Wonder of wonders

It was easier & cheaper to get around LA carless for five months than it has been to take public transport to my dentist appointment in London today.

It was the weekend before we left Los Angeles to return home. It was a glorious sunny hot California day. Venice Blvd from downtown to the sea was closed to car traffic. And we were a mighty tribe of four: Ben on his cruiser, Laura on her mountain bike, Amber on my shopper and me on my rollerblades.

The best day out I had in LA.

I had no idea there were so many cyclists in this town. The road was literally packed in both directions. There were pelotons, road runners, roller bladders, low riders, tall bikes (yes, we saw him), plush bikes, serious cyclists, costumed day trippers… It was heaving and delightful and joyful and hot as hell.

And extraordinary to discover in safety and at foot level what the artery between our humble little home and the throbbing downtown looks like. Local businesses were selling lemonade, pumping out music, cheering us on. It was an event.

After 15 miles inland, we stopped at MacArthur Park for lunch. Laura and I introduced Amber (South African) and Ben (British) to tamales and pupusas at Mama’s Hot Tamales and we ate them under a tree, watching the tens of thousands of cyclists who were taking advantage of this extraordinary opportunity. Nom.

15 miles homeward. 30 miles total. A magnificent finale to six months of carlessness in California. I’m sorry I’ll miss the next event on 23 June, when the cyclists take over Wilshire Blvd from downtown to the Miracle Mile to enjoy the iconic architecture the lines that route.

Dear heaving metropolises of the world: please do this. If the City of Angels can do it, you can too. More information at their website.

CycLAvia was magnificent. Here’s our mighty tribe. More soon.

CycLAvia was magnificent. Here’s our mighty tribe. More soon.

The Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board is making it easier than ever to discover LA without a car. Car Free LA features a series of self-guided “car free” vacation itineraries that offer a new way to experience the hidden gems of LA’s diverse neighborhoods via foot, bike and Metro. Prefer a guide? Meander along LA’s many bike paths with expert car free, city guide tour operators like Bikes and Hikes LA or take a specialized walking tour with Malibu Discovery or Melting Pot Tours. You can also rent a bike from Pedal or Not or Perry’s to cruise along LA’s beaches. Whether it’s culture, coastal attractions, global cuisine, music or architecture, see it all car free.

Car Free LA | Discover Los Angeles

This is *amazing*. I wish I wasn’t leaving LA on Friday or I’d do them all.

Big thx for the HT to @fitbitchuk

Him too.

Him too.

Google Maps, you understand Los Angeles so very well: “Walking directions” for downtown LA.

Google Maps, you understand Los Angeles so very well: “Walking directions” for downtown LA.

Streetside exercise bikes & “cycling distance to…” sign outside LA Cafe on Spring St, downtown (between 6th & 7th)

Over the verges and through the parking lots: Adventuring to Zipcar Location 2 on the big blue bus. 

The price, as Bob Barker said every day for decades, is right ($60, inc gas). Today, a Zipcar is better in spades than either renting from Avis ($68, not inc gas) or Hertz ($102, not inc gas) for the same time period. 

It’s much more of a kerfuffle to get there, tho; in LA at least, zipcar’s rolling out at universities rather than in city centres or at the ends of transport hubs like the new and shiny Expo metro line (surely this seems like the bleeding obvious?!). And to get to my pickup location I have to walk on highway verges and across several parking lots. Feeling like Bill Bryson in Walk in the Woods.

However, the bus seats matched my flowers. Though I swear the bus was 7 minutes early.

Over the verges and through the parking lots: Adventuring to Zipcar Location 2 on the big blue bus.

The price, as Bob Barker said every day for decades, is right ($60, inc gas). Today, a Zipcar is better in spades than either renting from Avis ($68, not inc gas) or Hertz ($102, not inc gas) for the same time period.

It’s much more of a kerfuffle to get there, tho; in LA at least, zipcar’s rolling out at universities rather than in city centres or at the ends of transport hubs like the new and shiny Expo metro line (surely this seems like the bleeding obvious?!). And to get to my pickup location I have to walk on highway verges and across several parking lots. Feeling like Bill Bryson in Walk in the Woods.

However, the bus seats matched my flowers. Though I swear the bus was 7 minutes early.