$4.44 a gallon? Seriously?

I filled up my little 2 door Ford Focus this morning and my jaw dropped when the bill was over $40. I haven’t driven very much since I got back to LA so it was quite a shock and I’m sure most of you already knew this but I tend to lead a very sheltered life ;-) So as soon as I got home I went for a bike ride since I can guarantee I’ll be doing a lot more of that until prices come down but I also went on the hunt for a price finder. Low and behold on the first try I found losangelesgasprices.com which is basically a sub-site of gasbuddy.com which tracks gas prices nation wide. They’ve got a free mobile app so you can check out the cheapest gas prices while you’re out and about. I just tried it and if I’d have had it this morning I could have saved about $5. So if you’re a commuter with a mobile phone (that’s roughly 99.999% of LA) go get this thing. It’s free and it’ll save you a bunch of dough.

KCET soliciting media on your commute methods

Found this over at the wonderful LA.Streetsblog and felt that it’s a fascinating chance for those of us who commute to work by alternative means to have our methods given some attention.

(Note: I am not a douchey “I HATE ALL CARS” commuter and I also don’t think this project should exclude those who drive to work. By all means, everyone should participate!)

KCET’s “SoCal Connected” division is doing a piece on commuting in the large and lovely city of Los Angeles. They’re asking people to either submit photos or a video of your commute method, the distance, and the length of time it takes for you to get there.

Continue reading “KCET soliciting media on your commute methods”

Hyperspeed: My Morning Commute

So the last couple of my bike commutes I’ve been goofing around with the timelapse capabilities of my handlebar-mounted digicam and the results have been interesting… to me, at least.

There’s no envelope being pushed here, just your standard low-res, potentially motion-sickness-inducing timelapse that condensed my 60-minute 14-mile crosstown journey into four stopmotion-filled minutes. Contrary to what we’ve lately been finding in the media, the trip wasn’t a death-defiant one. I didn’t get doored or get cursed at, or get drenched in flung beverage, or get a ticket, or get shot, stabbed, run over or run off the road. I just get on my bike and get to work — but not on any freeway. Instead I traverse thoroughfares far more frightening than a gridlocked 405: Fairfax Avenue and the boulevards of Venice and Sepulveda. Anyway, I hope you come along for the ride below and enjoy it. My philosophy is that any day I can ride a bike is automatically a better day.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4-TEqaRZUw[/youtube]

Ride A Bike To Work Week (from Glendale?)

montrose, CA

Everyone’s talking about bicycles these days. it’s almost like, “Hey did you see that wacky new invention? You ride around on only two wheels, not four!” Not since the days of Ginger has there been so much hoopla surrounding locomotion. Well, alright, I’m exaggerating a little, but there a lot of people discovering the excellence of pedaling to work this week. I hope the fascination sticks.

For the past four years I almost never rode my bike to work. But then I didn’t have to since work (Amoeba) was only a few blocks away. I walked. But now that I’m back in Los Angeles and I’m looking for a new place to live I realize that I may not be as fortuitously near my workplace, I’m starting to consider just how I’m going to get around L.A.

In my search for a place I ended up wandering around Montrose a little. Montrose! I didn’t even know that place existed! It’s that lovely berg wedged into that gap between mountain ranges out past Glendale. And I love mountains. But I think it’s just a bit further from Hollywood than I’d be able to reliably cycle every day, and, while the Glendale freeway is nice on a Saturday, at 8 AM on Monday morning it’s a parking lot. So Glendale it is. But I’m asking Glendale residents, or indeed, anyone who cycles around that Los Feliz-adjacent terrain if they’ve discovered any terrific little routes into or out of the Sunset/Gower area.

Los Feliz Blvd to Sunset? Hyperion to Fountain? What are some of the better ways around Glendale and Silverlake on two wheels?

Urban Cycling: Weiss Don’t Know Jack

I’ve been stewing over Councilman Jack Weiss’ statement about the inherent dangers of biking in Los Angeles ever since I read it in a post by Eric Richardson on Blogdowntown that reported on a Feb. 12 joint City Council committees meeting about how the city can better plan for bicycles. In the post, Richardson wrote that Weiss said “he rides daily before sunrise, but doesn’t feel it safe to ride L.A. streets during the day.” To be sure it’s a throw-away comment that better people can just let go, but this one that landed in my craw and stuck there.

I’m not going to dispute Weiss’ blanket impression of the risks out there on the asphalt, but as someone who regularly does “ride L.A. streets during the day” (and night) I can’t help but wonder from what experience he draws upon to fire such a loaded statement. I’d hazard the answer is: little to none. Sure, he may indeed rise before dawn every day and pedal around whatever neighborhood he lives in, but the idea of Weiss having biked to work seems only slightly less remote than that of our absentee mayor what’s his name cranking it across town from Hancock Park to City Hall.

I know there’s danger out there. As such I ride trying never to forget that I’m only as safe as the least attentive/considerate motor vehicle operator around me, and I know that my comfort level with the streets and the traffic and the rugged ragged road conditions is developed from some 20 years of commuting experience — most of it entirely uneventful. I also know that comfort level is the exception and not the rule. But unlike Weiss tossing off the same ol’ conventional doom ‘n gloom that can be discouraging to anyone considering cycling (or frustrating to those of us who do), it’s at least from a couple decades accumulated experience that I can say I feel pretty safe riding the streets of the city, under the sun or moon.

Like today. And tonight. As evidenced in this quick ‘n dirty sequence of snaps taken via handlebar cam on my morning and evening commutes; a total of 30 miles (I even took the long way home up into a bit of Weiss’ territory, just as a neener). I did it yesterday. I’ll do it tomorrow. You could do it, too. And so could you, Jack.

See you on the streets!