For the past few months, I’ve been taking part in a visual survey documenting road hazards for cyclists in Los Angeles.
That translates into riding my bike around and taking pictures of the shitty roads crisscrossing our fair city.
I don’t understand when and why Los Angeles county decided that having usable roads was near the bottom of the priority list, but cycling here can be an adventure.
There’s a choice if one is going to commute by bike – road tires or fat knobby mountain tires? There are advantages to both. The road tires, which is what I ride on, roll easier so you can go further, faster with less effort, but the fat tires can roll over the city’s plentiful potholes with less of the breaking and crashing.
I like the lower rolling resistance of the road tires – I made my choice, and I’m happy with it, but I do have to worry more about pavement than do the mountain bikers.
Today, as I was riding home from the garden, I spotted this:
Oh, and this:
And last but not least, this beauty:
These are not so much potholes as they are small canyons. All of them on the same 2 mile stretch of road in the glamorous metropolis of Beverly Hills.
I’m not even sure a mountain bike could roll over those top two, and while I can roll over the last one I’m not sure I’d be able to keep all of my fillings in my head.
So what I have to do – since this stretch of road has no sidewalks – is veer out around the potholes into the path of the luxury SUV driven by the guy talking on the cellphone and simmering road rage.
There’s a residential street just north which has better pavement, but since there’s a stop sign every block it’s slow and frustrating.
Happily, though, the roadway is due for a reconstruction project which will mean a complete repaving (not just shitty asphalt patches), and there seems to be support for bike lane striping.
This is especially wonderful news since Beverly Hills has historically been, um, resistant to bike lane striping (and bike racks, and people on bicycles), even though the city’s streets are wide enough to accommodate bike lanes without giving up traffic lanes or parking (both are legitimate concerns for motorists).
But of course, the consultants hired recommended some weird mixed use travel lane which will just put cyclists and other undesirables in a center lane and right in the path of angry drivers.
But until whatever happens happens, I’ll still marvel at the crappiness of the street right in the middle of Beverly Hills.