31 July 2008


One of the biggest hurdles that I've had to overcome in my switch to commuting by bicycle is the notion that sweat is a bad thing. I've always been the type of person who perspires when they work out, and commuting by bike, while not as strenuous as running a marathon, isn't exactly a stroll in the park, either. Going down the road at 20 mph on 2 wheels burns calories, and therefore, I sweat.

But I learned to embrace that sweat. Sure it's yucky for the ride and about 20 minutes after that, but when I'm done with my ride, I've got one workout done for the day. The ride home makes a second workout for the day. Commuting to work or school just 3 days a week means I get 6 workouts in without stepping foot in a gym! But don't take it from me, check out these guys in the New York Times.....they bike even further than I do. Click here or do a search for calorie calculators to find out how many calories you would burn by commuting to work by bike.

Tomorrow I'll talk about how I carry my change of clothes to work with me so I don't stay sweaty all day :o)

30 July 2008

Wild Wednesday Links

29 July 2008

The Most Posh Bus Ride in LA

.....is the LAX Flyaway. I've been spending way too much energy going in and out of the airport lately, so I think it's time to talk about my favorite form of public transportation to LAX. For those of you who don't know about it, the LAX Flyaway is a shuttle bus that leaves from Union Station in downtown, from Westwood, and from Van Nuys at least every half hour and takes you to LAX. It's super easy and super cheap! A $1.25 subway ride to Union Station, $4.00 for the Flyaway and you arrive in style right in front of your terminal. The Flyaway buses (at least the ones from Union Station) are those giant tour bus type things with the cushioned seats and the bathroom in the back (not that I've ever used the bathroom, but it's good to know it's there). You just pay for your ticket, you can check your bags on the bus, and then you sit and wait for your terminal stop. Easy. And the Flyaway bus drivers know how to get around traffic. You always want to allow enough time to get through security and to your gate, but before that, I think the longest a Flyaway bus has ever taken to get to the airport, from downtown, in traffic is about 45 minutes.

Now, after you get to the airport, I cannot vouch for air travel, which has evolved into one of the most annoying and stressful experiences a person can subject themselves to. But at least the Flyaway is nice!

24 July 2008

Transportation Highlights of the Week

In lieu of links (I'm traveling again), here are some awesome transportation highlights of this week:

22 July 2008

What's the best bike for YOU?

How many people got out to the Bike Film Festival this weekend? Anyone? Also, did anyone else go to Glow in Santa Monica? If, like me, you skipped the film festival to get to Glow you may have been as disappointed as the rest of us. But at least the critical mass bike group doing laps on Ocean Drive at 1 am was having a good time!

But I digress.....lately I've been getting a lot of questions from people who are looking to buy bikes for themselves. My first response: yay! But to be honest, I am far from being an expert. My biking experience, although I commute about 30 miles a week, could best be described as "intermediate lite." Still, I love talking about bikes, so anything I can do to help steer people in the right direction, I will. So let's talk a little bit about bikes for the beginner to intermediate crowd for today, shall we?

(I have never ridden many of these bikes so in most cases I can't offer explicit endorsements. However, I have heard that these bikes work well for friends, and they are good brands, so I wanted to include them.)

One of the first things that people mention when they ask about buying a beginner's bike is cost: they don't want it to cost too much. The truth is, unless you want some piece of crap bike from Target or Wal-Mart (don't even get me started on Schwinn), you're going to have to spend at least $350-$400 for a decent bike. My roommate hadn't ridden a bike in 12 years; she recently decided to take the plunge, and she got this Kona Smoke 2-9 for about $350. She then proceeded to ride 15 miles on it! Kona is a great brand, with a large selection of bikes, and I think we can safely say that they have some for beginners as well.

Kona Smoke 2-9: $350

image courtesy of Konaworld.com

I would be remiss if I didn't mention my own bike. I own a Dahon Espresso folding bike, which cost me about $400 when I got it. The model has since been upgraded, along with the price, but it's a great bike. I've put it through way more use and abuse than I imagine it was meant for, but it's responded, and it just keeps trucking. Dahon has a full line of great bikes, for beginners to advanced riders, and all of them fold, which is super convenient!. I highly recommend this brand.

Dahon Espresso 2008: $449.95

image courtesy of dahon.com

Trek is a very well-known company with a full line of bikes, for beginners all the way to racing cycles. If you are truly, ahem, green to biking, you might want to start off with something super easy to ride, like their Lime bike. It's a comfort bike, which means it's not meant for intense biking, plus it uses an "automatic shifting" system, which I don't quite get, but OK. If you just want a bike to glide along sidewalks, take jaunts to the store, or go to the beach, then this is probably a great bike for you.

Trek Lime: $589.99 (as shown, Women's model)

image courtesy of yankodesign.com

If you're looking for something a little more road ready, the Trek Soho might be the type of bike you are looking for. It's lighter and faster than all of the previous bikes mentioned, plus it has thinner wheels which are better for road biking, and flat handle bars, which I find a lot less intimidating than the curved ones on the high-grade road cycles.

Trek Soho S: $549.99

image courtesy of Trekbikes.com

Last but not least, if you know what you're doing out there, and you know you only need a few gears to get where you need to go, another great bike for more intermediate road cyclists is the Swobo Otis. Unlike the previous bikes with up to 24 speeds and "chomper" brakes, this bike only has 3 speeds, and it uses a disc brake (like a car) on the front wheel, and coaster brakes on the back wheel. If you are going to purchase a bike of this caliber, it would behoove you to research just how many different types of brakes bikes use - you may be surprised!

Swobo Otis: $719.00

image courtesy of Swobo.com

Well there you have it.....some great bikes and I'm barely even scratching the surface! Let me know if you have any suggestions or if you own these bikes and you vehemently disagree with anything written here. Happy shopping!

18 July 2008

between the spokes 006: bikes + films = something to do this weekend!

did you know?

that this weekend is the bicycle film festival? in los angeles? well it is. so hop on your bike and check out all the activity that is happening in los angles to support it.

last night i went to a club called rhonda where there was free bike valet (because car or bike, everywhere in LA has valet....valuable lesson from clueless). good times. check the website out for all the details!

The Two-Wheeler Tide is Shifting

Even major news outlets like MSNBC are acknowledging that high fuel costs are driving commuters to bikes and buses. Today, their article Bikes or Cars - who rules the road? touches on a number of problems facing people who choose to use their legs, and not their cars, to get to work. One good point in the article (which I highly recommend to anyone who is considering trying to bike) is beware of newbies in the saddle: many people just starting out aren't familiar with bike-on-the-road etiquette and don't understand that cyclists need to obey traffic laws as well as everybody else. The article also mentions a difficult fact that many cyclists hate to hear about - some drivers are impatient around cyclists on the road, and end up acting downright hostile. But the energy crisis isn't going anywhere....which means bikes aren't going anywhere....which means, share the road.

16 July 2008

Worthy Wednesday Links

Sorry for the long absence....even bloggers go on vacation. Let's see if we can catch up on two weeks worth of links.....
And the list goes on and on. I think I must stop for now before I get carried away/don't have anything else to talk about. Onward!

11 July 2008

between the spokes 005: movin' on up

hey lilawac-er's

okay, so i admit that in my earlier posts i sung the praises of being simple, i.e. how it doesn't take anything fancy to park the car and take to two wheels. that was before bianchi.

i admit, my old huffster served me well. it got me through those awkward formative years of adolescence. it stood by my side as transitioned from teen to adult that fateful semester when i moved away from home and was afforded the use of a car. and when gas prices soared in the summer of '08, who was there? that's right...huffy.

but sometimes steadfast and reliable is just that, steadfast and reliable. so, i decided to do what any average quarter-life crisis person would do. i traded in the old land yacht and got my self a sports car.

i know, i know. but i have to tell you, this bike was so worth it. words can not describe the shear delight it is to wake up everyday and get to ride this beauty around town. the ride- so smooth. the look- so hot. in the words of ferris bueller "it's so choice."

this bike is a precision machine

complete with carbon fiber trimmings.

r.i.p. huffy. this biker has found a new love.

in other news:

you know those guys at google should really get a nobel prize or something for pretty much finding a solution to everything- email, calandar, search engine- and now, google has made their already awesome maps even better but allowing to plan your trip with public transit! sadly los angeles isn't available yet, however knowing how google works, it will only be a matter of time before our fair city is on the map! and for those readers outside of LA, maybe you can report back on the google map public transit planning experience- cough, cough honolulu.

07 July 2008

I go out of town for a couple of days.....

...And everything goes crazy! I'm on vacation right now which is why LILAWAC is quieter than normal, but apparently Los Angeles is not quiet in my absence. I just spotted this post on Curbed LA which documents a couple of incidents involving cyclists over the weekend. In one incident a motorist started harassing cyclists who were riding legally and in single file on the side of the road, then swerved in front of them and braked, causing serious injury to both. The article doesn't mention if the motorist was charged or not, but if anyone knows the license plate number of this guy's car, will you please publish it so the rest of us can be on the lookout? The last thing we need is a psychopath running down cyclists in LA.

Meanwhile I'm in Hawaii, and they love bikes down here. I'm going to the Bike Shop to rent one for the week today. I'm going to stick with a "comfort" bike since I don't have any idea where I am yet, and I really just need to go to the beach and back, but they rent road bikes too. And they are nice! Check it out if you ever make it to Honolulu.