Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A Tale Of Two Bike Rides

In car-loving Southern California, is it possible to ride a bike to work? I've decided I'm going Installshield Does Not Work to find out for myself.

This is nothing I take lightly. For starters, I live 25 miles from the office. Secondly, I may own a bike, but my cycling experience has been limited to spinning classes. As I consider putting wheels to real pavement, I can't help but worry: will I be able to mix with LA's notorious traffic and live to tell the tale?

I give my road Windows Update Error Code 80004002 Guide test two days so I'll have the chance to test both riding at length as well as how it works to take a Five Safety Measures You Must Follow At Construction Places And Worksites. bike on board transit. Here's how it goes:

Day 1

The Plan: Ride four miles from Hermosa Beach to the Metro Rail station, and then bring my bike on board.

8:30 a.m. I opt to ride the same route that I usually drive. After pedaling for only minutes, I'm huffing and convinced that "Hermosa" must be Spanish for "land of many hills." So much for those spinning classes.

8:40 a.m. I begin to regret that bottle of Snapple and the books weighting down my backpack. I detour a few blocks from my route to empty all nonessentials on a friend's porch.

8:45 a.m. The ride smoothes out. It's a rare sunny day, and I'm in Sunday afternoon cruise mode. I find myself at the station before I know it. Once on board the train, the trip passes without incident.

The Trip Home: A piece of cake. It's the next ride, to be honest, that has me nervous.

Day 2

The Plan: Ride 25 miles from Hermosa Beach to downtown Los Angeles

The Preparation: To learn more about how to plan a route, I call Michelle Mowery, bicycle coordinator for the City of Los Angeles. She tells me that more than the miles, my primary consideration should be how comfortable I am mixing with traffic. An avid cyclist herself, she says, "I always take the most direct route, but fledgling riders should look for wide streets and areas where traffic volumes are lower-even if that makes the trip a bit longer."

Poring over a bike map, I map out a route that takes me up along the beach to Marina del Rey, at which point I'll take Venice Blvd. with its promise of Migwiz Xp Patch bike lanes nearly all the way downtown.

Mowery also suggests that I drive the route, "thinking like a cyclist...checking for potholes, traffic and so on." It is excellent advice, which I ignore because I'm eager to get biking the next day. I do, however, drop $39 for a tune-up at a local shop to make sure my bike is in road-ready shape.

6:15 a.m. I head out and this time it's all downhill (literally) at first, giving me time to Ten Reasons Your Company Needs Event & Conference Planner warm up. As I cruise along the strand, I wave to passing joggers. Surfers Ikernel.exe (0xa00) Error dot the ocean. The morning mist feels good on my face, and I think how lucky I am to live in Southern California. Then I laugh as I wonder when the last time was I thought that while commuting and realize...never.

6:50 a.m. Somehow I'm lost and I'm in regular street traffic. Cars squeeze past me close enough I swear I can feel their curb feelers tickling my ankles.

7 a.m. Still lost. I spot a Harley rider filling up at a service station. Although his bike has a motor, nonetheless, I sense a kindred spirit. When I 225blogmix ask him how I can find Venice Blvd., he points to a side street that will take me there. Not eager to get lost again, I verify that I, indeed, turn right to head downtown. He rubs his beard, clearly sizing me up. "It's a long way to downtown," he says.

I nod solemnly and reply, "I know."

7:15 a.m. Finally, I'm getting some real road under my wheels, and it's exhilarating. There are even stretches of road where I'm cruising faster than the cars. Although letting my eyes wander to take in the sights, such as they are on Venice Blvd., I stay alert. I follow Mowery's advice to keep to the outside bike lane to avoid doors on parked cars that might swing open. She's also cautioned about right-turners. ("Make sure you catch their eyes,' she'd said.)

At one point, a group of cyclists pass me on the left, clad in spiffy spandex ensembles and riding bikes as lean as greyhounds. Although I long to join them as I chug along, they're a distant memory within minutes. I'm again one of the few cyclists on the road.

8:15 a.m. It's the two-hour mark. My legs are starting to ask me when they can stop. Just as I'm yearning for a sign that this ride will indeed end, I come around a bend and I see it: Downtown LA, rising in the distance like Avalon in the mist. Knowing Sqlsrv32.dll Location that I'm almost there gives me a second wind.

8:30 a.m. I've made it! Total travel time: two hours and 15 minutes (did I mention how many lights I hit?) Still, I'm pleased. I head over to my gym next door and head straight to the locker room to spiff up for work.

The Trip Home:

Hoping to shave a few miles off the return trip, I call Metro and find a bus that will take me with my bike to the beach. Buoyed by the phone operator's assurances that, yes, anyone can figure out the bike rack, I head Newly Revealed 3600-Year Old Wisdom Text Describes Extinction Of The Dinosaurs to my stop. And although I discover that the operator lied-anyone can figure out the bike rack except me-my bus driver cheerfully climbs down to assist (in part, because he's a swell guy, but perhaps also because he isn't going to get very far with me standing in front of his bus).

The last leg of my journey, a bike ride against a California sunset, is unforgettable.

Jill Smolinski is the author of the novels THE NEXT THING ON MY LIST (Random House) and FLIP-FLOPPED (St. Martin's Press). A transplanted midwesterner, she now lives in Los Angeles with her son. Read more about Jill and her books at

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