Our first day was spent cycling around Barra, we started at the southern most accsessible beach and then worked our way north and then south again back to Castlebay.
It is stunning, the beauty of the coast offsets the rugged interior terrain...... unfortunately the traffic was heavier than expected and very unwilling to share the roads with us. Most of the raod network is single track with passing spaces where they can be put in, we found most motorists will race for tyhe passing spaces, rather than let people through. I was suprissed to see no one using bikes.... it very quickly became apparent why, only very foolish people cycle around Barra. In the first three hours of cycling around, Steve had his mirror clipped and was mown down by a bus who to all intents and purposes was trying to kill him...!!
It wasn't pleasent, we had to cycle in the middle of the road to prevent people pushing past us..... even on city streets I have had more consideration. The galling thing was that each time we were forced to stop it took time for Steve to get remounted and ride on. I flagged down a passing Police car to have a chat about the road conditions, they were sympathetic but really just said thats how it is, they drive badly period... even adding that they wouldn't do what we were doing with there own families !!
20 months ago my step father Steve had a mountaineering accident, which left him paralysed and in need of major rehabilitation. Six months ago he learnt with my help to ride a bike, let alone walk or talk.
Helping him transfer his passion for barren harsh environments and technical climbing / mountaineering to cycling, through said harshness, has been both a privilege and an amazing story of fortitude and courage..... it does help him being belligerent as hell, but quite simply put all who meet him and hear the story and then see us cycle off are amazed..
This is the first part of, what little I managed to film of our trip, as we went around we got the photographic gear out and did our best to record the landscape as well. hopefully the subsequent films will give you a taste of the islands, our trip and our work.
Everything has been shot with my N95 phone both on and off the bike...8gb is enough for a trip apparently..
Friday, May 9th, 2008
At 5:30pm starting in Santa Monica, 28 bicyclists took surface streets to the 1-10 Fwy at Bundy
and rode 0.44 miles to the I-405 N on-ramp and rode another 1.56 miles to the Santa Monica
Blvd. exit. The ramp to the I-405 N was a steep grade and 0.65 miles in length. Riders spanned
a total of 2.0 freeway miles.
The group of riders also hung a 20'x6' banner on the 17th street overpass overlooking the
eastbound I-10 Freeway in Santa Monica that read RIDE A BIKE YOU'D BE HOME BY NOW.
The sign remained in place for over 48 hours.
While the ride's political stance and agenda was neutral, many participants invoked the group's
collective motto: "If you rode a bicycle, you'd be home by now!" -- a statement against oil
dependency, in support of sustainable living and a collective critique of the Los Angeles
transportation infrastructure. The riders are pointing out that in a city like Los Angeles
made for cars, bicycle riders are reaching their destinations faster.
Long Term Goals
Members of the CRIMANIMALZ are looking for city officials to make bicycle safety a priority,
not only through the creation of safe and easy places to ride, but also as a means of
transportation on the city' increasingly busy thoroughfares. With rising gas prices
and a government encouraging sustainable practices, more people are expected to turn
to bikes as an alternative means of transportation.