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May 9, 2012 1:02 PM Subscribe
Getting around LA via bicycle?
posted by Aubergine to travel & transportation (27 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm moving to LA in a few weeks, and I'm wondering how realistic my plans of getting around via bicycle (mostly) are....
Currently I live in Philly, where I not only don't have a car but actually feel better off without one (thanks, PhillyCarShare, for filling in the gaps!). I ride my bike pretty much everywhere I need to go, and I take SEPTA only when absolutely necessary (given how mild this winter was, practically never, and I have no problems biking in the rain). My trusty road bike is outfitted with a medium-duty rear rack, and between that and some heavy-duty panniers, I have no problems transporting groceries or doing shopping.
I have visited friends in LA and I remember thinking that contrary to the conventional wisdom, it seemed surprisingly bikeable, at least within a given neighborhood. It even seemed like it wouldn't be that hard to get around longer distances in the city if one took the bigger avenues and boulevards and stayed off the freeways. However, I didn't see anybody doing this really, which makes me wonder if there are complications I'm not considering.
For what it's worth, I feel like a pretty seasoned urban biker; Philly has a lot of bike commuters and bike lanes now, but ten years ago it didn't and the average cyclist had to contend with an extraordinary amount of hostility from cars, not to mention the belligerent recklessness of the bus drivers. Even now I do occasionally get flipped off, cut off, or even once deliberately hit by people driving cars (well, taxis) but it's much less common than it used to be. While those incidents are alarming and sometimes scary, it hasn't put me off riding my bike in the least.
While I will have a car, eventually, I would be greatly heartened to know that I won't be completely dependent on driving to get around. I realize that the answer will depend greatly on where my work is in relation to my residence, but since I don't have a job lined up yet, all I know for certain is that I will be living in Echo Park. Will I still be able to get to other places in the city from there on my bike, and will shopping/errands be bikable as well? I'm willing to put up with a lot of adverse conditions in order to keep riding, but if it's downright impossible or egregiously unsafe, I'd like to know ahead of time.