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.
Name: Jose Guzman
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.
“Jose had an old bike and decided he would try bicycling to work. He took the Red Line subway to North Hollywood. From there, he rode the Chandler Bikeway to within a few blocks of his office. It only took one day, and he was hooked. Although it was hard at first, he persevered. He learned new routes to and from the subway station, started bringing a change of clothes in his backpack, and used an iPhone app to track his time and mileage.
“Bicycling to and from work soon became a major part of his life. He bought a new, lighter and faster bike, new gear to make his commute easier, and met his fellow bicycle and Red Line commuters. He encouraged his coworkers to commute with him, and we started bicycling together for fun on the weekend.
“As an added benefit, Jose gets all his exercise on his bike and is in the best shape of his life. Before he began cycling, Jose would wake up extra early to go on a run. Now, he gets his exercise and commute done at the same time! He comes home earlier, relaxed and feeling good.
“I never thought it would be possible to have a sustainable, healthy, happy commute in Los Angeles, but Jose has showed me that it is. And for that, he should receive a Golden Pedal.”
Thanks for that great story, Kate and Jose, and for sharing with us how healthy, happy commutes are possible in Los Angeles! We’ve sent you two boxes of Clif bars to sweeten your morning commutes and weekend bike rides.