Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 05-03-09, 02:12 PM   #1
crashtheparty
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Los Angeles
Bikes: Fixed Gear, frame is Focus. I know nothing about it, but it fits me and it rides well! =)
Posts: 34
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Car Free for 3 1/2 months in London, preparing to give it a try in LA...tips?

I went abroad for a semester to London and bought a second hand bike upon arrival (which I am currently having difficulty selling...anyone want to buy a bike in central London?) and have remained car free since January! I even only rode in a taxi three times (once when I incredibly late for a show and had absolutely no idea where I was at night, and twice when I threw my back out and couldn't walk or stand up straight) Obviously it's a bit easier in London than in LA (at least for me), but I'm very proud of myself! I only took the tube once or twice a week, and otherwise I walked everywhere and biked to and from class, sometimes multiple times a day.

I'm heading home in a few weeks back to Los Angeles, and I'm excited to fix up my mom's old Schwinn and try to bike everywhere like I did here. I biked before London - that bike was sadly stolen -but mostly for fun and just to the grocery store, and I drove alot. This semester is the first time I can say that a bike was my primary form of transportation. This post is mostly just to celebrate my first go at it, and to ask if anyone here is car free in Los Angeles? I'm having a bit of trouble when I try to plan trips from the suburbs in Valencia (near Six Flags) to Hollywood and Pasadena and things...I really would like to stay out of my car and off of the 5, but it just really far for me to bike right now.

Thanks!
crashtheparty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-09, 05:29 PM   #2
Artkansas 
Pedaled too far.
 
Artkansas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: La Petite Roche
Bikes:
Posts: 12,858
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
I used to be car free in L.A.

School in Valencia? Attending Cal Arts?

Hollywood is doable, and Pasadena would take a little longer. Just don't expect to do them immediately. You'll want to build up a little.

I lived near LAX and later the Miracle Mile. I only got to Valencia once though, and that was on a vacation when I stayed at a campground near Magic Mountain.

The hardest part was that people just wouldn't believe that you were car-free in LA.

What kind of help are you looking for specifically?
__________________
"He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
Artkansas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-09, 05:36 PM   #3
uke
it's easy if you let it.
 
uke's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: indoors and out.
Bikes:
Posts: 4,124
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
It will depend most on your job. If it doesn't require you to travel, you can be car-free almost anywhere.
uke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-09, 09:16 PM   #4
Robert Foster
Banned.
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Southern california
Bikes: Lapierre CF Sensium 400. Jamis Ventura Sport. Trek 800. Giant Cypress.
Posts: 3,498
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I was in London in 06 and one thing that made getting around easier was the bus system. A pass on the underground made traveling about pretty easy as well. If you were traveling towards the Airport you could catch a free bus. There are no free rides anywhere in LA. I hope you are a good climber to go from Pasadena back to Valencia, 35 to 40 miles one way and some very respectable hills between. Valencia to Hollywood isn’t as far, 25 miles or so one way but once you get back to San Fernando the grade back towards Valencia is a challenge. I don’t know if they allow you to ride on 5 from Lyon or Towsley Canyon Park but if they don’t you have to ride over to Santa Clarita or Newhall to catch a road south towards Hollywood or Pasadena, and on an old Schwinn? Hope you have your bike legs. It can be done but not easily on a daily basis.

Artkansas what route did you take out of LA to Valencia?
Robert Foster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-09, 03:42 AM   #5
crashtheparty
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Los Angeles
Bikes: Fixed Gear, frame is Focus. I know nothing about it, but it fits me and it rides well! =)
Posts: 34
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I actually live in Castaic (just outside of Valencia) and go to school near Pasadena. My job will be within easy biking range, so it won't be a problem to get there and back, and my summer classes should be pretty easy as well. Specifically I'm just looking for tips on routes from the Valencia area to Hollywood and Pasadena so that when I want to visit friends I can at least attempt to bike there instead of immediately getting out the car. I have an SUV (I know, awful, parents are concerned I will die in a car accident so when my sedan died they picked out the biggest thing on the used car lot, 'surprised' me with it, and then told me how much the monthly payments are and left me to pay for it, haha) so I can fit my bike in the car or on a bike rack, so if it comes down to having to drive for a bit to get past any particularly hard areas and then get out and bike I can do that too. Robert Foster, thanks for your advice!
crashtheparty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-09, 08:17 AM   #6
Torrilin
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Madison, WI
Bikes:
Posts: 1,522
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We lived in LA and didn't use the car for several years. It's doable, but it does take some forethought. We were in the Palms neighborhood in West LA, so we didn't even need bikes. Just feet. In about 1 square mile, we had over 5 grocery stores, dozens of restaurants, multiple laundromats, about a half dozen thrift shops, multiple liquor stores, banks, several hardware stores... If walking was impractical, I'd grab a bus. London is even denser, so you have similar advantages.

metro.net lets you search the various LA bus systems and train routes, which is a huge help given the distances in LA. I don't know offhand if the trains take bikes, but metro.net has the answers to a *lot* of questions.

You might also want to run the numbers on what that SUV really costs you, vs what an apartment in Altadena or one of the other cheaper communities near Pasadena runs (with a monthly transit pass). If the SUV is more than an apartment once you've totaled up insurance, gas, repairs, and payments, it might be saner to live closer to school, and use mass transit and your bike to visit your parents on weekends. It is definitely doable to be car-free and bike long distances, but people who succeed at it tend to have very stable schedules and really enjoy the long miles. College... does not lead to having a stable schedule.

As a rough baseline, I'd tend to figure on 10mph for biking in city traffic. Even if you can sustain a higher speed, due to the way traffic lights are timed, it can be hard to keep the average higher. Since you don't want to be the guy who is always late, it's best to be conservative about your speed estimates.
Torrilin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-09, 09:38 AM   #7
crashtheparty
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Los Angeles
Bikes: Fixed Gear, frame is Focus. I know nothing about it, but it fits me and it rides well! =)
Posts: 34
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks so much for the info Torrilin! I'm actually living with my parents for the summer, once school starts in the fall I'll be living on campus so getting to class won't even require a bike, lol. Mostly I'm just looking at visiting friends during the summer time in Pasadena. But I'll look into where the metro takes me and maybe I'll be able to find a bus line or train that can get me at least part of the way!
crashtheparty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-09, 12:56 PM   #8
wheel
Senior Member
 
wheel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Crystal MN
Bikes:
Posts: 2,147
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by crashtheparty View Post
Thanks so much for the info Torrilin! I'm actually living with my parents for the summer, once school starts in the fall I'll be living on campus so getting to class won't even require a bike, lol. Mostly I'm just looking at visiting friends during the summer time in Pasadena. But I'll look into where the metro takes me and maybe I'll be able to find a bus line or train that can get me at least part of the way!
Weather is good year round. I cycle 300+ days love it. I am in AZ.
wheel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-09, 02:37 PM   #9
LucasA
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Bikes:
Posts: 128
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I live car free in LA, about a mile from LAX. It's really not that hard. I will say that if you combine it with a Metro pass it can be pretty cool, though I have found overall most of the time it's just easier to ride my bike than mess with the bus unless I am going long distances and even then I usually just take one of the trains (I hate the blue line, rawr).

I would agree that you average about 10mph and it is really not worth trying to go faster, because of traffic lights, you will lose momentum often...so save the energy and cruise.

Finding good routes is key, and always be willing to scout around for a better/safer/more comfortable route, which is more important than finding a quicker route.
LucasA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-09, 02:43 PM   #10
LucasA
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Bikes:
Posts: 128
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by crashtheparty View Post
(I know, awful, parents are concerned I will die in a car accident so when my sedan died they picked out the biggest thing on the used car lot, 'surprised' me with it, and then told me how much the monthly payments are and left me to pay for it, haha)
Are you serious? That woulda pissed me off something royal.
LucasA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-09, 10:04 PM   #11
Artkansas 
Pedaled too far.
 
Artkansas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: La Petite Roche
Bikes:
Posts: 12,858
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
Artkansas what route did you take out of LA to Valencia?
Using a map to refresh my memory, Going out of the Valley to Valencia, I took San Fernando Rd. to Sierra Highway and followed it till it became San Fernando Rd. again.

Getting from L.A. to the valley, I think I took Sepulveda Pass.
__________________
"He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
Artkansas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-09, 11:51 PM   #12
Robert Foster
Banned.
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Southern california
Bikes: Lapierre CF Sensium 400. Jamis Ventura Sport. Trek 800. Giant Cypress.
Posts: 3,498
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
Using a map to refresh my memory, Going out of the Valley to Valencia, I took San Fernando Rd. to Sierra Highway and followed it till it became San Fernando Rd. again.

Getting from L.A. to the valley, I think I took Sepulveda Pass.
Yes, like I thought you are a climber. That would take you almost to Newhall and through Santa Clarita. The ride down to Pasadena would be pretty good. The ride home would be a grind.
Robert Foster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-09, 07:58 AM   #13
folder fanatic
Banned.
 
folder fanatic's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Anti Social Media-Land
Bikes:
Posts: 3,078
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by crashtheparty View Post
I went abroad for a semester to London and bought a second hand bike upon arrival (which I am currently having difficulty selling...anyone want to buy a bike in central London?) and have remained car free since January! I even only rode in a taxi three times (once when I incredibly late for a show and had absolutely no idea where I was at night, and twice when I threw my back out and couldn't walk or stand up straight) Obviously it's a bit easier in London than in LA (at least for me), but I'm very proud of myself! I only took the tube once or twice a week, and otherwise I walked everywhere and biked to and from class, sometimes multiple times a day.

I'm heading home in a few weeks back to Los Angeles, and I'm excited to fix up my mom's old Schwinn and try to bike everywhere like I did here. I biked before London - that bike was sadly stolen -but mostly for fun and just to the grocery store, and I drove alot. This semester is the first time I can say that a bike was my primary form of transportation. This post is mostly just to celebrate my first go at it, and to ask if anyone here is car free in Los Angeles? I'm having a bit of trouble when I try to plan trips from the suburbs in Valencia (near Six Flags) to Hollywood and Pasadena and things...I really would like to stay out of my car and off of the 5, but it just really far for me to bike right now.


Thanks!
Welcome back to LA. I am currently car-free in the Los Angeles area. I just modified my riding style to fit the reality of cycling in a city that is planned for and orientated to the car. The ways I have done so and made it successful is the careful choice of a bike (folding ones only now as any other is sure to get stolen-even a old Schwinn), planning my routes to include public transit (bus, train, taxis) if longer than about 6 miles or so, and allow extra time for hills & traffic. If you wish to see my bikes in action see below for photos (both Flickr sites) and information on my Geocities site listed below. Plus I include some too right here.

Please let me know directly by Private Mail if you have any more questions about the unique challenges of urban/suburban Los Angeles cycling.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 14-Photo 14.jpg (61.9 KB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg Bike In The Bag.jpg (40.2 KB, 1 views)
File Type: jpg Tucked Away On Crowded Bus.jpg (60.6 KB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg Bike On Board-Handicap Section.jpg (70.9 KB, 4 views)

Last edited by folder fanatic; 05-05-09 at 08:04 AM.
folder fanatic is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:55 AM.