Plenty of room for all in the Arroyo Seco

As a regular Arroyo Seco recreator who would never be able to ride a bicycle fast enough to keep up with the whooshing racing-bike peloton — and there’s your spelling, folks; I’ve seen it a half-dozen ways — I don’t have a dog in this fight. But I like the fact of world-class athletes finding Pasadena the best place to be in Southern California. And with the Tour de California coming here, and the commitment to being a bike-friendly city, I’m for not sending the wrong message, which is what an anti-peloton law would do. I’ve lived on the edge of the Arroyo most of the last 37 years, am down on its floor every day on foot, on a bike, in a car, am often around the riders, and simply don’t have a problem with them. There’s plenty of room for them and for the rest of us. If anything doesn’t belong there, it’s the cars. I’ll gladly take an alternate route. And now it looks as if there aren’t very many Rose Bowl-area peloton collisions after all

30 thoughts on “Plenty of room for all in the Arroyo Seco

  1. A lot of collisions go unreported Larry. Plus, there would be more collisions except the peloton bullies scare people away. It’s no surprise that you are using this as an excuse to introduce the idea of restricting car traffic in your own neighborhood. Also, did your wife write the open space editorial you published in the Pasadena Star-News today?

  2. The fact that the peloton is successfully bullying everyone out of its way is the reason they should be allowed to continue? You truly are stuck on stupid.

    Hey Larry, if a street gang takes over a neighborhood and drives its rivals out and fighting goes down is that a good thing?

  3. My wife and I ride our mountain bikes at the Bowl 2-3 times a week. The peloton riders speed past us so fast at times that it’s disruptive. Often one of the riders will make a snide comment about moving to the right. We ride for enjoyment and excerise. The Bowl is one block from our house. The streets around the Rose Bowl are not race tracks. They are not road race training courses. The peloton are the problem.

  4. Now there is a new peloton starting on Wednesdays. Soon, it will be every day. Thanks a lot, Larry, for making excuses for these folks who make the Bowl unsafe for the rest of us.

  5. I know how to get everyone’s attention away from peloton:

    Have me come down there and walk around the Rose Bowl smoking a cigarette.

    I was doing that earlier this week and you should have seen the pissed off look on people’s faces.

  6. Larry, I drove down to the Bowl on a Tuesday and was trying to turn off Seco into one of the entraces to the stadium. I was stuck waiting for the pedestrians who were where they were supposed to be, but I was also exactly where I was supposed to be. Along came the peloton from behind me, covering two lanes of traffic. They swept around me. I was cursed at and my car was kicked and dented. I did not report it as what would be the use. I have two friends who suffered the same treatment on other days. I do not go to the Rose Bowl on Tuesdays or Thursdays any more. You really think there is not a problem. THERE IS A PROBLEM.

  7. It would be great if you could link to the city’s bicycle master plan. It has no mention of competitive racing, or pelotons or training. Being a bicycle friendly city does not have any more to do with the peloton than being a kid friendly city would have to do with procreating in the parkways.


  9. I just found this blog. I’ve been hoping that a local blog would spring up.

    Miss Havisham said “Horace Dobbins I love you”! Cool. We need the Cycleway now more than ever and it’s 107 years behind schedule.

    Re peloton: The typical complaints about the bowl ride – the peloton goes too fast and endangers everybody, they go too slow and block traffic. Which? Did you know that the Chief admitted that they go the posted speed limit? Horrors.

    Most of the complaints I hear are full of hyperbole and contradiction and don’t make much sense (heat but little light). Nobody goes down there to crash. Most of the yelling you hear is the riders calling out dangers to each other.

  10. I have never heard anyone complain that the peloton travels too slow. That is nonsense. Now there is a peloton Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Soon it will be every day and that will be it for the rest of us. (ps my car was kicked and I was sworn at by the peloton, and my car was where it was supposed to be. The group is a hazard.)

  11. You never heard that the peloton is blocking traffic? Then why is the new ordinance designed to encourage cars to pass?

  12. You set up straw men to make your opposition look stupid. You would do better to engage on the issues and to help solve the very real problems that exist. The status quo is temporary and a fix is needed. Racing and training for racing is a hazardous activity and cannot just continue to grow and grow as it has been. The reason this sport has not organized is that none of you folks wants the liability, so it is foisted on the taxpayers and the other users of the area. When some bad accident does happen, you will all skeedaddle and leave the rest of us holding the bill. Not fair…

  13. Where is the strawman, Anonymous? Have you read the ordinance? Why would they want the pack to ride single file and hug the right side if it wasn’t to encourage cars to pass?

    “…problems which arise when cyclists indiscriminately block traffic”… – from RBOC’s recommendation for the ordinance.

  14. I hope the cyclist loop de loop every day from sun up to sundown. I don’t understand the liability issue. Everyone should carry their own liability insurance. Cars are required to, and they are usually at fault.

    Oh, is that the problem? I said cars were at fault for something.

    I regularly jog around the Rose Bowl and often have problems with large groups of pedestrians, dogs, baby carriages, etc. going the opposite direction of what is clearly marked for pedestrian traffic. One time I gave up going against the tide and turned around to go in the wrong direction with them. I had to run on the outermost line in the street. Just as I passed the driveway into Brookside Country Club, a man in a large dark red Crown Victoria turned in running his tire right over my toe and a cyclist next to me took a fall to avoid slammed into the car’s rear end. We both fell in a heap. The guy in the car stopped and started screaming at us (from inside his car) that we were in the way. We were in the way!

    Screw the drunk golfer elite, and NRA fanatics that never learned to take their pot shots at the range not in the street.

  15. The ordinance limits the riders to two across because with only two riders across there is no peloton. The straw man is the notion that anyone has complained that the peloton is too slow. If the peloton folks want to shape the discussion that way with time wasting arguments, fine. Do not participate in a constructive discussion. It is consistent with the way in which a lot of the riders in the peloton are viewed and is no surprise! We will see how long it takes the council to get tired of it.

  16. Insurance. Let us talk of a fictional Mrs. Have I. Sham (any similarity to any existing person is coincidental). Mrs. Sham works part time at Starbucks and has a health insurance policy with a high deductible through Mr. Sham’s job as a Denny’s manager. Mrs. Sham takes her kids on a walk around the Rose Bowl on a Thursday, walking in the correct direction. A new kid in the peloton loses control and five riders wipe out taking along Mrs. Sham and one of her kids. Mrs. Sham and her kid are in the hospital for two weeks and because her wrist was fractured, she can no longer make mochaccinos and loses her part time job. The kid needs specialized rehab work to recover from his injury. The Sham family auto insurance and rental insurance do not cover the health insurance deductible, the specialized rehab or the lost wages from the Starbucks gig. Neither does her health insurance. What do the Shams do? According to you, it is her problem. But, if the peloton was organized and required to insure, then Mrs. Sham would have a chance to cover her losses if she was not at fault and a rider was.

  17. Do you really believe expert cyclists could wipe out a whole family financially?

    The issue you raise of inadequate health care coverage for families and individuals is au courant, politically.

    The struggle of the Sham’s is a struggle of families all over this country. It’s a sham of a sham of a shame of a sham if a peloton formation of bikeriders has been at the root of this national problem all along.

    We can’t force people to join a gang so it’s easier for us to paint them all with the broad brush of distain. Although, I do understand, it makes things much tidier in the mind, on the report, and in the title section of the legal docs. They are not a gang just because we say they are, and that is what you are proposing. That we impose an organization on a certain group of individuals we don’t know.
    I can’t swallow that part, it’s too swollen with entrapment and hairy with scapegoatism.

    I do love the story you tell. Veddy entertaining.

  18. Whoa, how quickly hypothetical scenarios careen out of control.

    Would “Anonymous” like to provide examples of a bicyclist wiping out families, then perhaps compare statistics with the same scenario but with cars?

  19. If the City of Pasadena wanted to regulate the Rose Bowl bikeriders, that’s one thing–but that is not the way they worded the ordinance. I was also put off in a different way when I listened to Chief Melekian present his evidence before the city council. It was flimsy and one sided. Here is a man, of government authority presenting evidence that any 8th Grader could poke a hole through if given the opportunity.

    He’s too smart for that.

    It became obvious to me what he was trying to do with this bogus presentation when he appealed to peloton riders in the crowd to identify their leaders and organizations to cooperate with police. It smacked of rounding up the usual suspects for interrogation without benefit of attorney present. Cops do that a lot. They make up some reason they need a citizen’s help with something, all the while they believe that citizen is guilty of something (because every civilian is guilty- they just haven’t been caught yet). And no criminal or civil verdict has ever been successfully overturned because a cop lied to the “person of interest” to get information. They are legally allowed to do that, and regularly do.

    Peloton is not an organization, it is a style of riding. The characterization of peloton style bikeriders as being a gang of law flouting hoodlums may have had some untoward consequence, recently.

    Don’t you think it’s an odd coincidence, given the current climate of provocative gangstyle activity, that a bicycle rider among a group of three was recently picked off, shot, on a N.W. Pasadena street in a fashion resembling how gang organizations provoke wars with other perceived territory rivals?

    Like the recent imflammatory racist flyer, there are different sections of this amature symphony, moving together in a seemingly haphazard yet socially relevant orchestration. Personally, I marvel at how expertly distracting it all is.

    Our kids will start school soon, and they are the little sponges that soak all this stuff up. I am curious what questions they have of us? I wonder if we can give them straight answers.

  20. “…problems which arise when cyclists indiscriminately block traffic”… – from RBOC’s recommendation for the ordinance. (not my words, their’s)

    Anonymouse, why else would the ordinance require lining up along the right (hugging the pedestrians) if it wasn’t for cars to pass? For safety? Please explain.

    Do you really want to engage in “constructive discussion” or just slime the bike riders? Never mind.

  21. This has nothing to do with bicycle riders. It has to do with the peloton, a hazardous activity. There is no need to repeat what has been explained a couple of times.

  22. The solution might be to require them to obtain a permit to close the streets and such, like any other organized activity in the Arroyo. That would allow them to conduct the event in a manner which would be safer for everyone involved.

  23. Tom,
    It has been attempted before. It is prohibitivley expensive and extremely complicated. It might work for a once a year event but for a weekly training ride? No way.

  24. Dennis,

    The expenses would be to have the barricades set and some people monitor them. Spreading that expense out over 50 or more riders would bring it to a reasonable level. Of course someone would have to take responsibility for organizing it which may be a greater hurdle than the expense. Considering what riders at this level spend for their equipment the cost of properly running the event and sharing the cost would be minor.

  25. Tom wrote: “…barracades set…some people to monitor them…spreading the expense.” Well that sounds simple, but oops Pasadena PD will not let anyone direct traffic except PPD at $65/hr, 3 hr minimum. (granted, last time I looked was over 10 years ago so it’s probably more now) OK so two cops at each intersection call it ten, times 65 times three…$1,950 spread out over fifty riders…29 bucks per ride except we still havent got a city permit ($?).

    But we’re just getting started, now it gets even more expensive and complicated…the only insurance you can get comes through the national sanctioning body USA Cycling, (oh yeah, and a racing licence is required..$90 or $10 for one day) USAC charges $50 plus $2 per rider. So we’re already up to 34 bucks a rider, with a one-day licence 44 bucks per rider, and you still haven’t hired USAC approved refs and judges which run from $165 to $60 each. (head spinning yet?)

    More complications…USAC demands that racers be divided up into five catagories based on experience, so now we have five races to accomodate, how do we keep them from mixing? Run them seperately and now you have to close the road for 5 hours not just one. Worse…without completely sealing off the Bowl Loop how do we keep those who didn’t pay from interloping? (the last time the Bowl Ride tried to get organized I watched fist-fights break out on the middle of the pack over who paid and who didn’t) Plus I doubt the USAC would allow the pedestrians/roller-bladers etc. to share the road on race day.

    Of course this is all to improve safety and avoid those 14 “incidents” in seven years…which turned out to be three in seven years.

  26. Well, I guess if you want to look at the glass as being half empty that is how you would see it. From what you describe it appears that this group just wants to hold private events on public streets and not jump through the hoops that any other organization does, whether they are a charity or for profit group. The fist fights don’t seem to fit in with just a bunch of bicycle riders having a good time. If you call the PD and talk with them you might just find that you can provide volunteers to staff the barricades and not pay a fortune for a bunch of cops.

    I am not sure what is so special about the bike riders that they don’t have to follow the process that everyone else does.

    ps – If you dad was the Mayor he was a great guy and my hero.

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