City Snubs Retailers Rack Request

Rick Risemberg of Bicycle Fixation & Orange 20 likes to grouse that Beverly Hills is the least welcoming of Westside cities to cyclists. Yeah, we’re inclined to agree. If you think you get the cold shoulder from the city, consider how it feels to get snubbed on a bike rack inquiry from a national sales tax-generating chain that wants to welcome cyclists. “They’re not warm and fuzzy,” said the regional manager. “Talking to this city is like a root canal.”

The call came about when the lack of a nearby rack was brought to the attention of the store management. Luckily, the regional rep was standing right there, and couldn’t have agreed more with the need. “I’ll give the city a call,” he manager said, and did. When we followed up this week, the rep was discouraged. Not only did City Hall not know anything about a rack, they gave the rep the bum’s rush. The next step is to take it up with corporate instead, the rep said, which then[ opens a host of liability issues for lawyers.

Is this how Beverly Hills wants to receive a retailer, when City Hall is all about the retailing? Wouldn’t it be simpler to just roll out a rack program already? (Santa Monica is putting a half-dozen out on every block. They’re wasting no time.) In Beverly Hills, you’re turned away at the door.

Rick seems optimistic about a pro-bike turn in Beverly Hills after a recent bike plan update committee meeting, but we’re still skeptical. If we can’t roll out a few racks, dammit…. And if the problem is a communications SNAFU? Then let’s put in place a rack-by-request program already to field the retailers’ calls. Because they’ll keep coming.

Sears Got No Bike Spirit!

Sears in Santa Monica

Not a rack to be found anywhere around Sears - though there's plenty of room for them

I dropped by Sears in Santa Monica the other day to fill an eyeglass prescription. Welcome to middle age, I know. Having held out this long with serviceable vision, I’m comfortably resigned to my toting around my new personal vision-enhancing apparatus. I figured that Sears would be accessible and affordable and probably have a decent selection of eyeglass frames. The spoiler: I didn’t get my glasses at Sears after all. Their price and selection was just fine. But shopping there was almost an alien experience. The onetime king of all dry goods retailing seems today so socially and physically disconnected from the surrounding community that it once served. Worse, I simply couldn’t find a place to hitch my bike. Continue reading

The Green Transportation Heirarcy

We don’t need to remind ourselves why we brave the means streets of the Los Angeles region. We love to ride! The ocean breeze, the smells, the unexpected hills, and of course the sheer satisfaction of human-powered transportation (what a novelty!). It keeps us in the saddle. In that we follow a long-blazed trail by our cycling antecedents who bravely took to nineteenth-century roads, pitted and pockmarked and made hazardous by horse-and-buggy – and droppings – to assert their rights to ride. When you consider that in a relatively short time, we’ve refined our capability to motor ourselves more miles per calorie than ever before, you have to agree that humans have been extraordinarily creative in adapting the venerable two-wheeled device to constantly-evolving modern times. Continue reading