Monday, January 11, 2010

Review of the Orange Line Bike Path

The blue lines are bike paths, the red lines are bike lanes

I recently tried out the bike path along the Orange Line busway for the first time. Getting up there on transit is no problem. You catch the busway on Lankershiem right across from the North Hollywood subway station. You stick your bike on the rack in front of the bus. This can definitely be intimidating if you've never done it before (this was like my 4th time ever doing it), but you get the idea after a second by looking at the directions on the rack (don't forget to secure your front tire with the hook!)

So I rode the Orange Line out to De Soto station with the rugged mountains in the background, and just enough dense housing in the foreground to keep my spirit from getting crushed (i.e. my spirit gets crushed by low-density automobile dependent development). My goal was to make it back to the subway completely by bike: about 12 miles.

The path was in good shape and a decent crowd was out, both on bike and on foot, taking in the stereotypically perfect Southern California weather. The only real problem came up at intersections, at which it's set up so you cross in a crosswalk like a pedestrian. I'm sure some cyclists would disapprove because it has the feel of sidewalk riding, which is more dangerous than riding in the street, mainly because of what happens when you get to an intersection. Some of the waits were pretty long, so there's a strong incentive to cross on a red. By the time you get pretty far east, the bike path becomes a very nice bike lane.

This ride took me about 1.5 hours, so I guess that means I bike at an average speed of about 8 MPH in a city. Beats my 3 MPH average walking speed. If I smelled bad on the train ride back, the people near me were nice enough not to let me know :)

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