What if California would suspend the license of any motorist who injures a vulnerable road user? StreetsBlog Denver reports on a new law in Colorado that could do just that.
April 25, 2019 Edition
Here’s an update on some recent OCBC activities:
- OCBC contacted the City of Laguna Hills requesting signage at the intersection of northbound Avenida de Carlota at Los Alisos Blvd to indicate where bicyclist should stop to trigger a stop light change. OCBC also requested that the light stay green long enough for bicyclist to safely cross busy Los Alisos Blvd. Map of This Intersection. The city responded with a plan to install a “bike button” to change the traffic signal for bicyclists when requested.
- Thanked the City of Tustin for their commitment to OCBC to replace five drainage grates along Irvine Blvd that could catch bicycle wheels.
- OCBC recommended to the City of Lake Forest changes to the area of Cook’s Corner that are dangerous for bicyclist. Map of This Area
- Thanked the City of Irvine for filling in a valve cover in the middle of a street. It was a hazard to bicyclists.
- Attended an OC Parks Commission meeting to discuss the long-promised Class 1 trail through Peter’s Canyon Regional Park. Unfortunately, although regional parks are supposed to serve all Orange County residents, OC Parks Commission decided to relegate Peter’s Canyon to be a publicly funded private reserve for the neighbors of the park. This leaves a gaping hole in the Class 1 trail that was has been planned for decades to run from the Orange County mountains to the sea. OCBC is considering all options to revise plans for Peter’s Canyon Regional Park so the plans will serve all Orange County residents.
- OCBC contacted Orange County Public Works, Orange County Parks and the City of Tustin with serious concerns and objections to bicycle infrastructure plans meant to bypass the Peter’s Canyon Regional Park.
The Orange County Bicycle Coalition’s mission is “To promote bicycling as an everyday means of transportation and recreation”. Join the OCBC Today!
A Slow, Fat Realization
A couple years back, I was rummaging through a display of one of the now-defunct Borders bookstores. And while seeking out that $1 diamond in the rough, I found Jayne Williams’ Slow Fat Triathlete.
The title hooked me. “Raw, self-deprecating honesty? That’s me! “
At the time, I was only a year or so into bike commuting, but it was enough time to notice that a substantial amount of fat had disappeared from my body and I had grown some very powerful leg muscles. I felt “healthy” for the first time in years. I was still 230 lbs., but for a 6’1” male with new, hulkishly muscular legs, that’s not so bad.
I handed the book to my partner almost as a joke. You see, my partner used to be the type of person who, on a whim, would decide that she will have six-pack abs in one month. She would make extreme changes to her after life and then, a week later, give in to physical fatigue and for love of the couch. She used to be this “all-or-nothing” person when it came to her own fitness and she would always burn out before she met any of her goals.
She bought the book.
The more she read, the more she began to understand that physical change in a busy life is possible with small, incremental changes. She told me about what she had read I began to think about my own physical change that had been happening without any explicit intention of my own.
My physical change came as a result of committing to bike commuting. At the time, I had a 4-ish mile round-trip commute down steep hills in the morning and a work out climbing back up those hills in the afternoon. That 20-minute commute was the only change for quite a while. No diet change whatsoever!
Then I started going on Tuesday night rides. No, not for fitness- but for food. My weekly 20 miles of commuting had 10-25 miles added to it by virtue of attending the Taco Tuesday Social Ride on the UCI campus. Over the following months, I continued to eat as I had, but the change in physical activity meant I had more energy through the work day and more energy when I got home. I slept better, I lost fat, and I put on muscle. I felt happier in my skin. I was happier and healthier.
As someone in the place to influence others and convince them to try out bike commuting, I often tell them this story and they invariably ask, “So when are you going to change your diet and fully slim down?” I always respond, “Meh…”
Unlike proper “athletes”, I like having random weekends dominated by beer, wine, cheese, and pastries. I like going out to eat and not having to count how many ounces of sour cream I’ve had this month.
Don’t let all my biking confuse you. I’m a fatlete, not an athlete.
I think it would be cool to be ripped, but I just don’t have the willpower to work out for the sake of my looks. Moreover, I like beer. I like wine. I like cheese and pastries. And that’s OK!
Every Day Since
Today, having integrated biking as my main form of transportation, I’m healthier and so much more fit than I thought I would be a couple years ago. In such a short time of casual riding, I’ve been able to turn my health from “mediocre” to “Today I rode 30 miles round-trip to pick something up in Lake Forest.”
My commute is now 8 miles round-trip, but only minimal inclines. I no longer attend those Tuesday night rides due to other time commitments, but I still bike commute and, more notably, I bike pretty much everywhere else I need to go. For longer trips that require a trip on the Metrolink or Amtrak, I ride to the station and bring my bike with me.
Since realizing that biking to a healthier self and being a foodie aren’t diametrically opposed, I’ve begun seeing others who scoff at the “get thin” compulsion. I’m a big fan of FLAB (Fat Lads At the Back) in the UK and the Clydesdale/Athena discussion group at Bikeforums.net. Check them out if you think you and I may be in the same proverbial boat.
Healthier, happier, and slightly less heavy,
Ramon Zavala serves on the board of directors for the Orange County Bicycle Coalition and is a certified cycling instructor with League of American Bicyclists. He also leads the Sustainable Transportation program at UC Irvine while also serving as the campus’ Senior Bicycle Coordinator. If you liked what you read here, Ramon would like to hear from you. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.