Monday, July 26, 2010

Sacramento bicyclist killed in hit and run

This in the mailbox today from the Sacramento Police Department:

On July 24, 2010, at 9:15 p.m., officers responded to the area of Florin Road and 29th Street regarding traffic accident with serious injuries.

Officers arrived and determined, based on witness statements, that a man in his 30's was riding a bicycle westbound on Florin Road when he was stuck by a vehicle. Immediately after the accident a vehicle was seen leaving the area. That vehicle was described by witnesses as being an older black SUV (possibly a Chevy Blazer or Ford Explorer). The victim was left lying in the roadway suffering from injuries. Moments later a second vehicle ran over the victim. The driver of the second vehicle stopped and indicated he did not see the victim lying in the roadway. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigators hope that the driver of the black SUV will come forward with the information needed to determine the circumstances that led to this accident.

The Sacramento Police Department urges anyone with information pertaining to this incident to contact Detective Schrum at (916) 808-6032. You can also call Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP or text in a tip to 274637 (CRIMES) or call the traffic detectives directly at (916) 808-6030. Enter SACTIP followed by the tip information. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000


Any tip here coud be helpful.  I know from experience that Crime Alert is effective and they're serious about protecting anonymity of callers. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Out for justice!

A pair of high-profile bicycle vs. car accidents are in the news this week in California.

In the first, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is back on the job following a collision that required surgery to repair a broken elbow.  The mayor was upbeat in public appearances Monday and used the opportunity to issue a plea that cyclists wear helmets -- he himself was during last week's accident in which he says he hit the pavement head first.

Interestingly, the mayor rejected any talk of pursuing legal action against the cab driver who abruptly pulled in front of him as Villaraigosa rode in the bicycle lane.  Whether you see this as a sign of a forgiving nature or as an indicator there's more to this crash story than the official version indicates depends on which side of California politics you call home.

The second rider in the news this week is in no mood for forgiveness... at least not until the driver who hit him comes forward to accept responsibility.

Bill Tinsley, 75, was riding along a moderately busy boulevard near Sacramento in late June when he was struck by a white sedan that kept going.  This week, he's standing alongside that same road, holding signs asking for help in identifying the driver.  The accident wrecked his bicycle and, Tinsley says, "took a few years off" his life.

I'm guessing this rider, having seen Tinsley appeal on television and learned that he and the CHP have little in the way of evidence, will come forward at precisely the same time O.J. produces that missing track suit and knife.

Here's a link to Tinsley's story, and here's one to Villaraigosa's.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Before and after

I was flipping through some recent photos when it occurred to me I'd taken the same shot on two different occasions riding home from Davis.  The first was an April photograph I took to chronicle my first "mini-tour," riding the 40 miles to Davis and back.  The second was a June photograph I snapped to show off the recently overhauled Mercier mixte, Blaise, on the same ride.

Without thinking of it, I had photographed two different bikes at two different times of year in almost exactly the same spot. 

So, for the thousands of you who have been clamoring to know more about our climate here in the Central Valley of California, I offer this kinda cool before and after display.

Here's April:

Note the lush grasses and yellow blossoms in the field.  The orange sign on the left is apparently at the level of the vegetation.  It looks like a perfect field to run through, arms outstretched, to meet your beloved -- provided you were both characters in a bad movie.

Now, here's June:

What the hell happened here?  The orange sign is magically on four-foot stilts.  The green and yellow pasture is no longer the setting for a lover's reunion, but the scorched badlands where Clint Eastwood finally guns down his nemesis.

The clouds even offer a clue.  We don't get those puffy cumulus jobs much after the spring.  Instead, you see the wispy summer version.

Now, to make the cowboy movie setting complete...

Growing up in the Great Lakes region, the only tumbleweeds I saw were on screen with John Wayne or Clint Eastwood.  And they were awesome. As far as scene-setting devices go, it's hard to beat the tumbleweed blowing through the deserted town square.  It told you most of you needed to know about what was happening. Tough town.  Only dangerous guys make it here. Big fight coming.

I remember desperately wanting two things as a kid:  saloon style half-doors in our kitchen (so I could push through them menacingly and pace over to the counter/bar, push back my hat and order a whiskey/Kool-Aid); and a real life tumbleweed to appear in our verdant yard.  Neither happened.

When I moved west, I stopped and gawked at the first 100 or so tumbleweeds I saw, still feeling lucky each time one blew across my path.

But this recent Davis-to-Sacramento bike ride was a bonanza I never expected.  Along the trail, gathered in a spot where the wind apparently deposited and ignored them, were hundreds of the things. 

As usual, my photography fails to capture the enormity of it all.  They went on for a hundred yards or more on both sides of the trail.  Any one of them would have been enough, had it appeared in my yard in 1973, to make my year.  Now, here were a thousand or so... and me without my cap gun, holster or hat.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

More Davis bike fun

The three of us made a trip to Davis recently to pick up my overhauled Mercier and to enjoy that city's remarkable bicycling amenities.  My favorite was the greenbelt, which seems to meander through much of central Davis.  It's like a miles-long park with a bike trail running through it.

There are playgrounds, tennis courts, open fields, shaded benches and beautiful gardens.  And, as you can see, it has bicycle-related sculpture sprinkled throughout as well. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

An unmentionable post

Sooner or later, every lazy blogger resorts to titilation to incite interest among readers, and I'm no different.

Against the horrified pleas of my daughter, I present a view of a recent gift I received... bicycle-themed boxers:

What? You didn't think I'd post a pic of me wearing them, did you?  I wouldn't do that to you, dear readers.  In fact, my modesty is so great that I used a close shot to avoid showing them in their voluminous entirety.  Such is my respect for your gentle natures.

I really like that the bike depicted is basically a little Opa -- full chain case and all.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

Wishing you all a happy Fourth of July!  I always loved this holiday for the cookouts and fireworks, but love it even more now for what it represents.

Our neighborhood hosts a small, folksy parade for the kids, families and pets.  It's basically a lap around the perimeter streets on bikes, scooters, wagons and skateboards followed by hot dogs and watermelon in the park.  We rode our Schwinns for the occasion; Jan on her red Breeze and me on my blue Racer.  It seemed only fitting to choose American-made bikes in patriotic colors for the occasion.

Tomorrow it's back to muted green and brown Raleighs.  But today, it was loud, bright and independent!  You rock, America!