Why You Ride: Bicycle Edition — navigating the Cahuenga Pass

To celebrate Bike Week LA, we’re publishing a Why You Ride series with the winners of the 2012 Golden Pedal Awards, Metro’s annual competition for great stories about commuting via bicycle.

Given the scale of Los Angeles, bicycling to work can seem intimidating, but taking transit and using bicycle paths can make a cycling commute less stressful. Kate Mayerson wrote to tell us how her boyfriend, Jose Guzman, has replaced a “brutal” car commute through the Cahuenga Pass with a short trip on the Red Line and a sweet bicycle ride down the Chandler Bikeway.

Photo courtesy of Kate Mayerson.

Name: Jose Guzman
End: Burbank
Distance: 5.5 miles bicycling + 2 miles on the Metro Red Line
Time: 40 minutes

Kate describes how Jose went from driving to cycling:

“We live in Hollywood and Jose works in Burbank. The Cahuenga Pass separates Burbank and Hollywood, and limits the number of routes Jose can drive to work. Commuting in the mornings by car isn’t so bad, but the evenings are brutal. Last summer, Jose found his evening commute stretching to over an hour to travel eight miles home. Almost daily concerts at the Hollywood Bowl meant that traffic was awful. He was coming home late, tired, and frustrated.

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Cyclists Discover New L.A. Environs on Expo/Mid-City Ride

Have bike lanes, will travel: Expo/Mid-City Ride Group shot. Photos by Dave Sotero

This morning a group of 50+ cyclists from throughout L.A. participated in the “Expo/Mid-City Ride” as part of Bike Week L.A, a weeklong celebration of bicycling for work, school and other destinations throughout L.A. County.

The group ride followed fresh new bike lanes that parallel the recently opened Expo Line between Exposition Park and Culver City, and passed major destinations along the way, including University of Southern California, Jesse Brewer, Jr. Park, Rancho Cienega Sports Complex and Ballona Creek Bike Path.

The ride, organized by Metro and LADOT, was intended to help introduce new and seasoned bicyclists to the nearly six miles of new bicycle lanes now part of L.A.’s rapidly expanding bikeway network. Dan Dabek, executive director of C.I.C.L.E, served as ride leader. Members of the LAPD’s Bicycle Unit also joined the ride to provide ride support, although they did not cork intersections. The group obeyed traffic signals along the 10-mile round-trip ride.

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Blessing of Bikes 2012 draws cyclists from near and far

The annual Blessing of the Bicycles at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, now in its ninth year, is a popular event during Bike Week L.A. Group photo includes Good Samaritan Hospital CEO Andy Leeka, center, in bicycle shirt, and L.A. City Councilman Tom LaBonge, far left. Photos: Dave Sotero
The annual Blessing of the Bicycles at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, now in its ninth year, is a popular event during Bike Week L.A. Group photo includes Good Samaritan Hospital CEO Andy Leeka, center, in bicycle shirt, and L.A. City Councilman Tom LaBonge, far left. Photos: Dave Sotero
Car-free cyclist Nate Baird, an LADOT bike program planner, wears his blessings at Good Samaritan Hospital bike week event.

Car-free cyclist Nate Baird, an LADOT bike program planner, wears his blessings at Good Samaritan Hospital bike week event.

Avid cyclist Andy Leeka, CEO of Good Samaritan Hospital, rides to his job in downtown Los Angeles most days of the week. He was there on cue to welcome scores of cyclists this morning arriving en masse for an interfaith blessing, breakfast and a bike check.

The interfaith ceremony bestowed blessings from a Catholic priest, an Episcopalian priest, an Iman, a rabbi, and a Buddhist monk on groups of bicycle clubs and cyclists from nearby and as far way as Ventura and the Channel Islands.

Why You Ride: Bicycle Edition

To celebrate Bike Week LA, we’re publishing a Why You Ride series with the winners of the 2012 Golden Pedal Awards. The Golden Pedal Awards are Metro’s annual competition for great stories about commuting via bicycle. Our first winner is Jung Lee, a Metro intern who is seriously dedicated to biking to work.

Name: Jung Lee
Torrance, CA           
End: Union Station
18 miles, one way
45 minutes

Photo courtesy of Jung Lee.

Jung commutes from Torrance to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles on his bicycle – an 18-mile ride. Clocking in at 45 minutes, his commute is as fast as it would be if he were driving during rush hour!

Jung was nominated by his colleague Joe Simpson, who writes:

“Jung is what I aspire to be someday. He arrives to work dripping wet and promptly cleans up for a very productive day. Because I’m a chicken, I ride the Santa Clarita bike paths on weekends, but Jung rides through traffic, over the hillside, on the river bikeways, and anywhere to get in to work. Sometimes he even does a workout ride before riding in. He doesn’t own a car and bikes EVERYWHERE. Very inspiring.”

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Bike Week L.A. to spotlight new Expo Line with Expo/Mid-City Ride May 16

Expo/Mid-City Bike Ride Flyer

As Bike Week L.A. continues this week, there will be a rare occasion tomorrow morning, Wednesday, May 16 to experience the connection between the Expo Line, L.A.’s newest rail line and L.A.’s newest bike lanes.

The Expo/Mid-City Ride, sponsored by Metro and LADOT, and led by C.I.C.L.E. Executive Director Dan Dabek, will provide a golden opportunity to discover the rail line’s route with fellow bicyclists as it travels through L.A., Crenshaw, Baldwin Hills and Culver City. Adjacent on-street lanes accompany the line starting from Expo/Vermont Station all the way to La Cienega/Jefferson Station, near the entrance to the Ballona Creek Bike Path that then travels to Marina Del Rey.

Cyclists should meet beginning at 8 a.m. at the Expo Park/USC Station, with the ride departing at 8:30 a.m. The the ride will last approximately 45 minutes.  Cyclists can return via bike lanes or take the Expo Line back to Exposition Park.

Here’s your chance to see Metro’s newest mult-modal transit corridor in a group ride!  Don’t miss it.



Bike Week L.A. Kicks Off at USC Galen Center

L.A. Councilmember Bill Rosendahl Promotes Bike Week L.A.

Bike Week LA May 14-18 officially kicked off this morning at the USC Galen Center.  Local civic leaders, including L.A. City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl and representatives from Metro, LADOT, , USC, LACBC, C.I.C.L.E. and others affirmed their support for two wheeled commuting, both today and every day.

“We think bikes and transit make a great team,” said Metro’s Deputy CEO Paul Taylor, while touting nearly six miles of new bike lanes along the new Expo line.  “LA’s evolving transit map now makes it possible for us to travel—with a bicycle, if we want– throughout many parts of Los Angeles County. Metro plus bikes equals freedom from cars.”

Make A Difference: Ride a Bike

Taylor also stressed Metro’s ongoing commitments to bicycles, which include lifting time restrictions for bicycles on Metro Rail,  removing seats for bicycles on the Red, Green and Gold lines, including bicycle racks and lockers at new Expo Line stations, and plans for future bicycle parking rooms at several transit stations, including El Monte and Hollywood & Vine. To date, Metro’s financial contribution towards bicycles tops $200 million.

Jaime De La Vega, general manager for LADOT announced that the implementation of the Los Angeles Bicycle Master Plan is happening ahead of schedule. “We are well on our way to showing Angelinos that biking and transit make living car-free feasible.”

Barbara Sheppard from the education organization Safe Moves spoke about the importance of involving young people in the bicycle conversation. Only 13% of children currently walk or bike to school in Southern California, a sea change much higher percentages in years past. “The children we educate today are the commuters of the future” she said.

Dan Dabek from the nonprofit group C.I.C.L.E discussed the simple joys of riding a bicycle, as well as the economic benefits it brings to local communities. “If we want a robust economy in Los Angeles, we should support cycling, as many studies have demonstrated that cyclists make great customers.”

The kickoff today marks the beginning of a weeklong calendar of events to encourage cycling throughout L.A. County:

  •  Tuesday, May 15th will bring the blessing of the bicycles at Good Samaritan Hospital beginning at 8 a.m.
  • On Wednesday morning, C.I.C.L.E will lead a guided tour of the new Expo Line bike lane, an approximately 40 minute ride. Meet-up at 8 a.m. at Expo Park/USC station, depart at 8:30.
  • Thursday, of course, is national Bike to Work Day, and Metro is co-sponsoring over 80 pit stops throughout the County to help you get fueled up for your journey. All the stops are geocoded for easy reference.  Click here for link. Metro will also be offering free rides for bicyclists on all buses and trains all day long, so make sure to show the operator your bicycle or helmet.
  • Friday a “Bike to School Day” media event and bicycle safety demonstration will be held by Safe Moves at 8 a.m. at New Designs Charter School-University Park in Los Angeles

    Bicycle community members attend kick-off event.





Airbag, Helmet – Cycling Fashion? Ja!

A bit late for CicLAvia, but never too late for fun. From one of my favorite blogs, and straight out of Sweden (of course) – Hövding: the hidden, inflatable airbag helmet.

Hövding inflatable helmet - closed

Hövding inflatable helmet - closed

Hövding inflatable helmet - open

Hövding inflatable helmet - open

Industrial designers, Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin began working on Hövding together as their joint master thesis:

The law that had just been introduced in Sweden making bicycle helmets compulsory for children up to the age of 15 had triggered a heated debate on whether it should be extended to include adult cyclists too. To people like us, who wouldn’t be seen dead in a polystyrene helmet, the thought that we might be forced to wear one by law was cause for concern. Producing a bicycle helmet that people would be happy to put on looked like a much better way to go than legislation forcing people to wear one or else. We realised that our industrial design master thesis was the perfect place to find out whether the traditional bicycle helmet could be improved on.

The helmet is currently sold in Sweden. What do you think? Could you see fashion-obsessed Los Angelenos sporting this ‘invisible helmet’?

Here’s video of the helmet in action in a testing environment:


Nearly Six Miles of Bike Lanes Add Connectivity to New Expo Line

Expo Bike Lane Heading Eastbound on Jefferson at La Cienega Station

When the first phase of the Expo Light Rail opens from Downtown Los Angeles to La Cienega Boulevard this Saturday, transit enthusiasts won’t be the only ones cheering. The line also includes nearly six miles of bike lanes that parallel the route, improving connectivity and transportation options for all cyclists throughout the region.

The bikeway cements the Expo Rail Line’s role as a multi-modal project which transforms an “inactive” rail right-of-way into a transportation corridor with access by bicycle, walking or bus.

“Most rail lines provide car-free transportation to hubs that are within walking-distance of each station, leaving inaccessible wider areas between stations or neighborhoods that force commuters to brave car-choked streets,” says William Ward of the Expo Construction Authority.

The Expo Bikeway, on the other hand, provides yet another option for reaching destinations along what will eventually be a continuous corridor to Santa Monica, either using a bicycle the whole way or in combination with the train.

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Riding safely on new Expo Line bike lanes

Bike Lane crossing over Expo tracks at Gramercy Place.

The first phase of the Expo Line officially opens Saturday, April 28, and the 5.9 miles of Expo bike lanes running parallel to the project are a welcome addition to the Los Angeles County bikeway network. Metro hopes the new rail line proves to be a success with riders of all types.

The Expo Line’s parallel bike lanes should also help foster multi-modal bike commuting and create easy east-west cycling connections. Ample bicycle parking at stations also will be available.

Several local bicycle blogs have raised concerns about safety along the route, particularly where the lane crosses the railroad tracks at Exposition and Gramercy, approximately one mile west of USC. We’re happy to report that the city of Los Angeles’ transportation department — known as LADOT — recently added new roadway markings and signage to improve this crossing, including a limit line and a bicycle symbol.

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