It’s on! Wolfpack Hustle Rides in Daylight Against Jet Blue


The Internet is buzzing with what could be the highlight of Carmageddon Weekend.  The legendary bicycling racing team the Wolfpack Hustle will race Bike Commute News writer Joe Anthony.  While Joe is a pretty strong cyclist in his own right, a set of wounded ribs has Anthony riding a different vehicle, a Jet Blue airplane.

For those of you that missed the brilliant public relations move, Jet Blue is offering a limited number of flights between Burbank and Long Beach for the cool price of $4 a ticket ($5 for extra legroom).  The deal sold out in hours, but the Jet Blue public relations team saw immediate value in Anthony’s proposal.

The race will be door to destination, with Jet Blue and a taxi competing what one of the hustle’s organizer’s refer to as “A highly tuned traffic machine.”  Jet Blue is covering the cost of Anthony’s ticket with Gary Rides Bikes covering the cost of the taxi.  Anthony gets a free ride, but even with a jet underneath him can he beat the Wolfpack?  Anthony is already explaining away a possible defeat, “Considering the amount of time it takes to check in at the airport, go through security, fly time, exiting the plane, etc…I think the cyclists have the advantage.  However, considering this might be the only opportunity to ever beat the Wolfpack in a race, this Jet Rida will be telling the pilot to HTFU and step on the gas.”

A couple of notes on the race:

  • The route will run over forty miles, which isn’t a long distance for this team which usually hustles 50-70 miles
  • The bike riders aren’t the whole group known as Wolfpack Hustle, just Wolfpack A, the elite of the already elite hustle crowd
  • Wolfpack A “rides legal,” i.e. this won’t turn into a story about how cyclists have to run red lights to win the race
  • This entire idea was hatched and organized on twitter.  The idea started with a tweet from Gary Kavanagh, was proposed to Jet Blue by Anthony and the Wolfpack was organized all on social media yesterday morning and afternoon.  Anthony’s Bike Commute News piece provides the timeline, and a case study on how to use social media. 

If it seems unlikely that the hustle can be competitive while following all the rules of the road, after all the Jet Blue special flights are flying because car traffic is expected to be so terrible, one of the pack leaders tells me that the disciplined hustle can manage its own speed.

“If you time traffic lights, the average speed of “Wolfpack A” at twenty six miles per hour is perfect for hitting green lights,” explains Roadblock.  “If you’re running from twenty-two to twenty-eight miles an hour, it should be easy to beat the jet rida.”  For the record, despite his legendary status in the community, Roadblock is not part of Wolfpack A…they’re too fast for him.

We’ll have full coverage on Monday, and you can follow the race on twitter by following @wolfpackhustle and @ohaijoe.

  • By the way, we’ll bet an LASB tee shirt against a $20 donation to LASB that the Wolfpack wins tomorrow….just comment here before the race starts if you’re interested…

  • Amanda Lipsey

    Well, I think I’m going to lose, but I’ll take that bet. 

  • Anonymous

    Airplane passengers have to get to the airport an hour early to clear security, then wait an hour after the flight to pick up their luggage. If you factor that in, bicycling is certainly competitive. And that does not even include time spent getting to and from the airport (easily hours more, depending on where you live and where you are going).

  • Anthony lives close the airport, and isn’t taking any luggage….

  • Exclusive details, photos, maps, twitterfeed, plus flight time calculator; see:

    WOLFPACK VS JET BLUE
    http://carmageddon2011.blogspot.com

  • Anonymous

    Who would take luggage between Burbank and Long Beach? Really?

  • Good point re: checkins, etc. If Anthony were going from Long Beach Airport (no waiting, virtually, especially at that time of day) to Burbank, the cyclists wouldn’t have a chance. But going the other direction, considering there are two good river stretches the cyclists can use to make up time, I would think biking will beat flying. 

  • Anonymous

    No luggage handicap. That is pure BS. They need to start at the same place and end at the same place to get any respect. The race should have been from the dude’s house and end at the Long Beach Aquarium via cab. 

  • Neroden

    This should be pretty entertaining.  A lot will depend on Wolfpack A’s route planning.

  • Then it’s a 30 min. swing in the biker’s favor: Cab ride to the aquarium adds 15 min, while staying on the river trail instead of going to LGB subtracts 15 min.

  • Neroden

    …but you know what?  Given the route, I want to see whether walking and taking public transit can beat the plane.  (It can’t beat the Wolfpack if they run at 26 mph.)

    CHALLENGE FOR STREETSBLOG!  Somebody depart Joe Anthony’s house at 10:50 AM on Saturday, same time as the cyclists and Joe, and head to the finish line by public transit and walking.  Google says you’ll be there by 12:56…

  • Joseph Eisenberg

    I would like someone to try to beat the plane by driving via the 101 and 110 freeways, in addition to the walk/transit (or bike/transit?) route (Red line to Blue Line – should take 1.5 hours).

    If they adjust the endpoint to be the North Hollywood Red Line station and 1st and Pine in Long Beach, the transit rider might have a shot against the Wolfpack (the trip takes exactly 90 minutes on the train), and should beat the car driver, who will certainly be stuck in traffi con the 101.

  • Anonymous

    Never mind. I just noticed that the “official rules”:

    Cyclists will depart from a residence near the intersection of Cahuenga and Chandler Blvd. in North Hollywood at 10:50 AM PST (Saturday, July 16) Flight Departs 12:20pm and we’re basing the cyclists’ departure time on the airline’s recommended passenger arrival time of 1.50 hours before departure. (we’re doing a little less to be fair)Cyclists will be required to follow all traffic laws.The finish line is the light house at the Shoreline Aquatic Park in Long Beach (adjacent to Acquarium of the Pacific)Ezra and I will take a cab from LGB to the finish line courtesy of GaryRidesBikesFIRST TO ARRIVE AT THE LIGHT HOUSE WINS!

  • Regardless of how this turns out, a real contender in such a contest is the bicycle in combination with LA’s Metro and Metrolink system.   I landed at Burbank Airport with nothing but a bicycle and was blown away how good public transportation in LA has become.   Anyone suffering “Carmageddon” this weekend should really sample the system.   Here are pics of my carless experience:   http://www.planbike.com/2010/10/carless-in-los-angeles-road-to-ciclavia.html

  • Awesome, and great that it’s getting national attention.

    Will there be river path riding? Or is it all street?

  • TQ

    I pledge a donation of fifty bucks to Streetsblog when the Wolfpack wins, plus a buck for every extra minute they hafta wait for the JetBlue passengers to show up at the finish line!

    Have my tax receipt ready plz.

  • Anonymous

    I’m in!  Though I’m hoping to lose this bet.

  • If you jog to the North Hollywood subway station to get the 11:01am train, and then run from the last station in Long Beach on the Blue line at 12:31, you should be able to get to the lighthouse by 12:36 (assuming a 6 minute per mile running speed). And it would only cost $1.50

  • Joe doesn’t live near the airport, so the starting line is going to be at the bike path 1/2 a block from my home.  We are leaving at the same time, and though I want to win, I feel like we probably are going to find ourselves facing a good strong ribbing from the Wolfpack when we get there!

  • Hey Ezra,

    Are you using social media throughout the day?  I think we’re going to do a social medial story tomorrow, based mostly on twitter, facebook, youtube, etc…

  • Anonymous

    Can you just pay off the controllers at LGB and/or BUR Towers, or SoCal Approach?  Thanks to Reagan, they do not have cushy Union jobs.

  • anthony

    k.

  • Gfrank

    so… confirmation? did the cyclists beat the aircraft?

  • Anonymous

    The bicyclists won by over an hour. A JetBlue spokesman conceded defeat, but asked for a rematch, on their LAX to NYC route.

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