car-free fridays

Via C.I.C.L.E., a quick announcement:

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) has launched a new campaign called “Car-Free Fridays” to encourage both new and experienced riders to commit to using the bicycle as a means to commute to work and to make their shorter trips by bike at least one Friday of the month.

The campaign is aimed to get more people on bikes and to highlight the global and personal benefits of riding a bicycle.  To celebrate the first “Car-Free Friday,” on January 30, LACBC will host a ride, meeting at 8 a.m. at Hollywood/Western Metro Red Line Station and will head downtown, to L.A. City Hall.

The article goes on:

“Car-Free Fridays is great idea that will encourage folks to start and continue bicycling”, comments Ron Milam, of BikeSage. 

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle has become a priority for many Angelenos, but it is not always easy to dedicate extra time and money to get to the gym every week.

“According to the British Heart Association, cycling at least three hours a week cuts your risk of heart disease in half compared to those who do not cycle or perform other exercise,” said Marisa K. Bell, MD Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.  “Other studies have shown that exercise such as cycling can reduce levels of depression and stress and improve mood and self-esteem.”

Riding a bicycle for just 10 miles a week can save at least $520 a year, shed calories, work to reduce California’s emissions from cars and light trucks which are the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in California. It helps reduce traffic congestion which costs the regional economy $9.3 billion annually

Sure, it’s not what Mihai said on WestsideBIKEside, but I don’t think that’s the point:

Listen, I want you out of shape fools to continue living your American dream and drive whatever vehicle tv ads, your parents, or your peers told you would be an impressive purchase.  I do enjoy the occasional chat with other cyclist life forms while I am commuting, but honestly, it wouldn’t be as cool if I had to share even more road space with new cyclists.

The status quo is just great, fuck bike activism, streetscape improvements, and Safe Routes to School, I want cycling to be slightly dangerous and exciting.   And I want your kids to grow up to be fat, so I can whoop their chubby asses in sports when they grow up and I’m in my late eighties.  Pave your driveways, widen your stank-ass roads, multiply the use of those gas-powered leaf blowers. Let LA burn, Mike Davis-style. I can always fly back to my home planet.

As ever, I’m somewhere in between, but I’ll be on my bike Friday. Will you?

UPDATE (29 january 09): I probably should have been more specific: I’m not actually going to be on my bike at this ride; I suppose I was trying to suggest that I was going to ride tomorrow in the spirit of solidarity with the program and the idea. And I suppose the point of linking to Mihai’s post – as I was thinking on the ride home tonight – was that there are moments when I feel fiercely independent as a biker, and proud of that independence. And then there are moments – like maybe tomorrow – when I’m excited to see more people riding, to see commuting by bike as something other than an isolated and sometimes isolating activity. Or something like that.

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3 responses to “car-free fridays

  1. Since I work at home,my commute involves walking from the bedroom to the living room and turning on my laptop. And I do most of my errands on foot. But I’ll join in spirit and get out on my bike tomorrow. Maybe the more people drivers see on a bike, the more they’ll get the urge themselves.

  2. I really would like to go, but I live and work in Santa Monica, so it would be pretty far out of my way to go and make it back in time for my actual work.

  3. I’ll be on my bike riding to and from the bus stop as usual, but lately that’s as far as I can go, since the early 573 has two bikes on the rack by the time it gets to me 😦

    Not usually a problem except on doctor appointment days, when I ride from WeHo down Doheny to BH.

    Other than that, all my bus stops are close enough that dragging the bike around makes no sense.

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