During this weekend’s I-405 closure in Los Angeles, a group of bicyclists will race a JetBlue Airlines flight the 40 miles from Bob Hope Airport in Burbank to Long Beach Airport. Who will win?
As part of the huge I-405 lane widening and HOV project in Los Angeles, Caltrans will close a 10 mile stretch of the nation’s busiest freeway tonight through the weekend, an event locals are calling Carmageddon. Because there are no good surface alternatives to the 405 between the Santa Monica Freeway and Ventura Freeway, JetBlue offered two round trip filghts between Burbank and Long Beach over the weekend for only $4. People quickly snapped up available seats.
Tom Vanderbilt (the How We Drive guy), tweeted that “Given airport travel time, security, runway delay, etc., I’d bet a good cyclist could travel BUR to LGB faster than Jet Blue.”
Riders with the Wolfpack Hustle and other Los Angeles cyclists began joking about a race between bikes and JetBlue. Los Angeles bike advocate Joe Anthony contacted JetBlue, and before long this joke became a bona fide commuter challenge: Can a strong cyclist beat a commercial airline flight across Los Angeles?
The JetBlue flight departs Burbank at 12:20 PM on Saturday, with scheduled arrival at 1:05 PM. The cyclists will depart Burbank at 11:05 AM, accounting for passenger arrival time at the terminal. They’ll cycle like mad men and women to Long Beach Airport entrance. The flyers will walk (or run!) from the arrival terminal to the airport entrance to meet the cyclists. First to arrive at the airport entrance wins.
It’s about 40 miles between the two airports. With traffic lights and stop signs, a strong cyclist can travel that distance in about 2 hours 30 minutes, maybe a little less, so this should be interesting to watch. In Sao Paolo, Brazil, the cyclist won in a commuter challenge against a helicopter, though in that case the distance was only 3 km. (Who flies a helicopter to travel 3 km?!)