A Guide to the Upcoming Bike Share Los Angeles

It’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement, but bike share if finally coming to Los Angeles.

Okay it’s coming to Santa Monica first, but then it is coming to the city of Los Angeles!

And at what a time. I started working downtown so now I can wildly speculate with what limited information is out there!

Actually, in DTLA terms, this isn’t my first dance strolling around the neighborhood, but what expert can accurately predict bike share’s future?

Me. Until proven otherwise.

Let me think out loud and share the many questions I pose to myself.

Question #1. What is it?

Coming in spring of next year, downtown LA will have a bike share system running with 65 stations and one thousand bikes. Details about price and logistics are still developing, but the hope is you’ll be able to pay for the bikes with your TAP card.

In the future, the system will expand to 4,000 bikes with the plan to expand to other areas such as Hollywood, Pasadena, Venice, North Hollywood and Beverly Hills?

My magic 8-ball is now showing, “outlook not so good”.

Question #2. Will I use it?

Yes. I’d imagine depending on cost, but let’s say for argument’s sake that it is.

Image: Shareable.net
Image: Shareable.net

So far, my commute routine is biking to downtown from the valley via the LA River, shower at the LA Fitness, work, then return home via the red line with a fraction of biking. So where does bike share fit into here?

To make a trek of such distance, Mr. CiclaValley turns to his cyclocross to balance speed versus the likeliness of getting flats. My main problem being when I lock my bike up, I have to take off my wheel, lock the entire bike, remove my garmin and saddlebag, and then remember to take my water bottle so no one pisses in it while I’m gone. These things take time.

I’d rather drop my bike off at work, grab a bike share to the gym and back to do my business. It should save time and I’d avoid all the grease and dirt potential dismantling my bike.

I apologize in advance for the sweaty seat.

Question #3. What about everyone else?

Let them eat cake! Sorry. That was a slip.

Hey people, I’m just like you. I like all the great restaurants downtown has to offer. Lounge in the arts district, head to city hall, buy expensive jewelry, but it takes you more time to maneuver DTLA on foot than you think.

If I’m walking, I’m typically in the range of two blocks for lunch without feeling like a lot of time has passed.

With bike share, I’m going to Grand Central Market, Little Tokyo and LA Live. I could take Uber, but with a collection of narrow, one-way streets, you know cycling will be the fastest way to get around.

Question #4. Won’t New Yorkers boast about their more robust system?

Yes. That’s what they do. They complain we don’t have seasons. That they can walk to everything. That they now have the Tonight Show. Whatever they can find. Get over it. It sounds like you have an inferiority complex.

Question #5. Will it matter that our system won’t vibe with Santa Monica’s?

Probably? I’m not going to think much about it. To get from downtown to Santa Monica via any mode is a bit of a hassle.

Will cycling down Broadway be more safe?
Will cycling down Broadway be more safe?

Doing it on a clunky bike share. Eh? Life is too short.

The only potential problem happens if and when Venice gets their system. It would be real convenient for them to jibe, but that would require foresight. Insert your own sarcastic comment here:



Question #6. How hard will it be coming down from Disney Hall?

Unless something changes with Newton’s Laws in the next year, it should be pretty easy. Don’t you mean going up?

Question #7. How hard will it be going up to Disney Hall?

This blog needs a copy editor. I’m guessing pretty difficult. Approaching Disney from any direction is going to require a climb of some sort. It’s not Baldy, but if you use New York’s 45 pound, 3-gear Citi Bike as a reference, it’s not going to be fun.

I do it from time to time on my semi-functional bike, but it comes with climbing gears and a dude that loves going up mountains.

Imagine you’re all dressed up. And carrying a large bag. And taking your cello to the symphony.

Question #8. What other interesting issues may come up?

I’m a bit interested to see what happens on nights where something is going on at Staples. Will the whole fleet of bikes be left in South Park for a few hours while whatever event takes place? Not if Streisand is playing.

Most bike share systems will transfer bikes to evenly distribute them based on need, but this would require a large number of vans to stabilize the system.

Question #9. Aren’t you still on Question #8?

Yes. What about improving the roads downtown? Mr. CiclaValley got a flat riding on 7th street yesterday(isn’t that why I ride my cross bike?). That stretch is slated for a major revamp, but there’s plenty of other streets that need tending too.

We also are obviously going to see parking spaces disappear to make way for the bike stations. That shouldn’t be a big deal since you should never come to downtown expecting to find street parking, but still, people will complain.

Question #10. Will it be safe?

Already, you see the signs of cyclists taking over downtown despite and many urban impediments. You add a whole army of bikes to the mix, then it’s safety in numbers.

It seems like every politician has visited Copenhagen or Amsterdam on our dime only to forget that bikes can control the road while making city landscapes more efficient. When we have our 1,000 bikes, downtown will be seen in a new light.