LA: Eastside Vs. Westside

bike.jpgAhh, ocean air! After over 20 years of living in the Hollywood Hills, I’m taking a break for the summer and living (most of the time) on the beach in Venice. Both My Fabulous Man Dan and I are working on the Westside, so we rented a little seaside casita to cut the commute down to 4 minutes instead of 45.

I resisted at first. (Why do humans resist change so much when it is the ONE constant?) I love my favorite haunts in Hollywood: Caffe, Etc. for coffee and snacks, The Arclight, my hikes in the hills, my garden. But change is good. I’m finding new places to discover and adore and I must say, everyday is a new adventure!

One cool thing… I’m on my bike more. As in everyday. Venice and Santa Monica have a bike culture that just doesn’t seem to exist in the rest of the city. Yes, people ride their bikes in Hollywood, but not like on the Westside. In Hollywood, truthfully, I am hesitant to get on my two wheels. Drivers don’t seem as conscious of riders and the roads and side-walks just don’t seem inviting.

In Venice and Santa Monica, I start the day on the bike path that parallels the ocean and it’s a glorious ride no matter what. And when I have to run an errand, I hop on the bike to zip over to Abbot Kinney and it just feels easier to navigate. There’s actually parts of the streets designated for bikes and when their aren’t, the side-walks are wide and ample so I can traverse them easily.

Just using my bike every day has made me a million times more aware of how important planning the city with bikes and pedestrians in mind is the way to go. It would be so wonderful if it were actually easy to ride your bike around the city without the fear of being wiped out by a car. If the roads ALL had lanes for bikes.

The intimacy of the city experience I am discovering by getting out of my car is astounding. And I’m definitely more chill after I’ve had a spin on the bike, so I might have to keep it up when I’m back in Hollywood full time….. but oh! those hills!

9 thoughts on “LA: Eastside Vs. Westside”

  1. Lucky you, given the chance I’d jump on a month or two in Venice in the summer. Then again Venice has always been my center for spiritual renewal. Love the people just enjoying life down there.

  2. “Venice and Santa Monica have a bike culture that just doesn’t seem to exist in the rest of the city”

    Careful there T, you might draw the wrath of the legion of cyclists that extend outward from the very center of the city’s bike culture at the Bicycle District/Square/Quadrant/Corner/Realm at Heliotrope and Melrose in East Hollywood.

    And I’m gonna have to respectfully disagree with you as to your assertion that drivers are somewhat more aware/respectful on the westside than in your previous HOllywood turf (which we all know is NOT “eastside” right? RIGHT!?).

    I ride from Silver Lake to Westchester and back every work day and I’ll take drivers over on my side of La Brea most of whom at least know what a bicycle is, versus so many on the other side of La Brea who have to Google (while driving) “two-wheeled, human powered device” to get a clue.

  3. Wil- I thought of you when I wrote this, knowing how you bike all over the city. A newfound respect and hats off to you! I know there’s lots of bikers in the rest of the city.. as in Eastside (and I have a more fluid definition of Eastside… this coming from a girl who has previously identified anything west of La Brea as Westside)…. however,
    people seem to bike over in SM and Venice more for everyday stuff. To the store, to their friends, to work, than everywhere else. In hollywood/silverlake/it deosn’t feel that way. Just a feeling. Who knows. Anyway. It’s fun. I have to go get a helmet now.

  4. Welcome to the neighborhood! I hope to run into you soon, but not in my car, yuk yuk.

  5. Ummm, isn’t Santa Monica the place where mass bike rides is a capital offense?

    And last summer, the Militant rode in a “Knight Riders” (LaBonge joke, lol) that started in Echo Park that had in excess of 1,000 people and was escorted by an LAPD vehicle. Try THAT in SaMo! Of course, the SMPD would have all those cyclists sent to Gitmo and waterboarded, for all they care.

    Besides, all those people riding their bikes along the beach would obviously skewer the numbers.

  6. Westside has more bike culture?

    I hate to break it to you but the vast majority of cyclists aren’t the Midnight Ridazz, beach cruiser or spandex crowds. Most of the riders in LA are the invisible army of low wage workers who barely survive at the fringes of the of the economy. Those folks put more miles on their rides than 99% of the rest of us, and they’re everywhere.

  7. I want to apologize to Tammara for biting into the eastside/westside sammich so quickly and overlooking the fact that she is doing The Awesome: using her bike everyday. Regardless of where she makes her boundary or what conclusions she’s drawn about cyclists on either side of it, what she’s doing is entirely and undebatable commendable!

  8. thanks will… I knew what I was getting into to mention Eastside vs. Westside here. I’ve always been such a Hollywood supporter and turned my nose up at the Westside… part of this is just to express the delight I’m experiencing by getting to know a new turf in LA. We all get so ensconced in our respective ‘scenes’ that we don’t see the forest for the trees. At least I don’t! Anyway, midnight ridazz…. which is a blast, biking to work cuz you have to or biking because it’s fun and energetic and saves gas…. it’s all good. Can’t complain. We are all so amazingly lucky to live in this city that no matter where you put your boundries, it’s a blessing.

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