I was set to meet a client in West L.A. today, which from the South Bay, or any bay, means only one thing: “Traffic.”
I guess it also means another thing: “Parking.”
The place we were supposed to meet was near Wilshire and Federal. I figured it would take at least an hour to make the 34.8-mile trip, and when I got there I could expect to pay $30+ to park.
So I put my bike in the trunk and drove to Brentwood. Yep, took an hour, but since I had my bike I could fish for free curbside parking. Who cares if it’s a mile away from the meeting? And I landed a spot, easy.
Pulling out the bike and zipping to my appointment was the best feeling of all until I got there and found out that the actual meeting was indeed on Wilshire, but in Beverly Hills.
Not too familiar with West L.A., I figured “How far can it be? I’ll just zip on over, ten minutes, max. Brentwood, Westwood, Beverly Hills, whatevs, it’s all the same conspicuous consumption zone.”
After zipping for a couple of minutes my zip faded to zup as I realized that the 8300 block of Wilshire was a long way off. There was no bike lane and traffic was dense, so I took the lane and pedaled hard. Every light was red, too.
The meeting went great, and there is something that is VERY SATISFYING about being a bike lawyer riding a bike in the crush of L.A. traffic to meet a bike riding client about a bike case. Having the entire right lane to myself was so awesome as cars patiently, yes you read that right, drove behind me.
On the way back I sniffed out the bike lane on Santa Monica Blvd., adding even another level of bike to what was already a very bikey day. It is crazy to think that Los Angeles and most American cities are designed for cars in such a way that getting around by car is inconvenient, expensive, stressful, inefficient, and not especially safe.
Funny how adding a bike to the equation changes that.
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