Bicycling in Los Angeles is an intimidating prospect, what with traffic, cars and traffic. Did we mention traffic?
But riding a bike in L.A. can be fun, enjoyable and healthy, and you don't have to go from being a non-cyclist one day to being an uber-cyclist the next. Don't believe us? Take a gander at "The Bicycle Lifestyle Guide," a new booklet put out by Cyclists Inciting Change thru Live Exchange, an L.A.-based nonprofit group that promotes cycling as a healthy, practical and environmentally friendly way to get around town.
The booklet includes information on the positive aspects of cycling, plus essential gear (baskets, messenger bags, helmets) and how to gradually incorporate the activity into your life. One suggestion is to draw a 1- or 2-mile radius around your home and pinpoint a few rideable locations, such as markets and cafes, then gradually add more spots each month.
Sound really basic? Good. It's supposed to.
"We're coming from the viewpoint of the non-cycling public," said Liz Elliott, C.I.C.L.E.'s executive director. "Those of us who have cycled for a while can forget what it's like to be a new cyclist. But this will show people that they can have the same lifestyle and incorporate it bit by bit."
By not taking an all-or-nothing approach and focusing on the fun and green aspects of cycling, she hopes people will find riding enjoyable. The 30-page color booklet is available online, and hard copies are often handed out at C.I.C.L.E.-sponsored events (a donation is requested).
For those who want to take things a little further, C.I.C.L.E. also offers cycling classes.
So continue to watch the Tour de France, but don't succumb to pressure to bike the Alps. Or climb La Cienega. Said Elliott, "Even riding once a month is a noble effort."
-- Jeannine Stein
Photo credit: Kevin Ellis / AP