An Uneven Ride on Bike to Work Day

Good use of the Bike Lane. For the record, this bus was stopped for at least a couple of minutes.

Yesterday, while plotting out my Bike to Work Day route that would allow me to see the most booths as possible, I got a phone call from my Mom.  She was biking to work, and wanted to know if I wanted to join her.  Longtime Streetsblog readers will note that Mom and I have had several bike adventures together in L.A. at Tour de Ballona’s, the 2009 River Ride, and a pair of CicLAvia.  Now we’re rounding out our experience with a Bike to Work Day Ride.

We met at the corner of McLaughlin and Venice, and had to travel to the corner of San Vicente Boulevard and Crescent Heights.  As one might expect when a couple of people are taking a ride on a route for the first time, there were some ups and downs.

Mom, post ride.

The good: For half the route, we had well marked and respected bike lanes.  Since we stayed to the left side of the lane, we were out of the door zone where there was car parking.  The first half of the ride was easy.

The bad: Not everyone respects the sanctity of the bike lane.  This Culver City Bus was the tip of the iceberg.  Twice along the route in Culver City we were forced to choose between slipping into the mixed use travel lane or on to the sidewalk.  In front of the above pictured bus was a row of trucks.  Later, a similar row of trucks was parked in front of “Crank Mob Park.”  When asked about the trip, Mom brought up the “large construction trucks in the bike lanes.”

The bad: I picked a route that would take us past the one “Bike to Work” pitstop that was near our route.  Sadly, the route wasn’t the best as the connection between Venice Boulevard and Robertson Boulevard isn’t an easy one.  Even worse, we couldn’t find the pit stop in front of the Kaiser Hospital on Cadillac Avenue.  Mom noted that it was “hard to make the transition to Crescent Heights,” but on my way home I found an easier way to make the transition.  Basically, just take La Cienega to Venice and ignore the side trip through Beverly Hills.

The good: Crescent Heights Boulevard was easy to bike on.  Even the part of the Heights covered in construction equipment was wide.

Now this is a bike friendly bus!

The neutral: For the most part drivers were respectful of us.  However, they sure do honk their horns a lot (not at us.)  I would also estimate that 90% of horn honking is by people who are upset that a car in front of them isn’t doing something dangerous.  Also, mom reports that “someone did yell at me to get off the road on Cadillac, didn’t you hear them?” Of course I didn’t hear them, or I would have caused a scene.

The good: Mom got an ovation when she walked in to the office from supportive office mates.  Not exactly an every day occurrence at the accounting firm at which she works, but a nice touch none the less.

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