Breaking Away in LA

Los Angeles may be synonymous with car culture, but a steadily growing number of bicyclists are claiming their own chunk of the road and forming a rather vocal subculture in the process. In 2010, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa unveiled the city’s “Give Me 3” bicycle safety-awareness program, which encourages drivers to maintain a three-foot gap between their cars and bikers when passing them on the road. The city stepped up its cyclist-friendly efforts further in March 2011 by announcing a plan to expand its bike-route network from its initial 1977 goal of 600 miles to almost 1,700 miles of paths and bike lanes. Local bicyclists and visitors who engage their inner Breaking Away are encouraged to spend more time on two wheels and off four wheels. Following are some ideas on how to do just that.

Nissan Ride Before the Pros

The Amgen Tour of California is the largest cycling event in America, a professional cycling road race presented by AEG that challenges the world’s top professional cycling teams. The race is key for many riders’ build up for the Tour de France. The 2012 Amgen Tour of California begins on May 13th in Santa Rosa, and ends more than 750 miles and eight days later in Downtown LA. Along the way, riders race a challenging course over California’s most beautiful and iconic highways, coastal drives, landmarks and landscapes. On Sunday, May 20th, the eighth and final stage of the race will begin in Beverly Hills and travel through West Hollywood, Hollywood and Chinatown before finishing at L.A. LIVE.

For the first time in the race’s history, cycling fans and enthusiasts will have the opportunity to participate in the 2012 Amgen Tour of California by riding on the actual race course just prior to the competition. The Nissan Ride Before the Pros is taking place in Downtown Los Angeles on Sunday, May 20th from 8-9:30 a.m. Cyclists of all levels will be able to ride on a 5-mile, closed circuit course that will be part of the Amgen Tour of California‘s final stage, taking place later that same day. The Nissan Ride Before the Pros is FREE to participants and will begin and end at the race’s official finish line. In order to participate in the Nissan Ride Before the Pros, interested fans must register prior to the event on the Amgen Tour of California website at amgentourofcalifornia.com/nissan. Participants must be over the age of 18 or receive permission from a parent or legal guardian.

Bike Metro

To explore even more of LA on your bike, Metro has a variety of options for cyclists that lets you combine your ride with Metro Rail and bus. You can take your bike on Metro Rail anytime, in any direction, as space allows. Bicycle racks are available on a first-come, first-serve basis on Metro buses. And bicycle racks and lockers can be found at many stations throughout the system.

Phase I of the new Metro Expo Line opened on April 28, 2012, along with 5.9 miles of bike lanes running parallel to the line. New bike lanes include Exposition Blvd. and Jefferson Blvd. between Vermont Ave. and La Cienega Blvd., and a bike/pedestrian path between La Cienega/Jefferson Station and Culver City Station.

Bike Week LA 2012 May 14-18
For the 18th straight year, Metro will partner with community organizations to celebrate all things bike. Several events are planned throughout Los Angeles:

  • Monday, May 14 – Kick-off Event at Expo Park/USC Station, 10 a.m.
  • Tuesday, May 15 – 9th Annual Blessing of the Bicycles at Good Samaritan Hospital, 8 a.m.
  • Wednesday, May 16 – Expo/Mid-City Bike Ride starts at Expo Park/USC Station, 8 a.m.
  • Thursday, May 17 – Bike to Work Day – Free rides, pit stops and more!
  • Friday, May 18 – Bike to School Day – Support your local school!
For more information about Bike Week 2012, visit www.metro.net/bikes/bike-week.

A Little Help Here

Getting out of the car can be a bit of a culture shock in itself, but there are those here ready to help with the transition. West Hollywood-based Bikes and Hikes LA offers seven different tours, including a 32-mile “LA in a Day” bike tour and a slightly less intimidating Old Hollywood/Hancock Park bike tour.Pedal…or Not offers guided tours of Venice and Santa Monica on electric bicycles for those who want the option of letting a good old-fashioned motor do some of the work. And Topanga Creek Bicycles in Topanga Canyon offers bike rentals for those looking to go off road or off path, while Perry’s Beach Café and Rentals has eight bike rental locations in Santa Monica and Venice so that visitors can easily explore the coast on two wheels.
Blog Source: DiscoverLA

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