Biking In LA

My dad grew up in Norwalk, California along the southern edge of Los Angeles County, so southern California is as much “home” to me as any other place in the United States can be.

Still, I haven’t spent substantial time in LA or Orange Counties since the late 80s. When I got stuck in traffic on Santa Monica Boulevard this last weekend, I was thrilled to see something I never saw 25 years ago — throngs of people on bikes riding through traffic. I saw athletes wearing the uniform riding their high end road bikes, but I was especially excited to see younger people on all kinds of bikes — cheap mountain bikes, fixed gear bicycles, BMX bikes, old road bikes, and beach cruisers. Kudos to all of you, no matter the type of bike you’re riding.

About one percent of commutes are made by bike in Los Angeles. In absolute numbers, that means about 100,000 of you ride a bike to get to work, and that doesn’t count the thousands who use public transportation or your car for part of your trip. This also doesn’t count the thousands of casual trips — such as what I saw last weekend — in Los Angeles.

While I was in Los Angeles, I had opportunity to meet Ted of the Biking In LA blog. He’s gaunt just like you’d expect of a committed athlete, and he does an excellent job keeping his finger on the biking pulse of the City of Angels. In Tuesday’s blog entry he mentions my family’s brief visit and posts the photo I took of his lovely new intern Sienna. If you’re not already familiar with Biking In LA, I recommend subscribing to his blog.


  1. I have noticed more cyclists in recent years, too, although there may be some “observation bias,” in the sense that I’m actually looking for them. However, I’m not sure where the (widely-given) one-percent mode share figure comes from. A few months ago, the L.A. Times said that just nine-thousand people cycle to work regularly, and this in a city of nearly four million people. Whatever the “real” figure, we have much work to do.

  2. The observation bias its likely for me a well.

    The 1% figure comes from analysis done on 2009 US Census Bureau American
    Community Survey data and published by the League of American Bicyclists.
    Survey responders indicate what their primary commute mode was for a
    specific day. Unfortunately, there is no ‘bicycle’ answer in the multiple
    choice questionnaire. It falls under ‘other’, hence the need for analysis.

  3. Everyone needs to go to Amsterdam. No cars= nice looking/small streets = real community/village feeling… when they come back they’ll sell their cars and go buy a bike for every day of the week :p

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