For years, the biggest mystery among Angelenos was whether you could take your bike onto Metro Trains or not.
There was a time period when they were banned, but by now, most of those questions about the status of bikes from casual riders have ended.
Unfortunately, a lot of people haven’t looked at an even more underrated option among us: Metrolink
Maybe the similar names throws people off, but if you have to travel from the Downtown LA area, it’s an excellent option to get around town and is bike friendly too.
I’ve taken Metrolink on weekends before, but I finally took it on a weekday for the first time.
My train to Burbank was slated to leave at 4:50pm, so I left work (7th & Spring) at 4:30pm thinking that would provide plenty of time.
Biking up Main Street, I was definitely making up time on cars even when getting pinched by construction.
Why are there cars still parked in front of Parker Center?
I jogged over onto Los Angeles Street to get to Union Station on the famous Parker Center protected lane with repeating results.
It took me twelve minutes until I walked inside leaving me ample time to get to my train.
The Bar at Traxx was amply filled as people were getting off of work.
And yes, seeing all the people hanging out at Traxx did make me think about stopping for a quick nooner before getting on.
Walking through the main hall, I was able to find my train and platform easily on the tote board.
Despite the sun, you could tell there were a lot of options for leaving Union Station.
At this hour, Union Station has a lot of scrambling activity as people were crossing each other at a high powered rate that it’s easy to lose track where you’re headed.
Probably most out of towners wouldn’t believe Los Angeles could have this much foot traffic.
Keep your head up while walking because there’s plenty of people to dodge getting through.
I started taking the long ramp up to the train with a station agent checking tickets at the top.
Before I left work, I downloaded the Metrolink app and paid for the trip, but missed the step to activate the ticket.
That took me a ten seconds of smartphone shuffling and my passage was granted.
Pro tip: Download the Metrolink App instead of being caught in these lines behind a Frohawk.
Finding the bike car wasn’t that difficult as the cab was colored differently and the “BICYCLE CAR” sign was easy to distinguish (note: other cars on Metrolink has spaces for bicycles, just fewer).
Walking inside, the car was nearly full of people, but only one other bike was on.
Maybe because it was the end of a long work week, but people looked a little down and not too friendly as they put their backpacks on empty seats to keep others from using them.
I wrapped my bike up to the rack with the attached hook and strap, and since it was a short trip, I decided to sit on the rail right next to it.
The ride went pretty fast because when you’re standing on the lower level, it’s a bit hard to see my surroundings.
The first time my bike has gotten its own spot!
So instead, I did what I normally do on the subway: type my articles.
We stopped briefly in Glendale where it seemed like more people boarded than got off.
Before I knew it, I heard my Burbank stop being called over the loudspeaker.
The total ride time ended up being only 19 minutes.
Welcome to Burbank!
In comparison, that’s ten minutes faster getting from Union Station to NoHo on the Redline.
Sure it cost me a bit more ($3.75 vs. $1.75), but imagine how long that trip would take by car?
Just a note, price varies by distance, but you can get a $10 pass for weekends!
If you want to find out more and support a good cause, please follow the good folks over at BikeCar101 as they work to make our trains more bike friendly.
Metrolink is another great way to consider getting around LA County since it also branches out to the Inland Empire, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernadino, Ventura and Perris Valley.
Just don’t forget to bring your bike.