Give Me 3 California

"Give Me 3 is the California Bicycle Coalition's campaign to ensure that California drivers give bicyclists at least 3 feet of space when passing from behind."

"The debate over SB 910 seems to boil down to this very clear choice: we can continue to prioritize vehicle traffic flows over other forms of transportation, or we can enable more people to safely choose bicycling for transportation by making our roads incrementally safer. 

AAA and CHP (acting as AAA's surrogate) seem to advocate for the status quo: unimpeded traffic flows at the expense of bicyclists' lives, but without any evidence that SB 910 would actually bring about the problems they see. This has been AAA's political orientation for years. For its part, CHP is acting from a windshield view of the world instead of recognizing their duty to safeguard all road users, including bicyclists. If CHP were responding as safety officers instead of as advocates for drivers, they would be forced to acknowledge that passing-from-behind collisions kill more bicyclists than any other type of collision. Is this a condition they're willing to ignore?"

i urge readers and bicyclists in california to support this campaign by either by spreading the news, donating, or writing a letter to Gov. Brown. if we can get more bicycle companies, coalitions, or groups involved with this campaign, i'm sure we can get Brown to get behind this too. other states have done it, why not california in all it's supposed progressiveness? well, although AAA is just another form of a self interest automobile money giant, we have to remind ourselves that it's by our demands as a whole that we can make the streets feel safer for those wanting to commute by bicycle.

for more information visit Give Me 3. get involved, send a letter, and spread the word!

the bicycle as a tool of awareness

advocacy streams into all aspects of human rights. some of us fixate on just one aspect of justice and advocate for it but we are affected by it in many aspects of awareness. in light of what's happening around the globe as people gather to protest the economic inequalities of our nations and governments lack of responsibility (i say nation because we as people are responsible too), the people are beginning to become enlightened, and realize that something must be done, that we as a people must do something when the peoples government fails to help it. i always think of what the bicycle has meant to individuals, in history, and even so now in mobilizing new thoughts in environmental, social, political, and economic development and justice. failed social policies and systems design failure on a massive scale, thus we are faced with issues that call us to question the inequalities of the conditions which we live amongst one another and move through our cities. the way the bicycle plays into this awareness is also a solution to the issues that come into question.

some say the bicycle can save the world. do you agree?

yarn bombed bike racks

found at Lake Merrit

sometimes even amongst the fragmentation of bicycle infrastructure and road experience, there is always something a little exciting to see like YARN BOMBING or "knit graffiti" here in Oakland. i love the idea of Yarn bombing as reclaiming and personalizing sterile or cold public places, it gives a warm sense if community. i've seen yarn bombing all over the internet but have finally seen it at home and just find it so cute. i'm aware that there are guerrilla knitters in Oakland adorning the city with yarn bombing and i'm just happy to see it being spread throughout. who ever you guys are keep it up!

"Some might call it Enlightenment"

i tend to see the world in a different light, perhaps that is the effect of the bicycle. the quote at the bottom pretty much sums up the types of thoughts that run through my head when riding through the city. it's hearty and delicious to ponder...

"The most vital element for the future of our cities is that the bicycle is an instrument of experiential understanding.
On a bicycle, citizens experience their city with deep intimacy, often for the first time. For a regular motorist to take that two or three mile trip by bicycle instead is to decimate an enormous wall between them and their communities.
In their cars, the world is reduced to mere equation. “What is the fastest route from A to B?” one will ask as they start their engine. This invariably results in a cascade of freeway concrete flying by at incomprehensible speeds. Their environment, the neighborhoods that compose their communities, the beauty of architecture, the immense societal problems in distressed areas, the faces of neighbors… all of this becomes a conceptually abstract blur from the driver’s seat.
Yes, the bicycle is a marvelously efficient machine of transportation, but in the city it is so much more. The bicycle is new vision for the blind man. It is a thrilling tool of communication, an experiential device for the beauty and the ills of the urban context. One cannot turn a blind eye on a bicycle - they must acknowledge their community, all of it.
Here lies the secret weapon of the urban renaissance."

it doesn't stop here

since my recent experience of my rear wheel being stolen, i have made some small steps into adjusting into life without a bike (for the moment, it sucks). i have always realized the meaning of my bike, the way it weaves into my daily activity, thought, and the dependency i have on it as many means, not just mobility. i know i shouldn't put such a value on material things, i could care less about my cell phone, my laptop, or my wallet, but my bike is so important in my world, and i would have it no other way.

i sent BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) a letter concerning bike theft and lack of bike racks at their stations. i don't know if they will even respond to me or raise a finger to any concerns in what is mentioned in the letter but i have prepared my spirits to not stop at this one. a few weeks ago i had a friend who's rear wheel was stolen at the same station too and since my bike became another source of bike theft exploitation in this area, i'm realizing the problem is being ignored and perhaps undermined by victims and these institutions. well, speaking up is my thing. i come from a long line of outspoken strong women that confronts issues at it's face (thanks mom!) and i'd be damned if i stopped here. 

i hope those of you in the bay area will speak up more about bike theft too. it's definitely an issue worth exploring the means to finding a solution because it's really just out of control.

thank you all for your kind words and encouragement these last few days. it's a total bummer going through the motions because for me it's not something that i want to just replace and forget. i see too many bikes in this area being taken advantage of where i put myself in the persons place and think how much it sucks to return to your bike and have something of it ripped from you. i know many of you know this feeling too and how much it sucks. so thank you for your words and comfort. i just hope that in the end something good will come from all of this.

words on bike theft

my bike is the one thing that i look forward to from a long day of work and here i find my pride and joy pillaged. my work commute into San Francisco leads me to Lake Merrit Bart Station where i have to shill out my lunch money to get to and from work by train, where already, there is not enough bike racks to fit the many bike commuters that need to park here. instead they have many unnecessary bike closets that you have to pay an arm and leg for. so what other choice do we have than to lock our precious prizes on parking meters. these bikes are far from the bike racks, usually hidden by bushes and easy targets for all sorts of bike theft. bike theft doesn't always happen out of carelessness of locking your bike, you can have all the swag that makes it hard to steal but thieves don't care even if it's out in the open and nobody is saying a word just going about their merry little lives. for the majority of you who don't know me, when i'm heated i get results so here is my word, i'm declaring war on bike theft and writing like hell to Bart and my city officials to get some mother f-ing bike racks up in this station, seriously. get with it Bart. we keep talking about how bad bike theft in the Bay Area is, well let's do something! i know i have way too much on my plate already but my bike is my world and i value others' bikes just as much as mine. so if institutions want to ignore and let thieves get shady, then i want a war.
things are gonna get fun around here... 

Bike Talk: Thoughts on Bicycle Advocacy

Bike advocacy wasn't something that I always imagined myself blogging about. There a ton of other things I love just as equally as my bike like books, my dog, coffee, music, architecture, politics, art, theories on pop culture, or comedic conversations with myself on a daily basis (I think I am funny and mean well) but I chose to blog about my experience and personal views of life on a bike as a woman. The reason is because the experience of being on a bicycle gave a new thought on how I interact and view the world. I have always loved Mother Earth, it's part of my culture to take of her, but I also learned to love my sense of independence on a bicycle. Not just independence in being able to go anywhere as I please with this mobility but being independent from financial obligations to a car, insurance, transit system, and in some aspects the law (parking tickets etc.). 

To take it even further I also think it intellectually free's me in my experience on the road to how I view others. I share the road with and have to be aware of how I treat them while looking out for my own and their safety. The more independent I find myself from relying on certain things to make me more mobile and efficient on the road, or in life, I become aware. Seeing how I truly view and act to the development that we have been given environmentally, socially, and consciously. Do you ever think about how your environment and experience influences the way you think and behave? Have you ever thought about how your bicycle makes you view the world differently? Or how it has made you less dependent on other things? I'm sure it has but most importantly how has it changed you as a person?

I think this is one reason why I started writing about bicycles and advocacy. I know many people write blogs for various reasons but this is mine really. I'm always thinking "how do we make streets safer? How to we invite women, children, and minorities into the bike community?" Whenever I open up blogger I'm immediately brought to statistics of daily views and such which I honestly don't give a shit about. What I do care about is what people have to say and how these words I make you think. It isn't called advocacy to get compliments about how pretty my bike is or how cute I am but to create a community and bring awareness of the struggles that even female cyclists have. So here, you have my cheesy and dorky enthusiasm for bicycles here to stay.

sf fog

so it seems like the san fracisco fog has returned today. it's actually a great big welcome on my part considering how hot it has been for the last couple of weeks. i love the rolling fog and how it settles on our fair city, how it cools you down after pedaling up hills, and how it gives san francisco a distinctive smell of redwoods, it's refreshing. the fog is one of those things that makes you love and hate san francisco but for many of us, we actually love it. sunny days are welcomed of course but we would rather have moderate temperatures to wear our sweaters and scarfs. especially when biking, the fog cools you down when it is  much needed. i hope it sticks around for a while, it makes my commutes to school serene and takes my mind into a haze of contentment.

 is there any type of weather that you love riding in your cities?

demand bike and pedestrian funding

i hope many of you had the opportunity to listen to Obama's speech to Congress recently on creating jobs in America. there was a line that he used that caught my attention, "Everyone here knows that we have badly decaying roads and bridges all over this country. Our highways are clogged with traffic. Our skies are the most congested in the world."

what interested me in writing this post was to point out that although economic woes in this country have left our states in debt, it has also caused neglect to find recovery from decaying infrastructure. clearly this is no accident, just a reflection of the state of our economy. it costs money to get incentives on infrastructure of all types to pass but the truth is that our Senate does not want to spend it. places like Mexico, where students got fed up with their government lack of interest in creating bicycle lanes took the matter into their hands and paved themselves bike lanes. perhaps that's what we'll need to do in the future if it calls us to. my word to you all who want better road infrastructure and bike lanes is to demand Washington to support bike and pedestrian funding. as hard as it is fighting your way to sharing one lane with the driver next to you, fight and do the same with the Senate, keep taking the roads, keep writing letters to the state demanding laws that protect yours and others safety on the road. although we think that it's a long way towards creating a bike utopia, the road towards the actual creation of a bicycle utopia is in the way in which you decide to participate. this is the most important voice you have in this matter. keep biking.

happy friday

happy friday everyone! it's starting to get a little quiet on the blog here but don't fret because it's been a wonderful week full of bike rides, friends, school, and a load of homework. commuting everyday is my breath of fresh air amongts the chaos so there is something to be said of that, other than that my bike is my therapy. so, enjoy your rides, wherever you are.

have a great weekend!

be awesome

everyday i ride 7 miles to class during peak traffic hours. it takes me a good 40 mins to get there, so i take my time and obey the laws but when i do that, i get honked at. drivers think i'm in their way although i have a right to be in the lane just as much as they do. i'm not an entitled cyclist, trust me there is nothing in that word that can deem a cyclist entitled especially when you have streets and laws that serve the purpose of vehicles. telegraph street in Oakland is a bustling road with wide lanes to fit lots of cars and parking but no bike lanes until you enter Berkeley. i see lots of cyclist riding this street, especially students. i don't like my rides to be stressful at all, and i like to think that i'll get to my class safely, but when somebody comes at me all crazy because they can't wait for the light to turn green, i get little miss smart ass on a bicycle to reply "aw, you can't wait two seconds for the light to turn green? that's too bad." i'm not going to lie, i won't move for drivers if they are name calling, acting irrationally, honking, and getting too close when they are a threat to me and the environment, even if it is just for two seconds. to be a cyclist in a city, you have to always be on guard, never distracted, always looking for risk, always having a plan for the next two seconds before you. this is your brain working for survival.

so, the moral here is that like the message in the photo above, no matter how many hatters be honking at you because they can't wait for two second for the light to turn green,
ride responsibly and be awesome.

route and commute

hope you all had a great labor day weekend, at least for the american's. while everyone was celebrating with picnics, bicycle rides, and bbq's, i was celebrating the holiday by working cause i consider myself that lucky to have a job in an economy like ours. well, although i didn't get to have a chance to go out for bicycle rides and what not, i made the most of my commutes to work and did a route change, taking the quiet streets. Velouria of Lovely Bicycle did a recent post Side Street or Main Street, and it got me thinking about my commute. as much as i love and swear by google maps for my commutes, i had to make changes as i used to take the busy roads where there are bike lanes and shares but i always found these routes to be stressful to ride through. it's stressful because i'm overly cautious and ride slower where there is a lot of pedestrians, cars, and traffic lights to get through. i started finding the quiet streets because i was really tired of dealing with assholes on the streets, for realz. they come in all forms and i'm just over it. in finding a new route, i was looking for something with less stops, less cars, and more bike lanes. i was lucky to find the first two but not so much in the last. yet, i found a route that i finally found fitting to my comfort level. in taking the side streets, i feel like drivers are more aware and more willing to share the road as long as i communicate with them. it's a nice change from the bustling congested streets to quiet roads that leads me to my destination with much more ease and delight. 

now that 30 days of biking is on, routes are in check, Wendy's chains are greased up, i'm ready to make my daily 16 miles sweet, bring it.

30 days of biking challenge

i'm sure many of you have been beating yourselves up over and over trying to convince yourself that you'll eventually get on your bike and commute. well, here's an opportunity to do it and share it with many others around the world. there's a pledge that many new and old cyclists are partaking in commuting by bike for the month of September, rain or shine, anywhere we go, we ride! if you've ever been curious to know what it's like for many newbies and oldies to commute by bike and would like to hear some of their experiences, check out the 30 Days of Biking website to see what others are saying. if you feel like partaking in a great challenge with many others around the world, find out how you can be part of the challenge here

 i commute by bike everyday but the greatest challenge so far is commuting to school, a whole 6.5 miles between home and campus, a good 40-45 mins, twice or four times a day, is rather exhausting. including the commute to work, and all the adventures i have in between, calls for much adventure to be shared.
i'm excited to see many bloggers and twitter friends partake in this years challenge. can't wait to hear your stories and share the experience. if you are partaking in it, let me know and share your experiences with me as i blog about it here.
happy bicycle adventures!

the bicycle as symbol of freedom

photo: giffard riene
yesterday, my English professor brought up the subject of freedom of choice in modern society. he went on joking on the idea of the individual in society having the freedom to choose on buying a car but then questioned how much freedom do you then have when you make the choice to buy into something that gives constraints, through laws written by society that determines how you drive. although modern society loves the idea that the individual has "freedom of choice," society limits our individuality with given constraints that limits our freedom to choose as we are told what is right and what is wrong. as always, i like to challenge assumptions and connect my experiences with the bicycle. for me personally, historically, and perhaps universally, the bicycle is a symbol of freedom. when i was at the Velo Expo in Paris, i had noticed that many ads and posters used the bicycle as a symbol of liberty, this got me thinking of the bicycle throughout time and how it's meaning has played a role in our view of freedom. in how i personally have come to view the bicycle as a symbol of freedom is rather political; freedom from capitalistic development, a symbol of resistance against harming the environment and buying into the life that i'm taught that is meaningful. i know i live in a world that has been given to me, not by my own choice, but to me the bicycle is a form of freedom of choice where i can go off and discover the world without any restrictions and to me this is transformative to how i view the world and choose to live life.

i really hope i don't sound too academic up on here but this was something that provoked a lot of thought in how we individually and collectively view the bicycle, you feel my groove? it means something different to each of us right? so, what does the bicycle mean to you?
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