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Old 08-30-08, 10:26 AM   #1
lhbernhardt
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Need Advice on Riding in LA

I'm planning to attend the Skeptics Conference Oct 3 and 4 at Caltech in Pasadena. As some of you may know, Dr. Michael Shermer, who is the director of the Skeptics Society (as well as a columnist for Scientific American), was one of the original four guys who invented RAAM (back when it was the Great American Bike Race). Anyway, I plan to fly into LA on the Friday around noon with just my bike and small backpack, assemble the bike, leave the bike bag at a baggage storage place at the airport, and ride to Pasadena.

I have been advised by Dr. Shermer that cycling from LAX to Pasadena is not fun, and that it's a much more pleasant ride from BUR (Bob Hope Airport in Burbank). I want to get a good ride both coming into Pasadena and leaving on Sunday. So, a couple of questions:

1. Is there a decent route from LAX to Pasadena? (I've checked MapMyRide and there appears to be lots of quiet roads between Burbank/Glendale and Pasadena.) (I've also looked at the East-West commuting thread nearby)

I understand that they don't let you store baggage at LAX - you have to call a company that picks up your baggage and stores it for you and then delivers it back to the airport. So,
2. Do they let you store bags at BUR?

Also, if I've got four or five hours on Sunday, is there a ride near Pasadena I just have to do? (I'll be on my fixed gear bike, so it can't be too steep!)

Thanks, Angelenos!

Luis
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Old 08-30-08, 11:22 AM   #2
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I'd be very surprised if you could store anything at Burbank, which is an adorable little airport. Definitely fly to Burbank if you can, although it kinda limits your flight options. Maybe a hotel near the airport will store your bag for you even if you aren't staying there? Make some phone calls.
Another option might be to take the Van Nuys Flyaway (bus) from LAX (more flight options) to Van Nuys Airport and find a storage option there (Airtel Plaza Hotel, maybe?). Much better ride across the Valley than across the basin. The Flyaway has a large baggage compartment under the bus.
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Old 08-30-08, 11:32 AM   #3
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I would definitely try to fly out to Burbank instead.
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Old 08-30-08, 11:34 AM   #4
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One of the best rides in the area is Glendora Mt. Rd, about 20 miles east of Pasadena, but if you're not used to climbing on a fixed gear you might not be too happy.

The US Track Cycling Elite National Championship is also that week down in Carson at the ADT event center-- if you have some time to get down there it could be entertaining. click the link in my sig for info.

you might try checking over at the Midnightridazz.com site-- they do a lot of rides through urban LA. They just had a race that went from Downtown to near LAX. From Downtown to Pasadena isn't too bad, though there are a few sketchy spots.

The basic idea from LAX will be:
Culver to Venice
Venice to somewhere around Crenshaw, then zig-zag up to 6th
take 6th to commonwealth, then north on commonwealth up to beverly
short hop on virgil to Silverlake, then take silverlake to glendale
then glendale to fletcher,
fletcher (through a short underpass that scares a lot of riders- it's not too bad if you're moving fast, or you can hop on the sidewalk)
fletcher to Eagle Rock
Eagle Rock to Yosemite (there's a parallel path on Ellenwood with less traffic)
Yosemite to Figueroa
Figueroa to Colorado
Colorado into Pasadena.

That sort of minimizes the steepish climbing.
An alternate route would be to head up vermont or a parallel street to Los Feliz, then LF over to glendale, get onto Chevy Chase and take Chevy Chase to pasadena (dumps you out just west of the Rose Bowl).
That might be a bit hilly for you on a fixed gear from a non-mountainous area.

There's not really going to be a pretty, low traffic route from LAX to Pasadena, but a friend of mine who's a relatively new rider started riding with the Midnight Ridazz groups at night, and has done downtown to LAX and didn't seem bothered by it. I've done Pasadena to downtown LA (and west), and also Pasadena to Griffith Park, and it's mostly not bad, some of it is even kind of nice (e.g. Silver Lake or Chevy Chase).

If you're used to dead flat, be prepared for some climbing. Stuff that local riders refer to as "flat" might actually be a long steep climb for you. Los Feliz apparently is a steep climb somewhere, as is fletcher, but I'm not sure where. My friend who does the MR rides refers to the hills on them, but when I rode them with her they were things that I mostly wouldn't even mention to people (and she is a pretty strong rider, but she has to work on some of them, and has to wait for her friends on a lot of them, too). It's about 800 ft total elevation gain from LAX to Pasadena, but you'll probably end up with closer to 1200-1500 ft since there always seem to be hills in the way somewhere. Be careful with shortcuts in the silverlake/echo park area. What looks like a shortcut between two streets you want to take might be a 20% up grade for a block or two, followed by 20% down.
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Old 08-30-08, 01:07 PM   #5
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If you could find a way to safely navigate over to the Lower LA River Trail or San Gabriel River Trail or combo of the two, that might not be a bad idea if you're just looking to get from point A to point B. I would certainly avoid Compton getting over to it at all costs. I don't know the area east of LAX to the 710 too well so advice from others would be necessary.

http://www.labikepaths.com

Hope that helps a little. I don't know how out of the way it ultimately might be or not.
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Old 08-30-08, 04:37 PM   #6
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SGRT is really far east-- it's a long ride east through less than great neighborhoods from the airport to get there, then another 12 miles or so back to pasadena from Duarte. Going up the coast and over through hollywood would probably be better.

Another route from downtown that probably isn't bad is North Broadway to Huntington to Fair Oaks. I've biked from the Monterey Hills area (~Monterey and Ave 60 or so) to Pasadena, but have only driven the broadway part.
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Old 08-30-08, 05:18 PM   #7
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You could also take the various rail lines from LAX to Pasadena with a bike, or use them to get closer to Pasadena where the riding is a little friendlier.

Green to Blue to Red to Gold

http://www.metro.net/default.asp
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Old 08-30-08, 05:28 PM   #8
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Here is a handy map:

http://metro.net/riding_metro/maps/i...a_bike_map.pdf

If you end up flying to LAX, I would take the Ballona Creek Trail (be alert here, there have been some incidents of people pushing cyclists and robbing them recently) to Venice, then left onto Arlington which turns into Wilton, all the way to Fountain, turn Right onto Fountain, then Right onto Sunset, Left onto Silver Lake, Left Glendale, Right Fletcher, Left Eagle Rock, Right Yosemite, Left Figeoroa, Right Colorado (uphill! kinda hard of fixie), which will take you to Pasadena. From there, it's easy to get to where you need to go. Good luck, and it's a good 25-30 mile ride, from Sea level to ~1000 feet. On Sunday, I would explore Pasadena a bit, and maybe do a few laps around the Rose Bowl.
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Old 08-30-08, 05:49 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by worker4youth View Post
Here is a handy map:

http://metro.net/riding_metro/maps/i...a_bike_map.pdf

If you end up flying to LAX, I would take the Ballona Creek Trail (be alert here, there have been some incidents of people pushing cyclists and robbing them recently) to Venice, then left onto Arlington which turns into Wilton, all the way to Fountain, turn Right onto Fountain, then Right onto Sunset, Left onto Silver Lake, Left Glendale, Right Fletcher, Left Eagle Rock, Right Yosemite, Left Figeoroa, Right Colorado (uphill! kinda hard of fixie), which will take you to Pasadena. From there, it's easy to get to where you need to go. Good luck, and it's a good 25-30 mile ride, from Sea level to ~1000 feet. On Sunday, I would explore Pasadena a bit, and maybe do a few laps around the Rose Bowl.
That looks pretty good-- the only suggestion I'd make is that it backtracks a bit by going all the way up to fountain then taking sunset back to silverlake-- heading east earlier (e.g. 6th to commonwealth to silverlake) eliminates the backtrack.
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Old 08-30-08, 08:32 PM   #10
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Ok, how about one of you LA folks to store this guys bike box for a few days...an definite good karma deed
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Old 08-30-08, 10:38 PM   #11
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Hey, thanks for all the great advice, it's really been helpful and given me some ideas. You people really know LA, but I guess that's true of cyclists in general - they tend to know places better than drivers or pedestrians/bus riders. I've decided to fly into Burbank and take my chances with storing the bike bag at a nearby hotel or baggage storage service. I also notice that the airport has a lost and found. I guess I could turn in the bag on Friday and then claim it on Sunday, as long as nobody comes in wanting a bike bag, or happened to lose one that looked just like mine... (Actually, if you ever need a good luggage cart, don't buy one. Just go to an airporrt lost and found and pick out the best one they've got. The cats that look after the lost and found actually want you to take something whether or not it's yours, as the stuff just keeps coming in and they can use the space.)

Thanks again!

Luis
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Old 08-30-08, 11:10 PM   #12
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Old 08-30-08, 11:14 PM   #13
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Yeah, the BUR airport is really small, with only 2 baggage carousels. But the ride to Pasadena is much more relaxed from Burbank than from LAX. What is your route?

Edit: you could store it in my garage, but I'm 5 miles away (on your way to Pasadena). Another option would be to stash it at a nearby LBS. Burbank Bike Shop is only 1.5 miles from the airport.

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Old 08-31-08, 12:07 AM   #14
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Does the bag take up much room without the bike in it? Maybe a fellow (non-cycling) skeptic could take it to Pasadena for you?
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Old 08-31-08, 01:00 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by merlin55 View Post
Ok, how about one of you LA folks to store this guys bike box for a few days...an definite good karma deed
If I was anywhere near the airport I would, but I'm just beyond Pasadena.


edit: doh- just noticed the switch to BUR. Still kind of inconvenient because it'd be a trip out to BUR in what's going to be a crazy week for me.

I like the idea of getting a fellow skeptic to take it on the shuttle or cab or however they're getting from the airport.

There are lots of good options for getting from BUR to Pasadena, but I think they all are going to include some climbing.

Bicycle John's is pretty close to Burbank Airport, too- looks like about a mile south on Hollywood Way. Give them a call and ask.
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Old 08-31-08, 12:35 PM   #16
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LAX to Pasadena.. personally, I wouldn't do it. BUR to Pasadena is piece of cake. A good bike street that will get you most of the way to Glendale (from BUR) is Kenneth. If you're on your fixie, then:

Mountain
South on Verdugo
East on Colorado
Then La Loma towards Pasadena
That will put you very close to Calfornia, which takes you straight to Cal Tech.

Google map it.
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Old 08-31-08, 03:18 PM   #17
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i'm about 2 miles from burbank airport. you could stash the box at my place. if the timing's right i might even be able to pick you up from the airport.

shermer is a great guy, he comes out on the tuesday and thursday morning rides that happen in the burbank/glendale area. i also took a class from him on evolution in college about 20 years ago.
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Old 08-31-08, 03:51 PM   #18
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Well how about flying in to Ontario then riding to Pasadena? Riding along Baseline/route 66 to Pasadena shouldn't be too bad. I'd be willing to hold on to your box - I'm 10 minutes from Ontario - if they don't have any storage places there (it's bigger than Burbank).
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Old 08-31-08, 11:17 PM   #19
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If you do end up flying into LAX, I live about 3 minutes away (by bike). I would be happy to store your bike bag for the duration. I might even do the trek to Pasadena with you, sounds like a fun conference. Shermer is a good speaker, I wouldn't mind checking that out.
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