This year's Bike Week LA was marked by crazy hot, dry weather, an explosion of wildfires and a bursting crude oil pipeline near a residential neighborhood that left a lot of us wondering if there are any others close to where we live. Turns out Los Angeles is home to thousands of oil pipelines.
They promise none of the 10,000 gallons of spilled oil made it into the LA River, at least none that they noticed. My bike to work path takes me down a lovely patch of the river where it isn't entirely cemented in at the bottom. I've seen ducks, geese, seagulls, cormorants, pelicans, grebes, kingfishers, red-wing blackbirds and so many other birds on the river. In the spring, mother ducks tour their clutches of chicks along the water, and for a moment you might not notice the roar of the I-5 freeway just a few feet away from the bike path.
Thursday was Bike to Work Day in LA. Mayor Garcetti did his bit to set a good example early in the week by biking to the office, hashtags and all. It hit the low hundreds temp-wise on Thursday, but I definitely saw more bike commuters on the streets than usual. I stopped in at a pit stop early on my route, where they told me they were counting record numbers of cyclists. That's good news for all LA commuters - every bike is one less car blocking your way to work.
Once again I organized a couple of bike trains in to my office. On one side of town I met up with Clare and Brandon at Cafe Tropical in Silver Lake. Unfortunately we didn't have time to stop in for one of their amazing guava pastries. We pedaled down through Historic Filipinotown and Westlake neighborhoods to meet up with PK at MacArthur Park. On the other side of town, Tom rode into downtown LA where he met up with Jen, and picked up swag at all the hottest hipster pit stops in the city.
Sure, the ride home was hot-hot-hot: 94 degrees at 5 pm when we pedaled out the door. But with plenty of sunblock, cold water and a leisurely pace, we all made it home just fine.
Whether you bike to work every day or once a year, it's great to see the world at a pedaling pace. You'll see details of people and places you never noticed before. I'd never been on the LA River before I rode it on my bike. You'll learn the topography of your city, and may even discover some wonderful, unexpected, crazy treasures.
If Bike to Work Day LA ever gets its own theme song, I hope it goes something like this:
Lately I've been making zines. For a limited time, you can see my first zine on exhibit at the Irvine Fine Arts Center. Read more.