As a means of fast and incredible (and fun) transportation, I got a
back bike, that is, shortly after moving here (and by 'shortly', I mean 'a week'). Of course, LA isn't know for having the bike-friendliest streets around. Heck, it's not even all that friendly when you're driving a car.
Decent bike paths and marked bike lanes are nowhere to be found. So that leaves two options for the biker: sharing the road with the insane drivers. Or sharing the sidewalks with the insane walkers. I've generally opted for the latter, for the simple reason that there tend to be far fewer of them, and also they generally move slower than, oh, 50mph when on residential streets.
I'm willing to bet that brake specialists are among the richest people in Los Angeles. Why? Maybe it's because there's so much stop and go traffic. Maybe it's because there's so many traffic lights and stop signs. OR, maybe it's because people like to travel no slower than 40mph, even in parking lots, and then slam on their breaks when they're no further than ten feet from wherever it is they need to stop. The only thing people in LA do better than slamming on their brakes is hitting the accelerator.
Don't even get me started on the pedestrians here. As a general rule, it seems that ONE person walking a sidewalk ten feet wide must take up approximately 80% of the available space at any given time. So when I'm biking and want to pass them and allow plenty of space, I"m left having to pick whichever direction they're not moseying, and hope that I'm right.
After working for the better part of today, I was riding home (uphill) in the wind. Whilst traveling up the final part of the hill to the street I live on, I came across a small driveway that's generally deserted due to no one really occupying the building right there.
If there's anything I've learned about getting around in this city, it's this: don't trust anyone! I slowed down a bit as I approached the drive, and saw nothing in my line of site. Except there was something there; something I did not detect due to the greater distance. In any normal city, this would not have been a problem. But when you're going 45mph in the little alleyway, you tend to approach the driveway at a rate of holy-shit-fast! And then have to slam on your brakes because, lo and behold, there's a biker crossing your path! A biker by the name of Phil, in fact. A Phil-biker who didn't (and doesn't) much fancy the idea of being introduced to you by means of the bumper on your Mercedes.
Thank goodness for adrenaline, and for those super-fast reflexes of mine.