Life Without Wheels: Chronicle of a Car-Free Lifestyle
 
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The Ten Speed Avenger wreaks havoc upon bike thieves, revenge upon inattentive cagers, and teaches awareness of cycling issues to law enforcement officials. She also dances!


 
 
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Rachel as a Bumblebee; she was easy to spot on the ride
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The Ten Speed Avenger in action!
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Sooper Dude!
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Sometimes you just need a 2nd story view
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random shot
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Spiderman and the Ten Speed Avenger
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Because of this pic, Halloween Critical Mass ride will now be a tradition for me!
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Ohaijoe and the Grilled Cheese guy
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For all you Lost fans, these guys were from the Darma Initiative
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Riding bikes in LA, see the Bumble Bee to the left? That's Rachel!
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A snapshot of our favorite Bumble Bee while we rest in Pan Pacific Park (after being threatened with citations for riding bikes)
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Ohaijoe at Pan Pacific Park
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A tandem bike for two in hell!
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Darma Initiative guy again...with iPhone sticking out of his pocket
 
 
 
 
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All my materials spread out.
So I just needed to share how my costume project is going. Basically, I already had a black leotard, black leggings, and boots. All I needed was a black cape and mask, which I picked up at Hollywood Toys and Costumes. Then I went to Mood where an associate there helped me pick out some appropriate fabric to create a superhero logo with, which I'm going to try to iron onto the cape, and if that doesn't work, I will sew it on. (I don't own a sewing machine, so it will be by hand.) Then I want to embroider the logo onto my leotard, which I don't imagine will be very difficult, just time consuming. Anyhow here are some pics. 

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My wheel pattern; see I learned something in geometry class!
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wheel pattern cut out
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Two wheels!
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Finished pattern!
Now i just need to tack the pattern onto the cloth, cut the cloth, and sew it to the cape...oh yes, the fun is just beginning!
 
 
For those that follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know that I've been riding around Los Angeles  this week trying to put together a superhero costume. Last night I found my cape and mask at Hollywood Toys and Costumes. It was an amazingly fun shopping experience, magnified by the fun of riding up La Brea to Hollywood Blvd, then zooming through the traffic on Hollywood Blvd whilst enjoying the lights and glam of the strip.

The shop was packed, but the service was still great. It was ask and have. I somehow had it in my head that I would have to search through lots of stuff for what I needed but it just wasn't so. I asked the first person I saw for masks, and they pointed me to a sales associate behind a glass casing FILLED with all sorts of different eye masks and mardi gras masks. I almost forgot I was there for a black eye mask and went for a feathered mardi gras mask. But alas, I reminded myself to stay on task. Once I selected my mask, I asked the associate where I could find a black cape, thinking that he would just shrug and tell me to search through a bin or something. He pointed to an associate across the room behind a counter. So I went to that man and asked him for a black cape. He turned around, grabbed one off the wall, and handed it to me. And that was it. Five minutes in a store that had exactly what I needed! Thanks Hollywood Toys and Costumes!

However, I still have to go to Mood during lunch today and pick up some felt or fabric paint or something to create my logo. Hollywood Toys and Costumes is not a fabric store, so don't go there thinking you'll find fabric paint or stuff to create crafts with.

So I decided to be a superhero because there is a whole superhero theme going on at LACMA right now. I am going to wear a black leotard and leggings, with black boots, my black cape with white glowing logo on it. The logo is a bicycle. I am "bike girl" or  "cycle chic" but those names are already taken. So I need everyone to suggest names that have the word "bike", "cycle", "bicycle", etc. in it so when I show up to the Los Angeles Critical Mass Halloween ride tomorrow, I can tell people who I am. Please help!

And if you're not doing anything tomorrow night at 700pm, meet up on your bike with lights at the Wilshire/Western Metro station and join the ride. Come in costume; it's going to be loads of fun!
 
 
IlluminateLA has done a great job of summarizing the importance of the LA Bike Plan to all people using any form of transportation. Here's the link.

Here's my favorite part:

“So what?” you ask. “Why should I care about those cyclists?” you wonder. Well, there are many reasons why we all should care, especially because of our economy and our health.

Health:

“Yeah, whatever, we know that biking is a healthy exercise, but I rather run inside the gym where the air is better.”

The air is actually not better inside the gym because the gym has carpet, paint, synthetics, misc. chemicals (window cleaner, carpet cleaner, other peoples deodorants and parfumes, etc.) sweat and germs. The gym is not aired out and the air is stuffy it is wasn’t for the air conditioner keeping the stuffy smell out. And if we encourage biking, the air outside would be better because we wouldn’t burn so much CO2 that causes asthma, that lowers peoples immune system, that kills crops and plants and trees, that heats up our atmosphere.

Also, the health of your neighborhood is at stake when streets become cut-through roads for the commuters. There is noise pollution as well as air pollution, kids can’t play on the street and old people can’t go outside to enjoy an afternoon walk because the streets are dangerous. A healthy neighborhood has cyclists and pedestrians which means that streets are meant for people in the community not those who want to get out of your neighborhood quickly.

Economy:

“Don’t tell me that cycling is better for the economy. In my car I shop more because I can carry more. And I contribute to the economy by buying the car and buying gas and all that comes with owning a car.”

If we help our neighborhood become bike friendly, our local businesses will benefit from it, not Target, or Walmart or Exon or Mobil. When I bike, I tend to stop anywhere because I don’t need to worry about parking space or because I’m not pushing the gas pedal to get home quickly. I stop at random stores, I stop to talk to the homeless, I stop because I see someone I know, or just because I feel like getting a drink or buying a book.

More cyclists on the street prove to be healthy not only to businesses but also for the safety of the community because with cyclists there are eyes and ears open to happenings.

Also, bikes don’t wear out the streets because they don’t weigh that much, which means that less money needs to be put into street repair and more money can be put into beautification or your neighborhood improvements.

This Draft Bike Plan is suggesting to make LA a bikeable city in 12 years, but there are so many things that can be done to make LA more safe for cyclists, like enforcing the law when cyclists are endangered or hurt and demanding respect from those who don’t bike.

We are all humans, regardless of what mode we use to travel and Respect would be a great start and it shouldn’t take 12 years for that.
 
 
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From Left to Right, Rachel S., Me, and Joe A.Photo by Bryan Koch
For those of you who couldn't make it, Blogger Beach Cleanup turned out to be a great event. We all had fun cleaning up the beach, learned a lot (I feel much more aware about issues regarding pollution and carbon emissions), and met lots of people we had met through the blogosphere. Like Alex from Westside Bikeside, Siel (organizer of the event) from Green LA Girl, Sarah from the Daily Ocean (also organizer), and the list goes on and on. I feel so connected to my community of carfree and sustainable living people, and I'm further motivated to continue my carfree existence but also look for other ways to live a sustainable lifestyle and maybe be a little more eco-friendly. (Those of you who know me know that my carfree lifestyle was not so much an environmental as economical and logical choice.) 

I started the day by biking to ballet class then home. I needed a little nap (I wish I had had a BIG nap, but c'est la vie), and after a half hour I frantically showered and got ready to hop on my bike and meet a posse of cyclists (whom I'd never met) at the Wilshire/Western Metro Station. As I turned the corner around the CVS I saw two people (Joe and Janet) sitting on the steps next to their bikes. I smiled, they smiled back, we made the introductions, and new friends were made. Joe's friend John made a 4th, and our bicycle posse set out to Santa Monica beach. 

This was our route:

We pulled out of the Wilshire/Western Station at approximately 2:15pm and arrived at the clean up location at about 3:45pm. So we did the 14.5 miles casually in about an hour and a half. Not bad at all. 

After signing in for the clean up, I met some cool new people, including Rachel (above) who had the rear wheel of her bicycle stolen that day (ARG, we hate bike thieves!). Both Rachel and Joe have expressed interest in joining me on longer bike road trips, so I'm hoping I now have some partners in crime as I work up my stamina to Le Grand Tour. 


Rachel, Joe, and I teamed up as team Third Wheel (in honor of Rachel's stolen bike wheel) to clean up the beach. We picked up lots of cigarette butts, small pieces of Styrofoam, pieces of plastic (bottle caps, wrappers, etc.), and other pieces of litter. It was amazing to me that you couldn't walk a few inches without coming across a cigarette butt. Also, the amount of Styrofoam is seriously ridiculous. Those little styro cups we use at BBQ s and such seem to just explode all over the beach. And I think we've all heard about why Styrofoam is bad for the environment. My understanding of how it works is that as it breaks down it releases carbon into the air. But if someone has a good article on the background of that, well, I'm too tired to do the research right this minute, so submit it in the comments section. Thanks. 

Some of you know that I am an ex-smoker, and as I was picking up ALL those little cigarette butts, I couldn't help but feel just a little guilty for all the times I tossed a butt out the window of my car. My plea to all my smoking friends is to never toss a butt again. I make no judgement against smokers (I used to be one, and I understand the addiction quite well), but there's no reason you can't be a non-littering smoker. 
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Our trash being weighed
So Team Third Wheel ended up picking up a total of 0.5 lbs of trash. Altogether, the 112 plus participants at the cleanup picked up almost 40 lbs of trash! (And we were only shy that number by approximately 0.5lbs. Maybe Team Third Wheel could've hustled a bit more.) 

After all the collective trash was laid out to spell 350, and we heard from some various nonprofit participants (Net2LA, C.I.C.L.E., Sustainable Works, Heal the Bay, and 350.0rg) we all headed to El Pourtal in Santa Monica for Happy Hour drinks and free appetizers--thanks Pourtal!

At about 8pm, Joe, John, and I headed back to Koreatown on our bikes. (Janet had headed back via bus a bit earlier.) We proceeded at somewhat of a breakneck speed (perhaps it was because I was a slight bit tipsy) down Santa Monica Boulevard, enjoying the bike lane as along as it lasted. We stopped in at Barney's Beanery for some dinner, then home. 

It was a long, tiring, fun day. Thanks to my fellow cyclists for the good company, and to Siel and Sarah for organizing such a wonderful event. It was nice to see that all of us bloggers aren't just avatars but human activists as well. 
 
 
Forgive me, loyal readers. I know this new site is a bit messy. I'm working on getting it up to par and making it as pretty as the wordpress blog. It will all look very nice soon, I promise! In the meantime...


I'm excited about the blogger beach cleanup tomorrow. It should be a lot of fun, and I'm eager to meet some more of my fellow carfree Angelinos. I'm also hoping to get a good header picture for this site too, because the current one sucks! I also have a "date" this weekend, so stay tuned for an interesting post on getting to and from a date while being carfree. I'll catch up with you all on Sunday
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Meet Squeaker!!! Read the full post here: http://lifewithoutwheels.wordpress.com/2009/10/18/new-bicycle/
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