Getting Buzzed on Nichols Canyon: Why CiclaValley Carries a Camera

It seems like I’m becoming a broken record.

I’m not on the Facebook so much, but when I am half of my comments tend to be, “Please, get a camera” followed by a link to my cycling camera guide.

I say this enough that you’d think I’d have a camera sponsor by now. When that happens, I’ll let you know.

Case in point, last Friday, I was riding up Nichols Canyon with a handful of friends around 10am. If you’re not familiar with Nichols, it’s the start of the famous Sunday La Grange ride and is the closest thing to having a rural road feel in the middle of an urban environment.

I was riding in a pack of three about halfway up with the others scattered behind. We were keeping a good pace having the road all to ourselves when I heard some type of vehicle quickly approaching.

Being in the back of this pack, I yelled out “Car Back” to warn the other riders, although we were approaching a hairpin turn.

Of course, this happened to be the one ride all month I didn’t have my rear camera on, but the other cyclists can corroborate the story.

When he came right up behind me, the driver honked as if to want us to move over.

As you can see in the video, we were taking the center of the lane which is totally permissible since there isn’t enough space for a cyclist and a car to occupy the center of the lane.

I take the lane in this portion of the road all the time and then move over once there’s room when it straightens out.

In other words, if the driver wanted to pass, he’d have to momentarily cross the double yellow lines to move ahead.

We’re pretty cool in letting cars go by, but we were approaching a hairpin turn. Even if we were all the way to the right, the driver passing us would have put anyone coming in the opposite direction in jeopardy and with little time to react.

So, instead of waiting ten seconds until a clearer spot to pass, the driver tried passing us at the most dangerous spot. What do you think happened?

Sure enough, there was a driver coming the other way and you should have seen the look on his face. Fortunately, the driver behind me hadn’t pulled alongside me yet, otherwise he would have taken me out as he swerved back.



If this driver didn’t already have enough of a death sentence, he still passed my other friends around this hairpin with little visibility.

You could see in the video that if someone approached in the other direction, there would have been a head on collision, the truck driver would have taken my friends out or both.

In my anger, I yelled something that probably didn’t make any sense, but like Clarence Darrow would have made a difference in this circumstance.

Going out of town, I haven’t had enough time to make out the license on the video yet, but I do think this is a Metropolitan Water District of Southern California truck.

Seeing how there’s a ton of work going on around those hills, I imagine it wouldn’t be to hard to find that driver around there again.

Right now, I’m still buzzing from this near miss, but having video does bring me a sense of calmness. Knowing that this is more than just his word against mine gives some clarity.

Please get yourself a camera. Don’t make me sound like a broken record…