Friday, January 31, 2014

San Diego’s Second CicloSDias Rides into Coastal Communities on March 30

CicloSDias returns to San Diego to bring people out of their cars and into the streets

Back by popular demand, the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition proudly announces its second-ever CicloSDias in the streets of Pacific Beach on Sunday, March 30. The open streets celebration gives communities a break from the stress of car traffic, promotes local business and establishes San Diego as a commuter-friendly city that embraces all forms of transportation. The Bike Coalition, an organization advocating for and protecting the rights of all people who ride bicycles, remains the event’s main sponsor and local organizer. 

On Sunday, March 30, CicloSDias invites all family members (including four-legged ones) to spend the day riding, walking, strolling and skipping though one of San Diego’s most popular destinations, Pacific Beach. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. a few miles of north Pacific Beach will become streets free of automobiles and newly transformed into a space for the community to play.

“This is a chance for all people to explore and enjoy this neighborhood as they never could before,” said Andy Hanshaw of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition. “CicloSDias represents a shift in the way we think about our streets and the possibilities outside of automobiles, especially in crowded areas abundant with local businesses like Pacific Beach.”

At the first-ever CicloSDias on August 11, 2013, over 10,000 San Diegans turned out to ride, scoot and skate in 5.2 miles of car-free streets through Golden Hill, North Park and South Park. Everything from four-person tandem bicycles to roller derby teams rolled along as street performances came to life on the sidewalks and local businesses overflowed with a surge of people shopping local.  

As the date approaches, more specific information will be available. In the meantime, roll with CicloSDias at For daily updates, follow on Facebook and Twitter. Also visit for more information on other local cycling events in San Diego

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Rising from Ashes, Award-Winning Documentary Film About Team Rwanda, Coming to San Diego on February 6

Rising From Ashes, the award-winning feature-length documentary about Team Rwanda, will premiere in San Diego on Thursday, February 6 at 7 p.m. when the cycling film screens at the Museum of Photographic Arts in the El Prado. The event is presented by the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition.

Rising From Ashes is a joyous and uplifting independent film about the development of a national cycling team in Rwanda, a country still affected deeply by the genocide that tore the East African nation apart in 1994.

Two worlds collide when cycling legend Jacques “Jock” Boyer moves to Rwanda in 2006 to help a group of struggling survivors of the genocide to pursue their dream of creating a national cycling team. Members of the fledgling team were children left orphaned by the genocide a decade earlier. Their pasts are painful. As they set out against impossible odds, both Boyer – fighting his own past demons – and the team find new purpose as they rise from the ashes of their pasts through remarkable achievements, both big and small.

The documentary tells a story of redemption, hope and second chances. It is not about the bike; however, the bicycle becomes a tool that has helped change a nation.

Team Rwanda began as a cycling organization, but became so much more once organizers realized the greater needs of the athletes. Many of the riders could not read or write, lived in homes without water and electricity, were malnourished and had never received healthcare. But there was still a greater issue, the issue of the heart. These riders were all recovering from the traumatic psychological effects of the 1994 genocide, which claimed the lives of more than half a million Rwandans, or roughly one-fifth of the nation’s population. Most of the riders were left orphaned by the massacres that claimed their parents’ lives.

While Team Rwanda has taken care of the physical and mental issues of the riders, it has also provided something greater – hope for a nation. Rwanda is a country still recovering from one of the world’s most devastating genocides and the country has longed for heroes. The riders of Team Rwanda have become more than just a cycling team; they have become ambassadors for a country rising from its ashes. They have given the small nation a vision of something greater than itself and renewed a sense of purpose.

But Rising From Ashes is more than a movie. It’s a story that relates to each and every person. It’s a gateway of hope. However, this is just the beginning. Since 2005, Team Rwanda has developed a model for caring for passionate athletes and it has gone on to expand that vision. In 2012, Team Rwanda began its next phase, the development of Africa’s first all-black, all-African team to attempt the greatest cycling event in the world, the Tour de France, after having qualified its first rider for the Olympic Games in London.

Daphne Howland of The Village Voice called Rising From Ashes “a remarkable documentary. It’s not just about a cycling team; it’s a testament to what happens when human beings care for one another.” “The film is crisp and economical,” said Frank Schneck of The Hollywood Reporter. “The film … avoids extraneous melodramatics, which, after all, are hardly necessary in a tale that already contains such inherently powerful drama.”
The film is also about redemption for Boyer, who was the first American rider to ever compete in the Tour de France back in 1983. One of America’s most fabled riders, Boyer grew up in Northern California battling long-time rival Tom Ritchey for national supremacy. Boyer left the U.S. as a 17-year-old to compete in the Tour de France, but upon his return to the United States after a prolific racing career in Europe, he lost it all. In this period of darkness, in which Boyer was incarcerated for an improper relationship with a minor, he reconnected with Ritchey, who had toured Rwanda – known as the “land of a thousand hills” – on a cycling trip in 2005.

Ritchey approached Boyer with an unlikely proposition – an offer to become coach of Rwanda’s first national cycling team. The success of the team came down to Boyer’s decision to move to Rwanda and invest himself completely in the project, gaining the trust of the riders he coached.

Over six years in the making, Rising From Ashes was produced by two partnering non-profit organizations, Gratis 7 Media Group and Project Rwanda. Narrated by Oscar winner Forest Whitaker, the film has been completely donor-funded and was produced through more than $800,000 in donated funds. Since its release in 2012, the film has won awards at more than a dozen film festivals worldwide.

Advance tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at Tickets at the door will be $15. The Museum of Photographic Arts, or MOPA, is located at 1649 El Prado in San Diego.

The mission of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition is to advocate for and protect the rights of all bicyclists in San Diego County. It promotes cycling as a mainstream, safe and enjoyable form of transportation and recreation. For more information, go to

For more information about the film, or to view the trailer, go to, or on Facebook at Rising From Ashes The Movie.
Media contact: Garry Harrington  603-209-5010

Monthly Bike Book Review- Bikenomics: How Bicycling Can Save the Economy by Elly Blue

Reviewed by Robert Leone

Long-time observers of local politics and bond measures, whether in San Diego or elsewhere, are familiar with a particular style of opinion article: A vast set of economic arguments. If you examine the details, you'll see a quantification and monetization of such vague imponderables as "civic pride" resulting in C-level executive relocations and similar much-leveraged benefits to the community. Long-time bike advocate Elly Blue's *Bikenomics*is a similar polemic at book length, focused not on a particular project but on the general cause of cycling infrastructure. 

The twelve chapters, bracketed by an introduction and "The Future," lead by addressing arguments against bike infrastructure ("The Free Rider Myth" and "Whose Streets?"), hold an examination of the nature of current paving policy ("The Asphalt Bubble" and "Parking"), and address the indirect impacts of lots of people riding bikes ("Superhighway to Health" and "Redefining Safety"). Jobs also get a mention in "Bikes on Main Street" and "Putting Bikes to Work." There is some humor as well, when Blue describes some people worried about their on street parking complaining they're getting run over by "Big Bicycle."

If there were a monolithic big bicycle movement, Blue's books and writing would not be in their prime place in advocacy: Instead we'd read something with far less verve and fewer miscues such as the process blue printer's ink used throughout this book! The intended audience is bike advocates. I can easily imagine *Bikenomics*condensed, rephrased, and adjusted for a specific project or measure, mirrored in shorter, more widely read newspaper and blog opinion pieces over the next decade. Don't miss the endnotes: Not only do they provide the sources for Blue's mustered facts and figures, but they're filled with insightful comments.