So I had a bit of a short-notice biz conference thing I had to attend Thursday night through Saturday afternoon down Orange County way at the end of this past week. My first thought was, “Well at least it’s a driveable destination.” But then given my predilection for alternate modes of transportation, as the date of departure drew near the inevitable light bulb went off: maybe it was car-freeable?
Sure enough, some poking around the Metrolink website eventually resulted in the following multi-modal transit plan that I executed last Thursday with a backpack that weighed in at 20 pounds and barely managed to hold everything I would need for the two-day excursion:
- Bike from Silver Lake to Union Station
- Take Metrolink’s 2:25 p.m. Orange County Line to the Santa Ana station (arriving approximately 3:30 p.m.)
- Bike from Santa Ana to the Santa Ana River Bikeway to PCH to the Hyatt Regency on Jamboree in Newport Beach
- Congratulate myself
Of course being that I’m an idiot and a Metrolink noob and neither Union Station nor Metrolink wastes much time, effort, personnel or adequate signage shepherding its idiot noob passengers, I unwittingly ended up on the Inland Empire train out of Union Station. Finally realizing the mistake as the train was pulling into Pomona about 40 minutes later, I disembarked into the middle of that nowhere and I posted the following on Twitter that pretty much summed my sentiment right up:
“I have never so epically failed at public transpo. I am pretty much inconfuckingsolable.”
Depressed? Yep. Defeated? Nah. So I toyed with the idea of riding out in a southerly direction until I bumped into the Santa Ana River Bikeway, but I knew that crapshoot just wasn’t viable. So instead, some three hours of seething and loathing and nashing later — including additional one-way tickets costing $16 — I was back at Union Station where the fail had begun, and my bike and I were on the 5:40 p.m. OC Line train, having successfully quelled an inner uprising to just chuck it all, bike home and drive the hell down.
About 40 minutes later we were in Santa Ana, but now being well into the evening, I wasn’t all that thrilled at the thought of biking a pretty long and isolated stretch of an unfamiliar river bikeway at night, so instead I reconoittered with the help of my iPhone and charted a course that would get me to my destination and whose surface streets would hopefully be not too bike-unfriendly.
But “street” is an operative term when dealing with the likes of the thoroughfares down south that are wide and dark and it seems like a full mile can pass between traffic signals and whose posted speed limits are 50 mph, which is very often treated as a suggestion, especially by fuckers in jacked up 4x4s who like to play Blow By The Cyclist. Sure the streets offer adequate space on the shoulder to pedal and even striped bike lanes were found on portions of Edinger and Red Hill, but on the massive autopian expanses of MacArthur and Jamboree on a bike? After dark? Pffft. You’re a stranger in a strange land, baby — and stared at like you’re emitting a noxious odor. Nevertheless I prevailed across the 13 miles of sourpusses and speed demons to arrive at the hotel shortly before 8 p.m. with the clerk alerting me that “We don’t get too many guests who bike here!”
On the backside of the event, I set out from the hotel at 1 p.m. and had time to venture onto Balboa Island and take the ferry ($1 for peds; $1.25 for cyclists) across the channel to the Balboa Peninsula where I made my way along the beach bike path and Balboa Boulevard to PCH and onward to the Santa Ana River and its bikeway upon which I ventured inland at a leisurely pace for some eight miles to 1st Street. Exiting the river from there I then worked my way over to Santa Ana’s train station with about 40 minutes to spare before the arrival of the 3:06 Metrolink back to Union Station — the weekend fare of which was $6.50.
Having installed myself on the correct train, I arrived at Union Station about three-quarters of an hour later and biked home immediately thereafter via Los Angeles Street to 2nd across downtown through the tunnel and upward to Sunset Boulevard back to Silver Lake.
Last but not least, here’s a timelapse compilation of my bike trips from Newport to Santa Ana, and from Union Station back home: