L.A. Beach Bike Path, Part Two

By Jeffrey the Barak. Part one took us from Torrance to Manhattan Beach on the L.A. Beach Bike Path. This article is part two so if you are starting here, you may want to navigate to part one first. Google Maps has an overlay view of the L.A. Beach Bike Path at this link: Part Two:…

L.A. Beach Bike Path, Part One

By Jeffrey the Barak. You have seen it on TV and in countless movies. The twenty-six mile bike path along the coast in Santa Monica Bay is a place that many a scooter rider is longing to try out. The bike path is quiet in some places and crowded in others, and some of it…

My road to the KickPed

By Jeffrey the Barak. Most kick scooter riders and potential kick scooter buyers are thousands of miles from being able to stroll into a certain New York City bike shop called NYCeWheels, but thanks to the Internet anyone is able to choose to buy the scooter that I have personally chosen as my current favorite…

Why choose a kick scooter?

By Jeffrey the Barak. Ah, the humble kick scooter. Often maligned as inefficient, or silly looking, but to those of us who know, it is the ideal vehicle for short-distance, low to medium speed transportation. True, if you need to go ten miles, then a bicycle of any type will get you there with less…

The alleys turn to dust

By Jeffrey the Barak. When a city or a state runs out of money, it takes longer for potholes to be fixed in the roadway. It takes even longer for sidewalks to be repaired, despite their upheaval due to short-sighted tree planting decades ago. But far behind on the priorities, are the service alleys. Behind…

What is in that dust?

By Jeffrey the Barak. As usual, I spent a few minutes today playing with my trusty vacuum cleaner and also a Swiffer duster. And as usual, the vacuum and the duster each had plenty of dust to pick up. Sometimes I cannot see dust without putting on my eyeglasses, but that’s another problem altogether. So…

KickPed versus Xootr, a scooter review

By Jeffrey the Barak. The KickPed is a custom Know-Ped, manufactured in the same factory in California, Patmont Motor Werks, but made to a lean and mean customized set of specifications, exclusively for one retail store, NYCeWheels in New York City. In some ways it is less of a scooter than the Know-Ped but the…

Lahaina Noon in Hawai’i

By Jeffrey the Barak. The State of Hawai’i is the only place in the United States in which you can lose your shadow, outside, in the middle of the day. when there are no clouds. In Hawai’i this is known as Lahaina Noon and it happens twice a year, but on different dates, depending where…

2010 Columbus Day Rant

By Jeffrey the Barak. I hope that our post office and banking employees have a very nice day off today, for Columbus Day, but let’s not forget, he did not discover America, He did not come to America,  and he was by today’s standards an all round horrible guy. We can thank him for murdering…

The Nice Manifesto

By Jeffrey the Barak. In the story, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, adults are persuaded to accept a false reality, which is eventually shattered by one little boy, who voices  a true observation that instantly makes the adults realize they were following a false path. I too have my little boy, the eternally young Lamb Borghini,…

The Saddleback Briefcase Odyssey

By Jeffrey the Barak. I am a man-bag flipper. I like my personal luggage, be it a briefcase, messenger, pouch or satchel. I was never one for going around with no stuff, or stuffing my pockets, so a bag just makes sense for me. I always regret leaving the house without one, and I’ve carried…

The Presbyopic Pirate

By Jeffrey the Barak. Novels and movies have glamorized the image of the pirate. We can imagine ourselves dressed in puffy shirts, with swords at our side, swinging on ropes between various high points of ship’s rigging, sailing to exotic lands full of treasure and beautiful women. Of course deep down we know that pirates…

A 70’s dinosaur falls into eDrums.

By Jeffrey the Barak. Before I ever had electronic drums, I spent a couple of decades carrying around large, heavy drum sets and cymbals, which could only ever be played in rented rehearsal rooms, because they naturally made very loud sounds that would never be appropriate in a normal domestic setting. As loud as real…

End of the Uh-Oh’s

I wonder if we will call this coming year twenty-ten or the more cumbersome two thousand and ten. I think we should have called 2001 twenty-o-one, just like they did in nineteen-o-one and eighteen-o-one. Personally I will from this day make that change, and no longer refer to twenty-o-four, as two-thousand and four. And what…

How Art Almost Killed An Entire People

By Jeffrey the Barak. At times, we wander the galleries and see pieces of art that look as if they could hurt someone, or kill someone, but in a way this has actually happened. I refer to a place commonly known as Easter Island. This is it’s modern name, given to the place by Christian…

Louis the Scooterer’s last ride

By Jeffrey the Barak. Louis the Scooterer 1935-2009 Since 2004, Louis the Scooterer, Louis Scop, has contributed to the-vu, and his readers number in the thousands. Sadly, I have just learned from his daughter that Lou passed away on July 26th 2009, and was buried in the Netanya cemetery, Israel, on 31st July. Lou’s last…

Los Angeles, what are we standing on?

By Jeffrey the Barak. Geologists would say that the Los Angeles Basin is like a huge bowl of sand The geologic center for the Los Angeles Basin is the place where the Los Angeles River and the river known as Rio Hondo merge in South Gate. At this central point, sand, silt, clay and other…

The hazards of imagining countries

By Jeffrey the Barak. Nomadic tribes move independently of each other and occasionally come together to interact through trade, war, sport, cultural exchange, intermarriage, murder etc. In the dense jungles of South America and Africa and Asia, the boundaries formed by geographical features such as ridges and valleys are all it takes to keep two…

FootBikeUSA

By Jeffrey the Barak Racing scooters are still an extremely rare sight in the United States, and most lifelong cycling enthusiasts who see a Footbike or Kickbike on the road are seeing one for the first time. But in Europe, it is not too unusual to see dozens of scooters competing in a road race….

Before you celebrate new year….

Just a reminder that even though we all love our hours, minutes, seconds, months, weeks and centuries, none of them are real. One year is real, but it does not necessarily start on January 1st. It’s just one whole orbit around the sun. One day is real, but it does not necessarily start at midnight….

The Green Shave

By Jeffrey the Barak How would you like to spread Napalm on your face while releasing questionable propellants into the ozone layer, and then put a stack of eternal plastic into a landfill? Doesn’t sound like something you’d want to do does it? And yet if you use aerosol shaving gel, it contains the very…

The least continental place

By Jeffrey the Barak Nake Islet, part of Millenium Island, formerly known as Caroline Island, now in the Republic of Kiribati, is the closest point of land I could find after moving the Google Earth globe around to a spot that showed the least land. The only significant continental land visible at the edges of this hemisphere…

Station Wagon is a dirty term.

By Jeffrey the Barak Once upon a time, car drivers who occasionally hauled around a lot of stuff and/or large objects from place to place, bought station wagons. In Europe these were called estate cars, and still are, but in the United States, they were called station wagons, presumably because they transferred goods to and…

The Ford Crown Victoria is a lousy taxi

By Jeffrey the Barak Having just returned from the airport by cab, I have been moved to rant about how ridiculous it is for Los Angeles taxi cabs to pick the American dinosaur Ford Crown Vic as a cab. It’s a large sedan, with a big engine, and many cab operators buy them as used…

The Urban Tango Phenomenon Explained

An interview with Makela Brizuela, by Jeffrey the Barak. In 2006, a very different dance performance was first presented in Venice California. Entitled “URBAN TANGO, The Agony and Ecstasy of Amateur Tango – In Search of the Elusive Embrace”, it was different in many ways and attracted the attention of many in the dance community….

Shaving – The Old Fashioned Way

By Jeffrey the Barak New things are better than old things and new gadgets are better than old gadgets, right? Wrong! Sometimes the impetus for tools and gadgets to evolve is not to make them better, it’s to change the marketplace to receive more expensive goods. There is no better example of this than the…

Exion Scooters

Exion Scooters – Cees Bakker’s amazing home-built speedsters By Jeffrey the Barak Just one look at the carbon fiber creations above tells you, now those are some fast looking scooters! And fast they are. Designed for the racing circuit which exists in Europe, but not in the USA, these home built human-powered scooters make everything…

We Don’t Need No Steenkin’ Gravity

By Jeffrey the Barak Far from the million dollar science grants and laboratories of Pasadena, and Los Alamos, in a village in Romania, and in the kitchen of a most unattractive apartment building, Gnelj stumbled across the secret of gravity control. Impossible you say? Isn’t the attraction of mass as inevitable as a slowing satellite…

A Comparison of Giants

A Comparison of Giants – The Modern SUV versus the American Seventies Car By Jeffrey the Barak In the early 1980’s Americans bought little Toyotas, Hondas, BMW’s etc. in such numbers that many of the manufacturers begin building them right here in America. The buyers of these cars developed a severe distaste for the enormous…

Human Powered Scooters

Human Powered Scooters – The Undiscovered Transportation Solution By Jeffrey the Barak Energy Efficient or Exhausting? Apart from the in-line scooter craze of 1999, the use of scooters in our society has been almost totally non-existent. Many would-be scooter riders have observed that it can be much less tiring to ride a bike for mile…

Pushing the Amateurs

Pushing the Amateurs – How one woman is trying to create a chapter of USABDA By Jeffrey the Barak USABDA – The United States Amateur Ballroom Dancers Association. You might expect a big dancing town like Los Angeles to have a large chapter of USABDA, but in early 2003, there is only a mostly defunct…

Riding the Range

Riding the Range – Stress, Success and Failure at the School for Street Motorcyclists By Jeffrey the Barak It may be a cliché to call this a mid-life identity crisis, but at the ripe old age of 45 I suddenly find myself with an overwhelming desire to put an amusement park between my legs. What…

Italians invade U.S. – Scooters are back!

By Jeffrey the Barak In September 2000, in the United Kingdom, there was a nationwide fuel shortage. The roads fell silent as cars and trucks sat around with their engines in hibernation. However, the British public were already used to gasoline which cost as much as wine, so thousands of them were able to continue…

Scoot Electric

The electric scooter could one day become as common a sight as the bicycle, if only there were better batteries. By Jeffrey the Barak in Los Angeles. Originally published in the-vu in July 2000 Revised December 2000 and again in August 2003 2000 Phat Flyer by Currie Technologies Bad gas We live in a world…

Is there such a word as Muralist?

Is there such a word as Muralist? We talk to a man who does things to walls. An interview with Michael Gullberg by Jeffrey the Barak The wall featuring “…and Then The Goddess Began Conjuring Herself Up Out Of The Palm Of My Hand.” by Michael Gullberg. What is the full title of the piece…

The Wonders of Southern California’s Historic Ridge Route.

It’s still there! The Wonders of Southern California’s Historic Ridge Route. By Jeffrey the Barak Horseshoe bend It began with an intriguing map tumbling out of the Los Angeles Times in October 1997. Like a map to hidden pirate treasure, it showed the way to an adventure that would become one of my most memorable…