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It’s Just Like Riding A Bicycle…

I have to admit, when City Council Transportation Committee Chair Bill Rosendahl's office first approached us about the Councilman taking a bike safety class, my first thought was "this will be hilarious."  Despite being a strong supporter of cyclists rights at the City Council, Rosendahl would often declare that he hadn't ridden a bike in over 30 years.  I pictured wobbling, and a lot of it.

Well guess what?  His muscle memory is pretty strong.  The sixty-six year old Councilman hopped on my spare bike (yes, that's my beach cruiser with the squeaky frog) and after about 30 seconds completely found his balance.  After an hour and a half of safe cycling instruction from Don Ward and Meghan Kavanagh, we took a ride from a Westside Church to the Councilman's house on a mix of local roads, Barrington Avenue and Venice Boulevard.
As you can see, the Councilman even got to experience getting buzzed and shouted at by an irate van driver.  Welcome to the streets!  However, Rosendahl had a great time, shouting out to constituents as he pedaled through the Westside that "I'm learning to ride a bike!"  As we rounded the last corner on our route, I even heard two of my neighbors talking on the porch and one of them saying, "I didn't know he could ride a bike..."
The good vibes from the Councilman's ride must be spreading.  One week later, fellow Transportation Committee member Councilman Paul Koretz went on a ride for the first time in fifteen years during Carmageddon.
For the record, the cameo by Los Angeles' Mayor Villaraigosa, who was injured in a bike crash nearly one year ago, wasn't planned by either his office or us.  The Mayor was visiting a mutual friend who's staying with the Councilman.


Damien Newton:  [00:04] Back in December when we were handing out our annual streetsie awards online we announced that Councilman Bill Rosendahl was our Politician of the Year for his work to create a safer Los Angeles for cyclists especially and we wanted to award him for that.  But one thing he always says, he always caveats when he’s talking about bicycling he scared himself to get out on the streets.  He hasn’t ridden a bicycle in three decades he always says.  So we said before we actually give you the award, we want you to take a bike class.  Here we are today, Don Ward with the League of American Cyclists, Meghan Kavanagh, also a League certified instructor, they’re both here to help Bill Rosendahl, Chair of the Los Angeles City Council, learn to ride a bike. 



Bill Rosendahl:  [00:45] Yeah, I’m Bill Rosendahl, I’m a City Council Member.  I represent the West Side, the Eleventh District of the City of Los Angeles.  I’m also the Chair of the Transportation Committee of the LA City Council.  It’s been one of my passions to put together a bike plan that we could move forward on.  I also feel that I should get on a bicycle too, but I’m nervous.  I’m a 66 year old guy, I haven’t ridden a bike in a long time, so I’m here today to take a class on riding a bicycle and get myself confident in myself and learn some tips on how to be on the road and how to deal with a car when it comes by, and how I keep myself safe and keep myself happy and enjoy riding a bike, which is what I want to do today. 



Bill Rosendahl:  [01:38] I’m a little worried about obviously getting on that. 



Bill Rosendahl:  [02:02] Having fun. 



Bill Rosendahl:  [02:14] It was great.  It was exhilarating, exciting.  I even got muscles working in my legs that haven’t worked in years.  I got to see some beautiful plants and trees.  My [unintelligible] constituents I could wave to.  A lot of fun.  A lot of fun. 



Bill Rosendahl:  [02:36] I have not been on a bicycle for 30 years.  I’m very nervous [unintelligible] car right, and when I get my balance, I’m a baby ewey, I’m kind of big and awkward so I sat and took a class, learned the dos and the don’ts of the road, you know, and then after that, got on the bike and rode here.  Well thank you very much.  Streetblogs elected official. 


Damien Newton:  [02:58] Of the year 2010.  Thank you. 


Bill Rosendahl:  [03:04] Oh, happy moment. 

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  • Sblackfeinstein

    Bill:   Love the way you look with your helmet on.

  • El Barto

    So awesome. Feels like the tide is turning..... :)

  • Stew

    The honking asshole in the white van says everything.

  • Glen Werline

    You're looking quite fit on that bike Keep going Bill!

  • Anonymous

    Bill Rosendahl looks great.

  • Aunt Ilene

    Way to go Meghan.  We Midwesterners enjoy biking, too, even though we don't get as much good weather as you Californians.

  • user1

    Welcome to the mean streets of LA Bill.  You looked great on the bike and I hope to see you soon on the roads.  Be safe and have a blast!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1545870888 Bob Rasner

    You're the MAN Bill. Thanks for putting your muscles to work. Keep riding!