Friday, July 15, 2011

Happy Carmageddon this weekend! Who will win, bikes or planes?

Bikes are an obvious alternative to sitting in what ever traffic mess ensues this weekend, and L.A.'s growing transit system is rising to the occasion as well with running additional trains and buses and free fares on some lines. Amtrak is also offering reduced fare ($3, $1.50 for kids) to Bob Hope Airport from L.A. Union Station.

For those local, the City of Santa Monica has a number of events and special things going on to encourage staying local. Bike valets will be available at additional locations this weekend, and there will be some local bike tours organized by the Santa Monica Buy Local campaign.

Airplane Window
Then there was this. Making a bit of a mockery of sustainable transportation alternatives this weekend, Jet Blue offered $4 flights from Long Beach to Burbank to get over the hill. Well yesterday morning, Tom Vanderbilt, author of the book Traffic, pondered on Twitter if someone on a bike could make the trip in the same time or faster than someone taking the flight. Knowing the route, which is long, but ideal for cycling with miles and miles of bike path along the L.A. River, I said maybe. Then I thought of the Wolfpack Hustle guys, and the speed of paceline riding, and thought hey this could be a real race.

Wolfpack Team "A" Sails To Victory In First Place
(Justin of Wolfpack Team "A" that took the win at the Wolfpack All City Race)

I looped in Roadblock of Midnight Ridazz and Wolfpack fame, and off this thing started going. It's now a real event, Joe Anthony of Bike Commute News got in touch with Jet Blue and they gave him a ticket to be on the plane side of the race. My wife Meghan Kavanagh, who does a lot of behind the scenes help in the bike scene writing press releases and making media contacts, has helped get this story out to mainstream media outlets. News stories are popping up all over, and I saw USA Today has picked up the story and many more are following.

Over on Bike Commute News, Joe Anthony has written up a great little post with snippets off of the social media sites. It's a great illustration of the power of the internet and social media to facilitate ideas and spontaneous organizing to make things happen. Major props to Roadblock who really took the idea and carried it, insistent this could be a real thing, and Joe for getting Jet Blue on board. I did not anticipate when I opened my proverbial mouth on Twitter that this idea was going to blow up in the way it has.

So who will win this Carmegeddon, bikes or planes? We will find out this Saturday afternoon!

A few more details on the flight times from the press release:
The race will begin at 10:50 am at a home in Burbank, California.
JetBlue has provided a plane ticket for local bicycle blogger Joe
Anthony. Anthony will take the 12:20 pm JetBlue flight from Burbank to
Long Beach. The flight arrives in Long Beach at 1:05 pm. Both the
cyclists and Anthony are expected to arrive at the finish line at the
Long Beach Aquarium approximately 15 to 20 minutes after the plane

Additional details as they emerge, this is all flying by the seat of your pants organizing, will be added over at Bike Commute News

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