Hike, bike and be merry
July 20, 2011
If Carmageddon taught Los Angeles one thing, it’s that maybe we aren’t as dependent on our vehicles as we thought. By some accounts, traffic on the Westside was lighter than any time since the 1984 Olympics. Large numbers of residents heeded officials’ warnings and spent the weekend away from their cars–a healthy behavior that doesn’t have to change now that we’re back to normal again.
With the help of some online resources, we can convert our Carmageddon memories into a few new habits. Take, for example, one of the weekend’s most talked-about lessons: the story of how the bikes won.
Last weekend, in a highly publicized race, a team of cyclists made a trip from Long Beach to Burbank faster than the passengers of a Jet Blue airplane. Join them and other L.A. cyclists by participating in some of the many local organized cycling activities.
The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition lists the major cycling events, and other sites like bikeboom.com list daily events on a local level. You can participate in CicLAvia, go off-road with the mountain biking crowd, or learn to do your own bike maintenance. More and more Southern Californians are realizing the potential of pedal power, and with a new L.A. County Bicycle Master Plan in the works, the region is only becoming more open to cycling.
Meanwhile, there’s the corollary to the bike lesson: Another racer came in a close second simply by using Metro and traveling on foot.
Take your own stroll with the Los Angeles Conservancy, which organizes docent-led walking tours focusing on the history and architecture of the best parts of the city. Self-led and commercial tours also can be found in places like Hollywood and the Miracle Mile, where walkers can visit the Petersen Automotive Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Page Museum, and the Craft and Folk Art Museum—all in a single outing. L.A. is famous for some of the fairest weather in the country, so almost any time of year is good for a walk.
If the hustle and bustle of the city isn’t your thing, there are peaceful trails and parklands all over the county to hike, bike, or even explore on horseback. Take a guided nature trek, learn to track wildlife, see how area Native Americans lived, or roast the perfect marshmallow at a family campfire evening. Check out the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy’s website for full listings of outdoor events and educational programs.
“We hope the public will come out and enjoy the many activities and programs our parks have to offer in the Santa Monica Mountains,” said Joseph T. Edmiston, the conservancy’s executive director.
Don’t wait for Carmageddon II to enjoy its benefits!