I won't use this blog to complain about the woes and horrors of urban cycling, without offering a practical solution to whatever gripe I'm harping on. So here it is, a problem and a solution. Most people who bike around L.A. already know this, but just in case...
For the most part, the official L.A. Department of Transportation bike routes suck. I'm talking about the big streets with green "Bike Route" signs, like Olympic Blvd.
Maybe if you're riding on a weekend or the middle of the day they're OK, but during rush hour you're going to risk your life and piss off a lot of motorists. And that's when you're not stuck behind a bus that blows dust and diesel into your face, and stops every 2 blocks.
But I finally figured out that these streets aren't the real bike routes.
Secret LA bike routes that get you to work on time
The streets marked "Bike Route" are actually pointers to the best places to ride in peace. They give you clues to the secret bike routes that will get you where you're going in one piece.
The secret bike routes always run parallel to the official ones, and they're usually just a few blocks over. Motorists don't like them because they have lower speed limits and more stop signs. But on a bike, you can make better time. I can usually knock 10-15 minutes off my commute, not to mention lower stress and probably less gunk in my lungs.
Here are some of the better bicycle routes in Los Angeles:
East-West: Instead of taking Olympic Blvd, use San Marino. Instead of Beverly, use Temple or 7th Street. LADOT got it right when they made 4th street into a bike route, so use this one.
North-South: Instead of Vine/Rossmoore, use Gower. Instead of Hobart, use Oxford.
If you know of any other routes, please leave a comment.
You can get the LA Department of Transportation bikeway map at http://www.bicyclela.org/maps_main.htm
Better yet, you can get a specific route and directions at http://www.bikemetro.com