Newport Beach needs people who count to count bicycles


Press Release from: Brad Sommers, PE, Senior Civil Engineer, Public Works Department, City of Newport Beach. Email provided by Vince Buck, North Orange County Bicycle Advocacy Coalition (NOCBAC)

Wed, Sep 11, 2013–As part of the City of Newport Beach’s Bicycle Master Plan, the City is conducting bicycle counts to track bicycle usage in Newport Beach. We are currently looking for volunteers to assist with the count effort.

WHEN:  Counts will be conducted on Thursday Oct. 17 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday Oct. 19 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

TRAINING: Volunteers must attend a mandatory training on the counting procedure the week before.  The training will be held Thursday, October 10 at 6:30pm in the Community Room at the Newport Beach Civic Center. At the training, volunteers will be assigned count locations throughout the city and given count forms and instructions.

HOW TO SIGN UP: If you are available to volunteer, please contact me by email at or by phone at (949) 644-3326 by Tuesday October 8.  Please indicate whether you can count one or both dates/times.

Thank you for helping to improve cycling within Newport Beach, writes Brad Sommers, who can be contacted at: BSommers@newportbeachca.gov949.644.3326.


Austin’s Scare for the Cure offers PG-13 frights

Scare for the Cure

Scare for the Cure

Press Release provided by Stephen Mercer, Austin Scare for a Cure

Austin always offers something seasonal for the visiting veggie biker to experience. For Halloween, it is the Scare for a Cure interactive haunted house.

The Veggie Biker has followed this from a distance for several years, listening to tales of saving old buildings for their ghost town and creating scary scenarios. He even accompanied two of the Scare for the Cure volunteers to research Neil Patrick Harris’ haunted mansion in Hollywood last year. They think Scare for a Cure can do it better.

Here’s the official word:

SCARE for a CURE presents Fairy Tale Nightmare???, “Murder at Ghost Town??? and “The Boneyard???

What’s new this year?  This year not only will SCARE for a CURE have our hour long haunted adventure “Fairy Tale Nightmare???, but we’ve added two new events!  “Murder at Ghost Town???, a murder mystery and the “The Boneyard??? fit only for the bravest of souls. 


What happens when there are not more happy endings?  It’s all gone horribly, horribly wrong in Fairyland.  You may be the last hope.  Or you may become twisted like all the rest.  Forget what you think you know about Fairy Tales.  Ours are far more grimm than you can imagine! 

murder-sm The year is 1883, and the small town of J. Lorraine, Texas is burning.  Or at least many of the folks who live there are.  Someone committed an unspeakable act of cruelty and murder.  The culprit was never caught and the dead cannot rest until someone solves the crime.  Help the residents of GHOST TOWN find final peace – SOLVE the mystery of the Murder at Ghost Tow

boneyard-smStep in the mouth of madness with The Boneyard, an all-new high SCARE attraction that will have you running for your lives.  Try to find your way out of a twisted pit of the most terrifying monstrosities imaginable! Navigate the cursed junkyard with your worst nightmares nipping at your heels. 

Run entirely by volunteers, SCARE for a CURE has become one of the most popular attractions in Austin, Texas during the Halloween season. But don’t be fooled by the name, while SCARE is definitely passionate about the creation of its unique haunt experiences, the emphasis is really on the word CARE. Each year well over three hundred volunteers come together with a passion to share their talent and make a difference in their community. Last year SCARE donated $20,000 to the Breast Cancer Resource Centers of Texas, and a percentage of our 2013 proceeds from the interactive haunted adventure will again benefit the BCRC.
Contact:Norma Crippen, Co-Founder/Marketing Director, SCARE for CURE,

Bicycle Washington, D.C., for $7 a day


Distances are short in Wash., D.C. There is no reason any trip should take more than a half hour, meaning you will never actually pay more than $7 for 24-hours of touring the capital city.

Distances are short in Wash., D.C. There is no reason any trip should take more than a half hour, meaning you will never actually pay more than $7 for 24-hours of touring the capital city.

Original reporting by Robert R. Mercer,, Copyright 2013

You can bicycle all over Washington, D.C. for 24 hours for just $7.

Really, if you plan your visit correctly, you can do this.

The Veggie Biker used to walk all over D.C. in “Tijuana Slicks” in a younger life before the subway was built. It was a very walkable town.

The Bikeshare rentals are in excellent mechanical shape and the three-speed shift can easily gear down to climb Capitol Hill.

The Bikeshare rentals are in excellent mechanical shape and the three-speed shift can easily gear down to climb Capitol Hill.

But it is an even better bicycle town using Capital Bikeshare. Pair your Bikeshare rental with the Metro, and you can be anywhere quickly and effortlessly. D.C. is basically flat, except for Capitol Hill, and, really, is congress really worth the exertion right now?

Reagan National Airport is still the best place to fly into. Just jump on the Metrorail and you’re anywhere in the district in half an hour. You can pay per trail or bus trip, or get a pass for the length of your visit. The pass includes riding the Metrobuses. However, thanks to the bikes, the Veggie Biker only needed the Metro to get from and back to the airport.

Capital Bikeshare places its racks at every subway station and next to most tourist attractions.  Eighty total racks. This is where the $7-a-day strategy comes in. And Bikeshare wants you to go cheap, too. First half hour is free. Second half hour a buck and a half. Third half hour three bucks.

Bikeshare racks are found at every Metrorail station, including this one at Dupont Circle. And the Metrobus adds even more ways of getting around the district.

Bikeshare racks are found at every Metrorail station, including this one at Dupont Circle. And the Metrobus adds even more ways of getting around the district.

First, you have to join Capital Bikeshare for the day for $7. You can do this at a bike kiosk or using your smartphone. The Veggie guy put a credit card into the kiosk, validated the card using his zip code, and then chose to have a printed access code spit out. You can go paperless if you can remember five digits for five minutes. After five minutes, the code expires.

If you take longer than five minutes, you have to reinsert your credit card and get a new code, the Veggie Biker learned. They have great telephone customer service.

The Bikeshare kiosk only asks you insert a credit card, validate your card, print out a number, and grab a bike.

The Bikeshare kiosk only asks you insert a credit card, validate your card, print out a number, and grab a bike.

Bikeshare emphasizes sharing your bike. If you are not riding it, someone else should be using it. The first half hour of any ride is free. So, do what the hard-core commuters do. Get off the train, grab a bike. Ride to your destination in less than half an hour. Then park it in the bike rack. That stops the clock.

For example, after visiting Mr. Lincoln and paying respect to the  names on the Vietnam Wall, go back to the bike rack and get a new bike. Ride to the White House, etc.

It is possible there will be no bikes in a rack–not likely, but possible. You can insure you have a bike waiting by using your smartphone to reserve a bike at a particular location.


You can use the smartphone Spotcycle app to see where bikes are currently parked. Well, my Washington-commuter friend could. BUT the app for my  SAMSUNG GALAXY S®4 didn’t really work until I was at the Reagan departure gate. The app also gives you the same information for over 40 cities around the world, including Long Beach, CA., and Denver, CO.

The Bikeshare key is for commuters who buy monthly memberships. Just wave it and ride away.

The Bikeshare key is for commuters who buy monthly memberships. Just wave it and ride away.

Of course, if you live or work in the district, you will get a monthly pass with the neat little “key” that you wave over the kiosk panel and you are outta there. The Veggie guy’s friend bicycled from 14th Street to 7th Street for lunch. When lunch was over, he walked to the nearest kiosk, waved his key, and rode back to work. He does not exceed his monthly membership because he keeps rides under 30 minutes.

There is also a three-day pass for tourists and a daily key for those who ride infrequently.

Complaints: One Bikeshare seat needed adjusting, something the rider can’t do. Solution. Got a new bike. No charge.

Bring your own helmet. They can be bought for $17, but you have to find the shops. You might throw in a really good U-lock just in case you must stop where there is no rack. Bike thieves work hard in the district, it is said.

And D.C. traffic signs continue to be confusing. There are separate lights for people, bikes and cars in some places. One-way streets!. Actual traffic regulations are hard to find. Can you ride on the sidewalks? Can you ride in Lafayette Park? Native bikers I asked, replied, “No one ever gets a ticket.”

But Capital Bikeshare is definitely the ticket-to-ride you want to get.

Local district bicycling laws are hard to determine, but these icons on the bike handle bars certainly help the neophyte jump on and avoid to much trouble in the crowded, but polite streets of D.C.

Local district bicycling laws are hard to determine, but these icons on the bike handle bars certainly help the neophyte jump on and avoid to much trouble in the crowded, but polite streets of D.C.


News Alert: You’re invited to tour and help restore the Fullerton Fox Theater Saturday, June 22

Fox Theater Sign









You have a chance to make your community a more interesting place 9 a.m. Saturday, June22, by joining volunteers working to restore Orange County’s original Vaudeville theater, writes Volunteer Coordinator Pat Shepard.

The Veggie Biker enjoys strapping a broom to his bike and throwing a tool belt into his pannier and pedaling over to make a few more improvements in Fullerton’s central landmark at Commonwealth and Harbor.

Shepard’s invitation reads:

“Because it’s been a while, there’s going to be another work party on Saturday, June 22nd, beginning at 9:00 a.m.  This time we’ll primarily work on cleaning up the auditorium, the lobby, and the courtyard.  We’ll also be doing some cleanup around the outside of the buildings, including taking care of some weeds that have sprouted up.  Of course, there always seems to be other stuff that comes up, as well.

Remember, no open-toed shoes, and if you have some work gloves bring them.

I hope to see you on the 22nd.  Please let me know if you can make it.

Thanks for your help.

Pat Shepard
FHTF Volunteer Coordinator

Places We Like: Anaheim Brewery adds Bicycle Parking, Delivery



The Anaheim Brewery is embracing bicycling officially.

Of course, you could always ride up to the brewery, lock your bike to the rail that surrounds the outside dining area, and buy a brew. But now, they have real bicycle racks and bicycle delivery, according to Kevin Kidney, vice president of the Anaheim Historical Society. The society is a big mover in making Old Anaheim and the Colony area “cool.”

The Veggie Biker is tempted to call into the brewery and ask for bicycle delivery to Fullerton; but maybe that’s asking too much for a waiter on a beach cruiser. But it’s another place to which you can pedal–even from Fullerton–and enjoy a relaxing moment.


The brewery site reads:

“Welcome to the Anaheim Brewery! We’re a 140-year old company that just opened. That’s right! The first Anaheim Brewery opened in 1870 in downtown Anaheim. We took a 90 year break after National Prohibition closed the taps in 1920.

“Today, the home of the Anaheim Brewery is the Packard Building, a 1920s structure within the city’s Historic District.

“Stop by our Tasting Room and enjoy a glass of “Famous Anaheim Beer!???
336 S. Anaheim Blvd
Anaheim, CA 92805

Tuesday 5 – 9 pm
Wednesday 5 – 9 pm
Thursday 5 – 9 pm
Friday 4 – 9 pm
Saturday 11 am – 9 pm
Sunday 11 am – 6 pm





Places We Like: Night Owl Cafe good for coffee, food, bicycle parking


Friday morning the Veggie Biker stayed home.

Instead of commuting to campus, where the classes are over and the grades posted, he pedaled downtown Fullerton to the Night Owl cafe at Amerige Avenue and Harbor Boulevard.

For $5.95 and a tip, one gets a mug of coffee and a bacon and cheese croissant. And bicycle parking. Better, for those who blew a Month’s wages on their ride, the patio permits you to sip and nibble while guarding your carbon-framed investment.

The cafe has been serving students and anyone else for 18 months, according to the owner’s wife. It opens at “ninish.” The staff was just putting up the huge umbrellas as the Veggie Biker was locking up his rig at 9:15 a.m.

The place closes at 3 a.m., but don’t expect immediate seating after 10 p.m. Close by are Fullerton College, Hope University, and California State University–Fullerton. That’s about 60,000 students. And the city of 125,000 attracts enough locals and out-of-towners to keep 45 restaurants in business.

Morning or night, take a ride to the Night Owl.

BicycleTravel: Discovering Weird Austin

Austin may not have made the final cut behind Denver and Portland in REI’s Cycling Town Showdown, but the town remains a top destination for bicyclists looking for a long weekend escape.

The south shore of Lady Bird Lake, a portion of the Colorado River that is damed next to downtown, is lined with bicycle rental places. The Veggie Biker’s group chose Austin’s Bicycle Sport Shop to rent bikes. They have several models of pedal and electric bicycles. But they were out of electric bikes that first weekend in May because it was the Pecan Street Festival and all the electric bikes were rented. But it did seem everyone had a bike on Old Pecan Street, today famously known as 6th Street, the self-proclaimed center of live music in America.

Before you choose a weekend, you may wish to see which festival Austin is celebrating that week. The Veggie Biker’s never been there but what there were a lot of people gathered somewhere toasting something.

You can reserve a bike online at most bike shops. Bicycle Sport Shop charged $40 for the day; $52 for 24 hours. The paperwork was efficiently dispatched. Bikes were fitted to the riders. More importantly, the shop keeps the bikes in excellent repair. Everything is tight. The gears shift smoothly.

But that is not all the shop offers, the Veggie Biker learned.

The competition for the most bike-friendly city must have been close. Austin has a maze of bicycle trails along the river. There are bridges at regular intervals for those wanting to cross to the other shore of Lake Austin.

The lakes offers kayaks, paddle boards and even water bicycles. Just exploring around the lake gives one ideas for the next visit to the determinedly weirdest city in America.

Along with Austin drivers displaying a developing-respect for share-the-road, the city continues expanding its web of bike trails and lanes, plus its bike-friendly mass transit. The relatively new Capitol Metro currently has one route. It meant the Veggie Biker and company could ditch their car out in the “Silicon Valley” section of North Austin and ride to within two blocks of the Pecan Street Fest. At the end of the line on 4th Street, a quick change to the number 30 bus took us to the bike shop. A single-day pass covered train and bus.

The only real flaw in Austin’s mass transit development is the lack of a train from the airport to downtown. It is planned when the city gets money, rail workers tell you.

If the mass transit system does not always serve, the bike shop sure does. Coming back to the bicycles after choosing an Indian lunch from among the smorgasbord of ethnic food wagons, one of the tires on the three bikes was flat–like totally. A phone call to the bike shop and Steve Pierce was on the line saying, “Wait a minute. I’ll be right there.”

Yes, Austin has bicycle road service. In about 20 minutes, Steve was peeling off the tire and putting in a new tube. Minutes later, the bikes were rolling toward South Congress Avenue, directly south across the river from the Texas Capitol.

Exploring Old Austin, now “being gentrified by affluent couples with counter-culture leanings,” according to one citizen, made one realize, in Austin, you almost always ride in the shade of really large old trees.

The veggie biker and company returned the bikes to Bicycle Sport Shop. Mike Wachler offered the Veggie Biker the chance to ride a new Stromer pedal-assist elctric bike. That test ride is in an earlier post.

A walk back across Lady Bird Lake led to good bar-b-que and a train ride home.

The Austin Mini Makers Faire on Sunday, May 5 gave one a full sampler of people who help “Keep Austin Weird.” This exhibition is a collection of sustainable technologists, producers of solar collectors and rammed earth bricks; plus cutting edge technogeeks with 3-D printers and robots–and massive geegaw machinery that should work, but is not designed to make anything more than light and noise.

And everyone appeared to love bikes; and adapting bikes; and making bicycle clothing. The Lil’ Red BMX Solar tracker will keep your solar panel focused on the Sun because the inventor found the BMX bike frame served as a perfect, pre-fab pivot frame. A science teacher is building a steam-powered bicycle–well, at least it will look steam powered–with his students. And one of the “Fine Southern Gentlemen” carries his silk screen printer on a tricycle.

The highlight is the Bicycle Zoo of pedal-powered beasties that roam with glowing eyes and flapping wings. But that’s a separate post. Look for it!

Except for th drive back to the airport. Austin gives a visitor little reason to have a car–and several reasons not to. However, there are many sustainable ways to get around Austin, if not voted the most bike-friendly city, certainly it would be voted the weirdest biking town.