern, I still don’t really know how it happened, I was contacted by one of our fine traffic engineers.  I have to say, this guy had the people skills of cardboard box.  But it was nice to see that he took the time to call.  In a nutshell:

Me  “Hey I am concerned about the extra lane being added to an already dngerous road.”

Him  “We added an extra 18″ to accommodate cyclists”

Me  “Wow, I am wider than 18″, and I am only 160 pounds.”

Him  “We get maybe a hundred bikes through that area a day and thousands of cars” (I thought 100  bikes was a lot)  loooong pause

Me  “So the cars win?”

Him  “Yes.”

Me  “Thanks for calling”

My point.  The City of Santa Clarita is more than happy to reap the financial and other benefits associated with the hosting of stages 6 and 7 of the 2008 TOC, while during the rest of the year they could care less about local cyclists trying to use our local roads.   I would love for the city to become truly bicycle friendly by making some very reasonable accommodations for its bicycle riding citizens.  Nothing major, maybe some bike lanes and “share the road” signs to start.  I figured this would be a good time to bring it up. 

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

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