yes, bring a bike! i just copied and pasted from this other post i wrote on LA. yes, it's almost novel-length.
biking in LA is fab... very very very different from someplace like new york. (i went to NYC for CMWC and was totally spun out)... this is what i concurred: in NY, people are used to bikes, so they are more predictable; however, they take lots of risks with them. in LA, people get freaked out by bikes, so they are unpredictable; also, cell phone use is rampant, especially by peeps in large SUVs. but the weather is great and the bike scene is growing like mad. we had bikesummer here this past june (www.bikesummer.org
for pictures and info). also check out www.bicyclekitchen.com
. the folks over there are rad (my boyfriend is a "cook," i.e. a volunteer mechanic).
most of the kitchen peeps ride fixed (or at least have one). my boyfriend rides a 38x14 (73.3"), another friend rides a 39x14. most other peeps ride the same or lower (i'm building one up right now that will prolly be a 43x16). there are some pretty large hills, especially around my area (silverlake). unless you are an incredibly good masher, i would recommend getting a low gear ratio!
there are three neighboorhoods right next to each other that rock: los feliz, silverlake, and echo park. i prefer silverlake and echo park, because they are more up-and-coming (los feliz is all trendy and sh1t). echo park is the cheapest of the three. koreatown is also a good place to live (and cheap). the bicycle kitchen is on the border of koretown and hollywood.
taco trucks are your best bet for cheap food. you'll see them all around LA, even really late at night. there's a running debate which intersection has the best one. trader joe's is an awesome grocery store (lots of organic stuff for good prices). they have 'em all over. also, you must check out Grand Central Market in downtown. it's this huge wherehouse-like space that has all kinds of food stands. they have ridiculously cheap produce too.
other fun things: Midnight Ridazz (info on the kitchen web site), the LA Bike Gang Tuseday-night ride (www.bikegang.50megs.com
), the LA River Trail (right by Griffith Park, another great place to ride). we also have the Encino Velodrome (www.encinovelodrome.org
I think I covered everything... Hope that helps!
See you in LA!