Enjoying a Beautiful Sunday
Shall I let you in on a little secret?
Despite what you may think from reading my musings, I really don’t cycle all that much, and certainly not on a daily basis. I walk to work, so that takes out a big reason to ride, and the one regular drive I take weekly is too cumbersome to go by bicycle. I am probably best grouped into the class of “weekend warriors.” I take my bicycle to the streets of Los Angeles in off hours and do my best, like the rest of weekend warriors, to maintain a shred of whatever conditioning I may have had in my twenties.
This kind of riding must be far and away the dominant mode in Los Angeles. The L.A. Times pointed out last week that only 9,000 people in this city of millions regularly cycle to work. (The Times says an additional “50% of L.A. adults ride a bicycle ‘sometimes,'” whatever that means.) If I somehow have to square that number with the widely given “one-percent” mode share, which would mean at the very least 30,000 total riders, the remaining 21,000 cyclists must be pursuing goals other than commuting. I’d like to think those other riders are doing grocery runs, but I can say with some certainty that they’re not. I almost never see any other cyclists when I wheel my Bullitt to the market, even to the Trader Joe’s near UCLA, where you’d think there would be tons of cyclists. So what to think? I have to assume that the balance is made up of “recreationalists,” those riders who soak up the sun and warmth of Southern California with little other purpose. In other words, people who mostly ride bicycles just about like me.
Of course, the city council’s approval of the bike plan last week may help change that. Or maybe not. I recognize the vote as a “victory for cyclists,” but I have to be skeptical of its unanimous passage. If the plan actually did anything, there would have been a real fight, with vitriol and venom, the likes of which NY City is having right now. I’ll believe the effectiveness of the plan on the day we convert street parking or travel lanes to protected bicycle lanes, when we start having protests on, say, San Vicente or Wilshire Boulevard.
Whatever the case, I wanted to post a little video I made yesterday about one of my favorite rides, a seventy-mile loop that took me from West L.A. to Latigo Canyon Road in Malibu and back again. We had perfect outdoor weather, some of the best of the season so far, and it was a great day to go into the mountains:
If you’re curious, here’s a map of the route.