MAKE YOUR COMMUTE ON TWO WHEELS : THERE MIGHT BE FEWER OBSTACLES THAN YOU.Byline: Mark Langton
There might be nothing worse about working in Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. than actually getting to the job.
But there is one thing you can do that would help you avoid traffic jams, lose weight, save money and increase your energy and mental awareness: It's as simple as riding a bike.
Imagine breezing by clogged lanes of traffic and riding right up to your office door. After a few weeks of bicycle commuting Bicycle commuting is the act of commuting to work or school by bicycle, a common form of utility cycling. Bicycling is the dominant mode of commuting in countries such as India and China and is also common in many European countries (though rare in most parts of the United States). , you'll notice a marked weight loss. You won't be spending as much money on gas or parking. And getting your blood going in the morning will wake you up and keep your energy level up during the day because of endorphin endorphin
Any of a group of proteins occurring in the brain and having pain-relieving properties typical of opium and related opiates. Discovered in the 1970s, they include enkephalin, beta-endorphin, and dynorphin. production and improved health.
Sure, there are all sorts of reasons why you can't ride your bicycle to work (you're probably making a list as you read this), and it's certainly not for everybody. But there are just as many reasons why you should.
Just like anything that's healthy for you, it takes a little effort.
But as Lee Wall, manager of the Bikestation in Long Beach, said, ``It's a lot easier than it sounds. If you look at all the obstacles to bicycle commuting, you'll find that 99 percent of the people can do it.''
The Long Beach Bikestation is helping bikers get to work. A full-service facility, it is the first federally subsidized sub·si·dize
tr.v. sub·si·dized, sub·si·diz·ing, sub·si·diz·es
1. To assist or support with a subsidy.
2. To secure the assistance of by granting a subsidy. outfit of its kind in the country and provides parking (for cars and bikes), bike rentals, repairs, a retail-merchandise shop, rest rooms and changing areas, a coffee bar and patio seating. It's strategically located at the Long Beach Transit Mall Long Beach Transit Mall is a transit hub and a station on the Los Angeles County Metro Blue line. The Metro Blue Line station has an island platform, and is located on 1st Street between Long Beach Boulevard and Pacific Avenue in the city of Long Beach, California. , which services the Metro Blue Line, Long Beach Transit Long Beach Transit is a municipal transit company providing fixed and flexible bus transit services in Long Beach, California, United States, other communities in South and Southeast Los Angeles County and Northwestern Orange Counties. , the Runabout Shuttle and more than 33 miles of scenic bike paths and a downtown shopping and dining district.
The bike station recently celebrated its 5,000th user after seven months of operation. Others like it exist in Japan and Europe, as well as bicycle-friendly cities around the country, such as Portland and Seattle.
Bicycle commuting is a simple enough proposition, but at its heart is the need for a large segment of society to make fundamental changes for the betterment bet·ter·ment
1. An improvement over what has been the case: financial betterment.
2. Law An improvement beyond normal upkeep and repair that adds to the value of real property. of themselves and their community.
According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. a recent article in Bicycling magazine, 54 percent of Americans live less than five miles from their work, yet only 1.6 percent of ride bikes to the job.
Sociologists have speculated that the reason the automobile will become an extinct mode of transportation in downtown Los Angeles Downtown Los Angeles is the central business district of Los Angeles, California, located close to the geographic center of the metropolitan area. The sprawling, multi-centered megacity is such that its downtown core is often considered just another district like Hollywood or will not be because of a shortage of gasoline but because of terminal gridlock Gridlock
A government, business or institution's inability to function at a normal level due either to complex or conflicting procedures within the administrative framework or to impending change in the business. . There will literally be no more room.
Enter the bicycle. Already, bicycle messengers fly through the downtown corridor like their counterparts in San Francisco San Francisco (săn frănsĭs`kō), city (1990 pop. 723,959), coextensive with San Francisco co., W Calif., on the tip of a peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, which are connected by the strait known as the Golden and New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of . In many cities around the country, including Long Beach, pedi-cabs are being introduced for shoppers and business people needing short-distance transportation to and from shops and restaurants.
``In most cases in a high-traffic urban setting, the bicycle is more efficient than a car,'' Wall said. And when cities incorporate lanes and parking facilities for bicycles, getting around by bike not only becomes efficient, it's fun.
OK, we're not saying go out and sell your car tomorrow and only ride your bike to work. Try it once a week to start.
You're probably thinking to yourself, ``Oh, man, I'm going to have to get up so early to make it to work on time.'' Not necessarily.
On the average, a bicycle traveling on a relatively flat section of typical urban roadway with a speed limit of 35 miles per hour will cover a mile in roughly twice the time of an automobile. That means that a 15-minute car trip (approximately five miles) will take about 30 minutes by bike.
But don't forget that you'll be saving time by not having to park your car and walk to your office, especially if you work in a building with one of those multi-level parking structures. Yes, there's the changing of clothes and cleaning up, but it's nothing a wet towel and hairbrush can't fix.
It might be tougher if you're a business person, but it is being done. There are even suiters that are specifically designed to carry a business suit so that it doesn't get wrinkled.
And for those briefs and notebook computers? There are specially designed racks and saddle bags that can safely and securely carry up to a 40-pound load.
So the next time you see someone biking along in the morning, don't think of him or her as an obstacle, think of them as one less car that's in your way. And, hey, if they can do it, so can you.
For general information about bicycle commuting, call the City of Los Angeles
Mark Langton's cycling column appears monthly in the Daily News.
Photo: (1--color) Long Beach Bikestation assistant manager Joe Aiken puts away rental bikes in the late afternoon.
(2--color) Terry Liu, who works in Long Beach, prepares for the ride home on his bike fron the Long Beach Bikestation.
Joe Binoya / Special to the Daily News