2008 will be the year that I started riding my bike to work.
There are a lot of bike freaks that write for Metblogs. They bike everywhere, and are always in the know about the latest underground bike rides and events. They ride in groups throughout the city. Day or night. They ride to movies at Hollywood Forever. They ride on freeways. They ride whenever, and wherever they damn well want. They are a roving horde of rebels that do not take no for an answer.
I am not one of these people.
But, with the price of gas inching closer to $10 a gallon, I am a few brochures away from joining the Church of Bikentology. I’ve been saying for years that I’m going to start riding a bike to work. This year, I’m serious. Really. As soon as I fix two flat tires.
So, how do I do this?
I know I’m not the only one considering a 2-wheeled commute. I know there are others who don’t know where to begin either. What are the rules of biking in the city? What do I wear? How do I get from Point A to Point B without getting squashed by Jaime de la Vega’s Hummer? My commute from Studio City to Sherman Oaks will most likely be free of the L.A. Deputy Mayor for Transportation’s earth-killer, but, there are still plenty of morons that drive around the Valley with a license to kill.
If you’re new to biking in L.A., one place to start is the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. They cover everything you need from how to equip your bike to the local bike laws. There’s even a section that tells you how to change from a sweaty cyclist to clean office drone. Nobody likes a stinky coworker.
This would also be a good time for the L.A City Council members to start promoting more safe bike commuting in their districts. We always hear how the Valley is opposed to development because of the impact on traffic. Here’s a great opportunity for someone like Wendy Greuel to step forward and declare that America’s Suburb will become the most bike and pedestrian friendly suburb in America. Sidewalk improvements. Better landscaping for protection from the heat. Dedicated bike lanes that last for more than a few blocks here and there. A safe, fully functionally bike network that feeds into Metro Rail and Rapid lines. An alternative to the car-crowded neighborhoods of today. A better quality of life.
I’m calling you out, Wendy. And you, Antonio. You, too, Zev. But, it starts with me. It starts with me and my bike. And it starts tomorrow. (After I get my tires fixed.)