To the cyclists among us: Happy Bike Week.
Monday marks the start of Bike Week L.A., an annual slate of events that celebrates bicycle culture and encourages Angelenos to use their pedals more.
This week's activities, put on by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and other regional transit organizations, include:
– Monday: Fix Your Bike Day. More than a dozen locations across the county are offering workshops and help for people who want to tinker with an old bike or build a new one. For those who want to repair at other times, a number of volunteer-run repair cooperatives across the city — including Bikerowave in Mar Vista and Bici Libre in Westlake — provide tools and workshop space for a small fee.
— Tuesday: 10th annual "Blessing of the Bicycles." At 8 a.m. at Good Samaritan Hospital, which frequently treats injured cyclists, religious leaders will sprinkle holy water on bikes and encourage their owners to be safe. Last year, The Los Angeles Times' Nita Lelyveld attended the ceremony.
– Wednesday: Guided Ride Day. Take a guided tour with someone who knows the county's bike lanes. C.I.C.L.E in Pasadena will offer a Ladies' Night ride through that city. A number of rides of silence, including Bici Libre's, commemorates cyclists who have been injured and killed.
– Thursday: Bike to Work Day. Metro, the Los Angeles Transportation Department, Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus and other transit agencies will offer free rail and bus boardings to customers who have a bicycle or helmet.
– Friday-Sunday: Bike Local Weekend. Businesses across the Southland will offer discounts to customers who bike in. See a complete list.
The week of activities falls during National Bike Month, an awareness campaign sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists.
California ranks 19th in friendliness toward bicycles, a recent league study found. The bicycle advocacy organization created the rankings by studying legislation, policy and programs, infrastructure, funding, education and planning.
There are, however, some positive signs for bike enthusiasts. More than 1% of Californians commute by bicycle, and a Complete Streets policy encourages planners to design roads that are usable for everyone, from cars and buses to pedestrians and bicycles. California has dedicated funding for bicyclists and a share-the-road campaign.
In Los Angeles, Metro has a similar advertising campaign in full swing, called "Every Lane is a Bike Lane."